Tips and Recipes

Drink Water! 100 Ways to Hydrate May 03 2014, 1 Comment

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.


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.

Crispy Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 8) February 24 2013, 15 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. 

My French Food Flop (52 New Foods, Around the World Week 6) February 12 2013, 4 Comments

healthy leek soup recipe 

Resiliency is the parenting manifesto du jour. But as a busy parent, being resilient (especially in the kitchen) is something I find hard to do

52 New Foods: Our Journey to Happy, Healthy Eating February 10 2013, 0 Comments

52 weeks, 52 new foods. How our family discovered the secret to happy, healthy eating.

On Canada AM: How to Get Kids to Eat Healthy March 29 2012, 2 Comments

It’s the one thing most families have in common: the desire to make mealtime healthy and stress-free. For me, it all boils down to one simple idea: Have fun enjoying colorful meals together. I had a great time with the morning crew at Canada AM, sharing my simple tips for getting your whole family eating healthy. Here’s the scoop: 

Jennifer Tyler LeeTips for Fun and Healthy Eating with Kids

1)   Focus on colors. Nutritionists and healthy eating experts are talking a lot about "plant-based diets." An easy way to make that change simple and fun for kids is to focus on eating colors. Green broccoli, red tomatoes, purple cauliflower -- the more colors on your plate the better! This works for kids because as one Crunch a Color™ fan raved, "It speaks their language!"

2)   Make it fun. This simple idea is at the core of why Crunch a Color™ works. The key to getting kids (and adults) to stick with any healthy program is to make it fun! Racking up points by eating colorful meals, and doubling your points by trying new foods, is a great way to make healthy eating fun and engaging for the whole family. Try playing Crunch a Color™ and you’ll see how this very simple change makes an immediate and positive impact at your family table.

3)   Enjoy meals together. Cooking and eating together is an important part of getting your whole family eating healthy. Children who eat dinner regularly with their families are 40% less likely to be obese, according to a study in Pediatrics. With busy schedules, taking time out for dinners together can be tough. Instead, dedicate at least one weeknight to “New Food Night.” As a family, we come together to set the menu, cook the meal, and enjoy eating together. Each week we include at least one food that we haven’t tried. It’s a wonderful family tradition. To make it easy and fun, focus on simple, colorful recipes you can enjoy cooking with your kids. Be sure to check out our 52 New Foods series for a fantastic lineup of kid-approved, healthy recipes your whole family will love.

No Bake Cookies: Bitty Bites

no bake cookiesPaired with a sweet touch of honey and wholesome oats, these healthy no bake cookies are the new lunchbox regulars at our house. Quick and easy to make, these tasty no bake bites use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter to create a healthy, nut-free, no bake cookie that's great for dessert or a lunchtime snack. Inspired by

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Makes about 12 cookies

½ cup oats
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sunflower butter
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp powdered sugar


1)   In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, sunflower butter and honey.

2)   Mix well.

3)   Use a tablespoon to portion a small amount of dough into your hands. Roll into a ball the size of a large marble.

4)   Roll the balls in the powdered sugar.

5)   Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Add dried cranberries or raisins for a little pop of color.

*Cooking tip: Lightly grease a measuring cup before adding the honey. It'll make it easy for the honey to slip right off into the mixing bowl.

Kale Chips

kale chipsA favorite snack for my kids is kale chips. They are an easy, healthy version of chips that your kids are sure to enjoy (their nutty flavor is akin to seaweed).

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: about 20 minutes
Makes about 4 servings

1 bunch lacinto ("dino") kale
1 Tbsp olive oil


1) Preheat oven to 250°F

2) Wash kale. Peel or cut leaves from center stalk. Chop into medium size pieces. Pat dry.

3) Toss in 1Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.

4) Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

5) Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until crisp. Cool then serve.

Decorating Tricks

snack topperSimple flourishes can bring a smile. Use these fun Crunch a Color™ circles to make the healthy treat toppers featured on Canada AM. Or get creative and make your own napkin rings, place cards and lunchbox notes. Be sure to share your ideas on our Facebook page

Click here to download.







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 non-profit children’s nutrition programs including Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and FoodCorps. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Follow @crunchacolor on Facebook and Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.


Healthy Eating: Week 6, Curry (#52NewFoods) February 13 2012, 5 Comments

Slow Cooker Curry The Family DinnerWinter days call for cozy meals. Load up the healthy ingredients, relax and get ready to enjoy a wholesome, easy dinner that will have your whole family eating healthy -- Slow Cooker Curry from The Family Dinner.

Healthy Eating: Week 5, Sunbutter (#52NewFoods) February 06 2012, 3 Comments

No Peanut ButterNo bake, nut-free cookies that kids can cook! Paired with a sweet touch of honey and wholesome oats, these protein power bites are the new lunchbox regulars at our house.

Healthy Eating: Week 4, Spinach (#52NewFoods) January 29 2012, 0 Comments

spinachPlanted firmly toe to toe, it was a piercing stare down contest of epic proportions. Two unrelenting, iron wills: Spinach vs. my picky eater. What’s a mom to do?

Healthy Eating: Week 3, Mandarin Oranges (#52NewFoods) January 23 2012, 2 Comments

healthy eating mandarin orangesGung Hay Fat Choy! Many mouth-watering foods are part of the Chinese New Year celebration, but Mandarin Oranges always top our list of favorites. Ambassadors of prosperity and good luck, Mandarin Oranges are the perfect food to ring in a New Year filled with healthy eating adventures!

Healthy Eating: 52 weeks, 52 new foods (#52NewFoods) January 06 2012, 1 Comment

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! 

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


Can Every Day Be Thanksgiving? November 18 2011, 3 Comments

Why should Thanksgiving be the only memorable meal of the year? There are many aspects of Thanksgiving that we can incorporate into everyday meals. 

Crunch a Color™ on CBS November 14 2011, 0 Comments

The Crunch a Color™ kids talking healthy eating with the morning crew at CBS' Good Day Sacramento! Watch how these picky eaters turned into healthy eating fans playing Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning nutrition game that makes healthy eating fun and gives back to fight obesity.


Picky eaters to healthy eaters November 12 2011, 1 Comment

 Hear how my kids went from picky eaters to healthy eaters by making mealtime fun!

On ABC, Moms Dish About Healthy Eating November 04 2011, 0 Comments

ABC's 7Live interviews Jennifer Tyler Lee and shares the secret to getting your kids to eat their veggies -- make it fun!


Crunch a Color on CanadaAM November 04 2011, 0 Comments

Jennifer Tyler Lee, mom and creator of Crunch a Color, shares her story with Seamus O'Regan of Canada's #1 morning show, CTV's CanadaAM. Who knew eating veggies could be so much fun!


Top tips for kid-friendly, healthy meals September 01 2011, 0 Comments

Picky Picky: How to eat healthy with picky eaters 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.