The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “family table”

Three Secrets to Healthy Eating

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Recipe of the Week: 

What’s the secret to making healthy nutritional choices? A new report analyzing 112 studies found that most healthy eaters did so because 1. A restaurant, grocery store, spouse or parent made foods like fruits and vegetables visible and easy to reach; 2 Healthy choices were enticingly displayed,and looked good; 3. Healthy choices were the easy, obvious choice.  This makes sense – we probably aren’t going to go looking in the fridge for an apple when there is a plate of delicious looking cookies sitting on the counter.

To help ourselves, and our family, make healthy choices, we can remember these concepts and put the healthy foods front and center in our line of vision, and put the less healthy foods out of sight.  We also need to make the healthy foods look good and be easy to prepare – we may have peppers and hummus in the fridge to snack on, but if the peppers aren’t sliced, we will most likely just grab a bag of tortilla chips to dip in the hummus rather than taking the time to slice the peppers.  Having fruits and veggies pre-sliced will make them the easy choice.

I had to laugh a little when I read this study because we practice these concepts in our house, but it’s mainly to hide food from the teenager.  If I buy ice cream, I can guarantee it will be gone in a day unless I hide it in the back of the freezer behind the bags of veggies!

Here is a link to the study.

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury

CEO and Mother of Seven

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Lettuce and Other Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach Salad

Recipe of the Week

Everyone knows that green leafy vegetables give your family huge amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Not everyone knows that they are also easy to grow, pick, clean and eat. The great thing is once you pick them they grow back. Romaine lettuce, bibb lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens, spinach, Swiss chard, endive, kale and collard greens are some options. You can grow them in a patch of dirt or a bag of potting soil that has been cut open or in a pot of dirt.

Buy some seeds at most any store, making sure the package says the seeds are packed for 2015. Plant the seeds at the right depth into the dirt, water regularly and when they are 4 to 6 inches tall, cut them off with a knife at about an inch from the ground. The plant will grow new leaves that you can then cut again.

Wash your leaves with water. Shake them well let them dry on a paper towel or use a salad spinner. Spinach, leaf lettuce, chard endive can all be mixed to make a great raw salad. Kale, greens, endive can all be cooked with a little water or in your favorite recipe.

Kids can help plant, weed, cut and wash these vegetables. What a fun way to help your kids understand how their food is grown and learn a bit of responsibility!

Expert advice on specifically growing, harvesting and any other questions you might have about gardening or growing other foods can be found for free through the Purdue Cooperative Extension office at 260-481-6826. Or visit them online www.ces.purdue.edu   Printable information for leafy greens can be found here http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/ho-29.pdf

You can also find many common vegetables that grow well in Indiana at https://www.extension.purdue.edu/gardentips/vegetables/print-friendly/Growing.pdf

As the days get hot, the plants will change taste and become bitter. Just pull out the plant and re-plant new seeds, you will have more greens in a few weeks. Enjoy!

Linda_Hathaway - 2012

Linda Hathaway

Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

The Egg is Back!

eggs

Recipe of the Week

I love eggs! Scrambled, hard-boiled, as omelets – I love eggs in all forms.  Some of my fondest memories from childhood are picnics at the beach eating egg salad sandwiches wrapped in wax paper. I think sandwiches just tasted better back in the days when we used wax paper! Not only are eggs delicious, they are one of the least expensive forms of protein.

For the past several years the guidelines for dietary cholesterol  recommended greatly restricting eggs.  Frankly, I ignored that recommendation – I loved eggs too much to give them up. But eggs are back in vogue – new recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reflect recent research showing dietary cholesterol does not necessarily lead to high cholesterol in humans. Eggs are also a major source of choline, which is associated with liver health and women’s health. Choline may also support the brain during aging and help prevent changes in brain chemistry that result in cognitive decline and failure.

In other words, it’s ok to eat eggs again as part of a healthy diet!*  A favorite egg-based dinner  in my house is crustless feta and spinach quiche. Serve with a salad and quiche of any flavor makes an easy, scrumptious meal.

One of the things I love most about eggs is that they have been the first meal I have taught my kids how to cook.  Scrambling or hard boiling eggs is easy and I would rather have my kids scramble eggs for an after school snack than eat something less healthy.  Here’s an easy guide to teaching your kids how to  cook some egg-based  recipes

*Always follow dietary recommendations given by your physician.

Holli-Seabury-2012

CEO and Mother of Seven

A Complaint Free Dinner Hour

short_order

This Week’s Recipe

How many of us parents have prepared meals only to be confronted by a child (or spouse) who doesn’t like, doesn’t want or isn’t in the mood for what we just fixed. What happens next is one of two unpleasant scenarios–1) fixing an alternate meal for the unhappy person, 2) standing your ground and facing a fit.

Having faced this situation time after time, I was determined to find a mutually agreeable solution for our family of four that didn’t include me working as a short order cook! It occurred to me that I usually planned dinner four nights a week. On Sundays, we had a tradition of making homemade pizza, which everyone enjoyed. One night every week or two, we ate out or ordered in. The meals I fixed on the other nights usually generated a night or two of leftovers, which, fortunately no one objected to on principle. Of course, if someone didn’t want it or like it on night one, they sure didn’t want it on night two!

Since there are four people in our family, I told my husband and children that I was going to ask them on Thursday when I make the grocery list, what meal they want the next week. The caveat was each one of us would have a choice, and each one of us would eat without complaints everyone else’s choice. There were two other conditions. I could round out the meal with side dishes if the meal was not well balanced. And although I would not make an alternate meal, I would keep yogurt on hand if someone truly didn’t like the protein we were having.

This had some immediate benefits that I had not anticipated. It made grocery shopping much easier and ultimately cheaper. It eliminated those nights when I was at a loss as to what to fix. If the kids had picked something like chicken nuggets or burgers, I was sure to add a healthy side dish. Then I would pick a meal like roast or tilapia. If someone picked a meal that was labor intensive, I’d be sure to pick a meal that week that I could make in 30 minutes or less. On leftover night, there was usually something available from each of our meals.

This resulted in a very manageable routine with very little whining. Everyone had a say in what we ate, and we saved time and money. If you’ve become a short order cook, or face a barrage of whining at mealtime, why not think about how you could give everyone a choice in exchange for a complaint free dinner hour?

Sally Edington
Friend of McMillen Center and Mother of Two

Taste of Fall

pumpkin_spice_lattee

Recipe of the Week

I recently read an article about how unhealthy the popular fall beverage, pumpkin spice lattes, really are when you buy them at your favorite chain provider. I was so disappointed because I love them! I love this time of year and all the foods, flavors and vegetables you typically can only find in the fall. What would a cool fall day be without my pumpkin spice latte!

It isn’t just the flavor. It is sipping on and enjoying a warm beverage on a cool day. Or it is enjoying one of my favorite beverages with having a great conversation with friends. Many times when you think of purchasing this type of beverage it may run through your mind about the nutritional value. Whether you are worried about artificial dyes, sugar content or fat I wanted to share an easy recipe to try at home. This recipe substitutes the artificial ingredients for things we have in our cabinets. Enjoy!

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Five Quick Ways to Play with Your Food!

play_with_your_food

Recipe of the Week

I know, I know, I can hear my mom and yours in the background saying, “DON’T play with your food!” But, if you have picky eaters in your family it might take a bit of creative thinking to get them to eat healthy.

Seeing as the summer is quickly coming to an end, apples will soon be in season. You and I know apples make a great tasting healthy snack, but if your kids are not too keen, a little playtime might help. Below are five examples of quick ways to make a boring old apple into something fun and exciting. My kids and I also used grapes and peanut butter to make these, but you and your family can experiment with your own ingredients!

  1. Smile – two apple section lips, white grape teeth, and a little peanut butter to hold it together
    play_with_your_food_01_smile
  2. Race Car – an apple section for the car, grape wheels, a grape headed driver, and again the “magic peanut butter glue” as my kids call it
    play_with_your_food_02_Race_Car
  3. Turtle – a green apple half (with the stem as a tail), grape feet, a grape head, and peanut butter if needed
    play_with_your_food_03_Turtle
  4. Butterfly – thinly cut apple section wings on either side of a grape body
    play_with_your_food_04_Butterfly
  5. UFO (my favorite) – a cross section of an apple with a grape alien in the middle
    play_with_your_food_05_UFO

 

Scott Nitza

Scott Nitza
Graphic Designer & Marketing Associate and Father of Three

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

grill_with_food

Recipe of the Week

Labor Day is right around the corner and is the second largest grilling day in America. I will be joining that group and will be getting the grill out for what might be one of the last big grilling days before the start of fall.

In my home I like to use a charcoal grill. I find charcoal to be very easy to use and the flavor it adds to meats and vegetables is one of the advantages over propane gas grilling. To set up your grill using my method: add charcoal to the grill (stacked in the shape of a pyramid), add lighter fluid, wait approximately five minutes, add some additional lighter fluid, then light the charcoal. After most of the charcoal has turned white, spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, and place your grill rack on. You are now ready to grill!

My family loves to grill vegetable like yellow potatoes, asparagus, scallions, onions, mushrooms, and zucchini. One of the easiest ways I have found to cook those vegetables is to take a sheet of aluminum foil, add your vegetables and butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste, then seal the foil closed and place on the grill. In 10 to 15 minutes your veggies will be soft and tender and ready to eat.

Our favorite meat to grill is Korean BBQ chicken – which is easy to make too! Take five pounds of chicken strips and place into a bowl. Add half a jar of Korean BBQ Sauce (my family’s favorite is CJ Korean BBQ Bulgogi marinade), place a lid on the bowl and shake the chicken around until it is evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight. Grilling time the next day is 8-15 minutes.

Another benefit to grilling is the extra time spent with my family. My family likes to come out and help me grill or just hang out outside. On nice days we will enjoy our meal together in the backyard.

Have a great Labor Day and enjoy the long weekend with your family!

Damian Roach Technology & Facility Manager and father of one

Damian Roach
Technology & Facility Manager and Father of One

5 Tips for Adjusting to College Life

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Recipe of the Week

In August comes the time not only for young children and youth to get back to studying, but also those young adults who are attending college. Whether your student is going to college locally or away from home, there are always concerns that parents have. Here are some suggestions to help both you and your student adjust:

  1. Talk WITH them not just at them. Listen to what they have to say and ask open ended questions to get at what they are thinking. “What are you excited about?” “What are you anxious about?”
  2. Share stories of what was good about your school experience. Share stories about what was bad about your school experience – as well as what you would have done differently. Look for stories of other people’s experiences and share those stories – both good and bad. Our kids can learn from the experience of other people and our experiences without actually needing to go through it. Use the news to explain how great and how negative choices impact not only the person making the choice, but their family members, workplace and school.
  3. Remember your job as a parent is to get them ready to go out to be adults. Your actions and words have been the blue print for them to follow. If you feel you have done a great job then try to relax and let them know you will be available with suggestions if they need it. If you feel you have not done a great job, then be honest and help them to find resources in other adults or other services that can fill in the gaps of where you have left off.
  4. Encourage them to find resources on campus – tutoring, career centers, social groups that will help them to navigate the every changing world in which they will function.
  5. Be prepared to see them grow up into the cool adults they will be… Check out the site of the college where they are heading so that you know what resources you can send them to. Become educated yourself.

Take a big breath and try to relax and adjust. This is a big step for you as well as your student.

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

Tip of the Week: Getting Out and About

Woman doing crunches

Recipe of the Week

As a past basketball player, I am sure I recently just reversed one of those “I’m never gonna…” statements I made when I was younger. I recently started doing yoga. The instructor made a comment at the beginning of the first class that one class can make significant differences in your breathing and posture. She was right. I find myself working to relax my shoulders more, parking further from the door in parking lots and walking in the evening. After just one class.

In the heart of a cool summer (who’d have ever thought July could be so cool?) it has been easier this year than ever before to get out after work and clean up the yard, or ride down the road on our bikes. My kids have even noticed. Possibly it is both then – the weather and the yoga. No matter what the motivation, being more active has great benefits. The President’s Challenge (remember that elementary school fitness test?) has some great tips for getting started and staying active.

If you are looking for ways to be more active in and around Fort Wayne, look up free and low cost ideas in the McMillen Center’s Out and About Guide. This guide lists activities for kids, adults and families, as well as organizations that can help you develop a plan for a more healthy lifestyle. From the Guide, here are 10 ways to be more active:

  1. Take the stairs.
  2. Challenge a family member to a sit-up or jump rope contest.
  3. Limit screen time and have more play time.
  4. Listen to music and dance while you clean the house.
  5. Walk the dog to a local park with friends or family.
  6. See how many pushups you can do during commercials.
  7. Work in the garden to grow potted plants.
  8. Reward children with games and activities instead of candy.
  9. Go on a nature walk with your kids and point out animals and insects.
  10. Budget tight? Use soup cans as weights

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and mother of two

Tip of the Week: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

rainbow_food

Recipe of the Week

I was at a conference recently and I got into a very heated “discussion” with a vendor who was representing a processed fruit product. He was telling everyone who walked by that this highly processed fruit was perfect for preschoolers because they would love the brightly colored packaging and the processed fruit tasted better than real fruit! Plus, it had a shelf life of two years!

So what was my issue with this whole sales pitch? Here’s my issue: we live in a country where childhood obesity and diabetes in children is at epidemic proportions. Part of this problem is due to children eating so much processed food. We all need to work hard to teach young children what real fruit and vegetables are, and how they should be the biggest part of a healthy diet. Do kids love super-sweet fruit products with bright packaging? Yes! But they are nowhere near as healthy as real fruit and vegetables, in their natural state.

So how can we help our children to eat real, unprocessed foods? The most important thing we can do is to serve real fruits and vegetables at each meal. I define a real fruit or veggie as something that looks like it did when it grew in the ground or on the tree. There are no trees with brightly colored packaging growing on them!

Establishing the habit of eating real fruits and veggies with every meal makes it much more likely that your children will enjoy eating healthy foods. Today I was packing my 6 year-old son’s lunch for day camp and I asked him what fruit he wanted. He said, “I don’t need fruit.” I told him that wasn’t an option and that his lunch wouldn’t be healthy without fruit (I also told him his older sister would be watching while he ate lunch!) I gave him a few options, and he thought about it and chose apples slices as his fruit. My children see me eat lots of fruit and veggies, so this is the norm in our family, and I talk to them frequently about how I try to make healthy choices.

It’s important to let children have some control over what they eat. Ask them to choose the veggie for dinner or what foods they want for lunch. This gives you a great opportunity to talk about how to make healthy choices and how sometimes we may want to eat certain foods, but they aren’t healthy, so we eat them only once in a while. When children are shopping with you, let them pick some new fruits and veggies to try. There are some exciting, exotic fruits at our grocery stores – give some a try! Children are much more likely to eat foods they have chosen and allowing them to make food choices as a child prepares them to make healthy choices when they are older.

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

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