I'm starting to think that Healthy Fat month is my favorite Healthy Habits month of all. It's like Christmas, my birthday, and a big old Thanksgiving feast rolled up in one. I'm having a blast thinking about what healthy fats Julianne can add to her diet. And while I'm thinking of her, she's thinking about adding those healthy fats to her children's meals. It's like a guilt-free food frenzy.

We've learned a lot this week. Here are Julianne's responses to last week's healthy fat dishes (I'm highlighting the best parts):

"Well, my husband George and I both loved the salmon - very flavorful.  And the snow peas were amazing!  My daughter dutifully ate her sample of salmon, along with the rice, but both her and my son declared that the snow peas were "too spicy."  Ah well!  We'll try again with another tactic :)

I have a feeling that, when it comes to my children, they would be perfectly happy getting their healthy fats from a handful of nuts.  Leah especially enjoys grabbing a handful of mixed nuts and trying out the different flavors.  Frankie, being younger, has only recently starting eating nuts (since you never know about allergies, and they can be a choking hazard for little ones), but he seems to like them.  So I may start packing more trail mix, with nuts, as a snack for them."     ---Julianne

Avocado Herb Dressing

"I assembled a salad from the produce in our fridge that needed to be used:  spinach, grape tomatoes, and English cucumber.  Then some grilled chicken breast on top, some avocado slices as well, and the amazing dressing to accompany it.

It was a huge success!  Wow, that dressing was SO good.  My husband has requested that this dish be incorporated into our regular repertoire of dinners :)  My daughter wasn't too keen on the dip/dressing, but she like the avocado straight, with a sprinkle of salt (she's my girl, I'm a salt lover, too!).  My son, on the other hand, loves to dip anything and everything, so he was content with the dressing in a bowl to dip his veggies into.

Just a thought:  I am realizing once again why these are called 'satiety' foods:  I was definitely satiated with this meal!  My portion was not overly large, but I felt pleasantly full by the end of the meal... and I did not get the munchies at 10:00pm, as I sometimes do when I eat a lighter, more 'low fat' dinner.  I went to bed feeling no need to snack."    ---Julianne

"To be honest, I was rather hesitant making this recipe.  At first glance it sounded great, but when I looked more closely at the ingredient list, I became a bit dubious.  Mint?  I rarely cook with it, and the combination of all those ingredients wasn't exactly appealing to me.   (I do like to try new things, but at times, the Cooking Light recipes call for very odd combinations.)  However, I am so glad we went ahead and tried this salad - it was fantastic!   Both my husband and I were very pleasantly surprised, and will happily add this to our collection of recipes.  The children declined to eat the salad (I prepared plain steamed beans for them separately), but they liked the toasted hazelnuts.  As did I!  I put the extra toasted nuts in a bowl on the table for us to snack on at random... and they were quickly gone."    ---Julianne

Week one, and Julianne is batting 1000! Here's what I'm most proud of:

1. She took risks. Julianne told me she liked hazelnuts, so I dug up that green bean salad for her. She was not excited, but she was willing to take a leap of faith. She put together a dish she wouldn't have picked on her own, and now she and her husband have something new for the repertoire.

2. She's putting the focus on her eating first. Like so many moms, Julianne is worried about what her kids will eat, often before she thinks of her plate. This week I reminded her: let's put the focus on you. She's creating meals that she and her husband love, while providing a "no sauce" option for the kids. 

3. She's creative!: As Julianne learns more about healthy fats, she can apply this for the kids. Though they might not like green beans with hazelnuts, they sure like them separately. Julie is thinking about clever ways to add more healthy fats to her children's diets, in a way that they enjoy eating them. Instead of forcing them to eat things they don't want, she's giving them what they like.

4. She's satisfied: She's already starting to see the benefit of eating healthier fats, and staying satisfied. Buh-bye 10:30 munchies; hello healthy fats!