Monday, April 4, 2011

Small Changes

Image: Suat Eman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is my daughter's first year running high school track, and with the track season just getting started, I'm trying to have healthier foods around the house. I talked to a friend who's also a runner and quite knowledgeable about nutrition. Here are some tips she gave me for eating healthy without necessarily dieting:

I wondered what healthy snacks I could have around in addition to fruits and vegetables. She suggested chips and salsa. Go easy on the chips, of course, but salsa is full of healthy vegetables. Another friend suggested carrots and celery with salsa.

I want to get the cookies and ice cream out of the house, but my kids are used to something sweet after dinner. She suggested trail mix with chocolate chips or M&Ms. They still get a taste of something sweet, but they're also getting healthy nuts and seeds. Of course, there's also a lot of fat, so don't overdo. I'm not sure how this one's going to go over with the kids, but I'm hoping the promise of a weekly family visit to the frozen yogurt place will encourage them.

We like to drink juice, but I was concerned about the high sugar. She suggested buying 100% juice and putting it in pitchers with water mixed in to cut down on the sugar.

After a workout, your body needs carbs and protein. She said chocolate milk is a great way to get both.

I'm hoping with these small changes, the whole family can eat healthier without it being all that different from what the kids are used to. Do you have any tips to add?

35 comments:

Velva said...

Small changes can make a big difference. Don't forget to enjoy food which includes cookies and ice cream too.May your daughter have a wonderful track season.

Velva

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Doing a family diet is very difficult, my only advice would be to take it slowly. Maybe instead of eliminating ice cream and juice right away, you make it only a weekend thing. That might also soften the risk of familial rebellion. :)

Tracy said...

Congrats on your daughter running track; what a life long activity! My son is running track this year with the local parks and recreation so we'll see how that goes!
I like the tips and will help around our house as well! we don't have a lot of fruit juices but gatorade and I guess even that can be diluted!
Thanks Susan!

Brian said...

We're trying something similar here, well, the humans are. I suggest keeping away from the catnip, it will give you the munchies!

Niki said...

I make fruit smoothies with yoghurt and milk for my kids. Sometimes I pretend to add icecream so they think they're getting an extra treat hehe They don't even notice that there is no icecream in it. Strawberries in a smoothie is super yummy.

Lydia K said...

Peanut butter (or soynut, or sunflower seed butter) is high in protein and great for a snack. With a bit of jam on crackers or that thin, whole wheat bread, it'll satisfy a sweet tooth.

You can also freeze low-fat yogurt into popsicle molds and have yogurt pops.

I also love dried fruit. I get the mangoes. They're a favorite of mine.

Jai Joshi said...

I like to go with peanut M&Ms too, because atleast then I'm getting peanuts too. Frozen yogurt as opposed to ice cream. Olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Cakes that have pureed carrots and beetroot and cauliflower and spinach (the kids will never know if you don't tell them).

For drinks make fresh lemonade from real lemons. That way at least they'll be getting the goodness of fresh lemon juice as well as the sugar.

Jai

Laurel Garver said...

My brother ran track and protein was what he craved most after practices. So, protein snacks would also be a good addition--roasted nuts, cheese sticks, peanut butter on celery, flavored cream cheeses to spread on veggies, or my daughter's fave--hummus, a yummy Mediterranean dip made from chick peas, sesame, lemon and garlic. (My grocery store carries it in the deli section.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I work out everyday and we eat healthy. Fruit smoothies are good. Pasta with marinara sauce is good carbs - look for whole wheat varieties. Even whole grain cereals make good snacks.

Joanne said...

Wow, good for your daughter. And how nice that the whole family will benefit with the change in menu. It's a good thing, anyway you look at it!

Kari Marie said...

Good for your daughter! Little changes can have a big impact.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I make our own trailmix...That way I can limit any added salt or sugar. This is what I use. I make a lot, but Walt and Katherine take it in their lunch and it's a favorite snack.

1 pkg cranberries
1 pkg raisins
1 pkg chopped dates
1 pkg dried pinapple
1 pkg of dark chocolate chips or chocolate cover raisins
3 tins of mixed southbeach diet nuts
sometimes I add extra almonds if they are on sale.

I estimate 1/4 cup is about 150 calories.

Myrna Foster said...

I ran track, and she's going to need more calories, not less, though you do want to keep them healthy. They always told us to eat plenty of complex carbs (whole grains, pasta, fruits, and vegetables). I hope she loves it. I still enjoy running, and it's been a long time since I did it competitively.

Myrna Foster said...

Also there are healthy recipe blogs and websites out there. My two favorites are simplehealthytasty.com and skinnyrecipes.com - mmm:o)

Lynda R Young said...

eating carrots and celery for snacks always makes me feel like I'm on a diet. But I love dried fruits (apricot is my fav) and a small handful of nuts.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow - I like the idea of mixing chocolate with fruit and nuts - I might try that! I guess so long as there are fruit and veg with meals then the meals are nutritious? I also like the idea of making juice yourself too. I like to substitute honey for sugar - I tell myself that's healthier!!

Good luck with your family meals!! Yay for your daughter!! Take care
x

DEZMOND said...

as a vegetarian and an expert on nutrition, I'm not sure about your friend's advices. Most of the food she mentioned isn't really healthy.
Teens need a lot of vitamins and minerals, which means you should put tones of fruit and nuts in their diet. No bottled juice, no sodas, squeeze your own oranges, grapefruits, tangerines and lemons every day for them and sweeten with honey, not with sugar. Make them a lot of green tea with honey and lemon which you can cool as well in the fridge.
Whenever they're hungry between meals give them wallnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, dry fruit ... and there are a lot of cakes which you make without much sugar, fat and eggs, and you have a lot of recipes like that over at my FAcebook page :)

Talli Roland said...

Pasta is good to eat 24 hours before any meet! Good luck to your daughter.

The Happy Whisk said...

Chocolate milk after a workout, yuck yuck yuck. That doesn't even sound good to me on a regular day, forget after a workout.

As for salsa, it can be so high in salt and commercially produced, not the best. Homemade now, that's some good stuff.

Jeff Galloway has a few good books out. Talks about injury, nutrition, sneakers and other neat things.

Good luck.

Kelly said...

Great ideas, Susan. I'm trying to make small, healthier changes in my diet too.
I find if I need something sweet- dried apricots are great or sweet gherkin pickles!

Laura Marcella said...

Those are good tips! I used to run track and cross country. I hope your daughter has fun!

I love peanut butter and raisins on celery! Raisins are a great snack because it's sweet and still good for you. That goes for any kind of fruit. Though fruit is sugary, it's all natural sugars your body needs. Maybe your kids won't mind a little fruit salad a couple nights a week after dinner!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Those are all excellent tips. I should try them in my own house!! :-)

Plain Jane said...

Lots of color on the plate will mean a variety of nutrients. Plus it is pretty eating.

Stephanie said...

Great tips! I've made a lot of changes to what I buy over the last few years. I always have fat free pretzels on hand for snacks. If I need a chocolate fix, I buy Devil's food cookies that are way low in fat and calories. Hummus with pita chips or baby carrots is great. My super market sells an avocado hummus that is to die for!! As far as beverages go, we drink a lot of water but I also buy Crystal Light and I just bought MiO to add to water and that's really good.

Stephanie said...

Oh and I love cottage cheese with a handful of almonds on the side for lunch.

Michelle Merrill said...

These are all great suggestions! I used to eat fruit snacks and switched it for the trailmix. Although, I do overdue it :)

Another yummy treat is Dreyer's slow churned yogurt. It tastes just like real ice cream to me but with less fat and sugar and you get the added enzymes in the yogurt!

Good luck with everything :)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

A few months ago I registered with a local farm to have fruits and vegetables delivered to my house. They come every other week, and the contents are selected by the farm. I've found myself looking forward to cooking with vegetables I've never worked with before.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I eat a lot of protein like nuts and stuff too. And I started keeping yogurt for my little one for a snack as well as little rounds of cheese. And pretzel rods too. And on the weekends, I do create a tray of celery, carrots and cucumbers for my kiddo and all her friends to munch on with ranch dressing dip. They eat it up.

Also, I started freezing cut up banana and make "banana whips" in my food processor. It's just whipped forzen banana but it tastes like ice cream!!

Deniz Bevan said...

Those sound like great changes. I love trail mix! You could try making homemade salsa?

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss susan! wow its cool that your daughter is gonna do track. running is so much fun. when you got lots of people at your house it pretty hard keeping every one happy and eating good healthy stuff. you got lots of good ideas on all these posts. for sure youre gonna do lot of good eating stuff at your house.
...hugs from lenny

Dawn Simon said...

Good ideas. I have such a sweet tooth! A couple years ago, I also heard about chocolate milk being good after a run. Yay for that! I totally get it--I'm trying to find fun, nutritious things my family likes too. I'll have to write down the suggestions that are popping up here.

A friend of mine got me snacking on almonds and Craisins (I like the pomegranate kind best). It's good with sliced pears on the side. Of course, so was the coffee ice cream I ate before bed last night...yeesh.

Jo Schaffer said...

Awesome! I am a health freak. No refined carbs-- only whole grain and brown rice, etc-- and have not had refined sugar or corn syrup for almost a decade now. If you have to have a sweet-- use raw agave nectar or stevia to sweeten. I have some great dessert recipes that are a hit with my sugar eating friends!
(=

Chris Phillips said...

I went straight to dieting, but I kicked all the ice cream/candy out of the house. Also made sure when I drink I cut out all beer/pop and stick to fruit juice based mixed drinks. I've lost 10 pounds in two week.

Theresa Milstein said...

How great your daughter is running track and the whole family is being supportive by being healthy.

I don't know if your kids are too old for this, but often I'll put the fruit or vegetables on the table first for the kids to start before I bring the main part of the meal. This way, they eat more of the healthy stuff. This has been a great morning strategy.

waytenmom said...

I wish I had some brilliant nutritional advice .... I have recently started to try to incorporate more protein (for example peanut butter on a morning bagel instead of just a bagel) b/c it seems to "stick" longer. You know I am crazy about kids running. :-)