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These light, crispy waffles taste so much better then frozen toaster waffles and take only minutes to make. By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN What do you do on mornings when you have a few extra minutes to spare? Forget about hitting snooze and fire up your waffle iron. Go ahead and treat your family to a batch of whole wheat waffles. My favorite homemade waffle recipe originally came from King Arthur Flour, but I lightened it up. (Love their brands, but don't work for the company.) I prefer whole-wheat "white" flour, which adds fiber and results in a beautiful, golden-brown color. To trim fat and calories, I use egg whites (2 egg whites to replace 1 egg) and reduce the oil by 25-percent. I recommend low-fat buttermilk if you like a savory flavor. Finally, top off your waffles with fresh berries and a drizzle of maple syrup or vanilla Greek yogurt. Looking for more quick, easy, and healthy breakfast recipes like Revved-Up Oatmeal and Everday French Toast? Download my FREE app Eat Healthy: Homemade Meals in Minutes. And be sure to check out my blog post How to Get Your Family to Eat Breaskfast.  

Whole Wheat Waffles

Makes 10 waffles (4x4-inch squares)

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups whole-wheat white flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt to taste (optional)
  • 4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups low-fat butter milk (you can use low-fat or skim milk too)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
 Steps:
  1. Preheat your waffle iron while you make the batter.
  2. In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar and salt if using. Stir until everything is mixed together.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: egg whites, milk, and oil.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. The batter will look lumpy, no worries.  Over mixing will result in flat, chewy waffles.
  5. Since all waffle irons cook differently, cook the waffles according to the directions that came with your waffle iron.
Nutrition Information per waffle: 300 calories, 8.5 grams protein, 38.5 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 1.5 milligrams cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 281 milligrams sodium Photo Credit: iStock.     SaveSave

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Got a picky eater refusing to eat vegetables? Discover the secrect to raising a healthy eater and veggie-lover. By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN The number one question parents ask me is . . . "How do I get my child to eat vegetables?" So this week, I wanted to give you some pointers to help you raise kids who love eating their veggies. After thirty years of being a registered dietitian nutritionist and mom, I have discovered the key: start young. Studies indicate that by age five, most children have formed their foundational eating habits. Don't give up if you've missed your window of opportunity. Kids of all ages (even adults) can learn to change and improve their eating habits.  And, with time and loving patience, children can acquire a taste for not-so-favorite foods like Brussels sprouts.  Here are some strategies for getting kids to eat healthier and enjoy fruits and veggies. They come from my book Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens  which is also available as an ebook.  Check it out - you'll find even more veggie-lover tips.
  1. Parents - eat your veggies! When you are a good role model, you'll produce better results in your kids. Make sure you eat fruits and veggies and make sure your child or teen sees you eating and enjoying them.
  2. Try it, you'll like it. Kids are reluctant to try new foods, but the more often a food is presented (even if it's not eaten), the more positive a kid's attitude will be toward the food.  It can take up to 10 offerings before some kids will even put a new food in their mouth! So don't give up too early. Be patient and keep offering the food. You can also try serving it different ways. For example, offer broccoli with a ranch dip, broccoli steamed with a drizzle of cheese sauce, broccoli diced and tossed in pasta sauce, and broccoli soup.
  3. Taste first, swallowing is optional.  When encouraging kids to taste new foods, establish the "taste-but-don't-have-to-swallow" policy. Let kids know that there is no need to make yucky faces or cause a scene if they don't like the taste of a certain fruit or vegetable. Give them a small portion to taste; if they don't care for the food, they can politely use a paper napkin to remove it from their mouth.
  4. Conduct "either/or" negotiations. Encourage kids to choose the fruits and vegetables they eat, but don't overwhelm them with endless fruit and vegetable options. Kids will feel more empowered if you give them forced-choice options such as: Would you like a sweet potato or carrots for dinner? How does watermelon sound for a snack or would you prefer sliced peaches?
  5. Offer new foods first. Introduce kids to a new fruit or vegetable by serving it at the beginning of the meal when they're more likely to be hungry. You can also put a plate of bell pepper strips, baby carrots, and pea pods on the counter when you're preparing lunch or dinner and let kids nibble. This helps take the edge off their appetite in a healthy way, and it will help them reach their veggie quota.
  6. Serve veggies and fruit family-style. Dish up kids' plates with recommended servings from each of the MyPlate foods groups but keep a bowl of vegetables and fruit on the table for passing. If kids want seconds, they can have more fruits and vegetables. It's a great way to help kids get in touch with their appetite and reach a healthy weight.
  7. Stand firm. If kids won't eat their kiwi or peas, don't fight with them. Tell them that's fine, but they will not be able to eat anything until the next meal. Many kids crave the extra attention they get from not eating. Refusing to battle with them often motivates kids to eat.
These tips have worked for me and many families I have counseled over the years.  Which tip are you going to try first? Also, download my FREE app Time to Eat Healthy: Homemade Meals in Minutes for quick and easy veggie recipes. Photo Credit: iStock.

The post Seven Tips for Getting Kids to Eat Vegetables! appeared first on Healthy Eating for Families.

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Celebrate warmer weather and enjoy a spring vegetable frittata loaded with asparagus and tomatoes nestled in a crispy new potato crust.  By:  Jodie Shield, RD  Looking for a quick and healthy meal that tastes fabulous? Search over. I loaded my Spring Vegetable Frittata with fresh asparagus, plum tomatoes, and new potatoes making it perfect for brunch or a light dinner. Besides selecting quality ingredients, the right skillet guarantees recipe success. Make sure you use a nonstick pan, so your frittata cooks evenly and slides out easily. I prefer All-Clad (no they don’t sponsor me!) but stainless steel or a cast iron skillet will work if you coat it generously with oil.  Watching your cholesterol? Go ahead and use an egg substitute or instead of 6 eggs use 4 whole eggs and 4 egg whites. Not a feta cheese fan? Shredded cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese offer tasty options. My family loves eating my Spring Vegetable Frittata paired with perfectly cooked bacon and a fresh salad. Some of our favorites include Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Nuts and Feta and Mixed Microgreens Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. Download my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes for all of these recipes and many more.

Spring Vegetable Frittata 

4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 small red potatoes (12 ounces), each cut into 8 pieces ( I used new potatoes )
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut-up into bite-size pieces
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • Salt and pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot.  Add potatoes, cover and cook about 10 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally.  Add asparagus, tomatoes, onions and garlic; cook 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is almost tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a medium bowl.  Add the milk, salt and pepper if using, and beat well.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet.  Sprinkle with the feta cheese and basil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and cook about 12 minutes or until the eggs are set.  To serve, cut into wedges.
Nutrition Information (without salt): 327 calories, 17 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 296 milligrams cholesterol, 3.5 grams dietary fiber, 341 milligrams sodium Photo Credit: iStock SaveSave

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Celebrate spring with this light and refreshing spinach salad featuring four ingredients and a splash of homemade poppy seed dressing. By: Jodie Shield, MED, RDN Looking for an irresistible spring salad that packs a nutritional punch? Check out my simple, colorful and fresh Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Nuts, and Feta. Only four ingredients but each naturally contributes powerful antioxidants that seem to play a role in fighting cancer and heart disease. I often toss in grilled chicken breast and transform this side salad into my main meal. Toasting the nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts) enhances their nutty flavor. How do you do this? Just spread them evenly on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for about 5 minutes. While spinach and strawberries make a classic combo, romaine lettuce and arugula work well, too. Last, but not least, drizzle a small amount of the poppy seed dressing over the salad and store extras in your refrigerator. You'll find this recipe along with many others like Classic Spinach Salad and Lightened Up Seven Layer Salad on my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes. 

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Feta

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: = 10 minutes No cooking required! Salad Ingredients: 4 cups fresh baby spinach 1 cup strawberries, sliced and toasted ½ cup nuts such as chopped pecans, slivered almonds, or walnut pieces ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled Dressing Ingredients: ½ cup canola oil ¼ cup red wine vinegar ¼ cup sugar 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon poppy seeds Directions:
  1. In large bowl toss together spinach, strawberries, almonds and feta cheese. Divide salad onto 4 plates.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together all of the salad dressing ingredients. Drizzle small amount over each salad.
Nutrition Information (for 1 cup salad and 1 Tablespoon of dressing): 223 calories, 6.5 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 17 grams cholesterol, 3 grams fiber, 241 milligrams sodium

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Quick tips to help you pick the best fresh, frozen, and canned produce options for your family. By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN When selecting and preparing fruits and vegetables, taste and nutrition matter.  However, as the flurry of media attention regarding pesticides and produce recalls demonstrates, food safety is also a growing concern.  No worries! Check out my quick and easy pointers for picking nutritious, safe, and delicious fruits and vegetables. Fresh, Frozen, or Canned - What's the Difference? Regardless of their form - fresh, frozen or canned - most fruits and vegetables are Go For It foods that everyone in your family can enjoy any time.  All options count toward your daily fruit and vegetable goals. Fresh Produce Fresh produce reigns as a nutritional powerhouse. Just make sure you pick fruits and vegetables that are free of bruises or cuts - bacteria can invade and cause spoilage. Also, purchase fruits that are ripe and at their flavor peak. How can you select the ripest avocado or sweetest blueberries?  A terrific online source loaded with helpful information and videos about how to shop for, store, and prepare fresh produce is the Fruits and Veggies More Matters website. Canned Fruits and Vegetables When burying canned fruits or vegetables, consider these selection tips: Get the juice. For canned fruit, look for descriptions on the label like "packed in its own juices," "packed in fruit juice," "unsweetened," or "in syrup." Unsweetened fruits and fruits packed in juice are better choices (containing less added sugar and fewer calories) than fruits packed in syrup. Pinch the salt.  To cut back on sodium, look for descriptions such as "no salt added" and "reduced sodium" on labels of canned vegetables. Savor the flavor. For maximum flavor and nutritional value, use can fruits and vegetables immediately after opening them. Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Here are some tips to help you when burying frozen fruits and vegetables. Pick frozen for peak nutritional performance. Tired of wasting money and throwing away shriveled-up greens and moldy berries? Buy frozen fruits and vegetables. They are picked at their peak, which locks in their nutrients. Forgo the fat. When buying frozen vegetables, control fat and calories by choosing plain vegetables or those made with low-fat sauces. Check the label. Frozen fruits come in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties, so make sure to check the label and choose unsweetened fruit to cut back on added sugars. Frozen juice bars also make a nutritious snack, but read the label and choose those made with 100 percent fruit juice. Bottom line: The healthiest fruit and vegetable for your family is . . . the one that they will actually eat! For delicious, healthy fruit and veggie recipes download my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes.    

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Mardi Gras fans go ahead and splurge on this sinfully delicious New Orleans gumbo with a healthy twist! By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN
Who needs Fat Tuesday? Be a saint and enjoy some spicy, lean Mardi Gras cuisine. My guilt-free gumbo is sinfully delicious and only half the calories and fat of traditional New Orleans gumbo. I confess. Instead of butter, I make the base (roux) with heart-healthy canola oil. Smoked turkey sausage, shrimp, and lots of okra and bell pepper jazz up the flavor and give the gumbo an authentic Cajun flair. Ladle it over a bowl of brown rice and let the festivities begin! For more of my favorite Mardi Gras recipes, be sure to try my New Orleans Shrimp Creole, Cajun Meatloaf, and Jambalaya. They’re also on my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes.

Guilt-Free Gumbo

Serves 8

  Prep Time =15 minutes Cook Time =1 hour and 15 minutes Ingredients: 5 tablespoons canola oil, divided use ½ cup all-purpose flour 5 cups fat-free, low-sodium beef broth, divided use 2 cups finely chopped white onion 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 medium celery stalks, diced 1 (14 ½ ounce) can unsalted, diced tomatoes 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped 2 bay leaves 1 cup frozen cut okra (no need to thaw) 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce 8 ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined Cooked brown rice for serving Directions:
  1. Heat a large skillet over low heat; add ¼ cup canola oil. Cook 2 minutes, swirling to coat pan. Gradually add flour to hot oil, stirring constantly with whisk until smooth. Continue to cook stirring frequently for about 8 minutes or until flour mixture reaches a chestnut-color. Slowly add 3 cups of beef broth, stirring until smooth. Off heat; set base aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large Dutch over medium heat. Add onion, Creole seasoning, garlic, celery, and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add roux-mixture to vegetables along with remaining broth, canned tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add okra, hot sauce, turkey sausage, and shrimp; simmer 15 minutes or until shrimp are done. Remove bay leaves and serve over cooked brown rice.
Nutritional Information per Serving (1 cup gumbo without rice): 262 calories, 21 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 680 milligrams sodium, 6 grams sugar Note: Recipe developed for FitStudio. Photo Credit: gumbo iStock_000023847617Medium.jpg SaveSave

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Rise and shine to a quick, tasty, and heart-healthy breakfast - - all under 400 calories! By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN Breakfast skippers beware. Breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer and numerous studies back this up. Another reason to eat breakfast: skipping it increases your chances of a heart attack. But are breakfast eaters really healthier? Not if they continuously start their day devouring stacks of pancakes drowning in sugary syrup and nibbling greasy fried bacon (read my post Get the Skinny on Bacon). What’s in your bowl or on your plate makes a big “fat” difference. Check out my two-step strategy for building a quick, heart-healthy breakfast. Start your morning with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving). These foods provide quality carbs for quick energy and a blend of fiber that lowers blood cholesterol and prevents blood sugar spikes. Choose: any type of fresh fruit or vegetable, oatmeal, raisin bran cereal, corn tortillas, multigrain toaster waffles, and whole wheat breads like bagels and English muffins. Add at least 5 grams of lean protein. Protein provides a time-released dose of energy, which helps curb your appetite until lunchtime. Choose: skim or 1% milk, soy milk, lower fat yogurt, reduced-fat cheese, eggs, tofu, Canadian bacon, peanut butter, lox, and nuts (they have fiber, too). Rise and Shine to these quick, tasty heart-smart breakfasts -- all less than 400 calories! For more delicious breakfast recipes, check out my app Time to Eat Healthy!
  • Spread peanut butter on a whole-wheat bagel, add banana slices, and wash it down with a glass of soy milk.
  • Make a breakfast parfait by layering nonfat yogurt with berries and some low-fat granola or whole grain cereal.
  • Sprinkle reduced-fat cheddar cheese over a corn tortilla and fold in half. Microwave for twenty seconds. Top with salsa.
  • Mix raisins or dried cranberries into unsweetened instant oatmeal, top with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of skim milk
  • Toast multigrain waffles and top with fresh berries and a dollop of nonfat yogurt.
  • Scramble eggs and Canadian bacon with onions and bell peppers, then stuff it into a whole-wheat pita pocket.
Note: Article was written initially for FitStudio. Photo Credit: iStock_000041771108Small.jpg  

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Spread the heart-healthy love and make your own quick and tasty almond butter.
By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN Everyone knows peanut butter and jelly reign as the classic lunch box sandwich. But due to peanut allergies, many schools now ban this childhood favorite. So what should your child spread on that whole wheat bread? Try almond butter instead. Both peanut butter and almond butter are excellent sources of protein and heart-healthy fats. Just be sure to check out the Nutrition Facts and ingredients listed on the food label. Some manufacturers add sugar, salt, or hydrogenated oils (bad fats) to improve the taste of almond butter. You'll find almond butter in your supermarket, health food stores, and specialty shops at a rather hefty price. My solution: if you want to maximize nutrition and minimize cost, make your own. Simply whir almonds and a little bit of oil in a food processor or blender.  I adapted a recipe from a book written long ago by two dear colleagues -  Mary Abbott Hess and Anne Hunt. It first appeared in their book A Healthy Head Start. New to almond butter? Keep in mind that some of the oil may separate during storage, so make sure you stir it before using. Also, almond butter requires refrigeration after opening. Give this almond butter recipe a try. Feel free to add it to smoothies or as a dip for apple slices. Be sure to check out my other recipes for homemade peanut butter and cinnamon-raisin granola. Just download my FREE app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes.

Homemade Almond Butter

yield = 1/2 cup

Prep Time = 10 minutes No Cooking Required! Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole, blanched , toasted almonds
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • salt (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a food processor, puree almonds with oil and salt if using until the mixture is spreadable and smooth.
  2. Place the amond butter in a covered container and store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Information (per tablespoon): 113 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 10 grams fat, 0.75 grams saturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol0.18 milligrams sodium Photo Credit:bhofack2 Stock photo ID:513051481 SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

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By Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN What's the best way to raise a veggie lover? Let them slice, dice, and create a healthy veggie pita pizza. Who said vegetables are boring? If you want your kids to eat their daily recommended dose of veggies, focus on fun and familiar.  Research shows pairing vegetables with foods a child already likes works. Think peanut butter and celery or broccoli with cheese sauce.  For younger kids, I love to have them make veggie pizza faces. To guarantee veggie-lover success, make sure you provide a variety of colorful, pre-cut vegetables like sweet red bell pepper, grated or spiralized carrot, green onions, zucchini coins, and olives. Then let your kids unleash their imagination and make pizza faces. For more child-friendly vegetable recipes like Mock Mashed Potatoes made with cauliflower and Grilled Mixed Veggie Bundles, download my FREE recipe app Eat Healthy Homemade Meals in Minutes.

Veggie Pita Pizza

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
  • 2 whole wheat pitas
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated, low-fat cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)
  • 1 cup raw sliced and diced vegetables (such as green or red peppers, onions, mushroom, or olives)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F.
  2. Place chopped veggies in bowls.
  3. Spread the tomato sauce on one side of each pita. Sprinkle with low-fat cheese and top with vegetables.
  4. Brown in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until the cheese melts. Serve hot or cold.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 158 calories, 3 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 330 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber Note: I developed this recipe for Hidden Valley Ranch. Photo credit: Hidden Vally Ranch.

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Serve this fan-tastic warm, creamy, and healthy spinach-artichoke dip at your Super Bowl Party - - it's a crowd pleaser!
By: Jodie Shield, MEd, RDN Hey, sports fans!  Light beer may taste great and be less filling, but so is this dip. Get your party started and serve my warm, creamy, and super-easy Spinach-Artichoke Dip. I gave this classic appetizer a healthy makeover by using just the right blend of reduced-fat cream cheese and sour cream. What really makes this dip a winner? I add extra spinach and artichokes. Just toss everything together and bake it in the oven for thirty minutes. To avoid high-cal penalties, make sure you serve it with the perfect chip. Some of my favs include: baked whole grain pita crisps, falafel chips, or even celery sticks. Some other tasty appetizers you'll want to try are my Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Dip, Classic Greek Hummus, Guacamole, and Black Bean Dip.  You can find them by downloading my FREE app Eat Healthy: Homemade Meals in Minutes. And if you're watching the big game at your favorite sports bar, be sure to check out my tips for eating healthy pub grub.  Let the game begin! 

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

12 servings

Prep Time = 10 minutes

Cooking Time = 30 minutes  Ingredients:
  • ½ (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt, optional
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Drain spinach and squeeze dry.
  3. Combine spinach, mozzarella cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, garlic, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, cayenne pepper, and salt if using, in large bowl; mix well.
  4. Spoon mixture into 1-quart baking dish.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.
Nutritional Information per Serving (1/4 cup): 97 calories, 5 grams protein, 4.5 grams carbohydrate, 6.5 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams fiber, 192 milligrams sodium Photo credit: aoya183 Stock photo ID:877014936   SaveSave

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