Hearty Bean and Barley Soup

Are you getting chilly from the cold weather?  Try this delicious soup recipe from Cooking Light.  We’re sure that you won’t mind the cold weather after you’re warmed up with this yummy meal!

Photo Courtesy of Cooking Light

 

Ingredients

  • 7 cups fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 (4-inch) rosemary sprigs
  • 1 (19-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot 
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
  • 10 cup torn spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

 

Preparation

1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.

2. Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. Reserve the remaining whole beans.

3. Heat oil in pan over medium heat.

4. Add onions, carrot, and celery; cook 4 minutes.

5.  Add broth mixture, mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, and barley; bring to a boil.

6. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes.

7. Stir in spinach and black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until barley is tender.

8. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

*To ensure rich flavor, add garlic and herbs to canned broth for a homemade taste. Mashing a portion of the beans gives the soup extra body.

The recipe and photo used in this post were courtesy of Cooking Light. To see the originally posted recipe please click here.

New Year! New Intentions with Star Charts!

New year! New intentions with Star Charts!

 

If you’re like me, you need and want to get your kids more involved in their food fare as well as getting excited about the foods they’re eating. With a new year ahead, you and your family can join us as we set intentions to make healthy habits with the help of a star chart. I personally want to get my kids to just try new foods. It doesn’t matter whether they like them but I want them to try. Keep in mind that I eat every kind of food under the sun…from chitlins to kale chips. And my two boys are surely making great strides with new foods at their own pace. However, I’m well aware that my own efforts sometimes get in the way. For example, every Sunday evening I present them options that I’m eager to have them try. But this is just a once-a-week activity…and can be overwhelming for my younger son. Besides, kids like to think they’re calling the shots!

So this past Sunday, the boys and I sat down to create “star charts” to help motivate them to try new foods and to help encourage them to practice self care and/or healthy habits.

 

I drew the basic foundation and added the three most important behaviors (for my boys at present) and then I gave them space on the charts to add three or four behaviors they wanted to achieve.

 

So far…so good! As you can see per my older son Bobby’s star chart,  he is enthusiastically awaiting his prize for his healthy habits and even my younger son Billy is motivated. He actually tried cod, broccoli, a new yogurt and peanuts in just two days.

 

On Monday, Billy refused to try a hard-boiled egg as well as his dinner when I failed to ask him for his choice. I quickly realized my mistake and asked him what he would like to try; he willingly ate the new yogurt and peanuts.

 

As you might have noticed, both boys like to select their own veggies and their own new food to try. This is typical. So don’t forget this step as you create your own star charts with your child.  Making the chart with the child and letting them have opportunity to make choice is essential. This is where we give them “control”—the ability to speak in their own voice. Read below on tips for stellar self-care star charting! Join my boys and me. Download our PDF Star Chart to start teaching your child healthy behaviors and to make this process easy and fun for both parent and child. Let us know how it goes.

Tips to Stellar Star Charting:

For creating healthy habits…

1. Parent chooses two to three behaviors.

2. Child chooses two to three behaviors.

3. If the behavior is open ended like trying a new veggie, let each child choose between at least two options.

4. Encourage each child to help decorate and make their own stars so he/she can proudly show off their efforts. Be sure to display – perhaps on the refrigerator.

5. Rewards are most effective when immediate. Young children may benefit from rewards every three days rather than just once a week.

6. Ideally, set the goal at 60 percent stars (success) per day. This allows for flexibility and the option to opt out and not be penalized on days when your child feels overwhelmed, overstimulated and/or just tired. If your child continuously earns all his/her stars, make the behaviors slightly more measurable; try a quarter cup of veggies with dinner or just reset the goal at 90 percent.

7. Have fun and change some of the goals each week. For instance, when your child loses interest in a goal, you can replace it with a new goal like clearing his/her dishes from the table. When a goal becomes a habit, it no longer needs to be reinforced, so just remove it from the chart.  You can even change a few goals—maybe two out of six per week to keep your child on his/her toes.

8. And of course, remember not to strive for perfection or just set end goals – rather set goals of trying foods and activities to encourage the process of trying.

 

3 Reasons Why Kids Get Hooked on “Kids’ Meals"

3 Reasons Why Kids Get Hooked on “Kids’ Meals”… and How to Change That
By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

*This post was originally published on ASHA’s online blog. The original can be found here.

Photo Credit: Echromatique via Compfight cc

Let me say this up front: I’m not condemning the American Kids’ Meal that is so common in fast food chains and family restaurants, but clearly I’m not keen on eating that type of food when there are other choices.   My own kids have certainly had their fair share of chicken nuggets, mac n’cheese and French fries, just to name a few of the comfort kid foods that predictably reappear on kids’ menus day after day.   This is not a blog about good vs. healthy nutrition, because most parents (including me) know that the traditional fast food fare is not healthy…and that’s exactly why parents want to change the statistics that 15 percent of preschoolers ask to go to McDonald’s  “at least once a day.”    The millions of dollars spent on advertising and toys to market kids meals certainly makes many of us frustrated when much less is spent on marketing a culture of wellness.  By hooked, I don’t mean addicted, although there is research that suggests that food addiction may be a serious component for a subset of the pediatric population Plus, the added sugars in processed foods have been found to be addictive in lab experiments.  But, for the purposes of this short article, let’s keep kids’ meals in this very small box:  Most kids love them.

Why am I writing about this for ASHA? As a pediatric SLP who focuses on feeding, one of the frequent comments I hear from parents is “As long we’ve got chicken nuggets,  then my kid will eat.”   Besides the obvious “just say no” solution, what parents truly are asking is,  “How do I expand my kid’s diet to include more than what’s on a kids’ menu?”  Whether we are considering our pediatric clients in feeding therapy or simply the garden-variety picky eater, that is an excellent question with not a very simple answer.

In feeding therapy, therapists take into account the child’s physiology (which includes the sensory system), the child’s gross motor, fine motor and oral motor skills  and also behaviors that affect feeding practices.  Therapists then create a treatment plan designed to help that specific child progress through the developmental process of eating.  While the nuances of learning to bite, chew and swallow a variety of foods are too complex to cover in a short blog post, here are just three of the reasons why kids get hooked on kids’ meals and some strategies to avoid being locked into the standard kids’ menu and begin to expand a child’s variety of preferred foods:

  1. Kids barely have to chew.  The common fast food chicken nugget is a chopped mixture of …well, if you want to know, click here.  Warning: it will ruin your appetite for chicken nuggets, so if your kids can read,  clicking might be the first solution.  However, in terms of oral motor skills, bites of chicken nuggets are a first food that even an almost toothless toddler can consume with relative ease.  Simply gum, squish and swallow.  Macaroni and cheese?  Oily French fries?  Ditto.  There’s  not a lot of chomping going on!
    • In feeding therapy, SLPs assess a child’s oral motor skills and may begin to address strengthening a child’s ability to use a rotary chew, manage the food easily and swallow safely.  Many of the families we work with eat fast food on a regular basis and we might start with those foods, but slowly over time, more variety is introduced.
    • For general picky eaters or those progressing in feeding therapy, the key is to offer small samplings of foods that DO require chewing, as long as a parent feels confident that their child is safe to do so.  Starting early with a variety of manageable solids, as described in this article for ASHA, is often the first step.   For older kids, the texture (and comfort) of “squish and swallow” foods can contribute to food jags.  Here are ten tips for preventing food jags, including how to build your child’s familiarity around something other than the drive-thru.

 

To continue reading, please click here to be redirected to ASHAsphere.

Gluten-Free: Diet Trend or Medical Necessity?

Gluten-Free: Diet Trend or Medical Necessity?
By Julie Holland Faylor, MHS, CEDS

 

Open a magazine, visit a restaurant or shop for groceries and you’re likely to observe the gluten-free diet craze. Books, magazines and blogs claim various health and weight loss benefits from eliminating gluten from our diets, restaurants tout separate gluten-free menus, and grocery stores have added whole aisles dedicated to gluten-free foods. In fact, the gluten-free eating trend has become so pervasive that there’s even a gluten-free Girl Scout cookie!

For many people, gluten-free eating is the latest fad. However, for people like me with celiac disease, it’s a necessity. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, only 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune illness that damages the small intestine and restricts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. People who have this disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. If any gluten is ingested, even a small amount, uncomfortable medical symptoms develop shortly afterwards, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. In addition to those with celiac disease, there is a portion of the population who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. These people also cannot tolerate gluten, and while they may experience similar symptoms, they don’t experience the same damage to their small intestine.

As an eating disorder specialist, two things are concerning to me about the swift rise in gluten-free diets—the connection between dietary restriction and eating disorders, and the impact of the growing popularity of elective gluten-free eating on people without medically-verified gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Eating disorders often begin with a seemingly innocent diet—medically indicated or otherwise—and many diets call for the elimination of entire food groups like gluten, dairy or meat. Sometimes, dietary restriction can lead to disordered eating behaviors like “orthorexia,” a condition characterized by an unhealthy preoccupation with healthy eating. In other cases, dietary restriction can lead to a full-syndrome eating disorder (the dieting behavior activates the latent genetic predisposition toward developing an eating disorder—remember, eating disorders are hereditary! Link to first post) For individuals without a medically diagnosed gluten intolerance that elect to stop eating gluten, I encourage them to think about why they are making this significant change to their diet. In general, whole grains are an important part of a balanced pattern of eating, and labeling foods as “good” and “bad” can stigmatize eating and reinforce the cycle of dieting and dietary restriction. A simple best practice following any significant change in food intake is to consult with a registered dietitian to establish an optimal nutrition plan. While doing so, it is important to specify that the gluten-free change is a dietary preference rather than a medical necessity. Regardless of our diet choices or mandates, it is important to keep wellness and balance in mind.

Photo Credit: Whatsername? via Compfight cc

Additionally, the gluten-free diet fad creates a misperception that gluten-free is merely a preference, not a medical necessity. As a result, gluten-free standards have relaxed to the point where many products and menus claiming to be free of gluten actually contain some measure of wheat, rye or barley. This makes it more challenging to practice a medically-indicated gluten-free diet. While food products must list their ingredients, gluten-free menus at restaurants can be blatant offenders, not taking the time to truly understand what gluten is and in what products it is used. In my personal experience at many restaurants, I have ordered meals from these special menus that actually contained gluten ingredients like soy sauce, and I felt terribly sick shortly after. In a sense, it seems as though elective gluten-free eating has trivialized a celiac disease diagnosis. I encourage those with gluten intolerance to be hyper-vigilant about their product choices and restaurant visits—in light of the gluten-free trend, we have to listen to our bodies even if a label or menu item claims to be gluten-free.

In today’s culture, dieting is pervasive. Gluten-free eating is all the rage this year, the latest in a long line of fads and gimmicks like low/no-carb, high protein, raw, fat-free, sugar-free—the list goes on and on. While the majority of diets are elective in nature, some diets—including the dietary restrictions of individuals with celiac disease—are medically indicated. Regardless of the motivation for the diet or the diet’s underlying philosophy, it is important to understand the connection between dieting and eating disorders. In fact, research has found that 35 percent of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting, and of those, 20-25 percent progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders.* With this statistic in mind, caution must be exercised when any sort of dietary restriction is taking place.

 

* Shisslak, C.M., Crago, M., & Estes, L.S. (1995). The Spectrum of Eating Disturbances. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 18 (3): 209-219.

Chipotle-Glazed Roasted Chicken with Butternut Squash

Was one of your New Years Resolutions to have more family dinners? If so, we have a delicious recipe for you to try! Get the kids involved in the prep work and enjoy a nice sit-down dinner with your family with this tasty Chipotle-Glazed Roasted Chicken recipe.

Recipe by Laura Cipullo, R.D., C.D.E.  *Originally published published in Momstown Meals*

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 4 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 28 oz skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the squash in the olive oil and scatter on the bottom of a roasting pan. Roast for 25 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the chilies, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt, cumin, and cinnamon to make a paste. Rub the paste evenly over each breast.

3. Place the chicken breasts on top of the squash and roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve garnished with cilantro if desired.

Oh So Trendy!

MDIO’s Take on 2015 Trends

At the end of 2013 we featured a post on the predicted trends of 2014. As 2014 comes to a close, we wanted to do the same for 2015! Here are some predicted trends for 2015. Let us know in the comments section below what you think will be a new trend this year!

Gluten-Free

The gluten-free lifestyle rose to popularity in 2014, and experts predict it will continue to do so in 2015. In fact, dietitians predict that gluten-free food labels will continue to influence consumer choices this year, along with GMO-free, clean eating, and organic food labels.

Meal Delivery Boxes

2014 was the year of mail subscription boxes. Companies like NatureBox and Birchbox offer a random sampling of food and beauty products in monthly subscription boxes. For loyal customers, these companies offer discounts on full-sized products and even allow you to share a free box with a friend. We’re fans of these boxes, but we think there may be a new trend come 2015: meal delivery boxes. With companies like Blue Apron and Plated, we love the ease and convenience these boxes offer. Each box comes with a recipe and the most of the necessary ingredients to prepare a wonderful meal for weeknight dinners. We can’t wait to continue using these great services!

 

Boxing

We think that many people would agree that fitness classes are the new exercise craze. Some may even predict that these classes will become more popular than the traditional gym visit. We can see why classes are so popular, exercising in a room full of strangers can be a great motivating factor when exercising. Not to mention, the energetic class instructors who cheer you on as you work towards your fitness goals! Self Magazine has touted boxing classes as the “It” fitness trend of 2015, though we think that cycling, yoga, and pilates will continue to remain popular this year.

 

Bone Broth

New beverages and drinks, such as green juices proved to be extremely popular in 2014.  The editors at Well + Good anticipate that one of the big trends of 2015 will be an ancient remedy known as bone broth.  But, what exactly is bone broth? It is broth made from bones. The bones are boiled to release the main components of the bone: calcium, phosphate, and collagen. We love the health benefits of bone broth, which include improved immune function, shinier hair, and stronger bones and joints. It’s clear to us why shops are already popping up to serve bone broth around the city. Be sure to be on the lookout for this ancient remedy in 2015, we have a feeling it will become quite the trend!

Photo Credit: madlyinlovewithlife via Compfight cc

Juices and Smoothies

2014 proved to us that staying healthy on the go was doable.  With shops such as Liquiteria and Juice Generation, healthy juices and smoothies are easy, on-the-go ways to continue a nutritious lifestyle.  If you prefer to make smoothies and juices at home, try blenders such as Vitamix and Nutribullet, which are easy to use and much easier on your wallet. Just keep in mind that the Mom Dishes It Out team prefer to make juices and smoothies an addition to our daily diets, we don’t recommend, nor do we endorse them as meal replacements.