One of the best and easiest steps you can make towards a healthier lifestyle for you and your family is to simply eat veggies or fruit with each meal. Sounds easy right? It actually is.
Reaching your health goals means adjusting your diet. Small changes make things a bit more “digestible”.
Add Them to Food You Eat
One of the easiest ways to add vegetables to your diet is to add them to foods that you already eat. Basically, everyone loves pizza, so one of the first things you can try is to add them as a topping on pizza or puree them into the pizza sauce. If you eat spaghetti, you can try adding a small amount of spinach or broccoli to the mix, again pureed into sauce. Cauliflower can be pureed into cheese for mac and cheese. Mix them into scrambled eggs or make a frittata. Try butternut squash pancakes. If you add small amounts to your food, you will notice that every vegetable adds a hint of flavor that you might really enjoy, and it gets the kids used to these flavors as well.
A very easy way that you can eat more fruit (and veggies) is to freeze fresh fruit, or buy frozen fruit that you can use in making smoothies and add some greens to the mix as well. Drink a healthy mixture of fruits and veggies on the go. This is especially great for people who are too busy to cook entire meals in the morning before work or make healthy after school snacks. Smoothies are usually a mix of water, nut milk, or coconut milk and the fruit and greens of your choosing. Greens that are perfect for smoothies include kale, spinach, arugula, and chard. And don’t worry, some pineapple or a super ripe banana disguise the taste of the greens.
Another excellent way to get your daily vegetables would be to add them to soups. You will be surprised by the almost limitless options that are available when it comes to making delicious, creamy soups that you can use to top rice, meats, or even just eat plain. You will be able to heat up these soups and eat them on the go much like the smoothies mentioned earlier in this article. If you plan ahead you can get all of your nutritional needs and more into a few cups during the day. Add some cauliflower or leeks to potato soup or chop some veggies super fine and add it to the chicken noodle soup.
A surefire way to make sure more veggies are in the diet is to make it a priority to have at least one serving with each meal. Make it a goal and get creative with different ways to make it happen.
So, you have decided that probiotic rich, fermented foods may be for you and you want to add more to your diet. You already know the numerous health benefits, the categories of fermented foods, and how you want to use them. The problem is, that you may have some trouble finding all the foods that you want or at the very least finding them within your budget. When a single bottle of Kombucha can run nearly $4, that can make a dent in your food budget fast. If this sounds like you, you may have already looked into fermenting your own foods. Here are some beginner tips that can get you started on the right track.
Start with Fermentation Kits
Kits are a great place to start if you are new to fermenting. There are several reasons for this. The first is that the kits will include everything you need to ferment the chosen food. There is no need to research all the different tools and ingredients and try to find them, they will be at the ready. The second reason for starting with kits is because they are often cheaper than trying to buy each piece you will need for the fermentation process. You will also receive step by step instructions as well as recipes to try later.
Stick with Foods You Already Love to Eat
You may already be eating fermented foods that you love, like yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, or pickles. It makes the fermentation journey that much more enjoyable when you try your hand at fermenting those foods yourself. The benefit of this is that you already know the flavors, textures, and methods you like of these foods. You know what you are looking for. You know what you like and it ls less likely that you will let fermented foods go to waste in the fridge. After all, you may have began this journey to save money, not waste it. Once you get the routines down for your favorite ferments then you may want to get more exotic and experimental.
Create a Ferment Storage Area
Make sure that if you are starting to ferment your own foods, you have a proper storage area them. Make sure that you know where you will be storing them, how best to store them, and for how long you will need to store them before they are ready to eat. The last thing you want is to have the foods ready to go and find that you do not have the adequate space or area to support the fermenting process. Do some research on the best ways to store your fermented foods and the temperatures you will need to maintain.
By utilizing these tips you can start on a path to fermenting your own foods. Once you learn the basic processes you will have a fermented food pantry that you can pull foods from just like a grocery store, at a fraction of the price. Your budget will be super happy and your health will too.
The meals I struggle with the most are actually breakfast and lunch because I eat them away from home. I am great at planning and prepping healthy, organic meals for dinner and all meals on the weekend. The motivation and inspiration kind of runs dry when it comes to packing lunches though. Most of the time I grab a ramekin and some instant organic oatmeal for breakfast and a side of leftovers for lunch. When there are no leftovers I often eat Chinese takeout. This can be pricey and though I often go for stir fry loaded with veggies it is not organic I am sure.
Recently I gave a meal delivery service a try, Ion Nutrition. A box of prepared, fresh meals arrive at your door and you eat them at your leisure. These are not gross TV dinners either. These are delicious, organic, gourmet meals prepared by culinary experts. There are NO preservatives, additives, dairy, gluten, GMOs, hormones, added sugar or soy. They are nutrient dense for optimal nutrition and best of all they allow you to eat well, feel good, save time.
- FREE delivery anywhere in the U.S.
- Healthy, cost-saving meals for the home, the office, or the outdoors
- Indulge in your health with an ultra-portable, refrigerated meal management bag. Enjoy tasty, healthy meals anytime, anywhere
There is a regular plan, a protein+ plan, and a paleo plan so you can select the ones that goes best with your eating style. They were super, super tasty too. I had a chicken thigh that was melt in your mouth delectable and a beef patty that had me wanting to inquire about a recipe. The meals had generous serving of veggies too. They were really perfect for taking to work and eating healthy on the go. I would not hesitate to order again though they are on the pricey side I admit. That is the only stumbling block.
Have you tried a meal delivery service before?
There’s been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere and on social media about bone broth for the past several years. It seems that something our great grandparents used to do all the time, make and consume bone broth, became in vogue again. Perhaps this is due to the popularity of the Weston A. Price diet or the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. Regardless of why, there is good reason why so many tout the benefits of bone broth these days. If you haven’t tried making your own yet, grab some leftover chicken bones and a pot and get to work. Your taste buds, wallet and your health will thank you.
Bone Broth is Healing
Bone broth has a lot of health benefits. There’s a reason grandma would put on a pot of homemade chicken soup when someone got sick. There is a reason that broth is a staple in virtually all ancestral diets. Bone broth is full of amino acids and minerals including magnesium and calcium. The fat content in the broth helps our bodies absorb the various minerals. It’s also full of collagen and gelatin which are good for your skin, hair and joints. It can help with leaky gut syndrome and with related food intolerances and allergies. Add to that the immunity boosting properties of a good cup of broth and it’s no wonder this has been praised for centuries.
Bone Broth is Delicious
Forget all the nutrition and benefits to your immune system, joints, bones, and skin. Homemade broth or stock also tastes really good. Bone broth in particular has a deep rich flavor that you just won’t get out of a carton of chicken stock, which actually isn’t real bone broth anyways.
Drink the broth on its own, or use it as the base for soups, stews and sauces. You can use bone broth in any recipe that calls for broth or stock. Or try simmering your rice or vegetables in the broth for added flavor and nutrition.
Bone Broth is Frugal
Bone broth is made from the bones you’d toss in the trash otherwise and water. And not just bones either, many use the skin, feet, tendons and ligaments that you usually won’t eat directly. All those leftover “parts” can be used. It doesn’t get a lot more frugal than that! For no more than the cost of a little power to boil the bones, you have something that’s just as tasty as or better than high-end stock you buy at the store and it is a million times healthier to boot. We all want healthy foods at low prices right??
If you’re buying quality chicken, turkey or beef, you can make the most of every dollar you spend by utilizing every little bit including the bones. Then take it even further by making soups and stews with the broth. It’s a great way to make even little bits of meat and veggies go a long way.
Once you begin to make your own bone broth and you see how easy and cost effective it is, you will be hooked. And once you begin to experience all the health benefits and perks you will wonder why you waited so long. Enjoy!
It seems unfathomable that any group, company, corporation or government would take the stance that we don’t have the right to know something as personal and as basic as where our food comes from and the method by which it came to us. Yet in today’s marketplace this is actually a fight we moms have had to take on. It has become a struggle for consumers to be able to ascertain if their food has been genetically modified. Most of the world requires GMO labeling to give people the right to know what they buy. Since food is one of those basic needs we have as human beings there should be no mystery surrounding it. Transparency seems like a reasonable request right?
There are many who do not want GMO labeling and transparency. In fact we keep hearing about legislation that which will make it harder for consumers to get the transparent labeling they deserve.
The good news though is that consumers are getting savvy. They are demanding truth in labeling and transparency about ingredients and practices. This trend has gained more and more steam. The result is that brands have started to take notice and realize they need rethink their current practices.Smart companies are realing they don’t want to be on the wrong side of this issue.
One such company that deserves kudos for pioneering the way and for moving towards transparency when legislation is finding they don’t have to, is Dannon. It’s a move toward doing the right thing for the consumer. Dannon is moving some of their best selling brands toward non-GMO ingredients and going beyond that to develop a supply of non GMO feed for their cows. Dannon is the first national yogurt company to do that.
Not only are they moving towards non GMO products they are being transparent with their labeling. By the end of 2017, Dannon will clearly label its products that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Dannon moves toward non-GMO ingredients
To provide consumers a choice of more natural products, Dannon is pledging to evolve all products from three of their most popular brands – Dannon, Oikos and Danimals – toward the use of non-GMO. This is actually a rather large step in the right direction because these three flagship products represent approximately 50% of Dannon sales. They are taking half their business and changing it for the benefit of consumers right to know!
Because most feed used to feed dairy cows in the US is genetically modified today, they are working with feed suppliers and farm partners to start planting non GMO feed as soon as possible to fulfill future needs. Once these changes are implemented, the products from these three brand families will contain milk from cows fed only nonGMO feed. By the end of 2017 all products within the Dannon brand family will be made with nonGMO ingredients and they will have completed the full conversion of cow feed for these products.
This truly amazing when you consider that Dannon’s perspective on GMOs is that those currently approved are safe. Regardless of their stance though they know full well that there is a growing consumer preference and demand for non GMO ingredients in the US and they can leverage the strong relationships they have with their farmer partners to move faster to provide products that address this consumer demand. This is a big win for the company as they rise to a marketplace challenge to meet consumer demand and this is a big win for the consumer because our voices have been heard and a large company like Dannon is answering.
Dannons Leads the Way With Label Transparency
To further provide transparency about all their products, they have committed to declare the presence of GMO ingredients in their products, on their labels, by December 2017, independent of whatever actions are taken by the federal government. They will become the first of the leading national yogurt makers to embrace this practice.
They are also quite far along in implementing animal welfare practices at their farmer partners’ operations via the Validus Certification system. They are confident that by July 2016, more than 90% of their direct milk supply will come from farms that are Validus Certified.
Why This Development is So Important
As a consumer I want to know what is in my food and the food I feed my family. I want to know where it came from and how it was raised or grown. I want the decision to consume genetically modified foods to be MY choice and not that of government or a corporation who feels that choice should be theirs. Any company who decides to be bring the decision to me and be transparent when they don’t legally have to be…deserves my support. They are making the ethical choice in an ethically ambiguous marketplace.
This post is written in association with The Dannon Company, Inc. The opinions expressed in my post are my own. For more information on Dannon’s move toward sustainable agriculture, naturality and transparency, and nongmo ingredients visit www.dannonpledge.com and www.dannon.com/ingredients.