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Nutrition

Great App for Lunch Planning

Lunch planning app

Packing lunches has always been a struggle until I found this great lunch planning app!

You know how it goes, you pack lunch and it comes back home uneaten or you let the kids pack their own and it’s mostly cookies and chips, right? This app makes the whole process so much easier, it’s called La La Lunchbox and has been a huge timesaver on school mornings.

It is super easy to use, in fact the kiddos can do most of the work. They get on it over the weekend and pick out items for their lunch throughout the upcoming week.

Lunch Planning App 

La La Lunchbox comes preloaded with tons of options, and you can also take photos and add your own items to the list.

Kids take ownership by choosing from fruit, veggie, protein and snack to make sure the lunch is nutritious, balanced and also enjoyable.  The app creates a grocery list for the week, so when I’m at the store I can make sure to get the items needed.

Then in the morning before school, myself or the kids just open the La La Lunchbox and start packing from the list for that day. So easy, no thinking required!  And no nagging to have them pack something other than cookies since the list is right there and the kids chose the items on it themselves.

Great App for Lunch Planning

Give La La Lunchbox a try and see if it makes your already hectic mornings a bit more relaxing.  And if you have any other apps that you recommend to make your kiddo routines easier, please leave them in the comments below!

Getting My Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

Getting My  Picky Eaters  to Try New Foods

Does anyone else have super picky eaters? I have been blessed with two little angels who think they can survive on chicken nuggets, peanut butter and apples. After much frustration – and making multiple main dishes for one meal to keep everyone happy – my husband and I decided enough was enough.  So, here are my tips on how to get get picky eaters to try new foods

Please help moms everywhere out if you happen to have any of your own tricks up your sleeve.

At first, this was a little overwhelming for me.

My kids always eat things from different food groups, they just haven’t been eating the “fancier” dishes my husband and I cook.  Knowing that our kids needed to transition to eating what the whole family was eating, we did our research (Google, polled our parent friends, read articles, and asked our pediatrician), decided what was reasonable, and have been implementing the “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” plan.

Here’s what’s been working for us…I hope these tips are helpful for you, too!

Family Style Serving

Instead of making their plate in the kitchen and setting it in front of them, we now put plates of food on the table (usually represented from all food groups) and let the kids take turns putting food on their own plate.

We find this works to our advantage in two ways -

1.  The kids take ownership in picking their own food.  They can take as much or as little as they want…as long as they try one bite of each dish.

2.  We always make sure there is at least one item that we know they like.  Carrots, apple slices, hummus…that way they have some of their comfort food to fall back on once they try at least one bite of the new stuff.  This has been a consistent piece of advice we’ve received from our parent friends…and it works!

Setting a Good Example

Kids are little sponges – I know mine watch me like a hawk.  For the most part, they want to be just like my husband and I…and my little one wants to be just like his big sister.  This means that setting a good example has been very important to our family in this process.  When I ask my kids to try something, that means that my husband and I are also eating it.  We also sit down together as a family to eat.  Or whoever is home…we all sit down and make the meal a family event.

Staying Consistent 

As with anything, being consistent has been our saving grace.  Every meal.  Same rules every time. Now, we still believe in special treats and special meals on occasion…of course!  But on a daily basis, we are making good nutrition and consistent family meals a priority.

Little Shoppers  

The kids usually come grocery shopping with me anyways, so now I let them help me pick new foods when we’re out.  They love to shop, so this is kind of a big deal that they get to pick new things to try.

Educate

My husband is constantly asking our kiddos, Is this super healthy, medium healthy, or not healthy at all?”  Then he explains why the particular food in question is healthy or not.  He also tells the kids that they have to train their tongues to like new foods…and makes funny little jokes out of it.  Like, “Your tongue just don’t remember this food. See if it can remember what it tastes like?” The kids think he’s hilarious…Whatever works!

I’d love to hear your tips. What’s worked for you and your family?  Please do share below! 

Menu Makeovers with Menu Therapy!

Menu Therapy Coupon Code

My family needs a dinner menu makeover. Does yours? 

Could you use a family meal planning service? I could, because I always seem to be stuck in the same weekly food rut, cooking the same things over and over again because…

1.) It’s convenient.  I default to comfortable when I’m busy.

2.) I always “pin” hundreds of recipe ideas on Pinterest and then don’t have time to shop or actually cook them.

3.) Many of the recipes I find look delicious, but then take 70 minutes to prepare and two hours to cook – who has the time?

4.) My cupboard full of all of the cookbooks we got for our wedding – with literally thousands of recipes – can be overwhelming when I want something quick during the week – seriously, I don’t need gourmet, I need a tasty chicken and veggie dish.

5.) I’m tired.  (Not lazy, just tired by dinnertime!)

Can any of you relate?

I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to chat with our newest Tiny Oranges sponsor, Menu Therapy, about their fabulous family meal planning services they offer. They are offering the first month free for all Tiny Oranges’ readers, make sure to read below on how to sign up so you can try it out yourself!

Picture this – a new week rolls around and you can log in to Menu Therapy’s site and have access to five delicious, healthy family-friendly recipes, complete with a grocery list organized by food group.  My favorite part is the grocery list, already planned out.  Be still my heart.

Once logged in, you can also peek at the past month’s recipes so that as a new subscriber, you are still able to see what they’ve been cooking up for the past four weeks.

My next favorite part is that the culinary pro behind these fabulous menus, Loryn, picks five meals that will use ALL of the ingredients she puts on your list.  No more recipes that call for a “pinch” of cilantro or a teaspoon of whatever…and then the rest goes bad because you don’t use it in another meal.

family meal planning service

Hmmmm, a planned menu, well-balanced, delicious recipes, an organized grocery list, and a way to be more efficient with my food budget.  What else could I ask for?

Oh, I know.  Access to the chef!

Loryn explains that she created Menu Therapy to share her passion for food, healthy eating, and an easy way to help mamas who love to cook.

And because of that, she gives all of her clients her personal email address.  She explains, it’s basically like having a “personal chef on speed dial.”  So when you run out of an ingredient and want to substitute, have a dietary restriction question, or even want to know what an ingredient is, just send her a quick email!

Here are her Menu Plan Options

For only $15 per quarter (that’s just $5/month), choose from one of her tasty menus:

Traditional Menus
Vegetarian Menus
Prenatal Menus 

Yep, you read that correctly.  She creates prenatal menus for all of you expectant mamas! (Disclaimer: Loryn writes – “I’m a chef not a doctor. Always consult with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your diet while pregnant.”) 

Check Out Menu Therapy’s Recipe of the Week!

Sign Up Now and Get One Month Free 

It’s your turn for a menu makeover!  New subscribers who sign up from this blog for $15 for 3 months can enter in the Menu Therapy coupon code “tinyoranges” to receive your first month FREE.  That means you are getting 3 months of this family meal planning service for only $10. Now, that’s a pretty sweet deal!

Disclaimer:  Menu Therapy is a new Tiny Oranges sponsor and we are so glad they are!  I personally can’t wait to enjoy their menu services, and hope you do too!

The best thing since sliced bread.

Recently I discovered this organic sliced bread by Eureka! Baking Company when the representatives contacted me about a review.

I was happy to accept the breads for review because I am always on the look out for healthy vegan bread. Eureka! I found it!

My daughter’s allergies to milk and eggs have turned our household into avid label-readers. I often say it’s a blessing in disguise because you would be shocked at the junky ingredients found in every day foods, including sliced bread.

All Eureka! Breads are USDA organic, certified vegan (hooray!) and contain no high fructose corn syrup (you would be amazed how many breads contain it), artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

There are three varieties, each with equally entertaining names: Grainiac, Seeds the Day, and Saaaa-Wheat! Gotta love a company with a sense of humor.

They are all made with whole grains and are good sources of fiber.

I had a slice every day with a little jam and it became my new favorite mid-morning snack. It is a hearty bread and you can really taste all the yummy grains and seeds. The Grainiac was my favorite with 5g of fiber per slice and it was more filling than a typical piece of bread.

My youngest, the one with the food allergies, loved the bread. My oldest thought it had “too many things in it” for her. But she is picky and that is not surprising. I have high hopes it will grow on her; I will keep trying!

Overall, this is a tasty, nutritious organic sliced bread. I am a fan and will put it on our regular shopping list.

Down the road, I would love to see a lower calorie option from Eureka!, as the slices have more calories per slice that I typically like to eat. One discovery at a time!

Visit www.eurekabakingcompany.com and plug in your zip at the top store locator to find a store that carries it near you.

[Disclosure: I was sent three loaves for review. All opinions are 100% my own authentic ones!]

 

Kid Friendly Green Smoothies

This post is all about how to make kid friendly green smoothies. Key word being “kid friendly!”

These blended, frozen drinks are definitely my “go-to” whenever I want to give Eli and Georgia something that’s quick, healthy and drama-free.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes for a nutritious and tasty green smoothie that I hope your kids (and you!) will love. I’ve even included some simple tips on how to make green smoothies kid friendly. They’ll forget they’re drinking kale in no time!

Green Smoothie Recipe aka “Little Greenie”

1 cup packed kale (discard stems and tear into pieces)
1/2 banana
1/2 cup mangos (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon raw honey (or agave nectar)
3/4 cup orange juice

Blend until smooth, serves 2

*Coconut water is a great alternative to orange juice and makes the drink that much more tropical. My kids prefer the taste with orange juice because it adds sweetness, but I opt for mine with coconut water. If you’re using fresh fruit just add a few ice cubes to your blender.

How to Make Kid Friendly Green Smoothies

Add a Little Flair
Fancy straws are a big hit in my house, especially with my four-year old daughter. I got the ones above at Target and I only break them out when I have something I really want them to drink. With these straws, my nutritious green smoothie instantly becomes a special treat. You can also try floating fruit on the top or serving them in a new, fun glass.

Give it a Name
I called this one “Little Greenie”. I got the name from one of our favorite books, I Love You Stinky Face. In the book, the imaginative son turns into all sorts of undesirable creatures and questions his mom about her unconditional love. When he pretends to turn into a Green Alien from Mars she reassures him she will still love him, feed him green grasshoppers, and call him “Little Greenie”.

Sweeten It!
Pineapple and orange juice both add sweetness to your smoothie and soften any bitter taste of the greens. Bananas also help neutralize and sweeten bitter flavors. A touch of agave, raw honey, vanilla extract and cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder will also do the trick.

Make your Green Smoothie Purple
If all else fails just change the color of the smoothie. Red and purple fruit will take the green out of your smoothie without draining it of its nutrients. Fruits such as red grapes, cherries, raspberries, or blueberries work wonders. The recipe below is a must try for any kid (or adult) that has an aversion to green food/drink.

Purple Smoothie Recipe aka “Berrylicious”

2 cups frozen fruit (I usually go with a blend of berries)
Blueberry greek yogurt
1 banana
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
2 splashes of milk

Blend until smooth, serves 2

If you’re looking for more tips on how to adjust the flavor or consistency of your smoothie click here. Vitamix’s website has all the answers on easy smoothie fixes.

Enjoy!