Sunday, November 14, 2010

The start of balanced nutritious meals!

Alright, we have a lot of information on the types of healthy foods we should be buying. Colorful vegetables of different varieties. Incorporate many different proteins into your day. Buy whole grains: pasta, rice, bread, tortillas. Different dairy choices for strong bones. Limit your families drink options: water is the best choice.

I do believe the only food group I'm missing is fruit. The best snack (and dessert) in the world! Keep plenty of fresh fruit around the house that is easy to grab. Once again, try all the different varieties you see in the store, I just noticed that mandarin oranges just got into my local store. These only come around this time of year and my family will eat a ton of them.

Now, on to making nutritious meals, this is what I will be focusing on for the next couple of weeks. If good nutrition starts at home, parents need to set a good example for children to take with them everywhere they go. Children will eat a lot of food in school and at friends houses. If they eat healthy at home, then it won't matter if their friend's parents fix...well, not so healthy meals. Or if they see asparagus on their plate at grandma's house, they may just get excited to see one of their favorite foods! :)

In order to fix nutritious meals at home, you need to be prepared. Have healthy food in the house! If your cupboards are full of whole grain pasta and brown rice, you have one healthy step out of the way. If you did your vegetable shopping with your kids after school, there's another step out of the way. Some people are recipe people, they prefer to use a recipe, no matter what. Some like to make things up off the top of their head. Either way, be prepared.

There are alot of different ways to obtain healthy and quick recipes. You are sitting in front of your computer right now, open up google and go for it. This is a good way to get lots of ideas for those of you who don't actually use the recipes. Once you find some recipes you like or they give you good ideas...write them down (or print them off).

Here's a good note: it is okay to change a recipe!! I have a wonderful recipe for Spinach Bake: frozen spinach, sour cream, cheddar cheese, bacon, onions, salt, pepper, and garlic. I like to make a lower fat version of this using low fat sour cream (my family is sour cream crazy and if I didn't keep low fat, cholesterol free sour cream in my house, my 11 year old son would have clogged arteries by the age of 20), remember that cheese is good for us, so buy some low fat cheese, I take out the bacon on normal occasions to limit the fat and cholesterol content of the recipe. Now, the spinach bake tastes just as good as it would with all of the original ingredients, it's just a bit healthier, and I bet your kids will like it if they see you like it!

If the recipe you find has chicken thighs and legs, it's okay to substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast to lower the fat content from the skin of the thighs and legs. But, do you know what my store sells; boneless, skinless chicken thighs...what a great way to have the nice juicy taste of the dark meat without the hassle of bones and the fat of the skin.

So when looking through your cupboards (which should be filled with healthy foods) and going through recipes for creative! Some of the best meals will come from quick fixes that you have to make up in a pinch :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dairy: It Does A Body Good!

Most people know that milk is good for a toddlers growing body, but adults and older children need milk too. But when we say that milk is good for us, we are wanting the calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein that is found in most dairy products not just milk.

Everyone of all age groups need milk. Bones keep developing into our 20's and peak development ends around in our 30's. Also, it's important to maintain the density that we attained by the age of 30. The most important mineral for this development and maintenance is, of course, calcium.

Dairy products can have a high content of saturated fat and cholesterol. So, when choosing dairy products whether it's cheese, yogurt, or milk, we should always choose a low fat or fat free version after one year of age.

There are many ways to incorporate dairy products into your day. A couple of quick grabs are: cheese sticks and yogurt. When making many of your favorite recipes it's easy to add a little low fat cheese. Desserts can be nutritious if they are made with low fat milk, such as puddings and fruit smoothies. Make a veggie dip from plain low fat yogurt. And drink milk :)

Here's a link to the MyPyramid's chart on how much dairy different age groups should be getting:

I also found a link from the Dairy Council of California to estimate your calcium intake:

I hope everyone is keeping their bones strong by getting in a good dose of dairy each day!