On any given day, 30 per cent of Canadian children visit a fast food restaurant. Yet many of those same meals can be made at home, making them more nutritious and usually less expensive.
“Most of us know that making heart-healthy food choices is essential to raising healthy children, but in today’s fast-paced society it can be a challenge,” said dietitian Amanda Nash, community nutrition manager for the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Manitoba.
BREAKFAST OR SNACKSunshine French Toast» Eight servingsNot just for breakfast, French toast makes for an energizing snack. Slice into strips, cube for kabobs, or fix a French toast sandwich. Heart-healthy snacking fuels after school activities and helps avoid the pre-dinner slump.3 eggs1 cup skim milk (250 mL)1/3 cup orange juice (75 mL)¼ tsp cinnamon (1 mL)1/8 tsp nutmeg (0.5 mL)1 tsp vanilla extract (5 mL)1 tsp grated orange zest (5 mL)2 Tbsp canola oil, divided (30 mL)8 slices whole grain breadDirections:• In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and orange zest.• In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil over medium heat.• Dip slices of bread into the egg mixture, turning to coat and soak up the mixture.• Add to the skillet and cook until each side is golden brown, turning once. Repeat with the rest of the slices, adding extra canola oil as needed, of 2 Tbsp (30 mL).• Serve in your favourite way: slice into strips to eat with your hands, cube it and make a fruit and toast kabob, use cookie cutters to make fun shapes, or make a French toast sandwich with yogurt or peanut butter as the filling.» Nutrition Analysis (One slice): Calories 130; Protein 5 g; Total fat 6 g; Saturated Fat 1 g; Cholesterol 70 mg; Carbohydrates 16 g; Fibre 5 g; Sugar 3 g; Sodium: 110 mg.» Taken from "Quick and Healthy Cookbook" kids edition, Vol. 1.
To make things easier, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Cargill, in partnership with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, have released a brand new kids’ edition of the “Quick & Healthy Cookbook.”
This free cookbook, filled with easy-to-follow, kid-friendly recipes will help put the fun back in mealtime preparation.
The cookbook focuses on typical kid-friendly meals and snacks such as super salmon stix (fish fingers), seasoned popcorn, and easy cheesy calzones (similar to a home-made pizza pop). The book also includes four pages of children’s activities.
“Preparing foods with your children can help teach and reinforce messages about healthy eating,” said Christine Houde, PHEc, nutrition manager for HSF.
“If a child has some familiarity with different ingredients and experience with food preparation, they are less inclined to be dependent on pre-packaged or processed food as an adult,” she said.
“This is especially important given more people are eating out and buying unhealthy convenience foods than ever before, potentially putting an entire generation at risk of developing heart disease and stroke at an earlier age.”
Preparing home-cooked meals can help you control the amount of salt and the type of fat that is used in meal preparation and also allows you to include more nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grain products.
Currently, 96 per cent of Manitoba youth are not getting the minimum amount of vegetables and fruit they need. Adults need seven to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day and school-aged children need five to eight. On average, families that eat and prepare meals together eat more fruits and vegetables.
There are many benefits to preparing and eating meals at home as a family. Cooking is an essential life skill and presents many learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, such as:
• By reinforcing fun in the kitchen, you increase your children’s interest and appetite for healthy eating and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to become a healthy adults.
• By cooking with your kids, you will empower them to independently develop their food preferences and understanding of nutrition.
• Cooking can help develop motor skills like kneading, mixing, blending or chopping.
• Meal preparation is a hands-on learning opportunity to talk about the importance of using heart-healthy ingredients and how this impacts heart health.
• Demonstrating and supervising tasks such as grating or chopping can teach kitchen safety.
• Recipe reading can help with reading comprehension and following instructions, measuring ingredients can teach arithmetic and exposing children to raw ingredients can help teach children where food comes from. Meal preparation can also teach teamwork, organizational skills and budgeting basics.
• The more invested a child is in meal preparation, the more likely they will eat and enjoy that meal.
“It’s never too early to involve your children in meal preparation. Kids in the kitchen are a natural fit,” Nash said.
In the planning, preparation, and cleanup, there are kitchen tasks suitable for almost every age and skill level, such as:
• Choosing meals or recipes (all ages)
• Helping to write a grocery list (all ages)
• Gathering the ingredients for a recipe (all ages)
• Peeling and trimming vegetables and fruit (older kids)
• Mixing or whisking ingredients of a recipe together (older kids)
• Opening packages (younger kids)
• Kneading or rolling dough (younger kids)
Heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in Manitoba. Teaching your children to make healthy food choices that include heart healthy fats, more fibre and less sodium can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Manitobans are encouraged to contact the foundation for a free cookbook and also to enter the nutrition month contest at heartandstroke.mb.ca/quickandhealthy for a chance to win a Safeway gift basket containing a $200 Safeway gift card along with some Heart and Stroke Foundation home cooking gear.
HSF nutrition managers have prepared four, four-six minute cooking segments to show how easy it is to prepare sunshine french toast and quickie crepes, easy cheesy calzones with green green salad, stoplight sandwiches, kickin’ orange chicken, appleberry crisp and a chocolate birthday cookie.
They will be aired on Shaw and WCG-TV throughout March or can be viewed on the foundation’s website at heartandstroke.mb.ca/heartsmart.
To receive a copy of the cookbook, call 204-571-4080 in Brandon or 1-888-473-4636 in rural Manitoba. A PDF copy can also be downloaded at heartandstroke.mb.ca.
For even more recipes, please request a free copy of “Quick and Healthy Volume 4” with bonus recipes: dried cherry granola, sole en papillote, lemon roasted potatoes and Asian cabbage slaw.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 16, 2013