Learn a lesson from a smothered burrito

Column by Darci Steiner

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By Darci Steiner, Attainable Nutrition in Parker
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Yesterday my toaster oven caught on fire because one of my daughters put a paper towel over her frozen Amy's Tofu and Cheese Burrito just like the directions said to do. "Mahhhmmm, my burrito's on fire!" she screamed. I dashed into the kitchen as she unplugged the appliance from the wall with its contents ablaze. "The directions said to cover the burrito with a paper towel!" she exclaimed while I smothered her burrito. She missed one important basic detail - the directions were for microwave cooking, not the toaster oven.

Sometimes we don't know what we don't know until we learn a hard lesson. Sometimes we miss the most basic details because we don't know any better. Nutrition is often like this. We think we eat healthy, but we may be missing something, and we don't even know it. Our bodies didn't come in a package with directions; even if it did many of us don't like to read manuals! We are often jolted into paying attention when we gain weight or physical symptoms demand to no longer be ignored.

Have you noticed increased enthusiasm surrounding nutrition information in recent years? With good reason we are hearing more newscasts and clicking on more nutritional Web sites. However, with the bombardment of information we are now overwhelmed and confused with the apparent "contradictions in all this information" and we begin to turn a deaf ear.

I admit there are a lot of contradictions out there. Food companies vying for our attention know that many are trying to eat healthier and so make health claims about their product that lack credibility. For instance, there is a chocolate milk campaign touting it as the next best sports drink. First of all, regular milk before a sporting event is inadvisable because it increases mucus production. Who wants phlegm in their throat during a big game or run? When chocolate milk is consumed the extra sugar can create a sudden blood sugar spike. Stable blood sugar is the goal so as to avoid the half-time crash. Milk also contains the amino acid tryptophan which helps induce sleep; also not advisable for an athlete before or during an athletic event. Milk should be saved for bedtime.

So you see nutrition gets confusing when companies market their product under an umbrella of words that we as health conscious consumers bite on to. A little nutrition education from a reliable source can go a long way in teaching you how to incorporate healthy eating habits into your and your families lifestyle that can last a lifetime. Fad diets come and go but basic nutrition principles have always provided the foundation of the most effective way to losing weight. It is also the most successful way to prevent disease and the safest way to treat many ailments. Many of us are making health resolutions for 2012 that include healthier eating. Understanding how food affects your body can give you the advantage to reason with yourself when temptation is screaming.

To help you and your family attain a healthier lifestyle this 2012, I am introducing a new program called the Family Nutrition Kick-Start Program. I will teach you how to teach your family with a nutritional "tool kit" that includes fun interactive nutrition projects. Nutritional tool kits are designed for children ages 2-11, and teens ages 12-18.

The Family Nutrition Kick-Start program includes one 60 minute nutritional consultation (with a parent) plus one tool kit for $125. Additional tool kits per family are $25.

Nutritional Tool Kit Ages 2-11

1. Grocery store scavenger hunt card

2. Table topper fruit and vegetable craft

3. Fruit and vegetable bingo game

4. Colorful placemat project

5. Healthy lunch box and snack ideas chart

6. Sugar tracker form

7. Personalized Healthy Kids Recipe Book project (child's photo on cover)

Nutritional Tool Kit Ages 12-18

1.Quick breakfast recipes for teens

2. Colored fruit and vegetable chart and other rainbow eating handouts

3. Designing a healthy foods grocery list

4. Understanding food labels worksheet, portion control

5. Portable and healthy school lunches and snacks handout

6. Eating out tips

7. Sugar tracker form

8. Personalized recipe book project

Learning to eat healthy doesn't have to take a lot of time when you are provided with tools to help you and your family make good choices. Please visit www.attainablenutrition.com for more information, or call 303-618-7899 to schedule your visit. On the Web site you will also see discounts for weight-loss and general wellbeing programs. May your 2012 be the healthiest one yet!