Monthly Archives: May 2015

Gettin’ kids’ plates in shape

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We usually have pickles for a veggie at lunch.  Lots of crunch, counts as a veggie and healthier than chips!

We usually have pickles for a veggie at lunch. Lots of crunch, counts as a veggie and healthier than chips!

A few years ago  I was able to put together some posters for a pediatric clinic on getting kids’ plates in shape and saw those posters still hanging in the patient rooms when I brought Chloe for her two month visit (how is she two months old already?!).  Since those great tips have stood the test of time I decided to share them with you! 🙂

Engaging kids in healthy eating at a young age is really important to give kids the tools they’ll need to maintain healthy eating habits for life.  Little kids are much different from adolescents which has its benefits and its challenges.  My little guys are always so excited to help in the kitchen but can barely stir without spilling all of the ingredients.  Teenagers have a lot more independence and could be a real help in the kitchen and with meal planning…but it is likely not as high a priority for them as Twitter.  Here are my tips for trying to engage kids in healthy eating throughout their childhood.

Infants:

-Try mixing a vegetable puree, such as pureed squash or carrots, into your baby’s favorite fruit puree, such as apples or pears

-Feed your child in a highchair during meal time with the rest of the family so they can learn by watching your example

Hannah likes to say to "listen to your body" and it tells you to "eat healthy food".  Such a dietitian kid!

Hannah likes to say to “listen to your body” and it tells you to “eat healthy food”. Such a dietitian kid!

Toddlers:

-Encourage toddlers to explore new foods by using play foods and plates that focus on fruits and vegetables

-Switch to whole wheat white bread from white bread (so many different brands have gotten on board with this trend!)

-Rather than drinking juice, encourage your toddler to drink water or diluted juice and eat fruit at each meal, such as mandarin oranges or canned pineapple

These little guys love to help in the kitchen.  "Stir, stir, stir!" as Ryan would say!

These little guys love to help in the kitchen. “Stir, stir, stir!” as Ryan would say!

Preschoolers:

-Try serving two non-starchy vegetables at each meal and allow your preschooler to choose how much of each they would like to eat

-Allow your preschooler to select the vegetables or fruits while at the grocery store

-Take your preschooler to a local farm or garden through the Spring, Summer and Fall so they can see vegetables grow and change throughout the seasons

-Try switching to whole grain breads and pastas, or mix together brown rice with white rice and use half whole wheat and half regular pasta

 

School-Age Children:

-Encourage low-fat dairy, such as skim or 1% milk and reduced-fat cheeses

-Allow your school-age child to help you prepare meals to familiarize them with different foods

-Try to grow vegetables with your school-age child…kids will often try something they had a hand in producing

-Encourage your child to select the vegetables or fruits available with school lunch at school daily

Tweens:

-Encourage your pre-teen to cook meals with non-starchy vegetables and whole grains for the family

-Prepared fruits and vegetables such as carrot sticks and berries are great after-school snacks

-Mix some Cheerios or Mini Wheats in with your pre-teens favorite cereal

-Have your pre-teen design and laminate placemats to use at dinner time to help “rate your plate” each day using the MyPlate strategy (visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov)

Kale sprouts would be a great new veggie to try with tweens and teens!

Kale sprouts would be a great new veggie to try with tweens and teens!

Teenagers:

-Have your teen select a new fruit or vegetable for the family to try each week…encourage conversation

-Encourage your teen to include low-fat dairy such as low-fat cheese or reduced-fat sour cream

-Allow your teen to help with menu planning for the week.  Let them make sure each meal planned includes a whole grain, fruit and non-starchy vegetable

-Try using smaller plates, such as a ten inch plate and allow your teen to have unlimited amounts of the fruit and vegetables served at dinner

 

 

How do you keep your plate “in shape”?  Let me know in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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Is it really May already?

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My favorite chicken salad of all time!

My favorite chicken salad of all time!

Whew! May is here already? How did that happen?! We have been getting ready for our move and the month is just rapidly flying by! Chloe and I did a road trip to drop off our car and send it on its way to Germany. Since then we have been trying to use up the rest of our pantry staples, visit with friends and get a few more dates in before we go for a long time with no babysitter.

Tuesday, April 28: Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad.  Words cannot express how much I love this salad. I am a huge cabbage fan (yay, cruciferous veggies!) and the combo of the carrots, scallions, cilantro, cabbage, spinach and the salty, sour, Asiany dressing are mesmerizing. I like to prep the salad for breakfasts for the week but actually shared it with the fam this time. Everyone loved it. I should have doubled the recipe since Hannah kept wanting more and then it ran out.

Restaurant month mahi mahi, calamari, wedge ceasar and potatoes.  Yum!

Restaurant month mahi mahi, calamari, wedge ceasar and potatoes. Yum!

Wednesday, April 29: Leftovers.  Red beans and rice. Not enough food left to have leftovers,boo! Luckily I was able to convince hubby bubby to make red beans and rice. We used pantry staples and I got to have comfort food made with love. Win-win!

Thursday, April 30:  Red beans and rice.  Ree Drummond’s Pantry Pasta. This was divine! We are big fans of feta so this was a hit for the whole fam. When this came together it really seemed like a dish you would get in a restaurant, but it uses pantry staples. Music to my ears! This one is definitely going into my favorites list. (Okay, so we’ll probably end up just making it a few times a year since we try new recipes all the time, but a few times a year is a lot for us!)

Ree Drummond's pantry pasta is perfection!  We  used up the last of our linguine!

Ree Drummond’s pantry pasta is perfection! We used up the last of our linguine!

Friday, May 1: Hubby made steak and sweet potatoes for himself and the kiddos and I ate at the airport!  Best time to fly out of BWI? Not when there are riots in Baltimore, eek! Hubby bubby jokes that I just wanted to be in Baltimore to throw rocks. Not true! Chloe and I dropped our car off to send it on its way overseas and then headed straight to the airport. It actually ended up being a great time to fly out of BWI since it is restaurant month there and I had some yummy mahi mahi with asparagus and calamari and salad. Pretty awesome for airport food. And to get my fruit in I just had to stop at Pinkberry. 🙂

Saturday, May 2: Chorizo burgers with sweet corn guacamole.  These were delish! It was the perfect balance of smoky, subtle heat from the burger and creamy sweetness from the sweet corn guacamole. We all loved them and we used up the chorizo from our freezer!

Yummy salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and peppers, greens and a pesto vinaigrette.  This is light done right!

Yummy salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and peppers, greens and a pesto vinaigrette. This is light done right!

Sunday, May 3: Date night! Hubby bubby and I ate on the patio at Brio and it was gloriuous! We both ordered things that were identified as their lighter options but they were so flavorful and the potions were large so it didn’t feel like we were skimping…and gave us some calorie wiggle room to have yummy drinks.

Monday, May 4: Jumbo shrimp with garlic and chile butter and orzo with feta, tomatoes and dill. This was the day started to come down with a cold so hubby bubby was my very own Aaron Sanchez and whipped up these yummy shrimp and orzo. Hubby bubby’s mom makes an amazing shrimp with rosemary that is pretty similar and it felt like this was a Spring version of that dish. Ryan referred to his orzo as “rice” and ate a ton of it. Mostly spilling it all over the table and then yelling, “I NEED MORE RIIIICCCEEEE!!!!!” I think God is punishing me for being so loud myself! 🙂

The citrusy, buttery sauce went perfectly with the sweet shrimp and the salty orzo.

The citrusy, buttery sauce went perfectly with the sweet shrimp and the salty orzo.

Tuesday, May 5: Girls night with dietitian friends! Hubby bubby and the kiddos were home having leftovers and I powered through my cold (nothing a margarita with great company can’t fix!) and went out for Cinco de Mayo with some of my favorite ladies in Dayton. I had the shrimp diabla (shrimp in a spicy sauce) and meant to bring home some of the shrimp, rice and beans…but after the second margarita it was all gone! Oopsie!

Wednesday, May 6: Dinner at a friend’s house! We brought dessert and I totally forgot that our friend can’t tolerate much dairy, ahh! I hate when I forget things like that! I made a blackberry rhubarb cobbler and bought some vanilla bean ice cream to go with it. I put the kids to work picking rhubarb from our garden. Ryan kept asking for more to carry and then he dropped them all on the ground because they were “too heavy.” He promptly picked one up and started sweeping the grass with it. Such a goober! I didn’t start making it early enough so I ended up baking it on convection and I think that messed up the tapioca since it didn’t set up right. I think I will try baking it again without using convection since the flavors were yummy.

We loved this flavorful roast chicken with tangy green tahini sauce.

We loved this flavorful roast chicken with tangy green tahini sauce.

Thursday, May 7: Take out! My cold was getting the better of me and we were way behind on prepping for our first set of movers so we just got Chipotle and finished packing!

Friday, May 8: Za’atar roast chicken with green tahini sauce and edamame. Moving day part 1! The movers came in the morning and naturally all of the kids went a little crazy. Ryan ran outside in his slippers and Chloe didn’t want to take a nap in the morning. Luckily the movers were only there for the morning and by some miracle Ryan and Chloe napped at the same time in the afternoon so Hannah and I were able to prep the chicken. We didn’t have sumac or za’atar so I looked up how to make them and it was super easy and yummy! We all really liked the citrusy flavors and the tang of the green tahini. We will definitely make this one again.

Saturday, May 9: Date night! Hubby bubby and I headed to a local Vietnamese restaurant for some pho, spring rolls and pork skewers. They were all so good! I love the steaming bowl of noodles and love doctoring it up just how I like it. I add lot of sprouts, basil, cilantro, hot sauce and lime. Slurpy perfection!

Have you been enjoying Springy foods this May? Did you do anything fun for Cinco de Mayo?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Love when restaurants are BYOB!

Love when restaurants are BYOB!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a great week! Follow me on Pinterest to find these yummy recipes and more!

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