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    Greenlight Long Island Magazine is a quarterly magazine all about where to 'GO' on     Long Island for residents, business persons, young professionals, college communities     and visitors. It is a guide to the people and places that make Long Island great, along     with careers, culture, dating, dining, entertainment, events, interviews, lists and links     to local resources.


September 06, 2005
 

Cooking with Chef Lia

"The ABC’s of Healthy Eating"
Written by Lia Soscia for Greenlight Long Island Magazine

It's back-to-school time again and people are rushing around trying to find just the right school supplies and the "oh-so-in" fashion and accessories. This year, we should also put healthy food supplies on the list. Extra activities in addition to the endless workday makes it easy to opt for fast food solutions, which typically don’t include many healthy food ingredients. If we just get as organized with our meals as we do with getting ready for school, we can succeed in eating even a little bit healthier.

This is also a great time of year when families can take advantage of teachable moments that can arise when trying to encourage healthy eating habits. Our habits are formed early in life. If we make a concerted effort to guide our families in the right direction throughout the year, we can affect a real change in their attitude toward healthy food choices. Children, especially, should be included in the decision-making process of what they eat. When this happens, they learn by doing. It becomes second nature to pick fruit over those potato chips if they just get used to doing it more often and it's their choice. Children can also become empowered to eat better when they are included in the food preparation process, where possible, so that they learn what it means to put a healthy meal together.

Success in healthy eating habits takes some basic education, careful thought and some planning just like any other subject we study. To begin to learn the ABC's of healthy eating it helps to understand what our daily nutritional requirements should be. Having this basic knowledge helps us to decide what foods we should be eating to give us the energy to succeed in our studies and other activities.

About The New Dietary Guidelines

By now you might know that the government has released new dietary guidelines for adults and children. The new food pyramid is a much better guide than previous versions. Children should be eating 4 to 6 servings of fruits and vegetables, at least 3 servings of healthy carbohydrates (like whole grains), and 2 to 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat dairy products a day. Total fat should not exceed 35 percent of calories. And we should always try to minimize the intake of junk foods.

For more detailed information on recommended dietary requirements, visit the USDA website at www.mypyramid.gov where you can enter in your data to get a specific pyramid plan for you.

Be Creative in Adding Healthy Food Choices to Your Diet

We are definitely not going to change our family's eating habits overnight, but we should at least try to add some healthy food choices to our current diet in small steps. For example, if your children absolutely love those horrible, pre-packaged lunch boxes from the supermarket, you can create a much healthier version and get the kids involved in making their lunch as an activity. Simply purchase some plastic containers with dividers that separate the food items. Put out a selection of healthy food choices and let your child pick what to put in each section.

When my daughter was young she used to get a kick out of our "homemade lunch-able." The main section was usually the protein choice. There you would find wholegrain crackers with cheese and low-fat turkey or ham. She loved building the sandwiches at lunch. The other sections were for the fruit/vegetable selection. And a healthy snack option such as a homemade mix of pretzels and peanuts or a trail mix blend. Many times I would fill a small Thermos (remember those?) with healthy soups and leftovers from the night before. Soup, I have found, is an unbelievably easy way to add vegetables to your child's diet. For some reason if they are camouflaged in the soup base, they taste better! Add some low-fat string cheese and crackers and you have a much healthier lunch option.

Getting your kids to adjust their taste buds toward simple, unprocessed foods can help them develop healthier choices as they become adults and could help ward off early obesity. Just the other day, I heard a great tip about putting together a list of lunch foods on index cards. Your child can then design their own lunch menu by mixing and matching the cards. Herein, they will learn what healthy food choices they have and in addition, get some extra reading and writing practice! To add to this idea, for younger children, pictures of the various foods make them great flash cards to learn from. This is just one example of a "teachable moment" in food preparation.

Create a Family List of Favorite Foods (and then find ways healthier ways to prepare them)

When I worked full-time we ate our fair share of takeout foods. As a result, both my husband and daughter had very high cholesterol levels. After I left corporate America to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a personal chef, I decided the easiest way to transition my family into healthier eating was to rely on their favorite food choices. For example, my family could eat pasta and pizza every day of the week! This really isn’t a problem anymore, though, because I make my own pizza crust using whole grains and my sauce is fortified with various vegetables (which are ground down to hide them). The cheese toppings are also low-fat versions. I can honestly say that they don't really like pizzaria pizza anymore. They really have adjusted to my homemade variety. And it's really fun to come up with new and healthy topping ideas.

If I make pasta, again my sauce is fortified with hidden healthy ingredients or I vary the style of pasta we have, such as a stir-fry with lots of vegetables and chicken over spaghetti for an oriental variety.

Any time of the year is great to start learning how to eat better and make healthier food choices. But the back-to-school season is a great time to get your kids involved in learning how to create healthy meal choices and to cut back on some of the unhealthy school lunch offerings. In addition, if we learn how to organize our meal planning and include our families in the process, we can also create healthy dinners and rely less on fast foods.

...Special E-book For "Cooking With Chef Lia" Readers:
I have created a special booklet of family-friendly recipe ideas that I have collected throughout the years. Many of which are kid-tested and approved. I have also included a list of online recipe resources. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please visit my website (www.ChefLia.com) and fill out a contact request form. In the "Comments" section, just let me know you would like the booklet and I will e-mail a copy to you.

Chef Lia Soscia is a personal chef and owner of Home Cooking Consultant Personal Chef Services located in Nassau County on Long Island. She has been cooking for 30 years for friends and family. Lia's Personal Chef Services include home meal preparation, cooking lessons & parties and more.

If you have cooking questions, please visit Chef Lia at www.ChefLia.com or write Lia@ChefLia.com. She looks forward to hearing your questions and comments. And continue to check back for more "Cooking With Chef Lia," only in Greenlight Long Island Magazine.

 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  B A C K   I S S U E S

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 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  D I N I N G   G U I D E

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  RESTAURANT ADDRESS TOWN CUISINE
  1770 House Restaurant & Inn 143 Main Street East Hampton Continental
  Abel Conklin's 54 New Street Huntington Eclectic Steak House
  Adirondack Grill 64 Forest Avenue Glen Cove American
  Aix en-Provence 134 New York Avenue Huntington Classic French and American
  Alison 95 School Street Bridgehampton French Bistro
  Almond 1970 Montauk Highway Bridgehampton French Bistro
  Aqua East 17 South Edison Street Montauk Italian
  Baang 8285 Jericho Turnpike Woodbury Asian Fusion
  Barefoot Peddler 37 Glen Cove Road Greenvale American
  Barney's 315 Buckram Road Locust Valley Classic French and American
  The Beacon 8 West Water Street Sag Harbor Seafood, Steaks
  Ben's Kosher Delicatessan 140 Wheatley Plaza Greenvale Kosher Deli
  Benihana 2105 Northern Boulevard Munsey Park Japanese, Hibachi
  Benihana 920 Merchant's Concourse Westbury Japanese, Hibachi
  Blue Honu 363 New York Avenue Huntington Hawaiian Fusion
  Boulder Creek 200 South Broadway Hicksville Steak House
  Breaker's 12 Bayville Avenue Bayville American, Seafood
  Brindisi 111 Jericho Turnpike Jericho Italian
  Bryant and Cooper 2 Middle Neck Road Roslyn Steak House
  Cafe Nuvolari 301 Main Street Islip Italian
  Canterbury Ales Oyster Bar 46 Audrey Avenue Oyster Bay Seafood, American
  Champions 101 James Doolittle Boulevard Uniondale American, Sports Bar
  Cheesecake Factory 1504 Old Country Road Westbury American
  City Cafe 987 Stewart Avenue Garden City Italian
  The Clam Bar Montauk Highway Amagansett Seafood
  Coco's Water Cafe 117 New York Avenue Huntington Continental, Italian
  Cole's House 149 Glen Street Glen Cove American, Eclectic
  Collage 23 Wall Street Huntington Eclectic American
  Coolfish 6800 Jericho Turnpike Syosset American, Seafood
  The Cooperage Inn 2218 Sound Avenue Baiting Hollow Country Bistro
  Crabby Dan's 41 Glen Head Road Glen Head Seafood
  Crossroads Cafe 26 Laurel Road East Northport New American
  Crow's Nest Old West Lake Drive #4 Montauk Continental, Seafood
  Dario's 13 North Village Avenue Rockville Centre Italian
  Della Femina 99 North Main Street East Hampton Contemporary American
  Downtown Cafe 4 School Street Glen Cove American
  East by Northeast 51 Edgemere Street Montauk Asian, Pacific Rim
  Eddie G's Steak Place 1060 Route 25A Mt. Sinai Steak House
  Epiphany 284 Glen Street Glen Cove Italian
  Fresno 8 Fresno Place East Hampton American
  The Gatsby 712 Main Street Islip Fine Dining
  George Martin 65 North Park Avenue Rockville Centre American Bistro
  George Martin in Southampton 56 Nugent Street Southampton American Bistro
  George Washington Manor 1305 Old Northern Blvd Roslyn American
  Gonzalo & Joe's American Cafe 5 School Street Glen Cove American
  Gosman's Dock 500 West Lake Drive Montauk Seafood
  Gurney's Inn 290 Old Montauk Highway Montauk International
  H2O 215 West Main Street Smithtown Seafood, Sushi
  Henry's 8 Glen Street Glen Cove American, Burgers
  Houston's 1161B Roosevelt Field Mall Garden City American
  The Inn at Great Neck 30 Cutter Mill Road Great Neck Continental, American
  John Harvard's Brew House 2093 Smithhaven Plaza Lake Grove American, Burgers
  La Bussola 40 School Street Glen Cove Italian
  La Tavernetta 936 Broadway Woodmere Italian
  Laguna Grille 146 Birch Road Locust Valley Nuevo Latino
  Legal Sea Foods 630 Old Country Road Garden City Seafood
  Legal Sea Foods 160 Walt Whitman Road Huntington Station Seafood
  L'Endroit 290 Glen Cove Road East Hills French Continental
  Louis XVI 600 South Ocean Avenue Patchogue French
  Luigi's 265-21 Union Turnpike New Hyde Park Italian
  Majors Steak House 284 East Meadow Avenue East Meadow Steak House
  Majors Steak House 8289 Jericho Turnpike Woodbury Steak House
  Mama Lombardi's 400 Furrows Road Holbrook Italian
  Mannino's 169 Commack Road Commack Italian
  Matteo's 1455 Broadway Hewlett Family Style Italian
  Max's Grille 13 North Park Avenue Rockville Centre Grille & Tavern
  Maxwell and Dunne's 1600 Round Swamp Road Plainview Steak House
  Milk and Sugar Cafe 49 West Main Street Bay Shore Coffee House
  Mill Pond House 437 East Main Street Centerport Steak House & Raw Bar
  Mim's Roslyn 235 Roslyn Road Roslyn American Bistro
  Mim's Syosset 33 Berry Hill Road Syosset American Bistro
  Mount Fuji 1670 North Highway Southampton Japanese
  Nagashima 12A-1 Jericho Turnpike Jericho Japanese
  Nick Diangelo 33 West Sunrise Highway Merrick Italian
  Nishen 5032 Jericho Turnpike Commack Japanese, Sushi
  North Shore Cafe 36 Glen Head Road Glen Head American
  Outback Steakhouse 216 Jericho Turnpike Commack Steak House
  Outback Steakhouse 1067 Old Country Road Westbury Steak House
  Page One 90 School Street Glen Cove American-Asian
  Pasta Pasta 234 East Main Street Port Jefferson Italian
  Pastaria 4082 Route 347 Setauket Italian
  Peter Luger 255 Northern Boulevard Great Neck Steak House
  Pier 95 95 Hudson Avenue Freeport Portuguese, Mediterranean
  Pine Island Grill Bayville Avenue Bayville Contemporary American
  Poco Loco 1431 Old Northern Blvd Roslyn Tex-Mex
  Polo 45 Seventh Street Garden City American on European
  Pumpernickels 640 Main Street Northport German
  Riodizio Churrascaria 388 Willis Avenue Roslyn Heights Brazilian
  Ruth's Chris Steakhouse 600 Old Country Road Garden City Steak House
  Shiro 401 Old Country Road Carle Place Japanese
  Stango's 19 Grove Street Glen Cove Italian
  Starfish 2095 Merrick Road Merrick Seafood
  Steamboat Landing 74 Shore Road Glen Cove Seafood
  Steve's Pier 1 33 Bayville Avenue Bayville Seafood
  Tellers 605 Main Street Islip American Chophouse
  Three Village Inn 150 Main Street Stony Brook American Classic
  Tupelo Honey 39 Roslyn Avenue Sea Cliff Spanish
  Thyme Restaurant 8 Tower Place Roslyn European/American
  Uncle Dai's 26 School Street Glen Cove Chinese
  Vincent's 179 Old Country Road Carle Place Italian
  Vino Rosso 127 Glen Head Road Glen Head Italian
  West End Cafe 187 Glen Cove Road Carle Place Regional American

 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  I N T E R V I E W S

09/05/2005  Interview with Chris Russo || The Apprentice's Long Islander, Season 2
09/05/2005  Interview with NBC's The Apprentices || Where Are They Now?
07/18/2005  Interview with Tom Barella || www.see-tom.com
06/30/2005  Interview with The Howlin' Thurstons || Punk Surf/Garage Rock Band
05/28/2005  Interview with Earl Green || Original Rock Band
05/02/2005  Interview with John Deutzman || Investigative Reporter, WNYW-FOX 5 News
03/29/2005  Interview with Grieving For Grace || Alternative Rock Band
02/22/2005  Interview with Dr. Isaac Cates || Director, C.W. Post Poetry Center
02/10/2005  Interview with Four95 || Rock Band
01/27/2005  Interview with Anne-Regina || Musician and Pop-Singer
01/14/2005  Interview with Laurie Puhn, J.D. || Harvard-educated Lawyer, Communication Expert and Author
01/06/2005  Interview with Dale Lewis || Executive Director, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts

 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  C O L U M N S

Aisle on the Isle  "Happy Saturdays" | "Gypsy" | "Joe Jencks" | "Everything in the Garden"
Cooking with Chef Lia  Why We Cook | Cooking in Season | Summer Food Safety | Beat the Kitchen Heat | The ABC's of Healthy Eating

 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  L O C A L   L I N K S   &   R E S O U R C E S

Bed & Breakfast Inns || Chambers of Commerce || County and State Parks || Local Magazines & Specialized Publications || Local Newspapers || Movie Theaters || Museums || Nassau Golf Courses || Nassau Tennis Courts || Other City & Regional Magazines || Performing Arts & Entertainment || Running Clubs || Shopping Malls and Outlets || Suffolk Golf Courses || Suffolk Tennis Courts ...more to come

 G R E E N L I G H T   L O N G   I S L A N D  |  P R E S S   R E L E A S E S   &   N E W S

12/24/2004  Online Greenlight tells Islanders where to go
12/14/2004  Long Island Regional Magazine Announces Launch

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