Eating Healthy at Home

Eating Healthy at Home

Your kids will love eating healthy foods in no time if you take these simple steps at home. It is also proven that kids who eat healthier at home are the ones that are likely to make better food choices outside of the home.

Of course, we all care about our family’s health, but it’s hard enough just to get a meal on the table most days, let alone having to worry about making it nutritious, too. Remember, it’s okay to start small. Simply switching to whole grains or replacing soda and sports drinks with water will help you become more conscious of the foods and beverages you and your kids are putting into your bodies. Before you know it, making healthier choices will be second nature. You’ve got this—and we’ve got your back!

MyPlate is a great place to start educating yourself about healthy eating. The site uses visuals to help your family make healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.

Start with a few of these small changes:

  • Make half your plate fruits and veggies.
  • Focus on whole fruits.
  • Vary your veggies, with a rotating cast of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables at dinner.
  • Make half your grains whole grains (think whole-wheat pasta and tortillas, brown rice and quinoa, whole-grain bread).
  • Change up your protein routine, with an emphasis on chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of pork, beef, bison, or game meats, trimmed of fat. Beans are a great plant-based protein source to include in your diet as well.
  • Offer water, low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk, or 100% fruit juice instead of juice drinks, sports drinks, or soda.

You may be wondering, “How am I ever going to incorporate enough fruits and veggies into our meals to make them half the plate?”

It’s not as hard as you think. Chances are, your kids are already eating a good amount of fruit. Make sure you’re offering fruit with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you still think they’re not getting enough, smoothies are a delicious (and efficient) way to pack in one or more servings. And don’t forget dessert! Try berry parfaits with Greek yogurt; halved peaches or sliced pineapple, grilled and drizzled with a little honey; homemade fruit popsicles; blueberry crumbles; and baked apples or poached pears with cinnamon.

We’ll admit, you might have to get a little more creative with veggies. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your existing recipes and start from scratch. Simply find ways to incorporate more vegetables into the meals your family already loves. Here are a few of our go-to tricks:

  • Wraps: Step up your standard turkey-and-cheese by adding extras like baby spinach, red pepper, cucumber, avocado, tomato, shredded carrots and sprouts.
  • Pizza: Top whole-grain crust or dough with any combination of mushrooms, peppers, onion, fennel, zucchini, tomatoes, Brussels sprout leaves (trust us, it works), arugula, spinach, and fresh herbs. Create a pizza bar of options for DIY pizza night.
  • Quesadillas or Bean Burritos: Stuff with corn, peppers, tomatoes, onions, avocado, spinach, or cilantro, and serve with salsa.
  • Soups and Stews: Gazpacho, minestrone and chili are all so easy to upgrade! Throw in whatever extra veggies and beans will work best with your recipes.
  • Pasta: You can add nearly anything to this dish! Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, peppers, snow peas, mushrooms, onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach, kale, escarole, herbs—and, of course, tomatoes—are all perfect partners for whole-grain noodles. If you’re willing to mess with your recipe, carrots, zucchini, and onion make nutritious additions to your Sunday sauce.
  • Smoothies: Not just for fruit. Try adding carrots, beets, cucumber, ginger, avocado, spinach, or kale to your smoothies, and have your kids guess the mystery ingredient!
  • Salad Bar: Set out small bowls of broccoli, shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, raisins, cherry tomatoes, and other ingredients for kids to create their own leafy masterpiece.

Get Kids in on the Act

You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it works! The more involved kids are in planning and cooking meals, the more likely they are to eat them.

  1. Include your kids when planning the weekly family menu so they feel like they have a say in what they’re eating.
  2. Look at your school’s website together to see what’s being served, and decide if you’ll make breakfast and lunch at home or buy it at school.
  3. Shop for groceries together. Make a list before you go to the store and only buy foods on the list. Once in the store, let your kids help you find items on the list. Read food labels out loud and talk about the choices you’re making.
  4. Cook with your kids. It’s a great opportunity to teach them measurements, conversions, and cooking skills, and it gives them a vested interest in the finished product.
  5. Hold family taste tests. Buy different brands of a healthy food (whole-grain pasta, for example) and let family members decide which one they like best.

Eating healthy outside of home is important for kids growth too. Do you pack your kids a healthy lunch box for school? Or do they pack your own? Check out our E-Book of 100+ healthy lunches for kid lunchboxes.

These lunch box recipes are set-up to accommodate a busy schedule, variety of preferences, without holding down to specific ingredients or recipes.

 
  • Get 7 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch & Preparation How To templates
  • Learn the lunchbox recommendations to meet your child’s nutritional needs
  • Learn how to stock-up your kitchen to make quick, easy and flavorful meals
  • Learn PRO tips & tricks to cook more flavorful meals with little extra effort that kids will enjoy
12 Small Steps for Better Basic Nutrition

12 Small Steps for Better Basic Nutrition

When it comes to a healthy diet, people often get overwhelmed and are unsure of where to start, preventing them from starting at all. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. All you need to do is take a few small steps for better nutrition, one at at time and let those small steps add up to big change.

By slowly implementing these 12 small steps for better nutrition, you’ll feel better, look better, have more energy and be ready to tackle improving all areas of your health including sleep, exercise and mental health and wellbeing.

THE POWER OF SMALL CHANGE

Making small changes to your diet, step by step, is a great way to build healthy habits without feeling overwhelmed. Over time, we begin to adjust to these the changes and they start to feel normal.

People often try too may things at once, or they try to go cold turkey, or attempt the new newest fad diet, only to fail and give up completely. Making such drastic changes is too hard to sustain. Here’s the thing, the process is much, much easier than that.

Small steps, take one at a time, makes the whole process of lifestyle change totally doable and ultimately sustainable. Nothing has to happen overnight. It might take a year to overhaul your nutrition. That’s fine! In terms of our whole entire lives, a year is nothing.

12 WEEKS TO A HEALTHIER YOU

Each week for the next 12 weeks, focus on one of these small steps for better nutrition, adding in a new one each week. Before you now it, 3 months down the road you’ll be eating healthier than ever, feeling great and ready to tackle even more positive change. Let’s get started.

WEEK 1: BUILD A BETTER BREAKFAST

Each week, you’re working on building a foundation of nutrition and all of these small changes compliment each other to create that foundation.

This weeks focus is starting every day with a healthy, balanced breakfast. It’s time to ditch the drive-through breakfast sandwiches and coffee-shop muffins.

WEEK 2: EAT A SALAD EVERYDAY FOR 1 WEEK

For the first week on your journey to better nutrition, the goal is to eat one salad everyday. Luckily for you, salads don’t have to be a boring old iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato ordeal nor do they have to be complicated. Check out some of our salad recipes on our Basic Eats page>>

WEEK 3: SWAP GRAINS FOR GREENS TO EAT MORE VEGETABLES

Grains offer a number of excellent health benefits but they don’t have to make up the base of your diet whether you eat meat or not. This week the goal is to swap out some of your grains for more vegetables.

Here are some ideas for sneaking more veggies into your diet by using them to replace some of the grains you eat. Remember, it’s not all or nothing so focus on 1 or 2 swaps this week and build from there:

  • swap rice for cauliflower rice, parsnip rice or broccoli rice
  • try zucchini noodles or another veggie noodle
  • eat a big salad for dinner loaded with seeds, nuts and protein
  • try cauliflower pizza crust
  • make lettuce wraps loaded with veggies and hummus

WEEK 4: IMPROVE HYDRATION

Alright guys, so we’re still getting in our daily salad, eating a wholesome breakfast, and swapping the grains for green. Hopefully those habits are starting to feel like a normal part of your routine.

Many people are walking around chronically dehydrated without even realizing it. Try not to wait until your body gets to a point where you’re so thirsty. We’re often not aware that a lot of the ailments we’re experiencing day to day can be due to dehydration so focus on keeping those water levels topped up at all times. We just recorded a podcast on the importance of hydration that is going to launch on our Podcast this week. In the meantime here are some tips for getting in proper hydration:

  • Start every day with a big glass of water
  • Eat hydrating foods like cucumber, greens, melon, celery, radish and tomato
  • Counteract diuretics such as water and caffeinated tea
  • Boost your water with a pinch of sea salt, fresh lemon juice or some berries
  • Cut out sugary drinks
  • Consider a reverse osmosis system or filtered water system such as Santiveia or Burke
  • Use a water tracking app if you often forget to drink water
  • Have a good water bottle that you like with you at all times.
  • Hydrate between meals not during them to allow for proper digestion
  • Drink consistently throughout the day so you’re not drinking a lot too close to bed time

As far as how much water to drink, every one is different and it depends on factors like the climate you live in and how much exercise you get. One rule of thumb is to divide your weight in pounds by two, and drink that amount of water in ounces every day. Start there and see how that works for you.

WEEK 5: PREPARE HEALTHY RECIPES AT HOME

It doesn’t doesn’t have to be a something totally crazy, extravagant or complicated. Maybe it’s trying a new vegetable or whole grain you’re not that familiar with, or maybe it’s making a healthier version of one of your favorite meals.

Preparing meals at home is so important in feeling connected to your food and having control of over what goes into your body. The goal this week is to experiment and try a couple of completely healthy meals meals or even going plant-based for one whole day if you are up for the challenge.

WEEK 6: USE MEAL PREP TO SNACK BETTER

This week the focus is better snacking. While it’s not required to snack between meals if you’re hungry or feel a slump in energy, healthy snacking is a good way to maintain stable blood sugar levels and stay energized.

The goals for this week is to take time on Sunday to prepare some healthy snacks you can take on the road this week.

Snack Ideas:

  • chop up bell pepper slices and broccoli 
  • chop carrot sticks or buy baby carrots
  • cook 2 cups of edamame 
  • make roasted chickpeas
  • make veggie chips
  • stock up on nuts, dried fruit and portable fresh fruit like apples and bananas to take on the road
  • Checkout some healthy snack recipes on Basic Eats>>>

WEEK 7: SWAP YOUR SUGARS

For week 10 we’re focusing on reducing or cutting out refined sugar in your diet. Get in the habit of reading the labels on your food and avoiding products that contain white sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, fructose, and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

WEEK 8: ADD FERMENTED FOODS

The goals for this week is to try to a fermented food every day. Fermented foods are an amazing way to upgrade your meals and your health. You can buy fermented foods or make them at home. Eating fermented foods is a great way to get raw, living, probiotic-rich, gut healing bacterias into the body.

It could be sauerkraut, water kefir, yogurt, homemade kombucha, pickled carrots, onions or anything really! Everything in the health world right now is pointing to gut health. You could be eating the healthiest food on the planet but it’s what your body can do with those foods that matters. You’ve got to get that gut in shape and fermented foods are a fast track way to get you there.

 

WEEK 9: SWAP PROCESSED FOODS FOR WHOLE FOODS

We are talking about heavily processed, refined foods here, not packaged foods. Processed foods are items found in the freezer section at the grocery store, items that have a long shelf-life or foods that have been refined so heavily they no longer resemble the whole food they once were. Processed foods often have oils added to them, excess sodium and added sugar.

The focus for this week is to take one or two food items you typically buy that’s processed and swap it for a whole food option. This could be frozen pizzas, frozen microwave dinners, processed snack or breakfast bars or sugary cereals. 

WEEK 10: SWITCH YOUR OILS & FATS

Replacing unhealthy fats an oils in your diet with healthier ones can have a huge impact on your health over time. Most people are over-consuming unhealthy fats such as trans fats and refined vegetable oils due to the prevalence of processed foods in the average person’s diet.

High omega-6 vegetable oils and trans fats, often listed as hydrogenated oils, can cause inflammation in the body and that inflammation is at the root of a myriad of disease and health problems. Making the switch is easy

  1. Refer to step 5 and cut back on refined, processed foods.
  2. Switch to oils like coconut, olive oil and avocado oil and limit their use.
  3. Get your fats from heart-healthy, nutrient-rich foods like avocado, in particular focusing on omega-3’s from foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seed and walnuts.

WEEK 11: REDUCE YOUR SODIUM INTAKE

You’re now 8 weeks into taking small steps for better nutrition! The focus for this week is reducing your sodium intake. Let’s take a look at how we can do that!

Due to processed foods, many people consume in excess of the recommended 2400 mg of sodium per day. Excess sodium intake effects high blood sugar and heart health so it’s an important aspect of nutrition to consider.

Hopefully you’ve already reduced your sodium intake by focusing on whole foods, eating more vegetables, cooking at home and drinking more water. Now we can take it a step further by reducing the amount of salt we add to our food. When you’re cooking at home, it’s easy to add flavour to your food without using excessive amounts of salt.

How to flavor your foods without extra salt:

  • Use fresh lemon and lime juice
  • Utilize plenty of fresh and dried herbs
  • Use dried sea vegetables for nutrition and flavour
  • Try vinegars like white wine, red wine, apple cider and balsamic
  • Use a variety of mustards like dijon, spicy and whole grain
  • Use lots of ginger, garlic and onion
  • Ditch table salt for himilayan crystal salt or other unrefined sea salt

WEEK 12: UP YOUR FIBER INTAKE

The focus for week 11 is upping your fiber intake. You should be getting at the very least 30 grams of fiber per day. It can help lower cholesterol, helps with weight control or weight loss, regulates blood sugar and promotes a healthy heart and digestive system. This week, try a few of these tips for getting more fibre in your diet. By the end of the week, you should be hitting that 25-30 gram mark.

How to up your fiber intake:

  • Eat an apple every day
  • Make a coconut yogurt bowl topped with high-fibre cereal, ground flax seeds and sliced strawberries
  • Eat raw carrots and broccoli with hummus for a snack
  • Have a serving of mixed nuts
  • Add chickpeas, kidney beans or black beans to your daily salad
  • Try a lentil dish 
  • keep up with your daily salad
  • Have dried apricots, dates, figs, peaches or pears for snack or dessert
  • Swap all white foods for whole grain ones (pasta, bread, tortillas etc.)
  • Eat edamame for a snack

 

These 12 small steps can be implemented at any time, of course but if you’re just beginning your journey to optimum health and nutrition, I would really recommend focusing on step at a time. There is huge power in small change.

We would also recommend focusing on this as a journey without the mindset that a healthy lifestyle has some end point in the future. It doesn’t. You truly have to commit to it and make it a priority in your life. It’s worth it and you truly deserve it. That’s what health living is, it’s treating yourself with the respect and love that you deserve.

You deserve to feel your best have the energy and confidence to live life to it’s fullest. Better nutrition will have a positive impact on every single area of your life. You can do this. Don’t give up, just take one step at a time!

If you need some guidance and accountability email us at info@basiclivingbr.com for some of our nutrition coaching options and work with us personally.

10 High Carb Foods, that are Incredibly Healthy

10 High Carb Foods, that are Incredibly Healthy

high carb foods

Over the years carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation. People often associate them with weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and a variety of other health conditions.

Yes, it is true that processed foods high in sugar and refined grains typically lack important vitamins and minerals. However, many nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods can be very good for you.

While low carb diets can be beneficial for some people, there’s no reason to avoid high carb foods altogether. Here are 10 high carb foods that are incredibly healthy:

1. Quinoa
  • Quinoa is highly nutritious and may help improve blood sugar management and support heart health. Quinoa is also high in protein and fiber, so it may be useful for weight loss, as both of these nutrients can help keep you feeling full for longer.
2. Oats
  • Oats contain many beneficial nutrients, including fiber and protein. Studies have also shown that eating oats lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
3. bananas
  • Bananas are high in potassium, a mineral that play a key role in regulating blood pressure. Less ripe bananas also contain resistant starch and pectin, both of which can improve digestive health.
4. Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, along with several other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
5. Beets
  • Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. They also contain high amounts of inorganic nitrates, which can improve heart health and boost physical performance.
6. Oranges
  • Oranges are a good source of fiber. They also contain high amounts of Vitamin C and other healthy plant compounds. Eating oranges may benefit heart health and increase iron absorption to help prevent anemia.
7. Blueberries
  • Blueberries contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and help protect against oxidative damage.
8. Grapefruit
  • Grapefruit contains many beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It may provide numerous health benefits.
9. APPles
  • Apples contain a decent amount of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and plant compounds. Eating apples may improve blood sugar management, as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and potentially even certain types of cancer.
10. Chickpeas
  • Chickpeas are excellent source of plant-based protein and contain many vitamins and minerals. Eating chickpeas has been linked to benefits of heart and digestive health, as well as potential cancer prevention.

The bottom line is that it is a myth that all carbs unhealthy. In fact, many of the healthiest foods are high in carbohydrates. That said, you shouldn’t eat carbs in large amounts if you are on a low carb diet. In addition, refined carbs such as white break and pasta, may be unhealthy in high amounts.

Defining "Real Foods"

Defining "Real Foods"

DEFINING "REAL FOODS"
Do you know what real food is? Photo of salad

Have you ever tried to define the phrase “Real Food?” Most people seem to have an instinctive understanding of what it means, but when put to the task of coming up with a definition, it can get surprisingly complicated. It’s tough to figure out where to draw the line, and then when we do define it everyone seems to have a different understand. So we want to share with you what we at Basic Nutrition believe to be as “Real Food”.

If you pluck an apple off a tree and eat it right then and there, that’s about as “real” as you can get, right?  But what if that tree has been sprayed with pesticides? What if that apple has been turned into applesauce, in a large-scale production facility (think: thousand-gallon vats of applesauce in a huge factory)? Does the production method and scale make a difference? What if they’ve added citric acid so it doesn’t turn brown?

The crux of this definition, really, is “whole-food ingredients” are real food. By that, I mean a food that’s as close to its natural state as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, meat, or fish… you get the idea.

Ultimately, it comes down to buying foods that don’t come with a label, and for those that do come in a package, reading the list of ingredients carefully. I consider every ingredient. If it would, at least in theory, be possible for me to grow or make all those individual ingredients from scratch, and then combine them in my kitchen to make that food, Basic considers it to be real food.

And as we like to quote from Michael Pollan: Eat Real Foods. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much

 

AUTHOR: NELY WARD