SalmonBerry

Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Healthy Lunches for Kids

In Nutrition on October 21, 2015 at 4:20 am

“Time’s fun when you’re eating flies.” – Kermit the Frog

healthy lunches

Nobody likes packing school lunches. I used to put way too much pressure on myself to make it balanced even though my kids would rather run around during lunch time than eat (they consistently tell me they “don’t have enough time” to eat lunch). I am fine with this BUT kids do need nourishment to make it through the long school days that, honestly, seem pretty intense compared to what I experienced during my childhood. I wish they had more time for both playing AND dining. I find these two things to be most essential to life and wouldn’t it be nice if our schools could reinforce that? To that end, at my home, I’ve focused more on providing a solid, balanced breakfast than putting all my energy into lunch but that’s another post.

For some guidance in packing a healthy, balanced lunch that a kid might actually eat…see below:

  1. Three main elements to a healthy meal: protein, healthy (plant-based) fats, carbohydrates (mostly from fruit & vegetables). Proteins: tofu squares, hard-boiled eggs, lunch meat (nitrate-free), leftover meatballs, breakfast sausage, grilled chicken, hummus, edamame/other beans. Fats: olives, nuts, seeds, avocado, cheese, hummus. Carbs: whole fruits, raw or roasted veggies, whole wheat pasta spirals, mini whole wheat pitas, whole grain crackers, hummus, edamame/other beans.healthy snack
  2. Aim for fruits and vegetables making up 1/2 the meal.
  3. Evaluate the “healthy-ness” of the lunchbox, by noting the ratio of pre-packaged foods to whole foods that you have packaged yourself. Skip almost any food labeled “kids” or specially packaged for kids as they are usually loaded with sugar (think yogurt squeezers and fruit chews) and/or heavily manipulated to not resemble the whole food’s origin.
  4. Dip It! Besides ranch, try smashed avocado alone or mixed into mild salsa, nut butters with a drizzle of honey or mixed with fruit-sweetened jam, or hummus (do some taste-testing to find a hummus your kids will love!). Hummus covers all 3 healthy lunch elements so it’s worth finding a favorite brand.
  5. Easy on the candy bars masquerading as granola/energy bars. Good choices are salmonberry barLarabars, Kind Bars (without chocolate), and GoMacro Bars. These bars are both heavy on the nuts which provides plenty of protein and satisfying fats as well as fiber which is important for regulating blood sugar and energy. Kind and GoMacro have added sweeteners but sugar grams are reasonable and are balanced by the high fiber content.
  6. Facilitate the eating of less popular fruits & veggies by combining them with favorites that you know they will eat. Examples: pineapple & blackberries, carrots & apple slices, cucumber & orange slices, bell peppers & sliced grapes. The flavors mingle making veggies more palatable. Obviously, this strategy won’t work on the “separatist” children!
  7. WATER, WATER, WATER. A hydrated child is focused and calm within a healthy and cooperative body. There are no good reasons to give your child a juice box or even milk. If you must pack milk, give them whole, plain milk. Flavored, as well as low fat or 2%, milk, is piling on the carbs. Whole milk is more satiating and allows for a balanced metabolic response.
  8. Resist packing your child a dessert (at least not daily). Yes, sweet is one of the five flavors that, if included within a meal, will lead to palate satisfaction; however, this flavor can be addressed using fruit as opposed to a cookie. The habit of needing something sweet after every meal contributes to a life-long sweet addiction, potential future weight issues, or other health concerns such as an imbalance in the gut microbiome affecting mood, hormones, and nutrient uptake.

For accessible, evidence-based nutrition guidance that is current, check out The Nutrition Source by Harvard School of Public Health. Great resource website and they have a better version of the Healthy Plate (a graphic your kids may be familiar with…).

Advertisements

Sweet Breakfasts

In Nutrition on January 13, 2015 at 9:10 pm
cinnamon sugar grinder

Pretty Little Grinders

It all started with an impulse buy at Whole Foods. That place makes me buy the craziest things that I sooo don’t need but kinda add a bit of joy to my life. I was totally drawn to these grinders of helpful spices combined with “unhealthy” things – aka sugar. I had a major cinnamon-toast addiction as a kid so I was instantly drawn to the cinnamon-brown sugar grinder. Growing up, my parents were so strictly No-Sugar that we didn’t even have ketchup in the house. The famous one-gram-of-sugar Cheerios were acceptable; however, Rice Krispies were banned because they had the nerve to have 2 whole grams of sugar!

fruity breakie

High sugar but also high fiber.

When my parents would sleep in on Saturday mornings, my sisters and I would turn the kitchen upside down looking for that sugar bowl reserved for guests who liked it in their coffee and tea. Upon finding the holy grail we would make cinnamon toast with an entire loaf of bread. First we would spread out all the bread on the counter and meticulously pick out all the walnuts and sunflower seeds – delicious bread for an adult but not when you’re in elementary school. Then we would generously spread Country Crock on each slice – this was the early 80s when butter was still evil and trans fats were celebrated.

The next step was somewhat delicate b/c although we were specifically looking for the sugar high you didn’t want it to taste all grainy and overly sugary. Shaking the cinnamon was tricky too…it didn’t come out evenly and getting a glob of cinnamon in a bite kinda dries your mouth out and ruins the experience. Clearly, we could have used the helpful cinnamon-sugar grinder from Whole Foods. I am pretty sure we arranged the entire loaf of bread on a baking sheet and put it under the oven broiler which is kind of dicey considering I was the oldest and still in elementary school. We were very serious – and efficient – about our cinnamon toast making.

Although I’m a sucker for pretty bottles at Whole Foods, I’m also known to be the sugar police so I shocked myself in bringing home the sugary grinders. Swearing I wouldn’t know what to do with them, it was just an impulse buy, etc., I immediately found two great uses for them at breakfast – ha! I’m not a fan of a sugary breakfast; however, these two recipes don’t actually have much sugar and are balanced with plenty of fat and/or protein to maintain steady blood sugar.

coconut rice porridge

Creamy, crunchy, sweet, salty.

Coconut-Rice Porridge

Cooked white rice (short-grain, white rice works best)

Coconut milk (not canned, try coconut/almond blend)

Chopped almonds – roasted & salted

Sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili

Simmer rice in milk. Add more or less depending on desired consistency. Top with chopped almonds and cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili and anything else really!

Eggy (Grain-Free) Pancakes (makes 8 smallish pancakes)

2 eggseggy pancakes2

1 TBSP almond butter

1 very ripe banana

Sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili

Mash and beat and whip all the ingredients together (except cinnamon sugar). Fry in coconut oil and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon-sugar or cocoa/sugar/chili on one side before you flip over! You won’t need maple syrup.

Salmonberry Bars

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 16, 2013 at 6:40 am

salmonberry barI never liked PowerBars. I didn’t like the taffy-like texture or artificial flavor. Trail mix wasn’t hip enough and was way too ubiquitous during my childhood in the 70s. So I was really excited when the ClifBar was invented. In the 90s, I did a lot of backpacking and ate a lot of ClifBars. Then I realized, maybe I should be eating LunaBars, they’re for women, right? Those quickly became sickeningly sweet and aren’t even remotely healthy so I gave up on bars altogether until…the Larabar. Just dates, nuts, dried fruit, and maybe some spices. Simple and healthy and my kids loved them too. Recently, I discovered that Larabar was bought by General Mills who is against GMO labeling and just generally has some crappy products they try to sell as “food” (2 thumbs up for Cheerios, though!).

I prefer to buy from local companies with whom I agree on issues that are important to me (you may not care about GMOs or the consolidation of food production/manufacturing). Anyway, I’ve found two locally-made bars that get the ‘healthy’ nod when my kids ask to eat them: Perfect Foods Bar and Earnest Eats. in processorNow I’ve attempted to make my own bar based on my taste preferences and maniacal need to make everything healthier. Introducing the Salmonberry Bar!

Things got a bit sketchy and I was skeptical about my ability to pull these off. But I totally surprised myself with this one. Not too sweet and with some subtle, sophisticated flavors…watch out KindBars, I’m taking over the local Starbucks – ha!

Process until smooth:

1/2 cup pitted dates

1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened, sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

Add: ~3/4 cups hot water, to thin mixture

bar ingredientsAdd in the following:

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp finely ground espresso

1 tsp allspice

2 TBSP chia seeds

2 TBSP finely shredded, unsweetened coconut

Add and process lightly:

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup cashews

Remove mixture from processor and into mixing bowl with:

2 cups rolled oats or buckwheat groats

Mix well with wooden spoon and spread mixture on greased, baking sheet. Press down with greased spatula so mixture is about 1/4-inch high.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

After baking, sprinkle with sesame seeds and press them into mixture with the back of a greased spatula. Let cool completely and cut into 1-inch-squares. Makes ~30 bars.

1 bar = 167 kcals, 4g protein, 9g fat, 2g fiber, 13g total carbs, 8g sugars

I would’ve have preferred this bar to be higher in fiber but I feel good about the sugars (from honey & dates). The texture is perfect and it is only mildly sweet and very filling. However, the clean-up was a pain (goopy dates and nut butter stuck to my processor blade!). I honestly don’t know if it was worth the effort in the kitchen because I spotted these in the bulk bins at Whole Foods for only $7.99/pound: Carob Energee Nuggets. They are almost exactly the same nutritionally and look eerily similar to my bars…has someone been spying on the Salmonberry kitchen??

carob energeen nuggets nutrition

Same calories, fat, carbs, protein, & fiber.

carob energee bars

Looks – and tastes – delicious!

Nutty, Seedy, Fruity Breakie

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm
yourbuddhi breakie

Raw, vegan, overnight parfait.

Vegan, raw, delicious, and nutritious. Best of all, you make it the night before (in a 12oz Ball jar) and then just grab ‘n go for breakfast or a post-yoga snack. Dee-lish…you are going to be super grateful!

Ingredients (Modified from a recipe by Robin Lee):

1/3 cup uncooked, rolled oats

1/3 cup nutmilk

1/4 cup canned coconut milk or coconut yogurt

2.5 tsp chia seeds

2 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla

shake of cinnamon

4-6oz blueberries

Add all ingredients (EXCEPT FRUIT) to 12oz Ball jar. Screw on lid and shake until well-mixed. Add berries, return lid, and tip/swirl until fruit is mixed. Don’t shake unless you want squashed fruit! Refrigerate overnight and you have a low sugar, high fiber, portable, morning meal that is a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins C, D, and K. Keeps 2 days in refrigerator.

6oz (1/2 jar) = 212 kcals, 7g fat, 7g fiber, 7g protein

Pot O’Beans

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 1, 2013 at 3:17 am
beans3

Kidney beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin seeds, and cilantro.

How to make a decent pot o’ beans that are digestible and ingestible! First, prep the beans and then decide on herbs and spices (dried & ground) depending on the bean type selected. Here are some ideas for spicing up your beans…

Pinto: lemon rind, parsley or oregano, cumin, & mild chili powder. Black: ginger & fennel seeds or sage & thyme. Lentils & Garbanzos: lemon rind & garlic with dill, basil, or mint.

  1. Soak dried beans for at least 12 hrs* and change water once or twice.
  2. When ready to cook, add a strip of Kombu to bottom of crock pot (aids digestibility, adds nutrients, and shortens cook times). Add beans and fill with water so the beans are just covered.
  3. On high, bring beans to a boil, scoop off foam, and continue to boil (w/o lid) for 20 mins.
  4. Add spices. Consider whole garlic cloves – they turn to a garlickly mush – yum! Adding fennel seeds or cumin seeds helps with digestion. Any other spice or herb helps with ingestion – also important.
  5. Cover crock pot, reduce to low, and let beans cook all day long (~6-8 hrs depending on soak time)
  6. Season with salt at the end. Adding sea salt, miso, or tamari too early hinders full cooking.
  7. ENJOY for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

*Food Safety Alert! Soak in a cool place away from direct light. If soaking longer than 12hrs or its a hot, humid day, please soak in refrigerator.

I Heart Eggs

In Nutrition on March 31, 2013 at 2:08 am
photo (70)

Colorful eggs from happy backyard chickens.

I LOVE EGGS. I know it’s hip to be vegan but I just can’t give them up and it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do for my body. So I eat them. Often. With gusto and relish (not the condiment). I eat eggs from perhaps the happiest chickens in SoCal. Maybe it’s the ocean view – they check the surf at Scripps Pier – salt air, or foraging in the veggie garden but most likely it’s the sunny, 7-year-old girl who adores them and showers them with love. And, in turn, all those happy, loving vibes are ingested by me.

It is OK to eat eggs everyday…yes, really! Whole eggs are a nutritious part of everyone’s diet. Even for those of us with high cholesterol, eggs can be safely consumed (studies have shown dietary cholesterol to have little effect on blood lipid levels). Egg whites are a complete protein source meaning they provide all the essential amino acids the body cannot make on its own. However, if you are only consuming the whites you are missing out on vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Whole eggs are low in calories and packed with nutrients so poach ‘em, fry ‘em, scramble ‘em, frittata ‘em, quiche ‘em, french toast ‘em, rancheros ‘em…have I left anything out?

photo (5)

Whole grain toast topped with avocado, poached egg, and salsa verde.

Antioxidant Smoothie

In Nutrition, Recipe on March 30, 2013 at 2:17 am

This one is the halfway mark between the other two smoothies. Not nearly as grassy and chewy as the Green Smoothie but not quite as sweet and creamy as the Easy Smoothie. Wow, I’d have a really hard time selling ice to an Eskimo…

photoIngredients:
1 banana

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 avocado

1 TBSP almond butter

1 cup kale leaves

1 cup water

1 heaping TBSP hemp seeds

12oz = 294 kcals, 9g fat, 11g fiber(!), 8g protein.

High in vitamins A, C, & K. Good source of manganese, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins B6, riboflavin, & folate.

Easy Smoothie

In Nutrition, Recipe on March 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

A balanced meal on it’s own, this smoothie is the perfect way to get much needed nutrients and calories into kids, athletes, and picky eaters. Packed with protein, healthy fats and hidden greens, it makes a nice meal replacement. I used pineapple for the smoothie pictured below which is why it’s so pale in color. Pineapple is a good choice for kids and picky eaters b/c its sweet, not seedy (like berries), and naturally contains enzymes which add digestion. However, if you are looking for the most nutritional value, I’d recommend frozen mixed berries.

Silken tofu, flax oil, and coconut milk make this vegan smoothie a perfect meal replacement.

Silken tofu, flax oil, and coconut milk make this vegan smoothie a perfect meal replacement.

Ingredients:

1 banana

3/4 cup frozen fruit

1/4 cup canned coconut milk

1/2 cup silken tofu

1 TBSP flax oil

2 handfuls of kale leaves

Add water to improve consistency as desired.

8oz = 203 kcals, 10g fat, 4.5g fiber, 7g protein. High in vitamins A, C, & K and omega-3 fatty acids. Good source of manganese, potassium, and copper.