Archive for the ‘Healthy Snacks’ Category
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!
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 )
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
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!
This post is dedicated to my best friend in the whole wide world, Missa. She hates cranberries.
Nothing signals the holiday season to me like cranberries. Whether you eat them out of the can in a jelly with your turkey or string them dried along with popcorn to decorate your home, the aroma and tart fresh taste of a ripe red cranberry gives me a sense of joy that many who do not like the fruit or have not tried it yet do not understand. I am alsways the first person to dig out a massive helping of fresh cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table, and I eat Craisins on a regular basis. My fascination with this fruit started early, after all, it is BRIGHT red and pink, much like one of my other favorite veggies, beets, and I just can’t get over the flavor. They are the perfect sidekick to any kind of poultry and can add a bit of flavor and “tanginess” to any number of overly sweet holiday dishes. It’s bright color, easy availability in winter and tart flavor make them the best addition to any holiday meal.
The nutrition factor in the cranberry is also one of my favorite selling points. I will be first to tell anyone that they should drink cranberry juice or take cranberry extract if they have problems with toxin buildup in their system, or need to flush out their body after a tough week of over-indulging. Cranberries blend of antioxidants and cleansing prowess make them a favorite for those who had too much eggnog the night before, or find themselves plagued by kidney stones or the dreaded UTI.
Many people are only aware of cranberries in the jelly form, slopped out of the can into an odd looking dish and attacked both clumsily and messily on the Turkey Day tablecloth. Some people prefer the cranberry sauce in more of a “preserves” form, with whole berries, and some people even eat them fresh, a tart but refreshing treat indeed. I prefer them frozen in my Cosmopolitan, but here are three cranberry recipes that might bring you out of your comfort zone this holiday season.
A spicy sweet and tart blend of flavors best served slightly chilled and added to a roast turkey or chicken dinner.
You Will Need:
4 teaspoons of pumpkin seed oil or canola oil
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1-1/2 cups chopped green onion, the green parts only please
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons minced sweet chiles
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons lime juice
Dissolve the sugar in the lime juice, then set aside. Heat the oil of your choice in a skillet over medium heat, and add the pepitas. Toast them for one minutes then sprinkle with salt. Remove them from the heat. In your food processor, spin the cranberries in bursts until they are in uniform chunks, and add the green onions, cilantro and chiles. When you are ready to serve your salsa, sprinkle the pepitas over the salsa mixture then drizzle the lime juice and sugar glaze over the top. Serve it with your turkey for a Spanish influence, or even serve it with taco chips!
Cranberry Blueberry Pie
A decadent pie that will be the highlight of your Christmas Party, and is surprisingly easy to make! Have your kids roll out the dough while the berries are cooking.
You Will Need:
1 16oz package of frozen blueberries
1 12ox package of frozen cranberries
1-1/4 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Heavy Cream or melted butter
Flaky Pie Crust Recipe
Preheat your oven to 400*F. Heat all of your ingredients in a medium sauce pan over med high heat, approximately 12-14 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken. Boil, uncovered for two minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer berry mixture to glass or ceramic bowl and let it cool completely. Remove the cinnamon sticks after the mixture has cooled. Using my Flaky Crust Recipe from the quiche post, make two balls of dough and keep them cool until ready to roll out. Roll one round into a cirlce, then set it in the bottom of a 9″ glass pie baking dish. Roll the other ball into a rectable and cut strips approximately 1-1/2 inch wide. Fill the pie with the filling then layer the strips in an alternating pattern to make a lattice over the top. Crimp the outer edge of the crust with a fork to make sure everything stays together and to make it look pretty, then brush the exposed crust with the whipping cream, or melted butter. Bake the entire pie for 1 hour and ten minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling bubbles slightly. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Allows for the use of pineapple in a Jello recipe, a rare treat.
You Will Need:
1 8oz can of crushed pineapple
1 3oz box of cherry or cranberry Jello
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup diced apple
1/3 cup chopped walnutsDrain the pineapple, but keep the juice off to the side. Dissolve the Jello powder in the boiling water in a 9X13 glass baking dish. Let it cool slightly, then add the cranberry sauce, and 1/2 cup of liquid from the pineapple. Mix until lumpy, then add the pineapple chunks, the diced apple, and the walnuts. Mix to combine, then let it cool in the refrigerator overnight until firm. Serve with whipped cream.
No food item in the history of mankind has been loved and hated as much as tofu. Well, I take that back, fruit cake should at least get an honorable mention, but tofu and fruit cake are loved and hated for often the same reasons. They both have a very strange texture, and the flavors in both foods are often a little less than you expect. But this is where tofu knocks the fruit cake right out of the park, because tofu, instead of staying bland and tasteless, easily absorbs flavor and with a little cooking and the right techniques, tofu can be almost anything you want it to be, whereas fruit cake is just… fruit cake.
How It’s Made:
Tofu is made almost the exact same way that cheese is made, but with one critical difference. It is made from soybeans, not milk, although the white liquid that it originates strongly resembles milk. The soybean “milk” is heated and the curd that rises to the top is scooped off, and pressed into blocks of varying textures. Each different type of texture is used in different recipes, from solid chunks cooked in a stir fry, to smoothies.
Types of Tofu:
Tofu usually varies between two main types, silken or firm, with different levels of firmness depending on the water content of each type.
Silken tofu is soft, no matter how much water it retains, and the difference between firm silken tofu and soft silken tofu is very slight. It can be cooked much like scrambled eggs can, but it is usually added as a moisturizer to recipes, or to create denser texture in baked items, desserts, and added to sauces or creams.
Solid tofu is more dense than silken tofu, with 3 different textures, soft, firm and extra firm. It usually comes packed in water to keep it moist, much like fresh mozzarella cheese. Soft tofu is just that, soft, with a creamy texture that does not stand up to grilling or “stand alone” cooking. It is used much like silken tofu. Firm tofu stands up to heat a little bit better, and can be stir fried, broiled, or baked in a variety of recipes, as a compliment or a substitution for the “meat”. Extra firm tofu is the most dense of the three, has the least water content, and has been pressed heavily for a long time. It can stand up to even the most vigorous grilling or sauteeing, and can be crumbled much like Feta cheese, especially after being frozen.
Why Eat It?
Tofu is loved for its nutritional qualities above all. It is very protein dense, so it makes a valid nutritional substitute for meat and poultry, especially for those who live vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. It has phytochemicals that fight heart diesease, flavenoids that protect against menopause and breast cancer, and no cholesterol and relatively low calories, make it a great tool for dieters. Tofu can be served as a side dish, as a main course, as an obvious ingredient, or can be hidden entirely, (great for picky kids). As I said above, tofu can add moisture and texture to dishes that need it, and wont change the flavor of the dish much, if at all. It has a very slight nutty flavor that compliments almost any combination of spices, especially ginger, coconut, cilantro, curry, and soy sauce.
One of the few difficulties that people find when cooking with tofu is that the dense and slightly slimy texture is almost impervious to marinating. The outer layer of the tofu usually benefits the most from sitting in a flavorful soak, but the inside usually remains unaffected. You can freeze your tofu beforehand, which makes the air molecules inside it expand, which tend to help a little bit, but you will be more successful if you chunk your tofu and cook it in the liquid marinade instead.
Where and What to Buy?
The best place to get good tofu is an Asian marketplace or specialty food store like Trader Joe’s, or Whole Food’s Market. Look for a name brand, or distinctly Asian packaging, and make sure the label has the originating country posted somewhere on it.
Tofu is truly a universal ingredient. It can be deep fried, pan fired, browned, grilled, sauteed, smoked, braised, broiled, scrambled, made into a sauce, added to soups, mixed with mayo, served over rice or noodles, used in place of beef or chicken, and flavored with just about anything. It doesnt have to be scary, bland, or squishy. Search the web for a classic tofu recipe, or try one of your own with tofu as a substitute. An easy swap is chicken and snow pea stir fry with tofu instead of the chicken, cut into small bite size pieces, or a traditional Mexican fajita recipe with tofu, as the spices give a great flavor to the tofu and the texture is about the same.
For great tofu recipes try: