healthy kids

Favorite Smoothies

Once upon a time, I thought that smoothies were too much work for our busy weekday mornings. I’m wiser now. 😎 

Pink Smoothie

These days, I make a smoothie almost every morning for my kids and truth be told, often it’s all they want (and need) for breakfast. 

My general rule of thumb for smoothies is this: they contain whole fruits, usually a combination of fresh and frozen, they use plain, unsweetened kefir or yogurt (whole milk), they typically have an added kick of vanilla extract and cinnamon, which reduces the need for sweeteners, and they're sweetened with either dates or occasionally honey. For all smoothies, I pop everything into the blender and that's it. Easy peasy. Exactly what busy weekday mornings need! 

This Pink Smoothie is an instant smile maker β€” and really, how can you look at this gorgeous color and not smile? The Pink is courtesy of pink pitaya, or dragon fruit. I buy it in frozen packets so I always have some on hand. 

Pink Smoothie:
1 packet of frozen pink pitaya
2 bananas
3 dates
2 cups plain kefir
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp hearts

green smoothie

My Green Smoothie is also a family favorite. My kids are not loving spinach these days, except if I use it in smoothies or muffins. So this smoothie adds that nutritional powerhouse, which makes me happy. I don't sneak veggies with my kids, so while they may complain about spinach in other dishes, they're fully aware that it's included in our Green Smoothie. My hope is that because they enjoy it there, they'll be more open minded to trying it elsewhere. At some point. Parenting requires patience, right? 

Green Smoothie: 
1 avocado
2 bananas
5 oz chopped frozen spinach
1/2 mango
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups yogurt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

Cocoa Banana.jpg

The third smoothie in constant rotation here is a Cocoa Banana Smoothie. I discovered this combo on a trip to Chicago last year, and when I recreated it at home, it was an instant hit. It tastes luxurious and sweet, but the sweetness comes from dates and banana, with no added sweeteners. My kids realize that it's not hot cocoa, but to them it feels like a breakfast treat! 

Cocoa Banana Smoothie:
2 bananas
4 dates, soaked in water to soften
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups plain kefir
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Β 

Do your kids love smoothies too? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear what you put in yours! 

Back to School Lunch Packing Tips

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September kicks my butt every year. And though every August I try to will it away and tell myself that this year will be different, it never seems to work out that way. 

The fact is, everything is a struggle in September. It stinks to get back into a routine, and it's hard work to figure out who has to be where and when on which day. On my crankiest days, I even have a problem adjusting to the weather change β€” and I love fall. 

Its underatandable, then, that just a month or so into a new school year, parents are already over packing school lunch.

Listen, I'm totally with you. I'm over here trying to get my work done, showing up for curriculum night, returning long overdue library books and remembering to buy sneakers in the right size for each kid (how on earth do feet grow so quickly in summer?!). I might have three brain cells left to dedicate to lunch packing. 

I definitely don't have all of the answers, but I have some tips up my sleeve to share with you, and I promise, they don't require more than three brain cells to process.  If you're looking for some lunchbox inspiration, head over to Instagram, where I share loads of lunches regularly. If you're looking for allergy friendly ideas, I've got you covered

Produce Prep

1. Cut your fruit and veggies in advance. Just do it. If setting aside the time is hard, I understand. It's probably not the best thing to do on, say, a Monday morning before school and work. How about at some point on the weekend though? Buy your produce during the week and set up shop with your cutting board and your knife for 20 minutes on the weekend. Your future self will be incredibly grateful. I love produce prep not only because it makes my lunchpacking and cooking easier, but also because it's quiet solo time for me. I take it where I can get it, so I'm calling it a win-win. 

Packed Lunch

2. Stop reinventing the wheel. You really don't need to come up with something new and interesting for lunch all the time. Your kids can do all of that heavy lifting for you. If it's a busy week ahead for me, I let my kids know what's available for them to choose based on what I know I'll have time to pack. Sometimes that's yogurt, fruit, veggies and frozen waffles. Sometimes it's more elaborate. My kids use the LaLa Lunchbox app, but however you hand over the reigns to your brood, make it a system that works for you. 

Using LaLa Lunchbox

3. Meal Plan. The LaLa Lunchbox meal planning app is the only one that involves kids in the process of choosing what's for lunch. It's a fun, simple and interactive platform that engages kids, empowering them to make better choices when it comes to the food they eat. For parents, it generates an easy-to-use grocery list to help them stay organized and on top of their lunch game. The best part is, it's free to download (only available right now on iOS). Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

School lunch can be challenging, but we're in this together. However you handle it at your house, I'm wishing you the best.  

Camp Lunches

Summer is in full swing here and I've been enjoying the glorious sunny days, feasting on farmer's market gems and generally trying to slow down and smell the roses. 

In the meantime, I'm still packing lunches daily. If you missed our post about making summer lunches easier, have no fear, here you go. The kids are still picking their foods with the LaLa Lunchbox app, (FREE to download!) making my busy life easier, and we're incorporating loads of delicious summer produce. We post daily pics on Instagram, so go ahead and check that out for some fresh ideas every day. If you're here looking for a little inspiration, take a peek below at some of the recent camp lunches: 

hummus with celery, cukes and radishes, black olives, turkey jerky, crackers, coconut chips, cherries and fig

hummus with celery, cukes and radishes, black olives, turkey jerky, crackers, coconut chips, cherries and fig

mango and cherries, wafflewiches with sunflower seed butter, raspberries, yogurt and cereal, green beans and a thumbprint cookie

mango and cherries, wafflewiches with sunflower seed butter, raspberries, yogurt and cereal, green beans and a thumbprint cookie

eggs, wax beans, cherries, apricot, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi and chocolate chips

eggs, wax beans, cherries, apricot, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi and chocolate chips

Leftover chicken drumettes, cherries, watermelon with mint, salad, sunflower seed cookies

Leftover chicken drumettes, cherries, watermelon with mint, salad, sunflower seed cookies

tortellini, plum, nectarine, blueberries, leftover corn and a brownie bite

tortellini, plum, nectarine, blueberries, leftover corn and a brownie bite

Want more camp lunch inspiration? Right this way...