Weekly Meal Plan: Tuesday February 19th

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on February 19, 2013

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Okay, this is a day late but I have an excuse.  We’ve been dealing with sickness in our house for the last few weeks.  First it was Big A, then Little D.  And just when I thought we were in the clear, my husband got it. Bad. I’m the last one standing and am well aware that I may be jinxing myself by writing this.

I wanted you to know that my stir fry experiment went well.  Check out this bad boy!

Unfortunately, it was late to get on the table and that was the day my hubby came home sick, so there were lots of leftovers.  But learning tricks like cooking in small batches (to keep it hot) and adding longer-to-cook veggies first made this my best stir fry ever.  I will keep experimenting.

As always for meal planning ideas see Org Junkie.

What’s Cooking This Week?

Monday: Grilled Chicken Quesadillas with gaucamole and fruit.

Tuesday: Spaghetti and turkey meat balls, salad and fruit

Thursday: Muffin Fritattas with roasted asparagus, fruit and bread

Friday: Argula-Tomato Pizza (will give hte kids options on toppings) and fruit salad

Weekend: Will be making this easy recipe for Potato Leak Soup (in the slow cooker)

More from Cooking Light…

Lasagna 25 Ways

Super Fast Fish Recipes

40 Meals Under 40 Minutes

School-age Concerns

Lately I’ve been feeling the difference in parenting a school-aged child vs. a preschooler.  While Big A is just in kindergarten, I can see how much changes during this time and how important it is to keep the communication going.  The benefits, in terms of food, are that she is much more open, especially around her peers.  She will come home telling me she tried something at school and is more interested in what shows up on the kitchen table.

We have this ongoing joke about food groups.  While I don’t do formal nutrition education with my kids, I do talk about eating a variety.  Big A typically resists when I even mention the words “food group,” replying with “food groups are not real.” Then for Christmas she made me a book with all different food groups announcing that she knows they are real.

I recently volunteered at her school and discussed variety while making smoothies with fruit, greens and dairy.  The kids loved it and Big A was proud to have me talk about food groups.

The more challenging part of this stage are the outside influences that are ever-present — bringing random pieces of candy home, parties at school and what seem as many opportunities to eat.  One strategy I’ve employed is for her to bring home whatever she gets at school (not at parties) and then we can talk about how to incorporate it — snack, with a meal or dessert — or not at all if she doesn’t like it.  I’ve also started a Health and Wellness Committee at her school to help with creating a balanced food environment and other positive changes.

If you have a child newly in school, what challenges and positive effects have you seen in terms of food?

New Sodium Guidelines

The World Health Organization (WHO) released new sodium guidelines for children and adults.  As usual I snuggled up with the report which reviews the evidence and recommends keeping sodium to less than 2g (or 2000mg).  They acknowledge that this would be less for children based on calories.  So if you use the average calorie level of 2000 for adolescents and adults, you would decrease the amount for younger children.  For example, a moderately active 4 year old needs about 1400 calories and a moderately active 8 year old 1600 so sodium levels would follow (1400mg/1600mg).

While too much sodium is associated with increased heart disease risk (especially hypertension), potassium plays a protective role in heart health.  That’s why the report also suggests increasing potassium found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables to have a ratio of sodium to potassium of 1:1.  So it’s not just about what to decrease (sodium), but what to add in terms of whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

There is actually some evidence that decreasing sodium in healthy individuals may not always be beneficial.  I remember interviewing a researcher for my post on WebMD on this very subject.  According to the WHO report, that research is not conclusive and there is more evidence of the health benefits of keeping sodium in check.

I take a pretty relaxed approach to sodium but do try to make a lot of my food at home as even “healthy” or “organic” packaged dinners seem pretty high in sodium.  Most of the sodium people get isn’t from the salt shaker but from packaged and processed foods.  We also do a lot of fruit, yogurt and nuts for snacks and not so much the typical salty snacks.

Do you focus on the sodium content of the food you buy?

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