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  • 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: 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: References 1 Further reading about family meals:

  • 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 Tuesday: split pea soup with leftover ham from easter dinner + homemade bread + watermelon (image from 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:

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Other Pages (89)

  • Tabbouleh | DDInutrition

    Tabbouleh Print in English Print in Spanish Tabouleh Serves: 2 adults and 4 kids Time: about 10 minutes Ingredients ​ For the Salad: 1/2 cup bulgur wheat 1 cup water 1 red bell pepper (or 2 big tomatoes, or a 8oz package of cherry tomatoes) 1 cucumber (preferably english, but regular will work) 1 bunch parsley 1/4 cup fresh mint (optional, my family doesn't like mint so I leave it out) 3 green onions For the Dressing: ¼ cup olive oil Juice from 1 lemon 1 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper ​ Serve With: hummus tzatziki naan or pita bread ​ Instructions: ​ Boil 1 cup water in the microwave. Pour the water over bulgur wheat in a medium bowl (the bulgur will expand as it absorbs the water). Put a plate over the top of the bowl. Set aside for 1 hour. You can do this step well in advance. After one hour, drain out any extra water. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into squares as small as you can make them. Place in a large bowl (different bowl from the bulgur) Cut the bell pepper (or tomatoes) into squares the same size as the cucumber. Place them in the same bowl as the cucumber. Chop parsley, mint (if using) and green onions. Place in the bowl with cucumber and bell pepper. Add the bulgur into the bowl with the cucumber and bell pepper, stir the salad. In a separate bowl, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, mint, cumin, salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine. Taste best if chilled 1 hour before serving. Serve with hummus and tzatiki inside pita bread for a complete meal. This salad stays good for 3-4 days in the fridge.

  • Tzatziki | DDInutrition

    Tzatziki Print in English Print in Spanish Tzatziki ​ Serves: 2 adults and 4 kids Time: about 10 minutes Ingredients 1 cup greek yogurt (you can use regular plain yogurt but it won't be as good, or you can use 1/2 cup greek yogurt and 1/2 cup sour cream) 2 teaspoons dry dill weed (not dill seed!) - you can use 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves instead for better flavor! 2 garlic cloves, mashed Juice from ½ of a lemon (make sure you don't get any lemon seeds in the sauce) ¼ teaspoon salt (add more at the end if you want it saltier) 1 cucumber (preferably an english cucumber, but regular is fine) pita or naan bread for dipping (I like "stonefire" bread in the deli section of the grocery store) ​ Directions In a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1 cup yogurt, 2 teaspoons dill weed, 2 garlic cloves, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half the long way and scoop out the seeds. Cut it into squares as small as you can make them. If you don't like chopping, just grate the peeled cucumber with a cheese grater. Add the cucumber to the yogurt bowl. Peel the garlic. Chop as finely as you can and mash with the side of your knife to make a paste, OR use a garlic press to press the garlic. Add garlic to the yogurt bowl. Stir everything together. Serve with hummus , fresh veggies and pita/naan bread. For a complete meal, I like to serve tzatziki with hummus and tabbouleh.

  • Hummus | DDInutrition

    Hummus Print in English Print in Spanish Hummus Serves: 2 adults and 4 kids Time: about 10 minutes Ingredients 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) 1-2 garlic cloves ¼ cup good quality olive oil (or canola oil) (or peanut butter) (or tahini) ¼ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon cumin Juice from ½ of a lemon 2-6 Tablespoons of water (amount depends on texture) pita or naan bread for serving Drain garbanzo beans. Peel garlic. Add ingredients to a blender or food-processor and blend until it forms a thick paste. Add water to make it creamier if you like it creamier (I usually add about 6 Tablespoons of water). Serve with Tzatziki, fresh veggies and pita bread. ​

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