Recipe: Kid-Approved Frozen Fruit Smoothie

Smoothies are a delicious and easy way to get in a healthy dose of fruits (and vegetables!) into your diet. My eleven year old daughter loves smoothies and insisted we share one of her favourite recipes that she began making herself (with a little supervision) a few years ago. She loves smoothies as part of her morning breakfast and sometimes makes enough for several smoothies to either share or save for later. You can also freeze the blended mix into popsicle moulds for a tasty frozen treat! The below is her recipe as written by her and she also took the pictures. :)

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Kid-Approved Frozen Fruit Smoothie

The main ingredient is frozen fruit! We buy whatever is on sale that week, but mango is always in the recipe because it tastes the best.

Kid-approved fruit smoothie.jpg


Blend together:

  • 1 avocado (or 1 medium banana) - this makes the smoothie creamy

  • 1 cup frozen berries

  • 1/2 cup frozen mango!

  • 1/4 cup of vanilla or your favourite yogurt (or one of the small lunch containers)

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 cup of water or milk (or more depending on how much frozen fruit you used - sometimes I put in too much and it jams the blender)

Frozen fruit smoothie

My mom sometimes adds some spinach or kale. I don’t.

Blend all ingredient until smooth then pour into a big cup and enjoy! Or if you made too much put it in the fridge for later. Yum!

frozen fruit smoothie in blender

The New Canada’s Food Guide: Encouraging Healthy Eating

The new Canada Food Guide was released on January 22, 2019, and before its publication there was a lot of speculation surrounding what foods would be eliminated and what foods that were previously highlighted would be minimized. In truth, the new Canada’s food guide encourages healthy food choices. They want Canadians to, "make it a habit of eating a variety of healthy food each day."

What does this mean? It means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and protein foods – including protein that come from plants. It also means limiting highly processed foods (note: they do not say to avoid them altogether, but to eat them less often and in small amounts).

The picture on the new Canada’s food guide shows a plate half-filled with vegetables and fruits, with the other half split between protein foods and whole grain foods. Gone are the graphics for milk, yogurts and meats. Instead, meat protein shares its space with protein from nuts, tofu and legumes.

My favourite addition is to, “make water your drink of choice.” There is no substitute for the healthiness and necessity of water. We are mostly made from water, so it’s no wonder we should be focusing our beverage choices on water as opposed to sugary and artificially-flavoured drinks. 

The new Canada’s food guide also focuses on healthy eating habits. It encourages you to use food labels, and to limit foods high in sodium, sugars and saturated fats.

In a fast-paced world, the new food guide encourages us to take our time to eat, plan what we eat and involve others in planning and preparing meals. This is especially important for families.

As a registered dietician, and mother of three young children, Cathy Richards believes eating healthy as a family does not have to be time-consuming or difficult, and she’s happy to see that the new food guide recommendations support the scientific evidence on diet and health.

The focus is on whole foods and it’s presented in an easy to understand format. A visual of the plate makes it easy for my clients to understand how they should be aiming to balance a meal. I really like the interactive nature of the website for the guide, as it makes it a fun activity for families to explore together by trying new recipes or incorporating the tips around mindful eating.”

Food marketing to kids is also a very relevant concern and Cathy is, “happy to see some direction for parents around this. The research supports cooking at home more often and eating together as key health behaviours to prevent obesity in adulthood. To be honest, I haven’t been referring to Canada’s food guide with my clients for years but with this new addition I’ll definitely be directing more of my clients there to explore the website and learn with their families.” 

Canada’s food guide website has many healthy recipes the entire family can enjoy preparing and eating together. The guide also has tips on how to eat healthy anywhere as well as outlines nutritional needs based on age and life stages.

Canada's food guide has changed, but it has changed because with the many food options available to us in grocery stores, online and in restaurants, it can be confusing to know what eating healthy really means. After all, “healthy eating is more than the foods you eat.”  

For more information on the new Canada’s food guide, visit their website. You can even download an educational poster and post it on your fridge as a reminder of what it means to eat healthy.

Sweetener Swap: 5 Alternatives to Sugar

It’s so easy to reach for that sweet, inexpensive, white stuff when you’re mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. White sugar is delicious! And no matter how healthy we become (some days… after many, many attempts), we will still prefer the taste of white sugar in our treats.

As parents, we can either accept sugar defeat, or we can try using a few healthier alternatives at home to drastically cut down the amount of sugar our family is consuming.

Photo courtesy of StockSnap

Photo courtesy of StockSnap

Here are 5 sweetener alternatives and the best ways to use them:

Honey

An obvious choice but hey, what other sweetener on the planet has enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants galore, and is good for combating seasonal allergies and protecting your digestive system? I use honey in my kid’s treats a lot! Honey can be pricey to bake with, but it’s best not to heat raw honey to retain its incredible health benefits. Use it in ready to eat treats, such as drizzled on yoghurt, porridge, or toast with nut/seed butter, homemade lemonade and salad dressing.

Maple Syrup

Another sweetener choice is maple syrup. It also contains plenty of antioxidants and minerals like zinc, manganese, potassium, and calcium. It can be quite affordable too if you stock up at one of Ottawa’s farmers markets in-season. Whereas honey is best eaten raw, maple syrup is awesome in any way including baked goods, homemade granola, glazes for roast vegetables or BBQ ribs.

Ripe Bananas / Apples / Pears

You can’t go wrong with adding fruit. Diced or pureed, fruit adds a lovely aroma to baking and produces incredible moisture. Not to mention it’s just about the healthiest way to go. What better way to use up that spotty brown banana and half-wrinkled apple that your kid forgot in his lunchbox over the weekend? Sweeten smoothies, muffins, pancakes, homemade popsicles…get creative!

Photo by  Jennifer Pallian

Coconut Sugar

Before you say ‘I’m healthy, but not that healthy’, try coconut sugar in your coffee. It has a slight caramel flavour like brown sugar and no, it doesn’t taste like coconut. It’s another sweetener that is packed with awesome nutritional benefits and has a low glycemic index. Use it just like sugar in your coffee, tea, sweet bread, cookies or add a touch to your tomato sauce.

Dates

Don’t pass this one by. Dates pack a HUGE nutritional punch and can save your baking without compromising taste. Psst, moms... they help you metabolize proteins, fats, and carbs. Really! Quickly soak and finely chop dates (or blitz with a few tablespoons of soaking liquid), and add them in the same ratio as sugar to sweeten your baked goods. They are wonderful in your favourite baked treats, added to oatmeal or yoghurt, and as snacks for your kids and babies!

It’s hard to give up sugar, perhaps it’s unavoidable, but it’s not as hard as it seems to swap it out. Give these alternative sweeteners a try and you may find that one or all of them will work wonders in cutting down your consumption of sugar. Your kiddos likely won’t bat an eye at your sweetener swap and you’ll be one happy mama for it.

Post written by Tatiana Westberg.

Take the stress out of food prep with Supperworks

I don't know how meal planning and dinnertime go at your house, but at my house... well, let me just put it this way - it's not my favourite time of day.

Between picky kids, a lack of inspiration for meal planning and hectic weekdays, I resort to cereal or fish sticks and fries far more than I ever would have expected of myself (and like to admit).

I tried the food delivery boxes, and while they were great because it saved me having to come up with the recipes and do the shopping (and I won't lie, throwing out all kinds of food I bought, meant to cook, and instead let go bad), it was still quite a lot of work in terms of prep each day.

I recently got to try Supperworks during a special blogger event and fell a little bit in love, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite things about the experience.

1) No peeling and chopping

Peeling and chopping isn't hard... but it takes a long time. I loved that as I went up to each station, the only thing I needed to do was take the amount of an ingredient and put it into the containers outlined on the simple instructions.

The green onions were chopped, the garlic was minced, the protein was already portioned out exactly as it needed to be. (Bonus: much less chance of accidentally grating your hand instead of the cheese when a kid walks in shouting a loud question at you when you're not expecting it!)

2) Almost no dishes

The only dishes are the things you need to cook the food and to eat the food. There are no knives and cutting boards, and measuring cups and spoons and mixing bowls. I often feel like a tornado has hit my kitchen after I've spent a few hours cooking and by then I don't feel like CLEANING up the mess I made - I was just so productive in MAKING the food. Supperworks means I don't have to do the dishes after putting together my meals, and I wish I could give the store a big hug  just for that!

3) No thinking required

I think a lot - while I'm working, while I'm trying to make sure our family life stays on track and remember who is supposed to be at what activity when, and what forms I still need to send in to the school, and whether or not I RSVPed to those birthday party invitations.

Having every step of this figured out for me so that I can just walk in and follow simple steps to achieve success - it's just such a nice break for my brain.

4) Portion options

A family sized meal is meant for 4-6 people, and it's quite generous. My kids are pretty good eaters (since last year they all doubled and tripled how much they eat!) so the meal size was great for everyone (with a little bit left over for one extra lunch). If your kids are not big eaters then for a small extra fee you can split all the meals into two, and the stations are set up so you can switch the recipes to instructions for making smaller doubles, and all the tools and containers are readily available for splitting things. These half sized portions now just doubled how many meals you get, and feed a family with no kids or little kids who don't eat very much.

5) You don't even have to assemble it if you don't want to

Supperworks is set up so that you can come in, on your own or with friends, and assemble your meals. I'm planning to gather a group of friends to do this soon in fact, because I think it can be a fun (and so easily justified to those of us who have a hard time taking time for ourselves) night out for friends. But, let's say you don't have the time, or you don't feel like gathering a group of friends and you don't really want to devote the hour or so it would probably take to make the 6-12 meals, you can just pay $25-40 (depending on how many meals you're making) and they'll assemble them for you. And I totally plan to do that if I'm not hanging out with my friends - worth every penny. Or, go in and see what they've pre-prepared and got waiting in the freezer right now.

The food was delicious too - did I mention that? The Flat Irons MELTED in our mouths (my two meat eater kids were ready to battle it out with my husband and I on who got more of it), the coleslaw may be one of my new favourite things ever, and you can mix and match all kinds of extra sides from the freezer at front of the store.

Healthy meals with good variety (including vegetarian options) that are easy for me to prepare was pretty much the most important thing for me to figure out better systems for in our life, because it was dragging me down like nobody's business. I can't wait to stock up our freezer with all kinds of healthy meals that are easy for me to prepare - and I think some of them are even easy enough for my ten year old to prepare too!

Supperworks has a special promotion going on right now called Suppersavers (limited quantities so I wouldn't dally) for a $100 voucher for $50. They are store specific, so pick the best location for you (Kanata, Nepean or Orleans) and grab a voucher - there's no better way to try out Supperworks than with $50 off!

If you have been to Supperworks before, leave a comment below and let us know what you thought, and what your favourite not to be missed meals are!

Thanks again to Supperworks Ottawa for the opportunity to check out how everything works - I'll definitely be back!

* Supperworks provided Kids in the Capital with 2 free meals and the experience of using their service. All thoughts are our own.

 

More Tasty Snacks from Budsie

by Ezmy Ages ago, back when Budsie was just a wee little dude who couldn’t walk or terrorize the cat, I shared a favourite recipe of his: Budsie Oatmeal. Well, today we have a new favourite: Budsie’s Trio of Super Yogurt. Super easy, super tasty (even for mums and dads), and super good for you.  Yay!

Budsie’s Trio of Super Yogurt

-1/3 cup Balkan-style, plain, full fat yogurt (with yogurt, you simply must go full fat)

-1/4 cup berries (blueberries are Budsie’s personal favourite, but I enjoy raspberries. Tip: buy boatloads of berries when they are on sale and freeze them for future use!)

-1 tbsp of ground almonds

-1 tsp ground flax seed

Mix everything together in a bowl. Serve with a spoon, although little hands do love to fish the berries out first. Serves one awesome toddler at snack time. Enjoy!

Ezmy is mum to son Ewan (aka Budsie). When she isn't working on her master's thesis, or playing games with her boy, she's blogging furiously on Ezmy Writes, talking about life as a stay-at-home mum in our nation's capital. Ezmy can also be found on Winefox.cahere, Ezmy learns about tannins and other fancy wine lingo. Follow on Ezmy on Twitter (@ezmytweets) where she posts updates on life with an active and very vocal baby

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