Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Healthy Tips to Feed Your Family

Recently Denny Waxman, leading authority on macrobiotics and natural healing, wrote a blog on  "Achieving your ideal Weight”. His article really rings true in that more and more people are overweight and suffer from obesity. What scares me the most is the number of overweight children.

Weight gain is epidemic and childhood obesity is on the rise. More and more children suffer from
 illnesses that are directly related to their diet. I find is sad to see kids starting out their young lives with health problems that can be completely avoided by parents making better food choices.

As a macrobiotic teacher and counselor I offer menu planning. My clientele ranges from people with serious health concerns to those who simply want to make a transition to plant-based foods. Many of my clients are moms who want to eat better and make healthier food for their families. However, they 
often struggle implementing the transition, fearing their children will not like the new food choices.

Here are some of my suggestions for introducing plant-based foods to your children:
  1. Establish regular family mealtimes and try to eat one meal together each day. If this seems like a stretch begin with a few times a week. Mealtimes are great way to connect with your children and really find out what is going on in their lives. 
  2. Begin introducing healthier foods into their diets. Start with grains and grain products such as brown rice, millet, couscous, noodles, pastas, oatmeal and corn. Try unyeasted sourdough breads, pita, and tortillas instead of commercial white breads. Each meal should have a grain or grain product. The word ‘meal’ implies grain. Make grains the main part of the meal. Our brain functions on glucose, which is derived from the breakdown of complex carbohydrates. Grains, beans and vegetables are the main source of complex carbohydrates. 
  3. Serve fresh vegetables with every meal. Experiment with a variety of vegetables prepared in a variety of styles. Vegetables complete and balance our meals and help to provide us with freshness. 
  4. Take control of your cupboard. Read labels and simply don’t buy junk! After a certain age you cannot control what your child eats outside of your home, but you can control the quality of the foods you bring into your home. What is most important is that they are eating good food at home during mealtimes. 
  5. Have good snacks available, fresh seasonal fruits, toasted seeds and nuts, rice cakes. For those of you who enjoy cooking try making some snacks together with your child and introduce them to cooking at an early age. 
  6. Try to find your child’s taste and follow their appetite for good food and little by little introducing new foods. Keep reinforcing the health and the environmental benefits from eating plant based foods. 
  7. Finally, not exactly food related but equally as important, encourage your child to engage in outdoor and indoor physical “play” activity. Limit the time they spend with electronic devices and cultivate their participation in the arts and in nature. 

Home Popped Organic Popcorn 
This snack is a favorite of both kids and adults. It is great because popcorn is familiar
to and loved by just about everyone. I use specific good quality ingredients that are even healthier than anything you can buy in the health food store. By making your own snacks you can control the amount of sodium used and the quality of the oils. This snack takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and will stay fresh for several days. 

1/4 cup of “high heat” Safflower oil or Sunflower oil (This is an oil of thicker consistency)
1 Tablespoon of organic Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/16 - 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 cup of organic non-GMO popcorn

Suggested cookware: A two quart stainless steel pot with a lid or stainless steel pressure cooker.
A large serving bowl and a wooden utensil.

Pour the oil in the pan and turn the flame on the lowest setting.
Add the popcorn kernels and sea salt.
When the oil begins to sizzle, place a lid on the pot.
As the corn begins to pop pick up the pot and give it a gentle shake to allow the
popcorn to cook evenly. You will repeat this step several times throughout the cooking.
When you hear little to no popping sound the popcorn is done.
Pour the hot popcorn into a serving bowl.

Option: If you like more of a rich flavor gently drizzle additional olive oil over the
hot popcorn. Add another tiny pinch of sea salt and gently mix with a wooden utensil
to blend all the seasonings.
For teenagers and adults add a little hot spice.
For a rich gourmet flavor top off the hot popcorn with truffle oil.

*Too ensure freshness, the popcorn needs to cool completely before storing it. 

*To order Susan Waxman's "Healthy Treats" kids snack booklet contact her office.

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