Although I’m never one to openly embrace the four-letter “diet” word (diet equals restriction and deprivation in my mind, even though the word really just means what you regularly eat), I have to say that I’m becoming quite the Flat Belly Diet! fan. I fell in love with the original cookbook from the franchise and these Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Walnut Butter make a regular appearance on my din-din table (they won a Noshie for best recipe!). The publisher recently sent me a copy of the Flat Belly Diet! Family Cookbook (ya know, ’cause the FBG family is growing!) and I really, really liked it.
Right now my family just includes my husband and my dog, but I can see how this book could be useful with kiddos at any age. With comfort-food faves like cinnamon rolls, chicken tenders and enough sweets to make anyone drool, the book is a total crowd pleaser.
I tried the Thai Butterfly Pasta Salad, which is THE perfect vegetarian lunch at work, as it keeps really well in an airtight container over a few days. And it’s super tasty with wheat farfalle pasta, peas, roasted red pepper and a tahini-soy sauce—not to mention that it only takes 15 minutes to make and clocks in at just over 300 calories for a 1-cup serving. I also tried the Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts with Walnuts and Apples, another quick recipe that was tasty and has a nice savory and sweet flavor flav. (Although it’s not as easy to take for lunch.)
But probably my favorite recipes I made for my down-home-cooking meal were Crunchy Crust Mac and Cheese and Creamy Sesame Greens. Can you say comfort-food heaven? The mac and cheese took about an hour to make and was chock full of protein (from the milk and cheese), fiber, whole grains and good fats. You get a cup of the good stuff for 328 calories, and believe me, it’s rich, so a cup is really enough. Then there’s the Creamy Sesame Greens. Oh my. With a “cream” made of tahini, honey, salt and ground red pepper for a slight kick, these kale or collard leaves are doused in delicious. A half-cup serving is 252 calories, but in those cals you get protein, good fat and fiber. If you have kids, they may turn their noses up at the spinach-y looking appearance of it, but you should seriously try and try and try to get them to taste it. It’s tasty. And if you can’t get them to eat it, oh well. More for you!
Besides the yumtastic foods featured in the book, you also get some really good overall nutrition advice, including the importance of eating good fats or “MUFAs,” or monounsaturated fatty acids—a class of healthy fats found in foods like nuts and seeds, avocados, olives and certain vegetable oils. The Flat Belly Diet! touts these fats as being essential for a—what do you know—flat belly! Here are five other tips from the book!
5 Flat Belly Diet! Family Tips
1. We all need fat, but kids especially do. An incredible amount of brain development occurs in the first two years of life and good fats are essential for it!
2. Eat a MUFA at every meal. MUFAs aren’t just good for you and your brain, they help you feel full! The Flat Belly Diet! recommends eating one serving with each meal or snack.
3. Preggo? Make sure you’re eating plenty of nuts, avocados and dark chocolate for the bambino. And remember, pregnancy isn’t the time to diet!
4. Be a role model. Did you know that kids tend to like the same kinds of foods and take in roughly the same number of fruits and veggies as their parents? Someone is watching…and mimicking you…so take note!
5. Encourage slow eating at the dinner table. Some students only get 20 minutes to eat lunch at school (that was my public school experience unfortunately!), so your kids may be trained to scarf fast and furious. Eat together at the table as a family and remind them that at home, they have the time to slow down and enjoy.
Stay tuned for tomorrow when we share the Crunchy Mac and Cheese recipe with ya’ll! —Jenn
Wanna try this healthy cookbook yourself? Leave a comment about how you’ll use the book, and we’ll pick one random lucky U.S. reader to win! The winner will be contacted by email in about a week. Happy commenting!