Things I’m loving right now: Amazon Kindle

kindle review

kindle reviewAs many of you know, books are some of my very favorite things, so I treated myself to an Amazon Kindle once the price came down to $259. And I have to tell you, I love this thing.

I thought, at first, that I might miss holding a real paper book in my hands, turning real paper pages. But I absolutely adore this gadget. I love how it holds more than one book, so if I’m waiting for the kids somewhere, I have a wide range of choices to suit my mood: books, blogs, PDFs.

It’s very easy to navigate and to find new books, and it holds a charge for a long time. It’s easy to highlight text and make notes. Many times, when I’m reading at night or in the car, for example, I don’t have a pen or a highlighter, but, with the Kindle, you always have a way to record your thoughts on a particular passage. Then you can view, delete, and even export those highlighted passages and annotations.

You can really save money on books, too. Every title I’ve looked at is $10 and under – even new releases that are available at the bookstore only in hardback.

There are a number of free and very inexpensive books, too, especially classic literature. My daughter downloaded all the Anne of Green Gables novels in a single package for 99 cents.

The downside: The Kindle shows your location in a book by “location numbers” as well as a percentage of the book completed. There are no coordinating page numbers, so my daughter, who is required to keep a log of her pages read for school, has to use percentages or “locations” instead.

Also, it’s very easy to buy books. A little too easy. You don’t have to be hooked up to your computer or anything. You just click on over to the kindle bookstore on your device and when you select a particular title, the “buy” button is already highlighted. My daughter was browsing around and bought a couple of titles accidentally. There is a “bought by mistake” link that reverses the charges without hassle, but I wish that the buy button wasn’t automatically highlighted or that there was at least a confirmation page.

Another thing, you have to use a separate book light when reading in the dark. I have one that works great and is compact, but I feel like this should be an included feature on the device.

These minor things aside, the Kindle is already changing my life. I love that I can download all those books that I’ve been meaning to read in just moments, in many cases for much less than I would pay at the bookstore. And all those books fit on this little skinny device…as many as 1,500 at a time, though I don’t have that many ;)

The Amazon Kindle ships free to most addresses. We’ll keep you up to date on the best prices on Kindles here: Kindle Wireless Reading Device >

Super Foods for Super Health

linda-miner

linda-minerSuper Foods for Super Health
by Linda Miner RNC, CHN, CMTA

www.MyHealthyBalance.com

If you are looking for that “magic bullet” to make you healthier, I would strongly recommend adding at least one of the following 4 Super Foods to your diet on a consistent basis.  These foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber and protein.

All of the following foods are a good source of the phytonutrient antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that are concentrated in the lens of the eye.  Vitamin K, which is important for proper blood clotting and may be helpful in fighting Alzheimer’s, is present in all these foods.  They are all also an excellent source of Potassium which is a very important nutrient for people with high blood pressure.

SWISS CHARD is one of the most popular vegetables in the Mediterranean region and it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around.  Research suggests that the high levels of chlorophyll act as a health protective.  Since Swiss chard is available throughout the year, it is a great food to have as a regular part of your diet

1 cup of cooked Swiss Chard contains (1):

  • 5493 IU of Vitamin A
  • 31 mg of Vitamin C
  • 573 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 10 mcg of Biotin
  • 101 mg of Calcium
  • 15 mcg of Folate
  • 4 mg of Iron
  • 150 mg of Magnesium
  • 58 mg of Phosphorus
  • 960 mg of Potassium
  • 6391 mcg of Beta-Carotene
  • 19,276 mcg Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • 3.7 g of Fiber
  • 3.3 g of Protein

Chard is one of the few vegetables (along with spinach & beet greens) that are recommended to be boiled because of the high acid content.  Boiling frees up the unwanted acids and allows them to leach into the water.  Boil for just 3 minutes and then drain the chard with a strainer.  Be sure to throw out the water after boiling.

COLLARD GREENS’ phytonutrients (phyto = plant) help prevent a wide variety of cancers and research is pointing to the ability of components known as “glucosinolates” and “methyl cysteine sulfoxides” to activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver that neutralize potentially cancer-causing substances.

1 cup of cooked Collard Greens contains (1):

  • 5945 IU of Vitamin A
  • 35 mg of Vitamin C
  • 704 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 226 mg of Calcium
  • 177 mcg of Folate
  • 32 mg of Magnesium
  • 49 mg of Phosphorus
  • 494 mg of Potassium
  • 9,146 mcg of Beta-Carotene
  • 14,618 mcg Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • 5.3 g of Fiber
  • 4 g of Protein

It is best to steam collards.  Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices and place in a steamer.  Cook for no more than 5 minutes for best results.

ASPARAGUS is renowned for being an excellent source of folic acid which is essential for proper cellular division and DNA synthesis as well as being an important nutrient for a healthy cardiovascular system. Asparagus provides health-promoting carotenoid phytonutrients which can function as powerful antioxidants that protect cells against oxidative damage.

1 cup of cooked Asparagus contains (1):

  • 970 mg of Vitamin A
  • 19 mg of Vitamin C
  • 92 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 36 mg of Calcium
  • 263 mcg of Folate
  • 18 mg of Magnesium
  • 97 mg of Phosphorus
  • 288 mg of Potassium
  • 3 mcg of Selenium
  • 1,087 mcg of Beta-Carotene
  • 1,388 mcg Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • 2.9 g of Fiber
  • 4.7 g of Protein

Choose medium size asparagus and snap off the bottom of each asparagus stalk.  Saute 1 pound of asparagus for just 5 minutes in 3 tbsps of low sodium broth.  It absorbs just enough moisture from the broth to make it tender

BROCCOLI Studies indicate that cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, that contain the largest concentrations of health promoting sulfur compounds which increase the liver’s ability to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially toxic substances.  Vitamin A and C are also present in broccoli which is also a rich source of folate which is important for heart health.

1 cup of cooked Broccoli contains (1):

  • 2280 IU of Vitamin A
  • 123 mg of Vitamin C
  • 155 mcg of Vitamin K
  • 75 mg of Calcium
  • 94 mcg of Folate
  • 39 mg of Magnesium
  • 102 mg of Phosphorus
  • 505 mg of Potassium
  • 1,840 mcg of Beta-Carotene
  • 2,366 mcg Lutein & Zeaxanthin
  • 4.7 g of Fiber
  • 4.7 g of Protein

Steaming Broccoli is the best way to cook it to preserve nutrients.  Cook until a fork can just pierce the stem – about 5 minutes.

Incorporating any or all of these Super Foods into your diet on a regular basis will help you achieve your health and wellness goals.

(1)  Mateljan, George. The World’s Healthiest Foods, GMF Publishing, Canada, 2007

linda-miner-bookAbout the Author:
Linda Miner is a Registered Nutritionist specializing in Metabolic Typing. Linda works with clients to help them restore their health by re-establishing balance in the body. Through one-on-one coaching and an individualized food plan based on your unique characteristics, Linda can help you achieve Optimal Health.  If you are looking for a plan that is as unique as you are, then choose Linda Miner to be your Wellness Guide.  Learn more at http://www.ichange.com/user/lindaminer

The Best Insurance for Raising Safe and Happy Kids

Paula Statman Head Shot

Paula Statman Head ShotThe Best Insurance for Raising Safe and Happy Kids
By Paula Statman, M.S.S.W.

Love is more than a wonderful gift to give your children; it’s also good insurance.  Showing your love tells them they are worthy of love and respect and shapes their expectations of how others treat them.

A child who feels loved is less likely to look for love in the wrong places…from the wrong people. It’s a documented fact that kids who feel loved don’t accept affection from just anyone who offers it.  They accept it from those who respect them and their boundaries.

Children who have an unwavering belief that they are loveable and worthwhile know they don’t have to “earn” someone’s love by doing something they don’t want to do.  On the other hand, children who are hungry for affection are more likely to believe they don’t deserve to be loved and that love has a price tag.

So, telling our kids we love them every single day—including those days when we question why we became parents—is good insurance.  It makes our kids less vulnerable to being exploited.  It shows them that they are treasured and worth treasuring.  It makes them feel cherished and special.  And that’s how we want them to feel when they go out the door.

Here are some examples of how to express your love and appreciation anytime, anywhere.

Things you can say:

  • I love you.
  • I am so lucky that you are mine.
  • I’m so proud of you.
  • You are very special to me.
  • I love spending time with you.

Things you can do:

  • Show your pleasure. Let your children know that parenting is something you enjoy, not a dreary chore that exhausts you.  Take good care of yourself so that you have the time and energy to be the kind of parent you want to be.
  • Learn about your children.  You are an important observer of your children’s behavior and the person they turn to when they have questions and concerns.  If you don’t feel comfortable in this role, consider taking parenting classes.
  • Appreciate their special qualities.  These include personality traits that make them good human beings, like kindness, intelligence or compassion for others.  Appreciate how unique they are…just as they are.
  • Care about and get involved with their interests, whether it’s school, baseball, ballet or other activities.  The more they see your interest, the better they feel about themselves.  Show up in your kids’ lives as their number one fan!
  • Take time to listen to your children wholeheartedly, without distraction.  Being listened to and understood is something all children want.  Be a parent your kids can come to who listens, understands, and believes them.  This kind of attention is worth its weight in gold.
  • Spend time one-on-one with your kids.  Make a date, schedule it and don’t postpone it due to work or other demands in your life.  Make this time a regular thing, rather than a special occurrence.  Time invested now will bring major returns in the long run.
  • Celebrate your child. Look for creative ways to send the message that you feel like the luckiest parent in the world.  Make a big deal of your kid, without spending a ton of money.  The key is to find fun ways to share joy and laughter in your relationship and show how much you appreciate and cherish your child.

There are many ways to show your love and appreciation.  Remember, the more you show, the happier and safer your children will be.

About the Author:
Paula Statman
offers advice for Raising Uncommonly Wise Kids with Common Sense Wisdom.  An award-winning author, speaker and media guest expert, Paula provides practical tips and hope to parents and professionals who work with children.  For more articles and information about her books and speaking topics, visit www.kidwisecorner.com.

Teaching Empathy to Children

By Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D.

www.PerfectingParentingPress.com

Many parents are noticing that their children don’t seem very empathetic. Parents and teachers are concerned that too many children don’t a ppear to notice others’ feelings or care if others are upset.

Empathy is the cornerstone for meaningful, close, and satisfying connections between people – both children and adults. We want our children to care about others. We want them to be able to look at things from the other’s perspective – not just from their own. Seeing only your own perspective makes you more self-centered and selfish and less likely to take responsibility for your actions. People who understand how their actions affect others are likely to choose more appropriate behavior, show better judgment, and repair rifts in their relationships with others.

Some children tend to be more naturally empathetic and some – even in the same family – seem to lack the trait. The jury is still out on how much is genetic versus environmental, but it is clear that children can become more empath etic with help from the adults in their lives. Parents are the first and foremost teachers.

Before we look at strategies for teaching empathy, let’s clear up one area of confusion about the “sensitive child. There are two very different types of sensitivity. There is the empathetic person who is sensitive to others and reads people’s feelings and moods easily. And there is the sensitive person whose feelings are often hurt by the smallest of things – a joke, a tone of voice, etc. It’s important to know that being self-sensitive doesn’t mean a person is empathetic – the opposite may be true. Thin-skinned people are overly sensitive to comments., etc., which would roll right off most people’s backs.  Overly or self-sensitive children and adults often over-react to the interpersonal environment and take things too personally, suffering unnecessary emotional pain. They tend to use s o much energy in that way that they have little left to notice other people’s distress and reach out to them.   Self-sensitive people often need help learning not to be so affected by others before they can be empathetic. There are ways that people can become less thin-skinned, but that’s a topic for another article.

Now, let’s look at strategies for teaching empathy to children:

First, make sure you don’t overserve your child.
Don’t do things for him that kids his age can do for himself, such as putting away his toys or picking up his dropped pencil. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do occasional kindnesses, but if you fall into a pattern of acting as your child’s servant, he learns that only he and no one else matters.

Second, put yourself in the picture. When he doe s or says something unkind or disrespectful to you, tell him how you feel when anyone does that to you. It’s more effective to emphasize that you would be annoyed or hurt by that behavior from anyone, not just him, so he understands that it’s not about him personally. Then explain that he’ll need to do something very kind to make it up to you. If your child can ignore you, be rude to you, or treat you like a servant, his empathy for anyone but himself will be lacking.

Third, create a family culture in which parents talk about incidents from their day (though not situations serious enough to worry or upset a child) and how they made them feel – the enjoyable and the difficult emotions. Show that you’re not perfect and encourage the family to be supportive and kind. This helps children talk more openly about themselves without fear of being judged or advised.

Fourth, as you talk about incidents in your day, try to give the views of the other participants as well as your own. Discuss why the people involved might have done what they did. For example, you might describe saying something angry to your friend because she was late meeting you for lunch, and then learning that her car wouldn’t start. Too many children are told only their parents’ side, which can sound like it’s always the other person’s fault. Try discussing why people acted the way they did. If someone was unfair or unkind, help your children consider that the others might have been preoccupied or upset about something.  Children develop more empathy if parents and other family members are encouraged to look at others’ motivations, feelings, and behavior. Encourage the children to talk about what else a person could do in a difficult interaction to make it go better. Family members might enjoy some role-playing.

Fifth, when your child gets to the point where he shares the things he did in his day that weren’t kind enough to others, think about how you’re trying to teach him empathy. The most common method of teaching empathy — asking: “How would you feel if someone said that to you?” – is often ineffective because most children either have developed an automatic answer like “bad” or “unhappy,” or use a more teasing and defiant answer such as, “I’d like it.” When discussing their behavior, it’s more effective to ask thought-provoking questions, such as: “What do you think that person is thinking about you now?” or “What will the boy you were teasing be telling his parents?” or “Now what are your thoughts about what happened?” Then you can ask, “What ideas do you have about what you could have done differe ntly?”

Finally, as your child makes efforts to work on his empathy, of course, you’ll want to praise him. And as with any skills we teach our children, parents often improve as well – that’s another of the many joys and benefits of raising children.

About the Author:
Annye Rothenberg, Ph.D.,
author, has been a child/parent psychologist and a specialist in childrearing and development of young children for more than 25 years. Her parenting psychology practice is in Redwood City, California. She is also on the adjunct faculty in pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Rothenberg was the founder/director of the Child Rearing parenting program in Palo Alto, California, and is the author of the award-winning books Mommy and Daddy are Always Supposed to Say Yes … Aren’t They? and Why Do I Have To? and the just released I Like To Eat Treats. These are all-in-one books with a story for young children and a manual for parents. For more information about her books and to read her articles, visit www.PerfectingParentingPress.com. To order from amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=b.annye+rothenberg&x=8&y=20

Also by Annye Rothenberg: Six Tools for Getting Through to Your Preschooler

Martin Luther King Quotes

9 Quotes From Martin Luther King Jr As They Apply Today
by Stephanie J. McWilliams

In honor of this country’s great spiritual leader, take time today to reflect on the following nine quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Allow his vast wisdom to resonate in your own life so that you may experience more fullness, richness and juiciness in the year to come!

1. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Positive situations can spring only from optimism. Peace will never be established through war. And inner-peace will never be created through negative self-talk.

So many of us are kind to others, yet are cruel dictators internally. Practice speaking gently to yourself this week, like you would to a sweet, innocent child. Be compassionate and understanding. Be encouraging, excited, and joyful about all that you dream. It is only through a loving approach that the true enjoyment and richness of life can be embraced.

2. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Action is the missing step in so many peoples’ journey. Most of us know what we should be doing, yet do not live in alignment with those goals. Stepping into integrity, and moving forward energetically, by taking action - any action – is vital. Without movement, there is stagnancy. Nothing can change when standing still.

So take a leap. Make a decision about something small this week that you’ve been putting off. Once you take those first brave steps, life has a beautiful way of illuminating the road just ahead. With each step forward, the path will be revealed and your journey will unfold.

3. “Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”

So often we get sidetracked in this country, and only hold the end-results of our endeavors in high-regard. But quite often I meet clients that are very outwardly successful and financially abundant…yet spiritually bankrupt. Many people are so focused on the prize that they’ll do anything to get there, forgetting to stop along the way to play, reflect, be grateful and smell the roses.

If we lived in a world where the only thing that was of any importance was in fact your intention, your awareness, your kindness or your faith, how would you stack up? What grade would you give you in the school of life?

The same principle applies in feng shui. It is not as important that your home look beautiful, but how it got to be that way. That you have reverence when cleaning. That you dance when decorating. That you smile as you rearrange. Focus instead on how you’re BEING, rather than all you’re DOING… and you’ll be doing great!

4. “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

We tend to make choices about our lives in terms of physical well-being over spiritual well-being. We want to live long lives, and we have doctors and hospitals and drug companies to support those goals. But what if we were just as tenacious about our own joy and laughter? What if we fought to have meaning and love? What if we would do anything to feel passion, pleasure and playfulness each and every day?

The desire for longevity is based on fear. The other is based on love. In what ways can you begin to live a long and LOVING life? Bringing in even the smallest twinkling of lightness to your day will go a lot farther for your health and longevity than a trip to the doctor…

5. “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

When clients come to me frustrated or depressed, it’s usually because they have shifted their perspective inward, wallowing in the details of their own life. I’ve been there many times myself, as the human brain has a sneaky way of putting each of us as the center of our own little Universe. And while that seems like it would be a great thing, it also can wreak havoc.

When we shift our focus onto others, we not only get the experience of helping a fellow human being, but we also realize that we are not alone, others share the same struggles (or oftentimes, worse ones, and that the things we’re fixated on might really not be that important after all.

This outward focus also can bring a deep sense of satisfaction. When we live only for ourselves, there is a hollowness that develops. By holding to what we know to be true, and shining our lights for others to see, we not only enrich our own lives, but make a difference in the world – and this sort of experience always reaps far greater rewards than those done solely for our own gain. When you learn to light another’s lantern, you are also illuminating your path as well.

6. “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

We tend to see ourselves as individuals, separate from the whole. We get concerned with our own needs, our own injustices, our own struggles, and our own desires. But if you look around, we are all completely interdependent. Every bite of food, piece of clothing, or car you drive has likely been touched by hundreds of other people. Unless we’re living off the grid, every move we make is linked to lots of other folks.

The same interconnectedness is found on an interpersonal level. Every time you meet another, you’re making an impact — either positive or negative. Every smile, grimace, compliment or hug ripples out into your home, your community…and eventually, the planet. Only when we begin to see each other as united, as cells of a greater being, as our very own selves, will we experience peace throughout the planet. Let it begin with you.

7. “We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace.”

Dr. King expresses here a most important principle in the manifesting of any dream. Whatever we focus on, becomes bigger — and unfortunately we have a media that fixates on scandal, crime, violence and poverty. Take a look in your own life, your own struggles… Have the things you worry about most come to pass? Are the challenges you face those that you reflected on?

Take a look also at your triumphs. Were they things that you talked about, dreamed about or wrote about?

This week take a look at your wish list. How can you keep your eyes on THAT prize, and less on your worries? Where can you live “as if” your dreams already have come true, rather than grumbling about your displeasures? Where can you find room for improvement, and making loving steps to revel in all the good?

8. “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

So… Are you a follower or a leader? Do you take what everyone tells you as truth… your parents, the papers, the priests and the politicians? Have you taken time to as YOU what you think? Have you put your hand on your own belly and sat in that silence, listening to the quiet wisdom within? Did someone once tell you you weren’t pretty enough? Smart enough? Creative enough? Driven enough? Tall enough to have what you really want?

If so, where can you begin to take back your power and find your own voice and set your own path? Where can your spirit begin to whisper in your ear? Where can you find your own beautiful answers?

9. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

In a world full of flashy cars, high-profile celebrities, plastic surgery and get-rich-quick schemes, it’s easy to lose sight on the deeper aspects of the human spirit. When we judge  ourselves or others  on their appearance, status, age, ability or wealth, we lose sight of the truly beautiful parts of each one of our souls. Every person on this planet has a story, has hopes, has fears and has a heart if we open our eyes to see it.

If you’re only walking through the surface of life, I challenge you to go deeper. Take time out of your busy schedule to make eye-contact, flash a smile, or offer a hand to your fellow man. Stop to ask your children what their lives are like, what they’re scared of, and what they long for. Ask your mate what they most want more of from you, and ask your neighbors how you can help.

Living solely on the surface makes for a very brittle life. So go deep, go deep… and go a bit deeper. There you’ll find the gold….

Copyright (c) 2009 Stephanie McWilliams

Stephanie McWilliams is the host of HGTV’s “Fun Shui”. She is a success coach, health counselor, interior designer and feng shui consultant with a booming practice in NYC. She travels the country teaching, speaking and working one-on-one with clients. To learn more about Stephanie’s coaching, design or feng shui services & products, receive her free weekly e-zine “My Cup of Chi” and get lots of free goodies, visit her website at EvolvingArts.com

More great quote collections at Momscape:
Top 50 Mom Quotations
Funny Mom Quotes
Love Quotes
Cute, Funny Love quotes.
Top 50 Father Quotes
Forgiveness Quotes
The Power of Failure: 10 Quotes on Learning from Your Mistakes

Steak. Butter. Love. (And a new giveaway for Momscapers)

pioneer-woman-cooks

Like many of you, I’m sure, I love  The Pioneer Woman’s blog and so, of course, I bought her cookbook. (It was another one of those gifts that I wrapped for myself and put under the tree for myself and feigned surprise when I opened on Christmas morning.)

It’s got a lot of recipes that feature ingredients you actually might already have in your kitchen, which is unusual and quite nice. So the other night I flip open to  “Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce” and we have more than three quarters of the ingredients on hand so I decide to go for it.

The funny thing is, it says to fry the steak in butter.

Um.

I’ve never, ever done that before. Ever. I mean I’ve heard of people doing it before. But two saturated fats, together, frying? Together? It must be some sort of sin.

But I did it. I followed that recipe.

So I have this buttery, oniony sauce going and I have just put on the steaks when my husband walks in. Ty is (or, rather, would like to be) a Montana-sized-steak kind of a man – who is, as it turns out, living in a vegetable-soup-and-celery kind of a household.  He has been framing houses all day in the subzero Rocky Mountains.

He sees these steaks, which have been peppered to oblivion. They are frying in actual butter in a cast-iron skillet and he stops right where he stands. He looks at me and he looks at the steaks and he looks at me again with tenderness and devotion, not unlike on our wedding day, and he says to me, in a whisper: “I’m so impressed with you right now that I don’t even know what to say.”

And I gotta say, it was melt-in-your mouth delicious. Everyone thought so. Well, except my 7 year old son, but he doesn’t eat meat right now for some reason so he didn’t actually try it.

And while I will always be a salad and veggie kind of girl, I now have a cookbook to refer to on those special occasions, such as Ty’s birthday or when his parents come to visit.pioneer-woman-cooks

The Pioneer Woman makes me smile every day. Her cookbook is like the take home version of her blog, which is funny and warm and genuinely useful.

I’m giving away a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl to a random Momscape Facebook fan who posts the name of his/her favorite dish to serve up for dinner on our Facebook wall. (Better yet, you could include the recipe or link to it because I need all the help I can get – but all you need to do to enter the drawing is to post the name of the dish on the Momscape facebook page here.)

I’ll award the cookbook to one of you facebook wall post-ers in a week’s time and post the results here and on Facebook and Twitter, too on January 21 – so make your post by midnight January 20, 2010, kay?

Good luck!

Healthy Snack Ideas

Whether you want to slim down, or you just want to feel more energized throughout the day, healthy snacks at the right times can help.

Here are few ideas:

Lowfat yogurt with fresh fruit.

Fresh fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, whatever’s on hand.

Apple with a (small) smear of nut butter. Venture beyond the usual peanut butter. Try almond butter and cashew butter, which are generally available right next to the peanut butter on grocery shelves.

Half a toasted whole wheat English muffin
with a thin layer of your favorite nut butter.

Half a bagel with a thin layer of nut butter and thin apple slices on top.

Carrots or celery. If you are craving something to dip those raw veggies in, try a bit of hummus.

Hummus on a toasted pita.

A small handful of fresh nuts, mixed with a few dried fruits. I love to eat a dried cranberry or cherry with a toasted walnut. Yum! Again, nuts are good for you, but they are high in calories, so don’t eat very many.

Fruit smoothie. Take frozen blueberries and strawberries and blend with a banana and some milk or juice. Some people also love their green smoothies. Mix water, juice, water, fruit and add raw spinach – or another leafy green. Low fat and super healthy.

Make healthy mini muffins using applesauce in place of the fat (butter or margarine). You can also add shredded carrots as well as other fruits and vegetables such as bananas and zucchini.

Popcorn. (Unbuttered.) Air popped popcorn has no fat and can satisfy the munchies. If you really miss the buttery taste, try a spritz of olive oil instead.

If you’re trying to lose weight, remember that even if you choose snacks that are low in fat and healthy, you won’t lose weight if you are eating too much.

Here are some more resources on the Momscape site:
Fun Snacks for Kids: 10 Healthy Snack Ideas Kids Love
Frugal and Nutritious Snack Recipes for Kids
Eating Healthy on a Budget
Breaking an Addiction to Sugar: 16 Tips

New Recipe: Chickpea Salad with Onions and Red Peppers

Here’s a healthy, flavorful salad to start your New Year off right.

You’ll need:
2 cups canned chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:
In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, onion and bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and stir before serving. Serve chilled.