By Nutrition Student, Deanna Ronne and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
These light, refreshing, and nutritious summer rolls are simple and fun to make, easily packed for lunch, or stored for leftovers, and even your kids will love them! Try keeping them in the refrigerator and eating them cold after a long hot summer day. Packed with protein and healthy fats from salmon and avocado, this roll will satisfy your hunger without making you feel too full.1
Rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, Salmon has many health benefits. One omega-3 in particular, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is the brain’s favorite fatty acid. A diet rich in DHA is associated with improved learning abilities and disease prevention.2,3
rice paper wrapper (find them in the ethnic foods section of your health food store. I recommend brown rice)
spinach/spring mix/ lettuce
¼ cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 tbs honey
siracha sauce (to taste, 1 tbs for a mild sauce)
In a bowl mix the soy sauce, honey, and siracha sauce. On medium heat, add the sauce to a pan with the salmon. Once cooked, set the salmon aside to cool off.
Wet paper towels large enough to cover the bottom of your plate. Place a wrapper on the paper towel and dab it with another wet paper towel. (You don’t want to get the wrappers too wet, because they will break easily.)
Place a handful of spinach in the middle of the wrapper and the rest of the ingredients on top.
Wrap the roll: start by folding the shortest sides in. Fold the bottom up and roll up to the top.
Enjoy! The optional sauce can also be used as a delicious dipping sauce.
III, V. L. F., Dreher, M., & Davenport, A. J. (2013). Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008.
Kris-Etherton, P. M., Harris, W. S., & Appel, L. J. (2002). Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. circulation, 106(21), 2747-2757.
Horrocks, L. A., & Yeo, Y. K. (1999). Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmacological Research, 40(3), 211-225.
Ahh, Sunday brunch. Who doesn’t like the thought of a lazy Sunday morning spent in bed followed by mimosas, French toast, and eggs benedict?
BK (aka Before Kids), Sunday brunch was a favorite pastime of mine. These days my Sundays are a bit different. We wake up early and get ready for a busy day, often filled with birthday parties or some other activity that will tire out the kids before we head back home for their nap. Sunday brunch happens sometimes, but often it’s an easy bagel brunch at home or a chaotic meal at a restaurant. Luckily my girls love to eat, so we’ve actually been pretty lucky with being able to have some good brunch meals out. They’re not the way they used to be back in the day – calm and relaxing; but it is possible to have a nice family brunch with the children at home. How?
I’ve said it before: when children are involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to try new foods since they had a hand in cooking them. And cooking with kids increases their competency in various domains, including fine motor skills, math, science, and reading. If those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, here’s one that will: when the kids are cooking with you, they’re occupied and having fun, meaning you don’t have to worry what trouble they’re getting in elsewhere and you can get a nice meal on the table. And maybe you’ll be able to enjoy a mimosa too!
One Sunday brunch recipe the whole family will enjoy making and eating is this Mushroom Onion Quiche.
When I posted this picture on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram a couple of weeks ago, I received so many likes and comments asking for the recipe. Come back tomorrow for the recipe and tell the kids to get ready to cook this weekend! Not sure what they can do? Here’s a video of my two-year old girls helping me make this recipe.
*You may want to lower your volume for the first 6 seconds to avoid a whining child.
My friend and colleague Joe Kelly recounted a story to me one day about his children. He told me that when his kids started school he noticed that both children complained about their stomachs hurting constantly. After ruling out illness and allergies he sat them down and asked them what they noticed when they would get stomach aches. His children told him that their stomach’s started to hurt before going to school and would feel better when they got home. He realized that his kids were not comfortable in the school system and were having a body reaction. His neighbors were home schooling their children and he decided to do the same. He was faced with others telling him it was a bad idea, that children whom are home schooled lack social skills and that the children would eventually adapt to their environment if he kept taking them to school. Joe did something really, really smart. He trusted his children’s guts and went ahead with home schooling. Both children’s excessive and consistent stomach problems disappeared never to be seen or heard of again. Several years later, Joe says both his children, adults now, are well adjusted, successful and happy.
I wondered to myself how often our children’s body’s communicate to us via their guts and how difficult it might be for a parent to trust them as accurate. But most of us have felt at least once in our lives, something in our guts to be true before our brain could process the situation. Because I’m a nutritionist and a yoga therapist, I am always considering the mind-body connection. I realized that the answer to why Joe’s children’s guts should be trusted lie in the relationship between the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) and the 3rd Chakra.
The Enteric Nervous System is located in the digestive track and is known as the gut’s brain or the second brain. It comprises an estimated 500 million neurons! The ENS was first only thought to control digestion but now we understand that it plays an important role in our physical AND mental well-being. Just like our brain’s in our heads, this system sends and receives impulses, records experiences and responds to emotions. The first brain and the second brain interact and react with each other. However, the ENS can work independently from the brains in our head meaning that information that the gut sends to the brain doesn’t have to come from consciousness. The ENS helps you sense environmental threats and then influences your response. In addition, the gut’s brain is reported to play a role in good and bad feelings. Over 30 neurotransmitters are produced that are identical to those found in the first brain-one of which is serotonin. A whopping 90% of serotonin is located in the gut. Serotonin is the ‘fee-good’ hormone that regulates sleep, appetite and mood. So now we know why Joe’s kids had stomach aches! Their Enteric Nervous system was communicating, from a subconscious place, that something in their external environment was creating stress. Joe’s kids, 5 and 6 at the time didn’t have knowledge of why their tummies ached but their Enteric Nervous system did!
The 3rd Chakra gives us even more information about why Joe’s kids were having this reaction. The word Chakra means wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation and Ayurveda, this term refers to the wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main Chakras which align the spine starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. The 3rd Chakra or the Solar Plexus Chakra is located between the navel and the solar plexus. This Chakra governs among other things, the digestive system. The solar plexus chakra regulates how centered we feel during the day in relation to our cognitive emotions. This Chakra, also called Manipura Chakra is all about sensing your personal power, being confident, responsible and reliable. It is the center of self-esteem and governs our sense of self, the power that we have within and over our destinies. When there is injury to the 3rd Chakra, we feel powerless. Our bodies respond to this tension by developing digestive distress or disorders.
Manipur or Solar Plexus Chakra represents ages 6 years to adolescence. This is the time frame when a child begins school and interacts with others such as teachers and friends but their primary influence is still their home. During this time, children must find their own identity within the family. If they are able to develop a sense of self while living in a family system they are able to develop confidence. So now we know why Joe’s children’s stomachs ceased hurting when Joe began home schooling. When Joe’s kids first entered school they may have felt that something wasn’t quite right but remained powerless to change their destinies thus digestive distress ensued. When Joe acknowledged, trusted and acted on what their children’s guts was telling him, his children gained a sense of personal power even though they didn’t cognitively know what was needed. Furthermore, they had space to begin developing the all the confidence and reliability needed to move into their adulthood.
What an amazing example of why it is so important to trust your child’s gut. Next time your child has a stomach ache, suffers from gastric distress or digestive issues, consider that their body is trying to communicate something important that they may not be aware of.
The Fourth of July is one of our favorite holidays as it brings family, friends, and neighbors together. And of course, it involves fun food! Below are some sure ways to keep things nutrient dense. Keep In mind , the best choice for you is the food the will both satisfy and satiate you and your family. Be self aware of your portion size with your hunger fullness cues.
With the help of Fox & Friends, we’ve compiled a variety of common entrees, condiments, dips, and desserts you’ll find at a BBQ this summer. We tested the hosts to see if they knew which food was the “healthiest” not necessarily the lowest in calories! Try and guess which option is chock full of nutrition, and we will explain why!
Entrees: Cheeseburger with Chips vs. Hot Dog with chips vs. Turkey Burger with avocado and olives on the side:
Answer: Ground white turkey meat is key here!! Dark meat raises the saturated fat. The avocado and olives contain the heart helping monosaturated fats that we all need in our diet. And yes, the is a whole wheat bun higher in fiber to help eaters feel full.
Also, keep in mind 1 hot dog equals 1.5 oz of protein while a typical burger here in the USA is about 6 oz protein. Therefore 4 hot dogs equal 1 burger. Think about how many hot dogs fill you up. Beaware the hot dog will contain more salt than the burger.
Condiments: Ketchup Vs. Mustard Vs. BBQ
When comparing condiments–even salad dressings–it is best to look at the ingredients list instead of the nutrition facts. Many ingredient lists still contain corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and or both. Mustard is 100% natural so preferable. The second preference is ketchup. Heinz now makes Organic Ketchup with no HFCS! .
Dips: Onion Dip vs. Guacamole vs. Libby’s Veggie Dip
Our favorite choice here is Libby’s veggie dip. Laura’s boys are picky eaters and she is always looking for ways to incorporate veggies in their diets. We love the taste and texture of this dip and it is so easy to make! Don’t get us wrong, we also love guac too, for its high content of monounsaturated fats from avocados, however if you ate a burger with avocado, switch it up for some Libby veggie dip (we just learned this recipe last week at the Dishing With the Media event).
You can find the recipe for Libby’s Veggie Dip here. (Add link)
Side Dishes: German Potato Salad Vs. Cole Slaw Vs. Veggie Slaw
Favorite choice is the easy veggie slaw made of raw veggies in white vinegar. Love yourself some fiber and antioxidants! German potato salad (red potatoes, spices, and olive oil) is a great choice but may feel to filling with all of the other holiday foods we consume on this day.
Desserts: Strawberry Shortcake Vs. Frozen Berry Banana Pops Vs. Italian Ice
Rich in antioxidants and naturally low in calories, the frozen berry pops are the healthiest of these choices. While italian ice is also low in calories, it is high in simple sugar but with no vitamins, minerals or antioxidants. Strawberry short cake contains the most calories, and saturated fat but is definitely yummy!!
Consider what foods you love, what your body is craving, and what will fill and satisfy you. The last thing a Mommy RD would recommend is to eat all the low cal foods and then have you go home to secretly eat the foods you deprived. This is also true for your kids. Have a happy and healthy day mentally, physically and spiritually!!
When choosing what to eat this weekend, remember all foods fit. Food education can help you make food decisions. By understanding why some foods are higher in nutrition you have the opportunity for choice. And remember, the healthiest option isn’t always the lowest in calories, it is the most nutritious. However, if strawberry shortcake is your absolute favorite dessert, or you feel like Elisabeth Hasselback from Fox and Friends, who exclaimed, “I pick the Italian ice! It is my childhood favorite”, we say, go for it!
Have a wonderful 4th of July!
Kris-Etherton, P. M., Pearson, T. A., Wan, Y., Hargrove, R. L., Moriarty, K., Fishell, V., & Etherton, T. D. (1999). High–monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(6), 1009-1015.
German, J. B., & Dillard, C. J. (2004). Saturated fats: what dietary intake?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(3), 550-559.
Sipping a cup of coffee on the way out the door while making sure everyone’s shoes are on the right feet is how many busy moms may be starting their morning. Or maybe you grab a cup on your way to work, or even prefer to meet up with a friend for coffee and catching up! Regardless of how you take your coffee, you’re not alone in getting your caffeine fix—nearly 90% of the adult US population consumes caffeine, and 98% of that caffeine comes from coffee! While we may (almost) all be drinking coffee daily, there are still a few controversies even the most devoted coffee drinkers might not have the answers to, including a list of some of the best coffee shops to try in NYC!
Does the Brew Method Affect Caffeine Content?
Yes and no. An 8oz cup of drip coffee will have marginally more caffeine than instant coffee and about 2-3 times as much caffeine as a 1oz shot of espresso. But your barista has the final say in deciding how much caffeine you’ll have in your order. While the variation from day-to-day likely depends on the training regimen and reputation and goals of the coffee shop, it can be significant. A study in Maryland followed coffee shops over a six-day period to find they served up the same drink order but it was measured to have a wide range of caffeine presence, from 58-259mg. (For reference, moderate intake of caffeine is considered three cups a day and averaged to be 300mg.)
Might Coffee Irritate Me If I’m Gluten Intolerant/Have Celiac Disease?
It could! Instant coffee is often contaminated with traces of gluten that could irritate someone with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.However, drinking pure coffee should not cause problems for someone with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
My child wants to try coffee…
Children are grouped into a sensitive subpopulation, along with pregnant women in terms of a having a cap on caffeine consumption, under 300mg/day to reduce risk of adverse affects. More specific recommendations for children, based on age and weight, suggest that no more than 45mg/day for a 1-5year old and no more than 125mg/day for a 10-14 year old. Considering other sources of caffeine that may be in your child’s diet (chocolate, teas, soft drinks) just a half cup to a cup of coffee could exceed the child’s daily recommendation.
Where to get the best cup?
Here are our favorites coffee shops around Manhattan and some we’re excited to try!
Serving specialty coffee and their signature cold brew for the summer months, Stumptown offers a laidback and inviting environment to enjoy any weekend morning. Optional (but limited) outdoor seating and prime West Village location makes it easy to bring along the stroller or kids on your way to Washington Square Park!
With locations across Manhattan, it’s hard to find an excuse to not pop into this charming coffee shop for a drink or their West Village location for some “brekkie”. They are known for their avocado toasts and uniquely named coffees, like the “magic”. Also offers indoor and outdoor seating and is a popular weekend brunch spot!
Location: 55 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014 (Collective Café)
The perfect spot after Soul Cycle in Noho, or a break from shopping in Soho. These airy cafés are welcoming and filled with light, if you don’t get a seat, we promise, their iced coffee is just as good, to-go.
With one Midtown location, this is a great spot to grab a quality coffee between meetings or on your way to the office. With very similar vibes to Bluestone Lane’s Collective Café in West Village, Little Collins slows down the busy pace of a midtown weekday with their own Australian brews.
667 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022
Fulgoni, V., Keast, D., & Lieberman, H. (2015). Trends in intake and sources of caffeine in the diets of US adults: 2001-2010. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1091-1087.
Hogan, E., Hornick, B., & Bouchoux, A (n.d.). Communicating the Message: Clarifying the Controversies About Caffeine. Nutrition Today, 28-35.
Mccusker, R., Goldberger, B., & Cone, E. (n.d.). Caffeine Content of Specialty Coffees. Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 520-522.
Vojdani, A., & Tarash, I. (n.d.). Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens. Food and Nutrition Sciences FNS, 20-32.
By Deanna Ronne and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Service Team
Nutrition Student Deanna Ronne’s favorite post run snack:
This smoothie is SO delicious and full of fuel. It leaves me satisfied and energized without feeling bloated. While your body is in a state of recovery after a long run, it is time to refuel your muscles with this easy smoothie. If mom is making this smoothie, read how to share with your child below.
Why Matcha and Maca?
Matcha Tea is a powdered form of whole green tea that provides more antioxidants, specifically Catechins, than other green teas.1
These antioxidants have many health benefits and may even boost the break down of fat2. However, I originally bought Matcha Tea because it is used in Starbuck’s green tee lattes, which I love. Now, I use Matcha Tea in smoothies and even baking.
Maca powder is a South American root vegetable originally used to give Incan warriors strength and endurance during long journeys and battles.
Studies show that many compounds found in Maca powder also protect our bodies from oxidative damage and inflammation.3
Maca is neutral in taste but a great boost of antioxidants for a smoothie.
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
1 tbs. Loose Matcha Tea powder.
½ cup milk (Use dairy, almond, soy, and or coconut milk.)
1 small banana
1 small apple (keep the skin to keep the fiber!)
1 cup spinach
1tsp Maca Powder
3-4 ice cubes
Blend all the ingredients up with whatever blender you have and enjoy!
If you are not using this as a post workout meal and don’t feel that you need an entire scoop (typically about 20g) of protein, you can just use ½ a scoop, or get rid of it all together! If you are making this smoothie for a child, see below.
How Much Protein for a Child?
If you are looking for a way to sneak some protein into your child’s diet, smoothies are a great idea. However, children (ages 4-8) only need about 19 grams of protein a day, compared to the 46 grams an average adult female needs.4 One scoop of whey protein is about 20 grams of protein, exceeding what a child needs for the entire day! The serving size of most protein powders is 25-30 grams per scoop (about 1.5-2 tbs.).* So, for children, ages 4-8, it might make more sense to only use ½ tbs. of protein powder, only providing about 5 grams of protein. For children, ages 9-13, the protein requirement increases to 36 grams a day.
D.,& Anderton, C. (n.d). Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A, 173-180.
Dulloo, A. G., Duret, C., Rohrer, D., Girardier, L., Mensi, N., Fathi, M., … & Vandermander, J. (1999). Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(6), 1040-1045.
Wang, Y., Wang, Y., McNeil, B., & Harvey, L. M. (2007). Maca: An Andean crop with multi-pharmacological functions. Food Research International, 40(7), 783-792.
National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate. Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (2002/2005).
Summer Fun Positive Food Activities: Make Your Own Muesli
By Nutrition Student, Deanna Ronne and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team
Now that the summer months are here, as a mom you’re probably lining up activities to keep your kids busy. Here’s a fun, creative, way to get your kids involved in making a nutritious breakfast or snack balanced with all three macronutrients – carbs, proteins, and fats. A trip to your grocery store, choosing their favorite ingredients, and mixing it may become a weekly pastime to cherish the entire year! Making your own muesli is affordable, easy, packable for day trip snacks, and flexible with the ingredients so perfect for picky kids and promoting the health.
Main Stream Breakfast Cereals
Many traditional breakfast cereals marketed at your children are made with refined grains, hidden sugars (like rice syrup, corn syrup, maltose and tapioca starch), and other “food additives.” Take a look at the “ready-to-eat”1 boxed cereal you have at home. Look at the Ingredients list, not the Nutrition Facts). Ingredients are listed in descending order, so if you see sugar listed as the first, second or third ingredient, just realize your cereal contains more sugar than any ingredients listed after it. This is cool with us, just use this as information. Know that this cereal is likely a low nutrient dense food (aka “Sometimes Food”) and is best eaten as a side to a sandwich at lunch or with a more filling food.
Also look to see what and how many ingredients there are. Many of the ingredients you don’t recognize, known as “food additives”, are meant to enhance the product’s texture, taste, appearance, nutritional quality or increase its shelf life.2 While fortifying cereal with vitamins and minerals improve the nutritional quality, other food additives like flavor enhancers (ex. artificial sweeteners) and preservatives (ex. sodium) generally do not. Most children’s cereals with refined grains are enriched with the vitamins and minerals lost during the refinement process.
The American Dietetic Association released a study in 2008 on the nutritional quality of children’s breakfast cereal showing that they are significantly higher energy, sodium, carbohydrate, and sugar, and significantly lower in fiber and proteinthan “non children’s cereal”.1
So consider buying cereal products that are for you, rather than kids! They are just as yummy but more nutrient dense. Most importantly, kids are incredibly active during the summer months, and need an energizing breakfast, that will fuel their days in the sun and keep their body clocks ticking.
Did you know?
Stronger cognitive benefits in breakfasts of oatmeal than for “ready-to-eat” breakfast cereals1.
There really isn’t a recipe, which makes this idea so fun! You and your kids get to pick the ingredients. Go to your grocery store (preferably one with a “bulk department”, like at Whole Foods) and let your kids fill a bag with a cereal base of oats, granola, etc. Then, let your kids to find the rest of the ingredients! The set-up of most bulk food sections much resembles a candy store, so your kids will love it.
Dried fruit: raisins, cherries, dates, cranberries, shredded coconut (no added oils or sugar)
Optional: dark chocolate
Cinnamon: add cinnamon 1 tsp to 1 cup muesli.
Let your kids be creative with this recipe, even let each kid make their own! As long as the base of oats/granola makes up most of the cereal, the added ingredients should be entirely up to them (with your direction, of course). It is important that kids have a healthy relationship with food. Show them how excited you are to pick out nutritious ingredients for your own muesli, and they will get excited with you! Happy Eating.
Breakfast and Picky Eaters
Breakfast remains to be one of the most important meals of the day. If you are dealing with a picky eater who only wants to eat, say, Frosted Flakes for breakfast, it is okay. Most important is they eat something before they walk out the door. This is the same for Mom and Dad. While it is important to try new things with your kids, force-feeding doesn’t work. Instead practice exposure therapy, let them make their muesli with the main stream cereal if that helps them expand their nutrition repertoire.
Schwartz, M. B., Vartanian, L. R., Wharton, C. M., & Brownell, K. D. (2008). Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(4), 702-705.
And He Eats! By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Mom
Six years later, Billy finally eats. As many of you know, my two boys challenge my feeding and eating expertise on a daily basis. I think from all the Mommy RD stories here on Mom Dishes It Out, you now know that RDs have their fair share of food and nutrition conundrums. But like you, we need to separate our emotional-selves and work with our child. This is probably the hardest part. Being an objective feeder is quite the challenge. Don’t despair, your kids may surprise you..
I constantly have to remind myself to lighten up around the food and sometimes set more food boundaries. Just the other night, I bought chicken apple sausage and potato rolls for my oldest son. Bobby loves chicken apple sausage. However, it seems he only likes the sausage from Brooklyn. Anyway, we tried two new brands just yesterday. Bobby was trying it as a side to his dinner of rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and spinach. Billy excitedly comes into the kitchen declaring he will have a hot dog bun with peanut butter, two cheeses and a yogurt with a side of strawberries.
Here is conundrum number one. Do I allow him to dictate his meal? Conundrum two is whether he should try the chicken sausage. Because of my work with food phobias and eating disorders, I never want to force the boys to eat food and prefer exposure therapy. I let Billy know, he must first try chicken sausage on the hot dog roll. Of course, he verbally refuses. I have yet to understand if this is an animal thing, a chewing thing, a control thing or perhaps just a taste preference. I feel my blood begin to boil.
It is so hard to be objective. I proceed to make the sausage and set it on Billy’s plate. He is of course performing a song and dance. I also make Billy his requested dinner. I serve him both the sausage in a bun and his dinner preferences on the same plate.
Amazingly, he tries the sausage with one small bite. Not shockingly, he doesn’t like it. He eats his dinner. He doesn’t complain nor does he remove it from his plate. These are signs of his progress.
So, in the end we both faired well. I still feel defeated because he only took a small bite and he didn’t like it. But then I think back to March. The boys and I were eating dinner together. It was a simple dinner of tortellini. Bobby and I were eating it. I made Billy something else. All of the sudden, Billy says I want tortellini. I almost fell off my chair. Really??
Well, he did want it. He tried it and said it was dry. He wanted to try it with marinara sauce. He loved it. He basically had marinara soup with tortellini. Wow, that made my night and my month for that matter. The point is, after seeing us eat tortellini a million times, he tried it and liked it. Just like he has done with most fruit, breads and salsas. He typically tries food now without an issue. As long as it is not of animal origin. Well, the majority of the time.
In the end, Billy eats tortellini. We can go for Mexican and Italian food as a family and Billy can order off the adult menu. What a relief!! It has taken him six years to find a pasta he enjoys. I can’t wait to see what he likes over the next 6 years. Thank you Billy for teaching me patience is key while a little push is necessary, too.
Moms and dads, keep up your efforts to expose the kids to all foods and encourage trying foods. The act of trying is the most important thing. I know six years seems like a long time, and it is. But each child has his/her own process. Find what works for you and your child. Share with us your trials and tribulations. We can all learn and support each other. If you find yourself having a hard time keeping your feelings out of the kitchen, consult a registered dietitian or even a speech and language pathologist.
If you asked me a few years ago, what being “healthy” means to me, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to answer you. Imagine me 5 years back: I’m chugging Red Bull for a 9 AM class, and courtesy of the microwave, devouring mac & cheese for dinner 3 days a week. Yes, this was my freshman year at New York University, and at that time I knew nothing about the importance of nutrition (gasp!) Flash forward to present day, and I’m working at a private practice in NYC, providing in-home cooking classes, and working as the nutrition guru at Housing Works (more on that in my next post!) Without a doubt, you can bet my definition of what it means to be “healthy” has evolved tremendously over the past few years.
When I first began my studies at NYU, I considered myself fairly healthy. I was a pescatarian, went to the gym regularly, and also never restricted myself from any baked sweets or savory snacks. It wasn’t until my junior year, when I started taking core nutrition courses that I became hyperaware about the foods I ate and the amount of calories I consumed. After a class project where I was required to mimic a patient’s diet by logging the food I ate, the amount, and even using measuring cups to cook, I soon became paranoid about calorie counting. In fact, the time I spent on the treadmill was no longer fueled by enjoyment, but by the amount of calories I knew I had to burn in order to “zero out” part of that day’s calorie intake. Then within that same year, I met Laura Cipullo, a New York City dietitian who was surprisingly not at all a proponent of fad diets. In fact, she was the exact opposite. When I began working with her, I’ll admit it, at first I was skeptical. Does she really do pilates for enjoyment? Spinning? And running?? Does she really preach “all foods in moderation” and follow it too?!
Yet after the first few months of getting to know her on a personal level and working side by side–I discovered that it was all true. The next time I visited the treadmills, I covered up the numbers on the screen and instead focused on how I felt on the inside. And when it came to food, I slowly focused more on the nutritional quality of foods I was eating, rather than calories. From modeling her behavior and learning about the consequences of restricting foods, without even knowing it she motivated me to change the way I viewed food and to develop healthy habits. Although the ability to eat freely and without any guilt takes work, it’s certainly not impossible to get there! Remember that what you choose to eat (or not eat) for one meal or day(s) doesn’t negate all of the healthier choices you’ve made in the past.
As I’ve broadened my knowledge of food and nutrition, I’ve realized that working in the field by no means makes me perfect in the way I eat; but the way I eat is perfect for me. I’m at my happiest and healthiest when I’m able to cook my own meals, which I prefer to do instead of dining out. I love knowing exactly what ingredients are going into my food, which helps me eat healthier and allows me to experiment with new ingredients. When I’m not pretending like I’m a Chopped contestant at home, I’m always running from job to job around the city, and having my packed snacks on hand keeps me energized and happy.
We attended the Editor’s Showcase in February where we were able to sample different foods and learn the latest that’s going on in the food industry. The National Onion Association and US Apple Association shared with us some of their recipes featuring both apples and onions. Here is one we think you’ll enjoy!
Makes 6 Servings
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon honey Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 ½ sups tri-color quinoa, rinsed
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 white onion, sliced
3 cups chopped kale, ribs removed and discarded
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 red-skinned apple, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Whisk the vinegar with the oil, lemon juice, honey and mustard until well combined.
Bring the broth and quinoa to a boil.
Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until al the broth has been absorbed. Cool completely.
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-height heat.
Sauté onion for 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Cool completely.
In a large bowl, toss onion, kale, chicken, apple, salt, and pepper with prepared dressing.