Fast, Fun and Fresh Food Ideas For Back to School

September is upon us! Time to gather our books, sneakers, and back to school outfits.

As we all get back to our September routines and our schedules start to become busier, it is important to ensure we are getting proper nutrients in our diets.

We have compiled some fast and fun food ideas that are nutritious and delicious. Take a peak below:

Cup O’ Veggies

In the bottom of a cup add 2 tbsp of veggie dip. Here is a recipe for a yummy homemade dip:

Herb Yogurt Dip

Herbed Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style preferred)
  • 1 tbsp green onion (minced, white and light green parts only)
  • 3 tbsps flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (thinly-sliced)
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

Mix ingredients together and serve as dip.

Recipe courtesy of http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Herbed-yogurt-dip-361151?columns=4&position=11%2F61

Check out www.yummly.com for more healthy dip ideas.

Cup of Veggies dip

After placing a scoop of dip in the bottom of a cup slice up carrots, cucumber and celery into sticks and place it in the cup, directly in the dip. This way little fingers can grab the clean end of the sticks out and the bottom will already have dip on it.

This minimizes potential messiness.

Ants on a Log

Ants on a log

Cut your celery sticks into 2-3 inches in length. Fill the celery cavity with almond butter or peanut butter. Place raisins in almond/peanut butter as if small ants crawling on a log. (Almond butter is a good alternative to peanut butter to avoid triggering other kids with peanut allergies, and it’s full of protein)

This snack idea stays pretty fresh in a lunch bag throughout the day.

Fruit Skewers

Fruit Skewers

Cut up an array of different fruits strawberries, watermelon cubes, grapes. Stick 3-5 pieces on a skewer to make colourful fruit sticks.

A yogurt fruit dip can be made to accompany the fruit skewers.

Here is a fruit dip recipe:

  • 1 Cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon

Homemade Potato Chips

Potato Chips

Simply slice a midsize potato thinly the long way into round pieces. Toss lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 425o C for 10-12 minutes or until crispy.

You can make as large a batch as you want and store for lunches throughout the week.

How about Breakfast Ideas?

Do you find that it is hard sometimes to feed your children breakfast before they leave the house? Some people have a lethargic morning appetite.

Send them off to school with Breakfast in a Jar. This can be made the night before and is easy to transport in a bag.

Breakfast in a Jar

BLUEBERRY

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats( not instant, just regular oats)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt( or coconut yogurt if nut allergy)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds,1 tsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp buckwheat( or QIA cereal from amaranth
  • or Costco sells it to)
  • 1 tsp organic maple syrup
  • Fill the rest with wild organic blueberries,

Mix all together and refrigerate.

MANGO

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats( gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt- vanilla or plain( I like vanilla)
  • 1.5 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • mangoes- frozen, organic

Mix all together and refrigerate.

CHOCOLATE BANANA

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt
  • 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1.5 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw organic cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 cup diced banana

Mix all together and refrigerate.

You can pretty well substitute your favorite fruit with receipies above. Get creative with ingredients your family enjoys.

Healthy Breakfasts

Another way to help with the morning appetite issue, have your kids sip warm water with lemon in the morning. This kick starts the metabolism.

What are your families favorite fast, fun and fresh snack ideas? We would love to hear!

How to Make Good Food Choices When Traveling

Travel is of paramount importance to families during the summer. Finally, time to relax, enjoy each other’s company and take a break from the rigmarole of everyday routine.

Healthy road trip food

No school, no work, just fun in the sun!

Despite the care-free attitude summer holiday and travel gives us, finding healthy food while traveling can prove to be a rigorous task.

You take such care throughout the year to plan healthy eating for your family, so how can you continue the trend when you are on the road?

Healthy food on the go

Start by allowing yourself a bit of guilt-free leeway. You can try your best but do not stress or feel guilty if there are days where fast food and a couple of margaritas by the pool get the best of you. Guilt ads stress to the mixture which attacks your adrenal system and leaves you worse off.

So enjoy!

Healthy travel food

Secondly, do your best. There are easy ways to mitigate the amount of unhealthy food consumed, which not only keeps your body healthy it also helps keep the bank account healthy.

Start by researching ahead of time where the local markets and healthy restaurants are, and plan your routes accordingly. You will probably find some places that inspire you that you are keen to experience!

Healthy picknick ideas

Feel free to ask the locals where the healthy, fresh spots are. They will be able to direct you to places you may otherwise never find, and you will get a real feel of the local culture as well!

If you are traveling by car pack a cooler with snacks; that way you avoid spending so much on the gas station munchies. Pack sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, salads and dried fruit.

Healthy road trip food

Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water while you are driving, flying, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, however you are moving.

Hydration

Traveling by air? Bring an empty water bottle in your carry-on luggage and fill it at a fountain once you go through security – or have the flight staff fill it for you on the plane. This will be a cost savings as you won’t need to purchase bottled water. Those $3.67 water bottle purchases add up quickly for a single person, not to mention a family. Also you can find water bottles that filter the water for you, which is an added bonus if you want to go the extra step to ensure you are drinking cleaner water.

Last summer Well and Good NYC published an article titled: How to eat healthy on the road, in the airport, and at the beach.

They also had some similar tips. Author Jared Koch from Founder and CEO of Clean Plates mentioned to pack breakfast food as the first meal of the day is so important. He suggested packets of oatmeal, and almonds, which can be made quite easily, even in a hotel room, with hot water and a paper cup (or you can pack dishes if you are really serious).

Travel vitamins

The article also suggested bringing vitamins along. They are easy to pack and will keep everyone’s immune systems strong.

Mostly, don’t be afraid to be curious and explore the environment, not just settle for the first restaurant you set your sights on. By packing small snacks, you can curb the hunger pangs while you hunt for the diamond in the rough!

Happy healthy summer

Enjoy your travels this summer! Be safe and have fun!

An Easter fit for the Family, while keeping the family fit

Easter is a time of celebration; whether your family is celebrating the religious holiday or the spring-break time off, it is a time where family and friends come together.

Healthy easter cooking

Like many holidays, Easter is associated with food – (at least this was true for my family. Anytime we get together to celebrate it revolved around what we were eating).

These days, with so many food sensitivities, overall health concerns, and environmental awareness, how can this year’s Easter meal planning be fun, festive and food-friendly for all types of diets?

We have compiled a list of recipes and tips from various blog sources to help you plan a healthier Easter. Take a look …

healthy Easter recipies food feast

The Hunt is on

Growing up, my family loved planning an Easter egg hunt. The upside: it’s a really fun activity. The down-side: the prizes are often not the healthiest choices.

What is an alternative to the traditional foil-wrapped eggs?
Healthy easter alternatives

  1. Scavenger hunt for prizes! Perhaps the hidden treasures are games or movie vouchers or simply clues leading to one prize at the end?
  2. Love the chocolate egg hunt? Check out this recipe for Raw chocolate Easter Eggs. Wrap them up and hide them just like traditional foil wrapped eggs.

Easter Crafts

While hunting for healthy Easter recipes I came across these adorable craft ideas … and they’re edibleBest healthy easter food

  1. Make your own unique Easter picture using various fruit slices:   
  2. Easter Eggs … Hahaha, this is a spin on the traditional
  3. Watermelon Carving: Ok this one might not be a time-saver, but it sure is impressive:

Delicious Desserts to Dive Into (sans sugar and wheat) 

This website has a plethora of dessert options that are “skinny, clean, gluten free, vegan, no-bake, low carb, high protein, no sugar and more…” Check it out www.damyhealth.com

And here is another great resource from Eatingwell.com.

Healthy easter cooking ideas

Finally, below are some tips c/o Amelia Burton’s blog, where she writes a survival guide for Easter weekend!

  1. Save a treat for Easter Sunday
  2. Exercise in the morning
  3. Limit alcohol
  4. Sharing is caring
  5. Eggs for breakfast
  6. No white chocolate
  7. Practice your willpower
  8. Indulge in ‘good’ fats
  9. Limit the meat intake

For a full break down of each category visit her post at http://ameliaburton.com.au/2012/04/a-healthy-easter-survival-guide.html.

Does your family have an awesome tradition you would like to share? Give us a shout on our Facebook or Twitter!

Happy Easter Everyone!!!

 

Quinoa! Simple Ideas for Easy and Healthy Food

There is nothing like cooking for friends and family in the fall!

When temperatures drop and the leaves turn an assortment of colours what is more comforting than seasonal fragrances wafting from the kitchen.

Quinoa

What are your seasonal favourites? One of ours is quinoa! Of course you can eat it any day, all day no matter the day of the year however there are some delicious ways of preparing it with fall flavours on the palate.

Before we get into the cooking ideas, let’s discuss this fabulous grain for a moment.

Best Quinoa recipes

Firstly, it is delicious and nutritious!

It is a grain that is laden with nutrients; amino acids, iron, magnesium, copper, and phosphorus.

High in protein, quinoa is a great dish for vegetarians looking to supplement their diet. It can easily and nicely replace pasta or rice.

It is fast and easy to cook and tastes great with a variety of flavours.

Quinoa top recipes

Over the last ten years quinoa has increased drastically in popularity so it is now quite easy to find. You can purchase quinoa at just about any grocery store these days. It is often sold near the rice and other grains, such as couscous. It can also be found in bulk sections.

When you get it home be sure to store quinoa in a dry and cool location.

To cook, simply boil water (or broth or both) and add quinoa. Let it boil for around 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa appears to have sprouted (small spiral tail breaks off the grain). Then drain off any additional moisture and add pretty much any ingredient you want.

Cooking with quinoa

Some suggested ingredients for fall quinoa are the following:

  • Toasted nuts; almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds
  • Dried fruit; raisins and cranberries
  • Yam (cubed and roasted)
  • Mushrooms
  • Breakfast quinoa with cinnamon and berries

Try out this recipe by www.thedailymeal.com/fall-quinoa-salad-sweet-potato-walnuts-and-raisins.

Quinoa favorite recipes

Let us know if you have a favourite quinoa recipe or ingredient that we didn’t mention! Just post below and check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for more delicious recipes.

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Thank you and happy living from Docere Wellness Center in Calgary www.docerewellness.com

Strawberries – The fruit of the summer

It is officially summer time! In honour of the summer solstice we decided to feature one of our favourite summer foods; strawberries.

Strawberries

Summer is definitely berry season and strawberries are nutritious and delicious and a fabulous source of Dietary Fibre and Vitamin C.

The small, ruby-red jewel of a fruit, so sweet and tasty, is packed with goodness!

Nutritiondata.com gives us the low-down on the nutritional content of this fabulous fruit:

With the following breakdown, 85% carb, 8% fat, 7% protein, strawberries are “very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. (They are) also a good source of Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese,” nutritiondata.com.

Healthy fruit

Of course it is best to buy as local as possible and organic and the following stores source local, organic product:
– Community Natural Foods
– Amaranth
– Planet Organic
– The Calgary Farmer’s Market
– Crossroads Market
– Kingsland Farmers market

Calgary Farmers Market


There is a list of additional markets here: www.calgaryarea.com

So now that you have your hands on a pint of strawberries, aside from munching on them straight-up here are a few recipes you may wish to try out, from some of our favourite blog sites!

From the Gracious Pantry we bring you…

Clean Eating Strawberry Muffins

Strawberrie Muffins
(Makes approximately 18 muffins)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 1 cup apple concentrate, no sugar added
  • 1 cup milk (any kind you use will be fine, I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, chopped

Directions

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Step 1 – In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and fresh strawberries. Set aside. (You want to coat the strawberries with flour so they don’t sink to the bottom of your muffins while baking)
  • Step 2 – In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, apple concentrate, milk, vanilla, and apple sauce.
  • Step 3 – Pour the liquid into the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  • Step 4 – Spoon into muffin tins or papers and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin pulls out clean.
  • Step 5 – Allow to cool completely. These are not like other muffins where they taste best out of the oven. These truly do taste their best when they are completely cooled.

Eat and Enjoy!

Thank you to the source of this recipe: The Gracious Pantry

Next up from the same site, a beverage to quench your thirst after a hot day outside, a baseball game, a day at the beach, a picnic…

Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberrie Lemonade(Makes 8 cups)

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 lb. strawberries cleaned and stems removed
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Juice of 2 limes

Directions

  • Step 1 – Warm 2 1/2 cups of water in a pot with the honey until well combined.
  • Step 2 – In a large pitcher, combine the remainder of the water, the honey water, lemon juice and lime juice.
  • Step 3 – Put your strawberries in a blender and blend until very smooth.
  • Step 4 – Put the strawberries through a fine meshed sieve. You’ll have to stir and press with a spatula to get it through the sieve completely.
  • Step 5 – Stir strawberry juice into the pitcher and stir well.
  • Step 6 – Chill and serve.

Drink and Enjoy!
Thank you again to The Gracious Pantry http://www.thegraciouspantry.com

And last but not least another refreshing snack that will have all the neighbourhood kids at your doorstep (drum roll please)…

Super Strawberry Popsicles
Strawberry Popsicles
Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    Instructions

    In a food processor, or blender combine the strawberries, honey and lemon juice. Process until smooth. Pour puree into moulds and put in freezer. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

    Thank you to our source: Baked Bree

    Let us know of you try out these recipes and how you liked them!
    Happy Munching!

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  • Eating on the Run

    Healthy Snack tips for families with a full plate

    6:00 am alarm goes off, get everyone out the door, head to work, come home, make dinner, and send kids off to extra-curricular activities…

    We understand your schedule is jam-packed; which is why we put together a quick reference for healthy snack ideas that will keep you and your family energized throughout the day.

    Fast healthy snack

    With a little extra planning and a dose of love these quick recipes will sustain you and help you avoid the fast food fixes that aren’t the best for your health.

    Choose the snacks that work for you and plan a once a week grocery shop for these items. (Have teenagers at home? Perhaps a walk to the local grocery store once a week warrants an allowance allotment – your grocery shopping gets done and they get outside for some exercise).

    Home-made Nut Mix – Combine ingredients and serve
    • 1 cup chopped dried fruit; dates, prunes, apricots, pears or apples
    • ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
    • 1 ½ cups unsalted sunflower seeds
    • ½ cup unsalted almonds
    • ½ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
    • ½ cup Dark chocolate chunks

    Healthy nut mix

    Cinnamon Oranges
    • 2 oranges
    • 1 tablespoons orange or apple juice
    • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/2 tablespoon honey or agave syrup
    • pinch cinnamon

    Peel oranges. Cut away rind and pith. Combine juices, honey/agave and cinnamon and pour over oranges.

    Cinnamon Oranges

    Celery Sticks with Almond Butter
    Well this one is easy … cut ends off celery sticks and fill the celery with almond butter. For ants on a log add raisins on top.

    Cellery Sticks with Almond Butter

    Banana-Honey Granola Bars (Raw Food)

    This recipe may require a bit more elbow grease up-front, however makes 36 portions, so it will last you a longer period of time.

    Ingredients
    • 1 medium, very ripe banana, peeled
    • 2 cups raw oat flakes
    • 1 cup raw almond butter or natural peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup raw honey
    • 2 TBSP bee pollen (or other ‘super food’ addition of your choice, I used Hemp Seed in this batch)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • coconut oil, raw and unrefined

    Directions
    1 – Put the banana, oats, nut butter, honey, hemp seeds, vanilla and cinnamon in a food processor or large bowl and blend or stir manually until you have a stiff, cohesive dough ball. *note, this method will result in a more fudge-like square. Mix it all by hand if you want to preserve the large flakes of oatmeal and maintain that granola-bar like texture and look.

    2 – Coat a 9-inch square pan with coconut oil and oil your hands as well. Pat the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Cover and place in the freezer for 24 hours so that the flavours can meld; the texture will become quite firm and chewy. Alternatively you can roll the dough into bite-size balls if you wish, and store in the freezer as instructed below.

    3 – Cut into three 3-inch squares in each direction, and then cut each square in half as well so that you have a total of 36 squares (6 x 6).

    4 – Store the squares/balls in a tightly sealed container in the freezer and consume within 2 weeks for the best flavour and texture.

    Number of Servings: 36

    Healthy home made granola

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    Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user DUTCHGIRL67 c/o http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1046952