Make Your Own Kitchen Garden

Nothing beats homegrown vegetables. Starting a garden of your own is easier and less expensive than you would think. The best part is the kids can help.   HERE’S HOW TO DO IT: 1) Pick your site. The site should get at least eight hours of sun per day—the more,…
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Dietitian's Tip of the Month

Coconut Oil vs. Olive Oil: Why BOTH Can Play Nicely In Your Kitchen.

While Dr. Oz continues to tout the health benefits of coconut oil, the American Heart Association argues otherwise. The contradicting advice is confusing to say the least.

Why Coconut Oil?

The fats in our diet are made up of fatty acids linked together into chains, similar to the classic plastic chain links found in nearly every toybox. The length of these chains vary depending on the type of fat, ranging in categories from short to very long. Coconut oil falls into the medium group. Why does size matter? The size largely impacts where and when in the digestive process that this fat will be broken down and how well it will be absorbed into our system. The shorter size of coconut oil is thought to be less absorbed than that of other saturated fats such as butter. 

While I have not come across the science supporting this idea in great length, what I have learned is that the type of saturated fat found in coconut oil does not raise our lousy LDL cholesterol levels to the same degree that saturated fats from animals (butter, lard, red meat) do. This is surely why the American Heart Association has yet to change their stance on these tasty tropical oils. With the majority of the American population battling high cholesterol and other heart health issues, health experts are not quite ready to recommend the addition of yet another saturated fat to our diet. 

Why Olive Oil?

Olive oil remains atop the leaderboards in the race of healthy fats. One of the all-star oils of the Mediterranean Diet, the most highly accredited diet worldwide (along with the DASH diet). And the science is overflowing with support for this rich oil.

  • Made of unsaturated fats which help to boost our healthy HDL cholesterol levels
  • Filled with antioxidants (especially extra virgin olive oil) which help to fight off the inflammation in our body
  • Health benefits whether cooked or served chilled on salad

There is Certainly Room For Both.

We stock both types in our kitchen (along with sesame, flax and canola). 

I keep the olive oil at the ready for our morning French Toast, midday sweet potato fries, or the roasted chicken and veggies the evening may bring. This oil fits the bill! But if I am preparing no-bake cookies or attempting to bring a slightly unique flavor to our stirfry, I will opt for the coconut oil. 

As one of the annoying things dietitians everywhere are preaching, “all foods fit”.

The way I see it, olive oil is numero uno in the field of fats. Butter and lard are towards the bottom of that list. And coconut oil is somewhere in the middle. Therefore if butter is your frequent flying fat of choice, coconut oil would be a great switch for you! However, if you tend to stick with olive or canola oil, keep on keeping on (your heart and brain will thank you!). 

Though for the coconut lovers everywhere, remain hopeful! This trendy ingredient hit supermarket shelves only recently. The saturated fat found in chocolate was once demonized as a contributor to heart disease, yet is now believed to be safe. 

What we do know is that unsaturated fats (think those made from plants, nuts, seeds, olives and fatty fish) are heart healthy. Aim to include these in your diet instead of those made of saturated fats (butter, lard, coconut or palm oil) or trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils).

For more information on how to incorporate healthy fats into your family’s diet, visit choosemyplate.gov.

Jessica Corwin, MPH, RDN

Resident MommyRD

Have Q’s? Let me know on Twitter or IG

The Only Lettuce My Family Will Eat is Iceberg… Is that Okay?

YumK_Weekly_Salad Horiz

I hear this ALOT. Makes sense right? When compared with the grainy texture and rich flavor of spinach, kale or chard, the watery crunch of iceberg lettuce wins out. [caption id="attachment_2484" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] While the darker greens do provide more…

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Swap Mayo for Avocado in this Super Tuna Salad Sammie

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Looking for unique ways to incorporate superfoods into your family's diet? Me, too! Despite my continuous efforts to offer fruits and veggies day in and day out, it is still a major celebration with either of our boys actually eat…

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Father’s Day- Tips To Make The Day Special for Dad

Affectionate father and his daughter having breakfast

Each June, Dad (and Granddad, too) probably get a new tie, a book, barbeque tools, slippers or similar guy gift that’s become a family tradition. Here’s a way to add to the festivities and make the fun last, too. Plan…

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Father’s Day Picnic Lunch

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Grab a blanket, the football and head out to the park or backyard this Father's Day. Oh, and be sure to bring easy and delicious food too. Check out these simple, and portable picnic foods that are kid friendly and…

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11 SUPER foods + SUPER Recipes to Make You a SUPERSTAR in the Kitchen.

Any “bargainista” can share her tips on getting the most bang for your buck when grocery shopping, but how do you know if you are getting the most nutrient bang for your buck? According to Webster, you may want to fill your cart with “superfoods” to start. I must admit, despite the fact that I am a registered dietitian and live and breathe nutrition, I truly thought the term SUPER food was merely a media and marketing term to add more hype to the market. Shockingly, a coworker informed me that these powerful foods are at least legit enough to be defined by the classic dictionary. "a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health; Superfoods increase energy and vitality, regulate cholesterol and blood pressure and may help to prevent or fight cancer and other diseases." In other words, foods that are essential for optimal wellness! The (dark) cherry on top? Superfoods are straight from Mother Nature and naturally void of added sugars, trans fat and…
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This month’s issue

Welcome to Good Food for Kids!

Check out our “What’s in Season” List of fruits and vegetables with kid friendly recipes!

6 Healthy Food Swaps your family will love

Great Smoothie Recipes

Budget Shopping Tips

AND MUCH MORE!!!

 

Our latest issue!

Good Food for Kids