I grew up in a family of “grazers”—my parents hardly ever sat down to eat a real meal. Instead, they snacked all day. I always felt criticized for the amount of food I ate whenever I had a full meal in front of them. It has led to all kinds of self-consciousness about eating in the presence of others. Now that I’m an adult and ready to start a family, I want to make sure that I teach my kids healthy eating habits. How can I avoid making the same mistakes my parents did? – Graze No More
It’s great that you’re thinking about how to make changes for your family right now. Kids learn a lot from their parents’ habits, so it’s important to set good examples and help them avoid feeling the same self-consciousness you do about eating. Your parents’ eating habits are unfortunately not entirely unusual. Many Americans don’t make time for meals the way families did in the past. We lead busy, on-the-go lifestyles and eating right gets put on the back burner. However, eating as a family is one of the most important things you can do to help your kids learn healthy habits and research shows that family meals can reduce stress and anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancies and improve grades and self-esteem. Meals don’t have to be complicated or gourmet, but if you feed your kids a balanced meal with lean protein, healthy fats, fruits/veggies, and whole grains, they’ll start to internalize what makes up a balanced, nutritious meal. Check out our Chicken Fiesta Fajitas, courtesy of Appeitite for Life, for delicious and nutritious family meal fun. It’s important to remember that food has always traditionally been something that brings people together. Use meals as a time to connect with your family, explore new cuisines, and show them what a healthy lifestyle looks like.
– Stacey Antine, M.S. R.D., founder and CEO of HealthBarn USA
Do you have a confession to share with Stacey? Want to learn how to improve an unsavory habit? Send your stories our way to email@example.com, and Stacey will help!
Chicken Fiesta Fajitas
from Appetite for Life
We use a cinnamon “dry rub” to season this chicken instead of a vegetable oil marinade, to keep saturated fat low and the chicken tasty and tender. Cinnamon is a natural insulin sensitizer, meaning that it helps to keep your blood sugar stable. We use traditional corn tortillas, which are a good source of fiber. Serve this dish loaded with vitamin C with Holy Green Guacamole and hasta luego…we have to get to the fiesta!
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 medium green bell pepper
1 medium red bell pepper
1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 2 limes
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease baking sheet.
2. In bowl, combine cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Add chicken to bowl with seasonings and toss to coat evenly.
3. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake chicken 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink. Cool slightly, then pull into shreds with 2 forks.
4. Meanwhile, slice green and red peppers lengthwise into thin slices. Cut onion in half, then cut each half into thin slices. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and cook 7-10 minutes or until tender-crisp, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds.
5. Add chicken and lime juice to skillet with peppers; heat through.
6. Spoon chicken mixture into serving bowl. Place tortillas on plates. Let everyone make his or her own fajitas.
Makes 12 servings (1 fajita per serving).
Nutrition Facts per Serving: 310 calories; 6g fat (0g sat fat, 2g mono, 3g poly, 0g trans fat); 35mg cholesterol; 46g carbohydrate (4g fiber, 2g sugar); 17g protein; 160mg sodium; 8% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 40% DV vitamin C; 2% DV calcium; 6% DV iron.