After a long and hectic week, one of the most enjoyable weekend activities can be savoring a Sunday morning in the kitchen. Cooking a delicious (and, of course, healthy!) breakfast can be fun for the whole family. While thinking outside of the Bisquick box can be difficult at first, putting a nutritious spin on your family’s favorite meals is totally worth the effort.
Plus, unlike traditional bacon-and-egg meals that leave you feeling like you need to crawl back in bed, these morning pick-me-ups will give your family the energy they need to keep going all day! Read More...
Kids love to create things and work with their hands. Cooking with your kids is a great way to use their imagination and spend some quality time together. It’s also a great way to teach kids about food, where it comes from and how to prepare healthy meals. Teaching your kids to make healthy meals and eating together as a family has been shown to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Some benefits of cooking with your kids:
- Builds self-esteem
- Promotes eye-hand coordination
- Teaches valuable lifelong skills
- Fosters independence
- Practice with numbers and math
- Provides an opportunity to talk about food and important nutrients for growth
- It’s fun!
It’s also true that kids are more likely want to eat with the family and try new foods if they’re involved in the cooking. When cooking with your kids, let them be involved in the entire process from deciding what to make, to setting the table. This will help build their decision-making skills and gives you a chance to guide them to make good choices, without doing it all for them.
Can start anytime
Kids can start being a part of the kitchen at almost any age. Young kids under age 5 can start with safe, simple duties such as washing veggies, snapping peas, mixing batters and dipping bread in egg for french toast. Older children can do more advanced jobs like cracking eggs, reading recipes, grating cheese and progress to cutting vegetables (with supervision).
If your kids aren’t too keen on the idea of cooking initially, start small with something that they like and that doesn’t take too long (such as fruit smoothie popsicles) and build up to bigger snacks and meals. Baking cookies is a fun thing to do, but be sure to add variety and involve your kids in making healthy balanced meals as well.
A great recipe to start with is low fat, whole grain pita pizza
Maybe yours is the kind of family that just can’t get on board with a meal that doesn’t involve meat. Or maybe you can’t get going without a hot morning bite. Or maybe anything but coffee settles in your stomach like a lead brick. Whatever your breakfast dilemma, one of these make-ahead meals is sure to be perfect for you and your family.
Quite often, I prepare the entire week’s (non-smoothie) breakfasts in advance, so there is always something on hand that can be popped in the microwave.
For mornings when time is even tighter, keep some hard-boiled eggs, organic string cheese and bananas on hand. That way, if you find yourself in a more serious time crunch, there is always something healthy to grab and go! Read More...
Between making sure the kids have their homework finished, feeding the pets, answering the phone and sliding a few last-minute bills into the mailbox, some mornings it can feel like a miracle that you even made it to work with your shoes on. For those of you who (like me) sleep until the absolute last possible minute, it can feel next to impossible to squeeze breakfast into the equation.
As you read last week, however, squeezing it in is essential, especially if you don’t want your child to have to repeat the 1st grade! So how do you make sure the entire family gets fed without having to set the alarm clock back an hour? Make smoothies!
Pre-measure the frozen fruit the night before and store it overnight in the freezer by itself, so it’s ready to go in the morning. Pour the other ingredients into the blender the night before, cover, and store in the fridge. In the morning, put the blender on its base, pour in the fruit, blend until smooth, and you have a healthy, delicious breakfast in 2 minutes flat. Read More.....
You’ve probably heard on television or read in the newspaper that whole grains are making a comeback. While white bread was king for a while, people are beginning to buy into the fact that whole grains, packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, are worth fitting into their diets. And what better place to experiment with whole grains than breakfast?
Undoubtedly, you’ve heard that oatmeal is a great, healthy choice for breakfast. Conveniently, there are innumerable companies that make pre-packaged oatmeal where you can simply add hot water, stir and go.
Unfortunately, a lot of these packets contain significant amounts of added sugar, and, if you caught my last blog
, you have probably realized that this isn’t a great thing. While the steel-cut, slow cook oats might be a bit more of a time commitment, they are totally worth the effort. Boasting B-vitamins and a good deal of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which has been shown to do everything from lower cholesterol and diabetes risk to stabilize blood sugar, this grain has been hailed for decades as a health champion.
Fiber also gives these grains the staying power to keep you full all morning. And the great thing is, even though it can take longer to cook them, you don’t have to make them every morning. Whip up a big batch on Sunday afternoon and it will keep in the refrigerator for the entire week!
But who wants to eat plain old boring oatmeal? I know I don’t, and your kids certainly won’t! Fortunately, Mother Nature has provided us unlimited healthy, delicious choices to spice up our oatmeal.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
- Pumpkin: Stir in 2 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin (or sweet potato), a dash of vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of walnut pieces and just enough brown sugar to suit your tastes. You’ll get a Vitamin A punch from the pumpkin, Omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts and studies are beginning to show that cinnamon might help regulate blood sugar.
- Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries are another favorite oatmeal mix in, especially when combined with a couple tablespoons of chopped pecans. The dried cranberries are sweet enough that many people find they don’t even need to add any extra sweetness, but if you find yourself longing for something sweeter, don’t hesitate to stir in a teaspoon or two of agave nectar. Those cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections and even strengthen the immune system and pecans are packed with Vitamin E.
- Flaxseed: Want to boost the benefits of your oatmeal? Try adding a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed. Flaxseed contains Omega-3 fatty acids which can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and lignans, which are especially important for fending of female-specific diseases such as breast cancer. Plus, its subtle crunch and nutty flavor complements the oatmeal perfectly.
Experiment with your own oatmeal recipes, and you’re sure to find a flavor that everyone in the family loves!