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Downingtown Nutrition & Weight Management Center

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Schedules and Meal Planning

Well it's official. I am a football widow again. Goodbye to the nights that my husband was home for dinner and weekends as a family. In addition to my husband's schedule I have taken on a new cardiovascular project at the hospital, teaching 3 classes at the University, and of course, my favorite activity, running Downingtown Nutrition. Many of our nights have only an hour to spend with family, so I do not want to spend my time cooking/prepping or cleaning! A few of my clients asked how to eat healthy when I am so busy, so here it goes:

Sundays: It's the one family day that I take time to cook. Perhaps that's from my own Italian background, but Sundays were all about food and family (sorry not football-which my husband can't believe!). I roast 1-2 pans of vegetables using spray olive oil and a little sea salt and black pepper (all the parts of the vegetables that I can't use I store in the freezer for broth, which enables me to save all the nutrition of the produce). I cook what ever vegetables that are in season, my favorite right now is cauliflower, garlic, onions, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Once this cools I wrap tightly in the fridge, it stays good until Wednesday. Last week, I took the cauliflower and garlic put it in a food processor and made soup. It made 4 cups of soup (all under 60 calories) which I froze and had for lunch with my salads and sandwiches.

I made turkey meatballs and tofu sausage in the crock pot, which were ready later in the day. I also have 2 servings frozen for later in the month which I will add to whole grain pasta and vegetables when I need a quick meal.

Last, I prepped all my veggies and lightly breaded the halibut for fish tacos the next day.

Mondays: I have barely an hour in the evening with my family on these days, which stinks, so I want to spend as much time as I can with them. I make the tacos which takes 6 minutes on top of the stove. Berries and sugar free pudding are for dessert.

Tuesdays: This is actually my "test kitchen" day which I experiment with. It's actually not cooking for the family, since you never know what product I will end up with! This week it was flax seed walnut pumpkin muffins made with whole wheat flour and pureed spinach. Actually pretty fantastic, since they were delicious, high in fiber and low in fat. We had them for breakfast with our milk the next day!Even the little ones begged for more!

Wednesdays: I'm working in the AM with young kids at a daycare, then in the community running a federal project and later at the University. I'm done when I get home. I hit a grocery store, get a rotisserie chicken and heat up my veggie mix. Dinner is done! I always end up steaming green beans with this too. As long as you do not eat the skin, its a really healthy meal. I save the leftover chicken, if any, and all the parts of the chicken go in the freezer to make broth when I have time.

Thursdays: Thursdays are actually like my Saturdays, I'm always off from having to be somewhere. I make broth from the rotisserie chicken and veggie parts, skim the fat off, add celery, carrots, escarole and whole grain pasta (abc's right now from Wegmans mostly due to the 2 and 4 year olds). Once in a while I add the Goya small white beans in it with the chicken. My kids don't seem to notice the beans when they are small, so its a way I get the beans in! If you use canned beans, please make sure you rinse them off so you do not eat the sodium.

While this is happening I'm taking chickpeas or soybeans and roasting in a oven at 425 for about 35-45 minutes until crisp. I save these for the week, throwing them on salads or just to eat as a post workout snack. Soup gets served this day with whole grain crackers.

Fridays: Easy! Whole wheat nan bread, low fat cheese, sauce and veggie pizza. Sometimes I saute onions, garlic, artichokes, kalmata olives and red peppers and add this with shrimp on my pizza (under 400 calories for the whole thing and its a big piece).

Saturdays: Take out! We are human! My favorite places are Amani's BYOB in Downingtown and Harvest in Glen Mills.But if we are saving our dollars or the kids are not acceptable in public we will grill a flank steak or tuna and have a salad (with wine of course!).

So that's the fall version of my meal plan. I change it up as much as I can, keeping different recipe books and magazines in rotation. Additionally, I always let the kids pick a new fruit or veggie to try for the week. It keeps them engaged at the store and brings them in the kitchen to help!

That was just dinners, lunches are either left overs, salads with the roasted nuts, yogurt and fruit, soups, and veggie based sandwiches with hummus.

Hope this gives you at least one idea towards eating healthy this fall!


The Dieting Dietitian

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Parents Fighting an Environment That's Unhealthy

Today I woke up, completely normal day with my kids. Usually, I am with them all day on Tuesdays, which I love.

It all started with a dentist appointment. Both kids got an A plus in that department, but upon check out, the front desk staff asked if I wanted free Chili's kids meal coupons. First of all, I do not like a single thing on that menu that is food. Wine maybe, but the coupon didn't cover that (By the way this is my husband's favorite place to eat....wings of course). The coupons were for some fried item, soda, and desert. Hello I'm at the dentist office, aren't you suppose to promote health? I politely declined the offer.

Next stop, West Chester University. I left my IPAD in a classroom and a miracle worker managed to find it. Pulling the toddlers into an office setting was hectic enough until LOLLIPOPS were offered by a very lovely colleague. I politely declined the offer, and my 3 year stated she just came from the dentist and lollipops are a "once in a while" food. Future dietitian!

Lunch time. I promised the girls we can go do Carlino's for lunch in West Chester(I'm not going to lie, I had a craving for their broccoli rabe, garlic, peppers and olive oil and the place reminds me of my dad). A very nice lawyer and politician (who I'm not going to name!) bought the girls chocolate pretzels. They were not huge or brimming with candy toppings so I agreed. Hey they were dark chocolate!

Errands. I love Acme, even though some of their prices are high, they do have a healthy kids club which allows your child to have sliced apples or a banana. I thought I was a super cool dietitian mama until the lady at the bakery came over (while I was in the produce section) with heart cookies covered in sprinkles. I was too late to the cookie trade off and those cookies were gone before I could grab them. Sprinkle dye stains the girls mouth for the rest of the day.

In the bank drive through, guess what came through with the deposit slip, LOLLIPOPS. Thank goodness the girls didn't see them as I tossed them aside. Next time I'm going to feel like a bank robber leaving a note PLEASE DO NOT GIVE ME LOLLIPOPS OR ASK ME IF THEY WANT THEM.

Back home. As I'm unpacking the food, the girls are playing outside. Our super amazing neighbor comes over with a cup filled with large spearmint jelly candies. Again too late to the hand off. The two year old packed 3 in her mouth and the three year old couldn't even close her mouth, all I saw was a see of glistening green sugar. Then the three year old cries the two year old had one more. My neighbor gives them each six more. It took me an hour to get them away from them, in which I had to resort to "I think I just saw Swiper the fox outside the window" (Dora the Explorer fans) trick as I threw them in the trash.

I felt like my day was invaded by fried food, soda, lollipops, cookies and candy. I couldn't get away from it! Everywhere you go temptations are at every step of your day. It's hard enough for me to say no for myself, yet alone having two kids crying they want some. What's so hard about giving kids sparkly pencils, dinosaurs, stickers, or erasers as presents or rewards. Our environment is built on these dessert like incentives and rewards. Its wrong and I am sick of it as a mom, a dietitian and a public health educator!

If you see me with my kids at your office, bank, or grocery store, please do not offer any goodies to my kids. And if you want to, please ask me first before announcing it loudly so they can hear. It's hard enough to raise a healthy eater, please do not make it harder for us!


The Dieting Dietitian