Getting Kids in the Kitchen – Preparing and Eating Food

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It’s important that children not only learn to appreciate food, but also learn to cook for themselves. Even preschool children can learn how to help with meals and prepare or help cook simple foods.

Teaching children to cook is probably the best way to get kids to eat right and respect food. The whole point of getting them in the kitchen and involved is to get them to feel and taste the food. Let them use their sense of smell, taste, and touch. Children need to be exposed to different foods several times before they will taste it. Preparing it themselves increases their interest and desire to try it.

Children love the experience of mixing, stirring, and chopping, depending on age. Let them discover the joy of creating delicious, healthy dishes by encouraging them to help you.

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get dinner going with your young help, is to work together preparing roasted vegetables. For this you and the children scrub the vegetables well and then cut them up into about same-size pieces. This can be foods such as potatoes (white or sweet), carrots, onion, garlic, green and red pepper, celery, mushrooms, squash, broccoli and others.

Then the children can dribble a little virgin olive oil over them, stir well to distribute the oil, and splash a little balsamic vinegar over them, along with a little salt and fresh ground pepper.

Spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet or other large flat pan. Roast in 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Using a long handled spatula, you need to stir them periodically to keep them from sticking to the bottom.

They will come out with a nice dark color, perhaps more brown in places, but crispy, and oh, so good.

Even though you start with a large quantity of vegetables, the children will be amazed how much  smaller the portion is after roasting. Take time to explain here the reason for this.

300px Grilled vegetables Getting Kids in the Kitchen   Preparing and Eating Food

You may want to add a protein to the meal, such as cooked chicken, hamburger, or roast beef. Or you can just sprinkle shredded Parmesan or Cheddar cheese over the vegetables and you and your helpers have just prepared a one dish meal for your family.

Let’s stay healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author

http://www.HealthyEatingTips.com

http://www.ImagesUnlimitedPub.com

 Getting Kids in the Kitchen   Preparing and Eating Food
PinExt Getting Kids in the Kitchen   Preparing and Eating Food

Sugars, Sodium and Fats – 3 Factors in Healthy Diets

PinExt Sugars, Sodium and Fats   3 Factors in Healthy Diets
300px Oil3 Sugars, Sodium and Fats   3 Factors in Healthy Diets

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You’ve all heard the advice, “cut down sugars and sodium and trim the fat”. You say: I know sugar when I see it”, but do you know you’re eating sugar when any of these ingredients appear on the food label?
corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, glucose, dextrose, honey, molasses, syrup, lactose, mannitol

Any of the following ingredients indicate the food product contains sodium:
salt, baking soda, baking powder, monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, sodium nitrate, sodium saccharin, bouillon, meat tenderizer, and any of the flavored salts such as onion, garlic, celery.

Fats in food have received a great deal of press. “What are the good fats and the bad fats” we want to know. What about saturated and unsaturated fat? Very confusing.

Fat in food is composed of two major types of fatty acids: saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated fatty acids are further classified as either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Foods contain combinations of the three types of fat. However, most foods contain a majority of one type.

Here is a list of saturated fats, which are said to be the least heart healthy as they raise the blood cholesterol more than anything else in the diet:
lard, butter, cream, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, poultry fat, bacon fat and other meat fat.

Polyunsaturated oils are: safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil.

Monounsaturated fats include: canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil.

I like to reduce or eliminate my intake of nearly all vegetable oils, including corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, sesame oil, soybean oil, and related products such as margarine and vegetable shortening.

The two best oils I believe are high-quality virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Although coconut oil is a saturated oil, I feel it’s good points of being derived from a healthful food, helping regulate blood sugar, causing the body to burn up more calories,  and its stability under high heat tend to outweigh its saturation concerns.

Avoid products that contain hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. This means that the oil has been heated to such a high temperature that the structure of the molecules have been changed to make it more stable at room temperature. This, however, makes it more harmful for the body.

Despite all the criticism of fat, it is an important nutrient and serves important functions in the body. It is a source of energy, helps protect important body organs and is necessary for growth and body maintenance.

Diets in our country are high in animal products, fat, salt and sugar and low in vegetables, fruits and fiber. Cutting down, or eliminating the big three: sugar, sodium and fats -  is a real challenge. It is worth the effort because our health depends on it.

To your good health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Health and Nutrition Advocate
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

 Sugars, Sodium and Fats   3 Factors in Healthy Diets
PinExt Sugars, Sodium and Fats   3 Factors in Healthy Diets

Soup Supper Idea

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Image by grand grrl via Flickr

Do you need a quick meal that is filling, nutritious, and doesn’t take long to make? I want to share a soup I made for a large group at my house recently. We had a mix of older folks and younger ones. They all wanted recipes so that is always a good sign. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup mild picante sauce
1 (15-ounce) can ranch-style beans, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
½ teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 cups chopped cooked skinless chicken breast
¼ cup chopped cilantro
Tortilla chips, optional
Shredded Cheddar cheese, optional
Sour cream, optional

Heat olive oil in large pan like a soup kettle or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and garlic. Cook until onion is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add broth, tomatoes, picante sauce, beans and spices. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Add chicken and cilantro and heat thoroughly.

Ladle into soup bowls. Top with tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream if desired. Serves 8.

We served crackers, Dilly bread, and cornmeal muffins with it, as well as a relish assortment.

Tomorrow I’ll post the other soup we served – totally different and totally good!

 Soup Supper Idea
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Going Food Shopping at the Farmers’ Market

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300px Onions Going Food Shopping at the Farmers Market

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Going to the local farmers’ market with your child helps him or her learn where their food comes from. Here your child will see the many varieties of fruits and vegetables that are grown right in your own region.

Understanding that the corn in the can or frozen package really started as corn in the husks on the cob is sometimes hard for children to comprehend. Seeing carrots with bushy tops and not perfectly scrubbed clean in plastic bags can be eye-opening for them as well. Even seeing the quantities of melons in the back of pickups and truck beds piled high with corn is really quite a sight.

I always think of the hard work that goes into growing this food and getting it to market. I know that those who work the soil are always dependent on Mother Nature to bring the rain and sunshine just at the right moments. The fruits of their labor relies on cooperation from the elements.

Even though farmers’ markets offer food at the peak of freshness, we still must be concerned with maintaining the freshness and keeping it safe for eating. It’s always a good idea to go right home to get perishable foods in the refrigerator.

Some produce can be ripened on the kitchen counter and then stored in the refrigerator. Foods such as peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums fall into this category.

Some foods taste best at room temperature, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and squashes. They need to be stored in a clean, dry, well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight and areas where meat is prepared.

I always like to prepare what I bought as soon as possible. The last time I went to market I bought some beautiful looking onions. I hadn’t baked onions for a long time but remembered how my grandmother used to just set the onion on the top of the cover from a metal coffee can. (I suppose because aluminum foil wasn’t readily available and the juices do run out – can you remember the time before aluminum foil)??

Anyway, baked onions are delicious.

This is what you do…and it’s easy enough that kids can help and be part of the “going to market and then using the fresh food” experience.

Baked Onions

Cut off both ends of the onion and peel the outer skin. Cut an X in the center of the onion and dribble on some olive oil or add a dab of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place each onion on a piece of foil and wrap tightly. Set in a baking dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until tender. You can sprinkle top with freshly grated Parmesan, or crumbled cooked bacon, or some fresh herbs.

Serve with any meat dish or pasta.

 Going Food Shopping at the Farmers Market
PinExt Going Food Shopping at the Farmers Market

National Nutrition Month Suggestions

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100x150 National Nutrition Month SuggestionsImage by Getty Images via Daylife

As we are winding down the month of March, National Nutrition Month, I wanted to summarize six “good health” ideas that can get powerful results. For your well-being, these are suggestions for everyday living that can boost health and energy.

1. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruit. Try to include 2 a day. Berries and citrus fruits are especially good choices.

2. Vary your veggies. Eat more yellow and dark green vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables. Tomatoes, onions, pepper, celery, mushrooms, cabbage and cauliflower are other good selections.

3. Eat whole grains in moderation. This could include whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, rice and pasta.

4. Choose lean meats and use healthy cooking methods like baking, braising and broiling. Proteins are the building blocks of growth. Protein foods include beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and eggs. Salmon and fish, as long as they are shown to be safe from mercury and other toxins, are also good protein sources.

5. Young children need whole milk or 2 percent for calcium. Yogurt and cheese are also rich in calcium.

6. Choose foods low in saturated fats and no transfats. Healthy fats and oils include butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts.

7. Spare the sugar. Sugar is not an essential nutrient. Our taste buds have become acclimated to the sweet taste. However, we can live very easily, and sometimes, better, without sugar.

This is the guide the Chef uses to maintain vigor and good health.

Best to you,

Crombie

 National Nutrition Month Suggestions
PinExt National Nutrition Month Suggestions