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Nutrition Tips I've Learned

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I was fortunate to have a pretty health conscious Mom growing up. I got used to eating healthy foods and learned to love them. Myself and my siblings love to cook healthy foods and are always swapping recipes and ideas. I am so lucky! So... all you Mommies who want to make this change for your kids, it is going to work. Stick with it and your kids will learn your healthy habits. We all did... all 7 of us :) I got the basics from my Mom and then I picked up a lot more in the past 5 years of being passionate about changing our eating habits. Here are some tips I picked up.

- Stay on the edges of the grocery store except for a few canned goods and pastas. Produce and meats are around the outer edge of the store.

- Buy seasonal. It's cheaper and more delicious.

- Cook... you may be bad at it now, but if you start cooking you'll get better and better and suddenly you'll love doing it. You will also get faster and more creative. Good motivation is new knives, pots & pans. It takes a lot of practice, but it's definitely worth it!

- Simple is good! Food doesn't have to be complicated. I can't tell you how many times I've made an incredibly delicious meal with less than 5 ingredients.

- Don't be afraid to eat veggies raw. Vinegar (balsamic is my fave) and olive oil go well on just about every vegetable.

- Fill up on vegetables. Don't eat a small side salad and a huge steak, switch it around. Once you get used to eating vegetables your body will reward you and you'll begin to crave them for how they make you feel and what they do for you. They even begin to taste better. Biology, go figure.

- Protein doesn't have to be the star. I fed 3 adults & 3 children with 2 chicken breasts yesterday. I made potatoes and a salad. No one was still hungry.

- Eat more white meats. They're cheaper and better for you.

- Eat fish. Experiment with different kinds of fish and methods of preparation, find something you like. Countries that consume less fish have more obesity issues, have a higher frequency of heart disease, depression problems, diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins counteract these and guess where they're found... FISH ;) Yes, you could take these in vitamin form, but overdosing is harmful and much easier to do with a pill. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish twice a week. Learn to love it!

- Homemade... cookies, spaghetti sauce, pizza, fries, mashed potatoes, soups, breads... just try it out! Yes it takes longer to prepare, but you will get far less sodium and no preservatives or additives. They are dangerous chemicals and your liver will be working overtime to filter them from your system. Not good.

- Soda... sorry, but it's just not good for you. Sugar, additives, preservatives. Try going off soda for awhile and then have one a couple weeks later and you'll feel your body reject it. I am not saying NEVER, but definitely not every day. Additives in sodas and candies have been linked to ADHD in children.

- Fast food is bad, mmmkay? We all know this. I am not talking about just a cheap place with a drive-thru. It's any large chain restaurant. Take a closer look at the nutrition facts of their meals. If they seem insanely high in sugars, fats, sodium, calories... it's most likely because they are using processed foods from a major distributor to maintain "flavor consistency". "Fast Food Nation" and "Supersize Me" will help rid your desire for those foods :P I am not saying NEVER, but a whole lot less than we're doing, America. Maaaaaaaybe once a month.

It is difficult at first to live this way, especially in the USA. We are surrounded by cheaper, easier options. I am not trying to get anyone mad. I am not trying to call anyone a bad parent or a bad person. My purpose is to inform, not to judge. I am not an extremist. I go to McDonald's occasionally. I drink soda... with delicious rum. You won't die from eating sweets and fast food, but you'll be healthier if you cut back :) Allrecipes.com is marvelous for finding new recipes. The Food Network can be quite motivating. Aaaaaand... that's it! If anyone has questions I love helping and cooking and swapping recipes.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    One thing that surprises me ALL THE TIME:

    I've taken to (while prepping dinner) slicing up some cukes, bell peppers, carrots, strawberries, whatever I have. I toss them on a platter on the table.

    My two kids AND my meat-n-potatoes husband ALL snarf up a LOT of these before they dive into dinner. They won't eat a salad, but this? Yes.

    And an odd off-shoot of this is that at meals, they tend to eat their veggies FIRST, even when they are served at the same time as the meat and starch. ??? How did this happen???

    3758 days ago
    Awesome! Over the last 6 years we have migrated to doing almost everything on the list. The fish is a good reminder.... I'll add fish to next week's meal plan! Another thing I do is make double or triple of something like soup, stew, etc. Then I freeze enough for the three of us (in quart mason jars... yes mason jars!). Then if I don't feel like cooking one night, I just pull something out of the freezer. it really helps to use up all of the ingredients that you buy (i.e. celery). I went through a phase where I did once a month cooking (spending a day or two & cooking everything you will eat for a month, then freezing). But honestly, I like fresh veggies too much to have every. single. thing. be frozen. But it's good for maybe once a week when I'm tired.
    3760 days ago
  • no profile photo CD385511
    My mum was pretty health conscious to, made us drink skim milk and have lots of fruit and veges. She would make coleslaw all the time and make us eat stirfrys about three times a week. I hated it. She would tell us chips and cake was bad for us but I didn't take her that seriously until I started weight watchers and saw the calories myself. Then again I wasn't really fat as a kid and I would eat junkfood everyday in the form of treat sized chips, two minute noodles, icecream and biscuits but I guess the portions were controlled. I've learnt that every food you eat should have nutrictional value. Now I feel bad even if I just eat one bad thing a day, having a packet of chips or some sweets always leads me to wanting more so its better not to have any in the first place. Its hard to say no to a coke when we go out for dinner though, espesically when there aren't really any other options. I try to order tomato juice sometimes but the portion is so small, and sometimes I get milk but I get funny looks from the waiters and I feel deprieved because I feel like I should be treating myself when we go out, but we go out for meals all the time now so the word treat has kind of lost its meaning in that regard.

    I learnt the first tip in food and nutriction. I wish I had taken that class for more than a year in school, some of the tricks that supermarkets employ are very interesting! They also keep sugary treats at the eyelevel of little kids so they will make their parents buy them. I used to add stuff to the grocery cart all the time when I was a kid. It seems kind of evil, esp with the obesity crisis and stuff. I don't think they should be allowed to do that. Or sell cereal boxes with cartoon characters, games, toys or competitions on them.

    I have been doing alot more cooking lately. Its really fun, and its surprising how many options there out there. I love having seasoned chicken and I've discovered I can make it myself at home without using that many calories. Sometimes I order pizza just so I can get the satay chicken as a side order. Its much cheaper to make it myself. It also seems that most recipes are healthy so I feel alot less deprieved than when I was doing weight watchers and I can have bigger portions. Win win win!

    I'm trying to have tuna every few days. ''You, on a diet'' recommends having one meal a day that is the same everyday so I'm trying to eat a rice dish at lunch with either fish or beans, and a side of melon. We had this on a missions trip in Vanuatu everyday and I was never hungry afterwards. I've been having white rice but I think I'm going to start having half white, half brown just to make it a bit better for me and to get some whole grains in there.

    Have you read the Supersize Me book? Its pretty good, its even better than the movie! Apparently Burger King offered to buy millions of copies of it to give away to their customers because they wanted to steal customers from McDonalds lol. Morgan refused though because the point of the book and the movie is that eating out in general is bad, McDonalds was just used as an example. I have the book and the movie, the movie sure is entertaining! It only puts me off the place for a few weeks, where else would I get my delirolls, my mcflurries, my BLT bagels and my hashbrowns? I think I'll always love McDonalds but its worth cutting back on.
    3760 days ago
  • MEG526
    Great post Allie!! It is a change. When hubby and I were first married and in college we survived on $1 personal pizzas and hamburger helper (yuck!!). Now I cook all the time and most days I love it but for those days I dont I try to have some easy fixings on hand for quesadillas, tacos, or pizza. Mexican is my favorite because it is so easy to make and so flavorful. My goal this month is to eat fish once a week and eat a 90% vegetarian dish once a week. Today I made Paella with veggies and some shrimp and it was delicious - even my kids ate it - I was surprised!

    I agree that by eating healthy and talking to your kids about what you eat and why they will understand. My daughter knows that we dont eat at McDonald's because "mommy thinks its yucky."

    I'm starting to try more veggies slowly. I was the kid who hated all things veggie! I just recently learned I liked mushrooms again but I still hate asparagus.

    You totally have to tell me how to stretch 2 chicken breasts among so many people!!! Meat is so expensive because I try to by free-range chicken and grass fed beef as much as I can.

    @Pleebles - Buy fresh fish! I buy fish the day I will be cooking it - you could probably go for the day before but I dont want to risk it going bad in my fridge. I live in the NW though so I've been spoiled since we moved here with great tasting, day after its been caught fish! Salmon is my favorite and the easiest way to cook it is with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, and rosemary. I usually serve it with some herbed brown rice and/or a veggie (and it tastes really good with a sweet white wine too ;) ).
    3760 days ago
    Great Post!! I didn't cook before having kids. In the beginning my hubby and I had an agreement that he'd cook and I'd clean. But, as I have tried to be more in control of the time we eat (wanting us to eat as a family), and WHAT we eat, I've taken over. And yes, the more I do it, the more I enjoy it!

    I've started putting a salad in front of my family members at nearly every dinner. And my three kids (6, 4, and not yet 2) ALL EAT IT. It took a while, but now it's routine and they love it. I'm so proud of myself for that.

    I do need to eat more fish. Thanks for the reminder. Do you freeze fish, or use it fresh? That's my big problem, I'm unfamiliar with how to use it frozen. I have lots of frozen chicken and turkey (purchased on sale) in the freezer at all times, but not that much fish. Care to share one or two of your favorite fish recipes? I've made a Salsa Salmon a few times that the family likes, and a Tilapia with Balsamic and / or Soy Sauce + Maple Syrup... But that's the extent of my cookbook with fish.

    And you are also right about Soda. I used to drink Coke several times a day. When I started watching what I eat, I started drinking Diet Coke. When I started REALLY watching, I started drinking water. Now 90% of what I drink is water. I tried Diet Coke the other day and nearly spit it out. It was gross. Not appealing to me at all.

    I've also REALLY cut back on fast food. Haven't been in two whole months now.

    Thanks for the great blog.
    3760 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9697485
    Great tips! One more I'd add, especially for moms who work outside of the home: have a weekend cook-fest, where you do the prep work for the week's meals ahead of time. Get your kids involved in it! They can help choose the menu and, depending on their ages, assist with shopping, chopping, mixing and bagging things for the freezer. When the kids take ownership of a meal by helping to plan and prepare it, they're much more likely to eat it!
    3761 days ago
  • no profile photo MCASCONE
    I allrecipe.com call the time another favorite is cooking light.
    3761 days ago
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