Eat Right: Healthy Eating in 2018

Every January, millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their health and well being in the new year, including through diet and exercise. The intention is there, but only about 8 percent of people who make resolutions keep them. At New Jammies, we’re here to improve those odds with these tips for healthy eating habits for the whole family in the new year.

The CDC Office of Women’s Health offers Six Tips for 2018, including No. 3, make healthy food choices.

”A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products,” the CDC says. “It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.”

One way the CDC offers advice on Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight is by trying a new twist on an old favorite.

“If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling,” the CDC suggests. “Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish.”

This American Heart Association recipe for Kid-Friendly Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs with Brown Rice, from its Simple Cooking with Heart program, “helps you travel to the islands with this recipe. Kids can help make them and because they’ll be in the kitchen where all the action is, they’re probably going to be excited to eat them, too.”

Ingredients

4 Servings

For the Marinade:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (at least 36 pieces), all visible fat discarded, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
20 oz. canned, unsweetened juice from pineapple chunks can
2 clove fresh garlic (minced)
OR
1 tsp. jarred, minced garlic

For the Chicken Kebabs:

Non-stick cooking spray
36 pineapple chunks (packed in their own juice)
2 fresh, chopped bell peppers (chopped into 36 pieces)
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
12-15 wooden skewers
2 cup brown rice (cooked to package instructions)
OR
2 8.8- oz. packaged, cooked brown rice

Directions

For the Marinade:
1. In a plastic bag, add chicken chunks.
2. Have kids add soy sauce, 1 cup pineapple juice, and garlic into the plastic bag. Seal and let chicken marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

For the Chicken Kebabs:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Take chicken out of marinade and place in a bowl.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Have kids wash bell peppers and tomatoes before chopping peppers. For kid-friendly assembly, place the pineapple, chopped peppers, and tomatoes in 3 separate bowls.
3. Let kids add 1 tomato to the bottom of 1 skewer. Top with pineapple, chicken and bell pepper 3 times, letting kids add everything but the raw chicken. Let kids add 1 more tomato to top. Repeat with the rest of skewers.
4. After 12 skewers are made (and all the chicken has been used), have kids make their own skewers with any remaining pieces. Cook kabobs in oven until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve with rice.

Quick Tips

Cooking Tip: Pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain that helps to make meat tender, making pineapple juice an excellent quick marinade.
Keep it Healthy: Skewering pieces of meat, vegetables, and fruit for dinner makes it fun for kids to eat, along with a having a meal with a quick cooking time.
Tip: You can also cook these on the grill but first, you would need to soak the wooden skewers in cold water to prevent them from catching on fire.
Tip: Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, so more will fit in a pint container. If using grape tomatoes, there will be enough tomatoes to add 4 grape tomatoes per skewer. If using cherry tomatoes, just stick with 2 per skewer.

In helping people stay on course for their wellness resolutions, the American Heart Association suggests these tips on How to Eat Healthy without “Dieting”:

• Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
• Read labels. Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
• Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
• Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
• Don’t dismiss entire food groups. Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
• Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.

Another kid-friendly, healthy recipe to help you and your family eat well throughout the new year is courtesy the We Can! program, a collaboration between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute.

Find more easy, healthy Fun Family Recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

11 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups dry lentils
1 can (14 ½ ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
6 ½ cups water

Directions

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; cook and stir until the onion is tender.
2. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in lentils and tomatoes, then add the vegetable broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. The soup will taste better the next day!

This recipe for a Superfood Smoothie from the American Diabetes Association is great for kids and adults, for breakfast, a snack or dessert on the go.

“Blueberries, spinach, and almond milk make this a Superfood Smoothie and a great way to start your day,” says the ADA. “Superfoods provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet.”

Ingredients

2 Servings

1 cup original almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups baby spinach
1 banana

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and thick.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free and this recipe can be made gluten-free.

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Soup’s On for a Healthy New Year

With every new year, eating better is something New Jammies can really get behind as a resolution. One easy way to eat healthier without the pressure of a resolution commitment is to make a warm batch of soup for the family using fresh, vitamin-packed vegetables and nutritious, low-fat ingredients. Light a fire, stay warm, dress the kids in comfy New Jammies, and enjoy these soup recipes to feel great in the new year:

Hearty Greens SoupHearty Greens Soup with Bowtie Pasta and Tomatoes
wholefoodsmarket.com

With only 200 calories, 5 grams total fat and 7 grams of protein, this vegetarian soup recipe from Whole Foods incorporates hearty greens such as Swiss chard or kale, escarole, garlic and fresh tomatoes for a low-sugar protein punch for an easy dinner with leftovers for a quick lunch. Serves 6 to 8.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
4 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 pound), roughly chopped (and/or kale)
1/2 bunch escarole (about 1/2 pound), stemmed and roughly chopped
1/2 pound dried bowtie (farfalle) pasta
1 (3-inch) Parmigiano-Reggiano rind, plus grated Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish
1/4 pound baby spinach

Instructions:
1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid is released and absorbed, about 5 minutes more.
3. Add carrots and 8 cups water and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
4. Stir in chard, escarole, pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano rind.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until broth is flavorful and greens and pasta are tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper.
7. Remove and discard bay leaf and cheese rind from soup then ladle into bowls, garnish with grated cheese and serve.

Rustic Italian Tomato SoupRustic Italian Tomato Soup
goredforwomen.org

As part of its Go Red for Women campaign, the American Heart Association offers this low-calorie, low-sodium soup to help beat heart disease. It’s often called the Silent Killer because heart disease victims often don’t even know they have it, so they aren’t treated or make healthy lifestyle changes. The AHA reports that 80% of heart disease in women is preventable, and more women are beating heart disease than ever before. So fix this heart-healthy soup for the women you love in your life. Serves 4; 1 cup.

Ingredients:
16 ounces frozen mixed bell pepper strips (may be labeled stir-fry mix)
1 14.5-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 3/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 15.5-ounce can no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:
1. In a food processor or blender, process the bell pepper strips, tomatoes with liquid, broth, beans, basil, parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes until slightly chunky or smooth.
2. Pour into a large saucepan.
3. Bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the flavors are blended.
5. Remove from the heat.
6. Stir in the oil and salt.

California Avocado Spiked Corn SoupCalifornia Avocado Spiked Corn Soup
californiaavocado.com

Using fresh California avocados, and a kick from white and cayenne peppers, this corn soup from the California Avocado Commission is low in sodium and a great source of potassium, fiber, protein, Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, chopped
2 small celery stalks, diced
1/3 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1 Tbsp. canola oil
8 oz. yellow corn kernels
3/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 cups water
As needed Salt, to taste
As needed Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
As needed Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
2 ripe, Fresh California Avocados, peeled and seeded
As needed Carrot threads*, as needed for garnish

Instructions:
1. Sauté onion, celery and carrot in oil until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in corn, thyme, water and a little salt; simmer 20 minutes.
3. Coarsely puree mixture; return to pot.
4. Stir in salt, white pepper and cayenne to taste.
5. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice.
6. Dice half of the avocados and stir into soup. Slice remaining avocado.
7. Divide soup among warmed soup bowls. Garnish with avocado slices and carrot threads.

Serving Suggestions:
Stir in diced roast chicken or turkey for a main-meal entrée. To make carrot threads, pull a zester down a large carrot. Try with a glass of Pinot Noir.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Sweet Coconut Tapioca Soup with Bananas Sweet Coconut Tapioca Soup with Bananas (Che Chuoi)
Cooking Light, myrecipes.com
Photo by Karry Hosford

This traditional dessert soup called Che Chuoi, made healthy with low sugar, tapioca, light coconut milk and fresh bananas, is a favorite for kids of all ages as a feel-good soup after dinner or a tasty after-school snack. According to myrecipes.com, it can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or chilled, and the cooler it gets, the thicker it becomes. Serves 4.

Ingredients:
2 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 cup uncooked granulated tapioca
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large ripe bananas, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

Instructions:
1. Bring water and coconut milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.
2. Stir in sugar, tapioca, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Stir in bananas. Remove from heat; cover, and let stand 15 minutes.
4. Serve warm, or chill 3 hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired

Sleep Tight: Family Sleep Goals for the New Year

New Jammies Sleep SackAs New Jammies winds down after the holidays, we welcome a new year of learning, adventure, discovery and fun.

Not to mention plenty of sleep to get us through our busy days.

As the calendar advances to 2016, we’ve set some goals we think might be easier to achieve if our New Jammies friends are joining in the challenge. From infants to adults, we all appreciate a good night’s sleep. These New Year’s resolutions will help sleep dream’s come true in 2016, friends!

Tune Out to Zone Out at Night

Young and old, beware of the effects of electronics use at nighttime. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), robust scientific data documenting the role of light in promoting wakefulness is stressing the point that electronics and sleep really don’t mix.

“Signaling of light and dark helps us to be alert in the morning and be able to fall asleep at the appropriate time at night,” reports the NSF. “Careful studies have shown that even our small electronic devices emit sufficient light to miscue the brain and promote wakefulness. As adults we are subject to these influences and our children are particularly susceptible.”

The Foundation suggests that many children are not fulfilling basic sleep requirements and adequate sleep is essential for growth, learning, mood, creativity and weight control. Solutions, and in this case new year’s resolutions, include less TV in the bedroom and electronic media, including watching Internet videos and using social media, before bedtime.

“Understanding the influence of light and evening engagement on sleep is the first step in helping parents address the dilemma of electronics in the bedroom,” according to the NSF.

Eat Right to Sleep Tight

Studies consistently prove that better nutrition equals better overall health. Including how well we sleep. So it only makes sense to eat foods that help us get some proper ZZZs. The website health.com suggests including these nutrients in your diet for better sleep each night:

GrapefruitLycopene, found in grapefruit, tomatoes, papaya and watermelon.

Selenium, in fish such as halibut, tuna and cod, as well as shellfish, barley, turkey and nuts.

Vitamin C, from fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, papaya, and citrus, and veggies such as bell peppers, broccoli, and kale.

Carbohydrates, in cereal, rice, potatoes or white bread. Health.com reports that a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said eating easily digested carbs four hours before bedtime led people to fall asleep faster.

Quit Bad Habits to Improve Sleep Hygiene

Losing weight. Eating better. Quitting smoking. New Year’s resolutions can sound like a broken record, but for many adults who can’t shake their bad habits, and even kids battling childhood obesity, the struggle is real. And many bad habits lead to poor sleep hygiene, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines as the promotion of good sleep habits and regular sleep. We encourage kids and adults to get outside and play for a healthy exercise regimen that encourages best sleep practices. Both the CDC and the National Sleep Foundation agree that the following sleep hygiene tips can be used to improve sleep:

New Jammies Football• Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.

• Avoid large meals before bedtime.

• Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.

• Avoid nicotine.

These all sound like achievable New Year’s resolutions that can lead to better sleep and a healthy 2016.

Happy New Year from New Jammies!

__________________________

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