Protein-Rich Foods (and Recipes) for Vegetarian Children

Protein Options for Vegetarian Children |

Recently my nine-year-old has mentioned a desire to eat less meat. We are not a vegetarian family, but Sofie has several vegetarian friends and a soft spot for animals. As much as she loves the taste of most meats, I think she’s grappling with the realization that animals are being killed for her food. I’m all for supporting this change. A semi-vegetarian lifestyle is healthier and eco-friendly (learn why). My role now is to determine good sources of protein to replace the meat in Sofie’s meals. As the main building blocks of the body, proteins are necessary for building and maintaining our muscles, tissues and organs; fueling our brains; and aiding in specialized functions. A “complete” protein includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Vegetarians often get all those amino acids through eating a varied diet. After some research, and knowing my daughter’s … Continue reading

Cranberries: Benefits and Recipes

Cranberry Health Benefits and Recipes |

My family recently enjoyed Massachusetts’ annual Cranberry Harvest Celebration, during which we toured the cranberry bogs and watched the fruit being harvested. It was a gorgeous fall day to enjoy such festivities, and we learned a lot about the cranberry. History of the Cranberry Cranberries are one of three native fruits to North America (the others being blueberries and Concord grapes). Besides cooking with them, Native Americans used cranberries for treating urinary infections, fever, childbirth injuries and arrow wounds. They also used the fruit as a fabric dye and the plant leaf as a tobacco substitute. Early settlers ate them to fight off scurvy, which did help since cranberries are rich in vitamin C. The fruit was originally dubbed a craneberry because the Pilgrims thought the plant resembled a crane’s red head and bill. It wasn’t until 1816 that cranberries were first harvested successfully. Because the fruit requires such specific … Continue reading

Product Review: Mohawk Valley Trading Company

Natural Products from Mohawk Valley |

There are companies who try to make everything natural and green—a valiant effort—but they often spread themselves too thin. Then there are companies who specialize in a few items and do those items very well. Mohawk Valley Trading Company is one such company. With a warehouse and apiaries located in upstate New York, they produce honey, beeswax, maple syrup and soap— unprocessed and natural and of the highest quality. I had the pleasure of sampling some of their products, which are only available online. Beeswax and Honey I have their beeswax candle lit right now as I work on my computer. (Apparently, when burned, beeswax candles emit negative ions, which are believed to clean the air and reduce symptoms of depression and asthma. Not that I suffer from either, but I figured it might offset the electromagnetic radiation from the computer.) Beeswax candles may seem a little pricier, but honeybees … Continue reading

Why You Should Avoid Sugar When You’re Sick

Why You Should Avoid Sugar When You're Sick |

This is something I wondered recently when Sofie came down with a bad cold after a string of birthday parties and Halloween activities. I knew that a virus had caused the cold, but I wondered if an excess of sugary treats had contributed to it. Motherly instinct told me to reduce the number of sweets Sofie ate while she was sick (a trying rule to implement during Halloween!), but my suggestion was met with such horror from my seven-year-old that I had to see if there was any foundation for my parental decision. I learned some interesting things. Like how most plants and animals (including cats and dogs) can convert sugar into vitamin C. Now that would be cool. Unfortunately, humans are not one of the lucky animals who can do this. In humans, glucose (sugar) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) compete with each other, so a diet high in … Continue reading

School Lunches: Trusting Kids to Make Healthy Choices

Kids Making Healthy Food Choices |

Sofie went off to first grade this fall, and, for the first time ever, I do not have to pack her lunch. Hooray! However, this also means my six-year-old now makes her own lunch choices at school. Not so “hooray.” I now worry about my sudden lack of control in this area. What if Sofie eats nothing but bread and ice cream every day? Maybe peer pressure will take hold and she’ll decide it’s not cool to eat veggies. Anything could happen. The good news is that her school has a healthy menu of food selections. Every day there is a sandwich bar, a salad bar, soups and fresh fruit. Dessert is served twice a week, a parent-approved reduction from previous years. The other days, Sofie makes “rainbow yogurt” — vanilla yogurt mixed with fruits of her choice. The milk is local (Rhody Fresh), and we have reached an agreement … Continue reading

Top 5 Power Snacks for Breastfeeding Moms

Power Snacks for Breastfeeding Moms |

When I was breastfeeding Sofie, I was always hungry. Why? Because women emit anywhere between 425-700 calories per day into their breast milk, which is great for baby but also leaves you feeling depleted and constantly craving food. Take care of yourself and eat smart with nutrient-dense snacks that make your milk healthy while fueling you with a much-needed boost of energy. If you can make snacks ahead of time (say, on the weekend while someone else cares for the baby), they’ll be on hand for easy grabbing during the week. Here are five ideas: Nut Butter on Whole-grain Bread This combination of protein and whole grains really takes the edge off hunger. Nut butters are delicious and come in a variety from peanut to almond to cashew (although avoiding peanut butter may decrease your child’s chances of a peanut allergy). Try these delicious and healthy nut butters — I … Continue reading

Gardening With Flowers You Can Eat!

Edible Flowers |

This is a guest post by Linda Bailey. When it comes to gardening, you may think you have to sacrifice beauty for utility. After all, most edible produce does not make your garden burst with color. However there are some edible plants that do have great flowers. Here are five examples. Rose We are all familiar with roses, but did you know they are related to apples, cherries, peaches and plums? Rose petals are actually edible, and they lend a delicate fragrance and flavor to salads and other dishes. They can also be made into rose water or jelly. Rose hips are full of Vitamin C and make a tasty tea or jelly. Note: Never eat roses from a florist as they have been showered with pesticides. Redbud Tree This small tree or shrub is part of many landscaping projects for good reason. The redbud’s bright pink flowers bloom directly on … Continue reading