Did you know that Superbowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day after Thanksgiving? In fact if you arranged all of the chicken wings consumed on this day end to end it would circle the Earth twice. That's a lot of deep fried, butter-bathed chicken... So
for the snack round up, I'm focusing on healthy Superbowl party snacks. Superbowl parties can be a spread of all types of processed foods for your kiddos, like tons of potato chips, sour cream-based dips that don't need refrigeration (definitely suspect) and that creamy cheesy stuff inside poppers. With cookies and sugary drinks to boot, it all adds up to a tummy ache and grumpy kids that never ate any real foods. So here are some ideas from blogs all over for tasty ways to get your kids eating better foods this weekend. Heck while you're at it you might as well try some nutritious foods too, because despite our best intentions a parent can't subsist on chicken wings alone. Enjoy!
Superbowl Snack Round UpCrispy quinoa, lime and chipotle chicken fingersHere's an alternative to buffalo wings. And it's a really creative use of quinoa too, for those of us that haven't stopped just using it in salads.Baked zucchini friesThese are a great gameday alternative deep fried veggies. They are baked and yet have a bread crumb batter so they aren't limp like some baked fries.Parmesan sesame pita chipsYour kids won't even miss potato chips with these tasty pita chips. They are really easy to make and the sesame seeds sneak in nutrients like magnesium and calcium.
Stuffed mini bell peppersThese are bright and festive and a great way to get your kids eating a fruit (that's right, bell peppers are technically fruits) on Superbowl Sunday. They do have cream cheese and bacon (not the most healthy, albeit tasty, items) but there are still better than store bought frozen stuffed peppers.Jazzed up popcornAlright so I'm stealing from my archives here, but this one is a great, healthy snack that is great for vegging out in front of a football game.Wasa Superbowl snacksHere's a few different ways of using Wasa crackers (rye crackers) with a variety of toppings for a healthy cracker platter. Related Reading:
I've been stuck under a pile grading and swimming through several different projects at the lab, so our snack time is anything but leisurely right now. Here's one way that we're getting our snack fix despite the total lack of kitchen time. Ready made snacks are a great way to go when you don't have time to make your own, and if you pay attention to the ingredients label you can still make them healthy.
This might be a bad thing to admit for a natural foods junkie, but I'm a Costco fanatic. It's in my blood- my Dad used to take us there every weekend for a freebie "lunch", in which we'd gorge ourselves on free samples while strolling down the aisles. Its a hot topic of conversation at family gatherings- what we got at Costco and how much we love it. Initially I resisted getting a membership, despite the family pressure, because I was trying to do the local, buy-just-what-you-need thing. Then my second kid was born and then the savings in diapers and wipes was just too good to pass up when budgeting for two kids in daycare. And that's when I discovered that there are some really great products there for even a healthnutty family like mine, like organic soy milk and cereal at a great price. One of my favorite new finds are Aussie Bites, mini muffins that consist of rolled oats, coconut, dried fruit, flax and sunflower seeds. They're filling and yet delicious all at once. And the long list of whole grain products and seeds make these muffins burst with nutrients, in particular omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Translation- these are great for keeping your kids energized and helps with brain function. Around here these are the go-to snack in the morning. They're satisfying enough to hold my kids over during errands, and a great snack first thing in the morning if it's going to be a little while before breakfast. The only problem- we can polish off a container (which has 32 tasty muffins) of these in a few days. Guess I'll just have to go to Costco again...
My little guy has a sensitive tummy, and one of the big agitators is dairy. But that's a food group that's hard to avoid when you have a toddler with growing bones. Milk and it's resulting diary products are the most concentrated sources of calcium, which is a necessary nutrient for bone growth. Calcium is absorbed in the digestive tract (with the help of vitamin D) and incorporated into growing bone tissue.Fortunately there are a lot of calcium-fortified foods on the market, like alternative milks (think soy and almond) and orange juice. That being said, seeing as I'm a natural-fanatic, I wanted to find some alternatives that are naturally high in calcium. And I figured that while I'm researching it I might as well pass this info along to other parents that have kids with dairy sensitivities.
But even if you don't have kids with diary issues, increasing your calcium food sources with your kids is a great idea because it will aid in better absorption. The human body can only absorb ~500 mg of calcium at a time, so a slow and steady technique will result in more absorption overall. If you feed your kids breakfast that consists of cereal with milk, fortified OJ and a multivitamin then your probably losing out on a lot of that calcium. But if you space it out over the course of the day, then you're more likely to hit your kids calcium quota, which is 500mg for 1-3 year olds, 800mg for 4-8 year olds and 300mg for 9-18 year olds. Dairy-free foods rich in calcium1. Leafy greens- These might be a hard sell with your kids, so you might need to adopt the sneak-it-in-under-the-cheese-on-the-pizza technique. Examples of leafy greens include spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, kale and bok choy.
2. Broccoli- If your kids are adverse to broccoli, you can try making broccoli dust (this idea comes from the site Flavour Fiesta). Finely shave off the crowns of your broccoli so that you get a fine powder that you can then sprinkle over savory foods.3. Beans- For most kids these are an easier sell. Great sources include soy beans, navy beans, black beans and white beans. You can also try processing them to make a modified hummus dip.4. Nuts- Nuts have so many nutrients in general and are a great snack. A great source of calcium in this group is almonds, but you can also try hazelnuts and walnuts. Try making a trail mix and letting your kids sample it during errands.5. Seafood
- Though not a food that you typically think of as a calcium source, some types of seafood are very high in calcium. Examples include oysters, blue crab, clams and seaweed.6. Molasses: Here's a surprise- a sweetener that has calcium
! Try it out in baked goods for a little more flavor. Specialty types, like blackstrap molasses, have even higher concentrations. 7. Tofu: Easy to sneak into smoothies, tofu is a good source of calcium.8. Seeds: Again, another easy food to sneak in. A great source is sesame seeds (another pitch for hummus) but another good source is sunflower seeds.
| |I just got off the phone with Dr. Dane Buxbaum, a Naturopathic Doctor with a practice that focuses on clinical nutrition. My head is swimming with all the great food allergy information he just gave me. It was a fascinating interview, and I want to pass all this interesting information along to you. His answers to my questions, plus a couple from the ladies at the Natural Parenting group, are paraphrased below. If you have any more questions that you would like to add just comment below and I'll pass them along. Enjoy! Tell me about your education background. I have a B.S. in the nutritional sciences from the University of Arizona. This was in dietetics, which sets you up to do an internship and become a dietician. However I didn't become a dietician because they typically work in a hospital setting and manage disease as opposed to using nutrition as a therapy. Essentially the main goal is to keep disease from getting worse as opposed to better. So instead I got my Naturopathic Doctor degree from the Southwest college of Naturopathic Medicine. Why did you choose Naturopathic medicine? When I was in high school I had a ton of anxiety and general health problems. We had a family physician that was a great doctor but looked at everything from a standard approach, and nothing helped. I finally went to another MD that tested me for food allergies, using a IgG allergy test, which was very off the medical radar. It turns out I was allergic to gluten and dairy. It took about 6 months to have an effect, but I shed a ton of weight and my anxiety (along with other approaches to treat anxiety as well) became much more manageable. I went to the U of A and wanted to learn more about nutrition. Then I stumbled into naturopathy while looking at different career options. I knew that I want to be a physician but I wanted a tool box that included nutrition and I wanted to use a holistic approach. I could have gone the MD route and, much like the doctor I saw, utilize holistic means but then I’d have the obstacle of having to practice different from how I wanted to and then have to use my whole career to develop a tool box that I wanted. There is a lot of obstacles to being and ND, but I started out with a toolbox that I wanted. I use pharmaceuticals too when necessary, but I also always use nutrition and lifestyle changes.I also knew that I wanted to do primary care, which you can do with an ND license. From my personal experience I know it’s absolutely terrible to be dealing with debilitating anxiety as a teenager. It’s such a struggle, and you don’t have the character to deal with it. It’s really rewarding to help other patients with similar issues. What are common symptoms of a food allergy? Most people have digestive problems. That’s usually the giveaway; some degree of a GI, digestive, or bowel movement problem. In that case it’s usually at a minimum associated with a food allergy. Things like Irritable Bowell Syndrome and Celiac Disease come to mind. What about the less common symptoms? Less common symptoms include anxiety, depression, fatigue, autoimmune issues, arthritis, and inflammatory diseases and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. When The GI system is irritated it has these domino effects downstream. Even if there is an allergy, eliminating it is never a silver bullet. Quite frequently it’s part of the dysfunction in the system, a component.Here’s an example. I worked with a doctor that used an elimination diet on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and it was amazing how many had an improvement in their symptoms, not a complete resolution, but still an improvement.
What is the most common food allergy that you see? Here are the five big ones:Gluten (like wheat, rye and barley) DairiesSoyCornEggs Are any specific food allergies becoming more common? A good example is Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the intestines upon reaction to the protein gliadin) We used to think 1:1000 people suffered from it. New numbers indicate that it’s closer to 1:100 (1:133 based on a study out of Sweden, 1:113 from a study conducted in the US).Another example is dairy. But in general, we grow food differently, process it differently different, and modify these foods such that we actually changing the protein structure (Jill’s note here, think about GMO’s). For example, the wheat that our Grandparents ate was different from what we consume now. We predominantly grow a high gluten wheat because it bakes better. That, along with reduced fermenting in bread baking, demonstrates that how we make wheat products has changed a lot. I asked readers from the natural parents group if they had any questions they would like addressed. Two main topics kept coming up:Why do we wait to introduce solids to children until 1, 2 or 3 years of age? It seems like it would be better to expose earlier at low levels to get the body used to the new food, as opposed to suddenly exposing at a later age? This is a highly controversial subject. The reasoning for waiting to introduce highly allergenic foods, like gluten, soy and eggs, is because of immune development. If you introduce a food too soon the child doesn’t have the immune capacity to discern friend or foe. That being said, there is probably variability in when to introduce different foods. Some foods might need to be introduced earlier, or there might be an optimal window in which to introduce a food that you can lose quicklyThere are also foods, like peanuts can have molds. So those foods, which are high in contaminants, are typically withheld until later because we don’t want to expose a child to these products and challenge them early in life. Has the incidence of Candida (i.e systemic yeast) infections increased? It seems more common a diagnosis as of late. If so, can you speak as to why it has increased? Along those lines, can you talk about how a food allergy is misinterpreted as a Candida infection? Definitely, though it’s typically more of an adult diagnosis, It’s a normal digestive flora, the issue is when it becomes overpopulated. This overpopulation is a result of a gut flora imbalance, which can open the avenue for opportunistic infections. There are potentially two things that can influence this overpopulation. A lot of times we don’t have a good probiotics exposure. We used eat foods that could to help maintain or GI balance, but those foods have changed. We no longer have diets with such useful natural probiotics.Also our diets are full of sugary foods, which cause Candida to thrive. It allows the perfect environment, essentially a constant fuel source for pathogenic culprits. Thus Dysbiotic guts and high sugar diets are causing this yeast increase.Candida can present similar to a food allergy. Symptoms include skin conditions, GI issues, stool irregularity, fatigue, and headaches. However the big thing that is indicative of a Candida infection is sugar cravings, which thus helps the yeast continue to thrive.
In the last few years we've become inundated by omega supplements. I first heard about them when I was pregnant, but nowadays even everyday adults can get omega gummies at the grocery store. But what are omegas, and what's the reasoning behind they're surge in popularity? I wondered the same thing even while I took them while nursing my little girl five years ago, so here's a my personal crash course on omegas and your kiddos.
-Omegas are imperative for proper brain function. Infants that are supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids have improved cognitive abilities.
-There is some evidence that premature infants grew faster when supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids.
-Omega-3 fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory effects.
-Children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementation can increase attention duration in children under 12.
-Omega-3 supplementation can improve depression symptoms. Most of these studies relate to adults, however there is a small amount of data showing this effect in children with depression.
-Children with a high omega-3 diet were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
-Omega-3 supplementation may reduce airway inflammation, thereby improving asthma symptoms. However this result has not been consistent among all studies, so keep that in mind if your kid suffers from asthma.
Fats are long chains of carbon molecules. In saturated fats, all carbons and other molecules, like hydrogen, are bonded together with a single bond, or a single tie. In unsaturated fats there are double bonds, or two ties, connecting carbon to the next molecule in the chain. In omega-3 fatty acids, the first double bond occurs at the third carbon in the sequence. In omega-6 fatty acids that double bond starts at the sixth carbon in the line.
Omega-3 fatty acids
In the benefits list above most of the studies used omega-3 fatty acids. Despite their numerous healthy benefits, most people are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Though supplements are readily available, foods like fish and certain types of seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 food sources
Omega-6 fatty acids
It's not as hard to meet the omega-6 fatty acid daily quota. In fact, most people consume 10 times as many omega-6 fats as omega-3 fats. That's because omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils, which are a common cooking ingredient.
With all the health benefits, of omegas, why not go ahead and start adding them to your snack list. Your kids probably won't even notice a handful of flax or chia seeds in their yogurt, but their brains sure will.
First off, happy New Year! May 2012 bring everyone health, happiness and lots of quality time with the ones you love.Here's a dip we brought to a New Year's dinner last night that is really tasty and a healthy rendition of a layer dip. Think of 7 layer dip, so delicious yet so bad for you with all that sour creaminess. Over Christmas we inadvertently found the perfect sour cream substitute
when Family friend was making her dip and realized she didn't have enough sour cream. But she did have hummus, and though we were all dubious at first we were all amazed at how well guacamole and hummus go together. And thus a dip that has less fat and more protein was born.I packed these into individual servings by using small plastic disposable tumblers. That makes them more kid-sized and also cuts down on the germ factor, which is a added bonus with all the Holiday colds going around. This idea is not my own but comes from one of my favorite food blogs, the girl who ate everything.
She did these individual seven layer dip cups, and they are the inspiration for my single serving layer dip.I typically make my own hummus and guacamole, though this time I bought ready made guac because I couldn't find ripe ones at the store I was at. They were all rock hard, so I bought a basic guacamole that only have a few ingredients. But making your own is really easy; it's just several avocados, a clove or two of garlic, lime juice and salt to taste. So here's a healthy layer dip rendition to start the New Year off on the right foot. Enjoy!
Healthy Kiddos Layer DipTotal time
: 10 minutesMakes: 8 servings2 cups guacamole
2 cups hummus1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese1 cup chopped tomato1/2 cup chopped green onion1/2 cup diced black olives8 small plastic tumblersCarefully add the guacamole evenly to all 8 cups. Tap cups down on the counter to settle, then add the hummus. Again tap on the counter, then sprinkle on the cheese and gently press down. Sprinkle on the tomatoes and onions. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.