It’s a very important month for dietitians – It’s National Nutrition Month! Every month dietitians work hard in various settings to help educate how to make healthy eating taste delicious! March is a little extra special.
This post is sponsored by the Healthy Family Project in collaboration with Mission for Nutrition. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!
National Nutrition Month
National Nutrition Month® is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.
This year’s theme is Personalize Your Plate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds, and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are.
Misson for Nutrition
As you may know, I am the host of Food Rx with the Healthy Family Project. Healthy Family Project is celebrating their third annual Misson for Nutrition, a month-long digital and shopper-focused program that highlights the importance and value of meal planning to make healthy choices with an element that gives back to Feeding America® food banks.
Each year, retail dietitians a kit with the tools to celebrate the month with shoppers in a big way. Want a sneak peek inside? I had fun unboxing the toolkit.
Retail dietitians using the hashtag #missionfornutrition or submitting their events to Healthy Family Project are entered to win a $1,000 continued education scholarship. Past winners have utilized the scholarship to attend retail dietitian-focused trade shows, workshops, and conferences.
If you are a dietitian and have a virtual cooking class or demo coming up, please add your class to our lineup here! Healthy Family Project will be adding this calendar to our Mission for Nutrition homepage so that families can easily access it.
Find out how to connect with your local retail dietitian
Join in on March 11th for a Twitter Chat!
Join the March 11 #MissionforNutrition Twitter Party! At 4 pm ET on March 11, Healthy Family Project will be talking about all things meal prep, swapping recipes and hacks, and giving away prizes. Everyone is welcome to join and no RSVP is needed. Simply hop on the #MissionforNutrition hashtag and have fun! Follow Health Family Project on Twitter.
I had an incredible opportunity last year to travel to Norway to learn first hand about seafood from Norway. As a dietitian and a chef, I am invested in learning about where our food comes from and the sustainability practices behind them to create a thriving future for the next generation.
Sustainability has been one of the main objectives of the Norwegian fishing industry, committed producing seafood in a safe, controlled, and sustainable manner with strict regulations.
Get the facts about farm-raised salmon from Norway
Farm-raised salmon from Norway is raised in its natural habitat and not a cramped pool of fish swimming on top of each other. The ratio of the pens in the fjord is 97.5% water to 2.5% salmon.
Farm-raised salmon from Norway is able to have much more control to prevent disease and mortality.
Seafood from Norway is all about sustainability. Since fishing had been part of their heritage for more than 2,000 years, taking care of the sea for the next generation is part of their culture.
Seafood from Norway is shipped fresh or frozen! (really, however, the customer wants it!)
Why origin matters
There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to seafood – both wild and farmed. Salmon is really one of the most popular species in the US and there are a number of species available with different characteristics.
The origin of the seafood, as every country has completely different practices.
How to identify seafood from Norway
According to the USDA, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a consumer labeling law that requires retailers (grocery stores and supermarkets) to identify the country of origin on certain foods, including wild-caught fish, farm-raised fish, and shellfish.
It will clearly be listed that the seafood is from Norway or you can look for the Seafood From Norway seal.
Why eat more fish
Seafood helps build healthy hearts. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease.
Storing fresh salmon
Fresh salmon can last up to two days if stored close to 32 degrees, rather than up to one day at the typical home refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees. Place the fish in a zipper-lock bag on ice in a bowl (or cover it with ice packs) and place it at the back of the fridge, where it’s coldest.
How to freeze salmon
If you want to freeze raw salmon, pat it dry, and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, place it in an airtight container and freeze it. Make sure to label it with the date and use it within three months.
Skin side up or skin side down?
First of all—skin is tasty! So when you’re cooking salmon, keep that skin on. It provides a safety layer between your fish’s flesh and a hot pan or grill. Start with the skin-side down, and let it crisp up. It’s much easier to slide a fish spatula under the salmon’s skin than under its delicate flesh.
Fire up your grills. It’s burger season. Let’s Build a Better Burger! Burgers are just not simply a beef patty between a sesame seed bun anymore. Grillers are getting a little more creative and adding healthy twists to classic BBQ fare.
Choose Your Protein:
First, choose your meat or meatless patty. Choose the protein you enjoy.
Look for 90% lean beef. While others may challenge this choice saying more fat = more flavor, think about the rest of your burger. You can pack in plenty of flavors and have a juicy burger while trimming back on saturated fat from a beef burger. Look for lean beef options like ground sirloin.
For ground chicken and turkey, look for “breast meat” or “100% white meat” to ensure it’s coming from leaner parts of the poultry.
For your meat patties, salt, and pepper are really the only seasonings you need. Let all of the flavors of your burger shine.
Cooking Tip: Spatulas were made for flipping the patties, not pressing them. Ever heard that hissing sound when you pressed down on them? That’s all the flavorful juices dripping out. They belong in the burger!
Grilling Tip: To ensure the meat cooks evenly, make a thumbprint indentation into each patty before it goes on the grill. The indentation helps the patty hold its shape, rather than swelling, as it shrinks during the cooking process.
Going meatless? No problem!
Portobello mushrooms are the perfect stand-in for a hamburger. It has a hearty meaty texture, with no saturated fat or cholesterol. You can also try the “blend trend” and go 50/50 meat and mushrooms.
Pack your burger with pulses. Pulses are part of the legume family and are better known as beans and lentils. Peas, chickpeas, lentils, and dried beans like kidney or navy beans fall into the pulse category. Pulses are a nutrition powerhouse, full of protein, fiber, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins.
Bean burgers are often mixed with veggies and other whole grains. To prevent your bean burgers from falling apart on the grill, don’t forget a good binding agent, which is what is going to hold your burger together. An egg or even a “flax egg” (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp warm water) can do the trick.
Pick Your Bun
You just made a tasty burger so don’t skimp out on the bun. A simple healthy swap is choosing a whole grain burger bun. Before you add those burger buns to your shopping cart, make sure the first ingredient listed is the word “whole”. Looking to trim back on carbs or need a gluten-free option? Try going bun-less! Sturdy lettuce or leafy green like iceberg lettuce, kale, or collard greens can be the perfect vessel to hold your delicious burger. Another idea is adding your burger between two grilled Portobello mushroom caps.
Load on the Produce
The produce possibilities are endless. The more the merrier!
You can go for the simple, LTO (lettuce, tomato, onion) or also enhance this classic topping with a culinary twist. Try using large leaf delicate lettuces like Bibb lettuce, opt for juicy heirloom tomatoes, and try pickled onions to enhance the flavors.
Sautéed mushrooms with caramelized onions are my personal favorite burger topping, but if you are looking for a sweet addition try adding grilled pineapple.
Want to add even more produce? Try packing your burger patties with veggies! It’s not only a sneaky way to add more vegetables and nutrients, but it also keeps the burger moist and juicy.
Sauce It Up
Let the ingredients speak for themselves. Don’t hide the delicious flavors of the burger and toppings itself by overdressing your burger. Add a dollop of ketchup, mustard, or BBQ sauce. Compare condiments before you grab one off the shelf in the grocery store. Look for condiments lower in sugar. Even better, make your own condiments.
Want to step your flavor game up a notch? Try adding other condiments like relish, sauerkraut, tzatziki sauce, guacamole, hummus, salsa, pesto, or hot sauce.
Top It Off
Say cheese! Hard and firm cheeses like cheddar, Parmesan, and gruyere work well with all kinds of burgers from beef, to poultry, to veggie versions. A little goes a long way.
Tip: To make sure it doesn’t take extra long to melt, let the cheese come to room temperature before adding to burgers.
Back to school or back to the office, many of us pack lunches for our busy days. If you are taking the step to packing yourself a healthful lunch, take it a step further with these 6 strategies to pack it in a more eco-friendly way.
This post has been sponsored by Produce for Kids. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep this website running!
Produce for Kids’ Power Your Lunchbox initiative is helping families with ideas, tips, recipes, and more to help you eat more nutritious and delicious lunches – at school or the office. Since launching in 2014, Power Your Lunchbox has provided more than 1.3 million meals to families in need through Feeding America thanks to their amazing partners.
Whether you are looking for make-ahead ideas, hot lunches, non-sandwich ideas, Produce for Kids has many recipe ideas to look through.
Rethink the way you pack your lunch to help reduce environmental impact every day, all school year long. Here are some ways to pack a more eco-friendly lunch.
Start with taking inventory
Each day your child might come home with an empty lunchbox, but do you know how much of your kid’s lunches actually ends up in the trash? Surprisingly a lot. Most statistics reported about school lunches are from the food served by the cafeteria, but even those who pack lunch, that food may end up in the trash.
Have a conversation with your children to bring home anything they don’t eat during lunch. Instead of tossing it, encourage them to bring home the half-eaten muffin or the pear with only a few bites taken out of it. This way you can understand how much your child is really eating, to help pack accordingly, to pack as leftovers the next day or an after school snack and strategize with the tips below to prevent food waste, which in turn can help you save money.
Skip individually wrapped foods
This not only can cut down on food waste but can help add a little more variety to your child’s lunchbox. Scoop out a portion of yogurt vs. packing the whole container. Children like variety so having a little bit of a few items vs. just a couple of larger packed items can also provide a more balanced lunch. Packing lunch for 2 kids? Split an orange and granola bar between two lunch boxes instead of packing a whole one of each for both.
Utilize reusable sandwich bags and containers.
From bento boxes to stasher bags, and all the different kinds of plastic or glass containers in between there are plenty of ways to replace the single-use plastic baggies. For sandwiches, utilize stasher bags or Bees Wrap, reusable wrapper made from beeswax to allow you to get rid of the ziplock and saran wrap for good.
Pack a water bottle and beverages
Packing a reusable water bottle is a simple solution to reducing plastic waste. Reuseable water bottles come in all different sizes to fit into any lunchbox. Have separate bottles for juice, milk, or other beverages to pack.
Did their water bottle go to school with them but never made it home? Add a label with your child’s name and classroom teacher’s name so it will find its way home the next day.
Make things “fast food”
School lunchtime may be 30 minutes in some schools, but a lot of that time is socializing and waiting at the door to get to recess. Change the term fast food into a new meaning by helping save time in the cafeteria. Peel the clementine or cut the sandwich into bite-size pieces. Be creative and use fun shaped cookie cutters to make different bite-size shapes. This can help with packing them the right portion size for them and see how much of each item tends to come home the most often.
Many schools have started a compost program at their schools to help teach students about avoiding food waste while giving back to the soil, plus providing a medium for many environmental and science-related topics for discovery along with opportunities for student development.
Do you compost at home? Bring the peach pits or orange peels home to compost later.
Need some more lunchbox inspiration? Follow #PowerYourLunch for creative ideas.
Kids Eat Right Month™, celebrated each August, focuses on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles for kids and families.
This time last year I was just wrapping up my kids’ culinary camp which turned a few picky eaters into food explorers. While I do not have kids myself (just yet! .. well does a fur child count?) I love working with children introducing them to new foods and help them find joy in cooking.
I chatted with a few friends with young children about their strategies of ways to encourage their children with trying new foods.
Take your kids grocery shopping
Previously working as a retail dietitian, I would encourage this with parents and caregivers all the time. Just simply getting them involved in the process of grocery shopping and seeing there are so many different kinds of food available is a good start.
Emily Kyle, RDN, CLT, HCP, holistic health & wellness + cannabis educator of Emily Kyle Nutrition, turned the chore of grocery shopping with her son into “Friday Night Date Night”. They enjoy dinner & free live music in the cafe of Wegmans before going grocery shopping. She says this is helpful for so many reasons because, “We’re not hungry when we go shopping, it is later at night so the store is not busy when we do shop, and he gets to enjoy the experience and turn it from something stressful or rushed to something mindful and fun.”
Jessica Levinson, RD, culinary nutrition expert of jessicalevinson.com and mom of 7-year-old twin girls, admits when she takes her girls shopping, “it’s fun and sometimes infuriating.”
I get it .. sometimes you just want to get the chore of food shopping out of the way for the busy week ahead, but at other times encourage your kids to join you. Taking your kids shopping gives them an opportunity to see and learn about a wider variety of foods than just what comes home with you. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to spend time together, talk about healthy foods, where food comes from, and may even help motivate a picky eater to try something new.
Let them pick out their own items
Levinson and her girls work off her grocery list but also welcome them to pick out anything from the produce section that they want to try. She said, “In other parts of the store if they find items they want to try we will look them over together to read the labels, check out the ingredients, and determine if it’s a product that belongs in our house.” which is a great time for gentle nutrition education.
Sara Haas, RD, culinary dietitian of sarahaas.com heads to the produce department with her daughter. She says, “I always ask her about what produce she wants as well as snacks. She picks and we look at it together to decide if it’s something we need.”
Kyle also stops in the produce aisle as well and encourages her son to pick the “Produce Pick of the Week”. She notes, “This has enhanced his ability to identify and recognize a wide variety of produce, and encouraged him to be brave and try new things. We’ve tried everything from dragon fruit to papaya, bok choy, and rainbow carrots. It’s a fun reward for him and a good habit for me to instill in him.”
Diana Rice, RD of The Baby Steps Dietitian and lactation counselor, has fun seeing what items her kids gravitate toward in the produce department. Rice says it helps inspire her to even try something new. “When I’m on my own, I usually just pick up the same old produce items that are easy to prep and I know the whole family likes. My kids inspire me to try something new!”
Go on a scavenger hunt in the store
Use your grocery list or even a recipe to have your helpers find the items in the store. This keeps them busy but also helpful within the process. If hunting for ingredients for a recipe, have them help you make that recipe from all the ingredients they found.
Having your children help you prepare family meals is one of the most effective ways to encourage them to try new foods and improve their overall diet quality, both now and later in life.
In March, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior published the results of a 10-year longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. The aim of the study, which tracked more than 1,100 participants, was to answer a simple question: Can knowing how to cook as a young person lead to healthier eating practices in adulthood? The researchers arrived at a compelling—if unsurprising—conclusion: It can. (source)
.. with ingredients, you may not even like yourself
What if there are certain foods as a parent or caregiver do you not like yourself?
Stephanie Corbo, a middle school teacher and mom of two (and one of my best friends!), encourages her children to try whatever they are interested in trying. She says, “If they want to try an ingredient or food, I would never stand in their way from exploring new flavors.”
Levinson notes that she personally does not enjoy bananas but doesn’t discourage her children from enjoying them. She says, “Just because I don’t care for something doesn’t mean my children shouldn’t be exposed to it and determine for themselves if they like it. Role modeling is so important when feeding kids, and showing them that I’ll cook something even if I don’t like is part of that modeling.”
Rice doesn’t currently have that issue as there isn’t many foods she personally dislikes, but notes if that does come up in the future, she said, “if they came to love something that’s not my favorite somehow, I would try to regularly incorporate it. It’s important to respect their preferences. I think it’s also important to demonstrate that it’s okay to not like a food. So just like they have foods they don’t prefer, I think they would enjoy knowing that something is ‘not mommy’s favorite’.”
Let them choose
Keep them involved in the conversation. From experience in my kids cooking classes, I found the more they are involved in the choices, the more likely they were to enjoy it. Produce for Kids has really great resources to support these efforts.
With school starting the thought of packing lunches can be stressful, but if they have a chart to choose from, they get the choice of what they will have packed and as the parent or caregiver takes some of the stress away of figure out what to pack.
Keep introducing the same food in new ways
Levinson’s girls are very familiar with the concept that it takes 15-20 tries to make a real decision about a food. While Rice agrees to the 15-20 range she also notes it can take longer.
Need help keeping track of the new foods you are introducing? Utilize this Food Exposure Chart.
I personally like to introduce a new food in multiple ways. In one of my classes, we cooked cauliflower in five different ways. It was interesting to see how the taste and texture preferences between the children varied drastically, but at the end of the day, they were all enjoying cauliflower at least one way.
Corbo notes she is blessed to have two kids who are not picky eaters, eating everything from lobster to hot dogs. She notes, “I’ve found that if I make eating fun, they’re more willing to try new things. My husband makes all sorts of vehicle noises as he spirals the fork through the air, and the kids love it.”
As a recipe developer, Haas is always whipping up new recipes in the kitchen. Her daughter will try just about everything, which Haas thinks is awesome. She wants her to know as much about food as she can. And all aspects of it too!
Kyle explains to her son how much her own taste buds have changed throughout her lifetime, and provide examples, so he knows that his tastes will change over time too.
Every family is different and everyone’s tastes buds are different. Utilize these strategies and tweak them to work best for you and your family. Have fun cooking and trying new foods together!
Do you cook with lamb? If you are new to cooking with lamb try starting with ground lamb and this Greek-Style Lamb Pita with Tzatziki Sauce. Lamb offers a protein-packed, flavorful alternative to the typical protein sources, like beef, chicken or turkey.
I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University a few months ago. When I was there, I was immersed with information, learning all about pasture-raised lamb, butchery, and cooking techniques for lamb with Nourish with Lamb.
Instead of being called a rancher, those who raise lamb are known as Shepards. Have you ever cooked with or prepared lamb? Lamb might seem intimidating if you’ve never worked with before, but this lean protein pairs well with global flavors and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Ground lamb is typically made from the shoulder and is incredibly moist and flavorful. Lamb is delicious in meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, tacos, casseroles, stews, lamb burgers, or in this case meatballs for pitas.
Did you know?
Lean lamb is a source of healthy, unsaturated fats. Nearly 40% of the fat in lean lamb is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb is lean and has only 150 calories. Lean cuts include the leg and loin.
Lamb Fits in the Traditional Mediterranean Diet
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines gives special recognition to the Mediterranean dietary pattern for its healthful eating approach. Lamb is a staple protein in a healthy Mediterranean-style diet, particularly in Greek cuisine. Lamb is nutrient-rich and on average, it’s an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin.
This pita with tzatziki sauce is a way to start on the path to a Mediterranean-style diet.
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely chopped 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar salt, to taste
For the Lamb Meatballs:
1 pound ground lamb 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more if more heat is desired
For the Pitas:
4 whole grain pita pockets, warmed 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup seedless cucumber, chopped 2 cups lettuce, chopped
For the Tzatziki Sauce: In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, and red wine vinegar. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.
For the Meatballs: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine lamb, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine. Form small meatballs and place on the wire rack. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. (cook time will vary depending on how large the meatballs are)
To assemble: In a pita pocket stuff pockets with lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes. Add a smear of Tzatziki sauce and 3-4 meatballs per pita.
Meal prep tip: Make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze for later.
Keywords: lamb, sauce, Tzatziki, Greek
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Tell me your favorite ways you cook with lamb! Drop a comment below or tag me on Instagram.
February is Heart Health Month and oats have a stellar reputation for their heart health benefit. Do you know the difference between each variety of oats?
Fiber’s role in heart health
Dietary fiber can help improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and even type 2 diabetes.
The American Heart Association recommends that at least half of the grains you eat be whole grains. Eating whole grains (like oats) are consistently associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease. Whole grain oats and oat bran can help lower blood cholesterol thanks to the power of beta-glucan – a soluble fiber, largely unique to oats, that basically tells your liver to pull LDL cholesterol out of the blood. Then, it binds to some of the cholesterol in your gut, keeping it from ever reaching your bloodstream.
You head to the grocery store to pick up oats, and there are so many options. Steel-cut oats, rolled oats, old-fashioned oats – what’s the difference?
Steel Cut Oats
Steel-cut oats, also known as Irish or Scottish oats, are oats that are processed by chopping the whole oat groat into several pieces. This type of oatmeal takes the longest to cook. Why? Because the outside layer of the whole grain, the bran, is fully intact. A longer cook time penetrates through the bran creating tender, yet a chewy texture that retains much of its shape even after cooking.
Don’t have time in the morning to cook steel-cut oats? I don’t blame you! Prepare them in advance by cooking them over the stovetop, in a crockpot, or Instant Pot. Or try my frozen muffin tin method.
Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are created when oat groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. This process stabilizes the healthy oils in the oats, so they stay fresh longer, and helps the oats cook faster, by creating a greater surface area.
Rolled oats cook faster than steel-cut oats. They absorb more liquid and hold their shape well during cooking. With their faster cook time, enjoy a bowl of warm oatmeal in the morning or use in recipes like muffins, granola, pancakes, or other baked good recipes.
Quick oats, also known as minute oats or instant oats are rolled oats and that are steamed for even longer. As the most processed type of oat, instant oatmeal cooks in seconds and has a smooth, creamy, and soft consistency and mild flavor.
Quick cook more quickly than steel-cut or rolled oats, but retain less of their texture, and often cook up mushy. Plus, be mindful of the multiple varieties of quick oats in the shelf. Tip: Opt for the quick oats in the canister vs. the individual packets. Not only will you save money, but often the packets contain disodium phosphate (aka. salt), to help them swell even faster in the microwave, whereas the canister contains just the oats. Additionally, the packets contain added sugar, if choosing the flavored varieties.
Consuming uncooked oats, like overnight oats that are soaked in milk or yogurt to soften, contain resistant starch. Resistant starch is a carbohydrate that resists digestion in the small intestine and ferments in the large intestine. As the fibers ferment they act as a prebiotic and feed the good bacteria in the gut.
The John Hopkins Patient Guide to Diabetes notes that “When starches are digested they typically break down into glucose. Because resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine, it doesn’t raise glucose. Gut health is improved as fermentation in the large intestine makes more good bacteria and less bad bacteria in the gut. Healthy gut bacteria can improve glycemic control. Other benefits of resistant starch include increased feeling of fullness, treatment and prevention of constipation, decrease in cholesterol, and lower risk of colon cancer. Resistant starch is fermented slowly so it causes less gas than other fibers.”
This post may contain affiliate links. To find out more information, please read my disclosure statement.
Everyone could use more sleep. In fact, nearly half of American adults don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours a night. Sleep has a huge effect on our overall mental and physical health, as well as our digestion, metabolism, and weight, so it’s critical to make sure you’re fitting it in. Learn how certain foods can help with a better night’s sleep
Eat for better sleep
Luckily, there are a lot of natural sleep enhancers in food— tasty food! Melatonin, magnesium and potassium-heavy snacks help your body get back on a healthy sleep schedule by relaxing your muscles and mind enough to drift off. Here’s a guide to the foods to snack on, and to limit, before going to sleep to ensure you get the rest your body craves.
There are a lot of tasty recipes that incorporate some of these foods. To fit in some sleep-inspired protein and whole grains, try my Turkey Burger or Squash & Wheat Berry Salad recipes. Both make healthy, filling dinners that also prep your body for a good night’s sleep.
If you’re like many others, however, you might need some more heavy-duty lifestyle updates to get better sleep. A healthier daily diet can eliminate nighttime disturbances such as indigestion or nausea, so it’s most important to maintain healthy eating throughout the entire day. Also consider, however, updating your bedroom: soft pillows and a mattress made of foam can help your muscles relax, allowing you to stay asleep for longer. Similarly, a cool bedroom temperature and breathable, cotton sheets can avoid sweaty nights and boost your overall sleep quality.
With just a few changes to your diet, you can make a huge difference in your sleep routine and overall health. Whether it’s a new bedtime snack or a complete lifestyle overhaul, you should do whatever you can to get more sleep. The extra energy it brings could not only make you feel more ready for the day but could also inspire you to begin taking better care of yourself in all regards.
What other strategies do you implement in your daily routine for a better night’s sleep?
Give the gift of new recipe ideas for your foodie loving family members and friends. I am sharing some of my favorite cookbooks in my Cookbook Gift Guide. I am very excited to share so many cookbooks from my fellow dietitian colleagues that are not only packed with delicious recipes but also nutrition education.
For more foodie inspired gift ideas, head over to my shop page!
Yotam Ottolenghi is one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents. In this follow-up to his bestselling Plenty, he continues to explore the diverse realm of vegetarian food with a wholly original approach. Organized by cooking method, more than 150 dazzling recipes emphasize spices, seasonality, and bold flavors. From inspired salads to hearty main dishes and luscious desserts, Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi’s amust-have for vegetarians and omnivores alike. This visually stunning collection will change the way you cook and eat vegetables
You Have It Made
Ellie Krieger, New York Times best-selling and multi-award-winning author, has written a cookbook devoted to the kind of recipes that her fans have been waiting for—make-ahead meals. For those who are always short on time when it comes to cooking, Ellie is here to help. Her recipes—which include breakfast bakes, soups, salads, casseroles, and more—can all be prepared ahead of time, making putting food on the table that much easier. Each recipe includes instructions for refrigerating and/or freezing as well as storing and reheating directions. With exciting dishes like the Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats in Jars and the Herbed Salmon Salad, you’ll be able to have meals ready days in advance. As with her other books, all of Ellie’s recipes are healthy and come complete with nutrition information. But that doesn’t mean they sound like diet food! Just look at the Creamy Tomato Soup, Chicken Enchilada Pie, and Smoky Smothered Pork Chops, to name a few. You Have It Madehelps you turn your fridge and freezer into a treasure chest of satisfying, good-for-you meals.
Never before has there been a phenomenon like Momofuku. A once-unrecognizable word, it’s now synonymous with the award-winning restaurants of the same name in New York City (Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, Ko, Má Pêche, Fuku, Nishi, and Milk Bar), Toronto, and Sydney. Chef David Chang single-handedly revolutionized cooking in America and beyond with his use of bold Asian flavors and impeccable ingredients, his mastery of the humble ramen noodle, and his thorough devotion to pork.
Chang relays with candor the tale of his unwitting rise to superstardom, which, though wracked with mishaps, happened at light speed. And the dishes shared in this book are coveted by all who’ve dined—or yearned to—at any Momofuku location (yes, the pork buns are here). This is a must-read for anyone who truly enjoys food!
The Mindful Glow Cookbook
In over 100 recipes, Abbey Sharp, of Abbey’s Kitchen, shows us how she eats: healthy and nourishing meals that are packed with flavor like PB & J Protein Pancakes, Autumn Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Stuffed Hawaiian Burgers, Chicken, Sweet Potato and Curry Cauliflower, Chocolate Stout Veggie Chili, Chewy Crackle Almond Apple Cookies, and Ultimate Mini Sticky Toffee Puddings. Many of her recipes are plant-centric and free of dairy, gluten, and nuts. Others contain some protein-rich, lean beef, poultry, eggs, and dairy, so there are plenty of delicious recipes for everyone and every occasion. Featuring gorgeous photography throughout, The Mindful Glow Cookbookis perfect for anyone looking to fully nourish their body, satisfy food cravings, and enjoy every snack, meal, and decadent dessert in blissful enjoyment.
Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.
This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more drive-thru lines. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.
Bowls of pasta, abundant seafood, roasted vegetables, bread dipped into olive oil, and even a glass of wine―the Mediterranean diet is easy to follow because it’s also a lifestyle. The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook makes it easier than ever to get your fill of the Mediterranean diet and all of its health benefits with quick, satisfying recipes for health and longevity.
Table-ready in 30 minutes or less, these classic Mediterranean diet meals combine easy-to-find ingredients with quick prep and cook times, so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your food. From Breakfast Bruschetta to Baked Chicken Caprese to Chilled Dark Chocolate Fruit, The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook makes the Mediterranean diet a staple for everyday schedules.
Rich in fish and seafood, hearty vegetables, and wholesome grains―pescatarianism is a varied and balanced diet. The Pescatarian Cookbookis a complete reference to reap all benefits of this naturally nutritious diet with essential information, recipes, and healthy meal plans.
From Zucchini Pancakes with Smoked Salmon for breakfast to Grilled Swordfish with Chimichurri and Roasted Vegetables for dinner, this pescatarian cookbook offers perfectly portioned pescatarian plates for every meal. Complete with 3 weeks’ worth of meal plans―that include shopping lists and tips for meal prep―The Pescatarian Cookbook is your go-to reference to make the pescatarian diet a sustainable and satisfying lifestyle.
Taco! Taco! Taco!:
Make every day Taco Tuesday! Tacos are the perfect food–uniquely versatile and incredibly delicious! Taco! Taco! Taco!, written by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, features 100 taco recipes that are as easy to prepare as they are to love.
Who doesn’t like tacos? Simple to make, tacos can be prepared in many different ways, and provide the ideal platform for tons of nourishing foods. Taco! Taco! Taco! features 100 taco recipes, each providing delicious and fun ideas for your next meal.
When you’re dealing with symptom flare-ups, the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking. The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook offers quick recipe solutions to manage hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s symptoms, so that you can get in and out of the kitchen and back to your life.
From Crispy Baked Tempeh Fingers to Rub Roasted Pork Tenderloin, these no-fuss recipes combine quick and easy prep and cook times for table-ready meals in 30-minutes or less. Complete with a guide to setting up a thyroid-friendly kitchen, plus tons of tips and tricks to make home cooking easier, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook is an everyday solution to get long-term symptom relief.
The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club
Whether for weight loss, managing prediabetes or Type II diabetes, or a healthy, fit lifestyle, The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, written by Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is filled with delicious, easy to make recipes containing 300 calories or less and packed with a minimum of 20 grams of protein. Power up your morning with protein! You’ll find recipes featuring dairy, protein powders, nuts, seeds, eggs and ancient grains including hot trends like overnight oats, smoothie bowls and mug cakes. Discover healthier versions of classics like pancakes and French toast. Many recipes are also vegetarian and gluten free. In a hurry in the morning? Don’t worry! Prepare your breakfast in the evening or on the weekend to save precious time during the morning rush while ensuring you begin the day with an energizing, protein-packed breakfast!
The 28 Day DASH Diet Weight Loss Program
Achieve your weight loss goals with the comprehensive diet and exercise plan from The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program, co-authored by Andy De Santis, RD, MPH, and Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, CD.
The DASH diet offers a path to weight loss that is rooted in balanced eating, but it’s not the only key to your success. The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program offers a holistic diet and lifestyle plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals for long-term health.
The 28-Day DASH Diet Weight-Loss Program begins by tackling critical lifestyle components for good health with guidance for exercise routines, stress management, and a good night’s sleep. With a 28-day meal plan that includes trackers to monitor habits and exercise, this book kick-starts weight loss and sets you on a path of long-term health.
Whole Cooking and Nutrition
Enough of the dieting and deprivation! It’s time to embrace the joy of eating well with the intention that healthy foods are nourishing, sustaining and delicious. Whole Cooking and Nutrition, written by Katie Cavuto, MS, RD, RYT, shifts the conversation away from dieting to one of positive messages and gratifying intentions. The result is a book packed with information to help readers improve their relationship with food, turning a spotlight on 85 everyday foods that maximize flavor and boast rich nutrient density that will inspire you to live a healthy lifestyle! With more than 150 vibrant, flavorful recipes, this cookbook promotes a mindful, pleasurable approach to eating.
A complete dietary program for women seeking a healthy pregnancy. Created by RDN certified experts, Liz Shaw, RD and Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, Fertility Foods provides you with powerful nutritional benefits and more than 100 recipes.
Struggling with infertility can be one of the most frustrating experiences for women looking to conceive. Rather than juggle multiple prescription medications all while scheduling an endless series of doctors’ visits, Fertility Foods helps you to seek better results—just by changing your diet!
As you prepare to enter one of the most significant times in your life, you owe it to yourself and your future children to make sure that your body has absolutely everything it needs, at the proper times and in the proper quantities. Fertility Foodsis more than just a diet plan or cookbook, with over 100 nutritious, satisfying dishes to boost your fertility. It’s a companion, a constant support providing you with the information you need to ensure you receive proper nutrition before conception.
Moving beyond your traditional cookbook filled with delicious recipes, I also really love these educational books, which are perfect for anyone who loves to cook. From food pairings to food science, these additional books will be a great gift for your foodie loving family members and friends.
The Spice Companion
A stunning and definitive spice guide by the country’s most sought-after expert, with hundreds of fresh ideas and tips for using pantry spices, 102 never-before-published recipes for spice blends, gorgeous photography, and botanical illustrations.
Since founding his spice shop in 2006, Lior Lev Sercarz has become the go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world. The Spice Companioncommunicates his expertise in a way that will change how readers cook, inspiring them to try bold new flavor combinations and make custom spice blends. For each of the 102 curated spices, Lev Sercarz provides the history and origin, information on where to buy and how to store it, five traditional cuisine pairings, three quick suggestions for use (such as adding cardamom to flavor chicken broth), and a unique spice blend recipe to highlight it in the kitchen.
The Food Lab
Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)―and use a foolproof method that works every time?
As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, Kenji focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new―but simple―techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half-dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more.
The Vegetarian Flavor Bible
Throughout time people have chosen to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet for a variety of reasons from ethics to economy to personal and planetary well-being Experts now suggest a new reason for doing so maximizing flavor – which is too often masked by meat-based stocks or butter and cream The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is an essential guide to culinary creativity based on insights from dozens of leading American chefs representing plant-based whole foods including vegetables fruits grains legumes nuts and seeds the book provides an A-to-Z listing of hundreds of ingredients from acai to zucchini blossoms cross-referenced with the herbs spices and other seasonings that best enhance their flavor resulting in thousands of recommended pairings The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is the ideal reference for the way millions of people cook and eat today- vegetarians vegans and omnivores alike. This groundbreaking book will empower both home cooks and professional chefs to create more compassionate healthful and flavorful cuisine.
A well-made meal planner guarantees that hectic schedules don’t get in the way of healthy meals. More effective than a pen and paper, the 52-Week Meal Planner provides the tools you need to map out exactly how you’re going to shop, cook, and eat, week after week.
This handy meal planner features one year’s worth of weekly templates to plan breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. With grocery lists, price comparison sheets, and recipe pages, the 52-Week Meal Planner is an all-in-one guide to take control of what you eat and how much time and money you spend.
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New research suggests that learning how to cook as a young person leads to better eating practices—and better health—later in life.
In March, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior published the results of a 10-year longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. The aim of the study, which tracked more than 1,100 participants, was to answer a simple question: Can knowing how to cook as a young person lead to healthier eating practices in adulthood? The researchers arrived at a compelling—if unsurprising—conclusion: It can. (source)
This summer I ran a kid’s culinary camp at the Willow School with Living Plate. It was an absolutely amazing experience for me as the instructor and for the kid’s gaining confidence in the kitchen.
I love working with kids, as I like to think I am a big kid myself. My biggest priority for our culinary camp was to create a positive and inviting environment.
Each morning the first activity we did was called “Food Explorers” where we learned about our 5 senses and how they respond when we try new foods. Our group was very adventurous, so we took it up a notch and took away sight for when they were experiencing the feel and taste sections of the activity. Why? Because we eat with our eyes first and for kids, a sight of a new food can be very intimidating with the fear of the unknown and many kids tend to avoid the situation.
Creating an inviting environment around food:
Creating a positive environment was key for this activity. Trying new foods can be intimidating and a very new experience for picky eaters. Every day with this activity there were ground rules, that everyone was allowed to experience this activity at their own pace, we weren’t allowed to “yuck” anyone else’s “yum” (because everyone will experience it a little differently!), and they were each given a spit cup to politely use if they didn’t enjoy the taste.
It was a very eye-opening experience for all the participants. A few responses included:
My mom tried to get me to try this, but I thought I would like it. It’s delicious!
This fruit taste like candy. I would eat this for dessert.
As we continued to explore our 5 senses with the new foods it was a learning experience for all understanding that everyone enjoys certain foods more than others and that’s okay! Everyone’s taste buds are a little different.
As adults, we often let our own food preferences or our preconceived notions of what children will or will not prefer. I enjoyed letting everyone adding to the discussion about the foods and letting them fully explore these foods forming their own opinions. I strongly feel that letting them explore and make their own thoughts and ideas by continually exposing them to new foods without any pressure surrounding it.
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