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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quick Eating Healthy Ideas for Kids with Food Allergies

Eating healthy ideas don’t have to be complicated, I think simple is always better! As a mom with two beautiful children, that I not only want to feed healthy but also have to avoid Gluten and dairy, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas for snacks.  If you have young children, I want to highly recommend feeding them whole foods in a large variety while they are young so they are comfortable with them as they get older. 

Bowen, my 18 month old, will eat anything I put in front of him, so I take advantage of that and mix together a variety of foods and serve them to him in a dish with his own spoon.  If you have a child that has food sensitivities, or you suspect that they do, keeping a food journal can help you pin point which ones are the nuisance.  For Bowen, I notice that he tends to get a rash behind his back and on his tummy when something doesn’t agree.  I let him run around in his diaper at least once a day so I can check for any new marks on his body.  Oh the fun of having sensitive children. One of his favorite snacks is avocado and grapes.  He loves avocado and I have found that it helps his skin with all the omega 3 fatty acids it has!  They are excellent source of unsaturated fatty acids and have a higher proportion of this 'good' fat than any other fruit, except the olive. Yes they are fruits, even though they are often mistaken for vegetables. Grapes are rich in flavonoids and are a good source of quick energy for kids. Grapes can also prevent (or reduce) constipation, gouts, skin and liver disorders, blood clots, and help fight viruses.  

Now my seven year old, Arleena, loves this snack…I use my two tiered steamer and prepare lots of squash that I can easily mash up with a little honey for Arleena, or cut into strips for Bowen to eat in a pinch.  As long as I add a little honey, agave nectar or maple syrup to the squash, Arleena loves it as a treat.   

She also loves this kid’s salad I prepare…I chop up some spinach into really small pieces along with some chicken breast leftover from dinner, raisins, nuts and some Dayia vegan cheese.  Now the trick is the dressing and cutting everything up really small so all the flavors work together.  The dressing is balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cumin (or other spice) and honey.  Mix that together to taste and put a little throughout the salad.  I always make her helping really small so she asks for more, which I have in the refrigerator. (I also keep Fresco Chicken Sausages on hand in case I don't have left over chicken.  They are precooked so you can pop one out and heat it up real quick and they are gluten/dairy free!)  

Eating healthy ideas for kids with food allergies can be simple as these quick ideas I make for my kids all the time.  And the best part is they LOVE them!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Best Healthy Meals For Kids Before School

My alarm went off this morning and I was actually ready to jump up and start my day.  I even got up 15 minutes early which I was sure was going to pay off for me.  I slipped out to the kitchen and put on 2 cups of water, waited for a boil and popped in a cup of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oatmeal, a handful of raisin and a lot of cinnamon (they love cinnamon).  I put on the lid and turned it down to low so it could cook while I went to wake up my sleeping 1st grader.  If you are looking for easy and healthy food in the morning while getting your kids off to school, this is one of my favorites and I will share how I implement in a panic.
Every morning I sneak into Arleena’s room and cuddle under the covers with her to slowly wake her up for school… hopefully I don’t fall back asleep in the process.  All the time I am praying we have a “good” morning. I am sure you other mom’s know what I am talking about… Almost all of my mornings are pretty good but today on this beautiful morning I had a grumpy daughter that stayed up to late at a sleep over this past weekend.  But today the heels were in the floor and she was determined to convince me she had a belly ache and could not make it to school.  In the midst of this I hear Bowen, my 1 and half year old, yelling MOM! MOM!  In my head I understand I have 35 minutes to be out the door, which is not a problem when my little princess gets up on her own accord.   I said a prayer and left Arleena’s room after sternly explaining to her that she has had her last sleepover if she does not get up and get moving…in a very loving and calm voice of course.  So I have Bowen dressed and out in his chair to eat… The trick to creating the best healthy meals for your kids is to make sure they are flexible as well as healthyThe oatmeal takes a long time to cool down, so I spread it out very thin on a large plate and hand him half a banana in the mean time.  By the time he is done I have the oatmeal in a bowl ready to go.  While he is eating I am preparing a healthy lunch for Arleena and eating oatmeal with a scoop of peanut butter in the process.  Normally I would have a shake but today there is no time and eating breakfast is so important for moms!  So I always eat something.  I will spare you the details but Arleena made it to the car and ate her oatmeal on the way to school.  Oatmeal is a very healthy and flexible food before school.  Remember that instant oatmeal is NOT healthy and is loaded with sugar.  If time is an issue you can always make regular oatmeal the night before and have it ready to heat up first thing in the morning. 
In the morning, something that is way more important than the best healthy meals, is making sure that my kids know that I love them no matter what they do.  I was praying out loud in the midst of this chaos because I wanted things to go the way I wanted them to go.  I wanted Arleena to respond to my threats of being tardy and not having anymore sleepovers but today there was not rationalization behind her eyes.  When I got in the van with all children in tack I had a burden on my heart.  I didn’t want to see her walk into school without making things right and new.  We had a long talk on the way and I forgave her for her actions and assured her that there was nothing she could ever do to make me love her any less.  I also reiterated that she made a bad choice and that did not mean she was bad just that the choice was not good. Her smile returned and I hugged her with all I had before she went into school.  Those few minutes of exchanging forgiveness was worth all the chaos.  I always remember that each time I kiss anyone goodbye it could be the last time so make it count and do not leave anything unsaid! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

This morning I decided to experiment with oatmeal and try to get my daughter to like it more.  I have let her make her own creations with it, and she will eat it, but she still fights me on it every time we have it.  The best healthy meals I can give my kids are the ones they enjoy, not the ones I have to convince them to eat. So I decide to try something different this morning.  

Baked Oatmeal Casserole with Blueberries
Makes 12 Servings
Save or Print Recipe

2 cups whole rolled oats
½ cup chopped raw, unsalted almonds
2 cups milk (or almond milk)
½ tsp pure vanilla
1 large unpeeled organic red apple, grated
½ - 1 cup blue berries
4 tbsp pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup (I had neither so I used honey)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased (with olive oil cooking spray) casserole dish or baking pan. Bake uncovered 30 – 45 min

Thumbs up from the daughter!

My house smelled absolutely amazing with this cooking in the oven!!  I divided the leftovers into two containers, with enough for two servings.  Now I have breakfast done for the next two days.  I can’t wait to try different combinations.  My daughter is excited about trying bananas and strawberries.  

Oatmeal is such a wonderful way to start your morning and I am always looking for new ideas. How do you like your oatmeal?  
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