Is how you eat as important as what you eat?

Does this sound familiar?

You sprint to your car at 6:30 a.m. (and you’re somehow already running behind schedule?!) so you race to the nearest drive-thru to grab a bagel and a coffee. As you shove your food down in the car, you hastily check breakfast off the seemingly never ending to-do list. But at what cost?

In Western culture, how we eat is often overlooked. A kitchen table is often substituted for the driver’s seat of your car, the bus stop, or the desk chair of your office.

Have you ever thought about how these various places you eat may affect your health and well-being? In many cultures across the globe, mealtime is not viewed as a check off the to-do list, but rather an experience to be savored and shared with others.

This week, make mealtime an authentic dining experience to be savored and shared with others, rather than a time to multitask.

Enjoy a meal with family and friends, rather than with your cell phone or other electronic device. Eat at the table, rather than in a car or on a couch.

When you do these things, you’re more likely to have cooked the meal yourself. The majority of homemade meals are nutritionally superior to processed food options.

Also, when you don’t multitask while enjoying a meal, you’re more likely to consume your meal mindfully. By pacing yourself as you eat, your digestive system is able to keep up with your consumption.

Do you think that how you eat is more, equally, or less important than what you eat?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

Children’s Menus…Lacking Common Sense?

Chicken tenders, French fries, hamburgers, hotdogs, mac-and-cheese…

This hodgepodge of nutrient-devoid fats, carbs, and processed meats appear on virtually all children’s menus at restaurants, regardless of cuisine.

The concept of children’s menus lacks common sense.

Why is it that elementary school-aged kids are only offered a menu of salt, sugar, and fat, at such a critical point in the development of their eating habits? How is it that only once a young person becomes an adult are they offered a healthier menu when dining out?

There are, of course, exceptions. Some restaurants incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as lean proteins and nutritious fats into children’s dishes. However, this is the exception, not the norm.

Imagine a restaurant without a separate menu for young children. Instead, children ordered the same food as adults.

We only live what we learn.

Next time you’re out to eat with your child, consider sharing your meal with her or him. This approach will not only enhance your eating habits, it will also cultivate your child’s palate.

Restaurant entrées are supersized. By sharing your meal with your child, you’ll either avoid the urge to overeat or avoid wasting food. You’ll also save money, and who doesn’t love that?!

Your child will also reap the benefits of sharing a meal with you. Not only will she or he foster nutritious eating habits from an early age, they’ll also expand their culinary horizons. Not to mention the fact that a meal shared with you will be much more nutrient-dense than an option from the children’s menu.

Looking for more tips to make your family’s restaurant experience healthful?

Check out why happy meals make me unhappy, and discover how to improve the nutrition of your next restaurant meal.

What’s your take on the concept of children’s menus?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

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Season with herbs using these 15 suggestions

One of the local farms my family frequents is harvesting its herb crop. The bounty includes sprigs of cilantro, leaves of parsley, and stems of basil.

Do you grow an herb garden? Whether you plant herbs on raised beds in your backyard, planters on your deck, or pots on your kitchen counter, one thing is for sure. There is no dearth of herbs this time of year!

To ensure that you make the most of this growing season, implement these tips for incorporating herbs into diverse recipes:

1. Sprinkle a handful of finely sliced chives on scrambled eggs.

2. Tear basil leaves into spring mix or your other favorite salad greens.

3. As you knead pizza dough, add leaves of oregano into the dough.

4. Chop parsley leaves and sprinkle them onto roasted asparagus spears.

5. Add two tablespoons of thinly sliced cilantro to your favorite guacamole recipe.

6. Prepare basil ice cubes by incorporating equal parts water and a chiffonade of basil to ice cube trays. Also, check out my post on healthful hydration for more suggestions for herb-infused waters and ice cubes.

7. Prepare herbed butter by combining a single clove of garlic, four tablespoons of salted butter, and sprigs of thyme.

8. Stir finely sliced chives into sour cream to create a topping for baked potatoes or zucchini pancakes.

9. Chop up a few teaspoons of thyme and incorporate into your favorite shortbread recipe.

10. Chiffonade basil and add to a fruit salad consisting of watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple.

11. Stir leaves of oregano into a few ounces of goat cheese and enjoy over salad.

12. Top chicken or fish tacos with cilantro leaves.

13. Add parsley to the breading mixture for baked chicken tenders or fish fillets.

14. Tear leaves of basil into steamed peas.

15. Sprinkle chopped parsley onto roasted potatoes, smashed potatoes, or mashed potatoes (polenta works too!)

What’s your favorite herb? How do you incorporate herbs into your diet?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie

If you found what you read compelling, please consider:

Forwarding this blog post to a friend and encouraging him or her to follow me at:  www.letseatlunch.wordpress.com

Liking this blog post.

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