5 Foods to Stop Eating After the Age of 10

While driving to work the other morning, I heard the radio DJ announce that there was a certain restaurant that doesn’t serve ketchup to individuals over the age of 10. Of course it was a steak restaurant and we all know the unspoken rule that you should never have to order ketchup when having a good steak. As comical as this was, it got me thinking… “Shouldn’t there be a list of other foods we should stop eating after the age of 10?” Here is where my thoughts took me.

Child at Breakfast

  • Lucky Charms and other “kid-friendly” cereals: This sugar-sweetened, low-fiber cereal may taste great, but it may require three bowls to fill you up. Plus, consuming this amount of simple carbs in one sitting will not only spike your insulin levels in the morning, it will often lead your body to crave more carbs later on in the day.
  • Spaghetti Os: This canned spaghetti meal became famous in the 1960s and it hasn’t lost any popularity points since. While the low-fat nature of the pasta may seem appealing, don’t be fooled by the fact that you are really just eating a can of processed carbs. Besides, who really wants to eat pasta that was canned 5 years ago?
  • Chicken Nuggets: This is a powerhouse in the diets of most American children, yet still quite appealing to most adults. One of the biggest downfalls when it comes to chicken nuggets is the fat content. Good, healthy sources of fat can be a part of anyone’s diet, but this is referring to the fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, oils…not the ones from these little chicken bites. The other negative side of chicken nuggets is the fact they are very processed when compared to a natural piece of chicken.
  • Mac n Cheese and Hotdogs: I can recall one summer where I had this meal almost every day for lunch. When you put two processed foods like this together, you get high carbs, high fat (not the good kind), and high sodium. While this meal is simple to make, it is quite low in nutrients and often displaces opportunities to consume fruits and veggies.
  • Lunchables: The always-classic Lunchable is of course the meat, cheese and cracker combo. However, this has also been expanded to include nachos, tacos, and make-your-own pizza kits. The ones targeting older-aged children generally include a sub sandwich, chips and Capri Sun. Again, the main problem is that all of these food items are highly processed. Sugar-sweetened beverages and high-sodium sides are replacing nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.

While many of these foods may bring back some fond memories of your childhood eating habits, the bottom line is that they are very poor sources of nutrients, regardless if you are an adult or child. Just because we don’t consume most of these items as adults doesn’t necessarily make them appropriate for our kids, especially since childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high.

Water A few simple tips for helping your children form better eating habits and becoming healthy adults:

  • Pack water bottles instead of Capri Suns or juice boxes for beverages in lunch boxes.
  • Include at least one fruit and one vegetable in all lunches. Try to keep your starches to just one item per meal (bread, crackers, potatoes, pretzels, cereal, granola bar, pasta).
  • Choose snacks that include a protein component: cheese, cottage cheese, nuts, peanut butter, Greek yogurt. Even better, pair the protein with a fruit or veggie serving: cottage cheese + pineapple, peanut butter + celery, cheese stick + grapes.
  • Limit consumption of meals that come from a box and practice making more meals from fresh, wholesome ingredients.
  • If you do purchase packaged food items, try to choose those with 5 ingredients or less. At least be able to pronounce and understand all ingredients listed.
  • Don’t purchase food from the same place you get your gas.

 

Assorted fruit

Simple Skillet Italian Chicken

Sometimes the best tasting meals are the ones made with the simplest ingredients. I had leftover basil and tomatoes from some veggie kabobs I had made and decided to make an Italian-style chicken dinner. My husband asked if I could make the chicken a different way since I typically bake our chicken. Many times, people avoid cooking their chicken in the skillet because it can add more fat and thus more calories to the dish. However, a new study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when individuals followed a low-carb/high-fat diet that was still rich in fruits and vegetables, they had greater improvements in reducing cardiac risk factors and weight loss compared to participants who followed the standard low-fat diet. This information doesn’t give you a free pass to eat truckloads of bacon and cheese, but it does give us some wiggle room to enjoy some higher fat cooking methods guilt-free from time to time.

Skillet Italian Chicken

Skillet Italian Chicken

• 4 chicken breasts

• 2 Tbsp olive oil

• Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning

• 2 pints of cherry tomatoes, halved

• ½ cup fresh basil, chopped

• 1 can of organic Italian herbed tomatoes, drained of liquid

• 6 large garlic cloves, minced

• 2-4 Tbsp butter

1. Pre-heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Let the oil heat up for a couple of minutes before adding your chicken. As the pan heats, season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.

2. Lay chicken breasts in pan. You should hear the pan sizzle. If it didn’t, then your oil is not hot enough and this will leave you with greasy chicken. Cook on one side for 4-8 minutes and then turn over. Depending on your thickness of the chicken breasts, you may need to increase your cooking time.

3. After the chicken has been turned over once and continues to cook, add tomatoes, basil, garlic and butter. Stir gently to mix ingredients. Continue to cook on low heat until chicken is white all the way through and the juices run clear. (I always use my meat thermometer to help with this).

4. Serve with your favorite green veggies, a kiss from your hubby and a hungry belly!

Skillet Italian Chicken

Everything is Better With Squash!

They say you should always have a good friend who is a doctor, a pharmacist, a lawyer, a mechanic and even a plumber; but, I’d like to add that we should all have a friend that is a gardener!Yes, I know we do not choose our friends based on their professions but it’s always nice to have a friend who is an expert on subjects that you may not be as familiar with. Recently, one of my friends at Crossfit Instinct brought in a plethora of spaghetti squash from her and her parents’ gardens to share. Using spaghetti squash in place of pasta is an excellent way to lighten up an original carb-heavy meal.

Here is an easy semi-homemade dish that is always a crowd favorite.

sqaush

Italian Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut length wise with seeds removed
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil or grass-fed butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh parsley and basil
  • ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • At least ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shaved/shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the meat sauce

  • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil or grass-fed butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 jar of organic tomato sauce
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425o Cut off the very bottom of spaghetti squash. Place the cut side flat down on cutting board and cut spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds with spoon. Lay spaghetti squash halves flat-side down on baking sheet. Cook for 30-35 minutes or until squash become tender and threads easily. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil/butter in  2 large skillets, one for the meat and the other for the spaghetti squash. Once heated, add the respected amount of shallots and garlic to each pan. Heat for about 5 minutes until just slightly browned.
  3. Add meat to one pan and cook until done. Once meat is cooked through, drain excess liquid and then add tomato sauce. Heat over low until sauce is warm.
  4. In the other pan, add fresh herbs and tomatoes and toss for 1 minute. Add spaghetti squash and cook for a few minutes on low until warm throughout. Add Parmesan cheese last and serve warm.

Hydrate Smart This Summer

iStock_000012344457XSmall1A really important question that I hear often is “how much water do I need to drink each day?” While this seems like a fairly easy question, the answer is not always so simple. Hydration needs are driven by a person’s activity level, age and can even be influenced by where they live. In fact, many reputable organizations have similar yet different hydration recommendations. The Institute of Medicine recommends women consume a total of 11 8-oz cups or 91 ounces total each day and men should consume 15 cups or 125 ounces total fluid each day.  However, most are familiar with the “drink 8 glasses of water/day recommendation” which is also fairly similar to the IOM’s recommendations. Factors that increase one’s fluid needs include: exercise, illness (running a temperature, vomiting and diarrhea), hot/humid temperatures and pregnancy/breastfeeding.

Many experts will contest that fluid intake can be counted from a variety of sources such as water, tea, soda, juice and even food. While it’s true that drinking a soda is considered drinking part of one’s fluid intake for the day, it is very hard for me to recommend this to my patients. Too often, our fluid choices contain excess calories and sugars that can cause blood sugar spikes and even unwanted weight gain. Calorie free water enhancers and diet sodas are two easy ways to consume fluids without the added sugars; yet, we cannot ignore the fact that we are still drinking impure fluids. Diet sodas and flavor enhancers like Mio or Crystal Light are composed of chemicals and additives such as sugar substitutes like aspartame. Research on the effects of sugar substitutes is quite controversial and I educate my patients that we should ideally be striving for a diet that contains the fewest amounts of chemicals and preservatives as possible. Another problem I encounter frequently is the fact that many people do not like the taste of plain water and would prefer it to be flavored.

Below are some tips from Springfield Clinic’s registered dietitian, Jessica Harris on flavoring water without the added chemicals and preservatives.

imgresTo add a zip of freshness to your next glass of water, try adding:

  • Watermelon cubes + basil leaves
  • Pineapple cubes + mint leaves
  • Lemon, orange or grapefruit slices
  • Cucumber slices + cantaloupe cubes + honeydew melon cubes
  • Sliced pears + thin slices of fresh ginger

Dad’s Choice

Serious Senior ManFather’s Day is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate those special men in your life than with a little bacon! There is always a big debate on if we should consume regular bacon or turkey bacon.

Turkey bacon is generally considered a more heart healthy substitute primarily because it contains less fat; however, you will also find that turkey bacon often contains a lot more sodium than regular bacon. Personally, I’m about flavor and moderation so I stick to regular bacon. Bacon is certainly not a regular part of our meals so it’s perfectly fine to indulge every once in a while, especially if it’s celebrating a special occasion!

This recipe requires only a few ingredients and is easy enough for the kids to help out with. Be sure to serve these with some green veggies for Dad too!baconwrappedchickenskewers

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Skewers

• 3-4 chicken breasts, cut lengthwise about 1 1/2 -2 inches thick
• 1 slice of bacon for each chicken skewer
• 1 tbsp Garlic powder
• 2/3 cup Brown sugar
• 2 tbsp Cumin
• 2 tbsp Chili powder
• Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 15 minutes
1. Pre-heat grill to medium heat. Meanwhile, mix all seasonings together in a small, shallow bowl.
2. Slice chicken breasts lengthwise. Take a skewer and thread it through the long part of the chicken breast or you can fold the chicken back and forth over the skewer like an accordion.
3. Wrap one slices of bacon around each chicken on the skewer. Dip bacon-wrapped chicken into seasoning mix and generously coat all sides.
4. Place skewers on grill and cook for about 15 minutes, turning chicken once half-way through. *Skinnier/smaller chicken skewers will require less cooking time.
This recipe also doubles for a great appetizer. Cut bite-size pieces of chicken and wrap a small portion of bacon around each bite. Secure with a toothpick, coat in seasoning and prepare on grill.