Posts filed under ‘Eating Right’
We all want to eat healthy—it makes us feel better mentally and physically! Choosing which kinds of foods to buy or what recipes to make can seem daunting sometimes. And there are a lot of fake “healthy” foods out there to confuse us, thus making good food decisions isn’t as easy as it used to be!
Knowing your seasonal fruits and vegetables are a good place to start (that’s where Chipper can help!). Buying local, seasonal produce is not only good for your body but a wonderful way to support your community! Look into your local farmers market to do your produce shopping and try out one of these 5 Apps that help you shop for healthier foods at the grocery store and make nutritious recipes in your own kitchen!
One great food to eat during the winter are beans! They are an excellent source of protein and folate; 1/4 cup of cooked dry beans equals 1 ounce of meat! They are also high in fiber; 1/2 cup provides about 1/3 of an adults daily needs. Beans are very easy to use; very low in cost; and can be served hot or cold, mashed or whole. All adults should try and include 3 cups of canned or cooked dry beans in their meals each week.
Today, top your favorite green salad with cooked kidney (or other) beans. Tomorrow, try using left over beans to make a tasty dish: Spicy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Beans (see recipe below). Freeze left over beans in 1 cup portions and save for soups, salads and chili dishes you make later! When shopping, look for beans that are firm, clean and bright in color. Store beans in an air tight container in a cool, dry place. For recipes, 1 pound of dry beans makes about 4 to 5 cups of cooked beans. Soak dry beans overnight to shorten cooking time and retain their texture.
Spicy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Beans Recipe
- 2 CUPS Red Kidney Beans, cooked
- 12 oz. lean ground beef (omit for vegetarian recipe!)
- 1 and 1/2 CUPS frozen whole-kernel corn
- 1 Large tomato, diced
- 3/4 CUP dried whole-wheat elbow macaroni
- 2 TSP Chili Powder
- 1 CUP water
- 1/2 CUP low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
How To Cook:
Heat a large skillet; brown the meat on medium-high heat; drain. Stir in corn, tomato, beans, uncooked macaroni, chili powder, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until macaroni is tender. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve immediately and ENJOY
Makes 6 servings; Each serving provides: 302 calories, 20 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fat, 116 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
Nothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. Here are four natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! Are you Chipper for fresh food?
Case #1: Moldy Berries
The tragic tale of berries gone bad too soon (but they were so new!) doesn’t have to plague your kitchen any longer. All you have to do is take your berries, soak them in a bowl of vinegar and water, dry in a salad spinner, and put in a partially sealed, towel-lined bowl and voila! — they will be mold-free for up to seven days! Hopefully by that time you’ll have already used them in a delicious berry smoothie! Add some to your family’s morning cereal or in some yogurt as a tasty yet healthy snack!
Case #2: Browning Avocados
Avocados make for great party guacamole, but nobody wants to dip their chips in a bowl full of browned mush (besides, it tastes funny). Avocados turn brown when they contact oxygen. So, simple solution: don’t let air near your avocados. Many try to do this with plastic wrap or sealed containers. But let’s face it — that never works very well. (Plus, food doesn’t like plastic!) Instead, put the cut avocado in a bowl on top of some onion slices. Th e sulfur in onion’s will slow down the browning process! Plus, they’ll taste extra good when your make that guac!
Case #3: Ailing Apples
Avoiding ailing apples can be somewhat tricky. While uneaten apples are generally resilient to molding or bruising for about a week or even two, the moment you slice them open, they remain white for only a few minutes before they begin to turn yellow and brown…then your little ones probably won’t like to eat them when they open their school lunch! This doesn’t mean your apples are no longer fresh — really, they are! But the immediate browning can make it appear that those slices have been sitting out for a while. The reason for this? Apples, similar to potatoes, have a special enzyme in them that reacts when exposed to oxygen. The reaction forms a type of rust on the surface of the apple that we see as the browning effect, and it actually does cause the apple to spoil at a slow rate.
But there is hope! In order to keep your apples looking fresh, simply do the following:
After you cut your apple slices, immediately soak them into a bowl of cold water mixed with salt (about 1/8 of a cup of table salt mixed in one quart of water per apple). Afterward, rinse the apples under cold water. It won’t leave an overwhelming salty taste. Because salt acts as a preservative, it does just that: preserves the apple from oxidizing! Or, if you’d like to keep your fruits a bit more citrusy, you can also soak your apples in lemon juice, orange juice, or any other type of acidic juice, which will counter the oxidization process as well. Your healthy treat shouldn’t just taste good — it should look good too!
Case #4: Atrophied Asparagus
Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, asparagus is always a great vegetable to add to your diet. Yet while it is renowned for the health benefits it provides, it is simultaneously notorious for its shelf life. Asparagus stored in the refrigerator lasts for only about two days after it is has been bought from the market. If you are an avid asparagus eater, you know that the stalks shrink in size, crispness, and taste if you don’t cook them within 48 hours. Their shriveled and wrinkled appearance isn’t an indication that the thermostat in your fridge is too low, but a result of asparagus’s respiration rate (or the rate in which fruits and vegetable spoil), which is high. Of course, the best way to enjoy this delicious veg is to cook it the day it’s bought. But that isn’t always going to be the case!
So here’s your plan B. Another great way to ensure that your asparagus doesn’t become your next produce casualty is to do the following:
Cut off about an inch from the bottom of the stalks. Then, store upright in a cup, vase, or jar of room-temperature water. Lastly, cover the tops of the asparagus with a plastic bag (grocery bags or ziplocs will work) to retain moisture, and store in the refrigerator. Your asparagus will last a few days longer and taste new and fresh!
Recipe: Kale Krispies
We are so Chipper for kale! This versatile veggie is a good source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Making a salad or sauteing it with some garlic are some standard ways to enjoy kale. Sometimes though, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and that big bunch of kale is starting to look a little wilted. So is it time to throw it out? No way! Instead, make a healthy snack for when you’re on-the-go. Kale chips are easy to bake and super tasty so your kids will love this healthy snack as well as you!
- a bunch (or two!) of kale
- 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (depending on batch size)
- sea salt
- cookie sheet(s)
- parchment paper
- a mixing bowl
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and prep your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Rinse off the kale and remove the stem. You should now have some generous-size strips of kale. Tear the strips into smaller pieces and toss it in the bowl.
Drizzle (lightly) with olive oil and add a few dashes of sea salt.
At this point, you could spread the kale out on your prepped cookie sheet(s), pop them in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until slightly browned around the edges) and come out with some yummy kale snacks.
You get a little creative with it! Add some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat or whatever other seasonings you or the Kids love! Or add a lemon to the mix for some extra flavor. Maybe try some parmesan cheese or hickory BBQ seasoning on a batch. There are tons of possibilities, but whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to try something new, you’ll be addicted to kale chips before you know it! Let’s Go Chipper and eat some fresh and healthy food!
With school starting and the end of summer, you and your kids can use as much healthy energy as possible! It’s extremely important to start your day out right by getting a filling and nutritious breakfast. Buy some seasonal fall fruits, like apples, pears, grapes, oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines, from your local farmer’s market or organic grocery store to eat fresh or freeze and use later for a tasty smoothy or afternoon snack.
Eating fruits as a part of a healthy diet may protect against certain cancers according to the Institute of Food Research. Also, oranges and grapefruits are rich in folate, which helps form red blood cells necessary for our bodily functions. Dietary fiber from fruits helps prevent constipation and keeps the digestive system healthy.
Set a good example for your child and get into the habit of eating fruit every day. Stock up on fresh (store fresh fruits in refrigerator, except bananas!), frozen, and canned fruits (choose canned fruit packed in water or juice instead of syrup!) so you can always have some on hand. Sliced apples with peanut butter is a classic snack every kids loves. Use extra apple slices to make apple sauce and freeze for later or try this tasty recipe that’s perfect for a energizing breakfast or healthy dessert (or add ice cream for a not-so-healthy dessert)!
Apple Crisp Oatmeal
4 cups cooking apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup Oatmeal, uncooked
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place the apple slices in a 9X9″ greased casserole dish. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix melted butter with dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle crumb mixture over apples. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!
(Each serving provides: 205 calories, 2g protein, 19g carbs, 7.5g fat, 159mg sodium, 4g fiber)
What kind of fall fruit recipes do you like to cook? Please share with us!
Sometimes kids just need a little inspiration to try new things. There are a collection of ways to make food more fun! Encourage kids to play with their food so they’ll eat it with creative snacks like the Nutterfly! It’s a delicious, healthy snack from nut butter and apple slices that looks like a butterfly. It may taste the same as regular apples and peanut butter but your little ones will get much more excited about eating it when it looks like a Butterfly! The next time you are struggling to get your picky eaters to snack on nutritious food rather than processed junk, try this simple solution! As Chipper always says, “Healthy before sweet, can’t be beat!” but style can definitely come into play ; )
- Nut butter
- Simply make a nut-butter sandwich using apple slices, cut it into quarters, arrange the pieces as shown, and add a trimmed carrot stick. Getting you kids Chipper about healthy food has never been so easy-peazy lemon-squeezy!
Are you Chipper for fruit? Fruit is full of nutrients and a fruit smoothie is a delicious way to incorporate fruit into your daily diet. With smoothies, you and your kids are getting all the benefits of whole fruit in a drinkable form. Smoothies are quick and easy to make before you go to bed or in the morning before work and school. Increase the health benefits of a fruit smoothie by adding milk, yogurt or even a few vegetables. A fruit smoothie will curb your sweet tooth in a healthy way, reducing the risk of overeating or indulging in unhealthy sweets. Since many fruits are full of fiber, they improve your digestive regularity and keep you feeling fuller longer!
Fruit is full of various vitamins and minerals. Fruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins and folic acid. Smoothies are also a good way to sneak in healthy fruit or veggies that you or the little ones may not like! Just cover up the taste with other fruits! Many fruits and berries that taste great in a smoothy are full of antioxidants.
During the summer, the kids are on the go! To camp, to the park, or beach days, they are in need of a energizing snack by the end of the day! Next time you are trying to plan a healthy, tasty snack for your little ones, try out these nutritious bites! They are easy to mass-produce and just as easy for players to pop in their mouths during halftime or whenever they need a boost. It’s one of Chipper’s favorite recipes since it includes nuts : )
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
- Finely chopped peanuts, mini-chocolate chips, or shredded coconut for coating
- In a medium bowl, mash together the banana and the peanut butter.
- Stir in the wheat germ. Roll individual tablespoons of the mixture into balls, then roll the balls in one, or a mix, of the coatings listed above. Chill until firm. Makes about 14 balls.
- Variation: For a peanut-free version, substitute sunflower-seed or soy-nut butter for the peanut butter, and omit the peanuts and chocolate chips (which can contain traces of peanut).
Summer veggies are in full stock at your local farmers markets and produce stores! As Chipper says, “Healthy before Sweet, Can’t be Beat!” Summer vegetables are low in fat, sodium and calories while high in potassium, helping to keep blood pressure at a healthy level. Get your kids to eat one to one and a half cups daily with this tasty summer recipe!
8 UNCOOKED lasagna noodles
1 TBSP. vegetable oil
1 MEDIUM onion
8 OZ. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 MEDIUM eggplant, peeled and diced
1 (15 oz.) CONTAINER part-skim ricotta cheese
2 TSP. Italian seasoning
1 (26 to 28 oz.) JAR pasta sauce
8 OZ. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
First, cook your lasagna noodles. Drain and cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft. Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning; stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until eggplant has softened. Combine ricotta cheese and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning in a bowl; set aside. In an ungreased 13×9-inch baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the cooked vegetables, and 1 1/4 cups of pasta sauce. Spread half of the shredded cheese evenly and repeat layers. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy! (Makes 12 servings and each serving provides 250 calories, 12 grams of protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat, 530 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.)
Get healthy this summer by eating organic, in-season veggies like corn, green beans, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini! Use left over sauteed eggplant from this recipe with some diced tomatoes as a dip for crackers or store uncut, fresh eggplant in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days later! Buy veggies from your local farmers market for the best quality and value and remember to always wash them before eating. Also, try out container gardening this summer with your kids by growing bell peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes in pots. They are beautiful, delicious, and filter the air! Get out and get Chipper after dinner by taking a 30-minute family walk to watch the sunset or talk about your yummy meal.