The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “Vegetables”

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

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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

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

Grilling as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

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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

What’s in that lunch box? 5 Tips to Make Packed Lunches Healthier

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Recipe of the Week

School is starting and parents all over are gearing up to pack school lunches. I have always had the perception that a lunch packed at home is healthier than what’s being served in the school cafeteria. Turns out that’s wrong – very wrong. A recent study from Tufts University  shows that on the average school day 41% of children are bringing a packed lunch from home, and most of those lunches are far less healthy than the cafeteria food being served. In fact, only 27% of the lunches reviewed met the same nutrition standards the cafeterias have to meet. Instead, most lunches packed at home were an assortment of snack foods and desserts.

I have to make a confession: I never pack my kids a school lunch. They actually love the school cafeteria lunches, which may not say too much about my cooking. My 8 year-old daughter sometimes packs her own lunch, but before it goes in her bookbag it has to pass my inspection to ensure it isn’t a lunch made up totally of junk. So from the research article and my own, albeit limited, experience packing school lunches, here are a few tips to make packed lunches healthier:

  1. The study found a big problem was sugary drinks in packed lunches. Pack water or have your child buy milk at school.
  2. Fruits and veggies are also lacking in most homemade lunches. Make a fruit or veggie requirement for each lunch – and work with your child to find fruit and veggies that they will enjoy eating and that won’t end up in the trash at school.
  3. Many homemade lunches lacked a protein-rich entrée item and were mainly carbs and sugar. Even something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread is a healthy kid-friendly choice. My kids also love yogurt, hard-boiled eggs and cheese.
  4. Encourage your kids to pack their own lunches. Have a “Healthy Lunch Checklist” they can follow that includes fruits and veggies, a protein, water, etc. I allow one snack or dessert item in the lunch and am clear with my daughter about what I consider a dessert serving – one cookie, not five cookies! Letting kids pack their own lunch makes it more likely that they will eat it and teaches them the valuable skill of how to create a healthy meal for themselves.
  5. Make it a rule that a parent checks the lunch before it goes in the bookbag.

Need ideas for healthy packed lunches? Pinterest comes to the rescue with 100s of healthy school lunch ideas!

Holli-Seabury-2012

Holli Seabury
CEO and Mother of Seven

Tip of the Week: Pantry List

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This Week’s Featured Recipe

Often, there is a point during our week when we hit the, “oops, we forgot to plan something for dinner, but man, we really don’t want to get back in the car and eat out.” For our family, this usually means we are having a family favorite – or a ‘go-to meal,’ as some people call it. For our household, that means: brinner! Breakfast, for dinner. Crazy as it sounds, having an omelet, or pancakes and sausage, with a side of fresh fruit and OJ for dinner brings my kids running to the table like little else. (Why can’t they respond that way in the morning?)

Not only is it quick, but it is also an inexpensive way to get a meal on the table using a number of items you probably already have on hand! If you find your pantry to be empty on a regular basis, may we suggest using a standardized grocery list, like the one from Family Table to check each time before you leave for the store? Holli Seabury, McMillen Center CEO, says “The meals you can make with these items are pretty much endless – everything from a veggie/cheese omelet served with pan fried potatoes and toast, to pasta with a meat sauce, or chicken and stir fry veggies, served over rice.”

Other quick suggestions for dinner when the cupboard seems bare: local fruits and veggies that are in season are very plentiful at garden markets and roadside stands this time of year. Green beans, tomatoes and peaches are especially plentiful right now!

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Operations & Business Development, and mother of two

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: Keep Drinking (Water)

 

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Recipe of the Week

The sun is out – finally! As our family traveled this past weekend, sunshine was out in force.  Sunscreen was both needed and applied multiple times.  We also planned ahead to stay hydrated! Water is the best source for keeping your family moving at top speeds.  On hot summer days, the most refreshing drink is simple water.

Tap water is a free choice, which often includes fluoride for strengthening teeth.  Tap water with fruit ice cubes makes a quick, homemade bottled water.  Or, if you are going to be traveling, freeze about half a bottle of water with your favorite veggies or herbs – mint or cucumber make a wonderfully refreshing drink.  Then, when packing your picnic, just add fresh tap water to top it off – this way it remains cool for those hot summer days of playing in the sun!

With all of the advertising for activity drinks, or easy beverage mixes, it can be easy to get too many extra calories from beverages.  The soda or flavored coffee you drink with your meal can add upwards of 500 calories – a large shake is even more! An affordable and easy substitute replacement might be a fruit or vegetable flavored water.  There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest, like Rosemary Orange flavored water.  We have pinned a couple on our Family Friendly Recipes board!

Frances_Brooks-2012

Frances, Director of Operations & Business Development and Mom of 2

Tip of the Week: National Eating Disorder Week

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Featured Recipe

February 24-28 is National Eating Disorders Week.  As the name implies, it is a week dedicated to ‘becoming aware’ of the problem and, just as importantly, knowing what to do about it.

Many folks have the misconception that it is obvious to tell if someone is struggling with an eating disorder by the way that they look.  Actually, that is not accurate.  People struggling with eating disorders can be of all shapes and sizes and many times appear to be at an ideal weight.  Research suggests that about 1% of female adolescents struggle with an eating disorder.  This suggests that most of us probably know someone well who is experiencing problems with an eating disorder.

What are some signs to look for?  Listen for attitudes and watch for behaviors that indicate that weight loss, dieting or control of food are primary topics of concern.  Look for frequent trips to the bathroom, especially after eating, the presence of wrappers, or packages of diuretics or laxatives.  Pay attention to strange food rituals. Take note of excessive exercise routines.

If you suspect that a friend or loved one is struggling, ask what you can do to help.  Listen openly and without judgment.  Don’t invade privacy, make demands or insist on changes.  Most importantly, let them know that many folks have successfully recovered from eating disorders and help is available.

MilesNitz

Miles Nitz, MS, LMFT
Take Charge Counseling and Consulting Services

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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