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Posts from the ‘Kids’ Category

Healthy Cooking: Frozen Vegetables

Straightforward frozen vegetables without added sauces can cut meal prep time (think frozen spinach instead of washing, chopping and cooking freshly bought greens) and bring variety to a meal without excess waste. If you don’t routinely use leftovers, everyone in your family likes different veggies, or you want to provide more than one per meal, it doesn’t get easier than cooking frozen vegetables.

To prepare, take a bowl of veggies, add a small amount of water and microwave for 30 seconds to two minutes depending on the amount you have, and before your 5 minute couscous is done your veggies are on the plate. For a child size portion your can pour steaming hot water on them to defrost them, steam them or boil them.

Two benefits to frozen veggies – they keep longer than fresh ones and may be even more nutritious as they’re frozen soon after harvest. Plus, they don’t have any added salt or calories from a sauce and are a blank slate for the flavors of your meal.

Healthy Cooking: Steaming

If you’re looking for a fast, all-age friendly way to cook vegetables and proteins, look no further than the funny pot with all of the holes on the bottom that fits in your go-to sauce pan. Until I had kids I rarely steamed foods, but it’s now my default for making soft veggies for young eaters.

The beauty of steaming is that vegetables can be cooked to varying degrees of tenderness in under 10 minutes, which is just enough time to prepare the rest of your meal (especially when you have hungry mouths to feed). Steaming is also a quick way to cook greens such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard. I typically bake my chicken or fish, but both can be steamed, as can shrimp, which means you’re only a few minutes away from making pasta, salad, or your veggies and grains a bit more fancy.

IMG_0025Looking for more ways to eat healthy? Check out the Healthy Cooking category, complete with techniques and recipes.

Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Bread

zucchini-breadFall is upon us and it’s time for warm recipes! This zucchini bread is the perfect way to transition to fall. I made the “updated” version from Smitten Kitchen, added mini chocolate chips and walnuts and it did not disappoint.

This recipe was also a good way to involve my three year old in the kitchen. All of the measuring and counting reinforces early math skills, and what three year old doesn’t like pouring, mixing and of course eating something sweet?!

In Season: Watermelon

This summer staple is as good for you as it is delicious! With lycopene to help protect your skin from sunburn and high water content (92%!) to keep you hydrated, watermelon will help keep you feeling your best after a long day in the sun.

Find out more reasons why I think summer’s favorite fruit is healthy at Fitness Magazine. Happy National Watermelon Day!

watermelon 1

In Season: Corn

While summer barbecues will soon give way to cozy winter meals, corn is still at its peak flavor!

Corn may have a bad rap from the term high fructose corn syrup, but the on-the-cob version boasts many nutritional benefits. It’s high in antioxidant carotenoids (from its yellow color), is a good source of fiber to help keep your gut healthy and provides the vitamins Niacin and B6 and the minerals phosphorus (important for your bones and teeth and to make proteins for cell repair and growth) and manganese (important for enzyme function and protein production).

When shopping, choose corn with tight, bright green husks and instead of pulling back the silk to check the ends of the cob, simply squeeze the ear from top to bottom to see if the kernels are consistent. I’ve found that most ears are delicious regardless of whether the kernels go all the way to the very end.

There is no comparison between summer corn and what is sold on the cob in the winter, so freezer action is key! I read that to freeze corn on the cob, blanch it for 5 minutes and then seal it in a plastic freezer bag. If you only want the kernels, cut them off 3/4 of the way down towards the middle of the cob. While cobs will stay frozen for one year, the kernels will only last for 2-3 months.

One of my favorite ways to cook corn is to leave it in the husk and bake it for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If you don’t have that much time then boil or steam the husked cobs for 3-5 minutes.

Do you have young helpers at home? Peeling the husk off the corn is an easy way to get them involved in preparing dinner! As I’ve said before, the more kids are involved in preparing their meals the more likely they are to try new foods. And, in this case, it gives you time to focus on the rest of the meal.