More recently, I have really shifted my gears and put a lot of focus on my family’s eating habits. While it has always been important to me to serve my family homecooked meals on a regular basis, I can attest to not necessarily choosing the healthiest or most wholesome ingredients to incorporate into the meals that I would prepare. I have been looking to make a change, and thankfully one of my go-to grocery stores has made finding ways to eat healthier while on a budget not only affordable, but easy to put into motion.
Loblaws and affiliates have put into place a food rating system which helps to guide you in the right direction when it comes to purchasing healthy and nutritious foods for your family. You may have noticed when shopping in Loblaws stores that they have stars on their signage. These stars play an important role in the Guiding Stars Program.
The Guiding Stars Program is a patented food rating system that rates food based on nutrient density using a scientific algorithm. Foods are rated based on a balance of credits and debits. Foods are credited for vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, whole grains, and Omega-3 fatty acids, and debited for saturated fats, trans fats, added sodium and added sugar. Rated foods are marked with easy-to-follow tags indicating 1, 2, or 3 stars.
This program has come in quite handy for me, as I love to know when shopping for groceries for my family that not only am I purchasing quality products, but that I am also ensuring that I am purchasing healthier alternatives for them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to touch base with Loblaws Dietitian, Lauren Baker. I had the opportunity to share with her a family recipe that has become a staple in our household – Hamburger Hash. One that my Mom use to prepare me during my childhood that now I prepare for my children on a weekly basis. I have always wondered how I could go about making this recipe more nutrient dense and healthier, and Lauren was able to help point me in the right direction offering my tips on how to trade up ingredients within my recipe that wouldn’t compromise the flavour, but rather just make the dish healthier.
Without further ado, I present to you my “traded up” Hamburger Hash recipe…
Hamburger Hash is a perfect recipe for time-crunched families, and is much healthier when it doesn’t come out of a box! Make this bulk meal in advance, and use leftovers as convenient lunch and dinner options. Or, make ahead and freeze in advance in preparation for busy nights of sports and piano lessons!
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef (see below)
- 1 10oz can condensed vegetable soup (see below)
- Water (fill can)
- 1/3 cup rice, uncooked
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1.5 tsp flour
- 2-3 tbsp steak sauce (to taste)
- 2 cups macaroni (see below)
- Cook pasta until al dente. Drain. Set aside.
- Brown beef. Drain off excess fat.
- Add vegetable soup, water, rice, corn and flour. Bring to a simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally.
- Once the liquid has evaporated down, stir in pasta. Add HP sauce. Stir well to ensure all ingredients are combined well.
- ★ Extra lean ground beef
- ★★ Extra lean ground veal
- ★★★ Extra lean ground chicken
- ★ Vegetable Soup
- ★★ Organic Vegetable Soup, No Salt Added
- ★ Gluten Free Macaroni
- ★★ Durum wheat semolina elbow macaroni
- ★★★ Whole Wheat Macaroni
Note from In-Store Dietitian, Lauren Baker:
- Add a frozen mixed vegetable to boost colour and fibre
I have to say when I initially heard Lauren’s tips on how to trade up the ingredients within the recipe I was very hesitant to try it. Simply for the fact that my children love – and I mean LOVE – the way that I would always prepare Hamburger Hash… So why fix something that ain’t broken?! My kids can be so picky when it comes to trying something new. Change with them isn’t always a good thing, especially when food is in play. I knew deep down that this change was truly important. It was important to me that my family eat healthier. It was also a reminder that swapping out ingredients for healthier alternatives in recipes doesn’t always come easy, but is possible.
When I finally got over my hump and took the advice of Lauren, I made my Hamburger Hash using whole wheat macaroni, extra lean ground chicken and added in a cup of frozen corn and a cup of frozen peas and carrots. I was worried that my kids would notice these changes. But – you wanted to know something… They didn’t! Rather I was greeted with remarks of how they think I am the best cook ever. They may have also made some comments on how Daddy sucks at cooking too, but that is nothing new! Haha.
If you are looking to upgrade some of your favourite recipes by trading up ingredients for healthier options, I highly recommend checking out the Guiding Stars program. It has been a godsend for my family! It has truly made eating healthier and making clean eating decision that much easier, and that helps with motivating us to stay accountable and more aware of what we are consuming and putting into our body’s! Food is fuel after all!
Want to score a $150 PC® gift card? Simply take to Twitter and share a recipe that you would like to see traded up for a chance to win! Here is a sample entry: “I love my gran’s carrot muffins, but they could use a healthy upgrade. Can @GuidingStars help me out @adomesticmomma? #TradingUp”
*This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec and closes March 5, 2017 at 11:59PM EST.