Category: Articles

How to Cut Papaya – Step by Step

While there are all different types of papaya or “pawpaw”, all of them are native to tropical regions such as Central and South America, Mexico, Hawaii. Local grocery stores near me carry Mexican papayas and the brand they had today was Chula Vista. They are large football shaped fruit, weighing about four pounds and are green when unripe. The inside can range from yellow to deep peach or bright orange flesh that has the texture of mango, with the sweet flavor of melon. They also have hundreds of black seeds inside which are normally removed, but don’t worry, they’re edible! Read on for how to cut papaya in different ways and why you want to do it!!

How to choose a papaya at the store

In addition to Mexican papaya, you may also see Hawaiian papaya in the U.S. Either way, they will most likely be green, so just pick one that is heavy for it’s size with clean, unblemished skin. Ripe papaya should have a sweet aroma and papaya skin should hold an impression when squeezed gently. Handle gently to prevent bruising. And beware, fresh papaya will continue to ripen at home. Peak season is late Fall through early Spring. Though, like pineapple, in the US papaya are available and ready to eat year round.

How do you know when it’s ripe?

When you get it home, it will likely need a few days to ripen to a nice yellow color. Unripe papaya is green and should be stored in a cool dry place. I remember my grandfather wrapping it in newspaper and leaving it on the counter in the cool laundry room to become ripe at room temperature.

Papayas are kind of like bananas, where they’re not so sweet when they’re green, but they’re really enjoyable to eat when they’re deep yellow, even slightly spotted.

Papayas are best enjoyed when they are 3/4 yellow. Overripe papaya may blemish and develop soft spots. If this happens, cut it right away.

How to ripen papaya at home

Store green papaya wrapped in newspaper or in a paper bag in a cool dry place for 2-3 days until it is no longer green, and is turning yellow. The more yellow and spotted the papaya, the riper it is. Once it is ripe, or turning yellow, it should be cut. It can be stored in the fridge to stall ripening, if you’re not quite ready to cut it yet.

What you need to start cutting

  • cutting board
  • chef’s knife
  • paring knife
  • spoon
  • optional: vegetable peeler

How to cut your papaya

  1. Remove the paper from your papaya
  2. Rinse under cool running water.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut the papaya in half, longways.
  4. Then cut off the ends of the papaya.
  5. Using a large spoon, remove the black seeds and discard, or set aside to add to salad dressings for a peppery bite!
  6. At this point you can use a melon baller to scoop out kid friendly rounds!
  7. OR I like to use a chef’s knife to cut into long strips, about 3/4 inch thick. For me, this is the simplest method.
  8. Then use a paring knife to remove the papaya skin along with any black spots
  9. Then I either serve in strips or cut into smaller pieces.

I’ve seen people remove the skin of the fruit with a vegetable peeler, but it can be a little cumbersome. If you want to remove the skin before cutting the fruit halves, I recommend turning the “papaya boat” or half, upside down so the flat side is on the flat surface of the counter top so the slippery fruit is more stable.

What does papaya taste like?

Mexican papaya is firm and juicy, but not quite as intense as Hawaiian papaya, which are much smaller in size.

Papaya has a sweet taste similar to other melons and can have a musky flavor when overripe. If you don’t like the flavor of papaya at room temperature, you may like it chilled.

What do you do with papaya seeds?

The small round black seeds inside the papaya are actually edible! They have a peppery flavor and can easily be incorporated into salad dressings or marinades.

If that doesn’t sound good to you, compost them or discard.

How to serve papaya?

  • Chilled with a little lime juice
  • Chop it into a fruit salad with other tropical fruits such as mango and banana
  • Papaya salsa made with red onion
  • Use papaya halves as their own bowl! Fill them with tuna salad, fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Add papaya to salad
  • Consider adding papaya to lunchboxes as an interesting and tasty addition
  • Add to holiday fruit baskets.
  • Add a papaya salad to your brunch spread
  • Pair with grilled meat and seafood for a pop of color and balance.
  • Add papaya to marinades to take advantage of their natural tenderizing properties
  • Cut a papaya to pair with food from Indian cuisines
  • Juice it or add to smoothies!

What flavors go well with papaya?

  • meat
  • poultry
  • smoked meats
  • avocado
  • chilies
  • lime
  • lemon
  • tropical fruits
  • coconut
  • ginger

How to store papaya?

  • Store in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator.
  • Chunks can also be frozen. I recommend freezing them on a large sheet pan first. Then place frozen chunks in a zip lock bag, remove as much air as possible and then place back in the freezer for up to three months!

How does papaya fit into my macros?

  • Just like most fruit!
  • Make a mental note to fit it into your next regular or low macro days!
  • Portion it out into 1 or 2 cup servings for an easy grab and go lunch!
  • 1 cup : 16g Carb, 2g Fiber, 1g Protein, 1g Fat

Papaya Nutrition

Papaya is low in calories and rich in nutrients and has a lot of health benefits. List most fruit, they’re low in calories and a good source of fiber and other important nutrients.

Just one cup of pieces has…

  • 62 calories
  • 1g protein
  • .5g fat
  • 16g carb
  • 2g fiber
  • 29mg calcium
  • 264mg potassium
  • 53mcg folate
  • 68mcg vit A
  • 88mg vit C
  • 3.77mcg vit K
  • 2650mcg lycopene

And so much more!! 2

They’re high in vitamins A, C, K and folate, fiber and potassium!

They’re also rich in antioxidants carotenoids and phenols.

It also contains an enzyme called papain, which aids digestion.

Papaya was ranked first in a study that compared 40 different fruits for their Dietary Recommended Intake of nine vitamins, potassium and fiber.3

It’s combination of vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium make it a super heart healthy fruit.

Red flesh papaya fruit are a good source of lycopene which is an inactive source of Vitamin A that has been linked with reduced risk for lung, prostate and stomach cancers.1



Easy weeknight meals with Dole Sheet Pan Starter Kits!!

To say life with kids is hectic, is a complete understatement. Between school, work, sports, birthday parties and family visits there is always something going on – and I think moms everywhere will agree with me, time for meal planning is precious. So in the spirit of sharing things that are too good to be true…read on for my experience with these Dole Sheet Pan Starter Kits.

So in the spirit sharing things that are too good to be true… read on for my experience with these Dole Sheet Pan Starter Kits.

Ever since culinary school, I loved roasting. My culinary school partner in crime, Tracy, observed early on, that there’s nothing I loved more than a good roast – or anything that can be made in the oven. And what’s not to love? It’s an easy, hands off, clean way to get dinner on the table using a conventional sheet pan. So when Dole came out with a new line of sheet pan starter kits I was ecstatic. There are three popular flavors, including French Onion, Homestyle Roasted Herb and Lemon Parmesan flavor varieties. They include a combination of ready-to-roast vegetables including red potatoes, whole baby carrots and broccoli florets or green beans, plus a delicious seasoning packet. All you need to do is add your favorite choice of protein to the fresh vegetables and roast for 30-35 minutes.

Dole Sheet Pan Dinner

And if you’ve been getting recipe inspiration online (AKA Pinterest trend data), you know about the growing sheet pan meal trend. It’s everywhere.

Sheet pan dinners make for easy cooking and even easier cleanup!

So on their own, these unique products fill a consumer need and offer a flavorful meal experience, but it actually gets better! Each of the distinct flavor varieties can be transformed into a completely different meal. Let me explain.

When you make your new sheet pan meal starter kits at home, you’ll get a perfectly seasoned and balanced plate that includes protein, carbohydrate and fat (we recommend olive oil). But, we experimented further with the kits to see how we could transform them into soups and wraps, meals that could be made on the grill, even breakfast sheet pans, perfect for brunch! I’ve personally tried them all and couldn’t believe that one truly got better than the next.

Just in case you’re new around here, I am a registered dietitian and nutrition and health communications manager for Dole Food Company. Dole generously covered the cost of ingredients for these recipes, but all of the opinions are my own!

Use Dole Sheet Pan Starter Kits to make healthy meal solutions!

The combination of lean proteins with fresh Dole vegetables is more versatile than you would think and the perfectly paired seasoning packet provides more than enough to create these dishes below. Each of these recipes can be found at Dole’s website.

French Onion Turkey Burgers with Veggies

Dole Sheet Pan Turkey Burger

This was a no brainer! Combining the seasoning packet with extra lean ground turkey was easy to do and it all roasted together in the pan. The simple addition of truffle aioli (I used a vegan version from Trader Joe’s) was so good!! It’s seriously crave-able.

Sheet Pan French Onion Sandwich Wraps

Dole Sheet Pan Wrap

I loved this for leftovers. (If you have any!). Just reheat them and drop into your favorite wrap with mayo.

Lemon Parmesan Sheet Pan Pasta

Who doesn’t love a pasta night? This is the perfect meal for aspiring athletes. It’s a great way to carb load with whole foods that taste delicious. It’s also a good solution for leftovers. All you need to do is add pasta, parmesan cheese seasoning and a jar of your favorite sauce – I used Rao’s Alfredo – and bake until cooked through. It was a major crowd pleaser.

Breakfast Sheet Pan Meal

Talk about a way to impress your guests! Just replace the cooked chicken or add eggs to your protein of choice for a hearty breakfast for a crowd.

Roasted Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Quick Chicken Soup

The fresh-cut vegetables make soup a natural choice to transform this kit. After roasting as directed, add ingredients to a stock pot with chicken broth. It’s that easy.

Herb Salmon & Foil Pack Grillers

Dole Grilled Sheet Pan Dinner

We love cooking on the grill to keep the heat out of the kitchen, and these foil packets were so easy to throw on the grill. They didn’t need to be babysat or anything. My children loved the salmon and got a kick out of seeing their veggie foil packets!

So grab your favorite protein – chicken, salmon, pork, ground beef, different varieties of seafood – whatever and you can literally have one of these fresh vegetable meals on your table in 30 minutes.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. And these Dole sheet pan meal starter kits help overcome a major hurdle for busy consumers which is time! It eliminates the need for a lot of specific ingredients, and limits that daily decision fatigue of – what’s for dinner!

Melanie Marcus MA RD

Are Dole Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kits Macro Balanced?

They are!! These kits are perfect for a regular macro day if you’re following the FASTer Way to Fat Loss and if you’re tracking macros, it’s easy to see where your carbohydrate, fat and protein are coming from. The potatoes help ensure you get a source of whole food carbohydrate to fuel your workouts, and you can use any protein you like! If I’m meal prepping for myself, I like to use a little less seasoning and then break out into 2 hearty portions.

When prepared as suggested, the Lemon Parmesan has 340 calories, 17g Fat, 18g Carbohydrate, 3g Fiber and 29g Protein.

But like I said, you can easily modify oil and protein choices for your needs!

So where do you find them?

Distribution started in select markets in the United States, but recently I have been able to find them near Charlotte and friends of mine in New Jersey have also tried them! I hope to see additional future flavors and new products come out soon… after-all there’s nothing better than single-pan meal options to get restaurant-quality meal on the table!

For more recipes and meal inspiration check out these links

Cooking as a way to instill good habits in kids

Little ones love to stay busy and if you’re a parent, then you know that children love to get involved with whatever YOU are doing. From dusting to washing dishes or even sharing your meal, if you’re doing it, then your toddler wants in on the action. Why not take advantage of their enthusiasm to teach a new skill and build better cooking habits for the whole family?

This article was adapted from a piece written for Dole Food Company.

Cooking with children is a great way to help them build confidence and lay the foundation for healthy eating as they grow. Research also shows that cookin meals at home resultsin eating fewer calories, and negative nutrieints like saturated fat and sugar- even when you’re not trying to lose weight! So why not try new foods together while teaching children this essential life skill?

Melanie Marcus MA RD

Here are five tips for cooking-up healthy habits in the kitchen:

  1. Dress for the part! Pull out the aprons and get everyone in costume. If you really want to be official, check out this Dole printable chef’s hat. Children will love to personalize their own before getting busy in the kitchen! 
  2. Give them a seat at the table (literally)!  Instead of sitting little helpers on the counter, get them a step stool so they can see the counter – most importantly, what’s in that big bowl – or sit them in a booster seat at the table so they can help measure, mix and complete other age-appropriate tasks. This keeps them interested and safe. And remember to always wash hands before getting started! That is food safety 101! 
  3. Mise en place!  This is French for “everything in its place.” Set out your ingredients on the counter in pre-measured amounts that match the recipe. Maybe your child can help measure dry beans or flour? Or pull items out of the pantry? To hold little ones’ attention, start following the recipe directions only after everything is prepped. Start with simple recipes to minimize tantrums.
  4. Prepare for spills! Have your kitchen towel handy and put a garbage bowl on the counter is the best way to help clean along the way. It’s always easier to stay on track with recipes when you have a clean workspace.
  5. Set a fun table! The best part of cooking is eating! While dishes simmer or bake away, have children set the table. If they’re too little to handle carrying your fine dishware, use paper! And don’t forget the placemats. This Dole placemat will keep the kiddo’s coloring until their dinner is ready to eat. And older kids might enjoy personalizing a downloadable menus and recipe cards to turn your kitchen into a French bistro!

How to choose healthy recipes to make with your little chef

  • Start with simple snack foods. It could be as basic as having younger children use small cookie cutters to make shapes out of melon.
  • Other healthy snacks to try could be apple slices with hummus dip. Have children slice the apple with a safety knife and scoop dip into a bowl.
  • Look to your family traditions. What foods have meaning to your family. Is there special sweet treat or holiday food you can tell a story about?
  • Take a trip to the farmers market or grocery store and let your little chef choose an ingredient to work with.
  • Have your little kids scan through cookbooks or magazines to choose kid-approved recipes by looking at pictures.
  • What about something simple and easy that even picky eaters will love? Check out these simple banana oatmeal cookies.
  • If all else fails get a ball of whole grain pizza dough from the grocery store. Shape into a round and top with your favorite sauce, cheese and olive oil. You can top with veggies of choice and a green salad for a delicious dinner.
Small sized and safe tools empower children to take snack time into their own hands the healthy way!!

Benefits of cooking with kids

  • What’s better than sneaking a little extra reading time. Have them read the list of ingredients or point out letters of the alphabet.
  • They learn important math skills from measuring out ingredients!
  • They become familiar with kitchen tools
  • They can hone fine motor skills when the write out the shopping list.
  • It’s the perfect time to talk nutrition and the benefits of eating lots of colorful vegetables!
  • It’s an excellent way to spend one on one quality time.
  • It’s a great time to forget the stress and focus on the task at hand – for parents and kids!
  • Picky eaters are more likely to try new things if they’ve made them!

Things to consider buying to make cooking with kids easier!

Plastic chef knives give small hands the freedom to do the same thing you do! It makes them feel special and can motivate them to do prepare foods on their own!

A kid safe kitchen stool. These are built with safety in mind, to get kids up at counter level while ensuring they don’t fall.

Cookie cutters of all shapes and sizes. These again, are a fun way to add creativity to meals and snacks – especially fruits! My daughter loves to makes shapes out of melon and then skewer them onto toothpicks.

Bonus: Kids are more likely to try foods that they help prepare in the kitchen! Take advantage of that opportunity to make family meals that include fruits and vegetables and other healthy ingredients that improve diet quality.

How to cut a whole pineapple with a corer

There’s nothing worse than buying pricey pre-cut pineapple to find it’s lost all of it’s juice. Since starting at Dole Food Company, I’ve learned a few things about pineapple. My desk moved over near the fruit team my second year there, and one day I saw the fruit buyer slice and serve a pineapple first-hand, just using a sharp knife from the office kitchen, and it was a sight. The presentation was beautiful and it made eating the pineapple so much more enjoyable.

I’ll share step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple without a corer in another post but stick with me here to learn how to use a pineapple corer. It’s a kitchen gadget that gets way more use than I thought it would (in my kitchen), and it makes enjoying juicy fresh pineapple at home super easy. This is great for a kitchen beginner, because let’s face it, cutting this popular tropical fruit can seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s your first time.

Let me walk you through the easiest way with these simple steps.

How to pick a pineapple at the grocery store

The good news is that a pineapples sweetness is locked in when it’s picked. It won’t get any sweeter if you leave it on your counter for a few days. In fact, the first thing you should do is cut your pineapple when you get it home!

For best flavor look for fruit:

  • smells sweet
  • feels solid and firm
  • that has a crown that looks stiff and glossy (not dried out)

Storing a pineapple at home:

  • If you bought it at room temperature, keep it at room temperature
  • If you bought it chilled, keep it chilled
  • Keep it in a cool place, out of direct sunlight
  • It’s okay to let it sit upright at room temperature until you’re ready – but not for too long other wise it will ferment!

What you need to cut a pineapple

  • plastic cutting board
  • a sharp chef’s knife or long serrated knife with a sharp blade
  • a pineapple cutter – I got this corer on Amazon

Cut a pineapple in this simple step-by-step guide.

  1. On a clean cutting board, lay the pineapple on it’s side. Use a sharp chef’s knife, to slice off the top of the fruit. (Save the pineapple’s crown to use as a decorative element for charcuterie boards, or pluck leaves to add as garnish to desserts and salsas!)
  2. Next, line up the circular part of the pineapple corer with the center core of the pineapple. Then begin to turn the corer while applying even pressure. Continue to turn the corer until it has moved through the fruit and no longer easily moves towards the bottom. (Take care not to cut through the bottom of the pineapple if you’re repurposing the shell).
  3. Then, hold the pineapple firmly with one hand, while pulling the corer out of the fruit. You’ll see the flesh is now on the stainless steel center of the corer.
  4. Unclick the handle of the corer and slide the spiraled fruit onto a plate.

At this point you’ll have a beautiful coil of pineapple fruit. (Which could be fun to play with for plating purposes).

If you want pineapple rings: Stand the fruit coil upright and find where the fruit coil begins. That is where you slice down with your paring knife.

If you want pineapple chunks: Stand the fruit coil upright and cut in half. Then make 2 cuts in each half to make 3 even sized chunks. Do the same on the other side. These are easy bite sized pieces.

If you need even smaller pieces: Instead of 2 cuts, make 3-4 cuts in each half as described in the instructions above.

Do not use the corer if you need pineapple spears or thick slices! With a corer you’re limited to one thickness. Mind produces a thin spiral slice.

How to store pineapple after cutting

In my house it literally gets gobbled up within minutes, but personally I like very cold pineapple. So I cut it into small chunks with a corer and store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. You’ll want to eat it within 2-3 days.

Suggestions for what to do with the pineapple shell

  • Use as a bowl to serve pineapple salsa for a crowd.
  • Make a pineapple jack o lantern!
  • Use it as a cup for a pinacolada or tropical smoothie.

What to do with pineapple after you’ve cut it?

  • Enjoy it as a great snack all on it’s own!
  • Add to fruit salads.
  • Small dice and add to savory stir fry before serving.
  • Make your own DIY Dole Whip!
  • Skewer it with bell peppers and cubed chicken for a quick grilled meal.
  • Try making a healthy pineapple upside-down cake!

Use pineapple with these flavors.

  • pork
  • ham
  • chicken
  • duck
  • fish
  • shellfish
  • cottage cheese
  • coconut
  • ginger
  • allspice
  • cinnamon
  • black pepper

These are some of my favorite pineapple recipes <3

Hawaiian Cauliflower Fried Rice

Pineapple Carpaccio

Pineapple Cheesecake Overnight Oats

pineapple nutrition

Pineapple nutrition

They’re an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, while also a good source of vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, magnesium, potassium and copper.

Prep macro friendly foods the whole family will love!

What are macro friendly foods?

All foods are made of macronutrients or macros for short. Any food that makes it’s easy to identify and count macros is “a macro friendly food” in my book. But I’ve also seen it used as a way to describe foods that give you the most volume of food – which if you’re used to limiting calories and portions- is a very welcomed thing! There are a lot of macro friendly foods and we’ll go into all the details below.

The great thing about macro friendly foods is – they are minimally processed and family friendly. As a mom of two, there is nothing worse than having to make a separate meal for me and another for the kids. When I prepare meals like those described below, everyone is happy because the flavors are familiar, they’re easy to deconstruct if you have picky kids and you know exactly what your macros are for the meal!

Macros 101

There are three types of macros: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. Each one has a different job. They help us build new tissue like muscles, give our brains energy and help regulate our hormones!

Don’t confuse tracking macros or macro friendly foods with low calorie, or low fat diets. You can track macros as part of any diet plan, whether you’re gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or aiming to gain weight, gain muscle or lose body fat. Your macro goals just need to be set correctly – and by a professional!

An easy dinner that is macro friendly could look like roasted sweet potatoes, grilled chicken breast and broccoli drizzled with olive oil. A meal like this includes all three macros (is a complete meal!) and it’s easy to see where the g protein, g fat and g carbohydrates are coming from! Chicken = protein, sweet potato = carbs and olive oil = fats!

macro friendly food
Macrofriendly salad with vegetables, chicken breast and edible flower for balanced dinner

Macro friendly sources of lean protein

If your goal is to lose fat, your goal should be to get enough protein at each meal. I recommend having 3-4 ounces of protein at each meal or snack to keep yourself feeling full.

  • Chicken breast
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Lean ground turkey
  • Lean ground chicken
  • Protein shakes (check labels)
  • black beans
  • Protein bars (check labels)

As a rule of thumb, one ounce of lean protein = 7 g protein. Protein provides 4 calories per gram.

Macro friendly sources of higher fat protein

  • Chicken legs
  • Ground beef
  • Flank steak
  • Filet mignon
  • Chicken thighs
  • Salmon
  • Low fat or fat free cottage cheese
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt

High protein snacks include: beef jerky, dried turkey sticks, edamame, hard boiled eggs, deli meats and protein shakes.

Macro friendly source of carbohydrate

  • Sweet potato
  • White potato
  • Brown rice
  • White rice
  • Quinoa
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Most fruit in general

Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram.

Wheat products such as bread, tortillas, english muffins, pancakes and French toast are sources of carbohydrate, however they are also sources of fat and potentially sugar which make tracking their macros tricky. One bread that I do like is Ezekiel Bread. It’s minimally processed made from sprouted wheat and has higher protein than other breads. If you want to include breads in your diet choose whole grain options where the first ingredient is whole wheat and sugar is not in the first three ingredients.

Macro friendly sources of fat

Not all fats are created equally. Some fats like those found in fatty fish, olives and avocados are healthy fats. Research has shown us that these fats promote heart health and desirable cholesterol levels. Fats that are solid at room temperature, such as those found in red meat, butter, even full fat coconut milk are sources of saturated fat which should be limited or avoided especially if you’ve been diagnosed or are at risk for heart disease.

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Shaved coconut
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Nut butter
  • Salmon

Fat provides the body with 9 calories per gram.

Tips for shopping at the grocery store

The simplest way to ensure you have macro friendly foods in your cart is to shop the perimeter! But trust me, there are a lot of amazing macro friendly foods in the center aisles of the store too.

  1. In the produce aisle, everything is fair game. Stock up on fruits and veggies for your meals and snacks. I like to go into the week with at least three vegetable options in the fridge. My go-to’s are broccoli, spinach and bell peppers but I may get more depending on what looks fresh and how many nights I will be cooking! Macro friendly produce items: broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, leafy greens, endive, salad mixes, garlic, melons, bananas, apples, peaches, pineapples, berries and the list goes on and on.
  2. Moving onto the deli. I like to get some deli meats for quick lunches that are high in protein. Sandwiches don’t take much time to put together and they’re a great way to create a macro balanced meal. (think bread, meat, veggies, and mayo or oil)
  3. In the meat and seafood department, you can go with either fresh or frozen protein options. I usually get 3 protein options for the week. This gives me a chance to meal plan healthier options that will fit in my macros, and in case I don’t get to cook it all, I can just freeze what I don’t use for later. Chicken breast is always a good option to pick up for a quick baked or macro friendly grilled chicken. Lean ground beef is good for meal prep, taco Tuesday or meat loaf. Shrimp are a superfast and delicious way to be sure you get all the grams of protein you need for your goals.
  4. In the dairy section is where you’ll stock up on eggs, Greek yogurt and skim milk. Unsweetened almond, coconut or cashew milks are other lower macro alternatives to have on hand for delicious recipes and smoothies.
  5. When you turn the corner to the frozen aisles the macro friendly foods will be generally less processed without added sauces. (Though you can scan barcodes and manually add macro info from the nutrition facts panel to most macro calculators). My favorite frozen buys include spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower rice, peas, chopped onions, and vegetable medley – I recommend the unsauced versions so you can add freely to recipes and track macros as needed. Sauced versions like those from Green Giant do make for convenient sides that the whole family will like- they have veggie tots that are a big hit with us too!
  6. The center aisles of the grocery store are where you can get your basics for quick meals. Pick up 90 second brown rice packets, tuna fish, canned beans of all kinds and your favorite low sodium seasonings. Seasonings are a great option to change up your meal prepped protein throughout the week in a flavorful way. This is also where you’ll find your oatmeal, tomato sauce, bean based pastas, whole grain cereals, jerky, trail mix, nuts, nut butters and more. You just need to read labels a bit more 🙂

Is ice cream macro friendly?

When I think of macro friendly meals, I think of all three macros. I want all three macros on my plate, at the very least two macros. Having all three macros is the perfect way to ensure that you’re hitting your target numbers by the end of the day.

That said, ice cream is very high in fat, sugar with very little protein.

This doesn’t mean you can’t eat it, it just means that you want to log your portion accurately, and try to modify your eating the rest of the day to compensate. There are macro friendly ice creams out there (Halo Top and Arctic Zero) that are higher in protein, and even use lower fat milk and sugar substitutes but you need to ask yourself this important question. Am I eating ice cream to meet my protein goals? or am I eating it for the enjoyment of food. For me- when I am in the mood for ice cream, nothing else will do. So I account for real ice cream in my macros, even though it’s high in fat and sugar. I guess that’s what makes counting macros so great – you can make food choices that work for you and your food preferences!

Tips for counting macros with homemade recipes

  • In general, it’s easier to count macros when cooking from scratch and eating whole and unprocessed foods.
  • Tracking macros doesn’t mean you need a detailed recipe though. The key to tracking macros with recipes is to add to your tracker in the portions used OR follow the recipe exactly as written.
  • Then portion out according to the listed serving size. For example, if you make a crustless quiche and it serves 8, simply cut it into 8 equal portions and use the nutrition information to log your macros. If you’re like me and 1 serving isn’t enough, you can easily double your portions, just be sure to multiply your macros by 2 when logging them.
  • Weigh out ingredients using the tare function on your scale. When I’m making homemade meatballs for example – place the mixing bowl on top of the scale. Then add ingredients by weight. Hit tare after each ingredient so the scale zeroes out. My favorite part of measuring ingredients this way is that there are much fewer dished!! No need to wash measuring cups or spoons!

When cooking or combining foods during cooking, my number one tip is to use the tare feature on your scale. Not only is it accurate, but you have significantly fewer dishes to do after cooking!

macro meal prep

Meal prep these macro friendly foods each week

  • hard boiled eggs
  • steel cut oats
  • baked sweet potato
  • grilled veggies
  • grilled or baked chicken breasts

Here are some easy recipes for the whole family

Bonus! Most of these recipes are from popular supermarket chains like ShopRite and Trader Joe’s that have an easy add to cart feature. Just click the recipe, select ingredients that you need for the week and send to cart!

Non-recipe recipes

These are easy ways to combine macro friendly foods into delicious meals! While the macros aren’t listed, these combos are easy to add to your macro tracker – and each combo includes protein, fat and carbohydrate to be sure you’re macro balanced!

  • Chocolate banana smoothie – 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower crumbles, 1T chia seed.
  • Cauliflower hash brown egg cups – Spray a muffin tin and layer 1/4 cup cauliflower, 1/4 cup frozen hash brown, 1 egg, salt and pepper – bake at 350 F until set!
  • Black bean bowl – 3/4 cup microwaveable brown rice, 1/2 cup black beans, 2T salsa, 2T sour cream, cilantro.
  • Classic chicken dinner – Roasted potatoes and baked chicken breast with steamed broccoli – just log your portions accordingly!
  • Warm salad bowl – Start with a bed of greens, add 1 cup of warm rice, add leftover herb chicken breast and top with diced cucumber and your favorite salad dressing
  • Chicken cutlet or grilled chicken with sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil for all of the flavors of chicken parmesan
  • You can never go wrong with a big salad – just be sure to make a meal out of it and invite all the macros to the party. Add shrimp, beans or lean steak, top with corn, onion and salsa for southwest flavors that win every time.

All of these are easily added to macro tracking calculators and will start you off with generally balanced meals. Portion sizes can be increased or decreased for your needs.

Making macro-friendly recipes is easier than you think!

How do I know what my macros should be?

A great way to find out your macro goals is to talk to a registered dietitian. Everyone has different macro goals based on activity level, lifestyle and body composition goals. It’s no one size fits all. And often, once macro goals are set, they will need to be reassessed and tweaked.

If you’re thinking about macros as daily allowance or “limits” – try to think of them as minimums in order to reach your goals!

We all have specific nutrient and macro needs based on our health and fitness goals, and tracking macros is an effective strategy to make well balanced and complete meals. Often weight loss programs focus on calories, which shifts the emphasis away from the three macronutrients and their important functions in the the body. The good news is when you include all three macros (according to your specific needs and goals) you can expect see changes!!I

If you’re new to macro counting, and want to learn more about why people do it. Check out my post about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss.

For more on family friendly meals, you may like these…

27 Reasons why I love the FASTer Way to Fat Loss as a Registered Dietitian

I first learned about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, (FASTer Way or FWTFL for short) about three years ago.  I must have noticed it in someone’s IG profile and thought – what is FWTFL?  As a foodie and a registered dietitian mom, following anything related to health, wellness, restaurants or food is up my alley.  It’s my business to be in-the-know.  And on my road to becoming a dietitian, I tried every diet out there – weight watchers, atkins, keto, vegan, Mediterranean, beach body and my personal favorite and Gweneth Paltro recommended unsustainable fad – The Dr. Joshi Diet.  I mean, the crazier and more limiting they are, the better right?  As every health professional worth their salt already knows – that is not the case!

But I’ve always been fascinated with diets and recommendations for healthy living because as much as diet culture pushes a calories in, calories out one size fits all approach, lets face it – most of the time these are quick fixes, and unsustainable for the long term.  So when I saw FWTFL, I had to investigate.

My initial google search rounded up mostly influencer recommendations for the program but very few registered dietitians or health professionals had weighed in.  I did find one dietitian who called the program out for being too complicated.  She described it as throwing everything at the kitchen sink and totally overwhelming.  Which… it could be… if you try to piece it together from their website and implement on your own.  That said, I just kept following The FASTer Way on IG, checked out the blogs, looked employees up on Linked In and learned several dietitians were on the leadership team and helped develop the program.  I also took to Pinterest to see what resources came up.  And then I found the coaches. 

The FASTer Way’s key differentiator are the coaches. 

Men and women, nurse practitioners, dietitians, physicians, moms, dads, teachers and more – all who live the program day in and day out, sharing their experiences, motivating new and potential clients in online but also in everyday life.   FASTer Way has a certification for coaches who then facilitate the program.    

Next, I started to follow a few.  They shared their meals, grocery hauls, weekly meal plans and recipes.  They shared what they fed their families, and what their portions looked like. It all seemed pretty normal.  They talked about FWTFL strategies like intermittent fasting and carb cycling and they were living examples of how busy moms and dads, grandmothers and professionals, no matter their stage of life (even during pregnancy) were incorporating the FWTFL into their daily lives. 

I even called my dietitian friends to see if they’ve ever heard of it.

After over a year of scoping it out, I bit the bullet, paid the $199 and enrolled in the new client experience with the coach that resonated with me – Liz Baynard.  She was a post partum, doing her thing, fitting workouts in daily, feeding her family well and she was reaching her health goals.  Nothing crazy, nothing unrealistic – totally attainable. 

My first round of the FWTFL was October 2020. My doctor cleared me for activity after Max was born and I was ready to hit the ground running.  I never looked back.  Six months in, I became a certified coach for the FASTer Way and it has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined.  Working with clients in a very personal way, nudging them towards achieving their health goals – this is why I became a dietitian.  

whole food nutrition
Whole food nutrition is one of the key pillars of the FASTer Way.

27 reasons why I love the FASTer Way to Fat Loss

In the food department

  • Anyone can do it.  It can be completely modified to meet you where you’re at. Whether you’re a new breastfeeding mom, or a college student trying to figure out eating on your own!  If you’re recovering from a surgery and can’t work out or you just had bariatric surgery and have been told you can’t do any form of fasting.  Whatever the limitation is, there’s a way to talk through it with your coach to customize the program for you. 
  • It’s based in science.  This is where the macro tracking, intermittent fasting, whole unprocessed foods comes in.  The programming is also looked at cyclically so that you’re not always in a calorie deficit – because that’s not really effective. 
  • The focus is actually on building lean muscle in order to rid fat.  It’s not just about becoming as small as possible.  It’s about becoming strong and empowered.  Teaching clients the power of their food choices and how that effects their bodies. 
  • Intermittent fasting is way easier than I thought! I actually have more time!  One of my favorite things is that I don’t need to worry about having breakfast.  Instead, I can focus on feeding the kids, packing schoolbags, putting my makeup on and go. 
  • You don’t need to purchase additional apps like My Fitness Pal to track macros.  The FWTFL app has a macro tracking feature and library and makes macro tracking complete and easy.  No additional apps needed! 
  • Success isn’t measured by the scale.  Instead we learn to look at non scale victories including measurements, photos, energy levels, how clothes fit and sleep quality. 
  • You can eat out! Whether you’re traveling for work or dining out more because you don’t have time to cook – the FWTFL can work for you! We track macros (protein, carbs and fat) not just calories. Most restaurants post this info for easy tracking, plust the FWTFL app also has cool features that allow you to add personal favorites or use their library of items for stress free tracking.
  • I can still have my coffee. One of my favorite times of day is when I sit down with my cup of coffee before the rest of the house wakes up. That’s my time to get my day straight and wake up at my own pace. 
  • Recipes and meal plans are delicious AND optional.  People ask me all the time if I can provide them with a meal-plan for weight loss.  I mean all the time. And for me as a dietitian, I love that the recipes use whole foods and are easy to put together.  If you’re just not sure where to start with healthy eating, the meal plans are a lifesaver.  They’re also ideal for busy people who just want to know what to eat for the week.  They even come with a weekly shopping list to make your online ordering a breeze.  It’s all found in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss App!
  • FOOD FREEDOM!  You can eat whatever you want.  And by this I mean, if it fits in your macros, log it and move on.  I’m not saying you should eat a twix bar every day, but if you do choose to indulge, you can.  And it’s no big deal. 
  • Food isn’t emotionally charged anymore.  Going through the program actually helped me undo some “diet think” that I didn’t realize I had!  Food was always a very emotional, impulsive and comforting thing for me.  But after truly looking at food as fuel to help my body build muscle – I’m able to enjoy foods like chocolate, bagels, and pizza without overeating, or guilt. 
  • You don’t have to make different meals for yourself vs the rest of the family.  Is there a bigger win for moms or dads who cook for the whole family? 
  • You don’t feel deprived or hungry.  There is actually a lot of food to eat every day.  I often see clients struggling to eat enough! 
  • Protein supplements and collagen are not required. You can get all the protein you need from whole foods. However, the FASTer Way to Fat Loss team developed a protein supplement that provides 20g per scoop with only 90-98calories. It has little to no carbs and fat, they offer collagen too. It’s not necessary, it’s only an option if you want an easy form of protein to add to your routine.    
  • The macro calculation is rooted in having you eat as much food as possible – while reaching your health and body goals!  For me, food provides a lot of enjoyment, so it’s a major bonus! 

About the FASTer Way to Fat Loss workouts

  • The workouts are FAST.  I do not like working out.  I never have.  I always thought I needed to be running and doing cardio to lose weight.  I hated getting red and sweaty, it was never for me.  I actually do these workouts during my lunch break at home or even at the office.  Each day a workout video is posted in the FWTFL app.  The head coaches walk you through every exercise and suggest ways to modify up or down depending on your ability. 
  • Every workout can be customized.  You can challenge yourself up modify down every and that’s OK!  I was always completely intimidated at the gym and didn’t know the first thing about lifting weights.  With the FWTFL workouts, I was able to try workouts in the privacy of my own home, modify as needed while gaining strength and confidence.
  • The workouts are effective.  The combination of strength training and high intensity workouts are key to keeping your body in a fat burning zone. 
  • You don’t need special equipment.  There may come a time when you want to upgrade your workout equipment, but you really don’t need anything to get started.  Splurge for the strength bands if you want some resistance at a low cost. 

Maybe the most important and the most underrated things about the FASTer Way.

  • You learn the foundations at a pace that help support new healthy habits.  It takes at least 21 days to form a healthy habit.  Your first six week round gives you a fresh start and lays the foundation for healthy habits. Plus your coach can help you pace things out and support you with extra trainings and resources to help you succeed, the way you need to learn. 
  • You have a support system – always.  This is the role of your personal coach.  The head coaches at the FASTer Way to Fat Loss are constantly delivering tips through the app. It’s cool because it reminds you why you’re doing this.  Also, seeing my clients support each other – in many cases TOTAL strangers, is really a beautiful thing. 
  • It’s sustainable!  Once you start to trust the process you’ll see that you can have an off day and get right back into it without punishing yourself.  It’s all about progress, not perfection. 
  • I haven’t stepped on the scale in about a year.  This has done wonders for my mental health.  Stepping on that scale and then allowing the number to impact my mood has been awful.  And I know better than anyone that one pound of muscle is way smaller than one pound of fat.  But for some reason the number that all goes out the window when I step on the scale.  Now, I focus on how clothes fit, energy levels, sleep quality and even how much weight I’m using during workouts as measures for success. 
  • Macro tracking isn’t forever.  This can seem overwhelming at first.  But I see it as a way to collect data about how you eat. It’s a way to learn what foods you lean into, and more importantly, it’s a way to learn about portion sizes.
  • You can find the coach that is right for you.  If you’re going to start the FWTFL, take the time to look up coaches and see who you vibe with.  Everyone is different and we are all motivated in different ways.  If you take the time to sign up with a coach who you trust and feel comfortable with, your success will be that much greater.  And while it’s not the norm, you can actually contact the FWTFL, to change your coach if you feel that you need to! 
  • It provides much needed structure for the person that’s tried everything.  I’ve had so many clients that “have tried everything”. Like me, they wanted to make progress on their health goals, they just didn’t have the structure or support to get them there.  With a good faith effort, there is no doubt in my mind, you will find success. 
  • Support continues even after your 6 week new client experience.  The FWTFL calls this VIP membership.  It’s ongoing monthly access to the FWTFL programming through the app.  You’ll keep access to daily workouts, macro cycle changes, macro and water tracking, seasonal challenges with cool prizes and your personal coach. 

What is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss?

It’s a digital nutrition program that combines intermittent fasting, macro tracking, carb cycling and fitness to maximize fat loss while building lean muscle.  You learn about these topics at length with your FASTer Way Coach. It may be through daily emails, small online groups or through the FWTFL App. 

When you first sign up you are enrolled in the “New Client Experience” which will start on a specific day. It lasts for six weeks and is referred to as a “round” of the Faster Way.  As soon as you sign up you’ll get instant access to the app and your coach will get in touch with you to sort out the details.

Who is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss for?

  • If you’ve tried everything and you’re ready to put your energy into something that is sustainable and going to deliver results. 
  • If you’re a new mom and want to start regaining confidence and energy to take care of your family. 
  • If you’re breastfeeding and want to lose baby weight without sacrificing your milk supply.
  • If you just had your annual physical and you want to improve blood work and overall health. 
  • If you are at risk for diabetes and want to get your blood sugar under control. 
  • And so many more…

The FASTer Way to Fat Loss is NOT FOR YOU if:   

  • Staying accountable and in touch with your coach daily seems like too much.
  • If you like the idea of shifting your diet, but maybe you’re just not quite ready to make the change. 

When you start living the faster way you realize a healthy lifestyle isn’t about being perfect. It’s about enjoying life and finding a balance with food and exercise that helps you reach your goals.

FWTFL before and after photos

Healthy Travel Snacks for the Ultimate Trip- stress free by plane, train or on the road

If you are planning a vacation or getaway you’ll probably find yourself in an airport.  But between organizing the travel arrangements and packing your bags (and potentially your loved ones) for the journey, healthy foods that will travel well may not be top of mind – but they should be! 

wholesome food

The truth is, travel, as exciting and romantic as it is, can also be unpredictable at best.  Between delays and keeping track of luggage, navigating the crowds and passing through security checkpoints on time, a wholesome snack may be what you need to keep you satisfied, energized and away from processed snacks like chips and candy bars.  As a rule of thumb, best nutrition-packed travel snacks are minimally processed whole foods. 

DIETITIAN’S TIP: Satisfying meals and snacks should incorporate lean protein, nourishing carbohydrates (such as those from fruits, veggies and whole grains). Fats usually make their way into the diet without us thinking too much about them. Healthy travel snacks in particular should be high in fiber and lower in sugar. 

This article was modified (to add some of my personal favorites) from it’s original version published by Dole Food Company.

Healthy travel snack
Nuts and dried fruit, a sweet and healthy snack.

Here are a few healthy travel snacks to pack for your next trip:

  • Oatmeal packets – whole grain, high fiber and can easily be combined with hot water whether you are on a plane, at a rest stop or in your hotel room. I like the whole grain unsweetened packets from Trader Joes.
  • Dried fruit – familiar to hikers as a premier source of natural carbohydrates in a small package, they are super-easy to pack and don’t require refrigeration.  Whatever you do, be sure to check the ingredients list to ensure that the only ingredient is dried fruit – beware of added sugar. You could also make your own version of fruit leather ahead of your trip if you’re feeling fancy. 
  • Nuts, Jerky and Boiled Eggs – protein, protein, protein!  Portable and satisfying especially when paired with your favorite carb!  I like to boil a few eggs ahead of the trip.
  • Bananas, Apples, Oranges or any other whole fruit travels well, no refrigeration required.  They’re also an added source of much needed hydration during air travel!  Be sure to drink enough fluids too! 
  • Veggies such as carrot sticks and celery can be paired with individually portioned hummus or nut butter for a balanced bite.  Go for pre-portioned sealed containers to make it through security with ease. 
  • Dry cereal is another versatile whole grain option that travels well, is kid friendly and comes in a a variety of flavors.  Just watch out for added sugar!
healthy travel snacks
Healthy and nutritious snack boxes to go with hummus and pita, eggs and vegetables

If you have the ability to keep your food cold, or are traveling less than two hours, consider making:

  • A quick sandwich or wrap
  • Turkey and avocado or cheese roll-ups 
  • Roll a banana, peanut butter with some flax or chia in a whole grain wrap for a filling plant-based wholesome snack. 

When all else fails – here are my airport GO-TOs for healthy travel snacks

travel snacks
  • Beef Jerky
  • Apple slices
  • Unsalted almonds or mixed nuts
  • Sabra hummus and pretzels
  • Peanut butter and apples
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Applesauce cups
  • String cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Quest bars
  • Popcorn
  • Guacamole and chips
  • Electrolyte Water
  • Vitamin Water Unsweetened
  • Sparkling Water

These are my personal go-to’s for travel but MAJOR BONUS – they also work for the kids! What are your must have healthy travel snacks?

Flax egg recipe – easy egg substitute in a pinch!

This is the best trick for when you’re in in baking mode, you have the perfect recipe, you’re pulling out ingredients and then you realize you don’t have any eggs and you desperately need an egg substitute! I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me, in fact, just last Saturday the kids woke up asking for pancakes. We were all pumped for them, when – no eggs! And then I realized, I tried a new muffin recipe recently that called for 2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (2T ground flax seed plus 4T warm water). So I tried it, and it worked really well as an egg substitute! Plus, as a mom and registered dietitian, I was thrilled to sneak a boost of nutrition in there!

So here’s how to make a flax egg.

What you need :

  • Ground flaxseed meal
  • Water

If you have traditional flax seed you’ll just need to grind it up in a coffee or spice grinder before using so the flax “egg” gels up properly. And if you’re not sure you want to buy a whole bag of flax meal because you’re not sure you’ll use it all…scroll to the bottom for more ideas on how to incorporate flax into your diet.

Jump to Recipe

Why flax meal and not whole flax seed?

There’s a big difference.

Flax seeds are teeny tiny seeds that have a very hard shell. In fact, they can’t be digested so they’ll go out the same way they went in, and you won’t get the nutrition benefits! Instead use a ground flax meal – it’s basically pulverized flax seed. And if want to ensure freshness, grind them yourself in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. I usually pick up ground flax seed from Trader Joe’s or Bob’s Red Mill and store the bag in the fridge so they don’t go rancid.

When to use a flax egg

Try using this as an egg substitute for recipes that use egg as a binding agent like:

  • pancakes
  • muffins
  • breads like zucchini or banana

When not to use a flax egg

You have to remember, this isn’t a real egg so this isn’t going to be an option for egg-based recipes like omelets, soufflés or meringues. Don’t use a flax egg when you need fluffy egg whites to create a light texture – this is not the solution for you.

How does it taste?

I personally think it gives batters a nutty flavor that I really like! But overall I don’t think the kids even notice it’s in there.

Nutrition benefits of flax seed

Flax seed is a nutrition powerhouse. It’s a good source of healthy fats, antioxidants and fiber. It has 70 calories per serving, 2g protein, 5g fat, 4g carbohydrate and 4g dietary fiber! Because of it’s nutrition profile it’s often incorporated as part of a healthy diet and can help prevent constipation. Just be sure to drink with enough fluids, because flax absorbs water to add bulk to stools.

  • Fats in flax seed are plant based omega 3’s which can help improve the ratio of omega 3:6’s!
  • They also deliver a combination of both soluble and insoluble fiber which helps with regularity and with improving cholesterol levels!
  • A 30g portion provides 7-30% of the recommended daily allowance for magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.

Traditional Medicine touts flaxseed as

  • Useful against asthma, bad cough and bronchitis
  • Helps with constipation
  • Used against stomach ulcer
  • Cures inflammation of intestine and abdomen
  • Improves memory
  • Protects skin from getting dry

Lignans, a plant compound found in plants – primarily flax and sesame – may help prevent cardiovascular disease.

One review concluded that flax seed may help reduce the risk of breast cancer after menopause.

Some people find relief from joint pain and stiffness with flax seed, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Daily flax seed (13g) was observed to lower blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity in one 2013 study.

Let me know if you try this flax egg recipe!

Flax seed meal needed for flax egg recipe

Easy Flax Egg

This is your gluten-free, diary-free, egg-free egg substitute. Perfect for baking, pancakes, muffins, and more!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes


  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed or flax seed meal
  • 2 tbsp warm water


  • Combine flax meal and warm water in a small bowl. Give it a little mix and let it sit for 5 minutes until a gel-like liquid forms. Then add to your baked goods as needed!
Keyword egg free, egg substitute, plant forward, vegan, vegetarian

10 ways to use flax seed

  1. Add a teaspoon to yogurt
  2. Sprinkle over oatmeal
  3. Add to a smoothie
  4. Use as egg replacer
  5. Add to breading for chicken or fish
  6. Add to granola
  7. Add to soups like minestrone to make them thicker
  8. Sprinkle on top of your salad
  9. Add to homemade salad dressing
  10. Add it anytime you use peanut butter

6 No Stress Tips to Raise Healthy Kids – the easy way!

Getting kids to eat well and form healthy habits – good habits – takes time. It takes lots of time, persistence and the knowledge to know it’s a long game. Nothing is going to happen overnight, trust me!

Positive, Healthful Habits: August Is Kids Eat Right Month

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans noted that some school-aged children are not eating enough of the recommended amounts of certain food groups. As a result, they may not be consuming the nutrients they need to support their growing bodies or engaging in the physical activity they need to stay healthy.

YOU! The parents and caregivers play a big role in children’s nutrition and health, teaching kids about healthful foods, being a good role model and making sure physical activity is incorporated into each day.

August, which is Kids Eat Right Month™, is a great time to reevaluate your family’s eating and physical activity habits and take steps to make positive, healthful changes.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:

  1. Shop Smart. First, encourage a healthful lifestyle. Get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.
  2. Cook Healthy. Secondly, involve your child in the preparation of meals with age-appropriate tasks. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare. Check out my Healthy Hot Dog recipe!
  3. Eat Right. Next, sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal. It’s also an opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Family meals encourage healthful family relationships and good eating habits.
  4. Healthful Habits. You can help kids form great, healthful habits by setting a good example. With each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lean protein foods, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, drink water or milk over drinks with added sugars, and opt for calcium-rich foods with meals and snacks.
  5. Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Encourage preschool children to be active throughout the day. Older children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2nd ed.).
  6. Get Talking. Lastly, eating right can sometimes be a challenge for kids, particularly if they are picky eaters, but experts say that a conversation can help. Talk to your children about the foods they enjoy and introduce them to new foods from a variety of cultures to expand all of your horizons.

Raising healthy kids is totally possible. Just stay consistent and know it will sink in eventually. Good habits take time 🙂

Eliminate mealtime pressure by enjoying meals together with children – after all they learn by example! It’s is a powerful way to get them to try new flavors, textures, and get the nutrition benefits of healthful and tasty food!

Melanie Marcus, Registered Dietitian