Meat Free Monday – Join the Revolution!

Meat Free Monday – Join the Revolution!

Ever heard of Meat Free Monday? Well, if not, now you have. It began 10 years ago after a 2006 study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions was due to the global livestock industry. That’s more than the whole transport sector combined.

Besides being an environmentally friendly initiative, it is also a healthy initiative.

According to a Harvard University study, eating a diet high in red and processed meat has been found to increase the our risk of type 2 diabetes and being overweight and obese. Swapping saturated fat-rich foods such as meat and full-fat dairy with foods rich in polyunsaturated fat like vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, reduces one’s risk of heart disease by 19%.

According to the revisited healthy eating pyramid, we should be eating way less meat than we currently are.  The new pyramid tackles this by ensuring we eat meat in moderation while the majority of our meals should consist of plant based foods.

Australians currently allocate 40% of their food expenditure on meat, eating approximately 120kg each year, that’s nine times the recommended weekly amount! The same research paper found Australians are not only eating more meat every year, we are opting for poor quality, processed meats. Instead, 70% of what we eat should be vegetables, legumes and grains. These are the most nutrient dense foods and should be our main source of carbohydrates and fibre in our diet.

A serve of meat constitutes 65-100g of cooked meat, which is the size and thickness of your palm. Since you will be cutting down on the amount of meat you eat each week, opt for good quality meat, such as from the butcher. Trust me, you will taste the difference.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to join in on Meat-free Mondays, it’s for everyone. In fact, you would be surprised how tasty a meal can be just made from vegetables! Don’t be afraid to make the sacrifice, besides, animals have had no choice but to sacrifice their lives for ours. So on Mondays, sacrifice yourself for animals for a change!

Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Hearty Chickpea, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry from Meat Free Mondays
 Lentil Bolognese from Kids Spot
Spinach and Feta Pie from Kids Spot
Vegetarian Lasagne from Taste.com

By Leah

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Protein-Based Breakfast Burns More Fat

Protein-Based Breakfast Burns More Fat

Start the day on a healthy note with a protein-based breakfast. A study conducted by the University of Arkansas found kids, especially overweight ones, who ate a breakfast high in protein burned more fat throughout the day than the kids who ate a high carbohydrate breakfast.

So what is it about protein that enables this fat-burning process to happen?

Proteins are the building blocks for life and are an essential food group. As we eat protein, it digests to release amino acids, which aid in muscle growth and repair. They are also a great slow releasing energy source, which means you stay feeling fuller for longer.

Foods high in protein:

  • lean meat, poultry and fish
  • eggs
  • dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • seeds and nuts
  • beans and legumes
  • soy products eg: tofu
  • some grain and cereal-based products

Now you understand how protein helps us feel full for longer, providing us with a slow energy release throughout the day, you can make the change and start burning that extra fat before lunchtime.

Ideas for breakfast that are high in protein:

Eggs you way and beans on toast – They’re loaded with protein and vitamin D, plus hard-to-get choline, a nutrient that may curb anxiety and boost memory.

Cheesy scrambled eggs – Cheese and eggs taste great together and may help combat osteoporosis as the calcium in cheese is more easily absorbed into the body with the addition of vitamin D-rich eggs.

Cereal with greek yoghurt or low-fat milk – Opt for cereals with at least 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre per serving. Some high protein cereal brands: Weetbix, All Bran, Carman’s Gluten Free or Fruit Free Muesli,Vogel’s Ultra Bran or Goodness cereals.

Wheat-free pancakes – Made with almond meal and flaxseed instead of white flour. They’re high in fibre and protein with nearly no sugar whatsoever.

Quinoa porridge with poached pear – This is a great alternative to oats. It’s gluten free, dairy free and protein-packed.

Banana Oat Muffins – They contain 8 grams of protein per muffin which has 100 calories. They are a much healthier alternative to bakery muffins, which can have about 400 per serving and are usually high in fat, sugar, and sodium.

Protein and fruit smoothie – A quick and healthy high protein breakfast. Wiz up in a blender some water, ice, greek yoghurt, a serve of any fruit you like and some protein powder. Delicious.

By Leah

Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet

Easy Ways to Improve Your Diet

Want to make a change but finding it really hard to suddenly swap all the bad food for good? Here are 10 ways for you to revamp your diet without changing your lifestyle too drastically.

  1. Swap apple juice for an apple.
    Don’t be fooled. Just because it says ‘fruit’ it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. in fact, fruit juices contain if not more, then just as much sugar than soft drinks. Coca Cola has 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar – That’s 10 teaspoons per serve! While a serve of apple juice actually has 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar, that’s 9.8 teaspoons per serve. While fruit juices have small amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they lack fibre and are packed with sugar. The bottom line is, fruit juice do not replace a serve of fruit, they are nutritionally poor! Grab and apple, not only will it keep the doctor way, it’s way easier and less time consuming than getting out a class and pouring the juice in it.
  2. Eat chips from a bowl.
    Studies show your brain doesn’t register when to stop eating when you eat chips straight from the packet. You’re likely to binge more eating this way than if you had poured a finite amount into a bowl. When you see what you have in front of you, your brain registers what and how much you are eating and will alert you to stop when it has had enough. Better yet, why not scrap chips all together and make tasty oven baked kale chips instead!
  3. Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
    Dark chocolate actually contains half the sugar of milk chocolate. Researches found that a small amount of dark chocolate can aid arterial health, reducing chances of artery blocking. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has shown to boost the pleasure circuit in your brain. Opt for a 70% bitter-sweet dark chocolate, perhaps one square to treat yourself. Everything in moderation.
  4. Choose popcorn instead of chips.
    As long as it’s not popcorn from the cinemas, which contains a lot of butter and sugar, make your own popcorn at home instead. Experts say home-popped popcorn contains no sugar, 1g of fat and 90 calories per a 25g serving as opposed to more than 1000 calories for popcorn at the movies.
  5. Don’t eat with distractions.
    Eating in front of the TV or at your desk in front of the computer can cause you to eat 40% more than you would if you were focusing only on your food at the dinner table. Without realising it, you eat more as your brain is being distracted, focusing on the TV or computer and not the act of eating. Also, eating breakfast on the run is considered a distraction and can cause you to eat more too. When you focus on your eating you are more mindful and aware about what and how much you are eating and your brain will register when it is satisfied.
  6. Don’t gobble your food down.
    It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register it is full. The slower you eat, the better, you could save up to 70 calories by eating slower and for 30 mins. Try be the last on the table to finish your food. Slow and steady wins the race.
  7. Wake up earlier.
    Being an early bird can improve your health and help lower body fat. It helps to kick start your metabolism, working longer in a day and therefore burning more calories. Ensure you go to bed early and get enough sleep as bad sleeping patterns and sleep apnea can lead to weight gain. Adults need at least 7-9 hours sleep, kids 3-6 need 10-13 while 6-17 need 8-11 hours.
  8. Don’t skip breakfast.
    They weren’t lying when they said ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ Eating breakfast minimises your chances of binging later in the day, as your hunger would have been satisfied until lunch time. Breakfast speeds up your metabolism and boosts energy levels in the morning. Kids who skip breakfast may have a deficiency in fibre, vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium and zinc. Those who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
  9. Swap white flour pasta for whole-grain varieties.
    Whole-grain pasta is significantly higher in fibre than refined, white flour pasta. White flour products are actually bleached to appear their white/yellowish colour, this means they are high in ingredients that are hard to pronounce and have been highly processed. They also contain less than half the amount of vitamin B and minerals as whole grains. Despite it’s darker colour, whole-grain pasta tastes the same but contains fewer calories, 25% more protein and three times more fibre than traditional white pasta.10. Instead of bread, reach for a wrap.
    Even better, swap that slice of bread for a whole-grain wrap. A wrap has about 100 calories while one slice of bread has 250 calories! Wraps are a significantly healthier choice. If you are out for lunch, most cafes sell wraps. Opt for a salad or veggie wrap over a calorie dense sandwich.

    By Leah

RECIPE: Blueberry Froyo

RECIPE: Blueberry Froyo

A colourful, easy and healthy dessert fit for the whole family throughout the warmer months.

ice cream magazine

Ruminative waffle. Much of my ‘work’ is fortunately back-lit by humour. Daily discourse with smart, savvy, warm and witty people who are mostly in need of some joined-up-thinking.  Some are quite buttoned up, whereas others aspire toward the risqué with waspish intensity. Vicissitudes voiced in the wilderness of obviousness (you heard it here first). So often, as we give lip service to a concern, we find sense during our own narrative and resolve swiftly follows.

DSC_6040

With this as reassurance……

I was conversing with the contents of the fridge. Joining the every day natter between ingredients and their across-the-board qualities, nothing weird you understand?

“We are already a serious item” said the blueberries and lime

“I will not countenance such goings on in here.” I declare in my clipped 1950’s BBC style English elocution.

“Just lighten up’.” Said the cool creme fraiche?

“Blueberries, fresh lime, Greek yoghurt, creme fraiche” my retort. “Let’s be honest…

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5 Reasons Why You Should Be Cooking With Your Kids

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Cooking With Your Kids

Cooking is such an important life skill. It’s a basic skill and you don’t need to be a chef to do it. A few ingredients can turn into a healthy tasty meal for the family. Getting kids involved in the process is not only educational but a fun and engaging exercise to do with them.

Wouldn’t you rather when your kids coming home from school they reach for the fresh ingredients from the fridge rather than heading straight for the packaged processed foods in the pantry?

Kids who have the skills to cook not only looks impressive to their peers but gives them independence in life. There is nothing worse than a kid growing up and leaving home without cooking skills when all their life they have had their parents cooking for them. They mostly end up living off frozen meals, packaged products and unhealthy fast foods and this could lead to their risk of becoming overweight and obese in adulthood.

Instilling cooking skills in kids from a young age is imperative. Why leave your child in the high chair or keep them perched in front of the TV when they could be gaining important life skills by your side in the kitchen?

If your child is younger than three, get them to wash the veggies or do some stirring, ages three to six can chop with a plastic knife, crack eggs, while ages 6 and older can peel veggies, chop with a real knife and even help out at the stove.

It’s normal if they don’t want to be there and would prefer to be somewhere else, but don’t give up. Starts encouraging them now, make it a fun exercise and you may reap the benefit of your child taking over dinner one day a week.

Here are five reasons why you should be cooking with your kids no matter their age:

  1. Children who cook become adventurous tasters and eaters.
    Involve your kids in the process of cooking, get them to choose ingredients and they will learn in the process how to put flavours together. They will build an appreciation for them and will increase their chances of being curious to try new foods. They may learn they don’t like one food but prefer another and that’s ok. An open-minded approach to food can grow adults who approach life similarly. Arms open and mouth wide to new tastes, cultures and attitudes.
  2. Children who cook say “I can”.
    Adding food to a sizzling hot pan or cooking for 10 or more people may be daunting for some, but for those who have the skills and knowledge, this is a very doable task. Your kid’s “I can” attitude will spread beyond the kitchen walls and into their life, giving them confidence and encouragement that they can do whatever they set out to do.
  3. Cooking is a way to talk about health.
    The rise in childhood obesity has coincided with a fall in home cooking. Getting your child involved in cooking, teaches them the importance of cooking healthy food from scratch from a young age. It also is an opportunity for you to discuss with your child about what foods your body needs to stay healthy for long, such as how fish is brain food, how milk is good for strong bones and how eating a rainbow of fresh foods will ensure they get a variety of minerals and vitamins.
  4. Cooking is a way to talk about healthy ingredients.
    Get your kids involved in the cooking process from the very beginning. Take them to the supermarket with you and get them choosing fresh ingredients, talk to them about the possibility of meals you could make together with these. If your buying packaged products, tell them you are looking for products with ingredients that you can pronounce on the back of the packet. You will be surprised about how much they can get out of one trip to the supermarket.
  5. Cooking brings the family together.
    The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s a place where you can all get together, chat while you cook, learn more about each other, become closer and share stories, maybe even laugh over some spilt milk. You can share recipes your mother learnt from her grandmother and so on, passing on traditions. You can get creative and experiment with new flavours, techniques and recipes as they become more and more confident in the kitchen.

    By Leah

RECIPE: Beef & vegetable stir-fry

RECIPE: Beef & vegetable stir-fry

This beef & vegetable stir-fry recipe is super tasty and is the perfect opportunity for your kids to get prepping and cooking in the kitchen. Infused with Asian flavours, packed with protein-rich beef and nutrient-dense vegetables, this stir-fry makes a quick and healthy dinner. If you have left overs, don’t worry because it tastes even better the next day as lunch!

Ingredients:

400g rump steak, sliced250g cooked Hokkien egg noodles
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets
100g snow peas, ends and strings removed
1/2 tablespoon reduced-salt soy sauce
2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
fresh coriander to garnish

Method:

Prepare noodles following packet directions. Heat oil in pan, stir-fry beef in two batches, set aside and keep warm. Add onion, garlic and ginger, cooking until onion is translucent. Add broccoli, snow peas and water, cooking until vegetables soften. Return beef to pan. Add sauces to beef and vegetables to coat them, allow to bubble and cook through. When done, transfer to bowl and garnish with fresh coriander to serve.

Note: You can substitute beef for lean pork, broccoli and snow peas with any other vegetables you like such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, sliced carrots, capsicum or mushrooms. 

By Leah

Effects of ‘Food Pressure’ on Kids

Effects of ‘Food Pressure’ on Kids

Parents who put pressure on their kids to eat or who restrict their food intake can cause their kids to unhealthily gain weight.

The study published in the Journal of Paediatric Psychology found parents of overweight kids are more likely to restrict their child’s eating while parents with kids of normal weight are more likely to put pressure on them to eat more.

It showed that the way kids related to food and eating was crucial in determining whether they will have a healthy or unhealthy relationship with food in the future.

Parents may not realise but putting food pressure on their kids has unintended effects, contributing to their kid’s risk of becoming overweight or obese and as a result, increasing their likelihood of developing health problems such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

“Many parents may not be aware that their efforts to control their children’s eating harm their children’s ability to regulate their eating on their own,” says parenting specialist Laura Hubbs-Tait from Oklahoma State University.

Kids eating everything on their plates may have been the way our parents and grandparents grew up when food was scarce, however these days we are dealing with the opposite problem… too much food.

“Controlling kids to eat more or less means they stop relying on their own body’s signals and eat until their parents are happy,” the study says.

The study shows that BMI increases more in children where their food intake is controlled more by the sight and smell of food, and less by an inner experience of hunger.

Eating more with our eyes than out stomachs has made us lose a lot of contact with our food and our feelings of hunger.

To ensure kids develop normal eating patterns and maintain a healthy weight, parents should promote a healthy relationship with food, by allowing their kids to decide how much they want to eat. Kids are usually better at this than adults are.

Instead of forcing or restricting your kid’s food, what should parents do?

Parents should provide a variety of healthy food options for their kids like veggies and fruits, in their lunchboxes, at home and at the dinner table and allow the child to decide on their own when they are satisfied.

Those who are worried about their child’s food intake should talk to a physician.

Parents are their children’s number one role model and should be helping them learn how to regulate their own eating, helping them learn to make good food choices and provide lots of encouragement and support to ensure their child has a healthy food relationship.

By Leah