Tag Archive | kitchen

Cooking With Kids: Healthy Eating Starts in the Kitchen

by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND

Cooking can instill a sense of pride in kids.

Kids love to cook—and it might help them to make better food choices, too.

I think it’s fair to say that most kids—given the chance—like to spend time playing around in the kitchen. And why not? Cooking is creative and messy and fun, and it tickles all the senses. On top of that, your efforts are rewarded with something that’s (hopefully) delicious to eat. But cooking can deliver some additional benefits, too—spending time in the kitchen can help kids to develop an appreciation for healthy foods, and foster better eating habits, too.

RELATED ARTICLE: 12 smart tips for getting your kids heart healthy

The significance of this really shouldn’t be overlooked. In the last few decades, obesity and overweight rates among American kids have risen dramatically—a reflection, in part, on a diet that includes too many calories and nutrient-poor foods, and too little in the way of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium-rich dairy products.

And eating out is a contributing factor. Meals eaten away from home are higher in calories, fat and saturated fat—and provide less calcium and fiber—than home-prepared meals. On the other hand, eating more meals at home is associated with a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and dairy products, with less fat and calories.

Cooking with Kids: The Many Benefits
    • Cooking at home and eating together helps kids develop an appreciation for healthy foods. When parents serve as good role models with their food choices, kids develop a similar appreciation for healthy foods. And, the comfortable, supportive environment of home helps to reinforce these healthy behaviors.
    • Kids enjoy eating what they’ve prepared. When kids are involved in the selection of ingredients and preparation of foods, they’re more likely to try their creations.
    • They’re more likely to try new foods. Even if kids decide that they don’t particularly like what they prepared, the cooking experience will help to cultivate an open mind when it comes to trying new foods.
    • Kids derive a sense of pride and independence when they cook. Kids love to boast that “I did it all myself!” When they are able to prepare something on their own—no matter how simple—and serve it to family, it instills a sense of pride and independence. Help your kids by guiding them toward age-appropriate recipes.
    • Cooking is creative. Once kids have some basic skills and learn to follow recipes, they should be encouraged to get creative. You can start with a very simple basic recipe—for example, a smoothie made with flavored protein powder and milk—and allow them to experiment by adding different fruits, vegetables, spices or extracts. Once they’ve come up with their own recipes, many kids enjoy creating their own recipe file.
    • Cooking together can be fun, quality time. Spending time together in the kitchen can be fun and relaxing for both kids and adults. Many kids don’t need much coaxing to join you in the kitchen, so use this time to simply enjoy each other’s company and talk about how good—and good for you—your meal is going to be.

Susan Bowerman is Director of Nutrition Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


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SASA’S HEALTHY LIVING TIPPS: Spice rack guide: Top 5 spices for your kitchen | Herbalife Advice

Spice rack guide: Top 5 spices for your kitchen | Herbalife Advice

Seasoning dishes is an art that goes way beyond salt and pepper. Take a look at your kitchen spice rack—is the ginger gathering dust and the red pepper still unopened from last year? It could be time to spice up your life a bit. Susan Bowerman reveals the marvelous variety of spices and what a dramatic impact they have in adding depth and flavor to just about everything.

Cumin is a delicious international flavor; add it to roasted eggplant or even your scrambled eggs. Cinnamon not only adds a spicy sweetness to your morning protein shake, it also works well on winter squash or sweet potato. And don’t even get us started on paprika! Whether you experiment with traditional spices or prefer a little assistance with premade blends, don’t be afraid to play around with spices. They truly are the spice of life!

Be sure to tell us what your favorite spices are in the comments section.


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SASA’S HEALTHY RECIPES: Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl

Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl


Try this lighter version of popular rice bowls – rich in fiber from the brown rice and vegetables.

Serves 4

2 cups freshly cooked brown rice
4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
2 cups broccoli florets, in bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups sliced bok choi cabbage
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
Bottled teriyaki sauce

Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Spray a large skillet for which you have a cover with pan spray. Place pan over medium high heat, and heat for one minute. Place chicken breasts in pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until meat begins to brown. Turn chicken breasts over, cover the skillet, and turn the heat down to medium low. Allow the chicken to cook in its own juices for another 12-15 minutes or until cooked through. Turn off the heat, remove chicken breasts from the pan, slice, and place back in the pan and cover to keep warm.

While the chicken is cooking, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a medium covered saucepan. When the water boils, drop in the broccoli florets and let cook for 1 minute just long enough to turn bright green and become slightly tender. Drain broccoli but do not rinse.

Heat a large skillet over high heat, and add the olive oil. Add broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic and scallion and ginger, and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the cooked brown rice into four bowls. Top rice with vegetables and sliced chicken breast, and then with teriyaki sauce to taste.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:
Calories: 32
Protein: 34 grams
Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrate: 12 grams

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