Nutrition: Fast Food at Home- Really!

If you haven’t read Time Magazine’s article by Mark Bittman, see if you can find it, How to Eat Now.  It is a short read and he focuses on eating in because it is good for you, the family and developing relationships.  It goes without saying that it is usually healthier, less expensive and a lot easier than you think.  I am often asked by clients and when giving group talks to hand out easy recipes.  I have to laugh.  There are millions of easy recipes, however, if you do not take the time to plan – nothing will be easy.  You can make the simplest pasta and veggie dish, but if you don’t have the pasta or the veggies, it won’t happen.

The article talks about our fetish with food.  Food channels, cut throat food competitions, food tours and walks, table to farm massive dinners, and endless blogs, reviews and demos.  So why are we still a nation filled with junk food, and over processed fast food? It is our number one reason for obesity and Type 2 diabetes.  An average American eats a third, or more ,of their calories outside the home and 25% of their calories from SNACKS! I don’t believe we are just talking an apple and some almonds.  Food is everywhere and we are constantly bombarded by stimuli and inaccurate information. The food industry knows how to catch us off guard and play into our comfort zones.

It seems there are a lot of people who do enjoy cooking.   Time being the biggest restraint for most everyone.  Yet we strive for more family/friend time, time to connect and communicate.  Getting other family members involved adds to learning how to cook and everyone ends up enjoying the fruits of the labors.  The days of Home Ec. are over and it is a loss, therefore sharing cooking skills and tricks can be a type of adventure and a lifelong skill. We forget that a dinner doesn’t need to be a 5 star entree.  A simple skillet dinner of fresh or frozen veggies, with chicken tenders sprinkled with a little soy sauce, with some whole grain bread – is dinner! Nothing fancy, veggies, protein and whole grains- fresh or frozen fruit with yogurt for desert.  Voila!

If you find the real reason for not being able to cook is a lack of planning and prep, then do something about it.  You may want to adjust your priorities to find some time to cook, to plan and make it simple to start and be successful.  You and your loved ones will be forever grateful for the bonds you make and the lessons learned, as well as being fed more nutritionally.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started!

– Think of 4 easy meals the family enjoy, buy the ingredients and expand them with more nutrition ( think pasta with extra veggies and beans with  sliced cukes; homemade breaded chic tenders with frozen brown rice and frozen veggies, baked apple; turkey or vegetarian chili and cornbread; fish or meat tacos, good quality fish ( breaded fish fillets work) shredded cabbage, mashed avocado and some taco seasoning mixed with greek yogurt in corn or flour tortillas, squeeze of lime. all of these take no more than 30-45 minutes)  Make enough for leftovers.

– Soups can be a God send.

– Use your Crock pot, prep an easy seasoned canned tomato, chicken and rice dish, the night before and plug it in the morning if you know you have a   long day- add a salad.

– At dinner prep for lunch/snacks the next day.

– Re-vamp your pantry- toss out junk, add staples you and your family like including herbs, grains, oils and condiments.

– A box of Pad Thai can be wonderful with left over crunchy vegetables and frozen shrimp, sprinkled with peanuts.

You CAN do this. Need a little guidance?  Set up a complimentary session to get you motivated to make a difference.

Be Well, Happy cooking!

  Mary

 

Children and Nutrition: Healthy Snacks for School Children

School is underway and so are the multitude of things on the ‘to-do’ list.  I have been fortunate enough to have a collegue send me her blog on healthy snacks.  These are some great ideas to increase veggies and other nutritious items into your child’s day.  Some may seem to take a bit more time – but I think with a little foresight it will be quit easy. I personally like the multi -grain balls. Try to pick whole grain, non-gmo products for your children.  You could substitute different flaked grains- or add your favorite.  We are fighting obesity in children, as well as adults, but it all starts with what the parents provide for the child.  Try to avoid processed sugary ‘foods’, they do not serve your child well in their health or in their learning.  If you have your own favorite snack, please share with fellow readers.  Thanks, Be Well, Mary

Healthy and Quick Snacks For School Children

Children are quite fond of snacks. In fact snacks are prioritized over meals. Mothers are finding it extremely difficult to come up with various snack options that are filling as well as healthy. With most mothers working, it is a question of race against time in the mornings where she has to get healthy snacks prepared in a jiffy. Packing a lunch box for her school going child needs a lot of creative thinking on part of her. It has to be nutritious and hunger satisfying apart from being quick to rustle up.

Below are some ideas which mothers can take cues from.

1. Whole wheat sub

You need

  • 1 whole wheat sub
  • 1 cup of chopped and parboiled vegetables (carrots, French beans, green peas)
  • ½ cup of grated red, green and yellow bell peppers
  • 2 tbsp of mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of grated cheese

Method

You can chop and parboil the veggies and refrigerate them beforehand.

Add the vegetables to the mayonnaise. Dash pepper. Cut the sub horizontally and fill the mix. Sprinkle with grated cheese. The colorful array of veggies is bound to tempt your child to gobble it up.

2. Fruit Sandwich

It’s pretty difficult to make kids eat fruits. Try this interesting recipe

You need

  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • A  bowl of sliced fruits like pineapple, apple, banana, peach, apricot
  • 1 tsp of honey

Toast the bread and make a spread of the fruits. Dribble honey. Your yummy fruit sandwich is ready to be devoured.

3.  Multi-grain balls

You need

  • 1 cup of rolled white oats
  • 1 cup of crushed cornflakes
  • ½ cup of wheat flakes
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • ¼ cup of pitted dates
  • ¼ cup of raisins
  • 2 tsps of flaxseeds
  • 1 cup of water

Method

Make sugar syrup of single string consistency. Mix all the other ingredients and add the sugar syrup to this mix. Shape into balls and allow cooling. It’s a power packed food full of fiber and a wholesome snack which can be had even on the go.

4. Bread Pudding

You need

  • 6 slices of wheat bread
  • 2 cups of full cream milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of slivered almonds and pistachios
  • Few strands of saffron

Method

Toast the sliced bread till they are brown and crisp. Boil the milk, add sugar and let it reduce to 1 cup. Add saffron to the milk. In a flat dish, arrange the bread and spread the thickened milk evenly. Garnish with slivered nuts.

5. Tortilla Wraps

You need

  • 4 tortillas
  • 1/2 cup of Brussels sprouts
  • ½ cup of bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup feta cheese/tofu
  • 2tbsp tomato sauce

Method

Mix together the sprouts, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. Keep aside. Spread the tomato sauce on the tortilla and spread this sprouts mix on one corner of the tortilla. Slowly roll it up and pack in a foil. A protein packed snack to energize tired school children. This can also be packed in their lunch box.

As you all know, children tend to be attracted by new foods. By making the right combination and adding a bit of creativity, you can make some variations in my mentioned snack options and come out with something very tempting for your children

 

Image credit :FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Author Bio: Marguerite likes healthy eating habits who is also a fitness enthusiast who loves to blog  on fitness and topics related to fitness. You can check out her latest post on How to lose belly fat on her website.

 

Children and Nutrition: Feeding Your Children Well

Kids are out of school and you may be struggling to keep up with their food demands. Being a good parent may mean you may need to put up with a little whining around what you choose to put in the fridge or pantry.  Take the extra step and avoid the trap of easy foods with no nutritional value- lunchables, sugary cereals, processed foods. Two rules that you may opt to apply to your shopping are to avoid buying anything with high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.  Simple- you just need to read the labels.  No discussion – house rule. 

 Here are some suggestions from the Harvard School of Public Health.

 1. Stock nutritious foods in the fridge and pantry, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of protein, and low-fat dairy.

 2. Don’t buy high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks, especially sugar-sweetened beverages.

 3. Eat dinner as a family at home, and get children involved in shopping for and preparing meals.

 4. Limit eating out in restaurants, and limit takeout food.

 

 5. Teach children to pay attention to feelings of fullness. Offer smaller portions, allow them to choose their own portions, and don’t force them to “clean their plates.”

Hope these suggestions help.  Need more intervention? I would be more than glad to make a house call to go over foods and what builds muscles and bright minds!

Happy Summer!

Be Well, Mary

Children and Nutrition: Are Your Children Obese?

If you are a parent of an over weight/obese child, then it is your responsibility to do whatever you can to correct the situation. We hear it every day, our children and our country are getting bigger and bigger.  Actually, one in three children are considered overweight. I was listening on the radio talk show today about a staggering increase (47%??) in the next 15 years if we do not address this situation.  Not to mention the increase in healthcare needed to address diabetes, heart disease, cancer and general immobility. I find this very sad.  The quality of life for these individuals will be limited, as well as their life expectancy.  What to do?

Social influences from fast food, to vending machines, advertisements and the adult permission to eat junk and soda, combined with inactivity has provided an environment to encourage ill health and obesity. Unless parents take a proactive role in providing nutrient dense foods, opportunity to be active and play, decrease sedentary habits of video games and TV, our children will continue on a downward spiral into obesity and ill health.  Many obese children suffer emotionally and invariably carry this forward into their adulthood.  Along with this they are prone to diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Personally, I remember that I was a bit chunky as a young girl.  Some of my most dreadful memories were going to Sears to buy clothes in the ‘chubbette’ section.  How embarrassing was that? I still have a few emotional scars from the teasing.  I wasn’t even obese- a little chunky, but not obese.  It was the days when all there was was white flour, instant rice, frosted flakes and whole milk and concentrated juices. We had our share of real vegetables,fruits and meat, not all processed stuff.  My parents actually cooked! Going out to dinner was a rare event for all five kids. Our parents were not savvy  about nutrition, nor did you think you had to be,  you thought the supermarkets were filled with safe  and healthy food.  Inactivity was not an option. A family of five and a neighborhood that could make up two teams. You played outside until dark and came in for dinner, did your homework, read a book and went to bed. Not today- stop and notice how much sitting and inactivity your child has in a day.  If your child has had a stressful day- they need to move!  Exercise has proven to be one of the best stress busters available and improves learning

We have more education, more options to eat healthy, we have fresh fruits and vegetables year round, a treat should be a treat, not a daily event. Yet, we are bigger than ever. Children only eat what they are given or allowed to eat.

Take Action! If you need help in making nutritional changes in your family, reach out and as for it. Let me help you in changing your child’s health into a healthy one.  One that will provide improved self esteem, a healthy mind and a disease free body and important lifestyle habits. You can start by being the role model- kick the junk and fast food, start cooking.

Checkout this link to get more information:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html

Be well, Mary