Nothing screams summer more than having a cookout while enjoying a warm summer evening and bonding time with family and friends. Even though when we typically think of a cookout we think of cheeseburgers and hot dogs, a cookout can actually be a fun opportunity to incorporate fruits and veggies into your family’s diet. Grilling fruit will enhance the sweetness by caramelizing the surface of the fruit. If you prefer additional flavor, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over the fruit to evaluate the flavors. Keep in mind that depending on the fruits you decide to grill, some may heat up faster than others – softer fruits such as bananas will heat up faster than firmer fruits such as apples. Grilling vegetables can also be an excellent way to incorporate more color and flavor into your stereotypical cookout. Virtually all vegetables can be grilled – onions, portabella mushrooms, corn on the cob, eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, etc. To add additional flavor to your grilled vegetables, you can marinate them for about 1 hour prior to grilling (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, herbs) or you can brush them with some olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Check out these articles by Nourish Interactive which gives hearty lists of fruit and vegetable grilling recipes!
Community farmers markets can present wonderful opportunities to get fresh produce and local ingredients. Planning ahead can go a long way in helping you make the most of your visit. Start by setting appropriate expectations as farmers markets differ significantly from place to place. Many farmers markets focus mainly on fresh produce while others may even have ready to eat food vendors set up. Check out vendors ahead of time by visiting the market’s website or plan more of an exploratory first visit. If you have specific needs, take a list and don’t hesitate to ask for help as you browse the offerings.
A slight shift in perspective can be the foundation for life-long healthy eating habits. Big changes happen through the small steps we take on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s adding 20 minutes of family biking to your day or getting your kids to try a bite of a new food, take the time to appreciate the small wins in your journey towards better health! Finding alternative approaches to kitchen challenges can be especially helpful. While your kids might be opposed to meatloaf, they might be thrilled to make a giant meatball! From breakfast sundaes to fruit and yogurt dippers, there are many recipes to help you reimagine and reintroduce foods to your family.
While nearly 85 million Americans have food allergies, it is important to understand the difference between food allergies and food intolerances. Food allergies are actual immunoglobin E (IgE) antibody responses to counteract an actual food allergy. Symptoms of food allergies can include itchiness, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting or gagging. Some reactions to food allergies can be more severe or life-threatening. Food intolerances do not elicit IgE mediated responses, although the symptoms of intolerances may be similar to that of allergic reactions. In addition, things such as abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea also mimic symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which makes identifying food intolerances that much more frustrating. If you suspect your body is having a reaction to a certain food, it is recommended you visit an allergist and/or a registered dietitian where you can receive more objective information as compared to something like a food sensitivity test.
Spring and summer are wonderfully easy seasons to adjust recipes for added freshness. Try making a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich but substitute fresh strawberry slices and a touch of honey in for the jelly. Instead of fruit juices, use an ice cube tray to make fruit filled ice cubes that any kid will love! Use frozen cauliflower in lieu of ice in smoothies for a touch of added nutrients.
Strawberry-Cauliflower Smoothie Recipe
Combine 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets, 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, ½ fresh or frozen banana, 1 cup milk of choice, 1 Tbsp nut butter of choice and 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (e.g., honey, stevia, coconut sugar). Blend ingredients together until smooth. Additional liquid may need to be added depending upon how many of your ingredients were frozen
The list of online social media outlets is extensive with Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok just to name a few. Topics streaming across these platforms encompass a wide breadth that includes food and nutrition. From more traditional food product advertising to unsolicited novice nutrition advice from nutrition “influencers,” the information trends toward having the ability to influence food making decisions. Studies report that social media can and does influence food choices with one in ten individuals noting social media effecting their buying behaviors. While these platforms can be seen as a more accessible way to share beneficial information, there are some downsides. The extensive amount of information from numerous resources makes it more difficult for consumers to sort through what is useful to them. Haphazard nutrition advice may be more detrimental in the long run. Posts highlighting “what I eat in a day,” for instance, encourage followers to follow a plan built for someone else when nutrition is highly individualized. This example post also encourages online comparison that can reduce self-esteem.
There is a lot of information regarding sugar. This abundance of data can be useful but does present challenges for clinicians who oftentimes must summarize useful materials that can serve many individuals.
Simply put, sugar, typically refers to all carbohydrates with a general molecular makeup of CnH2On. Sugar can be found in plants, animal milk or it can also be chemically manufactured. Sources of naturally occurring sugars include things like fruit and cow’s milk. Added sugars are those where any type of sugar or sweetener is added to a food item. Even if a naturally occurring sugar is added to a food product, that product must still claim to have added sugars.
The body metabolizes sugar for fuel where glucose is used as a quick energy source. When glucose is consumed, sugar levels in the blood rise, and the pancreas is stimulated to release insulin. Insulin triggers an uptake of sugar from the blood to cells. If sugar is consumed in tandem with fiber, up to 30% of that sugar may not be absorbed. This slows the rate of rising blood sugar, which has been linked to health benefits. Excess glucose that cannot be used immediately will be stored as glycogen in muscles or as lipids in fat tissue to be used later.
Glycogen is a chain of bonded glucose molecules that can be broken apart and used as a fuel source during physical activity. On average, the amount of stored glycogen in the body is 600g but can vary depending on diet, physical activity and body mass. Adequate carbohydrate consumption is required to replace glycogen that has been used during exercise. If glycogen is significantly depleted and not properly replenished, an individual can experience fatigue, weakness, impaired performance and hypoglycemia. Recommendations for daily carbohydrate consumption to replace glycogen range from 3-10g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight, depending on the level of daily physical activity.
Nourishing sick individuals can be very challenging. While nutrition and hydration are critical and can aid in healing, being under the weather is one of the more difficult times to obtain adequate intake. When people are sick, their appetites may be suppressed, they may be too lethargic to eat or physical discomforts such as sore throats may be a hindrance. Offering cold beverages with caloric content that can initially be sipped oftentimes encourages intake of more solid foods relatively quicker. Fruit popsicles, smoothies and chocolate milk are ideas that encourage helpful nutrition at a time when the body is working overtime. Pairing protein or fat with sugar in beverages can be key in avoiding loose, watery stools. Opting for bland food items typically allows for more gentle nutrition. It is also helpful to prepare either comfort or favorite foods, especially as appetite increases.
New Year’s resolutions are starting to get a makeover. Despite big industry players, individuals are recognizing that sexy ad campaigns touting easy health fixes just do not last over time. Specific to New Year’s resolutions, goal failure is almost always related to setting a lofty resolution that is attempted via a total lifestyle alteration. While dramatic adjustments to daily habits may offer results, they will be incredibly difficult to maintain because they are so different from “normal”. In the end, dramatic changes often revert back to old habits.
The most reliable way to truly form new healthy habits for behavior change is to make smaller, more measured changes. Consider an overall goal and find out what steps are needed to achieve it. From there, evidence suggests breaking those steps into incremental, manageable chunks. The idea is to aim for sustainability. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Much success has been found when people use “SMART” goals for incremental changes. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time sensitive. Maybe it’s adding in one additional workout this week or incorporating a fruit or veggie at breakfast 3 days weekly. Setting SMART goals provides clarity about what to strive for next.
It is also beneficial to celebrate any wins and reflect on challenges. After making small goals, take a moment to enjoy the success of achieving them. At the end of the week, recap on accomplishments and struggles, then use that reflection to set new goals. Building flexibility into goals, makes them more realistic to any barriers to change that may arise. Building a support system with family, friends, or health professionals also increases motivation and accountability, leading to more success achieving goals.
There’s an abundance of misinformation about health and nutrition. Look for evidence-based information that is from reputable sources and backed by research for the most effective and realistic information on how to achieve your specific goals. One study found the most common New Year’s resolutions are in the categories of physical health, weight loss and changes to eating habits. Seeking out a registered dietitian is an example of a reliable source for information for these categories!
Author: Caroline Hitchner
Celebratory dinners during a quarantine may look a little different from the norm. With fewer people, your traditional large turkey and multiple stuffing plans will need to be altered. There are many good resources and recipes for pairing down meals. Consider one-dish traditional meals, like this one from All Recipes that incorporates Cornish game hens, green beans and stuffing. Designing your meal around steaks can allow you to tailor a meal based both on preference and quantity. Items such as flank steaks and ham steaks can be purchased by the pound at your grocer’s meat counter. If you want traditional turkey, consider recipes like a roasted turkey drumstick recipe that proves both delicious and cost effective. Scaling down sides may seem daunting at first, but combination items, such as stuffing muffins have been slowly making their way onto tables over the past few years. Stores have even been catering to such needs with ready-made half pies, like these ones from Lowes Foods.
Physical activity does not have to take a back seat as cooler months set in. While exercise may seem even more limited with gym closings related to the recent pandemic, there are many benefits of taking movement outside or online.
Getting outdoors can offer that extra dose of Vitamin D and mood improving chemicals that seem even more challenging to get with the recent time change and simultaneous temperatures dropping. In order to make outdoor movement successful, you must have the right gear. Layering clothing is important. The three core layers include wicking (this is worn closest to the skin), insulating and repelling layers (this is the exterior layer). Obvious outdoor activities including running and biking, but things like raking leaves should also be added to activity lists.
At-home work outs can provide many of the same benefits as gym and outdoor experiences. Scheduled online social movement experiences can be especially helpful during times when there may be greater isolation.
Some good resources for movement include:
Varying types of snack boards have become increasingly popular. While cheese and charcuterie platters have long been staples for cocktail parties, it’s the use of the board-style presentation that is garnering popularity. One appeal of boards includes flexibility regarding number of guests and taste preference. In addition, there is typically minimum prep required. Cheese and meat boards, for example, have typically been a buy and arrange type of preparation. From movie night to brunch, here’s how to assemble the ideal snack board.
The first step is to choose a theme. Some interesting ideas include “sweet and salty,” “family movie night,” and “rainbow” themes. Of course, any holiday or celebration would be a great theme to build around. Next, choose a platter as your base and accompanying dishes for any loose items. The larger the board, the more product you will use. Typically, estimate two to three of the proteins and fats per person (e.g. meat and cheese slices) and then double the carbohydrates (e.g., crackers). Fill in the rest of the board with your accompaniments (e.g., nuts, dried fruit, spreads). Some general tips include having items in snack bite sizes and avoiding highly messy items.
We've found some great articles on assembling snack boards. Check them out below.
A habit is a response that our mind has our body do almost on autopilot. Habits typically require less mental capacity than non-habits. This is one factor that makes them so challenging to change. However, there are a few tips that can help initiate new behaviors. First, ensure your motivations are tied to your values. If motivations for change are unclear or tied to a superficial desire, the likelihood of achieving your outcome becomes significantly less. Next, focus on what individual behaviors may result in helping you achieve your goal. Oftentimes, thinking about an overarching goal seems incredibly overwhelming. Thus, narrowing your attention to smaller tasks help provide quick and positive results that encourage repetitive behaviors. Finally, consider what barriers may be preventing you from completing or acting on your new tasks. Removing these obstacles may be the final straw that tips your unachievable desire into a new habit. Tips and Resources That Help You Build Better Habits by Syed Balkhi offers a good synopsis of change with bullet point resources for those looking to learn more.
I am so excited to share this yummy #pumpkin #donut 🍩recipe with you! I took a vegan recipe and altered it to include items I typically bake with in my own home. The result was fantastic!
Why these are so great 👉
🧡 They're very easy to make and can feed a crowd
🧡 They're a great alternative to cinnamon rolls and muffins if you want to mix things up
🧡 The batter is more muffin like and is lower in sugar, which means these are game for packing as snacks for school (gotta help the teachers out 😉)
🧡 They can be topped a variety of ways (cinnamon sugar, glazed, or even with a nut butter for some quick sustenance on the way out the door).
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Combine wet ingredients
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil (any oil except coconut or olive)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (batter will be thick, do not over mix). Place batter in ziploc or icing bag and fill donut pans (we 🖤 these mini donut pans we found on @amazon 👉https://amzn.to/3jjVQAm).
Bake 12-15 minutes. Cool ten minutes. Add topping of choice. We prefer the cinnamon sugar coating (lightly brush donuts with butter and dip in cinnamon sugar mixture - about 1/4 C sugar + 1 Tbsp cinnamon).
Original vegan recipe from @veganhuggs
#haes #intuitiveeatingforkids #raisingintuitiveeaters #intuitiveeatingofficial #parentingtip #fridgeforaging #holidayeats #nofoodrules #kidsinthekitchen #cookingisalifeskill #nutritionrites #momofatoddler#virtualdietitian #healthyrelationshipwithfood #raisinghealthyeaters #raisinghealthykids #happyhealthykids #healthykids #kidsnutrition #nutritionforkids #feedingkids #pickyeaters #positivebodyimage #motherhoodcommunity #ditchthediet #honestmom #antidietdietitian#antidietculture
Stocking up on water and non-perishable items during more unpredictable weather seasons is critical. Experts recommend having at least a three-day supply of food and water. This emergency supply should include three meals and one-half gallon of water per person per day. In terms of water, this would be two, twenty four packs of bottled water for a family of four. Regarding food, stocking up on canned and dry goods is ideal. Some product recommendations include canned fruits and vegetables, single servings of applesauce and fruit juices, dried fruit, dried beans, individual milk boxes, canned tuna, nut butters, nut packs, jerky, cereals, crackers and granola bars. For food items that are canned, be sure to include a can opener with your supplies. In addition, plan accordingly for those on medications who may be near a low supply. Having a emergency plan can make all the difference for your family’s well-being.
Picture retrieved from fema.gov
While some schools have re-opened, many are offering and providing virtual, learn-from-home options to families. Learning from home can be successful with some organization. Establishing household schedules for everyone is crucial. Schedules help set expectations which can decrease anxiety. Once schedules are established, individual workspaces can be created and managed. Separate spaces empower kids by giving them a sense of ownership. Allow some input from your kids by offering a few fun and unique office supplies for them to choose from. Weather permitting, suggest lunches be outdoors to encourage space change that will get kids out of chairs and away from screens. Allowing special breaks or treats within the daily schedule can go a long way in making a new experience positive by allowing it to be different yet functional.
A few food tips to keep in mind:
Knowing your family history can be an important tool in illness prevention. Typically, children are not screened for diseases unless they become symptomatic. When children are taught healthy habits such as eating well and regularly being active, their need for screening declines. There are a few diseases worth learning about ahead of time, particularly if your family has a history of them. Type 1 Diabetes normally is not diagnosed until a child’s symptoms are severe. Recognizing these symptoms quickly can help manage your child’s care. Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include urinating often, excessive thirst, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, weight loss even with increased intake and slow healing wounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends children be screened around age ten for high cholesterol. There are not typically signs or symptoms associated with high cholesterol in kids, which is why it is important to heed the testing recommendations of the AAP. Hypertension is generally screened by age three. Signs and symptoms of hypertension in children include headaches, vomiting, chest pains, shortness of breath and seizures. In all cases, be sure to share your family disease history with your pediatrician who can help you understand possible signs and symptoms of potential risks that your child may be exposed to.
The concept of “Eating the Rainbow” is a wonderful model families can refer to when meal planning each week. Each color in the rainbow represents nutrients we can get from colorful foods. Red produce, for instance, boasts carotenoids and flavonoids both which have antioxidant effects in humans. Orange and yellow foods, such as butternut squash and carrots, often contain a trio of benefits that include antioxidants, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Even those blue-hued potatoes and purple eggplant contain anthocyanins that in addition to antioxidant effects, may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
Quick breakfast options are helpful to have on hand and cereal has been a staple in American homes for decades. Choosing healthy cereal options that kids (and adults) actually want to eat is achievable. Start with reading labels. Oftentimes, parents are surprised by what they learn from nutrition facts panels. For instance, when comparing options, shoppers may discover the sugar content is Cinnamon Toast Crunch is no more than the sugar content of Honey Nut Cheerios. Ensure that the cereal you pick is whole wheat or whole bran. From there, pick three options and choose the one with the highest amount of fiber and protein. Some ideal choices include Kashi by Kids Super Loops, Original Cheerios, Kashi Go Cinnamon Crisp Cereal, Nature’s Path Maple Pecan Crunch and Barbara’s Cinnamon Puffins. You can also get creative and mix one of these options with a favorite that may not be on this list.
Bone is living, growing tissue, whose growth is significant from childhood to near age twenty-five. Thus, there is a limited time to effect bone health. Nutrients that aid in building healthy bones include calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K. Regular physical activity is also a benefitting factor that can increase bone size, strength and reduces fracture risks. Calcium can be found in dairy products as well as almonds and dark, leafy greens. Dark leafy greens also boast vitamin K. Dietary vitamin D can be found in egg yolks and fatty fish.
Being at home more often can create meal prepping fatigue. As Americans continue to navigate COVID19, making every single, daily, for all family members is a real possibility. Sometimes it might feel like you never leave the kitchen. One way to ease mealtime burdens is to solicit help from your family members. For instance, if your kids were packing their lunches for school, have them prepare their lunches at home. The end results may be a little odd, but they usually will include a variety of food groups in adequate portion sizes that will leave your child feeling satisfied. Research shows that things like packing their own lunches and helping to choose a dinner theme, improve independence and build confidence in kids. In addition, by letting them pick the foods and amounts they want to eat, you are teaching them early on to trust their bodies. There will be opportunities for you to guide and provide good food knowledge. For instance, if you notice there's always a certain food group missing, use neutral words to encourage the addition of that food group. One example of neutral language is, “I noticed you don't usually put any vegetables on your plate." Phrasing in this manner, affords an open dialogue that may provide insight. In this example, you may come to find out that there aren't any vegetables your children like that are cut up, and they are not confident chopping those vegetables by themselves. With this knowledge, you can troubleshoot the concern. We encourage having at least a little something from all the food groups on the plate for variety and to ensure that kids are getting all the nutrients they need. However, not every meal needs to be perfect. It is our choices that add up over time that determine our health, not one meal or one day.
All children are different and there are a multitude of factors that shape food preferences over one’s lifetime. Parents should expect some bout of picky eating. It is normal for children to go through phases where they feel less adventurous or to even have less of an appetite. Family mealtimes with limited distractions can aid in setting expectations around eating habits and individuals’ responsibilities. For example, it is the parents’ responsibility to provide the meal and then the child decides what and how much to eat from the food provided. Some helpful tips to increase a child’s acceptance of meals include frequent exposure to a variety of food groups and involvement of kids in the planning and preparing of meals.
Amid the current stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel is still being affected. From flights booked at seventy percent capacity, to closed airport businesses, you should consider rebooking travel if possible. If you must fly, set your expectations accordingly. In most airports across the states, a majority of businesses are closed. At a minimum, these businesses are operating at adjusted hours. This includes food establishments. There are some options, but expect lines even with a decline in the number of travelers. Stocking up with food items that hit at least two food groups will go a long way in sustaining oneself throughout an unpredictable day. You may feel like you are packing too much food, but feel confident in knowing that typical conveniences will not be available. Here are a few of our favorite travel snack options:
Summer brings with it an abundance of produce. Consider certain guidelines when stocking up to increase freshness. For bunched items, cut off any greens that may pull moisture out of your fruit or vegetable. Examples include beets and carrots. Removing fasteners such as rubber bands helps increase circulation, which aids in maintaining freshness. Finally, avoid washing less hearty varieties of produce, such as strawberries, as this can result in soggy items.
Due to COVID-19 re-opening phases, summer trips may include more car time travel. A few tips can help make the most of your drive. With hand sanitizer is back in stock, you will want to ensure its use when you exit the car and prior to any meals or snacks. Also consider taking a trash receptacle. By taking a cereal container and adding a trash can liner, you can create a small, yet functional garbage can. Be sure to prepare a large Ziploc with disposable napkins and utensils even if you think you will not need them. Pack non-messy, but yummy road trip snacks like these.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.