Saturday, May 24, 2008

SNACK TRAYS


I started making these snack trays a year ago when I wanted to get my picky eaters to eat healthy food. I put these filled muffin trays out when we have a play date over and by the end of the play date, the tray is pretty much finished. I like the idea of everyone grazing on healthy food when they are hungry. While trying to figure out where I got the original idea I stumbled upon nannytomom.com who has a good list of items to include. On this 100% organic snack tray we included: apples, strawberries, pineapple, organic just peas, frozen corn and baby carrots.

Some of our other favorite things to include are: cherries, olives, sunflower seeds, bananas, grapes, cucumber, snow peas, almonds, cashews, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds. You can also make one muffin section for dip and the rest for vegetables if you want to do a veggie tray. I think it really doesn't matter what you put in the tray as long as it is full of whole foods. Studies show that people can live on many different diets as long as they are primarily whole food diets. It is when you start eating processed foods that you have to worry about the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

I am thinking of trying a breakfast snack tray with oranges, berries, french toast sticks, cereal, macadamia nuts and bacon and seeing if everyone is more excited about breakfast.

WHAT TO FEED YOUR KIDS: Organic fruits and vegetables and raw nuts and seeds in muffin pans make great snack trays.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Healthy Snack Options


Fruits and vegetables are the best option, but that is not always realistic. These are the snacks that are free of common allergens. I would strive for snacks with as few ingredients as possible. You don't need that many snacks. You just need a few that are slightly healthier than your current ones. These are some of our favorites:

Hain is a brand that doesn't process peanuts, so it is safer than most brands for children who have nut allergies.


Rice Cakes
Black Bean Corn Chips
Organic Just Peas

Sunbutter

Enjoy life is another brand who has a dedicated nut and gluten free factory. They are free of the 8 most common allergens and are perfect when children have different allergies. They make:

Trail Mix
No Oats "Oatmeal" Cookie

Lemon Lentils Recipe


This is one of my favorite recipes from Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals. These small lemony lentils are a great lunch or dinner for my two year old who is a little bit of a vegetarian. My six year old doesn't eat them, but that is okay, because I love them. You can serve them alone or on top of rice.


4 T. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
2 (2 inch) pieces of cinnamon stick
1 pound small lentils (yellow or pink)
2 teaspoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger root
3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarians)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp of ground red pepper
1 lemon

Directions:
Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium-low heat.
When hot, add the sliced onions and cook, stirring, until they soften.
Add the cinnamon, lentils and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
Add the stock, 2 cups of water, salt and red pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Squeeze the juice from the lemon. Discard the seeds. Add the lemon juice and squeezed shell and cook for about 50 minutes longer, stirring often.

Topping (optional)
1 small onion -peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove - peeled and finely chopped
1 fresh hot green chili, chopped with seeds
2 bay leaves
2 T. chopped fresh coriander leaves

Heat the remaining 2 T. oil in a small pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic, chili and bay leaves. Cook, stirring until the onion is browned. Add this mixture, including the oil, to the lentils. Remove the bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve hot.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fresh, Raw Food--An Important Source of GLUTATHIONE

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and well researched detoxifier. It is a sticky molecule that binds to toxins to escort them from the body. New research suggests it is also important for the immune system. Glutathione is found primarily in fresh whole foods: raw fruits and vegetables, raw meats and fresh milk. Unfortunately even milk storage reduces the glutathione levels. One study, published in the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, found that breast milk at room temperature for 2 hours lost 73% of it's glutathione. Refrigerated breast milk lost even more glutathione.

Children with autism have 50% lower levels of glutathione (and are notorious picky eaters) according to studies which could explain why they are poor detoxifiers. Also, Tylenol reduces glutathione levels so parents should avoid giving tylenol to children especially when they have a reaction to a vaccine or have been exposed to any environmental toxins.

Supplementation with glutathione doesn't raise blood levels of this antioxidant and cooking and storage destroys it. In some studies, Vitamin C and NAC can raise levels. But, without a doubt, eating raw fruits and vegetables is the ideal way to get this into your body--any way you can.

Dr. Murray has a good chart which displays the difference between glutathione in cooked and raw food:

Table 1. Comparison of Glutathione in Fresh vs. Cooked Foods
Glutathione amount (dry weight) (in milligrams per 31/2 oz (100 g) serving)
Food Uncooked Cooked
Apples 21 0.0
Carrots 74.6 0.0
Grapefruit 70.6 0.0
Spinach 166 27.1
Tomatoes 169 0.0

Asparagus, avocado, and walnuts are also good sources of glutathione.

WHAT TO FEED YOUR KIDS: Serve a raw fruit or vegetables with every meal and snack or buy a juicer and make fresh squeezed juice a daily habit. We all know that fruits and vegetables are the key to a healthy diet, but with so many environmental toxins (plastic is everywhere, there are prescription meds in our water, and countless chemicals in the food we eat!) everyone should be eating more raw fruits and vegetables so we can detoxify from the modern world.