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kitchen make-over

June 14, 2009

i like to eat healthy foods. there are many foods, that arent so healthy, that i cant enjoy because of my health…so eating a bit healthier isnt that difficult for me.

now…the rest of the hodge clan??? not so much. having iron stomachs and a propensity for breads and sweets hasnt helped their food choices very well.

but this weekend…out of the blue, the kids decided they want to start eating healthier. let me say here…i feed them healthy foods. i keep good food in the house. but they really like to indulge, and often times over indulge, in the few goodies i bring into the home. they are seeing this isnt good for them.


this is where you come in. i need your help. i need fun and healthy food ideas. it doesnt have to be fancy. in fact, simple & quick is preferred. it doesnt have to be organic. im not looking to cut all bad items out of our kitchen and off our plates. my family needs to learn will power, so i think the fun foods need to stay involved as they learn moderation 😉

so…wutcha got? anything?

54 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2009 11:29 pm

    I’m kinda chubby, so don’t think that I have much to offer as far as eating right… But for breakfast most mornings I eat yogurt with granola mixed in and sunflower seeds and chopped almonds sprinkled on top. I measure the yogurt and I only put in about 1/2 cup of the granola so it is all proportioned bla bla. Yum!

    • June 15, 2009 5:58 pm

      i love it when you write out bla bla in your comments, cuz its totally you! and i can hear you saying it so clear in my head… 🙂

  2. June 15, 2009 1:52 am

    I’m gonna use this one to learn with ya Tam cuz I’m rather lost when it comes to the “H” (healthy) word.

    Funny, cuz yesterday the wife and I watched a marathon of a show called “You’re Killing Your Kids.” Not sure if ya have it over there, but the computer generate pictures of your kids to show you what they will look like if they keep living the way they do…..then do a 3 week program to teach them good habits and see if the pics change. The food on the show was a little less than practical though, so I look forward to seeing what the genius bloggers here have to say :-).

    • June 15, 2009 5:59 pm

      toby – we do have that show here and it is pretty disturbing when they show those computer generated photos. i have seen mothers fall to the ground in tears after seeing what her kids could like some day. yah. that’ll put the fear into ya 😕

  3. June 15, 2009 3:17 am

    We started with a simple bowl of fruit on the counter…and kept it full…now we have to refill it a ton.

    • June 15, 2009 6:09 pm

      we have that too. it definitely makes a difference doesnt it?

  4. June 15, 2009 4:20 am

    Two words. Oreo’s.

    • June 15, 2009 6:51 am


    • Jim2 permalink
      June 15, 2009 6:51 am

      whole grain Oreo’s – they look a little funny, but still yummy

    • June 15, 2009 6:10 pm

      we just polished off a pack of mint oreos this week.


      • June 16, 2009 3:29 am

        I actually do have an iPhone app. I don’t know if it has ‘healthy meals’ but it has tons of good recipes. Go to the app store and look for ‘epicurious’

        Sounds weird, but it’s good stuff. 🙂

  5. June 15, 2009 5:16 am

    I don’t have a lot to offer here either; I’m hard pressed to get my family (in particular one 8 yr old girl who shall remain nameless) to eat any veggies. I’m searching for ways to “hide” the veggies so that Mary (oops…gave it away anyway) will eat them without the requisite “ewwww! What’s THAt?”

    I have, however, learned how to make sugar free jello popsicles that she really enjoys. The recipe calls for sugar free jello and fat free, light vanilla yogurt. The kid loves em, and I feel good about letting her have them…

  6. June 15, 2009 6:23 am

    Hmm…We keep lots of yogurt, fruits, carrots, celery, and lowfat string cheese in the house for quick snacks. We try not to stock much, if any, of the bad stuff. Then for cooking, we grill a lot! Usually, kabobs, chicken, or fish. We eat lots of steamed broccoli or when grilling we will slice up squash and onion with a little salt and pepper to taste and wrap it in aluminum foil and throw on the grill too! I have several quick and easy recipes that are healthy too. I will be glad to share if you are interested. Let me know, I can post them on my blog!

    • June 15, 2009 6:12 pm

      ya know…the good thing about trying to create new habits is that its summer…so its very easy to throw something on the grill, make a salad and have some watermelon. perfect!

      and definitely share some recipes. and leave us links to whatever you post…that would be fantastic girl…thanks!


  7. June 15, 2009 7:05 am

    fruit, fruit, fruit. that’s what snacks are in our house. and get more creative than the typical apples and bananas. strawberries are amazing right now, so are cherries, grapes, peaches, plums, PINEAPPLE!!!! omg, that’s so tasty. we also cut watermelon into chunks and put it in some tupperware, so we can easily get to it with a fork…and no stickiness.

    oh, and nuts!!! nuts are SUCH a good snack. cashews are my faves. raw almonds are landry’s. we buy both and then some. sunflower seeds are always an awesome choice.

    if you want something a little different, try pureeing some cucumbers with a little salt, chopping up some yummy herb like mint or maybe some parsley (mint is amazing in this, tho), and mix it all up in some plain, no fat or low fat yogurt.

    tastes great with some pitas or pita chips, or even just with some sliced zucchini or cucumber. SOOOOO delicious. and so easy. seriously.

    for cooking, we often puree or sneak veggies into normal stuff. like our spaghetti: it’s not just red sauce and noodles. we add zucchini (chopped or pureed….if the fam doesn’t like it, puree it and they’ll never notice), red, yellow and green bell peppers, fresh spinach (it cooks down SO much and is hardly noticeable…actually adds a good flavor imo (this coming from the girl who hates spinach), green onions, and just anything else we’re feelin at the moment.

    you can get a lot of great tips from a book called “the eat-clean diet for family and kids”. she has some extreme ideas that are a little tougher to pull off, but the majority of it is so easy. landry and i have loved the book.

    my favorite piece of advice: STAY COLORFUL. we’re talking naturally occuring color, btw. 🙂 the more you ease colorful things like veggies and fruits and nuts and stuff into your fam’s diet, the more they’ll enjoy the flavors. i used to miss a lot of things from the huge list of processed foods i used to scarf down daily. till i gave in a few times and tried some of it again. left me thinking…”what was i ever thinking?”

    anyway…that was prolly a novel…sorry. this is one of my favorite topics. i could go on longer, but i’ll spare you all.

    • June 15, 2009 6:16 pm

      im lovin that website. thank you!

      and do you know what fruits and nuts do to me? 😯


      but the kids DO love those things 😉

      so, beings this is one of your favorite topics…do you have posts on your blog that would give me ideas?

  8. June 15, 2009 7:12 am

    they say that any fruit with a “p” in it aids in digestion.
    not sure what that means.
    not sure who “they” is/are.
    not sure why “digest” also means “contemplate”
    …ok, now that i think of it…

    • June 15, 2009 9:15 am

      I like peaches, or pineapples, or applesauce in cottage cheese. Not sure about the healthiness of it but it sure tastes good.

      I like to heat up asparagus in the microwave and add some salt and just eat them like french fries. MMMM..

    • June 15, 2009 6:17 pm


  9. June 15, 2009 9:29 am

    Hi Tam! It has been a while since I have been in blog land. What a nice surprise to see a discussion I can really get into! We ride the nutrition pendulum. We eat great for a while and then we have some funky-junky times. Here is what works for us when we’re on track:

    1. Start by adding the good stuff you already know about.
    2. Reduce the bad stuff at a rate you can stick with (important things to cut back on are refined sugars, trans fats, and excessive caffeine). Work your way down to almost NO trans fats, ever.
    3. Keep learning more about good nutrition and making gradual changes.
    4. Whole grains, lean protein, fruits and veggies (don’t forget the berries!), and good fats are important things to add. Having enough of them will seriously reduce not just your cravings, but how much you even like the junk.
    5. Caffeine and sugar really have adverse affects on your appetite. If you don’t cut down on them, it will take longer to adjust to and crave the healthier foods.
    6. White bread has been stripped of it’s ‘grain’ benefit and belongs in the junk food category.
    7. Hunt for healthy recipes and keep learning!

    You may have already known all of these, but maybe they can help someone who doesn’t. I hope someone can use them!

    • June 15, 2009 10:59 am

      #4: totally!

    • June 15, 2009 6:20 pm

      ANITA!!! hi there! im so glad to see you here. only, i cant see your beautiful avatar…

      ok. so your comment is like a wealth of fabulous info 🙂 thank you, thank you! feel free to share more too. or like i asked joy, if you have posts on this subject on your blog you can leave links here so we can all enjoy them 😀

      #5 is gonna kill my husband.

      #2 is so wise. reducing at a rate thats workable. i think too many people cut everything off cold turkey then end up failing.

  10. June 15, 2009 9:33 am

    Everyone else has had good suggestions. Fruit & veggies are always good choices. Frozen fruit is perfect for hot days, especially frozen grapes. Instead of ice cream, mix vanilla yogurt w/ fruit hunks & freeze them in popsicle forms. Yummy.

    When I bake I sometimes substitute the sugar for applesauce. I also add flax & wheat germ to lots of recipes.

    I changed out all my pasta for whole grain. No one could tell the diff. We started baking our own bread too. The healthier loaves are about $3 each. The junky stuff is $1.50 each. I can make super heatlhy bread at home for less than $1 a loaf.

    I also started serving dinner on 9″ plates instead of 12″ plates. It cuts calories in half!

    • June 15, 2009 9:49 am

      you guys eat the plates? 😉

    • June 15, 2009 11:00 am

      i add a lot of flax and wheat germ to stuff too. especially yummy faves like pizza crust, oatmeal, and pancakes.

      also….care to share your bread recipe?? the hubster and i have been looking for one!

      • June 15, 2009 6:46 pm

        Tony – ON the plates. Silly.

        Joy -This is my tried & true recipe. Super easy, tastes yummy & since I make it twice a week…very quick.

        3 T sugar
        2 T yeast
        2 1/2 C warm water

        Combine until yeast is foamy

        Add 1/3 C oil
        1 T salt
        6 C flour (I usually add 5 C wheat, 1/2 C white & 1/2 C of wheat germ, flax, 7 grain…whatever. You can do all white too)

        Rise once in a greased bowl. Punch. Rise again. Punch. Roll into 2 loaves (either on a floured surface or an oiled surface). Rise. Bake at 350 for 25 min.

        I do fancier ones w/ buttermilk & such, but this one always works no matter the weather. Some are totally affecting by the humidity. We use it for sandwiches, toast & as a side w/ lots of meals.

        • June 16, 2009 3:53 pm


          this will be my first non-bread machine attempt (i HATE the texture of bread machine breads).

          any tips?

          • June 17, 2009 7:41 am

            Sorry. I forgot to come back & reply. Let’s see – knead it in the kitchenaid is my favorite. If not, at least set the timer. It always seems like you’re kneading for 10 min – but it’s just hard work!

            Also, spray your hands w/ cooking oil before you knead. It’ll help everything not stick so much. Good luck!

        • June 17, 2009 6:56 pm

          are your T’s standing for Tablespoon? or Teaspoon?

    • June 15, 2009 11:39 am

      Applesauce rocks. I hear that Mott’s is the best. Um, wait…does that make me a cannibal?

    • June 15, 2009 6:23 pm

      mandy –

      i love sara lees 45 calorie per slice wheat bread. not sure if its whole wheat or not, i need to check that. but it taste super good.

      and you just reminded me that i need to get more flax seed 😀

      lovin the popsicle idea! we’ll definitely have to do that. thanks!

      • June 15, 2009 6:49 pm

        Whole wheat is good. But if it says 100% whole grains…it’s great!

        I just like the healthy bread, but it breaks my budget.

      • June 15, 2009 7:27 pm

        the Sara Lee Delightful Whole Wheat and Honey is a million times better than the Delightful Whole Wheat. [both are 45 cals] Softer and sweeter.


        • June 15, 2009 7:30 pm

          THAT may be the one we use, cuz its sweet. and the kids totally love it too!

  11. June 15, 2009 10:01 am

    Pizaa…and Ice Cream 🙂

    • June 15, 2009 11:17 am

      Dang, I was going to say that… haha…

      In all seriousness though, you should hit up Kristen. I consider her to be a master at healthy and really good!!!

    • Jim2 permalink
      June 15, 2009 11:28 am

      Things you are saying “good-bye” to??

  12. June 15, 2009 11:51 am

    I will echo what everyone else said.

    Anything fresh taste better than frozen or canned. You should need much less salt, or butter, if at all, to add flavour. Where you can use, even think about growing, fresh herbs and spices.

    Fresh fruit, and nuts, for snacks & desert.

    This may cost more, and require more time spent shopping. Fresh does not have the self life of frozen, or canned, products.

    Unfortunately I have never heard of an Oreo tree.

    Which brings up the point that you have got to enjoy what you eat. People who try different diets for their health are unlikely to stick to it if they don’t enjoy what they are eating.

    • June 15, 2009 6:24 pm

      true, true. and that is always the hard part for the kids…is enjoying what theyre eating. but lots of fruits and nuts and fun veggies and treats in moderation should be just fine 😯

  13. jpasq03 permalink
    June 15, 2009 12:58 pm

    Make smoothies
    Yogurt + Fruit + Ice (maybe juice(?))
    Let them experiment with different fruit ingredients.

    • June 15, 2009 6:26 pm

      hi there!

      you bring up a good thought…having the kids help in the process. even with the grocery shopping and planning meals. theyre more apt to eat it too 😉

  14. jpasq03 permalink
    June 15, 2009 1:13 pm

    Go pick berries; great fun, great food.

    Wolframalpha different foods and dare to compare.
    (wolf ram alpha is a computational knowledge engine. ie: US population Italy population, compares the populations)

    Try this one:
    It says that cooked pizza has 1180 calories, while a pear has 96 and blueberries have 84. Impressive.

  15. June 15, 2009 6:50 pm

    My grandma says ” live food…live body. Dead food, dead body”

    Wish I followed it more closely.

  16. June 15, 2009 9:31 pm

    my best (but possibly impractical) diet tips for the Hodge clan?

    MOVE IN with Mandy or Joy-Renee! 😀

    ( well i’d love to, if i could!)

    other than that, remember that excess of anything is bad for you and that can include of ‘a’ health food. The key to a successful and healthy diet is variety, and for MOST Americans, less sugars, less salts, less fats, less chemical additives in your foods and smaller servings.

    For a healthy ‘snack’ fresh fruits are probably the best, and include nuts and legumes if possible – ‘living’ foods.

    As seasons change we need to recognise that and modify our diet accordingly – it is NOT ‘natural’ to eat the same fruit all year ’round!!!

    Just because we can buy it from the ‘market does not mean we should be eating whatever we can buy from the shelves. Some fruits have been picked before they were fully ripened on the tree, stored in dark cool rooms and artificially ripened with a synthetic gas, just so they can put them on the store shelf up to a year later when the fruit would be ‘out of season’.?? Yuk!

    Out of ‘season’ try dried fruits (unsugared preferably), like sultana’s, paw-paw, mango, apricot or banana. A handul of mix-n-match of these dried treats can be delicious and filling and if kept in a bowl on a bench is a hundred times faster than ordering pizza and waiting for delivery. ( just try to limit the fam from eating the entire bowl in one session 😉


  17. June 16, 2009 8:08 pm

    Well I will throw in a few cents here too. Except not sure if it will be useful because most of my things are more on the starchy end and the fiber end.

    -Orowheat Double Fiber English Muffins and Bread….Great stuff!
    -SouthBeach Living Fiber Fit S’more Bars = 9 grams of fiber
    -Laughing Cow Cheese instead of most cheeses….Even makes a good Alfredo.
    -If you have a house that likes koolaid….Try Special K protein water-5 grams of protien and fiber…Comes premade or in powder form like Crystal Light–Love the Strawberry Kiwi.
    -Quaker Oats makes these packs of rice cakes that are drizzled with Chocolate…Very YUMMY
    -Kettle Brand BAKED Chips – They come in a few different flavors. Baked not Organic. LOL

    Lots of fruits and veggies. I lost 55 pounds but most of it was learning portion control. It is amazing how much we eat that is excessive. Did you know that a true serving of meat (chicken, pork, beef) is suppose to be 3-4 oz or the approximate size of a deck of cards. My son ate a 16 oz steak the other night. That is four servings of meat for me. Crazy.

  18. June 16, 2009 9:09 pm

    Fun? Hmmmm … snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables … which has already been mentioned.

    Breakfast foods has been a tough point for me to find healthy options. Nearly all ‘common’ breakfast foods are terrible for you in some respect. Add in that dairy is a no-no for me, and … breakfasts have been challenging to figure out.


    I did find a few things that may work for you.

    My FAVORITE breakfast (besides fresh fruit):

    * Whole Wheat Farina (this is a whole wheat variety of Cream of Wheat – this is what I buy. Don’t know if you can find it out there. Takes 10 minutes to cook)
    * chopped pecans or walnuts
    * cinnamon
    * agave nectar (do you know how GOOD this stuff is? It’s more expensive than sugar, but not processed at all, straight from the plant, and yummy yummy yummy.)
    * sliced bananas

    Seriously … this tastes like dessert. For breakfast. But it’s completely 100% healthy.

    Another favorite breakfast is granola. I think I’m a bit picky on granola – a lot of them are really hard to eat (on the teeth, I mean). Trader Joe’s has some fantastic granolas. I don’t like them too sweet, so I buy the Apple Cinnamon and Mango Passion Granolas. They’re a bit lower in sugar than the other ones they sell.

    A third which I haven’t made in awhile is oatmeal. There are the instant varieties. Any of them are better than most cereals. The sugar content in them gets to me, so I would recommend plain and add your own stuff in there (like maple syrup, fruit, nuts, etc). Healthier that way. Or you could cook Quick Oats (takes 10 minutes) and do the same thing. Again, a tad bit healthier than instant.

    Other than the really fantastic ideas people have already offered (have to TOATLLY second the ‘do it slow’ recommendation. You’re right about the cold turkey effect) those are the things that have really helped me get the day off right. If you set your body right in the morning, it is WAY easier to eat healthier throughout the day. Your body will expect healthy food if you feed it well with healthy food in the morning.

    My two (or three or five) cents!

  19. June 16, 2009 10:37 pm

    you guys are fantastic!

    i mean it. i love my life with you all in it.

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