my top 10 favorite health foods

Staying healthy is a daily journey and I’m always looking for new ways to help our family eat the healthiest foods possible.  It takes commitment and isn’t easy to do in our instant-gratification, fast-food-obsessed world.  Every small effort to make good food choices is so worth it and sets a great example for our kids.  Our family isn’t perfect (hello, I’m an 80’s kid – we drank Coke when we were thirsty) and my husband and I still buy some of the big no-no’s, but we are getting better and better with our choices.  Progress over perfection!  Better insert a healthy snack pic here before I go on about our childhood eating habits.

Peter and I grew up in the generation of Twinkies, Kool-aid, and Spaghettios.  I distinctly remember eating kool-aid powder out of a ziploc bag with friends as a “snack” (probably given to us by a parent as they kicked us out the door to play until dark) and I’m proud that both he and I haven’t dropped dead yet we’ve come as far as we have.

Also pretty sure the Kool-aid guy was one of our childhood role models.

 

All kidding aside, I was pretty sickly as a child, definitely sicker than our kids, but am much healthier and stronger as an adult.  The food I eat is much different now.

These days I try to learn as much as I can about quality nutrition to make better choices for our family, so I thought it would be fun to share some of what I’ve learned with you.  Here are my “Top 10” food items that I use daily in our kitchen.  A few of these are actually in the spice category, but I use them on our food, so I’ve included them on the list.  These are in no particular order.

  1. Organic berries – berries have powerful antioxidants and make great snacks.  Also a great way to have a little something sweet that does not include refined sugar, which is basically toxic to our systems.
  2. Avocados – thankfully all of our kiddos officially like avocados now.  It was a process, but now they love it on eggs, whole grain toast, salads, and more.  Hmmm, love might be a strong term, let’s say they eat avocados with “moderate enthusiasm”.  Our youngest was the hardest to convince but finally joined the team.  It helped explaining to our kids how good fats work in the body and help us function better mentally and athletically.
  3. Raw honey – I’ve read that eating local honey is a good way to build your immune system and is a great alternative to using refined sugar.  I drizzle it on slow cooked oatmeal and in my morning coffee for a little sweetness.  Also great over bananas, raw almond butter, and cinnamon!
  4. Lima beans – this humble little bean is a crowd pleaser.  Our kids love them.  I slowly boil my limas in filtered water with 1/2 an onion, a touch of organic butter, and sea salt.  This type of preparation makes them really taste like a comfort food.  They’re also the one vegetable that makes me feel full instead of empty and hungry.  Bonus:  Limas are alkalizing to the system and from what I’ve read, cancer cells cannot grown in an alkaline environment.
  5. Locally grown organic arugula/lettuce – we found a great resource for organic greens at our local farmer’s market and let me tell you – locally grown tastes TOTALLY different than store bought!  I don’t know the exact type of lettuce we bought, but the leaves are big and crunchy and they have actual flavor.  Locally grown is fresher, healthier, and never sits on a shelf.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Last weekend my daughter and I were cooking in the kitchen and had the bag of greens out and sampled a few nibbles while cooking.  They were so crunchy and fresh that we just kept eating it right out of the bag – it was that good!  Fresh greens are tasty and easy to add to wraps, paninis, and so much more.  
  6. Bone broth – this one takes a little time but is a real game changer.  Once you make a big batch of broth, it’s easy to toss on the stove and heat up for a snack or addition to a meal.  Surprisingly kids like it too.  Maybe because there are no “yucky vegetables” to negotiate with in a clear broth…even though their nutrients are in there!  We made some this weekend and the kids absolutely TORE through it!  purchase grass fed bones or an organic whole chicken and slowly simmer them in a big pot with filtered water, fresh herbs, onion, garlic, carrots, celery, ground pepper, and sea salt.  I’ve read that the collagen in bone broth is key to improving gut health, joint health, and boosting the immune system.
  7. Tumeric – after attending an incredible lecture by Dr. Josh Axe at our local Whole Foods last week, I learned all about the powers of adding freshly ground Tumeric to what we eat.  We just started adding it to our bone broth, morning eggs, and other little things we eat.  I cannot express to you enough how GREAT an impact this has made on all of us – from me with my foot surgery aftermath to our little pescatarian finicky eater.  We bought some freshly ground tumeric from our farmer’s market and I’ve already noticed an increase in overall stamina plus elimination of post-ballet workout pain in my foot.  Pretty amazing.
  8. Cinnamon – I sprinkle this over my oatmeal and in my coffee in the mornings to help stabilize blood sugar and it really does the trick!  Kids love it on sweet treats too.  See number 3 for other ideas.
  9. Goat cheese/milk – we love cheese in our house.  But cow milk is harder to digest than goat cheese, which has the same chemical make-up as human milk (sounds gross, I know, but it’s true).  I’ve read that goat cheese takes only 30 minutes to digest, as opposed to cow milk, which takes 8 hours.  Not to mention cow milk products are what nutrition experts call an “inflammatory” food.
  10. Limes – another easy ingredient to work with and alkalizing to our bodies.  We put lime in our water, homemade guacamole, fruit salads, and sometimes even over salads.  Lunch packing tip:  if you squeeze lime juice in a freshly mashed avocado, it won’t turn brown.  I mix freshly mashed avvocado, a little garlic salt, and lime together as guacamole in a lot of packed lunches for our kids and they love it.  They won’t eat store bought guacamole anymore.

So there you have it – some of my favorite health foods to date.  Again, we’re not perfect.  I currently have fresh veggies sitting next to our goldfish snack-packs in the pantry, but hey, baby steps.  Basically we are teaching our kids that if it’s “real” and grows, then it’s the best option to eat.

Onward and upward in becoming our healthiest selves!

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  1. Susan Mitchell says:

    When I was a child i remember getting milk delivered and fresh vegetables from the garden .Then out of nowhere it seemed processed food was the rage. I always worry what are we doing to our bodies with the unhealthy fake stuff. Thanks for this post. I’m going to get a few things you talk about. I love learning from others. Thanks so much Seleta!

  2. Christina says:

    Great post! We were “healthy” eaters growing up… We drank freshly mixed up Kool-Aid while all the neighbor kids drank pop. On hot summer days we would easily drink 5 gallons!!! Not sure what my mother was thinking, but we were sure we were healthy eaters! Haha.

  3. Michelle says:

    Love this! It can be challenging to get kids to eat healthy foods, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep at it! Inspiring post with some great ideas to add to our rotation on my constant quest to expand my kids’ palates. Thanks!

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    SeletaI‘m Seleta, a city girl living the beach life with my family. A former TV personality turned designer, I love to share the sparkly side of life. Read more here.
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