Archive for the ‘Healthy Snacks’ Category

Why is it that every time you head into the grocery store one of your children says their hungry or your baby begins fussing and gnawing on their chubby little hands?  You go in with your list, and hurriedly try to get out of the grocery store before meltdowns, and whining begins.  Every time I head into the grocery store my toddler complains of hunger.  He asks for everything on the shelf, and throws a fit unless he gets it.  Not wanting to start a war in the grocery store I find myself opening packages on the shelf to appease my toddler, and throwing the additional item not originally on my list into the shopping cart.

Out of desperation I decided to make a healthy version of a candy necklace using Cheerios in hopes to keep my toddler occupied in the cart while I grabbed the much needed necessities to fill my bare fridge.

First, I went to Walmart, grabbed some basic yarn, and chose different flavors of Cheerios to adorn his necklace with.  He was happy to help me string the Cheerios on the necklace, and was very excited to wear it once we finally arrived at the grocery store.  I plopped him down in the cart, handed him his candy necklace and began shopping.  

This was by far the most peaceful shopping experience I have had since having my son.  He was happily munching on his Cheerio necklace as I perused up and down the aisles.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t hear a peep out of him the entire trip, he of course needed some water, and wanted to share his tasty necklace with me while we shopped. 

All in all I’d strongly suggest this Cheerio necklace if like me your grocery trips are often times interrupted because of your child’s sudden insatiable hunger upon stepping into a grocery store.  What I loved is that your child can help you string the necklace before heading to the grocery store, helping encourage the use of their fine motor skills.  Now the cereal you choose doesn’t have to be Cheerios, any round cereal with a hole will work.  Happy grocery shopping!

 

I continue to refer to my toddler as a picky eater, but in reality I can honestly say I think most toddlers are picky.  As babies they happily ate up most anything you put in front of them.  As babies, everything is new, some new exciting texture, taste, and smell.  As toddlers, they realize they have their own personalities, their own likes and dislikes.  Anyone with a toddler will tell you they are hardheaded, strong willed.  My toddler would personally live off graham crackers and milk all day every day if I gave him the ability to choose. 

 

I find myself often times frustrated at his lack of desire to try different things.  Toddlers like routine, and change is a hard concept.  For some it’s harder than others.  “They” say that toddlers take up to 3-4 times of seeing something new on their plate to try it.  Who is “they” anyways?  And “they” clearly haven’t tried feeding my picky eater.  So, being the creative mama I am I watched my sons eating habits, focused on things he liked and didn’t like.  He prefers to drink his food; he loves “shakey’s” also known as milk with some sort of protein powder.  He loves his milk, and prefers to drink his food rather than eat.  Who can really blame him, drinking takes less time than sitting down to eat, and his little busy mind has things to do and places to see!

I was worried he wasn’t in taking enough healthy calories because of his inability to try new things.  Some days it seemed like he would only eat a bite of bread and maybe 4 goldfish and call it a day.  I talked to his pediatrician who said he was thriving, and growing so to try not to worry, and continue to offer him healthy meals.  Out of desperation and frustration I started making him smoothies and shakes.  The options are really endless, with different fruits, juices, milk, almond milk, you name it.  He also is at the age where he loves to help.  Mixing and pouring can keep him busy for hours, so I put him to work helping to pour different fruits, milk, and juices into the blender.

I purchase a sugar free vanilla, or chocolate protein powder to add some healthy calories into his smoothies and shakes.  There are so many different options but I’d like to share a few of our favorite recipes below. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or sugar-free carnation instant breakfast)

1 tbsp peanut butter (if your child is allergic you of course would want to skip this)

½ banana

Mix all ingredients, and enjoy!

 

Another staple smoothie in our house is:

Berry Smoothie

1 cup milk

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or vanilla carnation instant breakfast)

½ cup mixed berries

¼ fresh spinach

Mix all ingredients, and enjoy!

 

Like I mentioned above, options are really endless.  You can use mango, strawberries, add a teaspoon of cinnamon.  Experiment, and let your children experiment with you as well.  And most importantly enjoy these special moments with your children, they go much to fast!

Nothing screams fun like your first visit to a new pediatrician. Yesterday was the Kiddo’s first visit to meet his new Dr. and it was a long drawn out mess. We made it a joint appointment, with his cousin the Bug, and it was scheduled for 1PM. Thankfully I brought some toys and snacks, because we didn’t get seen until 1:50, and taking the time to carefully examine both babies, and get their medical histories down took quite a while, (we didn’t leave until 4!!!) especially while trying to keep two toddlers entertained in a tiny (and hot and stuffy) examining room.

I brought along some Snack Keeper cups made by Nuby, they have tops that are made to look like one of those door seals from Star Trek, and your toddler can put your his or her hand in to grab some Cheerios, the snack of the day, but the majority of them don’t come out. The lid is made of a super soft rubbery plastic and allows just enough room to put a baby hand in, but not enough room to get it stuck, and not enough room to let any Cheerios out. The cups have handles on both sides, and are very heavy-duty, stood up to repeated banging on the table, the trash can, the door, etc. They are also the perfect size for dry snacks like Cheerios and Goldfish, but could also hold a good amount of grapes or even some apple chunks if your toddler is old enough to eat them without direct supervision.

I did notice that the new game for the cups became “Let’s Take All The Cheerios Out And Not Eat Them”, but if your little one happens to be hungry enough to want to eat said Cheerios, the cups work great. They are also good for minimizing mess in the car while headed out on a day trip, or for letting your toddler be independent enough to carry his own cup of crackers or snacks. The lid seals pretty tight, and because of the patterned hole in the top there was no attempt to try to get it off to dump the cups. They are dishwasher-safe, and the ones that I bought from Sam’s Club came in a nifty two-pack with two Sippy cups, and were offered in a variety of girl and boy friendly colors. The journey towards the Sippy cup has been pretty slow, but the Kiddo is warming up to it.

He got all of his shots caught up for our state, which meant two more, which he wasn’t happy about while it was happening, but I managed to distract him pretty quickly by taking him out of the office while the Bug got her shots and walking around “backstage”. He even got two Bugs Bunny Band Aids! Such a brave boy.

I know what you were expecting. You thought I was going to tell you to go out and buy a dehydrator and make your own fruit roll ups. That is an excellent idea, but not what this is about.

Sometimes fruit on the go just isn’t an option. Maybe you need to keep clothes neat….or your car. I am not even going to research what exactly is in fruit roll ups. I’m always looking for healthy alternatives for foods that your kids will love. There’s no need to deprive your kids of such things like Fruit by the Foot, but you can get a serving of fruit into your kids and eliminate some of the dyes that these foods have in them.

Stretch Island Fruit Co. has fruit strips that offer 1/2 a serving of fruit in each strip. There are seven different flavors, all made with real fruit puree and no artificial additives. FruitaBu, another product offered by Stretch Island Fruit offers a portable fruit roll that contains a full serving of fruit from real fruit puree. There is no added sugar in either of these products.  Even their packaging is BPA free. These products are a easy and portable, without the extra hassle of making and packaging it yourself. These snacks are not just for kids either. I love them and it is a great way to get in some servings of fruit into my on the go diet. If they are not in your local grocery store or Natural Food Store, you can buy them right online from  http://www.stretchislandfruit.com. Enjoy.

I haven’t been on the computer much this weekend. There has been beautiful weather, so I spent the majority of my weekend outside with my kids.  We got home a little later then we had planned last night, so I had to quickly whip up some turkey burgers. Since there was not much thought involved with this meal, I looked in my freezer and pulled out some frozen edamame. My kids love it and this finger food is packed in protein and other nutrients,  such as; dietary fiber, Omega 3 Fatty acids, folic acid, manganese, vitamin K, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium and potassium.

Edamame are green soy beans. I purchased a frozen bag of edamame from my local grocery store for 1.39 a package. You steam the pods  for 4-5 minutes (in salt water or salt pods after.) Let them cool before serving. My oldest can handle taking the beans out of the pods herself, but I shell them for my youngest still. Edamame is addicting!

There are plenty of great recipes that use these soybeans. After I get some more at the grocery store, I will make some of them and post them for you with pictures.  Remember, these tasty little beans are SOYbeans, so those with soy allergies should not eat edamame.

Looking for that real mayonnaise taste without the unwanted eggs, dairy products, over-refined sweeteners, fillers, gums, colorings, preservatives, etc? Look no further then Vegenaise. This condiment is perfect for those watching their cholesterol or someone with allergies. Vegenaise actually tastes good. It is one substitution that you won’t mind making. Your kids will love it. It comes in 4 different varieties: original, grapeseed oil, organic and expeller-pressed. I used to only be able to find it at organic markets, but now it is available at my neighborhood grocery store. Vegenaise is a great alternative to mayo! You should try it!

I love the fact that at any grocery store or farmers market, you are able to get a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Every grocery store in our area imports fruits and vegetables that I didn’t even know existed! You don’t have to try crazy foods in order to get your kids to, but we think it is fun to try new fruits and vegetables. (Often times the store puts on a sign how these foods are best prepared, but if not a simple internet search will find plenty of recipes!)

I’m not going to tell you the importance of fruits and vegetables because, let’s face it, you know. One way to find out what your kids like is to give them a lot of options. It doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Cutting all the vegetables will be the most time consuming part, but having a healthy snack is the best part! Get the entire family involved. Prepare your “platter” on a weekend and snack on it all day long. Leftovers? Stir fry it up for dinner!

Some great options for vegetable platters

Broccoli, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumbers, Cauliflower, Green peppers, Red peppers, orange peppers, yellow peppers, radish, celery, tomatoes…..

You can also purchase salad dressing or dip packets for under a dollar and mix it with 8 oz of sour cream for a dip.

Your kids may just pick up a vegetable when it is right in front of them. Maybe they like green beans….try them uncooked with dip.

Fruit platters are another great way to get kids to snack on healthy foods. You can incorporate different types of cheese as well. Left over fruit can be made into a fruit salad or used on top of yogurt.

Good luck…you never know what your kids may like!

This recipe contains both peanuts and peanut butter. Most pediatricians do not recommend giving your children peanuts and/or peanut butter until they are at  least one. Please make sure if there are little kids around that these snacks are kept in a safe place!

This healthy snack is quick and easy to make. It is perfect for outings and camping. It only takes 10 minutes to throw together and makes 14 servings.

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1.2 cup finely chopped peanuts

1 small banana

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

Mash together banana and peanut butter. Stir in wheat germ. Roll individual tablespoons into balls.

Mix mini chocolate chip and chopped peanuts in separate bowl.

Roll the balls in the chocolate chip and peanut mixture.

Chill until firm.

These little balls of energy will keep your kids full and energized. Have a great day!
-Heather

Smoothies are a great way to pack a ton of nutrients into your little ones diet. (Yours too!!!) All you need is a blender! These tasty drinks are excellent for the whole family. A great breakfast on the go option on your way to whatever game, meeting or event you may have! Typically I have the ingredients to pull something together. You can use yogurt, Greek yogurt, milk, soy milk, ice cream,  juice (the list goes on!) and just add fruit (or peanut butter).

One of my personal favorites is to take frozen raspberries and blueberries and add orange juice. It is a perfect eye opener!

My kids love this coconut smoothie (which I have used as a dessert after dinner as well!)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1-1/4 cups pineapple juice

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

2 scoops ice cream

Blend it all together :o)

Frozen fruit works so well for smoothies! I try to keep some on hand at all times. Just ensure that the thickness of your smoothie is still able to be sucked up a straw! I hope you find these easy and healthy smoothie recipes a great addition to your meal/snack planning! Please feel free to share your own smoothie recipes on our Facebook page as well @MamaFeedMe.

I am always searching for a quick and easy cookie recipe that doesnt requires too much of anything, be it ingredients, cooking time, prep time, or calories. In the spirit of the holiday season, I am often barraged by hundreds and hundreds of holiday sweets guides, not easy for a blogger that is supposed to be focused on nutrition. But today the kid in me has won over, as I am the worlds biggest fan of shortbread. I love shortbread of all kinds and flavors, its so perfectly buttery and crumbly and just decadent. Even the cheap store bought short bread is delicious. I believe my love affair with all things shortbread comes from a deep love of my dear friend butter, but the recipe that I have found calls for the smallest amount of real butter, (only a cup!) and still turns out to be perfectly tender and crisp. The amount of butter in a shortbread cookie is relative to its delectability, and is necessary for not only its texture but a large part of its taste.

Shortbread cookies were popularized with the rise of quickbreads, after the invention of baking powder in the mid 1800’s, and have been mentioned in several classic novels and literature from that time period. They were very popular with French and English nobility.

Make a giant batch of these cookies and wrap them in pretty colored seran wrap for a Christmas party! Add a little red or green food coloring and make them the feature of your next holiday gathering! Dip them in chocolate, cover them in sprinkles and serve them up with whipped cream to makes scrumptious cookie sandwiches for your kiddos.  Or spend Christmas Eve with your significant other, sipping hot apple cider and munching on delicious shortbread cookies after a night of hurried Santa-related activities!

Simple Shortbread Cookies

You Will Need:
2 cups of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of salted butter
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
Cookie Cutters
A Rolling Pin
An Ungreased Cookie Sheet

Preaheat your oven to 350*F. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt until they are thoroughly combined. Using a handheld or standing mixer, whip the cup of salted butter until smooth using medium speed, then slowly add the powdered sugar to the butter. When the butter and sugar are combined you can again slowly add the flour mixture to the dough, until everything is mixed. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Dust a cutting board with powdered sugar or flour and roll out your dough in a large circle with your rolling pin, until it is about 1/3″ thick.

Use the cookie cutter of your choice to cut the cookies, pressing down firmly and wiggling slightly for the best cut, but remember don’t pick them up until all of your cuts have been made. When you are done making your impressions in the dough, pick up a portion of the dough that is left over and life it, removing the leftover dough to be rerolled and cut again until you have no dough left. Use a spatula to gently lift your cookies and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake your cookies in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. Let them cool in place on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling for the perfect texture and smooth crunch.  Be sure to try one of the cookies while they are still warm, with a glass of ice cold milk. I promise you, it will be heavenly.

This recipe makes approximately 24-30 cookies depending on the size and shape of your cookie cutter, and can easily be doubled or tripled depending on your party guest numbers, or gifts to give this year. This quick and easy recipe is perfect for the busy holiday season and can easily be made by your kids too, just as usual be careful with the oven and the mixer. There’s no eggs in the recipe so you won’t even get my lecture about licking the spoon!

Happy Cooking!