Friday, April 27, 2012

Raising a healthy kid....

On twitter today Ashley posted a picture of a recipe that was sent home from school with her son. I am not totally sure how it was branded, whether it was supposed to be super healthy, or fun, or easy, or whatever, but the point is, it was NOT healthy. And seeing it stirred up many emotions, mostly related to my classes on health promotion and program planning. I had to do quite a bit of research on childhood obesity for a program we had to develop. The state of Georgia has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. Rural counties have even higher rates than inner-city areas.

I don't have kids, but as someone who has struggled with their weight their whole life, it's really not hard to understand why kids are FAT.

My research focused on what we could control, which was the calories kids consumed at school. Since many schools have before and after-school programs, kids are now consuming more calories at school than they ever did before. And the schools are exactly offering exceptionally high quality foods.

I get it. Processed food that isn't fresh is cheap. Bottom line...everyone is looking to save a buck. If I was a single parent, struggling to make ends meet, working at least one, maybe two jobs, I would probably be tempted to pick up food from the dollar-menu at McDonalds myself.

But for those of us that have the means, and the time, cooking can be FUN, HEALTHY, and INFORMATIVE.

Overweight kids have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults. 80%! That is HUGE. Children are like sponges, they absorb everything around them. They learn from what they are exposed to. So the solution? Limit TV, computer, and video game time. Kids over the age of 6 watch an average of 4 hours of television a DAY. That is more than I watch in a week!

 Focus on YOUR health. Yes, it might require that you take some time away from your kids, but you being a healthy, active adult is the best example that you can set for your kids! So skip the "kids" yogurts loaded with sugar, the "kids cuisines" meals that are high in sodium, the fruit juices that are actually only 20% juice, the cereals that might as well be candy bars, and bake up some yummy alternatives!

Huge thanks to Kacie for turning me on to this gem of a website! I made some modifications, so here is my version of the Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars:

1 can Organic Chickpeas
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup Turbinado
2 Tablespoons Natural, unsalted, Almond Butter
1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 tablespoons Organic dark-chocolate chips

Drain the chickpeas. In a food processor blend up the chickpeas until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the chocolate chips. Blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and mix with a spoon. Use a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Makes 12 bars. Each serving has:
104 Calories
3.3 grams of fat
16.25 grams of carbohydrates
2.4 grams of protein

These are gluten and dairy free. What they aren't free of is deliciousness!

**disclaimer: Dani doesn't have kids, and doesn't know the difficulties associated with raising miniature people. She does have the energy and maturity level of children, so she easily associates with their needs. Dani thinks kids like being healthy, because being fat sucks. **

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I get knocked down, but I get up again!

Last week I suffered some set backs in the kitchen. First, my dog Poncey, helped himself to my Blueberry-Chobani Mix One protein bread. It really was good. And he thought so too.

The second set-back was when I decided to "make-up" my own recipe for clean brownies. It can be REALLY tough sometimes baking without gluten. Things don't taste the same, or bake for the same times, and I learned that almond meal just doesn't work. I wanted brownies, I made chocolate flavored cardboard.

Monday was the Boston Marathon. My friend Jill ran an incredible race, despite being injured. She did it with the help of my teammate Mike. Every time I hear this song I think about Jill!

I decided not to stay knocked down! So today, I was back in the kitchen. Only this time, I decided to follow recipes that I knew were trustworthy!

First up, I made Cinnamon Protein Bread. I tasted it and it turned out GREAT!

Second up, I made chocolate-peanut butter protein bars.

It too turned out great! I did change the recipe up a little bit, and used this instead of regular PB. Yummy! For those of you that are nutella addicts, this is a WAY healthier option.

I seemed to be on a roll in the kitchen, so I went ahead and made Jason's meals for the rest of the week at work. He's on second shift now, so has to eat dinner while working. I was at a conference last week and he said that he would make his own food, but for some reason he just ate out all week. :)

I was still in a cooking mood, so I decided to make one more thing. These are "clean" peanut butter cups. They really are quite healthy and delicious!

In case you are wondering how I had enough energy to do an open water swim, trail run, yoga, grocery shop, bake, sweep and mop, AND do laundry, it's because I am now on the JUICE! I have a juicer! YAY! This concoction is celery, carrots, granny smith apples, and ginger. It tasted 100 times better than I thought it would! Honestly, its not the secret to my energy though. I am just like this everyday!

Hope you enjoy these recipes, they all have the Dani seal of health approval! I made sure to protect the goods from Poncey this time!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mix One inspired Blueberry Protein Bread!

So I went running today and I was thinking about how yummy mix one is. I was also thinking about how many of my clients do not get enough protein. Most people tend to snack on carbohydrate dense foods, and at the end of the day, they are really lacking in protein. Not many people like to eat egg whites and shakes like I do. So I came up with the following recipe!

The Players:

6 oz Vanilla/Blueberry Mix One
2 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
6 tablespoons Coconut Flour
1/8 cup Stevia
1/2 Cup Fat Free Vanilla Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tablespoons egg whites
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries

Mix up all your ingredients except for your blueberries. Add 1/3 mixture to a 9x5 loaf pan, add 1/3 blueberries, continue to layer the mixture with blueberries. Throw it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Optional: do 30 minutes of core work while it's baking!
30 minutes later, you've got a snack that is FULL of protein and gluten free! It should be noted that if you have never baked with coconut flour, the consistency tastes different than a normal wheat flour. You can use any flour really, but you might want to play with the exact measurements!

This recipes makes six servings: 127 Calories 2.3 g Fat 14 g Carbohydrates 13g Protein