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!!!

Product Review: Goji Gourmet

A big thank you to my friend, Allison over at Goji Gourmet for sending me a package of their tasty cookies.  I had the delightful opportunity to meet Allison last week to hear about her exciting new business and taste her deliciously-healthy cookies.

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Goji Gourmet offers a wonderful variety of cookies packed with superfoods and antioxidants!  All of their cookies are handmade, with no refined sugar added, no preservatives, low calorie and all-natural!  These bite-sized snacks are perfect for an evening nibble or for your child’s afternoon treat.

Be sure to check out Goji Gourmet and taste the goodness of their 4 yummy flavors:

Goji Almond Oat

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Goji Cherry Cacao

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Goji Ginger Walnut

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Goji Orange Mint Chip

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My clients and I enjoyed sampling these tasty treats; we snacked on them right out of the cute little bags (which are resealable and easy to toss into your bag for travel).  I decided to use my creativity and introduced the Goji Gourmet cookies to my clients paired with a dollop of Greek yogurt, crumbled atop a fruit and yogurt parfait and used as a crumb topping for my favorite pie and cake recipes.

I love Allison’s unique Goji Gourmet flavors: the combination of Goji berries with almonds and oats is incredibly satisfying and has a nice crunch…the Goji cherry cacao was my favorite, as I loved the raw chocolate taste and dried cherries happen to be my favorite dried fruit.  Goji ginger with walnuts had a nice crunch to them, as well and the touch of ginger was mild, yet added the perfect ‘zing’.   The Goji orange mint with chips were a huge hit with my clients- as it ‘Tasted like mint-chocolate chip ice cream”, they said.

Thank you again, Allison for sending us a fabulous assortment of your delictable cookies.  There’s nothing like enjoying a tasty treat that’s packed with superfoods and antioxidants- they’re mini guilt-free nibbles.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Goji Gourmet, which are popping up everywhere–I assure you–you’ll be hooked on your first little nibble.

Kid’s are Not Eating Enough Fruits n’ Veggies

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With the amount of processed and packaged foods increasing everyday in our supermarkets, who’s to say what parents should be feeding their children?  Most parents run into the food store and quickly grab processed, packaged snacks made with alarming additives and chemicals.  If these parents took a minute to glance at the ingredient list, I assure you they would be shocked and return the item back on the shelf.  Do parents know what additives and chemicals these products are dumping into our children’s bodies? 

As I have mentioned previously in prior posts, we must stick to the outer layers of our food stores and not wander the dangerous inner isles.  The outer layers are where we will find our fresh fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals for our children’s growing bodies.  Parents need to incorporate more of these  fruits and vegetables into their children’s meals and snacks.   Moreover, parents should set a good example for their children by incorporating a fruit and vegetable such as baby carrots and broccoli or a sliced apple on the table with each meal.  This simple effort will make a noticeable difference in their children’s diets as well as their health.  If children are brought up in a healthy eating environment, they are more likely to continue eating healthy throughout their lives leading to long term health.

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Findings in the March 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association were quite shocking.  For instance, most children consume too much juice; juice makes up about 40% of kid’s fruit intake.  Moreover, French fries are the most common type of vegetable children eat.  Fries account for about 1/4 of children’s vegetable intake. 

Parents should  eat plenty of vegetables, themselves, as role models.  If children see their parents eating the veggies, they will be more likely to eat the veggies as well.  Continually exposing children to fruits  and vegetables will familiarize them as they grow accustomed to the taste.  Remember, however that their palate is sensitive; their taste buds are more sensitive than ours.  Therefore, vegetables that are bitter to us, may not get such a great reaction from them.  In most cases, you will find that kids would rather eat veggies that are crunchy rather than mushy and soft.  Make it a priority to get your children involved- let them grow their own vegetables at home or let them pick out the vegetables in the store.  This will ensure that they feel involved in the process and they will be more likely to try the vegetables at meal time.  When you are serving meals, make sure to serve the same meal to everyone.  Do not decide to make something special for a picky child because this will only encourage them to continually eat that way.  If you prepare healthy food for everyone, they are going to have to eat this food.  Giving into them will only cause future problems.

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A great way to add vegetables to your child’s foods  is to incorporate them into their favorite foods!  If you find foods that your children already enjoy eating, such as smoothies, muffins, yogurt, etc you can easily add fruits or vegetables.  Remember that fruit snacks, even those made with ‘real’ fruit, fruit drinks and other artificial fruit snacks do not count as a serving of fruit.

A few tips to incorporate fruits and veggies into your child’s snacks and meals:

  • Make Your Own Tacos with vegetable toppings
  • Spaghetti with Veggie-balls (You can incorporate veggies into the meat or make vegetarian balls)
  • Banana or Zucchini muffins (you can add dried fruits as well)
  • Make homemade trail mix with dried fruits, cereal and nuts
  • Add berries and bananas to cereals (puree bananas into oatmeal)
  • Mix chopped fruit or dried fruits into yogurt
  • Mix squash, broccoli, spinach, and peas into homemade whole wheat macaroni n’ cheese
  • Puree cauliflower or squash into mashed sweet potatoes
  • Make a smoothie and add fruits instead of juice
  • Set out hummus, guacamole and salsa with raw vegetables for snacking
  • Serve “Ants on a Log” by spreading organic peanut butter onto celery sticks and top with raisins
  • Make your own Vegetable Whole Wheat Pizza- kids can add numerous different vegetable to their personal pie.  Supply them with the dough and sauce and let them top
  • Add vegetables to family casserole dishes
  • Prepare vegetable-based soups (chicken spinach chickpea  soup instead of chicken noodle)
  • Make veggies interesting by serving them shredded or julienned
  • Incorporate spinach, blueberries, oats, and wheat germ into your whole wheat brownie recipe

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Perhaps the best advice is for parents to be positive role models.  If kids are regularly served a variety of fruits and veggies and watch their parents enjoy them often, they are more likely to eat fruits and veggies as they grow older.  Remember, be patient…kids will slowly become accustomed to the new fruit and veggie tastes.