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Entries in Fit Mama Eats (11)


Kids Cook Monday...and Throughout the Year

A theme that has emerged in the past decade is a reconnection with food, in the kitchen and through family mealtimes, as seen in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaigns. A big reason for this is our country’s ongoing obesity epidemic, now having successfully invaded the youngest of generations. The Healthy Monday campaign, started in 2005 through Johns Hopkins University and Columbia University, is an innovative concept that features Mondays as the perfect day to start healthy behaviors. Just as many of us initiate health-related New Year’s resolutions on January 1, Mondays carry the same “new beginnings” feel to motivate us toward making positive changes. Joanna Lee, a spokesperson for the campaign, says “We consider Monday to be the New Years of every week, but because there are 52 Mondays a year, our participants are likely to keep up their health resolutions week to week.”

The Kids Cook Monday is one program in the campaign that stemmed from increasing research showing the health benefits of families who eat dinner together regularly. Of course, we are a fast food nation and eating together doesn't necessarily guarantee healthful meals but according to the Bureau of Labor, meals eaten with families consist of about 50% more fruits and vegetables than meals eaten alone, and family meals are three times more likely to include low fat choices and less soda. Children in families who eat together tend to get better grades in school, talk to their parents when they have a problem, and experience a lower incidence of obesity. The Kids Cook Monday encourages families to continue this effort all year, using the first day of the week as a reminder to involve the family each week. If parents set aside time with their children not only to eat but cook together, the whole family A Kids Cook Monday healthy idea!learns about food and portion sizes (portion distortion is one of the top reasons why people gain weight, even when eating fat-free and reduced calorie foods). The Kids Cook Monday website offers yummy, nutritious kid-friendly recipes categorized by age with specific instructions on how children can assist with preparation.

Joanna notes that bloggers can play a special role in this campaign: “We’d love it if parent bloggers did weekly The Kids Cook Monday posts, detailing their family dinner through family cooking videos, sharing kid-friendly recipes, or describing their dinner experience with photos.” If you cook regularly with your kids and want to take part in this great campaign and potentially be featured on The Kids Cook Monday web page, please contact Joanna Lee at jlee@mondaycampaigns.org.


Fiber Is Sexy

So read a pin that my coworker wore on her jacket. Only a dietitian could get away with that! Fiber and its necessary function of, ahem, moving things along in the body is quite the unsexy topic. I remember the days when, if you wanted to eat more fiber, your choices in the supermarket were wheat bread and All-Bran cereal, aside from the natural standbys of fruits, vegetables, and beans. Fiber has exploded in supermarkets in recent years as most experts recommend that even healthy adults aim for at least 25 grams a day. Thanks to companies like Fiber One who offer a hefty dose of fiber in cereals, granola bars, and even yogurt, there's no excuse to not meet that recommendation and even surpass it. 

Fiber's mission is to travel through our digestive system and exit, bringing with it some toxic materials and digested food. There are two main types: insoluble that acts like a broom to "sweep clean" the colon, keeping us regular and preventing cancerous substances from building up; and soluble that dissolves in liquid in the stomach to turn into a gel-like substance, which helps us feel fuller longer (great for dieters). Soluble fiber may also help regulate blood sugars in people with diabetes and lower bad cholesterol levels. Most health experts agree that both types of fiber, and more specifically, the foods they are found in should be part of every healthful diet. Below is a high fiber nutritious muffin recipe I adapted from Fiber One. I love that it contains yogurt for a boost of nutrients and moisture so that less oil is needed. It's a portable, easy breakfast or snack that both kids and adults will appreciate!  




1 cup Fiber One bran cereal

1 egg, beaten

3 T vegetable oil

2 containers (6 oz each) vanilla yogurt

1 1/2 cups flour (I use a pre-made blend of half all-purpose, half wheat)

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/4 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 cup blueberries


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups, or grease bottom of each muffin cup. Pulse cereal to fine in food processor; or place cereal in food storage plastic bag, seal, and crush with rolling pin.
  2. In medium bowl, stir together egg, oil, and yogurt. Add cereal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold in berries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.

Show the Love

Happy Valentine's Day!Looking for an alternative to chocolate this Valentine's Day? Ok, you're probably not, but I'll still mention a delicious option available at Acorn's Bakery in Needham. There's some irony in going to Acorn's on the sweetest day of the year, as this popular little bakery is infamous for not showing the love. The owners have been dubbed the "Cake Nazis" for their lack of social skills, scaring off more than a few customers. But if you can look past their sour faces, you'll see a cozy eatery that offers a truly impressive array of scrumptious, beautifully made paninis, quiches, soups, breads, and pastries of every kind—all made on the premises (the owners are busy cooking at 5:00 am). Note that on a recent visit, I was greeted by new counter help who were refreshingly helpful and...smiling! A longtime favorite of mine is their fruit cake. Everything about it seems light. A layer of colorful fresh fruit sits on a light cream that is also spread between layers of light spongy cake. It's minimally sweet; in fact the fruit tastes sweeter than the cake. It reminds me of the fruit-topped cakes my family would buy in Chinatown. Celebratory meals would be heavy in volume and fat, so the dessert, if any, had to be very light: orange slices or delicate pieces of cake. Try this lovely cake for Valentine's Day, Chinese New Year, or any holiday. Here are more images to salivate over: