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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

9 Wholesome Recipes Made Fun for Kids

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Kids will love preparing these foods as much as they will eating them.

Getting your kids to eat healthy can be tricky. Which is why Shannon Seip and Kelly Parthen, the duo behind Bean Sprouts Cafe, created playful and imaginative meals that get children excited about eating healthy. In their new cookbook Bean Sprouts Kitchen, Shannon and Kelly share 60 recipes the whole family can prepare and enjoy together. Bean Sprouts Kitchen comes out November 6, 2018, but you can make nine of their fun and wholesome meals any day.

Grilledzilla

Make sure the ends of googly-eyed Grilledzilla’s mouth are pointing up in a slight smile, so he doesn’t scare anyone away.

Cooking spray
2 slices cheddar cheese
¼ cup (30 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 zucchini rounds
2 olive slices

  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spray cooking spray on one slice of bread. Flip over and layer one slice of cheddar, shredded mozzarella, and the other slice of cheddar cheese. Top with other slice of bread and spray the top slice of bread with cooking spray.
  3. Grill sandwich in pan until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.
  4. Cut a zigzag line through the bottom third of the sandwich. Place zucchini rounds at the top of the sandwich and top with olives for eyes.

Bean appétit!

Makes 1 Grilledzilla

Bean There, Ate That
Give your Grilledzilla some zip with these additional combos:
• Turkey + Mayonnaise + Cheddar cheese + Apple slices
• Grilled chicken slices + BBQ sauce + Gruyere cheese

Dino S’mores

 

Dino S'mores

 

Your whole family can work together to create this edible prehistoric scene.

Photo: The Quarto Group

We’ve found chocolate to be a much friendlier tar pit for our prehistoric pals.

¾ cup (94 g) whole wheat flour
½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (28 g) ground flax meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup (56 g) butter, softened
¼ cup (60 g) packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 g) honey
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) milk (of your choice)
1 cup (175 g) chocolate chips
2 green pears

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Waxed paper
Rolling pin
Dinosaur cookie cutters
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Mix the flours, flax meal, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add milk. Stir until blended.
  4. Place dough on a piece of waxed paper. Flatten into a big circle and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about ¼-inch (6 mm) thick. Press the dinosaur cookie cutters in the dough. Place shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Spoon 2 tablespoons (28 g) of melted chocolate on a small piece of waxed paper and quickly place a dinosaur upright in each chocolate glob.
  7. Place the dinosaurs and chocolate in the freezer, until the chocolate hardens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully peel off the chocolate tar pits from the waxed paper and stand dinosaurs upright on a plate.
  8. Cut pears into slices, and cut slices into tree shapes for the background. Use the pear slices in place of marshmallows for fruit-filled s’mores.

Makes 10 to 12 Dino S’mores

Behind the beans
Many of the science centers and museums where Bean Sprouts cafés are located offer dinosaur exhibits. We even call our fossil friends Bean Names, like “Pea-Rex,” “Tri-Carrot Tops,” and “Eggasaurus.”

Xylofun

 

Xylofun

 

This sweet tasting dish will have your child forgetting they’re eating vegetables.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Try multicolored carrots to make this dish really ring.

Cooking spray
8 carrots
1½ teaspoons (7 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt
12 capers
2 pitted olives (optional)
Cooking spray

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Pastry brush (optional)
Lollipop sticks (optional)
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the carrots. Carefully slice in halves lengthwise.
  3. Mix the butter and maple syrup in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to brush the mixture on both sides of the carrots. Place the carrots rounded side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Place the two largest carrot halves, rounded side down, turned inwards at a slight angle, like you’re making a “greater than” math sign. Balance remaining carrots flat side up across the two large, angled carrots.
  5. Trim the ends of the carrots with the scissors so they don’t extend beyond the bottom carrots. Place a caper on the end of each carrot key.
  6. If desired, place an olive on the end of each lollipop stick for mallets.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Xylofuns

Broctopus

 

Broctopus

 

A fun way to get your child to finish their broccoli.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

2 cups (142 g) steamed broccoli florets
¼ cup (40 g) diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
⅔ cup (33 g) panko breadcrumbs
⅓ cup (38 g) shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Parchment paper
Pastry brush (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Add broccoli, onion, and parsley to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add salt, egg, panko breadcrumbs, and cheese to the food processor and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Use your hands to roll 1½ tablespoons (17 g) of mixture into a tot shape. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat three times for a total of four tots.
  4. Use the rest of the mixture to create 4 sets of 8 Broctopus legs (32 legs total) on the parchment paper. Form skinny legs and pinch to create curves.
  5. Use the pastry brush or your finger to brush extra-virgin olive oil on the tops of all the pieces. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, without flipping the pieces over.
  6. Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Broctopi

Under the Z

 

Under the Z

 

A healthy alternative to your typical pancake.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This silly use of zucchini noodles brings the “z” to under the sea.

Cooking spray
2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles plus 16 to 20 zucchini noodles
½ cup (40 g) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg¼ cup
(31 g) flour

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Round waffle maker

  1. Preheat the waffle maker. Lightly coat the iron with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, blend the 2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles, Parmesan cheese, egg, and flour. Pour into the waffle maker and spread evenly across the surface sothe mixture reaches the edges of the iron.
  3. While the waffle is cooking, place the remaining zucchini noodles on the bottom halves of two plates.
  4. Remove the waffle and cut in half. Place each waffle half at the top of the noodles to create the jellyfish.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 jellyfish

Note
You can use store-bought zucchini noodles or make your own if you have a spiralizer. Or cut zucchini into long, thin noodle-like strips (a mandoline works great for this)

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

A perfect way to introduce kale into your child’s diet.

Photo: The Quarto Group

If only all deviled eggs had the moxie of these go-getters!

3 large kale leaves
1 tablespoon
(15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
¼ cup (60 g) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
12 thin red bell pepper slices, about ½ inch long (13 mm)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Toothpick

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Use the child scissors to cut one of the kale leaves until you have ⅓ cup (22 g) little confetti-like pieces. Set aside.
  3. With the other large kale leaves, cut 6 triangle shapes for capes, about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 cm to 10 cm) long. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to coat both sides of the capes with olive oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
  4. Cut a tiny slice off the bottoms of the wide ends of each egg so they can stand up. Cut off the top third of each egg and carefully remove the yolks and place in a small bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and kale confetti and stir until blended. Carefully spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the hollowed-out eggs.
  6. Use a toothpick to poke 2 small holes in the top of each egg white and push in 2 red pepper pieces for horns.
  7. Carefully press the short end of each baked kale cape onto the top of the egg yolk mixture so that it’s “flying” straight out. Top with the smaller piece of the hard-boiled egg.

Bean appétit!

Makes 6 Dare-Deviled Eggs

Note
Try serving the Dare-Deviled Eggs on top of tall, clear cups turned upside down, so it looks like they’re flying.

Spagiggles

 

Spagiggles

 

Great with spaghetti or all on their own.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Unleash your inner stylist with these sassy bites.

¼ cup (35 g) cooked spaghetti
2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 turkey-black bean meatballs, warmed (from Mash of the Penguins, page 25)
Marinara sauce or your favorite pasta sauce for dipping

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the olive oil, garlic powder, and salt until evenly coated.
  3. Use child scissors or your fingers to pinch off the spaghetti strands into different lengths. Place the noodles on a foil-lined baking sheet in whatever hairstyles you like—curlicues, spikes, etc. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Let cool slightly. Fix the spaghetti hair onto the meatballs and serve with your favorite pasta sauce for dipping.

Bean appétit!

Makes 12 stylin’ meatballs

Bean There, Ate That
Try using the noodles to create stick figures for your Spagiggles.

Crocamole

 

Crocamole

 

A snack that’s delicious and safe for anyone who’s gluten free.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This croc pot is delightful for dipping veggies.

1 avocado, sliced in half lengthwise
½ cup (113 g) hummus
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 zucchini rounds, plus more for dipping
4 olive slices
14 matchstick carrots
Other favorite veggies for dipping, such as baby carrots or celery sticks

  1. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado pulp and place in a bowl. Set avocado skins aside.
  2. Add the hummus and lemon juice to the bowl and use a fork to mash ingredients until smooth.
  3. Scoop the green hummus back into the avocado skins. Place 2 zucchini rounds and olive slices in the hummus at the wider end of each avocado skin for eyes. Add carrot matchsticks at the narrow end for teeth.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite veggie dippers.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Crocamoles

Spaceadilla

 

Spaceadilla

 

The jicama adds a little sweetness to this dish.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Silly shapes of crunchy veggies blast this dish to infinity and beyond.

4 flour tortillas
½ cup (58 g) shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup (113 g) shredded rotisserie chicken
¼ cup (65 g) salsa (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jicama
12 olive slices
1 each red and orange bell pepper
1 can (16-ounce or 455 g) refried black beans, warmed

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Mini star and moon cookie cutters

  1. Use the child scissors to cut out 8 identical rocket shapes from the tortillas. On 4 of the rocket shapes, evenly divide the shredded cheese and chicken. Top with salsa, if desired, and the remaining tortillas.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Carefully add the rockets to the skillet. Cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. While the rockets are cooking, cut the jicama into thin slices. Use the mini cutters to cut 16 to 20 stars and moons. Use the child scissors to cut flame shapes from orange and red bell peppers.
  4. Use the back of a spoon to spread the warmed refried beans across 4 plates. Place a rocket quesadilla in the middle of each plate. Add pepper flames at the bottom of the rocket and olive slices in the center for portholes. Add jicama stars and moons on the refried beans.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Spaceadillas

 

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Beat Sprouts Kitchen by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen

Photo: The Quarto Group

 

This article was written by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

20 High Protein Breakfast Ideas For All-Day Energy

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Step away from the box of sugary cereal.

If you’re watching your weight or have a hard time keeping your hunger in check in the morning, you likely have heard how important protein is. But while it’s easy for most of us to get enough of the nutrient at dinner and lunch, breakfast can be a struggle. Bagels, cereal, and smoothies don’t always pack a big protein punch. Not to mention, if you skip your morning meal, you’re not getting any protein at all.

That’s a big mistake. “In numerous studies, a high-protein breakfast habit has been linked to weight management or weight loss,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, a New York City- and Los Angeles-based performance nutritionist. “Protein is filling, and triggers the release of satiety hormones that blunt appetite.”

That means you may eat less all day long, including in the evening. “That’s key because most people are inactive in the evening, and therefore less likely to burn off surplus calories consumed at that time,” Sass explains. Protein also boosts alertness so you are productive and helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels so you have steady energy to face the day, she adds.

The ideal amount of protein at breakfast is about 30 grams, according to a review published in Advances in Nutrition in September. (Get your daily dose in these 15 high-protein foods.) However, registered dietitians say starting with at least 20 grams is a good goal for weight loss and hunger management. Ready to start your day off right? Try one of these nutritionist-approved high protein breakfasts next time you’re tempted to reach for the cereal box.

1) Diner Breakfast

“Some mornings I find myself craving a traditional ‘egg platter’ type of meal that you find in most diners,” says Georgia Rounder, RDN, CDN. To make your own (without the grease some diners cook in), she suggests scrambling two eggs and cooking a link of organic chicken sausage. Toast a slice of whole-grain bread topped with jam, add a cup of joe, and you have a DIY diner meal.

2) Avocado Omelet

Eggs are a no-brainer for protein. Sass suggests mixing in veggies and herbs and topping with avocado for healthy fats, which will boost the satiety factor. Using three eggs will give you about 19 grams of protein, so fold in some cheese or meat if you want to get closer to 30 grams.

3) Cottage Cheese Bowl

Cottage cheese is a great start to the day. Half a cup of 1-percent cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein and only about 80 calories, so scoop out the proper portion for your needs. “Combine with chopped or shredded veggies like spinach, bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, and red onion, and mix with EVOO-based dairy-free pesto. Chill overnight and grab to go in the a.m.,” Sass says. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, top with fiber-rich berries instead.

4) Tofu Scramble

Perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike, tofu can mimic eggs. “Crumble a block of tofu in a pan and ‘scramble’ it like you would eggs, adding your favorite veggies, herbs, and spices for flavor,” says Ginger Hultin, RD, a Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Half of the recipe gives you about 22 grams of protein. Extra-firm tofu tends to work best, and if you have time to press it first, go for it. Your scramble will still be yummy if you don’t press it, though.

5) Scrambled Tofu and Eggs on Toast

There’s no reason you can’t combine plant proteins with the incredible edible egg to diversify your nutrient intake. “Scramble two eggs with 1/4 of a block of extra-firm tofu, tomato, and freshly ground black pepper,” says Keri Gans, RDN, nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. She suggests enjoying your scramble on 100-percent whole-grain bread.

6) Breakfast Quinoa

Although you can have it savory in the morning too, quinoa also makes a good sweet breakfast if you’re sick of oats. “This whole grain contains 12 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup uncooked,” says Hultin, who recommends adding in more protein by topping with nuts, seeds, and soy milk (which contains about 8 grams in one cup). Plus, it’s fairly quick to cook, or you can make it the night before and reheat in the morning.

7) Egg Muffins

Muffins don’t have to be loaded with sugar and empty carbs. Rethink your omelet so you can take it on-the-go and make egg muffins, says dietitian Amy Kubal, RDN. Since one egg has about 6 grams of protein, mix in some turkey or ricotta cheese in addition to veggies, she adds. If you’re eating at home, you can also top them with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and salsa for extra protein and flavor

8) Greek Yogurt Parfait

With 20-plus grams of protein per cup, there’s good reason this thick, creamy yogurt is a go-to breakfast. “Yogurt parfaits are hands-down one of my favorite high-protein breakfasts,” Rounder says. She tops plain, full-fat Greek yogurt with whatever toppings she’s in the mood for-usually a combination of walnuts (for added protein and healthy fat), berries (for fiber), a few spoonfuls of granola (for crunch), and a drizzle of honey (extra sweetness!).

9) Amped-Up Oatmeal

By itself, oatmeal isn’t high in protein. But you can easily increase that amount. “Make it with one cup of nonfat or low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, and chia seeds,” Gans suggests. Add some berries or banana on top if you crave something sweet in the morning.

10) Egg and Avocado Toast

Avocado toast is still trendy, but just toast and avocado doesn’t add up to a ton of protein. An easy solution: Add two eggs, cooked however you like. “Throw them on top of a piece of whole-grain bread, avocado, and some Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning for an extra kick,” Rounder says.

11) Breakfast Salad

It’s not a traditional morning meal for most Americans, but a salad is great any time of day and helps you get in those veggies first thing in the morning. “Stir an EVOO-balsamic dressing into canned wild salmon. Place the salmon over a bed of greens along with a scoop of lentils and a sprinkle of chopped nuts,” Sass suggests. Plus, it’s easy to prep the night before if you want to take it on the go.

12) Non-Dairy Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt enjoyed its time in the spotlight, and now there are many plant-based yogurts that have a good amount of protein. In addition to soy yogurt, there’s Kite Hill’s almond milk “Greek” yogurt with 11 grams of protein and Ripple’s Greek yogurt alternative with 12 grams of pea protein. “Aim for an unsweetened variety so you can mix in your own fruit,” Hultin says. “Then maximize protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids by adding in flax, chia, or hemp seeds.”

13) Salmon Avocado Toast

If you’re not in the mood for eggs, try 4 ounces of smoked salmon, or lox, which has about 20 grams of protein. “Top 100-percent whole-grain bread with tofu-scallion cream cheese, lox, avocado, and diced red onion and tomato,” Gans suggests.

14) Overnight Oats

Next time you make your favorite overnight oats, stir in a scoop of protein powder, Sass says. Combine the oats and plain or vanilla-flavored protein powder (unless chocolate goes with your other flavors), then add water or unsweetened nut milk. Stir until well combined. Let the oats soak in the fridge until the morning, then top with berries and pumpkin seeds.

SHOP PROTEIN POWDER

15) Snack Pack To-Go

“This sounds weird, but it totally works,” Kubal says. “A lot of my clients travel and take some deli turkey and veggies and guac, and call it breakfast.” You could also pack jerky, she says, which has the added benefit of being shelf-stable.

16) Cottage Cheese Toast

Switch up your morning slice by topping whole-grain bread with a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese instead of your go-to cream cheese or avocado. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and a handful of nuts for extra crunch and protein. This combo is super versatile, so if you prefer savory toast, you can top with veggies and nuts instead.

17) Protein-Packed Smoothie

Many smoothies are a bunch of fruit. Delicious, yes, but not very filling and often low in protein. “To maximize protein and create more balance, add a scoop of protein powder,” Hultin says. Look for a protein powder with no more than 5 grams of sugar, Kubal recommends. However, unsweetened is best-the fruit in your smoothie will give you plenty of sweetness. Don’t forget to include a handful of greens such as spinach for some veggies, and nut butter or hemp seeds for more protein and satiating healthy fats. (Check out our favorite smoothie recipes here.)

18) Bagel with Lox

A bagel breakfast doesn’t have to be all carbs. It’s all about portions and proper toppings. “Top either half a whole-wheat bagel or whole-grain crackers with smoked salmon, a tablespoon of whipped cream cheese, capers, and some salt and pepper for a high-protein breakfast that always hits the spot,” Rounder says.

19) Creamy Oatmeal

Another way to make high-protein oats is to stir in cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Top with nuts or seeds, and you have a breakfast that’ s high in protein and fiber for a one-two hunger-fighting punch.

20) Dinner for Breakfast

We’re all looking for a quick bite as we get ourselves and the kids ready to dash out the door. Leftovers can be a great solution-simply reheat. “Include poultry or fish, herb-sautéed veggies, extra-virgin olive oil, and a small portion of a healthy starch, like sweet potato or brown rice,” Sass recommends, so you have a well-rounded meal to keep you full and meet all your nutritional needs.

 

This article was written by Brittany Risher from Prevention and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

14 Spooky Halloween Treats to Make with Your Kids

 

Two Peas and Their Pod

Sweet and Salty Marshmallow Popcorn

Make like PureWow Coterie member Maria Lichty and have your kids stir in the candy.

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The Mom 100

Mummy Cupcakes

The more disheveled the mummy, the better. (Thanks, Katie Workman.)

Get the recipe

It’s Always Autumn

Cute and Easy Mini Halloween Doughnuts

Bats, monsters and spiders, oh my.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs

Let the kids assemble, then watch them melt in the oven.

Get the recipe

Working Mom Magic

Marshmallow Monsters

Googly eyes? Check. Sprinkles? Double check.

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Gimme Some Oven

Brownie Spiders

The kids can attach the legs; you can eat the leftovers.

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Five Heart Home

Pretzel Candy Spiderwebs

Much less scary than the real thing.

Get the recipe

Kid-Friendly Things to Do

Halloween Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Grab some forks and let them go wild.

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Damn Delicious

Halloween Spider Cupcakes

Getting your kids in the kitchen has never been easier.

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Dinner At the Zoo

3-Ingredient Butterfinger Caramel Apples

Using pre-made caramel candies makes this kid-friendly.

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Sprinkle Bakes

Monster Popcorn Balls

Bonus points for the plastic vampire teeth.

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Well Plated

Halloween Banana Popsicles

Frighteningly good, and sorta healthy. 

Get the recipe

I Can Teach My Child

Pumpkin Patch Dirt Cups

As fun to make as they are to eat.

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How Sweet Eats

Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies

Two words: sugar rush.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Kids Are Eating More Fast Food Than Ever Before — Here’s Why

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Fast food has changed quite a bit in recent years. In addition to the usual burgers and fries on the menu, most restaurants now also offer healthier options like wraps, salads, fruit and yogurt. But that doesn’t mean everyone is eating well or as well they should. In fact, a new study out of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that American children are eating more fast food now than ever before.

The study polled roughly 800 parents — in 2010, 2013 and 2016 — regarding their children’s eating habits, particularly those at the nation’s four largest fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway. According to the results, 91 percent of those surveyed bought at least one meal for their child from a fast-food eatery each week, which is up from 79 percent in 2010. 

What’s more, 74 percent of the kids ordered an unhealthy drink and/or side items with their meal.

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center and the lead author of the report said in a statement, “We know that fast food offers parents a convenient, affordable option for feeding their families. But restaurants have a responsibility to make these affordable, convenient foods healthier. Most fast-food meals — even kids’ meals — have more fat, sugar and sodium than children need, and eating this kind of unhealthy food can have negative health consequences over time, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.”

That said, Harris acknowledged that fast-food restaurants have made great strides in recent years. However, they need to do more to educate parents about the options they have.

“While most fast-food restaurants do have healthier kids’ meal drinks and sides available, many do little to make parents aware of the healthier options or to encourage parents to choose the healthier options instead of unhealthy ones,” Harris said. “If restaurants are serious about children’s health, they will make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for parents and the most appealing choice for children.”

As such, the best thing parents can do is to research each chain’s menu and keep an eye out for healthy items and encourage kids to opt for those over the deep-fried offerings.

 

This article was written by Kimberly Zapata from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

15 Easy School Lunches You Can Prep in an Instant Pot

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Getting our kids out the door in the morning is tough enough. But then you expect us to pack lunch, too? Enter these meal prep lunches, which keep in the fridge for up to three days and actually save a bunch of time—thanks to our favorite appliance, the Instant Pot.

The Cookie Rookie

Instant Pot Potato Salad with Dill Pickles

Pair with baby carrots.

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A Pinch of Healthy

Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

No reheating necessary.

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Foody Schmoody

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Be sure to pack extra napkins.

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My Crazy Good Life

Instant Pot Mini Frittatas

Presenting, the portable version of scrambled eggs.

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Tornadough

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Serve it cold and it counts as pasta salad.

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5 Dollar Dinners

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Bento box-ready.

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Sweet and Savory Meals

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This calls for a Thermos.

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Pressure Cooker Recipes

Instant Pot Applesauce

Brilliant.

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The Foodie Eats

Instant Pot Ranch Chicken Salad

Tip: bagels don’t get soggy.

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Meal Plan Addict

Instant Pot DIY Sandwich Meat

No more waiting in line at the deli counter.

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Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

Wrap it up in a tortilla if you see fit.

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Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Instant Pot Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Pair with your kid’s favorite dipping sauce.

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Recipes to Nourish

Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It’s so easy.

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365 Days of Crockpot

Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

Pretty darn good eaten straight from the fridge, too.

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This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

3 Secrets to a Stress-Free Dinner When No One Likes the Same Food

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Because your kitchen is not a restaurant.

Working moms barely have time to coordinate one meal for everyone in the family let alone multiple different entrees to please everyone’s palate.

Currently, in my extended family of eight, we have one who doesn’t eat anything with a face, one who is cutting down on carbs, one who loves meat but hates seafood, one who will not touch anything with cheese, one who will not eat vegetables or beans, one well-rounded individual, and two babies, who primarily eat toast with various toppings.

And we’re not alone. There’s a cultural shift afoot that can largely be attributed to a growing “restaurant mentality,” says Anne Fishel, Ph.D., co-founder of the Family Dinner Project, author of Home for Dinner, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

“Americans eat at least 50% of their meals outside the home,” says Dr. Fishel. “We’ve come to expect that we can make individual choices at home just as we can at restaurants. I think of this as the Starbucks phenomenon—‘I’ll have a triple soy latte and she’ll have a cappuccino with lowfat milk.’”

Although multiple studies have shown that eating together provides profound health and psychological benefits, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get your group around the table when everyone wants or needs to eat something different.

Kids aren’t trying to make your life harder, says Dr. Fishel. “Food preferences become expressions of identity, particularly around adolescence when they experiment with veganism or as when my boys suddenly started to want to eat meat when I mainly produced vegetarian meals.”

Trying to understand your family’s food preferences can help lessen feelings of irritation, but it still begs the question: what’s a time-crunched and increasingly frustrated cook to do?

Dr. Fishel suggests the following time-saving tips to help families with diverse food preferences sit down together without forcing anyone to morph into a short-order cook:

1. Create build-your-own main dishes.

Customize add-ons around one main centerpiece—tacos, fajitas, pizza or flatbreads, pasta or salad, for example. Toppings can be prepped and frozen in advance or buy them pre-prepped, such as chicken or shrimp from the prepared food aisles, pre-cut vegetables, pre-shredded cheese, store-bought or frozen servings of sauce and packaged nuts and cheeses. The idea is that the main cook only has to come up with one central dish. Added bonuses: there’s only one pot or sheet pan for quick cleanup and smaller kids are likely to eat more when they are part of a fun process.

2. Agree on three go-to meals that everyone can eat.

These do not have to be favorites, but if it shows up for dinner, people will eat it. This list will need to be renegotiated periodically as kids’ food preferences are constantly in flux.

3. Share the cooking duties.

This way the vegan in the family, for example, gets a turn to show off a dish one night a week—say, brown rice and vegetables. Then, the main cook just has to make fish or meat, but the side dish is done.

Dr. Fishel also advises families to remember that “the benefits of eating together don’t come from the food that is served. The benefits come from creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere at the table.”

 

This article was written by Amy Fries from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

I Hate Exercise, so How Do I Get My Kid to Do It?

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If you don’t exercise, it can be hard for your kids to be all that into it either. After all, they imitate you from the practically the moment you bring them home — they learn how to smile, how to talk and how to act from their parents. Unfortunately, as many parents know all too well, they also pick up on our bad habits, which can include a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. If you’re like me, and not all that into exercising (or have health reasons that limit your ability to exercise), how do you get your kids to pick it up? 

We spoke with a few experts to get some tips on how to get your kids moving this summer and the rest of the year as well. 

Enroll them in sports

One way to get your kids to exercise is to be a little bit sneaky, but we don’t really mean that you need to lie to them. Instead, sign them up for a sport, like soccer, martial arts, gymnastics or basketball, Franklin Antoian, personal trainer and founder iBodyFit, tells SheKnows. 

“Your kid will have fun and get plenty of exercise during practice and games,” he says. In addition to regular bouts of running around, your child will also benefit from learning how to be a good teammate and can develop new friendships.

Get the whole family involved

Also, you don’t need to model actual workout behavior (such as lifting weights or running on a treadmill) to get your child to exercise, he notes. There are tons of family-centered activities that are plenty of fun, and they also have the added benefits of exercise. 

“Go hiking, biking and swimming with your child,” he explains. He says that they’re all fantastic forms of cardio, but you’re having so much fun, you don’t realize you’re getting a good workout. 

Take a walk

Also, consider methods of exercise that aren’t necessarily traditional. “It can be hard to get into a routine of exercising, especially if you do not enjoy the traditional routes of exercising, such as going for a run or going to the gym,” Dr. Alex Tauberg, sports chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist, tells SheKnows. 

He explains that exercise can be any activity that gets your heart rate up for at least 20 minutes. Neighborhood walks are an excellent way to get your heart pumping, and kids love going out and about. Walk around for a half hour, and guess what? Both you — and your kids — have exercised. 

Encourage your kids to exercise — the right way

It’s not just a matter of simply telling your kids that exercise is good for you, Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, tells SheKnows. 

For starters, she says it’s vital that parents don’t let on that they hate exercise. Instead, she has a few other recommendations. 

“Encourage them by telling them how proud you are of them when they are exercising,” she explains. “Children are influenced by telling them about the benefits they will gain in their everyday lives. For example, if they exercise, they will be able to run faster and jump higher. They most likely will not be convinced to exercise by telling them that it helps their blood pressures, cholesterol and weight.”

It’s all in how you talk about it

While it’s not quite as easy as directing your kids to get moving while you’re on the couch, getting involved and moving around yourself, if you’re able, will help your child, even if you’re not hitting the weights or going for a run every day. And keep those positive words and encouragements coming, especially if exercise is hard for you due to health problems. Paint exercise in a positive light, and your kids may be keener to try something new. 

 

This article was written by Monica Beyer from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

17 Genius Shortcuts to Help You Save Time While Cooking

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Real Simple readers reveal how they make mealtime less of a chore each day.

I live by the words “It’s never too early to start prepping dinner.” Whenever I have a few minutes during the day or on the weekend, I do something for dinner ahead of time, whether it’s chopping an onion, throwing together a quick salad, or making pasta or quinoa. —Emily Smith, Greenville, South Carolina

I use what I have in the kitchen and create meals that are loosely based on a recipe, or no recipe at all. —?@paulajsheldon

Make sure the tools, pots, and food items you use the most are the most accessible items on every surface and in every cabinet and drawer. While you’re at it, put everything you haven’t used in a year up high. —?Liora Seltzer, New York City

Keep your staple ingredients on hand at all times. Fresh herbs, good olive oil, lemon, Parmesan, capers—if the pantry is stocked with versatile and quality ingredients, you are guaranteed a good meal every night of the week. —Tig Filson, Cumberland, Maine

While I’m cooking, I keep a “garbage bowl” on the counter (for veggie scraps, wrappers, egg shells, etc.) to cut down on trips to the trash can. I put everything in something that’s already dirty, like an empty spinach container or gently used Tupperware, so I’m not adding to the dirty-dish pile. —Ariana Lake, Stephentown, New York

Rotisserie chicken. I take it home and repackage it: It’s ready when I need to make quiche, chicken soup, chicken salad, you name it. It saves so much time and is easy and economical! —?Amy Tooley Radachi, Dayton, Ohio

I have my two teenagers each cook one night a week. They have to include a vegetable, and dinner can’t be takeout. During the school year, it’s typically some variation of pasta or tacos. But it doesn’t matter—I get to come home to a fully cooked meal. —Janet Kinard, Atlanta

Meal delivery services. It’s the new date night! —Katherine Mooney, Sedona, Arizona

I always fill the sink with hot soapy water for cleaning as I go. I can wash and reuse utensils, and when I’m done, the kitchen doesn’t have to be cleaned. —Helen Bouslaugh, Woodland, California

While prepping meals, we chop extra onions, garlic, or tomatoes and store them in small, lidded containers. For the next few days, we can use them for omelets and garnishes without having to prep again. —Tina Hom Chen, Redding, Connecticut

I married a man who loves to cook. —Megan Waite, Fredericksburg, Virginia

I use two Instant Pots: one for the main or meat dish and the other for the side or dessert. They cook quickly, and clean- up is a snap. —Chris Stephens, Luttrell, Tennessee

I’ve accepted that I’m in a season of life when I need to spend a little bit more money to buy the prechopped produce. My prep work is minimal, and I can spend time with my son and husband instead! —Kristin Jones, Turner, Montana

I’ve learned to turn leftovers into something completely different. Meatloaf becomes taco meat; chili becomes tamale pie. The trick is to add fresh elements and stay within the same flavor family. —?Mary Pielenz Hampton, Bozeman, Montana

Whoever gets off work first has to cook dinner. The kids clean up afterward. This works well for our family because my husband and I work various shifts throughout the week. —Brandy Biswell, Puyallup, Washington

I do the shopping and the prep, and my spouse executes the meal! —Caitlin Zinsser, Oak Park, Illinois

I order groceries online and pick them up at my local store. —Nancy Harris, Mansfield, Texas

 

This article was written by Real Simple Staff from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

16 Allergy-Friendly Treats that Are Totally Safe to Take to School

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Whether you’re revving up to dominate the class bake sale or just looking for something sweet to slip into your kid’s lunch box, here are 19 nut-free options that are safe to take to school. Bring on the cupcakes, cookies and hand pies (and don’t forget to save some for the baker).

 

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Hand Pies

Finally, a toaster pastry that tastes as good as it looks. Plus, they’re egg-free.

Get the recipe

Well Plated

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Whip up this whole-grain, egg-free dessert in one bowl.

Get the recipe

Super Healthy Kids

Healthy and Fun Yogurt Snacks

Playtime meets snack time. Gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free if you use coconut or almond-milk yogurt.

Get the recipe

The Busy Baker

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookie Bars

Way faster than rolling out cookie dough balls.

Get the recipe

Paper& Stitch

Homemade Cereal Cannolis

Shh, these start with pre-bought shells.

Get the recipe

Aww Sam

Colorful Terrarium Pudding Cups

Up the ante on gummy worms.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Watercolor Doughnuts

Mom might want to taste test these first.

Get the recipe

Chew Out Loud

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Just the right size for tiny hands.

Get the recipe

Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Mini Banana Pancake Skewers

Cutest-ever morning snack.

Get the recipe

Dessert for Two

Strawberry Rice Krispies Treats

The secret ingredient? Strawberry fluff (and no eggs in sight).

Get the recipe

Hello, Wonderful

Easy Apple Fruit Doughnuts

You won’t find eggs or gluten on the ingredient list.

Get the recipe

Thirsty For Tea

Waffle Fortune Cookies

The cutest way to write your kid a note.

Get the recipe

Hungry Rabbit

Rainbow Cookies

They’re our favorite color.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Samoa Cupcakes

Best birthday ever.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Glazed Doughnut Cookies

So cute, they give the doughnut emoji a run for its money.

Get the recipe

Femme Fraiche

Galaxy Whoopie Pies

They’ll vote your kid class president.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The (Proven) Best Activity You Should Be Doing with Your Kids

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

There have been numerous research studies demonstrating that one of the most beneficial activities you can do with your children is consistently eating dinner together. The benefits of eating dinner together as a family are wide-ranging and important.

Eating dinner together helps improve the vocabulary of young children because the children are exposed to a wider and more difficult set of words than in their usual environments. To be fair, the study included all family meals together, not just dinner. It also showed that frequent meals together boosted vocabulary even more than being read to aloud. Young children were exposed to more than 1,000 rare words at meal time, compared to only 143 from parents reading books out loud. As an added benefit, kids with larger vocabularies start reading at an earlier age and with less difficulty than other children. Mealtime talk, especially during dinner:

“often incorporates discussions and explanations of current events, world knowledge, and even abstract general principles…mealtime talk constitutes an opportunity for the problems of everyday life and proposed solutions to be discussed, often in the context of stories.”

Older children also benefit intellectually and emotionally from family dinners. Enjoying regular family dinners is a powerful predictor of high test scores – it’s a better predictor than time spent in school, doing homework, or time playing sports.

Most importantly, it’s also hugely beneficial to the emotional state of adolescents and teenagers. There are a number of studies demonstrating regular family dinners reduce a number of high risk teen behaviors. In one study, entitled Family Dinner Meal Frequency and Adolescent Development: Relationships with Developmental Assets and High-Risk Behaviors, there is a significant reduction in high risk behaviors – alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, sexual intercourse, depression-suicide, antisocial behavior, violence, school problems, binge/purge eating, and excessive weight-loss – all from consistent family dinners. Another study demonstrated a lower rate of depression and suicidal thoughts is associated with regular family dinners.

Aside from the prevention or reduction of negative behaviors, there is a strong association between regular family dinners and good behaviors, such as a strong association with good moods in teenagers, an optimistic outlook of the future.

Now that we know how important family mealtimes are for children, what’s the best way to institute this in a household with working mothers or a household where both parents work? The key is to cut down on time spent preparing the meal and cleaning up after the meal is over, in order to maximize the time and quality of the meal.

One of the best ways to save time preparing the meal and cleaning up, and maximizing the time spent actually enjoying dinner with your family, is to look at the large catering platters and party platters from grocery stores. For example, Walmart party tray prices are extremely reasonably priced when looked at on a per-meal basis. A typical party tray will feed my family for 2-3 dinners, and has a wide variety of items so no one gets bored. The cost per person per meal can be as low as $1-2.

The best part is that there is almost no cleanup and no preparation time. This helps create a stress free environment where I can focus on listening to my children and learning about their lives, while sharing stories at dinnertime. On days where I do cook dinner, I usually end up being stuck in the kitchen and missing out on most of the conversation, and at the same time, it takes much longer for me to prepare the food and then cleanup afterwards.

For health conscious mothers, Costco offers similar party platters and has recently become the world’s largest seller of organic foods, prime meats and other high quality food products. I’ve spoken to Costco staff and it’s clear to me that they use the same high quality ingredients in their platters as they sell on their shelves.

Eating family dinners together as frequently as possible is clearly one of the best activities you can do with your children. As a working mother, it’s critical to prioritize and maximize high quality activities with the family. In the case of dinner time, the most important activity isn’t food prep or cleaning, it’s actually sitting down with your children during the meal, chatting with them and listening to them. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to do this is to shop in the catering isles at large grocers.

 

This article was written by Natalie Bracco from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.