Kids Can’t Eat What is Not There

The last few months I have noticed a down hill spiral of eating habits in our house. Breakfasts and snacks became a free for all of low nutrient, high fat, high calorie foods. (Lunches were packed healthy, and dinners became the only really healthy meal that the kids would eat at home) I was guilty of buying too many snacky foods, which became the kids first choice. This of course led to lots of battles.

I decided to throw out every snack food that was unhealthy and replace everything with healthy choices. Not a single unhealthy snack left in our house. But, I did tell the kids that they can have one day a week where they can choose a treat.

It is going on three weeks now, and the kids have not complained once about their snacks and food options. I am kind of surprised, as I thought for sure I would hear a lot of whining about nothing “good to eat”. The best part is that the kids are chowing on all the healthy stuff and loving it.

Kids, especially younger ones, will eat mostly what’s available at home. That’s why it’s important to control the supply lines — the foods that you serve for meals and have on hand for snacks. Kids can’t eat what is not there. A side bonus is that you will not be tempted by your kids snacks.

Here are some basic tips that are great for kids but also for parents:

1. Work fruits and vegetables into the daily routine, aiming for the goal of at least five servings a day. Be sure you serve fruit or vegetables at every meal.

2. Make it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat. Other good snacks that my kids love include low-fat yogurt blended with some low fat milk to make a shake/smoothie, peanut butter and capples or celery, or whole-grain crackers and cheese.

3. Serve lean meats and other good sources of protein, such as fish, eggs, beans, and nuts.Choose whole-grain breads and cereals so kids get more fiber. Don’t be fooled by kids’ cereal marketing. Read the ingredients.

4. Limit fat intake by avoiding deep-fried foods and choosing healthier cooking methods, such as broiling, grilling, roasting, and steaming. Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products.

5. Limit fast food and low-nutrient snacks, such as chips and candy. But don’t completely ban their favorite snacks. Instead, make them a special treat, so kids don’t feel deprived.

6. Limit sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, and fruit-flavored drinks. Serve water and low-fat milk instead

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

Everyone experiences bad breath at one time or another, and many people suffer from chronic bad breath. My Guest Poster this week offers the reasons and solutions for that pesky problem. I am so pleased to have Darla Scheidt from Grove Dental Associates share her expertise.

If you are one of the 80 million Americans suffering from bad breath, then you know just how embarrassing it can be. Clinically known as halitosis, chronic bad breath can wreak havoc on one’s self-esteem, close friendships and professional life. But the good news is that you don’t have to live with it. Consider the following causes of halitosis as well as tips to restore your fresh breath — and self-confidence — once and for all.

What’s causing your bad breath?

Many factors can trigger bad breath with the most common being improper or infrequent brushing and flossing. Bad breath typically originates in the mouth due to bacterial buildup. As the bacteria multiply on the tongue, teeth and gums, it emits foul odors that result in unpleasant breath.

 

The first step to keeping bad breath at bay is to identify the cause, which may include one or more of the following.

 

  • Poor oral hygiene. Most cases of bad breath are caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth after every meal, pieces of food can collect between your teeth and around your gums and tongue to foster bacteria that produces unpleasant odors. Brushing and flossing daily is the best way to reduce the amount of food particles that linger in your mouth and cause bad breath.
  • Gum disease. Persistent bad breath can also be an early sign for gum disease, which is caused by plaque — a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Because gum disease can cause serious health problems, including pain, bone loss and tooth loss, it’s important to understand other warning signs and discuss them with your dentist.
  • Tobacco use. As if using tobacco didn’t already cause enough harm to one’s overall health, smoking and other tobacco products can cause foul-smelling mouth odor. In addition to unpleasant smoker’s breath, tobacco use can increase your risk of dry mouth, gum disease and other oral infections—all of which cause bad breath and lead to other health problems.

 

  • Foods. Certain beverages and foods, like garlic, onions, alcohol and coffee, are more powerful smelling than others and commonly produce unpleasant breath for several hours after ingestion.

 

  • Dry mouth. Your mouth requires saliva to rinse away debris left behind after a meal. Otherwise, when your mouth is too dry, food particles and bacteria will linger on your teeth and gums, leading to dental problems that contribute to bad breath. Because saliva production is reduced during sleep, many people experience “morning breath” upon waking each day.

 

  • Medical conditions. A person’s bad breath is not always the result of bacteria buildup. In some cases it can be a symptom of an illness such as chronic sinus infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, bronchitis, or liver or kidney ailments. To improve bad breath, your physician should first address the underlying illness.

Tips to improve bad breath

In many cases, halitosis can be remedied by making simple lifestyle changes. In addition to a diligent oral hygiene regimen, there are many easy ways to eliminate bad breath including the following.

 

  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating to remove food debris and bacteria.
  • Chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production, which naturally rinses away odor-causing bacteria.
  • Snack on crisp, healthy foods, like celery, carrots or apples, which cleanse teeth and loosen food particles from between teeth.
  • Brush your tongue as a part of your daily oral hygiene.
  • Identify and avoid foods that trigger your bad breath.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist and clean, especially if you already suffer from dry mouth.
  • If you wear dentures, removable braces or bridges, clean them thoroughly at least once a day.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes.
  • Keep a portable toothbrush on hand throughout the day to keep breath fresh at work or when out with friends.
  • Don’t forget to floss at least once a day as an essential way to remove hard-to-reach food particles from between teeth.
  • If you smoke or use other tobacco products, take steps to quit as an important means to get rid of bad breath and improve your health.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a professional exam and cleaning.

 

Tired of popping mints and avoiding friends? You don’t have to live with halitosis. Start by identifying the culprit of your bad breath, improving your oral hygiene and making necessary lifestyle changes for fresher breath. If your halitosis persists, even after taking steps to eliminate it, talk to your dentist for an assessment of your breath’s origin. Your unpleasant breath could be a sign of something other than poor oral hygiene or bad habits.

 

Author Bio:

 

Darla Scheidt works at Grove Dental Associates as the Marketing Director. Grove Dental is a multi-specialty group dental practice in the Western suburbs of Chicago. With over 30 doctors and in business for over 40 years, Grove Dental’s offices stay on the cutting edge of the dental industry.

 

 

 

 

 

All You Need Is The Right Tool – 9 Best Kitchen Tools for Healthy Food Prep

imagesCAI5SIDKOne of the most effective ways to stay on track with a diet is to COOK AT HOME. But there’s more to a healthy kitchen than a well-stocked fridge and a pantry full of pre-portioned snacks.

My husband can fix almost anything. His favorite saying is “all you need is the right tool”. This is true when it comes to cooking healthy too. How you prepare and enjoy your meals matters almost as much as what you’re eating. The following are must-have items that will help turn your kitchen into a weight loss machine:

 

1. Food processor

You can purchase a mini or full-size processor for chopping or shredding vegetables, fresh herbs, and nuts with ease. It will also puree and let you sneak vitamin-rich cauliflower, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes into sauces and spreads or even soups. Whip up healthy hummus, pesto, and marinades, too. You can also try a handheld blender; they work well for smoothies.

 

2. Knives

Any smart weight loss program will call for plenty of vegetables, and a sharp knife will make all that cutting, chopping, and slicing much easier. Make sure you have a chef’s knife, a slicer, and a paring/utility knife, plus a sharpener (dull knives make prep work far less enjoyable). Armed with these, you can start your week off with containers full of red pepper strips, celery stalks, carrot sticks, and insert your favorite veggies here ____ for easy snacking. Embrace your inner Top Chef!

 

3. Downsize plates and glasses

Average plate sizes seem to be getting bigger and bigger. The bigger your plate, the more likely you are to load it up with food. Replace your 12-inch dinner plates with 9-inch salad plates, and then fill them up with high-fiber, low-calorie greens and beans plus smaller portions of healthy carbs and meat.

When it comes to glasses, Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab researchers found that individuals pour more of a beverage into short wide glasses versus tall narrow ones http://foodpsychology.cornell.edu/.  I always tell people not to drink their calories, but if you want to have a morning OJ or a Friday night cocktail, choose a taller, narrower glass (think Tom Collins instead of rocks). But for water, choose the biggest goblet you can find: Many people mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you avoid needless snacking.

 

4. Salad spinner

This kitschy tool lets you simultaneously wash and dry your greens. Spinach and lettuce will last longer if stored dry.

 

5. Mini zip-close bags or small tupperware type containers

Use them to hold individual servings of nuts, dried fruit, granola, cheese, and other easy-to-gobble items. There is nothing worse than mindlessly eating handful after handful right out of the bag, and before you know it consuming 100’s of calories in an otherwise healthy snack.

 

6. Oil mister

These gadgets allow you to add just a spritz of heart-healthy oil without overdosing on fat. Think avocado oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil. Mist veggies prior to roasting them, or add some flavor to salads. You should also keep your pantry stocked with nonstick cooking spray, which allows you to whip up everything from scrambled eggs to chicken breasts without butter or oil.

 

7. Micro plane grater/zester

Use this tool to grate small amounts of flavorful cheese into soups, salads, and more. It will also zest oranges, lemons, and limes which can pack in a lot of flavor without adding any calories.

 

8. Slow cooker

If you don’t like cooking but love coming home to a house that smells delicious, this is the tool for you. I am not a great cook… ask any of my friends, but I can rock a slow cooker. It’s hard to screw up any meal when a crockpot is your tool of choice.  Slow cookers can turn basic ingredients such as chopped vegetables, chicken, broth, and spices into low-fat, down-home comfort food. And if you have a hot, delicious meal waiting for you, you’ll be less likely to open the fridge and mindlessly snack while you wonder, “What should I make for dinner?”

 

9. Spices

A fully stocked spice cabinet lets you add flavorful, calorie-free punches to food. You’ll save on fat and sodium, too. Staples include:

Basil for pasta and veggies

Bay leaves for flavoring stocks, sauces, and stews

Cayenne pepper (red pepper) for a spicy kick

Cinnamon for hot cereals such as oatmeal or in baking

Crushed red pepper flakes to add heat to spaghetti, soups, sauces, marinades, and meats

Cumin for chili or Asian, Latin American, and Middle Eastern foods

Dill for fish or potatoes; mix with low-fat yogurt or sour cream for a vegetable dip

Garlic powder for any recipe that calls for garlic flavor

Oregano for tomato-based sauces as well as stews and vegetables

Rosemary for lamb, chicken, potatoes, stews, sauces, vegetables, and fresh breads

Rubbed Sage for chicken, turkey, stuffing, and pork chops

Thyme for hearty roasted or baked dishes as well as vegetables

The Right Way to Eat Wrong During SuperBowl

155 Billion Calories. That is himages[2]ow many calories will be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

A few items on our must have list for food include Chex mix, Girl Scout ice cream (Thin Mint and Samoas). Have you seen this ice cream? It looks fantastic! …. Limited time only, though. I better stock up. Okay, back to the list. Pringles, pizza, wings, cookies, and more. I am definitely doing some extra cardio over the next few days.
So, whether you are going to a party or staying home, here are a few some Super Bowl eating tips.

 

1. You know one of my favorite sayings is to make your calories count. On Super Bowl Sunday this is key. If you are staying home, you are in complete control of what treats you have. Get only the things you really love. If you are going to a party or bar, when you arrive, take a quick inventory of what food is available. Choose only your absolute favorites, and INDULGE! (I will not be eating Pringles, but may eat my weight in pizza, or Girl Scout ice cream if it is as yummy as it sounds!)

 

2. Use a small plate for your food. So many studies are out now that say if your eye perceives a small amount of food, your brain will tell your stomach that you are not satisfied. A reasonable portion on a regular size plate may not look like a satisfying amount, but a reasonable portion on a small plate can trick the eye and brain so that the signal to the stomach is that you are getting enough food to satisfy your hunger.

 

3. Before you go, eat a small healthy snack at home. Sometimes we think that we should “save” our calories until the party, so we don’t eat anything all day. When we show up, we are starving and go crazy on the food. If you have a healthy snack before you go, you won’t pig out right when you arrive. If you are staying home, don’t start eating your Super Bowl cupcakes for breakfast. Decide on a time frame that you will have your treats out.

 

4. Indulge in your favorite treats within the first 20 minutes of the “party”. Be mindful and recognize when you are full. For the next four hours or so, everyone will be sitting around the television munching. Mindless munching. You will already have eaten your favorites, and you are probably full, but you may want to munch. Most parties are going to have a fruit plate or a veggie tray (or you bring one, so you know there is a healthy option). Make veggies your mindless munching choice. Guacamole and salsa with carrots would be a good plan B.

 

5. Seat strategy: choose your seat so that it is across the room from the coffee table loaded with treats. You may not want to walk across the room in front of everyone .

 

Go Team! Yea Food!

Food Labels – How To Keep Your Facts Straight

Get the Facts on Food Labels

There is a lot of press right now about food labeling and advertising. It can be overwhelming and confusing, to say the least. But, if you want to eat healthier it is critical to become a smart shopper by reading food labels to find out more about the foods you eat. The Nutrition Facts panel found on most food labels will help you:

1. Start with the Serving Size

• Look  for both the serving size (the amount for one serving), and the number of servings in the package.

• Remember to check your portion size to the serving size listed on the label. If the label serving size is one cup, and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

2. Check Out the Total Calories and Fat

Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight!

3. Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help you evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:

• Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5% DV means 5% of the amount of fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day would eat.

• Remember: percent DV are for the entire day — not just for one meal or snack.

• You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100% DV.

4. The High and Low of Daily Values

• 5 percent or less is low — try to aim low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium

• 20 percent or more is high — try to aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber

5. Check the Ingredient List and then check it again

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. Effective January 2006,manufacturers are required to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. These foods are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

6. What Health Claims on Food Labels Really Mean

FDA has strict guidelines on how certain food label terms can be used. Some of the most common claims seen on food packages:

• Low calorie — Less than 40 calories per serving.

• Low cholesterol — Less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 gm or less of saturated fat per serving.

• Reduced — 25% less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.

• Good source of — Provides at least 10% of the DV of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.

• Calorie free — Less than 5 calories per serving.

• Fat free / sugar free — Less than 1/2 gram of fat or sugar per serving.

• Low sodium — Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

• High in — Provides 20% or more of the Daily Value of a specified nutrient per serving.

• High fiber — 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

New food labels may be arriving soon. Here are two links that describe the new and improved labels.

http://berkeley.news21.com/foodlabel/

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/designing-a-better-food-label/

Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button Youtube button