Show yourself some love with a healthy treat this Valentine’s Day. This heart-shaped fruit pizza is not only sweet, but packs in nutrients as well.
Oat crust (*crust adapted from Holly Grainger)
To Make the Crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl Mix together the dry crust ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet crust ingredients then combine with dry ingredient mixture.
3. Carefully place the heart cookie dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes. The edge should be just slightly golden.
5. Let cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1. Place cream cheese and jam in bowl and beat until well combined.
2. Add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until combined.
3. Spread over the cooled cookie.
4. Decorate with sliced fruit.
Antioxidants are the secret superheroes against free radical villains that damage cells. They fight off these harmful molecules and protect our bodies from disease. The good news is that you can get these antioxidant superheroes in many of our foods! The most common antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. Here is a list of foods high in antioxidants.
The holidays are a joyous time of year that impart more quality time with family and friends. This special time and its celebratory experiences usually include food. From holiday work parties to neighborhood cookie exchanges, sometimes it’s hard to tell when one event ends and a new one begins. Here are a few tips to give you confidence as you make nutrition choices throughout the holidays:
Shelfcooking.com will have you reheating food like a pro. Beyond reheating skills, they also offer specific tips on making the most of leftover meals, including how to repurpose sides and meats. Some specific recipe ideas are also listed below.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient needed to build and maintain bone health. It helps the body absorb and preserve calcium and phosphorus. Because Vitamin D is found in a relatively small number of food sources, it is often an added nutrient in fortified foods such as cereals and dairy products. More so, the main natural source of Vitamin D is production in the skin when UVB rays from the sun initiate a chemical reaction that forms Vitamin D. The amount absorbed from sun exposure can vary significantly across individuals. Vitamin D absorption from sun exposure can be dampened by limited sunlight exposure, either related to decreased sunlight during winter months or limited time outdoors. The recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin D is 400 IU for children up to 12 months old, and 600IU for individuals under the age of 70. Eating a wide range of foods including whole grains, dairy, and fish along with normal day-to-day sun exposure can provide adequate Vitamin D sources. While there are dietary supplements for Vitamin D, it is recommended you always consult a doctor as there are tolerable upper limits of this mineral as well.
Cooler temperatures have hit just about every part of our country by now, which means expanding lunch boxes to include easy and nutritious soups can be a real win from both ease of prep to nutrition standards. Getting the right lunchbox set up is a necessary, and products like the Swell food container are affordable, insulated so they will keep warm and will not sweat, are leak proof, and not too bulky. The blog, “Family Fresh Meals” has an quick guide on how to heat and pack soups so they’re still warm at lunch. Check out the kid friendly soup recipes below, and don’t overcomplicate other lunch box additions. A side of cheese and crackers, a roll, or a half sandwich will complement your efforts.
Fall temperatures result in summer produce easing out of grocery stores. While it may seem like fruit and vegetable options are more limited this time of year, there are still an abundance of colorful and nutritious selections. Dark leafy greens, pears, root vegetables, and squash varieties abound. Beyond what is available, are the cooking techniques employed during cooler months. Roasting, baking, and slow cooking offer variety simply by means of how the foods are prepared. Instead of bright and fresh salads as during the summer months, you may choose to prepare a medley of oven roasted vegetables. Fall and winter produce is also versatile enough to yield delicious yet simple recipes.
This oven roasted vegetable recipe by “Well Plated by Erin” is delicious, nutritious, and simple.
Fancy up baked potato night with a BBQ inspired dish by “The Spruce Eats.”
“Making Thyme for Health” has a delicious recipe for Pear Baked Oatmeal.
Salads offer an easy way to include a variety of nutrients and minerals into a single meal. While your idea of a salad might scream summer, autumn inspires some delicious salads that can rival any July 4th staple. Fall recipes that include more fall or winter produce can pack in the same vitamins, minerals, and water as your typical lettuce style salad. Grain-based salads, for instance, still prepare easily and offer great variety. Jamie Geller offers ups a three ingredient couscous salad that can be made once and used for multiple purposes. For example, it might be the main event at dinner one night, then packed for your lunch at work the next day. In “Gimme Some Oven’s Mediterranean Farro Salad,” try replacing the cucumber with zucchini for a more fall like feel.
A few other tips to consider:
*Disclaimer: We use the "Jump to Recipe" buttons almost always when perusing for recipes. You can do it too if you are worried about running into too much diet jargon!
A good friend of mine who is a sports physician wrote the majority of this post. Most of the information is programming content for growing athletes. Oftentimes she consults me on nutrition pieces in which we end up with collaborated works such as this one. Since boundaries can be helpful on multiple life fronts, I thought I would share it here as well.
Boundaries help to define where things start and end. They help to organize and make strategies. Interpersonal boundaries are similar to structural boundaries. They help define interpersonal relationships, such as how far you let someone into parts of your life. Poorly defined boundaries can lead to conflicts. Good boundaries will help you deal with conflict that arises throughout your life.
Understanding healthy boundaries allows us to know who we are and who we are not. Having healthy boundaries will help us be empathetic, and to treat ourselves and others with appropriate respect. The health of your values and beliefs can determine the health or your boundaries.
Core values are the foundation for healthy boundaries. When an individual knows what is important, it is clear what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable for themselves and others. One fundamental skill is being able to communicate your needs effectively. In addition, knowing appropriate behaviors for various social contexts will convey your respect of others’ boundaries.
There are many different types of boundaries.
So what do boundaries have to do with nutrition? For someone moving towards eating disorder recovery, assessing boundaries (and also adjusting them when needed) is crucial. For example, working with a therapist to troubleshoot "diet talk" that happens at school with your friends may be helpful. Setting social media boundaries such as setting time limits (which is proven to improve mental health), choosing content more in line with your values, or deciding to avoid engaging in online confrontations could all be healthy boundaries.
Communication is the key to helping others know what you will tolerate. Learning more about your communication style and what interactions you prioritize will go a long way in how you can communicate effectively. Contact us for more information on therapists who specialize in this area.
People choose foods for a variety of reasons especially based on how foods look, smell, and taste. Impaired taste or smell can have a profound effect on a person’s overall diet quality. Loss of either of these sense has been discussed more often as of late given that both can be side effects of COVID-19. To improve nutritional intake when experiencing impaired senses, start by setting up an enjoyable dining experience. Focusing on other aspects of meals, such as atmosphere and dining companions, aids in overall meal satisfaction. Choosing balanced meals that include proteins, starches, and produce ensures the meal is healthy and interesting. The phrase "eating with our eyes" holds value in that our sight send signals to the brain that aid food choices. Plating varied food groups can provide visual and palatable textures that make the meal generally more pleasurable. Be sure to use lemon juice, vinegar, and spices to boost flavor. Excessive salt and sugar may decrease the healthfulness of meals so use these additions sparingly. While we can offer some tips on maximizing enjoyment of meals with altered taste or smell, it is always important that you visit your physician should you experience any such changes.
Even if you're not heading back to school, you maybe entering a busier season of your life! Consider how the many back-to-school tips can benefit you.
When After School Activities Throw Off Mealtimes
The new school year is fast approaching and now is the time to plan for how best to manage busy afternoon and evening schedules. A little planning can go a long way in saving time, energy, and money throughout the week. Leveraging cooking appliances such as a slow cooker or Instapot can help you deliver one meal at varying times throughout the evening. We like this BBQ Chicken Recipe from Budget Bytes. Double batch cooking promotes efficiency of time. Making two of whatever you are cooking means you can freeze an entire meal for an alternative week. There are many websites that offer recipe adjustment tools alongside the cooking instructions that make it easy to double or even triple recipes. Whisk.com, for instance, allows you to scale up or down recipes with their recipe converter. Meal prepping on weekends can be planned out more specifically for solo dinners. Try making batches of things like rice and taco meat to then freeze in individual portioned bags. This ensures precooked, yet healthy options are available at any time.
Embrace Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Frozen produce can be just as nutritious as its fresh counterparts. When choosing frozen fruits and vegetables, stick mostly with options that are natural and have the fewest ingredients. Because frozen fruits and vegetables can be bought in bulk, do not go bad as quickly, and are precut or proportioned, their benefits extend beyond just nutrition. Advantages of frozen produce include being budget friendly, reducing food waste, and cutting down on meal prep.
Consider a meal planning service, such as the one we offer that boasts 2 breakfast, 2 lunch and 4 dinner options with a coinciding grocery list. It will cut down some of the planning and work needed to get more home cooked meals on the table.
DIY Lunchbox Pizza
Make this favorite mini pizza option for your kids’ next lunch. This recipe can easily be adjusted depending upon your child’s growing needs. There's no reason why this can't be a grown up lunch as well.
1 Flatbread or whole wheat pita
3-4 Tablespoons pizza or marinara sauce
3-4 Tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese
5-10 Turkey pepperoni rounds
*Lunch box with individual containers with lids is required.
Get one flatbread or whole wheat pita. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter to cut 4-6 rounds out of the bread. Tip: You can use the leftover bread pieces as breadcrumbs by finely chopping, pulsing in a food processor, or grinding in a nutribullet.
Places each portioned items into its own container and pack into lunch box with ice pack. Tip: Try this on the weekend so your kids feel confident assembling the lunch!
Most people think of meal planning as some elaborate, hours-long event. In turn, the idea of meal planning itself can be exhausting. Instead of grocery shopping, meal planning for hours, and then making dinner on a Sunday, consider breaking tasks up into smaller, more manageable, and more effective steps.
The grocery store frozen section is wildly underrated. This is especially the case as food producers are heeding consumers’ demands of healthier on-the-go options. Compared to years ago, both food product and packaging boast better-for-you materials and ingredients. Single serving and resealable packages are standard offerings as well, making cooking for one or many easier. When shopping for bagged vegetables, grains, and protein blends, consider choosing those options with whole ingredients and little else. You can add your own seasonings for a boost of flavoring while maintaining the integrity of your healthy choice. If you’re looking for entrées, again, seek those that offer whole ingredients and lower sodium content. Some studies show that frozen foods can boast even more nutrients than their fresh counterparts. This is due to the ability to lock in both nutrients and flavor by picking foods at their peak ripeness and freezing shortly thereafter.
For a must-have green items on St. Patrick’s Day, try a protein-based pancake. A few of the highest rated protein pancake mixes include Birch Benders and Kodiak Cakes brands. Follow the cooking instructions listed on whichever brand you have chosen. Once the batter is made, you will add two drops of your green food coloring followed by one drop thereafter until you’ve achieved your desired green batter color. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of Lucky Charms cereal!
Hunger is the body’s physical signal to eat to maintain the energy you need to fuel your day. Hunger signals can come in a variety of forms from a growling of the stomach to a headache. Appetite is more about a desire to eat. Appetite can be stimulated from hunger, but it can also be prompted by environmental or emotional circumstances. Satisfying both hunger and appetite is important to improve signals of satiety, or the feeling of fullness.
You can eat well on any budget! Shop in season, especially regarding fresh fruits and vegetables. Oftentimes, what is on sale is also what is in season when it comes to produce. Be aware of convenience costs, such as higher priced precut vegetables, where you are paying a significant amount for labor. Consider store brands, but don't get sucked into not price comparing in the moment. While private label brands have historically been less expensive, it is still prudent to do quick price comparisons as it’s always possible your favorite same brand item is on sale.
Next, check out the unit price of items as compared to the overall cost. For example, comparing per ounce pricing of various granolas can aid you in getting the largest volume at the lowest cost, which is typically hard to do with packaging varying so drastically Finally, most grocery stores allow and encourage customers to divide produce, such as heads of broccoli, into only what you need so long as it doesn't say "by the bunch" or "per each."
Celebrate a world of flavors this March as nutrition professionals gear up for a uniquely themed National Nutrition Month. You can participate by incorporating your favorite cultural foods and traditions into your rotating menu planning. Reach out to a more distant relative who has that special family recipe and invite some friends over to share in some culturally rich traditions. Trying new flavors from around the work is another great way to celebrate. Making time to plan and try new meals is a great tool to incorporate year-round. You can find more ways to get involved with National Nutrition Month at EatRight.org.
When parents use food as part of a rewards system, it sends confusing messages to children. Kids need to know that integrating a variety of foods into their diets is important. Parents’ main mode of communicating healthy eating habits to kids is by providing family meals that include balanced plates. Integrating treats and play foods into this overall plan is easily accomplished through special family restaurant outings, homemade desserts when time permits, and weekend birthday parties. When things like desserts or candy are offered as rewards, this can begin an unintentional foray into emotional eating. For instance, if candy is offered repeatedly as a reward, then a child may associate feelings of happiness with that food and reach for it during other bouts of happiness outside of being rewarded.
Make February fun, yet simple by employing a simple heart shaped cookie cutter. From lunch box hacks to easy classroom hacks, you will love these ingenious uses for such a simple kitchen tool. Don’t be afraid to start early and pack lunches with heart shaped cucumbers, cheese and meat slices, and sandwiches. For those classroom parties, use your cookie cutter to make heart shaped pieces of fruit to make a fresh contribution to the festivities. Finally, if you’ve decided to make it a family night on Valentine’s Day, opt for heart shaped quesadillas, hand pies or mini meat loaves. Crafts abound using a simple cookie cutter, from heart shaped pin cushions to candles.
Asparagus is a non-starchy vegetable containing fiber, potassium, and B vitamins. When buying this green and stem-like vegetable, look for firm stalks and compact buds that will ensure desired tenderness. Note that size does not affect tenderness. Asparagus is typically available year-round at U.S. grocery stores, but it is at its peak seasonality during the spring. Including asparagus into a rotating meal plan can afford many benefits such as easy prep with multiple cooking options. Notably, between twenty and forty percent of the population has the genetic disposition to smell sulfur byproducts that are excreted following a meal that includes asparagus. While everyone emits the generally same byproducts, not everyone has the gene allowing them to smell them.
Belching or having mild pain in your upper GI tract may be caused by the swallowing of air, known as aerophagia. On average, individuals swallow two quarts of air a day where half is expelled in the form of some type of gas. If someone swallows a relatively excessive amount of air, there may be some discomfort. This discomfort may be like heartburn that is caused by reflux or GERD, but the consideration of aerophagia may be helpful in managing uncomfortable symptoms. Anxiety or OCD, heavy breathing from exercise, the gulping of water, and even seasonal allergies may all be causing an individual to swallow more air than normal. General lifestyle practices that may help limit aerophagia symptoms include things like the cessation of smoking, eating slowly, and not chewing gum. Therapists can assist with anxiety or OCD associated aerophagia behaviors and physicians can assist with other possible breathing issues.
Instead of setting those typical diet-based New Year’s resolutions, opt for something a bit more sensible. There are non-diet, yet food specific, declarations you can make and feel good about this year. If you’re already comfortable in the kitchen, try perfecting a recipe. If you tend to get bored of your weekly meal routine, try a new food or food group totally outside of your comfort zone. Budgeting in a food luxury, such as a couple of grocery deliveries or a more expensive pasta every now and then, is a fan favorite. While sleep may not seem related to food, there is no denying that catching enough shut eye can affect a person’s quality of nutrition. Maybe you need to spruce up your kitchen. Perhaps a full-blown kitchen remodel is not in your future, but instead a deep clean or a new table runner. All these ideas can help set the tone for healthier nutrition in the new year.
Kwanzaa is an African American holiday celebrating family, community, and culture. Specifically, its name signifies the harvest of the “first fruits.” This holiday spans seven days, highlighting seven principles. The seven principles are umoja (unity), kujichaguila (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamma (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st and has ample traditions including aspects of food, music, poetry and more. Some core foods traditional to a Kwanzaa feast include sweet potatoes, collard greens, peanut stew (West African is origin), curry or jerk chicken (Caribbean influences).
While it is a blessing, it can certainly be a challenge to have a birthday that falls near a major holiday. To kick each birthday off with a bang, remind your kiddo that everyone will remember their big day, seeing as how it’s so close to the holidays! This will help get them and your family in the spirit. It’s also nice to get a little sliver of normalcy during the holiday months. Dedicated birthday cake and birthday gift wrap goes a long way for both that special person and the family as a whole. Oftentimes, there may be extra special outings or activities that are available during these times only. For example, if your child’s birthday falls near Christmas, you may be able to take a trip to the local ice-skating rink or go for a carriage ride in a nearby park.
If you’re getting tired of the same holiday fare, there are several new stomach-worthy untraditional holiday meals ideas. The hors d’oeuvres only theme is perfect for nights like Christmas Eve when a crowd may be large and perhaps heading out the door for a night church service. Messina catering has a great guide on hosting appetizer only events. Homemade takeout is also a crowd pleaser. Even going semi homemade works. Simply stop by your local Chinese restaurant for rice to go and throw together something like this instant pot sesame chicken recipe. Fondue is a fun dining experience that is a sure-fire conversation started. While everyone is having fun, they’ll also be getting a variety of things to nibble on. You’ll be able to satisfy everyone!