The other day my daughter said, “Mom, I can make my own lunches from now on!” Umm, did I hear that right? Music to my ears! Oh the excitement of starting back to school. But I’m no overly optimistic fool, we will see just how long that lasts….
So this is what she packed for her first day of school….
So, want to know one of the most important things I’ve learned about having a successful kids’ lunches, and in particular a healthy kid’s lunch? It’s that a lot of VARIETY can make all of the difference. It can actually make lunches fun!! Don’t give them a bag of carrots. Heck, I don’t want a bag of carrots. But if you give them three or four carrots, and a few olives, and some granola and some dark chocolate almonds…and well, lots of little surprises in their lunch, chances are greater they will eat it. Here are just a few examples of the lunches we make:
And as for the treats, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect or even perfectly healthy, it just has to be better than some of the other cookies and treats out there.
For a more detailed list on some lunch/snack ideas, come to my office (Atlanta Center Holistic Integrative Medicine in Brookhaven on Dresden) this Thursday at 7:15pm. I will be hosting a FREE class about what our kids need to fuel (and develop) their brain, help them focus, and feel the best they can. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure there is availability as space is limited.
Here are the containers we use for packed lunches. The glass ones come from Costco, and the stainless bowls I found online at Lunchbots and Amazon.
Sorry for the big black stubborn blur in the background that wouldn’t budge…
Guess he just wanted to make sure I got the right angle. Thanks George….
Also thanks for the recommendation from my lovely sister-in-law, we now love these grass-fed beef sticks as a source of extra protein. Check them out from my favorite web site vitacost.com….
Hope to see y’all this Thursday at 7:15pm at 1401 Dresden Drive, Atlanta GA 30319!
Happy back-to-school, all! While summer was great with the kids, I am happy to be back on a schedule, and also back to cooking and posting. Honestly, this summer was a little crazy for us…Probably one of the more stressful times in my life. It is amazing how stress can impact one’s health. Fortunately, there are things that we can take to help our body deal with stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, nourish our adrenals glands, and restore wellness. There are three supplements that helped me this Summer. I hope they can help you too, should you ever need it.
1. Vitamin C – Take to 2-3,000 mg, but work your way up slowly as it can possibly cause some unpleasant stomach issues if you move up too quickly. Vitamin C is essential for adrenal function and can help your body deal with stress.
2. Rhodiola Rosea – Take one 200-300 mg capsule in the morning on an empty stomach. This can relieve anxiety, fatigue, mild depression, and it can nourish and heal your adrenal glands. It is an adaptagenic herb, which simply means it helps your body get back in balance.
3. Ashwaganda – You could take 1000-1500 mg before bed time. It also can decrease anxiety, boost immune health and improve sleep. It is also an adaptagen and can work synergistically with rhodiola, especially when you have high cortisol.
On to the food…
Mmmmm, Sundried Tomato Chicken Pesto pasta is now one of our family’s new favorite meals. While this meal takes a little longer to make than my typical, it’s so worth it. And after making it twice in less than 8 days, both times I actually got a “YAY!!” and “Mom, I love this meal!”. And, it’s even better leftover. I hope you guys like it as much as we do!
Happy back to school, everyone! These guys were clearly bummed to go back to school…
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil), sliced thinly
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup canned coconut full fat milk (just the cream from the top)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded parmesan (half for in the recipe and half for garnishing)
Start by slicing your spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and then put both sides, face down on a cookie sheet. Cook on 400 for 20-25 minutes or until soft.
Then cut chicken into bite sized pieces and put them aside.
Next, turn a large pan on high, add butter and minced garlic, and allow the garlic to brown.
Then add in the chopped sundried tomatoes, the oil that is in the jar, and the chopped chicken in the pan with the garlic and butter.
Cook and turn the chicken until it starts to turn golden brown on all sides.
Add the paprika, wine, broth and cream (coconut) and bringing everything to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, let the pan cool.
Then add the parmesan and basil and stir until the cheese melts, about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken.
Remove from stove and serve.
Garnish with more Parmesan cheese if you would like.
Your sauce will be a little watery before you add the parmesan cheese but the cheese will thicken up the sauce. If you want to try a dairy-free version, try 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and some 1 tbsp arrowroot mixed with 1 tbsp water, then add it to the sauce.
It’s harder in the summer, as I’ve said before, to have good healthy protein around that this little guy will eat. Look him. Stubborn as a bull….
(Peachtree Road Race costumes in case anyone is wondering)
But, then we found this protein powder and oh my goodness…is it good! Think “Plain Chocolate” or “PC” if you’re familiar with The Varsity in Atlanta, or Nestle Chocolate Milk. I love that is has 20 grams of protein and 5 mg of iron. I wanted Tate to like it so I made it with only almond milk, about 2 tbsp of the protein powder and a couple of ice cubes the first few times we made it. Tate likes it with the ice not completely blended so he gets that “PC” feel. Lately we’ve been adding a handful or two of spinach (we blend that first with our high speed blender with about 1/4 cup water for about 45 seconds) and then add in the almond (original) milk and powder and you can’t tell a difference in taste but you sure can in energy (at least that’s what I tell him:) ). It’s not sweet enough for your kids, which it is actually really pretty sweet thanks to the stevia they use, but you could add in a couple of drops of your own 100% pure stevia. It is also great with some almond butter for extra good fat or protein or even 1/4 of an avocado. Have fun and be creative with your protein smoothie!
He REALLY does LOVE this stuff and so do I! I know it’s not “paleo” for the strict paleo following folks. I actually use this one that is “paleo-approved” and made with a grass-fed beef. I will be honest, mentally I had a little bit of a hard time with the thought of drinking beef, but I am able to digest it better than the pea protein powder and it tastes very similar. Just be sure to choose whichever protein powder that works/digests best with your body.
One other way my kids been getting in some extra protein (and fiber) is with these Tolerant Red Lentil Noodles. They aren’t my kids first choice for noodles but sometimes on a Friday or babysitter night we will give the kids some gluten Free Annie’s Mac and Cheese with our favorite Bell and Evans Gluten free nuggets. But sometimes during the week, I’ll ask the kids if they want some mac and cheese but I’m only making with the lentil noodles (and the Annie’s powdered cheese) and they are only so happy to have them that way. I love that they can have a gluten free, low glycemic, protein (21 grams per serving) and high fiber (13 grams) filled mac and cheese (not dairy-free). And it’s so easy for me to make, too!
Agggh, why don’t the words “cooking'” and “summer” go together lately?? I just can’t get motivated this time of year to cook. I. Need. Simple. And guess what, this meal is it. And, it’s kid-friendly. It’s like a burrito bowl but with way better ingredients, and it was so EASY to make…I’m talking summer easy.
All you need to do it make a whole chicken and by “making” a whole chicken (see here for directions), I just mean you need to stick it in the crock pot, add some spices, and let the cooker do the rest.
Once the chicken is done, shred it, and then place it in a large bowl along with about 1/3 cup of chicken stock from the crock pot (this will occur naturally without adding any liquids to your chicken). Then add about 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt and pepper or to your taste preference. Then mix it with some rice, black beans or whatever you prefer. Then add your favorite toppings (we love Whole Foods pre-made pico de gallo) and you’re good to go!
The 4th of July is about traditions (at least for us: see old 4th of July traditions post)! And while for many of us, hot dogs and hamburgers go hand and hand with 4th of July, many people (who are gluten-free) may miss out on the buns because, let’s face it, most gluten-free buns aren’t very good. But with these amazing pigs in a blanket, you don’t have to miss out on the fun!! This is another of my favorite recipes from Super Paleo Snacks that we make often. They are so tasty, easy, and fun to make. Even better: they never disappoint company, even if your guests don’t tend to follow a paleo-type diet.
These Applegate Cocktail Pork Franks deliver a really solid pigs in a blanket flavor. Unfortunately, we can’t always find them at our local Whole Foods. So, many times we will use the Applegate Grass-fed Hotdogs (see here) cut in half, and they are also so good!
See, this dough is almost like real dough…and by real dough, I mean the gluten-filled stuff.
The kids love helping cut and wrap their pigs. Cutting your dough into triangles seems to be one of the easier and more efficient ways to wrap your pigs.
So enjoy your traditional 4th of July treats without having to sacrifice flavor, or how you feel later on. Have a fun and safe 4th everyone!!