Get Those Kids Cookin’…

Ever wonder how to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Here are a few tips that I offer to my clients…whether you have young children, nieces, nephews, neighbors, family or friends…these tips are sure to get your little ones active and entertained in the kitchen.


  • Cucumber Caterpillar: Slices of cucumber held together with natural peanut butter. Place the Caterpillar on ‘greens’ to look like grass.
  • Taco or Burrito Bar: Serve brown rice, black beans, onions, hot peppers, sprouted grain or gluten free tortillas, broccoli, arugula, cauliflower, guacamole and  salsa.  Add nuts, seeds and spices in tiny serving dishes to jazz up the flavors!
  • Salad Bar: Spin your greens in a salad spinner, then dress dry greens with a lime dressings made by combining sesame oil, fresh lime juice, low-sodium tamari, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, balsamic vinegar and water.
  • Mashed Potato Parfaits- Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips and carrots mixed together…topped with raisins, cinnamon, shredded coconut and agave nectar
  • Individual Pizzas: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Choose gluten free or sprouted whole grain tortillas, caramelized onions, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, kalamata olives, artichokes, fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Add each ingredient atop each tortilla and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Panini Party: Gluten Free or sprouted whole grain bread, SoyaKaas Gluten Free/Dairy Free cheese, tomato slices, eggplant slices, fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, avocado, zucchini and squash slices.  Add all ingredients to 2 slices of bread.  Place onto a panini maker (sprayed with cooking spray); cook until cheese is melted and veggies are warm and cooked.  Dip into marinara (red) sauce.
  • Stir-Fry: Switch up your usual recipe with unique grains such as millet, quinoa or buckwheat.
  • Fruit Salad: Add exotic fruits to spice up the flavors.  Use a melon baller and serve in a wine glass to add to the allure of this meal.  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt atop each fruit salad serving and sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia.
  • Slaw Wraps: Cabbage, celery, carrots, bok choy, mushrooms, peppers, snap peas, bean sprouts, snow peas, green beans and Napa Slaw can easily be combined and wrapped in rice paper.  Liven up this dish by pairing it with a special sauce of grapefruit juice, ginger, balsamic vinegar, lemonade and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower.  Toss with fresh apples or cumin roasted chick peas.  Adding berries such as blackberries, raspberries and cherries add a nice antioxidant punch to these wraps.
  • Peanut Butter Chicken Fajitas: The best way to make a good peanut sauce is by combining organic peanut butter, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, agave nectar and low-sodium tamari/soy sauce.
  • Frozen Basil and Banana Pops: Blend together 2 cups ice, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup fresh mint leaves, 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup agave nectar in a blender.  Blend well and pour into glasses! This is a wonderful treat for a healthy dessert!

Have fun and experiment with some of my ideas above…Getting the kids active in the kitchen is fun…and who knows, your kids may just start to ‘enjoy’ their veggies!!!

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Boost Your Immune System

Whether it’s an office cubicle buddy coughing over your shoulder or the changing of seasons, we all need to keep our immune systems healthy.  Here are a few ways for you to be sure to keep you out of the doctors office and feeling great!

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Eat Healthy Fats and Healthy Foods

  • Eat foods that boost your immune system such as mushrooms, cantaloupe, brown rice, olive oil, broccoli, leafy greens, oranges and apples.
  • To build your body’s ability to protect itself from becoming sick, be sure to eat whole grains, fish, poultry, vegetables, beans, fruits, leafy greens and roots.
  • Don’t be scared of Fat-you need a healthy dose each and everyday.  Include healthy fats such as nuts, avocado and olive oil.
  • Reach for foods that are high in Vitamin D such as salmon and tuna.

Incorporate Cancer-Fighting Foods, Spices and Herbs

  • Garlic is a powerful health enhancer; it’s strong properties protect our immune system.
  • Drink black tea and green tea for their antioxidants, tannis, indoles and bioflavonoids, which have all been proven to fight cancer.
  • Take time to consider the use of medicinal plants, which have been a natural resource for curing and easing body ailments for centuries.

Be Active

  • Get walking.  Be sure to exercise for 30 minutes on most days.  Even a walk after dinner can help you digest your food and make you feel energized.

Drink Water

  • Try to drink 6-8 glasses a water each day to flush out the toxins in your  body.

Wash Your Hands

  • Be sure to wash up as often as possible to keep germs from spreading and getting into your mouth and eyes.

Clean Your Cubicle as You Would Your Home

  • Many of us spend more time at our desks than we do in our own homes, therefore be sure to keep your cubicle and desk clean with disinfectants.
  • Many of us eat meals at our desks, which leads to a whole slew of festering bacteria-Yuck.  Be sure to wipe your desk before and after each meal or opt for a chance of scenery and enjoy your lunch in the cafe or outside.

How do you stay healthy? Do you have any tips for boosting your immune system?

Eating a Rainbow of Colors

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By now, we’ve all heard, “Eat your Veggies”, well there’s a whole rainbow out there of amazing produce known as Superfoods.  Incorporating these babies into your daily diet can fight cancer, improve your memory, and keep those nasty colds away.  So, what are these superfoods that everyone is talking about?

Superfoods are fruits and veggies that are full of antioxidants.  It’s easy to incorporate their rainbow variety into your diet; simply mix n’ match various colors for a plate that is not only pleasing to the eye, but your stomach, as well. 

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Yellow and Orange

  • Oranges
  • Cantaloupe
  • Butternut Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Our yellow and orange fruits and veggies are packed with antioxidants that boost our immune systems and provide a nice, big dose of Vitamin C.  Moreover, eating fruits and veggies of these colors help ward off age-related eye disease.  I personally love cooking Butternut Squash and making my Butternut Squash Fries, which can be prepared in minutes and popped into the oven.  Another easy way to incorporate these colors into your diet is combining the above fruits into a smoothie.

    Green

    • Avocados
    • Asparagus
    • Cucumbers
    • Leafy Greens
    • Green Peppers
    • Spinach
    • Broccoli

    These greens help relieve the effects of serious eye ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration.  Moreover, they help clear the arteries that keep blood flowing to your brain.  My favorite way to incorporate greens into my meals is sauteing spinach and collard greens with garlic and pine nuts.

    Tan and White

    • Parsnips
    • Turnips
    • Cauliflower
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Bananas
    • Garlic

    These guys  may not have a lotta color to them, however, they pack a serious antioxidant punch with phytonutrients that help protect the heart and fight cancer.  My favorite way to eat the “whites and tans” is to roast parsnips in the oven with a sprinkle of cinnamon and chili powder.

    Blue and Purple

    • Blueberries
    • Raisins
    • Purple Grapes
    • Purple Potatoes
    • Eggplant

    These blue food friends supply us with a healthy dose of antioxidants, which are beneficial for memory and motor function.  I personally love to cook Eggplant Parm–(the gluten free/dairy free way), of course.

    Red

    • Tomatoes
    • Cherries
    • Strawberries
    • Watermelon
    • Radicchio

    Red fruits and veggies contain lycopene and flavonoids are important antioxidants to help fight diseases and various cancers.  Try a rice dish with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and tomatoes.

    What’s your favorite way to incorporate a rainbow into your daily diet?

    Super Foods on a Budget

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    In this day n’ age…the economy isn’t looking too shabby.  We all have to learn to cut back on certain things, however, we should not be cutting back on our nutritious foods as we must continue to feed our bodies with healthy super foods everyday.  Here are a few of my favorite super foods that will keep you on (or hopefully under) your budget!

    Swiss Chard

    • An excellent source of beta carotene (an antioxidant and pre-cursor for vitamin A), vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Research has shown that vitamin C and beta carotene may prevent the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and therefore may decrease risk of heart disease.  Moreover, research has also shown that magnesium and potassium may lower blood pressure levels.  Swiss Chard is reasonably priced- a bit more expensive then some of your other greens, but still about $2/bunch.

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    Kale

    • This dark, leafy green is loaded with vitamin C, carotenoids, and calcium.  Not to mention a good source of potassium and magnesium.   Like most greens it is usually fairly cheep at $1.50/ bunch.

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    Spinach

    • One of the best green leafies out there- it’s an excellent source of folate, antioxidant vitamins A (formed from beta-carotene) and C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.  Studies show that folate can help prevent heart disease by lowering levels of the amino acid homocysteine.  Plus, you can usually find it year round for less than a $1/bunch.

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    Broccoli

    • An excellent source of folate and vitamin C, a good source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, potassium and vitamin B6.   If that isn’t enough broccoli is also packed with phytonutrients, compounds that may help prevent heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.  Plus, it’s low in cost and calories.

    Tomatoes

    • An excellent source of vitamins  A and C, a good source of potassium and contain the antioxidant lycopene.  Depending on the type of tomato, they can be pricey, however, review your choices in the food store and purchase the cheapest, best quality tomatoes.

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    Parsnips

    • A good source of vitamin C, fiber and folate.  Fiber helps promote heart health by reducing levels of LDL “Bad” cholesterol and that vitamin C decreases risk for heart disease by preventing the oxidation of LDL “Bad” cholesterol.  These fun veggies are close in price to carrots, perhaps a few cents more, but still fairly cheep.

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    Avocados

    • Rich in monounsaturated “GOOD” fats and contain potassium and folate.  Research shows that monounsaturated fats can lower LDL “Bad” cholesterol.   Avocados add the perfect touch to any meal and for the inexpensive price, you can’t beat it!

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    Omega 3 Fatty Acids

    • Omega 3’s are known to lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may help with depression, memory loss and Alzheimer’s.  Most prevalent in fatty, cold water fish such as WILD (not farmed) salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring.  Also found in fortified eggs, flax seeds and walnuts.  All of these super foods are high in monounsaturated fats, which is a huge benefit since this can lower cholesterol.  Fresh fish can be quite pricey, however, for the nutritional punch these Omega 3’s provide–it’s worth the extra cash–treat yourself!

    Bananas

    • Loaded with Potassium and fiber, these yellow treats are not just a monkey’s favorite.  Not to mention they are about 20 cents a piece–a dollar can get you a banana for every day of the workweek!

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    Steel Cut Oats

    • High in fiber and complex carbohydrates, oats have been known to lower cholesterol-and boy are they cheap! A dollar can buy you more than a week’s worth of warm, satisfying steel cut oats!

    Sardines

    • These relatively cheap little fish come with big benefits such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.  And, because they are low on the food chain, they do not accumulate mercury.

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    Whole Grain Pasta

    • A delicious complex carbohydrate that is high in protein and B vitamins-not to mention it’s one of the cheapest staples you can buy!

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    Tofu

    • This inexpensive protein source is not just for vegetarians and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.  It’s high in B vitamins and Iron, but low in fat and sodium, making it a healthful addition to many dishes.

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    Beets

    • These purple guys are sweet to the palate while their rich flavor and color make them nutritious for our bodies; they are powerhouses of folate, iron, and antioxidants.  Look for fresh beets in your food store, most beets are reasonably priced and found near the root veggies.

    Nuts

    • Packed with good-for-you fats, both unsaturated and monounsaturated, these are a good source of essential fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.  Because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a handful or two to reap the nutritional benefits.  Although macadamias and pecans can be costly, nuts such as walnuts, peanuts and almonds are low in cost.

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    Wild Rice

    • This gluten-free complex carbohydrate is a whole lot better for you than “white” rice and it’s low in fat, and high in protein and fiber.  This rice is loaded with B vitamins and potassium, not to mention the delicious, nutty, robust flavor.

    Garbanzo Beans

    • No only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they are high in iron, folate, manganese and fiber, and may help reduce cholesterol levels.  If you don’t like Garbanzo beans–try another-lentils, lima, black-the varieties are endless.  Additionally, with beans, you’re getting your money’s worth because they are much cheaper to purchase than animal proteins.

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    Blueberries

    • Packed with phytoflavinoids and antioxidants, these berries are also high in vitamin C and potassium, which are anti-inflammatory and lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.  The darker the berry, the more antioxidants they have.  And remember, frozen fruits are just as good as fresh.  Fresh berries get a bad rep for being pricey, however, their frozen friends are just as delish and good for you, not to mention cheaper! Head to the freezer isle if the fresh berries are too pricey.

    What do you consider your Super Foods? How do their prices fair against the ones I have listed above?  Have you had to cut back at the food store due to our current economic times?