People often tease me about being a stereotypical 1950′s housewife.
I can’t help that I like to cook things from scratch! It’s healthier and tastes so much better. Even working full-time, if you plan ahead, homemade meals can be a possibility every day!
Sadly, most children today are unfamiliar with the smell of a good home cooked meal. Pizza and fast food are taking over our dinner menus and ruining our health. Studies by the American Dietetic Society are finding an increased risk of developing cancer due to a standard American diet, rich in red meat, processed foods, and sodium and lacking in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. In fact, one-third of all cancers are directly related to poor nutrition!
Cooking at home can solve a myriad of health problems ranging from obesity to high cholesterol. Americans are busy people, but the American Institute for Cancer Research is here to help! They have compiled a guide entitled “Homemade for Health”, filled with helpful cooking tips for busy families. Tips include:
- Buy frozen, pre-cut vegetables or prewashed greens. Toss vegetables into salads, pasta sauces, stews, lasagna, pizzas, quiche, sandwiches or omelets.
- Buy bags of frozen berries for breakfast smoothies.
- Reclaim prime time. Instead of taking your dinner into the family room – by eating takeout food on the couch – take the TV into the kitchen. Ask the entire family to help prepare dinner while watching their favorite shows.
- In place of shuttling kids between games and lessons – and stopping for fast food on the way home – cancel one activity a week and ask the children to help you make dinner.
- When using prepared foods or frozen dinners, add one or two steamed or microwaved vegetables to the plate.
- Choose the right ingredients. Red or tan new potatoes give a meal extra fiber, for example, but don’t need to be peeled.
- On the weekend, cook an extra-large batch of a healthy dish, divide it into individual servings and freeze small portions for later.
- When making tomato sauce, tacos or fajitas, use twice as many vegetables but half as much meat or cheese.
- Stock the pantry with healthful foods that can be prepared quickly, such as minced garlic and canned chickpeas.
- To coax kids into eating more vegetables, purée the veggies into soups.
My latest homemade challenge was gluten-free Granola Bars using certified Gluten-Free Oats by Bob’s Red Mill.
- Oats Help Lower Cholesterol– “Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%.” By lowering high cholesterol, you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke! (- whfoods.com)
- Oats Help Stabilize Blood Sugar– The soluble fiber found in oats aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout your day. Oats are much lower on the Glycemic Index than white bread or rice due to their high fiber content. By eating a fiber filled breakfast, you are taking control of your blood sugar from the very start of your day!
- Oats Lower the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes– Oats are rich in magnesium. Studies have shown individuals who eat a diet rich in magnesium displayed significantly lower risk for Type 2 Diabetes.
The following recipe can be tweaked to fit your personal tastes. Change the fruit, nuts, or spices! Use Quinoa Flakes instead of Rolled Oats! Enjoy!
Homemade Granola Bars
(Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)
- 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 1 cup sliced Almonds
- 1 cup unsweetened, shredded Coconut
- 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Flax Seed Meal
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
- 2/3 cup Madhava Light Agave Nectar
- 1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 cup chopped, pitted Dates
- 1/2 cup chopped, dried Apricots
- 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×12 baking dish with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper.
- Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seed meal.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
- Place the coconut oil, agave nectar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 1 minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
- Pour mixture into the prepared 8×12 baking dish. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, until light, golden brown. Cool in pan at least 2-3 hours before cutting.
What would be your dream Granola Bar combination?
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!
This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays!