We all need to eat 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables in our diet daily, depending on your daily caloric intake. This can get tricky sometimes because we are busy people, but it can be done and it does not need to be hard. In fact, adding more vegetables and fruits in your diet can be as simple as just making a few changes.
If you are looking for a quick and easy to add more vegetables to your diet, this recipe
is a great way! This vegetable mix is so versatile! I use it on my bagel for breakfast with cream cheese, as a "salsa" with tortilla chips or multi-grain crackers, mixed in with scrambled eggs, as a wrap with hummus for a quick healthy lunch, just to name a few. While I am not a fan of canned vegetables, I think that adding any additional vegetables into your diet is better than nothing at all. Plus, when summer comes around and fresh vegetables are again available for lower cost in Michigan you can always switch to fresh :)
Below are a couple of site links, that you can visit for other ways to add more fruits and vegetables in your day, the reasons your need more fruits and vegetables in your day. Fruits and Veggies, More MattersHarvard School of Public HealthWoman's Day
Healthy (fruit and veggie) Eatings!!!
So, I was planning on doing Part 2 today about incorporating exercise, and that may come later, but I just found a GREAT article about getting kids into the kitchen and I just had to post it!
I can't even summarize my joy over this article and some of the research behind the importance of teaching our kids proper nutrition and encouraging their help in the kitchen. The findings about how nutrition curriculum and practice can impact children's behavior in the cafeteria alone solidifies the fact that if we teach our kids about their food and why they need to make good choices, they will do it and they will ASK for it! Now, if we could just get Congress to put down their pizza and fries, or as they call them vegetables, and let kids learn and grow with proper nutrition and encourage them maybe we will become a healthier society!http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/09/health/09well.html
Please share your thoughts!
So many parents wonder, how do I get my kids healthier and active in the era of video games and technology?
Activity and healthy living have always been a focal point in our family because it is such a passion of mine. But that is not the case in all families, especially when there are so many inactive options for kids between iPads, computer games, video games, television, etc. One of the most important things we can do is to start when our kids are young setting the example of getting and staying active, teaching them about proper nutrition, what consequences food has on their bodies (both good and bad) and how they can help keep your family healthy.
Life isn't always perfect and we all make mistakes and forget that we are setting the example for our kids. I have been guilty of picking up a pizza because of soccer practices or running through the drive-thru because I stayed late at work, but every now and then should be the exception and not the rule. The other night my son reminded me of that when we were driving to my parents house. He was so excited that he had received a McDonald's gift card from his prayer partner at church and wanted to buy the family McFlurries with his "debit card". The joy on his face that he got to order and pay for the treat was so cute, I almost wished I had video taped it to go with this post! Later in the car he said to me, "You know mama, I really should not have had this today." His reaction surprised me, so I had to ask, "Why is that?" His response in a wise 7 year old voice, "Because I had hot lunch and 2 birthday treats at school today, so another treat was probably not appropriate." I was so happy that my kids were getting the point about good nutritional choices and voicing it on their own, I doing a little dance in my head. But I know that everyday cannot always be full of perfect proper nutrition, to say otherwise would be hypocritical. I just responded, "I am proud of you for realizing that too much junk food is not healthy for you. But, you know, it's okay to have a free day now and then where you can enjoy special days and treats with your friends and family. Tomorrow you will just need to remember the treats you had today and make wise choices for meals and snacks." He finished that McFlurry with a big smile on his face. As we celebrated Thanskgiving with my family the next day I had a big smile on my face, and doing that same little dance in my head, when he asked if we could split a piece of apple pie because he was "making good choices today".
So in my story about the pride in my son and his "ah-ha" moment, I know that not all people have the passion and the knowledge that I do around nutrition and healthy living, but that there are resources out there that can help. I was on WebMd
yesterday looking at an article when I noticed an icon called "What's fit for Kids?
" and thought I would check it out. While there are video game type activities on this portion of the site, I really think they get kids and families thinking about the right things as far as how foods and exercise help our bodies so we can have healthier days!
I love that the site has different sections depending our your children's ages; 2-7, 8-12, and 13-18. This allows for a tailored age appropriate messages around 4 main areas of Food, Recharge, Move and Mood. Kids can answer quizzes, take on a challenge, learn about new foods, and more.
The holidays are right around the corner. Which means eating lots of good food and treats with family and friends. After the holidays, is when many start to think about losing weight and getting healthy, which explains why so many new years resolutions are to lose weight and get healthy. When you want to lose weight you might think cutting calories is the best and fastest way. However there is a real danger in consuming too few calories in your day. Everyday Health
covered this topic in an article on the health dangers of cutting too many calories from your day.
A rule that I try to follow is to eat all day long! Kidding, kinda. What I actually do is eat a few smaller meals throughout the day with healthy snacks in between those meals. My go to snacks include: greek yogurt with honey, hummus and pretzels, fresh fruit, applesauce, hummus and veggies, veggies and guacamole, or rice chips and salsa. To learn more about eating small meals throughout the day and calorie guidelines for that type of eating check out Boosting Metabolism with Mini Meals
The statement and myth has always been that junk food is cheaper than healthy food. A recent Op-Ed in the New York Times
has proven what many of us have known for years, junk food is NOT cheaper than healthy food. My thought process on this is of course! The potential and probable increase in costs due to a diet containing mainly processed foods and junk food related to; health concerns and health care, absenteeism from work and/or school, and general mental well-being or dissatisfaction with life . People who eat a diet with variety of foods, natural ingredients and a rainbow of colors in their fruits and vegetables tend to be healthier and have a more positive outlook on their lives because their brains and bodies are getting the proper nourishment that they need.
Another reason why we should start our kids eating better foods right from the start! This is the first generation of kids in two centuries that will not have a life expectancy longer than their parents (read the New York Times Health
article for more information)! Children today are exposed to so many processed foods, chemicals and junk food and it is really taking a toll on their health. The rates of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and kidney failure is affecting younger people at an alarming rate. We really need to take a look at what we are feeding (and teaching) our children and why:
*School Lunch Programs-With more and more kids each year qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunches we need to do a better job at properly feeding our kids. The reality is that for some of these kids, the meals they eat at school are the only meals they will eat during the day. So lets give them proper nutrition that will help them learn and grow and that is not pop tarts, donuts, Rib-e-que sandwiches and Lunchables.
*Decrease in Home Made Meals-Lets face it, our society is busy, over-scheduled, and wants things fast! My family is no exception, but I really stand behind having a home cooked meal at least 5 nights a week! That is one reason I started this blog, to help others learn that good meals can be easy, affordable, healthy and fast!
*Society-Our society has become for manipulated by marketing-print, radio and television. How many of us as parents have heard our children clamor for a cereal because of the cartoon character on the box or to go get a Happy Meal because of the toy inside or to have a certain food in their lunch because their best friend does. It is all a societal pressure game. We need to stop listening to society and take a stand for what is good and right for our families health and well-being.
*Lack of Food education-We need to teach our children where food comes from, how it grows, what it does (both positive and negative) to our bodies, to taste a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, to explore different foods from other cultures, learn to cook or better cooking techniques, and what it means to eat a variety in our diets.
*Lack of Exercise-Families need to take more time together exploring the outdoors, playing a game of soccer together, going on a hike, walking instead of driving, etc. For a busy society we all tend to sit far too much and it is growing our backsides and not our brains and true family time!
So, I just gave you my soap box sermon for the day. What thoughts do you have on these two articles, healthy foods, obesity, or any of my comments?
We love oatmeal in this house but, many contain artificial flavors and colors. Naturally, I was delighted recently to find Oat Revolution Instant Oatmeal by Better Oats
at our local grocery store. It is made with whole grains and real fruit! Did you know that Quaker Oatmeal's strawberry oatmeal does not contain strawberries? It actually has dehydrated apples injected with artificial strawberry flavors. However, Oat Revolution Oatmeal has pieces of dehydrated strawberries along with flaxseed and more vitamins!
My 2 favorite parts of Oat Revolution Oatmeal are: 1-the measuring cup pouch to ensure that you have the right amount of water going into your oatmeal. 2-the price is right at $1.25 for Oat Revolution's box of 5 packets, compared to Quaker which is $3.99 for 10 packets.