Tag Archives: healthy snacks

flora’s seasonal recipe: pondering persimmons

7 Jan

6290086996_8e25c56234Sitting on the train one day, a father, mother and their two daughters entered my car toting orange shopping bags filled with fresh produce. They were caught up in lively conversations, while each one of them was biting into a ripe persimmon.

It was inspiring to watch a family all enjoying a fresh and unique fruit together on their train ride. The sheer happiness emanating from their faces was a true testament to the importance of sharing family meals and moments.

What also stood out to me was their conscious decision to pick persimmons as their snack. Perhaps the persimmons brought back childhood memories for their parents, and they wanted to share those memories with their children? Maybe their children chose the fruit and enlightened them on how delicious they are? Or maybe they all walked into the store never having tried persimmons, and the shop keeper was giving out tastings?

Whichever way the persimmons made it onto the train with this sweet family, they were in my car for a reason. While I watched them, I was able to reflect on the value of food memories, the ways in which food connects us to place, grounds us in flavor and promotes health and wellness.

Hopefully this sweet family has inspired you to pick up a persimmon or two, and share the experience with someone you love on your very own road to making food memories together.

46422626_c4691b75e5How to eat a persimmon? There are two main types: Fuyu (tomato shaped – eat with peel on) and Hachiya (acorn shaped – remove peel).

Fuyu:

  • Wash it first.
  • Once ripe (should feel soft, not squishy), cut in half then cut into wedges, like you would a tomato.
  • Or simply bite into one like an apple!

Hachiya:

  • Wash it first.
  • Once ripe (should feel squishy in your hand) cut open the top, and spoon out the fruit.
  • Eat with abandon!

For more persimmon recipes and inspirations click here.

Photos courtesy of sleepyneko and Beyond Forgetting

Sanity in the Subway: 5 tips to enjoying the subway commute

17 Oct

3544734138_54f2f90376Living in a city is not always the easiest choice, with all of the noise, exhaust, crowds, traffic and people bumping into you left and right. However, the city can foster great opportunities, cultural diversity, conveniences and efficient public transportation, among other amenities.

Using mass transit not only saves our air from pollution, it provides an opportunity for the daily commuter to sit back and do nothing, or something, until they arrive at their destination.

Some people see the subway ride as a stressful time where they are sandwiched in between their seats, with bad smells and screaming children. While this can be true, you have the power to take charge of your subway commuting experience.

Here are 5 tips that will help you see the commute as a more enjoyable experience:

1. Know where you are going + give yourself enough time to get there: This is an easy one when you are commuting, as you usually know the route. If you are headed someplace new, you will save yourself time, energy and piece of mind by researching the best way to get there. Hopstop is a great resource as is google maps. If hopstop tells you that your route will take you 35 minutes, give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes, by leaving earlier.

2. Stay on the local to avoid running to the express: If your local train takes you where you need to go, stay on it, even when the express shows up at a joining station. As much of a thrill as it is to catch that express train because it passes 1 or 2 stations, you will have more time on your local train, in turn, spending less time shuffling around, worrying whether or not the doors will close on you.

3. Pack a water bottle + healthy snacks to stave off hunger: On longer commutes, pack yourself some goodies for the ride. Stay hydrated by bringing a water bottle, and a few healthy snacks like trail mix, granola bars, whole fruit, nutbutter or seedbutter + jelly sandwich. These snack will help you in case you missed breakfast, or are traveling to be in the public eye. Use those energy enhancing proteins, and fabulous fiber to help fuel your day.

4. Bring something to read: Some of you may enjoy staring off which feels indulgent after a long day, but for longer rides we suggest bringing something to stimulate your mind like a great book, a puzzle, catalogue or a pen and paper to write or draw.

2002937136_556449cf525. Sit up straight, focus on your breathe + practice tuning out: As tempting as it is to slouch on the train, try practicing better posture by sitting up straight, engaging your abdomen and relaxing the tension present in your face. Try to focus on your breathe by noticing your inhale and exhale. For loud trains, when they arrive at the station feel free to plug your ears, and while riding a loud train (with loud passengers), practice tuning them out by tuning into your book, your breathe, or your thoughts.

Photos courtesy of Rambling Traveler and mrhayata

Snacks 101

27 Feb

3534661790_f29b775f92Butter Beans Co-Founder + CEO, Belinda DiGiambattista, recently delivered an informative presentation to a whopping 500 kindergarten – 6th grade students about healthy snacks.

When you think about snacks, do you think of them as sugary or salty treats (that are filled with empty calories)? Or do you think of them as small meals that will provide your body with energy to help power you through your day?

We ask so much of our snacks. We want snacks to tide us over, satisfy a craving, taste delicious, be quick to prepare and easy to eat. With this in mind, Belinda encouraged the students to think about snacks as a small meal to help fill in the gaps, a time for your body to take in real nutrients and energy. She encouraged students to ask themselves “what benefits am I getting out of this?” when choosing a snack.

For example:  If you are having a snack of hummus and carrots sticks the answer could be: “This snack is fulfilling my want of something crunchy, fresh and savory, while giving me antioxidants (carrots) and healthy enzymes and fiber (carrots, garbanzos, lemon) to help my digestion, as well as good fats (thanks to the olive oil) to keep me full for a long time, protein (garbanzos) for building strong muscles and mental focus, as well as heart healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!”

On the other hand, if you ask yourself the same questions about a packaged bag of “dorito’s” or fried chips your answer would be:  “This snack is satisfying my want of something savory and tasty, but full of fried fat and salt which makes my liver work extra hard and can make me feel slow and sluggish, is full of ingredients I can’t pronounce which will take a lot of time for my body to digest, and will probably leave me hungry again very soon!

The kids in attendance were completely engaged in this topic and in the takeaway – that your body will thank you for choosing snacks made from whole ingredients that fill you up and give you energy. They had great questions, loved learning about nutrition and were excited about new ideas. They listened attentively and then asked things like:

“What’s the difference between white bread and whole grain bread?” “How much sugar is in chocolate milk?” “Is it better to drink milk or orange juice for breakfast?” “Is strawberry milk better than chocolate milk?” “Is it OK to drink tea?”

It was interesting to see how many students raised their hand when asked if they skipped breakfast that day. In one group, roughly 25% of them did. How many of us rush out of the house before getting our own breakfast? These students, come from wonderful families all doing their best to raise bright and well nourished children. They are as hungry as the rest of us well informed adults trying to sort out our own health goals and dietary rituals, so that we can focus on the things we care even more about than our next snack.

What a gift, to have the opportunity to engage inquiring minds to consider the options before us. Truly, change on any front happens when we each take small steps; make small decisions that influence each next small step, and each next small decision.

Happy snacking to one and all.

Photo courtesy of ahemier

Healthy Vending

14 Jan

Vending machines in schools is a sore subject for many. While many agree that they prefer students eat more natural, healthy food options for snacks after school – generally, schools depend on the money raised from the profits of selling junk in vending machines for extra-curricular activities like sports programs, and so the vending machines stay put. On December 13th, President Barack Obama signed legislation that requires schools participating in the federal school lunch program, to meet nutritional standards for all snacks and drinks sold in schools. Slowly but surely, vending machine options are being forced to improve. Fresh Healthy Vending, is a young company, whose mission is to serve only healthy vending machine options.  Their success is testament that the  private business sector can be profitable and have common folk’s interests at heart. Learn more about the issues of vending machines in schools in general – here.

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