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

 

New Recipe (GF, Raw & Vegan) & One Great Birthday Gift!

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If you know  me well, then you know that I was beside myself when I opened one of my birthday gifts and it was……….a Spiralizer!  I know, its’s hard to contain the excitement isn’t it?!? Seriously, though, I was so excited to get this because I have wanted to delve into the world of veggie pasta for a long time now.  Last night I finally made a dish using my Spiralizer, and it was super easy!  Cutting the zucchini took a few minutes, tops.  It was fun to make and eat.  There is just something about eating “pasta” that you cannot resist! There are some of you I will never convince to eat zucchini pasta, but for those of you who are interested, here is what I did!  I followed this recipe from Pinch of Yum with some changes; my version is below.

I paired this with a yummy salad and corn on the cob for a delicious, filling meal.  I also made cheesy pasta for my swimmers.  It was their favorite by far.  They ate the entire bowl, saying it was even better than the boxed pasta that I buy from Amy’s!  I have made homemade Mac and Cheese before, following recipes to the ingredient, and I have never had this much raving about it.  I literally cooked some pasta, pulled it off the stove, and mixed in a few Tbsp. of butter and a handful of Mexican cheese!  Seriously, that’s it! LOVED IT!  It will definitely be a staple in my house over the next few weeks.  Without further ado, here is the recipe for zucchini pasta:

Zucchini Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • handful sliced cherry tomatoes
  • handful sliced red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • handful sliced carrots

Avacado Sauce:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Cup fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions (only green part), sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Mash avocado, parsley and green onions together in a separate bowl, then whisk in all other sauce ingredients.  Pour sauce over zucchini noodle blend and mix to combine.  Best eaten the same day!  ENJOY!

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!

Happy New Year!

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School Lunch: almond milk, carrots, cucumbers, oranges/pineapple, dried apricot, pumpkin seeds, 1/2 “soysage” sandwich

I hope everyone had an awesome past few weeks and is ready to tackle the New Year!  I know 2016 technically started a few days ago, but for us, it starts tomorrow when school is back in session.  I have enjoyed the time off, but I am ready to get back into our routine.  I have a new excitement for feeding the family and packing lunches/snacks with the change of pace the last few weeks!

While I don’t necessarily believe in New Year’s Resolutions (I think ANY time is a great time to make changes in your life!), I do think this time of year is a great time for most people to think about changes they would like to make in their life.  My husband and I always do a few days of drinking mostly vegetable and fruit juices to start off the New Year.  I realize that we have not been juicing lately, and I have been trying to figure out why.  We always have plenty of fresh produce in the house.  I realized that while the base for the juicer is on the counter top, all the parts are in a drawer.  So I moved the juicer beside the sink, and all the parts are now out on the counter next to it.  Having it next to the sink will make it easier to clean and set the parts out to dry on the drying rack.  Can’t get much easier that this!  I will post my food intake over the next few days so you can see what I do.  I always feel so much better after upping my intake of fresh juices.

What do you want to change about you or your family’s eating habits?  I want to hear from you!  Remember, if you don’t know where to start with your children or your family, start with yourself!  Here are a few places you can start if you want to improve your family’s eating habits!

  • YOU eat tons of fresh fruits & veggies – lead by EXAMPLE!
  • ONLY buy what you want your family to eat
  • MINIMIZE processed foods in your house
  • STOP eating out
  • INVITE your children to cook with you
  • ASK for your child’s input on what and how to pack their school lunch
  • PLAN PLAN PLAN!  Plan a menu, plan your grocery shopping trips, plan snacks around your child’s schedule
  • drink tons of WATER
  • JUICE daily if possible!
  • eat meals at home WITH your family WITHOUT media

Tackle these things one at a time.  Pick something each week that you feel you can realistically do.  Take it slow, and remember, ANY change toward healthy family eating is a good thing!

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!

 

New Recipe: Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

This is just one of those recipes that I knew would be perfect and delicious as soon as I read it.  Filled with ingredients I cook with every day, it was just what I was looking for!  I wanted something to use up some raspberries I had thrown in the freezer last week so they wouldn’t go bad.  I was on the search for something new and interesting for breakfast.  This is a recipe I used from Driscoll’s without any changes if you can believe it!  I have included it below for your convenience.  The only difference was that I used frozen raspberries, so instead of mashing them up, I blended them down in the Vitamix.  It worked great!

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Driscoll’s Healthy Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour *I used whole wheat
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats *I used quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (YIKES!!!) *I used 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 large egg whites *I used 2 eggs
  • 1 package (6 ounce) Driscoll’s Raspberries *I probably used a little more
  1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 9-inch baking pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Stir together whole wheat flour, oats, all-purpose flour, flaked coconut, sugar, nutmeg and salt until blended. Stir in coconut oil and eggs until moist dough forms. Reserve ¾ cup of dough. Press remaining dough into pan until evenly spread.
  3. Mash raspberries in a separate bowl and spread over dough in pan. Crumble remaining dough and sprinkle on top of raspberry layer.
  4. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan completely before cutting.

These will be a delicious breakfast treat for the kids tomorrow.  I know because I just ate the one in the picture!  I thought they were perfect, but if you are used to more sugar than I am, you will probably like using the brown sugar. I think that honey is better and all that is needed, and that is what I would encourage you to use!