Healthy Halloween: Tricks not Treats!

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 29, 2011 2 Comments

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Top tips for kid-friendly, healthy meals

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 01, 2011 0 Comments

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Picky Picky: How to eat healthy with picky eaters

Posted by Jennifer Lee on September 01, 2011 2 Comments

how to eat healthy with picky eatersI know this kid. When she was a toddler she ate everything. Then she turned three and her expansive palette narrowed like a construction zone on El Camino. If you declare one more time, “You must eat your broccoli before you can have dessert!” you might explode. How do you get back on track? Here are my tips for how to eat healthy with picky eaters!

1. Keep it fun!

I yell, “Get your shoes on, we’re going to be late!” -- nothing happens. My husband exclaims, “Kids team against Daddy, race ya!” and my kids are ready before I can put my coffee cup in the dishwasher. A game is engaging and kids want to have fun. At the table, count colors, share jokes, play “kids team” against parents. Bonus points for good manners and trying new foods! Crunch a Color is a great tool for keeping it fun.

2. Let the kids choose.

Young children do not get to control much, but they can control what they eat. Set them up for success by serving up a balanced, colorful meal and then, in a fun and playful way, let them choose. Think protein + 3 colors + healthy grains. This little formula gives kids an easy to understand goal, then puts them in the driver’s seat. Be a role model by making healthy choices for your own plate as well.

3. Be flexible.

What works for one child might not for the other. Always be aiming for a colorful, balanced meal, but be flexible in how you get there. Think about nutrition over the course of a week as opposed to just one meal. Take what they already like and find new ways to prepare it. If they like roast chicken, try a chicken with veggies stir fry. Mostly, be patient, positive, and flexible

This article appears in the October 2011 issue of Jen's column, Healthy Eating, that is featured in the Burlingame Mothers' Club newsletter each month. The BMC is a local mothers group in the Bay Area with over 1,700 members in Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo. Jen is an active member and former President of the club. 

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A Colorful, Asian-Inspired Lunch Menu!

Posted by Jennifer Lee on August 18, 2011 0 Comments

Veggie Fried RiceThis is an easy and colorful lunch. Most of the food can be prepared with your kids the night before, including the rice and the Tamago, making morning time assembly a breeze.

One simple formula: Protein + 3 Colors + Healthy Grains

Protein: Tamago (see recipe)

3 Colors: Edamame (Green), Carrot Sticks (Yellow / Orange), Sliced Plums (Blue / Purple)

Healthy Grains: Veggie fried rice (see recipe)

Tamago
Once you get the hang of it, making Tamago is pretty easy. I use a regular frying pan. You can also purchase Tamago premade at any local Japanese market, including Suruki Supermarket on 4th Ave in San Mateo.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs, beaten

  • ½ tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon mirin  

  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:

  • Add ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat well. 

  • Lightly oil a frying pan, place over medium heat. Add a thin layer of the egg mixture. 

  • As the mixture sets, roll it to one side of the pan.

  • Add a bit more oil, another thin layer of mixture (lifting the roll to make sure you cover the pan). Let it set. Roll to the other side.

  • Continue until you’ve used all of the mixture.

  • Remove from the pan. Squeeze (with a sushi rolling mat). Slice. Serve or store in fridge.

Veggie Fried Rice
The great thing about fried rice is you can add any number of veggies that your kids like and it’s easy to make in advance. Tastes better if you sauté the rice on the second day!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Jasmine or brown rice, cooked

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • ½ c frozen peas

  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce

Directions:

  • Add 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil to a wok or large frying pan over high heat.

  • Add the rice and sauté until lightly browned.

  • Create a well in the center of the rice. Add 2 eggs, beaten. Stir lightly while the eggs cook in the well, then mix thoroughly with the rice.

  • Add frozen peas, mix well. 

  • Add ½ Tbsp soy sauce. Mix. Serve or store in fridge.

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Power Lunch

Posted by Jennifer Lee on August 07, 2011 0 Comments

Back to school means a whole new schedule in our house and a well-planned strategy for making easy and nutritious lunches that the kids will eat. Here are a few of my tips for a successful lunch box!

1)     Follow a simple formula:  protein + 3 colors + healthy grains.

A colorful, well-balanced meal is a healthy meal. When you pack lunches, follow my simple formula:  protein + 3 colors + healthy grains. Keep a list of favorite foods by color for inspiration. Aim for two of the colors to be veggies. Steer clear of dried fruits to avoid cavities and the sugar high.

2)     Get your kids involved!

Brainstorm foods that the kids would like to eat and let them choose the menu. Take them shopping with you to pick their foods and when you can, let the kids prepare their lunches. Anything on a stick is usually a winner (consider using straws for little ones) and cookie or sandwich cutters (like the Lunch Punch) make sandwich-building fun for everyone.

3)     Gear up.

The right gear can make all of the difference. Here are my faves:

Built Neoprene Lunch Tote – washes easily which means no fear when fruit gets mushed in the bag. 

LunchBots – compact, easy to wash, and separates food nicely.

Camelbak Kids – they don’t spill, enough said.

Thermos Lava Food Jar – to keep the hot things hot.

Wax Paper Bags – to save the sea turtles. (at Mollie Stone’s and Whole Foods)

Lunch Lines – for a giggle.

This article appears in the September 2011 issue of Jen's column, Healthy Eating, that is featured in the Burlingame Mothers' Club newsletter each month. The BMC is a local mothers group in the Bay Area with over 1,700 members in Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo. Jen is an active member and former President of the club.

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