Monday, March 24, 2014

As Easy As Mac and Cheese!

Orriant Mommy Blogger, Emily, gives tips to keep moms and kids happy and well fed.

Today's post is about nutrition for moms and kids. I mentioned in my last post about needing to have healthier protein snacks available. I don't know about you, but on busy days I am lucky sometimes to have a “meal”, and can just grab what is within reach. Quite often they aren't the best of choices. I would not say I am grabbing cookies and a slice of white bread, but more that the snacks are not balanced (ex. a protein and a fiber). So I have included a recipe at the end of the post that I really like as a “go to” snack. Let protein be your friend in controlling hunger, cravings, and that afternoon crash. An average size female should take in 50-70 grams per day.

We had a family over for dinner last night. I made a roast, asparagus, arugula salad, grapes, and some parmesan roasted red potatoes. Delish! My kids were scarfing the asparagus and asking for more salad. I will admit I “splurged” and fed them hot dogs, a “treat” when other children come over. The other mother was surprised that not only were my kids staying at the table long enough to eat, but they were eating what was prepared. She said “George only likes kid foods like cereal and bread.” That got me thinking... why are certain foods called “kid foods”? Who decided that hot dogs, jello, peanut butter and jelly, artificially colored yogurts and cereals were what kids should eat? If we were to give whole wheat bread, cucumbers, and brussel sprouts only to kids, would they be known as “kid food”?

I don't want to jump on a soap box here, my intention is to focus on teaching our kids to eat healthy foods they can enjoy. However, “kid food” is whatever you choose. Media tries to tell us differently, but I challenge you to make a choice today to cut out a typical “kid food” from your house, or make that “kid food” more healthy (as I did below with my mac and cheese recipe). I see a difference in my kids on days they eat regularly and healthy versus days they consume more sugar or processed foods. If we can get them started on good habits at home, they can make wise choices outside the home.

Here's an interesting article about how the sugars, processed foods, dairy, and artificial sugars can affect the attitudes and actions of children - especially those with ADHD:

And foods that can improve behavior here:

Various health groups are petitioning to get the artificial colors out of things like macaroni and cereals. They are a BROWN grain, why do they need Red 40 in there? How have you gotten your children involved in healthy eating?

Below is my recipe for mac and cheese. My kids won't touch the boxed stuff....

All Natural Mac and Cheese
1 box whole grain pasta
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
¼ tsp. pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (optional)

Cook noodles according to directions. Drain noodles and return to pan. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until melted, serve and enjoy!

Oatmeal Protein Balls
1 cup almond, sunflower, or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup oats
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or dried berries (I love blueberries and cranberries)

Mix all the ingredients together, form into (1" to 1 1/2") balls and refrigerate for 2 hours before enjoying. Yields about 22 balls. Can be refrigerated or frozen for future use.

(Craisins: 133 cal. 9.9 carbs 5 g protein, Choc chips: 122 cal., 10 carbs 5.2 g protein)

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