Thursday, February 26, 2015

Healthy Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes have to be one of the top kid comfort foods of the '80s that never disappointed. We figured we would break away from the traditional giant canned variety for a more homemade take on the cafeteria classic. This version uses ground chicken (turkey would work well, too) and grated vegetables for a healthy spin with lots of flavor. Served up on a lightly toasted bun and dinner is done.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 stalks of celery, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1 small zucchini, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1 cup plain tomato sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Whole wheat buns, lightly toasted

Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat then add in the celery, carrot, zucchini, and onion. Add in the chicken. As the chicken cooks, break it into small pieces with a large wooden spatula. Let everything cook for a few minutes until it softens and the chicken is cooked through. Add all of the other ingredients and stir well to combine. Simmer, loosely covered, for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Heap large spoonfuls onto the buns and serve.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Family Meal Plans- Healthy Comfort Foods

Here's our meal plan for the week with links to the recipes below, some from our site and some from other favorite sites. What are you making this week? Share with us @foodfitforkids on instagram, #foodfitforkids.

Bean Burritos
This is our super quick, pantry meal for the week. All Trader Joes products; olive oil whole wheat tortillas, refried beans, and Monterey Jack cheese. Super easy and the kids love it!

Turkey Meatloaf (Food Network) w/ Roasted Sweet Potatoes  (Food Fit For Kids)
Looking forward to this meal! Plenty of leftovers for lunch throughout the week. Excited to try this meatloaf recipe which adds minced mushrooms for extra moistness.

Slow Cooker Beef Chili  (
Nothing like chili in the crockpot!

Spinach Lasagna (Allrecipes)
This dish is loaded with veggies and cheese. Win for parents and win for kids.

Pot Roast (Food Fit For Kids)
Love adding extra veggies for this meal. Versatile and delicious.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snack Ideas & Inspiration

Snacks are hard aren't they? Walk into a supermarket and there are aisles filled with snacks for kids, all filled with additives, white flour, chemicals and sugar. The only way to decipher what is healthy and what is not is to check the ingredient list. Best bet is to focus on real foods, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, etc.

If you love these ideas but are struggling with a picky eater, check out our other posts; food appreciation is learned and reasons toddlers stop eating well. If snacking is out of control and it's effecting their appetite at meals, check out 5 ways to get your kid to stop snacking all day.

We know it's tricky, kids love something then get bored with it shortly after. So here's some snack inspiration for you. What are your favorites?

Ants on a log is an oldie but a goodie! Mix it up by using trail mix instead of raisins.

Smoothies are a refreshing, delicious way to add veggies but also enjoy a fun drink.  Add whatever you want!

Peanut butter and apples or peanut butter and cheese, so good!

Only ingredients in this cereal are puffed wheat and agave. It's hard to find healthy boxed snacks, this is a good one!

Large containers of precut fruit and vegetables. Add plenty of variety, include things you aren't sure your kids will eat. They may just surprise you.

Mini sweet peppers with guacamole. You may think, but my kid doesn't eat peppers- give them the opportunity to acquire the taste when they've got a good appetite. 

Kids love frozen fruit! Keep it frozen for an entertaining bite. This is especially fun in the summer! Also, packing a small container of frozen fruit for school lunch is a nice twist. Or adding frozen fruit to a container of plain yogurt packed for school keeps the yogurt cold until lunch.

Variety is key!

Snack plates are fun, and even work nicely as a breakfast alternative for kids who don't have much of an appetite. 

Bare Apple Chips are delicious! We found a huge bag at Costco that lasted a while. The only ingredient is apples.

Fresh or lightly steamed/microwaved veggies are the perfect snack for when kids need food RIGHT NOW and it's twenty minutes before dinner. Doesn't fill them up and they'll eat their serving of vegetables before they sit down to the table.

One of the best boxed convenience snacks out there. Most of these bars have 2-5 ingredients and they're all REAL FOOD. Perfect for early morning risers who need breakfast now. And of course for mid day snacks on the go.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Family Meal Plans- Prep Ahead Meals

Here's our meal plan for the week with links to the recipes below, some from our site and some from other favorite sites. What are you making this week? Share with us @foodfitforkids on instagram, #foodfitforkids.

Vegetable Tian (Food Network, Ina Garten)
This looks amazing! The potato, zucchini and cheese can easily be prepped a day ahead. Might even try prepping the whole casserole a day ahead then just baking it day of.

Quick Lemon Chicken with Spaghetti Squash (Food Fit for Kids)
Saute boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin, in a large pan on medium heat with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Once cooked through, sprinkle with zest and juice from one lemon. Serve sliced on top of the squash. The squash can be roasted the day before then quickly finished while the chicken cooks.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bites (Princess Pinky Girl)
These mini-quiche are easy to put together and can keep in the refrigerator or freezer. We're going to make them without the crust and with turkey bacon.

Beef Stew (Food Network, Alton Brown)
This is the perfect winter dish. The meat can be cooked ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you're ready.

Vegetarian Lasagna (Food Fit for Kids)
Lasagna is always a hit and can be cooked then frozen or kept in the refrigerator. Just reheat when you need a meal in a pinch.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Simple Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash is a super unique winter squash that is really easy to prepare. After cooking, the flesh of the squash separates into spaghetti-like strands that are fun to prepare and extremely versatile in recipes. This recipe has simple flavors that will work well for kids who might be hesitant to try any kind of squash, even if it looks like pasta. The initial roasting of the squash can be done in advance; just pack the cooked squash in the refrigerator after it cools.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cups of spaghetti squash (about half a squash)
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (we used parsley and chives)
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a fork, poke several holes in the squash and place on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for about one hour or until you can pierce the squash with little resistance. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut in half lengthwise then scoop out and discard the seeds. Gently pull the squash flesh away from the skin with a fork.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the squash. Gently soften the squash for a few minutes then turn off the heat, season, and toss with the herbs and cheese.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Family Meals Plans

Here's our meal plan for the week with links to the recipes below, some from our site and some from other favorite sites. What are you making this week? Share with us @foodfitforkids on instagram, #foodfitforkids.

Kale Pesto on Quinoa Pasta (Food Fit For Kids)
Easy meal for Meatless Monday that can be made in advance.

Homemade Burgers and Roasted Potatoes
We've been getting that craving for delicious burgers and fries! Making it healthy by roasting potatoes with seasoning and making our own burgers.

Taco Salad (Food Fit For Kids)
This meal is so satisfying and easy to make. Set up a salad bar and have the kids add their own toppings.

Banana Pancakes (100 Days of Real Food)
One of our favorite recipes. Healthy and delicious! Who doesn't like breakfast for dinner?!

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Nom Nom Paleo)
Chicken thighs are higher in iron than white meat, cheaper than white meat and moister than white meat. Looking forward to trying this recipe for the first time!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

When Cooking With Kids is Hard

We all picture parenthood as a series of beautiful bonding moments; making cookies, teaching them how to ride their bike, kissing them goodnight. We never picture the inevitable moments, the impatience, the frustration and the energy needed. We know cooking with our kids makes them more adventurous eaters and creates beautiful childhood memories.  It's easy to say hey, cook with your kids! But making it work can be tricky, frustrating and hard. Why? It comes down to a couple of avoidable factors, here they are…

Lack of planning- not the right meal, not the right time (just getting off of work and dinner needs to be on the table fast), dishes still in the sink and the kitchen needs to be organized first.

Timing isn't right- we want to include our kids but we're tired, overworked, impatient, distracted and multitasking. I just want to get the meal on the table.

Expectations too high- we expect things to go quickly, easily and smoothly only to realize that instructions need to be repeated and rephrased. Spills and errors are a reality and when we are expecting swift easy cooking we set ourselves up for frustration.

So how do we overcome these pitfalls?

When meal planning (are you meal planning?!) schedule certain meals that your kids can help with. Those meals can be strategically planned to include to-do items that are easily executed. Sure you can include your child in any recipe, but planning ahead can set you up for success and prevent some of the pitfalls.

Plan to cook with your kids when you have plenty of time and you are able to relax and slow down. Asking yourself if you are in a good head space for cooking collaboration is vital. Better to tell them you'll cook together another time than to blow a gasket because you needed some space; we've all been there.

Mentally prepare; remind yourself that they are still learning! Spills, mess, confusion, it's all part of the experience. Deep breaths. Acceptance is key. The more you cook together the easier it'll get.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Family Meal Plans

Here's our meal plan for the week with links to the recipes below, some from our site and some from other favorite sites. What are you making this week? Share with us @foodfitforkids on instagram, #foodfitforkids.

Roasted Veggies (Food Fit for Kids) Whole Wheat Corn Bread (100 Days of Real Food)
Perfect winter comfort food and any vegetable combination works. We add plenty of fresh herbs like rosemary and sage, plus olive oil, garlic and lemon. We like to have fresh rustic bread on the side from our local bakery.

Pasta Primavera- Using leftovers and quinoa pasta
Using the leftover veggies from the night before, yay! Cooking the pasta then adding reheated veggies along with olive oil and fresh sautéed garlic and garnishing with goat cheese. (Can supplement with frozen veggies like peas or broccoli if low on leftovers.)

Crockpot Brazilian Curry Chicken (paleOMG) with Rice
Trying a new recipe, this looks so good. Sucker for anything with coconut milk plus the kids can help dump the ingredients into the crockpot! Leftovers will be used for lunches.

Fried Eggs on Toast with Sautéed Mushrooms
Easy peasy, sometimes you just need a 15 minute meal! We sauté the mushrooms for a few minutes with olive oil, oregano and some salt and pepper to taste.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew (Allrecipes)
TGIF! Slow cooker meals are perfect at the end of the week, just knowing a meal is ready at the end of the day combats the temptation to order takeout.