Monday, October 24, 2011

Farm (or yard!) to Table

What better way to teach your family about eating fresh, local foods than to start at home? Start small with a vegetable garden or, if you are more ambitious, try your hand at raising animals. One of our Delicious Dietitians recently celebrated the first blue egg from her roost of Americana chickens she and her family began raising this spring. Her children bear the responsibility of taking care of the birds and have been waiting anxiously for eggs!

What a fantastic way to teach children where our food comes from, and the importance of eating fresh, healthy foods. Many Americans today feel disconnected from the source of their food. Get back to your roots and connect with where your food comes from! If raising chickens is a little out of your comfort zone, take your family to a local farmer's market where they can meet the farmers or a "you pick" farm to see fruits and vegetables growing. Teach your family that food doesn't just come from the grocery store!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snack Smart!

Keep hunger under control and metabolism burning during the day by incorporating several small snacks into your daily routine. Snacking can help curb cravings and help maintain portion control at mealtimes. Snacking on the right foods can help you avoid the "late afternoon drags", making you more productive and more likely to exercise later in the day. The trick is to snack smart!

A small snack that incorporates complex carbohydrates like fruit or whole grains with protein keeps you full and keeps your energy level up. Stay away from simple carbohydrates like sweets or chips--these will zap your energy and leave you craving more to regain your energy.

What is a smart snack?
An apple with 2 Tbsp peanut butter
Whole wheat crackers (like Triscuits) with reduced fat string cheese
A handful of grapes and 6 almonds
Honey Almond Flax Kashi Bar
6 ounces of Greek yogurt

Friday, October 14, 2011

Enjoy the best of fall with this delicious adaptation of a Louisiana classic. Combine ingredients in the morning and forget about it until dinner time. The kick from the Creole seasoning warms up chilly autumn evenings. Perfect for a fall Saturday...spend the day enjoying the cooler weather and bright sunshine outdoors or pulling for your favorite football team, then come home to a fragrant, delicious meal waiting for you!

Crock Pot Jambalaya

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes

1/4 pound Andouille sausage, sliced

1 (28 ounce) can no sodium added diced tomatoes with juice

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (The Delicious Dietitian Creole Blend)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound fresh or frozen cooked shrimp without tails

In a crockpot, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.

Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time. Serve over rice.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sensible Shopping

Start the week out right! Plan snacks, lunches, and weeknight meals ahead of time and make just one grocery store trip for the week. Let your ingredients multitask for meals. For example, a family size package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts can provide the meat for fajitas one night, and grilled chicken for sandwiches another.

Shop from a list to ensure that you stay on track at the store, and save your wallet and waistline from impulse buys. When healthy options are already at home and meals are already planned, it is easier to bypass unhealthy "convenience meals" like drive through or frozen meals at dinner time.

Ask family members to help with menu planning. This can be a great way to get picky eaters involved in mealtimes and engaged in trying new foods. Try to incorporate one new fruit or vegetable each week to encourage variety. Your picky eaters might find a new favorite food!

Shopping for the week is a great way to save time by limiting grocery store trips, save money by limiting impulse buys and meals away from home, and save your health by eating healthy, home cooked meals more often.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Eat Local!

This Sunday, Fairhope, AL will host the second annual Moveable Feast. The meal features fresh, local ingredients prepared by local chefs. Most ingredients are grown in south Alabama or are sourced from farms in Alabama and along the Gulf Coast. The mission is to reconnect the diner with what is local and fresh, and with the people who cultivate it. The meals are set outdoors at communal tables to help form a connection to the source of our food and the people who make it possible.

If you don't have a Moveable Feast in your area, connect with your food and those who produce it by shopping at farmer's markets and co-ops. Shopping and eating locally allows you to purchase produce at the peak of freshness, making it more nutritious and better tasting.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Take advantage of the changing seasons and cooler weather by getting outside to exercise. Regular exercise has many benefits, including preventing heart disease, helping maintain a healthy weight, and can help in managing stress. All it takes is 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise (think walking, biking, jogging, or swimming) 4-5 days per week to reap all of these great benefits. Find an activity that you enjoy and set a goal for yourself. It doesn't matter if your goal is to walk a mile or a marathon, you just have to get moving!