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Re-educating myself where food is concerned

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Maisie

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I have come to the conclusion that after years of either binge eating or starving myself that I don''t know what to eat to make me healthy.

I am a mum to five children and I am ashamed to say they eat a lot of processed convenience food and are always snacking on chocolate and crisps (I think you call them chips?). My two year old son won''t eat meat or potatoes (unless they are fries) and he loves pizza.

I really need to change the way we eat. I want to stop my children from forming bad eating habits and I could do with some help.

Would anyone help me to design a shopping list which will include all the healthy sensible foods which will do us good instead of make us overweight and unhealthy.

I also need to know what to give the kids for snacks. The older ones will eat pretty much anything but the little one is a bit more complicated.

Thank you

Maisie
 

gail013

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Can you give us a list of what you eat in a normal day or few days and then maybe we can help-that way we will know what you like to eat. Eating healthy is not that hard. If your kids like potato chips, cut up a potato into slices, microwave on high for 5 min, and then broil for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown. They taste like fries or chips, depending upon how long you bake them.

Substituting lower fat ground beef or turkey helps too, and meals can be made for tacos or turkey burgers easily. Refried beans are available as a vegetarian variety, which means they cut out the gross lard. There is very little ealthy pizza out there, unless you eat the lean cuisine or weight watchers variety, and to feed kids that may not be ecomonically possible, as it gets very expensive. I always add to those, and cook up fresh mushrooms in Pam spray and some fresh basil. Fresh veggies are sometimes easier to prepare and consume if they have a tasty but healthy dip with them.

You may want to start with a cooking healthy with easy dinners book as it will educate you on fat content etc.
 

Maisie

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Hi Gail

Thank you for responding.

In a normal few days we eat:

Breakfast - Sugar coated cornflakes (I know, really bad) or Toast

Lunch - Ham sandwich with chips and a chocolate biscuit and fruit juice (packed lunches)

Dinner - Pizza and fries or Spaghetti Bolognaise or Fish Fingers with Potato Waffles

We want to stop buying them chips and encourage them to eat nuts instead. Does this sound like a good idea? Also we want to stop the chocolate biscuits and give them fruit and yoghurt or cheese and crackers.

I really need to start getting James (the two year old) to eat meat and vegetables. He refuses to eat anything that doesn''t include Pizza or Pasta. Its becoming a battle of wills and I always back down as I worry he will stop eating.
Our doctor thinks James is Autistic which would explain him refusing to try new things.

Maisie
 

gail013

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Well, I don''t think nuts in a large amount are much better than chips. They are better nutritionally I suppose, but have lots of fat and colories. Cheese is good, but skip the crackers.

My SIL who is a dietician has the same problem with her kids, they eat terribly. But we have found that if you make the meal fun they like it more. For instance we eat cucumber ''cookies'', and eat baked potatoes with a hidden ''surprise''-a piece of cheese melted in the middle.

Can you try to have them eat cheerios in the morn-those are better than the sugar coated stuff.

I wonder if you can find a nutritionist that specializes in childhood eating plans to help you-
 

Maisie

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I will definitely change the cereal. I am sure its just empty food. I think your idea of a dietician is a good one - its probably something which I will be offered if James is diagnosed with Autism.

Maisie
 

rainbowtrout

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Children will eat when they get hungrey...I wouldn't worry about him "stopping eating." He may yell about it for an intederminable length of time though.

Your children are a little old for it now but new research seems to think that if you have children NEVER eat baby food, going straight from milk to what you eat--assuming what you eat is healthy and flavorful--then they will be less fussy about "only pizza and pasta" etc later on.

The whole baby food is better and you shouldnt feed children spicy (not hot spicy, flavorful spicy) food is just that--a MYTH designed by formula companies. Indian children eat mushed up Indian food, Moroccan babies here eat mushed up Moroccan food. They do just fine.

RE: breakfast. my parents made me eat oatmeal every morning with no sweetener..yeugh! But if you put a nice spoonful of honey or brown sugar on it and make it on milk it's quite lovely. Mom scornfully calls it "dessert" but its better than sugar cereal.

Also, if your children aren't obese, there's nothing wrong with nuts!! They're good for you and they have good fats. They should be getting enough exercize that too many walnuts isn't a worry.
 

gail013

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Rainbow''s idea of oatmeal is good too. There is something out there called cocoawheats, which is chocolate flavored oatmeal sort of. If you doctor it up with brown sugar and maybe a few raisins if your kids like those, it will taste better. I agree with her too, that kids will eat when they get hungry. I am sorry to hear that your son may have autism, I am sure that is hard for you.

I really like helping people eat healtieir. I have had my own battles with food, and have helped a few people lose weight, eat better etc, by develping a eating plan. So much of what you teach your kids will stay with them. Growing up we never had candy bars or chips or any of that stuff. We ate fruits and veggies. But when I got older, it was like a free for all-I had never really learned how to live with that stuff. So I think some of it is good.

Portion size is everything. Your idea of yogurt is great, there are so many good flavors. Add a bit of cool whip for a treat. Do you have any knowledge of fat or colories when it comes to food? Where do you live?
 

Maisie

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My children are definitely not obese. My eldest son is 16 and is like a bean pole! My 13 year old daughter is gorgeous - not skinny but just as she should be - she is perfect. My next daughter is 10 and is quite slim and my 8 year old son is right for his age too. James is quite small and thin but his dad had growth problems when he was younger and needed growth hormones or something (sorry bit vague on the details) and went from 4 ft 6 to 6 ft tall!!

I know they will want to snack which is why I am trying to think of things to give them which will fill them up but that are healthy. I have a bad attitude to food and I worry I will pass that on to them.

Thank you for the responses - its much appreciated


Maisie
 

canuk-gal

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HI:

Have you access to community programs that target nutrition and healthy eating/cooking? In Canada, you can acess these types of programs thru the public and community health department--speaking to dietitions and the like. What about programs thru your school board? Is this something you might be interested in?

cheers--Sharon
 

Maisie

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I live in the UK Sharon and I don''t think its something we can access through the school. I think that over here you can only have help if your children are obese or disabled in some way. We have the National Health Service here - I''m afraid that if its not essential they find reasons why they shouldn''t offer you resources!

Maisie
 

Mara

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Maisie you should really sit on the weekly workout threads...even if you don't post. we talk A LOT about food on there. many of us love food and want to be sure we are subsituting the right foods for our love of the wrong ones.

I posted a huge list of my 'snacks' on sparkpeople once....healthy ones...there is a ton of resources on there as well. check it out.
www.sparkpeople.com. huge message board and community which is very helpful. I have never been a huge snacker of bad things, aka I never keep chips and the like in the house. I find that when you don't keep bad things in the house, you are way less likely to actually go out, find it, and eat it. So just don't keep that stuff in the house...make it harder on those who want to get bad snacks. I make my husband do all his 'snacking' and bad eating at work...hehee.

Basically here's a typical day for me with regards to eating...these are all the various options of things I tend to eat.

Breakfast: (these are all either or)
--3 egg white scramble with some cheese and tomatoes and green onions and 2 pieces of low-cal multigrain toast with smart balance butter, coffee
--2/3 cup oatmeal with low-cal maple syrup and fresh brown sugar, coffee
--1cup high fiber, high protein cereal (aka Kashi or Fiber One or similar) with 1% milk, coffee, sometimes toast.
--Three oatmeal pancakes with 1 tblspoon real butter and low-cal maple syrup
--2 multigrain Eggo waffles with 1 tblspoon real butter and low-cal maple syrup

(I love breakfast so I always have tons of options)

Lunch:
--Campbells soups...mixture of a bunch I like.
--Fresh salads either made at home or the office
--Turkey sandwich on wheat that I either made at home or picked up at Starbucks or a local sandwich place. All mustard, no mayo, light on cheese.
--Lean Cuisine frozen meal
--Leftovers from dinner last nite (typically healthy)
--Oatmeal if I don't feel like making anything big
--Sushi if I am going out
--My homemade tuna salad with low-fat mayo, tuna, celery, apples and some cajun spices, served on whole wheat bread or rice cakes

Snacks:...I incorprate 2-3 of these into my afternoon typically since I have a desk job.
--Chopped apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, yummy fruit basically.
--10 cal Jello cups
--60 cal Jello pudding cups
--100 Cal Popcorn or Kettle Corn (YUM addicted to this!)
--Dannon light n'fit yogurt (60 cals)
--Homemade muffins (typically around 100-150 cals the way I make them)
--Dry high fiber cereal eaten out of a bag (Yum!)
--100 cal balance high protein, high fiber bar
--Luna Bars (for women, lots of women specific vitamins!!)
--Granola, you can buy it in the bag or make your own.
--Really yummy bleu cheese and some apples
--Smoked salmon, whipped light cream cheese, multigrain crackers and capers (yum!)

Then for dinner I typically make us something. There is a thread in here called 'WWT Healthier Recipes'...check it out. It's where a bunch of us PS'ers who experiment with cooking and recipes post our favorites. There are a ton of yummy things in there. My fave is the turkey lasagna (can last for days) and the healthier mac and cheese (which my husband raved about)...also we made a healthy Chicken Pot Pie this weekend...and I unearthed a recipe for Crockpot Chili that I am going to try to make tomorrow.
www.cookinglight.com has some great recipes, many are tested and tried and true and they all have nutritional value and information for them. OR if I don't make us something we have soup from the pantry or I also shop at this place we have locally, Trader Joes which offers a ton of healthy options for pre-packaged convenience, aka the pizzas we are having tonite are healthy and from TJ's and cook up in the oven in 15 minutes. They are fresh not frozen. Try to find a shop like that around you so you have more options?

Really, I found that re-education about food can take a very long time to re-train your brain on what is right to eat and when. But once it is done, as long as you keep practicing it, it's not that hard to reach for the right option vs the wrong. I had a cookie last nite, a real bakery one, and it's been months since I had. It was DIVINE but the one thing I could taste clear as day? BUTTER. Lots of it. I remember thinking 'surely these cookies don't just need all this butter to be this good?'...maybe they do...but it was a good cookie, but I wouldn't buy a bag of them. hehee. Splurge sometimes but don't go crazy.
 

gail013

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HI Maisie

The only reason I mention portion size is that when kids metabolisms slow down, they still have the same eating habits from when they were young. You are smart to think about the snacking etc, and to realize how important good food is.

Have you looked at some of the healthy recipes on this website under the WWT? They look good!
 

ladykemma

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when i lived in london, i found healthy food in the indian food places. i could make a nice meal out of chicken masala or some form of bean, some rice and whatever nice green veg they had that day.

a healthy diet I have found is 1/3 protein (size of your palm), 1/3 starch/carb/fruit 65 grams and 1/3 fresh veg. so if you divide your plate into three, you see protein, green veg and carb.

for example a healthy breakfast could be 1 egg and a piece of that lovely bacon you all have, a piece of toast with a dab of butter, and those baked tomatoes or piece of fruit

lunch coulld be spaghetti bolognese and a green salad

dinner could be chick peas with tomatoes ( or a palm sized piece of meat) , some nice green veg, and rice.

i was mostly vegetarian when i lived there so most of my suggestions will be vegetarian.
 

Maisie

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Mara thankyou for that post! Its really helpful to see what you eat.
I will definitely check out that thread you mentioned and I will also hang around the weekly workout thread too. Failing that I could just come and live with you and you can keep me right!!

Gail you said this:

So much of what you teach your kids will stay with them. Growing up we never had candy bars or chips or any of that stuff. We ate fruits and veggies. But when I got older, it was like a free for all-I had never really learned how to live with that stuff.

I was the same growing up. We couldn''t afford sweets or candy bars etc. In fact I would say we didn''t even eat enough to make us healthy. I was very thin as a child and can remember always being hungry. I guess its not a surprise that I have such an unhealthy relationship with food now. I really want to help my children to eat properly and develop good judgement with eating.

If James is autistic we will cope. I know it will be difficult but as we nearly lost him (and his twin sister was still born) we cherish him so much. I just wish he would eat properly! lol I don''t want much do I?


Maisie
 

Maisie

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LadyKemma those ideas sound lovely and very filling too. Did you like living in London? I live about 3 hours away from there but I have visited - its very big!

I think its easy to think that if you are going to eat healthily you must be depriving yourself or missing out in some way. I know my children will feel hard done by for a little while till they get used to it.

I will make sure they can ''treat'' themselves from time to time. I don''t want them to grow up and start eating loads of ''bad'' stuff because I didn''t allow them to eat them as kids!

Maisie
 

roppongi

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Maisie: I have two children nine and four and this is what I feed them 95% of the time. The nine year is very active and goes from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm - his lunch box needs to be packed with clean food all the time. The four year old just started pre-school and the meals they serve the kids are very, very healthy.



They might not like it in the beginning, but they will thank you in the long run. There is nothing like eating healthy, your body responds so much better. I just got off a detox and cannot tell you how great I feel; the energy that I have is amazing.

Good Luck!

Breakfast:
Plain oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar and whole wheat toast w/ organic peanut butter - 2 - 3 days a week
Egg white frittata with vegetables, ham, turkey with whole wheat toast - 2 - 3 days a week
Waffles and bagels with cream cheese - 1 day a week
Sliced apples and oranges - Every morning
Side of yogurt - Most mornings
Milk or Juice

Lunch:
Whole wheat pasta with a light red or white sauce with roasted chicken
Chicken / Shrimp fried rice
Roasted chicken, avocado, cream cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread
Carrot sticks
Piece of fruit
Snack - Japanese rice crackers, goldfish, multigrain crackers and string cheese
Carton of milk or juice and a bottle of water

Dinner:
Meat, vegetable, shrimp stir fry over brown rice
Whole wheat pasta with homemade tomato sauce / light garlic bread
Roasted chicken and vegetables
Salmon / halibut fillets
Japanese take out
Green leafy vegetables - Every night
Carrots, celery, cucumbers, radishes - Every night
Milk or Juice
 

Maisie

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Roppongi thankyou for your response. You make some lovely food for your children! What time do you get up in the morning! I struggle to get up in the winter months as I have SAD (Seasonal affective disorder). I get up and drive the children to school then sit in front of a light box for 3 hours. I know I will feel better once the spring comes.

I think though for this new regime to work I need to form a routine of getting up earlier and making sure the kids get a good breakfast. I know my 13 yr old daughter doesn''t eat much as she would rather be putting some make up on!

These lifestyle changes are going to have to come from the inside too. A lot has to change. I''m a bit scared. I have been this way for a long time.

I appreciate the support you are all giving me.
 

nejarb

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Hi Maisie. It''s great that you want to feed yourself and your kids healthier food! It''s hard to change everything all at once, but it''s really easy to make small changes gradually. For example:

-if you use whole milk, switch to 2%. then maybe later switch again to 1%.
-if you feed your kids sugary drinks, start giving them juice, but add still or sparkling water to dilute it a little.
-Can you buy whole wheat pasta? This may be a good choice for the fussy one, and w/ sauce on it he won''t even know it''s different. And if the kids like meatballs, you can use lean meat and secretly add vegetables to these--spinach, carrots, etc.
-instead of cooking in pans w/ alot of oil, use a cooking spray, or even just put your cooking oil in a spray bottle and this way a little oil goes a long way.
-nuts are great, but alot of time they are roasted in oil and then covered in salt. it''s better to eat raw nuts and it you eat them with a small piece of cheese or some dried fruit or both, you don''t miss the salt.
 

poptart

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I am not sure if someone already posted this, so sorry if I''m repeating. I would also suggest trying to get as much organic food as possible. Vegetables and fruits that are grown organically don''t have any pesticides, and organic meat just tastes better, too. It''s healthier for you overall. I would suggest finding a local organic food store because they usually have the widest selection.

PS You are lucky to be in London! I would love to live in England (or Ireland, haha... just the UK in general)

*M*
 

Mara

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actually i agree with nejarb, sometimes small changes are the easiest to implement most effectively. making 10 diff changes all at once might not go over so well. over time if you do things slowly you hardly even realize that things are changing.
 

roppongi

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Maisie...I am so sorry to hear that you suffer from SAD. It can be crippling. My friend in New York suffers from SAD and during the Winter months, she replaces her regular lamps with these special SAD lamps and it has helped her a lot. I find if I have a routine, it''s easier to get up in the morning.

5:00 am - 5:45 am - treamill time
5:50 am - 6:25 am - shower, blow dry my hair and change
6:30 am - downstairs making breakfast for the kids, while husband gets the kids up and dressed
6:45 am - kids come down for breakfast
7:15 am - we are out the door and on our way to school

Take little steps and try to do something nice for yourself every day if possible.

Ropppongi
 

rainbowtrout

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This is of course just my opinion, but...


If there is no obesity problem there is no reason for egg whites only, skim milk, or other lo-fat products. Personally I think the solution is to eat LESS eggs, whole milk, and whole milk yogurt. It fills you up more, and honestly if you are getting exercize a whole egg omlette once or twice a week really won't hurt you.


Being half Sicilian, I also have to say that whole wheat pasta is kind of against my religion--durum wheat absorbs slower anyway and has a higher protien content than white bread. And it ISNT whole grain--whole grain only applies when the grain hasn't been mushed up and processed as it is in whole wheat pasta or whole wheat bread.

While going from soda to juice and then diluting the fruit juice is a good idea as well...once again just my opinion, but I find the fact that I only drank water growing up really curbed my desire for soda or juice or any sort of sweet drink except as a special thing. Besides, one glass of OJ in the morning, assuming you are a healthy weight, is good for you.

To be fair, my parents report I yowled a good bit about my no-sugar except on the weekends diet as a kid. So I bet it must be pretty stressful for you guys with kids!

roppogini you sound like a champ and your family eats amazingly well! lucky to have you.
 

Mara

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"If there is no obesity problem there is no reason for egg whites only, skim milk, or other lo-fat products. Personally I think the solution is to eat LESS eggs, whole milk, and whole milk yogurt. It fills you up more, and honestly if you are getting exercize a whole egg omlette once or twice a week really won''t hurt you."

________

I totally agree that sometimes the regular stuff won''t be a big deal...sometimes we have regular egg omelets on the weekends. But for me, I don''t see a problem with low-fat or skim milk or other low-fat items most of the time. Doesn''t most skim milk have basically the same nutrients as the Vitamin D stuff does nowadays? Or drink 2%. With something like a low-fat sour cream or a low-fat cheese...I find that most of the same nutrients are available in both the full fat and low-fat versions but it''s just less calories and fat, and nowadays most things TASTE very similar to full-fat versions. I personally think in general why would anyone want to have a full fat item when the lower version tastes basically the same and is just flat out better for you and has 99% of the same nutrients?

When I was young, I was only allowed healthy cereals, whole wheat or multigrain bread. No sugars, no sodas, not really much juice. Mostly water, teas etc. Never any white processed anything. Of course as a child I chafed against it esp when everyone else was having Wonder bread, but I was a really healthy kid!! Now I actually LIKE half the stuff my Mom made me eat. But you can be so much more healthy and still do tasty nowadays!! We make grilled cheese sandwiches with low-cal multigrain high fiber bread and 2% American singles. YUM. We have salads with our dinners all the time. We eat fun cereals (Cinammon Life?!) which still have low calorie and fat count but decent fiber and protein and taste (sugary).
 

Maisie

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Nejarb I agree with what you say about changing small things at a time. I had a chat with the kids when they came in from school and they had a proper fit at the thought of the changes!!
The one thing I have always done is refuse them sugary fizzy drinks - yay for me lol! I worry about their teeth so they won''t miss what they are never allowed

I will definitely get them raw nuts. I think the salted and dry roast ones are bad for them.

Poptart - I will swap houses with you if you like lol - I would love to live in the US. I don''t know why but its always been a dream of mine!

Mara - so I can''t come and live with you then?


Roppongi - you get up at 5am?? Oh my word! Thats the middle of the night! I think I can manage about 7am as my smallest children don''t start school until 8.55am and we are only a five minute drive away. (I walk in the afternoon to collect them but I can''t face walking in the morning when its freezing!)
I do need to start finding nice things to do - We are saving madly for our holiday to Jamaica next year to renew our vows. It will be the honeymoon we never had and the kids are staying home with my mum!! Anything I do has to be cheap or free. I guess window shopping is free!

Rainbowtrout I wish I could drink more water. I have never been able to drink more than one glass every few hours. It makes me feel sick.
I think the kids are going to dislike this new lifestyle BUT as people have said, they will thank me when they have loads of energy and feel great!!
 

poptart

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Date: 1/17/2007 2:12:34 PM
Author: Maisiebelle

Poptart - I will swap houses with you if you like lol - I would love to live in the US. I don''t know why but its always been a dream of mine!
Yes, let''s switch. I''ve always wanted to live in the UK and am trying to convince DH it would be a great idea!

*M*
 

Maisie

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AND Mara I have just seen a photo of you and you are so lovely and slim! Obviously the lifestyle you live is a good one! I shall persevere!!!
 

Maisie

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It is a good place to live Poptart. I am in the north east - about 3 hours by train from London. The cost of living here is a lot less than being down south and the people are friendly too.

We have crime but not on a large scale. I feel safe where I live anyway!
 

rainbowtrout

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Date: 1/17/2007 2:10:50 PM
Author: Mara
'If there is no obesity problem there is no reason for egg whites only, skim milk, or other lo-fat products. Personally I think the solution is to eat LESS eggs, whole milk, and whole milk yogurt. It fills you up more, and honestly if you are getting exercize a whole egg omlette once or twice a week really won't hurt you.'


________


I totally agree that sometimes the regular stuff won't be a big deal...sometimes we have regular egg omelets on the weekends. But for me, I don't see a problem with low-fat or skim milk or other low-fat items most of the time. Doesn't most skim milk have basically the same nutrients as the Vitamin D stuff does nowadays? Or drink 2%. With something like a low-fat sour cream or a low-fat cheese...I find that most of the same nutrients are available in both the full fat and low-fat versions but it's just less calories and fat, and nowadays most things TASTE very similar to full-fat versions. I personally think in general why would anyone want to have a full fat item when the lower version tastes basically the same and is just flat out better for you and has 99% of the same nutrients?


When I was young, I was only allowed healthy cereals, whole wheat or multigrain bread. No sugars, no sodas, not really much juice. Mostly water, teas etc. Never any white processed anything. Of course as a child I chafed against it esp when everyone else was having Wonder bread, but I was a really healthy kid!! Now I actually LIKE half the stuff my Mom made me eat. But you can be so much more healthy and still do tasty nowadays!! We make grilled cheese sandwiches with low-cal multigrain high fiber bread and 2% American singles. YUM. We have salads with our dinners all the time. We eat fun cereals (Cinammon Life?!) which still have low calorie and fat count but decent fiber and protein and taste (sugary).


Haha (am laughing at self here).

Well, I have to say my reasoning is twofold--one, being a semi-serious amateur cook I am very attached to fat as a carrier of flavor. I will usually substitute whole milk for cream, but not skim milk for whole in a recipie. I will almost always use EVO instead of butter, but NOT for baking and sometimes for flavor I do 1 tbl butter and 1 tbl EVO. Also for some things EVO heats up too much and doesnt brown meat very well...it has a lower temp at which it will burn. I refuse to use less than 2tbls of EVO in a veggie saute generally...

two, I have this innate suspicion of low fat products. don't ask me why, I just DO. It's irrational. And, I find if the label says lo-fat I eat more. Cause unlike Mara, I DONT count calories, so if I know it is a whole fat product I am more careful with it and end up eating less in the end.
 

poptart

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Date: 1/17/2007 2:18:42 PM
Author: Maisiebelle
It is a good place to live Poptart. I am in the north east - about 3 hours by train from London. The cost of living here is a lot less than being down south and the people are friendly too.

We have crime but not on a large scale. I feel safe where I live anyway!
My friend lives in Southern England and he seems to like it. I think the North would be too cold for me... guess that means Ireland''s out!

*M*
 

Maisie

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The winter up here is awful! The kids say my favourite phrase is '' I HATE THE WINTER''!! I say it a lot!!

Last summer the temps got as high as 35 degrees - we didn''t quite know how to handle it! In fact I stayed in a lot as I was worried James would overheat!!

Us English are the ones you see on holiday with our shorts and vests on when the sun has only just slightly peeked out from behind a cloud! Got to get it where you can!!
 
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