Rainy Day Lunch

On days like today – cool, gray and rainy – we prefer to enjoy a warm satisfying lunch, rather than the daily cold sandwiches or salads. Like adults, kids also enjoy something warm on days like this.  You may need to brain storm and think of some healthy dishes you can cook for lunch; avoid can soups, pre packaged sandwiches and other processed foods and whip up something warm today!  It doesn’t have to be time consuming or require a lot of prep work; your main goals should be warm, delicious and nutritious!  I came across this fun recipe, it’s a twist on your traditional grilled cheese – your kids will love it!  Get them involved and ask them to help you make this, it’ll be fun for everyone.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Roll-Ups

Ingredients

  • 6 slices soft whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter (for healthier option, use spray oil)
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping (you could also use a bowl of homemade tomato soup)
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Directions

Use a rolling pin to flatten bread to about a 5” x 4 ½” square. Top bread with 2 tablespoons cheddar, 2 tablespoons mozzarella, and a few pieces of diced tomato.  Roll, leaving seam-side down.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium-low in pan (or spray with oil).  Add three rolled sandwiches and cook, turning every two minutes, until cheese melts and sandwiches are golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce or homemade tomato soup topped with fresh basil for dipping.  Serve with a glass of milk and you have a well balanced lunch.  To add some extra protein you could add some chopped low-sodium ham or turkey to the sandwich roll.  To increase the veggie and fruit serving, slice some fruit or serve some berries for dessert.

grilled-tomato-cheese-roll-ups-02-stills_0

Recipe adapted from: http://www.southernliving.com/food/how-to/grilled-cheese-tomato-roll-ups-recipe-video

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

 

Blueberry Peach Salsa

Earlier this week I shared with you some of the benefits of blueberries and a delicious recipe that you could try. Once again, this recipe also has blueberries as a main ingredient – it is blueberry season after all!  The below recipe has a unique twist on your traditional vegetable and fruit salsas, combining the flavors of both making for a delicious, nutritious snack for any time of the day.

You’ll love this blueberry peach salsa; it’s something all ages will enjoy. Bring it along to your next picnic, backyard gathering or dinner invite.  As always, it’s important to entice your children to try new things, so make it fun looking and get them involved in the process.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh kiwi, chopped
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1 avocado, cut into small chunks
  • sea salt and cayenne to taste
  • jalapeno or chili pepper )optional)
  • small pita bread slices or corn chip scoops (great for children size portions)

Directions

Pulse tomatoes and 1/2 cup of peaches together with lime juice, green onions, cilantro, and mint. You want it slightly blended but still a wee chunky.  Transfer to mixing bowl and stir in blueberries, remaining 1/2 cup of peaches, chopped kiwi, avocado, sea salt and cayenne. You can put this delicious salsa on anything you eat!

Recipe retrieved from: http://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/blueberry-health-antioxidant-salsa-recipe/

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

 

It’s Blueberry Season!

It’s that time of year again…blueberry season!! If you’re like me, you love fresh local blueberries.  Whether you pick them yourself or buy them locally on the side of the road or at a market, the taste of freshly picked blueberries can’t be beat.

Blueberries are very nutritious and have many health benefits; they are rich in dietary antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber and may contribute to heart health as they are known to reduce blood cholesterol levels.  To have the availability and ability to pick this nutritious food, literally in our backyard, is amazing.

Blueberries are a food that can be used in many recipes. Blueberries are delicious added to pancakes, muffins, smoothies, cereal, sauces and many other ways. Surprisingly, they are great in other, more non-traditional dishes as well. Their fresh, natural flavour enhances the taste of meats such as pork, chicken and game, and chefs often combine them with other fruits or berries to make the finest desserts.

Below is a great blueberry recipe that you can try with the fresh blueberries you just picked!

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait Pops

Ingredients

For 4 Frozen Parfait Pops

Greek Yogurt (vanilla or blueberry)

  • 4 Blueberry Breakfast Biscuits, crushed (or you can use any granola)
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions

Fold blueberries into yogurt. Layer 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 teaspoon breakfast biscuits/granola, another 2 tablespoons yogurt, 1 teaspoon breakfast biscuits/granola, and 2 more tablespoons yogurt in frozen pop mold. (Adjust according to the size of your mold.) Sprinkle additional crushed biscuits on top and press in slightly to adhere. Freeze for at least four hours before removing and enjoying.

**You can use a combination of yogurts for the different layers if you wish

blueberry-breakfast-parfait-pops-collage

Information retrieved from: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2011/agr/A15-11509-2011-eng.pdf

Recipe adapted from: http://www.momontimeout.com/2014/06/blueberry-breakfast-parfait-pops/ 

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

A Guide to Choosing a Lunch Box for Back to School

Like you, many parents and caregivers often struggle with knowing what to pack for their child’s lunch during the school day – I agree, it’s not always easy. With so many restrictions and limitations in schools today, packing lunches can be very difficult. Throughout the school year I will post some great lunch ideas for your child.  My first suggestion, however, is regarding lunch boxes and the necessary supplies you’ll need.   It’s no longer as simple as throwing in a peanut butter sandwich in a plastic lunch bag or some leftovers in a container for your child to warm in the microwave; this is why the proper lunch box and containers are a must!

Ideal lunch boxes and containers should be:

  • BPA-Free – The lunch box should be safe to store food inside.
  • Stay Fresh – A box that will seal and keep all unwrapped items fresh
  • Easy to Clean – I prefer one lid for the lunch box, easy to clean and store when drying
  • Sections – Separate spaces to place different foods
  • Size – It’s not too big to fit into your kid’s school bag, or take up most of the space
  • Perfect Portions – Sections that are big enough for the amount of food your kids will eat
  • Reusable – Save the environment and your pocket, don’t use plastic bags
  • Dishwasher safe – For those days you don’t have time to hand wash
  • Easy to store – not too bulky to store when not in use
  • Machine Washable – lunch bags can easily be washed in the washing machine

When packing your child’s lunch, don’t forget the importance of food safety – keep cold foods cold, and warm foods warm. Some tips to ensure this:

  • Use an insulated bag
  • Use ice packs to keep foods cold
  • Use thermos to keep warm foods warm (most schools no longer have microwaves, so purchasing a good thermos will be very beneficial)

lunch-box-storage-containers

Information retrieved from: https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/lunchbox-ideas/a-guide-to-choosing-the-best-lunch-box-for-kids/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

 

 

 

 

Veggie and Fruit Buffet!

If you are like most parents, you have a continuous battle trying to get nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruits into your children’s daily menu. Like you, parents are always looking for ways to add more veggies and fruits into their diets, sometimes it’s not only hiding them that will work but it may be just getting creative – kids love things that look new, fun and exciting.  During snack time, try creating a veggie and fruit buffet – make sure there’s variety, keep it colourful and don’t forget to make it fun! Below is a great way you can do this:

Muffin Tin Veggie and Fruit Buffet

What you’ll need:

Muffin tins

Variety of vegetables and fruits diced in appropriate sizes

Dip (optional – salad dressing for the veggies and yogurt for the fruit)

Toothpicks

Directions:

Wash vegetables and fruits. Cut in appropriate sizes for your child to eat as a finger food. Place each type of veggie and fruit in its own section of the muffin tin. If you are using dip, leave one muffin tin section for that or you can put in small bowls. Place toothpicks and napkins on the table so that your children can serve themselves like a real buffet….your children will love it!

veggie.fruit.buffet.

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Omelette in a Bag!

When camping we often struggle with meal planning. The most obvious choices are usually barbequing and take out, but there are so many more things you can enjoy for your meals, and many of them can be cooked right over your campfire. I always struggle with breakfast ideas – cold cereal always seems to be the most easy and realistic option, boring right? Yes, boring…..

The next time you go camping, try this cool and fun way to make an omelette….an omelet in a bag! Get the whole family involved when making it, the kids will love to join in.

Ingredients:

2 eggs (each person)

1 Tbsp. water

Suggested additional ingredients:

Shredded cheese

Diced tomato

Diced bell peppers

Chopped onion

Sliced mushrooms

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over the stove or campfire (appx. 2/3 full). While waiting for the water to boil, crack eggs into a sealable heavy-duty, large freezer bag and add water. Seal and shake, smash, squish the bag… whatever you can to get those eggs really beaten up. Add any remaining ingredients that you would like, press as much air out of the bag as you can and seal tightly. Squish the ingredients around a little bit to get an even distribution. Place bags (up to 6) in the boiling water and cook for 13 minutes (adding 1-2 minutes per additional egg if people want bigger omelettes). Once the eggs are no longer runny and feel like they are set, they are ready! When boiling, make sure the tops of the bag don’t hang out over the edge of the pot, especially if you are doing it over a fire– you don’t want the plastic to melt. Carefully remove the bags from the water. When you open the bag, the omelette should easily slide onto the plate. Top with any additional toppings and enjoy!

omelette-in-a-bag-

Recipe retrieved from: http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/omelette-in-a-bag/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

 

Orange Creamsicles!

Children are always looking for a nice cold treat during the warm summer days. Avoid the high sugar traditional ice creams and frozen treats and try making a delicious homemade one your whole family will love.

This delicious Orange Creamsicle recipe will have all the children talking!

Ingredients

1.5 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice or you can use regular 100% juice

1 Tbsp of honey (optional)

1 cup of milk

1 cup of vanilla greek yogurt (you may not need honey if using vanilla, but may need for plain)

1Tsp of vanilla extract

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together. Pour into molds, add sticks and let freeze until solid.

orange. creamsciles

Recipe adapted from: http://portandfin.com/healthy-creamsicles/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Summertime Desserts for the Grill!

During the summer we tend to cook many meals over the BBQ; whether it’s chicken, steak, burgers, grilled veggies or another delicious dish, everyone loves BBQ! Once you’ve enjoyed your delicious meal, what about dessert?  Dessert is usually part of the meal where we have a tendency to overindulge; they are usually high in fat, high in sugars and for the most part lots of empty calories. This summer why not make your dessert count – try grilling some fresh fruit and adding some delicious toppings to treat your sweet tooth!

Some fruits that are great for grilling are:

Pineapple · Peaches · Pears · Apples · Plums · Nectarines · Bananas · Berries · Cantaloupe

Try this Grilled Pineapple Dessert the next time you fire up your grill!

Ingredients (serves 3 – 6)

  • 1 pineapple, cut into rounds
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, more if desired

Instructions

Heat up grill or grill pan, lightly oiling. Put on pineapple slices and cook about 2-3 minutes until grill marks start to appear. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. In a bowl, mix greek yogurt, honey and cinnamon. To serve, stack two pieces of pineapple (or more if you prefer), on top of each other, then put yogurt on top. If desired, sprinkle additional cinnamon on top.

 

grilled_pineapple

Recipe retrieved from: http://www.mincerepublic.com/grilled-pineapple-with-honey-greek-yogurt/

Janel Genge is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Healthy Picnics for the Whole Family

Many of us are enjoying the warm summer days at our local parks, pools, splash pads and beaches. You may be rushed when you are getting ready for a day at the park, or wherever you may be heading, you should try to take time to plan your snacks and meals for the day.

While it may seem easier to bring money to buy treats at the canteen, ice cream truck or chip van, or to take the potato chips, fruit snacks and other packaged food from your cupboards it can be just as easy to bring nutritious snacks and meals for the day….with a little planning of course! Don’t forget to bring your foods in an isolated cooler or cooler bag and add some ice packs to ensure it stays cool all day.

Snacks are a must on an outing, try some of these:

Fresh fruit
Vegetables and dip
Yogurt tubes
Cheese cubes and crackers
Pita bread and hummus
Mini homemade muffins (bran, banana, blueberry, etc)

If you’re spending the day, you may want to prepare at least one meal. Keep in mind that you likely won’t have access to heat your meals, so pack foods that you can enjoy cold. Get your kids to help you pack, they will enjoy the nutritious snacks more if it was their idea! Try some of these:

Sandwiches (add some chicken breast, eggs, peanut butter, etc)
Wraps (chicken, veggie, etc)
Homemade cold cut sub (use low sodium meats or fresh meats on a whole grain bun)
Salads (green, greek, pasta, etc)

*Don’t forget to stay hydrated, bring some water in thermal containers so it stays cold even in the sun!

Try this great snack idea on your next outing:

fruit.in.cone.Aug2

 

Picture retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/Mouth-Watering-Recipes-810364112428538/info/?entry_point=page_nav_about_item&tab=page_info

 

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador