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Eating Healthy—It’s All About the Colors by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Childhood obesity is on the rise. It’s a fact, one that at least for me is hard to swallow.  It is up to us as mothers to do what we can to combat this problem head-on.  Our children will follow our example, whether we like it or not.  So we have to change our own lifestyle in order to get our children to follow suit.

Have you ever noticed that most fast food is brown or tan in color—so blah!  Why not add a little color to your diet and in the process eat healthier. It’s all about the colors.  If it’s pleasing to the eye, it will likely be pleasing to the palate.  Restaurants use this technique all the time—it’s all about presentation.

Vegetables and fruits come in a variety of colors. Make a salad incorporating many different colored vegetables.  For example, a green salad with red,green,and yellow peppers cut up in it as well as radishes, mushrooms, or even squash is not only colorful but healthy.  You could give it a Mexican flair and add black beans, salsa, and sour cream or a sprinkling of cheese.  A fruit salad with grapes (green and red), pineapple, red or green apples, and raisins can be a healthy snack for hungry kids.

Eating healthy by eating your colors can start when your children are infants.  Baby food comes in many different flavors and colors, you can even make your own. Starting healthy eating early in life will likely carry on as your children grow.

So add a little color to you and your family’s dinner plate and reap the reward of building a healthy family.

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them!  Should you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com and www.sandrabeck.com.

Daymaker Challenge Day 17- Pass the Pot by Deb Gillespie and Dahna Weber

In the crazy busy time before the holidays when somehow the combination of family, year end obligations and goals overwhelms most of us, it’s hard to find the time to eat properly let alone cook!  So we propose that when you do cook your next meal double the portion and share the meal with another busy family.  Pass your pot over!  You can call them and let them know you are going to do it.  Hopefully they even reciprocate another time! Now ain’t that much better than leftovers??? by Deb Gillespie and Dahna Weber

Meals in Minutes by Karen Williams

Cooking a full three-course meal a la “The Brady Bunch” or “Leave it to Beaver” is a nice idea, but it just isn’t realistic for today’s working mother. By the same token, nobody wants to raise their kids on pizza, fast food, and frozen chicken nuggets day in and day out. For that reason, here are a couple of quick tips on meals that can be prepared with little time and less fuss.

First, pasta is always an easy shortcut. It’s not the healthiest solution by itself, but tomato sauce is a nutritious addition that heats up in minutes. It also helps that pasta can boil relatively unsupervised (provided the kids are suitably distracted in another room).

Chef salads and bread are another easy make, and the supplies are easy to find. Lettuce, cheese, tomato, cucumber, and lunch meat all work as healthy, solid ingredients. An added bonus is letting the kids put together their own salads. All the ingredients are good for them, so it’s only a little compromising (no meat-and-cheese-only salads here!) away from a fun activity with a nutritious end.

Multi-use recipes are also helpful. Take meatballs, for example. If you use a similar recipe for meatballs that you do for meatloaf, you can make one big batch on a weekend night. Roll and spread accordingly, and you’ve got two pre-planned meals for later in the week. Add the meatballs to the aforementioned pasta and tomato sauce, and heat up a can of vegetables and an easy potato mix for the meatloaf.

Chicken breasts are another good universal food. You can drop them in Italian dressing once you buy them and throw them in the oven when you need a fast meal. You can also just drop them in a pan with some Cream of Mushroom soup, or coat them in barbecue sauce. Each preparation takes about two minutes including unwrapping and pouring time, and the final result is an easy-bake meal with a wide variety of suitable side dishes.

10 Things to Do With a Grocery Store Chicken – by Nicole Perkins

By Nicole Perkins

In this era of rising food and gas prices, we as mothers are forced to find ways to cut corners. We compensate by clipping coupons, drinking cheaper wine, buying in bulk, riding our bikes more – all for the sake, these days, of just maintaining. Our wages certainly aren’t rising!

But once in a while, that pre-cooked chicken at the grocery store calls to me. I know it’s not the most cost effective, but no thawing, seasoning, cooking – it’s too hard to resist sometimes. Just separate and serve (and our dog loves the skin!). So here are some quick and easy meals – and you can usually get a couple out of it. And remember, these are just the building blocks, your own seasonings and additions will make these meals a hit every time – especially when time is the last thing you have!

 1. First and foremost – burritos. A package of tortillas, some cheese, a can of fat-free black beans, and some salsa make this one of my favorite stand-bys. For extra flair, mix the chicken with a green chile sauce and let it warm up with the chicken first. Buy an avocado, some lettuce and/or tomato, sour cream, and you have a meal that the kids love to assemble and eat too! Or try it cold and call it a wrap.

2. Pasta. Any whole wheat pasta with your favorite sauce, tossed with some chicken is such an easy go-to dinner. I’m a fan of the purees too, so I usually throw in some butternut squash or carrot puree too – no one even knows! You can also bake it, with tons of cheese mixed in and then warmed at 350 for 10-15 mins.

3. Rice Mush. I know, it’s not pretty, but for some reason this is what my family has termed this quickie. When you have your water boiling (add extra 1/2 cup), toss in the rice with a can of Cream of Chicken, a can of french-style green beans and the chicken – delicious. I’ve also made this with quick-cooking barley and it is just as good – just use a fresh veggie like bell pepper.

4. Meat and Potatoes. Nothing makes my husband happier than a heaping pike of chicken and potatoes – whether it’s mashed, baked or packaged au gratin. For a veggie, I’ll chop up some carrots or cukes to dip in Ranch and everyone’s happy and healthy.

5. Chicken Pitas. Grab some pita pockets, feta and a sauce like tzatziki (cucumber based – Trader Joe’s has a good one) or thousand island dressing. Add some lettuce, bell pepper or red onion – whatever your kids will eat – I find enough sauce will get my kids past almost anything!

6. English Muffin Pizzas. I must give my mother-in-law credit for this. English muffins aren’t that cheap, but sometimes my store has buy-one-get-one deals. You can do the regular tomato-based sauce with the chicken and cheese, or try a jar of alfredo, some olive oil or pesto too. Either way, the kids love sprinkling the cheese and that they get mini pizzas.

7. Elephant Chicken – because elephants like peanuts. Brown rice, steamed broccoli or bell pepper, chicken and a jar of peanut sauce from the Asian foods aisle is soo yummy! Toss in some unsalted peanuts for crunch and extra protein. Try experimenting with other flavors too, like teriyaki and hoisin.

8. Salads. Obviously there are a thousand variations, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s hot out and there’s nothing better than a cold dinner. Watch the sales and pick up an assortment of dressing, as well as different nuts, fruits (dried cranberries, mandarins, apples), specialty cheeses – those sort of things that make a salad unique and can be kept on hand for a while. It’s so easy with pre-cooked chicken – just toss and serve. Try lettuce wraps too. Grated carrots, diced celery, a can of water chestnuts or bamboo shoots, some chow mein crunchies and a ginger dressing are just a few fillers.

9. Sandwiches. Another obvious one, but for some reason, the kids just think it’s hysterical when we have sammies (as they call them) for dinner instead of lunch. You usually have everything you need for it at home anyhow, but there’s something about fresh chicken that makes it special. Try making a simple chicken salad with relish and mayo or melt-style such as chicken parmesan with mozzerella, a dab of tomato sauce and a loaf of crusty bread.

10. Soups. I know I know, obvious, but it’s a great one pot deal – I love it! Just choose your theme and run with it. Two to three cans of chicken broth will feed a family of four well and all you need to do is add what you’ve got. Some suggested ingredients are canned tomatoes, beans (kidney, black, cannellini), frozen veggie medley, potatoes, pasta, even rice (just be sure to compensate with some more water). The key is to bring all to a boil and then simmer for at least 20 minutes to let all the flavors meld together. Keep garnishes ready too – paremsan, scallions, sour cream, or bacon bits.

Happy experimenting!

Easy Salad Recipe by Jennifer France-Talvitie

You want something quick and easy? You want something good for you? You want something that tastes delicious? Well I have the salad for you!

I know there are many types of salads out there that can be made quick and easy, for not many calories. This salad is my own variation of just that. I will sometimes eat it with a faux chicken patty, sometimes with bread or just on it’s own.

The best part about this recipe, you don’t measure anything (unless you’re counting the calories – which I’ve done – there aren’t many – mostly in the almonds).

Here it is:

Lettuce in a bowl – how ever much you and anyone else can eat -Baby Spring mix is yummy

Chopped Apples and Pears – these are the best part and really good for you, so be liberal – one of each is good

A spinkling of Sliced, Raw Almonds

A touch of Cheese – Mozzarella/Cheddar combo is good, so is Parmesan

A splash of Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing – as my husband says, “A little goes a long way.”, so don’t over do it (easy to add, hard to take away)

Sometimes I change it up and add Dried Cheeries, Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Honey Roasted Almonds or Avacados.

Mix and enjoy!!