real food

Eat your veggies! Another recipe to help fulfill your veggie quota.

I get asked these questions all the time:

  1. How do I get my kids to eat veggies?

  2. How do I get my kids to lay off XYZ?

  3. How do I make healthy meals that everyone will eat?

 

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You can see my previous post that addresses some of these items.

But let’s start from the top and break it down.

First and foremost, you know yourself and your family best.

You know your time commitments or what you’re willing to do to make healthy cooking and eating a priority.

These values are the foundation we need to establish. Simply ask yourself:

  1. Do I have time to meal prep?

  2. Do I even want to meal prep?

  3. Would I benefit from meal prepping?

  4. What is my definition of health?

  5. What am I willing to sacrifice to be healthy?

Answer these questions and you’ll free yourself from any guilt you may have around not having it all together, in addition to understanding the parameters you’re working with to establish a new routine.

If the answer is Yes to most of these questions, let’s begin…..

Stock up on the items y’all love and don’t mind eating on repeat. These may include:

  • Chicken

  • Fish

  • Ground beef or steak

  • Veggies

  • Fruit

  • Eggs

  • Butter

  • Jerky

  • Salad fixings

  • Smoothie fixings

  • Avocados

  • Frozen fruit and veggies

     

    Come meal prep time, simply cook more!

    Heat up the grill and grill chicken, flank steak, portobello mushrooms and onions, a salmon filet, foil wrapped asparagus, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers.

Don’t have a grill?

  

Roast a whole chicken in your oven alongside roasted beets, fennel, and sweet potato. Perhaps even some egg muffins. Or simply make some hard-boiled eggs for on the go protein.

Take that chicken carcass and throw it on your instant pot to make broth, to either sip throughout the week or to make a carrot ginger or minestrone soup (see post from June 14th).

 

Not into meal planning?

That’s ok!

Buy a rotisserie chicken, or easy to heat meals such as frozen items from Trader Joe’s, or use a meal planning program such as Good Eggs, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Acme Farms & Kitchen, or even Uber Eats.

What about hiding those veggies?

Smoothies, soup, scrambles, meatballs, and even chocolate pudding are an incredibly easy and tasty way to get your kids to eat their greens.

These combinations allow you to pack a punch with nutrient dense veggies, with little to no acknowledgement they’re even there. When my kids regularly ask for these meals or treats, I secretly smile knowing all the goodness hiding behind the yum factor.

For example, this meatball recipe was a hit this past week. I typically do some combo of meat and veggies for meatballs, but this time I added some green curry powder and it was fantastic. Delicious and happily devoured even when cold!!!!

Curried Meatballs
 

Ingredients

4 mushrooms

½ an onion

3 garlic cloves

1 tbsp butter, ghee, or coconut oil

3 carrots

1 tbsp curry

1 lb ground meat

Directions

Preheat oven to 400

Over medium heat, melt fat of choice and sauté mushrooms, onions and 1 clove garlic for about 10 minutes and let cool.

In food processor chop 3 carrots, 2 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp curry powder.

When the mushroom mix has cooled, add to food processor and mix lightly.

Add 1-pound ground meat and blend again until just mixed. You want to still be acble to see chunks of carrots!

Bake for 30 min.

We ate these babies in a variety of ways, but like most protein in my life it ends up in a salad. Have fun and get creative with how you dish them up. Or simply eat them plain, they're that good!

 

P.S. I also can’t say enough about organifi. On those days when you feel you’re not hitting your green quota, reach for this dried Superfood Greens Powder. (I'm not an affiliate, just love the stuff!)

 

Since I have your attention, humor me two more minutes!

As most of you know, I still take part in the 9-5 hamster wheel as a Marketing coordinator for an engineering firm.

To rewind the scene, I’m taking you back to summer of 2003.

Fresh out of college and totally green, I began my career. It was unrealistically easy to get this job. For one of my journalism classes I interviewed an architecture firm, and in turn, they offered me a job. Yeah, ok!

The thing is, they weren’t sure what to do with me. My beloved, quirky Marketing Manager had worked for a number year on her own. Having this young, naïve person in her space, though there to help, was challenging. As a dog lover, she treated me like a puppy. Are you hungry? Should we go for a walk? She was hesitant, unsure, grateful but inexperienced as a leader.

Yesterday my Marketing Assistant joined our crew. Though younger than my original counterpart, I find myself in a similar position. Judging myself as her mentor and leader, judging her as being a new graduate. How much hand holding do I offer? How much do I share? How much does she care? I have two kids. She’s young, free, and grappling with her new-found home in California, as a new graduate, living with her boyfriend and working in San Francisco. Suddenly I feel old. Disregard the number of years, so many life experiences, separate us.

But I was once her.

I had the boyfriend, the new job, the excitement of years before me. Nothing but money and time to burn, and travel adventures to be had.

As a mother, I tenderly look at her and I wonder if she knows what she’s getting herself into. I wonder if this is her dream or just a stepping stone. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder……

And then I’m grateful for the chance to intersect into her life to mentor her. It will take time, as all things do, but I‘m sure we’ll learn from each other.

Perspective is funny like that, and life never fails to come full circle.

Susie, I get it now….

 

Five ways to feed the little people in your life

Smoothie Face

If you’re a parent, you know the struggle that exists around mealtime - multiple snacks, every hour it seems, if your children are anything like mine.

Despite your greatest efforts, does convenience allure you, convincing you to purchase the bright-colored, health-touting packaged food items at the grocery store?

It doesn’t have to be that way!

As a parent, I’m all too familiar with the day-to-day stress, hangry kids, and too much to do in too little time. Stressing about how to nourish not only my body, but these growing children, should  not be a burden, but rather an empowering choice of health. There is freedom in creating routines and committing to discipline. Your health and the daily meal times are no exception. 

Since feeding our family does not need to be difficult, you may wonder where to begin.

Let’s start with a few basics that are good for you and your littles:

1. Be a healthy model

Make mealtimes fun by setting a good, healthy example - eat your veggies and try new foods. Nosh on sauerkraut with your breakfast sausage; wrap a big, leafy green around a piece of chicken; sauté green apples in coconut oil or ghee and sprinkle with cinnamon for dessert (it tastes like apple pie, folks!).

The more your kids see you enjoying healthy meals, the more they will want to join you. If your kids lean toward the picky side, hiding veggies in meatballs or egg muffins is a great tool to have under your belt. Also, make sure they know you’re not their personal chef; cook meals for the family not for each individual person.

 

2. Include protein with every snack or meal

Since protein is satiating, be sure to add protein to every meal or snack. Include hard-boiled eggs or egg muffins, sugar free deli meat or protein-laden leftovers, whole-milk yogurt or chia seed pudding, sugar free jerky or smoothies with collagen.

 

3. Involve your kids

You might think taking your kids to the grocery store or having them help in the kitchen is a nightmare waiting to crash and burn on your family dreams. On the other hand, if you preface the outing as a treasure hunt allowing them to pick out healthy items, such as 2 - 3 vegetables or fruit they will eat during the week, you may have success.

Including your children in the kitchen with meal planning, cooking a meal – if old enough – or simply letting younger kids stir in some spices while you’re preparing dinner, encourages them to try new flavors and makes them curious about all the combinations they could create . Better yet, planting a garden with seeds your kids pick out and watching your garden grow, takes the learning experience to yet another level.

Regardless of whichever approach you take, exposing your kids to whole, nutrient dense foods and including them in decisions will get them excited about buying, preparing, and eating real food.

 

4. Utilize dips for healthy fats

If you have a picky eater, including some dips might be the game changer. With a dollop of almond butter, any green apple or banana gets an extra kick. Use avocado or guacamole, along with kalamata olives to spice up carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks, and other veggie slices. Drizzle warmed coconut butter and cinnamon on a mashed sweet potato.

 

5. How much to eat

It takes a sufficient amount of energy to swim, have dance parties, and jump on the bed. In general, children have no limits when it comes to eating whole, real food. They also eat more often for a good reason – their minds and bodies are growing. While high-quality (ideally grass-fed, organic) proteins, healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates are good for all of us, for kids, extra carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables and fruit, are important.

 

Keep it simple with these snacks:

raw

Apples
Bananas
Berries
Carrots

Cucumber

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi
Tomato
Zucchini noodles

  

roasted

Asparagus

Beets
Broccoli

Carrots

Delicata squash

Parsnips

Zucchini slices

  • Coconut butter stuffed Dates

  • Banana and almond butter sandwiches

  • Whole Milk, grass-fed yogurt (with a dollop of raw, organic honey)

  • Avocado with salt

  • Egg muffins or crustless quiche

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Chocolate Pudding (made with avocado and coconut milk)

 

When convenience reigns, these packaged items are, well, convenient:

  • Sausage (we like applegate or aidells)

  • Deli meat (we like applegate)

  • Plantain chips

  • Trader Joe's Apple Fruit Bars

  • Larabars or Kit’s Organic fruit and nut bar (Clif Bar)

  • Epic bars and bites

  • Chomps

  • Applesauce packets

  • Individually packaged nuts

  • Siete chips

  • RX bars

 

So far this has worked for me. My kids are adventurous eaters, love helping in the kitchen and honestly don't know how spoiled they are when it comes to the delicious food I feed them. Now if only I could get them to do more chores!

What other tips do you have? Want some of these recipes?

Wednesday Wisdom - paleofx recap and recommendations


I don't think prefacing my trip to paleofx (pfx) as an escape does it injustice. Let's be honest, a three day break from making school lunches, commuting two hours a day, and long hours sitting in front of computer is always welcomed. But there's something about Austin, and pfx in particular, that are motivating - and it's not just the free bulletproof coffee. 

I first ventured to Austin in 2016, naive and completely unaware of what would unfold in the Palmer Event Center. I didn't know a soul except for the folks I followed on Instagram or their personal blogs. Let me tell you, running into someone in Whole Foods that you've only seen a static picture of on your smart phone, takes them up to celebrity status rather quickly. After three days you start to befriend the vendors, you see familiar faces and begin to make friends. I left last year's event sure I would return. 

Come May 2017, I was shocked when it was already time to return. By a snafu in hotel bookings I ended stepping out of my comfort zone and rooming with three women I had never met before. It was fantastic. To have a buddies to walk in with on that first day really took the edge off, not to mention having built-in friends to listen to lectures next to and ask questions I hadn't thought of, made my experience 100% better than my first.

So what is paleofx you ask? It's a holistic wellness event covering the latest research on disease, aging, biohacking, and general health, wellness, fitness, nutrition, and self-development. Leaders in the paleo and biohacking movement such as David Perlmutter, Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Dave Aspry, Sarah Ballantyne, and Sarah Fragoso, present their latest findings and encourage all to take the next step in improving not only our physical environment - our bodies - but the environment around us with our knowledge and expertise. Outside of the packed schedule of lectures, there are exhibitors with their latest and more often than not, tasty and convenient paleo creations. 

This is only a brief and somewhat vague recap, but I know why you're here, you want in on the freebies! So who rocked as an exhibitor? Check out my recommended paleo goods below. Be sure to read the fine print as most links will take you the discount zone.

Eating Evolved - Chocolate is food, not candy. This is the real deal folks, the way chocolate should be. I highly recommend their 100% dark bar, coconut butter, and keto cups when on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Everything else, any ol' time! Use this code to receive a free gift with purchase: erinhtmt

FATCO - I've been in love with their body butta for years now. I especially love to use on my girls and the wee Samurai's eczema on her wee pinky finger.  Use this code to receive 15% off.

EPIC Bar - inspired by nature, these meat (ahem, jerky) bars are great for on the go and a sneaky way to get your kids to eat some healthy protein - even beef liver! 

ONNIT - While I had heard of ONNIT before, I had yet to try their supplements. After trying one sample packet of New Mood, I can honestly say I woke up well rested and in a better state. I think I'm a believer! ONNIT is on a mission to inspire peak performance through cutting-edge science, earth-grown nutrients, and time-tested strategies. They are dedicated to provide supplements, foods, and fitness equipment aimed at helping people achieve a new level of well-being. Get 10% off here.

....more to come soon as I work out some sweet deals for you!

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom - Do you know what's in that?

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How many times have you heard that in order to begin your journey of health you should "read labels?"

Okay great, so you read labels. What are you looking for?  What are you avoiding?

When it comes to food, you want real ingredients, void of sugar and modified additives. In essence, you want to stock your fridge and cupboards with whole food that don't need an ingredients list. My grass-fed beef shouldn't have anything other than beef, my broccoli should be pure, 100% vegetable. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Breads, almond butter, tomato sauces, pickles, meat, even your beloved Kashi Go Lean, might be hiding sugar - in various forms, high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable ingredients, pesticides, unhealthy oils, and therefore some unwanted "food" substances your body does not need nor want in order to thrive. 

Okay, so you've given up gluten and sugar, you shop the perimeter of the store, you're a food label reading ninja. What about your personal care products? Your shampoo, your toothpaste, your mascara, and deodorant? Do you know how to read those labels? Do you know that you're as susceptible to the chemicals in those products as you are to what you're ingesting? 

I love the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app to help me decipher labels, especially for personal beauty products. They take the guesswork out of the equation and allow me to make informed decisions. The EWG rates products from 0-10; ideally you're looking for products in a safe range, under 3. I also love Beautycounter for skincare and makeup due to their transparency, rigorous testing, and commitment to their NEVER LIST  - a list as comprehensive as the EU, which bans 1,400 toxic chemical from their cosmetics.

Beautycounter's NEVER List

Beautycounter's NEVER List

But if you want to be even more informed, what should you avoid? This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but take a look:

Formaldehyde

Propyl Paraben

Mercury

Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates

Nitrates

Potassium Bromate

Pesticides

Lead

Perchlorate

Blue #1 and Blue #2

Yellow #5

Red #40

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

rBGH and rBST

Aluminum

"Natural" Flavors

Educate yourself and start making more informed choices - for your health, for the environment, for your children and grandchildren. What can you do today?

For reference:

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives

http://www.parents.com/health/injuries/safety/harmful-chemicals-to-avoid/

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Food/11-foods-banned-us/story?id=19457237#9