You plan and organize and stress over Thanksgiving. You have family coming and you want everything to be perfect..or you are just fixing for your immediately family and you still want everything to be the best that it can be. And it is! The turkey is perfect, the dressing is to die for, and dessert hits the spot. And then it's over. All the hype, worry and preparation, and it is over just like that, AND you are left with a ton of leftovers...ughh. What are you going to do with all of this leftover food? Well, I have gathered a few ideas to help you decide what to do with these things.Read More
I know you've heard about it....eating low-carb or some form of the keto/paleo diet! Well, eating low carb helps thousands of people lose weight everyday. If you decrease carbs in your daily meals, it can help you lose weight and help control your blood sugar. As a dietitian, people ask me all of the time what I think of "such and such" diet. My answer is always this:
You do what works for you. You do what you are comfortable living with and what you can continue to do for a long period of time. Lifestyle and habit changes are what is important to achieving goals. I, personally, could not follow a low-carb diet. I know that up front. So, I don't even try. This is not something that I could continue to do for a long time, because I have a sweet tooth that will not go away! But, some people don't LOVE sweets, or LIVE on bread and pasta. And, for those people, this may be the perfect plan. For those of you who are interested, I have a FREE Living Low-Carb e-book that goes over the general idea of a low-carb diet. It contains a sample meal plan and a valuable list of low-carb foods that you should shop for! If you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask me and I hope you learn a little something new from the book! 😃
School is back up and running here in Louisiana! I wrote a post a few weeks ago about great ideas for your kids lunches so that they don't get bored and tired of the same old thing. Well, I had another thought about bento boxes. I mean, bento boxes are the coolest things ever. I think they make your lunch a little more appealing and are way more exciting looking than a bunch of bags. There are so many to choose from, these are some of my favorites:
1. These little bento boxes are affordable, colorful, and plentiful! There are 7 bento boxes in this pack and I love the bright colors. If you have more than one child to fix a lunch for, you could color coordinate for each kid everyday!
2. This bento box has 5 compartments! I love that. AND, a spoon and fork included with it! It is leakproof and easy for kids to open.
3. This is a two-pack of bento boxes, with 3 compartments, and also includes a spoon. It's durable and easy to open!
4. So this is the Cadillac of bento boxes! It is beautiful. Stainless steel, with 5 sections. But, this is money well spent if you are a serious lunch bringer....like use it everyday lunch bringer. Easy to clean and durable, this bento box will last you a long time!
Any of these boxes would be perfect to pack your lunch or your child's lunch, and they are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe. AND, they are so cute! I have put together a little cheat sheet to help give you some ideas to put together a fabulous lunch, in your bento box for your child, or yourself, or your niece, or your hubby....you get the idea...:) Do you have a favorite bento box? I'd love to know which one it is!
Sign up here to get your free cheat sheet to fix the perfect bento box lunches every day!
I hope you have been enjoying my series on food allergies. It is so interesting to learn about these different allergies and how to deal with them. They are becoming more prevalent and everyone should have some idea of how to feed a child with these different allergies! You can find Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here. Today we will talk about a peanut allergy and soy allergy.
Soybeans provide a very high quality protein in your diet. If you have a soy allergy, you should avoid foods made with soy. There are many foods that contain soy, including baked goods. meat products, cereal, and chocolate. It is imperative to read food labels when trying to avoid soy. A soy allergy is most common in infants and children and they usually outgrow it by the time they reach adulthood.
Substitutes for Soy Oil: Soy oil can be substituted with any oil that doesn't contain soil. Canola oil, corn oil, and olive oil are good examples.
Substitutes for Soy Margarine: If you don't have a milk allergy, you can substitute soy margarine with real butter.
Substitutes for Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is usually used to add a salty component to recipes. You should choose a sauce that is salty in taste or you can use balsamic vinegar with salt added.
Substitutes for Teriyaki Sauce: You can use sweet and sour sauce as a substitute, or you can combine balsamic vinegar, orange juice, white or brown sugar, water, olive oil and pepper.
Peanut/Tree Nut Allergy
I know this may sound hard to believe, but a peanut is actually a legume, but the proteins are similar to the proteins in tree nuts. Tree nuts are walnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews.
The only way to be sure nuts are not in a food item is to read the ingredient list. Some common foods that contain nuts are:
Cookies and baked goods - the actual baked good may not contain nuts, but the product could have come in contact with nuts during processing or packing.
Candy- different candy can contain nuts as a hidden ingredient, or can come in contact with nuts during processing or packaging.
Ice Cream - this one is on the list mainly when you go to an ice cream shop. Scoops are sometimes used on several different types of ice cream, without washing them, therefore, contaminating the scoop if it touches nuts.
Sauces- many sauces are thickened with nuts or peanuts.
Substitutes for Peanuts: Peanuts can be substituted with seeds, beans and pretzels. Seeds are nut free and make a great replacement for nuts in granola bars, breads and "butters". Beans can be roasted and replace nuts in salads and vegetable dishes. Pretzels are a great substitute for nuts in pie crusts and coatings for chicken or pork chops.
So, as you can see, food allergies have become common, especially among children. If you have a child with a food allergy, or feed a child with a food allergy (like me at my job), it is important to stay educated and up to date on substitutions and precautions. It doesn't have to be stressful as long as you are always prepared. I hope this series was helpful and that you learned a little something you didn't know before!
Well, I know we are so close to school starting (ensue screaming and crying)! And what is on everyone's mind is back to school EVERYTHING! Shopping for uniforms or outfits, shoes, backpacks, school supplies and LUNCH! Packing the dreaded lunch box, or bento box!. Sometimes we get stuck in the same old rut, packing the same thing for our kids everyday because we are just fresh out of ideas.
Well, Jennifer to the rescue! I have rounded up quite a few lunch ideas that are quick, easy, and affordable (gasp)! Yep, I am going to help you get ready for back to school lunch packing and organization and all you have to do is read what I've gathered for you below, AND there is even a nice little printable at the end that you will love! I promise, I wouldn't steer you wrong.
Whew, wasn't that awesome? Literally, so many fabulous ideas and you didn't have to think of them! Take some of these ideas and mark that task off of your list for getting ready to go back to school. Take these ideas and your kids will wonder if an alien stole their mom! :)
Happy lunch packing,
Y'all, these are some of the best cookies ever and so simple to make, it should be a crime! Literally, 5 ingredients. And, I whipped these suckers out in no time. They don't last long around here either. Even better, you make them with a cake mix! Score! So, if you are looking for a delicious, easy and quick dessert...keep reading!
EASY LEMON COOKIES
Makes: 3 dozen cookies
- 1 (18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar until they are lightly covered. Once they are covered, put them on an uncreased cookie sheet.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes in a preheated oven. The bottoms may be a little brown and the insides should be chewy.
Voila! That is it. Literally, didn't even need a mixer. In this picture you can see that I made my cookies a little bigger and it made 1 dozen, so you can gauge how big you like them. I usually make them smaller and they are a little flatter, and I think I like them better that way! Bottom line, doesn't matter the size of the cookie, they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
P.S. You can also do this with a strawberry cake mix and they are delicious and pretty too!
So, it was 5:00 on a Thursday night and I had NOTHING planned to cook - (let the gasps begin!). Anyway, I literally knew I had chicken breasts and that was it. So what to do? I did what any good cook/mom would do and hopped on Pinterest! I searched for quick chicken dinners and you know my feed lit up. But, I was skimming for recipes that looked like they had any of the ingredients that I had on hand...and BINGO! Found a hit.
It looked like a winner. I had chicken and rice, and as I hunted my pantry, I realized I had everything else I would need to make it, and got to work. The original recipe calls for dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing (which I did not have) and a rotisserie chicken (which I did not have). I did have a packet of dry Italian dressing and some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. My one concern is that my family doesn't really LOVE a casserole. I mean, sometimes they will eat it and suffer through it, but a casserole more than once every two weeks is pushing it. This is my fault, I spoiled them this way. The dietitian in me started cooking for them with my studies in my mind. A protein, 2 starches, a vegetable, a fruit...like I thought had to have all of these components for every meal! And I won't even get into making sure the plate wasn't monochromatic and everything look the same (if you think I am certifiably crazy-I may agree with you)! ADHD alert (geez I can get off topic easily) this is why they are spoiled! Fast forward 23 years and I wish I had made a casserole 4 x a week! They wouldn't know any different. As it is, eating at home is like eating at Picadilly cafeteria-serve you?
But to end this long-winded, no point story, they loved it! Like loved it enough to pack it for their lunches the next day. That is always a sign of a real win for me. If they will eat it for supper AND bring it for lunch the next day - it's a keeper. So, without further adieu, "cracked out" chicken and rice bake. Here is the link for the original recipe and the recipe for the way I made it (with the substituted ingredients) is below.
Oh, and anything named "cracked out" has got to make you want to try it! Here is the link to the original post.
Shortcut Chicken and Rice Bake
Makes: 12 Servings
- 2 cups white rice
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- 1 can (10-3/4 ounce) Cream of Chicken Soup
- 8-oz sour cream
- 1/2 (1-oz) package dry Italian Dressing Mix
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup real bacon bits
- 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside
- Cook rice in microwave rice cooker (18 minutes) or in traditional rice cooker
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, chicken soup, sour cream, Italian dressing mix, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, bacon, chicken broth and cooked rice. Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake, uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly
- Spread remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top of casserole and bake for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.
I promise you that you will love how quick and easy this recipe is and your family will love how it tastes!
How to lower your blood pressure: Quit your job, hire a housekeeper, hire a nanny and still get your salary!! Ha! Wouldn’t that be nice! Not only is this illogical, it is undoable for most people. About 73 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. That is 1 in 3 American adults – which is a lot! Some contributing factors to high blood pressure include heredity, stress, physical activity and diet. Heredity is what it is. You are dealt a hand at birth and some of these health problems are destined to be. But, if you do have a predisposition to high blood pressure, these things can help you to avoid having trouble with it. Stress is something that cannot necessarily be controlled, but you can control how you react to it. Take a deep breath and think about what your next move should be when you are stressed. You could incur undo stress on yourself depending on how you react to things. Physical activity and diet you do have control over. Take a walk, a jog, go for a swim, cross fit, aerobics, anything to get yourself moving and pump air through your lungs. The diet part is where I come in.....well at least come in and tell you about it... There are a few simple ways and easy things you can do with your meal plan to help control or even lower your blood pressure and it’s summed up in the DASH meal plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The DASH is a flexible and balanced meal plan that helps reduce blood pressure (or keep it under control) and helps with heart health. It requires no special foods or supplements and is easy to follow. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, includes whole grains, nuts/beans/seeds, lean meats, fish, chicken, and heart healthy fats. Here I have included 4 easy ways to follow the DASH meal plan to produce great results:
1. Eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables as often as possible. Many times, as a dietitian, I say – frozen, fresh or canned are all acceptable, just eat fruits and vegetables. In this case, fresh is best. Sodium is used as a preservative in canned and frozen foods, so this would adversely affect your blood pressure.
2. Include fat free and low fat dairy products, fish, chicken, beans, nuts and vegetable oils. Fat free and low fat dairy products are the best choice for the DASH meal plan. Choose the low fat or non-fat versions of cheese, ice cream, milk and sour cream. Also, red meat is usually avoided due to its high amount of saturated fat. Dried beans and legumes are a great source of protein and offer a bulkiness that will keep you feeling full for a long time. Nuts are suggested, but always choose the no salted nuts or lightly salted. Vegetable oil is a good option, but in moderate amounts.
3. Limit foods high in saturated fat. High amounts of saturated fat is usually found in animal products like red meat and full fat cheeses and milk. Saturated fats can block your arteries, which makes it harder for blood to flow through them, causing your blood pressure to raise. Avoid tropical oils like palm or coconut because they are high in saturated fat.
4. Limit sugar sweetened beverages and sweets. Sugar sweetened beverages are simply empty calories. If it isn’t used for energy, it turns to fat. There is absolutely no nutritional value to sugary beverages such as soda. Sweets should be eaten sparingly. I am not one to say stay completely away from sweets because THAT would cause me major stress!! But eat sweets in moderation. Below is a daily intake guide, which is just a suggestion of daily servings of each of these nutrients. If you are trying to restrict calories for weight loss, you would want to choose the lower end of the range for each food group. When looking at servings per day, please remember that serving sizes are different for each food. For example: A serving of bread is 1 slice; a serving of vegetables is usually ½ cup. You can look at the food label on any product and it will show you what a serving is for that particular food. Always follow your doctor’s advice; this is not a medical recommendation, but an informational guide.
DAILY INTAKE GUIDE
FOOD GROUP DAILY SERVINGS
Grains 6-8 servings
Meats, chicken, fish 6 oz or less
Vegetables 4-5 servings
Fruits 4-5 servings
Low fat or fat free dairy products 2-3 servings
Fats and oils 2-3 servings
Sodium 1800-2100 mg
Want an example of a 2-day DASH meal plan? Click the button below and it will be sent to your email!
When I became pregnant with my first child, I was working at a WIC Clinic with women, infants and children. As a Registered Dietitian, I spent my days educating pregnant women and caregivers of infants and children on how to best nourish themselves and their children for the best possible health. Well, can I say that when I had my first daughter, Katelyn, that all went out of the window!!Read More