Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What have they done to you, yogurt?

I'm sitting in the Calgary Airport, and my six year old ordered a yogurt parfait at Starbucks. I'm in travel mode, so I bought it without giving the ingredient list a read. Bad Dietitian! I'm shocked by the number of ingredients in the yogurt alone, never mind the granola. Sugar is the second ingredient. High fructose corn syrup comes in third. And at least three more times. In 15th, 20th and 25th place. This drives home the fact that food is more than the calories, protein and fat contained inside. Low fat, 10g of protein- probably passes many "dieters" criteria. But look further, this isn't real food, despite its disguise. Thanks for the lesson Starbucks!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Teaching our Kids to Eat Well

I don't think enough importance is placed on supper together. So many people have overscheduled their kids to the point that meals are skipped, or take out is brought in. Is your child going to end up being a professional soccer player? Or a professional dancer? Likely not. But throughout their lives they do need to eat, and how we teach our kids to eat will set them up for a lifetime of good health.

I've been saying this for a while. But finally when I started to read "French Kids Eat Everything", did I read it worded so elegantly. Apparantly, in France, teaching children to eat well is considered a very important education!

If we, ourselves, aren't prepared to take on delivering this education, we need to educate ourselves first! Then we need to find recipes that excite us, shop for food that is beautiful and healthy (do I need to mention the Farmer's Market again? The vegetables are so fresh and colourful, they inspire meals!) Involve your kids in planning, shopping and meal prep. Kids are very willing to help in the kitchen. They can spin salad greens, tear lettuce leaves, peel carrots, stir, knead....And they are much more likely to eat new foods if they've been involved in the preparation.

We have "Kids night" at our house. The kids choose what to have that night and we all eat it. My six year old ordered broccoli soup for his birthday dinner, and as I metnioned before, my now four year old, has requested salad tonight! (today's his birthday!!) Edamame Noodle Bowls and tofu alfredo are other faves.

Find what works for your family. Try plan activities around meals. Family time spent cooking is valuable time, see the value in it and plan for it. Once you get the hang of planning, it isn't hard to keep going. We are sometimes surprised by how long we've spent in a meal prep, because done in stages, it seems like hardly any time at all.

Go on this amazing adventure as a family! Happy Eating!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Kids and Food

My younger son will be four on Monday! It is amazing to me that my "baby" is getting so big! He is still the suspicious toddler when it comes to meal time, for the most part. I mean, he will excitedly chow down on a dish of plain tofu, and he loves nutritional yeast on anything, but those have been common place since he was born. As far as trying something new, forget it. But he has been claiming for the last six months that this will all change when he's four.

About 2 months ago, he told me he'd like salad when he's four. We planted a box of mesclun mix and he's been caring for it since we planted it late April. The greens are growing beautifully and will be ready for his big day on Monday. He also states that the red leaves are the juiciest. Based on nothing. He even told his grandparents that he wants salad for his birthday! I guess greens are becoming a bit of a family obsession! I'm going to come up with some sweet Apple Juice based vinaigrette for his first salad. And I hope it all goes well, I will report back!

It leads me to think about children and food expectations. We have always cooked a meal for the family. The kids eat what we eat and sometimes we'll add a pasta side dish, or keep some of the entree less spicy to help them enjoy the meal more. If they don't eat, no big deal, they'll eat more at the next meal or snack. Kids snacks are a blog post of their own, coming soon. But as far as meals, they watch Greg and I eat our meals, they taste a little, they hear us praising ourselves (we really do), for how great the meals is, and we know they'll come around and learn to love food, really healthy food, the way we do. Meal time is a special time when we all sit together and it is one of the nicest, calmest times of day for the four of us.

I want to do a series of posts on kids and food. I will cover teaching our kids to eat well, snacks and "picky" eaters. In the meantime, inspire yourself with some great reads: "French Kids Eat Everything", "Outside the Box", and anything by Ellen Satyr.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Eat your salad!

I've been going on about the local greens a lot lately. So much that my six year old listed "Letis" as my favourite food on my Mother's Day card! He also said I'm 50. Thank the greens for my youthful appearance!
Anyone who says they don't love salad can contact me for a free session on greens. Email me for details:
And for those of you already on board- here's a great, light dressing for all your salads! 2 Tbsp fresh lemon, 1Tbsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp agave.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste. Some like more acid, less salt, etc.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jumping on the Green Smoothie Band Wagon

I resisted the whole Green Smoothie revolution for a long time. Likely it was the dietitian in me thinking, "Don't drink your calories. Eat real food." But recently I thought I shouldn't knock it until I tried it. Most recipes were so complicated, contained too many ingredients, or had banana added as sweetner (and I only like my bananas when they're barely yellow). So I invented my own that wouldn't cost a lot to make and tasted great. I honestly feel amazing after drinking these! And with only 85 calories for a huge glass, I don't need to worry about drinking my calories. Plus, it is a great source of Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and Vitamin K. It's like having a side salad at breakfast. And ginger root is showing great promise as an anti-inflammatory, tastes great and may help with immune function. I can't get my kids to drink these smoothies just yet, but we'll work on that. They watch me drink mine so I'm pretty sure they'll come around! I think when they can add fresh berries to it they may be more into it. And if my strawberries are in full bloom, I'm guessing they'll be at the Farmer's Market in a couple of weeks!
Kelly's Green Smoothie Recipe
1 cup greens, kale or spinach work well ($4 at the Farmer's Market will last all week!)
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 inch peeled ginger root
Add water as needed. Blend on high until smooth. Add ice, blend again. If you want to be fancy, add a teaspoon of chlorella or spirulina.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

To all the Single Moms out there!

My husband has been out of town for the past week and organizing and balance have become an even bigger challenge. For all the mother's out there without live in support, I wish you an extra Happy Mother's Day! Between getting kids to school, working and after school activities, where do mother's find time for cooking healthy meals and exercise? This week, to fit it all in, I got up before the kids every day, watered the garden, made breakfast and lunches and then got them up. I'm fortunate enough not to work a traditional full time job, so most of my work took place when they were in bed. My kids are too young to be left home alone, so I got creative with workouts. Pushing my almost 4 year old in a stroller while my 6 year old rode beside on his bike was one way. An indoor ride in the basement while they were sleeping was the only other way. Or find a mum friend and trade workout time.

Most of the suppers I prepared were done in stages. I ate a lot of salad because it is hot here in Kelowna, and the greens are amazing! But I'd chop vegetables for the salad while making lunches. Put tofu in the marinade before heading out for the day, or make a nut puree to later cook into patties to top salads and buns for the kids.

This week, my recipe to you is Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas. Recipes for this are everywhere right now, but with the heat, having the oven on at 425F for 45 minutes seemed crazy. So here's my hot weather, single mother friendly version. I ate mine on top of a giant salad. The kids had the chickpeas with cucumbers, carrots and a side of leftover pasta.

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 cups chickpeas (I usually cook mine myself to avoid BPA, choose an organic brand without BPA in the can like Eden Organics- another post altogether)

Boil chickpeas in vinegar. When it reaches a boil, take off the stove and allow to sit at least 1/2 an hour (I let it sit all day, did that step before going to work)

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a fry pan over medium heat. When hot, add the drained chickpeas and salt. Saute until crispy and browned, about 20 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold!