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

5 Must-Have Apps For the Eco-Conscious Shopper

Food Shopping Apps |

This is a guest post by Garret Stembridge. So you’re shopping for salad ingredients when you remember that your sister recently mentioned spinach could be high in pesticides. Wait, was it spinach or was it cabbage? Better go with the box labeled Certified Organic, just to be safe. But how environmentally conscious is that packaging? You could spend half your day scrolling through pages of Internet search results, but who has the patience for that while standing in the fresh produce aisle? Even when time is of the essence, you don’t have to sacrifice your eco sensibilities. Check out these five, *free* smartphone applications that bridge the gap between real life and the virtual information highway to make you the savviest shopper on the block. GoodGuide Don’t tell your four-year-old, but the GoodGuide app could be the best shopping buddy you’ve ever had. With over 170,000 catalogued food, personal and … 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