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Health

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By: Melinda Lamarche

We now find ourselves at the end of the summer holidays and the start of the school routine is upon us.  It is at this time of year that many parents are scratching their heads thinking about how to keep up with packing lunches and looking for ideas and inspiration to keep things interesting in the lunchbox.

With working parents and extracurricular activities, kids are spending a lot of time outside of the home during the school week and are in need of nourishing foods to keep them going all day long.  Keeping kids well nourished not only gives them an edge in the classroom but also gives them the energy they need to keep up with school and after school fun.

Where to start

Breakfast is great for filling bellies and providing much needed nutrients after a long fast over night.   Plenty of research shows that breakfast is also key in promoting healthy development and contributing to children’s concentration and learning abilities in the classroom.  Skipping breakfast makes it hard for kids to stay focused and concentrate throughout the morning as they wait for lunch.

Start the day off with a nutritious breakfast that is not only delicious but also helps keep kids sharp and ready for learning. As for any meal, aim to include three of the four food groups to ensure that nutritional requirements are met. If possible, prepare breakfast the night before to make the morning routine even quicker, set the table or have things ready to take breakfast to go. Some great breakfast ideas include the following:

  • Oatmeal made with milk or milk alternative, sliced bananas and berries
  • Whole grain homemade muffin (make large batches and freeze individually wrapped for easy, on the go breakfasts) fresh fruit and a hard-boiled egg
  • Fruit and yogurt smoothie with a homemade breakfast cookie

Going the distance

Snacking is essential in helping kids meet their nutritional requirements.  Kids have smaller tummies than adults so they are unable to eat a lot at meal times, therefore snacks are essential for meeting their needs and giving them energy boosts throughout the day.  Snacks are meant to be smaller than meals, that means we should be aiming for two of the four food groups at each snack.  Try combining a source of carbohydrates with protein to not only provide energy but to also to keep small bellies feeling full until the next meal. Some quick, easy and kid friendly snacks are:

  • Whole grain crackers with cheese
  • Fruit salad and yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Homemade muffin and dried fruit and mixed seeds
  • Vegetables and pita triangles with dip (i.e. hummus or tzatziki)
  • English muffin pizza with your little ones favourite toppings
  • Yogurt with homemade granola or whole grain cereal and raisins

Getting over the midday slump

Lunch is the main event.  As with any meal, lunch should include 3 of the 4 food groups.  Some parents find it tricky to include so much variety in the lunch bag every day, but doing so not only keeps kids interested but also contributes to overall health by helping meet nutritional requirements.  Some key essentials when packing lunch are as follows:

  • Get the kids involved. Bring them grocery shopping and encourage them to think outside the box and try new ingredients for their lunches
  • Get kids in the kitchen packing their own lunches
  • Prepare lunches in the evening to help reduce stress caused by the morning routine
  • Keep all the lunch essentials, such as containers, water bottles, napkins, reusable cutlery in one place, to help with making packing organized and quick
  • Choose containers that are easy to open, smaller children may have a difficult time with even the easiest of containers.
  • Pack safe – don’t forget about food safety when packing lunches. Keep hot foods hot with the use of a thermos and cold foods cold by using ice packs and an insulated lunch box.
  • Keep hydrated – send kids to school with adequate fluid, choose water
  • Some ideas for healthy and delicious lunches are:
    • pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and balls of fresh mozzarella
    • whole grain crackers, cheese cubes, sliced vegetables and a hardboiled egg
    • leftover vegetable and lean meat chili or homemade soup with ½ whole grain bagel and cheese
    • try breakfast for lunch – freeze leftover pancakes and serve up for lunch along side yogurt and a fruit salad or serve up hot oatmeal straight out of the thermos
    • make your favourite omelette in muffin tins and serve with toast triangles and a mix of your little ones favourite veggies
    • Experiment with different grains as the base for lunch to keep things interesting. Try quinoa or bulgur mixed with black beans, red pepper and corn, top with sliced avocado (don’t forget a sprinkle of lemon juice to prevent browning) and some shredded cheddar cheese.

Dinner still hours away?

These days kids are spending more hours away from home during the week.  This scenario calls for additional snacks to prevent dips in energy.  Again aim for 2 of the 4 food groups but consider packing larger portions or an additional snack for your kids to help fuel after school activities, especially when dinner is still hours away.

School lunch success

Packing lunches and snacks doesn’t have to be a pain, get inspired by looking up recipes and ideas for snacks and lunches, involve kids in this process as it is more likely that they will eat the foods they have been involved in choosing and/or preparing.  Keep things exciting by trying to include new foods and keep a list of the tried and true lunch and snack ideas and combinations to consult when you are at a loss for what to pack.

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new baby.

RELATED LINKS

Family-Friendly Summer Treats

Your Nutritional Guide to a Summer Full of Freshness

Delight Your Senses with Our Summer Produce Guide

Buy Local to Add “Spring” to Your Diet!

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ontario’s Minister of Children and Youth Services has penned an open letter to Toronto’s City Council making his case for why the city’s current street hockey ban should be lifted.  Council is expected to debate the issue later this week.

Michael Coteau says Ontario’s capital city can lead the way for other places around the province to encourage outdoor play.

“Road hockey bans are commonplace in municipalities across Ontario and I am hoping your council will show leadership by making it clear that children can and should play safely on neighbourhood streets,” he said.  “A vote to overturn the prohibition and let kids play will challenge other municipalities to abolish similar road hockey bans in their own communities.”

In his letter, Coteau, a father to two young daughters and MPP for Toronto’s Don Valley East constituency, stressed the many upsides of physical activity that go beyond on the obvious health and wellness benefits.  He said life skills such as communication, patience, perseverance and teamwork go hand-in-hand with an active lifestyle.

At paramount issue in this debate is the safety risk posed to children who are playing in the street. Council will also weigh the potential hazard for motorists as well as possible interference with city maintenance.  A city staff report recommends keeping the ban in place for those reasons.

“Transportation Services believes that the “Status Quo” option represents the best balance of competing needs. Recognizing that street hockey, basketball, and other sports activities do occur on public roadways, there are legitimate safety and liability concerns with permitting this activity,” the report states.

Coteau says he’s taken safety under consideration in his proposal and believes there are ways to encourage physical activity while also ensuring the well-being of children across the city.

“The obvious issue at hand is the safety of our children, and I agree that our kids need to be safe, but there has to be a better way than denying them of their right to play,” he said.  “That’s why I am urging all City Councillors to think carefully about this debate.”

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Summer Fun

 

By: Melinda Lamarche

Summer is here and it’s time to hit the road!  Whether exploring new places or rediscovering old favourites, family road trips can be loads of fun and a chance to create lifelong memories.

To keep everyone’s spirits up throughout the journey, it’s a good idea to pack some delicious snacks to keep little tummies happy during those long stretches of highway.  Not only do homemade snacks save time and money along the way, they are also your best bet in terms of offering your family a healthy and satisfying nibble.

Below are some tips and tricks to keep you and your family well-fed while on the road, here’s to a happy (and healthy) journey!

SNACKING BASICS

  • Choose snacks those that contain a source of carbohydrate for energy and some protein to keep you feeling fuller longer, examples include: yogurt and fruit, cheese and crackers, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Before you hit the road, invest in a small cooler and ice packs. Look for reusable containers like mason jars and don’t forget to stock the napkins, wet wipes and utensils.

SNACK IDEAS

  • Yogurt, berry and granola parfait
    • Layer plain yogurt, berries and granola in a mason jar, sprinkle with cinnamon and a squirt of honey before sealing the lid
  • Hummus, veggies and bread sticks
    • Spoon a few tablespoons of your favourite storebought or homemade hummus into the bottom of a mason jar, place cut up vegetables in the hummus and place the lid on top. Serve with whole grain breadsticks or crackers on the side
  • Fruity tortilla roll ups
    • Mix softened cream cheese with a little bit of cinnamon, vanilla extract and maple syrup, spread on a whole grain tortilla. Place a mix of cut up fruit and berries on top of cream cheese, roll up and cut into 1” circles
  • Homemade mini muffins and fruit
    • Make a batch of your families favourite muffins, be sure to use whole wheat flour and keep the amount of sugar low, sneak in some mashed bananas or applesauce to hike up the nutritional value, for some fun stir in some nuts or dried fruit and chocolate chips, bake in a mini muffin tin to get more and keep portions snack sized.
  • Roasted chickpeas and cut up veggies
    • Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, place on a parchment lined backing sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, roast in a 400degrees for 30minutes, stirring occasionally, then sprinkle with your favourite flavours, try cumin, garlic powder and thyme.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with the tried and true snacks, think cheese and crackers, fruit and nuts and granola bars.

  • When buying crackers look for those that are low in fat, containing less than 5g of fat per serving, low in salt and containing at least 2-4g of fibre per serving. Choose unsalted and dry roasted nuts.
  • Granola bars can be tricky, they are one of those foods with a health halo, meaning they are often marketed as being healthier than they actually are. If buying granola bars, look for those made with whole grains (hint … whole grains should be listed as the first ingredient), low in fat and with less than 8g of sugar.  Making your own granola bars could be a fun way to experiment with your family’s favourite flavours.

So, this summer, pack your coolers and hit the road with some delicious and nutritious snacks to keep you and your crew fuelled for non-stop fun!

Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new baby.

RELATED LINKS:

Delight Your Senses with Our Summer Produce Guide!

Buy Local to Add “Spring” to Your Diet!

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

 

Please Note: The below Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

WhereParentsTalk.com spoke with Dr. Jessica Burke Browman, a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto, about the practice of Naturopathic Medicine as it relates to children’s health.

Can you provide a brief overview and explanation of Naturopathic medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system combining modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. Built on a patient-centred approach it emphasizes prevention, treatment, and optimal health through the use of therapeutic methods and substances that support the body’s natural ability to heal and help the patient achieve sustainable health and wellness.The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. There is also a strong focus disease prevention and health promotion.

Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) are able to work with each patient or family to create a health plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Naturopathic Doctors will work with your other healthcare providers to ensure a collaborative and complementary approach to your health. In addition to diet and lifestyle changes, natural therapies including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, hydrotherapy, traditional Chinese medicine/acupuncture, may also be used during treatments.

In Ontario, NDs are regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act and are regulated by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario (CONO).

What type of pediatric health issues can be treated by Naturopathic medicine?

NDs are primary healthcare practitioners in Ontario, and can treat the same conditions as a family doctors, including  both acute and chronic health conditions. Some common pediatric health concerns may include skin conditions (i.e. eczema, psoriasis), immune response (i.e. frequent colds, ear infections), dietary or food issues, digestive concerns, and basic preventative health measures.

How do parents know if Naturopathic medicine is the right course of treatment for their child?

Many parents want to make sure they are making the best choices for their child’s health. Whether parents are seeking alternative options or are looking to complement existing health care measures, naturopathic medicine can play a role in all treatment plans. Parents typically bring their children in for three primary reasons; they are seeking health promotion and disease prevention strategies, their child has symptoms that cannot be addressed by another health care provider, or their child has been diagnosed with a disease or disorder and parents are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimizing side effects to drugs, surgery or conventional treatments.

At what age can a child first visit a Naturopathic Doctor?

Naturopathic Doctors are qualified to see children of all ages. From newborns struggling with feeding issues to children scraping knees, and teenagers dealing with hormonal changes, NDs can play a vital role at any stage of your child’s life.

When might a parent want to consult a Naturopath or alternative courses of treatment for their child’s health?

Parents typically seek naturopathic care for three reasons. They are seeking tools to promote and maintain health and wellness for their family, their child has symptoms that have not been reduced through conventional treatments, or their child has been given a diagnosis and the parents would like to complement the conventional treatments to minimize side effects and maximize health and quality of life.

Dr. Jessica Burke Browman is a licensed and board certified Naturopathic Doctor based in Toronto. Her practice is family oriented with a strong focus on women’s health and fertility, musculoskeletal injuries, weight loss, and digestive disorders.

Please Note: The above Q&A is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for seeking advice from a healthcare practitioner regarding your child’s unique health needs.

By: Melinda Lamarche

It’s finally over!  The strange winter we’ve had has finally said goodbye and we are now enjoying beautiful spring days.  The beginning of spring also means that local produce will soon be finding its way into grocery stores and popping up at Farmers Markets around the city.

Eating fresh and local foods is not only a delicious way to enjoy fruits and vegetables, it also has a positive impact on health, the environment and the local economy as outlined below:

  • HEALTH: Buying local means fewer steps between the field and the table reducing the number of opportunities for contamination that can lead to food poisoning. In-season produce tends to have higher nutrition values than their out-of-season counterparts because they’re served up at peak ripeness.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Buying foods grown close to home decreases the distance between the farm and our tables, therefore reducing our carbon footprint.
  • ECONOMY: Buying local produce contributes to the local economy by supporting local farmers and growers.

The growing season is short in most parts of Canada due to cold and long winters but spring and summer weather allows local growers to grow delicious produce for us to enjoy.  Eating locally also means enjoying fruit and vegetables while they are in season.  During the spring and summer months we see the available produce change based on what is growing on trees and in fields at the time.

May marks the start of locally grown produce being available and is when we start seeing farmers markets re-opening across the city.  Here is your guide to what is in season this month! We start off with only a few seasonal foods being available at this time but the list will grow longer as we get closer to and throughout the summer months.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb season starts in May.  These long ruby red stalks are known for adding a tart yet delicious flavour to desserts and other dishes and are often paired with strawberries, pears or apples to add sweetness.  Rhubarb contains calcium, which plays a role in maintaining bone health, vitamin C and potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure.

  • Buying Rhubarb

Look for stalks that are bright red and that have full and fresh looking leaves.

  • Storing Rhubarb

Discard leaves as they are poisonous.  You may have to peel rhubarb to remove fibrous strings, wrap stalks in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  Rhubarb can also be frozen.

 

Rhubarb Stalks, Source: Wikimedia Commons
Rhubarb Stalks, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Asparagus

Local asparagus is such a treat! It is much more flavourful than its out-of-season counterparts which travel to us from Mexico and Peru in the off season months.   Local asparagus is available in May and the start of June.

Asparagus is full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for health including vitamin A which is helpful for immune function, vision and reproductive health.  Asparagus also contains vitamin C which is an antioxidant which helps to fight against chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes; it also promotes tissue growth and repair.

Vitamin K, also found in asparagus, plays a role in blood clotting which helps to prevent excessive bleeding with cuts and scrapes. There is also folate which is essential in reducing the risk of heart disease as well as neural tube defects.  Folate has also been linked to a reduced risk of some cancers. Asparagus also contains two great forms of carbohydrates, fibre and inulin which is a prebiotic that promotes a healthy gut.

  • Buying Asparagus

Look for stalks that are bright green and crisp with tightly closed tips

  • Storing Aspargus

To keep asparagus fresh, trim the stems and place in a container of cold water, leave in the refrigerator and use within a few days

 

Radish

The fiery taste of local radish is available this month. This common addition to salads contains a great nutritional profile.  These little fuschia globes are full of antioxidants, including sulforaphane which has been proven to play a role in the prevention of breast, prostate, colon and ovarian cancers. Radishes also contain vitamin C and fibre.

  • Buying Radishes

Look for radishes that are firm without any cracks or dry spots.  The green tops should be fresh looking.

  • Storing Radishes

Remove radish greens, wash roots well and store in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

 

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads are a very interesting vegetable from the fern family.  Fiddleheads should never be eaten raw and must always be cooked.  These curly vegetables contain potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants.

  • Buying Fiddleheads

Buy fiddleheads that are tightly curled, crisp and bright green.

  • Storing and Preparing fiddleheads

Loosely wrap and store in a plastic bag, do not wash fiddleheads until ready to use.

To prepare fiddleheads remove the brown papery skin surrounding the fiddleheads, rinse in cold water thoroughly to remove dirt and cook thoroughly, 15 minutes in boiling water.  Fiddleheads should always be boiled before sauteeing, frying or baking.
Melinda Lamarche has been working as a Registered Dietitian for more than 10 years.  After completing her dietetic internship at the University Health Network in 2005 she went on to complete a Masters degree in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  Melinda has experience working with Toronto Public Health and various Family Health Teams in the Toronto area.  Melinda recently completed a Culinary program and is using her new skills to prepare yummy and healthy dishes for her husband, daughter and new baby.

RELATED LINKS:

Why Pulses are the Family-Friendly Food of 2016

Incorporating Pulses Into Your Family’s Diet

Fall Foods Your Family Should Try

Real Food: Feeding Your Children Right

Shrimp and Kale over Cauliflower Mash

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup partly skimmed shredded mozzarella

For the Kale

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package kalettes, if you can find them Or 3 cups chopped kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

For the cauliflower

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the cauliflower and garlic. Sauté for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the milk and 2 cups broth. Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the while beans and mash roughly with the back of a large wooden spoon or a potato masher.
  4. Stir in the cornmeal (the mixture will start to thicken).
  5. Adjust the consistency by adding the last cup of broth to the consistency you want.
  6. Stir in the cheese and season to taste.

For the kale:

  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.
  2. Add the greens and garlic and sauté until softened.

If using kalettes, add a little water at the end to sort of steam them to finish them off.

  1. Remove kale and wipe out pan with a paper towel.

For the shrimp:

  1. Using the same skillet as you used for the kale heat it over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl mix the extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper together.
  3. Place shrimp into a medium bowl and pour oil and spice mixture over shrimp mixing to coat shrimp.
  4. Add shrimp to the skillet and cook the shrimp for ~1 minutes per side (pink and cooked through)

Serve the shrimp and kale over the cauliflower mash!

Inspired by http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-shrimp-cauliflower-mash-roasted-kale

Nutrition Month Poster

By: Corey Etherington

Nutrition Month has come and gone but our healthy eating journey is just beginning! I have learned so much over this past month and my goal moving forward is exactly what Dietitians of Canada has set out for all of the participants – to Make it Stick!

This past month gave me confidence in the kitchen that I didn’t know was possible. I overcame my own fears and self-doubt and realized that I actually CAN cook. That is a great accomplishment but the biggest feat by far was that I managed to successfully feed my family something fresh, new and tasty almost every night.

Prior to this challenge, I was feeding my toddler Edie in her high-chair while hurriedly trying to prepare something for Ross and I to eat once Edie was asleep. Being able to eat together over the last few weeks was awesome and Edie absolutely loved it. She looked forward to it and ate so much more than before. Eating as a family definitely made a difference for her and I know I want to keep that up!

I plan on taking all that I’ve learned and applying these healthy new habits moving forward. Below are just some of my favourite nutrition tips:

  • Create weekly meal plans
  • Write a detailed grocery list and stick to it!
  • Buy quality ingredients including more local ingredients whenever possible
  • Ensure I am cooking enough for next-day leftovers!
  • Continue to try new things and new cooking techniques

Amanda showed me that cooking at home is possible even with a busy lifestyle. Her guidance and encouragement really helped and I’m so thankful for the nudge she gave me to participate in the 100 Meal Journey. Working with a dietitian doesn’t have to be something we save for when there’s a health problem. I hope you have enjoyed following along and I hope you too can Make it Stick!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition 416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, www.simplynutrition.ca

RELATED LINKS:

Week 4: Tips and Tricks for Trying Something New!

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

Edie Etherington enjoying her shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash during Week 4 of Nutrition Month

By: Corey Etherington

Wow, Nutrition Month is flying by!

This week’s theme of trying something new was not one I was super excited for, especially considering I’m nine months pregnant.  It took a little persuading and a lot of motivation but I’m proud to say I made it through with the added bonus of learning some great new recipes, here’s how the week went:

Monday: Shrimp & Kale over Cauliflower Mash

Ross & Corey’s Rating: So tasty! And so easy!

Edie’s Rating: Yummmm! Edie loved this meal.

I don’t generally cook with kale because I find it’s either or over or undercooked depending on the day, but with this simple recipe, it came out perfectly.  As for the cauliflower mash, where have you been all my life? It was so good and also so easy.

Corey’s Tip 1: One head of cauliflower makes a lot of mash. If you don’t plan on using it again the next day you can probably use half the cauliflower and have enough for dinner and a bit left for lunch the next day.

Dietitian Tip: Corey is right one head of cauliflower gets you a great deal of bang for your buck.  Cauliflower can last up to 10-12 months in the freezer.  Chop the cauliflower or “rice” it, use what you need for dinner and place the rest in a plastic freezer bag.  One mess for more than one meal!

Shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash
Shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup & Marinated Skirt Steak

Ross & Corey’s Rating:

Soup – Flavorful and delicious!

Steak – I had to make a few modifications and it ended up being not as flavorful as I had hoped.

Edie’s Rating: I LOVE STEAK!

Corey’s Tip 1: The slow-cooker is always a good idea! This soup is full of vegetables and tastes amazing. I didn’t have ‘herbs de provence’ and even though it was on my grocery list I forgot to buy it. A quick Google search and a dive into my spice rack was all I needed to create something similar.

Corey’s Tip 2: I recommend skirt steak, as called for by the recipe, as opposed to another cut of meat.  We had flank steak on-hand and it didn’t come out quite as flavourful as we’d hoped.

Dietitian Tip:  Getting to know how to substitute cuts of meat can be very useful, but don’t be shy: ask the butcher at the grocery store what they recommend as a substitute. 

Wednesday: Fish Taco Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Insanely delicious!!

Edie’s Rating: Edie ate fish!! Edie ate fish!!

I sometimes find fish to be a challenge in the kitchen, but this recipe gave me a huge confidence boost because it came out so well!

Corey’s Tip 1: Cut the spice down a bit if you think your kids will eat it. I used 1.5 tsp of chili powder and it had some kick to it. Edie still ate it but I probably could’ve done 1 tsp and it would’ve been just as good.

Dietitian Tip: It’s important not to give up immediately when toddlers don’t like certain foods.  They may have to be presented with that food 15-20 times before they learn to eat or enjoy it.  Your best bet for success is to have that item at a family meal, enjoy it yourself but avoid applying any pressure to your toddler.  Remember those little people are allowed to have preferences too and they may just not like that food!

Fish taco bowl
Fish taco bowl

Thursday: Braised Chicken with Vegetables and Rice Noodles

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is not a huge stir fry fan. Probably because it was the only thing I ever made when we moved in together and it wasn’t very good. But… this recipe was delicious!

Edie’s Rating: More chicken please!

I always want to use rice noodles in stir fry but I always ruin them. As it turns out, I’ve been missing one key step – soak the noodles in cold water before cooking with them!

Corey’s Tip: Add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. The sauce is light and flavorful and tastes great on all vegetables – I added broccoli and water chestnuts.

Dietitian Tip: Stir fry is the best way to empty out your vegetable drawer!

Week four has been another great week. I tried new ways of cooking and I gained confidence in the kitchen. I was also able to make more dishes that did not require the slow cooker!

With all that we have learned over the past four weeks – meal planning, the importance of quality ingredients, portion control and now trying new things I really feel like we can make this stick. We have been eating well and saving money but most importantly we have been enjoying quality family time, can’t wait to invite the newest member of our family to the dinner table!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition 416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, www.simplynutrition.ca

RELATED LINKS:

Week 4: Tips and Tricks for Trying Something New!

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Creative Commons

By: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc

The theme for nutrition month this week is Try Something New! So I’m encouraging all of you to join the journey and try something different. Here are a few kitchen hacks to test out this week:

Monday

 Become a Garlic Guru

Q: Love using fresh garlic but hate that it takes so long to peel?

A: Microwave the head of garlic for about 20 seconds and the peels will slip right off.

Q: Can’t stand that your hands smell like garlic all day?

A: Try rubbing your hands on your stainless steel sink.  The stainless steel molecules  bind to the garlic molecules getting rid of that pesky smell.  Isn’t science cool!?

Tuesday

Cooking Gingerly:  Chop fresh ginger into one-inch pieces and freeze them for use at a later time! A microplane grater (like the one below from William Sonoma) is ideal for adding finely-grated ginger flavour to some of your favourite dishes!

How to Peel Ginger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9zgXSdnPGI

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/microplane-rasp-grater/
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/microplane-rasp-grater/

Wednesday

Skinning a Tomato:

  1. Make an X on the bottom of your tomatoes
  2. Throw them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute
  3. Take the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of cold water or an ice bath.
  4. Lift them directly back out, peel back the skin with a knife or your fingers.
  5. The skin will slip off like a charm.

 Thursday

Trim the Fat! Have you ever noticed a thin layer of oil on the top of a soup or stew? If you drop a couple of ice cubes into a soup, stew or casserole, you’ll see easy to scoop globs of fat form. This is because the fat will begin to congeal in the colder areas.

Friday

Don’t Boil Over! Ever walk away from the stove only to hear the sizzle of water boiling over on to the burner? Place a wooden spoon across the pot or pan of boiling water and it stops it from boiling over. Problem solved!

Saturday

Freeze-in the Freshness! Use ice cube trays to save fresh herbs, sauces and stocks to use for future meals. Just pop them out and reheat as part of your next meal. This cuts down on waste and helps save money too!

Sunday

A Juicy Tip! I love when a recipe calls for lemon or lime juice but some lemons and limes are a little more difficult to juice. The trick? Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to make juicing them much easier.

I hope you find these tips both fun and useful in your journey to eating healthier meals at home!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, simplynutrition.ca 

 

RELATED LINKS:

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day

Korean Beef Bowl Prepared by Corey Etherington for Week 3 of Nutrition Week

By: Corey Etherington

Another successful week on our journey to healthy living!

This week we focused on portion control, something that’s been a challenge for us in the past as I tend to serve larger-than-necessary helpings that often lead to overeating. Our goal for the last seven days was to pay close attention to how much we were eating, to listen to our bodies and to walk away from the table feeling satisfied – not sick.

By applying the other lessons we’ve learned to date, including meal-planning and cooking with quality ingredients, we were able to prepare reasonable sized portions that were both healthy and delicious – and the slow-cooker only made an appearance once!

Here is what Week 3 looked like in our house:

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Beef with Brown Rice

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Delicious!! Prep is insanely fast and easy and comes with a fun ginger peeling trick.

Edie’s Rating: Delicious!! Edie absolutely loved this dish. She even asked for it again on Tuesday night.

Corey’s Tip 1: The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours but there isn’t a lot of liquid in this recipe so I decided to only cook it for 3 hours. Turns out that was a good decision as any longer and the meat would’ve been really dry. But… every slow cooker is different so just like Amanda told us to learn about our oven, learn about your slow cooker too.

Dietitian Tip: Cut the amount of brown rice by half and try making this dish with cauliflower rice to increase your daily vegetable intake.

Dietitian Tip: Add a green veggie like kale and serve the beef on top to add an extra crunch to the mix. Kale is a great source of Beta Carotene and C which are both antioxidants!

Tuesday: Skillet/Oven Chicken Burgers with Greek Salad

Ross & Corey’s Rating: WE LOVE BURGERS!

Edie’s Rating: More! More! More!

Corey’s Tip 1: I made a few modifications to the recipe, including: using ground turkey instead of chicken, eliminating cumin (personal taste) and barbequing the burgers for that delicious, charred quality. Lesson here – make whatever easy modifications you need to in order to ensure the family is eating a balanced, healthy homemade meal.

Corey’s Tip 2: Greek salad dressing is a staple in our house. I never put the salt in and I cut the sugar in half. I also use the optional oregano. LINK: http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-salad-dressing-57642?nl=email_share

Dietitian Tip: Corey is absolutely right! Modify recipes and replace herbs and spices that you’re not fond of with ones you love.   Experimentation is key!

Wednesday: Buddha Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Maybe we should go vegetarian?! This was so delicious!

Edie’s Rating: Edie tried this on Thursday night but only ate some sweet potato dipped in the tahini sauce. She liked it but was more interested in leftover turkey burgers.

Corey’s Tip 1: Mix-up the flavours according to your preference. This dish will work with any vegetable you have in the fridge and if the recipe is too spicy, modify it!

Dietitian Tip: This dish calls for Tumeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Here are some healthy facts you might not know about it:

  • Curcuminoids or curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric
  • Research being conducted looking at the the beneficial effects of cucumin on;
    • Inflammation, aging, depression, prevention of Alzheimers Disease
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl

Thursday: Citrus Marinated Chicken

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is obsessed with this chicken, the fresh ingredients taste like an explosion of summer!

Edie’s Rating: Edie wasn’t feeling the cilantro in this dish.

Corey’s Tip 1: I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. I prefer white meat so again, personal preference.

Corey’s Tip 2: This recipe calls for broiling. I am not good at broiling – I tend to overcook everything I broil so instead, I just baked the chicken.

LINK: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Citrus-Marinated-Chicken-Thighs-51178850

Dietitian Tip: Setting timers is very useful! Broiling can be an important part of a recipe but sometimes it just needs a couple minutes. Turn the oven light on and keep on eye on your food.

SUMMARY

Week three was a really good lesson for us. We listened to our bodies and as a result, our meal planning really paid off. We had leftovers for lunch and even dinner if we wanted it! One of the best parts of the week was that Edie had something new every night and because I was so prepared, we were able to sit together as a family and eat dinner every night. Edie is such a good eater when we are eating too and she is more willing to try new things. It’s awesome!

I can honestly say that this journey has been an amazing experience so far and we have learned so much.

Week 4 is all about trying new things so wish us luck and follow along!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact:
Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition

RELATED LINKS:

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day