Healthy Eating: Week 2, Brussels Sprouts (#52newfoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 16, 2012 0 Comments

Sizzle, sizzle, pop! A comforting aroma filled our kitchen as we fried the pancetta for our new food of the week: Brussels Sprouts. If I plan to advocate for my kids to try new foods, I figured I had better set a good example by trying something new myself!

Setting a Good Example 

brussels sproutsFor me, Pancetta goes hand in hand with comfort food. My grandmother used it in every one of my favorite family dishes. Reasoning that I liked most everything that I had tried with Pancetta, I thought the addition of this deliciously crispy complement would make Brussels Sprouts palate pleasing for my whole family (me included!).


Feature Recipe: Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta

cooking brussels sproutsDawn Viola is masterful at creating delightfully easy recipes that showcase the beauty of bringing together a few simple ingredients. Using what are staples in most kitchens – lemon, garlic, olive oil, and pancetta (or bacon) – her recipe for pan-seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta was a delicious addition to our meal and made our weekday dinner feel like a special occasion.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! We'd make it again.

What we liked: This dish required minimal prep work (yeah!), was easy enough for my 5 year old to make, and made a ho-hum weeknight dinner feel festive.  I always try to get three colors on our plate with healthy sides, but I tend to lean heavily on the basic (and sometimes boring) lightly steamed version of fresh veggies. Dawn’s recipe provided an easy and tasty way for me to dress up our dinner! While they are still in season, we’ll keep Brussels Sprouts on our weekly shopping list.

Healthy Eating: Week 3, Mandarin Oranges

mandarin orangeWith Chinese New Year fast approaching, my mind has turned to the special treats we love to indulge in at this time of year. Mandarin oranges, with their bright personalities both in taste and appearance, are an important part of this celebration. Ambassadors of prosperity and good luck, these mini bursts of citrus delight always make my little food adventurers smile. So I thought I’d try a new twist on an old favorite. Our feature recipe for week 3 of #52NewFoods comes from Natalie Perry at Perry’s Plate: Avocado and orange salad with hazelnuts. I’ll swap mandarin oranges for the regular orange slices called for in this dish. I hope you’ll try it with me.

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? What are some of your favorite dishes to bring in a New Year filled with prosperity and good health?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s Beef Vegetable Soup.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes 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 Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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Healthy Eating: Week 1, Onions (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 09, 2012 0 Comments

The allure of bonus points for trying a new food wasn’t even enough to get my picky eater to try onions. She would pick them out of her dishes with the precision of a well-trained surgeon. For our healthy eating adventure, I decided to start with a real challenge: get my daughter to try onions! 

Warm Up: Green Onion Pancakes 

healthy eating green onionsWe started the week with a heart-warming, staple of Chinese menus: green onion pancakes. This simple dish is easy enough for a 5 year old to make, and the delicate taste of green onions tucked in a warm blanket of lightly pan-fried dough is irresistible. I put my young chefs in charge of preparing this tasty treat, using Grape Seed oil as a healthier substitute, and my strategy worked. The entire batch was devoured before I could clean the pans!

Feature Recipe: Vegetable Beef Soup

healthy eating beef vegetable soupWith a strong start out of the gate, we ventured to try our feature recipe of the week: Out of the Box Food’s Vegetable Beef Soup. Kim’s recipe is a healthy spin on Progresso’s Beef Barley Vegetable Soup. I used Cippolini onions for the base of this hearty soup, reasoning that their milder taste would be more appealing to my daughter’s picky palate. I also swapped pasta for the beans.

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: 2 Thumbs Up! We'd make it again.

What we liked: This recipe was easy enough for my kids to make, quick to prepare, and provided two delicious meals. We loaded the ingredients into the slow cooker, turned it on low for several hours and were rewarded with a tasty soup that was reminiscent of my husband’s tasty short rib recipe.

Healthy Eating: Week 2, Brussels Sprouts

healthy eating brussels sproutsA visit to a local farm stand in Half Moon Bay resulted in our new food choice for this week: Brussels Sprouts. According to MyPlate’s Food-A-Pedia, a comprehensive guide to nutritional information, these little powerhouses of the cabbage clan are packed with Vitamin C.  I have to confess, I'm not really a fan of these tiny green jewels, but Dawn Viola’s Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta may win me over.  Do you have a favorite Brussels Sprouts recipe? Share your ideas and we’ll give them a try. You may be featured in our favorites next week! 

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes 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 Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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Healthy Eating: 52 weeks, 52 new foods (#52NewFoods)

Posted by Jennifer Lee on January 04, 2012 0 Comments

Healthy Eating will top countless New Year’s resolution lists this year. The Crunch a Color kids decided to take on this challenge in a new way: 52 weeks, 52 new foods (#52NewFoods). I hope you and your picky eaters will join us on this yearlong adventure of eating healthy and trying new, kid-friendly, easy recipes. Jamie Oliver will feature our culinary journey -- it’s a New Year’s food revolution!

This article was originally published on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, January 6, 2012.

Healthy Eating OnionsCrisp air and sunlight sparkling on the Golden Gate Bridge served as a perfect backdrop to our family outing. The fresh market was buzzing with curious customers sampling and savoring delicious treats from local artisans and farmers. It was New Year’s Day and a visit to the farmer’s market in San Francisco was top on my list for starting 2012 on the right track. The goal: Try a new healthy food every week. 52 weeks, 52 new foods. A healthy eating adventure for my whole family.

Eating healthy will top many lists of New Year’s resolutions this year, my family included. Instead of focusing on what we can’t have, I am challenging my family to find and try healthy new foods to expand our repertoire of favorites. Putting the children in charge of this culinary adventure is the key to success: when they choose, they are more likely to enjoy. Each week I will write about a new food that my family will try. Whether it’s an entirely new healthy food, like the Jujube’s we sampled at the market that sunny Sunday in San Francisco, or old favorites prepared in a new way, my family and I will try a healthy food and recipe from aspiring Jamie Oliver Food Revolution chefs each week.

Week #1: Onion
You may be thinking, “Onion, is that really new to you?” Well, it’s certainly not new to me but my picky eater runs a fast mile when she spots them on her plate. My jaw dropped when I spotted her gobbling up a delicately pan-fried onion pancake at the market. She even ventured to try a belly-warming, homemade organic fennel and cipollini onion soup. Maybe it was the new twist on a familiar food that got her past her picky palate? Or maybe it was because she got to choose what she would try from a magnificent array of artisanal creations? Whatever the reason, this staple of healthy eating will be our starting point this year.

Featured Recipe: Out of the Box Food's Vegetable Beef Soup
With loads of leftovers from bountiful holiday celebrations, I decided Out of the Box Food’s healthy take on Vegetable Beef Soup
would be the perfect place to start, where onions form the foundation of this hearty dish. Kim Gerber does an outstanding job turning some of America’s favorite dishes into healthy, easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. I hope you’ll join me this week in trying Kim’s recipe. Scout out an unusual onion (or two) to feature in your creation and be sure to share your stories and favorite recipes. Let me know if you've got a great recipe that you'd like me to try. I’ll report back on our experiment next week!

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes 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 Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor and #52newfoods to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.

 

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The votes are in: Parents and kids love Crunch a Color

Posted by Jennifer Lee on December 28, 2011 2 Comments

Crunch a Color™ was featured this week on CTV's Morning Live. Parent Tested, Parent Approved's Sharon Vinderine featured a lineup of products that parents (and kids!) have put to the test and voted top on their list. Picky eaters, you've met your match! 

 



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Can Every Day Be Thanksgiving?

Posted by Erin Nantell on November 18, 2011 3 Comments

Erin Pasero and familyThanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I think it’s the culmination of many of the things I enjoy—time with my family, great food, comforting rituals and friendly conversation.

But why should Thanksgiving be the only memorable meal of the year? There are many aspects of Thanksgiving that we can incorporate into everyday meals. Especially after a tumultuous day, the time spent at the dinner table should be a calming ritual where we can reconnect. But if your family is anything like our family was a year ago, meals were more mayhem than merry.

Slowly, we found little things that made meals with the family much more enjoyable (including the fantastic Crunch a Color™ game). Surprisingly, many of the things we’ve learned are things we do at Thanksgiving too, but I never made the connection until now.

Here are a few tips to bring the best of Thanksgiving to our family meals the other 364 days of the year:

  • Give your kids a job. Whether it’s washing the veggies, baking dessert, coloring place cards, or setting the table, make them feel included.   
  • Include seasonal side dishes in your meal plan. You’ll save 70% by eating what’s in season too. What’s not to love about that? 
  • Light a candle to signal the beginning of a meal and snuff it out when it’s over. Kids get squirmy at long meals, but by making it a ritual, with a defined beginning and end, you’ll help build impulse control. 
  • What are you grateful for? I am not sure why Thanksgiving was the only time of year that this was the topic of conversation at the dinner table.  They say feeling gratitude is a significant contributor to happiness. As parents, if we are positive and express gratitude, our child will pick up this attitude and habit. For more conversation ideas, try the free, printable Crunch a Color™ conversation starter cards.

What Thanksgiving traditions does your family cherish? Can you make them part of the everyday? Please share in the comments section below!

Mom of two reformed picky eaters, Erin Pasero credits Crunch a Color for making mealtime fun for her family. When she's not eating, she also blogs for HealthyHipMama.com.

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