Clean Eating for Busy Families

by Susan Russo
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Clean-Eating-coverFor busy parents across the country, deciding what to make for dinner each night can seem like a chore — Is it something the kids will like? Is it healthy? Is it affordable? Is it easy to make?

Michelle Dudash, licensed nutritionist, TV personality, wife, and mom hopes to make life easier (and tastier) for busy parents and kids with her cookbook Clean Eating for Busy Families.

Dudash understands that the best intentions for healthy family dinners can be thwarted by late work nights, hectic schedules, difficult recipes, tempting take-out, and finicky eaters. That’s why she has designed doable, healthy, whole-foods recipes, most of which can be made in under 30 minutes.

The recipes also adhere to the "clean eating" philosophy. If that phrase conjures images of dietary supplements and punishing workouts, rest assured, that's not Dudash's definition. Indeed, her 5 "clean eating" rules are simple enough for just about everyone to follow. They are:

1) Choose foods closest to their natural state — the less processed, the better.

2) Enjoy a colorful array of foods.

3) Go local and seasonal.

4) Choose humanely produced foods that are good for the planet.

5) And my personal favorite: Enjoy every bite. Dudash says eating doesn't just fuel our minds and bodies, "it invites togetherness and rejuvenates the soul."

To help you save time, money, and energy, Dudash includes weekly, monthly, and quarterly shopping lists, grocery shopping tips and tricks, and favorite kitchen tools for busy families. Most importantly, she shares her "Top Ten Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters," which include offering fruit at every meal, "healthifying" favorites (think homemade salmon nuggets instead of processed chicken nuggets), and being a positive role model.

Recipes are clearly written and easy to follow and come with total prep time, nutritional information, ingredient substitutions, and "go green" tips (eco-friendly and seasonal eating tips). Most recipes are accompanied by color photographs, but be warned, the font is rather small, so you may need to don your reading glasses!

From easy sautés and casseroles to grilled and slow-cooked dishes, you’ll find an array of kid-approved, healthy recipes such as protein and fiber-rich Hearty Pinto & Kidney Bean Tamale Pie and good-for-you Whole Wheat Spinach Ricotta Calzones. Healthy snacks include vibrant Lemon Cilantro Edamame Hummus, spicy Creamy Avocado, Tomato & Black Bean Dip, and crunchy Quick-Fix Trail Mix Snack Bars.

Even desserts get a make-over in the Secretly Skinny Sweet Treats chapter. Kids will love to nibble on the Dark Chocolate Whole-Wheat Brownies and Sneaky Beet Chocolate Cupcakes with Sweet Cream, and you’ll love that they’re packed with better ingredients.

So, make a clean break from harried cooking with Clean Eating for Busy Families. Your kids might just thank you for it.

This recipe is Dudash’s healthier alternative to her family’s favorite take-out meal: Pork Lo Mein.

Sizzling Sesame Noodles with Pork, Cabbage & Scallions reprinted with permission from Clean Eating for Busy Families by Michelle Dudash, RN

Yields 5 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

Total Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes

For Stir-Fry:

1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin or sirloin, cut into 1 1/2 x 1/4-inch strips

1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 (10-ounce) package Japanese udon, Chinese lo mein, or fettucine noodles

2 tbalespoons canola oil

3 cups shreded green cabbage

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips (about 2 cups)

4 scallions, sliced crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces, then thinly sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

For Sauce:

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 teaspoons reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon chili or garlic black bean sauce

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

1 teaspoon rice wine, dry sherry, or vermouth

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon black pepper)

  1. Marinate the pork in the soy sauce for 20 minutes.

  2. To make the stir-fry: Cook noodles according to package directions in a large pot until al dente. Rinse with cold water and then drain.

  3. To make the sauce: In a separate bowl, stir all the sauce ingredients together.

  4. Heat the noodle pot or a large wok over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When oil is shimmering, add cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and stir-fry for 5 minutes until tender. Push vegetables to one side; add remaining tablespoon of oil and pork to the pan, arranging pork in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 2 minutes to brown and then stir-fry until cooked through. Add noodles and sesame seeds and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Nutritional information per serving: 424 calories; 12 G total fat; 2 G saturated fat; 29 G protein; 51 G carbohydrate; 4 G dietary fiber; 5 MG cholesterol.


Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of two upcoming books that will be published in the fall of 2010.  


0 #2 benefits of green 2015-01-15 15:25
However, gradual reduction is healthier and last for longer.
In the United States alone, figures show that over 20 million people are suffering from some form of depression, anxiety and stress.
Health experts note that one cup of Matcha tea is equivalent to drinking 10 cups of ordinary
+1 #1 Jeannie 2014-09-14 07:31
Good article! We are linking to this particularly great
post on our site. Keep up the great writing.

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