How to Create a Healthier Table

by Guest Contributor

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




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{ 155 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Liz April 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm

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

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2 Kara April 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm

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 bountifulbaskets.org. 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.

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3 Amber April 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

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.

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4 Cat Davis April 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

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.

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5 Damon April 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm

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. :)

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6 Jennie April 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm

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

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7 Lori April 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm

We eat allot of veggies in our house.

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8 Stacie Fontinell April 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I like to use smaller plates so that I look like i am eating more when I am not!

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9 Garrett April 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

I eat the little baby carrots for a snack instead of like potato chips.

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10 Kelly April 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

Great giveaway. Hope i win
Kelly

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11 HappyMomC April 2, 2012 at 9:10 am

I always have veggies and fruit cut up before and after the meal so that we eat healthy!

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12 Kathy Stevenson April 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

Only water or milk to drink with dinner.

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13 Van April 2, 2012 at 9:37 am

Could use this in my kitchen.

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14 Marisa Moore April 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

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

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15 Melissa April 2, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Love the giveaway!

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16 Liz April 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I put fruit on the kids’ plates so it’s not a choice at dinner.

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17 Don April 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Nice giveaway, great for our kitchen.

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18 Brandy April 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Looks like a great cutting board!!

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19 Kelly D April 2, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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.

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20 Isabelle April 2, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I usually put a plate full of veggies before dinner.

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21 Natalia April 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm

We start to eat more whole bread.

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22 John April 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I drink plenty of water before my meals.

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23 Erin Hankins April 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I ask that my kids try something before they insist that they hate it

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24 Nadia April 2, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I serve fruits and veggies before the main dish, as appetizers.

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25 Idaho Jill April 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

We eat tons of veggies in our house. Luckily my daughter likes cauliflower and broccoli!

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26 Cheryl Free April 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables ヅ *Thanks* for the giveaway!

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27 daphne April 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

I dont cook with salt, always have salad at the table

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28 Vickie Couturier April 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

We drink water at dinner time,,gets us in the habit an costs less

vlbelk(at)Hotmail.com

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29 Katie April 3, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I try to use a smaller size plate so my portion sizes stay on the healthy side!

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30 Jamie April 3, 2012 at 9:19 pm

We use cloth napkins at every meal.

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31 Shannon Baas April 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

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

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32 Melissa Alexander April 4, 2012 at 1:08 am

eat breakfast! I lost 60 lbs by making this simple change along with walking daily!

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33 Theresa Shafer April 4, 2012 at 2:22 am

Wash your hands before setting the table.

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34 Maria B. April 4, 2012 at 3:04 am

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.

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35 Dahbou April 4, 2012 at 4:39 am

I started to drink a lot more water, especially with dinner.

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36 Dahbou April 4, 2012 at 4:41 am

Entered as Terri on Rafflecopter.

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37 gail April 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

leave cut up veggies on the table

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38 sandra April 4, 2012 at 10:46 am

use resuable cloth napkins

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39 Chuck April 4, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I re use my own plastic bottle for water.

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40 Geri S April 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I always make a salad and have veggies. Try not to fry food.

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41 nannypanpan April 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

i keep salt off the table, so if you really really need it..you must get up to get it
nannypanpan@gmail.com

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42 Marti Parks April 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I find that using smaller plates works for me.

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43 samantha w April 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm

we eat at least one veggie with every dinner and use smaller plates

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44 ANGEL JACKLYN April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm

PRE-CLEAN WITH ALL NATURAL / NON-CHEMICAL CLEANERS. THEY CLEAN JUST AS WELL & THERE’S NO DANGER OF GETTING CHEMICALS IN YOUR FOOD! =)

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45 Jeff April 6, 2012 at 10:19 am

My wife & I eat veggie’s every day.

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46 Lynda Del April 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

We’re Peruvian, so it is customary to have a hearty and healthy soup before every meal. Otherwise, we would have a salad to start off with.

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47 Colleen Maurina April 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm

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

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48 katherine d. April 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

use smaller plates

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49 Staci A April 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Have veggies and fruits precut so they are an easy to grab snack.

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50 Robin April 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm

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.

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51 Leah Swelfer April 7, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I snack on organic carrots as much as possible

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52 Angie April 8, 2012 at 9:01 am

I always make sure we have a well-rounded of grains, protein, and vegetables with each meal.

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53 Brenda Elsner April 8, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Lots of vegetables here!!!

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54 Caitlin McClure April 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I always make a salad or cut up some fruit with whatever we;re eating.

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55 Vesper April 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm

No more carbonated drinks just water

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56 Kathlyne April 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

For a healthier table I try to always serve veggies and add flax meal to recipes whenever I can.

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57 Cheryl Rahkonen April 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

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.

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58 christina moore April 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I drink plenty of water before my meals and eat more vegetables

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59 Gina April 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I make sure we have a variety of food groups.

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60 Stephanie V. April 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

We use washable napkins — evreyone has a unique colour

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61 Paula Tavernie April 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm

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

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62 Brenda Witherspoon-Bedard April 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I try to “sneak” veggies into everything

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63 Susan Smith April 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I serve a lot of vegetables during meals.

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64 Kathy Bose April 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

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

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65 ELIZABETH C. April 8, 2012 at 5:26 pm

USING SMALLER PLATES GIVES YOU THE ILLUSION THAT YOUR EATING MORE.

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66 rachel b. April 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

we always try to have some kind of a vegetable and dont allow soda with meals

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67 Elaine R April 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm

My healthy tip is to leave the salt shaker off the kitchen table.

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68 Cathy Mattison April 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I always try to include plenty of fruits and veggies.

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69 jme April 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm

lots of color and variety in our meals!!

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70 Krys R April 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Always have Ice Water with Lemon on the table

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71 Wehaf April 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

My tip is to use smaller plates and serve in courses.

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72 Nicolaas Ryan Piepenbrok April 9, 2012 at 12:52 am

eating breakfast has helped me a lot

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73 lisa l April 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

Fruits on the table everyday.

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74 Jamie April 9, 2012 at 4:16 am

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

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75 randi April 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

We sit at the table as a family for dinner & I try to serve veggies & fruit every evening.

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76 Linda G. April 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

I always have lots of veggies on the table and we use veggies to snack on to

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77 Karen Gonyea April 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

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 :)

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78 Maryann April 9, 2012 at 11:56 am

I like to use a smaller plate for smaller portions

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79 sarah April 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

We try to have lots of water, cheap and good for you!!

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80 Jean F April 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

We don’t use salt while cooking

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81 Amy April 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

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.

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82 Lisa April 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Start a garden. It makes you want to cook with your own veggies

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83 Michelle jadaa April 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

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

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84 tracy webb April 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm

we eat all vegetables meals 2 or 3 nights a week

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85 angie April 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Always have vegetables handy.

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86 tracy davis April 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I always add veggies to everything

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87 Meaghan F. April 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

We try to have a veggie or fruit for every meal on the table.

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88 wendy wallach April 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm

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

madamerkf at aol dot com

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89 Brittney House April 10, 2012 at 1:03 am

We try to keep snacks out of the house. You can’t eat what you don’t have

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90 Noreen April 10, 2012 at 3:55 am

Fresh fruit after dinner snack

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91 Lisa April 10, 2012 at 8:05 am

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.

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92 katfam April 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

I cook from scratch and eat real food like vegetables, meats, etc.

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93 Jessica Hays April 10, 2012 at 10:26 am

We leave the salt off of the table so we arn’t tempted to use it!

jessicaahays at hotmail dot com

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94 Happi Shopr April 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

We sub greek yogurt for sour cream

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95 Stacy April 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm

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!

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96 April Richardson April 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm

We always have a healthy soup before dinner, so we dont eat as much.

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97 Monique Rizzo April 10, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I like putting a fruit and veggie platter out so the family is more likely to snack off that.Thanks for the chance.
mogrill12@gmail.com

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98 andie April 10, 2012 at 9:10 pm

There is no salt shaker on my table. After awhile no one misses it!

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99 Douglas Houston April 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

We swapped out chips for dried fruit and nuts.

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100 tamar April 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

My tip: small plates!

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101 Brandy Nelson April 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I don’t use a lot of salt, for one. We also go organic whenever possible and include tons of veggies in our meals.

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102 Lynn April 11, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Using smaller plates, so you don’t over eat.

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103 Angela E. April 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I am famous for all the recycling that I do!

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104 Catherine April 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm

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

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105 April V. April 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I try to integrate whole grains in to my regular dishes – using pasta and flax and quinoa.

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106 Kate S April 11, 2012 at 11:53 pm

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

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107 Theresa H April 12, 2012 at 1:30 am

I love giving at least one fruit and one veggie choice at supper

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108 Ellie W April 12, 2012 at 7:48 am

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.

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109 Gary Miller April 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

I use smaller plates and bowls

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110 Desiree Dunbar April 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

My family loves fruits and veggies so our table is always stacked with them.

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111 amy deeter April 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

we try eating vegetables every day

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112 KIM CRAWFORD April 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm

WE TRY TO EAT AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE. GRILLING IS A FAVORITE OF OURS AND LOTS OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGIES. WE LOVE TO GRILL PINEAPPLE, SQUASH, MUSHROOMS, TOO.

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113 Bonnie Caselman April 12, 2012 at 3:27 pm

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.

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114 kathy April 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I only serve water for drink with meals

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115 loni April 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Try to not use throw-away settings to produce less trash

trippyjanet at gmail dot com

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116 DEBRA HALL April 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

i serve lots of veggies

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117 susan April 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm

i’m cooking more with veggies and not buying as much packaged foods.

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118 Jill April 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I use smaller plates for all of us. It makes a big difference.

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119 Devanne April 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

more veggies less meat. small plates.

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120 Sheryl Gruhler April 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I need to add more fresh fruits and veggies.

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121 Gianna April 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Always serve fruit after a meal.

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122 Russell Moore April 12, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Use smaller plates to fool your eyes into thinking you are eating large portions.

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123 laurie April 13, 2012 at 12:04 am

we try to have at least 3 vegetables and 1 meat at every table with a salad avavilable it you want it

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124 Kat Emerick April 13, 2012 at 12:18 am

always have water or milk with dinner.
kat_emerick@yahoo.com

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125 R Hicks April 13, 2012 at 12:24 am

we have a salt substitute that is healthier than regular salt

brich22 at earthlink dot net

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126 Ashley H April 13, 2012 at 12:31 am

we eat more veggies in my house plus my family started using better oils.

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127 Kayla April 13, 2012 at 12:32 am

We use darker dishware because it is easier to see your portion size that way.

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128 Bonnie April 13, 2012 at 6:26 am

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.

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129 Sherry Conrad April 13, 2012 at 7:50 am

We practice portion control.

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130 christina moore April 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

Lots of vegetables

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131 carol lewis April 13, 2012 at 8:51 am

Fresh organic salad with dinner and oil and vinegar. Rest of meal cooked from scratch and paleo.

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132 Shawn April 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

I always try to have lots of fruits and vegetable choices.

shawn113(at)hotmail(dot)com

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133 Carrie April 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

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

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134 mary gardner April 13, 2012 at 10:20 am

we fill up on fruits and vegetables as much as possible

marygardner49 at aol dot com

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135 Samantha D April 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

We drink milk with dinner and kids have to eat their veggies!

Samantha D
dull2000 at cox dot net

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136 Noelle April 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

Always have a salad out so people can start on that before going for seconds.

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137 paige jagan April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

we always always eat soup before dinner, its low fat and fills you up!

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138 Dorothy Hubbard April 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

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.

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139 clynsg April 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I try to steam almost all of our vegetables.

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140 Michelle H. April 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

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

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141 Roxann April 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I make cucumber salad. The whole family loves it and it’s healthy!

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142 Michaela R April 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm

We eat fruit as a replacement for snacks, like grapes with cheese and such things.

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143 Kendra April 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

We drink water with meals

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144 amy delong April 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm

put out raw veggies and the family loves it
ardelong2(at)gmail(dot)com

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145 Beverly M April 13, 2012 at 3:37 pm

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!

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146 Gina Ferrell April 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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

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147 Charlene Kuser April 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

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

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148 Sandra K321 April 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm

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.)

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149 shirley pebbles April 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

With most meals we have a salad before and fruit for dessert.

fb/ shirley greenawalt zolenski
twitter, gfc, stumble/ daveshir2005
google +/ shirley pebbles

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150 Donna L April 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I make sure that we have lots of fruit and veggies.

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151 meme April 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

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

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152 Jason Raley April 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

This set looks awesome!

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153 ACMommy3 April 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

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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154 linda chay April 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

We eat allot of veggies in our house.

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155 June April 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I eat my veggies all the time, today I’m making homemade split pea soup in the crock pot.

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