Back to School- Power Lunches for Kids

While school lunches in the last few years have made big improvements, they’re still forced to follow the USDA pyramid, which has very little fat and does not distinguish between good and bad carbohydrates. But it’s hard to convince kids to bring a healthy lunch every day.

My son is still on his “special diet” and cannot eat anything at school so I make his lunch everyday anyway. We’ve come up with a way to get our daughter to eat a little healthier at lunch as well as save some money. We told her that when she is 16, whatever money she has saved for her car, we’ll double. We did this so she’ll be more likely to want to save her money instead of spending everything she gets.

This also works with school lunches, because we figured that if she bought her lunch everyday it’d cost us about $50 per month.  So we told her we’d give her $25 per month if she packed her own lunch every day. She can use the food that we have in the house and it won’t cost her anything. The food that she takes in her lunch the whole month doesn’t cost $25 so we still save money. This started the last half of last year and we just picked it right back up at the beginning of the school year.

But that means that we have to have healthy and tasty options on hand for the kids to take to school and that can be a pain sometimes, since they’re picky eaters. So I’ve come up with a list of options that have healthy proteins and fats to ensure that the kids can stay full and focused until they get home.

Some of the options I’ve listed don’t really work for my kids because of their finickiness, but others have told me their kids like them. I’m also including some of these so that parents wanting to be able to brown bag their lunches can pick from a few of these.

Healthy Mayo– Many kids love mayo on their sandwiches, but that stuff has so many questionable ingredients. Here is a great alternative Homemade Coconut Oil Mayo that is full of healthy fats. By using half coconut oil and half olive oil, the olive oil flavor is a lot less strong so the mayo tastes closer to regular mayo, but you will still have to get used to the flavor. You can keep it in a glass jar in the fridge for a week or make a bigger batch and freeze it in smaller portions, just reconstitute it with some additional kefir or yogurt.

Healthy Meats– Chicken, turkey, or beef sandwiches made from last night’s dinner make much better lunches than the deli meats that are full of preservatives, fillers, and other unknown substances. You can also send these as salads for kids that will eat salads on their own. Also, I have recently begun using healthier lunch meats for my kids made by Applegate Naturals. The lunch meats are without nitrates, nitrites, and other unknown substances. They also use grass-fed meats raised without antibiotics and hormones we are trying avoid in meats.

Homemade Pizza– I make big batches of this Cauliflower Pizza Crust, cut it into squares and freeze it for Wyatt. Then I pull it out some evenings, throw some pizza sauce (without added sugar) and some Applegate Naturals Uncured Pepperoni, and natural shredded cheese on it and bake it quickly until the cheese melts. Then Wyatt has cold pizza for lunch the next day.

Do-It-Yourself “Lunchables”– Kids love Lunchables™ and they’re very easy. However, they contain foods with lots of sugar and very little nutritional value and you pay for the packaging. Plus, due to the packaging, you don’t have the option to add any fruit or veggies.

  • Pizza: good crusts can be the cauliflower pizza crust I mention above, cut up pita bread, or whole wheat tortillas, just add a little cup of sauce, some natural shredded cheese, and your own toppings and you’ll have a healthier substitute for the highly processed Pizza Lunchables™ available today.
  • Lunchmeats: Use cut up lunchmeats from Applegate Naturals, whole grain crackers, and natural cheese slices. You can put them in little containers in your kids lunch kit along with some water to drink and veggie slices for a much healthier lunch.

Fish– Salmon, shrimp, and tuna are great sources of protein and healthy fats. Most kinds won’t eat these on their own so this may not be a great option for many, but tuna salad sandwiches work for some.

This Curried Tuna and Apple Pita is one of my personal favorites if you have a kid that likes tuna. It has good fats and proteins from the tuna, Greek yogurt, and peanuts; filling fiber from the apples, greens and whole wheat pita; and, to top it off, the anti-inflammatory power of curry.

Nuts and Seeds– These healthy fats also have a little bit of protein and make great additions lunches, as long as they’re not coated in sugar. Just make your own trail mix with the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit of your choice.

Full Fat Greek Yogurt– This also makes a great addition to lunches. Again, the plain version is better, just send it with a cup of berries, nuts, seeds, and a touch of honey.

Well, those are just a few options that I hope make packing lunches a little easier in the future.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Back to School- Power Breakfasts for Kids

Many schools have a program that gives free breakfasts to all kids. They do this because they noticed that many kids were coming to school hungry, not necessarily because they didn’t have food at home but because they didn’t have enough time to eat before they left or they just weren’t hungry right when they woke up. Unfortunately, many of these breakfast foods are just convenience packaged foods that don’t require any preparation, like prepackaged sugary cereals, pancakes with a container of syrup, cinnamon rolls, sugary yogurt, and juices. These foods may help the kids a little because they fill up their empty stomachs, but they don’t help them stay focused at all. Here are some great easy options for quick mornings that use some of the healthy fats that I talked about in Part 2 while avoiding the added sugars that I talked about in Part 1.

Eggs– loaded with protein and nutrients like choline, omega-3s, zinc, and lutein so kids will be not just full, but able to concentrate on school work.

  • Eggs can be boiled ahead of time and stored in the fridge for a few days for a quick breakfast.
  • Scrambled eggs can be rolled into a whole grain tortilla or sandwiched between some whole grain bread. I even scramble my kids’ eggs in a little bit of ghee for extra brain boosting fats.
  • I myself make a large egg white casserole that I talk about in my blog The Importance of Meal Planning and Prevention and then freeze it in individual servings so I can warm it up for a quick no-mess meal. I have used different veggies and spices in my casserole, depending on what I have, but they have all been good.
    • One was made with asparagus, zucchini and squash
    • another with broccoli and cauliflower
    • my favorite has spinach, mushrooms, and rotel.

Full Fat Greek Yogurt– has more protein than low-fat versions as well as healthy fats for the brain. The plain kind is best because it is not full of added sugars. It can be flavored to your own liking with berries, nuts, seeds, and a little bit of your sweetener of choice.

Oatmeal and Other Complex Carbs– have protein and fiber so kids will be full and able to focus. Oatmeal is much better than sugary cereal for kids, even if you add some sweetener to it. You could also add cinnamon and apples which both have brain-boosting nutrients or even some berries for sweetness. Here are a few ideas how to have these for breakfast:

  • Whole Grain Banana Pancakes– The only substitute I made was almond flour for oat flour because Wyatt can’t have oats. I subbed gram for gram not cup for cup, as 95g of almond flour is just less than 1 cup. I imagine the texture would be better with the oat flour than the almond flour, but they were still pretty good. These are even good frozen and then toasted for a quick breakfast.
  • Do you still like the ease of frozen waffles or pancakes? I used to make big batches of homemade waffles on the weekend and freeze them in freezer bags between layers of parchment paper. They were easy to toast quickly for the kids’ breakfasts. Here are some great recipes for pancakes:

These two are better for older kids and adults in a hurry to get to work.

  • On-The-Go Oatmeal packets that don’t have all the sugar and preservatives and you can sweeten and flavor as you want with your own berries, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal with no work in the morning that can be modified again with your own berries, nuts, seeds, etc.

Greens like spinach and kale– Greens are full of folate and vitamins for super-brain power. Kale actually has a nutrient that causes growth of new brain cells.

  • Spinach is also great in omelets and burritos for breakfast.
  • You can also make kale chips that will pack into lunches, but I’ll go more into that in my lunch blog.
  • Greens can also be put in morning smoothies with fruit and some protein powder.

Well, those are my ideas for power breakfasts to help your kids do well this school year.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Back to School- Fats for Brain Power

Brain-Kids

We all know that kids growing brains and bodies are different than ours. They’re not just little versions of us, they actually have completely different nutritional needs in order to make sure that they grow. Kids need fat to create the hormones that control their growth. Not just a little unsaturated fat like that in olive oil. They need saturated animal fat for optimal brain and eye function. We as full-grown adults don’t need as much saturated animal fat, we can get all of the saturated fats that we need for brain function from plant sources like coconut and avocado, if we choose. The nutrients that are best for brain growth and development are either fat-soluble vitamins or are found in fat itself: vitamins A, D, and K, choline, DHA, and zinc.

Unfortunately, the effects of unhealthy fats like hydrogenated / trans fats and those with a too high ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s have given us adults a fear of all fats.  This has led to the decrease of fats in the USDA food pyramid which in-turn caused the decrease of even healthy fats in school lunches. To top it off, many of the low-fat products in schools have added sugars to make up for the lack of flavor. This leads to less than optimal brain power in the afternoon for kids.

We need to make sure that the kiddos understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats so they can have a good relationship with fats as they get older. In my blogs next week I’ll give you some good breakfast and lunch recipes and ideas that include a good mix of healthy fats and nutrient dense foods.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Back to School- Our Kids’ Shrinking Attention Spans

Kids are heading back to school now and we as parents are trying hard to make sure that they do as well as possible, especially the kids that are starting new schools and the little guys that are starting kindergarten. In my next few posts I hope to give you a few ideas about how to make sure that your kiddos are properly fueled for the demands of the school year.

Did you know that the normal attention span for a kid is supposed to be 3 to 5 mins per year of age? This means a 6 year old first grader should be able to concentrate for at least 18 mins, but if you ask a first grade teacher about this, they will laugh at that number. In fact, I heard recently about a tour guide in the Everglades that had to decrease her tour to visiting students from what used to be 45 mins down to 10 minutes. That’s pretty sad, and I believe it has a lot to do with the amount of added sugar in our food.

Most of the time we don’t even realize that there is so much sugar in what we are eating, I know I really only starting noticing this over the last few months with Wyatt’s diet, but it is really crazy what things you’ll find sugar in. It is estimated that 80% of food items in U.S. grocery stores are spiked with added sugars. The AHA recommends limiting added sugar intake to less than 4 tsp (20 grams) per day for kids (do you know how hard it is to actually stay below that number?!?), but the average 4 to 8 year old gets 22 tsp (110 grams) per day.

The USDA food guides don’t help us in this respect because they don’t really distinguish between whole grains and refined grains. Most wheat breads, including the ones in school lunches, are little more than colored white bread as our bodies digest these like they do sugars. It’s no wonder that our kids are having a hard time focusing in as well as out of school.

I’ve really had my eyes opened during the last few months as I’ve read food labels like a fiend. You don’t have to go to the crazy level that I do to see that there aren’t many foods out there without added sugar. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to try and post some good power breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for kids, hopefully that they’ll actually eat, so you can help the kids in your life be prepared to take the school-day (and those early Saturday morning soccer games) by storm.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Be Mindful

I have to admit. The last few days have been kind of rough. As soon as I started kicking up my workouts and paying more attention to my portion sizes, my appetite skyrocketed. I felt like I wanted to eat everything in sight. That’s hard when I am trying to keep healthy snacks on hand for the kids. Just because they’re healthy doesn’t mean I can eat a lot of them and still be in shape for my competition.

So, I am working with my coach to keep this in check and stay accountable. I’m also trying to be more mindful of everything else as well. For instance, I have been getting up at 4:30 so I can work out from 5:00 to 6:00 and be home before Charley has to leave for work. If that doesn’t happen then I have to take the kids with me and by the time I get them up and ready the morning is half over. That’s just kind of a pain. But when I don’t get to sleep until a little after 10:00, waking up at 4:30 isn’t giving me enough sleep, and lack of sleep also makes it hard to stick to a healthy diet.

Another thing I did to keep myself motivated is put my picture that I used in my last blog on my fridge and other places around my house. There’s nothing like looking at those pictures to stop me from opening the fridge. They’re telling me, “Hey buff mama, you’re not going to get back to here eating that extra snack, no matter how ‘healthy’ it is.”

Lastly, instead of beating myself up for my mistakes I really tried to pay attention to how I felt after I ate too much- bloated, tired, unmotivated. Like I mentioned in my “What? Food Has Energy?” blog, there is no need to feel guilty. I just considered it research, learned from it, and moved on. I am excited to continue in this process and learn more about myself along the way.

I hope this helps you do the same. When you feel like you are getting sidetracked, try to learn from it and move on. Don’t beat yourself up or give up. Lasting change can only happen one small change at a time.

Questions? Comment? Please let me know.

Jessica

Game On – Part Three

Game On3

I’m less than 11 weeks from my competition right now. I’m looking at my old pictures and thinking not just can I get there, but can I get even better? Oh my goodness! The answer is YES, but it’s gonna take A LOT of work. Working out when I don’t want to, eating very clean, drinking water or herbal tea instead of reaching for a snack, and getting everything on my to do list done efficiently so I can get a good night’s sleep. Basically, it boils down to how bad I want to do it. Am I motivated enough?

Everything we do kind of boils down to that, right? Lots of things are fun or easy to do, but they’re generally not the things that pay the bills or help us create good healthy habits.

This last week was an example of such things for me and my husband. We did some fixing up around the house and I did some bulk cooking for treats for our son’s special diet. To a certain extent I have come to enjoy cooking and baking as well as standard home maintenance, but I didn’t really enjoy it to the degree that we did it last week.

It was also interesting to watch my husband. I have watched him through various jobs, several different iterations of rebuilding his monster truck, as well as all the work that is involved with owning a home. He has always worked very hard and when he is very focused on his goal he will start working when he first wakes up and won’t stop until it’s time to go to bed. I’ve seen him do this with projects at work, with yard work, and with projects for his truck. He works very hard and doesn’t complain about it. I’m not saying he’s Superman or anything, but I can neither confirm nor deny that he’s been seen leaping over tall buildings in a single bound. 😉

But there was a slight difference with our home improvements. He is not a big fan of working on the house. He can do it and he does it, but his energy is sapped much quicker when he’s working on the house than when he’s doing other things. He worked hard and he made sure that everything was done to his specifications, but he stopped a little earlier, before dinner time instead of bedtime.

I know I can relate to that. There are things that I can do because I know they need to get done and I can even somewhat enjoy the process. Then there are times I feel like I’m forcing myself to do something and even though it only took me an hour, it feels like it was 2 or 3 hours. I’m sure some of you can relate to that too.

What does it take to motivate you through those tough times? That’s what you have to hold on to when you are trying to do other things that you don’t find as fun. Maybe for some of you it’s learning to cook healthy meals for your family (without spending forever in the kitchen). Maybe it’s making a habit of getting exercise into your schedule. I know that I’m going to have some challenging times over the next couple of months when I have to workout even though I’m tired and I have to pass up some treats that everyone else seems to be enjoying or even make food for my kids and not mindlessly take a bite or two. But I know I have to try to enjoy this process and learn from it so that I can come out better on the other side. I hope that you do the same with the things that challenge you. Don’t just look at them as something that has to be lived through, but look at them as something you can learn from.

As a health coach I enjoy helping my clients through challenging and life changing times so that they can learn how truly great they are meant to live and feel and I’d love to help you too.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Game On – Part Two

Game On2

The last few days have been pretty crazy. In Part One I talked about all the bulk baking I did to prepare the treats that Wyatt will need for his “special diet” (GAPS diet). Now I want to go into all of the work that went into some recent home improvements to include painting the deck, fixing up the landscaping, and replacing the carpet in the living room with hard wood. I just typed those three things like they were no big deal, but they were kind of a pain in the butt. However, again, the kids are visiting their grandparents for a few days so we had to take advantage of the time we had and cram a lot of work into not a lot of time.

First we had to move all of the furniture out of the living room, including the TV which we were without for a few days (I have to admit I didn’t really miss it that much). Then we had to pull the carpet up and the existing wooden flooring in the small entryway. After the old carpet was out we painted the deck with that “Rescue It” stuff by Olympus. It was pretty easy to do and the deck looks great. Between prepping the area and painting both coats (with about 24 hours between coats) it took us less than 3 ½ hours to do. We even used the extra paint to cover some of our outdoor wood furniture.

In between coats of deck paint we got to work more on the inside. My husband is very particular about how he wants this floor to look so instead of getting the quarter round which is typically used to keep the ends of wooden floors down around the edges of the room, he either cut or both cut and removed the existing trim which he then put back after the floor was done. I helped him mark the trim, touch up paint but he did everything else. He also took his grinder and ground space under the fireplace so the wood flooring would fit underneath so it would look like the wood floor came with the house originally.

We both miscalculated the amount of dust that this would create so needless to say I came home from the store to find dust on everything. We have an open floor plan and the living room, kitchen, and dining room are kind of one big area. So when I say there was dust on everything, I mean there was DUST…ON…EVERYTHING! I was planning on spending the next day baking Wyatt’s goodies (see Part One) so I had to get all of the dust cleaned off of everything in the kitchen while he continued to work on the living room.

While Charley was leveling the living room floor, I took advantage of the time and fixed up some of our landscaping. We did some improvements a couple of months ago that needed a little maintenance. I trimmed a few bushes, and trees, pulled lots of weeds, and moved a plant. I also fixed our path of stepping stones that go from our driveway to our back porch (we pulled up an old deck last month and planted grass that hasn’t quite taken yet) and re-oiled the outside of our wooden doors that had gotten faded in the sun. For some reason the times that I decided to do these things ended up being right in the middle of the day so the heat kind of kicked my butt, but other than that it was good to get those projects done.

The flooring came in late so instead of getting it finished on the weekend, we had to do it during the evenings. This threw my whole schedule off and forced me to completely change up my plan. I have to admit I was pretty grumpy by the completion of the entire project. But no rest for the weary.

After the floor was done I spent an entire day dusting the furniture and décor from the above said dust massacre and getting the living room put back together. Then I cleaned the house from top to bottom because it was time for that again. I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning- I hate to clean, but I do love a clean house. After that I just laid on the clean couch for a few minutes enjoying my new living room, but that even didn’t last long because my kids are back from the in-laws now. 😉

I realize that this post isn’t really about health, fitness, or nutrition, but it is about the real life that happens in between workouts and meal preparation. I hope to tie it all together in the next post. Stay tuned!

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

Game On – Part One

Game On1

I’m officially now less than 12 weeks out from my next competition in Dallas at the end of October, 16 weeks out from Vegas. I’m very excited but nervous at the same time. This is going to require a lot of focus and work, but I’m feeling much more up for the challenge than I was a few months ago.

Wyatt is doing well so far on GAPS and we’ve committed to trying it for 6 months, which will be up around the end of October, and then reevaluating. His speech has improved dramatically. It’s not very clear yet, but there are so many more words that he’s actually trying to say. I don’t know if it’s the diet itself, overall removal of processed foods from his diet, or the high-quality supplements that we have him on (probiotics, cod liver oil, omega fatty acids, and a digestive enzyme). With what I’m learning about the importance of high quality fatty acids and cold liver oil for improved brain function, I think it’s more the supplements than the diet, but I digress.

For the most part he knows what he’s supposed to have on his “special diet” and will tell you if he can’t have something like chips, cookies, etc. Of course, he doesn’t know individual ingredients but for the most part when he’s been visiting family and friends he will not even try to have the things he’s not supposed to have.

However, in order for me to be successful at sticking to my competition diet while keeping Wyatt on GAPS as he starts kindergarten, I knew I had to do a lot of prepping now so I don’t have to do it later. Think about it, how many parties do kindergarteners have? Parents bring cupcakes and goodies for kids on their birthdays. They have afternoon snack time because the kids have lunch early. I don’t want Wyatt to be excluded from any of the fun but that means I have to make all of his cupcakes, party snacks, and afternoon treats from scratch. I’m one of those people that can’t bake without tasting and sampling so I just wanted to get a lot of snacks made and frozen so I can pull them out later.

I spend two full days baking and packaging treats for Wyatt and it’s a lot easier than it used to be. Thank goodness for all of the cooking and baking blogs out there. Without all of these people that are much better cooks and bakers than me, this GAPS stuff would pretty hard, even though I’ve had to make a few modifications to the recipes I’ve found. They turned out pretty darn good if I do say so myself so I’m glad I prepared them ahead of time. There’s no telling what I would do if I was trying to bake any of these in a carb-depleted state.

Most of these are already GAPS legal, but some were just grain-free so I had to make modifications of my own. I substituted honey in any of these recipes that call for agave nectar or maple syrup, because honey is the only sweetener that Wyatt can have on GAPS. Here are the treats that I made for him. There’s no way that he’s going to eat all of this in the next 4 months, but I wanted him to have some variety so he wouldn’t get bored with the same treats all the time.

GAPS Chocolate Cookie Bites – I made no modifications to this recipe, but I like it better as cookie dough and since it’s egg-free it’d be okay to eat that way.

Honey Sweetened Marshmallows – I have made this several times, quadrupling the recipe, they don’t toast well in s’mores because they get drippy, but Wyatt likes them as a treat by themselves or with the “grahams” and chocolate. Before it sets and turns into the marshmallows, the beaten gelatin and honey mixture is like marshmallow fluff.

Chocolate Bars – I did double the honey (8 T instead of 4 T) used in this and it still came out like a dark chocolate. it would probably be very vary dark without the extra honey. i was able to chop this up and use as chocolate chunks in cookies. This was a big hit with the in-laws when I sent it with Wyatt to their house, they let Wyatt have the other treats and sneaked a few of these themselves.

Grain-Free “Graham” crackers – Wyatt likes these crackers plain or as a s’more.

Grain-Free Chocolate Cupcakes – I made these without the spider web decoration, but Wyatt likes it better when it’s been warmed up.

Grain-Free Black Forest Cupcakes – For some reason my filling came out too runny so I thickened it with a little gelatin and cocoa powder. Wyatt can’t have the ingredients in the topping so I used the topping from the other chocolate cupcakes except instead of the ¼ c of peanut butter and 2 T of honey, I used ¼ c + 2 T of extra filling.

Grain-Free Strawberry Cupcakes – I used my homemade yogurt instead of the Greek yogurt. For the topping, I made a syrup of mashed strawberries, honey and lemon juice that I cooked down for a few minutes and then mixed in with some of the marshmallow fluff before it had time to set into marshmallows.

Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Made this exactly as it is and Wyatt really likes it

Raw Hazelnut Chocolate Brownie Bites – I’ve made the frosting before and it doesn’t freeze well so I didn’t use it this time, although it makes a tasty and rich raw chocolate pudding. I just chopped up the chocolate bars, added the chunks into the no-bake recipe, and formed these into little round cookie shapes.

So, the goodies are baked, packaged and frozen, as shown in my picture above. Now there are a few more things that stand between me and true show-prep mode. Stay tuned for more.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica

The Benefits of Great Grains

Grains

Grains are another food group that I have learned a little bit more about lately as part of the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. They are absorbed slowly by the body so they can provide high-quality and sustained energy. Because they contain enzymes, fiber, iron, vitamin E, and B-complex vitamins, they are an excellent source of nutrition.

It’s important to eat whole-grains, ones with all of their bran layers intact, so they contain all of the nutrients that naturally occur in them. Most “whole-grain” bread is not actually made with whole-grains. Whole grains are supposed to be dense. If you can take the loaf of bread and squish it into something that is the size of a softball, chances are it’s not made with whole grains.

There are lots of different grains. Sorghum, amaranth, barley, bulgur, spelt, millet, rice, buckwheat, oats, kamut, wheat, corn, and quinoa, to name a few. Grains can be hard to digest, but if they are soaked for a few hours it can help the digestibility of the grain as well as remove the phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient. With the exception of kamut, amaranth, and spelt, salt can be added to help the cooking process.

Brown Rice:

  • Probably the whole grain (besides wheat) that most are aware of.
  • Short grain rice can be a little chewier than long-grain rice so if you want to transition from white rice to brown rice, the long grain would probably be the best to start with.
  • Highest amount of B vitamins
  • High in fiber, low in sodium, contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid
  • It promotes good digestion
  • Helps to balance blood sugar
  • If you’re new to cooking brown rice, here is how to do it:
    • 1c brown rice
    • 2c water or broth
    • Seasonings to taste

Rinse rice in a bowl of cool water and strain. Place all ingredients in a pot with a tight fitting lid, bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 50 mins. Check about 10 mins before the expected finish time so you don’t burn it. Remove from heat and let stand. Fluff with fork and serve.

Quinoa:

  • Cooks quickly- 10- 20 mins
  • High energy grain that was used by the Incas on the high plains of the Andes Mountains to sustain their long distance movements as high altitude.
  • Not only does it have the protein content of milk, it is also a complete protein due to the amino acid profile
  • It’s a gluten free grain so it’s easier to digest
  • High in nutrients: B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E
  • Great for the kidneys, heart, and lungs
  • It is rinsed before packaging to remove the toxic and bitter coating, but it should also be rinsed again before cooking
  • Recipe: This is actually called Couscous Confetti Salad, but I am trying to stay gluten free so I substituted Quinoa in the recipe and really like it.
  • It also makes a hearty breakfast. Here is the Fruited Breakfast Quinoa.

Kasha/ Buckwheat:

  • Kasha (roasted buckwheat) is a traditional food of Russia
  • Not a member of the wheat family despite having “wheat” in its name
  • Gluten-free so it’s easier to digest
  • Most filling grain that spends the longest time in the digestive tract
  • Strengthens kidneys, benefits circulation, helps to neutralize toxic acidic waste in the blood
  • High proportion of amino acids, especially lysine; rich in vitamin E and b-complex vitamins
  • I like to use Soba noodles in some of my dishes that call for pasta. They are basically Japanese buckwheat pasta and can be found in the Asian section of health food stores as well as some supermarkets
  • Here is a recipe for Kasha Pilaf:
    • 2c water
    • 1c kasha
    • 1 med sweet potato chopped small
    • 1/4c of corn chopped
    • 1 small zucchini, chopped
    • Sea salt to taste
    • Tahini (optional)

Bring water to a boil. Add chopped sweet potato and boil for 6 mins. Add onion, zucchini, corn, salt, and kasha. Cover pot and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 mins, do not stir. Fluff before serving and top with tahini, if using.

Well, I hope that helped get you thinking about whole grains and how to use them in your healthy family meals. Whole grains can also be very filling and can really help you feel fuller longer which can make “dieting” less painful.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.

Jessica