Thursday, June 18, 2015

Trail Mix

During our last Costco trip my oldest asked for trail mix. The problem is that she hates raisins, so I feel like buying it is a waste. Today we made our own, by basically throwing in a bunch of stuff that we had in our pantry. It turned out AMAZING and my kids had fun helping me make it. Plus it has less salt and sugar than the prepackaged stuff.  Here's what we threw in it:

Trail Mix
6 oz dark chocolate covered cranberries
3 oz Sunny Seeds (chocolate covered sunflower seeds)
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup dried blueberries
2 cups dried cinnamon apples
2 cups pop corn (no butter or salt)
1 cup pretzel goldfish

1. Let one of the kids stir it all together in a large bowl. 2. Bag it up for adventures and road trips. :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mom, why are we going in circles?

Today I took a back winding road to take my kids to rock climbing camp. Because there are fewer stoplights it takes just as long as the straighter, more highly trafficked path, plus the scenery is much
nicer. On the way my son asked "Mom, why are we going in circles?" I laughed. "We're not buddy. We're on our way to where we need to go, this road is just winding."
 I thought about this and how it applies to exercise and life sometimes. Sometimes we feel like we are going in circles. We're doing the same workouts or eating the same salads and we don't feel like we are making progress. We still have love handles, we still don't have a six-pack. It may feel like we are just going in circles, when in reality we are making progress. Our muscles are getting stronger. Our cardiac system is cleaner and more efficient when we exercise and eat healthy. But it takes awhile. It's not any one magic workout. There is not any one magic meal and suddenly you have hit your fitness goals. It's about the culmination of thousands of small decisions.
 Sometimes in life I feel like I am going in circles. There are days where I feel like my efforts have not yielded the results I want. I still have debt and this year has shown that things often don't go as planned. Although so many things seem like I am going in circles, I'm still making progress, I am still going somewhere. I have taken almost half the classes towards my Master's degree. Sometimes it feels like we are not making the progress we want to because the road is congested or winding, but that doesn't mean that we aren't getting stronger and we aren't moving ahead. And just because it feels like you are moving in circles does not mean that you should give up!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Goddess Noodles with Broccoli

 Here's another winner from Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week, with a few minor changes. The original recipe is all broccoli, no cauliflower, but either way I think the addition of red pepper flakes is a nice touch. I left the red pepper flakes and chives out of my kids' portions, but otherwise, they ate it and loved it.

Goddess Noodles
12 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons plus one teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped green onions
3 cups chopped broccoli
3 cups chopped cauliflower
8 oz of tempeh, diced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup warm water

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions 2. Mix water, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast,
red pepper flakes and salt. (Tahini thickness may vary by brand, you may need to add a little bit more water to get a smoother consistency.) 3. Saute tempeh in 1 Tablespoon of oil until browned (roughly 10 minutes). Transfer to a plate. 4. In the same pan saute broccoli and cauliflower in 1 Tablespoon of oil. When the broccoli & cauliflower are nearly done, add garlic and remaining oil. 5. Once the veggies are cooked, add green onions, pasta and tahini sauce. Toss to coat.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Healthy Ideas for Picky Eaters

People who have met my children, particularly my son, have heard tales of their pickyness. He is very fortunate to have been born in the time and place that he was, otherwise he would probably be a early childhood mortality statistic. As a toddler we had to put him on appetite stimulants, he was that determined not to eat. Keeping them alive this long, I've read dozens of books and articles about trying to get kids to eat healthy foods. Here are some ideas that have worked for me, they may not
work for everyone, but they are certainly worth a shot.

  1. Be an example- When your kids see you eating healthy foods, they are more likely to try it themselves. My youngest has no recollection of our family eating 'the standard American diet'. Most of the time if she sees me eating a salad, she would rather have that versus what my older kids are requesting.
  2. Dip- For some reason kids find foods you can dip very appealing. And why not? Dip=party food. It can be healthy dip too! My girls love carrots in hummus. Even Mr. Picky himself will sometimes eat carrots in ranch. Whole grain tortilla chips in salsa are a big hit at our house, as are cut veggies in tzatziki. Roasted cauliflower in peanut sauce is a winner too.
  3. Get them to help. Kids are more interested in eating things that they helped purchase, grow and/or prepare. 
  4. Get their input. Ask them 'What fruits and vegetables would you like to eat?'
  5. Keep dried fruit, nuts or popcorn in your car/purse. More often than not, when we are on the go, the kids complain of being hungry. If they are really hungry, and not just bored, they'll eat the healthy snacks that I keep on me. If not they can wait.
  6. Always have cold water available. My kids will always choose the ice water over the room temperature juice. Before we leave the house, I try to make sure that every kid has their respective water bottles and they have fresh ice water in them.
  7. Keep trying, keep exposing them to healthy foods. Try exposing them to foods prepared in different ways. I was thoroughly amazed when one day I roasted Brussels sprouts and my oldest couldn't get enough of them. She ate half a pan, when the week before she wouldn't touch them.
  8. Mix veggies in smoothies. I try not to rely completely on this. I want my kids to learn to eat healthy whole foods, but I am not above blending spinach, beets or carrots into smoothies (or soups or sauces).
  9. Stick to your rules. In our house, if my kids want a treat they have to have a fruit or a vegetable first, and they need to have eaten whatever the previous meal was.
  10. Make it fun. Arrange foods into faces or use cookie or sandwich cutters to give the food fun shapes.
  11. Stay positive. Don't get angry and keep encouraging them to try new things
I can't say that my kids always willingly eat healthy foods, but we have made so much progress!