The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Recipe”

Salad Bar at Home

SaladBar

Recipe of the Week

Typically, if we’re having salad with dinner, I make up my kids’ plates with some lettuce and a few toppings and then set it in front of them. They will usually eat it, but they don’t get excited about it…and they definitely don’t ask for seconds! Recently, I asked my daughter if she would like me to set up a ‘salad bar’ at home and let each person choose their own toppings. This idea absolutely appealed to her and she could not wait until dinner that night! I set out all the toppings in separate bowls on the kitchen table and let each kid walk down the line making their own salad (even if that meant little fingers went into each and every ingredient…). They were fairly predictable with what they chose, but they did choose a few toppings that I wouldn’t have given them if I had been the one to make their salad. And I was shocked by the amounts of each veggie they added. I never would have put quite as many diced green peppers into one of my boys’ bowl…but he added quite a few…and then gobbled down each and every bite!

They LOVED doing this and each kid ate two full bowls of the salad they made for themselves. I offered once to help them with their refill, but…not a chance! They were all just as excited to get out of their chairs and make up their own bowl for round two. This is definitely something we’ll keep doing!

And, of course, the ideas for salad toppings are limitless! Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Base: green leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, baby spinach
  • Protein: thinly sliced deli meat, cubed pieces of ham or turkey, bacon, walnuts, pecans, almonds, sliced hardboiled eggs, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, diced apples
  • Veggies: bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Freshly shredded cheese or grated Parmesan

And for the salad dressing? I usually keep it pretty simple with this basic homemade combination:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 T honey
  • Dash of salt

I hope this make-your-own-salad bar concept is an idea your family will enjoy just as much as ours has! For more family friendly recipes and tips, check out my blog: www.realfitrealfoodmom.com

LeAnn Nome

LeAnn Nome, blogger & mom of three little ones

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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

The Hunt is Over!

egg-100165_640

This Week’s Recipe

The eggs have been boiled, colored on, dyed and the egg hunt is over.  Now there is one thing left, lots of hard-boiled eggs!  If your eggs were not left sitting out for a long time it is time to eat them. You can make hash, potato salad, egg salad sandwiches or add them on top of a salad.

Eggs are not only delicious and fun, but they are healthy for you too! Eggs contain one of the highest quality proteins of any food, which helps you to say fuller longer and stay energized. Eggs have over 13 different nutrients in them that aide in brain function and eye health.

In my family, with two little ones at home, we dyed one dozen eggs. After the official family hunt, and a few unofficial hunts with the kids hiding them for each other, my son asked when I would make egg salad. His favorite! With a dozen eggs to eat I looked at other recipes to enjoy as well. I have included a tasty one for you to enjoy with your leftover hard-boiled eggs.

BethanyClapper_2012

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

Time to Get Out and About!

JoinUs

This Week’s Recipe

The weather is slowly but surely warming up and as the gray clouds move out, there are so many things to enjoy outside and around town. Find our Out and About Guide online for tips to get your family out and active! The guide will provide your family with information on where to find activities, paths, parks and splash pads in the city along with nutrition tips and so much more. Bring the guide to your family table and have some fun planning your warm weather activities!

Another great way to use the guide is to plan your training route for this year’s Fort 4 Fitness. Did you know the McMillen Center is a charity partner? We have formed TEAM TAM to gather racers and pledges to support the McMillen Center. Follow this link, to sign up for Fort 4 Fitness and Team TAM today! mcmillencenter.org/join_team_tam

Happy spring!

BethanyClapper_2012

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

Starting an Herb Garden

herb_plant

This Week’s Recipe

We may have just had a spring snow, but we have also had a few days now where spring has shown us that it is (hopefully) right around the corner. I love hearing the birds in the morning and seeing the sunshine! I am so ready for this winter to be over and to be doing activities outside! Do you feel the same?

I want to head out to a local nursery and buy plants and seeds and soil. This year I want to try something new; planting an herb garden. I love watching flowers bloom that we have planted and this year I also want to be able to taste what we are growing in our salads, sauces and soups! I am going to be following these simple guidelines:

  1. Picking your herbs- start with picking out your favorite seeds. Some basics include basil, chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
  2. Location- you want a spot with good soil that will receive ample sun light, yet be shielded from wind.
  3. Care for your herbs- water regularly, place mulch around the base, fertilize monthly and prune as needed
  4. Harvest- and ENJOY!

Growing herbs is a great family activity, too. Kids can help throughout the entire process and they will love seeing what they have helped grow in their dinner.

BethanyClapper_2012

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

Mindful Tasting

mindful_eating_03

This Week’s Recipe

This is a 3rd and final blog edition offering you tidbits on bringing awareness to the act of eating. With awareness a new layer of wellness is revealed that comes from within you!  One begins by simply slowing down and noticing. And for those of you with children, I will offer an eating activity to help you and your kids slow down, notice and enjoy eating!

You can become a more mindful, aware eater.  Just like any new skill, the journey is in the daily practice. The following exercise*, which I call mindful tasting, is fun to do on your own or shared with children. Don’t rush the tasting. Enjoy!

Each person will mindfully taste a Clementine which is small and easy for little ones to peel. Provide a Clementine for each person. If with children, the adult will guide the discussion. Here’s what to do:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Admire the color, shape, and texture of the Clementine.
  3. Clementines grow on trees in warm climates. Close your eyes and imagine where your Clementine grew. Can you feel the warm sun? Can you smell the blossoms? Can you see the fruit on the trees?
  4. Open your eyes and smell the Clementine.
  5. Place the Clementine on a napkin or piece of paper towel. Roll it firmly on the table to release the Clementine’s essence.
  6. Pick up the Clementine again and smell the essence.
  7. Begin to peel the Clementine. Take time to smell the Clementine again. Does it smell stronger? Sweeter? Peel the fruit slowly, taking time to enjoy the aroma, texture, and color.
  8. Separate a couple of segments. Examine their inner structure – hundreds of tiny juice-filled sacs.
  9. Place a segment in your mouth, close your eyes, and bite down. Pay attention to how the juice bursts into your mouth and fills it with orange flavor.
  10. Chew slowly and experience the texture of the membrane. How is this different than drinking a glass of orange juice?
  11. As you chew slowly, pretend this is the last Clementine on earth. It’s all yours!

Was the Clementine satisfying? Why or why not?

Do you usually eat Clementines in this way?

What would happen if you ate food this way more often?

How often do you eat because you are hungry for food? How much is to fill a need that has nothing to do with food?

Imagine your orange really is the last one on earth, and it’s your job to keep the memory of the Clementine from being lost from the world. Think about what you would say to another person. How would you describe the experience so he/she could appreciate a Clementine?

I hope you found this series on mindfulness and bring awareness to the act of eating helpful. For more information, feel free to contact me at www.reidenbachnutrition.com

* Adapted from University of Wyoming, Cooperative Extension Service. MP112-5.

Ann Reidenbach, MPH, RD, CD of Reidenbach Nutrition, LLC

Slow Down, Notice and Enjoy

mindful eating 02

This Week’s Recipe

This is a 2nd blog edition offering you tidbits on bringing awareness to the act of eating. With awareness a new layer of wellness is revealed that comes from within you! The process of increasing eating awareness is really the same for everyone. One begins by simply slowing down and noticing. Think of it as observing yourself – simply observing your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They are in constant play as we travel through our day and are part of what makes us a unique individual.

Slow down. If we could all slow down just a little bit! We live in a fast-paced society that allows for little time to pause, little time to reflect. Dr. Stephanie Brown, author of “Speed: Facing Our Addiction to Fast and Faster — and Overcoming Our Fear of Slowing Down”, outlines a strong case for the benefits of slowing down and the hazards of multi-tasking.

How do we slow down with eating? We begin with the act of a pause. Turn off the TV, remove the newspaper, magazine or school work, move away from the computer screen.

Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD suggests slowly reciting a series of words just moments before we eat to bring our attention to the act of eating. Think of what each word or phrase means as you read:

Relax. Be attentive. Savor. Take your time. Be deliberate. Give thanks. Don’t rush.  Experience every bite. Take only what you need. Be gracious. Live in dignity. Treat yourself well. Enjoy those with you.

Write these words on 3” by 5” cards. Place a card on your dining table at home, in your car and at work. Pause. Step away from eating on ‘auto-pilot’.

Notice.  Remain in the moment as you begin, during and as you end the meal. Notice sensations of hunger before a meal and fullness as you end a meal. There are many hunger-fullness rating scales available. The following was created by Debra Waterhouse:

10 – Absolutely, positively, lie-on-the-floor stuffed
9 – So full, starting to hurt
8 – Very full and bloated
7 – Feels food in stomach, comfortably full
6 – Feels food in stomach, not yet comfortably full
5 – No sense of food in stomach, no hunger signals
4 – First, early signals that your body needs food
3 – Stronger signals to eat
2 – Very hungry, irritable
1 – Extreme hunger, dizziness

Listen to your body. How often do you eat when physically hungry? How often do you eat to point of uncomfortable fullness? For now, just notice. If you are not physically hungry, why do you eat? Consider that eating can truly only solve those problems associated with hunger and a physical need for nourishment.

Enjoy. Enjoying eating allows you to experience every bite – the first, the last and all the bites in-between. Allow the attention you bring to eating to enliven your senses: sight, smell, texture, hearing and taste. Notice when your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the act of eating the next bite. Eating in this way allows you to mindfully consider the following. Am I enjoying this? Am I reaching fullness?  Can I be done eating now? When we do not notice the enjoyment of food, we miss out on being satisfied on just the right amount.

You can become a more mindful, aware eater. Just like any new skill the journey is in the daily practice.

Ann Reidenbach, MPH, RD, CD of Reidenbach Nutrition, LLC

Bringing Awareness to the Act of Eating

mindful_eating_01

This Week’s Recipe

There is an abundance of health and nutrition information available to us from health professionals, books, the internet, coaches, store clerks, friends and family. Most of this information, sometimes conflicting, offers us tips on what and where to eat. It can be difficult to sift through all of the information coming at us leaving one to consider “what is really right for me?”

You might consider slowing down all of that chatter in your mind about food, weight and health and consider a focus on self awareness. This blog edition – and 2 more to follow – will offer you a foundation of how bringing awareness to the act of eating can improve eating behaviors and attitudes opening a new layer of wellness that comes from within you! This process of increasing eating awareness is really the same for everyone. One begins by simply noticing and learning, without judgment, about one’s unique relationship with food and the act of eating. Think of it as observing yourself with kindness – thoughts, feelings and behaviors!

Our relationship with food includes how we think and talk about food. Both of these drive our behaviors around food. Do you ever think the donuts in the break room at work are ‘calling’ you? Of course, they are not, but it is an indication of your attitude about donuts and how you have experienced them in the past. Consider all of the thoughts you have about and around food for 1 day. Write them down. This awareness of thoughts will give you a good sense of what your unique relationship with food is.

Growing self awareness will help to see what triggers you to eat. If you are not physically hungry why do you eat? Consider that eating can truly only solve those problems associated with hunger and a physical need for nourishment. We are triggered to eat in “non-hunger” ways. Some examples include when physically tired or when feeling anxiety or having worried thoughts. Why do you eat when not hungry? Make a note of it – become aware.

You may discover that you have some eating behaviors you wish to change. Permanent changes in troublesome eating habits usually don’t happen through control and willpower, but by personal awareness and acceptance of what’s happening in that moment of eating. In the next blog edition we will explore how new health habits emerge with self awareness and acceptance.

Ann Reidenbach, MPH, RD, CD of Reidenbach Nutrition, LLC

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

What Grade Does Fast Food Get You?

fast_food_grade

This Week’s Recipe

When I was growing up in south central Pennsylvania, the closest fast food restaurants were about 15 miles away. Fast food was something I ate infrequently, maybe a few times a year. Today, nearly every tiny town has some form of fast food and most families eat fast food on a fairly frequent basis. Nearly half of Americans eat fast food anywhere from once a week to several times a week.

However, a new study shows we may want to rethink how often we feed fast food to our children. In looking at the school performance of over 11,000 children, it was found that the amount of fast food children eat may be linked to how well they do in school. The more fast food children ate in fifth grade, the lower their growth in reading, math, and science test scores by the time they reached eighth grade.

It wasn’t just a small difference either – students who ate the most fast food had test score gains that were up to about 20 percent lower than those who didn’t eat any fast food. The lead author of the study said, “There’s a lot of evidence that fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity, but the problems don’t end there. Relying too much on fast food could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”

Children who ate fast food four to six times per week or every day had significantly lower gains in reading, math and science compared to children who did not eat any fast food the week before the survey. Although the study didn’t determine why children who ate more fast food didn’t do as well in school, the researchers point out that fast food lacks certain nutrients, like iron, that help children’s brains develop. Diets high in fat and sugar, like fast food, have been shown to hurt memory and learning.

As a mom who does rely on fast food sometimes to get a meal on the table, what do I do with this information? Well, it will certainly cause me to rethink how often I go through the drive-through. If you do need to go through a drive through to get dinner on the table, here are some hints to make the meals not quite as unhealthy:

  • Skip the soda pop. Choose the milk or water option.
  • Drop the fries and either choose a fruit option with a kid’s meal, or if you are serving the fast food at home put some fresh fruit on the table or quickly heat up frozen veggies.
  • Try to choose grilled meat, rather than deep fried.

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

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