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Month: February 2017

Nutrient Dense Mac and Cheese

Nutrient Dense Mac and Cheese

You can have your mac and cheese, and eat it too!!!

Mac and Cheese is a food I gripe about a ton! Truly sometimes I think it is my nemesis. It is this mess of refined carbohydrates, artificial ingredients, and a ton of salt. Pasta like white flour has been stripped of its nutrition and had some synthetic vitamins sprayed back onto it. Read this article to see how the leading brands of boxed mac and cheese are comparable to Cheez-its.

There is a better way to enjoy your mac and cheese. Let me show you how.

Before we get into the recipe, let me explain the reasons why I will never use a low fat cheese or dairy.

When you take away the fat, you take away the sacred nutrients in there. God made food in an amazing way, in perfect packages to work together. Dairy has the calcium and vitamins A, D, and K2 together so they can work to make your bones, brain, and body strong.

When you break those nutrients up and then try to add chemical forms back in it doesn’t work. They need to work together to go into the right places. If we don’t consume those nutrients together, we start to see brittle bones and crooked teeth.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 100% brown rice noodles (This is important so that it doesn’t have weird flavors or get mushy) or Banza chickpea shell pasta
  • 2 cup grass-fed cheese (kids like mild cheese)
  • 1/2 small butternut squash
  • 4 TBSP grass-fed butter
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut the butternut squash in half. Place the cut sides face down in a large baking dish that has about 1 inch of water in it. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours.
  3. Melt butter in a pan on medium heat.
  4. Once melted, whisk in the arrowroot starch. Make sure you get out all the clumps.
  5. Let this cook for 3 minutes on medium heat (I would go on a lower heat than higher to be safe).
  6. Add the salt and pepper, and whisk.
  7. Add the coconut milk.
  8. Add the butternut squash. Mashed and stir into the milk mixture.
  9. Add the cheese, and stir until it’s melted.
  10. Place the sauce in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  11. Pour the sauce onto the pasta.
  12. Serve. Some great toppings for mac and cheese are grilled chicken, diced bacon, steamed broccoli, hot sauce, or roasted red pepper.
Healthy, Easy Blueberry Pancake Recipe (Gluten Free, Paleo, WAPF)

Healthy, Easy Blueberry Pancake Recipe (Gluten Free, Paleo, WAPF)

Brynn loves blueberry pancakes! She is also a kid that needs variety with her food, or she gets fussy. I know she is not the only one, am I right?!?! So, I wanted to figure out an option where she could have the flavors she loves without the refined sugars and with ingredients that contain good nutrition. Regular pancakes contain white flour that is stripped of its nutrients and then some synthetic vitamins sprayed back on. Trust me, there are better options for our children.

So, for this recipe, I wanted to use banana flour to make it a blueberry and banana flavored pancake. Many times it is easier for me to modify an existing recipe, so full disclosure, I tweaked the banana flour pancake recipe found here.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh of frozen)
  • 1 cup banana flour
  • 3/4 milk of choice (dairy, coconut, almond)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TBSP melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • grass-fed butter for cooking
  • raw honey, banana, and blueberries (for topping)

Directions

  1. Melt coconut oil.
  2. Add the banana flour, milk, eggs, melted coconut oil, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup to a blender of mixer.
  3. Blend the ingredients together until it is a smooth, thick batter.
  4. Heat your skillet to 350 F or medium heat.
  5. Coat the pan in grass-fed butter.
  6. Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot skillet and spread it out gently with a spatula.
  7. Press blueberries into the pancake as it cooks.
  8. Cook on the first side for 2 minutes.
  9. Flip onto the second side, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  10. Serve and top with raw honey, sliced bananas, and/or blueberries.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

Paleo, Gluten Free Hot Cocoa Pancakes

Paleo, Gluten Free Hot Cocoa Pancakes

My mother-in-law knows I love to “upgrade” unhealthy recipes to healthy versions. So, she sent me this hot chocolate pancake recipe.

In the modern world, kids are exposed to sugar bombs everywhere. I think it isn’t realistic to say they will never have treats. That’s why I like to make the treats at home so I control the ingredients, but we still can have fun breakfasts or desserts that are much better (even if they are still indulgences). I would rather have kids begging for homemade treats like this one compared to going out for sugary stuffed french toast or ice cream sundaes.

Here is my healthier version of hot chocolate pancakes that is gluten-free, paleo, and has some nutrient dense ingredients:

Hot Chocolate Syrup:

  • 5 mejool dates
  • 2 TBSP Lily’s chocolate chips (sweetened with stevia)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)

Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

Top with Lily’s chocolate chips for serving
For the pancakes:

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Easy Weeknight Meal: Almond Flour Chicken Nuggets, Mashed Sweet Potato, and Cauliflower

Easy Weeknight Meal: Almond Flour Chicken Nuggets, Mashed Sweet Potato, and Cauliflower

Do your kids love chicken nuggets? Then, try this paleo, gluten-free recipe. They will love them!

Almond Flour Chicken Strips Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 lb pasture-raised chicken thighs
  • 4 TBSP grass-fed butter

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place butter on a baking sheet and into the oven so that it melts on the baking pan. Pull the pan out of the oven once the butter melts.
  2. Cut the chicken thighs into 1 inch thick strips.
  3. Place the almond flour and seasonings in a plastic bag.
  4. Add the chicken to the bag, and shake to coat the chicken.
  5. With the baking sheet, gently rock the pan so that the butter coats the whole surface.
  6. Place the chicken on the pan, and place the baking sheet back into the oven.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, and then, flip the chicken strips onto the other side. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potato Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sweet potato
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot half full with water. Place the pot on the stove on high heat.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, peel the sweet potatoes, and dice the potatoes into 1 inch pieces.
  3. Once the water is boiling, carefully add the potatoes to the water. Boil them for 10 minutes.
  4. After the potatoes have cooked, drain the potatoes.
  5. Add the potatoes to a blender.
  6. Measure the coconut milk and pumpkin pie spice. Add them to the blender.
  7. Blend the ingredients until smooth.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!

For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Easy Weeknight Meal: Burrito Bowls

Easy Weeknight Meal: Burrito Bowls

Need to mix it up on Taco Tuesday? Try this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 cups cooked sprouted rice
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup organic canned black beans
  • 1- 16 oz jar of preservative free salsa
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Directions

The night before:

  1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. In a pan on medium heat, brown the ground beef.
  3. Dice the peppers into bite sized pieces. Add the peppers to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the frozen corn to the pan.
  5. Drain and rinse the black beans. Add them to the pan.
  6. Add the salsa, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cover and store in the refrigerator to reheat the next day.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

Easy Weeknight Meal: Asian Chicken, Sprouted Rice, and Broccoli

Easy Weeknight Meal: Asian Chicken, Sprouted Rice, and Broccoli

Love Chinese take out? Try this recipe.

This Asian chicken recipe has a crunchy outside and a honey garlic flavor. It has less sodium, sugar, fats (especially harmful vegetable oils), and no artificial ingredients. It is also gluten free! It is a great fit for anyone living a Paleo or Weston A. Price lifestyle.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb pasture-raised chicken thighs
  • 1 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 2 pasture-raised eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 4 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 1 cup honey
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • steamer bag of broccoli
  • sprouted rice

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large pan on medium heat on the stove.
  3. In a saucepan, add the coconut aminos, honey, garlic, and chicken stock. Heat to a boil, and then, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Cube up the chicken thighs into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.
  6. Add the starch to another bowl.
  7. Dip the chicken pieces into the egg and then into the starch. Place the coated chicken pieces onto a plate until all are done.
  8. Then, once the pan is heated,  add all of the chicken pieces to the pan.
  9. Cook the chicken for 3-5 minutes on the first side. Then, flip and cook on the other side. The chicken should have some golden coloring.
  10. Once the sauce is reduced, pour it over the chicken.
  11. Stir the chicken and sauce together.
  12. Steam bag of broccoli.
  13. Serve.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Healthy Chocolate Nut Butter (Alternative to Nutella or the PB&J)

Healthy Chocolate Nut Butter (Alternative to Nutella or the PB&J)

How do I make a healthy school lunch?

In today’s society, kids are programed to like lunches that consist of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a Nutella sandwich. Here is the ingredient list for Nutella: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor.

Where is the nutrition? Plus, that is a lot of refined carbohydrates and straight sugar. However, I completely empathize with the fact that it can be a challenge to take a kid who has tasted these foods and convert them to a healthier way of eating. Trust me though, IT CAN BE DONE!

If I can make it through some of the food flops I have experienced with the pickiest eater I have met, Brynn, you can do it too. Just give yourself grace, breathe in patience, and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, a stubborn child may not jump all in to healthy eating all at once. Every small step is one step forward, and ultimately, you want to teach healthy habits for the future.

With school lunches, there is an easy fix to up the nutritional value of their food without much fuss. With the “typical” options, kids love the sweetness and the chocolate flavor. We can definitely play off those flavors and make a delicious, nutritious option.

You will note I gave some optional additions to my chocolate nut butter recipe. The collagen is a great option because nuts do not contain that much protein compared to what kids need, and they need collagen to grow strong bones and teeth anyway. So, sneak it in! I like to add the grass-fed butter because it gives the mixture a frosting type feel, and I like to add it for the fat soluble vitamins and healthy fats. In our culture, we tend to eat too many polyunsaturated fats, but our bodies are made of saturated and monounsaturated. So, I wanted to give a good source of that in a food that kids crave.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup natural cashew butter or almond butter
  • 2 TBSP raw honey
  • 2 TBSP high fat (22-24%) organic cocoa powder
  • Optional additions: melted grass-fed butter or grass-fed collagen protein powder
Note: Ideally, you would use sprouted nuts to make freshly ground nut butter. I know that in today’s society, that is not practical for many people. I just wanted to mention it because I think neutralizing the phytic acid is important and gives kids more nutrients.
If you like peanut butter, you can use that. Personally, I am a little nervous with peanut butter due to the high levels of aflatoxins known to be present. Most importantly, read the labels and avoid ones with sugar, corn syrup, additives, and hydrogenated oils. Here is a good article about better brands.

Directions

  1. Heat nut butter up in the microwave for 20-30 seconds just to soften it.
  2. Mix in the raw honey and cocoa powder. If you would like to mix in some grass-fed butter or collagen to up the nutritional value, you can mix those in too.
  3. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
  4. For lunches, I make a batch of this nut butter with gluten-free bread and make about 10 sandwiches. I put each sandwich in a sandwich bag and place them all in the freezer. Then, each morning, you or your child can grab one to throw into a lunch bag. Got to love anything that saves time in the morning!

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

Healthy Ranch Dip: Alternative to Ranch Dressing for Veggies

Healthy Ranch Dip: Alternative to Ranch Dressing for Veggies

Brynn loves ranch dressing. She always asks for it with her carrots and chicken nuggets. But, have you looked at the ingredients of a regular bottle? Gross. Hydrogenated oils, preservatives, additives, tons of sodium.

There is an easy way to make a healthier version that is just as delicious. I make the seasoning mix to keep on hand, and whip up a batch when its asked for. So, no need for preservatives or wasting food!

Ingredients

Ranch Dip

  • 2 TBSP ranch seasoning (see below)
  • 1 cup full-fat grass-fed plain yogurt

Ranch Seasoning (recipe was found here)

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp parsley
  • 3 tsp dill weed
  • 2 tsp dried chives
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 4 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix ranch seasoning ingredients together.
  2. Measure out 2 TBSP into a bowl.
  3. Store the rest in an air tight container. I keep some on hand to quickly make a batch of dip when it’s asked for.
  4. Mix 1 cup grass-fed plain yogurt with the 2 TBSP of ranch seasoning.
  5. Serve with veggies or sprouted chips.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

2 Gifts Eating Real Food Gives Your Kids

2 Gifts Eating Real Food Gives Your Kids

Giving Your Children the Gift of Real Food

I wanted to share two big reasons that you should make feeding your kids real food a priority. I am so passionate about the importance of nutrient dense food fueling our bodies and brains. As good parents, we want the best for our children. Giving kids healthy food and teaching them how to cook are more than just nice ideas. They are truly GIFTS to help your child have a better life. Let me explain.

1. Real Food Builds Quality Kids

As a mom, I know we all want the best for our children. However, let’s talk about the story of the 3 Little Pigs quickly. In the story, each pig built something called a house, but we all know the houses were built of very different materials. Without question, we know that though the stick and straw houses are houses, they easily broke down.

So, what about our kids?

WHAT WE FEED OUR FAMILY MATTERS. We get to help determine the quality of life our children lead through their health and brain function.

 

In today’s culture, there are more instances of the following:

  • birth defects
  • mental issues (ADHD, autism)
  • disease
  • obesity.

We have to take an honest look at why this is happening. In a world, where we are eating boxed mac and cheese, graham crackers, fast food, and cereal instead of nutrient dense foods, we are not providing the proper building blocks for our children to thrive. We are getting calories without nutrition.

But kids just burn it off, right?

It drives me insane when I hear someone say something about a child getting to “eat whatever because they just burn it off’ because they have a better metabolism. No. Just no. Kids don’t get to eat whatever without consequences. Kids are growing rapidly MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY, AND EMOTIONALLY. They need to be supercharged with nutrition, or they will be built on a poor foundation even if they somehow stay thin.

We all want our kids to have the tools to achieve their dreams – whether it is a far off dream like going to the Olympics or doing well in math class.  As good parents, we want to give our kids the best. We buy them swim lessons, books, and toys to teach them skills. Why not also feed their bodies the right things to let them perform their best?

For me, I look at the kids in my house and want everything for them. My son, Noah, loves drums. I want to give his brain and body the healthy fats, slow releasing carbohydrates, and nutrients to rock out in whatever band he wants to someday. My step-daughter, Brynn loves to run. If she wants to run whether its in local races or in national competitions, I want her bones to be strong and muscles to recover well.

I want to give them every chance to succeed in life and that starts with giving them the right tools, including food. There are many times I have dealt with complaints about new foods or why we can’t have junk food, and yes, I get annoyed, frustrated, and hurt feelings. Ultimately, I care more about their health than my feelings. I am the parent. I can make the choices, and someday, they will look back and be glad I made the harder choices for their well being.

2. Eating and Cooking Real Food Teaches Healthy Habits

When we model and teach healthy choices, we give children a gift by teaching them how to cook and make good eating choices.

If you went through life struggling with weight issues, body image issues, knowing how to make healthy choices, learning how to cook – don’t you want to prevent your children from suffering in the same way? I want to lower my children’s risk of disease and teach them that putting good food in your body makes you strong and feel good.

This gift is personal for me.

Growing up, my snacks after school were junk – chips, cookies, etc. Treats were always in the house. I remember having bagels, cereal, and Eggos for breakfast. Sure, at the time, it was great, but I didn’t understand what eating healthy was. I thought having 10 extra lbs meant their was something wrong with me. I thought I was eating healthy because dinner included a protein, vegetable, and starch, but my lunches always included a juice, treat, and probably chips.

How was I supposed to learn how to eat well, when I was taught this was normal?  I struggled through various eating disorders because I thought it was about controlling my body and not the food. I even thought I had to run a ton of miles to be thin since I didn’t know how to change my eating at home or when eating out. I had to teach myself what real eating was, and any child I raise, I plan to teach them this so they never have to struggle.

Here are my final thoughts on why making the extra effort is important. As a parent, these are things to think about to set an example for your family.

Change your why – Why do you want to eat healthy?

These are my WHYS (feel free to steal any that resonate with you):

  • I DO NOT eat healthy just to be thin. However, now that I eat real food, I am the best combination of thin and healthy I have ever been.
  • I eat healthy to fulfill my passions and my mission on this world.
  • I eat healthy to have energy for the kids and husband.
  • I eat healthy to be able to keep up with grand kids someday.
  • I eat healthy because I want my kids to see that I respect myself enough to do so and to teach them to do the same.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Family Meals on the Go: 3 Recipe Ideas and Best Fast Food Choices

Family Meals on the Go: 3 Recipe Ideas and Best Fast Food Choices

Do you have those nights of the week where you are running to a sports practice or you have a family outing to some event and dinner at home just isn’t gonna happen? Me too. It makes life a little crazy sometimes. However, it doesn’t mean your only option is fast food. You can save money and eat a lot healthier by thinking ahead and making one of these meals-on-the-go ideas. Each will include a protein, fruit, vegetable, and carbohydrate source to eat your protein on.

Homemade Meal on the Go Options

Organization

First things first, you need to get some reusable containers. You can find some great, inexpensive options on Amazon, like these. I was able to find a great deal on containers through Groupon. So, search around!

Next, you will need napkins, silverware, water bottles, and plastic snack bags. When you get these together, you can put your crackers or chips of choice into the plastic snack bags, and store these in the car.

Make up your food and containers the night before. Store them in the refrigerator, and you will be ready to run out the door and eat on the go the next day.

Entrees

Depending on your family’s preferences, you can make one of these three options for a healthy “salad” to eat on the go. These work well because they do not need to be reheated and can be eaten on gluten-free crackers or sprouted chips. The following recipes are meant for a family of 3-4. So, adjust the quantities as needed.

Option 1: Tuna Salad

Ingredients
  • 3 cans sustainable tuna (packed in water)
  • 1/2 cup preservative-free mayo or grass-fed yogurt
  • 2 TBSP preservative-free, additive free relish or sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Open the cans of tuna and drain the water.
  2. Place the tuna in a bowl, and flake it with a fork.
  3. Add the mayo or yogurt, relish, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stir, and portion out into containers.

Option 2: Egg Salad

Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup preservative-free mayo or grass-fed yogurt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Hard boil eggs
  2. Cool and peel the eggs.
  3. Dice eggs into small pieces.
  4. Place the eggs into a bowl.
  5. Add the mayo or yogurt and seasonings to the bowl.
  6. Stir, and portion into containers.

Option 3: Chicken Salad

Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken (baked or rotisserie chicken from the store)
  • 1/2 cup preservative-free mayo or grass-fed yogurt
  • 1/4 cup celery
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Bake chicken at 350 F for 25 minutes, or purchase a rotisserie chicken from the store.
  2. Dice chicken with a fork and knife.
  3. Add the chicken to a bowl.
  4. Dice the celery, and add it to the bowl.
  5. Add the cranberries to the bowl.
  6. Add the mayo or yogurt along with the seasoning.
  7. Mix, and portion into containers.

Carbohydrates

Bag up some gluten free crackers or sprouted chips to eat your salad with. With your napkins, water bottles, and silverware, you can place these in a bag and store them in the car.

Sides

  • Pick 1 fruit: raspberries, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple
  • Pick 1 veggie: carrots, peppers, grape tomatoes, celery

Best Options for Fast Food

If you still get in a bind and need to make a choice for fast food. Here are some better options:

  1. Chipotle
  2. Panera – soups, salad
  3. Wendy’s salads
  4. Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken nuggets
  5. Go into the deli section of a grocery store, and grab: hummus and veggies, hard boiled eggs, nuts, grass-fed cheese, fruit

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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