Fed Up with Diet By Advertising

I found this article on My Sisters Pantry blog. It is a pretty great blog, but I just love this article. The blog is offering great tips and information about cutting the sugar in your diet. Do you ever look at labels? Check out the label on that ‘healthy’ yogurt next time and see how much sugar is in there. My family is sensitive to sugar. Too much sugar is not good for anyone and food companies hide it everywhere! Watch the video for the #FedUp campaign, get informed and get crackin. Lucy, we (me) gots some work to do!

my sister's pantry

Sugar – looks pretty innocent, doesn’t it?

In honor of the release of Fed Up, a documentary about the power of sugar in our food supply, I’ve decided to take another look at my own (and my children’s sugar intake), and to remind myself WHY I would still be concerned about it.

This documentary, and most of what I’ve read about sugar and processed food in the last 10 year,s leads me to the conclusion that I cannot trust food manufacturers with my health. (See Salt, Sugar, Fat for more about that.) And it seems to me that there is often an inverse relationship between the amount of packaging and readiness and the healthfulness of the actual item. There are, of course, exceptions in the “natural foods” category. I can purchase prepared foods with less sugar, fewer chemicals, but these items ARE exceptions.

I don’t particularly want to build a…

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Eating Healthy – from a kids’ point of view

For those of you who are pizza aficionados, as I am, (My craving when pregnant with the twins) I have found the pizza from Costco to be the best tasting for the value. I also tend to add extras like extra cheese, pineapple or olives before popping in the oven.

So, the other day, I asked my husband to go by Costco and pick up pizza for the weekly pizza Friday. I don’t care what school district you are from, pizza is not a vegetable to me. Unless I can count wine as a fruit, but I think my doctor would frown on that. We pair the pizza with a salad starter, limit slices and end up with a fruit chaser, usually a banana. So, I like to think I am providing healthy eating in addition to the manna that is Costco pizza.

On the way out, he grabbed a cookbook they were handing out for free. I also collect cookbooks in an effort to provide a variety of meals and not just the stuff I grew up with. I handed the cookbook to the kids and said, “Here is a stack of sticky notes. Tag anything you think is healthy and you want me to make. I will see if we can fit it in the budget and make it over the next few weeks.”

Needless to say, they tagged every other dish in the appetizer section and the dessert section. Clearly, I need to have a discussion about what healthy means. Healthy to me means whole foods/grains, a balance of meat, grain and veggie with an occasional sweet thrown in. To my boys, the strawberries on a cheesecake look healthy. Hmmm….

Staying healthy is for many a resolution in the new year. How do you eat healthy? What do you try and focus on- getting enough calcium, vitamins etc or limiting sweets? Or is it a free-for-all, following your cravings because your body knows what’s best?

Fit and Fresh Lunch on the Go

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School has been in session for about 3 weeks now here in Western Washington. Oliver, my youngest started Montessori school. Archie and Sean started 1st grade. Neither school has a lunchroom set up, and we are required to pack lunch every day. Yep every day. Our challenge this year was to get a lunch box that would fit reasonably in the mini-fridge for the Montessori school. I also liked the idea of a bento style box to move away from all the little plastic baggies that seemed to be a waste.

I would use 5 plastic baggies per lunch last year, between sandwich, veggie, fruit, cheese, snack etc. To save on money, I would buy bulk and parse out to lunch sized portions. Now, with 3 lunches to pack, I could see myself wasting the money saved buying in bulk on little plastic baggies. My hidden granola hippie child was screaming in pain.

So, I started researching and asking around about the best, most cost effective bento boxes. I saw some really great ones for $30+ each. I needed at least 6 considering I don’t run the dishwasher everyday. Waaay out of my price budget. And, I saw some really fragile, but inexpensive ones. Then, I went shopping at Wal-Mart for school supplies and found these. These boxes are perfect. So perfect, I only found 1. So, I ordered the rest for $9/ set on Amazon. (Score!) I even bought enough so I could take some to work!

What I like about these boxes is that there is room on the bottom for a sandwich, a yogurt and a veggie. Up above in the little boxes I put an extra snack like trail mix or fish crackers and some sort of fruit. In my lunches, the bottom is full of lettuce, and a small amount of dressing. Up top, I have chopped veggies, like peppers, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and then a later afternoon snack like almonds or cut fruit. There is plenty of room for the anything you want, and it helps me keep my portions on track. Because you can configure the box(s) with the ice pack or not, you can make sure it fits for whatever you are packing that day. The boxes are sturdy and include the icepack to keep things cool.

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The only thing about these boxes is to make sure you keep them on the top shelf of the dishwasher. The heat, if on the bottom, will warp the container. I had one of my boxes wedged in the top rack, but the heat bent the side a bit. The lid still closes, so its okay. Also, I haven’t tried to keep any big liquid type items in the little boxes, but my sense is they are not leak-proof. So I would put any soups or loose yogurt in separate containers and nestle them in the large section of the box.

All in all, we really enjoy using our new lunch boxes. They are versatile, sturdy, dish washer washable and have room for everything that we pack. Best of all, they are decently priced!

4th of July Menu and Food Safety

Courtesy of epiphanystl.org – click for website

For the first time in 10 years, I am not hosting a 4th of July party. When I moved to my first house, it was to a neighborhood close (walking distance) to the fireworks in my city. The next house, has a neighbor with a really great view, so at the end of the BBQ, my friends, all the kids and I would walk to the hill behind my neighbors house. It was lovey, it was wonderful, it was a lot of work.

This year, the kids are gone to grandma’s house and the husband is travelling. That is too much work and food to bring chaos to a house I get to clean up alone. So, this is the year the annual 4th of July party went bust.

But, in case you have a shindig planned for tomorrow, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for the occasion:

Hamburgers

Everyone has their favorite version, but save me from the pre-formed cardboard patties, blech

2lbs ground beef (or ask your butcher to ground a chuck roast)
1/4C favorite BBQ sauce
1Pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
2 splashes of Worstershire sauce

Mix the above ingredients and form into 8 hamburgers. Grill to desired doneness.

Broccoli Salad

Pasta Salad

This salad contains no mayo- so it is relatively safe to have out and about during a warm picnic.

1 Pkg Favorite Noodles, I like rainbow twisted ones they are so pretty
4 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
8 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
2 Balls Fresh Mozzarella, chopped
4 Tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 Lb of pepperoni or salami

Boil the noodles, and on a warm day, boil the noodles early, early in the morning, with windows and doors open to get the heat/steam outside before it gets too hot. Drain the noodles and set aside (Do Not Rinse the noodles, it keeps the dressing from sticking to them). Mix the Balsamic, Olive Oil, Seasoning and toss in the noodles till completely covered. Let noodles cool in the fridge. Bring out and toss the Tomatoes, Salami and Mozzarella. (You want the noodles cold for this so they don’t melt the cheese or get the meat too greasy) If the noodles have soaked up all the dressing, make some more and toss again. Serve room temperature.

As always, when BBQing outside, please be aware of food safety guidelines. We want poeple to remember the party, not the after effects!

Bacon Delivered

I love bacon. You love bacon. We all love bacon…Hey! Its almost a song. I have found a way to get great bacon, for cheap and delivered. Not to your door, but to your neighborhood at any rate. I have written posts about Zaycon before. They have a great deal for Chicken Breasts. Now, they are offering and I have ordered their bacon as well! Bacon is not something that I eat every day, even if I want to. But I do like to add bacon in my Broccoli Salad, soups or as a side with breakfast. I still try to eat healthy and work out, update on my Fitness Friday this week. But, sometimes, a little bacon goes a long way. Stay tuned for more bacon recipes or check out this blog: 365 Days of Bacon, its delish!

If you click on this link to Zaycon, you can register to order bacon for only $3.49/lb. That is less than what I find at the grocery store. I am a deal finder, a hound if you will for decently priced meat, and bacon seems to be the one to break my self imposed per-pound limits. So yummy and a great treat once in a while. Here is an excerpt from their site to tell you more:

  • High quality, medium-cut hickory smoked sliced bacon (14-18 slices per pound)
  • Order includes 12 X 3 lb packages per case (Total order size is 36 lbs)
  • Bacon is fresh, but frozen for your convenience
  • Premium, high-quality and consistent, this hickory-smoked bacon has a wonderful flavor and represents a great value for families
  • Easy to share with a friend if you do not think you can use the entire case. Our new smaller 3 lb packages make it even easier to split up with friends and family.

 

**full disclosure: By clicking on the Zaycon link above and here, I do receive a referral for the company. But seriously it’s GREAT!