Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enough Balance

Recently at a routine doctor visit with our son, the doctor made the statement, "You should not have anything that you are eating every single day." He was referring to sodas and sugary drinks, or hot chocolate or coffee...on that score we don't do very well.  We don't drink sodas, but coffee is a standard here - more creamer the better for most of us. I did give up my hot chocolate passion, but I guess replacing it with something similar didn't exactly accomplish the purpose.  The doctor's comment made me think, though, of better balance and variety in all our meals and snacks. Especially the snacks -the afternoon pick-me-up or the munchie attacks.

The standard snacks around here are much different than they used to be.  Used to be a constant supply of chocolate chip cookies, brownies and sweet goodies (anything chocolate).  Now, the kids make lots of yogurt, fruit and protein mix shakes, apples (with peanut butter), handfuls of nuts and chocolate chips and raisins, crackers and popcorn.

Many of the new recipes we are using come from The Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook.  I am not following an actual diet, more of a general overall plan of five, three hundred calorie, meals (this amount is for me, not the kids), eating often enough to not get too hungry.  Of course, some days are better than others, and I fix meals filling enough for growing kids.  That's why I like the Family Cookbbook - their recipes are, for the most part filling and yummy.

One of the snacks from the Family Cookbook is a new favorite here: Marshmallow Cereal Bars.  Not bad for a diet recipe cookbook!
3 tbsp margarine
1 bag (10 oz) marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
4 cups cornflakes
2 cups Cheerios
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Coat a 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray.  Melt the margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the marshmallows and vanilla and almond extracts.  Cook, stirring, until melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cornflakes, cheerios and the chocolate chips, stirring until well coated.  Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.  Press down with the back of the spoon to flatten.  Cool completely until the chocolate sets.  Cut into 24 pieces.
The total dessert is 3,400 calories, divided into 24 squares, 142 calories each piece.  Yummy, and fixes the chocaholic "needs."

As the doctor said, being careful to add a lot of variety, different types of foods each day, looking for balance and a changing mixture of colors and textures keeps eating interesting and appealing.  I heard a word recently that is appropriate for this: a Swedish word, lagom (la-home) for enough, just the right amount, in moderation, sufficiently, or even appropriate.  That sums up our goal in our daily menu plan.  Being able to eat and feel satisfied and "lagom."

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