Back in the Groove

Well, I blinked and the summer is over!  We had a fantastic summer filled with lots of swimming/competing, family visits, summer camps, trips and sleep away camps.  We are going into this school year with a 5th grader, 3rd grader, Kindergartner and Preschooler. That’s A LOT of snacks and lunches!  Here is my first post to get things started – a day’s worth of food for my preschooler:

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Snacks (in handmade sandwich bags at the top):  one has sliced carrots with mini pre-packaged Sunbutter, other has a fig bar and mini container of peanuts

Lunch:  Vanilla Almond Milk, half a Tofurkey/Veganaise sandwich on wheat bread, popcorn, sliced cucumbers and a Clementine

This entire lunch/snack combo was packed the night before.  Think about your child’s day and what his/her needs are, as well as what you have to work with.  For example, the containers you might use for a preschooler would be different from the containers you would use for an upper grade schooler.  Size of the lunchbox is a factor.  Do they need an ice pack?  Snacks probably will be in a backpack or perhaps not refrigerated.  Carrots are a great veggie to pack for snacks because they can last in the backpack until morning snack. Pair them with a nut butter, and you have great brain food to power your child through until lunch.  Most preschools provide snack, but I still choose to send my own for numerous reasons.  My daughter will only attend 3 days a week, but I still want her to eat what I would give her at home.

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Interested in handmade lunchbox napkins, sandwich bags and other creations?  Check out my Etsy store here or click on the link below:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/WholeFoodFriday/items

 

Fall in Love with Healthy!

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I feel that one of the most important messages you can send your children is to love feeling good and being healthy.  For me, this translates to feeding them healthy, home cooked whole food meals (MOST of the time; I am not shooting for perfect!).  We have very little processed foods in our home, no candy, chips, sodas, juice, sugar snacks, etc.  We have very little cereals (other than granola).  These things do make an appearance (except for the soda, never soda), but it is on a very limited basis. Most of the junk my kids eat is done out of my home.  Your children will eat what you eat, and what you provide for them.

If cooking from scratch every day feels overwhelming or unrealistic given your schedule, then I would encourage you to start with one day of the week to dedicate to cooking and eating whole foods with your family.  Breakfast is a very important meal, and one that is often overlooked or not given the attention it deserves given most families busy mornings.  One thing I do to ensure that my children eat a healthy nourishing breakfast before heading off to school is to make a huge batch of pancakes, waffles or muffins on Sunday. Freeze them in small portions, and then throughout the week you can just pull a muffin out of the freezer and defrost it, or pull a pancake/waffle out of the freezer and heat it in the toaster. Pair it with some fruit, and you have an awesome whole food breakfast that will start their day off right.

You can find the recipe I use for pancakes here.  It is really simple, and there is no excuse to not have made from scratch pancakes from now on!  Need some other ideas for a healthy, nourishing breakfast for your kids before school?  Try some of the ideas below:

  • yogurt with fruit, nut butter & granola
  • whole wheat muffins like the ones here
  • oatmeal with fruit, honey and granola
  • apple slices or banana with nut butter
  • whole wheat waffles like these (leave out the blueberries if you want)
  • overnight oats

Enjoy your day, and remember, fill your body and your kid’s bodies every day with LOVE!

Eating Healthy While Traveling

I know, I know, it’s hard enough sometimes to eat healthy at home, and now I am about to carry on about eating healthy while traveling.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like eating out.  It always makes my stomach hurt, and it’s just not something I make a habit of for this reason.  It also just doesn’t make financial sense for a family of six living on one income.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy occasionally eating out.  If I pick the right place, it is usually a positive experience.  Traveling is a different story for me.  I would rather eat healthy familiar foods and eat less than eat out 3 meals a day.  You never know what your options will be, and I would rather be prepared and play it safe.

I am writing this post as I am currently traveling to an out of town swim meet with my oldest child.  With a little planning and forethought, it is fairly simple to feed your child (and fuel your athlete, in my case) with healthy foods.  Driving to your destination makes it that much easier.  Flying is a whole different story which I will address in a later post.

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Some of my Travel Stash

Pictured above is some of the stash I brought.  We will be gone for 3 days.  I brought the following, some of which is not pictured here:

  • lentil soup (with an easy off lid that doesn’t require a can opener)
  • minestrone soup
  • Kind bars
  • everything pretzel crisps
  • almond butter
  • loaf of whole grain seed bread
  • apples
  • oranges
  • papaya (with a sharp knife to cut it)
  • pasta with loads of soy butter (cooked earlier today)
  • French bread with a little tub of soy butter
  • MEGA protein drink
  • homemade oatmeal raisin cookies
  • whole wheat crackers
  • vanilla soy yogurt
  • lots of carrots, peppers and cucumber slices
  • hard boiled eggs
  • quinoa/brown rice blend

We live an 80/20 lifestyle, so we will take advantage of the breakfast served in the morning at the hotel.  While it has additives and other ingredients I am not a fan of, there will be oatmeal available.  Oatmeal, fruit, bagels, toast, eggs, etc. will be breakfast choices.  The food I brought will carry us through the rest of the days.  I will most likely need to get my son some additional food, but I will be fine.  You can look at traveling as a good time to do a little mini purge, if you will.  Eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies, nut butter, and lots of water, and you will feel great when you go home!

Make sure you remember to bring a sharp knife to cut your fruits and veggies.  You can find plates, bowls and silverware in the hotel lobby. Make sure you reserve a room with a fridge and microwave, and you will be all set!  Oh, and if you are a coffee snob, make sure to bring your coffee and creamer as well!

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Now, I will enjoy my late night snack after driving all evening.  Have a great night ya’ll!

 

3 Days of Whole Foods (Kids)

Day 1

Breakfast:  fresh squeezed orange grapefruit juice, 1/2 banana, farina

Snack:  watermelon, whole wheat banana muffin

Lunch:  Pinto bean & cheese whole wheat quesadillas, carrot sticks

Snack:  Popcorn, homemade energy bites, apple slices & peanut butter

Dinner:  Rice Noodle, Tofu & Veggie Stir-Fry

Whole Food Friday School Lunch:  Feb 20

Whole Food Friday School Lunch: Feb 20

Day 2

Breakfast:  whole wheat banana muffin, grapes

Snack:  strawberries, oatmeal

Lunch:  1/2 Tofurkey sandwich, cucumbers, grapes

Snack:  Vegan Goldfish Crackers, apple slices

Dinner:  Whole Wheat Pesto Pizza, roasted tempeh/carrots/asparagus/sweet potatoes

Homemade Whole Wheat Pesto Pizza

Homemade Whole Wheat Pesto Pizza

Day 3

Breakfast:  Oatmeal with strawberries/raisins

Snack:  mango

Lunch:   sunflower seed butter sandwich on whole wheat bread

Snack:  leftover pesto pizza, grapes

Dinner:  Whole Wheat Burritos (brown rice, black beans, shredded cheese), corn on the cob

mango

mango

Fruit Spotlight: Apples

Apples are one of our favorite fruits.  They are so versatile, and who doesn’t love that delicious crunch? Honeycrisp is the apple of choice in our house lately.  These apples are huge, so they are not the ideal apple to eat whole.  They are perfect for slicing, though, and of course dipping them in something makes them even yummier!  Here is my morning snack today.  This looks like a lot of food for a snack, but we went for a run and ate breakfast 4 hours prior.  I was hungry!!!  My girls had the exact same snack, but a smaller portion.

Morning Snack

Morning Snack

  • apple slices
  • peanut butter
  • raisins
  • sunflower seeds
  • roasted seaweed

Fruit Spotlight: Nectarines

Did you know that if you use really ripe fruit in oatmeal, it needs no sweetener!  It’s true!  What a great way to cut out some sugar in the morning.  There is enough naturally occurring sugar in the fruit, and if you choose a ripe piece, it takes care of sweetening the meal for you!

Breakfast:  Oatmeal and Fruit

Breakfast: Oatmeal and Nectarines

This breakfast consisted of the following simmered for a few minutes over medium heat:

  • 1/2 apple, chopped, peels on
  • 1/2 cup multigrain cereal blend
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 Cup water
  • cinnamon

Cook, then top with 1 ripe chopped nectarine and pecans.  I also included apple slices for extra fiber.  Again, no sweetener was needed because of the ripe nectarines.

Oatmeal ingredients

Oatmeal ingredients

This lunch was a favorite of mine, overnight oats, which I actually ate at the beach today.  It really hit the spot after a morning of surfing, even after I had already eaten oatmeal for breakfast.  Again, there was no sweetener needed because of the ripe fruit!  This was so simple to throw together the night before and just grab and go the next morning.  I have actually started eating overnight oats a lot lately for lunch.  Add some nut butter and pair it with some raw veggies for a perfect wholesome meal.

Strawberry Overnight Oats

Strawberry Overnight Oats

Strawberry Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 Cup rolled oats
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 4-5 very ripe strawberries
  • 1/4 Cup raisins

Combine ingredients in a glass jar, refrigerate overnight and enjoy the next day!

After Swim Snack: Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Muffins

My kids come out of the pool hungry, and these muffins are always a big hit.  I decided to bring extras to share with the rest of the swim team, and several people requested the recipe.  I used a wonderful recipe from 100 Days of Real Food.  I followed it almost exactly, tweaking just a few things.  I used white whole wheat, coconut oil rather than butter, added raisins and used a mini muffin pan rather than a standard size.  I love mini muffins because the portion size seems more appropriate to me, especially for children.  It is so much easier for smaller hands to handle a mini muffin.  A 24-mini muffin pan is ideal for this recipe because you only have to fill one pan, bake and you are finished!  As I have mentioned before, white whole wheat is still whole wheat, just from a lighter wheat grain.  It produces a lighter muffin with a more mellow flavor that the darker wheat grain.  There is no difference nutritionally.  Shown below is 48 mini muffins because I also provided snack for my son’s classroom one day.

Apple Walnut Muffins

Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Muffins

Whole Wheat Apple Walnut Muffins

Makes 24 Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 Tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1 Cup shredded apple (use a cheese grater and shred the whole apple, including skin)
  • 3/4 Cup chopped small walnuts
  • 3/4 Cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large mixing bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients (dry) and mix with a spatula.  In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, maple syrup, water and coconut oil together.  Add to dry ingredients and combine with spatula. Add in shredded apple, including juice created from shredding it, along with walnuts and raisins and fold gently in.  Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly among 24 mini-muffin cups and bake for 8-10 minutes.   ****I use a mini ice cream scoop to add the batter to the muffin cups, and it works perfectly.  The muffins are all uniform, with fairly rounded tops, and the batter is perfectly divided evenly amongst the muffin cups.

Enjoy!