Posts in Category: Toddler Food
Those of us in the Paleo world know about the controversy that is whether or not to include white potatoes into one’s diet. On the one hand, they are a delicious, nutrient dense whole food. A fabulous starchy tuber in fact! Unprocessed, versatile and satisfying. And yet, they sit quite high on the glycemic index and as someone who has chosen to try and stick to a Paleo diet because I’m pre-diabetic … then obviously I am going to avoid sugar spiking foods.
I’m especially NOT going to deny myself of delicious foods however, when it comes to any holiday spread I might be hosting this time of year. I double especially love surprising my doubting guests when it comes to Paleo food substitutions. Because they’re definitely not all a win. (Sad face apple pie.)
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock with nary a Buzzfeed food video or heady list touting the many wondrous virtues of eating cauliflower (instead of carbs) crossing your path, then I’m sorry. This is one of those rare times you’ve been missing out on what the internet has to toss your way. Cauliflower is a splendiferous thing indeed. I’ve tried it out in bread, soup and to make faux ‘cauli-rice’ and pizza crust already. Perhaps you’ve already been served, or have tried mashed cauliflower as a mashed potato substitute. It’s pretty good (no, it doesn’t taste exactly the same so let’s just lay that inquisition to rest), but I’ve found that the addition of parsnips really adds the taste a texture needed to make it a damn good combo of a sub needed to mimic the cloudy peaks of buttery, creamy goodness that is mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is a part of the cabbage family, which means it’s a vegetable and we know that vegetables are a good thing, yes? Particularly rich in vitamin C and B vitamins, cauliflower also has a significant amount of vitamin K, manganese, phosphorous, and potassium! As if all of that weren’t enough, noshing on cauliflower also gives you a good dose of sulfur. And until I read Mark Sisson’s article on why eating sulfur-rich foods is a grand idea, I had no clue about why I should care about that either. It’s a damn good, eye-opening article about vegetables in general!
Pumped up with various B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin K, parsnips and turnips are a great source of trace minerals, including manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc! While they may be moderately high in natural sugars, parsnips are also comprised of both soluble and insoluble fiber. (Which slows the body’s digestion of carbs and prevents a spike in blood sugar and makes food easier to digest!) When accompanied with the cauliflower, one really is bestowed with the great satisfaction of eating mashed potatoes without the dense insulin spike.
I’m straight up gonna tell you that using a blender will issue you a gluey mass. Which you might be going for if you wanted to make a vegan cheese sauce sub; say for mac and cheese. But that’s not the texture we’re going for here. I myself am a fan of the rustic hand-held mashing or using a food processor.
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 1 small turnip, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 5-6 tbsp. grass-fed butter or ghee
- 1¼ tsp. pink sea salt
- Remove the cauliflower florets from their bases of stems and leaves. Wash and add to a water-filled pot, along with
yourwashed, peeled and chopped parsnips and turnip.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer until all is tender.
- (You can cook the veg in two separate pots if you don't have a big enough one.)
- Drain the cauliflower, turnips and parsnips into a colander and topple them all into a food processor (or back into the pot if you are hand-mashing.)
- Add the butter and whizz/mash until well creamed! If you like it rustic then by hand is the best way to go.
- Season with sea salt to taste, eat it, love it and gloat all about it.
Just so we’re clear, this is a Paleo soup recipe, but obviously the sandwiches aren’t. If you’re new here, you might not know that I try and alternate between a plant-based and Paleo diet. The rest of my family don’t have the same health issues as I do so essentially they can indulge in what I do not! Meals like these make that kind of diverse food prep easy. It’s just grilled cheese yo. Perhaps a little bit fancy, but no big whoop. If you want to get into making big batches of bone broth to use in many an Autumn and Winter recipe, here’s my recipe!
- Soup (double batch if you please)
- 2 tbsp. ghee, coconut oil, or
- 2 tbsp. REAL maple syrup (amber if you have it!)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 8 c. bone broth (or 3½ quart sized tetra packs of veggie or meat based stock)
- 10 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 3½ lbs.)*
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 2 tsp. minced fresh sage
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 (heaping) tsp. ground ginger
- 1 c. cashew cream (soak ¼ cup of cashews in hot water for about 20 min., drain rinse and blend, adding
inmore water until cream-like consistency is obtained)
- BONUS! Apple, Crispy Sage + Gruyere Sandwiches (for 4)
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 8: ¼-inch-thick Italian loaf bread slices (or bread of choice)
- 8 slices Gruyere cheese
- 2 peeled and thinly sliced honey crisp apples
- 5 or 6 baked sage leaves per sandwich
- Bake cubed butternut squash tossed in 1 tbsp. of oil or butter and the maple, in a preheated oven of 350 F for about 25/35 minutes (depending on the heat of your oven), turning cubes midway.
- Melt the other tbsp. of oil or butter in large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, ginger, garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer a few minutes.
- Working in batches, puree soup in double batches. Return soup to same pot. Stir in the cashew cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat panini press. Butter BOTH sides of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side down across a large expanse of counter to create an assembly line.
Tophalf of the bread slices with one slice of cheese, then apples, topping with another slice of cheese. Place other pieces of bread slices to complete the sandwich prep and grill until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from press and let sit for 30-60 seconds before slicing.
- Ladle soup into bowls and serve those delectable sandwiches with those who can eat bread and cheese without a care in the world!
A versatile dish, this can be made vegan or vegetarian. You can add chicken or leave it out as I have done. Curry is a soul-food. It sticks to your ribs, warms your tummy and can be made to your own heat preference. Our kids like it with yogurt (tames the spice a bit). Do you have your kids eating curry yet? Try our this version! The mangos and a natural sweetness to the more savoury elements of this dish.
I used to purchase pre-made curry powder (because easy), but I’ve gotten into the habit of making from-scratch pastes each time I give curry a whirl as the depth of flavour is incomparable once you’ve gone there. I’ve tried to simplify the process as much as possible from some of the more conventional/traditional curry adventures, it doesn’t always have to be a huge time commitment! Enjoy!
- 2 large yellow cooking onions, chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp ghee (or grassfed butter or coconut oil)
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp fennel seed
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1½ tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 400g can chopped/diced tomatoes (or diced fresh plum tomatoes)
- 1 250ml can of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 2 tbsp chopped coriander
- 3 sweet potatoes, cubed (about 1 lb worth)
- 1 lb carrots, cubed
- 2 mangos, cubed
- 1tsp. pink himalyan sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- Fresh minced kale to garnish (I like to sprinkle at least ½ cup's worth per serving)
- ***Optional: 1 can of garbanzo beans, ½ lb of baby potatoes and 2 cups of frozen peas
- Saute the chopped onions in ½ of your ghee/oil with the garlic cloves (whole) until translucent. Transfer to a small food processor, adding in the ginger, cumin, fennel, cinnamon, chili, cayenne, garam masala and turmeric, with 1 tbsp ghee/oil (of the remaining 2) with 2 tablespoons of water - process to a slack paste.
- Heat the last of the ghee/oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Scoop the paste out of the blender/processor into the pot. Swirl everything around for about 30 secs until the spices release a fragrant aroma.
- Tip in the tomatoes, broth, coconut milk and carrots. (You can add the garbanzo beans and baby potatoes if you've chosen to add these). Continue cooking on a medium-low heat for about 25 mins without a lid until the liquid begins to reduce and darken.
- Add in the sweet potatoes and mango and simmer for another 40 mins without a lid until the carrots are nicely stewed and the sweet potatoes are fall-apart tender. The masala should be thickened now – you might need to add an extra ladleful of broth or water if the curry needs it. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and stir.
- Serve with minced kale and cashew yogurt or regular yogurt and sprouted brown rice for the non-paleo eaters at your table!
The only thing that makes the coming of winter acceptable is Autumn. It encapsulates everything comfortable. Soothing. It’s the time of year where us women bust out the knee socks and boots with pleasure. Tights and chunky knit sweaters are welcomed with glee.
As is the craft beer, fresh, warm baked bread, hot stews and holiday gatherings. So much about this time of year for me has always revolved around harvest, canning food, feasting with friends and family. Revelling in the spirit of gratitude and solstice. Come New Years however … the pounds from all of those indulgences would be hard to ignore and the inevitable New Years resolutions would start to float around in my head. (No matter how much I tried to say I didn’t believe in them.) I know I’m not alone in this. I’m ready to step out of my comfort zone this Autumn and embrace all that I love about this season without forgetting to revel in the care of my body and health too.
Our eating habits, exercise routine and stress levels lay the foundation for how we feel. So this year I’m sharing all of my favourite Autumnal recipe makeovers. Over the past couple of years I’ve attempted trying to make healthier versions of the indulgent savoury dishes and sweet treats that come with the feasting, the ceremony … the gathering in gratitude and solstice that many of us do over the next few months. Regardless of our varying beliefs. There have been a few hits and misses. All I’m going to say is that one has to respect the power of coconut flour. And the science of baking. We’ll leave it at that for today because I’m sharing one of my easier, fave savoury side dishes that pleases everyone come the holidays …
- 2 - 4 pounds (depending on how many you have at your holiday table!) small brussels sprouts (each about 1 inch in diameter), trimmed, halved through root end
- 1½ (double if using more brussles sporouts) cups diced bacon
- Juice of 1 lemon, (double if using more brussles sporouts)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ (or more) cup of grated asiago cheese (or parm, or nutritional yeast if wanting it vegan)
- 1 tbsp. (or more) real maple syrup (the dark stuff)
- Optional: 1 cup of shaved almonds
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss brussels sprouts in medium to large bowl with bacon, lemon juice, zest, maple and optional shaved almonds.
- Toss and spread brussels sprouts onto a parchment lined baking sheet in single layer.
- Roast brussels sprouts until tender and beginning to brown, stirring every 10 minutes, about 40 minutes.
- Transfer to bowl, sprinkle with the grated asiago (parm or NOOSH) and serve.
- You can also do this dish in a crock pot on slow for 4 hours, which I typically do for Xmas, as oven space is scant.
So. The Elementary School Milk Program (AHEM: Chocolate Milk MARKETING CAMPAIGN, because their sales go way down without the inclusion of said chocolate milk), is getting rather brazen and authoritative this year.
Did You Know?
“Chocolate milk has no more sugar than ‘100% Fruit Juice!” This is the whole ‘Milk in Schools’ slogan slapped across pamphlets that went home with most public, elementary aged school kids this week. I’m just gonna tweak that nifty little tag-line a bit for a minute here. Amuse me. Come along for the ride. “Chocolate milk has the same (if not more) amount of sugar as ‘100% Fruit Juice!” There. Much better. Let’s break this whole juice is healthy concept down first. It’s not just soda that is full of sugar. Juice can be just as high in sugar as soda. Even the ‘100% fruit juice’ labelled ones, with no extra sugar added. Fruit juice contains no fibre, and the small amounts of vitamins and antioxidants in even the 100 % pure fruit juices do not make up for the large amount of natural sugar content. Read that article linked within. It’s a gooder. I tried to find the chocolate milk pamphlet online to link to, no dice. All I could find was the more generalized (perhaps LESS CONTROVERSIAL, ahem) milk in schools brochure. But as you can see from my picture above – they are blatantly promoting chocolate milk all on its own.
The Truth About Marketing
Unfortunately, food and beverage manufacturers aren’t always honest about what is in their products, keep in mind. The fact is, the fruit juice you find at the supermarket may not be what you think it is… even if it’s labelled as “100% pure” and “not from concentrate. There are 30 grams of sugar in flavoured milk (chocolate, strawberry). Flavoured milk also has other ingredients you won’t find in the plain stuff such as colours, flavours, artificial sweeteners, which definitely don’t make it more nutritious. Yes, chocolate milk is damn tasty and I prefer to give it to my kids occasionally as a treat. It’s not being given to them every single day as a healthy food choice.
About 1 in 3 North American children are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the first generation of kids who are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. By 2050, 1out of every 3 North Americans will have diabetes at the rate we’re going. This is a fundamental problem that no one is talking about. I’m paying attention and not listening to everything being marketed to me as touted being healthy for my kids and we’re teaching our kids about food brands and labels and how what they see on all of the food being marketed towards THEM aren’t honest. With this pamphlet coming home from school, we had to have another talk about chocolate milk being a TREAT, not an everyday healthy drink to consume like the advertising and slogan on the pamphlet would have their sponge-like little minds believe.
So I don’t mind having these talks with my kids. I believe that kids are being told some of the biggest lies they will ever hear in their lives by government and the food industry. It kind of boggles my mind though that we’re the ones who get strange looks at the grocery store say for example, when one on my kids pipes up asking, “look, mama, these gummies say they have vitamins and 100% fruit juice in them! That’s MARKETING right mama?! Is that true?” We’ve taught them to question marketing and to know that they are being sold lies. If we did not teach them this, they would believe what they’re seeing and reading. Kids are so trusting and innocent in this way. Just as we teach them about ‘stranger danger’, we teach them about sneaky marketing. You can think we’re zealots or go overboard with the whole healthy food consumption thing, all that you want. The stats don’t lie. MARKETING DOES. Especially advertising geared towards children. Take for example the chart that I’m looking at right now on my dining room table. It compares the nutrients of white milk and chocolate milk VS. “100 % apple and orange juice.” They list them all, calcium, vitamins D, A and C, including protein, fat and carb content. They don’t say that most of those ‘nutrients’ are injected into the milk and are synthetic. They very conveniently leave out the Bovine growth hormone content that is given to cows in the U.S. to make them mature faster and produce more milk, or the inhumane treatment that happens to cows on non-grass fed dairy farms everywhere.
Canada … Ontario, Get With The Times!
The biggest thing they’ve left out of that pretty little chart? THE SUGAR CONTENT in flavoured milk or 100% fruit juices. How convenient. Kind of sneaky in fact. We as a society are ready to analyze and question what we’re being sold in other areas of our consumption (clothes, cars, houses, etc.) We doubt, we question, we can see when we’re trying to be bamboozled. We do the research to make sure the product we’re buying is legit. Why on EARTH wouldn’t we do that when it comes to the FOOD THAT WE EAT?!
Look, I get it. Milk in schools is an easy, accessible way to help children get trough their day. So let us leave it at that, with plain old milk leaving the flavoured ones out. If the excuse is that kids are more inclined to drink chocolate milk over the plain, well yea! Of course they are. When we give them that choice. When we give them that power over their own nutrition. It’s up to us as parents to begin at home with these teachings.
Advocates like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and his Food Foundation movement, have stood by his Flavoured Milk campaign. His message is clear: the more sugar we consume, the more we tend to want. If even milk has added sugar, what doesn’t? Part of getting everyone to better eating is getting everyone familiar with more wholesome, less-processed foods. Milk closer to nature is a better choice than milk with added sugar and colourings and flavourings. Every eating occasion is an opportunity to promote health or oppose it. If schools take a lead role in promoting health, there will still be much work to do outside of schools, but school then becomes an important part of the solution, rather than contributing to the problem.
And I agree. Adding flavourings and sugar to milk offers no nutritional benefit. The harm of the sweetened dairy products, besides the added calories, is that the palate changes so that the drive for sweetness increases. No matter what Oliver’s critics might say. Speaking of which, his flavoured milk campaign is SO 2011. He’s since moved on to lunches that are served in schools and food education for kids, parents and teachers alike.
Socioeconomic and Demographic Accessibility
The hardcore truth of the matter is that some kids go to school without being fed breakfast. Or, if they have been fed breakfast, it was a bunch of sugary crap. Every single day. (Again, I’m talking about consistency here, not the occasional treat). And much the same continues throughout their day when they pull out snacks and lunch. Very little whole-food based food with REAL (not synthetic) vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and protein value. So milk is a simple, accessible (cost effective) choice for many families to jump on board with to supply their kids with at least SOME nutritional food value to keep going throughout their day. I personally know that most of the vitamins touted to be in milk are not naturally sourced. As in they’re synthetic forms of those vitamins and ADDED into milk to make it more marketable. A one stop shop to get a whole fleet of vitamins, minerals and food supplements: vitamin’s A, B6, D, B12, calcium, protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous zinc. Healthy carbs and fats. (Questionable, i.e.: skim vs. regular, whole milk vs. 2%, organic vs. regular, etc.)
I realise that our family comes from a place of privilege wherein we (by working our butts off to be able to afford whole foods) can provide our kids a nutrient dense diet every day. There are several reasons that we view this as a high priority in our budget, which stem from cultural beliefs surrounding food and water being sacred, being medicine; core values and health issues that my husband and I have. The truth is that there are a plethora of other ways for even low-income families to feed their kids simple, whole-food based meals and snacks that provide all of the nutrients that milk and flavoured milk are advertised as having. But knowing and understanding this takes LEARNING and education for parents too. Which is why some North American schools have stopped including flavoured milks in the milk programs and have workshops and book informative public speakers to come in and provide hands-on learning tools about how to feed their families on a budget, exposing truths about sugar and industry marketing.
My reasons for writing this post aren’t just to rant and rave. I’m hoping to generate online discourse and proposing that parents who are interested in tackling this issue, DO SO. It is much easier to turn a blind eye to the horrifying statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes and continue on as we were. Buying the hype. At what cost? We need to rally together, support one another, regardless of socio-economic and demographic barriers. Start up a movement in your school. Research speakers and workshop options. Put together your own presentation and make a call-to-action with your school’s principal to present at your next School Council meeting. Share your knowledge with other parents and students in an approachable, helpful way. Make suggested alternatives to flavoured milk easy, price friendly and accessible. Be the motivation. Igniting community awareness and interest in a convenient manner is key. We can’t just TELL parents they’re doing something wrong. How pompous, right? In essence, they aren’t. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. With what we’ve been
When industry partners up with the government (the Elementary School Program for example, or say – the Canadian Food Guide, which is a whole other bucket of worms, but take a comparitive look at our food guide compared to the Brazilian Food Guide ), the thought of challenging that strong-hold of power is overwhelming. I get it. Writing this post took me nearly two hours and I have many more (hours) ahead of me if I hope to get chocolate milk sales banned from my kids’ school and help other parents and kids understand why this is a GOOD THING. No, I don’t have lots of time on my hands. I work full-time too. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have our own daily intricacies, problems and issues to deal with.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It …
Sugar, in and of itself has become a widespread, controversial subject. Please watch the documentary “Fed Up”. It’s a highly (scientific and evidence based) researched (albeit disturbing) look at sugar as the INDUSTRY it really is. Placing private profit ahead of public health. Watch the trailer below.
Learn more, know more.
What You Can Do
➵ Be friendly. DON’T BE PREACHY. Make it fun. Perhaps start off with signing up to have your school celebrate Food Revolution Day 2016 and use The Flavoured Milk campaign a springboard for small steps.
➵ Print and share the easy to read PDFs from Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, Toolkits for Change under “Flavoured Milk.’ There are 3 sections (The Facts, Find Support and Create a Campaign.) Email my post to begin, if you want, to your school council members and principal. Post it on FB and tag your neighbours, your friends, etc. Find your allies at the school and join together.
➵ Contact your school council chair, your principal, your ministry of education (where the campaign comes from). This might be considered causing a ruckus depending on where you’re at demographically. I guess you need to be comfortable with that. Or be okay with being uncomfortable. I’m going to be communicating with my kids’ school council that I’m already a part of and the principal to make my own presentation.
➵ If you can get your school’s principal and council members on board, call an info night session for all parents to attend and hand out the resources linked above, put them on a overhead and use them as talking points to all parents in attendance. Better yet, make a mini, easy to digest power point presentation using these resources to accompany it. Send the printables home with the kids too, just like that chocolate milk pamphlet was. They may not be printed in colour on fancy heavy weight gloss paper, and that’s okay.
➵ Contact ME to use and modify my power point presentation (coming soon!). Sign up for my newsletter to find out when. Or simply use Jamie Oliver’s resources to create your own, that’s what I will be doing, he makes it easy.
This may be one small thing that you do – in eliminating flavoured milk being sold at your kids’ school. With the power to invoke long-term change; in how parents and kids know about and understand nutrition, how neighbourhoods and school districts to come together as a village, recognizing the importance of food education and diet-related diseases that we are facing with this generation.
We go through popsicles around here like nobody’s business in the summer. I could buy them … but why would I when I can make them on my own at a fraction of the cost, in mere minutes, chock full of superfood goodness? The days are long and activities of many these warm, luxurious days and my kids need all of the extra energy and dense nutrition they can get. I used their favourite fro-yo combo (mixed berry) as the base inspiration for these healthy little treats and added some of our vanilla shakeology into the blender with some frozen berries, coconut water and coconut yogurt. You can of course, make them without coconut water and use regular dairy yogurt too!
But I wouldn’t skimp on the superfoods because every parent of young children knows that the blender is the best way to sneak healthy ingredients into their busy little bodies every chance we can get …
Almond butter is sexy. I don’t have to think hard about a descriptive for it … this is immediately what comes to mind. Maybe it comes from the making of it, prior to the consuming of it. For its simple generosity and various uses. The way it coats ones mouth so that you are invited to let your tongue roll around its thick, creamy texture, luxuriating in the mouthy feel of it.
The satisfaction that it brings as a vehicle to many a slice of fruit, vegetable, chocolate chip and spoon. Spooning is mandatory. I’ve become rather smitten with making my own, you see, because I can. Because it’s cheaper than purchasing, especially in raw, organic form. I reject all other forms unless it involves coconut oil, a dash of sea salt and maple syrup. I like it how I like it.
I also prefer to soak my nuts prior to roasting them (which is a whole other post, this soaking of the nuts and seeds thing), which isn’t for everyone. So feel free to skip this step. It’s not an absolute thing. Neither is adding the coconut oil and you could also sweeten it with stevia, dates or nothing it all! It doesn’t need much, whichever you choose.
Almond butter has become a popular choice with the kiddos around here too, bye bye sugar laden peanut butter. I’ve also started making sunflower seed butter so that Wyndham can take it to school to dip his fruit and veggies as he pleases.
Subscribers and friends here will know, that children’s food and nutrition is something that we take very seriously. In making food as fun as possible sort of way, especially when it comes to teaching and sharing with kids about the bounty of nature and the pure joy and allure that various types of fresh food and cuisine can offer in our daily lives.
Of this (and more), a company such as The Rainbow Plate need not preach to us about. Which is one of the many reasons I love what they’re doing as a company. The don’t preach. They focus less on nutrition lessons and more on inspiring people to simply embrace real food. With a hands-on approach to their programming and supportive resources, they expose people to a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, spark imaginations and cultivate healthy habits. You can can quite easily imagine how smoothly they create a connection betwixt food, play and imagination; getting kids excited about food and for adults to support and nurture kids to become lifelong thoughtful eaters.