Posts Tagged ‘healthy eating’

The Breakfast Club

September 11, 2013

breakfast plate, bacon and eggs, sunny side upFor many years, we have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It set the stage for healthy eating, recharged our bodies after a 12 hour fast, and prevented us from over eating later in the day, right?

Well, maybe not.

A new report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims there is no study to support that eating breakfast helps us control our weight. Say what?!!!
Researchers reviewed material from many studies and found that eating breakfast had little relationship to weight loss.

A study from Vanderbilt University compared moderately obese adults who usually ate breakfast and skipped it, against a group who did not habitually eat breakfast and were served a regular morning meal. Both groups were given the same amount of calories per day, and both groups lost similar amounts of weight during a 12-week period of time. It is thought that both groups were given a healthier diet than they usually ate, amounting to more than average weight loss.

The bottom line is that if starting the day with a healthy meal feels good and fuels your body properly, go for it. If you wake up with no appetite, it’s ok not to eat until later in the day. As long as you have sufficient energy to power your morning and make good, healthful food choices throughout the day, it’s ok to eat, or not eat breakfast accordingly.

Confused? Yeah, we are too.

The take-away from all of this? Listen to your body, and do what is right for you.

photo: glasshouse images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Fish Tacos

August 21, 2013

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Here is a light, summery variation on tacos. They are simple and healthy, and rely on fresh, zesty flavors, rather than the heavy beans, sour cream and cheese often found in the meat variety. The fish is marinated, and they are served with a simple slaw and diced vegetables. A typical “unrecipe”, they are easily customizable to suit your tastes.

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For the fish:

Marinate any white fish (Cod, flounder or tilapia for example. I used tilapia ) in the juice of 2-3 limes, a tablespoon or two of oil, a clove of garlic finely chopped, and cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.  Coat the fish and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour or two. If you try to marinate it too long, the citrus may cause it fall apart.

Grill or broil the fish until cooked through. Set aside.

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For the slaw:

Finely shred 1 napa cabbage and chop a big handful of cilantro. Toss with a little lime juice and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

You can add a bit of chopped red onion to the slaw, but I chose to serve them on the side, since I dislike raw onions so much!

Dice avocado, and fresh tomatoes for additional fillings, or use guacamole and salsa if you prefer.

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To serve:
Heat flour or soft corn tortillas and cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.
Place a piece of the fish on the taco, add some slaw, and avocado, and tomatoes, sprinkle it with a little hot sauce, roll it up, and enjoy!!
If you are feeling ambitious, try our recipe for fresh flour tortillas here:

The highlight of our meal was someone seeing these shots on instagram, and running over to join us for dinner!

photos: indigo jones instagram

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Eating Outside the Box

March 7, 2013

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I pride myself in being a generally healthy eater, trying to concentrate on fresh, whole foods that are low in fat and refined carbohydrates. Not my whole household does the same.

When B was a baby, she ate everything I gave her. She loved scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, fruits and vegetables. Stir-fried broccoli from the local Chinese restaurant was greeted with smiles and kicking feet. Then, something changed.

It started innocently, with a chocolate chip cookie baked as a distraction during the days that followed 9/11. She eyed it tentatively at first, then gave it a cautious lick. As a big grin swept over her face, she realized she discovered something delicious. Still, sweets were offered in only in moderation.

Next, there was the hotdog, offered unwittingly by a parent on a play date. Little by little, she was introduced to the fried, the processed and the heavily sweetened. Little by little, she balked at the healthy foods being served to her, and morphed into an average kid, with an average palate.
Now heading into her teens, her poor habits are exacerbated by her ability to go into the kitchen and help herself. I am the enabler, making sure the cupboards and freezer are stocked with foods she likes.

Last night, when I saw the wrappers from the afternoon snacks in the trash, I offhandedly voiced my concern, stating that she was going to end up diabetic if she didn’t clean up her act.

Today after school, B asked me if she is really a candidate for illness, even though she is active and far from overweight. The sad reality is that she is headed in that direction. It was a wake-up call for both of us.
Article after article discusses how sugar, and an unbalanced diet could lead to all kinds of health risks, from diabetes to cancer. Just because those Pop tarts are organic, and the granola bars whole grain and trans fat free, doesn’t mean they are healthy.

By the time we reached home, she had outlined her new eating plan.

Scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow, instead of a toaster pastry. Perhaps moving onto oatmeal later in the week.

I have been instructed to stock up on pears, grapes and bananas, as well as cashews, carrots with dip, and the ingredients for an afternoon smoothie to be eaten as snacks or dessert.

Dinner will be a challenge, but if we focus on the foods she likes, it’s a start.

In essence, it’s time she starts eating outside of the box. Literally.

What can we offer up to the pickiest of eaters that comes from the earth, not a package? I intend to find out.

We have all heard of Meatless Monday. Perhaps we need to coin “Try it Tuesday”, “Whole Grain Wednesday” or “Thirsty Thursday”? Even a day called “F$2k It Friday” could exist, because sometimes you just to kick back and have some pizza after a long week.

Let’s see how we do. Can she change her eating habits? Can I avoid buying food in a box? Can I get creative with the foods she likes, in order to make her fresh, healthy dinners that she can enjoy? Time will tell, and I will of course tell it here.

Stay tuned, as we set out to eat outside the box.

We Are Hungry

September 27, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama has done considerable work to help fight the battle of childhood obesity and instill the concept of healthy eating in young people across the country. As a result of this, school lunches have been limited to 850 calories, and kids across America are complaining it’s not enough.

Shockingly, others are agreeing.

According to various university researchers, teenage boys require between 1,800 and 3,200 calories per day. Girls need 1,600-2,400 calories per day. This range is contingent on body composition and activity levels.

It seems that the issue is not really calorie restriction. It is the quality of the food being served.

It is important to note that most fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat are relatively low in calories. An 850-calorie lunch, consisting of fresh, healthy food would likely be more than most growing kids would be able to consume in any given meal.

A group of high school students in Kansas have put together a protest video, set to the tune of “We Are Young” by F.U.N. and retitled it “We Are Hungry.” The video claims that the lunches are not sufficient to provide the energy needed to participate in sports.  It shows kids sneaking off to fill up on fast foods and processed snacks to give them more sustenance to get through the day.

Once again, the point has been missed. Any athlete will tell you that high calorie, high fat, high sugar, processed foods are not the key to performance, and often make people feel sluggish after eating them. Providing fresh and healthy “real foods” are the key to controlling weight and energy levels. Educating youth on proper nutrition, and giving them the right foods to help make healthy choices is a better idea.

House of Mouse Launches a Healthy Marketing Initiative

June 7, 2012

Today, Disney announced a new initiative that would impose strict guidelines on the foods that are advertised on their TV shows, radio stations and sold in their amusement parks.

With First Lady Michelle Obama by his side, Robert Iger, Chairman of the Walt Disney Company unveiled plans to ensure that all food advertised, sponsored or promoted through its media outlets meet federal dietary guidelines and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables, limit portion sizes and calories, and have a reduced sugar, saturated fat and sodium content. The plan will be fully implemented by 2015.

Iger also announced the new graphic symbol called a “Mickey Check”, which will appear on all branded food items sold at parks, resorts and grocery stores which feature Disney characters on the package. These foods currently include fresh fruit, dairy items and drinks. The “Mickey Check” features the tag line. “ Good for you – fun too!” and will serve to assure parents that the food they are purchasing is healthy.

The Disney announcement fully supports Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle for children. Having Disney’s iconic characters helping fight the battle of childhood obesity is a pivotal change in how we market to children.

Food Plate

June 3, 2011

Today the government released the new and improved version of its dietary guidelines, just 4 months after it’s recent update.  The new “Food Plate” replaces the “Food Pyramid”, and comes with suggestions for healthy eating.

The new plan suggests filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, one quarter with protein, and the remaining quarter with grains.  A serving of diary, shown as a glass of milk, is also recommended.

The guidelines also state the obvious:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Switch to low-fat or fat-free milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soups and prepared meals, and choose the foods with the lowest sodium content.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Wow!  Is this the best they could do?  All for the reasonably low price of…. wait for it…. $2 million dollars!

This covers the cost of the new logo, website, focus groups for the new logo, and promotion.  Seriously?  Is this really going to effect obesity in our country?
Next time, let’s invest the money in nutritional education, better quality food for affordable prices, and  at the very least, a better graphic designer.


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