Let Mardi Gras Come to You!

It is “Carnival season”. Bourbon Street is getting ready for the most awaited time of the year in New Orleans. It has been down that the Mardi Gras celebration is just about excess. Excessive drinking, eating and doing crazy stuff to win plastic beads are things that have characterized this celebration along the years. But besides considering it to be an R-rated celebration, Mardi Gras is also a family-friendly celebration.

Hundreds of families gather at the avenue’s median (or “neutral ground”) to spend some time with their kids and have a better chance of catching goodies from the floats. While having a good time, they eat and snack as much as they can. Not only people and families in New Orleans celebrate what is considered to be the last days of eating richer, fatty foods, but people across America also celebrate “Carnival season” at their local towns. So, if you can’t go to Mardi Gras, let Mardi Gras come to you!

Here are some party ideas and recipes that you can incorporate to your Mardi Gras party:

Create a masquerade ball party

If you are hosting the party, make masquerade invitations so your party follows a theme. Make the invitations colorful and playful. Cook or buy cookies with a masquerade shape and learn how to decorate them with glitter—you will have a real Mardi Gras masquerade cookie! Follow these easy steps from Sweetopia.net (http://sweetopia.net/2011/03/how-to-decorate-mardi-gras-mask-cookies/).

Decorate your dinner table with beads

Remember to keep it colorful! Use a gold, green, or purple tablecloth and put some plastic beads over each plate. Combine colors to make it interesting to the eye of your guests. Use confetti and glitter and sprinkle over the table. Click on this link to view a picture of a Mardi Gras decorated dinner table: http://media-cache-ec2.pinterest.com/originals/73/4a/41/734a41adee3bcb89ffbb267c016ece3f.jpg

Cook following the real New Orleans style

Spice it up! Two of the most well-known New Orleans dishes are the Gumbo and the Jambalaya. In just 45 minutes, you can cook a delicious Chicken-Andouille Gumbo from MyRecipes.com (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-andouille-gumbo-10000000257659/) that all your guests will love. You can also make an easy Cajun Jambalaya in just 45 minutes from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Cajun-Jambalaya/Detail.aspx?prop24=RD_RelatedRecipes).

Finish your party with a cherry on top!

No Mardi Gras party is complete without a King Cake. This cake is a sweetened yeast bread, usually baked in a ring shape.  According to About.com, the cake is frosted with gold, green, and purple icing representing in order, power, faith, and justice. Although you will have to refrigerate it for 8 hours, it will only take you 1 ½ hours between the preparation and the cooking procedure. Learn the ingredients and how to make a delicious and sweet King Cake on FoodNetwork.com (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/king-cake-recipe2/index.html).

Cooking For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so why not surprise your sweetheart with a delicious dish prepared by you? Cooking at home for Valentine’s Day gives you and the people you love many benefits, such as:

Increasing Quality Time

If you cook at home, you are not only dedicating to your loved one more dinner time but also he/she will appreciate that you have taken the time to cook his/her favorite dish.  You can also spend more time with him/her if you decide to cook together.

Saving Money

Eating on the go is expensive. If you buy the ingredients you need from a local grocery store and use coupons to get discounts, you will be able to stay on budget and cook your sweetheart’s favorite meal without spending a lot of money.

Having healthier food choices

Since you will be the one planning the meal and buying the groceries, you can make sure to prepare a meal with low-fat ingredients to cut some calories. Usually, if you go to a restaurant, you eat more than you need. Also, it is very hard to resist to the temptation of saying “no” to a lasagna or pizza that is high in carbs.

Saving time

Since many people celebrate Valentine’s Day, the majority of restaurants usually exceed their seating capacity on this day. You can avoid being at the line for several hours if you choose to cook at home for this special day.

If you still don’t know your loved one’s favorite meal or which dish can surprise him/her, we will provide you with future blogs with Valentine’s ideas and recipes so you can make something delicious in a short time.

 

Yes, LI People Can Drink Milk Too

Celebrate the Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month by learning new ways in which you can incorporate diary products into your diet.

Some people believe that being lactose intolerant is synonym of having a milk allergy. Others consider that, if you suffer from this, you can no longer eat dairy products for the rest of your life. However, none if these is true. The Dairy Makes Sense website (http://www.dairymakessense.com/nutrition/lactose-intolerance/) clearly differentiates lactose intolerance (LI) from a milk allergy. To be lactose intolerant means that your body cannot properly process an amount of lactose greater than the body’s ability to digest and absorb it, cause gastrointestinal disturbances following the intake of lactose. A milk allergy, on the other hand, is an adverse immune reaction to one or more dairy products.

If you suffer from allergy, you cannot longer eat or drink the product that is causing you the allergy; whereas if you are lactose intolerant, you can learn the adequate amounts of dairy products you can eat or drink without exceeding what your body can process and absorb. Current research has revealed that many lactose intolerant people can consume small amounts of milk, yogurt with live and active cultures, natural cheeses, and lactose-free dairy foods.

If you have been diagnosed as lactose intolerant, it becomes important that you know that you can consume dairy products in small quantities. Lactose intolerant people that avoid dairy foods consume insufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D that the body needs to function properly. As a result, people who don’t consume dairy are more prone to suffer from osteoporosis and other adverse outcomes, according to a research published by the Dairy Council Digest (http://www.midwestdairy.com/0p235a53/lactose-intolerance-information/).

In 2012, the National Digestive Diseases Information revealed that almost one-third of the American population (33%) is lactose intolerant. The majority of them don’t know that being lactose intolerant doesn’t mean avoiding all types of dairy products. The Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month was established to inform the community what lactose intolerance is and what is not, as well as provide up-to-date research of the dairy products and amounts people can consume to live a normal life. Let’s start promoting this Month by becoming aware of this issue and learn new tips on how to deal with it so you can help yourself, a family member, a friend, or someone you care about.

Have a Healthier Super Bowl

When you think about Super Bowl meals, what snacks come to your mind? Perhaps your answer is chicken wings or nachos. Although both of them are delicious, you don’t even want to imagine the amount of calories each of these snacks has. One serving of nachos can add up to more than 550 calories, while a serving of chicken wings packs can add up to 440 calories. It is not about eating just veggies and drinking water while watching the Super Bowl game; it is about making better choices of what goes into your mouth.

Rachel Berman, blogger from the Huffington Post, suggests some tips so you and your friends can enjoy tasty snacks without gaining unwanted pounds:

Avoid Saturated Fat

Consuming large amounts of saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels, as well as cause heart disease. To avoid this, look for reduced-fat food in the grocery store that will allow you make healthier nachos and chicken wings. For instance, you can reduce the amount of meat and add more beans to a chili recipe, look for reduced-fat cheese, and replace the sour cream for Geek yogurt when preparing nachos. Similarly, you can make a healthier version of chicken wings by baking chicken tenders seasoned with your favorite spices.

 Avoid Refined Carbohydrates

Instead of buying the common tortilla chips you use to make nachos, try using whole-wheat pitas cut in slices and lightly toasted in the oven. According to the Whole Grains Council website, if you eat whole grains instead of refined grains you may lower the risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.

Avoid Excess

If you are like many of us, you don’t conceive watching the Super Bowl without drinking beer. Of course, beer is synonym of celebration and having a good time with friends. However, if you drink to excess, you may gain some unwanted pounds because of the amount of calories each beer has and the mindless munching. Berman suggests to keep track of how much you drink and to stay away from the soda as much as you can. Also, be careful with the portions you serve to you and your guests.

 

Technological Moms in the Kitchen

Turn your TV on and log on to the Internet. It is time to take advantage of the different media platforms to learn new recipes and benefits of eating at home in a faster way.

The media is constantly evolving. Not only companies are taking advantage of this phenomenon, but also individuals who want to be informed without wasting a second of their time. Moms aren’t the exception. They want to learn new recipes and the benefits of a particular food by doing just one click on the mouse.

A study conducted by Fleishman-Hillard and TheMotherhood.com, which surveyed more than 1,000 moms, discovered that ninety-six percent of American mothers have planned to make changes to their food buying habits in 2013. Three-fourths of the moms that were surveyed believe that technology is a tool one must use when being in the kitchen. According to the study, sites such as AllRecipes.com, Pinterest, and FoodNetwork.com are the most used by moms when cooking. Besides this, several food companies are also creating mobile apps to make the cooking job easier.

Additionally, moms also want to learn new ways to prepare food by watching food-based programs and reading online food magazines. Based in the study mentioned above, around three-quarters of moms are watching food programs on TV and reading food media Web sites. Also, many moms have signed up for food brand emails to learn more about everyday meal preparation.  Besides learning how to prepare new and delicious dishes online, moms are also reading more information regarding food labels and looking for healthier ingredients on the products they buy.

If you want to become a technological mom and save a lot of time learning how to prepare exquisite and healthy dishes, visit our website www.EatAtHomeMissouri.com. We provide you a list of helpful resources and up-to-date information about the benefits of eating at home.

Predictions for 2013

Predictions for 2013: More Cooking and Buying Benefits for You

Many factors have influenced the way we eat and buy food nowadays. Not only weather conditions have changed during the last years, but also we, as consumers, have modified our eating and purchasing habits. Nothing is static, everything is constantly changing. For this reason, we want to share with you some of the major trends that some analysts predict will happen in terms of who is doing the shopping and how consumers are eating.

The top 5 trends in the food industry for this coming year are:

More daddies are cookers and grocery shoppers

A study published in Forbes Magazine concludes that 51% of the men surveyed considered themselves the primary grocery shopper in their household. This means that, now more than ever before, men feel comfortable being the ones who go to the supermarket. Also, some studies suggest that more dads than moms are planning meals and cooking for the family. So if you are a male and you like cooking, this is good news for you because the food industry is now paying attention to your needs in terms of types of food, recipes, and promotions.

More meals, smaller portions

Several doctors and nutritionists recommend that, if you don’t want to gain some extra pounds, include in your daily diet more quality snacks and mini-meals. By doing so, you will not only reduce eating big portions of food in just three meals but you can also increase variety of food.

More breakfast meals for a better performance

A pilot study conducted to all students in four elementary schools in Minnesota revealed that breakfast drastically increases student attention, reduces behavioral problems and visits to the nurse, and improves their overall learning process in subjects like math. Now, people are focusing on not only having breakfast every single day, but also choosing higher quality-food that is high in protein—like eggs, yogurt, and milk—at cheaper prices.

More Frozen Foods

A survey conducted in 2010 by the market research company Packaged Facts revealed that 72% if Americans eat frozen prepared foods. Instead of decreasing, this percentage has increased in the last two years. Not only the FDA has proven that there is no nutritional difference between fresh and frozen foods, but also Americans don’t have enough time to cook. Frozen foods are great options if both you and your partners have jobs that demand more than 40 hours a week.

More food consciousness

According to The National Resource Defense Council, 40% of the food in the US goes uneaten each month. This means that almost half of the food we buy at the grocery stores goes directly to the trashcan. Since we are going through rough times, many people have started to realize the importance of using leftovers as a second meal. Also, Americans are now more responsible with the environment; as a result, they are recycling more.

Finally, if you want to save money and live healthier, all you need to do is make these five trends part of your habits in the new year to come!

Consumers Turning to Turkey More Often

It is well known that when it comes to poultry sales, chicken rules the roost, but as the holidays approach, could it be time for turkey to gobble up a bigger share of the US market?

According to new research from Mintel on the U.S. poultry market, it just might be as sales of turkey, duck, and other specialty birds grew a considerable 6.5 percent in just one year, reaching $7.1 billion (2011–12).

Growing from $6 billion in 2008, other poultry products, largely consisting of turkey, grew the most in this category. Moreover, more than eight in 10 (84 percent) Americans say they eat turkey; chicken is eaten by 94 percent, and other poultry, such as duck, goose, and hen, are consumed by 23 percent of the population.

Today, poultry in the U.S. is valued at $30 billion (2012), with chicken parts accounting for 58 percent of the total poultry market. Worth $17.3 billion in 2011, sales of chicken parts grew 4.5 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, whole chickens weren’t chicken scratch, with sales of $5.5 billion in 2012, an increase of 0.6 percent over 2011.

“The growth of other poultry products over 2011 and 2012 is partly attributed to the increasing popularity of Heritage turkeys, which are bigger, take longer to reach maturity, and sell for more than standard turkeys,” says John N. Frank, category manager for…

Read the full article: Consumers Turning to Turkey More Often, Mintel Says

The Joys of Healthy Christmas Eating

Besides jingles, Santa Claus, and presents, what else comes to your mind when you think about Christmas? Probably your answer is “food.” Christmas is an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and sit together as a family to enjoy delicious Christmas dishes. However, you might be thinking right now, how are you going to eat all your favorite food without gaining weight? For that, we have some tips that you can apply to your holiday diet so you can eat without remorse:

Moderation is the Key to Success

It is not about taking out sugary desserts and food high in fat; it is all about eating small portions. To achieve this, some of the things you can do is eat on a smaller plate, eat little portions of all the food choices instead of lots of one, drink several glasses of water, and don’t over serve. These are easy actions you can take that will make you enjoy your favorite dishes without gaining unwanted pounds.

Choose Among Alternatives

If you are in charge of the cooking, pick healthier alternatives regarding ingredients when being at the grocery store. For instance, you can make a sugar-free dessert or use olive oil instead of other oil options. If you are the guest of the party and you have no decision regarding the dishes that will be available, you still can make a healthier decisions in terms of which foods you are going to serve on your plate.

Eat a Late Lunch

Do not starve on Christmas Eve! If you do it, you will be extremely hungry when dinner comes and you will not make a smart decision when reviewing food alternatives and moderating your portions. Instead, have a healthy late lunch so your stomach will be satisfied when dinner comes.

Don’t Forget About Exercising

Christmas day is not an excuse for you to be lazy! Start your morning by doing 30 to 45 minutes of exercise, like running, lifting some weight, or doing any type of cardiovascular activity. This will help you be more alert and energetic for all the things you have to do on that day.

Follow these easy tips during Christmas day and all the festivities that go along with it and you will enjoy all the delicious food that is prepared for the holidays without gaining a single pound!

Healthy Schools

Many children consume at least half of their daily calories at school, and for many children, food served at school may be the only food they regularly eat.

With more than 31 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 12 million participating in the School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever. Let’s Move! is committed to providing healthier foods in our nation’s schools, and encourages all schools to provide school breakfast.

In 2012, we accomplished a critical step on the road to deliver healthier food to our nation’s school children when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new rules that will boost the nutritional quality of the meals eaten by school children every day. The rules represent the first major revision of school meal standards in more than 15 years and make sure our kids’ lunches and breakfasts will have more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and less fat and sodium and set sensible calorie limits based on the age of children being served

Principles, teachers, school nutrition workers and parents can help make schools healthier places to learn by providing quality food and…

Read the full article here: Healthy Schools