Tag Archives for " Lunch "

Busy Mom’s Guide: How to Sneak Nutrition into Your Kid’s Meals

Greta, our resident mom, writes about making small, healthier changes for her family that give big results. This week, she gives us some easy tips on how to sneak nutrition into your kid’s meals without sacrificing taste or wasting food.
 
As a busy mom of four young children and the daughter of busy parents of four kids, I’ve grown up and learned to live on homestyle foods that are delicious but not necessarily the healthiest choices. We have always depended on comfort foods such as meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, lasagna, and cheeseburger macaroni. I’ve never put a lot of emphasis on filling our plates with different colors (green broccoli, yellow squash, orange carrots, red tomatoes…you get the idea).

But last summer, I made a major lifestyle change for myself to try to lose the baby weight, and so far, I’ve lost a little more than 30 pounds.

I feel so much better now, physically and mentally. But the thing that I don’t enjoy about eating healthier is making separate meals for myself because the rest of my family doesn’t like what I’m eating. My kids are 6 years old and younger, and they’re pretty typical: picky and very selective on the fruits and vegetables they are willing to eat. They prefer cheeseburgers to steak, fish sticks to grilled tilapia, and unfortunately, they would eat cheese pizza every day if I gave it to them.

In order to ensure that I’m not cooking two separate dinners every night (one for me and one for them), I’ve had to get creative with the way I cook. These are a few of my tips for making meals that are healthier and still kid-friendly:

  • Substitute leaner meats. Use ground turkey instead of beef in meatloaf, meatballs, tacos. If you’re not crazy about the taste, add a little bit of ground sausage or beef to the turkey when you cook it, and season the dish as you normally would. Use pork ribs in place of beef. Marinate and roast boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and build a meal around them. (I love to cook mine in a slow cooker with barbecue sauce.)
  • Any sauce is an opportunity to hide “good for you” items: Add pureed vegetables to spaghetti sauce, on pizza, even in macaroni and cheese! If you want a more-convenient option, throw a couple of jars of baby food into spaghetti sauce, and nobody can tell the difference.
  • Find lower-fat and higher-fiber alternatives: This is easy for most dairy items: milk, yogurt, and cheeses.  Other alternatives are whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-wheat and multigrain breads.
  • Less meat, more beans: When you’re cooking soups/chilis/stews, load them up with extra beans, diced tomatoes, pureed pumpkin, even leftover mashed potatoes. You’ll need less meat and will have added nutrients.
  • Continue to experiment with new foods: It’s true that it takes more than one try for kids to get used to a new item. Try to add one new item with a couple of familiar things on their plate.

I am proof that it’s possible to make small changes to the way your family eats that lead to big results, without disrupting your eating habits or sacrificing convenience. Once I started using the MOMables lunch plans during the day and got on a healthier, less-processed routine for my children (we adults eat them too, just bigger portions), I knew I had to be consistent with the rest of our meals and not give up! Your family’s health is worth the extra effort.

What are some of the tricks you use to incorporate healthier items in your picky eaters’ meals?

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

This gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe is one your kids will love! Served with milk or in the lunchbox as a treat... it's a winner!

Need an easy gluten-free chocolate chip cookie your kids will love? This is it!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies RecipeOur whole-wheat chewy chocolate chip cookies were an instant Internet and Pinterest hit, thank you! Many of you have e-mailed and asked for a gluten-free version of the chewy cookie.

We tested more than a dozen recipes, and I’m happy to share the winner.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Recipe: Land O’Lakes

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour blend*
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
  • 1 12-ounce package (2 cups) gluten-free semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping the bowl often, until well mixed.
  3. Reduce the speed to low. Beat, gradually adding the flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.) Let them stand for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove them from the cookie sheets.

Notes

* Gluten-Free Flour Blend: To make this flour blend, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour, and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use the appropriate amount for your recipe, and store the remainder in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.

 

Meatball Madness: A Healthy Recipe Everyone Will Enjoy

Do you know how to make homemade meatballs?

Let’s face it. Meatballs have kid appeal. We sing songs about them. We see them in movies and on TV. We have pictures of them in storybooks and coloring books. In fact, they are easily identifiable to most of the world. They span the globe from North America to Europe, the Mediterranean to Asia, and they are universal and extremely versatile. Even my pickiest eater  (who has never allowed one to cross his lips) can pick one out of a picture lineup. But how on earth do you make a good one?

Thanks to one of my dearest friends, I learned a simple way to make the lightest, most tender meatballs on the planet. The secret is in the cooking method. Put away your skillets, and no baking pan required. You won’t even need to turn them! Instead of baking or frying the meatballs, we drop them into a pot of simmering broth. 

The best part? When they are cooked through, they float to the surface of the liquid! Simply scoop them out with a slotted spoon and cool. This recipe makes approximately 50 meatballs, but it all depends on the size you like them. The kids love them in miniature, but my husband and I prefer them a little bit bigger.

Meatball Madness! Easy and Delicious

For this recipe, you will require 6 to 8 cups of beef stock (your own or premade) or a 50/50 mix of beef stock and ground tomatoes for cooking. Bring the stock to a simmer in a small stockpot or a deep sauce pan.

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ounces bread crumbs
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Splash of red wine
  • Additional seasoning as you prefer

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Gently squeeze them together until well mixed. The texture should be moist and soft. If it is dry, add another egg. Using a leveled tablespoon or cookie scoop (my personal favorite), shape the mixture into balls.
  2. Bring the stock to a simmer.
  3. Gently place 10 to 12 meatballs in the simmering stock, not too many at a time, because you want to clearly see them float to the top when they are cooked. As they float up, scoop them out with a slotted spoon.
  4. Use immediately in your favorite recipe, or allow them to cool completely if you are freezing them. You can also skim the fat off the stock used to cook the meatballs, and freeze it in ice cube trays to use in other recipes!

 

The Meatball Madness Sub:
A family favorite at our house on movie night, this is a snap to prepare. Place precooked (thawed) meatballs in the slow cooker with your favorite spaghetti or pizza sauce. Don’t be afraid to add a cup of pureed carrots or squash to this dish—they blend right in and enhance the flavor perfectly. Cook on the lowest setting for 6 to 8 hours. Serve on lightly toasted submarine buns with your favorite cheese melted on top. Who needs fast food when home-cooked is simple and tastes this good?

About Jenn Sprung: A full-time Mom to three wonderful children, with a keen interest in boosting the nutrition in every bite. Because in my world, every bite counts! Visit Jenn’s blog Cleverly Disguised as Cake for additional sneaky resources or learn more about Pediatric Feeding Disorders and how to help your child.

 

Getting Back to School: How to Pack Fresh Lunches

Greta, our resident MOM, tells us how she’s been able to get herself and her family back in the routine of packing lunches after the holidays. Thank you, Greta, for sharing!

My oldest just started back into his second semester of kindergarten, and I think it was harder for me to get back into the routine than him! Thankfully, the easiest horse to get back on was packing his lunches.

Henry is 6 years old and a very picky eater. I didn’t used to think of him in that way until he started school and began bringing his lunch menus home. I knew, as soon as I read the first one, that he wouldn’t eat any of those lunches! His school gives the option of choosing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but he would be eating one every single day. He doesn’t like pasta very much; there are only a handful of fruits that he will eat. He’s not a fan of cheese and hates almost any vegetable. He’s a good eater, when given the foods that he likes (just like anyone else), but the number of foods that he likes isn’t terribly large. And he does NOT like to try new things.

Thank goodness, I discovered MOMables before the school year started. I had already decided that I would pack his lunches, but I had no idea how I would change things up from day to day. But, after seeing the first couple of weeks of MOMables™ menus, I knew I wouldn’t have a problem. Even if he didn’t like an ingredient or two, I could easily substitute something else. Honestly, the lunches are much better, fresher, and healthier than anything they have ever offered at his school.

Even when our lives get crazy, and I don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the following weeks’ lunches, I don’t get stressed out. Henry and I have figured out his go-to lunch item and that gets made by default (instead of a boring PB&J).

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

One of these go-to lunches is the Turkey and Swiss Pinwheel (see the recipe below). What I love about these pinwheels is that I can change the fillings to suit Henry’s tastes (or myself, as I often make one or two for my own lunch, too). Like I said before, Henry isn’t crazy about cheese; he’s a meat guy. So, I skip the Swiss, and vary the meats and condiments. One day, it’s a turkey and mustard roll-up, the next, it could be roast beef and low-fat cream cheese (my personal favorite).What I love about these wraps is that they’re super quick to whip up (as MOMables™ meals always are), and they can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge covered in a damp paper towel for a few days.

Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Lunch

Ingredients

  • 1 flour tortilla (whole-wheat or any variety)
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2-3 slices deli turkey
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese

Instructions

  1. Lay the tortilla on a cutting board, and spread it with the mayonnaise. Lay the turkey slices, covering most of the tortilla. Lay the cheese slices over the turkey.
  2. Roll the tortilla from one end to the next.
  3. Cut the “roll” in half. Then cut in ½-inch-thick round sections. Serve with fresh fruit, veggies, and a snack or treat.

 

9

Greek Hummus Recipe

Who doesn’t love hummus?

Every time my dad comes to visit, we make hummus. His “Greek” recipe is so delicious, it tastes authentic. “Of course, it’s authentic! It’s Greek!” he says.

Having both my mom and stepdad over is a bit comical, almost like the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. My mom, the Spaniard, tries to tell him to use more or less olive oil or garlic, etc. He says: Hummus is Greek.  Don’t mess with the ingredients.

Yanni’s Hummus

As shared by Yanni

  • Author: MOMables
  • Cuisine: Snacks

Ingredients

  • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, oil, cumin, and garlic. Mix for 1 minute.
  2. Begin to thin with the water, adding it in slowly until you reach the thickness/consistency you like. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Hummus isn’t just the perfect appetizer and snack; here at MOMables™, we love to use it from time to time in our lunch menus.

Pictured: Turkey & Hummus Sandwich on a favorite bread with fruit and veggies from the MOMables menus.

 

×
MENU