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Friday, May 25, 2012

12 Tips for Restaurant Eating!!

Healthy diet planning can be made when going out to eat.  Here are my top 12 tips for restaurant eating!!

 #1: Order a side salad as an appetizer, or skip it all together. Appetizers at places like the Cheesecake Factory (quesadillas, spinach and cheese dip, nachos, buffalo wings, thai lettuce wraps) have 1,000 to 1,600 calories. They're as bad or worse as an entre you are going to order.  

#2: Pack up half your meal. Every portion of food is 2-3 times a normal and healthy serving. Each restaurant is trying to outdo the next by serving larger and larger portions. Before your food even comes, ask your waiter to box up half of it! What an easy solution and you have lunch for the next day!    

#3: No bread or chips, thanks. Do you REALLY need an unlimited bread basket or chips at your table? Didn't think so!  What about asking for it WITH your meal? I bet it will cut down on the amount of refills you ask for!   

#4: At Asian restaurants, order mixed vegetables with sauteed (not deep-fried or breaded) chicken, tofu, shrimp or scallops. Skip the noodles. 
#5:  Pizza: thin, not thick crust. When you go for that occasional pizza, order half the cheese, thin crust (whole grain if possible) and veggies instead or with your meat toppings. We like to make our own pizzas at home! Great recipes for yummy alternatives to "traditional pizza" at www.getthehealthyedge.com! Try the 14 day trial and check them out.  Be sure to try the vegetable Pizza located in the Vegetable Dishes section!

#6: When eating Mexican food, order 1 or 2 tacos and anything else a la carte (such as a green salad and black or pinto beans).
#7: Choose a leaner cut of meat such as sirloin or filet mignon when eating out. Fattier cuts are ribeye, Porterhouse, New York strip, T-bone or Prime Rib. Grilled chicken and fish are also great selections. We also ask where they get their meat and that is always an interesting conversation that leads us to make a decision!

#8: Choosing a main dish salad instead of a sandwich is a great choice. Choose restaurants that offer tons of chicken, nuts, beans and other toppings that will fill you up!  Oh, and dressing on the side! I like to request salsa or hummus if available (or squeezed lemon). 
#9: Double the veggies. Instead of potatoes, rice or pasta, ask for two sides of vegetables or an extra salad. For variety, check out the veggies that come with other entrees on the menu.     
#10: Think petite. Look for appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, or other items restaurants call "small", "mini", "demi", or "treat" size. Think of them as normal size and everything else as supersized.     
#11: Get salad dressing on the side. This is something I had adopted for a long time. Dip your fork into the salad dressing first, and then go for the salad. I always ask what their homemade dressings are and vinaigrettes. If all the ingredients are "real", that is a good sign! Fat free or low-fat versions usually means: additives, sugars and chemicals.   

#12: No cheese, please. Restaurants squeeze cheese in or on nearly every salad, sandwich, pasta, taco and burger.  I like to ask for no cheese or request a small side dish of cheese so you control where it goes and how much goes on it!               

Thursday, May 10, 2012

WhoNu Cookies

While relaxing the other night after a long day with my darling children, I saw a commercial that caught my interest.  It looked like an Oreo cookie and the commentator was claiming that feeding your kids these “nutritional” cookies gives them:
  •       As much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal 
  •       As much calcium and vitamin D as an 8 oz glass of milk
  •      As much vitamin C as a cup of blueberries
The website goes on to include:
  •     As much Iron as a cup of Spinach
  •     As much Vitamin E as two cups of carrot juice
  •     As much Vitamin B12 as a cup of cottage cheese and fruit
  •     As much Vitamin A as an 8oz glass of tomato juice
Now this sounded way too good to be true.  And I don’t like to be one to judge without knowing the facts so I did a little research based on The Healthy Edge guidelines for reading food labels. 

When looking at the ingredients, whatever is listed first is the ingredient that particular product contains the MOST of. Guess what the first ingredient in this so-called nutritious cookie is? SUGAR!  At this point I am turned off, but I continue to read: the second ingredient is wheat flour, then vegetable oils (canola, palm, palm kernel oil, soybean oil and partially hydrogenated cottonseed and coconut oil), cocoa, dextrose, polydextrose, yellow corn flour, corn syrup (more sugar), baking soda, soy lecithin, salt, natural and artificial flavor, monoglycerides, vanilla extract.  Ok, so far nothing that sounds nutritional to me.

Partially hydrogenated oils are TRANS FATS! The worse kinds of fats you can ingest because they not only increase your BAD cholesterol they decrease your GOOD cholesterol and young children have a lot of years of living and in my opinion should NOT be exposed to trans fats this early in life…or ever!

Then comes the best part, a list of vitamins and minerals that give them ammunition to talk about how nutritious the cookie is. I LOVE how they put this underneath the ingredient list instead of in the list so you cannot tell how much, or how little of each ingredient is actually in the cookie.  

So here we go for the vitamins and minerals: calcium carbonate, vitamin c (ascorbic acid), iron orthophosphate, zinc oxide, copper oxide, manganese gluconate, iodine, chromium chloride, vitamin e (tocopherol acetate), vitamin a (palmitate), biotin, vitamin b3 (niacin), vitamin b5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin d3, vitamin k (phytonadione), vitamin b1 (thiamine mononitrate), vitamin b6, vitamin b2, folic acid. Contains wheat, soy, milk.

So as your kids are bouncing off the walls from the sugar high, ingesting trans fats that is affecting their cholesterol and eating the wheat flour that is high glycemic and leads to more sugar highs and cravings think about if you REALLY think that a cookie can provide the nutrition your kids need to grow big and strong.  Do you want your kids to formulate a belief system that cookies are healthy? Is that going to serve them later in life?

The Superfood Sisters would like to introduce you to something we call WHOLE FOODS treats.  A great company is LaraBars that have minimal ingredients that are real and whole foods.  An example is a Coconut Cream Pie that contains: Dates, Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds, Cashews and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Another example is the Peanut Butter Bar which contains: Dates, Peanuts and Sea Salt. That’s it! WOW!  These can easily be advertised as “cookies” to your kids and you can feel great giving them this treat daily.

Another great suggestion is to prepare your own “treats” for your kids using recipes that use whole food ingredients. The Healthy Edge is a great resource for tons of recipes that are whole food based and kid friendly.  Check out The Healthy EdgeCookbook for 120+ recipes (including gluten-free) that are simple and quick or The Healthy Edge subscription program that provides over 250 recipes and a new recipe each week that you can trust to make for your family.

Together we can become educated consumers and change the health reality for our children’s future.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Snack Foods for the Kids!

What parent doesn't like easy healthy foods that your kids will love?  I have learned with my children that a sure way to at least get them to try foods, is to make it fun in some way.  And what is more fun than food on a stick??  It is simple and your kids will love the chance to "play" with their food!

Carrots are a food that most kids already love.  So why not shake things up a little and try this sweet tip to make your kids enjoy eating them!  Simply steam, saute and stick!  Fast and healthy and what's that thing again...FUN!  We use agave nectar but you can also try honey, maple syrup or a savory sauce of some type.  They are perfect for a party appetizer or great to have in the fridge for a quick snack.

Three Easy Steps!!

Step 1: Steam until softened. (Or soften in some way)

Step 2: Saute with Agave Nectar or a savory sauce of your choice.

Step 3:  Slice and Stick!!

That's it!!  Easy snack that your kids will have fun helping with!!  How do you like to make food fun for your little ones??
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