Does your child shy away from vegetables?
Whether you claim to have a picky eater or not, most kids tend to shy away from vegetables and lean toward starch-heavy foods like pasta, rice, cereals and snacks. Trying to incorporate vegetables into their diet doesn’t have to end in a family feud. Variety and high frequency of vegetable intake leads to a well-balanced diet: higher in the nutrients required for healthy growth and development.
Check out my guest post over at Food and Nutrition Magazine to see my top tips for getting kids to eat more vegetables and my favorite kid-approved meals.
What are your child’s favorite vegetable-centered meals?
It’s that time of year–the holiday season. That means plenty of reuniting, entertaining, and of course, eating. Whether you’re on the road or at party, here are my tips for not overdoing it this year.
- Plan time for exercise: As we all tend to be a bit busier during this time of year, be sure to stick to your regular exercise routine as much as possible. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating.
- Hold the Cocktail: The average adult consumes about 100 calories worth of alcohol daily- enough to pack on 10 lbs. per year! Keep a tally of how many drinks you are consuming at parties. Mixers tend to be the most offensive: egg nog, cocoa, cream, all make the appearance in party punches. Choose champagne, wine, or light beer instead.
- Plant yourself away from the table: Even if you head a party with the best of intentions, standing near the buffet table with test anyone’s willpower. Make a plate and step away. Enjoy your food, and then ask yourself if you are truly hungry for more before getting seconds
- Be Mindful: Dining in a group causes the average person to eat about 44 % more calories than he or she normally would eating alone – so many distractions during eating time usually add up to more eating.
- Pick Favorites: Choose carefully between foods you definitely will eat, those you will sample, and those you will skip. Fill up on low-calorie, nutrient dense foods and enjoy a small sampling of your favorite treats. This way you still enjoy your favorite foods without consequences later. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy.
- Plate everything before you eat. Even if you go back to the snack table several times, you’ll be more aware of how much your eating if you see it all on a plate.
- Focus on the true meaning of the holidays. Gifts, parties, and the food are backseat items to the true reason of the season, (whatever that means to you). Enjoy time with family and friends and plan gatherings that doesn’t involve food. Meet up to run a 5K for charity, decorate wreaths, make homemade gifts, organize a dog-walking party- what have you been meaning to do but haven’t found time for?
Sometimes I wonder how the first person discovered the greatest food gems. Who would have thought underneath a prickly artichoke you would find the heart? Or stuffed in a ruby pomegranate you would find sweet, juicy seeds (called arils)?
While opening and de-seeding a pomegranate might seem a bit daunting, the reward is worth it. I prefer this method for opening a pomegrante over the water trick.
What you need: a small pairing knife, cutting board, bowl, strainer, spoon
Place the pomegranate on the cutting board, using a small pairing knife slice the crown off the end.
Now that the end if off, you should be able to see small quadrants that separate the seeds.
Cut each section out and set aside. Use the white spaces between the arils as your guide on where to cut.
Remove the sections
Place the strainer over a bowl. Flip the section upside down so arils are facing down towards the strainer and skin is up towards you. Use the back of a spoon and tap over the entire skin. The arils will fall out into the strainer. Continue until all arils are out. Repeat with remaining sections.
Rinse in cold water.
It might seem like a lot of steps, but it takes no time once you know what you are doing. Full of fiber, antioxidants, pomegranates are the perfect winter treat! I love using the seeds in this salad, perfect for fall. Spinach in a dijon vinaigrette,topped with sliced pears and pomegranate arils.
What’s your favorite way to use pomegranates?
I was sick for most of last week, a bug that seemed to only go away after lots of rest, movies, and soup. The good news? Well, besides an excuse to catch up on Homeland, lots and lots of soup. The downside? More sodium than my body can handle. I never thought of myself as salt-sensitive but then again, I rarely eat a lot of processed foods and try to keep my sodium intake pretty low. After three days of eating more soup than my body could handle, I was puffier than a blow fish. I’m serious- my eyes were puffy, my fingers were puffy, gross. My sodium intake had skyrocketed and the effects were not pretty.
The problem from a health standpoint isn’t that diets high in sodium are bad, it’s diets high sodium AND low in minerals like potassium, magnesium, & and calcium. The balance of 1:2 sodium to potassium is best for blood pressure. No coincidence, we find potassium in “healthy” foods like Swiss chard, potatoes, bananas, spinach, lentils, and the like.
If your potassium intake is significantly lower than your sodium intake, flip the ratio. Adding potassium containing foods is easy- this blog of healthy recipes is a great place to start!
If your diet is higher in sodium, there are lots of easy ways to cut back. Start by looking on the labels of your favorite foods, you might be surprised at which items contain a lot of sodium: cereals, breads, seasoning packets. Find alternatives that are lower in sodium. I know for me, I rarely eat bread without something on it, usually avocado, hummus, or nut butter. Those items tend to be salty enough that I don’t miss the salt in my low-sodium bread.What works for you?
When you gradually cut down the salt, your taste buds adjust! Start off by slowly reducing the amount you use to cook with and see if you notice a difference. Other tips include:
- Choose foods that are low in sodium. Less than 140mg of sodium per serving is considered a “low-sodium” product
- TASTE food before salting it. Get used to the taste of natural flavors
- Use spices and herbs as flavoring! Avoid mixed seasonings and spice blends that include salt, such as garlic salt
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables! You’ll get more potassium, which is beneficial in high sodium diets
- Many drinks like sports drinks, juice, and smoothies can be very high in sodium. Try water instead!
- Prepared meats, like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and deli meats are very high in sodium. If you need another reason to limit them, here’s you are.
- If you still use a saltshaker, take it off the table!
What do you do to reduce sodium in your diet?