Yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of hosting a Google Plus Hangout on Easy Ways To Feed Your Family Better (and Healthier). My guest was Elizabeth Ward, an award winning registered dietitian (In 2011, Liz received the Media Excellence Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), writer and mother of three. We were joined by a group of mom bloggers who have children of all ages: Dara Michalski from Cookin’ Canuck, Kim Kelly from Liv Life, Liz DellaCroce from The Lemon Bowl, Christine Pittman from Cook the Story, Elizabeth Ann Quirino from Asian in America, and Lisa Thiele from With Style & Grace.
Elizabeth Ward explained what MyPlate is all about – it’s simply a symbol to help people learn what they should try to incorporate into their daily meals – a hefty amount of fruits and vegetables, 1/4 high (lean) protein foods, 1/4 whole grains, and a cup of dairy milk or yogurt with each meal.
The bulk of our discussion was around practical ideas for meals. Elizabeth shared tons of great tips and recipe ideas, including healthy snack ideas, healthy breakfasts on the go, quick dinners when you have no idea what you’re going to make, and fun lunches to pack when you’re in a rut.
For more information and some healthy easy recipes, check out Elizabeth Ward’s latest book, MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, which blends her personal experience and professional wisdom to help people better understand the dietary guidelines (in layman’s terms) and how to use them on a daily basis. Her book has lots of simple eating tips, plus about 60 easy, healthy and delicious recipes. You can also follow Elizabeth Ward on Facebook.
Here are a few easy, healthy ideas that were discussed during our Hangout (watch the video for lots more):
- For an on-the-go breakfast, scramble some eggs and put it in a whole wheat pita pocket, sprinkled with cheddar cheese and salsa
- If you’re in a lunchbox rut, try a “banana dog” – a whole grain hot dog bun spread with nut or seed butter; pack a banana and place the peeled banana in the bun at lunchtime
- Snacks are an opportunity for good nutrition – think of snacks as extensions of meals. Serve smaller portions of what you might feed your family for a meal, e.g., half a sandwich, a hard cooked egg+crackers+piece of fruit; Elizabeth Ward’s favorite bars are Kind Bar’s Nuts and Spice line – packed with fiber and protein, and low in sugar.
- When traveling, structure your meal around protein – order a chicken sandwich and eat just half the bun (fill yourself up with protein and you won’t need the white carbs); pack nuts, cereal, dried fruits
- Try the double barrel approach when trying to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables – have them take a “no thank you” bite of their vegetables and find ways to get fruits and vegetables into their food (e.g. spinach in smoothies; puree beans into soup; add a can of pumpkin puree to homemade chicken soup)
- If you’re faced with the dinner dilemma like most people, make breakfast for dinner, buy a rotisserie chicken and pre-cut vegetables – serve with whole wheat couscous (it takes only 5 minutes to make); make 20 minute Chocolate Chili (from Elizabeth’s book)
- Limit evening snacking to 100-200 calories, depending on your daily calorie budget – choose portioned foods and don’t eat in front of the TV or computer
We discussed lots more ideas – be sure to check out the video for the full content.
For more recipe ideas that fit MyPlate, check out the MyPlate For Moms Pinterest Board that I started.