Friday, February 4, 2011

Make Your Own Homemade Trailmix

Trail mix is one of my absolute favorite snacks. It's portable, delicious and can be pretty healthy, too. As a parent, it's tough to find healthy pre-packaged snacks that aren't loaded with preservatives. If you do find them, they will most likely cost you a pretty penny. What I've started doing recently is exploring the bulk section in the organic section at Fred Meyer.  Dried fruits, nuts, vegan chocolate chips, toasted coconut- you name it?! Both my girls love these! I keep them in little ziplock snack bags so they are easily accessible. Because my kids aren't meat eaters outside of the occasional salmon, we use a lot of nuts in our home. Not only are nuts a good snack food, but research is supporting eating nuts as being good for your heart health. Current dietary guidelines suggest eating 1 to 2 ounces (a small handful) of nuts each day.


The nice thing about these too? They're able to be adapted quite easily for different taste buds.
Here are some ideas for ingredients
Sunflower Seeds
Dried Apples
Dried Cranberries
Shredded Coconut
Dark Chocolate Chips
Soy Nuts
Dried mangoes, pineapple or apricots
Pumpkin Seeds
Dried Bananas

A good, satisfying trail mix typically consists of sweet and salty flavors. I like to always include nuts (protein), dried fruit and some form of chocolate in my own mixtures. Trail mixes are loved by kids and also make great gifts. Simply tie a cellophane bag with a pretty bow, stick on an attractive label and you've just created a delicious, thoughtful gift! I also frequently see baggies of trail mix for sale at kid's bake sales. They're a great 'no-bake' snack idea and sell well!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Picky Eaters and Perfectionism

One of my biggest issues is cooking for my family. It's not only time consuming, but we all enjoy different foods. I'm a vegetarian, my husband loves his protein, one of my kids loves fish and soups while the other loves fruits, nuts and carbs. It's almost impossible to cook a nutritious meal that everyone will enjoy. I started wondering, how in the heck am I supposed to run a healthy kids blog when I can’t even figure it out at times? That’s when I realized that it’s about progress, not perfection.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with getting the kids more involved. We turn on the radio and the girls will help me cook. We decided to start off simple. Pizzas!  We made our own gluten-free dough, bought some local organic sauce and veggies and went to work. The girls really did have fun making these!

I debated posting this recipe but at the same time I think it’s important for other parents out there to realize that we live in a busy world and sometimes the best we can do at the time is enough. I need to give myself more credit. We’re not out at Pizza Hut eating deep dish oil-laden pizza. We made ours at home, together, and if food is energy, this pizza is positive energy!

My daughter Presley is stubborn and stuck in her ways. (No clue where she gets that.) She loves pineapple. Just not on pizza. She loves broccoli. Just not on pizza. Her little sister on the other hand will try about anything and is comfortable mixing foods. Although the Type A personality in me wanted to force her to try some broccoli, mushrooms and pineapple on her pizza, I resisted and allowed her to make that choice for herself. I try to remember that when I was growing up, my favorite foods were Ramen noodles, Sunny-D and Mrs. Smith’s soft-baked cookies. Although some may beg to differ, I turned out alright. We all come into our food and nutritional awareness at different times. The best we can do as parents sometimes is model a healthy diet and lifestyle.

 My cheese only kid
 Presley is upset because I asked her to try
putting something new on her pizza besides cheese.

Although most vegan cheese does not melt well and has a questionable taste, Daiya is one that I've found which actually melts and tastes good!
Dairy is such a controversial subject in our society. If you get to the root of the dairy industry you will see that it’s all big business; with lobbyists and government officials among the top profit earners. Another thing I learned this past week in my Holistic Health Counseling schooling is that even organic dairy is full of hormones. Did you know that cows that are producing organic milk are milked through 70% of their pregnancies?  During pregnancy is when hormones are most prevalent in their milk so that means even when you buy organic it is chalked full of hormones. If you choose to do dairy, it is recommended to keep it to one or less servings a day versus the “recommended” three. If you are looking for a great dairy free cheese, try Daiya!
so back to the pizzas. The whole family loved them and I was happy because it was actually pretty simple to do!! Mine is the vegan one with veggies. My husband's is a chicken pesto. Carsyn did broccoli and pineapple and that's Presley with the cheese only :)  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes :)