There are lots of things you can do to ensure you eat more nutritiously; in fact, the list is potentially endless. Here are some simple suggestions that are actually worth putting into practice.
Making your own baby food is not only more nutritious and economical,it’s also better for the environment. Homemade baby food is full of nutrients, especially vitamins A and B. Commercial foods require the use of very high heat under pressure during the bottling process. This destroys many of the vitamins and some of the minerals. No fancy equipment is required to make your own baby food. All you need is a steamer, a blender and covered ice trays to store the results of your hard work. Visit www.wholesomebabyfood.com for tips and recipes.
By its very nature, peanut butter is a wonderful kids’ food. It is tasty, energy dense and full of nourishing fats for growing brains and bodies. However, regular supermarket peanut butters go through an industrialprocess that changes the nature of these life-giving oils, turning them into something called trans-fatty acids. Trans-fats are not good for your kids or even for you, as they have been linked to the development of heart disease and other health conditions. Making your own peanut butter is surprisingly easy with a strong blender or food processor. Homemade peanut butter provides a healthy dose of antioxidants and vitamin E, too. I have provided an easy way to make your own peanut butter on my website, www.nutritioneer.net/2010/09/peanut-butter-not-just-for-kids/.
Most commercially baked goods use cheap, hydrogenated fats to cut back costs. Fast food restaurants also use these oils in their fryers for the same reasons. The health consequences of eating these foods far outweigh any pleasure you may get from them. So if anyone is hankering for a chocolate chip cookie, skip the boxed versions and try making your own. You get more control over the quality of materials you use, and by making some simple changes to most cookbook recipes you can actually make surprisingly healthy and tasty treats for your family.
• Most cookie recipes call for too much sugar. You can easily halve the sugar without compromising the taste.
• Try substituting ground-up rolled oats for one-third of the plain white flour in the recipe, or substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour.• Half of the butter can be replaced by apple sauce (remember to adjust sugar levels for sweetness).
• Don’t have an oven? Google "no-bake cookie recipes." Note: Many involve the use of peanut butter. And you were planning to make some, right?
If it is fried chicken your kids are after, you are much better off frying your own. The frozen chicken nuggets available in supermarkets are probably only 50 percent actual chicken meat. The rest of it is fillers, stabilizers and chemicals that read like they should be powering space stations rather than people. Furthermore, using your own fresh oil allows you to avoid dangerous by-products of the frying process that build up in commercial deep fryers.
Aim For Homemade Weekday Meals
The ultimate in DIY nutrition is to simply cook and eat at home as much as possible. Eating home-cooked meals means that you know the quality of the ingredients you have used, the amount of salt and even whether the vegetables have been properly washed. Now that, I hope, is food for thought.
Got a question? Olivia Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) has an MSc in nutrition and provides nutrition counseling.