The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Tip of the Week”

Three Secrets to Healthy Eating

shutterstock_56468185

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

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

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

Breakfast for Dinner

Egg-in-the-Hole-2

Recipe of the Week

We are frequently a family-on-the-go.  Planning a family meal has gotten more challenging this semester.  I can certainly come up with a number of excuses as to why, but that misses the point.  As we have refocused our efforts to sit down at the table, sans phones and tablets, with a healthy plate of food in front of us, things have shifted a bit.

The girls are now in middle school, and as such, both are fairly competent chefs (well, sandwiches and mac-n-cheese). We have been fortunate to have a diverse palette and often they will eat most things put in front of them.  As they are getting older, we have been trying to teach them some additional tricks in the kitchen.  One essential – a fast meal comes from eggs.  And, they work for breakfast, lunch or dinner (brinner in our house!)

Are you looking for ways to cook with your little ones, but aren’t real sure?  Try this idea from Weelicious!

Just last week, we used up the dozen we try to keep on hand. Luckily, one of our friends, who is raising her own chickens gave us a fresh dozen! While I am not brave enough to take on a mean chicken (oh the stories I’ve been told!) I certainly did enjoy breakfast with those bright-colored yolks!

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and Mother of Two

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

10 Reasons to Eat Together

family_dinner2

Recipe of the Week

I enjoy spending time with my family around the dinner table even though cooking has never been a hobby of mine. We try to have as many meals as possible sitting together around the table each week. It is one of my favorite parts of the day! It is a wonderful opportunity to share the happenings from the day with each other. There are so many other benefits for mind, body and soul to eating with your family to keep in mind!

  1. When families eat together meals tend to be healthier.
  2. Children in families that eat dinner together are less likely to be overweight.
  3. Children tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  4. Children in families who eat together get better grades.
  5. When families eat together frequently, children have better language skills.
  6. Children of families who eat together report being happier.
  7. Working mothers report feeling less stress if they have family meal times compared to those that do not.
  8. Teenagers are less likely to use drugs, smoke and drink alcoholic drinks.
  9. Teenagers are less likely to become depressed, suicidal or pregnant.
  10. Eating together helps families build stronger communication and relationships.

What benefits do you see in your family from spending meal time together?

BethanyClapper_2012

Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing 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

Small Ways to Make a Big Change

banana bread is yummy

Recipe of the Week

For about two years, I have been trying to find small ways to help my family make healthier food choices. Now I am not talking anything about big changes; it started with not buying juice or fruit snacks for my kids to have during snack time. My only real opposition has been from my husband, who is very set in his eating ways. He finally came on board with these healthier food substitutions when he started substituting whole eggs and cooking with egg whites. One of the great resources I have utilized to help me make these transitions is this listing from the Mayo Clinic.

I have enjoyed trying new recipes at my house and I would like to share one with you to try in your house. Banana bread is delicious any time of year, whether for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I am sure you are like me and hate to see those last few bananas go bad and need to be thrown away. This is a quick recipe to use those ripe bananas. This banana bread substitutes applesauce and honey for oil and sugar. 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

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