Friday, July 23, 2010

Do You Like To Snack?

Here Are Some Tips For Better Snacking:
Do you love to snack? Most people do. As a matter of fact, snacking is a major past time for kids and adults. Good quality snacks help maintain a healthy wait and good immune system. Kids who snack do better in school, stay focused, and are more likely to participate in physical activities. Adults who snack are less cranky and better able to deal with their kids; maintain their energy, moods and weight. However, most people associate snacks with something that is convenient, comes out of a box and is sweet, salty and brightly colored with zero nutrients. Below, we provide you with some tips to help your kids become smarter snackers.

  • Give your kids a say! 
  • Have your kids help assemble snacks such as celery or carrots, whole-grain toast or whole-grain crackers, apples or oranges.
  • Have your kids help at the grocery store when you're selecting snacks or in the kitchen when you're assembling things to eat.
  • Think beyond a bag of potato chips. Offer string cheese, hummus and crackers, nuts and raisins and goji berries.
  • Don't be fooled by labeling gimmicks. Foods marketed as low-fat or fat-free can still be high in calories. Likewise, foods touted as cholesterol-free can still be high in fat, saturated fat and sugar. Check nutrition labels to find out the whole story.
  • Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks such as whole-grain pretzels or tortillas and low-sugar, whole-grain cereals can give your children energy with some staying power. Especially with homemade guacamole or salsa.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. If the cookie jar is full, your children will probably clamor for cookies. But if there aren't any cookies in the house, fresh fruit or raw veggies may seem more appealing.
  • Think outside the box. Offer something new such as fresh pineapple, cranberries, red or yellow peppers or roasted soy nuts. Slice a whole-wheat pita and serve with hummus.
  • Mix and match. Serve baby carrots or other raw veggies with olive oil. Top celery, apples and bananas with peanut butter.
  • Revisit breakfast. Many breakfast foods such as low-sugar, whole-grain cereals and whole-grain toast make great afternoon snacks.
  • Use the freezer. Mix mashed bananas and peanut butter, spread between graham crackers and freeze. For a new twist on old snack-time favorites - freeze grapes or peeled bananas, or fill an ice cube tray with fresh watermelon juice or smoothies.
  • Have fun. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of low-fat cheese slices, whole-grain bread or whole-grain tortillas. Eat diced fruit with chopsticks. Give snacks funny names. Try the classic "ants on a log" - celery topped with peanut butter and raisins - or make up your own.
  • Pull out the blender. Make your own smoothies.
  • Promote independence. Make it easy for older children to help themselves. Keep a selection of ready-to-eat veggies in the refrigerator. Leave fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter. Store low-sugar, whole-grain cereal in an easily accessible cabinet.
  • Remember your leftovers. A small serving of last night's dinner might make a great snack.
  • Drinks count too. Offer your children plenty of water between meals. Liven it up with shaped ice cubes, a crazy straw, or a squirt of lemon, cranberry or other fruit juice.
  • -Practice what you preach. Let your children catch you munching raw vegetables or snacking on a bowl of grapes.
  • -Be patient. Your children's snacking habits may not change overnight. Look for positive changes over weeks or months.

Teaching your children to make healthy snack choices now will determine how they eat in the future.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What To Do On A Rainy Day?

It started pouring rain and I found myself very hungry with very little in the house. Luckily I had just purchased Purely Elizabeth Gluten Free Blueberry Maple Muffin Mix. As I started pulling out the ingredients, I realized I was missing a few. Since I only had a 1/4 of a cup of blueberries, in order to make the required cup of blueberries, I did a combination of blueberries, bananas and peaches. Instead of a 1/2 cup of olive oil I used a 1/2 cup coconut oil. Also, instead of a 1/2 applesauce, I used 2 eggs since I'm not vegan and this weekend I had made a trip to the farmer's market and stocked up on fresh eggs, peaches and blueberries.

They turned out delicious and just as we took them out of the oven the sun came out. I dont know if there is a moral to the story but good things happen when you make your own food. I've made Purely Elizabeth before, whether following the recipe exactly or swap in my own ingredients, it is an excellent base and you can never go wrong with her mixes. Also since they are free of sugar, wheat and gluten I use her mixes when in a hurry to make something for a school bake sale. The kids never know the difference and they are always a big hit!

Foods On A Stick: A sure fire way to get your kids to try new fare

If your kids are hesitant to try new foods that are fresh and healthy, try a new approach. I take a new approach when I want to break up the monotony of my kid’s camp lunch box i.e. the normal sandwich or regular piece of fruit. For instance, try making a fruit salad and put it on a stick for desert and accompany it with a yogurt sauce on the side for dipping.

For the main coarse, I have done diff types of proteins from chicken to tofu, lamb and beef interspersed with different raw and cooked veggies. It is always a hit, and best of all it is a good way to get your kids involved in the preparation. Even the pickiest eaters are more apt to try things if they are on a stick.

The very nature of a skewer, lean meat or fish interspersed with a variety of fresh vegetables and maybe brushed with a simple sauce, all but guarantees healthy eating. Best of all, food on stick (kebabs) take just a few minutes to assemble and the potential for deliciousness are limited only by your child’s imagination.

Rules if you are going to cook with the skewers:

Step 1. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before loading them up. The moisture will prevent the wood from catching fire.
Step 2. The protein you're cooking will determine the size of the produce on your skewers. Shrimp and scallops cook quickly, so fruits and veggies should be cut smaller. Chicken and pork take time to cook, so pair them with larger chunks.
Step 3. You can marinate the loaded skewers in sauce before cooking, up to two hours for meat, but no more than 30 minutes for seafood.

1 1/2 to 2 pounds of salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces (largish-bite sized pieces)
The cloves from 1/2 head of garlic, peeled, crushed, minced
2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon of coarse salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of dry cumin
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
Olive oil

1. Mix garlic, lime juice, salt, , cumin, salt and pepper, and cilantro together. Pour mixture over salmon chunks and marinate more than 24 hours. I’ve found that 2 nights is ideal.
2. Remove salmon from mixture and blot out any extra liquid residing on the salmon with a paper towel. Keep any garlic/cilantro on the salmon! Drizzle 1 tbs of olive oil to lightly coat the salmon.
3. String salmon onto skewers. If the salmon chunk is fairly thin, fold the salmon in half and pierce through the middle.
3. Heat grill plate on medium heat and spray the pan with non-stick spray . Grill salmon skewers on one side for 3 minutes (do not flip during the 3 minutes!) Flip the skewer over and cook for another 2 minutes.If you do not have a grill you can broil them with same instructions in your oven.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gluten Free Grab and Go great Banana Muffins!

Gluten Free Baking!

Experimented today with some gluten free baking. The recipes turned out delicious and were extremely quick to make and had a minimal amount of ingredients. I was especially excited about this particular recipe because almond flour and coconut oil are sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are great sources for improving concentration and help with learning, and also helps with maintaining beautiful skin and happy moods. Almond flour is also a great source of protein and the bananas in the recipe are a great source of potassium. This recipe is fast, easy, delicious, nutritious and gluten-free; perfect for snacks and breakfast on the run.

Gluten Free Banana Bread/Muffins


1 cup teff flour
1 cup of ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder (make sure gluten free)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
4 bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup of coconut oil
optional: add ¼ cup of chocolate chips


-Preheat oven to 340f/170c
-Grease a bread pan and sprinkle some almond meal on it, or just line it with baking paper, this will make it easier to take the bread out of the pan
-Mix the wet ingredients together and mix the dry ingredients together
-Combine these two without over mixing them
-Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean
-The bread is edible right away, but it will be firmer after cooling

Nutritious and Delicious fun for kids for 4th of July

Here is a fun, delicious and fun activity for kids of all ages to enjoy for this 4th of July!It will make your kids feel liberated.

Involving your children in the preparation of food can help gain their interest in trying healthy foods they might normally turn up their noses at. This is the perfect activity and recipe that will get your kids involved in food preparation and get them to eat all their fruits and maybe even try a few new ones. Definitely better for a bbq party then chips and cookies this holiday weekend.

The fruits we will be using for this recipe are strawberries (red), blueberries (blue), and chucks of fresh coconut (white). Strawberries have a wide range of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C,
Blueberries are very high in fiber and and are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium.
Coconut is a tropical fruit that is rich in protein and is also a great body builder . It is a super omega 3 fatty acid.So your kids will be happy and will not have the usual holiday meltdowns from to much sugar and processed foods

Here are the simple steps for this 4ht of July Fruit Kabob:

Chucks of Fresh Coconut, Apples, or White Peaches
Bamboo sticks/chop sticks

Cut up all the fruit and place it in a bowl, then let the children make their own kabobs! You can also substitute watermelon or banana's and still have a festive fruit kabob. Let your kids be creative and make any designs they want!