Category Archives: Nutrition and News

Weekly Groceries from Around the World

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Making Halloween a Little Less Scary

With Halloween right around the corner, I have been giving a lot of thought to the menu for our annual block party. We are hosting the party at our house this year, and I hope to serve some delicious finger foods to fill up our bellies before hitting the streets.

I haven’t settled on the menu yet, but here are some items that I am considering:

  • Vampire Drool
  • Orzo with Roasted Seasonal Vegetables
  • Sticky and Slightly Spicy (Bat) Wings
  • Spiced Pecans
  • Marinated Mini-Mozzarella (eye) Balls with Pita Crisps
  • Sour Cream and Scallion Dip with Sweet Potato Chips and Carrot Fingers
  • Mummy Pizzas that the kids will make themselves (Just pull apart string cheese and lay it on an English Muffin topped with a little marinara…Add some sliced olives for eyes and voila – you have a mummy pizza!)
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cake – Absolutely delicious! (We had a bit of buttermilk left over from waffles this weekend, so I used that instead of the sour soy milk she recommended.)

Update: Here are some photos of our food from the Halloween party.  Pictured, you will see Vampire Drool with a Green Ice Hand, Marinated Mozzarella Eyeballs with Pita Crisps, Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and Bat Wings.  Everything was a hit, although I was reprimanded by my daughter for not making enough Bat Wings.  They were gone in a flash!

Vampire Drool with a Green Ice Hand      Marinated Mozzarella Eyeballs    Orzo with Roasted Vegetables     Bat Wings

Although I can control the quality of the foods I’ll be serving at home, I can’t control what will be doled out by the neighbors.

Kids are often afraid of the sights and sounds that meet them when the doors at each home creek open…but the truly frightening experience lies in the ingredients of the foods that they are collecting: partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, alkali, chemicals, artificial colorings and more…

There is no sense in banning candy – that will only make everyone want it more (parents included…admit it!). But it might be worth a few moments to read some of the labels in your stash, just to see what you are consuming and how it will affect you. It just might help prevent you from over-indulging.

In some homes, parents have created a wonderful compromise – Kids select a few of their favorite treats to keep and trade the rest with you for a toy, trip to the movies or some new books.

If you would like to promote a Healthier Halloween yourself, leave the candy at the store. Instead, pick up some flower or herb seed packets, pencils, colored markers, stickers or small card games to distribute instead.

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Organics – How to Prioritize

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Is Deceptively Delicious too Deceptive?

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Go Ahead – Eat Out

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You have been working all day, either at home with your kids or at the office. At the end of the day, you are ready for someone else to step up and take care of you for a change. But instead of throwing yourself on the sofa with your feet up, reality sets in and you have to think about dinner. The simplest option, of course, is going out to eat or getting take-out. But for some reason after doing it habitually, we feel guilty, as if we are cheating, or doing something unhealthy. Here are some tips for enjoying restaurant food without the guilt.

  • Drink a glass of water when you arrive at a restaurant. Sometimes people confuse thirst for hunger.
  • Skip the soda and save your sugar intake for something really special (did anyone say chocolate?!)
  • Eat Smart. Did you know that while super-sized options save you money, they nearly double your fat and calories?
  • Get your dressing on the side, so you can use what you need without drowning your food.
  • Order appetizer portions instead of entrees. By controlling your portion size, you can prevent yourself from over eating. Or, if you order an entrĂ©e, ask for a “to-go” box and pack up half the meal before you start eating. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Remember – restaurant food tastes good for a reason…lots of butter and salt! With that in mind, consider avoiding cream sauces and gravies if you are watching your waist-line.
  • Choose healthy carbs, such as whole grain bread, brown rice or whole wheat pasta.
  • Your mama always told you to eat your veggies. Well, she’s right (of course)!
  • Look beyond the Kid’s Menu. Appetizers from the “regular menu” should have plenty of delicious options for kids that will expand their palates and help them to eat healthier.
  • Your kids are watching what you eat. Be sure to set a good example.

If you are feeling guilty for eating out so much, give yourself a break. You are not alone. The average family eats out 29% of the time, where they spend 44% of their food budget. Cut yourself some slack. Go ahead and eat out, just make good choices.

Michelle Stern owns What’s Cooking, a Certified Green business that offers healthy cooking classes and birthday parties to children in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her online shop contains unique sustainable gifts and party favors as well as What’s Cooking Weekly, their online meal planning service offering recipes, grocery lists and tips on making cooking with your kids fun and simple.

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Fast food: 6 ways to healthier meals

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Making Smart Choices at a Fast Food Restaurant

Fast Food: Friend or Foe?

You are in the car, shaking and cranky with hunger, as you taxi your children around town…A whiff of food comes through the window, and you find yourself steering towards the fast food drive through. Such convenience!

But is it really possible to make healthy choices at a fast food restaurant? Here is what the experts at the Mayo Clinic have to say…


Can fast food be part of a weight-loss or healthy diet plan? You might not think so. In fact, you might even think that you can’t have a meal that’s both quick and healthy.
But this isn’t necessarily so. An occasional stop at a fast-food restaurant can fit into a healthy diet plan. The key is to choose wisely.

  1. Keep portion sizes small. If the fast-food restaurant offers several sandwich sizes, pick the smallest or order half a sandwich, if available. Bypass hamburgers with two or three beef patties, which can pack more than 1,000 calories and 70 grams of fat. Instead, choose a regular- or children’s-sized hamburger, which has about 250 to 300 calories. Also, skip the large serving of french fries or onion rings and ask for a small serving instead. This switch alone saves about 300 calories. Or better yet, select a lower calorie option.
  2. Choose a healthier side dish. Take advantage of healthy side dishes offered at many fast-food restaurants. For example, instead of french fries choose a side salad with low-fat dressing or a baked potato. Or add a fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option to your meal. Other healthy choices include apple or orange slices, corn on the cob, steamed rice, or baked potato chips.
  3. Go for the greens. Choose a large entree salad with grilled chicken, shrimp or garden vegetables with fat-free or low-fat dressing on the side, rather than regular salad dressing, which can have 300 or more calories per packet. Watch out for high-calorie salads, such as those with deep-fried shells or those topped with breaded chicken or other fried toppings. Also, skip salad extras such as cheese, bacon bits, croutons and fried chips, which quickly increase your calorie count.
  4. Opt for grilled items. Fried and breaded foods, such as crispy chicken sandwiches and breaded fish fillets, are high in fat and calories. Select grilled or roasted lean meats — such as turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, or lean roast beef.
  5. Have it your way. Don’t settle for what comes with your sandwich or meal. Ask for healthier options and substitutions. For example, ask for reduced-fat mayonnaise or mustard on your sandwich. Or at a fast-food Mexican restaurant, request salsa with your meal instead of shredded cheese and nacho cheese sauce. Try to avoid special dressings, tartar sauce, sour cream and other high-calorie condiments.
  6. Watch what you drink. Many beverages contain a large number of calories. For example, a large soda (32 ounces) has about 400 calories. Instead, order diet soda, water, unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water or mineral water. Also, skip the shakes and other ice-cream drinks, which can contain more than 1,000 calories and all of your saturated fat allotment for the day.

You can eat healthy away from home, even at fast-food restaurants. The bottom line: Be choosy. Make wise menu choices and focus on portion control.

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Looking forward to Deceptively Delicious!

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Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

Sounds amazing! If the raving reviews are on the right track, this book, written by Jessica Seinfeld (yes, Jerry’s wife), is something to look forward to! Here is what some people have to say. I’ll be sure to let you know my opinion after it comes out in October! Don’t miss the sample recipe below…

–Anderson Cooper, CNN Anchor, Anderson Cooper 360 and best-selling author of DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: A memoir of War, Disasters and Survival
Deceptively Delicious is a book anyone wanting easy, healthy meals will find indispensable. Page after page, you’ll find yourself saying, “what a great idea!”

-Sarah Jessica Parker, Mother
“It’s not just a cookbook, it’s a manual. For everyday. And what a clever and inventive way to change mealtime discourse. Oh what joy.”

–Liz Lange, Founder and CEO, Liz Lange Maternity, and Mother
“Jessica Seinfeld’s secrets are not only good for children; they’re a real treat for parents too. I’m definitely hungry for a second helping!”

-Kelly Ripa, actress, co-host, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Mother
“Jessica Seinfeld is genius. She puts practical advice, delicious and easy recipes together in such a creative way! Somehow she makes good nutrition taste delicious.

–Alexandra Wentworth – Actress, Writer, and Mother
She incorporates genius recipes with whimsical quotes from her kids and other moms and the photographs are practically edible. This is my Bible.

–Arthur Agatston, MD, best-selling author of The South Beach Diet and The South Beach Heart Program
Seinfeld makes a terrific contribution to childhood nutrition. Her approach will make meals [easy] for parents to prepare and a joy for kids to eat.

–Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D. Founder and Director, NYU Child Study Center
Easy and fun to use with practical steps for parents to provide delicious choices for their kids and create a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

It has become common knowledge that childhood obesity rates are increasing every year. But the rates continue to rise. And between busy work schedules and the inconvenient truth that kids simply refuse to eat vegetables and other healthy foods, how can average parents ensure their kids are getting the proper nutrition and avoiding bad eating habits?

As a mother of three, Jessica Seinfeld can speak for all parents who struggle to feed their kids right and deal nightly with dinnertime fiascos. As she wages a personal war against sugars, packaged foods, and other nutritional saboteurs, she offers appetizing alternatives for parents who find themselves succumbing to the fastest and easiest (and least healthy) choices available to them. Her modus operandi? Her book is filled with traditional recipes that kids love, except they’re stealthily packed with veggies hidden in them so kids don’t even know! With the help of a nutritionist and a professional chef, Seinfeld has developed a month’s worth of meals for kids of all ages that includes, for example, pureed cauliflower in mac and cheese, and kale in spaghetti and meatballs. She also provides revealing and humorous personal anecdotes, tear–out shopping guides to help parents zoom through the supermarket, and tips on how to deal with the kid that “must have” the latest sugar bomb cereal.

But this book also contains much more than recipes and tips. By solving problems on a practical level for parents, Seinfeld addresses the big picture issues that surround childhood obesity and its long–term (and ruinous) effects on the body. With the help of a prominent nutritionist, her book provides parents with an arsenal of information related to kids’ nutrition so parents understand why it’s important to throw in a little avocado puree into their quesadillas. She discusses the critical importance of portion size, and the specific elements kids simply must have (as opposed to adults) in order to flourish now and in the future: protein, calcium, vitamins, and Omega 3 and 6 fats.

Jessica Seinfeld’s book is practical, easy–to–read, and a godsend for any parent that wants their kids to be healthy for a long time to come.

Scrambled Eggs (with Cauliflower)
Created by Jessica Seinfeld
From the book Deceptively Delicious
Serves 2

Hidden cauliflower puree provides kids with half the daily value for vitamin C. With more than 19 grams of protein per serving, these scrambled eggs pack a powerful protein punch!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower puree *
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan
  • Pinch of salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, sour cream, cauliflower puree, Parmesan and salt.

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray, then set the pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Add the egg mixture, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula, until the eggs are scrambled—firm but nice and moist—2 to 3 minutes.

*Cauliflower Puree:

PREP
Cut off florets and discard core.

COOK
Steam for 8 to 10 minutes.

PUREE
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes, with a few teaspoons of water if needed for a smooth, creamy texture.

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