RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2013

What does your body good?

Whole, skim, almond, organic and everything in between. There are so many options for “milk” out there it can be incredibly daunting deciding which one is right for you and your family. Some people have allergies/intolerances to dairy, nuts or soy that limit their selection. For the majority of Americans, all the possiblilities are available so they must choose the best one for them. According to the USDA general guidelines, children ages 2-3 years old need about 2 cups of milk a day, children ages 4-8 need 2 1/2 cups, and anyone ages 9 and older need about 3 cups a day. It is also important to know that babies under 12 months of age should not be fed any milk other than breast for formula and that toddlers under the age of two should be drinking whole milk. (The USDA guidelines provide other options that equal one cup, such as 1 1/2 oz hard cheese, 1/3 cup shredded cheese or 1 cup yogurt). Now, one of the main purposes of consuming dairy is to have enough calcium in the diet, which brings us to having many more choices besides cow’s milk due to fortification and other products that naturally contain calcium.
The body needs calcium and vitamin D for bone health. However, more is not necessarily better, too much calcium can cause kidney stones or impair the body’s absorption of other important nutrients. Here are the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI’s) for both calcium and vitamin D.

Calcium Vitamin D
0-6 months* 200 mg 400 IU
6-12 months* 260 mg 400 IU
1-3 years 700 mg 600 IU
4-8 years 1000 mg 600 IU
9-13 years 1300 mg 600 IU

*Adequate intake (AI) for babies under 1 year.  Over 12 months recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is given.

Some of other options for those who choose not to or cannot consume cow’s milk or other dairy are as follows:

Cheese (swiss) 1 oz has 270mg calcium           Cod liver oil, 1 T has 1,360IU vitamin D

Yoghurt (nonfat, plain), 8oz, 490mg                Salmon, 3oz, 497 IU

OJ, (Calcium fortified) 3/4 c, 260mg                Tuna (canned), 3oz,  154 IU

Ice cream, 1/2c, 90mg                                           Yogurt (varies by brand), 6oz, 80 IU

Let’s begin the great organic versus conventional debate. There are positives and negatives on both sides of the argument. Conventional cow’s milk is considerably less expensive and easily available to most people. Also in a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Organic Foods, Health and Environmental Advantages, they found NO nutritional difference between organic and non-organic milk. The negative aspects of conventional milk centers around the farming practices of the cows. Some of the largest concerns are related to hormone and medication delivery and feed composition.
Organic milk has a high set of standards that the farmers must abide by to be certified organic. These include cows that are fed exclusively organic feed, no administration of hormones/growth promoters or antibiotics in the absence of disease. It is often ultra-pasteurized, which gives it a longer refrigerated shelf-life. This could be a plus or a minus depending on your point of view as there are many that oppose pasteurization due to the vitamins, minerals and other properties that may be lost during the process. (Personally I believe, along with the federal government, that it is a necessity to ensure a safe product for the masses). But when you pay an upwards of $4 a half-gallon, you don’t want a single drop to go to bad. Which brings us to the major negative aspect of organic milk. It seems like if you can find it for around $3 a half-gallon you are getting a great deal and anything less is a steal. Now in case you were wondering, in our house we use a milk delivery service that brings us regionally sourced whole and 2% milk. The milk is not organic, but the cows are humanely raised, only given medication when ill and are not administered hormones. Extravagant? Yes, but it is a premium we are willing to budget in for the product and the convenience for this family of four that consumes much of three different types of dairy. We also have soy milk in the house since I am lactose intolerant.
Here are the nutrition facts for some commonly used “milk” products that can help you to decided what one is best for you and your family.

Whole 2% Skim Soy* Almond* Rice**
Calories 146 122 90 90 60 120
Fat 7.9g 4.8g 0g 3.5g 2.5g 2.5g
Saturated Fat 4.6g 3.1g 0g 0.5g 0g 0g
Protein 7.9g 8.1g 8g 6g 1g 1g
Calcium 275 mg 285.5mg 300mg 450mg 200mg 250mg
Vitamin D1 25% 25% 25% 30% 25% 25%
Cholesterol 24mg 20mg 5mg 0mg 0mg 0mg
Potassium 348.9mg 366mg 400mg 300mg 180mg ~

All values are based on 8oz or 1 cup.

*Silk brand, unsweetend

**Rice Dream Brand

1- Percentage based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

These are some helpful websites and documents that I used when researching this blog.

iom.edu 

usda.gov (Organic Foods Production Act of 1990)

Calorieking.com

ods.od.nih.gov

 

Advertisements

Celebrate National Nutrition Month®

Every month of the year, our nation decides to devote much marketing and education about various topics.  Well, March is National Nutrition Month and the theme this year is, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”.

As parents we tend to put so much pressure on ourselves trying to do what is best for our families.  We read books, research online, talk to our friends and consult professionals like registered dietitians and doctors, all in hopes of finding the ideal methods of taking care of our children, in this case, what we feed them.  How great is it that we live in a society where a world (literally) of information is available at our fingertips?  The downside is that all of those opinions and knowledge can leave a parent feeling very inadequate or even guilty regarding the choices they make for their family.  It seems these days that if you aren’t buying  totally local, organic, farm-raised foods or if you feed your child something with even a hint of preservatives, dye, refined sugar, hormones, antibiotics, trans-fats (you the general idea), you are guilty of slowly killing your family.  Yes, some of those foods are genuinely bad for your body but there is much grey area on the effect they may have especially depending on how much and how often you consume.  There must be some balance because setting unreasonably high expectations can lead to frustration and disappointment for all parties involved.  Knowledge is power but only if you can decide what is “right” for your family.  Have confidence in the decisions you make, especially the ones that you take the time to research and educate your selves with.  Do not let anyone food-shame you, because only you know what is best for your family.

“Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” sends a message of empowerment.  Seek out the knowledge for eating healthful and well, but also decide for yourself and your family the best way to utilize what you learn and apply it to your daily life in a way that is manageable and realistic for everyone.

Guacamole and Tortilla Chips

Guacamole has always been a favorite in this house.  A favorite among the adults that is.  While AJ will not touch the stuff, the Babe enjoyed dipping her homemade tortilla chips in it.  Guacamole is a fantastic snack or side dish chock full of B vitamins, fiber and minerals such as Copper, Magnesium and Zinc.  Most of all, it is a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).  These actually have the ability to improve your blood cholesterol levels, thus helping to combat cardiovascular disease.  So do not be afraid of the fat content in those avocados, it may be high, but they can pack a healthful punch.  My recipe also uses olive oil (more healthy fats), lime and tomatoes, providing even more nutrients to the dish.

Guacamole     

Serves:4

2 Hass avocados

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lime, juiced

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp sea salt, ground

1/4 tsp pepper, freshly ground

1/4c onions (or more, to taste), finely chopped

1/2c tomatoes, diced

In a large bowl, scoop in avocado.  Add garlic, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Mash all ingredients together to desired texture or smoothness. Add onions and tomatoes and mix.

Enjoy

Nutrition Information (per serving):  Calories:  246kcal,   Protein: 3g,  Total Fat: 27g,  Saturated Fat: 4g,  MUFA: 18g,  PUFA: 2.5g,  Carbohydrates: 17g,  Fiber: 11g,  Sodium: 155mg

Baked Tortilla Chips

Serves 4

4 Flour Tortillas, soft taco size

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt, ground

1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground

Dash ground red pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Slice tortillas into equal eights pie shapes.  Arrange on cookie sheet in one layer.  Drizzle olive oil evenly across tortilla pieces.  Sprinkle seasoning across the tortillas.  Rub individual pieces against each other on both sides to distribute the oil and spices equally.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the tortillas begin to slightly brown.

Enjoy

Nutrition Information (per serving):  Calories: 111kcal,  Protein: 3g,  Total Fat: 4.2g,  Saturated Fat: o.5g,  MUFA: 2.5g,  Carbohydrates: 15g,  Fiber: 2g,  Sodium:  310mg