Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Survival #Nutritionandkids

At the beginning of the summer I always have high hopes of teaching my kids more about cooking and getting them involved in what they eat. I have visions of them eating healthy snacks everyday as I cheerfully teach them a lesson about nutrition or science. But in reality I still have to work and my patience is limited as the day goes on and as the summer progresses, I switch to more of a survival mode as to who will win, junk food or fruits and vegetables.

Here are some quick ideas that have saved our busy summer from completely slumping off into a dietary disaster.

1. With the plenitude of great produce during the summer it has been an easy task to cut and keep fruit available. I even added some to a skewer and froze them for an easy grab and go treat. 

                                   



2. We tried to "play with our food" more by doing food related science experiments. We made fresh whipped cream by agitating cream in a jar and dehydrated mangoes and pineapples to see what would happen when all of the water was taken out of the fruits. Both of these experiments took minimal prep and were easy to do. 



3. We tried to stay active everyday. Even with the really hot and humid temperatures we made sure that we had enough water to drink. 
          

4. When we ate out we tried to eat healthy! When we were taking a break from the rain at the beach we stopped at one of our local favorite places and they had the coolest "Greek Yogurt banana split" for breakfast. Topped with fresh fruit and nuts this Greek Yogurt made a healthy breakfast option for the kids. This is also easily created for a healthy and quick breakfast at home. 


With only 4 more weeks left of summer, I think I feel like I can continue to make it more healthy than not, which will make it more enjoyable for the kids and the adults! 
Have a great rest of the summer! 

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Festive snacks for the 4th of July!

Have your kids taste buds go POP this Fourth of July with these easy, healthy and delicious treats!

1. Patriotic fruit kebab . Cut the bananas last and prepare right before you serve for a great way to squeeze in a serving of fruit. 


2. Banana ice cream (1 ingredient- frozen bananas! Just freeze, blend and serve)
3. Ring pop frozen fruit pops. I love this idea but did not have a chance to practice it before the blog was published. You can reuse the ring pops plastic portion and top with cut up fruit. Freeze until frozen and enjoy! 

4. Watermelon cupcakes. Made with cut out watermelon. Top with fresh fruit or whipped cream. 
5.Ice pops. I love these Zipzicles! They are the best especially on a hot day. I fill them with leftover smoothies or 100% fruit juice. 
Have a great Fourth of July!
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Favorite 4th of July Menu...festive, filling and fun!

I love the patriotic colors of the holiday and like to include red, white and blue in the festivity snacks although I prefer to not invite red dye #40 and blue dye #1 to the festivities. This holiday I have included a menu of delicious patriotic treats that can be included in your day of patriotic fun. 

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day consider these strawberry waffles. The secret ingredient is white beans included for extra protein and fiber to fill the bellies and last them through the early morning sandcastle building or swimming. Click here for the delicious special release of my families test kitchen waffle.





Lunch:  Cream cheese, peanut butter and grape jelly wrapped in a whole wheat wrap served with a side of Hummus with red pepper, cauliflower, and purple carrots (can also be served in a wrap or pita bread) if PBC& J not a favored lunchtime item.

Snack: Firecracker/ eagles nest trail mix: popcorn, yogurt covered raisins, dried strawberries and pretzel sticks.


Dinner: Grilled chicken breast served with Watermelon, feta, blueberry and mint salad



Dessert: A fun frozen dessert or fruity cupcakes for the firework festivities. Frozen yogurt, blueberry and strawberry pops or Watermelon cupcakes.


Have a great Fourth of July!
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Friday, June 19, 2015

How to keep dad healthy for years to come!


Father’s Day comes around just one day every year, but this year give dad a gift that will last him throughout the year, the gift of health! This year I have written a letter to all respective dads to be shared among loved ones.


Dear Dad (Grandfathers, husbands and future dads),


Dad's stand for strength, assurance and kindness. It takes a great man to stand up to a huge responsibility and become a father who passes on his wisdom, skills and advice. Keep your body in the best shape it can be with these ten healthy tips strong enough to help you keep up your “super-dad” name!


1. Lycopene. An amazing phytochemical found in abundance in tomatoes, watermelon and papaya and has been shown to be a potential prostate cancer reducer. Include red colored fruits and vegetables to increase your intake of this nutrient packed phytochemical.

2. Avocados. Great for inflammation and chocked full of monounsaturated fatty acids (the good type of fats) as well as being a potential cholesterol and diabetes reducer.

3. Choose lean protein sources. Only eat red meat or beef one time per week and make it lean cuts like loin and round. Eat chicken without the skin and try to eat fish at least 1 time per week. Consider going meatless one day a week incorporating beans, nuts and soy products as the main meal item.

4. If you drink alcohol switch to red wine for the benefits of resveratrol. In moderation, red wine has shown to be potentially heart-healthy.

5. Don't forget to eat breakfast and regular meals throughout the day. Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and will balance your mood, concentration and endurance throughout the day.

6. Keep moving for at least 60 minutes per day. Exercise is a great stress relief and good for all aspects of your body.

7. Sleep for at least 8 hours per night.

8. When you grill consider marinating meat in a mixture of oil, vinegar and spices including onions and garlic to help minimize the carcinogens that may occur during the process of grilling.

9. Watch your salt intake. Try to avoid lunch meats, canned foods and packaged foods. Avoid salting your foods at the table and with cooking. Our food has plenty of salt naturally added. Choose spices and herbs to season your food.

10. Remember you are a huge role model for the entire family, what you do they will likely copy.



Happy Father’s Day! This year and to many more!


Sincerely,

Brandi Thompson RDN, LD/N



P.S. Sometimes the best gifts that we can give our dads are hugs and kind words of appreciation. As a Registered Dietitian it can be hard for me to hold back when I see my dad eating in an unhealthy way. We would all like to see our dads live forever and I am often torn between letting him enjoy what he is eating and reminding him of healthier choices.  My dad has always been a strong and impressionable part of my life and two and a half years ago he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As a family we were devastated and writing about it still gets me teary eyed even though he has been in remission for almost two years. The celebration of Father’s Day can be a time of reflection on our families, our work life and how we fuel our bodies. Taking advantage of the aspects of nutrition that are valid and evidence based can help our dads, husbands and sons live a long and healthy life.


Me and my dad Jack Hyatt, 1999. 

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

On the road? Don't detour for unhealthy food! A few healthy food options to take with you in the suitcase, sedan or safari park


Hitting the road on that family vacation is a great way to enjoy a relaxing vacation. It can also be a time when healthy habits fly out the window. Don't let a vacation ruin your healthy habits, relax with some of these healthy tips. 

If your travels involve planes, trains or automobiles consider filling up your carry-on or purse with the following snacks. 

Top 3 Grab and go snacks to pack:
1. Anything from Peeled Snacks. My most recent favorite is more savory than sweet and packs 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in each serving. This snack is healthier than potato chips and more satisfying than pretzels or popcorn because of the natural pea protein. All of the Peeled Snacks are organic and made with minimal ingredients. My other favorite are the the Apple Clusters. 

2. Kind Bars are my go to granola. The nuts and seeds sprinkle in a little more protein to help keep kids and adults satisfied longer. The chocolate ones have been getting a bad rap lately but they are delicious, and still better than a candy bar. I believe that they can be a good addition to anyone's diet, with moderation of course. 


3.The Good Bean chickpea snacks. These are definitely an amazing alternative to crackers or goldfish. Add these protein packed beans to trail mix or eat by themselves. They are an easy snack full of nutritious goodness. 


If a road trip is in your future do some research ahead of time to locate fruit stands and farmers markets. One of our favorite places to stop when going to the Florida Keys is Robert is Here. To find out where you can locate the areas markets visit: Local Harvest or USDA's farmers market site. Bring along a cooler to transport some of the fresh produce. 


Once you have arrived at your destination consider staying at a condo or suite that has a kitchen so that you can economically make healthier meals. This may cost a little extra, but in the long run it will save you money from dining out. 



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Friday, May 8, 2015

How to do a cooking class for 160, 8-9 year olds and getting ready for Food Revolution Day 2015!


On May 15th, 2015, Food Revolution Day is set to embark on its 4th annual day of global recognition to encourage more nutrition education. This mission is not only about teaching the ABC's of nutrition but helping the children develop a love of cooking and a foundation for what good and real food is.
 
This year I embarked on a journey to teach 160 third graders how to assemble and prepare a "squash sandwich".
The cooking class will be led by Chef Jamie Oliver,  virtually presenting via the world wide web, a 40 minute demonstration. the mastermind behind  Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver has been advocating for Food education and this year he is pushing for a global impact to improve the future of our children, so please sign the petition, click here.

As a local ambassador for the Food Revolution Day cause I decided that this year I would participate by having all of the third graders at our local elementary participate in the class. Here is how I went about starting a cooking class for our local Elementary:
 
1. Last year I wanted to do the online cooking class with Jamie but did not allow enough time for planning so this year I started in February and approached my son's third grade teachers and started out on the journey of garnering donations, recruiting volunteers and planning out the event to the smallest details.
 
2. I emailed the team leader for third grade and told her about the event. She enthusiastically agreed to team up and make the event happen at the school. We then sought approval from the Principal and once that was done, I approached local vendors.
 
3. Some of the vendors that I reached out to included: Whole Foods Boca Raton, The Dairy Council, Pero Family Farms and Ernston Produce. The list of ingredients was pretty long including lot of vegetables and herbs. With the cost of produce, especially to feed 160 kids, it was a nail bitter as to if I would be able to accomplish this task at all. But my amazing vendors came through and enthusiastically agreed to donate for the cause. I had a last minute request for bread in which I approached our local PTA who stepped up and agreed to purchase the bread.

4. About 4 weeks before the event we were encouraged by Jamie Oliver to have the students grow some of the produce needed. We planted radishes, basil and dill and my son delivered them to the classrooms with a letter of how to take care of the plants.
 

5. In my non-realistic dream I envisioned all 160 of the children in aprons and chef hats. But obviously the financial impact of that was way out of my budget so I came up with a chef hat template, which you can download here. Chef hat template. The kids will have to staple or tape the hats together and will also be able to personalize them with colors and pictures. The chef hats will be more of an aesthetic idea, but in my vision they will all look super cute. I did purchase some inexpensive aprons for my sons class on Amazon and had 50 buttons made to pin to the aprons and give out to the teachers and volunteers.
      

6. I rounded up, with the help of our awesome volunteer coordinator Rosana, 9 volunteers to help the teachers during the class. Prior to the class I sent each volunteer the link to Jamie's video and an idea of how the lesson plan should go, in hopes that everything would run smoothly.

7. Since the herbs were an expensive part of the lesson, we also decided to grow watercress in the classrooms. I started the seeds at home and, according to the package the seeds would be ready to go in 5-7 days. If you are not familiar with watercress, as I was not, its a peppery herb that is added to sandwiches and easily grown.

8. Packets were made that included completion certificates, sandwich building activity, chef hat templates and copies of the lesson plans to be distributed the week of the event.

All of my plans are now in place. All that is left to do is pick up the produce, distribute it to the classrooms and cross my fingers that everything from technology to the children's behavior falls into place. I look forward to this event because it is my small part that may influence some of the children to think a little more about the foods they eat and acquire a love for cooking.

If you have any questions about the event or Food Revolution Day please email me at: Brandi@abcdeatright.com.

So go on, stir things up in your area and start a Food Revolution! xoxo Brandi





Monday, April 20, 2015

Nurturing your creativity, 5 snacks to take to the office and other work day tips

I work out of multiple locations some of which I have my own office and others I consider my car my office. Even though I move around a lot, I like to have plenty of snacks available to help me get through the day until dinner. A typical work day can be filled with stress, low serotonin levels and often low blood sugars if the right foods are not chosen.  I recommend eating a good protein filled breakfast, a light but fiber filled lunch, an afternoon snack (see below) and a well balanced dinner. The more regular you can be with steady meal times, the more consistent your blood sugars will be.

My advice is to skip the afternoon coffee and substitute it with refreshing water and a crunchy snack. Crunchy snacks works to stimulate the senses and get the body going again.When you think crunchy I want you to think past potato chips and look at these five healthy options: 

1.The Good Bean roasted chick pea snacks. My new favorite go-to snack that has protein, fiber and a ton of varieties to choose from. Whether you want something sweet and crunchy or salty and crunchy these beans are a great snack choice.

2. KIND bars are always found in my purse. They are easy to tote around, healthy and delicious. The newer KIND bars have added more of a savory line, which are really different and good but my all time favorite is the dark chocolate sea salt one! Although KIND bars have gotten a recent slap on the hand by FDA due to "healthy claims", as a Registered Dietitian I feel that these type snacks can still be a part of a well balanced diet. Everything in moderation is the key when seeking out a healthy meal plan.

3. Hummus and carrot sticks or whole grain crackers. Sabra has a great on the go pack but it can be just as easy to bring a tub of hummus and keep it at work for the week, refrigerated of course.

4. Apples and bananas with peanut or nut butter. Justin's has a great pouch that is a perfect portion size for the energy packed peanut butter. A sliced apple or banana is another delicious and fiber filled snack.

5. Peeled fruit snacks are one last quick grab snack that I recently purchased at Starbucks. These dried fruit balls were the perfect size and the perfect crunch. Low calorie and fiber filled were a delicious choice for a busy afternoon.

Taking a walk and skipping an afternoon caffeine buzz are other ways to stay healthy throughout the workday. Every day is a creative day waiting to be born so nourish that creativity with healthy and hydrating snacks. 

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