The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Healthy choices”

Soup for One

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This Week’s Recipe

If I am not cooking a full meal for my family of four, I struggle with what to prepare. I am sure many of you can relate. Packing my lunch for work each day is the most difficult. Often I keep crackers and peanut butter or an instant cup of soup in my desk and eat that for lunch. When I see co-workers eating delicious lunches made at home, I wish I could plan and prepare better to do that as well. Not only are my lunches often not very appetizing or filling, but the soup especially, is lacking in nutritional value and has extremely high sodium, with more than half of what an adult is recommended to intake daily in just that one cup of soup.

Now that it is winter time and it has been pretty cold, I have wanted to eat soup more than ever at meal time. Instead of grabbing an instant cup of soup I decided to try some new recipes for homemade soup. One of those is a make your own instant noodle soup and store in a mason jar for freezing or easy transportation to work in a single serving.  I have also tried making a large pot at home and splitting it into several mason jars for freezing and use at a later date.  By making my own soups for lunch I am able to add more vegetables and less sodium for a healthier meal.

BethanyClapper_2012

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

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Five Quick Ways to Play with Your Food!

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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

Tip of the Week: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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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

Tip of the Week: Enjoy Holiday Food Without Sacrificing Your Waistline

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Featured Recipe

Tis the season of cookies, egg nog and expanding waistlines!  Every year I pledge to avoid the dessert table at holiday parties and every year I fail.  Maybe I will have some success after reading with this week’s Tip brought to us from guest writer Jennifer Harrison, a Registered Dietitian at Lutheran Health Network:

Holidays are a time of celebration, family, and ultimately, food. Many gatherings are based around food, and it can be a struggle for most to make healthy decisions.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holidays while not sacrificing your waistline!

  • Don’t deprive yourself and remember that portion control is key. Have what you enjoy in moderate amounts. Scan the food table and decide ahead of time what you want. This helps to avoid over-loading your plate as you move down the line. Don’t forget to add nutritious and filling fruits and vegetables!
  • When it comes to dessert, pick one that is sure to be a palate-pleaser.  Is this the one time of year you have pecan pie? Enjoy a small slice, and forgo the others!
  • Whether you are hosting or a guest, make an effort to bring a healthy option to share. When you are eating and visiting, keep your back to the food. When it is out of sight, out of mind can be a great ally!
  • Make sure to keep your water glass filled. Not only will it help you stay hydrated, it will also help keep you full.
  • After the meal, bundle up and go outside for a walk. Not only will it burn some calories, but it can be a great time to visit with family and friends while getting some fresh air.

Whatever your goals are this holiday season, be sure to make a game plan and stick with it so that you can have a healthy and enjoyable holiday season!

Jennifer Harrison, MS, RD, CD – Lutheran Health Network

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