Meals made ezpz

When we started our son on solids we didn’t buy a lot of fancy feeding dishes/utensils.  We had 2-3 bibs, 3 baby/toddler sized bowls, two divided plates, and a handful of silverware.  We taught our son to eat using our dishes and magically he never even thought about throwing a dish or food.  We were lucky! When I heard about the ezpz less mess Happy Mat in the Fall of 2014 I thought it sounded like a great idea.  The ezpz less mess Happy Mat has been hyped up as a “game changer”.  I was first introduced to the product by The Baby Guy NYC (Jamie Grayson) when he posted his video of the Happy Mat during their Kickstarter phase of development.  Jamie’s video focused on the suction function of the mat which, in part, helps to prevent children from throwing their dishes.  This is where I stopped looking.  My toddler didn’t need to be prevented from throwing his plates.  When it popped up in my news feed on Facebook many months later, after achieving full Kickstarter funding, I took a closer look.  I wasn’t interested in it for our family, but I was intrigued for my clients.  The more I looked at the Happy Mat, the more I realized the brilliance of the design.  The Happy Mat is terrific for children who don’t want food to touch, teaching parents correct portion size for children (and adults), and for anyone who has any challenges that make feeding physically difficult.  The ezpz less mess mats do all of this and more, but I still didn’t want to spend the money on the product.  After all, one Happy Mat costs $25 and I probably spent the same amount on ALL of my toddler dining pieces combined. Still thinking about just how wonderful a tool the mat would be from a nutrition standpoint, I joined a small test group for ezpz and learned more about their product.  We had the opportunity to test out some concept designs as well as the Happy Mat.  I dutifully ordered the concept products and a Happy Mat still thinking it would just be about reviewing the product from a health coach perspective. When our mats arrived I was excited to try them, but you know who was even more excited?  Our toddler!  He was, and is still, enamored with them.  The colors are fun, vibrant, and...
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Refining Your Child’s Palate

We try to eat varied foods for breakfast, but I’ll be honest, we love cereal.  Not all cereal is created equal though.  There are MANY cereals out there and there are MANY that are no better more than eating plain sugar. I remember as a child not being allowed to have sugary cereals.  I ate lower sugar cereals like plain Cheerios and Rice Krispies. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Cheerios1 1 Cup 3g 3g 1g Rice Krispies2 1 1/4 Cup 2g 0g 4g Once a year, when we were on vacation, I could get the variety pack of cereals – those small one serving boxes.  I could choose any variety pack I wanted – and I chose the one with cereals like Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Fruit Loops3 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g Apple Jacks4 1 Cup 1g 3g 12g Eek!  This is why I was only allowed to make those choices once a year!  It was a treat and by the end of the week I was ready to go back to my normal cereals. We were recently traveling and my 3-year-old had the opportunity to try a new cereal.  It was the only one available and he wanted cereal so I said ok.  As I nostalgically thought back to my childhood years and those special cereal treats I poured him a small serving of Special K with Red Berries and he did the funniest thing.  He ate the dried strawberries and left the flakes.  He did this two days in a row and then told me he didn’t want anymore of “that cereal”.  I couldn’t figure it out at first and then I realized, he didn’t like the added sugar.  When I asked him about it, he confirmed my guess.  He wasn’t interested in the sugary flakes.  Check out the chart below for what he is accustomed to eating in comparison to the Special K with Red Berries. Serving Size Protein Fiber Sugar Special K with Red Berries5 1 Cup 2g 3g 9g Greenwise Organic Toasted Oats6 1 Cup 4g 3g 1g Kashi Organic Promise Autumn Wheat7* 29 biscuits 6g 6g 7g Cascadian Farms Multi-Grain Squares8* 1 Cup 5g 4g 7g *Only used as an occasional snack or treat. This experience reminded me that by offering better choices when he is young, K is developing a palate that craves whole grains,...
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Toddler Approved Smoothies

Smoothies are a daily occurrence in our home. Our three-year-old loves them. He begs us to make him a “see-moo” (smoothie).  Given his enthusiasm for smoothies, you are probably thinking I really mean a milkshake, but I don’t. He has never had a milkshake and has only had gelato a handful of times. When he asks for a smoothie he is asking for fruits and veggies.  We often let him choose the ingredients and today’s concoction was interesting. His goal was to create a red or pink smoothie. Every smoothie we make begins with organic unsweetened original almond milk and an organic fair-trade banana. From there he added fresh organic spinach and fresh pineapple from the fridge. He then moved onto the freezer to dig out more ingredients. He chose organic parsnips, beets, carrots, cranberries, and  strawberries. We tossed his choices in and started up the Blendtec. The result? A red smoothie. Goal 1 achieved – a red or pink smoothie. Now, for the taste. That is always an interesting and slightly nerve-wracking part of the creation process. It was a little different, but it was great. He drank 16 oz. of the smoothie! This smoothie had no added sugar, was created from primarily organic ingredients and there was no “hiding” of fruits and veggies involved.  He chose all of the ingredients. What did this interesting smoothie provide? Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk Vitamin A, Vitamin D2, Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Calcium1 Organic, Fair Trade Banana Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Phytosterols2 Organic Spinach Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Manganese, Phytosterols, Water, Omega-3s3 Pineapple Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Riboflavin, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Phytosterols, Water4 Organic Strawberries Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin K, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Omega-3s, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosporus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Selenium, Phystosterols5 Organic Parsnips Dietary Fiber, Folate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Anti-oxidants, Iron, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Manganese, Phosporus, Magnesium, Zinc6 Organic Carrots Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, Water7 Organic Beets Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Folate, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Phytosterols, Water8 Organic Cranberries Dietary Fiber,...
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Cookbook Review: So Easy by Ellie Krieger

Cookbooks are some of my favorite books.  Even though you can find so many recipes online these days, there is something exciting about leafing through a cookbook, looking at the pictures, seeing the splatters on the much loved pages, and picking out a recipe for the day that is intrinsically appealing to me. I am a Food Network lover but have found that so many of the recipes are not healthy.  They are loaded with saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar.  This isn’t true of all of the recipes, but a fair portion of them are this way.  Ellie Krieger, who became well known after her show on Food Network Healthy Appetite, is different.  She is a registered dietician with a master’s degree in nutrition from Teacher’s College, Columbia University (Ellie Krieger Bio).  So you know that the recipes she provides are going to be well balanced and include lots of colors and nutrients.  She isn’t a big fan of packaged products, but is a big fan of healthy eating made easy. With a toddler at home, a husband who works outside the home, and too many commitments of my own we need easy, fast, and delicious meals. So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week delivers.  The cookbook begins with an explanation of nutrition as well as what the general breakdown of fat, protein, carbs, etc. should be in a typical 2000 calorie diet.  Ellie emphasizes that you don’t need to count every little calorie, gram of protein, or carb however.  She emphasizes eating lots of fruits and veggies, eating lean proteins, and making sure your plate is colorful. After this informative intro she goes on to provide a list of suggested items for your pantry.  I have a fairly well-stocked pantry and find that I agree with her suggestions.  They keep my options open during the week if I suddenly decide I want to deviate from our weekly plan and make weekly shopping simple. All of this information is great, but you may be wondering about the recipes.  A lot of times when you see “healthy” and “recipe” together all that comes to mind is BLAND.  The recipes in this cookbook are well-seasoned and flavorful.  They range from really simple – cheddar-apple quesadilla with only three ingredients – to spaghetti frittata with salad presto.  It doesn’t matter your level of cooking competence, you can easily...
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Banana-Blueberry-Almond Butter Pancakes

This recipe was adapted from 1,000 Vegan Recipes (1,000 Recipes) and is easy to make.  Be sure to tell me what your favorite toppings for pancakes are in the comment section! Ingredients: 1 ripe banana, mashed 2 Cups soy milk (we use Almond Milk, but dairy would also work) 2 Tablespoons melted butter or vegan margarine (we usually use Earth Balance) 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh ground almond butter (or other nut butter, omit if allergies are a concern) 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour (we usually do a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat) 1/2 Cup quick-cooking oats 2 Tablespoons sugar 3 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt (we usually omit this) 1 Cup fresh blueberries Oil for high heat to coat your griddle so the pancakes don’t stick Instructions: In a large bowl, combine the banana, milk, melted butter, almond butter, and vanilla, mixing well.  Set aside. In a separate large bowl, combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT the blueberries. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Gently fold in the blueberries. Heat a griddle or large skillet to medium-high, coat with oil. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 Cup of batter onto hot cooking surface.  Flip the pancakes when small bubbles appear, this usually takes about 3 minutes.  Cook on the second side until browned, about another 2-3 minutes. Top with your favorite maple syrup and enjoy! Notes: The recipe is obviously only vegan if you use a non-dairy milk and a non-dairy margarine.  If you don’t mind including animal products in your foods, by all means use the dairy products you have on hand. We like to double the recipe and freeze the pancakes in sets of two or three.  This is an easy and quick weekday breakfast packed with nutrients. This is a great recipe to let kids help with.  It doesn’t matter if they eat the raw batter – there is nothing in there to potentially make them sick 🙂 My very picky, um I mean discerning toddler LOVES these.  He will even eat them frozen straight out of the freezer! Easy to whip up and doesn’t require any special ingredients.  If you don’t have fresh blueberries on hand, just thaw some frozen ones, drain, and mix the drained blueberries in to the batter. (Link posted...
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