(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
With all the bells, whistles and detours to information overload at every click of the Internet, it's no wonder that so many of us have consciously decided to ignore the excesses on our screens. Whether you’re on a computer, laptop, phone or tablet, making it through the day with enough time to accomplish our work and personal responsibilities can be tough.
Recently, I realized that even old-fashioned products that deliver sensory "underload" can still be valuable and best. Rather than to distract, they were designed to fit right into your random spare moments.
While I was at the dentist's office, I saw on a counter a pile of those old-fashioned (in fact, they were created in 1993, with their most recent update in 2006, according to their copyright pages) illustrated promotional pamphlets.
One of them was A Guide for Busy Parents: Making Meals Matter for Your Young Child
. Since I wondered exactly what the long-secret trick to that might be, I grabbed the document from the Dairy Council of California. Within the eight-page guide, I found lots of specifics about what kids should eat based on age (for example, 2- to 3-year-olds do best eating two-thirds of adult portions), and that kids often need snacks with the right nutrition since their stomachs are so small they fill up quickly at mealtimes.
This was all from a professor-filled, nutritional panel with members from Stanford University. It also led me to their site, filled with meal-planning tips and easy recipes: www.healthyeating.org
. There I found simple recipes, like Lickety Split Lasagna Soup that is filled with the antioxidants of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. More surprisingly, it most likely would, in fact, wow the kidlet set.
Later that day, I checked out Sprouts Farmers Market, a chain of economically priced health food supermarkets. I planned to speed through and just pick up snacks for later. I even took a compact cart. But soon, I was stalled at their book section, which was exactly like the health food store ones I used to hang out in circa 1987. There was lots of interesting, tried-and-true stuff (juicing, smoothies, etc.), much of it first published in the 1980s, and then republished.
Almost as an afterthought, to continue my research on the chain, I grabbed their fat in-store bimonthly magazine. I was floored by how Sprouts still was going the old-fashioned route in their custom-published magazine with a variety of full-length articles, like "25 Foods that Fight Disease" and a bunch of color-photographed recipe spreads. The fresh herb cucumber-melon salad, as well as the spiced chickpea and feta sandwiches have already become favorites.
Lastly, in my own home office, an old title recently jumped out to me from the bookshelves: Cleansing the Body, Mind and Spirit
by Carolyn Reuben, 1998. From the table of contents where it noted "Cleansing Feasts and Fasts," I picked up on something I had never realized: cleansing feasts? Feasts?! Sure, I had heard of all the stars who deny themselves food and find inner peace and glowing skin afterward, but feasts? I had forgotten there were certain foods and food combinations one can eat to possibly release toxins and feel great.
Soon, I made Reuben's paperback my find-a-spare-moment reading.
Reuben was one of those old-time health journalists like I had been, who rather than being a superstar herself, reported the facts of groundbreaking studies that could help all of us live better.
I'd found out subsequently checking on Amazon.com that she'd written a whole bunch of such books for major publishersm, and she also became an expert in using acupuncture, diet and other natural means to help fight addiction. Soon, I was reading her sporadic tweets (see them @carolynreuben).
Even more interesting, though, in just a few of her tweets and corresponding recommendations, I've found:
, a natural food recipe site geared toward the toddler set.
• A study noted an apple a day (as well as oats, nuts, strawberries, citrus and carrots) as being especially good at helping inflamed cells turn into healthful ones.
• I want to add to my reading list Natalie Savona's The Kitchen Shrink: Foods & Recipes for a Healthy Mind
(a well-worn title) and Trudy Scott's The Antianxiety Food Solution
(a newer one).
Following are a few inspirations picked up on the aforementioned adventures. Fun fare like this also shows how innovative food and beverage preparation can be easy, nutritious, economical, entertaining – and fast. They take just 10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare
. The combinations are delicious evidence that everyone has time for tasty "home cooking" and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it! Another benefit: You – and your kidlet helpers – effortlessly become gourmets, since there are no right or wrong amounts
. These are virtually-can't-go-wrong mixtures, so whatever you choose to use can't help but draw "wows."Loveable Lasagna Soup
Prepare a health-food brand frozen, single-serving lasagna and, when cooked, carefully cut it into bite-sized squares and add to a heated store-bought, low-sodium tomato soup. Serve with a small amount of "croutons" you create from cutting garlic bread into small bite-sized pieces.Chic Chickpea Pitas
Mash canned, drained chickpeas and season with curry powder and mix well. Spread onto whole-grain pita bread and top with crumbles of feta cheese, chopped tomatoes, sprouts and diced fresh mint.Fall into Amore with this Italian Melon Salad
Shake mixed Italian seasoning over a mixture of chunks of unpeeled cucumber, and peeled cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Top with shreds of fresh basil, a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkling of dried tarragon and olive oil vinaigrette.QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK:
Nutritionists often recommend mashing cauliflower instead of potatoes to save calories and add nutrients. That’s great advice, but what’s also wise is to use mashed cauliflower in other recipes as well. It can economically and nutritiously replace a third of the meat in meatloaves or burgers, fill-in in condiments, like pesto and dips, and secretly add vegetable power by replacing a third of the fat in baked goods, like cakes, muffins and brownies.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.