Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make Friends with Your Veggies

I love all things Cookie+Curly, but my heart is in food. Many of you have asked food questions or advice since I became a Registered Dietitian (RD), years ago, so I thought I'd take an occasional break from inundating you with C+C stuff, to share my world of nutrition with you.

Many people think RDs eat right all the time. Well, they don't. Pre-husband and kids, I was content on PB&H or cereal for dinner. It takes effort to make a nutritious and tasty meal for just one person!

My husband enjoys cooking and always (ALWAYS) eats a protein, a veggie and a starch for dinner. When we got married, I, too, took on this healthy habit. Once I got pregnant, nutrition really sunk home as another being was completely reliant on me for everything essential for healthy growth and development.

Now that I have kids, the mom and the RD in me kicks in and I try very hard to reach nutritious goals every day - for myself, as an example, and the kids.

Vegetables - Who doesn't struggle with getting those in?! Yes, there are a few of you that just LOVE having salad and veggie sticks throughout every day. Good for you. I'm not you. I can get veggies in at dinner without a problem, but throughout the day it's a bit more of a challenge. 

Go-to solutions we've discovered:
- Sauteed veggies in egg whites
- Roasted veggies smeared on toast, topped with cottage cheese, sliced turkey, etc.
- Vegetarian pizza (homemade)
- Sweet, fresh cherry/grape tomatoes - nothing beats fresh-off-the-vine!
- Sauteed spinach or collard/mustard greens - spread on any sandwich/burger/quesadilla/wrap. You can get way more in when you saute it!
- Steamed broccoli dipped in marinara sauce and grated parmesan
- Trusty carrots/zucchini & hummus
- Salads with citrus-based, olive oil/balsamic vinegar, or low-fat dressing
- "Kale Chips" - yes, don't freak out thinking this is gross. It's quite good! And kids LOVE it!
- Kale-Apple Smoothie - I haven't tried this yet but the fact that my kids like the Kale Chips makes me want to try this.
- Seasonal vegetables: We don't make it to Farmer's Market nearly enough, but when we do, I can definitely taste the difference between store-bought and fresh-from-the-farm veggies. Yum!
- Roasted vegetables: chop up basically any veggie; toss in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic or shallots; roast 25-45 minutes at 375-400F just until turning brown at the edges. Makes any veggie taste good! Leftovers make great additions to any meal/snack the next day.

Tonight we had whole wheat pasta, lean ground turkey, tossed with a new discovery: "Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce". Purchased at VONS, this puppy wasn't cheap ($8/bottle) but it is relatively low in sodium (358mg per 1/2 cup) and provides 58% of the recommended Vitamin A and 24% the recommended Vitamin C for a 2,000 calorie diet. Read: a great source of high-quality vitamins, especially for kiddos! (I'm thinking I could make something like this myself - Stay tuned.)

On the side we had "Sweet P. Fries": Slice sweet potatoes into "fries", toss with olive oil/salt/pepper/garlic, bake 400F, turn as needed. Sweet potatoes are considered "low calorie" (not terribly "calorie dense"), high in fiber, rich in vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, iron, potassium, and one yam ("orange-fleshed sweet potato") provides over 100% of the daily requirement for beta carotene. Don't forget to eat the skin!

It was a very ORANGE dinner, but man did it taste good. It made my Feel-Good Meter run high too, knowing that my kids had taken in some great nutrition today.

Back to birds. I have three custom orders going right now that are all so colorful and fun! The sewing machine awaits!

g'night: m


  1. Feeling inspired!! While I (of course) love your beautiful bird mobiles and cozy blankets... I'm in desperate need of some new food "tricks" for the kids. One picky, one not... other than "kale chips" (really!?!?!?) your on to something here...fun, creative, and good for you. I'm in. (and keep it coming - grovel, grovel). Ps. your husband sounds like he is super adventures with his nutrition - really walks on the wild side. Though joshing aside, I eat "daddy toast" every day. Seriously, every day. Yum.

  2. Post more nutrition nuggets!!!! I LOVED reading this, and would love a nutrition tip every day. Please, don't MAKE me beat on your door :0

  3. Molly!!! I tried the kale chips!! yummmy!!! I loved them. The kids havent tried them yet but I had a question first. Are they supposed to be crunchy? I cant wait to put them in a green salad, sans croutons!!!!

  4. I'm so glad you like them - We are addicted! Yes, they are supposed to be crispy, Kara. There is a fine line between crispy and burned though, so keep an eye on them. Great idea for substituting them for croutons. Awesome. Spread the word, and let me know what the kids think.