Holiday Meals Made Easier Thanks to Whole Foods
Thanksgiving and the holidays are my favorite time of year. I love getting together with my family and just enjoying time catching up, playing board games and enjoying some delicious food. The food is definitely one of the highlights because everyone is always trying their best recipes and old family favorites. The only thing I dislike about the holidays is all the pressure and stress of getting everything done and feeling like I would rather just sit down with the kids.
Sunday, I was invited to go visit Whole Foods in Hyannis to check out the Holiday Menu, sample some of it and see what I thought. I admit the ease of having the work already done for me plus no mess or time spent cleaning up certainly appeals to me plus the food was delicious! As a huge cheese fan, I was immediately drawn to the delicious looking baked brie with apple, cranberry and raisin on top. As soon as I tasted it I knew I had to have it for dinner this weekend! It comes frozen and all you have to do is pop it in the oven. I definitely will be adding this to my holiday meal shopping list and will unashamedly take full credit for making it myself to anyone who asks. It really is that good and perfect for an appetizer!
We moved on to sample some other delicious foods including green beans with crispy shallots, vegan roasted cauliflower, vegan lentil & mushroom stuffing and my personal favorite mashed potatoes rutabaga. I have no idea what rutabaga is or what it normally tastes like, but these mashed potatoes were the best I have ever had. I am responsible for the mashed potatoes this year and I am seriously contemplating ordering some and again passing off as my idea.
Last but certainly not least was the delicious roast turkey which Ethan gave a thumbs up. He is a super picky eater and he got several samples of turkey and declared it the best ever. All of these foods even the tasty pumpkin pie for dessert are sure to be a hit at any Thanksgiving table this year. I recommend giving Whole Foods in Hyannis a call and preorder something to make your life just a little easier. Whether you are cooking the meal or bringing a dish, order it ahead and spend more time with the kids. These meals give you one less thing to worry about! Check out the flyer below and be sure to order asap (orders must be made by the Monday before Thanksgiving).
So after last weeks blog post you may be wondering what does my family eat for meals/snacks. I will break it down by meal. But first we mainly buy grains and dried beans in bulk from Amazon Subscribe and Save and Purcell Mountain (only beans) for produce, other fresh goods and frozen goods we mostly get from Trader Joe’s.
During week the adults eat oat groats with cinnamon (ceylon) and a banana (we like the Bob’s Red Mill ones). The kids eat a fruit with chunky monkeys, oat bars, peanut butter packet, rice cake, Larabar or like, frozen whole grain waffles or Barbers whole grain animal crackers.
On weekends the adults oat groats or eat tofu scramble (tofu, caramelized onions, mushrooms and greens sauteed together) with homemade muffins or whole grain homemade waffles/pancakes. The kids have fruit and the waffles or pancakes (we always freeze the extras for another weekend).
I eat Peanut Butter sandwich, a fruit and a veggie (usually Santa Cruz PB, TJ’s sprouted grain bread, an apple, and a carrot).
My daughter eats lightly salted corn chips, Midel Graham Crackers, or lightly salted rice cake with a fruit and sometimes a nut protein.
My son fruit and corn chips, crackers, bread, rice cake or a bar of some sort.
My husband eats dinner leftovers and/or PB sandwiches.
We usually eat beans, a whole grain and a green or other veggie. On the weekend we might have lentil loaf with squash or a home made Indian or tomato sauce dish.
The kids have to choose a veggie and grain or bean (they like chickpeas best) but when we have lentil loaf with squash or a home made Indian or tomato sauce dish the kids have a veggie and pasta or a little meat.
The beans we like are chickpeas, Christmas Lima beans, Jacob’s Cattle beans, Giant White beans, lentils, black beans, Borlotti beans, split peas, Scarlet Runner beans and Baby Lima beans.
Our favorite grains are quinoa, millet, buckwheat and bulgar but we also enjoy rye berries, spelt, brown rice and Sorghum.
The adults favorite green is TJ’s Organic Tuscan Kale. We try to eat lots of different veggies as well as sweet potatoes, and squashes.
A snack always starts with a fruit/veggie or something that contains a fruit. Here is a list of store bought snack we get.
We drink mostly water, water with apple cider vinegar, and seltzer water. I do drink a cup of coffee every morning with homemade almond milk (I like it better than store bought). For more great Whole Food Plant Based healthy eating tips check out Dr. Greger.
What are your go to healthy meals?
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Every year, it seems as if school lunches are on the up and up. If you have two, three or even four or more kids, these paid lunches can add up so fast! Just like eating out at work, why throw all this money away, when you can do something about it.
If you don't think you have time to pack your child's lunch, it's time to think again! Packing a lunch can be done within a few minutes, if done right.
Offer a Variety
Don't stick with the same ole' peanut butter and jelly every day. If you do, your child is going to get sick of it pretty fast. Instead, try to offer a variety. While you don't have to have something different every single day, try to switch it up throughout the week.
For example, start with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, followed by a ham sandwich, etc. If you have leftover pizza, be sure to throw a pizza in to spice things up. The same can be said about the snacks, vegetables, pudding and fruits.
Your child doesn't want to open up their lunch and see a bunch of blah colors. Instead of sticking to the same old boring sandwich, try to liven up the lunch bag with colors. By adding vegetables and fruits, this is a fantastic way to add color and a lot of nutrition to your child's life.
When packing a lunch, you just have to remember that some fruits and vegetables won't last long in a locker. Try to stick with apples, bananas, tomatoes and berries.
Have Fun With It
This trick tends to work for children who are still in elementary. With their sandwiches, fruit and vegetables,
consider cutting it up into fun shapes and objects. For example, if it's Halloween, consider grabbing a cookie cutter and create a sandwich that looks like a pumpkin. This is a great way to motivate your child to look through most of the food in their bag.
Make it Easy
No child wants to eat something that is messy, like last night's lasagna. Kids, no matter what their age, are going to like easy-to-eat foods. Like what I've mentioned above, try to stick to the finger foods, such as sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and chips. If you're going to pack something, like a pizza, try to cut it up ahead of time, if you have the time.
Chances are you're going to talk with your child before they head out the door. If you do, be sure to take advantage of this. Ask your child what they want in their lunch, but instead of simply asking, give them options. So instead of saying, "Hey, what kind of fruit do you want?" you could say, "Do you want an
apple or banana?" Children love choices, and if you give them viable options, it should be easier to get an answer out of them.
Don't Forget the Treat
So many times, the parents often forget the treat inside of the bag. Yes, while it's great to focus on the great food, you don't want to forget about a sweet treat. Today, there are so many great options that you can choose as a sweet snack. This can include homemade muffins, Rice Krispie treats or a healthy chocolate granola bar.
Now that you know how to spice up your child's lunch, here are some tips to make packing a lot easier:
- Throw chips, cookies and anything else that can last in a pantry inside of a baggie. Store this inside of the pantry so that you can just pick them up and throw them in the bag.
- Set aside one day a week to whip up something fun, such as bread, muffins or cookies.
- Take the meat from last night's dinner and consider using it on sandwiches.
- Lastly, have motivation! Once you get into the habit of doing this, it will become a habit to you. Not only will your child thank you for it, you can save a lot of money by allowing your child to skip the hot lunch line.
Stephanie is from howmuchisit.org. Here, you can find thousands of cost helping guides. Whether you want to know something that is baby or health related, be sure to keep this resource in mind that next time you need to know the cost of something.
Fish tacos are a fun and nutritional meal for kids! Tacos always seem to be a kid favorite however it can be a very, very messy meal. Fish is also a great source of protein and healthy omegas!
We tried these last week in our house and it was a quick, easy meal to make plus the Tiny Toddler finished all of it! You can use any type of fish you wish, however I would recommend either Flounder or Salmon.
Flounder is a light fish and low in Saturated Fat. It is also good source of Vitamin D, Niacin, Vitamin B6 Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
Salmon is low in Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
I involved my child with the process of preparing the ingredients and then also had him "help" put together his taco. Letting children be a part of the meal preparation makes them feel involved and usually results in the child eating more of the meal (especially for picky eaters).
~ Cook the fish, chopping it up as you go and add seasoning! We used the one that came in our taco box or you can make your own to add your own unique flavoring! (perhaps tropical tacos next time with pineapple???)
~ Make sure to heat up the tacos shells as it will soften them.
~ Once the fish is cooked, assemble the tacos together and Enjoy!
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What are your thoughts on LAKE Dyes (artificial dyes, in U.S. foods, banned especially red 40 - rash, head banging, loss of eye contact, basic Dr. Jeckle, Mr. Hyde. After I stopped eating red 40 - I stopped having migraines. If these chemicals have such a bad effect and or reactions, can these chemicals be good for anyone? Why are these chemicals still found in our foods?
What makes Twinkies appear unchanged, even after months on the shelf? In part, it’s the food dyes. Some government -approved food dyes also cause hyperactivity in children, leading the British government to ask food companies to stop using them. Industrialization of the food system, including a rise in food processing, has increased the use of food additives such as food dyes; preservatives and sweeteners. The FDA maintains of list of over 3,000 food additives, which includes those that are FDA-approved as well as those bypassing the approval process because the FDA has designated them as GRAS (generally recognized as safe).
Scientists have long been concerned that synthetic food dyes and other additives may contribute to hyperactivity and other disturbed behavior in children. Water soluble "dyes" are added to beverages, baked and dairy goods, and other products; non-soluble dye versions of the colors, called "lakes,” are used in hard candies, chewing gums and to coat tablets. Since 1990, all synthetic food dyes must be listed in food products by their common name. In 2008, based on recent science, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to ban the use of the existing food dyes in the U.S., and to require for the first time that new food additives be tested before going on the market for their toxicity to the brain and behavior. The petition also demands that the FDA remove the obviously false statement from its Web site that there is "no evidence that the food color additives cause hyperactivity or learning disabilities in children." We know synthetic food dyes are unnecessary. So, while more study could shed light on the exact impacts of food dyes on children, we know enough right now to choose safer substitutes, whether as parents, consumers or as food companies.
Things you can do? Eat whole foods, whole foods are better for you, and allow you to avoid the inspection of food labels necessary to avoid toxic food dyes. At home or at restaurants, avoid foods with synthetic food dyes, especially if your child duffers from hyperactivity, ADHD, or other learning or developmental disabilities and finally garden with your kids, visit a farm or join a CSA to help teach your children how ripe whole foods should actually look, smell and taste.
My son is 5 and has been beyond a picky eater since we started solid food. He literally gags and vomits when asked to even lick a new food. As the years have gone by he has now begun eliminating foods he has always eaten. He is now down to about 5 foods he will eat. When we bring this up to his pediatrician we are told that he falls on the height/weight chart so we shouldn't worry. This doesn't sit well with me. He basically eats pasta. I am concerned all those carbs are not good for him. We have an appointment for a feeding evaluation, but it's not for a few weeks...Do you have suggestions?
I would recommend involving your child in the preparation of the meals he is to consume, making it a fun time where he has some control and enjoyment in the process. I think the more you allow him to participate, the more he would be willing to try different and new foods. It may also be a matter of texture. Sometimes the texture of the food is a turnoff. I would experiment with different texture foods or possible using smoothies to add nutrients he may be lacking from not eating a variety of foods.
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1.) I find myself struggling to eat healthy. The chip, soda, candy diet is not working. What are some easy and quick nutritious meals to keep me energized enough to chase after my toddler? ~ Katie, Falmouth
I would suggest planning ahead and making small baggies of celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter, carrot sticks with slices of Swiss cheese, almond’s with dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins and apricots. You could also make
small Tupperware containers of yogurt with slices of fresh fruit such as apples, pineapple, cantaloupe and blueberries.
If yogurt isn’t one of your favorites, you could try cottage cheese. Essentially you want to create small, fresh packages of nutritionally sound meals. The less processed the better!!!
2.) I feel like my son is not getting enough vegetables in his diet. How much should he get a day or per week? What are some creative ways to incorporate them so he will eat them? ~ Lauren, Harwich
Toddlers should have (3) servings of veggies per day. A serving is one half of a cup of cooked diced vegetables – a half cup of tomato sauce also constitutes a serving of vegetables. Make sure your toddler’s veggie servings amount to a rainbow of color each day so that he or she gets a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes are all nutritional powerhouses. Any vegetable diced can be placed in scrambled eggs, in a dish of pasta
and on top of a pizza. Any vegetable covered with cheese is usually enticing and inviting to a toddler. I have even diced up butternut squash and added it to some macaroni noodles with some grated cheese at the daycare and the children never even guessed there was a vegetable lurking in their meal!!!
3.) What are some healthy snacks that I can share with my child? ~ Ashley, Mashpee
I suggest making snacks a fun time with your child to explore new tastes and textures. Make the event an opportunity for the both of you to discover different types of produce together… make it fun!!!!
About 1 cup each of fresh fruits: Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, banana, pineapple, and strawberries.
Wash and cut fruit into ½ inch thick slices. Discard rinds and peels. Press cookie cutters into the melon and pineapple slices to make different shapes. Peel the banana and cut it into chunks with a butter knife. Put all the pieces of fruit in their own small bowls so they are easy to reach. Hold up a skewer so you can see the pointy end, and very carefully, start sliding fruit onto the skewer in any order you like. Lay the filled skewers
on the serving plate. Repeat until all the fruit is gone.
Tuscan Bean Dip
1 can or 15.5 ounces cannellini beans, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 garlic cloves (peeled), veggies, chips and crackers for serving.
Open the can of beans and pour them into the bowl of the food processor. Add the olive oil and garlic. Process until the mixture is smooth. Remove the blade in the processor and use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into a serving bowl. Serve with your favorite veggies, chips, or crackers.
Tropical Celery Boats
1 can or 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained; 4 celery stalks (washed and patted dry); 3 tablespoons soft cream cheese.
Open the can of pineapple and drain it through a strainer over a bowl. Save the juice to drink or use later. Trim the ends and any leafy parts off the celery stalks. Cut the stalks in half across the middle. Put the cream cheese in a bowl and add pineapple. With a rubber spatula mix the two together until even. Use a butter knife to spread the mixture into the hollows of the celery stalk halves. Place the filled stalks on the plate and cover in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
I'm definitely obsessed with healthy cooking and making sure that my kids get tons of nutritious foods daily. I love finding new recipes, and sneaking in veggies whenever I can! Below are Twelve brainy breakfast ideas that Ask Dr
Sears have posted online. I thought I'd share since they all sound yummy!!!!
Enjoy twelve brainy breakfast ideas. Try to incorporate into your child’s breakfast a mix of as many of these five foods as possible: eggs, yogurt, fruit, whole grains, and omega 3’s.
As a mom to a baby rapidly approaching 1 year old, I find myself every day trying to get creative in foods I expose him to and the way in which I expose him. We have really begun to move out of small chopped indivdual pieces of veggies, fruits and meats. And while it is still great to use chopped pieces as snacks or for meals, we have started experimenting with presentation, ie: looking like adult food. We chose to use a Baby Led Weaning approach with our son but we also use baby food quite often. I am a huge fan or adding real veggies or fruits to the baby food jars, just to create texture. I have noticed how curious he is when he sees Mommy and Daddy eating different things especially pizza or fish. Because he often likes to mimic what we eat, I have been happily forced to eat better and prepare meals that we can both benefit from. We aren't perfect and every day is different but we found several snack/meal quickies that really work for us. Enjoy and let me know if they work for you! Bon apetit!
A quick and easy way to make pizza that is delicious, healthy and toddler friendly! Plus you can sneak in some healthy yummy veggies and protein for the little one too!
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Take a piece of flatbread/rollup, etc. and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on it and spread evenly with a spoon. (I personally prefer Lavash bread because it is heart healthy, has oat, bran and flaxseed-great for any BF moms out there).
Add toppings! You can choose whatever you find most delicious. I like using chopped up spinach, tomato, cheese (the picture above is cheddar, but I preferred the Montery Jack we had done the night before), and organic apple chicken sausage. The apple chicken sausage gives the pizza a really nice cinnamon taste when cooked plus it is healthy.
Add a few spices: basil and oregano.
Bake in oven for approx. 10 mins until edges begin to brown and darken.
Let cool, slice and enjoy!
Cut up into smaller pieces so baby can enjoy too!
I got a George Foreman Panini Grille last Christmas, and I really love using it, but you can make this snack just as easy with your toaster for a treat that is delicious for Mom and baby!
Veggies (you can choose more if you want): Brocolini, onion, zucchini, spinach,tomato.
Cheese (only 3 or 4 small pieces-cut up)
Humus (or another spread of your choice)
(You can also add some meat if you want!)
(If you don't have the panini or foreman, then toast the bread first)
Spread some humus over the bread. Then add chopped up brocolini (the ends not stems), onion, zucchini, and spinach.
Sprinkle little pieces of cheese.
Add tomato. I like to use only the inside part for this sandwich and just drizzle/glob it on different parts of the sandwich.
Put on panini/grille and heat til cheese melts and you have some golden bread! (If you toasted, then at this point put in microwave or crisp in over for less than a minute)
Cut into pieces and share with baby!
Fruit Yogurt Parfait
A yummy snack or breakfast that is quick and easy. If you make a few at beginning of the week, the granola with get really soft, making it even tastier! Plus it makes a great on the go snack for Mommy or Daddy!
1 container of Greek Yogurt-vanilla works great, but you can do whichever flavor or brand you enjoy best!
1 container of granola
Fruit: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, mango, etc
Take a small plastic or Dixie cup (or containers if you are making for the week). And scoop in some yogurt. It should be enough to cover the bottom. Tap the cup to even the yogurt out.
Add a layer of granola and then fruit. Tap the cup again to even it out.
Repeat this process using different fruits until you fill the cup up.
Put in fridge or serve.
"Traditional Grilled Cheese"
Warm frying pan and take out 2 slices of cheese from the fridge
Lightly butter 2 slices of whole grain bread
When frying pan has warmed, lay one slice of bread butter-side down top with 2 slices of cheese and then top with remaining slice of bread; butter side up.
Fry and flip sandwich as needed until bread becomes golden and toasted.
Hide meat and/or veggies in there!! Turkey, Chicken, Cooked Broccoli, Carrot Slivers, Onions, Peppers, Tomatoes or even Green Beans for example!
QUICK -N- EASY SMOOTHIE
1 cup 100% nothing added fruit juice (you do not have to use fruit juice-you can use vita coco, or any other liquid you choose!)
1 cup plain, vanilla or fruited yogurt (not with fruit on the bottom!)
Fruits or Veggies-banana, carrots, spinach, squash, zucchini, oranges, etc
Place yogurt and juice in a blender or a lidded container/cup and shake until mixed well
Pour into Toddler's cup.
Add in the fruit or veggies for an extra boost (ensure you grind/blend it finely enough to be able to pour out of cup).
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