Tag: Healthy food

Yes, Daniel Tiger, beef is healthy!

My two year old is a huge fan of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and I have to admit, I’m fond of the show myself. We often sing the opening song together…

“It’s Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the land of make believe….won’t you ride along with me? Ride a-looong….won’t you ride along with me?!”

Of course, it is reminiscent of my days watching Mister Roger’s Neighborhood as a child. The writers have done a remarkable job blending the two shows and carrying on Mr. Roger’s values.  I credit Daniel Tiger for getting us through the “potty training setback” with the creative song and instructions when Daniel and Prince Wednesday learned to use the potty. “If you have to go potty, STOP and go right away…flush and wash and be on your way!”   It was also Daniel Tiger who taught us to “clean up, pick up, put away” with a another catchy tune we could all sing and our neighborhood tiger even explained why big storms don’t have to be scary as long as you are safe inside with a grownup. Our daughter eats these lessons up like they are the gospel truth. That’s why when Mrs. Tiger made veggie pizza and also veggie spaghetti my eye brows went up.

Daniel Tiger, Miss Elaina and Mrs. Tiger eating their veggie spaghetti. Photo credit: Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Children’s Show

I’m all for teaching our children to eat healthy, take care of their bodies and to help them receive good nourishment. Which is why it bothers me that they leave beef out of the picture.

Angela Santomero is the Creator, Executive Producer and Head Writer of this new favorite show of ours and I recently read her reasoning behind this “healthy” eating focus. Here is what she said,

Since the Tiger Family was dining at a restaurant, I got to choose what my four year old little Daniel Tiger would order to eat. So, what did Daniel order? Pizza? Burger? Chicken fingers?

Daniel ordered grilled chicken and broccoli.

Then I got THE notes.“This is not what real kids eat. We should show him eating like a normal four year old.”

First of all, Daniel is a tiger.

Second of all, I have millions of children and parents every day learning and (hopefully) modeling what our characters do. We carefully test our episodes to maximize learning of our life lessons curriculum. If making a good food choice is not a major life lesson, then I don’t know what is.

(Excerpt from Modeling Healthy Eating Habits by Angela Santomero)

Both of her arguments completely fall apart at the seams and here’s why. First of all, she is correct Daniel IS a tiger. No, she cannot have the tiger tearing into a zebra on children’s animated television. However, she also can’t say that is it the reason he is isn’t eating like a “normal” 4 year old when she is trying to get all “normal” 4 year old children to eat like Daniel Tiger. Her argument is a never ending circle. If she wants to argue that he is a tiger and not human then why does it matter what he orders to eat? Oh, that’s right, because he is modeling what a human child SHOULD eat. Then wait, he isn’t just a tiger is he? No, he’s a role model for young minds.

Which leads to her next argument. I agree with the premise on this one. Making a good food choice is a valuable life lesson. Which is why we should be HONEST with children and teach them all of the health benefits available to them through their food. Did you know that if Angela would have added beef to her vegetable rich spaghetti, little Daniel Tiger and Miss Elaina would have received much needed protein and iron to strengthen their muscles and blood flow, vitamins B6 and B12 to help their growing brain functions, Zinc for their immune systems, Phosphorus which helps build strong and healthy teeth, Selenium which helps protect cells from damage and Riboflavin to give them the fuel and energy their active bodies need? And that’s just SOME of the health benefits of beef. There are several more! I understand her wanting to introduce kids to new foods and focus on food groups they might not want to eat very often, but why leave beef out altogether?

Some parents may ask, “But what about the fat content?”

All lean beef cuts have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3.5 oz cooked serving. Some cuts of beef are as lean as a 3 oz skinless chicken thigh!  When I brown our hamburger (raised on our farm) I rarely have to drain off any extra juice or grease. We have corn-fed beef and it is still lean and heart healthy!

“But what if  my child only eats beef if it’s covered in gravy or cheese?”

So I’m assuming based on that argument that we are only feeding kids chicken that hasn’t been fried or covered in gravy or cheese?  :) What if they ate the cheeseburger or roast beef with gravy and cut down on the potato chips and only had one cookie after dinner?  How about we teach our kiddos that vegetables, ALL meats, cheeses and carbs are HEALTHY! Even dessert is a fun treat!  Maybe the life-lesson on children’s television and also around the dinner table should be that it’s all about self-control, listening to our bodies and not over eating anything, including vegetables. I would love to see Angela use her creativity to mesh the food groups together and represent ALL farms and the gifts they bring to the table. Maybe they could even visit their local farmer’s market and come home with conventional corn-fed beef, all-natural chicken, organic veggies, fresh eggs and buttery homemade bread along with a scoop of homemade ice cream and share the importance of the nutrients and safe ingredients found in each food group. Maybe, just once, a television show could praise ALL of America’s bountiful harvests and brag on the safety and health of our food! Now that would be a “major life lesson” worth watching!


Ready to introduce beef at the table? Here’s an easy, kid-approved recipe thanks to my dear friend and mother of 4, Cindi Glenn! I think Daniel Tiger would LOVE it! :)

Beefy Ranch Quesadillas.jpg


  • 1 lb browned hamburger
  • 1 packet Ranch Dip seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  • 6 tortillas


  1. Brown your hamburger and stir in the packet of ranch seasoning until it is well mixed.
  2. On a George Foreman grill or your handy, lightly sprayed skillet, lay out one tortilla and cover it with a nice layer of browned, Ranch flavored beef.
  3. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and cover with another tortilla.
  4. Cook until cheese is melted and quesadilla is heated through.
  5. Repeat process 2 more times or until you run out of ingredients!
  6. Serve with sour cream or salsa and enjoy!!!


Post written by Kara Edwards of Beef Stew with a Twist






Choose Your Battles Wisely

Last month a group of us went through a “detox” together. The 8-day challenge consisted of a specific protein filled diet, lots of water intake and some specific supplements (shake, pills and juice).  It was grueling at times but we came out the other side with a better taste for real food and a harsh realization of the bad eating habits we had developed over time. We all managed to lose weight and did so without following one particular suggested guideline. We ate beef. That’s right.  The menu for the week suggested NO RED MEAT due to….I honestly can’t tell you what their suggestion was “due to”.  They didn’t give a reason.  Upon further investigation I found a post on their “weight loss testimony” page where someone had asked if anyone had eaten beef during the 8-day cleanse and still lost weight. More than two dozen people had quickly replied stating that YES they had eaten red meat including steak, hamburger, roast, etc. and had STILL lost weight!  Several in my group also enjoyed red meat during the diet and we lost just as much as those who stuck with chicken, fish and turkey.  This only served to confirm what we already knew…red meat is not the problem.  Our seemingly inability to say no to sugar, caffeine and carbs IS the problem.  Red meat provides specific nutrients that many diets are lacking.  The battle against red meat is untruthful propaganda attacking conventional agriculture. Will I attack the company over this? Have I mentioned their name so we can smear them as beef producers? No. At the very most I plan to send them a respectful, kind letter sharing the facts regarding beef and that we still lost the weight while enjoying red meat.

Also, the packaging of the detox supplements stated they were “GMO FREE”.   Now as conventional farmers did we send the products back when we saw the labeling?  Did we take to social media to degrade the company and seek to prove them ignorant? No, we did not.  There are MANY different opinions regarding GMO labeling, usage and marketing. You can stir up more discussion and negative tones regarding our food sources and farming methods on social media than you can about ISIS and their treatment of women and children.  Why is that? Why do we get emotionally riled up over our abundance of food choices when our time could be more wisely spent raising concerns, praying and educating others about sex trafficking, homeless people, starving children and ransacked homes?

Imagine with me for a moment what it could look like if organic farmers and conventional farmers shook hands and decided they were all in it together.

Andy Barr wrote this in 2008 for Famers Weekly,

“GM may horrify organic advocates, but it could (after a rigorous testing and approval process) reduce chemical and fertilizer inputs and deliver health benefits. And wouldn’t a splash of glyphosate reduce organics’ carbon footprint?”

And you know what? That’s exactly what GM (genetically modified) seed has done. It has created a way for farmer’s to use LESS CHEMICALS!

Can we shake hands? I’m not talking about some happy place over the rainbow. I’m talking about the attacks on one another ending. I’m suggesting we recognize that each method has a place in this world and that we can support one another. We can agree to disagree for the sake of the bigger picture.  One method provides opportunities for families in the cities to watch how a seed comes forth from the soil, how the soil content matters and how that plant can produce a delicious tomato. This movement called “organic farming” has created roof top gardens in the middle of New York City. It has provided another option at the grocery store and it has given job opportunities through weekend Farmer’s Markets to those who longed for an environmental occupation.  On the other hand, conventional agriculture continues to feed millions upon millions of families across the globe through their effective and safe methods.  Family farms have been able to stand the test of time thanks to these proven techniques and people are given a healthy yet more affordable option in each city. We can argue if GMOs are safe. We can argue if not killing the bugs, worms and diseases on the plants is safe.  What we can’t seem to argue about it is how to best support one another in agriculture. We each have our markets. There is room for both parties under the same tent.

Still not convinced?  Check out Unfounded Frankenfood Fears by Steve Forbes, Editor-In-Chief Forbes Magazine.  In this article he states,

“One shudders to think of the global misery that would have ensued had these forces (antiprogress extremists) been around in the 1960s, when Norman Borlaug spearheaded the breakthroughs dubbed the Green Revolution, which enormously increased crop yields, particularly in India. There and elsewhere more than a billion lives were saved, people who would otherwise have been lost to hunger.  Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Today he’d be attacked as an antinature technomonster.”

Let’s choose our battles wisely.

The other night my mom made this flavorful, “clean”, pizza!  May be a great addition to your weekend menu! Below is her recipe. Bon appetite!


Garden Pizza



  • Crust of your choice (I like Food Nanny’s)
  • Roll out crust to fit 16 inch pizza pan
  • Layer with:
  • Drizzle with olive oil (rosemary or basil infused is good!)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese slices
  • Hamburger, cooked and crumbled
  • Fresh arugula leaves
  • Fresh basil
  • Cherry tomatoes (or whatever you have)
  • Drizzle with more olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Bake in hot oven (475*  5 – 10 minutes)