Favorite Granola

People and tastebuds are funny. My daughter can't stand peppers unless they are roasted, and happens to love roasted red pepper hummus. My son is anti-cheese *except* he loves macaroni and cheese *only* if it is made by my mother. He is kind of anti-dairy except for the fact that he could consume his body weight in yogurt every day. Food is like politics and religion in a way. We all draw our lines in the sand somewhere. I'm okay with that. 

My son is occasionally a purist with his yogurt but lately he's been game to add some texture with granola. I developed this super easy recipe that frankly, it's so easy, he could make himself if push came to shove. It's been a big hit! I've now made it several times and we've switched up the dried fruit for some variety. 

Granola

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup chopped dried fruit of your choice

Method
Preheat the oven to 375. 
Combine the oats, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Spread out on parchment paper and drizzle with honey. Bake for 14 - 17 minutes. Once cool, add dried fruit and toss well. 

The Healthy Kids Virtual Summit

I've been asked to participate in the Healthy Kids Virtual Summit and I'm thrilled to be part of such a vibrant, mission-oriented crew of people. The Healthy Kids Virtual Summit is a free video interview series that has been put together by Jamie Boggeln, a mom and entrepreneur who is looking to better her own children's future. The series includes interviews with teachers, parents, doctors, nutritionists, healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs and others who work with children with a shared goal to make fitness and nutrition exciting and to empower families to make lifestyle changes.

Jamie is on a mission and I am proud to be a part of it. Some of the topics covered in the Healthy Kids Virtual Summit include: 

  • Finding new meal planning strategies
  • Getting the family motivated to move
  • Feeding picky eaters

The Healthy Kids Virtual Summit is free and easily accessible. You can register for free here and check out the fantastic 21 interviewees that Jamie has curated. Look out for my interview on July 18.

Happy viewing!  


Union Square Farmer's Market

The Union Square farmer's market is one of my favorite places to visit in the City. The people watching is out of sight: some folks stroll through (especially tourists, families and caregivers with young children) and others race through at breakneck speed (like those who work in restaurants and have to quickly get specific ingredients back to the kitchen). 

The people who come to Union Square to sell their foods are uniformly friendly and willing to answer any questions. For example, I spoke with a cheese monger about why his cheeses were not organic. His animals are not fed hormones ever but if an animal gets sick, it is given antibiotics to get well. During that time, the milk from that animal is never used in the production of cheese but because of the administration of antibiotics, his cheeses are not able to be labeled organic. 

 

 

My kids love going to the farmer's market to see what's in season and to have little snacks along the way. On our most recent visit, the kids and I devoured over a pound of sugar snap peas and a pint of super sweet tiny strawberries. 

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Here's just a small sampling of our farmer's market bounty. I'm going to use the rosemary later this week to season a white bean salad with roasted garlic. We'll fly through those eggs in a day or two (most likely scrambled) and the rest of the produce will be eaten raw. It's really hot outside today so I'm particularly excited to have fresh, wonderful foods that don't require my oven. 

Picky Eating and Foods on the Go

I hear parents talk about 'picky eating' all the time. Frankly, I think there is a big difference between avoiding certain foods (because of texture or taste preferences for example) and avoiding whole categories of foods but I've noticed that the concept of 'picky eating' is not at all set in stone. I have an uncle who won't eat anything green. Seriously. But he eats most everything else. Is he picky? Or just particular? If a child exhibited this same behavior, would the label change? Could part of the solution to picky eating lie in our approach to food preferences? How about semantics? 

My 4 year old son, for example,  genuinely does not like cheese. He never has. This is complicated because my older daughter (8 years old) loves cheese any way she can get it and my youngest daughter (21 months) can't seem to tolerate dairy. Along those same lines, my eldest won't eat chicken and my younger two love it. There are many examples that I could provide along these lines. 

But I digress. I realized recently while we were guests in someone's home that my kids are considered to be 'picky eaters' by some and it was kind of a revelation. I don't think of them as picky eaters at all, and yet, they each have their aversions, preferences and favorites. Does that make them picky? I don't think so. I would not want to live in a world where I was expected to eat and enjoy everything that was served to me and not have my own preferences taken into account. Why should I expect that of my children?

While we were in Rio, we took my son to watch the World Cup Belgium vs Russia game on his 4th birthday. I knew beforehand that there was nothing he was going to eat at the stadium so I brought packets of sunbutter for him to enjoy with a banana. I love sunbutter because it's a wonderful nut alternative and all three of my kids enjoy the flavor. Score! When I spotted these packets before our trip, I scooped them up. They were perfect for the airplane (before the whole jam-licking incident) and as it turned out, perfect for watching the World Cup in Rio with my little guy. Does his penchant for sunbutter and his aversion to stadium pizza make him picky? Not in my opinion. I'm happy that he knows what he likes and doesn't like and that he has the ability to articulate those preferences. 

How do you define 'picky eating'? Are your kids picky eaters? 

Brazilian Farmer's Markets

Small in size but sizable in impact, these markets move from neighborhood to neighborhood in Rio during the week. Brazil has several different varieties of banana and we tried all of them. The kids loved the 'golden bananas' best -- tiny bananas that are sweet and not starchy. My husband preferred the apple bananas.

The mangoes we bought on our second visit were the best I have ever tasted and we all went nuts for the passion fruit, melon and fresh figs. 

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