Archive for September, 2008

Setting Healthy Patterns for Your Children that Will Last a Lifetime!

Setting Healthy Patterns for Your Children that Will Last a Lifetime! It is essential that during the developmental stage in a child’s life he or she get adequate nutrition. Not only is it important for their ability to perform in school, play sports and be able to function in social situations but also what they put in their bodies today has a direct effect on their health as adults. Will they be prone to obesity, cancer or some other disease or will they have a head start in life?

Here are some ideas that my clients (and myself!) have found helpful:

Include your child in shopping. Take them to the grocery store and show them the beautiful fruit, the whole fish in the fish section and explain healthy and unhealthy choices to them. My 8-year-old son loves going to Whole Foods with me and trying out all the samples. While we are there we always end of picking up some new type of food, and my son is always excited to eat it because he helped choose it! Use shopping as an opportunity to teach your children about nutrition and get them involved in the process.

Make food preparation a family affair. Give your child age appropriate jobs to help. My daughter adores making scrambled eggs (see recipe below). She feels so grown up having prepared the family meal and again she always eats it!

Have your child to help set the table. It will get them excited to sit there! And, always make sure that the table is set in an inviting way.

Talk to your children about healthy choices and don’t dumb down the information for them. Children are often much smarter than we give them credit for. The earlier we begin talking to them about what makes their body strong, their brains smart, and what makes them feel good the better choices that they will make. Explain why you make certain food choices, and also explain why you cook healthy foods for them. Talk with them about how the Vitamin C in the orange juice they are drinking helps them fight getting sick, how the broccoli they are eating has lots of iron in it and will give them a lot of energy for sports, how the carrots they are eating have beta-carotene in them that makes their eyes strong. Believe me, it will sink in!

Exercise with your children and make excercise a priority in your own life! The best thing that you can do for your children is set a good example. If you make exercise a priority and integrate it in your life your children will too! On the weekends or after-school, go to the park, scooter or walk to and from school, ride bikes around the park and sign up the children for activities such as gymnastics, karate, ballet, soccer or some other sport. Tell them how proud you are that they are using their bodies and how healthy they look. If I ever get moaning about “why do I have to go for a run stay at home with me,” I always have the discussion that I am working out because it is good for me and that mommies (or daddies) need to have time for themselves too. We have just started taking out the children for rollerblading and bike rides on the weekends. Our family goal is to go out on Saturdays and have the kids take their bikes while my husband and I run! Set fun goals for your own family and make being active and healthy a priority.

Here is our family’s Green Eggs and Ham recipe:

• 1 pound baby spinach (can use frozen)
• ½ cup whole, soy or rice milk
• 3-5 large eggs (depending on how many cooking for)
• 1-2 cups white cheddar, monterrey jack or Soya cheese
• Flax seed oil (optional but great for getting in Omega 3’s)
• Pinch of salt (sea salt best)
• Olive oil

Place the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the spinach. Turn up the heat and cook until spinach wilts. Place the spinach in a Cuisinart with the milk and puree. Then, wisk the eggs in a large bowl and add the pureed mixture along with the salt and flax seed oil. Scramble eggs in the skillet and serve with Fakin Bakin or Turkey Bacon and voila! My kids get a huge kick out of this especially if we read the book!

Go for the Greens

Go for the Greens With school season beginning, it is the perfect time to get fall off to a good start and integrate new healthy patterns into your life! In the summer, we naturally eat more fresh green vegetables and lettuces. However, in the fall and winter when we need the nutrients the most, we tend to gravitate towards more hearty fare. The single most important thing that most of us could do for our health and immunity is to add more greens to our diets!Below I will tell you why and how to easily do it.

Greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, Vitamins A, C, E and K, fiber, folic acid and chlorophyll. Greens help purify the blood, prevent cancer, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, improve liver function, clear congestion, improve skin quality, lift spirit, eliminate depression andincrease energy and vitality.

Are you convinced yet? Greens are especially good for people who live in cities and do not see the countryside very often. In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Who wouldn’t want to have all that?

First, it is important to eat more greens! There are so many greens to choose from so first of all find ones that you love. When we eat more greens, we naturally crowd out all the other unhealthy foods that make us sick! The favorites in our house are spinach, romaine, kale, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Others include bok choy, collard greens, watercress, the cabbage family, beet greens and dandelion. Lettuces such as mesclun, arugula, endive, chicory and wild greens are also included in this category. Steam, sauté or cook any of the above with olive oil and a dash of sea salt and you have a delicious and easy to prepare dish!

As a side note, spinach, swiss chard and beet greens are high in oxalic acid, which depletes calcium, so cook them with rich foods such as tofu, seeds, nuts and olive oil, which will balance the effects.

Secondly, try to drink one green juice per day. This is easier (and more enjoyable) than it might sound! Of course, I recommend that you purchase a juicer (Green Star or Breville) and make healthy green juices every day (see my Green lemonade recipe). However, I also recognize that this is way too much for some people. And, even for those people who do make their own juices there needs to be variety. I recommend that most of my clients purchase a powder called BerryGreen, which can be found in your local health shop or in Whole Foods, or another brand called Nature’s First Food, which can be purchased at www.oneluckyduck.com. You can mix it in with your favorite orange juice or apple cider or follow the below recipe for a quick, delicious meal on the go. My daughter and I make these in the afternoon almost every day!

Integrate greens into your diet and you will immediately see an improvement in your mood and energy!

Grilled Kale

1 head of kale (can be red or green)
Olive oil
Lemon
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Cut kale into small pieces and wash and let fully dry so it does not wilt. Coat a casserole dish with olive oil and place the kale in the dish. Slather with olive oil and place in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until looks a bit “crispy”. Slice a lemon and squeeze over and add a sprinkle of sea salt.

We usually serve this with a grain such as brown rice or quinoa. Or, if you want a quick light dinner, it can be a meal unto itself. This is delicious and one of my husband’s favorites!

Spinach Salad

Spinach
Grated carrots
Avocado
Soya Kaas cheese (optional)
Pecans
Dried cranberries
Olive oil
Lemon

Place grated carrots, then sliced avocado, then a handful of dried cranberries and pecans on top of the spinach leaves. For a heartier lunch add cubes of the Soya Kaas cheese. Liberally douse with olive oil and lemon.

Green Lemonade Recipe

Juice the following:

Handful of romaine lettuce and/or kale
Large apple
Lemon

Stir in agave nectar for sweetness if needed. You can also add a carrot if you want to cut the astringent flavor more. Drink this and your skin will be glowing!

Green Powder Smoothie

Berry Green or Nature’s First Food Powder
Vanilla almond, soy or rice milk (I prefer almond)
Silk Milk vanilla creamer
Frozen banana (optional- or use ice to make thicker)
*** If you use regular soy milk then add vanilla and a dash of agave nectar

Add green powder, 1 cup of the milk and ½ cup of the creamer and the frozen banana or ice in the blender and blend. My 5-year-old daughter and I make this all the time for a healthy snack in the afternoon before or after sports!