Aug 08

5 Reasons You’re Always Hungry and The simple fix


Hunger is one thing none can escape. Irrespective of how motivated you are towards your fitness goals or weight loss diet the last piece of cake or the fried chicken leg has got to get you tempted but if you’re hungry way too often then its reason for concern.

Now adding to your already protein and fiber rich diet can help at times but not always. Sometimes it’s your lifestyle that needs a reality check and here’s what you need to look into in detail.

Your cardio routine

For a fact we know that cardio is one the best exercise form to suppress your cravings but that only works if you’ve got the intensity right. Too little too easy is the recipe for disaster as you’ll end up starving more.

This is because the body tends to produce higher amount of Ghrelin, the hunger hormone whereas high intensity training has little to no impact on its generation. So if you haven’t yet given it a thought it’s time to step it up now. Switch to rowing machine workouts preferrably on a Concept 2 rower for better resistance and intensity control.

Your personal meal timings

With jobs and daily life issues a schedule becomes a must and most of us have fixed meal timings and we’re likely to be the hungriest at those hours even if you’ve been eating shorter meals in between those hours and it gets tougher to resist more so during social meeting and gatherings.

Changing the entire meal schedule at once can be disruptive and can worsen the situation so I would suggest you skip out on one meal at a time and continue with your shorter, frequent meals.

Your daily diet

Timings aside the first and foremost thing that will need sorting out is the diet and if you’ve been eating a lot of yummy desserts etc. it’s going to be harder to stop that craving. Something as simple as an image or a TV advert can get you hungry.

Ignoring your craving completely can lead to excessive eating so my advice would be to let go slowly. Rather than a whole slice, grab 2 bites. It helps and you’ll slowly no longer feel the urge for it.

Your protein intake

You can either drink up the proteins or eat them. Yes there’s a lot of hype surrounding supplements and while it does help simply drinking your entire daily dose can impact negatively.  A balance is important but studies have shown that protein rich solid foods tends to be more effective and keeps you full longer. So choose wisely.

Your sleep

Sleep is one thing our generation tends to forget about with their high tech fast moving lives but lack of it or odd timings will keep you hungry longer since it leads to higher production of Ghrelin. Plus your overall performance is likely to suffer making you really cranky and frustrated thus in turn leading to binge eating etc.


Jul 30

Why You Should be Eating More Fat (the truth about fat in diets)

For decades, we have been told that fat is bad. We’ve been told to avoid fats like the plague because they’re the downfall to every diet. However, new information is showing that fats can be both beneficial and essential to weight loss.

What is fat?

Fat is an essential nutrient that cannot be dissolved in water. Fat not only contributes energy to our bodies; it also helps us get the maximum benefit of all the other nutrients we consume.

What role does fat play in the body? Why do we need it?

Fat improves our bodies’ function in a wide variety of ways. Fat supplies us with energy. It helps us produce the right amount of testosterone and estrogen. Fat helps our immune system be at its finest. It helps us absorb other nutrients including the FAT soluble vitamins A, D, E, K.

To those who are deeply concerned about weight loss, fat should be your friend, not your enemy. According to the British Journal of Nutrition, eating fat helped participants lose weight even if their daily calorie consumption remained unchanged. On top of that, eating certain fats can boost your metabolism and make you feel fuller for longer.

What are the different types of fat?

Though you should be eating fat, it is of course important to consider where the fat is coming from. The three main categories of fats are saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.

Saturated fats have their molecules completely surrounded by hydrogen atoms. In the past, they have been considered “bad” fat as they raise LDL cholesterol levels.  However, if we limit saturated fat intake and replace it with carbohydrate there is no improvement in risk for cardiovascular disease.  If we reduce our saturated fat intake and replace it with poly-unsaturated fats there is decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated fats are not completely surrounded by hydrogen atoms. They have always been considered the “good” fat. Unsaturated fats can raise HDL cholesterol levels (the “good” kind) and boost your metabolism. Monounsaturated fats have only one hydrogen atom per fat molecule and can boost your metabolism for hours after your last meal. Polyunsaturated fats (such as omega-3 and omega-6) fats can lower the bad LDL cholesterol levels. They also help the immune system by combating inflammation.

Trans fats don’t occur naturally. They’re made by making vegetable oils more solid by adding hydrogen to them. These are found primarily in highly processed foods and should be avoided. Trans fats both raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL cholesterol levels.  More and more food manufacturers are taking these out of the foods we buy since their negative impact on health has been exposed.

How to get the good fats in your diet

It’s important you consider where your fats are coming from. Though fat is good, it’s best to get it from whole foods. Avoid highly processed foods such as sweets and potato chips.

  • For example, a donut and an avocado contain the same amount of fat, but a donut is also high in sugar and very low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals. An avocado is high in monounsaturated fats and provides several vitamins and minerals.
  • Avoiding processed foods will also help you avoid bad trans fats. If you stick to eating organically there is no way for trans fats to sneak into your diet.
  • Consider foods you already eat; our dietary habits easily provide us with enough of certain fats already. For example, omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils that we commonly cook with. Getting enough of it isn’t really an issue. We also get plenty of saturated fats from traditional foods in our culture like milk, cheese, and meat.
  • If you’ve been dieting for awhile you may have been trained to avoid foods that contain beneficial fat. It may help to reintroduce those “bad” foods into your diet. Egg yolks, nuts, oils, avocados, olives are all great  sources of healthy fats.

Good and bad foods with fat

Common sense can help dictate which foods with fat can be a great addition to your diet and which foods will only hurt you. You should always make a point to avoid processed foods. Read the ingredient labels; if you find yourself unable to pronounce most things on the list, you should avoid eating it.

Avocados are a popular choice; they contain 21 grams of highly beneficial fat and no excess chemicals found in packaged snack foods. Milk and yogurt, though they contain saturated fats, will help you burn fat more efficiently.

Avoid fats from foods that contain little to no nutritional value like high fat baked goods like donuts or biscuits.  Instead replace with whole grains that provide fiber and B vitamins.  Always check the label of foods to make sure the fats used are not trans fat.


Fats are highly beneficial to your body, despite years of being told otherwise. They help improve our bodies’ overall functioning, helping out our immune system and nutrient absorption. Fats also help us achieve our weight loss goals; by consuming fat, we both reduce our appetite for prolonged periods of time and give our metabolisms a great boost. You should definitely make fat a part of your diet.

Image Credit: Yersinia pestis


Jul 15

8 Fun (easy) Peanut Butter Snacks for Kids (try #8 at your next BBQ)

8 fun and healthy peanut butter snacks for kids.  These fun recipes are easy for parents and fun for kids and include the long time favorites like ants on a log and new, exciting ones like peanut butter hot dogs, and banana sushi.  Fun and healthy peanut butter snacks that parents can give their kids with confidence.

1. Ants on a Log


This simple snack is perfect for the child with an active imagination.  Simple cut celery stalks into 3-4 inch sections.  Inside the stalk fill with peanut butter. On top of the peanut butter place 3-4 raisins.  You child will have fun helping create this fun peanut butter snack and enjoy pretending the raisins are little ants.

2. Peanut Butter Toast


Easy to make and delicious.  Just toast a piece bread to perfection and then slather with peanut butter. Watch it melt gently into the bread and enjoy your child adoring this treat.

3. Peanut Butter – Banana Sandwich


The name says it all.  Just slather some peanut butter on your favorite bread then slice up a banana and cover the bread.  Your child will love the sweet taste of the banana and the creamy texture of the peanut butter.

4. Banana/Peanut Butter Sushi


Perfect for introducing your child to sushi.  This is simple recipe that your children will love.  Grab a whole wheat tortilla, nutella, peanut butter, and a banana.  Spread nutella and peanut butter on the tortilla, lay the uncut banana down.  Roll the tortilla up around the banana.  Then slice into rolls.  This is a delicious snack for children and adults.

5. Peanut Butter and Apple Slices


There is something about the sweet watery taste of apples mixed with the savory sticky flavor of peanut butter that make this a favorite snack in our house.

6. Double Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores (not so healthy)


Okay, Okay, Okay . . . this one isn’t so  healthy, but it is delicious and your children will love making it.

7. Peanut Butter and Graham Crackers


Simple but awesome.

8. PB&J Hotdog


Okay. . . this is just awesome.  If your child loves hotdogs (like mine) or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches . . . this is the perfect snack for you.  Grab a hotdog bun spread some peanut butter on it, place a whole banana inside it, and top with your favorite jelly. Try this at your next BBQ or with your kids for lunch and tell me the reaction!

Did I miss a favorite peanut butter snack of your? Share it below in the comments.

Image CreditsAmancay MaahsRoss BurtonCatherine RoyHeathere WilloughbyTowerGirlEmily CarlinRachel HathawayKitchen Life of a Navy Wife


Jul 11

What My 3 Year Old Knows About Food That Most Adults Never Learn

Kids seem to have nutrition figured out . . . that is until they start learning our bad habits.  If adults ate like children love to eat we might see different trends in health and wellness in adults.  Our 3 year old, Taz knows 6 things that most adults never figure out.

1. Children know when to stop eating! 

When they are full they stop and when hungry they eat.  It doesn’t matter if there are 20 pieces of food left on the plate or two.  Children don’t listen to social cues or an inside voice telling them to “clear their plate”.  Children listen to their bodies and are great at self regulating the number of calories they get.  This is a fact parents!  Research has been done showing that two year olds given low calorie jello as a snack will naturally eat more food later in the day than children given regular jello as a snack.  Your body knows when you have the calories you need and tries to give lots of cues to stop eating, but adults don’t listen.  We are too busy talking, watching TV, driving, clearing our plate, etc.


2. It is ok to eat just one type of food at a meal. 

Children may eat 5 rolls for dinner and not one other bite of food.  This is common for children and not a problem unless they are going days without any variety.  Keep the day or even week in perspective.  At the next meal they may eat only the watermelon.  Kids get hooked on a food sometimes and want only that food item.  As long as the food is a generally healthy food from one of the food groups (in other words not just fat and sugar) then don’t worry about it.  This is a natural occurrence and is not a problem.  Continue to offer variety at each meal, but it’s perfectly ok.


3. Children are not emotional eaters. 

They eat for nourishment not to deal with depression or anxiety.  Food is about meeting a basic need.  Children know when they are hungry that they need to eat and that is what they do.  They would never get up in the middle of the night to cry their eyes out over a gallon of ice cream.


4.   Water quenches thirst. 

Kids seem to know exactly what their bodies need and they meet those needs well.  When it comes to hydration children will drink water in response to thirst.  Too often as adults we meet that need with soda or other sugary beverages.  And often we teach that habit to our children.


5.  Its ok to not like every vegetable. 

When kids don’t like a specific vegetable they don’t eat, but they are happy to enjoy the ones they like.  Kids don’t worry about not liking specific vegetables.  It is okay to have preferences and it is also ok to leave some alone while enjoying the ones you like.


6. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not a four letter words. 

Kids eat what they like regardless of what a food is called.  After a while we are told to eat our fruits and vegetables so many times it picks up a bad connotation.   We aren’t allowed up from the table until we finish our peas.  We can’t have dessert unless we eat our green beans.  Young children haven’t had the chance to categorize all foods and deem certain ones “good” or “bad”.


Jul 07

9 Foods You Shouldn’t Buy When You’re on a BUDGET (how many are in your fridge now?)

When shopping on a budget there are some foods that should be avoided for certain!  Living on a budget always has some give and take, but there are some things that should be more give and less take.  We talk a bit about fun food hacks here.

TV Dinners

These foods are usually high in fat and sodium and expensive.  Feed your family a balanced home cooked meal with rice, chicken, and a vegetable in season and you will save money and provide a healthier meal.


Soda has little to no nutritional value.  The calories, since in the liquid, form don’t tend to make us feel full.  This then leads us to consume more calories than we need.  It is unnecessary and has negative effect on our health.  Trust me I know it is tasty, but what else do I need to say.

Individually wrapped snack foods

It is much cheaper to buy one large bag of pretzels and bag ourselves then to buy the individually packaged snack food.  Take the time to portion snack foods out yourself and it will definitely help you to shave that grocery spending.

Brand named products

Generic versions of food are often made at the same plant and of the exact same quality as the name brands.  Slight variations in flavor may occur one product to another, but in general generic is a good tasty option.  This is a great money saver.  I make a few exceptions to this rule.  If the generic form is particularly higher in salt, fat, or any other nutrient you are trying to reduce then choose the least expensive product that meets your nutritional demands.

Candy bar

These incredibly tempting treats are impulse buys placed in the checkout line to tempt us into an unnecessary purchase.  They are high in fat and sugar and will not help with weight maintenance.  Impulse buys teach our children to make impulse decisions.  Impulse decisions don’t tend to be what’s best for us in the long run.


Unless you have an actual allergy to gluten, gluten free products are unnecessary.  They do not provide any nutritional advantage, and they usually cost more than their gluten-containing counterparts.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat.  It is strong and flexible and allows bread to maintain its integrity while it rises.  This is why breads made with wheat flower are soft and rise well.

Organic produce

Thoroughly washing produce will remove pesticides used during farming.  Produce with a peel that will be removed can be safely eaten.  Produce with small pores like berries may be best organic since it is difficult to clean thoroughly.  Always buy fruit in season to get the best prices.

Gourmet Pet food

If you can’t afford gourmet for you, you certainly shouldn’t be spending extra on a beloved pet.  They may deserve the world in your eyes, but your budget applies to your pets as well as you.  Find a product they will suitably eat that will meet their nutrition needs.  Don’t break the bank in the process.

Prime Rib

There are less expensive and lower fat ways to get protein in your diet.    Steak should not be a staple, but a special occasion.  Prime rib is a particularly expensive cut of meat.  Try a variety of fish, chicken, turkey, pork, and lean cuts of beef.


Jul 01

4 Tips For a Healthy 4th of July

I couldn’t tell you where the traditions came from, but each year for the 4th of July I find myself watching fireworks and enjoying a BBQ.  A lot of our typical BBQ foods aren’t the healthiest choices, but I have some suggestions that will help you have a healthy 4th of July this year.

  1.  Make a smart meat selection.  The main entre of a BBQ is, of course, the meat.  Choose leaner cuts of meat for an all around healthier meal.  Fish, chicken or turkey breast, lean cuts of beef (less marbling), low fat burgers or hot dogs.
  2. Enjoy some fruit.  So many fruits are on sale and in season this time of year.  Enjoy some fresh watermelon, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries all at least half the price then they are the rest of the year.  Fruit is high in nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and low in calories.  Add more fruit to your BBQ by including a fruit platter with a low fat fruit dip or grilling up some pineapple while cooking your meat.
  3. Veggie time.  Vegetables are high in nutrients like fruit, but lower in calories and sugar.  You can’t go wrong with a great vegetable platter with dip.  Grill up kabobs with steak or chicken and throw on fruit and vegetables: mango, kiwi, pineapple, apple, zucchini, tomato, mushroom, bell pepper, shallots, or anything that sounds good to you.  Grill up some zucchini cut lengthwise and top with garlic powder and mozzarella cheese once cooked.
  4. Have fun enjoying the games, activities, or conversation at your BBQ and don’t fixate on the food.  A lot of social activities seems to revolve around food, but don’t let yourself fall into that pitfall.  Have fun and enjoy the company!

Follow the tips below for healthy grilling suggestions:

  • Adjust your grill so that food cooks evenly inside and out.  If the temperature is too hot the outside may get overcooked before the inside reaches proper temperature.
  • Make sure to use a clean plate for meat once it is cooked.  Don’t allow the juice from the raw meat to come in contact with any read-to-eat foods.
  • Clean your grill between uses to reduce exposure to bacteria and carcinogens.
  • Turn meat over at least once to allow more even cooking.
  • Avoid charring the outside of meats as it can produce carcinogens.  To reduce these substances marinate the meat, pre-cook it before grilling, or scrape off any blackened surfaces.
  • Cook poultry and fish until internal temperatures reaches target: 165F for poultry and ground meat, 145F for pork or fish.
  • Control coals to avoid flame flare-ups: trim obvious fat from meat first, drain high fat marinades, have a spray bottle of water.

However you celebrate the 4th of July make it a fun and healthy holiday.  Enjoy your favorite traditions and maybe start some new ones this year.  Happy grilling!


Jun 25

How to choose the perfect DRINK for your children? (Healthy Drinks for Kids)

There are so many drinks on the market today.  Even sitting down to write this article it is overwhelming all the different options there are for hydrating your children and a parent can start to really worry and wonder if there are any healthy drink options for kids.

Below we have included a comprehensive chart that compares popular drinks for kids

But what we drink and what we feed our kids can make a big difference.  So, I hope this helps you make an informed decision regarding all the different drink options out there for young kids (and adults too).

I don’t really go into the impact of high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.  You can chose to use or avoid those ingredients, but I will more be focusing on the amount and type of calories, vitamins, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium).

First answer the following questions to help you know where to start:

  1. Age?  Infants (children under 1) should only be drinking breast milk or formula.  At this age water is unnecessary and even bad.  Children older than 1 year old should be limited to 4 to 6 oz ofjuice per day.  Children should get about 16 oz of milk per day.  Too much milk or juice may cause your child to eat less of other foods that are needed for a balanced diet.  One of my favorite resources for childhood nutrition is Texas WIC:  Water should be offered regularly throughout the day.  Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks.  I do not recommend caffeine for children as it may impact sleep, cause anxiety or headaches.  I think it is best to limit or restrict caffeine in young children until they are old enough to understand the side effects and weigh that against the advantages.


    What NOT to do!

  2. Activity?  Are you playing at the park or beach?  The interesting thing with adults is it seems we are either exercising or relaxing.  There isn’t always a lot of in between, but with kids play can be exercise or relaxing.  It is easy enough to tell the difference.  Is your child flushed, panting, sweating… then they are exercising.  If they are mostly sitting or standing in one spot it is more like relaxing.  Sweat contains fluid, sodium, and to a lesser extent potassium.  This is a good place to start when trying to decide what you might want to drink after high sweat losses.
  3. Weather?  Extended amount of time in the heat even just sitting around can lead to sweating and possibly dehydration.  Staying hydrated in this scenario is important.  Cold weather does not mean no sweating or fluid losses, but it does mean less.  If you are outside in heat all day long it is important to replace losses from sweat, even if you are not active.
  4. Nutritional needs?  I wanted to throw this in there because every person is unique and has different needs.  If your child is diabetic, lactose intolerant, allergic to gluten, vegetarian these will all impact the types of food and drinks consumed.  For people with kidney disease potassium and sodium sometimes needs to be restricted.  A sports drink may work well for one person but may be too high in electrolytes for someone with kidney disease.  Fruit juice is great in moderation, but a person with diabetes needs to pay close attention to the amount of sugar they eat/drink.  Make sure to always put nutrition needs as a priority and talk to your doctor or dietitian if you have specific questions about individual needs.

Scenarios: What to Give Your Kids to Drink at Specific Times

Now apply the previous information into the following scenarios.  In each case our body has different needs and a different drink may be appropriate.  It is important to note that the one thing that we can’t get from the foods we eat is adequate water.  Everything else can also be found in food: sugars, sodium, potassium, protein, etc.  However, in the middle of physical activity food can weigh you down or upset your stomach.

    1. Scenario 1: Quiet day at school, cool weather, limited physical activity.  Water would be the best option here.  Sodium and Potassium needs are met through food and water will not add any unnecessary calories.  There is no need for electrolyte replacement (sodium, potassium), extra sugar, or protein.  Milk would also be a good option if they haven’t already met their dairy needs for the day.  *Just a reminder here when children drink sugary drinks it often causes them to eat less of the foods they need for a balanced diet. BEST OPTION:Water, milk
    2.  Scenario 2: Out in the heat, sweating a lot, not active.   If you are not active you don’t need to replace calories burned, so your hydration here does not need to have any carbohydrate/sugar.  Since you are sweating, your body will need extra electrolytes to replace those lost from sweating.  Water is a great option here if you have a snack to go a long with it.  Since you’re not out running around you shouldn’t have any problems tolerating a snack.  Another great option here is a flavored drink with electrolytes that doesn’t have sugar (a zero calorie sports drink or flavored water).  When the option is given between a flavored drink and water people tend to drink of the flavored drink.  If your child never seems to remember to drink enough this may be the best way to make sure they are staying hydrated.  BEST OPTION:Water, artificially flavored zero calorie sports drink (G2, Propel, etc).  If you are opposed to High Fructose Corn Syrup watch out for Powerade as it contains HFCS.3605287518_ca8e3b8619_z
    3. Scenario 3: Working out, not much sweat.  Even when it is cold and we don’t seem to sweat much we still lose fluid.  Usually if exercise lasts less than one hour water is perfect for hydration.  If exercise continues longer than an hour carbohydrate, fluid, and sodium need to be repleted.  The perfect drink in this case is a sports drink.  Soda will replace sugar, but not much sodium.  For more great information about soda and kids visit  Milk is high in protein which is best after workouts not during.  Juice will replace sugar and potassium but not sodium.  Vegetable juice will replace sodium and potassium, but not much sugar.  BEST OPTION: Water for short workouts, Sports drink for longer workouts (Gatorade, V8 100%).
    4. Scenario 4: Working out with a lot of sweat.  During exercise in the heat we burn calories and lose electrolytes when we sweat.  This is the perfect setting for a sports drink.  Carbohydrate will help replace fuel lost, and the electrolytes will replace those lost in sweat. BEST OPTION: Sport drink, 100% Fruit and vegetable juice.
    5. Scenario 5: After a Workout.  The best time to replete glycogen stores in your muscles after a workout is within the first 30 to 60 minutes.  Click Endurance Sports Nutrition, 2nd Edition for a great book about sports nutrition.  High carbohydrate drink will help achieve this goal.  It is also important to consume protein within 2 hours of working out.  Low fat milk provides electrolytes, carbohydrate and protein.  Milk also provides vitamins and minerals that are good for our body.  Juice would be a great option right after workout.  It is high in sugar and will also provide several vitamins that we have an increased need for when we workout (antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin A).  BEST OPTION: 100% Fruit and vegetable juice, Sports drink, Juice, Milk
    6. Scenario 6: Vomiting Diarrhea I wanted touch on this topic as well because Pedialyte is specially formulated for the needs of someone vomiting or having diarrhea.  The electrolyte losses here are more than with physical activity.  There is also less need for carbohydrate.   In the chart below you can see how sports drinks tend to be higher in sugar and lower in electrolytes (sodium, potassium) then Pedialyte.  This drink is designed with a specific purpose in mind and is very effective for this type of dehydration.  BEST OPTION: Pedialyte

>>>Check out the Pedialyte Popsicles here!<<<<

The following chart is the nutrition content for many popular drinks all in an 8 oz portion size.  You can scan through to determine what drink is highest in carbohydrate, sodium, etc.  Once you know what you need out of your drink compare what is out there to make the best decision for you.  You will find one example of almost every type of drink so if your favorite beverage isn’t listed on there just look for something similar.  As always children are more likely to do what you do not what you say.  Show them what the best choices are out there and they will probably start to follow suit.  Happy Hydrating

K (MG)
Gatorade 53 0 14 14 0 100 30
PowerAde 74 0 18 14 0 67 34
Propel 0 0 0 0 0 76 Vit C, Vit E, Niacin, B6, Pantothenic acid
Vitamin Water 48 0 12 13 0 0 352 Vit C, B6, Pantothenic acid, Niacin, B12,Mg
Milk Varies Varies 12 12 8 107 366 Vit A, Ca, B12, B6, Mg
Choc Milk Varies Varies 26 24 8 150 418 Vit A, Ca, B12, B6, Mg
Pedialyte 17 0 4 4 0 245 185 Chloride, Zn,
7-Up 96 0 25 25 0 28 0
Coke 93 0 26 26 0 30 0 caffeine
Tea, sweet 75 0 18 18 0 5 0 caffeine
Sunny D 60 0 16 14 0 180 0 Vit C, Thiamin
Capri Sun 80 0 23 21 0 20 0 Vit C, Calcium
V8 Fusion 110 0 27 24 0 90 200 Vit A, Vit C, Vit E, Calcium
Kool-Aid 93 0 25 25 0 20 0 Vit C
Smoothie 144 0 36 34 0 38 0 Vit C, Vit A
Showing 1 to 15 of 15 entries

Image Credits: Håkan Dahlström (title text added), Kate GardinerPaul Hocksenar

Jun 16

9 Money Saving Tips in the Kitchen (How to Make Your Food and Money go Further)

Cooking for a family takes a lot of time and planning.  Add to that, it can be expensive to plan and buy food for the whole family.  These tips will help you save money and waste less food in the kitchen.

1. Freeze extra herbs.  Whether cooking for yourself or a big family you may find that you often end up with leftover herbs.  I love a little fresh basil when I am making spaghetti sauce, but you can’t just buy a few leaves at a time.  Several years ago I started chopping up the leftovers and freezing them in spare ice cube trays.  Just a hint, though, you may never want to use these trays for ice again.  Sometimes the flavors from the herbs stick around even after multiple washings.

2. Always use your fresh fruits and vegetables.  I love buying fresh fruits and vegetables, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned and they go bad before I get a chance to use them.  This always feels like such a huge waste of money.  Now I pay very close attention to the fresh items in my house.  First, I always put several fruit on display in the house.  They are more likely to be seen and eaten if in a basket on the counter or table.  Second, I move fruit that isn’t being eaten into the refrigerator.  If we still don’t use it there are a couple options.  Cut up and freeze for a smoothie,  blend up and dry for fruit leather, chop up and freeze for use in muffins, pancakes, or waffles.

3. Homemade freezer waffles.  Instead of buying frozen waffles make a bunch at once and freeze leftovers.  Reheat in the toaster when ready to use.  This can also be done with pancakes.  It is a great way to deal with leftovers, and it is less expensive and healthier than buying the pre-made waffles.

4.  Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Fruits and vegetables usually go on sale when they are in season.  During the beginning of summer strawberries will be on sale, but the rest of the year they will likely cost 4 to 5 times the sale price.  This is the same with peaches, mangos, and more.  Not only does this impact price, but it impacts flavor.  Green beans always look and taste the best when they are in season.  Your family may be more likely to eat the sweet cherries during the summer, then the bitter ones offered during the off season.  Bananas and apples are great fillers as they are usually a very good price all year round.

5. Find creative ways to use leftovers.  During a recent move we ended up eating pizza every day for a week and still had a lot of leftovers.  None of us wanted another bite of pizza, but I didn’t want to waste it.  I found a fun recipe online for pizza lasagna.  I made it up and stuck it in the freezer for a busy day meal.

6. Freeze leftovers.  When there are too many leftovers around and you are worried some may go bad, portion into little meals and freeze on a paper plate with a plastic bag around it.  It makes a great freezer meal later when needed.  In small portions it is easy to reheat in the microwave.

7. Plan ahead.  Make sure you know what you have at home before heading to the store.  This is particularly important for perishable items.  Do a quick inventory check and make sure to buy what you need.  For pantry items that don’t go bad as quickly try to buy when on sale, and buy extra.  The next time you shop you can skip that item, and try to buy it again next time it is on sale.  This saves money and also saves time.  If you do this regularly you will find that you are buying larger quantities of fewer foods.  This saves a lot of time as it is easier to pick up 5 cans of soup then to pick up 5 different items.

8.  Leftovers on the plate.  If you frequently have a lot of leftovers on your kids plate try serving up smaller portions.  It is easy enough to give them more when they ask, but a lot harder to take away extra after their sticky hands have mashed half the food up.  Don’t ever go so far as to not offer foods they don’t like.  It is always beneficial to offer at least a little.

9. Freezer meals.  Making meals ahead of time and freezing is a great way to prepare for life.  Homemade freezer meals cost less and give you control over ingredients.  It is great to have them around the house on really busy days.


I love to spend time in the kitchen, but I like to make sure that I am staying on a budget.  I am careful with the food around the house to make sure things don’t go to waste.  I try to make sure to use everything we buy.


Jun 10

8 Milk Facts You Need to Know

I hear the most interesting things about milk all the time.  I have friends that don’t drink milk for various reason.  I wanted to set the record straight, and provide some information about milk that is both scientifically based AND information that I share with my patients as a Registered Dietitian.  I think milk can be a good part of a healthy well balanced diet and here is why…


1. Pasteurization:  Pasteurization Is the process of heating a liquid for a period of time then re-cooling.  This process does not kill all organisms, but it does reduce the number.  It has helped reduce spread of E. coli and Salmonella which can be present in raw milk.


2. Hormones:  The hormone bovine somatotropin is naturally found in cows and stimulates milk production.  A synthetic version of this hormone has been created and can be used to increase a cow’s milk production.  The pasteurization process destroys a lot of this hormone.  Once milk has been pasteurized milk from cows with the synthetic version of the milk hormone is the same as milk from cows without it.  In addition our digestive tract breaks down any hormones ingested.  This is why people with diabetes can’t take insulin as a pill.  If insulin was swallowed it would be broken down and would become completely useless.  Insulin is injected so that it can be utilized by the body.  The same process occurs with any natural or synthetic bovine somatotropin that is in milk.


3. Lactose intolerance: One interesting fact about lactose intolerance is that often people can tolerate yogurt and cheese.  They contain only small amounts of lactose.  For people that can have yogurt and cheese this is a great way to continue to get foods from the dairy group which are high in protein, calcium, vit D, and more.


4. Soy Milk vs Cow’s Milk:  Soy milk is naturally lower in Calcium than cow’s milk, however extra Calcium is often added to soy milk.  Soy milk is a great alternative for those that can’t tolerate other types of milk, however, calcium is better absorbed from cow’s milk.


5.  Organic Milk.  Organic milk, also known as raw milk, must follow specific guidelines.  For milk to be classified as organic cow’s must be fed organic feed with no animal or poultry products, no synthetic hormones or antibiotics.  They must be able to pasture during all grazing seasons.  Nutritionally there is no difference between milk and organic milk.  The same amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat, calcium, etc is found in both.


6. Milk and Mucus: Milk thickens saliva, but it doesn’t increase mucus production.  There is no reason to decrease milk intake because of asthma or a cold.  It will not aggravate or make is worse.


7. Antibiotics in Milk: When antibiotics are used to treat animals there is concern that there will be increased drug resistant bacteria.  I personally am very concerned with all over prescription of antibiotics.  I am concerned that antibiotic use is abused in livestock, pets, and people.  Whether regular or organic, milk is tested regularly for antibiotics and pesticides with very strict standards.


8. Good source of Nutrients: Milk is a great source of many essential nutrients: Calcium, Protein, Magnesium, Potassium, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin D.


Jun 07

7 Time Saving Tips in the Kitchen

1. Find ways to use as few dishes when cooking as possible.  When following a recipe it is often possible to use the same measuring cup for more than one ingredient.  If you need ½ sugar and 2 cups flour in a recipe just use the ½ cup measuring cup for both.  Some ingredients can just be approximate measures.  It is easy to “eye-ball” a ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or salt.  If you are cooking pasta and broccoli, toss them in together.   You can always add broccoli a few minutes after you start the pasta if you like your broccoli more crunchy.  If done often this can save a lot of time with clean up.


2. Choose one day each week for prep.  Pick a day when you have more time.  This may be a good day to let your kids help you out in the kitchen.  For any recipes you will be making do all the chopping and cutting on one day.  This is a huge time saver.  If you repeat the task of chopping veggies several times each week you will be pulling out cutting board, knife, and vegetables, cleaning up the cutting board, knife and vegetables multiple times when you could do it just once.  If you bought an onion but won’t be using it all cut the entire onion and freeze the extra in an ice cube tray.  I have learned from experience that you never want to use an ice tray for ice ever again after you’ve used it for an onion.

3.  Make a double portion and freeze half.  Make sure to do this with only the tried and true recipes that your family loves.  No one wants double the leftovers for a meal that isn’t great.  If you plan to make lasagna buy extra ingredients and make up two meals.  Put one in the freezer before baking it.  This works very well with soups, sauces, enchiladas, casseroles, and more.  This works for the same reason as having one prep day.  It saves time to not repeat all the prep and cleanup steps.


4.  Teach your kids.  From the time they are old enough to walk, teach your kids to carry their own dishes to the sink after meals.  Unfortunately this may initially create more work for you.  Every spill means more cleanup, however this will save a lot of time in the long run.  It will also give your child some good habits for when they are grown up.


5.  Before preparing for a meals pull everything you need out.  Instead of multiple trips to the refrigerator to get ready for dinner become more efficient.  When you go to the pantry make one trip and pull out everything you need.  Make only one trip to the fridge, pantry, cupboard, etc.


6.  Plan ahead.  Plan ahead to make sure more difficult meals are on less stressful days of the week.  On your busy night pull out that extra lasagne you made.  When we are too rushed making dinner we often neglect cleanup.  When cleanup is delayed it takes twice as long.  Now everything must be soaked and scrubbed.  If done right after dinner, clean up time is much quicker.


7.  Get a dog.  Having a dog has really made my job easier.  We have a sweet little dog  in our family.  When my kids are out and about they seem to make a huge mess during meal time.  Somehow at home there is not a drop of food on the floor ever.  Even when I am sure my daughter knocked the chicken she doesn’t like off her plate I never seem to find it on the ground.  I certainly love my little food vacuum.  If only he could eat up napkins too.