When I was a kid, the best part about Halloween was all the candy, mostly the chocolate. Am I right? We didn't get a lot of sweets in our home, so getting all of that at once was a bounty that couldn't be beat.
I still love chocolate, but I usually lean towards the darker stuff nowadays. And hands-down the best part of carving pumpkins, besides the fun of designing, is getting all the pumpkin seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are not only a tasty treat, but loaded with health benefits.
Here's the recipe I use now when roasting pumpkin seeds. I've tried variations, but always go back to plain old salt. It seems like a lot of salt in the water, but they don't end up too salty, though that's a personal preference and you can change it if you wish. An important thing I can tell you is make sure they are roasted all the way through. One year I thought they were done, but once sealed up in a container they went soft- and moldy after a couple of days. You want to roast all the moisture right out of them.
They fill that craving for salty snacks, but unlike chips, are loaded with fibre- so a little goes a long way, and you won't eat too many. They have magnesium, which helps control blood pressure, and zinc, which is a key component in enabling your immune system to work efficiently, among other benefits. Omega-3's for those of you who don't like fatty fish, and L-tryptophan, the fabled amino acid that converts to seratonin and helps with sleep- and who doesn't need more restful sleep?
Roasted pumpkin seeds are full of protein and potassium- more potassium than a banana! And they aid in prostate health, so eat up, gentlemen!
Happy Halloween, friends! Enjoy your treats in moderation!
Everyone knows we don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, but we don't always take steps to improve our consumption. Eating a rainbow of colours ensures that we hit many different nutritional markers, but sometimes we tend to eat our favourites and ignore the rest. Following are a few suggestions on how to improve your diet, one meal or grocery trip at a time.
Try to be mindful of hunger when you plan a day of errands. If you plan ahead a little, you might be able to skip out on the fast food stops. If you must stop, though, ask for vegetable or fruit sides. For example, at a place like Montana's, eat a salad instead of fries. If you're at a fast food place like Wendy's or McDonalds, ask for apple slices or carrot sticks (depending on where you live!) or a side salad instead of fries.
Above all, be patient with yourself and your family. Expecting immediate acquiescence to drastic change isn't realistic. Small changes are easier to accept and lead to better long-term follow through.
For example, start with adding extra vegetables and fruit to daily snacks.
I would love to hear some of your ideas! Feel free to share your comments with me here, or hop on over to my Facebook page!
Enjoy your day, friends!
This is my all-time favorite food group! We have so much to choose from, and the methods to prepare them are endless.
Luckily, this is the food group we can pretty much eat as much as we want from; unfortunately, most of us don't eat enough of them. If you're hungry, reach for some fruit or vegetables. Your body will thank you.
Today, we focus on Fruits and Vegetables.
First, why worry about it?
Fruits and vegetables provide a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals. They are naturally low in fat, high in fiber, relatively low in calories, and have no added sugar- and for all that they are nutrient dense, the perfect kind of snack or basis for your meals.
The key to this food group, like others, is variety. No single fruit or vegetable contains exactly the same kind of nutrition, so your best bet is to change them up, and change them often.
Fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of developing certain kinds of cancers and heart disease, can assist in maintaining healthy vision, and can help assist with weight loss.
The Canada Food Guide determination for servings of Fruits and Vegetables is age dependent. From 2-3 years old, both boys and girls need 4 serving of fruits/vegetables per day. From 4-8, that jumps to 5 servings per day for both sexes. From 9-13, they recommend 6.
From 14-18, girls need 7 and boys need 8, and while it varies slightly with adults, it basically hovers around the same as you age, with an extra serving or two for men until age 50, and drops to an equal 7 per day for both sexes after that.
What constitutes a serving?
Simply put, a medium fruit or a half cup of fresh, frozen, or canned is considered 1 serving. For those times of life when you don't have much fresh in your fridge, it's good to know that canned or frozen counts, right? Just try to buy food that's not canned in syrup- fruit juice or water- and watch for added sodium on canned vegetables. I find frozen fruit works best in smoothies, and frozen vegetables taste best if they're steamed before serving.
Some specific examples include:
One thing to note about dried fruit- because it's been dehydrated, it's very calorie dense, for a fruit. Try to eat dried fruit with some protein to help lessen blood sugar spikes. Sometimes commercially prepared dried fruit also contain added sugar, so do keep an eye on the labels.
In this picture, 1 peach, half the bowl of cubed watermelon, 2 plums, half that huge gala apple, the strips of bell pepper, all those green grapes, 1 banana, all the cucumber or zucchini, grape tomatoes, or carrots, or all that cantaloupe equals one serving of fruit.
For your school lunches, pick one fruit and one vegetable. Serve fruit and vegetables with every snack and meal, and make it easy and quick to eat when it comes to school lunches- remember, if they don't have time to eat it, they'll likely throw it out. When I was a lunch supervisor at school, I used to see all sorts of food hit the trash can.
Well friends, that's it for the school lunch series. What do you think? What do you want to see more of? There will be some blogging later in October on how you can pack multiple food groups into school lunches. In the meantime, I wish you healthy and happy lunches, and look forward to hearing how lunches are making a healthier shift.
Please like and share! Peace, friends.
It's about 20 minutes until dinner is ready. I can't make the potatoes cook any faster, and I'm so hungry. The kids are whining and hungry, and trying to sneak crackers. I'm tempted to join them. So what's a person to eat that won't spoil the appetite but help stave off junk food noshing?
After staring in the fridge and pantry myself for longer than I'd like to admit, I decided on a spoonful of peanut butter, and figured that I can't be the only person and have the only family this is an issue for.
So here's a little list of something you can offer yourself and your family. My criteria is pretty simple: it can't get in the way of dinner prep- I don't want to be washing and peeling and cooking something when dinner's almost done. It has to be nutritious- there needs to be more than a "good source of vitamin e" label, like you'd find on a bag of potato chips. It needs to be easy, so the kids can help themselves. And it needs to be something that's going to offer them a quick hit of nutrition without filling them up before dinner. I'm not looking to supply them with a full portion from a food group, just a little bit, in order to help offset hunger and prevent overeating, and also to top-up the main food groups in case they're a bit short on servings.
In case you're wondering, we're having minestrone soup for dinner tonight, and it will be delicious. A bit of a warm meal for summer, but I'm in the mood for soup. Everyone in our family enjoys it, and I need my second son to eat more well-rounded meals. Minestrone has loads of vegetables and protein sources. In fact, every food group is represented, if I grate a little fresh parmesan on top, which I will. Fresh fruit for dessert will help the iron from the beans and beef to be better used by their bodies. Mmm. What are your dinner plans tonight?