Category Archives: Food

Savory Japanese-Style Breakfast

I’ve never met an empty carb that I didn’t like—donuts, bagels, muffins, waffles, etc. The taste may be wonderful, but I know it’s not good for my weight or my health, especially when I start my day with those trigger foods.

Sweets really do me in, so I prefer a savory option. Yes, it can seem weird eating “dinner” foods for breakfast and it does require an adjustment. Once you get into the groove, however, it’s actually nice.

This morning, I had a Japanese-style meal. I didn’t use a specific recipe for this tasty concoction, but it was inspired by Panera’s Broth Bowls, minus the noodles. 

Basically, I tossed in random ingredients like veggie broth, mushrooms, scallions, spinach, leftover meat, and boiled eggs. It was filling without being heavy and I enjoyed the salt (from soy sauce and teriyaki sauce). Soup also takes a while to eat, which gives your stomach a chance to feel satisfied without gorging. 

Definitely worth trying for anyone that needs a better breakfast, although I must admit it’s not kid-friendly. (Mine eat cereal 99% of the time!) Adventurous adults should enjoy it.

Back-to-School Packed Lunch Solutions

The following guest post was contributed by Dr. Keith Kantor. With Back-to-School just a few weeks away, his tips for making packed lunches easier and healthier is perfect.

As parents, one of the simplest things we can do to keep our children healthy is to nourish them. Developing the right diet will carry over into their adult life, decreasing their risk for developing chronic diseases that are related to weight gain such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and thyroid complications.

School lunches are an important part of a child’s diet that affect their overall performance in the classroom, and any after school activities that they participate in. A school lunch that is loaded with processed ingredients and sugar will leave your child with a spike in blood sugars, providing a quick burst of energy followed by a large drop, making them sleepy and lethargic.

The key to a perfect school lunch is balance: good taste, good look, good nutrition. Children truly eat with their eyes and if it does not look good, they probably will not eat it. Get a lunch box they like and instead of filling it with the usual Ziplocs, try using bento boxes. (This works especially well for younger children who love to pick at finger foods.) Bento Boxes come in washable and disposable, so pick whichever option is better for your family.

 

After you decide on the container, work on the contents. Try to include protein, healthy fats and color: fruit/veggie in each meal and make it more fun by getting kids involved with the planning process.

Have them decide what kind of protein they would like, examples include:

  • Nitrate free Kosher lunch meat
  • Boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Tuna/chicken salad
    •  

Then have them choose their favorite produce:

  • Apple slices
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Celery
        •  

Don’t forget the healthy fats:

  • Hummus
  • Guacamole
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Nut Butter (almond, cashew or sunflower)
        •  

Is your child a big eater? An additional snack can be added:

  • Berries
  • Cheese
  • Muffin
  • Homemade granola
        •  

Need some meal combination ideas? All of these are well balanced and tasty:

  • Twist on PB&J (2 slices Whole grain bread, 1-2 Tbs. all natural almond or cashew butter and all natural fruit spread or better yet real berries + 1 apple + 1 serving carrot sticks with 2 Tbs. hummus for dipping.
  • Lettuce Wraps with nitrate free deli Kosher chicken or turkey, tomatoes, spinach, 1oz avocado and mustard + 1 c chopped melon + and ¼ c nuts or homemade trail mix
  • 1 serving almond crackers + 1c chicken or tuna salad + 1 banana + 1 c cucumber slices with salsa or hummus for dipping
  • 6-8oz Greek yogurt + ½ c all natural granola + ½ c berries and 5 celery sticks with all natural peanut/almond or cashew butter and raisins (ants on a log)
        •  

If your child is actually involved with the planning process they will feel like they “own” the lunch and will be less likely to throw away things that they do not want. Teachers and cafeteria staff report that fruits and vegetables end up in the trash in most school cafeterias.

Please remember to limit processed grains and empty calories like cookies, crackers, and juice. If they like dessert, pack a piece of dark chocolate. Removing items that are high in sugar like juice and cookies will increase their ability to focus in class.

It has been reported that over 12 million American children are medicated for Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD). Sugar and excessive carbohydrates magnifies symptoms of ADD in children, healthy fats like nuts, and oils help reduce symptoms of ADD.

Drinks are another important area. Always pack water over juice or soda; all humans should aim to drink at least half their body weight in ounces of water per day, even more for those who are active. It amazes me that student athletes will not drink any water at school all day long and then practice out in the sun sweating after school for 2 or more hours. A dehydrated athlete will have a hard time focusing and more importantly could pass out from heat stroke or suffer from other dehydration symptoms.

Packing a water bottle or thermos is the best thing you could send with your child EVERYDAY. All natural Hydroxide alkaline water is even better at reducing their chances of being fatigued and/or dehydrated. The best one I found is AQUA-OH. It is all natural, comes as a concentrate and is the least expensive yet most efficient one out there.  

Finally, make sure you keep the lunch at a safe temperature (this is often overlooked). Always pack the lunch in an insulated lunch bag or box with 1-2 ice packs depending on how big the lunch is. Sometimes kids have 4 or more hours before lunchtime, and they store their lunch in a locker that is outside in the heat. If perishable items reach a dangerous temperature they will be exposed to harmful bacteria and could get your child sick.

About the Author:

Dr. Keith Kantor is a leading nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating & Drinking (NAMED) program. He has been an advocate of natural food and healthy living for 30 years.

He has a PhD in Nutritional Science, a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, and a Doctorate in Business Entrepreneurship. He also holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry and served as an Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His lovely wife of 40 years, Karen, works alongside him, helping folks get healthy. Connect with them at Dr. Kantor’s website

10 Easy Ways to Make Baked Goods Healthier

Nobody would claim that dessert is a necessity, but it definitely makes life more enjoyable. In my home, we try to save sweets for Shabbos and by limiting them to only once a week, their impact is minimized. Because I love to bake and I also love to eat whatever I make, it’s important to make my treats as healthy as possible (within reason). 

Here are 10 easy ways to increase the nutritional value of your favorite recipes:

1. Flour – Bleached white flour, the most commonly-bought type, is the worst for health. Whole wheat flour simply doesn’t taste the same, many will argue. I have noticed, however, that mixing the two together works very well. Whole wheat pastry flour by itself is also a good option. 

2. Fat – Butter and oil are used most often, but don’t overlook coconut oil, especially when making pie crust. Fats can be replaced or mixed with applesauce, mashed banana, and/or pureed prunes to cut calories (texture will be chewier and more dense). Margarine, shortening, and lard should be avoided.

3. Sugar – You can reduce the sugar in most recipes by 1/3 to 1/2 without much noticeable difference. Contrary to popular belief, brown sugar is no healthier than white; it’s simply a matter of taste and texture. Fake sweeteners, like Splenda, are not safe and should be avoided. 

4. Sweet Alternatives – If you don’t want to use real sugar, try honey, maple syrup, or molasses. Because honey has twice the sweetening power of sugar, you will only need to use a small amount. This works especially well in cookies, which will stay very moist and chewy.

5. Pans – There is a lot of controversy about non-stick and silicone coatings being unsafe. If you’re worried, buy glass, ceramic, or cast iron.

6. Liners – Instead of using parchment paper or aluminum foil to line pans, spray them with oil or rub them with butter.

7. Veggies & Fruit – One of the easiest ways to sneak produce into your diet is by shredding and adding to batter. I love carrot and zucchini as bread or muffins. Apple and pumpkin are also delicious. 

8. Eggs – Whole eggs can be a problem is you’re watching cholesterol. Just using the white can work if you’re making something like meringues. For egg allergies or a vegan diet, 1 Tbs. of ground flaxseed combined with 3 Tbs. of water can replace an egg. I personally would rather use that than a substitute like Egg Beaters. 

9. Leavening – Baking powder and baking soda seem harmless enough, but some contain aluminum. Bob’s Red Mill makes a great version without it. It is slightly more expensive, but still reasonable. 

10. Drizzle or Dust – Instead of coating a cake with multiple layers of frosting or whipped cream, try drizzling with a glace. A light dust of confectioner’s sugar is another option.

Focusing on a whole foods diet, with plenty of fresh produce and lean protein, is my goal, but I truly believe that the occasional treat is not a diet disaster. Savor a single slice of a rich chocolate cake over a crummy cheap donut and you won’t crave as much.

“Make Starbucks Kosher Again” Petition Nearing 10K Signatures

Kosher customers are being advised to skip Starbucks after the coffee giant decided to end the expanded Star-K kosher information program. Many drinks that were previously approved by Star-K have been taken off the list, leading to many angry customers, one of whom started an online petition that’s received nearly 10,000 signatures

How did coffee that was once kosher suddenly become non-kosher? Well, like everything about Kashrut, the rules are complicated and can be rather confusing. Unflavored coffee and tea are kosher and don’t require special labeling. The conflict comes from the non-kosher sandwiches that Starbucks sells. Some utensils and some equipment is co-mingled, creating a potential problem. 

In the past, Starbucks was willing to work with Star-K so popular drinks like Frappuccinos and Caramel Macchiatos, along with flavor syrups and caramel sauce, could be enjoyed. By ending their program, none of those will be allowed. (Full list of approved and banned products can be found here.) Granted, the new rules affect only the strictest kosher practices, but the intent is what matters. 

I find it rather ironic that a corporation who prides itself on sensitivity training and reaching out to various minority groups would voluntarily end their kosher information program. Starbucks has never been certified kosher, nor do they need to be, but why this change is happening now makes no sense at all. 

Would I still drink their coffee? Possibly, but I don’t feel like they care about the Jewish community and that’s quite hurtful.