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- Why it's OK to let your child love dinner rolls
My face burned with embarrassment as I watched my 3 year old sneak her little hand over to steal her sister's dinner roll. She'd already finished the other 3 rolls on her plate while leaving the turkey and veggies untouched. Thoughts of failure flooded my mind: "what kind of mom lets her kid gorge on rolls at Thanksgiving while leaving meat and vegetables untouched?" What will everyone think? Should I force her to at least take a bite of her vegetables? Then I remembered my secret "calm down" weapon: The Division of Responsibility. The Division of Responsibility In my training as a Registered Dietitian, I learned a method for feeding children called "The Division of Responsibility." The idea is that parents provide kids with healthy options and let kids choose how much (or whether) to eat. Kids eat as much as they want, or as little as they want, and parents DO NOT force them to eat (or not eat) in any way. The "Division of Responsibility" was easy with my first daughter: We gave her food. She ate it. the end. It was harder with my second child: We gave her food She threw it at us She asked for bread Frustrating. Even with my Dietitian training, her eating habits made me anxious: especially at Thanksgiving, when (I felt like) all eyes were on me. Nutrition in Dinner Rolls I decided to research the nutrition in rolls to ease my worries. This table shows what I found (the percentages are the percent of the daily need your child will get from that food). Nutrition info obtained from the USDA nutrition calculator. Are you as surprised as I am to see that a regular-sized dinner roll has more protein and iron than a 1.5 oz slice of turkey (1.5 oz is the size of a hot dog). Please note that a roll is bigger than a small piece of turkey, so weight for weight, the turkey probably has more protein than the roll. But my daughter will eat 10 rolls. I'm lucky if she'll eat 2 bites of turkey. My point? It's not the end of the world if your child loves bread. You can trust your child to eat what she needs for healthy growth. Offer healthy foods, and your child will pick and choose from what is available to get the nutrition she needs. Thanks to enrichment and fortification (the adding of nutrients to foods), it's okay if she mostly chooses bread. Can you live on bread alone? Of course not. We need a variety from every food group to stay healthy. But my main message is this: bread is not the enemy. AND....it's okay to let your child decide what to eat, especially at holiday meals when you feel like everyone is watching. Just don't let them steal anyone's dinner roll; that's just plain mean! Are you interested in learning more about the division of responsibility? Click here to read more. Then, ask your Family Advocate to schedule a home visit with our Registered Dietitian. She can meet with you one-on-one to discuss your child's eating and things you can do to make mealtime joyful. Want to read another great article on how to deal with picky eaters at holiday meals? Read this post: https://www.realmomnutrition.com/picky-eaters-at-holidays/ P.S. Interested in what our dietitian is cooking for thanksgiving dinner? My family is doing most of the cooking, but I'm bringing a few interesting things to share: Wild Rice Stuffing (gluten free + vegan) https://www.eatingbirdfood.com/wild-rice-stuffing/ NO-PIE pumpkin pie (gluten free) https://food52.com/recipes/32181-pumpkin-pudding-a-k-a-no-pie-pumpkin-pie I make this about once a week for my kids for after school snack. It's a little healthier than pie because....it has no crust! I cut the sugar in half and my kids devour the entire thing in 1 sitting.
- 15 minute high protein vegan dinner recipe
Scenario #1: I'm hungry. It's dinner time. I have no fresh food in the house. What do I make?? Chili! Scenario #2: I'm hungry. It's dinner time. I need to use up the veggies going bad in my crisper drawer. What do I make?? Chili! Scenario #3: I'm hungry. It's dinner time. I'm having friends over that are vegan, gluten free and dairy free. What do I make?? Chili! Chili is one of my very favorite dinner meals because it's fast it's easy it's inexpensive it's gluten free, dairy free and vegan It's also high in protein. One serving = 7g protein + 7.5 grams fiber. Everyone should know how to make chili from scratch!! Which is why we are making Chili and Baked potatoes for cooking class this month. Sign up today: https://forms.gle/pkrQ2kPuJn7Sc6SKA In this class, I'm going to teach you how to make the most basic chili recipe. From there, I'll show you how to add more ingredients to add flavor, texture, or more protein (BYO meat). Class is based off this beloved New York Times recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017704-vegetarian-skillet-chili Here's my recipe if you are curious what we will be making: https://www.ddinutrition.com/recipes-2/easy-vegetarian-skillet-chili This month supplies will be delivered to DDI Vantage Early Head Start program participants. Not participating in DDI VANTAGE Early Head Start? You can still join us, you'll just have to buy your own ingredients. Reserve your spot today! https://forms.gle/pkrQ2kPuJn7Sc6SKA
- Worried about Halloween Candy? Read this
When my teenage kids' friends find out that I'm a dietitian, they immediately start asking if my kids are allowed to eat candy. They think that because I'm a dietitian, I don't allow ANY sweets or treats in our house. The opposite is true. I love treats. I love candy and baking, and I love Halloween! Eating healthy is all about moderation and balance. We're having a Halloween party today. We will be making frankenstein toast, mummy toast, apple teeth and mummy dogs. We will also eat donuts off of a string and have some candy corn. What's my opinion on Halloween candy? I follow the nutrition expert Ellyn Satter on this one. I think every parent should read her article on Halloween candy. She is the #1 expert in child nutrition and I completely trust her advice: https://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/family-meals-focus/30-halloween-candy/ I've been following her advice since my kids were little, it works well! Now that my kids are older, it's common for me to find old Halloween candy in the pantry during our April spring cleaning. Some parents like to do the "switch witch" where they switch Halloween candy for books and toys. I've never tried this....mostly because I'm lazy and it requires some forethought. But here's an excellent way to think about the switch witch from a Registered Dietitian: https://www.realmomnutrition.com/switch-witch/ Happy Halloween! Looking for fun recipes to make? Here's a few of our Halloween favorite recipes: https://www.ddinutrition.com/recipes-2/mummy-toast https://www.ddinutrition.com/recipes-2/frankenstein-avocado-toast https://www.ddinutrition.com/recipes-2/ghost-toast https://www.ddinutrition.com/recipes-2/pumpkin-black-bean-soup And this year I tried this recipe from the blog tastes better from scratch, it was delicious and fun! https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/dinner-in-a-pumpkin-2/ See you next week! I'll be posting our November cooking class information!
- Top Tips for Healthier Snacking
"Mom, I'm hungry" "Mom, can I have some toast?" "Mom, can I have a cheese stick?" "Mom, is it time for a snack yet?" Kids are relentless in their requests for food. We feed them, and then 5 minutes later, they are ready to eat again! Who can blame them? Food is yummy and fun! But feeding our kids too many snacks can be bad for their health. Do you want to learn how to feed your kids like a nutrition pro? Read through these healthy snacking tips to learn how: Tip #1 Schedule snack time If you want your child to have an appetite for nutritious foods at meals, you need to stop them from snacking within 2-3 hours of mealtime. The easiest way to stop your child from snacking within 2-3 hours of mealtime is to schedule meals and snacks. Sit down and eat with your kids about every 3 hours. If you routinely offer a sit down snack, your kids will know what to expect and won't constantly beg for snacks. If your child says "I'm hungry" before it's time for snack, let them know when the next snack time is and what you'll be having. It's good to teach your child to wait. Often children who say they are hungry are actually bored, tired or thirsty. Offer water between set meal and snack times. Health Benefits of scheduling snack times: Reduces tooth cavities (dental caries) Helps children learn about hunger and fullness (not possible if you graze all day) Improves nutrition of foods eaten Examples of a meal schedule: breakfast 8am, lunch 11am, snack 2pm, dinner 5pm, snack 8pm breakfast 6am, snack 9am, lunch 12pm, snack 3pm, dinner 6pm breakfast 5pm, snack 8am, lunch 11am, snack 3pm, dinner 6pm breakfast 10am, lunch 1pm, snack 4pm, dinner 7pm, snack 9pm #2 Combine Fiber + Protein at every snack Foods with fiber and protein are usually nutritious. Fiber and protein are filling. Combining foods with fiber and protein at snack time will keep your child full and provide optimal nutrition! fiber foods = fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans protein foods = nuts, cheese, meat, dairy, beans Examples apple + peanut butter whole wheat toast + peanut butter Whole wheat toast + avocado cheese + whole grain crackers cottage cheese + whole grain crackers (triscuits) fruit + yogurt fruit + cheese slices whole wheat tortilla + shredded cheese veggies + hummus black beans + tortilla black beans + whole grain chips or crackers leftover soup from lunch + crackers smoothies with milk and fruit whole wheat muffins + nuts or peanut butter Want more awesome snack ideas? Check out our recipe page and filter by snacks. Click this link to sign up for the October 2023 cooking class. We're making healthy Halloween snacks! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe2kK7mZNFnphWi36cfDoausJHQgBFvycj0MDfMtOyz-JdVvA/viewform?usp=sf_link
- Why pediatric dietitians serve dessert WITH dinner
All my Registered Dietitian friends and I serve dessert with dinner. We never make our kids take 3 bites of chicken before they can have cake. We don’t make them finish their mac and cheese before serving ice cream. And we don’t reward kids with candy if they wolf down their broccoli. Why? The simple answer is: Serving dessert with dinner makes life soooo much easier. The longer answer requires some explaining. Want to learn more? Click the link to read an expertly written blog post by my dietitian friend Sally: https://www.realmomnutrition.com/serving-dessert-with-dinner/ And if you try serving dessert with dinner at your house, let me know how it goes by sending an email to nicolebuhlerRD@gmail.com, or leave a comment here on the blog. Want more help with healthy eating or family dinners? Ask your FA for a referral to me, the DDI Vantage Dietitian.
- The #1 parenting pitfall that is wreaking havoc on your child’s eating
“Eat your peas“ “Eat one more bite for me” “You can have more bread if you take another bite of chicken” “Look at your sister, she ate ALL of her peas” “You can’t have any cake until you’ve finished of you dinner” Are these common phrases at your family dinner table? They used to be common at my table too. Until I learned a better way. An easier way. A no pressure way. Research on child nutrition shows that kids who feel pressured at mealtimes eat worse, not better. Kids who are coerced to eat peas often learn to detest peas. Kids who are scolded for overeating often learn to feel shame around food, which leads to even more overeating. Kids who must finish their chicken before they can have cake often learn to idolize dessert or overeat at mealtime to please adults. It feels like we’re SUPPOSED to pressure our kids to eat. It feels like it's our job as parents to tell kids what to eat and how much to eat. But that’s not our job. What is a parent’s job at mealtime? Job #1: Prepare and eat balanced meals with your child. You can read more about balanced meals in last week’s post or here Job #2: Trust your child to decide how much and what to eat. Kids are good at feeling hunger and fullness. Their bodies send strong hunger and fullness signals to prevent under or over eating. If a child is taught to ignore hunger/fullness signals by giving into parental pressure, they might eat more than their body needs. Or they might rebel and undereat! Overtime, this can lead to unhealthy eating habits. Along with feeling hunger and fullness, children are also good at eating enough variety to meet their vitamin and mineral needs. In an old 1930's scientific study, children were given balanced meals for several months. Researchers did not pressure or encourage the children to eat any of the food provided. Instead they let the children choose what and how much to eat and recorded everything they ate. Over a period of 6 months, the children ate just the right amount of foods to meet their needs, and they did it without any pressure from adults. We don’t need to tell kids what to do. Our job is to provide them with healthy foods and sit down to eat with them. If we want this to work well, we MUST do our job of providing sit-down balanced meals and snacks every 3 hours (read more about balanced meals here). And we must be consistent about avoiding pressure. So what do you say when your child only eats bread for dinner? What do you say when your child won't try their peas? Check out these ideas from the Choose My Plate website: Essentially, you want to keep your comments neutral. Simply serve the meal, sit down to eat it with your child, and let them pick and choose from what's there. What if they don't eat? It's okay. Don't let them have a snack until the next time you sit down to eat together (read more here in the "sit down snacks" section). By setting limits, you can teach your child to eat only at mealtime. What about dessert? That’s a great question for next week’s blog. See you next week! P.S. Curious about what I fed my family this week? Here's my menu: Sunday: leek and potato soup + nectarines + bread with butter Monday: quesadillas with taco meat + spinach + berries + tomatoes Tuesday: one pot cauliflower mac and cheese + green salad + apples Wednesday: sloppy joes + canned pears + green salad Thursday: hummus + tabbouleh + tzatiki + naan bread + grapes Friday: stuffed zucchini + leftover hummus + tabbouleh + apples Saturday: pancakes + eggs + frozen berries snacks? green smoothies, toast with peanut butter, canned pears, yogurt + granola breakfast? we eat this peanut butter oatmeal almost every day, sometimes eggs
- The number one meal planning rule that makes healthy eating simple
The time flashed on my phone as I reached past it to place one more block on the tower I was building with my toddler. I wondered how 5pm came so fast. I also wondered if this day was ever going to end. I'd been up most of the night with my newborn, and then up for good at 6am with my terrible-two-toddler. The never ending day was full of toddler tantrums, diaper blow-outs, landmines of toys, mountains of laundry and now..... Dinner time. (dun - dun - dun) I didn't have an ounce of energy left to plan or prepare a meal. The thought of making Mac and Cheese or Ramen again left me feeling guilty. I was a Registered Dietitian, why couldn't I manage to pull a real meal together? Then I remembered meal planning rule #1: a healthy meal includes the 5 food groups This sounds counterintuitive, but remembering that rule made dinnertime easier and helped me let go of my guilt. How does including the 5 food groups make dinner easier? Eating something from all 5 food groups ensures that you get enough carbs, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals to continue on with your day. It also makes it easy to serve a healthy meal without doing any cooking. My dinner that night consisted of: cheese, whole grain crackers, canned applesauce and canned beets. Fruit? applesauce Vegetable? beets Whole Grain? crackers Protein? cheese Milk? to drink Dinner took only a few minutes to prepare, and I left the table feeling confident that I had fueled my body with the nutrition it needed to continue battling my two year old and folding mountains of laundry. I made a lot of fast and simple dinners those first few years of my children's lives. When you remember to include all 5 food groups, you can make a healthy + filling meal in no time. Common no-cook meals we eat often: whole wheat bread + peanut butter + jam serve with canned peaches + cucumber slices green smoothies + whole wheat toast (berries, juice, spinach, milk blended) + toast avocado toast (whole wheat bread + veggie) + yogurt with fruit (protein + fruit) cottage cheese, crackers, pears, carrot sticks hummus, crackers, fresh fruit (whatever is in season) + bell peppers (to dip in hummus) tortillas + refried beans + canned corn + mango smoothie (mangoes + milk blended) Other ideas for minimal cooking: box mac + canned fruit + canned green beans (most kids love these, they are salty yum!) ramen (add in frozen stir fry veggies + an egg) + canned/frozen fruit chicken nuggets + whole wheat toast + fresh strawberries + cucumbers hot dog + whole wheat bun + fruit & veggie Any meal can be a healthy meal if you use WHOLE GRAINS and add a FRUIT + VEGGIE Here's why serving all 5 food groups matters: Each food group contains different types of nutrients (click the links for more info): Fruits: Fiber, Folate, Potassium and Vitamin C Vegetables: Fiber, Phytochemicals and Vitamins A, C, E and K Grains: carbs for energy! B vitamins, some minerals + fiber (if you use whole grains) Proteins: protein and fat to build tissues! contain: B vitamins + minerals (like iron and zinc) Milk: potassium, calcium, vitamin D + B vitamins, minerals If you leave out a food group, you miss out on the nutrients found in that food group. Serving the 5 food groups is the simplest way to eat healthy. More simple meals (that require a little bit of cooking): broccoli baked eggs + avocado toast + fresh fruit grilled cheese on whole grain bread (= grain & protein) + applesauce + canned tomato soup homemade macaroni (= grain & protein) + cauliflower + canned peaches whole wheat tortilla + cheese + black beans + bell peppers + frozen mangoes rice and bean salad + watermelon veggie noodle soup + cheese sandwiches (= grain & protein) + apple slices tuna noodle casserole (= grain & protein) + canned peaches + canned green beans lasagna (= grain & protein) + canned green beans + apple slices salad greens + kidney beans + corn + strawberries + CROUTONS! + cheese & dressing whole wheat pancakes, eggs (cooked with spinach) + fresh fruit Want more ideas? click this link for meal ideas from choosemyplate.gov or ask your FA about out monthly cooking classes! Simple meals like these expose kids to different foods, which prevents picky eating and promotes healthy eating habits. Chopping up a watermelon to serve with your Mac + Cheese isn't too time consuming, but it is the easiest way to teach kids how to eat healthy. Now that my kids are older, they cook healthy dinners for us. Often it's just mac and cheese with canned corn and canned peaches. But it always contains the 5 parts. They also know how to pack a healthy lunch. Every day, they pack a fruit, vegetable, grain and protein. I don't have to nag or remind them, they just know. Following this simple meal planning rule guarantees healthy family meals. It won't save you from toddler tantrums, diaper blowouts or mountains of laundry. But it will give you confidence that the meals you serve are healthy, even if it's just cheese and crackers with a side of fruit and vegetables. Feel like you need more help with nutrition or meal planning? Here's a great website with more information: https://www.myplate.gov/ You can also ask your FA for a referral to the dietitian or signup for our monthly cooking class. Happy Eating!
- September's Cooking Class: One-Pot Superfood Mac & Cheese
Boxed Mac and Cheese is a staple of many children’s diets. It’s easy, salty, neon orange and loved by 99% of all kids. What’s not to love? It’s also nutritious. A serving of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from a box has 10g of protein, 2 g of fiber and is a good source of calcium, iron and potassium. I love boxed mac and cheese. But I also love homemade Mac and Cheese. Homemade Mac is not as fast (or as neon orange) as the kind from a box. It’s also more expensive and requires a little bit of skill to make. Your kids might not like it if they’ve only had the neon orange kind. However, my recipe has whole wheat noodles and cauliflower, so it is A LOT more nutritious than the kind from a box, which is why we’re going to learn how to make mac and cheese from scratch for cooking class this month. If you participate in DDI Vantage Early Head Start, click here to sign up for class: https://forms.gle/Zw5aHuP4f9Vtka7J9 Still not convinced? Here's 4 reasons to join us and try out this recipe: #1 To introduce your kids to something new One of the most important things you can do to raise healthy eaters, is to expose them to new foods often. (read this to learn more). New variations of simple meals (such as Mac + Cheese) are a good way to introduce new foods. #2 To increase the nutrition value Whole wheat noodles and cauliflower turn regular mac into a super food. One serving of our cooking class recipe has 52 grams protein! Toddlers only need 13 grams of protein per day, so if they like this mac, they could potentially eat 4 days worth of protein in one meal! The whole wheat noodles and cauliflower also add fiber (18 grams, which is an entire day’s worth) and cancer fighting phytochemicals. Don’t think your kids like cauliflower? They won’t even be able to taste it in this recipe. #3 To use up your WIC vouchers This recipe was created with WIC participants in mind. Unlike most Mac and Cheese recipes, (which use butter and flour), this recipe is only made with WIC approved items. If you are looking for ways to use up the food you get from WIC, this recipe might be your new best friend. #4 The ingredients are shelf stable If you keep your freezer stocked with cauliflower, your fridge stocked with milk and cheese, and your pantry stocked with noodles, this could be your go-to meal when you don’t know what to make. The recipe contains a vegetable, grain and protein source. All you have to do is add some fruit and you’ve got a complete meal! DDI Vantage Early Head Start participants can try this recipe for free by clicking this link to sign up. All ingredients will be delivered to your doorstep before class. Not participating in Early Head Start? You can still join us to cook along, but supplies won't be delivered to your door. Here is the zoom link Registration closes 9/13/2023, so make sure you sign up today!
- What does a dietitian eat while camping?
"You must be going camping!" The grocery clerk chirped "How did you know?" I jested, while dropping marshmellows, graham crackers, hot dogs and watermelon on the checkout counter. "Just a lucky guess." Replied the clerk. It's finally summer! And the clerk guessed it right: we're going camping with hot dogs and marshmallows to cook over the campfire. Hot dogs and marshmallows are not my favorite foods. Marshmallows are 100% sugar. I can easily eat 100 of them without realizing it. And hot dogs.....well......who knows what's in hot dogs........besides your day's worth of salt! But I still buy them. Why? They taste good. Food is more than nutrition. Food is culture. Food is connection. Food is fun. And camping without hot dogs and smores isn't camping. But I'm going camping for 10 days. And eating hot dogs for 10 days will give me a stomach ache. Plus, we can't have a campfire in most of the places we're camping. So what will I feed my family while on the road? Mostly pre-made cold salads out of the cooler. Also some fruit and crackers. I like to cook everything ahead of time and pack it in ziploc bags/tupperware. Here's my menu for the next 10 days, starting with a photo of everything in the fridge: Snacks for the week frozen gogurt snap peas apples + peanut butter triscuits + cottage cheese cheese slices+crackers homemade peanut butter oatmeal cookies Saturday B: greek yogurt + homemade granola (I made this a month ago and it's still good) L: 5 minute greek salad + italian crackers with cream cheese D: camping with another friend, and she's cooking dinner for us Sunday B: overnight oatmeal (I don't like chia seeds, so I leave them out) L: tzatiki + hummus + stonefire naan bread + avocado slices + watermelon D: tortillas/cheese + rice/bean salad + avocado + watermelon + homemade rice pudding (I used 3/4 the amount of sugar it calls for, and I put 1 tablespoon of cinnamon in) Monday B: eggs + pancakes on the propane stove L: leftover rice/bean salad + rice pudding D: another family is making dinner for us Tuesday B: overnight oatmeal (made ahead and put in peanut butter jars) L: Pasta salad (this months cooking class!, signup link) + nectarines D: Cold peanut noodle bowls + edamame + marshmellows over the fire Wednesday B: yogurt with granola L: cabbage ramen + canned chicken + canned pineapple D: burrito bowls + apple slices Thursday B: overnight oats L: leftovers + watermelon or nectarines D: grilled cheese sandwiches + canned tomato soup Friday B: overnight oats L: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches D: hot dogs, s'mores Saturday - Monday B-D: family reunion, meals will be provided for us! Wish us luck! What do you like to eat on road trips? Leave a comment or send an email to nicole and let her know! nicolebuhlerRD@gmail.com
- Tired of hearing "I'm hungry" every 5 minutes? Try this feeding hack.
Does the soundtrack to your summer sound like this? "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, can I have a snack?" "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, can I have a popsicle?" "Mom, I'm hungry." "Mom, can I have a piece of toast?" Do your kids badger you for food ALL. DAY. LONG? My kids used to, until I instituted this simple "feeding hack." I sit down and eat a meal with my kids every 3-4 hours. At each meal or snack I give them a protein and a carb. I try to add a fruit and/or veg at every meal. That's it. I let them eat as much as they want at mealtime. If they leave the table they are done. If they ask for snack between meals, I tell them they will have to wait for mealtime. No force feeding. No pressure at mealtime. No eating between meals. No grazing. We eat breakfast as soon as the kids get up. We eat a snack 3 hours later. (Snacks are like a mini meal, we all sit down at the table or counter and eat the same thing.) We eat lunch about 3 hours after that. We eat another snack about 3 hours after that. And then we end the day with dinner 3-4 hours after that. It's a loose schedule, but it sets up a routine for our day. And I follow it. Day after day, year after year. Yes, it's work. But I rarely hear the phrase "Mom, I'm hungry." And I know my kids are eating well because I'm eating with them. Are you wondering what this schedule looks like? Here it is during the school year: 6:30-7:00 breakfast 11am lunch at school 4pm sit down snack at home 7 or 7:30 pm dinner Here's our summer meal schedule: 6:30 am breakfast for early risers 9am breakfast for late risers/snack for early risers 12-1 lunch 3-4 sit down snack 7-8 dinner You might be thinking that this is a lot of meals! It is a lot of meals. But mealtime isn't just about food, it's also about connection. Having sit down mealtimes every 3-4 hours facilitates family connection and connection is the key to happy families. "Studies have found that more frequent family meals are associated with higher diet quality, lower rates of disordered eating, better weight status, lower risk for depression and substance abuse, and improved well-being (1)." Kids who sit and eat with their families do better at life because: a) they aren't "hangry" b) they don't worry about when their next meal is c) they have set times every day (mealtimes) where they can feel connected and loved Mealtime isn't just about healthy eating! It's about well-being! Kids in daycare eat this way too. Daycares have set mealtimes to maintain order and foster connection between teachers and children! I've seen some very nice mealtimes at the daycares that DDI Vantage partners with! If your kids are at home with you all day, are you wondering what to serve for all those meals? Starting out, just eat what you already eat. Simply save it for a sit down meal instead of eating on the run or letting everyone graze. If you like poptarts and chips, eat pop tarts and chips. Just turn off the TV and make everyone sit at the table (or if you don't have a table: use the counter, or couch, a blanket or kitchen floor) while they eat. The goal is to all sit together. Then "close the kitchen" until the next meal/snack time. You can start adding in healthier options once your family gets the hang of set mealtimes. Want some ideas for quick healthy meals? Here's my menu for the week with links to all the recipes: Monday breakfast - peanut butter oatmeal (protein = pb & milk & oats, carb = oats) snack - green smoothie (protein = pb & milk, carb = banana) lunch - pasta salad leftovers from Sunday snack - apples (carb) + peanut butter (protein) dinner - giant green salad with cucumber, kidney beans, bell pepper, avocado, cheese, and torn up bread, vinegar and olive oil dressing. Think your kids hate salad? Read this: https://www.realmomnutrition.com/dippable-salad-for-kids/ Tuesday breakfast - oatmeal panackes snack - green smoothie (protein = pb & milk, carb = banana) lunch - cottage cheese + triscuits + apples + carrots snack - green grapes (carb) + cheese slices (protein) dinner - cabbage ramen noodles + walnut broccoli + watermelon Wednesday breakfast - berry oatmeal snack - green smoothie (protein = pb & milk, carb = banana) lunch - leftover cabbage ramen with almonds + watermelon snack - apples (carb) + peanut butter (protein) dinner - homemade pizza topped with pesto + zucchini + pepperoni Thursday breakfast - pancakes snack - green smoothie (protein = pb & milk, carb = banana) lunch - tabouleh, hummus, tzatziki naan bread + watermelon snack - plain yogurt with honey (protein) + berries (carb) dinner - leftovers from lunch Friday breakfast - oatmeal snack - green smoothie (protein = pb & milk, carb = banana) lunch - pbj + carrots + apples snack - pancakes + peanut butter + applesauce dinner - out to eat (headed on a 10 day road trip - will post that menu next Monday) What do you think about having your family eat on a schedule? Do you think it would work for your family? Write to Nicole and let her know: nicolebuhlerRD@gmail.com References 1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5807151/pdf/nihms902688.pdf Further reading about family meals: https://www.ellynsatterinstitute.org/how-to-eat/mastering-meals-step-by-step/
- Do you get excited about discount food? Me too.
I get excited about discount food. It's the best day ever when I can find discount produce. On friday, I got mushrooms for 50 cents a pound! Big bags of stir fry mixes were going for $1.80, bell peppers were 25 cents and pizza crust was $1.12. My original shopping list didn't call for mushrooms, stir fry veggies, bell peppers or pizza. But I wasn't about to pass up on cheap produce, so I changed my menu plan to incorporate them. One of the best ways to save money on food is to buy what's at a good price and adjust your menu to fit the inexpensive options. But you should avoid buying discount produce unless you know how you will use it. Produce that is on discount goes bad quickly, that's why it's discounted. If you don't have a plan, it will go bad before you can eat it. You don't need a specific recipe, just a plan. The easiest way to use up veggies is to chop them up and put them in a green salad. You can put almost any veggie on top of pizza, or saute them and add them to eggs. It's easy to add shredded or chopped veggies to spagetti sauces or soups. If I don't have a plan for a vegetable, I won't buy it, because I know it will end up as slime in the bottom of my crisper drawer. Here's my slime preventing menu plan for the week: Friday: pizza (with discount crust) topped with mushrooms + big green salad + watermelon (this photo shows zucchini and peppers with pesto sauce, but you get the idea) Saturday: breakfast - scrambled eggs with sauteed diced mushrooms and bell peppers + toast dinner - stir fry mix + tofu + rice + frozen mangoes Sunday: lunch - pizza (with discount crust) topped with bell peppers and pepperoni + green salad dinner - meat tacos + bell peppers + leftover lettuce from the salad @ lunch + fresh melon Monday: mushroom and beef stroganoff + canned green beans + canned peaches Because the mushrooms wouldn't last that long, I made this ahead of time, before the mushrooms went bad. (image from wix.com) Tuesday: split pea soup with leftover ham from easter dinner + homemade bread + watermelon (image from budgetbytes.com) Wednesday: rice and bean salad in tortillas + avocado + queso fresco + frozen mangoes Thursday: crustless broccoli quiche (I'll add bell peppers too if any are left) + any fruit left over + toast (if there's any bread left!) Friday: Time to grocery shop again! Leave a comment and let me know what you've been cooking! Hopefully you'll find some discount produce at your grocery store this week!
- 5 dietitian approved make-ahead meal ideas for busy May school nights
It was the middle of May. I stood in the warm kitchen happily chopping up veggies while listening to Jack Johnson. A warm breeze flowed in through the open window. Spring was in the air and I felt so relaxed. And then...... My phone alarm went off....reminding me that we had T-ball at 4:30 And a track practice at 5:00 and a piano recital at 6:30 And now I only had 30 minutes to make dinner, eat dinner, find the T-ball uniform, and get everyone buckled in their carseats. It was definitally May. The busiest month of the year. Change of plans. We found T-ball uniform, got everyone buckled into their carseats, ate cheese tortillas while driving and made it to practice (only 5 minutes late). Fast forward 10 years. I am older, wiser and better prepared for the insanity that is the month of May. I write out every activity on a paper calendar, I keep better track of sport uniforms, and most importantly..... I meal plan. Meal planning saves you loads of time because you'll only make one trip to the grocery store for the week you'll make meals ahead of time when there's zero time to make dinner you'll have more time to do laundry, so you'll be able to find the t-ball uniform easier Plus, when you eat at home instead of eating out, you will eat healthier, save money, and feel better. Here's what we're eating this week. I hope some of these dietitian approved meals will help you make it through the first week of May. Monday: tofu buddha bowls how to prep ahead for this meal: On sunday, cook the rice, roast the veggies, buy microwavable veggies, pan fry the tofu instead of baking it (takes about 10 minutes), assemble everything when it's time to eat Tuesday: crock pot vegetable and barley soup + no knead bread + apple slices (you could add stew meat if you want to add meat to this dish) prep: assemble crock pot stew and bread in the morning before work Wednesday: BBQ lentil sloppy joes + rice and bean salad + oranges (you could do barbeque beef if you don't like lentils!) how to prep ahead: cook extra rice on sunday (when making rice for buddha bowls), boil lentils while the rice is cooking, assemble the salad on sunday (the salad is also great for lunches all week long). Thursday: Lentil tacos, cabbage slaw, frozen mangoes how to prep ahead: boil the lentils when you are cooking the rice on sunday Friday: Homemade Pizza prep: buy pre-made pizza crust at the store, assemble and bake your pizza with any veggies leftover in your fridge. Serve with a green salad and canned peaches What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and let me know! Want some motivation to get cooking? Sign up for this month's cooking class. We will be making one of my summer staple meals: rice and bean salad. Here's the link to sign up: https://forms.gle/MmtzUNgU53dqi55k6