Food Synergy

Nicole Palmieri, who is currently studying Dietetics at the University of Dayton, shared with Healthy Lombard that…

Certain food pairings will increase nutrient absorption to create a possible health benefit, which is also known as food synergy. These are great to utilize in order to boost our bodies’ protection level from diseases and overall health. Here are a few notable examples of food pairings:

Vitamin C with Iron

Specifically speaking to non-heme iron, or the iron that does not come from animal meat, plant-based iron can be better absorbed when paired with foods rich in Vitamin C. Plant-based sources of iron include legumes, nuts, seeds, quinoa, spinach, iron-fortified grains, and more. Foods rich in Vitamin C include tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and more. Making a meal such as a lentil salad with cooked bell peppers and broccoli, or a snack platter of mixed unsalted nuts with vegetable sticks and tomatoes are great for food synergy!

Vitamins A, D, E, and K with Fat

Vitamins are classified as either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C and B Vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Since these are absorbed alongside fats, it would make sense that these are better absorbed when consumed with fats! The fats that we are talking about are healthy fats, such as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, versus saturated and trans fats. Examples of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, chia seeds, fatty fish, and more. Examples of foods plentiful with fat-soluble vitamins include dark leafy greens, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables (Vitamin A), egg yolks and other animal products (Vitamin D), almonds, and sunflower seeds (Vitamin E), and dairy products and dark leafy greens (Vitamin K). Cooking a meal such as avocado toast with scrambled eggs or a grilled 6 oz. salmon with a side salad of dark leafy greens topped with sunflower seeds and olive oil are great options for this pairing!

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Meal Prep Ideas to Start Your Week Strong!

Cropped picture of mature woman standing at the kitchen cooking.Nicole Palmieri, who is currently studying Dietetics at the University of Dayton, shared with Healthy Lombard that… whether you are busy running around with kids, completing errands, or constantly working, it seems that there is always another task on the to-do list to cross off. Being on the go for most of the day can create little time and energy given to the food we choose to eat. Instead of grabbing the most convenient meal or snack, preparing your meals at the beginning of the week will be a time-saver and ensure you are fitting in a nutritious meal, even on your busiest days!

Here are some ideas for meal prep:

Salad

  • First, pick your base: arugula, spinach, a spring mix, or kale.
  • Then, pick your protein: chicken, tofu, a hard-boiled egg, edamame, or chickpeas.
  • Next, pick your starch: sweet potato, corn, peas, squash, and there are plenty more options!
  • Now, load up on the vegetables – select your favorites! I like adding tomatoes, cucumbers, and roasting broccoli, red onion, and zucchini.
  • Finally, top it off with a healthy fat such as avocado slices, a sprinkle of hemp hearts, walnuts, or a drizzle of olive oil! Save the olive oil to add on the day you are eating it, so the salad does not get soggy!

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Gluten Free Dining Options

Nicole Palmieri, Senior at Glenbard South High School, shared with Healthy Lombard that In the past 20 years, our world has seen more awareness for “gluten-free,” “gluten allergy,” “gluten sensitivity” options at restaurants and fast-food chains. It can get all too confusing, so here is a comprehensive list of fast-food places and restaurants in Lombard, or near the area, that have gluten-free options, menus, and which ones to steer clear of. Also in this article, you will learn about the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Fast-Food that Offer Gluten-Free Options:
• Many fast-food chains offer gluten-free french fries upon request. This includes Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, Sonic and Arby’s.

• Chains that have the worst opportunities for gluten-free options (according to verywellfit.com) include Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and KFC “as they have extremely limited options and the risks for gluten crossing-contamination are high.”

  • Those with severe celiac disease should be cautious when ordering food that has any possibility of cross-contamination. In this case, the more questions the better!
  • Cross-contamination appears often in fried foods, so ask if your food will be cooked in oil that is specifically meant for gluten-free items. Also, ask if equipment like toasters, pizza ovens, panini presses, different spatulas, etc. are used for the purpose of keeping conscious of those with a severe gluten allergy.
  • Again, the more questions the better! If you have celiac disease and are asking your waiter or cashier, try to gauge how secure they are in their answers. If they do not seem to know, ask to see a manager! Better to double-check then risk it.
  • Arby’s has a separate gluten-free menu, but most foods that are not potato-based or eaten without bread are gluten-free there. Chipotle is almost unanimously gluten-free, except for its soft flour tortillas. (medicalnewstoday.com)

Another tip is to ask the fast-food place, or any restaurant for that matter, if the food is prepared specifically on a separate surface from gluten-containing items. Read more

MANAGING YOUR CHILD’S DIABETES DURING THE HOLIDAYS

Rise and Shine shared that while the holidays are a great time for indulging in your favorite sweets and treats, they can be stressful if you have a child with diabetes. You’re tasked with paying close attention to your child’s eating choices while making sure he or she doesn’t feel left out of the festivities.

With careful planning, your child can participate and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

Monitor blood sugar levels frequently

High carb holiday foods, including cakes, bread, and pasta can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check your child’s level more frequently during the holidays and dose insulin accordingly; keeping in mind that activity may also affect blood sugars.

Different insulin regimens require different strategies

If your child is on an insulin regimen requiring two or three shots per day (known as conventional insulin therapy), try to time the holiday meal around dinner so that the short or rapid-acting insulin can be easily adjusted. Otherwise, if the meal is in the afternoon, consider adding an extra dose of rapid or short-acting insulin to cover the meal. Please discuss details with your child’s diabetes team, which will happily assist in managing insulin doses during holiday festivities. Read more

School lunches to help your child power through the afternoon

Mary Gardner, RD, LDN, an outpatient dietitian at Edward Hospital shared in the Ederd-Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that as adults, we’re all too familiar with the afternoon slump — that time of day when you have a few hours to go but you’re starting to crave sugar and/or nod off at your desk.Kids go through that, too. But it’s preventable (for adults, too!) if you eat the right food for lunch.

And, let’s face it, besides wanting our kids to have the energy for the school day, nobody wants a starving, cranky kid getting off the bus after school.

A mix of protein and complex carbohydrates can provide the kick your kids need to get through the afternoon and still have the energy to play (after homework’s done) when they get home.

Keep these tips in mind when you buy food for lunches:

  • Avoid refined carbs. Choose fiber-rich whole grains, such as 100 percent whole wheat bread, tortilla wraps, bagels or pita bread for sandwiches. And brown rice, beans or lentils instead of white bread, white rice, and heavily processed products.
  • Pack protein. Hard-boiled eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and nut butter are great ways to get protein in your kids’ lunches. A peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread would be a perfect protein-complex carb combination. Or try a snack lunch of sliced turkey, low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers.
  • Don’t forget the vegetables. Veggies go well with proteins like low-fat cheese or nut butter. Try easy-to-eat finger foods like sliced cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and snap peas plain or with a hummus dip, or ants on a log (celery with nut butter and raisins).
  • Fiber + carbs = energy (and a full tummy). Whole fruit – grapes, sliced apples or pears, and orange segments – are great sources of carbohydrates and fiber.  Other ideas are dried cereal, popcorn or a trail mix (kids love to help make this one!).

 

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How to help make your child a more adventurous eater

Amita Health shared in the Daily Herald Newspaper that some kids seem to eat just about everything, while others are picky eaters.

Your first concern is to make sure your children are eating a healthy, nutritious diet, of course. But what if you also would like to add a little variety to your family meals? There are several things you can do to encourage your child to be a more adventurous eater.

First, start early, according to Dr. Joni Hamilton, a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist with Children & Teens Medical Center in Algonquin and on staff at Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates.

“Start at a young age exposing them to different tastes and textures,” she said.

Popular “kid-friendly” meals, especially those offered by restaurants, are usually boring and rarely nutritious, and there is no need to make special meals for kids unless they have allergies or some other dietary restrictions.

“Kids can eat everything that adults can eat,” Hamilton said.

You also should include young children in meal planning and preparation, so that they feel more empowered in making their own food choices.

“From toddler age, kids can get involved in things like grocery shopping and helping to choose foods at the store. Then, while you are cooking, you can give them little chores in the kitchen like washing vegetables,” Hamilton said. Read more

Outside the box lunch ideas

Advocate Children’s Hospital shared in their Children’s Health Series that with children returning to school after a long winter break, Dr. Vidhya Viswanathan, a pediatric endocrinologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital, provides seven tips to keep your child’s lunch healthy and fun:

1) Use a whole wheat tortilla: Add whole grains to our child’s lunch by using a whole wheat tortilla or sandwich wrap instead of white sandwich bread.

2) Cut sandwiches into fun shapes: Jazz up the look of your child’s sandwich by using a cookie cutter to cut the cheeses, meats and bread into fun shapes like a flower or star.

3) Make ants on a log: Create this healthy and classic snack by filling a celery stick with low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter and placing raisins on top.

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School lunches to help your child power through the afternoon

Mary Gardner, RD, LDN, an outpatient dietitian at Edward Hospital., shared in an Edward-Elmhurt Helth’s  Healthy Driven Blog that as adults, we’re all too familiar with the afternoon slump — that time of day when you have a few hours to go but you’re starting to crave sugar and/or nod off at your desk.Kids go through that, too. But it’s preventable (for adults, too!) if you eat the right food for lunch.

And, let’s face it, besides wanting our kids to have energy for the school day, nobody wants a starving, cranky kid getting off the bus after school.

A mix of protein and complex carbohydrates can provide the kick your kids need to get through the afternoon and still have energy to play (after homework’s done) when they get home.

Keep these tips in mind when you buy food for lunches:

  • Avoid refined carbs. Choose fiber-rich whole grains, such as 100 percent whole wheat bread, tortilla wraps, bagels or pita bread for sandwiches. And brown rice, beans or lentils instead of white bread, white rice and heavily processed products.
  • Pack protein. Hard boiled eggs, low-fat Greek yogurt, low fat cheese, cottage cheese, and nut butter are great ways to get protein in your kids’ lunches. A peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread would be a perfect protein-complex carb combination. Or try a snack lunch of sliced turkey, low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers.
  • Don’t forget the vegetables. Veggies go well with proteins like low-fat cheese or nut butters. Try easy-to-eat finger foods like sliced cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and snap peas plain or with a hummus dip, or ants on a log (celery with nut butter and raisins).
  • Fiber + carbs = energy (and a full tummy). Whole fruit – grapes, sliced apples or pears, and orange segments – are great sources of carbohydrates and fiber.  Other ideas are: dried cereal, popcorn or a trail mix (kids love to help make this one!).

Read more

Food For Thought

When you eat and how frequently may benefit heart health

What times someone eats during the day and how frequently may play a role in having a healthy weight and heart.According to an American Heart Association scientific statement published Wednesday, eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke.

However, current research doesn’t dictate the best approach.

“There’s conflicting evidence about meal frequency,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., writing group chair and associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City. She said studies have shown the benefit of intermittent fasting and eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day.

Fasting every other day helped people lose weight in the short-term, but its long-term effects haven’t been studied, according to the statement. And there’s no guarantee that such fasting can be sustained.

“I can see scenarios where intermittent fasting can backfire,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a statement co-author and nutrition professor at Penn State University. For example, people who fast one day could eat more than twice as much the next day, she said. She also questioned what would happen if someone who fasted regularly for lengthy periods of time – weeks or even months – then started eating regularly every day.

Because there’s not a lot of information about how people could practice intermittent fasting, Kris-Etherton cautioned against using it as a weight loss or weight management strategy until further information is available.

Eating frequent meals has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors, says St-Onge. One study of men showed that those who ate more than four times a day had a lower risk of obesity than those eating three or fewer times a day. But other studies have found the opposite, with a greater risk of weight gain over time in those reporting eating more frequently. Read more