Saying “No” To Holiday Stress

Is Thanksgiving really less than a week away? If the thought sends a little bit of panic through your system like it does mine, you might find these tips useful.  My favorite? “Practice Saying No.”  As in:

No, I’m not going to try to out-do all the other moms when it comes to teacher gifts.

No, I appreciate the invitations, but I won’t be attending every holiday event.

No, I’m not going to participate in the rampant consumerism and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses-ism that often plagues the holidays

Oh and another thing: This lady’s stress would be a whole lot less if she ditched the heels. Check it out:

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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


Is Food Stressing You Out?

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Food is delicious.  But it can also be stressful. Gluten-free, fat-free, South Beach, Mediterranean – how are we supposed to eat?  Foods that are seen as healthy today, aren’t necessarily seen as healthy tomorrow.  It’s very stressful!

I recently wrote an article for Produce for Kids about how to manage stress around food, diet and nutrition.  My favorite tip?

Make sure to allow yourself time to let loose and have fun with food!

See the entire article here:

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Parenting Kids With Different Body Types

Just because kids have the same parents, doesn’t mean they have the same body types – and that can be a tricky thing for parents to navigate.  I recently wrote some tips for parenting kids with different body types for the awesome group Produce for Kids.  To read the entire article (It’s short, I promise) check it out here.  And while you’re there, be sure to look at all the fun, healthy food ideas on their site.

Check out the full article over at Produce for Kids

Check out the full article over at Produce for Kids

Snack Time with Produce For Kids

The other day my kids and I decided to try a couple new, yummy-sounding snacks from the Simply Summer Cookbook – the new, free, e-cookbook from Produce for Kids.  Get it here!

It was a typical day: coming in from school after a long day, lots of homework, piano lessons, soccer practice, doorbell ringing – you know, the typical.  (Why do we pack our lives so full of busy-ness? I guess that’s another post for another time).  Anyway, 3 of the 4 of us felt like it was a good day to try something new.  One of us spent the entire time moping on the couch – but I felt like 3 out of 4 was as good as it was going to get so we went for it!

The 2 participating children chose the Sunny Breakfast Skewers and the Peach Pie Smoothie as their recipes to try.  Luckily we had almost all the ingredients on hand:ingredients

We made the skewers first.  I must say that the peanut butter-coconut mixture was DELICIOUS all on its own:

peanut butter

Skewering the fruit and waffles was a fun activity, though the metal sticks I had on hand were a little dangerous.  Wood might have been better.  Oops:skewers

Next we made the smoothies. Super easy:smoothies

The finished product:smoothies

Overall the snacks were delicious.  Preparation took a little more time than I would normally spend, but the results were worth it and we had enough skewers leftover for the next day! Delicious!

Check out these recipes and a bunch of others in the new Simply Summer Cookbook.


Tasty Thanksgiving Treats for Kids

I am excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year, and have been spending lots of time checking out recipes for the big day.  A few weeks ago Produce for Kids released a free and beautiful booklet filled with tasty, healthy and creative Thanksgiving recipes.  So my kids and I decided to give one of the recipes a test-drive last week to see if it was Thanksgiving-worthy.

Here’s the original recipe:

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We decided we liked the pepper/ranch dressing idea, but wanted to branch out a bit.  Here’s what we started with:


For our first turkey, we mixed up equal parts light sour cream and veggie cream cheese:

sour cream mix

Then we added some pretzels and came up with this:

pretzel turkey

For our next turkey, we decided to spice it up.  I put some tortillas on a baking sheet, sprayed them with cooking spray and baked them at 350 until they browned up a bit.  Then I cut them into strips with a pizza cutter, added some salsa and came up with this:

salsa turkey

Then we tried out the original recipe and came up with this:

pepper turkey

In the end they were all delicious – and fun to make and eat.  These cute little turkeys definitely earned a spot on our Thanksgiving table!

group of turkeys

And be sure to check out Produce for Kids’ Festive Flavors Holiday Guide to download your own yummy Thanksgiving recipes.

Happy, Healthy Halloween

Find lots of cool ideas for healthy Halloween treats at Produce for Kids

Find lots of cool ideas for healthy Halloween treats at Produce for Kids

I am not a huge fan of Halloween (I know, booo hiss), but I am a fan of candy.  Candy is delicious, fun to eat and a wonderful part of life.  However, it loses its luster when eaten everyday or to the point of illness (I know, I’ve tried).  As Halloween has turned into a month-long celebration, it’s probably a good idea to have some fun, healthy treats on hand rather than just candy corns and mini-Snickers.

The folks at Produce for Kids have lots of cute and yummy ideas for you to try! Check them out here – and Happy Halloween!

Two School Lunches in Seven Minutes

It’s Back to School Day Around here, and I have to admit that I am feeling pretty down about it. I love summer: the pool, the lazy mornings, the lack of homework the evening bike rides.  But here we are, back to backpacks, spelling tests and the dreaded question about what to do for lunch.

Here’s my rule: Once my kids hit kindergarten I no longer pack their lunches. My time is precious, I don’t like doing it and they don’t eat what I pack half the time anyway.  So my kids are left with two choices:

1. Buy lunch at school

2. Pack your own lunch

On the first day of school my girls decided to pack their own lunch.  After checking out some menu options on Produce for Kids they chose the Easy Lunch Stackers.  My contribution? I provided all the ingredients and some brand new bento boxes (so cute!) – then I sat down and watched (and timed) them as they got to work.  Here’s how it went:


Brand new bento boxes!

All the ingredients for a healthy (and yummy!) lunch!

All the ingredients for a healthy (and yummy!) lunch!



Completed lunch #1

Completed lunch #1

Completed lunch #2

Completed lunch #2

All done! And in less than 7 minutes! I think they could do it even faster with a little practice.  Next up? Taco Bento Box!

Check out more recipes at Produce for Kids – and take the Pledge at #poweryourlunchbox

This just in!!! Reviews of Easy Lunch Stackers:

Eater #1: “They were good. They tasted healthy and yummy.”

Eater #2: “It was delicious!”

Back To School Lunches

My friends over at Produce for Kids have a really cool thing going as we head back to school.  Here’s the scoop:

The new Power Your Lunchbox Pledge by Produce for Kids®, launching August 11 and running through September 15, encourages parents to pack healthier lunchboxes for their kids this back-to-school season. Visitors to can pledge to pack healthier lunchboxes; get RD-approved, kid-friendly lunchbox ideas and tips; and download coupons from companies supporting the program.
For every pledge that families or individuals take, participating produce companies will make a 25 cent donation to to fund health and wellness classroom projects around the country. Additionally, Define Bottle will be providing with 20 percent of each sale during the pledge time frame.

Check out some of these yummy-looking lunch ideas:

Need more lunch ideas? Check out Produce for Kids. Want to take the pledge for healthier lunches? Click here.

Happy eating!

Helping Kids Develop a Positive Body Image

Produce for Kids

I recently wrote an article for Produce for Kids about how to help kids feel good about their bodies.  This topic seems particularly important as we are in the middle of swimsuit season, with back-to-school only a few weeks away in many parts of the country.  These times of the year are ripe for comparing our looks and physical abilities to others.

It’s hard to believe, but kids as young as 4 and 5 can struggle with body image.  And it’s not something that affects only girls! We are discovering that boys often struggle with body image too, and that they are just as vulnerable to negative messages (from the media, peers and caregivers) as girls.

The great thing is that parents, caregivers and teachers can have a huge positive impact on how kids feel about their bodies.  Here’s one of the tips I offer in the article:

Respect our own bodies. Kids notice everything we do – and don’t do. Take care to treat your own body with respect by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise and adequate sleep. By demonstrating respect for our own bodies, our kids will be more likely to do the same.

For more tips for helping kids learn to love their bodies for what they can do – and not tear them don’t for what they can’t – check out the full article over at Produce for Kids.