School is in full swing now, and packing school lunches has become part of our nightly routine. I'm trying to make it a habit to pack lunches when I'm prepping (or cleaning up after) dinner, so that it doesn't seem like a daunting task after we get the kids to bed, when really all I feel like doing it collapsing on the couch.
I love popcorn, and make it several times a week, usually to enjoy while my husband and I watch Netflix after the kids go to bed; I find that it's the perfect bedtime snack to pair with a cup of tea (or sometimes a glass of red wine!). Lately I've been making a huge batch and saving some for school lunches or for after-school snacks. The kids love it as much as I do, and because it's a fibre-rich and nutritious, I feel good about them eating it.
As parents, we sometimes put our “short-term lens” on when it comes to feeding, especially with young kids. We’re often in a rush and want our kids to eat something NOW, or we feel frustrated that they've only eaten the pasta or bread, and left everything else (especially the green stuff).
I'm on a huge baking kick lately, madly trying to stock our freezer with school-safe snacks so that I'm not scrambling at the last minute (or packing my son's lunch with processed, packaged snacks all of the time). What motivated me even more was the fact that I had an insane amount of zucchini to use up — it's in season and I received a mammoth zucchini from a friend of mine.
It's almost that time of year again — back to school! And to be honest, I don't know whether to jump for joy or burst into tears. This year, my son starts grade one, which means that he'll be in school all day. This is a big change from the half-day kindergarten days last year.
There’s nothing quite like spending time prepping, cooking, and serving a meal, only to have your child turn his nose up to it and push his plate away. Ugh, I’ve been there so many times and know how frustrating it feels. What I’ve learned though, is not to take it personally (which is hard) and that there are several common reasons why this happens.
Here are the most common reasons why your child is refusing to eat at meals, and what to do about it:
Being in the crazy stage of life that I'm at right now (with three young energetic kids and a growing small business), I don't have a lot of extra time to bake, even though I really enjoy it and feel that it's important to home-make most of our baked goods and desserts. That's why I love this berry crisp recipe — I always have either fresh or frozen berries on hand, as well as oats, butter and sugar!
We go through a lot of chicken in our house. It seems to be a favourite for everyone, and it appeals to me because it's so versatile and nutritious. Although I love cooking with chicken breasts, I think that I prefer thighs — they have a bit more flavour and are more moist. Because they do have more fat than breasts though, chicken thigh dishes tend to be more rich. That's why I decided to try grilling chicken thighs for this recipe — some of the fat is removed during grilling, but the end product is still really tasty and tender.
It's 5:00pm and you have to get your son to soccer by 5:45pm. You're rushing to get food on the table and trying to get your kids ready and fed in 20 minutes so that you can get out the door on time. Every minute is accounted for. And then, after plating your kids' food (and as you start to scarf your own meal down), you peek over at your toddler who is casually poking and playing with her food, maybe picking away at the dinner roll or piece of bread only. You remind her to eat quickly because you don't have much time. Again. And again.
My third baby is six months old today, and about a week and a half ago, he tried his first real food. Want to know what it was? Salmon! Not pureed, not mashed, and not mixed with breastmilk. Just barbequed salmon with a bit of olive oil brushed on before grilling, in pieces that were big enough for him to pick up and soft enough to easily break apart in his mouth.
Finding healthy snacks I feel good about serving, and that my kids love to eat, is no easy feat. And this is why I've fallen into the not-so-great habit of sending store-bought granola bars with my son to school in the past; the thought of making homemade granola bars seemed daunting and way too time-consuming. Until I finally decided to start making them that is.
I've never been able to find the perfect store-bought nut or seed butter; one that tastes amazing and that I feel good serving my kids often. Natural nut and seed butters are fantastic nutrition-wise, but quite expensive and typically don't taste amazing to me (unless paired with a bit of honey or jam). I prefer roasted nut butters with a bit of salt and a bit of sweet (which is hard to find in store-bought form, unless you're spending upwards of ten dollars on a small jar).
My husband came home from work about a month ago declaring he needed a vacation. I agreed that I could use a get-away and we quickly started scouring the internet for last-minute vacation deals to a hot and tropical destination. With the Canadian/American exchange rate not being in our favour, we opted to go to Mexico!
We often serve make-your-own meals and snacks in our house. I love watching my kids get involved in the preparing the food that they eat. It's fun for them and increases the chances of them actually eating it.
If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I'm slightly obsessed with oatmeal. It's my family's go-to breakfast all year long because it's easy to make in big batches, filling and nutritious.
I know that I'm not alone in feeling that mealtimes can be stressful as a parent. Picky eating aside, the whole mealtime prep thing that has to happen three times a day (not including snacks) easily becomes redundant, frustrating, and tiresome. Some days I feel like I've just cleaned up the mess from one meal when I have to start prepping for the next!
I've been on a mission lately to find healthy and tasty snack recipes to add some variety to my son's snack-pack for kindergarten. I was in a rut of sending store-bought granola bars, cheese strings, and apples (or a similar combination) for a while. What can I say? I've got a two year-old and 4-month-old baby at home as well, and mornings are chaotic to say the least! Eventually my son complained about how he was bored of his snack and, frankly , I was bored of sending it.
I know first-hand how challenging it can be to have a picky eater at home. My two year-old rarely touches her meals these days (mostly lunch and supper), because she decides that it's yucky before she's even tasted it. She has a select few foods that she loves and gobbles up happily, but beyond her safe repertoire, she's just not interested. But I'm able to take it in stride and rest easy knowing that it's just a phase (albeit a frustrating one).