Friday, August 27, 2010

Foodie Friday: Mango Chutney & Prosciutto Pizza

Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

I've mentioned in a previous post that I have a bit of a liking for Food Network shows. In fact, if I had a default channel, that'd be it.  One of the shows that I enjoyed the summer was The Next Food Network Star  Throughout this last season, I found myself becoming a huge fan of Aarti Sequeria, and on the last episode, she prepared this fantastic looking pizza.  We enjoy pizza {almost} weekly in our house. It's mostly kid-friendly and provides an all-in-one variety of foods and nutrients, depending on the kind you get.  This particular pizza piqued my interest because Aarti definitely put her unique Indian spin on it. So I set out to prepare it right away.  I ended up making a few adaptations from her original, but I believe I pulled off a lovely version of this gourmet-like pizza.  Enjoy!

Mango Chutney and Prosciutto Pizza
{Print this recipe}
1/2 c no salt added tomato paste
2 Tbsp mango chutney (This can be found in the international food aisle. I used Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney as recommended.)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
1/2 c shredded 2% milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 c crumbled queso fresco (I used this Mexican cheese instead of the original paneer cheese that's called for because I just couldn't find it anywhere.)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I actually left this out so that it would be a more kid-friendly recipe.)
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 large green onion, finely chopped
1/8 tsp ground cumin
4 frozen naan bread (I used Trader Joe's brand as recommended.)
4 slices prosciutto, torn

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the tomato paste, mango chutney, minced garlic, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat for about 5 minutes. Then remove the pan from stove and set aside.
  3. Mix the mozzarella, queso fresco, red pepper flakes, cilantro, green onion, and ground cumin in a small mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the naans on a large cookie sheet.  Coat the top of each naan with an equal amount of the tomato-mango chutney sauce.  Next, top each naan with equal amounts of the cheese mixture.  Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the edges are crisped.
  5. While the pizzas are baking, shred the prosciutto into small bite-sized pieces. After the pizzas are finished baking, top each pizza with fresh prosciutto.  Slice each naan into 4 pieces and serve with a nice hearty vegetable salad.  Enjoy!
Serves: 4-8
Nutritional Information (for 8 servings):
Calories: 187   Carbohydrate:  25.5 g   Fat:  5.8 g   Saturated fat:  3.4 g   Protein:  8 g   Cholesterol:  19 mg   Fiber:  1.4 g   Sugar:  4 g   Sodium:  321 mg
Good source of: Vitamin A and calcium.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Minimize the mealtime showdowns with your kids - a strategy that works

 Photo credit: Bruce Tuten (Flickr)

There you are in the dining room stadium preparing for a mealtime showdown. It's you, the caring, health-conscious parent versus your challenger, a willful, anti-veggie eating child.  If this sounds at all like your meals, you are not alone. I've worked with many parents who vent frustrations about the battles they have with their children over eating...usually vegetables but sometimes other foods, too.  I can definitely understand your pain because it's not as if I've been immune to a battle or 2 or 10 of these myself;)  However, I'm not here to relish in our pain but rather to offer you a strategy that works.  Whether your child is 3 or 15 or 3 going on 15, this is something that can work for all ages.  Just keep two things in mind:

1) It's your job to feed and your child's job to eat.
2) You are in charge of what, when, and where your child eats. Your child is in charge of deciding how much or whether to eat.

These are the principles of the Division of Responsibility in Feeding developed by Ellyn Satter.  I use them myself.  I recommend them to others, and I've seen them work.  Trust the process!

Let's start here. Imagine that when it comes to meals and snacks, someone else is always telling you what you can and cannot eat or trying to coerce you into eating something that you just don't want to eat.  How do you think you'd feel?  Maybe you'd feel a lack of control?  Therein lies some of the problem when it comes to feeding children.  You really want Johnny to eat the broccoli. It's good for him. Why won't he eat it?  Maybe he doesn't feel like he has a choice, so he is making his choice known. It's a loud and clear NO!

What if Johnny was given a choice?  Let's say that Johnny and his family sit down for a family-style meal, and you let him choose what he'd like to eat.  What if he doesn't eat the broccoli?  Is that okay?  Yes!  Making an issue of Johnny eating the broccoli will do just that...make more of an issue of it.  He will be just fine if he doesn't eat the broccoli.  Maybe he doesn't like it? Maybe he needs to get to know it a little more first with a few more exposures?  It can take up to 20 exposures to a food before kids try and learn to like some foods.  If it's snack time, maybe you give Johnny 2-3 different options to choose from rather than one.  Those three options could include three very nutritious foods or maybe you include one of his favorites, too.  Even if that favorite food is a cookie, maybe it's an oatmeal raisin cookie that you prepared with love and high quality ingredients.  It's okay to enjoy food. It's okay to enjoy cookies sometimes.  It's not something you have to do all the time, and that is the beauty of the Division of Responsibility in Feeding.  You are in charge of what you offer your child.

Offering children choices allows them a sense of control over their little world.  When children are given the opportunity to practice their independence and responsibility, they learn valuable decision-making skills.  It's very interesting to see my daughter when I give her mealtime options. In fact, I recently offered her one of three snack options: ice cream, an orange, or a nectarine.  She thought about it for a while...longer than I'd ever imagine!  Guess what she chose?  The orange!  Amazing!  When children are allowed to make decisions about food, it minimizes those mealtime showdowns, which are really no fun for anyone, and helps them learn to enjoy a wide variety of foods.  It may feel uncomfortable to start because you will be giving up some control, but remember that as long as you remain true to the Division of Responsibility of Feeding, your child will learn to become a successful eater.

What food choices could you start giving your child today?

For more on child nutrition and feeding, you may want to check out these books:

Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense
Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: Orchestrating and Enjoying the Family Meal

Or these previous blog posts:

Picky Picky
The What and When of Feeding a Toddler
The Where of Feeding a Toddler

Monday, August 23, 2010

10 nutritious finger foods for older babies

Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Beyond pureed baby food, I've found that many parents seem stumped about what to feed their older babies (9-12 months of age).  When parents begin to experiment with finger-feeding, I often find that they start with some of the typical foods, such as Cheerios or puffs.  While these choices provide a developmentally-appropriate and convenient start, there is a host of other nutritious and safe finger foods that parents can offer to their little ones.  I thought I'd share my top 10 list of nutritious finger foods for older babies for a little inspiration.  Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of possibilities. For more ideas, put yourself in your baby's booties.  If you had no to minimal teeth and were still developing your chewing and swallowing ability, what could you eat?    

Black beans: Jam-packed with fiber, black beans can help ward off constipation, which can sometimes trouble infants during the transition from pureed foods to table foods.  Black beans also offer a significant plant-based source of protein, an essential building block for proper growth.  These velvety-textured beans are also an excellent plant-based source of iron, which is necessary to support their rapid growth.   

Green peas:  Green peas are loaded with vitamin K and manganese, two vital nutrients for proper bone formation.  You've heard of carrots for vision, but what about green peas?  Yep, they are a good source of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health, especially the retina.  Look to these for a fiber boost as well.

Egg Yolk: Egg yolk offers a significant source of choline, a nutrient that is essential for brain and memory development in infants.  It also supplies lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health. 

Blueberries:  Blueberries are rich in vitamin C, which promotes a healthy immune system, enhances iron absorption, and helps form collagen that is needed for healthy bones and skin.  They're also a good source of manganese and fiber.

Salmon: Salmon is a high quality, easily digestible source of protein, which is helpful for those maturing little digestive tracts.  Salmon also boasts a high omega-3 fatty acid content, specifically EPA and DHA, which promotes proper brain and vision development.  Finally, salmon is a fantastic source of vitamin D, a must-have for calcium absorption and bone building.

Avocado:  Avocados supply healthful monounsaturated fats, which help infants meet their high energy needs for rapid growth.  These fats also form part of every cell in the body and are needed for proper brain development.  Avocados are also a source of folate, which helps form and maintain new cells during periods of rapid growth.

Cheese:  Cheese is an excellent source of high quality, easily digestible protein and bone-building calcium.  But you knew that, didn't you?  Here's what you may not know...cheese may help combat those acids that are responsible for tooth decay.  So a little cheese may actually help promote the health of your babies new chompers!  Cheese is also a good source of the sleep-inducing amino acid, tryptophan.

Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes provide an excellent source of vitamin A, which promotes a healthy immune system and plays a vital role in bone growth.  The sweet potato also serves up a nice helping of vitamin B6, which supports immune function.  Would you be surprised to know that these are also a good source of vitamin C? My little guy (pictured above) loves oven baked or steamed sweet potatoes!   

Whole wheat pasta: Whole wheat pasta provides a quality source of complex carbohydrates, which promote growth and serve as a major energy source for your infant's brain.  Including adequate carbohydrate in your infant's diet also allows protein to be used to build new tissue rather than for energy. Whole wheat pasta is also a source of magnesium and zinc, which both support immune function. We also can't forget that fiber!

Butternut squash:  This winter squash is packed with nutrients, including fiber, potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and A to name just a few.  Pair baked diced squash and apples and sprinkle with cinnamon for a nutritious and flavorful feast for your little one.

What nutritious finger foods do you enjoy sharing with your baby?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Foodie Friday: Cinnamon Dusted Mini Breakfast Pizzas and A CSN Giveaway Winner

Photo credit: Michelle Loy. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

One of the  major areas of opportunity that I see in so many people's diets is breakfast.  Many of the clients that I work with simply skip it, and one of the main reasons is TIME!  I sure can understand that one, especially now that I have two young children.  At the same time, consuming breakfast can help get you off to a smart start for the day.  Not only does it help keep hunger at bay, but it also helps adults perform better at work and children perform better at school.  Personally, I've also discovered that a well-rounded breakfast that includes a quality source of protein and fiber for staying power, and while this recipe is by no means fancy or gourmet, it is a simple, nutritious, and satisfying all-in-one package. Enjoy!

 Cinnamon Dusted Mini Breakfast Pizzas 
{Print this recipe}

1 whole-grain English muffin
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky, your choice:)
1/4-1/2 banana, sliced
Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling

1.  Toast the English muffin.  Spread 1 Tbsp of peanut butter over each half of the English muffin.  Top each half with banana slices and dot with blueberries.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Serves: 1
Nutritional Information:
Calories: 406   Carbohydrate:  48 g   Fiber: 9 g   Fat: 17.6 g   Saturated fat: 2.8 g   Protein:  14.6 g   Cholesterol: 0 mg   Sugar:  15 g   Sodium: 312 mg 
Good source of: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

And the CSN Stores Giveaway Winner via is:

Aimee aka Nelsby - #52
 An e-mail will be coming your way. Congrats! 
Thank you to all who participated!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Foodie Friday: Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Tomato and Corn Salad

You may or may not know that I've been working with one of the brides-to-be, Patty, for the People Magazine Weight Loss Challenge. I am so proud of Patty's accomplishments.  At the publishing of the last article in July, 2010 (after 6 months), she'd lost 25 lbs, which is 12.5% of her start weight!  (She's since lost more, but I'm not at liberty to share just how much yet.)  She's really made a lot of changes in her eating, physical activity, and lifestyle habits to get to this point.  Way to go, Patty!  At last week's visit, Patty and I brought it in the kitchen by preparing a nutritious recipe together that she and her fiancee were later able to enjoy.

Here's Patty showing off her cooking skills.  She did great!

Because I am a client-focused dietetic practitioner, I wanted to make sure to plan a recipe that suited her tastes.  As she told me what she liked...and didn't like...and foods she'd like to explore more, this recipe immediately came to mind.  This is a modified version of the Lime-and-Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad from Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats Cookbook.  I make this recipe often myself, and it is a family favorite.  I was excited to adapt it a little for this occasion.  We prepared this recipe in 30 minutes or maybe even a little less -- 2 sets of hands really makes it move quick!  When we were done preparing the final dish, we sat down to chat a bit.  Patty was still in shock at how gorgeous the food looked AND how fast we prepared it. She liked the taste, and this week she reported to me that her fiancee really enjoyed it, too.  Yay!  

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Tomato and Corn Salad

The Warm Tomato and Corn Salad

The Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon
{Print this recipe}
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (medium heat to extra spicy depending on your taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 2 limes
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp chili powder
4, 4-6 oz salmon fillets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
1, 10-oz box frozen corn kernels, defrosted
1/2 c chicken stock or broth (preferably lower sodium)
1 c grape tomatoes, halved
2-3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
6 cups baby spinach

  1. Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Saute stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
  2. While the onions are sauteeing, preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.  In a shallow dish, combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Add the salmon fillets to the lime-honey mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.  Add the seasoned salmon to the hot skillet and cook until just heated through, about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  3. To the cooked onions, add the bell peppers, corn, and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.  Add the chicken stock and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the juice of the second lime, the cilantro, and the spinach. Toss to wilt the spinach and then taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  Serve the salmon on top of the warm tomato and corn salad.
Serves: 4
Nutritional Information:
Calories: 404   Carbohydrate: 41.6 g   Fiber: 5 g   Fat: 16 g   Saturated fat:  2.3 g   Protein:   29 g   Cholesterol: 60 mg   Sugar: 23g   Sodium: 325 mg
High in: omega 3 fatty acids, thiamin, niacin, vitamins B6, B12, C, and A, folate, magnesium, and potassium.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coast Magazine - A Big Plate of Beautiful

 Photo credit: (Flickr)

Look for my quotes in this great article about foods that promote healthy skin in Coast Magazine.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trendy Bytes: Alcoholic Energy Drinks

  Photo credit: erix! (Flickr)

Jaeger Bombs and Cherry Bombs...I imagine you may have heard of these popular mixed drinks. They're a fusion of energy drinks and alcoholic beverages that have been all the rave with young party goers for years.  But have you heard of Four Loko and Joose?  These are a couple of the up and coming pre-mixed alcoholic energy drinks.  I only recently learned of them at the grocery store checkout when the checker and bagger were discussing their experiences with these caffeinated brews. Both admitted that the alcoholic energy drinks were quite "intoxicating" and could really "mess you up" in their words.  Hearing this was not breaking news to me. I knew people, especially young adults, often combine energy drinks with alcohol.  An estimated 54% of young energy drink users mix them with alcoholic beverages and a whopping 73% admit that they consume several energy drinks at a time with alcohol.  After learning about these drinks, I decided to take myself on a fact-finding mission to find out the truth about these caffeine-spiked cocktails.

Fact #1:  You might want to think of these drinks as beer on steroids. Serious.  Most of the caffeinated alcoholic beverages currently on the market weigh in at 6-12% alcohol. For comparison's sake, most beers average around 4-6% while wine averages about 12-15%.  Sounds fine except that the typical serving size for the caffeinated brews is about 24 ounces.  Depending on the alcohol content, that could be the equivalent of having 4 beers! 

Fact #2: These drinks are likely loaded with calories, mostly empty ones.  I say likely because nutrition information, such as calorie or sugar content, are not currently required according to alcohol labeling regulations.  However, I'm not surprised that one source indicates that one can of Four Loko contains up to 660 calories and 60 grams of sugar.  I can believe it given that energy drinks are a known source of significant amounts of added sugar while alcohol contributes 7 calories per gram. (For a frame of reference, fat provides 9 calories per gram while carbohydrate and protein provide 4 calories per gram.)

Fact #3: A typical serving may contain the caffeine equivalent of a Venti Starbucks Coffee, which is about 415 mg. As for my efforts to find out just how much caffeine these bad boys contain, we'll just say that I'm still waiting on an answer from the actual companies.  They often contain ingredients, such as caffeine, guarana (more caffeine), ginseng, and taurine, that are typically found in regular energy drinks.  So what affect does that amount of caffeine have on a drinker?  The jury is still out on that question, so  concern has been raised recently about the safety of consuming these additives, especially caffeine, with alcohol.

Fact #4:  Alcoholic energy drinks may leave one with more of a buzz than they bargained for.  These concoctions appeal to young party-goers who want to maintain the energy to party all night long and feel less drunk while doing so.  However, just because these drinkers feel less drunk does not mean they actually are less drunk.  Early research suggests that while those who combine alcohol with energy drinks believe they are less intoxicated than they are, they still exhibit deficiencies in performing certain physical and visual tasks. Also, caffeine appears to have no significant affect on blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for imbibers of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Meaning that if a person drinks X number of drinks, their BAC will still increase accordingly.  Some worry that if  consumers of caffeinated cocktails perceive themselves as being less intoxicated than they actually are then they may be at greater risk of alcohol-related health problems, including alcohol poisoning.  In fact one study found that drinkers who sipped on a duo of alcohol and energy drinks were not only more intoxicated when leaving a bar, but they were also far more likely to intend on driving afterwards compared to those who consumed alcohol alone.  Scary!

Don't be surprised if you start hearing more about these commerically-prepared alcoholic energy beverages as the controversy appears to be picking up some steam since some government officials are looking for more regulation in this area.  What do you think?  Do we need more regulation? More education? Or are these drinks no worse than say a rum and Coke or an Irish coffee?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Foodie Friday: Wild Alaskan Salmon with Honey Pepper Glaze

I picked up some steam on my blogging through July, but I took a little break because I was doing a little of this last week...

This is me with the second rainbow trout that I caught while flyfishing on the Kenai River in Alaska.  I didn't get to keep the little guys though since it was all catch and release there with the rainbows.  However, my husband was able to snag us some lovely wild Alaskan salmon (silvers and sockeye), which we brought home to enjoy.  If you've ever thought about heading to Alaska for vacation, do it!  Do it in the summertime though.  It truly is a pristine and gorgeous place where you might just see things like this...

This is "Goldie", a brown bear with some pretty golden-colored fur.  He wasn't as ferocious and scary as he might look.

Now on to my lovely recipe.  Salmon is my favorite fish. I can't say it was always so.  I'd say that's mostly because I just had no idea how to prepare fish well...and how to select the right kind of fish. I really think that my second dilemma (not knowing how to select the right fish) is a problem that results in many people not liking their fish.  School yourself and it will change your world!  This dish was inspired by my first visit to Spark Woodfire Grill, one of my favorite Huntington Beach restaurants. I remember my husband and I trying to figure out exactly what was in it so that we could make it at home, and that we've done.  I present to you...

Wild Alaskan Salmon with Honey Pepper Glaze
1 lb wild-caught salmon with skin on, or 4 (4 oz) salmon fillets
Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
Sea salt and black pepper, for seasoning
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp whole mustard seeds (I have a yellow and brown mustard seed combo)
1/2 Tbsp dried tarragon

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.   
2.  Brush the salmon with the olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  
3.  Drizzle honey over the salmon. 
4.  In a small bowl, combine the mustard seeds and tarragon.  Then sprinkle over the salmon.
5.  Place the salmon skin side down in a well-oiled baking dish.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Serve with vegetables and a side of quinoa pilaf.  

Serves: 4
Nutritional Information:
Calories: 269    Carbohydrate:  13 g   Fat:  13.6 g   Saturated fat: 2 g   Monounsaturated fat:  7 g  Protein:  24 g   Cholesterol:  70 mg  Fiber:  0 g   Sugar: 13 g   Sodium:  201 mg
Good source of:  omega-3 fatty acids, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, B12, and potassium.
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