Disclaimer: This event was kindly sponsored by Langensteins’ and Touro Infirmary.
I don’t know about you but sometimes the second I steer my grocery cart into the produce section my eyes glaze over. I get that deer in the headlights look as I try to think about what I need for the week and simultaneously remember what ingredients I need for that recipe that I “intend” on cooking. I always pick up the same things: bananas, apples, onions, bagged lettuce and watermelon but that is often where my mission ends.
This past week the New Orleans Moms Blog and 15 of its readers had the wonderful opportunity to take a personalized guided tour of Langenstein’s with a registered dietitian, Julie Fortenberry, from Touro Infirmary. We literally cruised the store, kiddies in tow, aisle by aisle as Julie gave us ideas on how to be creative and how to push ourselves just a little bit more to be even a bit more healthy. She pointed out the healthiest grains, meats and specific brands of whole wheat pasta, quinoa, yogurt and even (GASP) a dessert that is a bit better for you. She urged us to pick up one new fruit or vegetable every time you go to the store to attempt to introduce it to your family. She recommends things that are fresh, in season, and – BONUS POINTS – on sale.
As a mom herself, Julie’s tips were practical and considerate of the trials that toddler pickiness can put forth. She recommended hiding fruits and veggies wherever you can in your toddler’s food but also placing it in its original form on their plates. She said we should strive to encourage and get excited about healthy foods – but never force it. She was also able to make recommendations for several easy tweaks that all moms can make for their families.
Some of our favorite tips included:
- Using plain (read: not mixed with super sugary fruit mixes) greek yogurt mixed with ranch dressing powder for dipping with veggies. This one is really, really good!
- Spend extra time in the produce section. Buy a variety of colors! Did you know that the darker the green the more vitamin rich they are?
- Place healthy choices at toddler (or kid) eye level in your home. Make healthy snacks available on the pantry shelf they can reach, as well as in your fridge. Think fresh fruit, vegetables and even those fun squeezable pouches (Ella’s and Earth’s Best in particular are “Julie approved.”)
- Choose a variety of lean meats. Do not get stuck in the chicken rut. You don’t need to be afraid of red meat; just choose one that doesn’t have a lot of the white marble, as that is fat.
- When choosing things like cereal and yogurt for your children check the sugar content. Did you know that 4 grams of sugar per serving is equal to 1 teaspoon of sugar (one sugar packet)? In other words, if your kid is eating cereal with 12 grams of sugar in it per serving, that is equivalent to dumping three packets of sugar on top of their breakfast. When is the last time you thought about doing that?!?!
- Spaghetti squash is an excellent replacement for pasta.
- If you’re purchasing almond or soy milk, be sure to purchase the unsweetened variety. Otherwise you’re essentially giving your children chocolate milk.
- Also, splurge on the items that are staples in your home. For example, if your kids are drinking milk daily (or in some cases multiple times a day). that’s a product worth splurging on in terms of springing for the organic even if it costs you a touch more.
We honestly could have kept Julie busy for hours with our questions if she had allowed us. Thank you to Touro for allowing us to spend the morning with Julie and to Langenstein’s for being our gracious hosts. Thank you as well to all of the moms who joined us! It was fun chatting with you and we would love to see you soon. If you would like to connect with us or join us at other fun and creative events please check out our NOMB Events and Playdates Page.
Thank you as well to the two photographers that joined us for our tour: Norris Gagnet of Norris Gagnet Photography and Katie Reine from KVR Photography. Both ladies are moms and because we are aware of the added details that having a child and planning for such events brings, we are even more thankful that they were able to join us and capture the details of the tour so well. You can check out all of Norris’s photos of the tour HERE and Katie’s HERE. Please feel free to tag yourselves and your friends!