Tag Archive for healthy eating

Eating Clean in 2015!!!

When people use the terms whole foods, clean eating, or real food, what are they talking about? To me, those things mean eating pure foods the way our great grandparents ate. Before Betty Crocker rolled onto the scene, before additives and chemicals were put in most grocery store products, foods were much closer to how God made them to nourish us.

Processing foods to death removes most of the nutrients. Take cereal for example. Whole grains, containing the perfect combination of nutrients are processed to remove the bran and the germ which contain vital vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E and Magnesium our bodies need. The newly whitened flour is then bleached to make it look even whiter, further removing valuable nutrients and adding more chemicals. Now the flour is no longer healthy. They need to add nutrients back, so they take synthetic vitamins which are not usable by our bodies and put them into the flour, calling it enriched. Next they take the enriched flour and add shelf stabilizers, preservatives, and other chemicals to make it last for a year in the box. Many of these additives cause a myriad of health problems and diseases. Then they add copious amounts of salt and sugar to make the little chemical bomb taste appealing. Too much salt and sugar cause health problems as well. They add so much salt and sugar in fact, that after eating cereal, natural foods no longer taste good because our palates are trained to find salty and sugary foods. The poor nutritional value of the cereal leaves us with the feeling of hunger, when really, our body is just craving real nutrients and we aren’t really hungry at all. So we overeat the cereal looking for the satiety that comes from being properly nourished.

Our food supply is full of convenience foods like cereal, TV dinners, processed hamburger patties, cake mixes, breads, cookies, canned fruit, fruit juice, canned vegetables, frozen fries and chicken nuggets, corn dogs, processed cheese foods, margarine, sodas, and the list goes on and on. But these foods are far from how food was created to be eaten. God gave us the perfect diet, fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and dairy. These foods give us everything we need to thrive if we work at keeping the nutrients they originally contained.

Merriam-Webster defines a whole food as a food that is considered healthy because it is grown naturally, has not been processed, and contains no artificial ingredients. Since I started changing our diet for myself, my family, and my daycare kids, I have noticed exponentially we have more energy, better behavior, clearer thinking, less colds and allergies, and just a general feeling of wellness I didn’t feel in myself before.

We do not eat perfectly, but I strive every year to clean up more things in our diet to improve our overall health. We can always do better, but the difference in our diets 15 years ago, and our diets today is astounding. The more I learn the better I can do.

The main key is do something. Start with one small change and work your way to a different lifestyle. Maybe you could start by adding some shredded veggies to your spaghetti sauce or adding a vegetable to your breakfast each day. The important thing is you start somewhere and keep moving forward. Getting families to come along on your journey can be challenging so don’t try to go cold turkey.

What are some ways you can clean up your diet?

  1. Add more fruits and vegetables. When filling your plate, you should have half fruits and vegetables before adding your grains, meat, and dairy. Once you are used to eating more produce, look for fresh over canned and frozen, more variety of colors and different preparations, and more organics, or even better learn to grow your own!
  2. Limit processed foods. Anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce is probably not good for you. Shoot for a goal of at least 80% whole foods and 20% processed foods.
  3. Choose foods with fewer ingredients. If you are choosing tortilla chips for instance, read the label, there are chips that just have corn, lime, and salt. That’s a better choice than one with 20 ingredients including some that are not recognizable.
  4. Start with plain protein. When choosing your protein source, choose dry beans you cook fresh over canned, hamburger meat over pre-seasoned patties, chicken over breaded precooked chicken nuggets, fish instead of fish sticks, etc. The fresher the better and free range meats from a farmer are much better than store bought inhumanely raised, hormone and chemical filled meats.
  5. Make your own breads. Cookies, rolls, crackers, cereals, cakes, bread, muffins, and every other bread product available are full of preservatives and chemicals your body does not need. You can also make bread quite a bit cheaper than buying it, so learn how to make a few bread products yourself and work your way to more and more homemade foods. I make my breads in multiple batches and freeze the rest for future days. This saves me a lot of time as I am feeding 10 people here. Choose whole grains over processed grains. See the cereal example above.
  6. Eat more plants. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans are packed with nutrients your body needs.
  7. Cut out fast food. Just don’t eat it. There are so many reasons….
  8. Choose natural sugars. Instead of using white sugar, try substituting raw sugar, real maple syrup, or raw honey in your cooking. And try to limit sweets because sugar is the number one destroyer of our health.
  9. Choose healthy fats.  Not all fats are created equal.  Butter is better than margarine.  Olive and coconut oils are better than vegetable oils.  Try to take all of the unhealthy trans fats out of your diet. 
  10. DRINK MORE WATER! Avoid soda and have a clean glass of water instead. It takes some practice, but I went from a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper a day to no soda. It was hard at first, but I’ve been soda free for over 15 years and I save so much money and so many empty calories it’s unreal. Let’s figure it up. If I drank my 2 liter of soda or 8 cups per day for 15 years, I would have consumed 800 empty calories daily for a total of 4,380,000 calories over 15 years. Just sugar and chemicals, zero nutrition! And my local homeland has some 2 liter bottles of soda on sale this week for a dollar. If I got them all on sale, which I know I wouldn’t, but it’s easy to calculate with a dollar, I would have spent an additional $5,475 on soda over the past 15 years. Just think if you pay $1.85 for a restaurant soda and you get two sodas with your meal per week, you would spend $2,886 on your meals. That’s a lot of money I could think of a lot better things to do with. There’s more than one reason to go soda free.

Cooking your own foods from scratch will drastically change your health. I challenge you to change your eating habits this New Year and I promise you it will change your life!

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

Getting Picky Kids to Eat Healthy-Hiding Vegetables

I am the queen of trying to add nutrition to every dish I serve my kids and family.  Don’t tell anyone, but my husband has the taste buds of a two year old most of the time.  Nutritious foods are important for staying healthy and fighting off disease, but for small children, nutrition is even more important since they are still growing.  Growing bodies need all the nutrients they can get to develop strong and healthy.

So what do you do when your kids will only eat chicken nuggets and hate anything green?  Believe me, I’ve met my share of picky kids.  I know where you’re coming from.

First, remember a food is new until it’s offered 11 times, so please, don’t give up on trying to get them to learn to like a new food you know is good for them.  Also, letting kids grow their own healthy foods makes them 80 % more likely to want to try it.  In addition, letting kids prepare their own food inspires them to want to eat it even more.  Today we prepared a recipe together at preschool and I had a child try peanut butter that has never shown any interest in putting peanut butter anywhere near their mouth.  I know it works, I am an expert at changing children’s minds about food.  I have been helping kids learn to like healthy food for almost 20 years, and it would AMAZE you what will happen if you don’t give up!

Make sure your food is colorful and inviting to eat.  We eat with our eyes first, so make sure you would want to eat it before you offer it to the kids.  Having a variety of textures, some crunchy, some soft, and a variety of temperatures, some warm and some cold is important as well.  Please don’t be discouraged, we can never give up.  Teaching children to like eating healthy is one of the most important things you can do to give them a good future.  It’s worth our time!

So what do you do with that child who just won’t eat anything but crackers or mac and cheese?  HIDE good things in their food.  I keep grated zucchini and yellow squash in my freezer at all times.  I dehydrate a variety of healthy greens and blend it into powder.  I also puree pumpkin, figs, and all sorts of other foods that will hide easily and keep it in my freezer as well.

You can hide shredded yellow squash in scrambled eggs and under cheese on pizza, you can mix any shredded or pureed veggies in sauces, soups, and casseroles.  Purees can be hidden in baked goods.  Spaghetti sauce is a great place to hide multiple veggies at once.  You just have to get creative.  Your children’s bodies will thank you even if your kids never know. 

Recently I made some French bread pizzas for the kids.  Kids love pizza, so it’s a great, familiar way to sneak in a little goodness.  I make pizzas on tortillas, breads, or I make my own crust to roll out.  The kids LOVE topping the pizzas as well for a fun activity. 

For this particular pizza, I started with some tomato sauce (click here to see how to make your own tomato sauce) to which I added minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and a few Tablespoons of dried greens that look like herbs.  Kids are used to seeing herbs in pizza sauce, so this is a safe bet. 

hiding veggies for picky eaters

Once I had the sauce on, I added a cup of shredded squash I had thawed from the freezer. 

Then I sprinkled on a couple of Tablespoons of dried greens on each slice of bread.

getting kids to eat healthy food

Next I added some shredded mozzarella cheese.

hiding vegetables on pizza

Then add some toppings the kids love, such as a favorite around here, pepperoni.

healthy pizzas for picky kids

We baked it up and the kids devoured it.  Score one for healthy food! 

Getting Picky Kids to Eat Healthy-Hiding Vegetables

It’s easy to add extra nutrition to a recipe if you just think about doing it.  Do you have any great ideas for boosting nutrients in food?



Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Garlic Parmesean Roasted Broccoli

The kids, my family, and I love broccoli any way you can cook it, but something about roasting vegetables makes them taste AMAZING. Roasted broccoli is delicious with just salt, pepper, and olive oil, and it also tastes great with a few simple additions. Here is our number one favorite way to eat it.

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