Survive a hectic holiday season by slowing down and taking the time to eat healthy meals together as a family. From slow cooker specials, snow day delights and festive feasts and glad tidings for the new year, this month is full of fun, flavorful recipes to keep your whole family healthy and happy this holiday season.
December Family Meal Recipes
Pulled Pork with Caramelized Onions, Apple Yogurt Coleslaw and Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic; plus Speedy Rolls, Beef Brisket in a Slow Cooker, Santa Fe Chili and Slow Cooker Oatmeal.
Broccoli Beef and Potato Hot Dish, Banana Bread and Snowdrop Cookies; plus Slow Cooker Posole, Ribollita Sicilian Supper Stew With Peppered Cheese Melts, All Natural Oatmeal Banana Cookies and Sweet Apricots and Roasted Chicken in Pasta.
Spinach + Cheese Stuffed Shells, Applesauce with Dried Cranberries and Low-Fat Eggnog, plus Chicken, Broccoli Rabe + Feta on Toast, Cranberry Orange Scones, Garlic Roasted Red Potato Soup and Homestyle Green Bean Bake.
Barley Hopin John, Lentil Soup and Baked Custard; plus Chili Cornbread Pie, Mini Cheese and Walnut Cabbage Rolls, 24K Carrots and Quinoa Salad with Apples and Kale.
Research links lower literacy skills with higher incidence of chronic disease like diabetes. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 5 Rs—Read, Rhyme, Routine, Rewards and Relationships—for early brain development. Since literacy skills start in early childhood, children who grow up reading and cooking are better prepared for a healthy life.
DeWalt DA, Berkman ND, Sheridan S, Lohr KN, Pignone MP. Literacy and Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2004;19(12):1228-1239. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.40153.x. Accessed online http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1492599 11/24/15.
American Academy of Pediatrics, 5 Rs for brain development: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/EBCD/Pages/Five.aspx Accessed online 11/24/15.
Dairy Council of California (CA) promoted healthy eating in schools and the Smarter Lunchrooms movement through several moderated sessions at the California School Nutrition Association Annual Meeting in Ontario, California this month.
Following dual sessions on Smarter Lunchrooms, Dairy Council of CA lead two sessions titled "Food Wars." One session highlighted the controversy and the school food service impact of the science behind fat, sugar and salt.
The second session featured an open forum discussion of marketing and nutrition education strategies to foster healthier schools and surrounding communities.
Additionally, Dairy Council of CA staff presented as a panel member on the outreach toolkit for marketing nutrition education programs to promote healthier school meals.
Between this handful of sessions featuring best practices, staff still found time to meet and greet conference attendees as their exhibit hall booth.
A final surprise highlight of the conference came during a general session when Dairy Council of CA was recognized with the Moscone Commitment to Child Nutrition Award.
This annual award recognizes an individual or organization's contributions to California's children in the area of nutrition education.
Receiving the award on behalf of Dairy Council of CA was Shannan Young, Food Systems Program Manager and member of the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of California leadership team.
In October 2015, the San Jose Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Book Club met to discuss "The Slow Down Diet" by Marc David. The book, celebrating it's 10th anniversary, includes an eight-week program designed to produce weight loss while promoting eating pleasure and energy levels.
The author has a master's degree in the psychology of eating and has studied nutrition at a variety of schools, but is not a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or a clinical psychologist. At the core of the Slow Down Diet are the eight universal metabolizers; Relaxation, Quality, Awareness, Rhythm, Pleasure, Thought, Story and the Sacred; which the author considers the missing pieces in our view of metabolism.
People are successful on his diet plan, at least temporarily, because they stop fighting food and start embracing it. This helps them shift their focus from denial to nourishment and adopt a positive relationship with food.
Many of his clients eat very quickly, causing them to overeat since they fail to notice the food they just consumed. Some of the simple techniques he recommends are to slow down while eating, focus on their breathing, eat high-quality food, eat earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch), get more sleep, enjoy their food and eat more smaller meals.
We agreed with many principles in the book, a primary one being focusing on how to eat as well as what to eat. Many books by respected authors have made this case to focus on the "how" of eating, specifically Fearless Feeding, Slim By Design and Intuitive Eating. Slowing down to enjoy food and eating balanced meals with minimally processed foods is completely consistent with the nutrition philosophy of everyone in our club. I especially liked this sentence, "Vitamin T - Time for meals - is the most fundamental nutritional requirement and one that is lacking in the diets of many in the civilized world."
Even though we agreed with the author on the main principles of the book, we were disappointed by the author's tendency to play "fast and loose" with the science. Here are just a few of the dubious assertions about metabolism. Our comments follow in italics:
The author, in our opinion, does not back up these assertions with well-established, consensus science. Instead he seems to build his theories on a grain of truth or the findings from one single study.
Additionally, he offers some food recommendations that range from unclear to downright dangerous:
Members of our book club have a wide range of experience in nutritional counseling. We know that some clients respond well to the intuitive approach, slowing down and making peace with food while others respond better to tracking numbers, keeping a food or activity diary and wearing a fitness device to track physical activity patterns. Still others respond best to managing their food environment such as using smaller plates and keeping snack food off the kitchen counter.
As RDNs, our role is to assess the client and utilize the best approach from our counseling tool kit to meet the their needs. We are also charged with helping clients separate fact from fiction, and to recognize the 10 Red Flags of Junk Science in order to use nutrition resources grounded in consensus-based scientific evidence.
Healthy eating patterns that include food enjoyment and slowing down to smell the roses (or that pot of homemade soup) are highly recommended by our book club. Just be sure to validate nutrition assertions that sound too good to be true!
Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
No month means more for family meals than November. Gather your family together around nutritious meals with foods from all the food groups. Celebrate the flavors of fall, give thanks and then get cozy with delicious family meals for the entire month.
November Family Meal Recipes
Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Cornmeal Drop Biscuits and Apple Crumble. Plus Corn Con Carne, Slow Cooker Posole, Honey Poached Pears and Barley Bake.
Gooey Peanut Butter + Jelly Mug Cake and Super Orange Smoothies. Plus Fresh Fruit Burritos, Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles, Peanut Butter Sesame Pork Chops, Brown Rice with Broccoli and Chocolate Peanut Butter Milksicles.
Maple Roast Turkey, Apple-Onion Stuffing and Light Pumpkin Pie. Plus Guilt Free Gravy, Cranberry Salad, Green Bean Casserole and Cauliflower Gratin with Prosciutto.
Fiesta Turkey Soup, Spiced Iced Tea and Cranberry Apple Dessert Risotto. Plus Turkey Waldorf Salad, Creamy Potato Soup, Turkey Fried Rice and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup, Apple Tuna Sandwiches and Minted Fruit Salad. Plus Hearty Split Pea Soup, Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup With Crumbled Stilton, Turkey Matzo Meal Meatball Soup and Cheesy Bread Twists.
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Healthyeating.org is brought to you by Dairy Council of California. The mission of this website is to educate on issues of nutrition and healthy eating. For instance, our calcium calculator helps people decide how much of the recommended daily allowance of calcium they need (and are getting); our 'healthy eating quiz’ is a nutrition test and assessment tool or online nutrition app useful for parents and teachers interested in nutrition and health. Our free nutrition lesson plans help teachers from kindergarten to high school teach nutrition and healthy eating. And, of course, our milk nutrition and dairy nutrition facts offer information on topics such as milk and bone health and the health benefits of probiotics. While you're here, enjoy tips, online games, and quizzes to help get kids to eat healthy including kid-friendly recipes!