Monday, December 24, 2012

Cook with your Kids this Holiday Season

The holidays are a fantastic time to get kids involved in cooking and learning about nutrition.  Research shows that kids who are involved in the cooking and preparation process, are more likely to try new foods.  Let them help wash, peel, sort, measure, mix, stir (the opportunity in the kitchen is endless and also depends on their age).  Let them get dirty and above all else... HAVE FUN!  That's what it is all about.  See this article from Kids Eat Right for more ideas and information: Kids Eat Right.  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Veggie Kids

More and more children today are vegetarians either by having parents that raise them vegetarian or by choosing the lifestyle themselves (sometimes at a very early age!).  There is plenty of research which shows that a vegetarian lifestyle has enormous health benefits.  Vegetarians tend to consume more fiber, vitamins and minerals from a variety of sources. They also have lower cholesterol levels, and less likeliness of developing chronic illnesses such as obesity, atherosclerosis, asthma, and diabetes. Vegetarian foods are a more efficient energy source than animal products as they are easier for the body to break-down and leave a smaller carbon footprint.  There are often concerns about children being able to receive the nutrients that they need for proper growth and development when omitting meat from their diet.  Essentially, without meat, poultry and fish, we need to ensure that a child receives sufficient protein, iron and zinc.  There are plenty of veggie based protein and iron rich foods like tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans and  zinc can be found primarily whole grains, wheat germ, lima beans, soy, and nuts.  As with all children, offer your veggie loving little ones 3 meals and 2-3 snacks daily so that they have many opportunities to receive the nutrition that they need.  If there are any concerns about growth or nutritional intake, discuss it with your child's pediatrician or pediatric dietitian.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Friday Try-day!

It's "FRIDAY TRY-DAY!"  Time to be adventurous and try something new.  How about a PARSNIP (a close relative of the carrot).  Parsnips are a great source of fiber and potassium.  Try this:  peel and cut 1 lb of fresh parsnips.  Toss lightly in a drizzle of olive oil or flavored oil of your choice (the possibilities are endless).  Roast 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add parsnips to soups/stews, or use them in your mashed potato recipe for a unique spin on a traditional favorite.  Enjoy!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

*Tips to Stay Fit and Healthful This Thanksgiving*

Did you know that at the Thanksgiving meal, the average adult eats approximately 2000-3000 calories! Try the following strategies to make your meal more healthful (and less caloric):

• Do not come to the Thanksgiving table starving! Make sure to have a healthful breakfast and lunch before arriving at dinner. When you are extremely hungry, you eat very fast and tend to overeat.

• Make time for exercise, especially on Thanksgiving Day. Try starting a family routine like going for a bike ride, hike or for a long walk.

• Fill your plate with salad and veggies first and then leave a small amount of space for higher calorie options like stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, etcetera. Do not deprive yourself of your favorite dishes, think in terms of moderation!

• Distance yourself from the hors d’oeuvre table… munch on fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic) instead of high fat appetizers.

• Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, many of the foods served on Thanksgiving are high in sodium.

• Go skinless… most of the fat is in the turkey skin. Have your turkey breast, leg or thigh without the skin to trim major calories and fat.  (Have you ever thought of trying a vegetarian Thanksgiving?  It's a radical concept for many- but the idea of the holiday should be about family and giving thanks not just about what is on your plate). 

• Eat slowly… put your fork down every few bites and drink water. Your brain will have time to catch up with your stomach and you will find that you are satisfied with less food!

• If you are the host, try making healthful alternatives such as steamed green beans with a drizzle of olive oil and almond slivers (instead of green bean casserole) and baked sweet potatoes (instead of baked yams with butter and marshmallows) to decrease calories and fat and increase nutrient density!

• Most importantly… enjoy yourself. Be thankful and gracious to those around you…enjoy the spirit of the holiday and what it means to you. Visit a local food bank and help those in need. 

Stay tuned for future posts with vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes!

Be well,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GMO's... no, no, no!

Is our food really food anymore?  How do we know?  Experts estimate around 70% of the food sold in grocery stores contain genetically modified organisms (GMO)- yet this is not required to be on a label so we do not know if a product that we are purchasing contains a GMO.  Although it’s still unclear if GMOs actually pose real health risks, over 90% of Americans agree that they should be identified on food packages and that they as consumers have the right to know what is in the food that they are purchasing.
This growing demand has lead to several initiatives to spread awareness about GMOs and in strong support of labeling legislation. This labeling legislation is known as Proposition 37 and if passed this November in California, Proposition 37 would require packaged food companies to label genetically modified food in their products by January 2014.  It is our right as consumers to know if there are GMOs a food so we can make the decision as an educated consumer as far as what products we want to purchase (or NOT purchase).  Research has shown that if given the choice, many Americans would not choose products that contain GMOs.  Would YOU???  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pass on the E Coli this Fourth of July

Happy and healthy Fourth of July!  With BBQ's a few hours away I wanted to share a great resource for food safety tips as food borne illnesses skyrocket on this holiday (especially this year with temperatures reaching record highs in many parts of the country).  Have fun, make healthy choices, and be safe.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Baked Plums With Yogurt- Yum!

Try this delicious recipe for breakfast and get your daily dose of fiber, calcium and vitamin D with an antioxidant power punch!  If you are not allergic to nuts, the plums are delicious when sprinkled with shaved almonds.  Enjoy!

Baked Plums with yogurt (serves 3):


• 6 ripe purple plums

• 2 tsp honey or agave

• Plain nonfat or lowfat Greek yogurt, to serve


• Pit and halve the plums. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

• Place the plums, cut side up, in a small baking dish so that they fit snugly.

• Spoon the honey over the plums.

• Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until the plums are soft.

• Serve cold with yogurt spooned over the top (1/2 cup per person).  Sprinkle with sliced almonds or other nut of choice if desired for an added protein punch!  Enjoy...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May is National Celiac Awareness Month!

May designated National Celiac Awareness Month, a great time to spread the word about a condition that is highly underdiagnosed.  One in 133 people are affected by the disease yet approximately 97% (both children and adults) are not diagnosed.  It is a multi-system, multi-symptom disorder that is activated by eating gluten (the protein found in wheat, rye and barley).  The symptoms vary from diarrhea to constipation to migraines to growth issues, to skin conditions and many others.  The only treatment for Celiac Disease is a strict gluten free diet which can be highly nutritious and delicious with the proper instruction.  If you suspect that you or a loved one has Celiac Disease, contact your doctor as there are health consequences of going undiagnosed (even if you do not have symptoms).  Go to the Celiac Disease Foundation website for additional information

See my upcoming posts for information on nutritious gluten free grains and recipes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

For Valentine's Day... Think Outside the Chocolate Box!

February is not only the month to celebrate L-O-V-E, but it also American Heart Month. More than 70 million Americans suffer from some form of heart disease and this remains the leading cause of death in the United States. For most people, heart disease is preventable. One of the most effective ways to prevent it is through the diet! With this in mind, you can see why it is so important to make this year about loving your heart and soul. With a few small changes to traditional gifts and healthful choices you can celebrate a Valentine’s Day from the heart that’s also good for your heart!

Instead of giving the traditional gift of chocolates and candy, try giving your loved ones a beautiful basket filled with dried fruits and nuts or an assortment of herbal teas with honey sticks. Another wonderful gift is a membership to a gym, a month with a personal trainer, or even something they might not think about like a series of yoga classes or belly dancing classes. Focus on health rather than indulgence. When it comes time for the romantic dinner that you and your loved one share on Valentine’s Day, choose foods that are heart healthy: salmon- a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein; spinach and other leafy green vegetables- rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals; tofu- rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals (soy protein has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol)… try a new vegetarian restaurant for a change. Keep your love alive and your blood flowing… they say that experimentation keeps love fresh. Try this experiment, go for a walk as a family in the morning, schedule your annual physical (more than one-third of people with high blood pressure do not know that they have it), have a heart healthful dinner and send a gift other than chocolate to your loved one. “Variety is the spice of life”

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You have the right to know what is in your food!!!

The introduction of genetically engineered foods into the American food supply without labels is of concern to many given that no long term human health trials have ever been conducted on these ingredients.  

Robby Kenner who produced Food Inc. shares this concern and to address it has just released website  You can also find the videos here

The video is short and intended to be widely shared, with a call to action asking the FDA to label these ingredients, as they are labeled in other developed countries around the world.  

Please take a few minutes to watch this, to lend your voice to the campaign asking the FDA to label these ingredients and to remember that together, we can affect remarkable change, in the health of our food system, our families and our country.