Zest Nutrition http://www.zestnutrition.ca A Fresh Take on Nutrition Wed, 05 Sep 2018 06:02:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 5 tips for healthy eco-friendly school lunches ! http://www.zestnutrition.ca/5-tips-for-an-eco-friendly-school-lunch/ http://www.zestnutrition.ca/5-tips-for-an-eco-friendly-school-lunch/#respond Mon, 03 Sep 2018 05:08:45 +0000 http://www.zestnutrition.ca/?p=5200 I can’t believe we are in the last weekend of summer! Yikes! Like many parents we have been running around getting things organized for the upcoming school year. There is a lot of attention on how to make healthy school lunches, for good reason, we want our kiddies to be healthy so they can learn. […]

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I can’t believe we are in the last weekend of summer! Yikes! Like many parents we have been running around getting things organized for the upcoming school year. There is a lot of attention on how to make healthy school lunches, for good reason, we want our kiddies to be healthy so they can learn. Let’s face it things are about to get pretty busy in a week or so and the convenience of those prepackaged granola bars, cheese strings, and yogurts seem pretty enticing.  The unfortuante thing is many of the wrappers used for these covienent foods are not too environmentally friendly. Small changes can have a huge impact on our environment. Let’s take a look at 5 tips for healthy eco-friendly school lunches.

Limit your use of single use plastic:

Last year Miss E’s class took a pledge to eliminate plastic for a whole month. Miss E was very determined to reduce plastic and would often come home with tips on how to be more eco friendly, I was so proud of her class. There are so many options today. We love using these   reusable stasher bags, not only can they be used multiple times but they are easy to open and wash. Another option is bees wax food storage wrap.

 

Use reusable lunch bags:

Instead of plastic bags we opt for reusable lunch bags and wash them at the end of week. The girls love picking out their own design at the beginning of the school year.

 

Pack a water bottle :

Say no to plastic single use drink containers. Instead, send your kid to school with a reusable water bottle. It’s healthier for both your child and environment.  If your having a hard time getting your kids to accept water let them pick out their kid friendly water bottle.

Choose homemade more often:

This may seem like a lot of work in the beginning. Let’s take a look at why home made is better.  Most prepackaged foods are high in sugar, artificial ingredients, expensive, and packaged in single use plastic which lands in our landfill and takes hundreds of years to break down. Set aside a day to meal plan and make homemade granola bars, banana bread, and or muffins. Assign the baking to older kids if you have them. Once you get in the habit you will never look back, promise.

Try Bento style lunch boxes:

What kid does not love options? We started using bento style lunches last year and they have been a huge hit with the girls. I love them because I don’t have a million containers to wash or use any one time and dispose of.

Together, if we all make small changes we can have a huge impact on the environment. Teach your kids how to be more eco-friendly and get them involved.  What tips do you have for more eco-friendly lunches?  Please share, we would love to hear them!

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5 Minute Strawberry Chia Seed Jam http://www.zestnutrition.ca/5-minute-strawberry-chia-seed-jam/ http://www.zestnutrition.ca/5-minute-strawberry-chia-seed-jam/#respond Sat, 18 Aug 2018 05:55:17 +0000 http://www.zestnutrition.ca/?p=5181 Ahhh.. mother nature you have been good to us this summer. We have been experiencing an over abundance of strawberries from our garden boxes.  It seems like every time I go to the garden I have another bowl. I don’t want to waste and with the hot weather turning the oven on wasn’t an option. […]

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Ahhh.. mother nature you have been good to us this summer. We have been experiencing an over abundance of strawberries from our garden boxes.  It seems like every time I go to the garden I have another bowl. I don’t want to waste and with the hot weather turning the oven on wasn’t an option. The girls and I decided to make this 5 minute strawberry chia seed jam. Chia seed jam is super easy to make, naturally sweetened and soooo good.

I remember my mom making sugar laden strawberry jam, I loved it with everything from toast to yogurt. The dietitian side of me is always looking for a healthier option when it comes to  occasional food and this was on my radar for a while. Also, it is a great activity to get the girls in the kitchen and believe me they had a fantastic time.  I am not sure what they like better mashing the strawberries or testing the jam. Chia seeds are no stranger on this blog. My oldest loves chia seed pudding.

Chia seeds might be little but are packed with nutritional benefits. Did you know these little seeds are the only food to have a medical patent for blood glucose control. Chia seeds are high in fibre, protein, and anti inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds can be used in cereals, smoothies, yogurts, puddings, and as an egg substitute. Who ever knew a little seed could deliver such a major nutrition punch.

This 5 minute strawberry chia seed jam can be used on toast, sandwiches, yogurt and /or ice cream, really the sky is the limit. Have you ever made chia seed jam?

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Summer Berry Spinach Salad http://www.zestnutrition.ca/summer-berry-spinach-salad/ http://www.zestnutrition.ca/summer-berry-spinach-salad/#respond Sat, 11 Aug 2018 04:44:03 +0000 http://www.zestnutrition.ca/?p=5159 It’s been pretty hot on the West Coast. I am not complaining because I know the days are getting shorter and the dreary days are ahead. We have been eating a lot of fresh salads with ingredients from the garden. Our garden is overflowing with summer produce, I wish it could last all year round. […]

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It’s been pretty hot on the West Coast. I am not complaining because I know the days are getting shorter and the dreary days are ahead. We have been eating a lot of fresh salads with ingredients from the garden. Our garden is overflowing with summer produce, I wish it could last all year round.  This summer berry spinach salad is easy to make, refreshing, and delicious, perfect for those hot summer nights.

Most of ingredients from this salad came straight from our garden. When we moved into our house three years ago, having room for a vegetable garden was on the must have list. We are still learning and I love the excitement on my girls face when they watch plants and/or seeds turn into amazing summer produce with a burst of flavour.  The girls have been helping me with the garden, and are especially excited when the vegetables and fruit are ready to be picked. Planting a garden is a great way to teach kids where their food comes. Research shows kids that are involved in their food are more likely to eat more vegetables.

To make it heartier I added quinoa and avocado. I love adding herbs to salads, they definitely give them flavour. I added mint and topped the salad with crumbled feta cheese. Finally, I dressed it with a simple homemade salad dressing. Finally, you can make this salad a meal by adding salmon or a chicken breast on top. If you prefer to keep it vegetarian I would add tofu or chickpeas.

Summer Berry Spinach Salad

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups of spinach, washed
  • 2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, washed & sliced in half
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 handful of mint chopped
  • 1/2 cup of feta crumbled
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijion mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine spinach, strawberries, quinoa, avocado and mint in a larger bowl.
  2. Toss lightly with salad dressing
  3. crumbled get cheese on top.
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Enjoy!

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How this Dietitian gets her kids to eat vegetables and enjoy them. http://www.zestnutrition.ca/how-this-dietitian-gets-her-kids-to-eat-vegetables-and-enjoy-them/ http://www.zestnutrition.ca/how-this-dietitian-gets-her-kids-to-eat-vegetables-and-enjoy-them/#respond Mon, 30 Jul 2018 23:58:17 +0000 http://www.zestnutrition.ca/?p=5132 If there is one question I get asked on a regular basis it’s how do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? As a dietitian and a mom, I know how challenging and stressful it can be to feed growing bodies. Trust me I have pulled my hair many times trying to find ways […]

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If there is one question I get asked on a regular basis it’s how do you get your kids to eat their vegetables? As a dietitian and a mom, I know how challenging and stressful it can be to feed growing bodies. Trust me I have pulled my hair many times trying to find ways to get my girls to eat their vegetables. I am not an expert in terms of feeding kids but I have used (and use) a few tricks and would say they work 90 percent of the time. Let’s take a look at how this dietitian gets her kids to eat vegetables and enjoy them.

When my girls were ready for solids, I starting introducing a wide variety of iron rich vegetables on a daily basis. During these curious stages of eating try to offer a wide variety of flavours and textures. As a mother, I am aware that kids palates change as do their eating behaviours. Toddlers are scared of new foods, remember it can take 20 times before your child will accept it. Continue to offer new foods with favourite foods.

Be a Good Role Model:

I cannot emphasize this enough. Parents play an important role in shaping their child’s eating habits. Be a good role model.  Let your kids see you eat and enjoy a variety of  fresh, seasonal vegetables. If you asked my girls what is your mommy’s favourite food I am pretty sure they would both say veggies and salad.   We eat a lot of salads, I used to always serve the girls a deconstructed version, but now I don’t. I simply serve them the same salad as D and I and I would have to say 90 percent of the time they will eat the salad. A family favourite is  this roasted beet quinoa salad.

 

Dip it:

Kids love to dip vegetables. We usually serve cut up veggies with hummus for additional fiber and protein. Sprouted kitchen has a delicious veggie and monster hummus dip  and a delicious classic hummus. Do your kids like dips with their vegetables?

Take them to the farmers market:

What better way to teach kids where their food comes from and how it is grown than the farmer’s market. The farmer’s markets can get pretty busy during the summer months. I recommend getting to the market when it opens. You can even make a little game out of the family outing by encouraging your kids to find and try a new vegetable.

Plant a garden:

Kids love getting involved when it comes to food. Encourage the kids to help plan a vegetable garden and take care of it. The garden does not have to be big. When we lived in a townhouse we didn’t have enough space for a garden but we planted some cherry tomatoes and Miss E loved watering them and eating them. There is nothing like walking out your door to pick fresh vegetables.

Invite the kids in the kitchen:

I am a strong advocate for getting kids in the kitchen. I am passionate about teaching my girls how to cook plus its a great opportunity to spend some quality time together even if things get a bit messy. Cooking is a basic life skill that is essential to healthy eating. Studies show kids are more likely to try food that they have helped prepare. A good lesson for kids is washing fruits and vegetables and/or making salad dressing. My girls love making salad dressing and adding it to salads. Another great way to get young kids involved is have them tear the lettuce for a salad. We also enjoy making pancakes, cookies, chia seed puddinggranola bars and smoothies.

Feeding kids is challenging. Sometimes its easier to give in and let them have whatever they want.  Like many aspects of parenting, patience and good role modelling will help your child  enjoy eating vegetables. Finally, remember as the parent it is you role to decide what, where and when food is being served. It’s your child’s responsibility to decide if and how much to eat.

Do you struggle to get your kids to eat their veggies? I wold love to hear how you get your kids to enjoy their veggies!

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Creamy Pasta Salad with Arugula http://www.zestnutrition.ca/creamy-pasta-salad-with-arugula/ http://www.zestnutrition.ca/creamy-pasta-salad-with-arugula/#respond Sun, 01 Jul 2018 01:24:01 +0000 http://www.zestnutrition.ca/?p=5107 With the hot weather we are all about salads. I love summer salads that are full of summers finest ingredients. There is something special about walking out your back door to pick fresh herbs and tomatoes. I prefer hearty salads that are full of vegetables and like to add greens whenever possible. This creamy pasta […]

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With the hot weather we are all about salads. I love summer salads that are full of summers finest ingredients. There is something special about walking out your back door to pick fresh herbs and tomatoes. I prefer hearty salads that are full of vegetables and like to add greens whenever possible. This creamy pasta salad has a bit of everything except the kitchen sink. If your looking for a perfect potluck salad this creamy pasta salad with arugula is a winner.

 

We rarely eat pasta but when we do I like pair it with a salad and/or extra vegetables. I was perusing recipes for an upcoming bbq and found this pasta salad recipe on foodiecrush. I opted to use vegan mayo because we don’t love the taste of mayo and added peppers and cucumber. The original recipe called for bacon and avocado which would make a nice flavour. I contemplated adding olives but I wasn’t sure if I could convince the kids to try the salad. Like most salads you can add any ingredient you wish. If you want to make this a meal you could add chickpeas, tofu, or grilled chicken breast.

Creamy pasta salad with arugula

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cooked pasta (your choice)
  • 1 pint of cherrie tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 cucumber sliced in quarters
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3 cups of arugula, washed
  • 1/4 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • dressing:
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise ( I used a vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup of plain greek yogurt ( I used 2 %)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped felt leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp of chopped dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add salad dressing to salad and gently toss salad together
  4. Serve chilled
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If your like me and want to avoid cooking during the hot summer months I found a couple of hearty salads I plan on making like this sunny creamy tahini pasta salad from love and lemons or this baby kale salad with cherries, marinated lentils and goat cheese from Sprouted kitchen. Another salad I make regularly during the summer months is this refreshing watermelon and salad.

What is your favourite summer salad?

 

 

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