strawberry u-pick

6 ways to a balanced diet for your kids

A balanced diet is important for everyone when it comes to your personal health, but it can be doubly important in children. What your child is eating now is laying the foundation for later in life, and your behavior and attitude about food is making an impression on them every time you sit down at the dinner table.

Beyond offering up balanced meals and healthy options at mealtime, sometimes it can be difficult to get your child to actually eat them. Sure, you may be serving them up, but if they’re discarding or eating just a bite or two of their vegetables every meal in favor of their chicken strips or tuna bites, their diet is still lacking.

If your kids are anything like mine, threatening them with the old “you can’t do that until you eat your vegetables” is only going to make them more stubborn about not eating their vegetables. Below I share what I’ve found works best in making sure that my kids are getting nutrition from all areas of the food pyramid and in the right amounts. [Read more...]

Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

The comfort of soup

We’ve finally pulled out of a ten-day bout of sickness, that, combined with the frigid weather, kept us housebound. Thank goodness for the distraction of the Olympic games and thank goodness for homemade soup.

I haven’t looked into the numbers or statistics (but I’m sure Danny has…), but this feels like the coldest winter in the last ten years or so. I think most of North America feels this way. A popular canned soup company reported a 71% rise in their quarterly profit so I guess we’re not the only ones craving a hug in a mug.

A simple recipe for chicken noodle soup kept us going despite high fevers and chest coughs. The boys and I simmered it together for lunches; I’d chop the parsley while they broke up the spaghetti, and we’d talk our way through the steps so they could learn.  Then we convivially spooned up the soup while perched on sofas and cheered on our athletes in Sochi.

[Read more...]

Tuna Cheddar Lunchbox Bites | Simple Bites #schoollunch #recipe #glutenfree

Feed a child, nourish a mind (Recipe: Tuna Cheddar Lunchbox Bites)

When my children first started school, I learned a vital lesson in nutrition, communication, and well, Mothering 101.

Here’s what happened: occasionally the boys would come home irritable; falling apart at the slightest grievance, snappy, and unable to focus. I’d power through those tough afternoons, admittedly breathing a sigh of relief when they were down for the night. As part of the evening kitchen clean-up, I’d tidy up their lunch boxes; often so tired or distracted that I hardly noticed what was left over.

Eventually, I connected the dots. On the difficult days, there was considerable leftover food in their lunch. Perhaps they had wasted time during their lunch hour or disliked what I had packed for them, but whatever the reason, their energy hadn’t been sustained for the whole day. It was a humbling moment for me as a mother. Of course. I had blood sugar crashes, so why wouldn’t they?

We started talking more about their preferences (how fortunate we are to have options). I encouraged them to help me prepare their lunch boxes in the morning and they had more of a say in fruits and vegetables. We baked together on weekends: chocolate chunk cookies, oatmeal muffins, and zucchini bread and froze the goodies for future lunches.

It broke my heart to think of them going hungry at school; I should have communicated better. Fortunately those crotchety after-school attitudes are now a thing of the past.

After that learning experience, I’ve had a heart for less privileged mothers who daily see the hunger signs in their own school children (oh, how they watch and ache) but are unable to provide even the most basic of lunch.

Today’s post is a little unusual, but it is one I am proud to share. In short,  I’ve partnered with a group of food bloggers to help provide school lunches for South African children. It’s really exciting! I’m also sharing a recipe for an absolute favourite (and totally simple) lunchbox staple, so please keep reading.

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Kids in the kitchen on SimpleBites.net

Kids in the Kitchen: Reader’s BEST Tips

I wanted to begin the new year with a challenge to bring your kids into the kitchen more in 2014, but the whole thing felt a little…pushy.

The truth is, you already know the short and long term benefits of cooking with kids. We’ve have shared a handful of recipes to begin with and talked about how you can get started immediately.

The groundwork has been laid, but what is helpful now is practical advice from other parents who are actively cooking alongside their children of all ages.

Today, we’ll hear tips for bringing kids in the kitchen from readers who have emailed, commented or interacted on social media. These tidbits are just too useful not to share and I know you’ll relate to these honest parents and their experiences.

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Kids in the kitchen on SimpleBites.net

When should kids start cooking? (Q&A)

Kids in the kitchen has long been a passion of mine and continues to be a subject I will enthusiastically take up with parents anytime, anywhere.

The number one question I am asked is the topic of today’s Q&A discussion: When should kids start cooking?

For me the answer is a simple one: immediately.  At least, bring them in the kitchen with you as soon as possible.

[Read more...]