How to Create a Healthier Table

Eating well is important to me.  I’ve seen some of my older relatives struggle with health issues that – to be honest – they could have easily avoided were they to eat fewer cookies and snacks and focus on eating healthier meals.  This is something that I struggle to convey to the wee ones on a daily basis, and I’m constantly emphasizing to them how important it is to make good decisions about what foods you put into your body.

In that aspect, I’m constantly working to set a healthier table for my family.  I focus on finding foods that they will eat and enjoy that will do something for their bodies other than just putting calories into them.  With so many relatives who have heart issues, from my mother with her leaky valve, to my in-laws and their incredibly high blood pressure, to my grandmother who struggled for years with congestive heart failure.  To that end, Mazola is working to educate consumers on heart health and heart-healthy benefits of cooking oil.

Did you even know that there were heart-healthy benefits to cooking oil, in particular corn oil?  I love to cook and bake, and I use oils a lot because they do offer a lot of unsaturated fats (especially compared to the butter option) that may help lower cholesterol levels and potentially control fat around the waistline (data courtesy the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association).  When compared with using butter, the oils win hands down for me.  I don’t trade out all my butter, but when I can use approximately 3/4 the amount of oil for butter when baking, I’ll make that tradeoff when there is no taste difference.  Have you ever tried baking with oils in place of butter?

Corn oil is a particularly good choice for many of these substitutions, as it has a mild taste that doesn’t change the flavor of what you bake.  It also contains 132mg plant sterols per tablespoon, compared with 30mg per tablespoon for olive oil.  Plant sterols can help reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, reducing your risk for heart disease (data courtesy the NIH).

Take the pledge to set a healthier table

Mazola, a maker of corn oil, is urging you to take a pledge to set a healthier table.  For each pledge, Mazola will donate $1 (up to a total of $50,000) to WomanHeart, a national organization dedicated to promoting women’s health through advocacy, education and patient support.  No information is collected, simply check the pledge box and submit your pledge.  You can also take the pledge via Mazola’s Facebook page.


Each week, the Set a Healthier Table site offers challenges to help improve your health.  This week’s is about how to walk more.  What can you do to walk a little more? Is it parking far from store entrances, strolling with your family, or going on a mall walk?  We can all use a little help and reminder, right?

Enter to win a $75 Gift Pack from Mazola

Mazola is giving away a wonderful kitchen essential gift pack worth $75 that includes a five piece bamboo cutting board set and silicone tongs that is oven safe up to 500 degrees F.

To enter this giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a promotional campaign with Mazola Corn Oil. All opinions remain my own.

Written by 5Minutes4Mom contributor Michelle who is debating what healthy foods to feed the wee ones during Spring Break now that she’s taken the pledge for Set a Healthier Table.  You can find some of her recipes each Tuesday on her blog Honest & Truly! or catch her on Twitter where you can follow her as @HonestAndTruly


  1. Liz says

    Thank you. A tip I read is move the phone away from the chair. Lots of pacing while those solicitors drone on.

  2. says

    I try to make sure we always have vegetables served with dinner and fresh fruits to snack on through the day. Luckily my kids love fruits and veggies. I like to buy a basket of fruits/veggies from Because I don’t get to choose what fruits/veggies are included we get to try out new ones that I never would have bought before, it’s fun.

  3. Amber says

    I noticed that whenever I make a salad with dinner, it gets eaten! Such an earth shattering concept, I know. Its a simple thing I can do to make sure my family gets better nutrition.

  4. says

    We’ve replaced all of our flour with white wheat flour and almost everything we cook with now is made with whole grain. It’s a great way to get fiber in the kids without them noticing.

  5. says

    For a healthier table, cut out the juice — I know, I know. I love juice, too. But it’s crazy sugary, almost as bad as soda (sometimes worse!) if you compare solely based on sugar content. The more you take away things like juice, the more you learn to love plain old water. :)

  6. Jennie says

    I always add veggies to everything, whether or not the recipe includes them (and if it does, I add more!)

  7. Marisa Moore says

    Do some research and you might find that using partially hydrogenated oils in place of butter really is not better for your health.

  8. Kelly D says

    I keep the extra food away from the table so if anyone wants seconds they have to think about it and walk away, not just grab.

  9. Shannon Baas says

    Only allow water away from the table for drinks which will keep everyone from filling up on empty calories.

  10. Maria B. says

    Drink water before each meal, try to eat 80% of your portion, incorporate vegetable in every meal and lastly dont skip a meal – specially breakfast.

  11. ANGEL JACKLYN says


  12. Colleen Maurina says

    We try to avoid processed foods and eat a good variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains!

  13. Robin says

    I was taught (40 years ago) in Home Ec that the more colors on your plate – the healthier the meal is. As long as those colors are organic (No Jello, please) I still believe this. Also, 1/2 – 3/4 of the plate as veggies, 1/4 protein – with pasta, quinoa, brown, black or red rice filling in the space.

  14. Cheryl Rahkonen says

    I have cut out the soft drinks, juice, and flavored drinks at meal time. We have water now and really we feel so much better. I am also serving more fresh vegetables and fruits – there was some opposition to this at first but now they are asking for it.

  15. Paula Tavernie says

    I make sure to have two veggie dishes at every meal except breakast!
    ptavernie at yahoo dot com

  16. Kathy Bose says

    I have chosen whole grain wheat bread in our house and I add broccoli to just about all my casseroles.

  17. Jamie says

    Always remember how any calories are in some salad dressings. Sometimes a salad is the LEAST healthy option!

  18. Karen Gonyea says

    I always offer the kids two healthy choices – one 1 want them to TRY and 1 that I know that they like….that way they have a choice, but either option is good :)

  19. Amy says

    I try to make things from scratch as much as possible, and start mostly with fresh fruits and vegetables. It means that I know exactly what goes into my food.

  20. Michelle jadaa says

    We try and eat vegetarian at least once or twice a week and always have a side of vegetables or salad.

  21. wendy wallach says

    i put out margarine instead of butter and have a nice cold pitcher of ice tea ready!

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  22. Lisa says

    We are whole food vegan here, so the trick is making food taste amazing for our guests who are not. We cook all of our meals from whole, organic and kind ingredients.

  23. Stacy says

    I always start the day with a healthy breakfast. When I start with a donut or other sugary breakfast, I snack more during the day!

  24. Catherine says

    We use smaller plates, so it makes our portions look larger and tricks our minds into thinking we’ve had more to eat

  25. Kate S says

    No snack foods! It spoils your appetite for dinner and it’s easy to grab a handful every time you walk by!

  26. Ellie W says

    When I was a kid my mom always put a plate of bread and a dish of butter on the table for dinner, so when I first got married I did this too. I finally broke myself from this habit when my husband’s cholesterol started getting higher.

  27. KIM CRAWFORD says


  28. Bonnie Caselman says

    We do our best to eat as healthy as possible. We grill with as many natural herbs as possible instead of a lot of salt.

  29. Bonnie says

    I purée vegetable on Sunday. Freeze them ans sneak them in most of my meal. We have three meatless meals a week and try never to eat anything white.

  30. says

    I put out fruit or veggies first while I get the rest of the meal ready that way the whole family has something healthy to nibble on while we wait

  31. Dorothy Hubbard says

    When I cook I am trying to use less meat and more veggies, i.e in stir fry I use more veggies and 1/2 the meat that the receipe calls for.

  32. Michelle H. says

    My family loves fruit. So, if I offer some before dessert, they won’t want as much of the sweeter stuff.

  33. Beverly M says

    We grow a lot of our own veggies every summer and eat lots of fresh ones from the garden, for dinner. They taste much better then the store bought ones, too, and are better for you. Thanks for the contest!

  34. Gina Ferrell says

    I always make sure I have fruits and veggies in the house for my family. I also use wheat flour instead of regular flour.

  35. Charlene Kuser says

    We drink water with our meals.You eat less and get hydrated.It is another chance to get our daily requirements for water.

  36. Sandra K321 says

    I always have either grape tomatoes or sliced English cucumbers with meals that wouldn’t otherwise have a side vegetable (like spaghetti or a casserole.)

  37. meme says

    I buy bread and ceral with more grains in them and have either fruit or veggies in some form for every meal

  38. ACMommy3 says

    Don’t put salt and pepper on the table when eating, so a bad habit of sprinkling more on your food doesn’t start :-) and keep fruits and veggies high on the list of snackfoods and side dishes!

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