G.O.R.P

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It’s summertime! Get outside and explore! But don’t forget your healthy and delicious GORP 🙂

Ok let me explain. In Girl Scouts we used to make our own food on camp outs. That included making trail mix for our hikes and late night snacks. For those of you who don’t know, GORP stands for Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts. Now I have created a similar treat that can make a simple walk to the park turn into a grand adventure (with a little imagination).

Step one: Create a buffet type bar in the kitchen complete with healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, yogurt covered berries, fruit snacks, seeds, granola, etc.

Step two: Let the kids fill sandwich size bags with these yummy treats. Have them get creative and make their own mix. Can they name it? My kids came up with MCGOOP-Marshmallows, coconut, granola, orange slices (dried), and Obviously Peanuts. I like ALAMODE- Apple chips, Lemonheads, Almonds, Marshmallows, Oat balls, Dates, and chocolate covered Espresso beans.

Step three: Add a few sweet treats like M&M’s, carob chips, coconut, marshmallows, their favorite cereal etc to make the snack extra special.

Step four: Set out on your grand adventure. I have taken kids the long way to the park then had a “picnic” when we got there, eaten GORP on camping trips, put it in field trip lunches, and always make it when I take kids on day trips. It is an easy snack that can be made with leftovers in the kitchen.

Enjoy!

Bacon & Cheddar Waffle

Ok I saw this and my mouth started watering… Looks like a great recipe for kids. My substitutions would be: add turkey bacon (less sodium and not red meat which is lower in cholesterol too), instead of white flour use whole grain flour (kids won’t know the difference) and low fat cheddar cheese. I prefer sugar substitutes like Stevia, honey or applesauce so I will probably add those instead of pure sugar. Might I also suggest adding syrup to the batter instead of on top. Then the syrup taste is baked in and it’s a healthier substitute for the sugar.

Looks so good!!! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂

neurotic baker

Waffle-Cover

During my last visit home, my son and I spent the night with one of my best girlfriend’s, so our kids could hang out and we could catch up and have a little girl talk. The next morning we were trying to decide what to make for the kids for breakfast. We thought of waffles, but wanted to make them a little snazzy. I starting poking through a cookbook and found a recipe for ham and cheese waffles. It sounded fantastic, (we’re both bacon lover’s so we substituted bacon for ham), and whipped up a batch. We received mixed reviews from the kids, but we loved it! Adding syrup sent us to waffle nirvana. If you like dipping bacon in syrup, or like adding cheddar to apple pie, you’ll love this recipe. Below is my regular Martha buttermilk waffle recipe; I just added bacon and cheese to taste.

Waffle-with-syrup

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Homemade Lunchables

This morning I got to work and being towards the end of the week, all the good lunch food has been eaten. The kids begged me not to make another turkey sandwich because they were so bored of eating the same thing over and over. I have to admit, I was getting bored of making it for them. So I pondered how to make a good healthy lunch and it hit me! A healthy version of lunchables. The packaged lunchables are high in sodium and preservatives which are not healthy.  The meat is high in fat and the crackers are just starch. Plus the crackers and 2 pieces of cheese and meat do not fuel a kid for very long.

Lunchables 2.0:

Fat Free Turkey breast lunch meat cut in fourths (about 8-10 fourths or 3 pieces of lunch meat)

Deli Cut Cheese (we had American, Cheddar and Provolone so I did a combo of all three- again 8-10 fourths slices)

Crackers (Wheat Thins, Bagel rounds, Ritz, etc they will all work.. 8-10 crackers so the kids can make mini sandwiches

Gogurt (shoutout to Chobani for their Kids Greek yogurt!)

Fresh fruit (today was a medly of oranges, tangerines and strawberries)

Fruit Snacks (healthier pick to Lunchables chocolate candy treat)

100% Juice Box (CapriSun Super V8 is the current juice of choice)

I would have added a veggie but the kids finished up the carrots yesterday. Extra serving at dinner and we are all good 🙂

Total time to make this lunch? 5 minutes. Super easy and the kids feel like they are gettting a special treat!

Have a Great Day!

The Winning Lunch Combination

Lunch is such an important part of a child’s day. After a long morning of classes and playing, their body needs re-energizing. Like many of you, I pack lunches for kids on a daily basis. Sometimes, options are limited and lunches get boring. But I always stick to this rule of thumb when making a lunch:

Include:

1 Fruit

1 Veggie

1 whole grain item (this can be the bread on a sandwich or granola bar)

lean meat or protein

1 healthy snack

1 small treat

Let’s start with the fruit. It is such an important part of a child’s diet because of the natural energy that is inside. Fruit is sweet which can be a healthy alternative to cookies and candy when kids have a sweet tooth.

Fruit choices:

apples, bananas, grapes, watermelon, berries, oranges, kiwi’s, mango

Dried fruit is a healthy switch from greasy potato chips.

Many fruits can be accompanied with dips like peanut butter, cream cheese dip, and others to make them more delicious.

One of the most neglected pieces of the food pyramid is vegetables. Kids need them!!! Now it is probably best to keep the brussel sprouts at home but here are some fun ways to incorporate veggies into meals:

ants on a log: celery sticks topped with peanut butter and little raisin (or chocolate chip) ants

carrots and dip

hide veggies in their sandwiches

make a veggie pizza on whole grain english muffins

I grew up on Wonder White Bread and it was delicious…but not as wonderfully nutritious as I thought. White bread is just processed starch which 1) has no nutritional value 2) doesn’t keep you full and 3) doesn’t provide the energy needed when running around on the playground. I highly recommend switching as many carbs to whole grain as possible. Stores have whole grain bread, waffles, english muffins, bagels, pizza dough, and more..most are the same price as their processed counterparts.

A sandwich a day is boring! Mix it up by making a wrap with a tortilla, or serving english muffin pizzas. Kids will appreciate change!

If your child likes salads, give them a whole grain granola bar or oatmeal cookie to make sure they have healthy carbs.

Lean meats and protein! These are vital to keeping your little ones energized and focused.

I use left over chicken, ham and beef from dinners in lunches to minimize lunch meat usage. Lunch meat is high in salt and fat.

Hard boiled eggs, cheese, nut butters, yogurt, raw nuts and lean meats are all examples of protein packed foods.

Healthy snacks vary depending on what is already in the child’s lunch. Trail mix, granola bars, rice cakes, yogurt, pretzels and nuts are always on hand at our house. They are easy to eat on the go and have protein, carbs and energy. The snack rounds out the food pyramid. If I give the child a sandwich, I will try to stay away from more carbs and go for a dairy product or nut. If they have a lot of fruits and veggies that day, I will give them crackers or pretzels.

Some may disagree with me, but I think it is fine to give children a little treat a couple times a week. By little treat I mean fruit snacks, a cookie, 1 piece of candy etc. One family I work for only allows “junk food” on Fridays. Not only do the kids overdose on sweets on Friday, but they try EVERYTHING to get their hands on sweets during the week since their body craves it. Then they actually eat more sweets than originally intended. I am not personally a fan of this but it is the family rules, so what they say goes. Where a small treat goes awry is when meals are comprised of fats, sugars, empty carbs and topped off with a treat. In those cases, children lose all nutrition and start to crave junk.

As long as everything is consumed in moderation, children will grow up happy and healthy!

QUICK! Its after school and no snack?? Problem SOLVED!

Strawberries are in season and are a great way for kids to get their recommended daily fruit servings. But, eating them plain can get boring. Here are a few easy recipes to liven up strawberries.

Strawberries and Cream Cheese Dip

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My mom makes this for us every summer. It is perfect for picnics, after school snacks and a really yummy addition to pancakes.

Supplies

  • 1 8 oz Box of Original Philadelphia Cream Cheese (one of the few recipes where store brand won’t work.)
  • 1 Jar of Marshmallow Creme
  • 1/2 cup of Powdered Sugar

Directions

Soften cream cheese then mix all ingredients together. It takes about 5 minutes to make and 1 minute to finish!

Put in a bowl to dip strawberries in, or smother on pancakes and add fresh fruit on top.

*Also great with other fruits like apples and berries. My sister loves putting the dip on graham crackers too!

Fresh Fruit Smoothies

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After soccer practice or before homework, this quick smoothie has lots of fruit and fuel to power any kid! It takes about 5 minutes to put together and is easy for on the go nannies.

Supplies

  • 1 cup of fresh berries (I use frozen because they are cheaper and come out thicker)
  • 8 oz of orange juice
  • 1 cup of vanilla yogurt (the family I nanny for buys individual yogurt cups, 1 of any berry flavor works)
  • 1-2 frozen bananas (I cant stand bananas so I skip this part and use frozen yogurt instead, it is more or less just for creamy consistancy)

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until thick but drinkable consistancy is reached. Add small amounts of orange juice if the drink is too thick.

Fruit-sicles 

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Granted these will take a couple hours to freeze properly but on a warm spring day, these are a healthy alternative to ice cream and candy.

Supplies:

  • 1 small jar of diced pineapples (save the juice!)
  • 2 diced kiwi
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries (about 5-6 strawberries)
  • 1/3 of diced watermelon (about 1/2 of a seedless watermelon)
  • *can add any other fruit to the mix. Mango, kiwi, strawberry is another good combo!
  • 6 oz plastic cups
  • Popsicle sticks

Directions:

  1. put the diced fruit in small bowls with spoons in each one
  2. let kids pick which fruit and order they want their flavors together
  3. add a small amount of the leftover pineapple juice to the top of the fruit mixture
  4. put a popsicle stick in
  5. let freeze for 3-4 hours.
  6. run under warm water to take the fruit-sicle out

ENJOY!

Breakfasts with Strawberries

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. and cereal is boring. These are yummy, filling and full of fruit!

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Strawberry Muffins

Supplies:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, crushed
  • dash of cinnamon optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine and sift dry ingredients.
  • Add butter, applesauce and egg – Mix lightly.
  • Stir in strawberries.
  • Turn into greased muffin tin.
  • Sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes.

Bonus Tip:

I made these muffins with a strawberry butter and lemon glaze. (See the recipes below)

These yummy muffins are about 100 calories each!

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Basic Lemon Glaze for Strawberry Muffins

Supplies:

  • 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of lemon juice

Directions

Mix ingredients

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Strawberry Butter

Supplies

  • 3 large Strawberries
  • 1/2  cup of butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp of confectioners sugar
  • *if you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can use a Tbsp of strawberry preserve.

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender/food processor until smooth and creamy. Put in refrigerator until ready to eat. Have leftovers?? These are perfect for toast, bagels, muffins and whole wheat waffles.