No matter your level of kitchen expertise the goal is a delicious, satisfying meal that is quick and easy. Also high on that priority list is a meal that is healthy. But that part of the equation sometimes gets pushed aside for convenience.
There are many convenience foods and meal kits in the grocery aisles and freezer section that claim they will help you whip up a good meal in no time. But when we look at the packaging and sometimes the finished product that so called healthy freezer meal or box kit probably wasn't such a good idea. When it comes to our health or even a satisfying meal – these items often leave you craving something more or regretting the amount of processed and artificial ingredients you just consumed.
Processed and packaged foods list many ingredients that are unpronounceable and often endless. When I look at the ingredients on a package I like to say if you can't pronounce it or the ingredient list is longer than three lines then you shouldn't eat it.
Most of us don't have to pay close attention to these things and can afford to be a bit careless with our diet, but mothers such as Lori Threlkeld Knight is fastidious about a healthy diet and knows her daughter's health relies on smart decisions when it comes to food.
Mrs. Knight's 14-year old daughter Grace has cystic fibrosis – a genetic illness that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States.
The body produces thick and sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. The mucus also obstructs the pancreas and stops the natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
Grace is an avid runner because she enjoys the activity, but also it helps clear her lungs. She is in the 9th grade and runs 6 days out of the week with her cross country team.
Besides exercise and adhering to treatments, Mrs. Knight and her daughter believe good nutrition is equally important. Grace takes digestive enzymes with snacks and meals so her body can absorb all the nutrients from her food and help her gain weight. If she doesn't take them she will get stomach aches. She packs her lunch for school with organic foods and plenty of water to stay hydrated. She tries to stay away from packaged and processed foods. These foods are often filled with artificial ingredients and additives and are not easy to digest for anyone — cystic fibrosis patient or not.
Grace needs more calories than other children her age so she frequently eats foods that are high in calorie. Mrs. Knight looks to healthy high calorie foods that contain good fats like nuts, nut butters and protein shakes with coconut oil.
Mrs. Knight is also adamant about what she likes to call clean cooking. She cooks quite a few fresh vegetables and limits processed foods because the more difficult digestion is on Grace's system the more mucus that develops.
“My favorite meal to prepare for my family is roasting a chicken stuffed with lemon, garlic, and rosemary and rubbed with salt and pepper. I drizzle a little olive oil on top of the skin and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. If you buy organic chicken then you can make your own broth with the leftovers and bones. I will also broil asparagus and squash in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and pepper too,” Mrs. Knight said.
Each chapter is devoted to a food from the list – cinnamon, beets, quinoa, nuts, wild salmon, berries, tomatoes, spinach, avocado, cabbage and more – which have been proven to help prevent early onset of aging, cancer, or general fatigue, among other health benefits.
“It has great clean healthy recipes with tips on how you benefit from the foods. I have cooked many recipes from this book,” Mrs. Knight said. “The marinara sauce is great and easy to make. I also like to juice and there is a muffin recipe that uses the pulp.”
Mrs. Knight, Grace and their family and friends will be in Bergfeld Park on Saturday for the Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk. It is a 5K planned to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research and awareness of the disease. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m. In addition to the walk, there will be food, entertainment and Disney star, Davis Cleveland, from show Shake It Up.
The Knights hope everyone will participate not just for cystic fibrosis awareness but also to encourage healthy living through exercise and a clean and nourishing diet. For more information go to http://www.cff.org/Chapters/tyler or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can call the Tyler office at 903-894-6676.
Christine Gardner can be found on Facebook at Christine Gardner Tyler Paper Food and on Twitter and Pinterest @TylerFlavor or send an email to email@example.com or write to 410 W. Erwin, Tyler, TX 75702.