Refining Your Child’s Palate

We try to eat varied foods for breakfast, but I’ll be honest, we love cereal.  Not all cereal is created equal though.  There are MANY cereals out there and there are MANY that are no better more than eating plain sugar. I remember as a child not being allowed to have sugary cereals.  I ate lower sugar cereals like plain Cheerios and Rice Krispies. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Cheerios1 1 Cup 3g 3g 1g Rice Krispies2 1 1/4 Cup 2g 0g 4g Once a year, when we were on vacation, I could get the variety pack of cereals – those small one serving boxes.  I could choose any variety pack I wanted – and I chose the one with cereals like Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Fruit Loops3 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g Apple Jacks4 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g Eek!  This is why I was only allowed to make those choices once a year!  It was a treat and by the end of the week I was ready to go back to my normal cereals. We were recently traveling and my 3-year-old had the opportunity to try a new cereal.  It was the only one available and he wanted cereal so I said ok.  As I nostalgically thought back to my childhood years and those special cereal treats I poured him a small serving of Special K with Red Berries and he did the funniest thing.  He ate the dried strawberries and left the flakes.  He did this two days in a row and then told me he didn’t want anymore of “that cereal”.  I couldn’t figure it out at first and then I realized, he didn’t like the added sugar.  When I asked him about it, he confirmed my guess.  He wasn’t interested in the sugary flakes.  Check out the chart below for what he is accustomed to eating in comparison to the Special K with Red Berries. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Special K with Red Berries5 1 Cup 2g 3g 9g Greenwise Organic Toasted Oats6 1 Cup 4g 3g 1g Kashi Organic Promise Autumn Wheat7* 29 biscuits 6g 6g 7g Cascadian Farms Multi-Grain Squares8* 1 Cup 5g 4g 7g *Only used as an occasional snack or treat. This experience reminded me that by offering better choices when he is young, K is developing a palate that craves whole grains,...
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Transforming your favorite cold weather comfort foods

I don’t know about you, but as the weather turns colder I crave comfort foods.  Those foods that warm your whole body from the inside out and the outside in.  The foods that make you think of warmth, that smell warm, and that are warm.  Unfortunately, I struggle with making sure I am adopting healthy comfort foods.  I think about crock pot spaghetti sauce, holiday cookies warm from the oven, hot chocolate (usually in combination with those warm cookies from the oven), homemade soups, calzones, and the list could go on.  These foods, the way I traditionally make them, are not very healthy.  They often lead to overeating and a general feeling of “ugh!” afterward. I would like to share with you a couple of the strategies that I use to prevent that “ugh!” feeling while still getting the comfort food effect I crave in the colder months. Swap a high fat meat for a leaner source of protein.  I make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot using my mother-in-law’s recipe.  It calls for ground beef, canned tomatoes, onion, green pepper, bay leaf, tomato paste, garlic, and oregano.  I typically make a double batch and we freeze half for another week.  This is my husband’s favorite meal and we always overeat.  Recently I have started switching out the ground beef for ground white turkey.  The result is just as filling, just as comforting, but uses a leaner meat. Opt for “No salt added” products.  When we are adding products such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and stock to our meals we always make sure to use the “no salt added” version to control the sodium.  While the Sahara Desert is often quite warm, if your mouth and body feel like the Sahara Desert you will not be feeling very comforted after your meal.  Too much sodium, particularly right before bed will lead to a lot of water consumption during the night and probably multiple trips to the restroom (which means getting out of your nice warm bed) as a result.  I feel like this rule is more important in the winter months since so many more of our typical meals include some sort of stock or canned tomatoes.  By using “no salt added” products you can control the sodium content of your food and salt to taste if you choose to do so.  Obviously one of the best options...
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Typical Meals in the Hanna Household

As a health coach I pay a lot of attention to what we eat in our house.  The old adage, “Practice what you preach” is alive and well in our family.  We try our best to live a healthy lifestyle, but don’t always succeed and we certainly have times of indulgences.  So what do we plan for dinners in our house?  Take a look below for most of the dinners we have eaten in the last month: Warm Quinoa Salad with roasted shallots and butternut squash (vegan) Ziti with red pepper and walnut sauce (vegan) Brazilian black bean stew (vegan) Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup (vegan) Black bean quesadillas and avocado (vegetarian) Homemade veggie pizza with whole wheat crust (vegetarian) Mushroom and Asparagus Barley Risotto (vegan) Mushroom-Spinach Stuffed Shells with Salad (vegetarian) Veggie Calzones (vegetarian) Pesto Roasted Salmon with Israeli CousCous Seared Scallops and barley pilaf with dried cranberries and pecans Salmon Florentine Orange Salmon with Apricot Horseradish Salsa Proscuitto Wrapped Cod with Wild Rice and Edamame Tortellini-Spinach Soup Wheat berry salad with grilled chicken Rotisserie chicken with peas and wild rice Panzanella with Chicken Sausage Chicken, Apple, and Caramelized Onion Sandwiches with Parsnip Fries BBQ Chicken with sweet potatoes and grilled corn Turkey Pot Pie Turkey Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans Turkey-And-Rice Stuffed Peppers Fillet Mignon and salad with goat cheese and caramelized onions Homemade bolognese sauce with whole wheat spaghetti and salad French Onion Soup Lentil Soup with Peas and...
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Goal for February 19-25: Nutrition

Goal: Check out your pantry or closet where you store food and choose one “red light” food to find a replacement for this week.  “Red Light” foods are those that have little nutritional value and higher levels of sugar and saturated fats. Why?: If you start small it will be easier to stick to an nutritional changes you make.  By picking just one food to find a healthier substition for you will be taking a small, but meaningful step toward better health. Example: If you have white bread in your pantry, consider picking up some whole wheat...
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Shopping the Perimeter

Go whole!  Try to make sure that majority of your food is unprocessed, whole, fresh, organic*, & in season. When you went grocery shopping the last time where did most of your groceries come from?  The perimeter of the store?  The aisles?  An equal mix of the perimeter and aisles?  When we go grocery shopping we try our hardest to stay on the outer perimeter of the store.  If we venture into too many aisles we end up with things like Oreo cookies and Mac and Cheese in our cart.  I’m not saying they aren’t yummy occasionally, but on the whole those are things we try to avoid. Go whole!  Try to make sure that majority of your food is unprocessed, whole, fresh, organic* (natural if organic isn’t available), and in season. So how do we tackle our shopping?  We start with the produce section.  Now, if you are fortunate enough to be able to shop in a Whole Foods or Earth Fare, the store is set up with that in mind.  We buy our snacks, sides, breakfasts in the produce section as much as possible.  By the time we are done in the produce section we have filled 8-10 reusable produce bags, added a melon to the basket, and probably a couple of plastic produce bags.  Our cart is nearly full by this point and our list is almost completely checked off. After the produce section we hit the bulk bin section.  If you have never shopped in the bulk section it is a little like being in a candy store (and there are even sweet things in this section).  You can try lots of new things for relatively little expense and you don’t have to buy a lot of the product (we have all been stuck with a huge box of something that we really did NOT like).  We usually replenish our stock of quinoa, oats (steel cut for morning oatmeal, and rolled oats for homemade granola bars), spelt flour, almonds, dark chocolate chips, long grain brown rice, whole wheat couscous, black beans (the baby loves them), pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and veggie pasta.  Just recently we tried amaranth (a grain) for the first time and we only bought exactly what we needed for the recipe.  Turns out we liked it, but if we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have felt the guilt over not using something we paid...
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