Breakfast for breakfast. Breakfast for brunch. Breakfast for lunch. Breakfast for dinner. We eat breakfast any time at my house. One of my favorite recipes that’s easy, simple, and delicious is one that can be done several ways! What started out as my mother-in-law’s quiche recipe has become my favorite frittata recipe.
Depending on what sounds the most delicious to you, try my Vegetarian Frittatas any way you like:
Nutrition callouts – these are an “egg”cellent source of protein and choline! And a good source of calcium!
Expecting mothers, did you know that choline plays a role in brain development during pregnancy and infancy? And according to recent research, 90% of expecting mothers aren’t getting enough choline! In 2017, the American Medical Association recommended choline be added to prenatal vitamins. Head over to the Egg Nutrition Center for more information on choline and cognition.
Link over to the recipe section of my website for this delicious recipe here!
Thanks for stopping by!
"Alexa, how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?”
“Alexa, set a timer for 35 minutes.”
“Alexa, find a recipe for stuffed bell peppers.”
“Alexa, remind me to order groceries online, Thursday evening.”
If someone had told me 10 years ago, that I would be using a speaker in my kitchen as a personal assistant, controlling my crock pot from a phone application, and ordering groceries from my phone and having them delivered to my house, I would most likely have laughed and asked what color my flying car might be and if the dishwasher could put away the dishes too?!
While we’re still a long way from flying cars and dishwashers smart enough to unload themselves (I guess that would be robot?), I am pleased with the technology available in today’s kitchen. One of my new year’s resolutions was to “Be more tech savvy.” My tech accomplishments thus far include the following:
I’m averaging one new technical accomplishment a month and it's only April!
I will admit that online grocery shopping has grown on me. While I have encountered a few challenges, there are several things I love about it. If you’re on the fence about trying it out or if you’re interested in learning more because it’s coming to your area soon, I will happily share my “Yays and Yucks” from my personal online grocery shopping and delivery experiences.
I have truthfully had more “Yays” than “Yucks” and am looking forward to the rest of year and honestly what the next 10 years of technology will bring -- not only to my kitchen but to my online shopping experience. If you have any tech savvy tips, please send them my way!
For your reading pleasure this week:
I’m a rule follower. For me, life runs more smoothly when I have routine and rules.
If you’re a fan of the show Friends, you should know that Monica Geller is my spirit animal. One of my favorite Monica quotes is “Rules are good! Rules help control the fun!” I am here for this statement. As a rule-follower by nature, I tend to put rules in place; sometimes to help control the fun but honestly for me, they help control all the things. Maybe it’s just a “Monica” thing?
When it comes to meal planning, I have a few rules that work for my family. According to Hartman, four in ten consumers don’t look forward to deciding what’s for dinner. With a few rules and a simple formula, meal planning for me is a little easier and a lot more enjoyable. If you’re like Monica and you like rules too, read on for my top three!
My “go-to” sides are these:
Carbs or Starchy Veggies
Now that you have my secret formula, feel free to share it and personalize it. I do add in dairy and fruit as it fits with the meal or recipe and I love to experiment with new recipes on the weekend when I have more time.
So, there you have it. Simple, balanced, and convenient for the win.
See, rules do help control the fun! The fun of meal planning, that is.
Thanks for stopping by!
Disclosure: I'm a registered dietitian for Tyson Foods, Inc. but the opinions I share on this blog are my own.
What’s your earliest memory for learning an important number? Mine is Kindergarten when I proudly brought home two perfect cutouts: a house and rotary phone, proving to my parents, that I had memorized our home phone number and address! As a matter of fact, I still have those cutouts in a scrapbook AND for the record, still know both those numbers by heart! (and I haven’t lived in that house since 1989!)
I have always liked numbers. Maybe I had great math teachers or maybe it’s how I’m wired, but I love the problem solving aspect of numbers. My favorite thing to do when I worked in a clinical setting, included calculating tube feedings and TPN (total parenteral nutrition - a fancy acronym for IV nutrition) for patients. On any given day at my current job, you can guarantee my calculator is within reach.
Whether you like numbers or not, we start early in life learning important ones. Even if you’re not a math person, there are plenty of numbers you need to know. Here are a few I would like to share, and BONUS: there’s not a math test at the end, but there is a call to action.
1. My first number. Did you know heart disease is currently the #1 cause of death for both men and women in our country? NUMBER ONE. That is so powerful. And so close to home for me.
120/80. I bet you guessed this one. It’s the normal range for blood pressure. The upper number (systolic) should be less than 120 mm Hg, while the lower number (diastolic) should be less than 80 mm Hg. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure and many don’t know because a lot of the time people aren’t showing any symptoms. If left untreated, high blood pressure (hypertension) can damage your arteries, heart, brain and kidneys.
100. That’s my next number. Any guesses on what that is? Less than 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) is the “optimal” level for LDL in healthy people. What is LDL? Is that the good type of cholesterol or the bad one? LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol and stands for low density lipoprotein. HDL (high density lipoprotein) is considered the “good” type of cholesterol and ideally, you want this number high. An easy way to remember LDL versus HDL is L=lousy for bad cholesterol and H= happy for HDL.
58. My final number. This is the age of my mother when she passed away from a massive heart attack, almost ten years ago. Fifty-eight is shockingly young and devastatingly sad.
Knowing my family history, especially my Mom’s story, along with my training as a dietitian has encouraged me to know these numbers by heart and focus on things that I can control, like diet and exercise. Annually, I have my blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked and I listen to my body and see a doctor when I know something isn’t right. Numbers are only a part of the puzzle and can change over time as we age. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle including eating a healthy diet and staying active are just pieces of the puzzle.
In October of 2018, cholesterol guidelines were updated by a working group composed of several experts in the field of cardiology. While the previous recommendations focused on very specific ranges for cholesterol numbers (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides), this updated set of guidelines focuses on “bad” cholesterol levels with an emphasis on keeping LDL as low as possible AND a review of overall lifestyle exposure including risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar. These updated guidelines are meant to help doctors personalize your care.
If you’re concerned about your heart health, my tips around this topic are in sync with the newest recommendations:
The numbers that I am focusing on this week involves dollars for fundraising. On Saturday, my family and I will walk in the AHA Heart Walk to remember my Mom. Every year, I raise money to support this organization and most importantly to support research that’s needed to change these numbers. Walking in the heart walk has become a part of the healing process for me and a way for me to make a difference in my Mom’s honor and in her memory.
If you want to know your personal risks, follow up with your doctor. If you’re looking for additional resources, try some of these:
My call to action is this: I challenge you today to get to know your numbers and your risks by heart (pun intended). If you already know them, can you do something new this week to change them for the better?
As always, thanks for stopping by.
Take care of yourself; it’s the only self you’ve got.
Do you know what I remember most about my packed lunch as a kid? Besides the plastic Care Bears lunch box with matching thermos, I vividly remember the handwritten notes that my Mom used to add. That’s it. I can’t remember a single other thing about what I ate. If my sandwich was cut into a heart shape (which I’m confident it wasn’t), if the crust was cut off my favorite peanut butter and jelly or if a bologna sandwich was hiding inside that box, guess what? I couldn’t tell you. The only single thing I remember, aside from the cute chubby bears on the box, is a note from my Mom.
I am not clear at what point a six-year old’s lunch box became a work of art (probably the year Pinterest was launched), but what I am clear on is that it’s too much for me. In the words of Heather Land and her Snapchat filtered voice with ginormous teeth, “I ain’t doin’ it!” And you don’t have to either. I’m giving you permission. That should be at the bottom of your worry list. It is definitely at the bottom of mine!
Do you know the things that used to creep to the top of my Mom Worry List? Specific to packing lunches, things like “are her lunches big enough or too big?”, “is she throwing away food at school?”, and “is she getting enough fruits and veggies?”. Clearly, I worry a lot. If these were my worries, I’ll go out a limb and guess that you can relate to these worries too. Keep reading to see if our worries are valid? And how I worked through them.
Is she throwing away food at school? Are her lunches big enough? Too big?
No, yes, and no. How do I know? Because I asked her. We talk a lot in our house about wasting food and I’ve asked my daughter if she packed food she doesn’t want to eat (or have time to eat), please leave it in her lunch box so I can see. This should make it easy to spot any patterns. I did notice she was bringing home her chocolate milk quite often with several ounces left. After a few times, we talked about it and decided water might be a better option. That way, not only is the milk not getting wasted but neither is the plastic bottle. She’s already taking a water bottle to school daily anyway. #problemsolved
When it comes to lunch size, again, we talk. My only rule for packed lunches is that they must contain a food from each food group. BONUS: This is an easy way to teach food groups (and portions). This year, as a third grader, she packs her own lunch. I asked her to let me know if her lunches aren’t the right size and explained we can always add more or make smaller portions. Easy peasy. My favorite saying to her about food is “listen to your body”. At this point she knows what her body needs in terms of portion sizes and I rarely see food come back home.
My golden rule for lunches “pack a food from each food group” has also helped with the next question.
Is she getting enough fruits and veggies?
Let’s start with veggies. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans , which provides guidance for choosing a healthy diet, the U.S. population as a whole does not meet the recommended servings of vegetables per day. I’m not talking just kids, I’m talking ALL OF US. So, this question is a valid worry. Back to kids, vegetable intake is lowest among boys ages 9-13 and girls ages 14-18. My golden rule for lunches “pack a food from each food group” will only help if I buy items my daughter likes and if she packs them. The solve here, and every lunch isn’t perfect, was creating a list of foods she loves from each group and always having those on hand. The list helps me know what to buy each week and it helps guide her on what to pack. If you’re interested in giving this a try, I created a list here to get you started. You can put it right on the fridge (that’s where we keep ours) and I added a blank page, so you can let your child personalize it! TIP: As the school year progresses and they get tired of some of the same things, challenge them to add some new things to the list. Maybe a “Try it Tuesday” or something to help encourage new things.
When it comes to fruits, kids ages 1-8 are on average ARE meeting the recommended number of fruits per day, although part of this accomplishment is from drinking juice. Fruit intake is lowest among girls ages 14-18 (and adults). According to the Dietary Guidelines, most of us (kids and adults) would benefit from increasing our intake of whole fruits. In other words, skip the juice. Whole fruits provide fiber and are more filling. To help with this worry, besides applesauce, the Stewart Lunch Box contains a fresh fruit on days when lunches are packed. (see our list for ideas mentioned above) If you are afraid of wasting fresh fruit, canned fruit (canned in juice) or frozen fruit thawed out will do just fine.
Side bar, if you’re worried about buying organic versus conventional (which could likely be a whole other blog post), my quick advice is first to do what you feel is right for your family and next know that increasing your kids’ intake of fruits and vegetables is encouraged (no matter what type you choose) to improve health and prevent disease. I personally buy conventional produce. Conventional produce fits our budget and is nutritionally identical to organic produce. A quick site visit to Safe Fruits & Veggies will give you science-based information about produce safety, supported by facts (not fear)!
I hope you’ve marked a few things off your worry list and found some great resources. Involving your kids is the best way to ensure they are eating what's packed and enjoying what's packed, because it's not nutrition, until it's consumed!
Adding a sweet note or a fun joke is a great way to make their lunch memorable (it worked for my Mom!). If you're creative juices aren't flowing and you need some lunch box love ideas, try a fruit or veggie joke or check out Happiness is Homemade for some other inspiration! Here are a few more resources:
Thanks so much for stopping by! I enjoy sharing tips that may help your family. It gives me #allthefeels. As always, feel free to share things that work for you!