Healthy Eating for Busy Nights

Has the number of healthy meals consumed by your family taken a hit since school (and soccer and football and homework and piano and Lego club) started? Produce for Kids has some ideas for you! And guess what? They’re easy too!

The PFK website has TONS of recipe ideas, and this is the one my family and I chose to try:

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It looked pretty delicious, pretty easy and most importantly: I had almost all the ingredients on hand!

Here’s how it started:

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So…I didn’t have everything the recipe called for. Namely, chicken.  But this looked like a dish that would be good vegetarian too.  Also, my kids won’t eat whole wheat pasta, so I opted for regular.

The chopping began:

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Then it all went into the pot!

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Including the broth:

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Here it is all together.  I ended up adding some chopped zucchini because I am swimming in it these days!

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As it all started cooking I wondered (as I do every time I make one of these one-pot dishes):

Is this enough liquid?

It doesn’t look like enough liquid!

Should I add more liquid?

But I trusted the recipe, and sure enough it worked out!

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And here’s the verdict:

Kid #1: “Mom, this is delicious! I mean it!”

Kid #2: “This is almost as good as the lo mein we order out! Like just an inch away!”

Kid #3: Busy playing with cars and didn’t join the meal.

2 out of 3 is success in our house. So I would definitely say it was a hit and we will be making it again.  Next time I might add some lean ground turkey or beef, and maybe a tomato or two (I know that’s not traditional for lo mein, but I’m swimming in tomatoes right now, too!).

Happy Eating!


This post sponsored by Produce for Kids


Childhood Obesity: Simple Steps for the New School Year

I read this article about childhood obesity over on Yahoo! today and it made me so sad. Of course we have all seen and heard the statistics about our kids getting bigger and less healthy, but for some reason this article really got me thinking. So many of us struggle to make changes in our lives because the changes we need to make seem so big, overwhelming, and frankly,  un-doable.  I think this deer-in-the-headlights phenomenon happens to families when we hear about all the things we should be doing for and with our kids each day: 60 minutes of active outdoor time, 3 home-cooked meals, 30 minutes of reading, plenty of time for free play and spontaneous conversation. Ugh. It’s overwhelming and just not possible for most of us (at least not everyday!).

So after looking at Yahoo!’s article and thinking about the reasons they note for childhood obesity, I am offering some tips for the new school year.  I hope you can find at least one tip to incorporate into your family’s school year routine.

Quit trying to reinvent the wheel.  There are lots of blogs out there that specialize in menus, meal plans and recipes that are simple, cheap, healthy and most importantly: hold their own when it comes to picky eaters.  Some of my favorite sites? Produce for Kids (full disclosure: I am on their advisory board) and Six Sisters Stuff.  Gourmet chefs these folks are not, but who really wants to eat gourmet every night anyway?

Water, water everywhere. We get it: soda pop and juice are pretty bad for us. Try switching just ONE beverage each day to water and go from there.  To make the transition easier, you may want to invest in a cool water bottle, some twisty straws, or my favorites – Red Solo cups!

Forget exercise, let’s just get active. I have tried to stop using the word “exercise” because there are all of about 14 people who actually want to do. “Activity” on the other hand, sounds like a lot more fun and elicits many fewer moans and groans when mentioned.  Activity also includes tons of interesting things that most of us want to do anyway: play badminton, plant flowers, go canoeing, ride bikes to the library and walk around the mall.  This school year, try encouraging (and demonstrating) activity to your kids by planning outings as a family or trying new activities after school.

If nothing else, eat together. We can blame our lack of family dinners on our busy schedules sometimes, but let’s face it: sometimes it’s just lack of motivation, preparation and organization that keeps us from sharing meals together. We know that eating dinner together more often than not helps in all sorts of ways (helps us all eat healthier foods, keeps kids away from drugs, encourages conversation and discourages family stress – check out this article on how and why family dinners are important).  In fact, participating in family dinners seems to be about the most important thing we can do to encourage health in our children.

Want more information and tips?

The Importance of Family Dinners

Making the Most of Dinnertime