Cub Foods - Your Questions Answered by Heidi Diller - Dietitian!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Remember how I asked you all to come up with your best, most pressing dietary/food related questions for Cub Foods Dietitian Heidi Diller? 

You asked...Heidi answered!
What fun this was!

Without further ado...Here are ALL of your questions, and Heidi's candid answers!

Q: How, oh how, can I make sure to include more veggies every day? I am getting a bit bored with carrot sticks and hummus, but don't want too much fuss.

To include more of ‘any food’ in your life you need to make a plan. Vegetables won’t magically appear in your fridge, or be available at fast food, vending machines or convenience stores. So what I do is make sure I have fresh, frozen and canned veggies available in my kitchen. I only have time to shop once per week so I eat my fresh ones early on and then go to frozen and canned later in the week. Have you tried the “Steamer Frozen Veggies” found in our store? You microwave them right in the bag. Light years better than the old variety. Try different varieties until you find the one you like. Also salads count too—so buy your salad fixins and pre-wash, cut and bag so they are ready to go when you need them. Its all about convenience, so if you have it ready you’ll be more likely to eat them.

Q: What are some good protein alternatives for toddlers who don't care for meat (but dairy is okay...)?

Most food contains protein except for fruit. Did you know that vegetables and bread contain protein? It’s not as hard as you think to get adequate amounts of protein in your diet. My son didn’t like meat either for awhile, but like most food jags this didn’t last forever. So try these alternatives: string cheese, yogurt, canned beans (just hand them a kidney bean or edamame (soy bean) and see what happens , eggs, peanut butter. And quinoa, a whole grain found in our natural food sections, is a complete protein. Serve it like rice!

Q: What are the best foods to eat at holiday parties and what should I stay away from?

Use a small cocktail plate to keep track of how much you are eating vs. grazing near the table. Choose items without sauces and cheese for lower calories. Load up on veggies and fruit –of course  . Be careful of drinks as the calories add up very fast. Did you know that 2 – 6 oz glasses of wine = one margarita in calories. Go easy!

Q: What are healthier Christmas cookie options?

Not sure health applies in the cookie category. That’s an oxymoron-- “healthy cookie”! But you can “health up” the cookies you make by using canola oil instead of butter and cutting back in sugar and adding more spices.

Q: I have vegetarians in the house. How can you prepare a well-balanced meal using just fruit and vegetables?

You can do it but are you also including fish or dairy? You can also find protein from grains and beans. And have you heard of quinoa? It’s a grain that is a complete protein. But I am not sure where you are going with this—vegan? If so make sure you include plenty of beans and take a good Vitamin B12 supplement.

Q: My question is this: Is it possible for someone to eat "too little". I have friends that eat only 1200 calories a day - all the time - and I just feel like it's too low, but is there a "too low?"

Difficult to answer this question in general as I would need more details about the person. However, there are some very sedentary, petite women I know that can live on 1200 calories. Metabolisms vary from person to person, but an intake of 1200 for most of us would be too low. Another thing I need to point out is very few people are accurate in their calorie counting. I have counseled people in the past that “thought“ they were eating 1200 calories per day, but were not. Restaurant calorie counts can be off by 20% as well. Is there a too low? Yes, without adequate intake It’s difficult to get all the nutrients you need for good health. For example, it’s hard to get enough iron or calcium in a diet that low In calories.

Q: Are there any cold cereals you would consider healthy (rather than just healthier than the rest)? My kids would eat cereal day and night but I don't really believe any of it's any good.

Start by looking for our nutrition iQ™ tags in the cereal aisle. That’s a good starting point because the cereals with niQ tags are pre-screened for lower sugar, saturated fat. And then look for one that has an excellent source of fiber and is a whole grain. There are plenty of good cereals out there, and plenty that are more like eating cookies for breakfast. So look for the niQ tags, then zoom in on the ones that have lots of fiber. I like Quaker Oatmeal Squares (kids favorite) and even Cheerios.

Q: Cascadian Farms has new organic cereals in your natural food section. Are these really healthier than the regular non-organic cereals?

Not necessarily. Organic does not always equal healthy. We always should read the read the label and screen for sugar and look for more fiber.

Q: What are the best salad options in the Cub Foods deli for low calorie, yet quick options?

Well, each of our stores are a little different in what they offer so it’s difficult to say exactly. But I like the vegetable based salads like Broccoli with Raisins, cut tomatoes and cucumber and the coleslaw the best.

Q: What organic produce do you recommend to get instead of non-organic ones?

I am on the fence about organic produce. The main thing is cost and we need to eat more fruits and veggies regardless if it’s organic or not. I think the key issue with conventional produce is the pesticide debate. So if you buy something you peel—like a banana, then I wouldn’t buy it organic. Also, I believe “freshness” is a bigger factor than “organic”. For example, I always take a look at the organic berries and apples, but if the conventional look “fresher”, I will buy that instead. I wish I had a clear cut answer for you here, but it’s not easy nor clear.

Q: Are nutritional supplements (Pediasure, etc.) acceptable for children who are extremely picky eaters?

No, I would not recommend this and please check with your medical provider. Picky eating is a choice and fortunately kids will not starve. But when we give in and offer “alternatives” or become “short order cooks for our kids their world of food choices becomes very small. You know the drill, that’s when you are so concerned about their eating that you’ll make an entirely different meal for one child. Or even offer supplements. I once met a women who told me her child would only eat protein bars. Don’t do this either, it just makes the child even more picky. This is because kids are neo-phobic by nature and don’t want to try new foods, but if you stick to your family meal plan and only make one meal, they won’t starve, and they will soon learn that going to bed hungry isn’t fun. You might even notice they eat more in the morning for breakfast. Never the less, this is a tough issue and you might need some nutritional counseling on this. But please do not resort to Pediasure to make up the difference and talk to your doctor.

A HUGE thank you to Heidi for taking the time to address everyone's questions!  And what GREAT questions they were!  I myself, have a picky eater in my house - I wonder where she gets that from?  ::Looks around sheepishly::
I loved reading your questions and even more so, Heidi's honest answers...

And now...for the fun part...the winner of the $20 Cub Foods gift comment # 7!
Congratulations Jen! Email me your address and your gift certificate will be on it's way! 

Thanks again to all who dropped by and asked questions!


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