It’s that time. Easter is just two weeks away. I always feel a little bit of pressure when I see all the cute pre-made Easter baskets because I grew up getting them every year… and LOVED them. Now, though, I don’t want my children to have all that sugar and all those chemicals and preservatives in a sweet little basket that I give them for what I believe is the most significant holiday of our faith. As you can see, I have issues on multiple levels! So, I think about what I can put together/make as an alternative… every year. I’m not naturally geared to make arts and crafts. So, I’m sad to say that I have often done very little.
This year I’m planning differently. I do plan on an Easter egg hunt. My plan is to place one small piece of candy and a note that reads something like, “He is risen!” inside each egg. That’s the minimum. Anyone can do that. Therefore, I can do it. 😉
Meanwhile, I’m also contemplating making a basket. A healthier one.
Here are the components I’m considering for their baskets.
1. The chocolate bunny. I remember chocolate bunnies that were solid and ones that were hollow. My goal is to find a small hollow dark chocolate bunny. If they are going to have it, it may as well be a little bit of the good chocolate. I can live with that.
2. Crème filled eggs. Crème filled eggs won’t make the cut on these baskets. Can you say, “Way too much sugar.”
3. Plastic Easter Eggs. Like the eggs in the Easter egg hunt, these eggs will contain one or two pieces of candy. Probably all natural, no preservative jelly beans from Trader Joe’s.
4. Peeps. Peeps will also not make the cut. Thankfully, my children have never had them and won’t miss them.
5. Toys. I plan to throw in some colorful whistles or flutes, or other inexpensive toys, and perhaps some sidewalk chalk.
How do you plan to make a thrifty, healthier Easter basket this year?
Could you use a thrifty and yummy health tip today? We all know that there are so many things we have to think about making sure we get. Vitamin C. Vitamin D3. Omega-3s. Minerals. Anti-oxidants. Protein. Water. Good fats. The list goes on and on. We know that. That’s why it’s so nice to find out that there are yummy sources of multiple elements of a healthy diet. If I can kill two birds with one stone (and have it be an enjoyable experience), then that’s what I want to do.
Dark Chocolate. We have already read about the anti-oxidants in dark chocolate. We also know that dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa) contains mood boosting compounds. But, did you know that chocolate that is 70-85% cocoa is a great source of fiber? Yep. One gram of dark chocolate contains 3 grams of fiber. So, get your antioxidants, your fiber, and feel good about it all with a yummy treat.
Almonds. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, B complex vitamins, minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, and zinc. But, they are also rich in fiber. Another surprise, right? One cup of almonds contains 4 grams of fiber. Just remember to keep it to about a cup, though, because those calories add up quickly with nuts!
Avocados. There’s a reason it’s called a superfood. In just one fifth of a medium sized avocado, you get about 20 minerals and vitamins. The fat in avocados is the “good fat,” which assists in weight loss by satisfying hunger and increasing metabolism. In addition to all the properties that contribute to its “superfood” status, avocado contains 7 grams of fiber in just one half of an avocado. How could you not include avocado in your next meal, whichever meal it may be!
What are your favorite “multipurpose” foods? 😉
The words “healthy” and “cake” are rarely ever used in the same sentence, much less the same title for a recipe. It doesn’t seem real or right to have cake that tastes good and is good for you, but it’s true and it’s possible.
There are generally two main ingredients that make cake bad for our health and for our waist line: white flour and white sugar. Replacing those two ingredients with other fillers that may not be as bad (like wheat flour or even gluten free mixes) don’t necessarily transform a cake into something nutritious. However, if you use coconut flour, it is a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. When you replace the sugar with raw honey, you reap the benefits of the raw honey. Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, and is full of antioxidant properties, all great for immunity.
Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. Once you have cake like this, you’ll have a very hard time going back to cake that’s full of empty fattening calories. Keep in mind that you can adjust any recipe to your preference. So, if you prefer it sweeter, just add more honey. If it’s too sweet, just cut the amount in the recipe.
Here’s how to make tasty, good-for-you cake!
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup raw honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
In a bowl, mix the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until no clumps are left.
Combine the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and eggs until well blended.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan (I like to use Pyrex).
Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
I don’t know one mother who doesn’t think about how to get her children to eat healthy or healthier foods. Whether it’s sneaking healthy foods into their favorites or trying to make healthy foods tastier, it seems to be every mother’s mission to get those kiddos to eat something nutritious. I, too, share that mission.
One of the ways I do that is by finding healthier ways to make baked goods. I have used coconut flour, almond flour, and combinations of those with organic white flour in order to get them to eat healthier baked goods. And, while we have made variations of oatmeal cookies, I found a recipe using oat flour at just the right time. Since we recently joined a co-op and I got a great deal on organic rolled oats, I have 25 pounds of oats to do something with. 😉
So, in case you’re on a similar mission and would like your children eat healthier cookies, you may want to try this recipe.
1 cup oat flour (I just put a cup of oatmeal in my food processor for this part)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar or honey*
1/2 cup coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl and dry ingredients in a smaller bowl.
3. If you haven’t bought oat flour, just put about a cup of oatmeal into a food processor until finely ground.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until thoroughly blended.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Use a spoon to drop cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.
*I used honey (even though the original recipe called for sugar). As a result, when I baked the cookies (plural), they melted into one big cookie! So, if you decide to use honey, add some extra oat flour! In the end, as you can see, the “cookie” was a big hit!
How do you make baked goods healthier for your kiddos?
Years ago, when I was a member of a gym, I used to joke that the gym would finally be back to normal in March. We all know why. Those who had “resolved” to get fit got discouraged, didn’t see all the weight loss or fit-ness happen fast enough, or just gave up. Well, even if you are not a member of a gym, this is the time (if you did make a resolution) that your resolve, your motivation, your hope is tested. Don’t give up! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your weight loss in case you didn’t see the results you’d hoped for in the last two months.
1. Vary your workout. Be sure that whatever you consider your workouts include aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching. Cardio alone may not be sufficient for weight loss. Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle translates into better metabolism. So, be sure you’re working on building your strength at least twice a week. If you do the same workout every day, change it. Add weights. Increase weights. Add time. Add intensity. Do interval training. All those changes will change your workout, strengthen your muscles, and improve your ability to lose weight.
2. Watch those extra calories. Sometimes when we work out, we give ourselves the liberty to indulge more than we would when we are not working out. There’s not much room for indulging if you are trying to lose weight. If you want something special, then be sure to cut the equivalent number of calories elsewhere.
3. Exercise is not just what happens at the gym. Be careful not to let yourself get lazy the rest of the day. Let your workout time inspire you to keep moving. If you slow down from your normal pace, you may also cut the number of total calories you’d normally burn on any given day. So, take the stairs and park a little farther. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn.
How do you maximize your workouts?
I don’t know one mother who isn’t concerned about her children eating healthy food. We may all have varying degrees of applying what we believe is healthy to our daily lives. But, we all think about it, don’t we? Sometimes, we try so hard to make them eat broccoli and spinach that we forget that it doesn’t always have to be so hard. Here are a few reminders of foods that are great for kids that don’t have to be so hard for them to eat–or drink!
1. Milk. Milk is great for children. It’s a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein for children. And, be sure to get whole milk, not the low fat variety. Good fats are good for us and actually do more to maintain a healthy metabolism. That whole “low fat” trend many of us were brought up on has proven to be a faulty model for good health and weight loss.
2. Apples. Apples make for an easy, healthy snack. Ideally, your children will eat an unpeeled apple as a snack. The skin contains about 5 grams of fiber. However, if your children are like mine and prefer it peeled, they’ll still get half of that fiber along with a good dose of vitamin C.
3. Eggs. Eggs contain protein, iron, and many other vitamins and minerals. I try to make sure that my children get eggs almost every day.
4. Vegetables. We all know that we all, adults and children alike, don’t get enough dark green, leafy vegetables in our diets. So, some of us moms are apt to try to sneak them into sauces and smoothies to make sure our children get ’em. 😉 However, we need to remember that there are other vegetables that are more palatable for little ones. Carrots, peas, and potatoes are a few. My children enjoy crunching on a raw carrot much more than they do eating cooked carrots. Other children prefer cooked carrots because they taste sweeter when they are baked or roasted. Don’t look down on the non-green veggies. They, too, contain nourishing vitamins and minerals.
What are some healthy foods that your children love to eat?
Did you know that Brussels sprouts are of the most nutrient rich foods you can eat? They are full of anti-oxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K as well as fiber, manganese, potassium, choline, and B vitamins. Why aren’t we all eating this incredibly good for you food? Well, some surveys show that Americans simply don’t like the smell of the Brussels sprouts. My answer to that dilemma is always simply finding the right recipe. If you can cook something to make it taste good, people will eat it (and probably not care about how it smelled while it was cooking).
So, I’ve got an easy recipe for a great for you, a yummy side dish! The recipe is based on a recipe from a restaurant called Tin Roof Bistro in California. Here’s my version of that recipe (because I only used what I had and I didn’t have everything listed on their recipe).
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat over to 350º
2. Remove the ends and any rough outer leaves from Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise.
3. Put them in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
4. Toss Brussels sprouts in oil and then lay out on sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes until caramelized.
5. When Brussels sprouts are roasted and caramelized, heat up small saute’ pan. Melt butter and add garlic. Cook for several minutes until garlic turns golden. Add lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper. Toss sprouts in sauce until they are thoroughly coated.
6. Then, the most important part: eat and enjoy… because, you know, it is possible to enjoy food that is good for you!
How do you like to eat your Brussels Sprouts?
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