Tip of the Week
Do you ever find yourself bored with making the same meals day in and day out? Maybe it’s not you. Maybe your kids are the ones who are bored with the same old meal. So, how do you mix it up and make it fun and healthy - without heading to the closest fast food joint? The key to “mixing” things up. Be creative, get involved, and have fun!
Maybe you can take a traditional lunch item, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and make “sushi” rolls instead of the traditional sandwich. You take the crusts off of a slice of wheat bread, roll it out to thin the bread out. Spread peanut, or another nut butter, followed by jam. Roll the bread up, and cut into 4 pieces. Now you have peanut butter and jelly “sushi rolls!” I did this for my boys a few days ago, and they thought it was hilarious.
What about you? Are you completely bored with your turkey sandwich or salad? Try turning your sandwiches into a healthy wraps. Take a whole wheat tortilla, spread it with a low fat seasoned cream cheese or dressing, and add your favorite sandwich ingredients. Roll it up and cut in two. Make your “boring” salad into an awesome chopped salad! I take my everyday romaine and favorite salad vegetables and chop it really small– like you get at a restaurant - add a bit of crumbled feta (it is lower in fat that most cheeses), some dressing, and voila! To me, things that come wrapped or chopped up really small just make food taste better.
You can also try getting involved with your food. Sounds weird, but seriously! For example, grow some of your own vegetables and/or herbs. If you have children, have them garden with you. My boys “help” by throwing all my garden dirt out of the garden. It may be a little messy, and not exactly helpful, but they are outside with me having fun, and seeing how certain foods are grown. It is a really neat way to learn about the food you are going to eat, and it makes you appreciate the hard work that goes into producing your food. It is an extremely fulfilling feeling to eat what you grow.
So many times we feel that if we can’t make this crazy elaborate meal, then what’s the point? Sometimes even the simplest of meals, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, can be made fun by being creative. Experiment with your food. When I was younger, my Mom, a single mom of 6 kids, didn't have time to make anything from scratch. So, my mom got creative. One of the many ways she did that was making cookies from a cake mix! She wanted something quick and easy, and not a lot of ingredients. Natural food stores carry healthier cake mixes that work well with this trick. My sister, who is a single working mom, makes these all the time because they are cheap, easy, and sooooo yummy!!
Food is what sustains us. It is here to nourish us, not stress us out and make us unhealthy. It should be enjoyable and fun to make! I found this really cool book called “Brown Bag Success: Making Healthy Lunches Your Kids Won’t Trade” by Sandra Nissenberg and Barbara Pearl. While it is geared toward children, I think that some of the recipes and ideas in this book can be used for adults too! Try to mix things up at home, and stock your kitchen with “go to” items that will allow to make meals quickly and creatively! Check out this article on vidacoco.com to help you get started. Just have fun with your food!!!