*** Updated 8/26/09****
Okay, I am on a kick to get healthier these days. While we mostly try to eat healthy, sometimes we fall short. Like when we go to the beach or on vacation. So, we're back on track now!
Why am I qualified to tell you about how to eat healthier? Well, I am not really. I am just a stay at home mom who tries to keep her family healthy. But, Hubby and I have run a business for last 10 years in which we teach people a healthier method of cooking. We teach people through this method of cooking how to cook without unhealthy fats and oils, too much sugar and maintain more nutrition in fruits and veges.
During course of years we run into lots of people with so many great ideas. Many of our customers are recovering from diseases or have started to live healthier lifestyles for one reason or another.
The majority of our customers are just moms who want to cook for their family in a healthier and easier way.
So, over the years, what I have found is that by doing a couple of very simple changes in my life, I am able to provide my family with healthier options.
- Plan a menu - this keeps me from making quick unhealthy meals. I try to plan it, shop for it, and then choose from those options when I go to make dinner that night depending on what we feel like.
- I avoid two things almost religiously while shopping. Partially hydrogenated oils and High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is difficult. I have to read labels. There is a lot of yummy foods we do not buy and my kids complain occasionally. But they actually know the words and my 7 year old even can find it on the labels. They know if it is in there, we do not buy it. Margarine and most processed foods are loaded with trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils.
When making ground beef (or ground turkey) for tacos, spaghetti, etc., I steam it instead of frying it. The grease drops in the water and I season it after it's cooked.
- When making a meatloaf, I get extra ground meat and make meatballs, too. I put the meatballs in a freezer bag and freeze them for a later meal of spaghetti, etc. I also, use half lean ground turkey or lean ground pork and half lean ground beef. It makes for a leaner and tastier meatloaf.
I use Olive or Canola oil to cook with instead of butter. Or even chicken stock sometimes.*** I no longer use Canola oil - some new studies have come out showing it is not as good as we thought. ***
I do most of my shopping in the outer aisles of the store - produce, meat, grains - avoiding as much packaged food as possible.
- Goldfish do not have any trans fats in them and Whole Wheat Goldfish - same price and exact same taste!!! Annie's makes a snack similar that is made from whole wheat called Cheddar Bunnies. You can buy it in the regular grocery store and they taste just like Goldfish. Annie's also makes a great microwave mac and cheese. It is my kids favorite.
Puree zucchini and/or carrots and put it in pasta sauce. Kids never even know they are getting a serving or two of veggies. My kids actually love veggies, but I often still shred them up and hide them in foods so they get an extra dose. There are entire cookbooks dedicated to how to hide vegetables in your recipes now.
I use Whole Wheat pastas instead of regular pasta - nobody here can tell the difference. Well, they can't now. I had to work into it and try a couple different brands to find a favorite.
- ***Corrected*** I use the full Egg Noodles when I use them now.
- No Yolks Egg Noodles are a great alternative to regular pasta. They do have carbs actually, but they are the "good" kind, higher in fiber than traditional egg noodles and lower in saturated fat. They cook up quickly and my kids love them. They have them from very fine to extra broad noodles. Read more about them here.
When buying condensed soup, I buy the Campbell’s Healthy Request ones. I use these a lot for casseroles and such. They have no MSG and fat free.
- Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth. No MSG and fat free. Use the chicken broth in place of water when cooking rice.
Rice: Brown rice is best, but may take awhile for your family to adjust. We use Brown Basmati for better flavor and cut in half with White Basmati. Slowly take out white rice each time you prepare until you have all brown eventually. I still have to use half and half. My family just does not go for total brown rice.
Fat free saltines have no hydrogenated oils in them. Thank goodness for Trader Joes, too. I can find all kinds of crackers here without these.
Make an extra batch of cookie dough and freeze it for later use. Even though there is lots of sugar its better then the slice and bake ones at the the grocery store.
Stonyfield makes great yogurts for kids and adults without all the added sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Those are available at the regular grocery store. Trader Joes also has great yogurts without high fructose corn syrup. Or use plain or vanilla and mix frozen fruit in it.
Oatmeal: daily or a couple times a week for many health benefits.
Some things to add to your oatmeal with health benefits:
- Use vanilla soy milk in place of regular milk to add sweetness and healthy dose of soy if you need it.
- Cinnamon is said to have some health benefits and tastes yummy.
- If you have someone with allergies add some local made honey. This is supposed to help become more immune to the pollen in your area. (NO honey for kids under 1).
For more great Works For Me Wednesday ideas, visit Rocks in My Dryer!