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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Listening to your inner child

I am a nanny one day a week for a 4 and 2 year old.  It is amazing how much you can learn from these ages.  Most often I look forward to the day of nannying as I get to release my INNER CHILD!  I tell ya…it takes hanging out with a couple of cool kids to remind me of who I am.  We go to the park, play board games, color, be imaginative, and EAT! Of course, meal and snack time are my favorite time of the day.  As I observed the children eating the other day, I finally saw and experienced what it means when people say “children are the best at being in tune with their body.”

Let me explain…

The 4 year old typically doesn’t eat much at breakfast.  She just knows, my body isn’t that hungry.  Now, I am NOT suggesting you eat nothing for breakfast…but I love that she recognizes her bodies needs.  However, about mid-morning she states “my stomach hurts!” She hasn’t quite get the concept of not letting ourselves get too hungry 🙂

The 2 year old was SO fun to watch! He woke up really hungry one morning. I didn’t believe him when about 3 minutes after I had gave him a whole packet of instant oatmeal he exclaimed, “All done!” Yes, indeed, he had scraped the bowl clean! The three of us played a game for a bit and then the 4 year old was hungry. Once she had some cereal in front of her, the 2 year old wanted some too! He kept eating and eating….but when he was FULL, he stopped.

The kids ate, conversed, and laughed…but when they knew their tummies were full, they stopped. If they wanted more, they asked! Gosh…I wish it was that easy for all of us. I did realize it can be. Release that inner child…here’s how:

– Be silly! It feels good to just laugh and do crazy things that adults typically don’t do. Dance to your favorite song, color, go to the park! I find it releases some of the good-feeling endorphins!

– Set your fork down between bites.
– Converse with those around you.
– Take 5 minutes! Listen to your body…is the stomach rumbling? Are you satisfied? Its tough…but just try it!

We are all someone’s child! Release the carefree, curious child within.

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Brave the bison!

I was paging through a free magazine from Sunflower Farmers Market…reading up on nutrition messages the public may come across. Interestingly, there was a short article about bison meat (aka buffalo). Even though I don’t eat much meat myself, my eyes were drawn to this article titled “Bison: better meat?”

Let me first clarify the difference between bison and buffalo.  Technically, bison are an animal from North America.  They have a wooly head + short horns + a humpback.  Buffalo come form Africa and Asia.  They are smooth and have long curled horns.  So the “buffalo” burger listed on the menu is a misnomer.  It is actually BISON meat!  It goes back a ways on why we refer to bison as buffalo…but we won’t get into that.  All you need to know is that “buffalo” you eat in America is really BISON.

Bison

American Bison

Asian Water Buffalo

Buffalo

Well, my friends, I did a little research to find out the nutritional quality and benefits of bison meat! Here is what I found:

From NutritionData

Why I recommend bison (buffalo) meat over beef or other red meats:

1) Low in fat and cholesterol

2) Lower in calories

3) High in protein

4) Grass-fed bison have more Omega-3’s than grass-fed beef cattle

5) Lower in sodium

6) Excellent source of a variety of vitamins and minerals: B-12, B-6, potassium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium

If you are worried about added hormones and chemicals, bison is a good choice!  According to the National Bison Association, bison are not fed questionable drugs, chemicals, or hormones. Also, much of their life is spent on grass fields and not cooped in a feedlot!  Hurray for freedom of the bison.

From what I read, bison is slightly sweeter in taste than other red meats.  It is a dense meat, but flavorful.  It can be prepared pretty much the same way as beef.  You can find different cuts of bison as well: ground, chunk, sirloin, etc.  However, you might have to go to a specialty store to find this meat.  I am sure if you as the person behind the meet counter at your local grocery store, they can direct you to the right place!

Man….this meat is a winner in my book!  Try it out!  Its hard to claim you like or don’t like a food if you’ve never tried it.  Be brave and explore the taste and nutritional value of bison:)

bison burger

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Always on the run

We are getting so close to Christmas! I can’t wait to be with my family and enjoy our traditions. Do you have any special Christmas traditions with your family, friends, or co-workers? I’d love to hear some.

Upon reflecting on the past months and year of my life I realized how much time I spent on the road. Moving across country definitely put me on the road for a few days and then my current jobs keep me commuting here and there. With all that time on the road I see the difficulty in eating healthy, balanced meals! As it is much easier to grab a quick burrito or sandwich around the corner, I never feel satisfied. Eating out for several days in a row can leave me feeling sluggish and run down. Also, I see the bank account diminishing. However, I have taken upon myself to plan ahead and pack food for the day when I know I’m going to busy. Its NOT easy, I get it! But let me tell you, I feel much more energized through my food choices. Also, it is a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day to know that I took care of myself.

Now, I am not married and do not have any kids, so I am just cooking and preparing for one! Sounds much easier than getting 3 or 4 bodies fed?! Well, it’s almost pain-staking cooking for one. Do I really want to make a full pan of lasagna when I will have a serving for dinner…maybe bring some for lunch the next day…and there is still 2/3 of the pan left? Yes, I can freeze the rest, but I do not want to eating lasagna all winter long! Through the last couple years of my life I have learned to be creative with foods to carry along for my day. I have several staples (i.e. natural peanut butter, tortillas, bread, pesto, cheese, Triscuits, I keep on hand and then mix other foods up depending on sales at the grocery store.

Here are some of my favorite lunches, snacks, and grab-and-go foods:
– Tomato, mozzarella, spinach, avocado, and pesto sandwich (I like to use whole grain English muffins, or Arnold Sandwich Thins)

– Peanut butter and banana sandwich. Drizzle some honey for added sweetness or sprinkle granola inside for some crunch

– Greek yogurt, TLC Kashi Bar, and a piece of fruit

– Carrots, celery or other cut up veggies with hummus

– Bean cheese burrito. Use a whole wheat tortilla, rinsed canned beans, shredded cheese, and a splash of salsa.  Warm it up if you have access to a microwave or just eat it cold

– Bed of spinach topped with tuna, dried cranberries, nuts, and feta cheese

– Triscuits, cottage cheese (or cheese chunks), and fruit

– Trail mix. I like to mix raw almonds, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips!

– Sabra to Go

Essentials for lunch on the go:

– A lunch box/bag.  Zippers tend to keep the food colder
– Ice packs. You can get a pack of 2 at Target for ~$3
– Various sizes of containers. Cottage cheese, hummus, and take out containers are great for snack and lunch!

Now it’s your turn! Try some of my ideas out or feel free to provide me with your favorite grab-and-go options!

Happy Eating:)

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Seasonal sugar addiction!

Around this time of year, I find myself tempted and tested with a plethora of goodies at holiday gatherings!  I tell ya, my dad has blessed me with the “sweet tooth” gene, so its hard to resist.  After days in a sugar coma, you’d think I would (or anyone for that matter) refrain from possibly eating one more sweet thing!!  Well, this certainly is not the case.  My body is now craving after dinner sweets.  Some of you may relate…

Want to satisfy your SWEET craving, but not go over board on calories and fat?  Here’s an idea that I use quite frequently.  Sip on some Orgeon Chai tea!  I make mine with 1/2 milk (plain soy milk was in my fridge tonight), 1/2 water or sometimes 1/3, 2/3 respectively.  Also, since I only want a little sweetness, I use about have the individual packet of powder.  Saves me some calories, but still provides lots of flavor!  A friend told me once that she sips on Swiss Miss no-sugar added hot cocoa mix. Add a splash of peppermint extract or peppermint schnapps for the season!

Another idea is to make decaf tea and add a little Agave nectar or honey for sweetness! DELICIOUS:) Some of my favorite teas are…

Lipton Spiced Chai (not decaf! Great with a splash of milk)

Tazo Decaf Chai

Tazo Decaf Green Tea

Happy sipping to all!

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Tis the Season

As the Holiday season is upon us, so are the numerous events and parties that seem to be surrounded by exquisite food and elaborate cocktails.  Or at least some treats and a little wine or beer to go along:)  It may be tempting to eat everything in sight as you approach the table, but let me remind you…this is not your last meal or the last time you will ever have these foods.  I can’t say that I don’t overindulge on the goodness brought forth at a holiday party!  However, at the end of the night or even the next day when I have a food hangover, I remind myself that that was one day in my life.  Did you enjoy the food you ate?  Well, I sure hope you did.  Savor every last bite, but remind yourself that FOOD is not the focus of the event.  Take time to enjoy the company, strike up a conversation with the lonely guy in the corner, or sit back and observe the happenings of the room.  Remove yourself from the buffet table of food and surround yourself with the buffet of good company!

Be kind to yourself and remember that you are only human!  I think that Ellyn Satter,the pioneer of feeding behavior and eating competence, describes normal eating to a T. :

“Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings”

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Friends and Good Food

So tonight I am hosting a party!  Yes, I love to have gatherings, especially when its for something or someone special.  My really good friend has expressed numerous times that she hates that her birthday falls on December 26th because she never gets a party with friends (She’s from California, we’re in Colorado).  Therefore, I took initiative to plan a surprise for her a few weeks early!!  She’s not a huge one on surprises so she thinks I’m just having people over for a get-together.  Well, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, once she gets here.  The apartment is clean, festive, and ready for people to come.

It’s amazing how good it feels to do something special for someone else.  The holidays always get me thinking of who is in need of some good lovin’!  Its rewarding and a very selfless act to serve others.  Have you tried it lately?  Open the door for someone at the store, bake cookies and share the love, ask someone to go on a walk with you, or have someone over for some tea and a chat!  It is a positive mental health strategy for all to use.

I had a very pleasant morning with a delicious and nutrition breakfast.  Omelet with one egg + 1 egg white, slices of mozzarella and pepper jack cheese, sauteed onions and zucchini, + tomato.  Grapefruit and 1/2 a banana on the side, with half a slice of homemade bread + jam!  Oh yes…and a cup of decaf coffee:)  Yum, yum.

So satisfying.  Eggs have  13 essential nutrients and only 70 calories.  They are filled with healthy fat and around 7 grams of protein per egg.  They keep you feeling full and satisfied for a good amount of time. Did you know that most of the nutrients and good stuff in the egg is found in the yolk?  Don’t be afraid of having a yolk once in awhile.  Recent research also shows that the amount of cholesterol in the egg yolk is not significant enough to have a true effect on your cholesterol levels.   So go ahead and have 4-5 yolks a week.  They are delicious and nutritious:)

Good thing I took the time to go on a nice long walk with my roommate as we are going to have fun at the party tonight.  It was finally 40 and sunny after 6 days below zero!  Alright, off to chill before the party arrives.

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