Tips and Recipes

Strawberry Picking Tips August 13 2014, 0 Comments

Strawberry picking ranks in our top 10 favorite family food adventures. It’s not too late to add this fun activity to your summer list. Grab a bucket and let’s go!

 

1. Scout Out a Great Location

 

Check localharvest.org for a list of U-pick farms in your area. Seek out farms that grow organic berries. When grown conventionally, strawberries are considered part of the EWG's Dirty Dozen and can be laden with pesticides.

 

2. Bring Two Boxes

 

Use one box to pick perfectly ripe berries. The best berries will be bright red and firm. Remember that strawberries do not continue to ripen once they are picked. Use your second box to collect just past ripe berries. Farmers will be happy if you help them pick their bounty and they’ll often give you over-ripe berries at a reduced cost—perfect for making jam, fruit leather or our current favorite: Strawberry Sorbet Rocket Pops.

 

3. Cook Up Something Delicious

 

Enjoy the ripe berries atop yogurt with a sprinkle of homemade granola or straight up (no recipe required). Use the just past ripe berries to make Strawberry Sorbet Rocket Pops!

Tip: Hulling strawberries is a fun activity for your kids. Place a paper clip, chopstick, and a pairing knife on a cutting board, along with a big bowl of ripe strawberries. Challenge your kids to find the easiest way to get the inside out.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured by Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Laurie David, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a regular contributor to the James Beard Award-Winning magazine, Edible.


52 New Foods at Whole Foods (Events Series) August 08 2014, 0 Comments

"52

Join us this weekend for 52 New Foods at Whole Foods—events designed to inspire fun, family cooking adventures!

I'll be hosting another fun, family food event at Whole Foods Market Cupertino this Saturday August 9 from 1:00p to 2:30p. I hope you'll join me for The Hunt for Healthy Choices, an engaging family food adventure inspired by The 52 New Foods Challenge.

Event Details:

Make healthy eating a game for the whole family! Join Jennifer Tyler Lee, award-winning game creator and author of The 52 New Foods Challenge, for an afternoon packed with fun, family food adventures! Engaging games from Jennifer’s new book will have your kids clamoring for kale and begging for Brussels sprouts! Loads of prizes and gift bags packed with goodies from Whole Foods Market. Delicious, healthy snacks included. This is a parent + child event. Location: Whole Foods Market Cafe ● Instructor: Jennifer Tyler Lee, author of The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes (Penguin Random House / Avery 2014) Space is limited.

Register at Whole Foods Events.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning series of healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured by Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray, Laurie David, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a regular contributor to the James Beard Award-Winning magazine, Edible.


Drink Water! 100 Ways to Hydrate May 03 2014, 0 Comments

drink water

Let's make it cool to drink water!

Sugar sweetened beverages, like soda and juice, are some of the leading culprits in the obesity epidemic. Loaded with sugar (up to 10 teaspoons in some cases) and bolstered by hefty marketing budgets, they meet kids at eye level at every turn. So how do you get kids to drink water when they are constantly surrounded with the sweet stuff? The answer lies in making water every bit as enticing as soda.

That’s where I need your help.

I’m on a mission to build a list of 100 Ways to Hydrate. I know you parents are crafty. You’ve got clever solutions that work at your table. So let’s band together, share ideas, and give water a makeover. Let’s make it cool to drink water!

Add your comments, link to ideas you love, share pictures and tips from your family table on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Help us get to 100 fun ideas for how to hydrate!

Ready to get started? Here’s idea #1: Color Coolers.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Pottery Barn Kids, and Whole Foods Markets. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and the James Beard award-winning magazine, Edible.


Eating in Color April 23 2014, 0 Comments

Eating in Color

 

Back from spring break and need a boost? Us too! Vacations are fun, but they can wreak havoc on your healthy eating plans. We’ve got the solution, and it’s loaded with delicious, colorful ideas for your whole family!


I am a big fan of eating our colors. That basic premise is the foundation of our family table. More points for kale than kiwi, bonus points for trying new foods. Everyone in my family has more fun when we make healthy eating a game. But vacations like spring break can take us off our game, and now that we’re back I’m finding that we need a restart. Enter Eating in Color.

Frances Largeman-Roth’s newest book, Eating in Color is packed with delicious, healthy ideas that can lure even the pickiest pizza eater over to the world of colorful, wholesome foods. My kids and I are having great fun earning more of those coveted points for colorful foods with Frances’ simple, healthy recipes. Here’s a taste:

Buckwheat flapjacks with triple berry sauce? Yes, please. I’d love to collect up more blue points packing my plate with hearty servings of brain boosting anthocyanins (aka blueberries)! Bring on the blues.

Mini Asparagus and Gruyere Frittatas on the menu! I may need to swap the gruyere for something a little more pedestrian for my kids, but this recipe is a great way to feature asparagus while it’s in season. Have fun personalizing!

Chill out with a Coco-Mango Smoothie. A fantastic source of Vitamin C and a wonderful (but healthier) reminder of our vacation getaway.

And for a sweet treat, Nutty Dark Chocolate Bark is the ticket! My kids had great fun playing with Frances’ dark chocolate bark recipe, mixing and matching their favorite fixings. It makes a perfect teacher gift too. Double bonus.

With spring in full swing and farmers’ markets beginning to burst with fresh produce, now is a great time to have fun Eating in Color!

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award-winning healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Pottery Barn Kids, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, and Whole Foods Markets. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post and a regular contributor to the James Beard Award-Winning magazine, Edible.

 


More Healthy Lunch Ideas February 22 2014, 0 Comments

healthy lunch ideas


Healthy lunch ideas that are good for your body and the environment.


Have you taken a close look at what you’re packing in your kids’ lunches? Not just the food, but also the packaging. I thought I had a good handle on what was going into our boxes, and that we were doing a (mostly) good job, until a study of the ocean in my son’s Kindergarten class brought things into focus for me.

On his own initiative, my (then) 6-year-old son took on the challenge of making our lunches waste free. His target: plastic baggies. I share the story of what catalyzed this adventure on The Huffington Post, along with my son’s tips on how to pack a waste free lunch. He’s got some healthy lunch ideas to share of his own!

Our Favorite Healthy Lunch Ideas

Packing a healthy lunch that’s as good for us as it is for the environment has become easier with the addition of a few easy lunch recipes to our regular routine. I generally find that if we have a few of these healthy recipes at the ready before the week begins, my kids can easily pack lunches for themselves that are healthy for their bodies and the planet. On the weeks when I set aside a few hours on the weekend to make a few recipes in advance, it’s definitely less stressful!

Healthy Zucchini Muffins

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

Nut Free Basil Pesto

Healthy Homemade Hummus

Homemade Granola Bars

For more healthy lunch ideas, check out these fresh recipes from our Healthy Lunch Challenge

We'd love to hear what you do to pack healthy, low waste lunches! Share your healthy lunch ideas with us in the comments below, or on Facebook.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the author of the forthcoming book The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin Random House/Avery 2014) and the creator of the award winning healthy eating games, Crunch a Color®. Her family cooking adventures have been featured at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray’s Yum-O!, Pottery Barn Kids, and Laurie David’s Family Dinner. She is a featured blogger at The Huffington Post.


Back on Track: How To Get Your Family Eating Healthy (Again) January 09 2014, 0 Comments

how to eat healthy again

Establish a new set of healthy habits for your family—the easy way.


It's that time of year, again. Time for resolutions. Most people make resolutions that they don't keep. I was one of those people, until I discovered a simple way to establish a new set of healthy habits for my family. It didn't take a heroic effort. We didn't have to give anything up. Instead, we focused on growth, exploration and trying new things. Small steps led to big changes. I share the secrets to our success in the James Beard Award Winning magazine, Edible. Be sure to check out the Winter Issue, which you can find at Whole Foods Markets.

Ready to Recharge?

Pushing a rock up an icy hill: That’s how I feel about getting myself, and my family, back on the healthy eating track in the New Year. Like most families, we enjoy the holidays with all of their pleasures—including the sweet ones. Come January, we’re ready to recharge. Here’s what we do to get back on track:

1) Set One Simple Goal, Together

If I had a dime for every resolution I’ve made, and broken, I could buy a lot of lattes. Each year, I would dutifully add “eat healthy” to the top of my list and fail by February. Then I stumbled on a way to get myself, and my family, eating healthier without a struggle. The secret was simple: one resolution, taken on together. For my family, trying one new food each week was the catalyst for all sorts of fun food adventures and a big shift in the way that we eat. It could just as easily be cooking together or shopping the farmers' market as a family every weekend. The key is to pick one simple goal that you can work on together.

2) Focus on Process, Not Product

Saying that we were going to “eat healthy” felt enormous, and amorphous. Even worse, I was focused on the wrong thing. What I learned from our experience trying one new food each week was a helpful reminder: The journey makes the difference. It didn’t matter whether we liked the new food or not. The point was that we enjoyed seeking out new foods together, and cooking new foods together and talking about new foods together. It was about the process, not the product—the journey, not the destination. Another important thing to remember is that any change worth making takes time. It’s a setup for disappointment if you expect to change your family’s eating habits in a week, or a month. Take the long view. Think about working towards your goal over the course of the year. There will be twists and turns along the way—and that’s fine! Know that when you reach your destination, there will be more to discover. There is always more to learn.

3) Set Up for Success

As you roll into the New Year, make it easy by setting up for success. Stock your fridge full of colors. Even the bleak winter months deliver loads of colorful produce: deep green kale, purple cauliflower, colorful rainbow carrots, juicy pink grapefruit, mellow yellow pears. Head out to your local farmers market to load up on your colors—along with a new food, or two, to try. Then try your best to start each day on the right foot with a healthy, colorful breakfast. What your family eats in the morning will set the tone for the day. Try something simple like broiled grapefruit with a drizzle of honey and a dash of ground ginger or Greek yogurt with homemade pear sauce. Carry those colors right through to dinner, along with a conversation about where your food adventures will take you next.

Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color, and author of the forthcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014). Jennifer’s weekly new food adventures and easy recipes are featured at Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and The Huffington Post.


Healthy Halloween: Treats, Tricks and Tips October 31 2013, 0 Comments

I'm not advocating eliminating Halloween treats all together. A candy or two every so often is fine. What I am arguing is that we should find ways to make it more balanced.


Healthy Lunch Ideas at Edible October 22 2013, 0 Comments

If you’re like me, packing a healthy lunch that your kids will actually eat is one of the most challenging tasks you face each week. I was fed up (and fresh out of ideas). So, together with my kids, we came up with a simple strategy to build a better lunch box.


High Protein Snacks that Satisfy (52 New Foods, Week 41) October 15 2013, 0 Comments

Bring on the snacks! But when you do, make them high protein snacks.


Figs and a Fulcrum: Rethinking Balanced Meals for Kids (Week 39, 52 New Foods) October 03 2013, 0 Comments

An unexpected scenario in our kitchen when we decided to try something new: cooking with figs.

Balanced precariously on a block of cheese was a ruddy wooden plank, two stainless steel bowls, a package of unsalted butter and a big batch of freshly picked figs. It was an unlikely scenario in our kitchen—one that I hadn’t expected when we decided to try cooking with figs.

A humble and unassuming basket of figs from a friend’s garden was the catalyst for our food experiment. When they arrived on our doorstop, we couldn’t ignore the signs. A new food for my kids, a relatively unfamiliar one to me, and a hallmark of the season, it seemed only natural to welcome figs to our family table and make it the food of the week in our 52 New Foods Challenge.

So together as a family, we talked about the ways we might like to try figs. I was happy to simply eat them straight from the basket, or tossed in a salad. My husband voted for an Italian-inspired recipe, prosciutto-wrapped figs with a blanket of basil. My son suggested trying them with a familiar favorite, yogurt and honey. My daughter took it up a notch, to a deliciously sinful fig bar recipe reminiscent of her favorite cookies: Fig Newtons. We had our plan, figs four ways.

It was that last recipe that inspired the makeshift scale that was constructed on my kitchen counter. The recipe called for a pound of fresh figs. Without a kitchen scale, how were we to know how many figs to use?

My six-year old son James is studying balance in his first-grade science class this semester—perfectly synchronous timing for our fig conundrum. He started by suggesting that we could just hold a package of butter in one hand and a bowl of figs in the other and guesstimate. But in action he discovered it was harder to decipher the difference between the two sides.

“We could make a scale!” he suggested, surprising even himself. “We need something long and straight for the arms.” He scurried to the garage, with my husband, to source materials for his contraption. The oversized ruler he used in his first try proved to be too flexible, which led him to the sturdy wooden plank. A block of cheese from our fridge served as the fulcrum. With the package of butter on one side, he started adding figs to the other—one by one—until he achieved the balance he was seeking. About 14 figs.

Google could have easily answered our question. Or I could have just bought a basic kitchen scale. But those solutions would have lessened the learning that was at hand. By letting James experiment, and figure out a solution for himself, he had the opportunity to learn much more than how many figs are in a pound. He exercised his creativity in coming up with a solution, constrained by the materials at hand. He encountered failure (albeit a small one) and modified his method to find a new path, instead of just giving up. He worked persistently to find a solution and felt satisfied with himself at the end—a much different kind of satisfaction than the one he would have felt with a set of search results.

Yes, searching for the answer on Google would have been faster, easier, simpler. But like so many things in our 52 New Foods Challenge, the journey is about so much more than the destination.

A mother of two, Jennifer Tyler Lee is the creator of the award-winning healthy eating game, Crunch a Color®, and author of the upcoming book, The 52 New Foods Challenge (Penguin/Avery 2014), a week-by-week playbook to get your family eating healthy, one new food at a time. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.


Basic Knife Skills: Hulled Strawberries (Week 24, 52 New Foods) June 27 2013, 1 Comment

Exploring fun ways to cook with strawberries, my six-year-old discovered this clever (and easy) way to hull a strawberry.


The Perfect Plumcot: Ripe Fruit for the Picking! (Week 23, 52 New Foods) June 19 2013, 0 Comments

plumcot ripe fruit crunch a color 3

A local farmer shares her tips on how to pick the perfect plumcot!


Try Something New: Learn How to Cook Radish (Leaves and All) (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 18) May 18 2013, 1 Comment

try something new how to cook radishTry something new! Grow a love of new foods from the ground up. Fresh from the garden, this week we try the often underappreciated radish (leaves and all).

 

Healthy Homemade Hummus (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 17) May 13 2013, 0 Comments

homemade hummusA healthy homemade hummus is the first of many ways we plan to try our new food of the week: chickpeas.


Amazing Avocado: Recipes to Try with your Picky Eaters (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 16) April 28 2013, 0 Comments

avocado recipes for picky eatersThis week in our 52 New Foods adventure, we’re trying avocado -- a few different ways. It's the secret to getting past picky!


Eat Your Colors! (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 15) April 22 2013, 2 Comments

eat your colors crunch a color


A fun (and colorful) way to try new foods and cook together.


This week we’re boosting up the color in our 52 New Foods challenge. Instead of just one new food, we’re bringing together a few new foods and having fun eating our colors with a rainbow salad bar! It’s an easy way to sample new tastes – jicama, radicchio, and tomatillo – along with familiar favorites like strawberries, blueberries, mango and avocado.

It’s also a fun and simple way to cook together with your kids. As Michael Pollan put it in his recent interview with Mark Bittman of The New York Times, “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet.” But cooking with your kids can feel overwhelming for busy parents. How to tackle that challenge? Make it easy!

Cooking together can be as simple as chopping up fresh fruits and veggies and assembling them in a salad. Setup your cooking project like an activity, with all of the ingredients and supplies you’ll need within arms reach. Let the little ones peel and squeeze, and the more experienced kids chop and dice. Most importantly, let each person create their own mix.

What we Liked: It’s highly unlikely that my kids would have tried radicchio simply on its own. But sprinkled on a colorful salad that they created? You bet! Same goes for jicama. Be sure to put out a few favorites along with your new foods to give your kids a safe place to start. Encourage them to try even a few small sprinkles of radicchio or a couple of jicama matchsticks. Your goal is to get them to try something new, and it’s 100% okay if they don’t like it on the first try. Keep trying!

Eat Your Colors: A Rainbow Salad Bar

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Crunch a Color points: 15 blue / purple, 15 white (x2), 10 green (x2), 10 yellow / orange, 5 red, 5 blue / purple, 5 yellow (x2). Bonus points for each new food you try.

Note: Crunch a Color points will be different for each person depending on their mix.

Ingredients:

eat your colors crunch a color ingredients


3 rainbow carrots
2 tomatillos
1 jicama
1 avocado
1 mango
1 pint strawberries
½ pint blueberries
½ head radicchio
5 slices pineapple
1 small onion
1 Meyer lemon
1 lime
Cilantro for garnish

Directions:

1. Peel and dice your veggies and fruits. Let your kids do as much of the prep as possible! My only exception is with using the mandoline. To create super thin shreds of radicchio, as well as jicama and carrot matchsticks, I prefer to use a mandoline. I’m not quite brave enough to let my kids have at it with that slicer – at least not until I find a safer version! Everything else is fair game.

Note: If you choose to include tomatillos in your salad bar, consider roasting them first. Ten minutes in a 350 degree oven will do the trick. My kids preferred the flavor of roasted tomatillo to the raw version, although you can serve it either way.

eat your colors crunch a color step 1c

eat your colors crunch a color step 1a

eat your colors crunch a color step 1


Tip: Light a votive when cutting an onion to banish tears!

eat your colors crunch a color step 1b


2. Serve your ingredients in small bowls, lined up in the colors of the rainbow. You should have between a ½ cup and 1 cup of each ingredient.

eat your colors crunch a color


3. Let each person create their own recipe. Encourage everyone to include at least three colors in their mix. Bonus points for trying any of the new foods, even just a taster. I was floored when my 6-year-old son James included everything in his salad – even the onions!

eat your colors crunch a color step 3


4. To finish, squeeze a little Meyer lemon or lime on top of your salad. Enjoy!

eat your colors crunch a color salad


* What’s your favorite way to eat your colors? What are your tips for cooking together with your kids? Share your ideas!  
 

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s post: Taco Night!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.


Load Up With Healthy Lunch Ideas in the Healthy Lunch Challenge April 15 2013, 6 Comments

healthy lunch ideas crunch a color healthy lunches


Some days I feel like I’m fresh out of healthy lunch ideas! So I turned to my friends for some inspiration.


As passionate as I am about healthy eating, I still find it a struggle to create healthy lunches that my kids will actually eat. So I turned to my fellow healthy lunch packing friends for a little inspiration. Together with Kelly Lester of Easy Lunch Boxes, I launched The Healthy Lunch Challenge. Moms across the country shared their easy ideas for how to build a better lunchbox on a busy parents' schedule.
 

TUNE IN LATER THIS WEEK WHEN WE POST THE WINNERS FROM THE HEALTHY LUNCH CHALLENGE ON THE HUFFINGTON POST!  

Eat Your Colors

Make your box a riot of color. Use the Crunch a Color formula when you pack your lunch: three colors + one protein + one healthy grains. Jill of Meet the Dubiens is full of colorful ideas.

healthy lunch ideas meet the dubiens crunch a color

Think Out of the Box

Rid your box of processed foods. Start by tackling chicken nuggets, Bent on Better Lunches style!

healthy lunch ideas bent on better lunches crunch a color 

Then cut the mayo out like Jenn did at Bento for Kidlet. 

healthy lunch ideas bento for kidlet crunch a color


Try a New Food

Break out of your recipe rut by trying a new food each week in your lunch. The creative Keeley McGuire shows us a fun way to try Brussels sprouts.

healthy lunch ideas Keeley McGuire Crunch a Color


Make it Easy

Busy and healthy can go together if you make it easy! Marla Meridith’s Giddy Up Pasta hits the target.

healthy lunch ideas marla meridith crunch a color


Another way to make it easy? Leftovers for lunch! Brenda at Meal Planning Magic shares her tricks.

healthy lunch ideas meal planning magic crunch a color


Cook it Together

“If they cook it, they will eat it!” Get your kids in the act. Let them create a meal plan for the week. Encourage them to prepare their own recipes. Try DIY almond butter pizzas from Organized Bites.

healthy lunch ideas organized bites crunch a color


Or make BLT Kabobs from Biting the Hand that Feeds You (it’s always more fun on a stick!).

healthy lunch ideas biting the hand crunch a color


Have fun making lunch together, like Shannon and her daughter at Bento Lunch.

healthy lunch ideas bento lunch crunch a color


Make it Allergy Friendly

Although my kids do not have food allergies, their school is 100% nut free so I’m always looking for easy ways to banish peanut butter from our boxes. No bake cookies made with sunflower butter are the current favorite in our house, and they are a breeze for kids to make.

We’ve also got a few lunch buddies who avoid gluten, which means we’re happy when we find an easy gluten free alternative to our favorite lunch box treats! How about gluten free homemade blueberry muffins? Check out Amy The Family Chef for the recipe and more ideas.

healthy lunch ideas amy the family chef crunch a color 

Go Meatless

Take Meatless Monday to school. Instead of packing lunch meats, pack an easy alternative like tofu and soba noodles from The Roxx Box.

healthy lunch ideas roxx box crunch a color


Make it Fun

The key to making lunch (or any meal) healthy is to make it fun. Take an extra minute to cut fun shapes into your veggies, like Deb at iPackLunch. Pop a conversation starter or love note into your box for a fun surprise. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and your kids will love it!

healthy lunch ideas ipacklunch crunch a color


A special thanks to all of the moms who participated in our Healthy Lunch Challenge with Easy Lunch Boxes. Your simple and fun ideas are inspiring!

Kelly Lester, Easy Lunchboxes
Marla Meridith, Family Fresh Cooking
Cristi Messersmith, Bent on Better Lunches
Keeley McGuire, Keeley McGuire Blog
Jill Dubien, Meet The Dubiens
Brenda Thompson, Meal Planning Magic
Amy Fothergill, The Family Chef
Kendra Peterson, Biting the Hand that Feeds You
Venia Conte, Organized Bites
Deborah Jordan, iPackLunch
Jenn Christ, Bento for Kidlet
Shannon Carino, Bento Lunch
Roxanne Munson, The Roxx Box

Now get out there and build a better lunch box with your kids. Post your pictures on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We’d love to sneak a peek at what you’re packing!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.


Taco Night! Baja Fish Tacos the Healthy Way (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 14) April 15 2013, 0 Comments

Taco Night Baja Fish Tacos Taco night! An easy weeknight dinner that makes it fun to try a few new foods.


Mango Salsa Recipes for Picky Eaters (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 13) April 10 2013, 2 Comments

mango salsa recipes


These simple mango salsa recipes make it easy and fun for picky eaters to try a new food (or two) lots of different ways – the key to getting past peas and pasta!


Fresh, organic mangoes gave the market a bright splash of color. Impossible to resist, we decided to make them our new food of the week. A fun way to start our Whole Foods Challenge!

As part of our 52 New Foods adventure, we’re heading to Whole Foods to scout out our new food each week this month. It’s how my kids plan to celebrate the launch of Crunch a Color at Whole Foods markets! We hope you’ll join us. Be sure to snap pictures of the new foods you are trying and share them with us on Facebook and Twitter. Bonus points if you spot Crunch a Color in store!

mango salsa recipes whole foods


Now back to those mangoes. You may be thinking, “It’s not hard to get kids to try mango!” This is true, but there’s a secret. Familiar foods like mango are your ticket to more challenging foods like onion and pepper. Here’s how:

Set the ingredients up assembly line style, and let your kids create a mango salsa tasting bar. Encourage them to build their own recipes, moving from just one or two ingredients (mango and lemon) to a full on salsa with all of the fixings including those tough to try foods like red onion, cilantro and pepper. Let them taste a bit of each version and figure out the right mix for them! They may decide that they don’t like the recipe with red onion, but it’ll get your kids having fun tasting a new food a few different ways, which is your goal! It’s one of the keys to getting past peas and pasta.

What we Liked: This little game worked wonders with my picky eaters! First, it got my daughter Catherine to finally try (and like!) cilantro. Surprise! The mango salsa recipe with onion and pepper was a little too strong for her palette, but I celebrated that she gave it a try (and we agreed to do it again). As for my son James, his reaction to the full on version of our mango salsa – mango, lemon, lime, strawberry, cilantro, red onion and pepper – can only be summarized one way. A picture is worth a thousand words!

mango salsa recipes for picky eaters


Mango Salsa Recipes for Picky Eaters

FOR A PRINTABLE VERSION OF THIS RECIPE CLICK HERE.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Crunch a Color points: 5 Yellow / Orange, plus additional points for the other colors that you add.

Ingredients:

mango salsa recipes ingredients


2 mangoes
2 medium strawberries
2 slices of red pepper
2 slices, Meyer lemon
2 slices, lime
1 Tbsp red onion, chopped fine
1 handful, cilantro

Directions:

1. Prepare your ingredients. Mangoes and strawberries should be cut into ¼” cubes. Lemons and limes sliced into wedges. Peppers and onions chopped fine! Cilantro can be left as is.

mango salsa recipes step 1


2. Setup your ingredients assembly line style, starting with the simplest recipe on the left (mango, lemon, lime) and moving to the most challenging recipe on the right (red onion and pepper).

mango salsa recipes step 2


3. Prepare your mango salsa recipes, moving from left to right. The recipes build on each other. For example, the last recipe includes red onion and pepper, along with all of the ingredients that came in the earlier versions (lemon, lime, strawberry, cilantro).

mango salsa recipes step 3

mango salsa recipes step 3b


4. Give ‘em a taste! We tried our mango salsa recipes with a slice of whole wheat tortilla.

mango salsa recipes step 4


5. Vote for your favorite!

mango salsa recipes step 5


* How do you like to enjoy mango? Do you have a favorite mango salsa recipe? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Eggplant Parmigana.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.


Eggplant Parmigiana (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 12) March 25 2013, 0 Comments

eggplant parmigianaThe secret to making eggplant parmigiana!

Eggplant parmigiana (or eggplant parmesan as some like to call it), is a dish that regularly showed up at our Sunday night family dinners when I was young. It was the one that I always passed on. Something about the texture just didn’t catch my fancy, until I discovered a few simple tricks.


Roasted Garlic (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 11) March 18 2013, 4 Comments

roasted garlic 

The subtle flavor of roasted garlic was an eye-opener for my picky eater.


Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 10) March 10 2013, 0 Comments

italian homemade chicken soup


The easiest homemade chicken soup ever!


My littlest one was home sick this week. When those rosy red cheeks and tired eyes show up, chicken soup is first on the menu. It used to be that I would reach for a can of chicken soup from the pantry, but we’ve come so far in our 52 New Foods journey that when I grabbed that little red can this week I just couldn’t do a heat and eat. “I need to make it from scratch.” I resolved. My husband, the sweetheart that he is, headed out to the market at the crack of dawn with a simple list – carrots, celery, and an onion. I had some leftover Italian chicken in the fridge from dinner the previous night.

The beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is so darn easy to make and it results in a delicious, wholesome soup full of healthy ingredients. My son asked, “Why does chicken soup help to make me feel better when I am sick?” This question is one I’ve asked myself many times over. “I’m not sure,” I replied, “why do you think it helps?” His little hands wrapped around the bowl, sipping slowly he pondered this question and then responded, “Maybe the vegetables chase the bugs away.” I smiled a big smile and hugged him tight, “You know, I think you may be right. I’m glad that you’re feeling better.”

What we Liked: This easy Italian style homemade chicken soup isn’t just for chasing cold bugs away. It’s the perfect busy weeknight meal. Make our easy Italian chicken and save a few pieces as leftovers. Then use that tasty chicken to make this soup the next day. Serve it up with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich for a quick dinner, or pack it in the kids’ lunchboxes with a few whole grain crackers for crumbling.   

Italian Style Homemade Chicken Soup

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Crunch a Color points: 10 protein, 10 healthy grains, 10 green or orange

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Ingredients:

italian homemade chicken soup ingredients


4 cups organic chicken broth
2 cups cooked Italian chicken
2 cups cooked pasta (I like to use rotini)
1 cup water
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
½ onion
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop the onion, carrots and celery into ¼” to ½” size pieces.

italian homemade chicken soup step 1


2. Heat a stockpot over medium, then add the olive oil, garlic and onions. Simmer gently until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more.

italian homemade chicken soup step 2


3. Add the chicken broth, water and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

italian homemade chicken soup step 3


4. While the broth is simmering, chop the chicken into bite size pieces. Add to the pot with the cooked pasta and heat 2 minutes more.

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

italian homemade chicken soup


* Do you have a favorite homemade chicken soup recipe? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s new food: Mini Asparagus Frittata aka Savory Muffins

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color® -- award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support non-profit kids’ nutrition programs. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color® has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Rachael Ray's Yum-O!, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods. Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.


Mini Baked Asparagus Frittata aka Savory Muffins (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 9) March 04 2013, 3 Comments

baked asparagus frittata savory muffinsSavory muffins are a fun twist on asparagus frittata! Baked with asparagus, onions and eggs, this deliciously easy asparagus frittata recipe was a huge hit with my family. Bonus that it makes an easy addition to a healthy lunchbox!

 

 

 

baked asparagus frittata savory muffins lunch 


Crispy Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 8) February 24 2013, 13 Comments

how to make sweet potato fries How to make sweet potato fries so crispy and tasty they’re worthy of a French bistro. Tossed in olive oil with a little salt, these baked sweet potato fries are tasty, easy and nutritious.