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

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on April 28, 2013 0 Comments
avocado recipes to try with picky eaters


The secret to getting past picky? Try it lots of different ways.


Avocado was one of the first foods that I served to my son James, and it continues to be one of his favorites. But for my daughter Catherine, it’s a struggle. Whether I didn’t expose her early enough, or the texture is one that she just doesn’t enjoy, it’s a challenge to get her to try avocado.

But our Cinco de Mayo party wouldn’t be complete without this wholesome, healthy fruit. So this week in our 52 New Foods adventure, we’re trying avocado -- a few different ways. It's the secret to getting past picky!

amazing avocado recipes


First we tried it sliced in a quesadilla. Then rolled in our sushi. And finally tossed into our mango salsa.

avocado recipes mango avocado salsa


Avocado hasn’t yet made it onto Catherine’s “favorite foods” list. More important than whether she liked this new food was her willingness to try a new food. That is what we are celebrating at our family table this Cinco de Mayo!

Tip: Avocado can quickly turn brown when it’s exposed to the air. Add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice to prevent browning. Leaving the pit intact will help too.

Mango Avocado Salsa

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

Ingredients:

avocado recipes ingredients


1 avocado
1 mango
5 strawberries
1 Tbsp meyer lemon juice
A few sprigs of cilantro

Directions:

1. Dice your fruit into ¼” to ½” size pieces. Load into a medium size bowl.

2. Add lemon juice.

3. Toss gently.

4. Garnish with cilantro.

5. Enjoy on its own or atop grilled salmon or chicken. Yum!

avocado recipes mango avocado salsa


* What’s your favorite way to serve avocado? Share your ideas!  

Craving more easy recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s post: Eat Your Colors!

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.

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Eat Your Colors! (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 15)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on 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.

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Load Up With Healthy Lunch Ideas in the Healthy Lunch Challenge

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on 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.

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Taco Night! Baja Fish Tacos the Healthy Way (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 14)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on April 15, 2013 0 Comments
taco night baja fish tacos


Taco night! An easy dinner that makes it fun to try a few new foods.


Build your own taco night is a surefire hit in our house. And it is for others too! Taco Night consistently ranked in the top five favorite meals to cook with kids in a recent informal poll I conducted with Crunch a Color families. Why? It’s a dinner where everyone can get in the act – chopping, sizzling and slicing fresh ingredients to serve up family style. It’s also an easy opportunity to sample a few new foods.

With a big batch of mango salsa and some deliciously fresh Halibut from Whole Foods on our hands, we decided to make Baja fish tacos the healthy way! It’s week two in our Whole Foods Challenge (we’re celebrating the launch of our games in their stores).

What we Liked: Hardcore Baja fish taco fans will tell you to bread and fry the fish for your tacos, but I couldn’t disagree more! Baking the fish with a little salt and pepper, and finishing it off with a squeeze of lemon or lime, is the best way to bring out its naturally delicious flavor. Plus, it’s healthier!

Baja Fish Tacos the Healthy Way

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Crunch a Color points: 10 Protein plus additional colors for the veggies you add. 2x points for each new food you try.

Ingredients:

taco night baja fish tacos ingredients


1 ½ lb Alaskan halibut*
6 whole wheat tortillas
1 batch mango salsa
1 cucumber
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 Meyer lemon
1 lime
Cilantro for garnish
Salt and pepper

*Note: Choose your fish wisely. Check Seafood Watch for a list of fish to buy and avoid.

Let your kids add a few veggies to the list. Head to the local market together and encourage them to pick a few favorites, along with something new to try. This week my daughter added fava beans – one of her favorites. Peppers and red onions made another appearance this week as a new food to try (again) in our mango salsa recipe.

taco night baja fish tacos picking veggies

taco night mango salsa recipe


A trip to Whole Foods made even more fun by spotting Crunch a Color in store!

crunch a color healthy eating game whole foods


Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Peel, chop and dice your fresh ingredients. Let each family member get in the act! Washing and tearing the iceberg lettuce is perfect for beginners, peeling and chopping the cucumber works for intermediate kid chefs, and full on dicing is great fun for kids who are ready to be more independent in the kitchen.

3. Squeeze a little meyer lemon on top of your fish, add salt and pepper, wrap it up in parchment paper or aluminum foil and place on a bake sheet (I had aluminum foil on hand this week, so that’s what I used, but I tend to prefer parchment). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Be careful not to over bake the fish, which will dry it out.

taco night baja fish tacos step 2


4. Serve up your ingredients family style, so everyone can add their favorite fixings to their taco.

5. Cut a few extra tortillas into small wedges and encourage everyone to try a taster of the new foods on the table that they may have been shy about adding to their taco. This makes it easy for them to give new foods a try, without having to pitch their whole taco if they don’t like the taste of something.

taco night baja fish tacos step 5


* Have you tried Baja fish tacos? What’s your favorite Taco Night recipe? Share your ideas!

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

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.

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Mango Salsa Recipes for Picky Eaters (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 13)

Posted by Jennifer Tyler Lee on 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.

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