Mother’s Day Pancakes

I absolutely love pink…it just makes me smile. And my kids love pancakes. So for Mother’s Day brunch I decided to create a pink pancake recipe that everyone would enjoy. The best part…they helped me make it and kids in the kitchen is the best Mother’s Day gift I could ask for. Here is the recipe in case you want to try it too.

Ingredients

1 and ¼ cup milk (any milk is fine…buttermilk, cow’s milk, coconut milk, almond milk….etc.)

1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil

¼ cup Manitoba Harvest hemp hearts

¼ cup chia seeds

¾ cup unbleached white flour

1 and ¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. baking powder

Instructions:

  • 1) In a mixer of your choice (Vitamix, Blentec, Ninja, etc.) blend together 1.25 cups milk of your choice (I like to use coconut milk), 1 cup frozen berries, ¼ cup hemp hearts, ¼ cup oil, and 2 eggs (or 4 egg whites). Set this aside
  • 2) In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, and chia seeds) together.
  • 3) Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together…but don’t overmix.
  • 4) Cook pancakes on a frying pan of your choice. I prefer an electric one as I find they are less likely to stick or burn.
  • 5) Serve with your choice of yogurt and fruit for a delicious and nutritious meal for mom!

Until next time….stay healthy!

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School Lunch and Snack Rotation

Wow! Where did summer go??? It sounds so cliché, but I truly believe that the months go faster with children around. There were moments this summer that I just wanted time to freeze so I could soak it in even more. Alas though time moves on and to be honest, there is something quite refreshing about a season change and a move back into more routine.

This is my first year with “school aged” children. Some moments I feel okay and others I have uncontrolled tears running down my face. There is so much emotional attachment to the move into this next phase of life for them and mom-hood for me.

One of the practical things that has been on my mind all summer is making snacks and lunches. My boys are fairly big eaters and I want to make sure that they have enough food, but also that it is balanced and fairly easy to eat as I know that they will not have a lot of time. I made a 10 day lunch cycle to help me in the day-to-day rush so that I do not have to think too hard about what to make. I will be using the Planet Box lunch boxes for most lunches and the Contigo Thermoses for any portions that I want to keep exceptionally warm or cold. Within the meal plan there is room for choice on some days and I also know that I may send leftovers at times. In addition, if my children as for a particular fruit or vegetable, I plan to just add that in to what I am already making so that they know I value their contribution, but I am also keeping up with offering variety and not just favourite foods….this is a hard balance with young children I am finding.

So, without delay, here is the meal plan that I will be using. It is nut free and for us, will be dairy free as well; however, I have included options with dairy as you may wish to send that instead. Please feel free to add other ideas for meals that have worked for your children in the comments section here or on my IG feed (@mealsformeandmyminis). We are all in this together mamas and I want to learn from you too!!!

Monday

Lunch: Whole grain wrap or ½ bagel with nitrate free turkey or chicken and cheese of choice (Daiya, feta, goat, Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar, etc.) with Cucumber slices and hummus or guacamole, and Grapes

Snack 1: Aussie bite

Snack 2: Applesauce pouch

Tuesday

Lunch: Manicotti with Peas and Diced cantaloupe

Snack 1: Almonds and raisins

Snack 2: Apple slices

Wednesday

Lunch: Sweet potato and Beet crackers with Roasted chickpeas, soy nuts, raisins, and dried blueberries mixed together, and Peppers and hummus or guacamole

Snack 1: Yogurt in a pouch

Snack 2: Pomegranate seeds

Thursday

Lunch: Homemade mac and cheese with Roasted sweet potato cubes and Watermelon chunks

Snack 1: Homemade smoothie pouch

Snack 2: Whole grain fig bar

Friday

Lunch: Homemade muffin with Yogurt, Apple slices, and Baby carrots and hummus

Snack 1: Homemade nut free trail mix

Snack 2: Mango chunks

Monday

Lunch: Whole grain wrap or ½ bagel with nitrate free turkey or chicken and cheese of choice (Daiya, feta, goat, Swiss, Havarti, Cheddar, etc.) with Cucumber slices and hummus or guacamole and Strawberries

Snack 1: Flavoured roasted soy nuts

Snack 2: Pretzel and popcorn mix

Tuesday

Lunch: Tuna salad with whole grain pita triangles or crackers and Peppers with hummus or guacamole

Snack 1: Banana

Snack 2: Sliced peppers

Wednesday

Lunch: Meatballs, rice, and corn with Pomegranate seeds

Snack 1: Grapes

Snack 2: Einstein bite

Thursday

Lunch: Whole grain crackers, Hard-boiled egg and/or rolled nitrate free lunch meat and/or cheese chunks with Carrots and hummus, and Blueberries

Snack 1: Whole grain fig bar

Snack 2: Roasted chickpeas

Friday

Lunch: Breakfast pita cut into quarters with Yogurt, Mandarin oranges (already peeled and sectioned), and Snap peas with hummus

Snack 1: Watermelon chunks

Snack 2: Quinoa cookie (recipe coming soon!)

I also plan to send water to drink. I hope that you find this helpful.

Until next time….stay healthy!

 

 

Nutrient Packed Breakfasts for Kids (and parents too!)

I am sure we can all agree that sending our little ones off to daycare, preschool, school, play group, or the park, etc. with a full tummy gives us comfort. We know that they will be able to play, think, and learn well until their next snack or meal if they leave their home well nourished. There are two issues that can creep into this ideal. One is that mornings can be rushed and secondly,  some children would rather play than eat when they get up.

In our home, mornings are definitely busy and I have one son who is never in the mood to head straight to the breakfast table…the other two are quite interested which helps. One strategy that I put into place is consistency. I have a timer that goes off 10 minutes after the twins are up to let us know it is breakfast time. This allows for a little bit of reading, playing, and cuddles but also means that we don’t leave breakfast so late that we get behind or I end up in a position where we are rushing the children (especially Wes…my non-breakfast guy) to finish. If there is a morning that I am up earlier with the baby and I have already eaten, I sit with a cup of tea and a bit more fruit when the twins eat. Most mornings we can all eat together thankfully.

The second strategy that I use is to offer simple, nutrient packed meals that have variety to them. This way, I know that they have a jump start on their nutrition needs for the day. I aim for representation from all food groups with a form of grain, milk (or alternative), fruit, and meat alternative. With this, I can ensure that they are starting their day with long acting and short acting carbohydrates, a source of protein, as well as healthy fats for their brain development and supporting mental health.  On weekends, I tend to make more complex breakfasts such as pancakes or waffles or quiche, but on weekdays, we need easy, quick, nutritious and delicious.

Here are some of my kids faves (and they are great for parents too!):

  1. Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes. This is a pancake mix with extra protein and added oat fibre. I make them with coconut milk instead of water to boost the micronutrient and caloric density and I will often add 1 Tbsp. Baby Brain Organics per cup of Pancake mix for a brain boosting omega-3 addition. I serve these with the kids choice of fruit and/or dried fruit and sometimes a little coconut yogurt/goat or feta cheese and/or seeds as well. Depends on the day and how hungry they are as to how much or little I add beyond fruit. Fruit is a must though!!!
  2. PB (or AB) and Hemp Wrap. Whole grain wrap with natural peanut or almond butter and 1 Tbsp. of shelled hemp hearts sprinkled inside. You can all add sliced banana, apple, pear or raisins if you wish. My son prefers his fruit on the side.
  3. Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. The key here is using yogurt that is thick and protein packed. I serve my kids Liberte 9% and add in berries and/or sliced bananas then top with homemade granola and/or seeds and dried fruit. My one son is allergic to oats, so I just leave the granola off of his and offer a homemade muffin instead.
  4. Overnight oats. This is a great one to make in bulk for the whole family! Take a mason jar per person and add about 1/3 cup steel cut oats, add in 1 Tbsp. chia seeds, hemp hearts or baby brain organics. Then add 2-3 TBsp of milk, 1/3 cup Greek, coconut, or soy yogurt, and your choice of fruit. Put the lid on and shake, then put it into the fridge overnight. The oats soak up the moisture from the milk and yogurt and the fruit softens and releases flavor into the whole mixture. I like to add texture to this with a little diced apple or pear added in the morning. For an extra boost of protein and flavor, you can also add 1/2-1 Tbsp. of PB2 to the mixture. I will be talking more about this product in a post to come. For now I will say that it is an awesome way to get the protein and fibre that peanut butter offers, with 85% less fat. Healthy fat is definitely a good thing though, so don’t be afraid to keep using the real thing!
  5. Make ahead eggs. This is another one that is great for the whole family. Mix together eggs, milk, shredded cheese, and place it into the fridge. In the morning, pour into a microwave safe bowl and microwave the mixture one minute per egg used OR put into a frying pan and cook until the eggs are done. These can be served in a whole grain wrap, English muffin or toast. Eggs can remain quite hot for a while, so this is a good one to finish cooking before your children come to the table. You can add some fresh diced avocado to it or any fruit that your children enjoy on the side. If they are hungry right away, they could enjoy the fruit while the eggs are cooking and cooling.
  6. Cereal. Okay this one seems so simple…and it is, but I decided to include it anyway. The key to healthy cereals is low sugar. I offer multigrain Cheerios and rice Chex as the two most common options for my kids. Rhett is the main reason we have Chex in the house as there are very few cereals that do not contain oats. Shreddies and Vector are two that they enjoy as a treat. And as mentioned above, this would be with milk, fruit, and some nuts or seeds on top of on the side. To speed this option along you can always portion the cereal the night before so you only have to add a handful of blueberries and top with milk. This is a great one for kids to help with too!FullSizeRender (9)
  7. Smoothie (or just milk) and toast (or muffin) and nuts or nut butter. This is another simple one. Smoothie recipes are endless…you can see some of my previous post: Smoothies to Beat the Heat (links don’t seem to be working but I will add one once they are again). With toast, ideally it is whole grain and then we can add more nutrition with coconut butter and natural peanut or almond butter on top. With muffins, homemade with low sugar and whole wheat flour is key! You can also sprinkle some chia seeds or hemp seeds on top of either. One of my sons loves to add natural almond butter and feta cheese to his toast and muffins, with berries, apple, or pear slices on top or on the side. IMG_8433
  8. Pita Break Breakfast Pitas. My boys love these toasted and cut into triangles and served with yogurt, fruit, and almonds. Sometimes we do a natural nut butter in place of the almonds. FullSizeRender (8)

 

 

 

I hope you find these ideas inspiring for your morning routine ahead!

Until next time…stay healthy!!!

 

 

 

Healthy Dips for Mamas and Your Minis

Lets face it kids LOVE to dip!!! My children will eat just about any food as long as there is dip available. When my twins entered the “dipping” phase or toddler-hood, I was really uneasy about the increased sugar, sodium, and preservatives that they would be exposed to in things like ketchup and store bought salad dressings. So I decided to get creative and think of how I could offer them healthier choices than ketchup and Ranch dressing. If your children like dips OR if you have picky eaters and want to try the strategy of offering dips, here are some ideas. The other great thing is that you join in with them eating these dips with lots of veggies and fruit.

1) Hummus. You can use store bought or make your own. If you are using store bought, choose ones with as low sodium content as possible. Not only is hummus a yummy (and low mess) dip, it is jam packed with nutrients such as healthy fats, protein, fibre, iron, and magnesium. I like the ones by Summer Fresh, Fontaine Saute, and Sabra.

2) Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is great for SO MANY THINGS. You will see me post about this amazing food a lot for various reasons. As a dip, it can be used for fruits, veggies, chicken, fish, etc! You can use plain or flavoured depending on what you are dipping. You can also add it to other dips to make them healthier and/or creamier (see below). I personally like the Liberte brand, but there are other great ones out there too. For a thick and creamy dip use either the 5% fat or the 9% fat choices. The lower fat products are great for eating but do not work well for dips.

3) Guacamole. If your kids are like mine and love avocado, why not turn it into a dip?! You can easily make your own! Mash up 1-2 avocados and stir in a squeeze or two of lime juice until you get the consistency you desire. For a creamier option, add a bit of 5% or 9% fat vanilla Greek yogurt.

4) Greek Ketchup. If you have children that like ketchup on anything and everything, try using 1/2 the amount of ketchup and mixing it with plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. This will still be a red dip but will have half of the preservatives and way more nutrition. For even more nutrient boost, try adding pureed butternut squash or sweet potato in too. I am not a big fan of “hiding” food as it is important that our children are exposed to the actual flavour of whole foods, but this nutrient boost is just too hard to resist.

5) Salad dressings. Most store bought salad dressings are full of preservatives and sodium so making your own is great.  I will be doing a future post on my favourite homemade salad dressings. Until then, and/or if you don’t have time to make your own, try purchasing the freshest ones possible. You will find these in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  My favourite of these is the Renees line.

Until next time…happy dipping!

Healthy Treats for Outdoor Fun!

Summer is here and its time for park visits, zoo days, beach days, and spontaneous trips to your friend’s pool! Along with these amazing outdoor activities comes irregular schedules and increased appetites. This can lead to poor choices in food and/or missing meals. Planning ahead will help you and your children stayed nourished, hydrated, and healthy this summer! Here are some tips to get you started.

1) Don’t get caught filling up on high salt and high sugary snacks and beverages OR skipping eating for so long that you overeat. Pack easy to eat fruits and veggies for you and your kids to snack on. Grapes, blueberries, apple slices, melon cubes, cucumber slices, baby carrots, and pepper slivers are some of our favourites. Maybe take along some Greek yogurt or hummus for your kids to use as a dip. Kids love to dip and having healthy options available encourages them to eat more of the things you want them to.

2) For longer days when you need more complete meals, add more filling foods to your fruit and veggie snacks. Focus on things that are easy to pack and easy to eat. Your kids may not be willing to stop very long to eat. Try wraps or sandwich wedges; muffin with cheese; whole grain crackers and almond butter; Greek yogurt with granola; or hard boiled eggs and pita wedges.

3) Stay hydrated! Always take lots of water with you for you and your children. .  You can take plain water or for a more exciting option add strawberries or limes or orange slices to your water. For mamas, you can also try making your own iced tea to take along. Some of my favourites right now are “Just Peachy” and “Strawberry Colada” from Davids Tea. I use this amazing iced tea carafe that can even sit on its side in a cooler without leaking! These provide a way to stay hydrated and feel like you are having a sweet treat without any calories or caffeine.

4) Don’t forget to take an ice pack. Put any sandwiches, cheese, yogurts, eggs, etc. next to an ice pack so they stay cold and safe to eat.

5) Last but not least, involve your children in the planning.  Kids are more likely to eat foods that they have helped to choose and you will be teaching them the valuable lesson of planning ahead so they are set for life making healthy choices.

Wishing you all a safe and healthy summer!!!

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Watch the blog later this week for fun dip ideas your kids will love and tips on getting more fruits and veggies into yourselves and your little ones. Until then stay well!

Summer time treats for all

Popsicles are a great way to cool off in the summer but most are packed full of simple sugar that our kids don’t need. Every food and drink that we offer our children should be as nutrition packed as possible. This summer, try making popsicles with your kids that will be fun and nourishing for them! The kid in you might want to try some too! Just pop fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc. in the blender, then pour into a popsicle mold, and freeze! Pull them out on any occasion for a good cool off!
Here are a few combinations to get you started…

1) Berry Bonanza
Strawberries
Blueberries
Raspberries
Plain Greek yogurt
Drizzle of honey
Squeeze of lemon juice

2) Banana Colada
Banana
Pineapple
Coconut Milk
Drizzle of honey

3) Watermelon Refresher
Watermelon
Strawberries
Mint leaves or Basil leaves
Drizzle of honey

4) Veggie fanatic
Banana
Roasted Sweet potato
Roasted Beets
Plain Greek yogurt
Drizzle of honey

Happy Freezing!

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