Long time no see

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It’s been a little over a year since I posted a blog. I just wasn’t really certain what I wanted to blog about. I didn’t want to be set on blogging about just nutrition. Yes nutrition is a big part of my life. I try to eat healthy and instill healthy eating into my kids, even if they are 3 and 1.
I have had some people ask me how I get my son, Tyler, to eat healthy. First, I should start by saying that Tyler will eat a whole red or orange pepper like you would eat an apple. People are amazed that a 3 year old would do that. This past summer we went to the farmers market in our city. Tyler saw a green pepper with some red on it and wanted it. So we bought it for him. It was a huge pepper. He started eating it on the way back to the car. As we were walking people kept saying look at that boy eating that pepper. It’s not everyday you see a 3 year old eating a pepper like and apple. To me its normal.
Tyler will ask me for frozen vegetables to eat all the time. Why he likes them frozen instead of cooked is beyond me. When Tyler was a baby I tried not to give him any sweets until his first birthday. I think I was pretty successful in doing so. I didn’t do anything really special when he was a baby, food wise. I did the normal cereal then vegetables, fruit and then meats. I would give him vegatables and fruit for lunch and dinner along with whatever we were eating. He would sometimes get fruit as a snack as well. One of the things to eating healthy is not having junk food or sweets in your house. We rarely have sweet and junk food at our house. I don’t want you to think that we never eat sweets or junk food, we do, just not every day. Moderation is key. Now that Tyler is three, almost 4, he still asks for fruits and vegetables for a snack, oh and cheese. He has rarely if ever asked me for candy or junk food. I hope that my daughter, Ariana, will have the same eating habits as him.

Beef and barley soup

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I’m always looking for new recipes to try because I don’t like eating the same thing all the time. I have found alot of good recipes on Pinterest. Last night for dinner I made beef and barley soup. I found this recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine. Its a nice hearty soup. I usually don’t make many recipes from Martha Stewart magazine because many of the ingredients are expensive or the recipes are time consuming. With a 2 year old and an 11 week old I need meals that are either quick, simple or can cook in a crockpot or something for a few hours.

Beef and Barley Soup

2T olive oil (I just used olive oil cooking spray, works just as well)
1 pound London broil, cut in cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
2T minced garlic (4 cloves)
2T tomato paste
3/4 cup dry red wine ( I didn’t use this either, I just used beef broth)
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
3/4 cup hulled or pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup parsley chopped
Horseradish for garnish ( I omitted this)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over med-high heat. Season beef with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove beef.
Reduce heat to medium. Add some more oil if needed. Cook onion, carrots, and mushrooms until golden, 12-15 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until caramelized, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add wine. Return to heat and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Return beef to pot and add stock and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
Add barley and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until beef and barley are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir in parsley. Divide soup in 6 bowls and garnish with horseradish.

Serves 6
292 calories
2g sat. fat
6g unsaturated fat
24g protein
6g fiber

Portion control

Shut yo face!

Portion sizes over the years have gotten bigger and bigger. As a result so has the waistline of many American’s. Here’ a link to a website showing how portions have changed from 20 years ago.

A coke used to be an 8oz bottle and now they come in 20 oz bottles. A bagel was 3 inches in diameter and now they are 5-6 inches in diameter and 200 or more calories. Not only has portion sizes increased but so has our plates, cups and bowls. The average size of our plates today are 12-13 inches in diameter, compared to 9 inches in the 1960’s. I just measured our plates and they are 11 inches in diameter. With added portion sizes and bigger plates comes more food and more overeating. Did all these changes help to contribute to the obesity epidemic? I think so…but that’s another topic for another day.

So how do you know what is considered a portion size?

3 oz of meat (chicken, beef) is the size of a deck of cards
3oz of fish is the size of a checkbook
2 tablespoons of peanut butter is the size of a ping pong ball
1 cup of fruit/ vegetable and a medium size piece of fruit is the size of your fist
1 cup of salad is the size of a baseball
1 oz of cheese is the size of 3 dice
1 oz of nuts is the size of a handful (not overflowing)
1 pancake is the size of a cd
1/3-1/2cup pasta or rice is the size of an ice cream scoop
1 baked potato is the size of a computer mouse

These are just some examples. Here a link with a printable handout from the American Heart Association.

So the next time you are at a restaurant you can compare the portion sizes of your meal to what a real portion should be. When you do eat out you can always split a meal with someone or ask for a to go bag as soon as you get your meal and put half of your meal in the bag.

Calcium

A glass of milk

Image via Wikipedia

Calcium plays a very important role in our bodies. It is a mineral we need each day. Calcium makes up about 99% in our bones and teeth and the other 1% is found in the blood and soft tissue. Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaining healthy bones. If calcium intake is inadequate the body will demineralize our bones to maintain normal blood calcium levels. When calcium levels are inadequate it is considered a deficiency. Low blood calcium levels usually implies abnormal parathyroid function and is rarely due to low dietary intake. Chronic kidney disease, vitamin D deficiency, and low magnesium levels, that occur mainly due to alcoholism, can cause low calcium levels in the blood. Vitamin D is needed for optimal calcium absorption. That is why most calcium supplements contain vitamin D. The recommended amount of calcium for children ages 1-3 are 500mg/d, ages 4-8  800mg/d, ages 9-18 1300mg/d, for adults up to age 50 you need 1000mg/d, 51 and older need 1200mg/d, during pregnancy women need 1300mg/d if under 18 and if they are older than 18 they need 1000mg/d.
There are many good sources of calcium. It is best to obtain as much calcium from foods since calcium in foods is accompanied by other nutrients. Good sources of calcium include milk, cheeses, yogurt, tofu, spinach, rhubarb, white beans, kale, pinto beans red beans and broccoli.
 My family goes through 3 gallons of milk a week. I personally am not a big milk drinker. I only have about a glass of milk a day with my dinner. I do take a calcium supplement because I know that I don’t get enough calcium through the foods I eat. I will eat yogurt but I can get tired of eating it. Now my son and husband will drink milk plain with no food or anything. I can’t do that. I don’t care for the taste of it. There is nothing wrong with taking a supplement. If you do take calcium supplements make sure to take it with food and not to take it with a multivitamin. The reason is that food  helps calcium get absorbed better in your body. The iron in a multivitamin will prevent calcium from being absorbed properly. So just try to remember those tips if you take a supplement. Not everyone needs a supplement.