Friday, July 22, 2016

Nutrition In A Junk Food World

We have a different life style than people of a hundred years ago. All we have to do is get in the car and run to a grocery store. If we are busy in town and are hungry, there are a hundred fast food restaurants to choose from. We can choose from hamburgers to Chinese and have the meal within minutes. We also have the option, after a busy hectic day, to just pick up the phone and order your dinner to be delivered within a half hour. This is a blessing on those tiring, busy days. But is it really? Yes, you can have a meal with no effort, but at what cost to the pocket book and your health. The problem with fast food meals is, they have little nutritional value and the fat contents are extremely high. In a lot of these meals you get all the fat allowance for the whole week in one meal!
Our children were always asking us to go out to eat because they have Frozen toys, or Bat Man toys. Just about every movie, cartoon, and game is advertised through the fast food industry. Children then beg, plead, scream, whine, cry or hound parents to buy the food, and a lot of times parents give in to these demands. Parents are tired from working long days and figure what the heck. It won’t hurt this once. But once soon turns into many unplanned trips.
A trip to the grocery store can be a nightmare when taking children along. If you plan to go to the store after a busy day of activities or work, children can be hungry and fussy. The advertisers promote movies, games and cartoons on cereals, cookies, crackers, ice cream packages, frozen dinners and other unhealthy food items.
We as parents want to do all we can to ensure our children’s health. We want them to keep their teeth brushed and eat good snacks and meals. But even the strongest Mom or Dad will crumble and give in to a whining child. Our lives have become bombarded with activities that we as parents are tired and stressed out, so we say yes, not wanting to deal with another pressure.
We found it easier not to take smaller children shopping when our kids were small. At times it is unavoidable and smaller children need to come with us grocery shopping. When taking smaller children shopping we always make sure they have been fed. Sometimes we have taken peeled, cut apples, raisins, homemade banana chips or bread. Then when the child complains about being hungry and asks for a candy bar, cookies, or another unhealthy snack, I can pull out the snack from my purse or diaper bag. Most of the time when my children were full and they asked for me to buy a snack to have at home, they usually don’t get upset when I say no.
At the grocery store, frozen entrees and canned meals may be found on many isles. Now days with so many working mothers, a lot of families eat large quantities of prepackaged expensive meals. It saves time, not money. They are usually foods that are filled with fillers, high fat, salt and other unhealthy items. Because of bad eating habits, our children today are overweight. In addition, with computers, video games, and television, kids are not getting enough fresh air and exercise.
Because society finds both parents in the work force, parents are too tired and too busy to prepare healthy meals from scratch. Children are growing up on cold and sugared cereals, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers and potato chips. This situation is causing poor health.
But this doesn’t need to continue as an unhealthy life style. Your family can eat more healthily with a little planning and family recipes that can be made healthy. Find 6-10 recipes that are healthy and quick. I know when I am busy I make a large salad that can go for 2-3 meals. I use three types of lettuce, purple cabbage, jicama, 2-3 kinds of peppers, grated carrots, mushrooms, and celery. Keep salad in an air tight container. When salad is made, place a couple paper towels on top of the salad. Place the lid on container and turn upside down. Change paper towels in about an hour. Then change paper towels after each use of salad. This takes all the extra water out of the salad. The salad will stay fresh for days and not get soggy. I put cut cucumber and tomatoes in a smaller separate containers to put on individual salads later. Do not put these items in the main salad bowl because this will cause the salad to spoil and wilt. We also keep on hand sprouts, croutons, imitation bacon bits and unsalted roasted sunflower seeds for the salad. We also keep homemade whole wheat bread, muffins, and rolls in the freezer. On hectic days we will have this for dinner. Sometimes we will put baked potatoes in the microwave. Purchase low fat or fat free salad dressing. There are a lot of good ones nowadays. Within 15 minutes you have a quick meal. The meal can become too fatty if you put lots of fat on your potato. Find healthy toppings if you need something on the potato, but you would be surprised how sweet they are plain. Try it sometime.

One of our favorite meals is called Easy Stir Fry. We purchase a large bag of frozen oriental mixed vegetables. It is cheaper and goes for about 4-5 meals. While steaming the vegetables, I already have brown rice cooking. Brown rice can take 45 minutes to cook. Sometimes when I look ahead and realize the week is going to be busy, I will cook the brown rice ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. The extra brown rice always gets eaten up. My children love brown rice. As the frozen vegetables are cooking, I add some garlic powder. In the meantime, in the microwave I am boiling a bowl of water to cook Raman noodles. When the water is hot, break 1-2 packages and let the noodles get soft. After the veggies have cooked for a while and are thawed, I add shredded cabbage. Once the cabbage is partially cooked (still crunchy), I take it off the stove. Drain the water from the noodles and put the seasoning packet mix on the noodles and mix well. Pour into veggie pan, mix and pour over a hot bowl rice. A good meal within 30 minutes.
Tostadas are another quick meal to prepare. As I bake the corn tortillas in the oven to get hard, I am heating up refried bean with spices. Bake the tortillas at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I have found the pizza pans with the holes work great but cookie sheets will do fine. You will have to flip them if you use a cookie sheet. I quickly grate cheese, cut up lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Within 20-25 minutes we are eating.
Cheese can be grated and placed in zip lock bags and frozen. When reviewing menu for the week, it can be taken out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator to thaw and be ready for the meal. Sometimes we replace cheese with avocado. It tastes great.
Healthy breakfasts can be quick and fast too. Make granola and keep it for rushed mornings. Have homemade wheat waffles and pancakes in the freezer to be used at any time. Eat a whole wheat bagel or muffins. Yogurt and a piece of whole wheat toast. Breakfast on the run can still be filling and easy.
Make sure you have healthy snacks for your children. I know a lot of children who do not eat vegetables. People are always amazed at how our children eat vegetables, salads and fruits. Our children still get treats from time to time but our home always is filled with healthy snacks. If the other items are not in the home, children will choose healthier items.
We started our children when they were young to eat these items however, dietary habits can be changed anytime. It will take a while for taste buds to change but children can learn to love these foods too. Make it fun for the child. I know when I was growing up my Mom used to peel, cut up and sprinkle a little sugar on apples. She would put it in a fun container and over a period of time, I just ate apples whole. Put raisins in a paper cup. I also keep clean, fresh cut veggies in the refrigerator. I will make a plate with a variety of them and put it on the kitchen table. Within a few hours the plate is usually empty. Children will follow the example of their parents. If you want healthy eating children, you must eat healthy yourself.
If a child constantly badgers you for an unhealthy food, offer a healthy alternative. For instance, make your own Popsicle out of fruit juices, keep plenty of whole-grain muffins or popcorn on hand. Give them two choices, take what you offer, or go without. Don’t keep unhealthy snacks in the house. Just seeing a certain food can trigger the children to want it. If it’s not there, they will not want it.
With our hectic lifestyles eating healthy can be obtained with some education, menu planning, cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, and making a change in eating habits. When making healthy meals, double or triple the recipe. Freeze the rest for future days when there is not time to cook. It will save you money because you will not be going to a drive through restaurant. It is important to make the changes now so our families will have healthier bodies as we get older. When we get older we will not suffer as much from sickness and degenerate disease. I know that as we strive to eat healthier and exercise our golden years will be much more enjoyable. So make the change today.
Resources: “The Mormon Diet A Word of Wisdom, 14 Days to New Vigor & Health” by Earl F. Updike
“The Mormon Diet A Word of Wisdom Cookbook” by Ethel C. Updike, Dorothy E. Smith
“Lean and Free 2000 Plus” by Dana Thornock, Danmar Health Corporation.
“Cooking to be Lean” by Dana Thornock
“Make the Connection-Ten Steps to a Better Body-and a Better Life” by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey.
“The Natural Nine-Cooking with Whole Grains. by Lorraine Dilworth Tyler, Magic Mill.P

Eating right is important to our preparedness. Taking care of your health is always important but going into a survival/disaster situation makes it all that much more important. Not only that, but as you form good eating habits it will be easy to eat your food storage. Store what you eat, and eat what you store.