Tag Archives: sodium

Eating healthy and reducing stress during a pandemic

Pandemic life shouldn’t be THAT different than my regular life. I’m generally home with 3 of my 4 kids everyday anyway. But trying to get a good schedule and routine where I have time for posting here is harder than I anticipated. Also, I want to make sure things I am posting right now are applicable to today’s situations. I have lots of recipes and pictures ready that use a lot of ingredients that maybe are harder to find. Still working on that.

Today, I wanted to share a few tips for trying to eat healthy during this crazy time while also not increasing your stress level. Hope any of these help!

The in and out of stock board at my local Costco recently

1. Menu planning is your friend. If you are trying to go to the grocery store less frequently, plan out LOTS of meals and buy the ingredients. I generally plan about a week of menus. Right now, I’m trying to go about a week and a half to two weeks out. Do I have to know exactly what day we will eat everything? No. But knowing what meals I have food for reduces my stress.

2. Strict menu planning is your enemy. Try to pick recipes that have somewhat flexible ingredients. Be flexible about what types of beans, pasta, vegetables, cheese, meat, you need for a recipe. These things can often substitute with ease. For example, my daughter had a birthday in the midst of this pandemic. She requested lasagna for her birthday dinner. I warned her ahead of time I would make her some sort of pasta casserole, but it would depend on what noodles I could find at the store. Luckily, lasagna noodles were about the only pasta stocked that day.

3. Keep fruits and vegetables in the mix – in any form you can get. At least at the stores I have been to, fresh produce has been fairly well stocked. One or two things might be wiped out, but they generally have things. Frozen has been pretty obliterated. Canned is hit or miss. Just remember a couple things if you are having to get canned fruits and vegetables. First, that is 100% ok! Second, look for no salt added vegetables or canned in water or juice fruits. But just doing your best is all you can do. So give yourself grace!

4. Watch your sodium intake. A lot of us are switching to more canned products than normal or using more shelf stable products to avoid frequent shopping. That is great. Just know that shelf stable products often, but not always, have sodium added. So check your labels. And check yourself on adding more salt.

5. Teach your kids or yourself how to cook. I’ll have a post soon about tips for teaching your kids to cook. But with yourself and your children stuck at home, it is a great time to add in some cooking lessons. Or if you don’t have kids, teach yourself a new cooking skill!

Learning to make pretzels with my daughters

6. Give yourself grace! If you need a treat now and then, it is ok. If you can’t handle a long drawn out meal but really on freezer food, that is ok. This is not going to be normal life forever. Try to keep things as healthy nutritionally as you can while still maintaining good mental health. (And if that involves a lot of diet soda like it does at our house, go for it!)

Got soda?

Hope these tips help! If you have any questions I could help with your nutrition or cooking in this pandemic, please email me at kimberlykmarsh at gmail dot com.

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Too much pizza?

IMG_5411label

A recent radio show broadcasted that research from the CDC stated that kids in America are eating too much pizza, which is not a healthy food. I was a bit puzzled, so I wanted to get a little more information on the actual research.

The CDC report is actually on sodium intakes in children and adolescents in the US. Like adults, children and adolescents are consuming more sodium than they need. And even in children, this can lead to increased blood pressure.

Why do we care? First, we don’t want to start kids off with health problems, like high blood pressure. This will only increase the likelihood of these problems as adults. Second, sodium intake is a taste preference. As children are developing their tastes and dietary preferences, we want to give them a healthy palate. Reducing intake when young will hopefully help prevent them from over consuming as adults.

So where does pizza come in? Pizza is the number one contributor of sodium to children and adolescent diets. Bread, poultry, cold cuts, and sandwiches round out the top five. Noticably, these are foods that naturally have high sodium. This isn’t about teaching kids to not salt their food. It is about teaching them to watch their consumption of foods naturally high in sodium.

So can your kid eat pizza? Of course! But, beware of the amount of cheese and cured meats on your toppings. Stick for less cheese, fresh cooked meats, veggies, and homemade sauce if possible. All of these allow you greater control of the sodium going in. Here are a couple of my favorites for pizza:

Marinara

Artichoke Pesto Pizza

White Chicken Pizza

Homemade Pizza Dough

What are your favorite adaptations to make pizza more healthy? Share them in the comments!

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Q&A: Electrolytes

Q: What can I eat to keep my electrolytes balanced properly on a normal diet?

A: Electrolytes are essential for our body to function–they maintain a water balance and allow our muscles to contract, our nerves to send signals to the brain, and our body to convert the calories we eat into energy.

It’s important to maintain the right levels of electrolytes through healthy eating, but our bodies generally do a good job regulating them. It’s pretty unusual for dangerous fluctuations to occur in healthy individuals. People with chronic disease or severe illnesses may need to be more careful.

Here are some of the main electrolytes in our body, and some of the best good food sources for them:

  • Sodium – We all consume most of our sodium from salt. Salt is added to almost all of the foods we eat, including bread, cereals, and canned goods. Most people need to limit their sodium intake, rather than focus on getting enough.
  • Potassium – Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium. Oranges, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, bananas, kiwis, and apricots are all examples. Milk, yogurt, and meat also provide potassium.
  • Chloride – Combined with sodium to make salt, chloride is abundant in our diets. It is also naturally found in many vegetables, such as seaweed, tomatoes, and lettuce.
  • Magnesium – Foods rich in fiber often are good sources of magnesium. Whole grains, beans, spinach, and nuts are examples.
  • Phosphorus – Meat and milk are the main sources of phosphorus. There is some phosphorus in whole grains as well, although this is not absorbed when we eat it.
  • Calcium – Dairy is the best source of dietary calcium. As I mentioned here, green leafy vegetables besides spinach, calcium-fortified beverages, and some bread products also provide calcium.

Thanks for the question!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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