Nutrition From Stork To Fork http://www.sarahremmer.com By Registered Dietitian and Mom Sarah Remmer Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:54:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How This Well-Meaning Habit is Enabling Your Picky Eater http://www.sarahremmer.com/ymc/how-this-well-meaning-habit-is-enabling-your-picky-eater/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/ymc/how-this-well-meaning-habit-is-enabling-your-picky-eater/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2015 21:54:58 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3406

 

IT’S TIME TO DITCH THE “GRAZE CRAZE”
 
help-for-picky-eaters

It seems that moms and dads are constantly reaching into their purses, bags, strollers, and pockets for portable snacks to hand to their squirmy tots in malls, indoor playgrounds, on walks, and just about anywhere else. And trust me, I am guilty of it too. I rarely leave the house without a bag full of snacks just in case we are out for longer than planned.

Read the whole post

 

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Beware Of Food Babe & Other Nutrition “Experts” Advice http://www.sarahremmer.com/ymc/beware-of-food-babe-other-nutrition-experts-advice/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/ymc/beware-of-food-babe-other-nutrition-experts-advice/#respond Tue, 07 Apr 2015 17:06:55 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3396
LOOKING FOR NUTRITION ADVICE? 4 RED FLAGS TO WATCH OUT FOR
 

When it comes to nutrition, people can become emotionally invested in what they believe to be true, whether it’s that gluten is terrible or that dairy isn’t fit for human consumption. It can be a touchy subject, especially if changes in diet have coincided with improved energy levels, weight loss, or decreased digestive symptoms. And when someone becomes passionate about changes in their own nutrition, they often don’t hesitate to spread the message.

 
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3 False Assumptions Parents Often Make At Mealtimes http://www.sarahremmer.com/picky-eating/3-false-assumptions-parents-often-make-at-mealtimes/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/picky-eating/3-false-assumptions-parents-often-make-at-mealtimes/#respond Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:26:42 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3391
THIS MEAL MIGHT JUST BE THE MEAL WHERE SHE FINALLY ACCEPTS IT!
mealtime-battles

Last week we were eating turkey burgers around the dinner table when I couldn’t help but notice my son watching my husband’s every move. My husband put ketchup on his burger, so my son asked for ketchup. My husband put a tomato on top, and so did my son. He wanted to be exactly like Daddy. Then, when my husband served himself some salad, my son asked for some too (he’s never asked for salad in his life and has always turned his nose up at it).

 
 
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#NutritionMonth : Top 5 Nutrition Tips For Working Moms http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/nutritionmonth-top-5-nutrition-tips-for-working-moms/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/nutritionmonth-top-5-nutrition-tips-for-working-moms/#respond Tue, 24 Mar 2015 22:19:26 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3363
sandwich-in-tupperware

As a part-time working Mom with two kids, I know first hand how easy it is to completely forget to pack your lunch (and/or eat breakfast) amidst the morning chaos, when trying to get myself and my kids ready for the day ahead. And this is coming from someone who thinks about food A LOT, so I’m guessing that other Moms come across these same issues too. So, I’ve come up with some life-saving tricks that help me to stay well-fuelled during my work day, save me loads of money and probably save me from eating unhealthy extra calories that I don’t need. 

Here are my top 5 nutrition tips for working Moms: 

1) Break the fast with your kids:

Every morning I prepare a healthy breakfast for my kids, and make it a habit to eat with them. It surprises me how many parents go to the effort of making their kids a healthy breakfast, but don’t eat it themselves, or stop at the drive-thru on the way to work. The benefit of eating breakfast with your kids is three-fold: You save money, you eat healthier and you take advantage of the opportunity to model healthy eating to your kids, which is worth the 10 minutes it takes to sit down and eat with them. 

Here are some of our favourite weekday breakfast options:

This apple cinnamon oatmeal muffin with greek yogurt and fruit

This flourless peanut butter muffin with a fruit smoothie

These five oatmeal options 

2) Have “grab and go” breakfasts on hand:

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, not only giving your metabolism a kick-start, but giving you energy and fuel to function throughout the morning. Including enough protein in your breakfast can also help curb cravings in the afternoon and evening and may steer you away from unhealthy snacking later on as well. On those days where sitting down and eating breakfast is just not an option, or if you’re a frequent breakfast skipper, have some grab-and-go options on hand, so that you’re not stuck choosing between unhealthy option A or unhealthy option B at the coffee shop, or skipping breakfast all together.

The two muffin recipes above are perfect for days like these, paired with a piece of fruit and a couple of slices of cheese, an individual yogurt or a latte. These mini breakfast burritos or these muffin-tin omelettes both freeze well and provide a hefty dose of protein to help keep you full for a few hours in the morning, and these make-your-own instant oatmeal packs are great to make once you get to the office, or this make-ahead slow-cooker oatmeal is perfect for packing and heating up at the office. Making your own yogurt parfait (which takes one minute) is a great option too. Choose your favourite plain or flavoured yogurt (I prefer greek because of the higher protein content), top with fruit and homemade granola or high fibre breakfast cereal (bonus: add a tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp hearts). I often make a fruit smoothie the night before containing greek yogurt, banana, frozen berries, spinach, milk and peanut butter (there’s a good recipe in this blog post), keep it in the fridge over night, throw a couple of ice cubes in it the next morning and take it with me to go. 

3) Have emergency lunch and snack items ready to go:

If you’re a working Mom, I cannot stress enough how important leftovers can be for easy lunch options, but on those days where you just don’t feel like leftovers (or there aren’t any), emergency throw-together-in-a-pinch lunches are key. These are comprised of healthy (but convenient, and possibly packaged) foods that you can literally grab from your fridge or pantry and throw into your bag. It’s important to remember to pack enough for snacks as well, otherwise, you’ll be caught running to the vending machine or coffee shop mid-afternoon, likely choosing not-so-healthy options. Here are some of my emergency lunches:

– mini can of tuna + whole grain crackers + raw veggies (already washed and chopped in fridge–this is key) + miniature package of hummus (can buy at Costco) + piece of fruit 

– dehydrated split pea soup cup (can be found in soup aisle) + low sodium v8 juice, slice of whole grain bread + piece of fruit + hard boiled egg

– individual greek yogurt + individual cottage cheese (mix together) + frozen berries + homemade granola  

 whole grain wrap + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter (in small container) + banana (peanut butter banana wrap) + cheese + cucumber and carrots + milk

 homemade muffin + sliced cheese + hardboiled egg + fruit + homemade trail mix

4) Double or triple your supper recipes:

My number one favourite lunch? Leftovers. When I have time to cook a well balanced supper (which is most nights unless we’re in a rush and need a quick and easy supper), I make A LOT. I most often triple a recipe so that we have enough for one night of leftovers and a couple days of lunches. This way, I’m cooking once, but get three or four meals out of it. We either pack and eat leftovers as is (for example: lasagna, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese), or re-purpose parts of a meal to make into several other meals, for example, make tacos one night, but cook triple the amount of meat and make taco salad, taco pizza and burritos out of it. We also do this with BBQ chicken: Barbecue two chickens instead of one, and use leftover meat for sandwiches, quesadillas, homemade pizza, and soup. Here are some of the recipes that I like to make ALOT of: 

BBQ slow cooker pulled chicken

Homemade Chicken, Veggie Noodle Soup (I add extra veggies)

Turkey Pasta Bake

Easy, Cheesy Family-Friendly Burritos

Moroccan Lentil Soup In the Slow-Cooker

Thai Peanut Chicken Thighs

Beer Can Chicken

5) Set a timer:

It is too easy to get caught up in your work and forget to eat during work days (or any day when you have kids!). Unfortunately, this often leads to ravenous hunger later on and overeating at your next meal or snack (most often on the most convenient, appealing, and often unhealthy choice). This is why setting a timer can be helpful– to remind you to tune in to your hunger cues every few hours. You might not be hungry yet (in which case you wait a bit longer and tune in again), or you might be starting to feel subtle hunger (this is when you should eat something), which could turn into ravenous hunger if left too long. This is most helpful for people who tend to skip meals and snacks and overeat when they get home and into the night. Set a timer on your watch or phone for every 3-4 hours. 

Here are some helpful resources from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2015 Campaign: Eating 9-5! 

Are Your Mornings Rushed? 

Do you face challenges to eat healthy at meetings, events and at work?

Do you want to add some punch to your lunch?

Are you looking for a pick-me-up in mid-afternoon?

Do you experience cravings during your commute home?

I post free daily nutrition tips, recipes and nutrition articles for parents on my Facebook page. Feel free to check it out! 

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Food For Thought: A Dietitian Talks Clean 15 And Dirty Dozen http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/food-for-thought-a-dietitian-talks-clean-15-and-dirty-dozen/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/food-for-thought-a-dietitian-talks-clean-15-and-dirty-dozen/#respond Thu, 05 Mar 2015 18:37:58 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3357
 

DO THE ANNUAL DIRTY DOZEN AND CLEAN 15 LISTS HAVE NUTRITONAL MERIT?

Clean_15_Dirty_Dozen

“Should I buy organic produce or not?”  is a very common question I’m often asked by clients and readers. My answer is usually prefaced with “I’m happy to hear you’re eating fruits and vegetables!,” with an explanation thereafter of why buying organic or conventional produce is a ultimately a personal choice.

 
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Big Batch Easy Cheesy Weekday Mac and Cheese Recipe http://www.sarahremmer.com/recipes/big-batch-easy-cheesy-weekday-mac-and-cheese-recipe/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/recipes/big-batch-easy-cheesy-weekday-mac-and-cheese-recipe/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:59:08 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3343 mac-and-cheese

We are lucky enough to live next door to friends of ours who have young kids around the same age as ours. Having built-in buddies next door means lots of impromptu play dates and last minute throw-whatever-we-both-have-together meals. A few days ago, we decided last minute to have lunch together (and had other friends with kids join us as well–it was a big crew!). I had some cheese that I needed to use up, as well as a costco supply of noodles in the pantry, so decided on mac and cheese. I called my Mom to ask her for her quick and easy mac and cheese recipe, and she guessed at the amounts of each ingredient (she never measures).

As luck would have it, it turned out great! This recipe was so quick and easy and everyone loved it (including us Moms). It was slightly chaotic, so I didn’t have a chance to take too many pictures, but did manage to pause and take one before I dug in. I put frozen peas in the bottom of each of the kids bowls and mixed the hot mac and cheese in (the peas cooled it down and added a nutrition boost), and served cut-up veggies and hummus on the side. When I had leftovers the next day, I chopped and sautéed some kale and added it in– so delicious! 

Ingredients: 

2 packages (about 900g) macaroni noodles (corkscrew, penne etc. work as well). I used this one from Costco:

Casarecce

  • 4 and a bit cups (approx) sharp cheddar cheese (I used 3 cups cheddar and 1 cup mozzarella)
  • 4 cups milk (I used 1 cup 10% cream and 3 cups 2% milk). You can also substitute chicken broth for 1 cup if you’d like. 
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles as per directions on box or package
  2. As they are cooking, melt butter over medium heat in a large sauce pan on the stove
  3. Once melted, add flour and stir with a spatula until well combined. Add milk little by little, stirring well until flour/butter mixture is incorporated evenly. Add cheese and stir until “saucy”. Add nutmeg and mustard, and reduce heat to low and cover (stirring occasionally). 
  4. Once noodles are cooked “al dente”, add them to the cheese mixture, and combine well. Add pepper to taste. 
  5. Serve with veggies of choice and taste before you add ketchup! We found that it was tasty enough without it!

For more easy kid-friendly recipes, check out my Facebook page, where I share recipes, nutrition tips and articles daily. Enjoy! 

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14 Signs Your Healthy Eating Habits Aren’t So Healthy http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/14-signs-your-healthy-eating-habits-arent-so-healthy/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/moms/14-signs-your-healthy-eating-habits-arent-so-healthy/#respond Tue, 10 Feb 2015 21:16:21 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3328

Healthy Eating Gone Awry: Take The Orthorexia Test

There’s healthy eating, and then there’s obsessive eating. 

When innocent attempts to eat healthfully, such as cutting back on processed foods or eating more fruits and vegetables turns into a pre-occupation, or obsession with eating healthfully 100% of the time, and a mega-restrictive diet regime of only the purest of foods, there is an unhealthy (and scary) shift into the world of disordered eating.

 
 
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The Game-Changing Question Parents Of Picky Eaters Need To Ask http://www.sarahremmer.com/picky-eating/the-game-changing-question-that-parents-of-picky-eaters-need-to-ask/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/picky-eating/the-game-changing-question-that-parents-of-picky-eaters-need-to-ask/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 19:36:36 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3257 I will not eat

Sitting down to dinner can seem like a daunting task if you have a fussy eater. As a Mom of little ones, even the task of making a healthy balanced meal can seem challenging enough, but when your child refuses to eat it, you might wonder “why do I even bother?!” I’ve been there, and I understand how frustrating it can be.

A few months ago, while sitting at the dinner table with my two young kids, waiting for my husband to come home from work, I became increasingly frustrated with my son. He was slouched over his plate, head resting beside it on the table and playing with his food–something that seemed to be happening quite often at dinnertime. Lately, he didn’t seem interested in the dinner meal and was either restless, playing with his food and asking to be “done”. I remembered a blog post that my friend Andrea Nair (who is also a well-respected parenting expert and Psychotherapist) wrote where she gave the tip to ask kids questions when trying to get them to do something (such as “what do you need to do to feel ready to get your shoes on to go to school” as an example), instead of telling them what to do. So instead of asking my son to “eat around the circle” or “have a bite to be polite” (which are both strategies that I use and would recommend ), I decided to get him talking by asking him: 

“What can we do to make this meal yummier for you?”

When I started asking my preschooler this question, it literally transformed our mealtimes for the better. And the answers were very interesting! One night, he asked for ketchup to dip his steamed broccoli into (after which, he gobbled it up), and another night when he said that he didn’t like his chili, I asked him if grated cheese would help, which ended up being a game-changer. Your child might need some ideas from you such as “Do you need dip for your veggies?” or “Would you like me to separate your meat from your rice?”, but nine times out of ten, you and your child might be able to come up with a fun way to make his meal more palatable.

For more mealtime game-changers, check out my blog post over on the Yummy Mummy Club: 6 Transformative Questions To Ask Your Picky Eater At Mealtimes . And here is Why You Should Not Use Food As A Parenting Tool. 

Feel free to follow me on Facebook for free nutrition tips, articles and recipes. 

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What to do when you have a snack-obsessed child http://www.sarahremmer.com/baby/what-to-do-when-you-have-a-snack-obsessed-child/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/baby/what-to-do-when-you-have-a-snack-obsessed-child/#respond Tue, 18 Nov 2014 20:49:58 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3207 kids-eating-healthy

Is “Mommy, can I have a snack?” something you hear several times a day, most days? If it is, you’re not alone. It’s easy to create a chronic snacker when you’re a parent to a little one–their appetites are all over the place, they often don’t finish their meals and can be selective with their food choices, and often “snack foods” are more appealing to them. It’s also a lot easier to say “sure, you can have a snack”, then “no, you cannot have a snack” which often results in a “hangry” meltdown. 

With some patience and perseverance, you can definitely tame your snack-loving child and create a more manageable feeding structure. 

Create more structure around eating times:

According to Ellyn Satter’s Division of responsibility of feeding, you as the parent are responsible for the what’s, when’s and where’s of feeding, whereas your child is responsible for the if’s and how much’s of eating. Therefore, it’s important that you establish some structure around meal and snack times and stay consistent with this, so that your child learns that eating isn’t a free-for-all, but something that happens at intervals of about two to four hours apart every day (babies and toddler might go two to three hours in between meals/snacks while preschoolers and school-aged kids might go three to four hours in between). Babies and toddlers are growing at a more rapid rate and have smaller stomachs, therefore require more frequent eating opportunities, whereas by preschool, growth slows down a bit and stomach size increases as well. 

At mealtimes, when Ben, my son, tells me he is “done”, I remind him that he won’t get another chance to eat until the clock says __ o’clock (three hours from then, let’s say), so it’s important that he eats enough to keep him satisfied until then. I also often say “the kitchen will be closed until tomorrow morning, so make sure that your tummy is full (not over-full).” During the day, I try to schedule eating times for every three hours, so if breakfast is at 7:30 am, there is usually a snack at 10:30 am and lunch at 1 pm (or so). If Ben, asks for a snack an hour after a meal, I tell him that it’s not snack time yet, but it will be after his sister’s nap, so that he knows that it’s coming and doesn’t feel like I’ve just said “no”. When it comes to bedtime snacks, as a rule of thumb, I will offer a snack if bedtime is more than two hours after dinner, otherwise, a snack is usually not offered.

Once your child knows that he will be given eating opportunities at regular intervals according to when you decide (not when he decides), he will be less inclined to ask all day long, and more inclined to fill his tummy a bit more at mealtimes (which is what I’ve noticed with my son). Creating structure around meal and snack times helps kids to learn self-regulation when it comes to their hunger and fullness. 

The point is not to steer your child away from trusting his hunger cues. You want him to be intuitive and mindful when it comes to eating and communicate when he’s hungry or full. But you also want to give him the opportunity to become truly hungry–to know what that feels like–and then respond to it by eating until he’s comfortably full. This is self-regulation. Grazing throughout the day won’t give him that opportunity. It also creates a power struggle between parent and child when it comes to feeding and can disrupt daily activities and schedules. 

Read: Why You Should Get Your Kids To “Eat In A Circle” 

Switch it up:

Typical snack foods tend to be sweet or neutral tasting and higher in carbohydrates, which appeal universally to young children. Think sweetened yogurt, crackers, fruit/veggie pouches, cereal, granola bars or fresh fruit. These are all foods that can healthfully make their ways into a snack rotation, but it’s important that kids are not eating less of their meals, “holding out” for their safe and yummy snack that they’ll be offered later. When kids know that yogurt and granola is their bedtime snack every night, they will most likely hold out for it when dinner is less-than-appealing. They know, after all, that they can fill their tummy with yogurt before bed, so dinner foods aren’t essential in their minds. 

Read: The #1 Mistake Parents Make When It Comes to Feeding

To break this habit, switch it up. Offer a snack at bedtime only if there is more than two hours between dinner and bed and warn your child that after dinner, the kitchen is closed until breakfast the next day. That way, she isn’t blindsided an hour later when she asks for a snack (there are exceptions of course, when your child is going through a growth spurt, for example, she may need more food than she otherwise would).  If there is a two hour gap, make sure to switch up what you offer so that you have five or six snacks that you rotate through. This way, your child’s favourites aren’t always offered, therefore, she won’t “hold out” as much. You can give your child structured choice by saying something like “would you like to have warm milk with a bit of honey OR cottage cheese with banana” but ultimately you are in charge of what’s being offered, and it’s not always the same thing. If your child refuses either option, calmly reply by saying something like “those are your two choices for snack tonight, you may choose one if you’d like but there’s no other options tonight”. The same goes for day time snacks. Try to include one food that you know appeals to your child, but pair it with a food that she hasn’t tried in a while or has previously rejected. I usually offer a protein-rich food paired with fruit (different types) for one snack and then a protein-rich food paired with veggies for another snack. 

Read more about offering structured choice with meals and snacks here: Five Phrases You Need To Know To End Mealtime Battles

Snack time should be fun and enjoyable, but it shouldn’t take over the day. In fact, if it happens too often, it could create or exacerbate picky eating tendencies. It’s important that snack foods are nutrient dense most of the time, including a source of protein, which will keep your child fuller and more satisfied until meal time rolls around again. Try not to rely heavily on “snack aisle” snacks such as granola bars, store-bought cookies and crackers, cereal bars and dried fruit snacks, as these foods tend to be calorie-dense, yet nutrient-poor.  However, as Jill Castle, MS, RD and paediatric nutrition expert mentions in her post  How To Raise A Smart Snacker, it’s ok to offer treats for snacks once in a while for fun.

It’s important to remember too that everyone is different when it comes to eating, including kids. One four-year-old might be quite satisfied with three meals and only one snack, whereas another might need a snack in between each meal. Establish a feeding structure that works for you and your child, with enough flexibility to accommodate changing appetites and growth spurts, but enough structure to teach your child what true hunger and fullness feels like, to encourage being more adventurous with new foods and to avoid snacking free-for-alls. 

If snacks aren’t your biggest concern, but instead it’s treat foods, read: What to do when your child is treat-obsessed 

Please visit me over on my Facebook Page, where I post daily nutrition tips, resources and blog posts for parents. 

 

 

 

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My Top Five Slow Cooker Recipes http://www.sarahremmer.com/recipes/my-top-five-slow-cooker-recipes/ http://www.sarahremmer.com/recipes/my-top-five-slow-cooker-recipes/#respond Thu, 09 Oct 2014 16:52:41 +0000 http://www.sarahremmer.com/?p=3180  

top-5-slow-cooker-recipes

A slow-cooker can be a life-saver on busy days, allowing you to have a home-cooked hot meal ready when suppertime rolls around. I find that it saves me the stress of trying to figure out what to feed my family at the last minute, which is worth the bit of planning that it takes to prepare a slow-cooked meal.

Because it’s getting cooler outside, and we’re all craving warm comfort foods (and because school and work are both in full-swing), meals in the slow-cooker are ideal for us right now. If you haven’t invested in a slow-cooker, do it and do it now. You won’t regret it. They range from about $25-$100+ and come in different shapes and sizes. I picked mine up from Superstore and love it (it was on the cheaper side). Make sure you buy one that has a “warm” setting, so that when the cooking time is up, it automatically turns to “warm” instead of off. Some people feel a bit weird leaving food cooking all day without being home to monitor it. It only takes trying it once to ease your worry- it will be fine. The great thing about the slow-cooker is that you don’t have to worry–it takes care of itself!

I try to get everything ready the night before, put everything into the slow-cooker dish and stick it in the fridge (if there’s frozen meat in it, it will defrost overnight which is perfect). That way, I just have to transfer the slow-cooker dish into the cooking shell in the morning and turn it on.

Here are my top five slow-cooker recipes that you and your family will love: 

Apple Cinnamon Slow-Cooker Steel-Cut Oats:

Let this one cook overnight so that you wake up to the delicious aroma of comforting apples and cinnamon. Leftovers chill and freeze well!

Maija’s Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup:

This is one of my favourite soups to cook in the slow-cooker. If you load it full of veggies (I add more than what it calls for), it’s a meal-in-one. Your kids will love it too!

Slow-cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken:

This is one of our all-time favourite chicken dishes. It’s so easy and makes tonnes of leftovers. I usually use a combination of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts.

Julie Van Rosendaal’s Better Butter Chicken (in the crock-pot):

I often refer to Julie Van Rosendaal’s “Dinner With Julie” blog for recipes. They are all delicious, and most are nutritious and easy to make. We’ve made this butter chicken recipe a few times and all love it (including the kids!). We serve with coconut rice and steamed steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Moroccan Lentil Soup In The Slow-Cooker: 

This soup is so flavourful and comforting, and it makes great leftovers. Lentils are nutrition power-houses, loaded with protein, fibre and many vitamins and minerals. They are also really inexpensive! If you’ve wanted to experiment with lentils for a while, try making this soup–you’ll learn to love them!

 

Here are six healthy kid-friendly breakfast ideas as well as seven after-school snacks that your kids will love!

And please feel free to pop over to my Facebook Page where I post daily nutrition tips and resources for parents and kids. 

 

 

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