Wednesday

How to Help Your Kids Eat Healthy Meals

It seems to be a universal problem – getting kids to eat healthy foods and fewer high sugar, high-fat snacks. How many children do you know who would choose a plate of vegetables over a plate of fries for instance? It can seem like the more you try to get them eating nutritious food, the more they resist, even claiming not to like meals they have eaten in the past.
Instead of getting more healthy food into them, you can start to feel like they’re eating fewer and fewer nutritious foodstuffs. Is it possible to change this pattern, and how can you make your kids enthusiastic about eating their greens?

Know your child nutrition

Before you start worrying about your child’s diet, make sure you know what the recommendations are for kids at each stage of their development. For instance, young children need full-fat milk rather than skimmed, and higher rates of certain vitamins and minerals. It’s essential to know what is best for your child nutritionally, so you can manage their nutrient intake and ensure they receive the most appropriate diet for their age.

Hiding the veggies

If your kids don’t know what they’re eating, you can increase their vegetable intake without them even knowing. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add chopped or pureed vegetables to pasta sauce. The redness of the tomatoes hides the color of many vegetables, although leafy greens would darken the sauce and are strong enough in flavor and smell to overwhelm the tomato. Carrots, swede, cauliflower, and peas are particularly good for blending into sauces.

Using the right veggies

Kids tend to prefer sweet flavors, so if you serve a portion of vegetables, use ones that are naturally sweet, like carrots, peas or petit pois, mange tout, tomatoes, and sweetcorn. You can also try some exotic or unusual fruits and vegetables to see if the kids find something they like. Your son may loathe apples and bananas perhaps, but love the taste of Kiwi fruits.

Food art

Younger kids and toddlers often find food that’s been arranged to make a picture is more appealing. For instance, cutting dinosaur shapes from a sandwich, or making a smiley face in a bowl of oatmeal with berries and banana slices.

Getting kids involved in cooking

It can be a messy endeavor, but cooking with kids is a great way to get them connected to their food. If you choose fairly simple recipes to start with and make the process fun and exciting, the kids will enjoy cooking and want to do more. They’re also more likely to want to eat what they’ve made themselves.

Transform fast food ideas into healthy meals

Fast food and takeouts are notorious for their high levels of fat and excess calories, but their appeal to kids is undeniable. Home-made versions can be made with fewer unhealthy ingredients and are usually far better for your kids than bought meals. There are some excellent kids cookbooks available, or you could browse through kid-friendly recipes online. You’ll get some helpful tips on incorporating healthy foods into less healthy sounding meals, for example making home-made burgers or pizza.

Get kids to grow their own food

Growing vegetables and fruits can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, with the bonus of the being able to harvest the freshest, tastiest produce you can get a few months down the line. Start your kids off with simple, fast-growing crops like salads, peas, carrots, beans, and strawberries to begin with, so the tasks don’t seem arduous and results don’t take too long to achieve. Watching a bean plant grow in a jar of water is a time-honored way of enabling kids to see how a seed develops into a plant, and it’s a lot of fun too.

Go on a foraging walk

The fields and hedgerows are full of fruits and edible plants that can be harvested and added to home-cooked meals, and having a family outing to find and pick them can be a good idea for a fun day out. You must be sure you know what is safe to eat and what isn’t, and if you aren’t sure, join an organized foraging experience so you can ensure no-one eats anything harmful.

Budgeting for healthier living

Parents who are on a budget often worry that healthy foods are more expensive, but this isn’t necessarily the case, so don’t assume healthy equals expensive. There’s no better investment than spending money on health and wellbeing, so buying cooking equipment, gardening tools and seeds, or paying for a cookery class or field trip are excellent ways to invest in your family’s future. If money is tight, look for a financial advice service or credit brokerage that helps you manage your income and borrowings so that you have a few extra dollars to spend on your family’s health.

Discipline and reward

Some parents decide the best approach is a Draconian one – the child eats their dinner or goes hungry.
Variations on this approach are to say your child can’t have dessert if they don’t eat all their main course; or that if they eat all their food, they can have a treat. There are doubts as to whether these strategies are the best ways to tackle the problem because your child could develop an unhealthy relationship with their food that leads to a range of eating disorders as they grow older.
You know there isn’t going to be a single, fool-proof way of getting your kids to want healthy meals; if there were, it would be national news! There are however some strategies you can try that could help. You might need to persevere before achieving results, and you might need to try different ideas or combined strategies before you find one that works for you, and you may even have to use different approaches with different kids. Above all, don’t get overstressed yourself, just do the best you can!

Friday

5 Ways to Spruce Up Your Favorite Desserts Using Flavored Syrup

There is something very pleasurable about eating sweet food after a meal. Craving for sweets after a large meal happens because the sugar helps in digesting the food. Desserts that are made of fruit are an even more recommended food to choose in the menu. In addition, desserts help to lighten up the mood after a heavy meal.


There are ways to make your dessert more attractive and more appetizing. You can add more colors with toppings such as sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. A flavored syrup also makes changes in every dessert it touches. Traditional flavors, like the maple syrup and chocolate syrup, are the usual flavors you can see. However, the available flavors in the market keep growing, such as French vanilla flavor, to frosted mint, and even soda-based flavorings. 

Here are five ways to make your favorite desserts more appetizing.

1. Coffee (and other beverages)

Flavored syrup is being used by a lot of individuals for their coffee. It doesn't only improve the flavor the coffee, the syrup also enhances the aesthetics of the morning beverage. The usual usage of flavored syrup in the coffee is to transform a cup into a flavored latte. Flavors such as almond, hazelnut, vanilla, peppermint, caramel, and cinnamon are the usual ones being used. On the aesthetic side, a leaf or a flower is usually drawn as designs.

Coffee syrups can also be mixed on a different level to make different kinds of coffee variants. A creamy coffee is called a latte while the cappuccino is a strong coffee but with the creaminess of milk.

2. Fruit Salad

When it comes to fruit salad, mixing and complementing flavors are quite hard. There are fruits that are not meant to be mixed together. One technique being used to ensure the harmony of taste and texture is to mix the similar fruits in one bowl. Berries are mixed with other berries and melons are mixed with other melons. The same thing goes to other kinds of fruits.

To enhance the flavor, and for additional aromatic appeal, a complimentary flavored syrup can be used. An example of a delicious fruit salad with syrup is a recipe from Natasha's Kitchen. Strawberries, grapes, blueberries, and bananas are drizzled with honey and lemon syrup to finish things up.

3. Glaze

You can use the flavored syrup to put a shiny glaze on a lot of pastry dishes, to add more sweetness, and to make the end product more attractive. One such famous example is doughnuts with sugar syrup glaze. These are doughnuts that are usually glazed with milk, water, vanilla, and sugar. Glazing with flavored syrup is an easier alternative, especially if you want to have more flavor options.

4. Toppings

This is one of the most common ways to make your food interesting. Flavored syrup can make your pancake or waffle more interesting with a little touch of fruit and your favorite flavored syrup. Although there is the traditional maple syrup, a change once in a while is welcome for the adventurous.
You can also add custom designs in a cake using flavored syrup. In addition, the flavored syrup is often used on cakes to keep it moist. Bakers often use flavored syrup in their cakes to make more detailed designs and to write messages. Just remember that if you want to add buttercream or other frostings, make sure that the syrup was totally absorbed by the cake. If this is not done right, your frostings will not stick to the cake.

5. Hot Fudge

Although flavored syrup is usually less viscous than fudge sauce, there are other ways to make a hot fudge out of your flavored syrup. A recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker site used heavy cream, dark brown sugar, cocoa powder, ounces of chocolate, unsalted butter, vanilla extract, and syrup to make a hot cocoa fudge sauce. The sauce was then drizzled in an ice cream topped with a cherry. It is also simple to make as all the ingredients are just mixed and boiled five minutes.

The author of the hot fudge recipe recommends making in batches and store it in the back of the refrigerator. You can use the sauce again when you need it by reheating it. Recommendations, such as using peppermint, orange, and raspberry flavors are also recommended by the author.

Tuesday

Cranberry-Orange Orzo Salad Recipe

Dinner time! Check out this very colorful & healthy side dish just in time for fall. The sweet and tangy cranberry dressing complements the orange in the recipe. This can be a side dish or an alternative meal option for vegetarians!



Cranberry-Orange Orzo Salad Recipe 


Ingredients

4 oz. orzo
1 navel orange (about 7 oz.)
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
Pinch chili flakes
4 cups/4 oz. baby arugula
1/4 cup/1 oz. chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup/1 oz. dried cranberries
Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, trim top and bottom ends of orange. Stand fruit on one of the cut ends; remove outer peel, following natural curve of fruit to remove bitter white pith. Working over a bowl to catch juices, cut between membranes to release segments; set aside.
  3. Whisk together cranberry sauce, oil, 2 tbsp orange juice (from segments), vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and chili flakes; toss with pasta.
  4. Stir in arugula, orange segments, walnuts and dried cranberries.
Tips:
  • If you don’t have a navel orange, use 2 clementine or mandarin oranges.
  • Substitute pecans, pumpkin seeds or almonds for walnuts.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 277 calories, 12 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 166 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 13 g sugars, 5 g protein

Monday

Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries, Caramelized Onion & Sage Penne Pasta Recipe

Fall screams comfort food! So many of us have been waiting for cooler weather to make a batch of our favorite comfort food. Pasta dishes are included in this list. One way to make pasta dishes more for fall is to add in ingredients that go with the season, like cranberries! Embrace the flavors of fall and the up and coming Thanksgiving with our festive penne recipe. It makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving or as the star of the show in a fall weekday dinner or lunch.

Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cranberries, Caramelized Onion & Sage Penne Pasta

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
4 cups/1 lb. sliced onion
2 Tbsp. sliced sage leaves
¼ cup/½ oz. dried cranberries (preferably no sugar added)
4 oz. penne
2 cups/9 oz. Brussels sprouts, halved

Directions:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 TBSP of the oil and all of the onions. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Slowly cook, stirring from time to time until golden (about 30 minutes). Stir in the sage leaves and cranberries.
  3. While the onions are caramelizing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
  4. Also while the onions are cooking, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook the Brussels sprouts until just softened (about 5 minutes). Drain.
  5. Remove the onion mixture from the pan to a bowl. Heat the same pan over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 TBSP oil and sauté the Brussels sprouts until browned (about 3 minutes). Stir in the penne and the onion mixture.
  6. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
An exclusive PastaFits.org recipe.

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