Posts tagged under Health. Show all posts.
There are a lot of cookbooks out there these days. We’re glad because we love new food ideas, but it’s exhausting deciding which one we’ll use. Luckily, we have the advantage of hearing about all the attest and greatest ones published and thought you might want to hear about them too.
So if you are cooking for kids and looking for healthy and fun meals, we recommend Annabel Karmel’s new Canadian edition of More First Meals. It has over 80 recipes to choose from and there are even a few practical suggestions for moms. Annabel reminds us that eating well while pregnant and breastfeeding is important for staying healthy (and we know it’s just as important when the kids get older so we can keep up with them). We particularly like the space on each recipe page left for making notes and the addition of nutritional information with each recipe as well. This is a great book for inspiration, information and organizing your meals. Available online at Indigo and Amazon
What’s your favourite cookbook?
Much is written for moms by moms about snacks for kids but what about snacks for moms? Moms get hungry mid-morning and mid-afternoon too and are always looking for something healthy and filling, and ideally purse or diaper-bag friendly…no refrigeration, no special container, and non-squishable. Simply impossible to find, you say?
We thought so too until we found the Simply Bar from Wellness Foods, which has the most protein with the least calories of any natural food bar, and is made from pronounceable ingredients like soy and brown rice syrup, no weird fats and no artificial sweeteners. There are five yummy flavours—Cinnamon, Cocoa Raspberry, Lemon Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Cocoa Coffee—and they all make for a great on-the-run snack. I’m keeping one in my bag at all times now—might save me from scarfing down that chocolate bar at 4 pm when I realize I still have not had a chance to eat lunch!
This month is all about getting back to routines and making lunch is a huge part of that. You don’t need to be packing a lunch every day to suffer from lunch time paralysis—the affliction hits any mom who has to make a lunch every day, day after day, and make it healthy, nutritious and delicious. That’s why we decided to take a bit of a different tack this month and looked for past recipes to inspire moms to serve something that has been prepared already (it’s all about cutting back on the time you spend in the kitchen). We call it cooking efficiently (not ‘leftovers’). For example, a chicken and rice dinner doubles up as a great soup for lunch later that week, cooked pasta from Tuesday night can be covered in cheese and reheated and grilled veggies are perfect in a wrap with hummus or goat cheese. So learn to make a bit extra when you are cooking dinner and you’ll have the foundation for some more interesting lunches to break the routine and the boredom (for you and the kids).
Photo copyright Holly Sisson Photography
Soup is one of those foods that everyone loves and we feel good about serving, especially during the cold winter months. We can load it up with veggies or any of our favourite foods and serve it up to all ages. But not all soups are created equal (in nutritional value, that is), and even the ones with lots of hidden veggies can be loaded with salt. We’ve told you all about the dangers of salt already…we do need to be aware of how much salt is in one of our favourite and more convenient ingredients, chicken stock.
To be smart about the homemade soups you are serving, it’s best to buy organic and low-sodium chicken stock. Check your labels. Trying substituting salt-free options for things liked canned tomatoes. Big difference in sodium content, little difference in flavour.
Then go to EatSavvy and see what yummy and delicious recipes we found for you this month. It’s Heart Month, after all. So take care of it with some low-sodium options for the whole family.
What kind of soup does your family like?
Sadly, I haven’t yet spent enough time in France to be able to say for myself whether French women get fat or not, but from the success of Mireille Guillano’s first book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, seems like many people are taking her word for it. Certainly, we can all appreciate her practical philosophy of not dieting per se, but rather eating both pleasurably and healthfully in moderation so that food is satisfying and sustaining.
And now she’s coming out with a companion book, The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, that hits the shelves on April 27. It’s full of easy-to-make, satisfying recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients, just like we like to do on EatSavvy.
What’s cool about her new book is that there are recipes for every meal. So far, I’ve tried the Potato Ragout with Peppers, Lemons and Olives and it was so delicious—great with fish—and the Fruit Salad with Quinoa, equally yummy. There is even a chapter on dessert (I can’t wait to try the Tarte au Chocolat) and lots of tips on entertaining, menu planning and more. The most intriguing recipe is a secret family breakfast recipe that is supposed to keep you full until lunch and help you magically lose weight. I think I am going to try it out for a week or two—after all, I have nothing to ‘lose’.
Wanna try it with me? We’ve got five copies of this delicious book to give away. Just leave a comment on the blog here before April 30 and we will conduct a random draw from all of them. Bon appétit!
Everyone loves celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver. We love his cookbooks (The Naked Chef), cooking shows, restaurants and overall good looks, but more than anything we love what he stands for—enjoying great food by eating healthy.
Most recently, Jamie has been receiving a lot of attention from the introduction of his newest television show Jamie’s Food Revolution.
In a school in Huntington, West Virginia, Jamie addresses America’s obesity crisis with young people. He starts with making changes to the lunches that are served in schools and attempts to educate lunch staff, kids and their families about the importance of choosing, cooking and eating meals with ‘real’ and fresh ingredients. If you haven’t had a chance to see the first episodes, try and catch the Season Finale this coming Friday on ABC @ 9:00 p.m. ET.
It is Jamie’s hope to inspire other cities and countries and to start a reaction of positive change across the country. To continue with these efforts, Jamie has created an online petition which he plans to present to the White House. Have you signed Jamie Oliver’s petition to improve school lunches? Help spread the word. Sign the petition and then forward it to a friend.
It might sound like something for Dash and his dad, Mr. Incredible. But Mission Nutrition is actually an initiative for every family. That’s why we’re partnering with them on the Healthy Kitchen Cupboard, Healthy Eating Contest. You might have read about it on SavvyMom already, but in case you missed it, it’s a contest for a chance to win a consultation with a registered dietitian right in your home and a $300 shopping spree! She will assess what’s in your cupboard and show you how to maximize your family’s healthy eating habits—for good.
Some superheroes need to focus on saving their families instead of the world. They’re called Moms. That’s why Mission Nutrition just makes sense. You can get started on your mission right here—just enter for your chance to win!
At this time of the year, I feel the need to stockpile food (just like a squirrel). I find myself stocking my pantry cupboards and filling my freezer with enough food to get my family through many weeknight meals. And the more seasonal, local ingredients I can use, the better.
Recently I was introduced to Ontario’s Own, a new line of delicious food products which are Ontario grown, processed and sold through Ontario retailers. A group of Ontario farmers, artisan producers and chefs have come together to produce delicious, comforting, prepared foods, made with minimal processing. Featured products include: Chili Con Carne, Pork ‘n’ Beans, Sauce Bolognese, Tomato Sauce, Carbonated Natural Spring Water, Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, Apple Puree and Peach Puree.
Having products like these makes it easier for me to make healthy food choices, while supporting my local farmers and economy. I picked up two jars of the Tomato Sauce to make spaghetti sauce the other night and I couldn’t tell the difference in the flavour between it and freshly picked field tomatoes. The prepared foods are cooked soon after harvest in order to retain the freshness of the ingredients. My kids love homemade chicken noodle soup, so when they asked for a bowl on the weekend I was happy to oblige. I didn’t have the time to make my own, so I served them the next best thing—Ontario’s Own Chicken Noodle Soup. It tastes like homemade and all of the ingredients are local and fresh.
Sadly, the Ontario’s Own line is only available for purchase in Ontario retailers. Let me know if you have seen anything like it where you are. It’s always great to support your local farmers.
We pick ‘em, we carve ‘em, we give them a little light and maybe, just maybe, we might roast some seeds as a snack. What else do you do with a pumpkin?
We at SavvyMom are big fans of the mighty orange orb. So much so that we’ve featured some fantastic recipes on EatSavvy to take advantage of this delish vegetable from our hearty Pumpkin Chili to sweet Pumpkin & Apple Soup. And yes, we even like roasting those seeds as a healthy snack (after all that Halloween candy). But what we really love is the health benefits the pumpkin actually provides.
Aside from being a source of vitamins C & E, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, anti-oxidants, and protein (in the seeds), the pumpkin is actually pretty good at helping other areas of your body as well. In fact, a little pumpkin in your diet can help minimize osteoporosis, lower cholesterol and benefit your kidney, bladder and digestive system.
However, just cutting up one of those jack-o-lantern giants and putting it on the stove isn’t the way to go (although save those seeds for roasting). When you’re looking to get cooking with pumpkin, you want to look for the smaller versions (also known as pie pumpkins). You can find the canned version of pumpkin if you’re looking for an easier method, but keep in mind not to mistake it with pumpkin pie filling in a can.
You can also find pumpkin butter in various stores (which makes for a delicious replacement for peanut or apple butter). Pumpkin is also a great ingredient in pasta sauces or risotto.
When it comes to the pumpkin, we sure know ‘jack.’
How do you like to eat pumpkin?
Your kids come home from school starving for a snack. Being the good mom that you are, you assemble a platter of veggies and dip and tell them to dig in. They look at the plate of food and roll their eyes. Not because they’re eating veggies and dip, but because they’re eating veggies and dip again.
Can you blame them? I think I’ve probably made 600 platters of veggies and dip since my kids started school. That’s actually a conservative estimate, since my oldest has been in school for eight years now. Two veggie platters a week (it’s often more) times eight years is a lot of platters. How can they not be bored with it?
To jazz things up a little, I’ve started making veggie dips instead of serving them with dip. Think pureed avocado, carrots, red peppers, spinach, caramelized onions, kale, etc. and all blended together with yogurt or sour cream, a few seasonings and a spice or two. Served up with whole grain dippers, they’re a nice alternative to a plain old platter every once in a while.
Don’t worry—vegetables haven’t disappeared from the snack rotation completely. It’s just nice to have another way to serve them every once in a while.
Would your kids eat veggie dips? How do you keep vegetables from becoming boring at snack time?
Avocado Dip with Toasted Pitas
Prep and Cook
Over on my personal blog, Family Bites, I’ve been running a series known as Soup Sundays. One or two Sundays a month I share a recipe for a new soup, and write about the ways I serve it to my family. I’m passionate about making soups because they’re economical, healthy, easy to make and they basically cook themselves. Despite my love for the homemade variety, I have also been known to serve my kids soup from a can, so last week when I came across an article about toxic BPA’s in canned soup, my interest was piqued.
According to a study conducted by the researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), people who ate canned soup each day for five days showed a more than 1200% increase in urinary bisphenol A (BPA) compared with those who consumed fresh soup daily for the same period.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound found in some plastics and resins. It’s used in the production of various types of food and drink containers, and as a liner in some metal cans.
Researchers in the Harvard study recruited volunteers and divided them into two groups. Group A consumed a serving of vegetarian canned soup each day for five days and Group B consumed vegetarian fresh soup daily for five days. After a two-day break, the groups reversed their assignments. “The magnitude of the rise in urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was unexpected and may be of concern among individuals who regularly consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages daily,” said Karin Michels, who co-authored the study. “It may be advisable for manufacturers to consider eliminating BPA from can linings.”
The presence of BPA isn’t specific to certain brands. In a random sampling of canned products, the chemical was found in 92% of the products tested, regardless of price or organic nature of the content.
Why the concern about BPA? Last year Canada was the first country to declare BPA a toxic material, and Statistics Canada found that 91% of Canadians had the chemical in their bodies. But the debate continues to rage on—how bad is it for us?
Tony Clement, our health minister said his department had studied the effects of the chemical and found that in most instances, negative health effects only occur at levels of bisphenol A exposure much greater than normal. But he was still concerned about exposing infants to the chemical saying “We have concluded that early development is sensitive to the effects of bisphenol A. Although our science tells us that exposure levels to newborns and infants are below levels that cause effects, we believe the current safety margin needs to be higher.”
The debate continues…and we’ll keep waiting to hear something conclusive. In the meantime, are you watching the BPA intake in your home? Do you think you’ll be making some more homemade soups?
The second I came across this article on sugar on the CBC website, I knew it would be the perfect topic to cover for my EatSavvy Blog.
Sugar made headlines last week, thanks to the results of a research study that was recently conducted by doctors at the University of California. According to them, the global rise in death rates as a result of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes isn’t due to obesity, as originally thought, but actually sugar.
The study states that obesity is simply a marker for potentially fatal diseases and that sugar is the true culprit in our diets. The authors of the study have suggested the following measures
be taken in attempt to regulate the supply and demand of sugar:
The study goes on to say that sugar meets four of the criteria (accepted by public health experts) that apply to the dangers of alcohol, including toxicity, potential for abuse and a negative impact on our society.
As moms, do you agree or disagree with these results? Is sugar really that bad and do you think it should be controlled like alcohol? Do your kids consume too much sugar? Let’s discuss!
Good news for moms. I read last week in The Globe and Mail that Loblaws has announced plans to remove all artificial colours and flavours from their signature line of President’s Choice products.
Artificial additives in food have quickly become one of the biggest nutritional issues for Canadians in recent years. Consumption of faux-coloured and flavoured foods has been linked to everything from allergies and ADHD, to behavioural problems and, in some cases, cancer.
While members of the medical and scientific communities are still divided as to whether there are risks with ingesting these products, most consumers don’t want to wait around for the professionals to form a cohesive opinion. Instead, according to the article, they are demanding there be a shift in the food manufacturing industry, and companies are starting to respond.
Loblaws will be the first Canadian chain to embrace this movement, and by the end of this year, all artificial colours will be removed from the PC line; the artificial flavourings will follow in 2013. Now that Loblaws is positioning itself as a company that is highly interested in our health, experts are predicting this could translate as a good move for their bottom line.
However, according to a professor at Ryerson University, we need to be cautious about assuming that all naturally enhanced products are good for us. Despite the lack of dyes and chemical flavourings, they may still contain stabilizers, preservatives and excessive amounts of sodium and sugar which aren’t good for our health either.
I’m curious, are artificial additives a concern to you when it comes to feeding your family?
If you’re making the choice to have something sweet, choose wisely.
As we’ve discussed, sugar is the new transfat/salt/evil ingredient according to the latest reports. It’s been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. This week, Rose Riesman was on Toronto’s Breakfast Television sharing the shocking news about how much sugar we’re currently consuming.
According to her report, the average Canadian ingests 130 pounds of sugar per year. This number was shocking to me. We are eating our body weight in sugar-enhanced foods, not to mention the naturally sweetened ones we consume, like fruit. The good news though, is that with just a few simple changes to our shopping and eating habits, it’s possible to reduce our consumption dramatically, while still enjoying the occasional treat.
Rose compared some popular snacks and take-out foods with some slightly less sweet counterparts. Here are the results of her study:
Dairy Queen Lemonade Raspberry Chiller = 48 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Dairy Queen Small Raspberry Sundae = 14 teaspoons of sugar
Cinnamon Caramel Pecan Buns = 19 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Country Style Raspberry Filled Donut = 5 teaspoons of sugar
Baskin Robbins Large Vanilla Shake = 30 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Baskin Robbins Two –Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream Cone – 13 teaspoons sugar
Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (1 bowl) = 7 teaspoons of sugar VS.
Twinkies (2) = 7 teaspoons of sugar
Skittles (1 small package = 11 teaspoons of sugar VS.
M&Ms (1 small package) = 4 teaspoons of sugar
One Large Coke (from movie theater) = 33 teaspoons of sugar VS.
One Small Cokes (from Movie Theater) = 10 teaspoons of sugar
Another shocking statistic I learned from this segment is that 1 out of 3 kids born after the year 2000 will have sugar-induced diabetes.
Were you surprised by any of these comparisons? Are you concerned about your family’s sugar intake?
Last week, Disney announced that all products advertised on their child-oriented TV channels, radio stations and Internet sites will soon need to comply with a new set of nutritional standards.
Effective in early 2015—it can’t be any earlier due to existing advertising contracts—the Disney corporation will no longer accept advertising materials that contain candy, sugary cereals, fast food and popular, yet mostly unhealthy, grocery store items.
Instead, the company wants to position themselves as a brand that families can trust, and taking note of the increase in consumer interest in nutritious food is just one of the ways they intend to do this.
However, programming won’t be the only thing affected by the new Disney guidelines. They also plan on reducing the sodium in the food served at their theme parks, and aspire to create fun promotions advocating exercise and healthy eating.
I’ve read a few articles on this topic in the past week, and while some folks are praising the company for finally acknowledging corporate responsibility, others wonder what’s really so bad about eating a bit of junk food every once in a while. There are also the skeptics who see this a just a move designed to keep moms happy, which in turn will keep them purchasing Disney products and DVDs for their kids.
What do you think? Is this just about the bottom dollar for the company, or are they really trying to make a difference for the kids? Would you be more likely to purchase a Disney product or vacation knowing that they’re taking a stand on childhood nutrition?