Quick Beef and Wild Rice bowl

Besides the magical microwave, the crockpot is my easy healthy cooking weapon of choice.

You pretty much ignore it and it does everything else!

And it does well with approximations, so you dump stuff in and cook it till you want to eat. My toddler can prep that!

So for today’s bowl I threw in:

1 cup mixed red, brown and wild rice
16oz 99% lean grass fed beef
1 onion
A bunch of water
1 can tomatoes
1 bag frozen broccoli
Garlic Salt up the wazoo
Oregano

And I let that baby roll all day. The rice just grows, so does everything else. So when you go to eat it, it feels like loads of food!

This made about 6-8 servings, depending, so plenty of happy easy left overs.

I put a handful of fresh spinach under mine to wilt, and to add just a bit more veg. Then I topped it with crumbled mushroom, some of my mean homemade salsa, and fresh avocado. And more garlic salt. Lol.

Do you use the crockpot? I love how easy it is to control the quality of ingredients and how wonderfully low maintenance this whole process is.
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You can mix all kinds of goodies in there and the crockpot will work it out for you!

Have a great day!

XOXO

What to Do, Leftover Fruit??!

My eggwhites and oats are just not complete without toppings.

I love toppings.

Yes, it’s like a thing for me. Toppings. Maybe it’s growing up in the age of self-serve frozen yogurt shops, but it just makes eating egg whites and oatmeal something fun, like making an ice cream sundae.

So what happens when our fruit gets old? Well, a quick compote of course!

And I mean quick.

My cooking took a distinct turn when I became a mom. I use the microwave all the time.

Munchie never wanted me to put him down so cooking was a challenge to say the least. I tried nursing and stirring- not great results…

So I embraced that enemy of the slow cooking foodist and microwave almost everything. 🙂

Today I had pluots and apples that were a breath away from a sour moldy death. That’s too many pennies wasted for this stay at home mom, thank you.

So I chopped them fruits up, tossed them in a bowl, and ‘sweetened’ ’em up with some raisins and dried mango.

Microwaved that baby for like 6 minutes, stirring every couple.

And here I have a lovely compote, pie like topping for my oats. And no food waste.

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I know ZERO about canning, so I can’t say how safely or longly or howeverly to preserve something like this. I know between my yogurt today and my oats tomorrow this stuff will be gone by the time you read this. 😉

Enjoy!!

XOXO

Veggie Load!

Sometimes I gotta veggie overload in order to stay the course!IMG_1043.JPG

What are some ways you keep your nutrition on target? Especially when your goals are ambitious and taxing?

Here are some of my ‘gotta get through this’ tips:

*Celery and salsa
*if I find myself at the fridge, I grab a handful of baby carrots (they’re just sweet enough!)
*high protein intake (right now between 150-160 grams!)
*a fat source at each part of the day
*teas
*gum and water
*do some burpees or high knees
*broth
*deep breathing and relaxing, lie down on the couch and relax before going back for more food
*leave the kitchen once you’re done eating
*salsa, mustard and hot sauce- load on the flavor with these low cal options that make a big statement

Anything to add?

XOXO

Make Peas, Not War

The War.
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Just one bite!
Sit down!
Try it!

The negotiations have failed. And there the broccoli sits.

Toddler meal times can quickly devolve into minor power squabbles. And all you want is for one bite of cabbage to pass those little lips.

It’s complicated though.

They’re appetites, for one, are in flux. They’re not as hungry as they were as little babies since they’re growing less..

Then there’s that survival instinct that comes with their increased independence- an increased wariness of all things new, untested, especially foods. Good thing too if we lived in the woods and they were now able to wander more freely- that caution might stop their hands from putting that poisonous berry to their mouths.

So then there’s that independence- it’s a new reflex for toddlers to refuse, to say no. A new freedom, an important skill, to will something different than mom or dad. Don’t just quash it! They need a sense of their own wills if they’re to manage life on their own in the future.

Unbeknownst to the well meaning carrot-wielding parent, the more they push, the more that little persons primal instincts and developmental trajectories tell them to dig those heels in!

NO!

What’s a well meaning parent to do? You’re trying to teach them healthy habits!

Maybe you’ll try to reason with the little wild, candy seeking thing.

If you’re going to ‘reason’ with a toddler, it might seem natural to extol the health benefits of particular foods. Education, right? Sugar bad, broccoli good.

Well then I read this article about a study where they tested two approaches to ‘selling’ foods to kids. One group heard about all the healthy things about wheat thins (ok, not what I want to be selling lol, I’m not nabisco). The other about the tastiness of wheat thins. The last heard nothin.

Which group ate the most wheat thins?

The Tasty group of course!

Makes sense too- I mean you know that eating a bowl of broccoli is healthier than a whole tray of brownies. But does it always workout that you choose the boring healthy spartan broccoli over the gooey Fudgey decadent s’mores brownies? (Ummmmm, ok purely metaphorical here…)

I mean besides the obvious taste difference, it appears there’s something else at play psychologically speaking.

Some of you might be going, ‘well hold on! Back up! Since when is broccoli boring? Spartan? Ma dear, that veg is vibrant!’

Well you friend are on the money! When we focus on the enjoyable aspects of a particular behavior, the researchers suggest, were more likely to engage in it! Toddlers too! They were able to get excited about wheat thins when they heard they’d be yummy.

Sure, broccoli might never have the raw appeal of brownies, but we can certainly get more into yummy broccoli than healthy broccoli.

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broccoli, mango salsa, and día de Los muertos spoon

Based on this information, here are some things I do to encourage my picky little eater to consume healthy foods, or to try new ones, that focus on what’s enjoyable about certain foods:

*We make up silly songs about the food-
Broccoli tree, broccoli tree, boy you are sooo yummy; vitamin a, vitamin c, so yummy in my tummy!

*We describe the food:
Is it squishy? Is it sweet? What color is it? What’s it taste like?

*We prepare the food together:
We’ll scrub the sweet potato, put it on the tray, put it in the oven, watch it cook with the oven light on. If you can plant the veg together, well, gold stars upon your green head!

*My husband and I will make exaggerated sounds of enjoyment, talking up the delicious qualities of the food.
Mmmmm carrots are so sweet! I loooove yogurt in the morning!

*Peer pressure (well applied!)
We’ll talk about all the people (or animals or toys) that enjoy a particular food.
Grandma loves beans! Bunnies eat lettuce all the time!

*Choices! I’ll ask him what he wants between several options, and he’ll decide what we make that night. Often he’ll be more invested in the dinner then, and excited by it.

*Butter, cream and cheese. A bit of flavor can work wonders with a veggie, without overpowering it’s healthfulness.

Basically I try to limit good/bad food categories. We try to find room for all foods in Munches diet. Just some things get more air time than others. But most importantly, we focus on the fun, the pleasure. Or we try too, at least 😉

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chewing on celery sticks- after banging it on the table first

All of this is great parenting fodder- but most certainly, like with all sound parenting advice, it’s so useful in how we approach ourselves.

Do we do food power plays with ourselves? Demanding we eat the healthy, non fattening broccoli when our playful toddler hearts want a pint of ice cream? Do we try to enforce healthy behavior for it’s own healthy sake, teeth gritted, health-conscious warrior like?

Were so very much like toddlers- we want our life, our food, to be fun and enjoyable. Sure, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do, and that’s a good thing. We are grown ups.

Often though, we could probably afford to change our approach, especially regarding health and fitness. We can afford to be a little more like toddlers, toddlers with awesome parents (us!).

What are ways you can be more playful and ‘pleasure oriented’ in your approach to healthy eating and exercise?

Maybe get some ideas by listening to this podcast, Why Willpower Isn’t Enoughby the Nutrition Diva.

Also, what are ways you encourage the picky eaters in your life, toddler or otherwise, to enjoy delicious good for you foods?

XOXO

Friday Night Eats

Last Friday we had dinner with my lovely parents.

We picked up a rotisserie chicken; fresh gazpacho; spinach, berry, and feta salad with balsamic dressing; oh, and Munch wanted a bit of lemon-dill pasta. Sure kid, whatever you like 🙂

Dessert was a bowl of chocolate we passed about.

Friday night dinner can be both healthy and fun; community-building and nutritious.

The bodybuilding lifestyle does not need to be isolating- healthy, beautiful food is something everyone can enjoy!

Cheers!

XOXO

What the French Kids Are Eating

I came across this article illustrating and explaining the typical French school lunch. The pictures are lovely- seriously, go take a look, I’ll wait!

And here’s the official site for the French School Lunch Project. The project catalogues the menus, habits and other relevant details of school lunches in varying regions of France. The project illustrates how the approach to school lunches in France contributes to a healthy and positive food attitude (generally speaking) in it’s little people.

As a new mom I’m highly motivated for my son to adopt eating habits now that will carry him forward towards health and a positive relationship with food and his body in the future, so I think a lot about the ‘food culture’ in which we swim and how it shapes our palettes and behaviors. This ‘French School Lunch Project’ was right up my alley!

At the same time, I’m very ok that his life will surely include the iconic staples of American food culture like burgers and fries, pizza nights, buckets of movie popcorn, and probably late night Wendy’s Spicy Chicken sandwich runs with his friends when he’s a teenager.

It’s the day-to-day, the routine, the final sum of the repeated, average decisions about food that I’m concerned with really.

I remember the play-dough like texture of the middle-school pizza lunch we were subjected to as unsuspecting 7th graders. Besides tasting awful, it said SO much about the value of a meal. Clearly, food was seen as a place to cut corners. It just didn’t seem to matter that we were eating food that was icky on multiple scores.

Kids spend a lot of time at school. They also learn a lot (duh!), but not just through the curriculum, but through the medium. They’re learning about themselves and their own value, about food and mealtimes, and imbibing messages about the value of health through school lunches. It’s a kindof ‘sensory play’ with a very lasting message.

What kindof message would you want kids to receive through their school lunch? What do your kids eat?

What was your school lunch like as a kid? How did it make you feel about food, yourself, and life in general (!)?

Here’s my meal #3 today:
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1 cup egg whites, 5oz snap peas, 1/2 oz sharp cheddar, 1/4 cup salsa

XOXO

But why??

I’ve eaten my fair of sugar, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils and whatever else. And that’s ok.

But then sometimes you just have to ask why would someone ever decide to inflict this on fellow human beings??

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Have you ever seen a ‘food product’ that just made you cringe? Or laugh? 😉

Maybe I should add something positive to the world instead of just teasing, and share an awesome recipe for real cookies- while I’m at it, I’ll make them fudge cookies to rectify the chocolate fiasco that is those eggs. You’ll love them, they’re my mums recipe that she adapted from a little fraying church cookbook she received in her hippie days… I promise that post very soon! Stay tuned!!

XOXO