Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Breakfast Burritos

Dallin and I made a big batch of breakfast burritos this morning. We are going to freeze them so that him, Amanda, and Dad can have a fast and easy breakfast in the morning. I hate making breakfast during the summer (actually, I haven't liked it much since I got pregnant with the twins . .. Just too tired). Breakfast burritos is one of those things that can either be really healthy or one of the least healthy things to eat. It is all about how you make it.

  1. Tortillas- Most store bought tortillas have hydrogenated fats in them! The 2 that I have found that do not are : Tortilla-land uncooked tortillas. You can buy these at Costco. My Smith's also carries them. They are made with canola oil. You put them in a frying pan and cook them yourselves; no oil needed. You have to keep them in the fridge. Also, Carb Chopper's whole wheat tortillas. They have a non-wheat one as well, but the wheat one has 3 grams of fiber in them for only 70 calories. Remember, a good guide is if it has at least 2 grams for every 100 calories. For more on Hydrogenated fat, see my banana post from May.

  2. Eggs- You need about 1 egg/breakfast burrito. Free range eggs are best. This means that the chicken eat the grass/weeds that grow from the ground. This gives your eggs lots more omega-3 fatty acids. Other chickens are kept in cages and fed grain. They don't have as many nutrients in them. Costco sells Omega-3 eggs. They are vegetarian fed (doesn't say cage free though). The Costco ones also say on the egg carton that they have 10x more vitamin E than regular eggs. Beware of egg cartons that just say Omega-3 eggs and nothing else. They can just put Omega-3 eggs on any label. If it says cage-free then you are probably safe. Eggs really are good for you. Especially kids. One extra large egg only has 80 calories, and 7 grams of complete protein. When you pair eggs with toast, skim glass of milk, or another low fat food, it balances out the fat in the egg. Do you ever notice that the mornings you eat an egg it stays with you so much longer than a bowl of cold cereal?
  3. Cheese- Good source of calcium and protein.

  4. Beans- We used canned pinto beans. We drained them and rinsed them before we put them in. Beans are a complete protein along with the other stuff in the burrito. They also have 6 grams of fiber for 1/2 Cup.

  5. Meat- We used ham. Beware of lunch meat though. Lunch meat is full of sodium nitrites. Sodium nitrite is found in almost all lunch meats, hot dogs and sausages. Consuming processed meats (those with sodium nitrates, or sodium nitrites) increase your risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%! I am planning on doing a separate post on this, so I will save the rest for later. We used Hormel Natural Choice Honey Deli Ham. Cost more, but has no sodium nitrites or nitrates in it.
  6. Salsa, Hot sauce or Taco Sauce- Just spicy veggies. Most choices are great. We love the organic Kirkland salsa from Costco. (I just got back from Costco and realized that I forgot to buy some!!!!!)
Put is all together in the tortilla and then fold up the tortilla and put in individual zip lock bags. Then put them in the freezer and heat them up in the microwave when you want one.

A few breakfast facts:

  • Children who eat breakfast perform better on standardized achievement tests and have fewer behavior problems in school.
  • Eating breakfast keeps you thin. People who skip breakfast tend to eat more calories during the day.
  • Kids who eat breakfast have been found to be more likely to participate in physical activities and tend to eat healthier in general.
I added up the calories of the breakfast burritos I made that had about 1 egg, 1 whole wheat carb choppers burrito, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 2 T pinto beans and some salsa and hot sauce.

Calories: 275
Fiber: 5 grams
Fat 11 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Calcium: 19% of your daily amount needed

They are a little high in fat, but for kids this shouldn't be a problem unless they have some extra fat on them. If you just use less cheese, you will be fine.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Semi-Healthy Truffles

Truffles are known for being very naughty little treats. I came across a recipe recently in Family Fun, my favorite magazine. They had a recipe for truffles that used vanilla soy milk instead of heavy cream. I have been wanted to make good truffles ever since my friend Bonnie made them for me. She makes the best truffles. My 2 older kids and I made them for their teachers as an end of the year present. They turned out great! Here is the recipe. After the recipe I will put some benefits of dark chocolate.

1 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips or some dark chocolate
1/3 C vanilla soy milk

Make a double boiler by taking a pot and filling 1/2 full of water, then place a glass or plastic bowl on top. Bring water to a simmer and stir chocolate and soy milk until melted together and glossy. Add one of the following flavors or leave plain: 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon orange extract.
Or you can add a sprinkle of the following spices to make it really exotic tasting. Cheyenne, Cinnamon, ground cloves, star anise.

Put into freezer until it is hardened and doesn't look glossy anymore (don't freeze, just chill to a gnash).

Spray some oil on your hands and take a heaping teaspoon into your hands and roll. Then roll into one of the following toppings: chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds, sprinkles, cocoa powder.

Put on wax paper and refrigerate. Can be kept out for about 8 hours, but should be refrigerated beyond that.

Why is Dark Chocolate Good for Me?
  1. One study found that Dark Chocolate helped lower blood pressure. This is because chocolate has plant phenols in it. The darker the chocolate the better since darker chocolate has more of the plant phenols.
  2. Dark Chocolate has lots antioxidants. Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress. Free radicals are like rust for the body. Antioxidants help get rid of the rust. Antioxidants are involved in the prevention of cellular damage -- the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.
  3. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.
  4. Dark Chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure.
  5. Dark Chocolate contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.
  6. Dark Chocolate contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants (this is good if you are a sleep deprived mom of twins).
Keep in mind that milk chocolate doesn't have any of the above health benefits. You must stick with dark (semi-sweet is the same). This means 60% or more. Costco has a really yummy bag of chocolates that they sell. I haven't seen it in a few months, but it is Kirkland brand and it has 3 kinds of individually wrapped dark chocolates. Remember, chocolate still has calories in it, so you can't just eat as much as you want. A little goes a long ways. Also, if you buy dark chocolate with carmel in the middle, it doesn't count. Sugar and milk seem to cancel out many of the above health benefits. Guess that means my truffles are out? Not sure if soy milk has the same effect.

Five Healthy Pancakes

This morning I was making pancakes and talking about this blog post when my son Dallin came up with the title for the post . . . Five Healthy Pancakes. Kids are so funny. Then he started going on about how every post I did could be titled "Five Healthy" and then what ever food I am talking about.

So what makes pancakes so healthy? I started making home made pancakes because Bisquick was expensive and had hydrogenated fats in it. Then I continued to make pancakes because my oldest (Dallin) has never liked milk, and I was always looking for ways to get some milk in him. Home made pancakes have a lot of milk in them.

Recently I discovered one of my new favorite things (drum roll please . . . ) WHITE WHOLE WHEAT! What is it? It is another variety of wheat that bakes up much better then the usual Red Whole Wheat. It is kinda like how there are lots of kinds of grass. There is the blue grama grass which is great for places where it is cold like North Dakota or there is the Bent Grass, which is great for golf courses because of its softness. They are both grass, but they are different species of grass.

Red Wheat

  1. Stores for 25 plus years in the whole kernal form
  2. Heavier for breads and baking
White Wheat
  1. I have heard it doesn't store as long (even if it is 10 years, that is ok with me)
  2. Has a lighter less harder texture; ie: its texture is like white bread

Just so we are clear, I am not talking about white flour. I am talking about 100% whole wheat flour made from the hard white wheat kind of wheat. Both white wheat and red wheat have the same nutritional value.

So what are the benefits of 100% whole wheat vs. enriched wheat flour?

The white flour that you buy at the store to make cookies and bread with is enriched wheat flour. It is enriched because they lose so many nutrients in the process of making the enriched white flour. Enriched white flour is wheat flour that has had the bran and germ removed; therefore, just using the "middle" section. This "middle section" has so little nutrients that it is a law that certain amounts of nutrients are added back into the flour; therefore, enriching it. The bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernal and the germ is the inner soft middle.

For a better visual of this, think of a piece of popcorn that hadn't been popped. The outer layer that gets stuck in your teeth is the bran. The inner layer that is soft and chewy (if you have ever chewed a popcorn kernel) is the germ. The middle section is the part that explodes into the popped corn.

The bran is particularly rich in fiber and omegas, and it also has vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including, vit E, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin, zinc, and magnesium. It is a good source of fiber.

The wheat germ is the part that spouts into a plant. So that means that the germ has enough nutrients to support the life of a plant until the plant makes enough roots to get its own nutrients.

One Cup of 100% whole wheat flour has:

59% of your daily fiber
26% of your daily iron
20% of your daily vitamin B6
13% of your daily folate
23% of your daily zinc

Because they "enrich" (which mean "add back in") processed white flour, many of the main nutrients are the same, but a huge difference is the fiber.

Click on this link to see someones test between white and red wheat with cooking bread.

I don't do a ton of baking, but I do like to make pancakes from scratch. It doesn't take that long, and it is easy to replace white flour with whole wheat flour. I don't know if they sell the whole wheat white flour already ground up at just any store, but I did find it online here. If you are unsure, just check the ingredient list. It would be safe to say that if it doesn't have the word enriched in it, it is probably 100% whole wheat white flour.

My favorite pancake recipes come from my brother Scott and his wife Brenda.

2 C. milk
2-4 T canola oil
2 eggs
4 T light sour cream (yogurt also works)
2 C. whole wheat flour
2 T. baking powder
1 t. salt

Buttermilk Hotcakes

2 1/4 C. flour (I tried whole wheat white flour and it was good!)
1 1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3 T sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 C. fat-free buttermilk
3 T. canola oil

Mix all ingredients together.

Soon you will never eat another white pancake again!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


If you ask any of my kids that can talk why you need fiber, they would be able to tell you. It is important to let your kids understand how their bodies work so that they will know how to take care of them. We would teach them how to check the oil in their car, or why oil is important for their car (actually, I think my parents forgot to teach me that one . . . I seized up my first car). Just because I teach my kids what fiber is and why you need it, doesn't mean that we have "potty talk" at the table. "Potty talk" at the table is against the rules at my house.

So why do we need fiber? I tell my kids that it helps keep your poop soft and makes it easier for it to come out. I also tell them that it prevents cancer. They know what cancer is because their Grandpa has it. I also tell them that it helps take the fat that is bad for their heart, out of their body. When kids have problems going to the bathroom, tell them right then that it is because they didn't eat enough foods with fiber, and then tell them some foods that have fiber in them.

Fiber Facts

  • Dietary fiber consists of nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. This includes plant nonstarch polysaccharides (for example, cellulose, pectin, gums, hemicellulose, and fibers contained in oat and wheat bran), oligosaccharides, lignin, and some resistant starch.
  • Since fiber isn't digested, but rather "passed through", people who eat more fiber tend to be slimmer than those who eat less fiber.
  • Fiber helps control/prevent diabetes. A German clinical trial reported that eating fiber-enriched bread for only three days improved insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese women by 8%.
  • Fiber helps prevent heart disease. In a Harvard study of over 40,000 male health professionals, researchers found that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to a low-fiber intake.
  • Fiber helps your cholesterol. It appears that soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines by binding with bile (which contains cholesterol) and dietary cholesterol so that the body excretes it.
  • Fiber helps relieve/prevent constipation. Some kids have this problem. It seem all too common.

How Much Fiber do your kids need?

The average Americans daily intake of fiber is about 5 to 14 grams per day. I am sure that for kids the average is even lower. Below is how much they should be getting.

Kids 1 to 3 years: 19 grams

Kids 4 to 8 years: 25 grams

Boys 9 to 13 years: 31 grams

Girls 9 to 13 years: 26 grams

What are some High Fiber food ideas?

  1. Smoothies made with whole fruits. This means fruits that still have the peel on them. Juice does NOT have fiber in it. Smoothies are great because they do have fiber in them and they still taste like juice and are liquid like juice. If your kid is having a hard time liking the texture of the smoothie, put more water in it and serve it with a straw. Better yet, serve it with a bendy straw and a dollop of light canned whipped cream.
  2. Beans. I tell my kids that beans are the healthiest food on the earth. This could be argued, but it is my opinion that they are. They have about 20% protein (meat is only 18%, although meat is a complete protein). Beans also average 6 grams of fiber for only 1/2 cup! Baked beans are a great way to get kids to like beans. Nice and sweet. Also try opening a can of refried beans and heat it up in the microwave with about 1/2 C -1 C shredded cheddar cheese. Then let your kids dip their corn chips in it. Another great way is to make black bean soup (see recipe below). This is a mostly pureed up, so they don't even know they are eating beans. You can give beans to babies starting at 8 months. Kidney beans are very soft and big and easy to pick up with their fingers. Hummus is also a great way to get your kids to eat beans. Try this easy black bean hummus recipe.
  3. Nuts also have a lot of fiber. On average you get about 3 grams for 1/4 of a cup. Try putting together trail mix. I also love sugared nuts on a green salad. Whenever I make a green salad, I make extra sugared nuts to put on my kids plates. Only my oldest will eat the lettuce, but they all love the sugared nuts, fruit, and cheese that is usually in the lettuce salad. See below for how to sugar nuts.
  4. Cold and Hot Cereal. If you pick your cereal right, you can get a lot of fiber. One of my new favorites is Kashi's Honey Sunshine. You get 6 grams of fiber per serving. Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, and Cracked Wheat are all great too. Grapenuts, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Cheerios are also some favorites of ours that have lots of fiber. All of the Kashi cereals have a lot of fiber. Keep in mind that if your kids have the choice between 2 high fiber cereals, they are more likely to pick one than if they have the choice between a high fiber cereal and a sweet no fiber cereal. The point is that your kids won't eat Lucky Charms if you don't buy them!
  5. Popcorn is a great healthy high fiber snack. One cup of popped popcorn has about 2 grams. I don't know about your kids, but my kids eat a lot more than 1 Cup.
  6. Whole wheat bread. I am planning on doing a separate post on this, but yes, you should buy whole wheat bread. Start early with never buying white bread. It does have a different texture than white bread, but you need to get them used to it.
So to sum things up, you need to give your kids enough fiber so that they don't get cancer, heart disease, diabetes, constipation, and obesity. Can you believe that one little thing can help prevent so many diseases?

So feed your kids beans, popcorn, good cereal, whole wheat bread, and nuts. Also, make it a rule that if there are less than 2 grams of fiber per serving, don't buy it!

Black Bean Soup

3 Cups canned Black Beans drained
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
2 t chopped jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t aniseed
6 C chicken stock
1 can stewed tomatoes
3/4 t salt and pepper
4 t lime juice

Saute in oil: garlic, onion, celery til soft. Add chili powder, jalapeno pepper, oregano, cumin and aniseed. Cook for 1 minute. Add beans and stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper. In bender, puree soup. Return to pot and add lime juice. You can puree it finely, or chunky.

Sugared Nuts

About 1/2 Cup of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
1 T water
3 T sugar

Put all in a frying pan and cook on high heat for a couple of minutes or until water has evaporated. Stir frequently to ensure the nuts are evenly coated and to prevent burning.