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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

5 a Day

Learn how to make five a day (and more) a reality with these few tips.

Use fruit as a snack – How will you reach for fruit instead of chips? Well, take the chips out of the house. Then, cut up your fresh fruit in preparation for snack time. Whip up a little fruity cream cheese dip so that kids can enjoy dipping their fruits. What fruits work well for this? Try strawberry pieces, bananas, peaches, melon, oranges and apples. Apples are also great dipped in low-fat caramel.

Vegetables as a snack – One good turn deserves another. Lay out veggie trays for family and friends to snack on when they come over. Avoid bringing sugary snacks at get-togethers so no one has to be tempted with unhealthy fare.

Drink your juice – When you are in a hurry, you may not necessarily want to munch on an apple. With all the fiber, it will be slow going to get it all down. How about juice? There has been a lot of literature on fruit juices. As long as you stick to 100% fruit juice and no more than eight ounces a day you won’t get too many calories and you can count that as one of your five a day.

An alternative is to juice your own fruits and vegetables or make a smoothie. Invest in a juicer and create your own combinations that have all of the nutrients with none of the preservatives and extra sugar.

Dried snacks – This works best with fruit. Carry a bag of dried fruits with you to snack on when you want something sweet.

Spruce up dips and sauces – Cut a few extra vegetables for sauces, casseroles and salsa. It already contains some vegetables when you buy them from the store, but those extras you add provide texture and more opportunities to sneak in a few extra veggies. Here are some easy dip recipes.


~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Proven Cancer Fighting Convenience Foods

Fast, convenient food can actually help fight cancer. Just because you are on the go, doesn't mean you have to ignore your health. The trick is knowing which foods are cancer-fighters and incorporate them into your everyday life. Let's take a look at some of the healthiest convenience foods that help prevent cancer. Chances are, you will be surprised about at least a couple of them.


Beans

Almost every type of bean you can imagine has great cancer preventing enzymes. These enzymes are released when cooked and many of the canned beans you buy in the grocery store have the enzymes preserved. They are canned at the peak of their freshness and cooked to perfection to kill bacteria as well as begin the enzyme breakdown process.
Learn how to cook beans

Garlic

The natural health benefits of garlic range from anti-viral properties, to preventing diabetes and even reducing the risk of high blood pressure or cholesterol. Garlic may be too strong in its raw state for some people, but, never fear; garlic still holds much of its nutritional value when cooked.
Try our favorite Garlic Sauce Pasta

Lentils


For such a small legume, this guy packs a big punch in the health department. Once again, convenience in a can prevails. Give these fellas a rinse and they're ready to enjoy in a nice chilled salad or cooked in a simple soup. Packed with fiber and able to help reduce heart disease, lentils have strong cancer-fighting abilities.

Try this lentil soup


Brown and Wild Rice

Brown and wild rice have almost 80% more nutrition than enriched white rice. As a matter of fact, the instant brown with wild rice varieties still have more than 75% more nutrition than the instant white rice. If you are concerned about your risk for colon cancer, brown rice not only has enough fiber to minimize the amount of time cancer-causing substances remain in your colon, it also packs a bunch of selenium, which is shown to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer. Keep the convenience factor by cooking up a batch and keeping small portions individually packaged in your freezer ready to eat when you are.
Learn how to cook whole grains


Oatmeal

According to the American Cancer Society, oatmeal is not a cure for cancer since a cure has yet to be discovered. However, oatmeal is one of the best foods to prevent cancer. With the large amounts of insoluble fiber contained in oatmeal, the body is able to fight against the toxicity of bile acids which helps to lower the risk of cancer. Oatmeal is quick to cook, but you can also enjoy it baked and tossed with nuts for an easy granola treat.
Oatmeal Recipes

Vegetables


Broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage have a powerhouse of cancer-fighting properties. Also, the dark leafy green vegetables such as romaine lettuce, collards, kale, spinach, and beet greens help keep numerous cancers at bay.

Many of the vegetables can be eaten raw or lightly steamed. You can find most of these veggies sold already cut up for you, which is a great convenience factor. Also, look for the frozen or canned varieties for even faster and easier preparation.
Cooking Vegetables Tips and Recipes
Print off a Kids Food Nutrition Chart


Tomatoes

Lycopene is the name of the game when it comes to tomatoes. Lycopene is a phytochemical, which plants use to color their fruits. If you see a fruit with a red coloring, like a tomato, you can be sure lycopene is the reason. Eating lycopene rich foods has a great impact on protecting against cancers of the stomach, colon, lung, throat, breast and prostate. Lycopene can also be found in grapefruit, watermelon, and strawberries. If slicing a tomato doesn't sound convenient to you, throw ripe tomatoes in your food processor and chop them up. Store them in the refrigerator and they'll be ready to throw on a salad or mix into your favorite rice dish. Or, simply buy cans of diced tomatoes for convenience sake.
Learn how to make tomato sauce

These simple foods can be turned into snacks or meals in minutes so you can give your body the cancer fighting weapons it needs without standing at the stove all day. The motto to remember is this - keep it simple when planning a healthy diet. Eat conveniently, and eat well, to stay healthy.

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kids Cooking Video- Homemade crackers

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Healthy Habits For Kids

Healthy habits for kids are unfortunately something that fewer parents these days are cultivating. Some of the most important habits you can encourage in your kids revolve around eating and activities. Let's take a look at some of the important habits you should help your kids develop in order to stay healthy throughout life.

Eating Habits

Eating meals in a regular pattern each day can be a big part of staying healthy. It keeps the body fueled throughout the day and keeps digestion and bowel movements regular.
Kids should eat three good meals a day, every day, with healthy snacks spaced in between. Skipping breakfast or using a "breakfast replacement" shake is not an option. Make sure your kids are up in the morning with plenty of time to have a wholesome breakfast. There's truth in the old cliché that breakfast is "the most important meal of the day" - it's a chance to take in energy after a period of rest. Without a wholesome breakfast, many children will have trouble concentrating at school and develop bad habits around eating as they will experience hunger at inconvenient times throughout the day.

Types of Food

The easy availability of cheap fast food, high in fat and sugar, is wreaking havoc on the health of modern children. Getting this under control in your household is a huge step toward creating good health habits in your kids. Some sweets and the occasional hamburger are fine, but they must not become the norm and they must be counterbalanced by plenty of fruit and vegetables, as well as high-protein, low-fat foods like fish, eggs, chicken and lean meats. Low fat dairy products and yogurt are also good for getting essential vitamins and minerals into a child's diet.

Avoid overfeeding your child on so-called "low fat" foods that are high in sugar content - these are major contributors to the obesity epidemic and the rise in diabetes, just as much as greasy hamburgers.

Setting an Example

Obviously, everything you do yourself should be designed to set a standard for your child. Children, especially when they're very young, tend to model their behavior around one or both of their parents. If you tend to be "too busy" for breakfast or wolf down two cheeseburgers every night, your child will come to see that as normal and acceptable and start to mimic it. And remember, your child may have a different metabolism from you - you may very well be able to have two cheeseburgers a night and not gain any weight, but it doesn't mean the same will be true for your child. And just because an eating habit doesn't make you gain weight does not mean it's actually healthy - it can still do you a lot of harm internally.

So aim to keep all your eating habits moving in a healthy direction and practice what you preach - it's very hard to get kids to stick to healthy habits if they can see Mommy or Daddy breaking those same habits every day.

Read more Healthy Eating tips and ideas



~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Monday, August 12, 2013

Healthy Substitutions

With trying to improve on our healthy eating, I've been making healthy substitutions a lot in the last 6 months. My favorite is substituting oil for applesauce. This works great in recipes such as pancakes or waffles. You can substitute all or half of what is called for in the recipe. Here are some more substituting ideas.
  1. Replace sweet potatoes for pumpkin
  2. Replace shortening for butter
  3. Replace butter with canola or olive oil
  4. Replace white flour for wheat flour. 1/2 wheat and 1/2 white works the best but you can experiment different ratios to your preference.
  5. Use carob for chocolate.
  6. Add pureed baby pears in place of oil.
  7. Add pureed beans in place of oil.
  8. Use cocoa instead of chocolate chips.
  9. Use plain yogurt in place of sour cream.
  10. Replace nut butters for butter or spreads.
  11. For buttermilk use 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and add milk to equal 1 cup.
  12. Substitute cottage cheese with plain yogurt or sour cream.


Many people have allergies to eggs, wheat, nuts or other ingredients so they need to substitute or use recipes that don't have certain ingredients. Here is one excellent recipe submitted on our website perfect for those with an egg allergy.  

Eggless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets. Mix the shortening, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until smooth and fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the peanut butter mixture and mix until well blended. Drop cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork that has been dipped in flour. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes.


Find more Baking Substitutions

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 More Kids Healthy Snacks

Continuing on our Kids Healthy Snack Ideas.
Being on the go is no excuse to eat poorly. Having a healthy convenience snack on hand is not only practical, but it keeps you from visiting the snack machine down the hall every fifteen minutes. Let's take a look a ten of the healthiest convenience foods around to keep you active, on the go and, of course, healthy:

1. Natural Nut Clusters

These little nut clusters are full of nutrition and great taste. Available at most stores, and in different nut assortments, nut clusters are naturally made and limit the amount of preservatives needed in the bag. With just the right amount of natural sugars and different nuts, a handful of these snacks will leave you satisfied.
Nut Clusters

2. Yogurt Raisins

A favorite of grownups and kids alike, yogurt covered raisins hold a host of benefits. The sweet and salty flavors mesh well together and provide a range of antioxidants. Great to grab and go, yogurt covered raisins can provide a healthy snack for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Yogurt Raisins

3. Trail Mix

Trail mix is a great source of protein as well as providing your fruit servings for the day. Grabbing a small bag of trail mix will give you the fiber needed to fill your stomach and keep you satisfied between meals. Choose varieties that are heavy on the nut, whole grain, and dried fruit, and light on the chocolate.

4. Protein Smoothie

Perfect for the morning rush, protein smoothies are easy to make and quite versatile. Adding different fruit to the mix can change your drink from a strawberry banana bliss to a peanut butter banana dream. You can buy protein powder to boost the nutrition.

5. Dried Fruit

Drying fruit is different than cooking it. When fruit is dried, the nutrients remain intact because it is not heated over 170 degrees. Fruit has plenty of antioxidant properties and amino acids, and when dried, the best parts remain. While you wouldn't want to overload on dried fruit because of the natural sugars that run rampant, a few servings of dried fruit is a healthy way to tide you over until dinner.

6. Bean and Cheese Burrito

While there are plenty of different bean and cheese burritos on the market, all of them are pretty much the same. You can find organic, all natural burritos, but most are fairly healthy; just read the labels. Of course, you can easily wrap up a stash at home and keep them in the freezer for quick snacks, lunches, or dinners.

7. Soups

It is amazing how satisfying soup can be. When choosing a soup to take along, choose the low sodium and low fat varieties. It is also important to stick with clear broths or stocks to cut down on the additives which are needed to keep the milky sauces from expiring.

With the reduction in fat, salts, and additives, you will be able to enjoy a great bowl of soup without sacrificing health. Make your own soup simply at home by mixing a can of broth with some vegetables, rice, or pasta. Store in single serving containers in the freezer and you can have a healthy cup of soup in minutes.
Check out our soup recipes.

8. Veggies and Dip

You can enjoy veggies with lots of yummy dip without sacrificing your good, healthy eating habits. Substituting hummus, baba ganoush or yogurt for the traditional ranch or blue cheese dressing, you will be able to enjoy your favorite veggies without all of the guilt.
Easy Dip Recipes


9. Food Bars

There are a plethora of food bars to choose from. Many of them are extremely health-conscious and can be a healthy snack.
Fig Bars


10. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a fantastic snack. Not the instant kind, filled with sugar and artificial flavoring, but the actual kind you make on the stove. Sure, not often considered a convenience food, but when you think about the eight minutes it takes to make instant oatmeal and let it cool and then look at the nine minutes it takes to make regular oatmeal, you can decide the convenience for yourself. You may also just like to nibble on raw oatmeal, or toast it quickly and turn it into a quick granola feast.
Homemade Oatmeal Recipe


No matter what your schedule, you can afford a few minutes each day to eat a healthy snack or two. The nutritional needs of an adult differ from that of a child. These snacks are meant to keep an adult satisfied without adding too many calories, fat, salt, or sugar to their diet. If maintaining a healthy weight is a concern, eating a couple light snacks during the day can help burn fat and keep you from eating larger meals than you have to. Snack smart with these convenient foods and stay healthy and fit.

More Snack Ideas

Kids Healthy Snacks
List of snacks- print off and add to your fridge for a quick reference
Preschool snacks
Snacks with 6 or less ingredients
See more healthy snack ideas
More Snack recipes and ideas blog posts

Easy Kids Snacks kindle or paperback

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Thursday, August 1, 2013

10 Healthy Snack Choices For Kids On The Go

For so many years, convenience foods have been considered to be chips, canned meats and other, rather unhealthy foods. The fact of the matter is, today many foods have become convenient, but the stigma behind unhealthy convenience foods is still hanging around.

Childhood obesity is a problem in our culture today and we blame it in part on these convenience foods. In attempts to shed some pounds from the myth that all convenience foods are bad for kids, here are 10 healthy convenience foods great for keeping kids fit:

1. Raisins

There is a little bit of sunshine in every box. Raisins are a great snack for kids. They are ultra-portable and packed with vitamins and nutrients. It doesn't get much more convenient than grabbing a little box of raisins on the way out the door.

2. String Cheese

Prepackaged cheese is one of the best convenience foods around. String cheese is made with skim milk so is low in fat. It is not neon orange color; it is natural. When you see cheese that is neon orange, it has dyes added, which you don't need.

3. Yogurt

A helping of dairy in a single portable cup. Yogurt is a tasty and healthy option for kids; it provides calcium, healthy bacteria and makes for a great fruit dip. Mix in a bit of fruit, add a topping of granola, and you've got a complete treat.

4. Trail Mix

A hand full, or three, of a natural trail mix can be the perfect on-the-go snack for kids. With the fiber to fill them up and the nutrition to keep them going, trail mix is a handy energy snack for active kids. Resist the temptation to buy the ones with lots of chocolate, coconut, or other sweets. A little sugar goes a long way. Opt for trail mix with lots of grains, nuts, and even dried fruit.

5. Popcorn

A light and filling snack anytime day or night. Void of the oils and salt, popcorn is an incredibly healthy snack. If you need something for flavor, try some of the all-natural seasonings. Parmesan cheese packs a lot of flavor in just a few sprinkles. A combination of dried herbs can make this healthy snack even better.

6. Applesauce

Mix it with cinnamon, stir in some strawberry puree, no matter what you do, applesauce will always be a healthy, convenient comfort food. Remember how good it was when you were a kid? It still is one of the all-time favorites. Just keep it handy and your kids will gobble it up.

7. Fruit

Nature's convenience food. Oftentimes wrapped in its own convenient package, fresh fruit is easy to tote around and great for you. To boost the convenience factor for kids, peel a variety of fruit and package it in zip-lock bags or plastic food containers. Be sure to squeeze a touch of lemon juice in to make sure everything stays fresh.

8. Beef Jerky

You might not automatically consider this a healthy convenience food, but it is. The reason is because in order to prevent the jerky from going rancid, the process calls for trimming the fat off before it's cured. It's also a great source of protein without the carbs. The jerky is first marinated and then smoked which is a preferred method of cooking for people who are health conscious. Most kids like bacon, and this is a healthier alternative which is also convenient for on-the-go nibbling.

9. Pretzels with peanut butter

Just the right amount of creamy-crunchy goodness, pretzels dipped in peanut butter are nutritious and quite portable. Choose fat free pretzels and natural peanut butter and you'll have a healthy snack perfect for those days filled with soccer practice, guitar lessons, or other things that keeps kids and parents on the run.

10. Fig Newtons

Available in a wide variety of flavors, fig newtons are a great way to pack in some fruit. With only about 20 calories from fat, this is a great snack for kids with a sweet tooth. These little nuggets are a very nice option for sugary treats.

If your kids are on the go as much as you are, having healthy convenience foods on hand will make life much easier. Choose some of these healthy convenience foods the next time you are at the store to keep your kids satisfied, active, and healthy.

More Snack Ideas

Kids Healthy Snacks
List of snacks- print off and add to your fridge for a quick reference
Preschool snacks
Snacks with 6 or less ingredients
More snack recipes and ideas blog posts


Easy Kids Snacks kindle or paperback

~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~