Fourth of July Ice Cream

Growing up, Fourth of July with my family always meant a trip to my uncle’s lake house in Oklahoma. We spent the days blackberry picking, stuffing our faces with watermelon, playing in the lake and spending time with family. Most of all I remember my aunt’s homemade ice cream. I was too young to realize how long she must have spent making it, but I do remember how incredible it tasted.

With my own kids these days, we’re creating similar memories by traveling to my dad’s place on a lake in Wisconsin. We spend our time similarly to when I was a kid, enjoying the lake and family. Of course, we make sure to make our own homemade ice cream too—except I bring the ice cream machine and spare myself the churning. read more

Raising Healthy Eaters

I cannot count how many times I have heard, “My kids do not like to eat fruits and vegetables! They are so picky! How can I fix this?!” So, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across a newly published study that looked at fruit and vegetable intake and neophobia (fear of new foods). The researchers found two conclusions that may help answer the question: “How can I fix this?!”

First they found “…lower child food neophobia was significantly related to enjoyment of tactile play…”. In translation, allowing kids to get messy and explore foods with their hands and face can lead to an increase in the likelihood they will try new foods. Many parents feel anxious over the mess this will cause, but it is important to allow kids the opportunity to familiarize themselves with new foods. In addition, it can take up to 15-20 attempts (!) with a particularly picky eater before they will accept the food. Persistence and “messiness” seem to be key! read more

Healthy Eats From A-Z

By Betsy Hjelmgren MS, RDN, CSP, LDN

Like most women, I think about food all day. Except I get paid to do it. Today I’m thinking about healthy eating habits in alphabetical order. Because that’s the sort of thing you do when you are paid to think about food all day.

Apple a day. The old adage is true. Apples fill you up, give you energy, appease your sweet tooth and clean your teeth.

eans. Try using beans like a vegetable by adding them to dishes like pasta, stir fry and salad. They’re healthy, fill you up and provide lots of protein. read more

Specializing in Nutrition for Feeding Tubes

Instinctual in every parent, especially mothers, is a deep-seated desire to feed their children. For parents of children with feeding tubes, this need is just as strong but a lot more complicated.

On an average week, I see two to three patients with feeding tubes, and for the last several years, it’s been my first line of treatment to recommend blended meals rather than formula. So often, when I first inform parents that they can prepare real food for their children, they are shocked. That’s because parents of these children have all been told that their kids’ only source of nutrition is from manufactured formulas. We are the only nutrition practice in the Chicago area working with clients to feed children real food. read more

Cinco de Mayo Enchiladas

Cinco de Mayo Fun Fact #1:
According to the California Avocado Commission, up to 81 million avocados are eaten for the occasion, most of which are made into guacamole.

Fun Fact #2: Mexican food is delicious

Fun Fact #3: Mexican food is healthy

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchilada (Serves 4) GF, HF

3 cups cooked pulled chicken
1/2 cup roasted green chillies, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
Juice from a fresh lime
1/4 tsp cumin
2 cups Enchilada Sauce (See Below)
10 corn tortillas
Light olive oil
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheese
Fresh Chopped cilantro read more

Popsicle Season

May brings the beginning of popsicle season in Chicago, a great, healthy treat when homemade. You can use something as simple as paper cups as a mold or buy them at many stores or on Amazon.

Tropical Pops

  • 6 oz orange juice or skim milk
  • 3-4 pineapple chunks or ¼ cup
  • ¼ cup mango
  • ¼ cup strawberry
  • ½ cup ice
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    Food Giants Adjust to Foodie Culture

    With so many big name food companies in the media trying to appeal to more health-conscious consumers, it’s been a busy few weeks for nutrition news. Kraft, Chipotle, Tyson and McDonald’s are all making headlines as they try to adjust to a culture of raised health awareness.

    Here’s the news and here’s our view:

    Chipotle: Chipotle this week announced plans to be the first fast food chain to stop serving GMO foods, with the exception of soft drinks. The company since 2013 was already labeling any GMO foods (genetically modified organisms), but now the company is banning them altogether. read more

    Sugar Sweetened Beverages

    By Gia Diakakis, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC

    As a pediatric dietitian, discussing sugary drinks makes me feel like I am on my soapbox. As a child who was only allowed to consume sugar-sweetened beverages for celebrations, my frustration with my parents has now turned into gratitude. I admit I often am too “preachy” when it comes to sugar sweetened beverages, but I can’t help myself. There are absolutely NO health or nutritional benefits in allowing your children (or yourself!) to regularly consume sugar sweetened beverages. read more

    5 Healthy Fuel Ideas for Active Kids

    With the arrival of spring sports comes a renewed fury for the so-called “soccer snack moms.” For the one hour that kids run loose on the field, whole committees of moms are organized around the snacks. There are even families with whole coolers ready with grub for the game.

    Now, let’s be honest. While there are plenty of youth athletes that need serious fuel for elite sports, most of our kids would be fine on the field with a small, healthy snack (or no snack at all!). And none of our kids are better off eating more calories than they burn during practice or games. read more

    Staying in Control at the Big Meal

    Big family meals and over eating are inevitable, with Easter and Passover approaching. We all know the discomfort of eating way too much and feeling bloated. Avoiding this feeling may be easier than you think. These tips may help you prevent overeating, and you may even end up enjoying your celebrations that much more this year.

  • Do not skip breakfast! I have heard people say, “I’m saving my appetite for tonight!” That is the opposite of what your game plan should be. If you skip breakfast, you will absolutely starving by the time your celebratory meal roles around. This will lead to over eating or “stuffing your face” in a short period of time. Before you know it (about 20 minutes later), you’ll be uncomfortable and bloated!
  • Graze the appetizers! Preferably the fruit or vegetable-based appetizers! Having a few appetizers will continue to help off set hunger, just like your breakfast. Make sure to have just a few appetizers – don’t over do it!
  • Drink Water! Choose beverages that provide no calories, or low calories beverages. Staying hydrated will help you avoiding misjudging thirst for hunger.
  • Eat slowly! Holiday meals are delicious! Fill your plate with all your favorites and enjoy them slowly. Try to take about 20 minutes to finish your meal. It takes your stomach around 20 minutes to signal to your brain that you are full. By the time you’re done eating your meal, your urge for second helpings will have disappeared! This may be the biggest key to avoiding overeating!
  • Fruit, Fruit, Fruit! The dessert spread may be so appealing! Pick small or bite size portions of the decadent desserts and fill the remainder of your small plate with fruit, fruit and more fruit. The fiber and liquid in the fruit will satisfy your appetite and help you avoid too much sugary dessert.
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