Healthy Kid Meals?

I have been seeing this tread online lately: making healthy kid meals at home. This is an easy thing to do, for the most part, but I have been paying very close attention to the meals at restaurants for kids when I am out with my son and I am so disappointed. Even with the places that have “healthy meals” for them. This generally breaks down to switching fruit out for french fries. Fruit which is usually apple slices which yes are healthy but are still pretty sugary. As for drinks the only healthy drink is usually milk or water. Sometimes you can get an apple juice – which is even more sugar. Very rarely, if ever, you get a choice of vegetables – even carrot sticks. And I am not even talking about just fast food restaurants but also regular sit down places.

Now, there seems to be a basic idea of what kids eat at meals and this usually is: fried chicken nuggets, spaghetti (with tomato sauce no meat), grilled cheese, pizza, quesadillas, fried, fried, fried… and fried. Do we really need to look any further to why our kids become picky eaters? And only want to eat crap? Do we continue to have french fries available in kids meals, so we won’t feel guilty for eating them while our kid munches down on carrots or apples?

I can not say I am not guilty. The other day I was craving a burger from Wendy’s and my kid got one too but my husband got him fries. We try to be very careful with giving him crap food. We try not eating out as much because its such a temptation. And when we do, we try hard to be careful in his meal while we are out. We hit Quizno’s the other day on a quick meal out while running errands and I was a little surprised in a place that has a wide range of choices of meats, cheese and vegetables had such a crappy kids meal menu. Their choices: Flatbreads – 1 with three cheeses and the other with cheese & marinara then a meatball monster. Luckily they had a choice of build your own and I did just that… I got him a turkey, cheese with tomatoes, lettuce and avocado. While his only side choices were a cookie or chips… my husband and I got the baked chips and ate them ourselves. As for a drink… we had lemonade which I watered down.

At least I had the choice. I don’t have a choice in a lot of places when fried chicken nuggets (which, yes my son does enjoy) are the main choice. Why not bake them? Or do nuggets without the breading and grilled? My son loves grilled nuggets just as much as Fried. One of the few places that bakes their chicken nuggets: Target. They don’t have a fryer on hand just that giant rolling oven they make their flatbreads, pizzas and chicken strips in.

I read about how kids are fed in other countries, like France, where they do not have kids menus. Kids eat the exact same food as parents. These kids generally not only are less picky eaters but also have a greater appreciation for food as they grow up beyond just greasy yumminess that we all grow up on in the US.

I am trying to do this but it is hard when that $2.99 meal comes up and he needs to eat as well. I don’t mind sharing with my son but I am trying to break him from the habit of not eating his food so he can eat off my plate instead. At dinner, we make sure he has the same food we do. I make him the same breakfast I have on 5 out of 7 days. But when we are running errands and we have to stop for a quick meal we are generally not very lucky. One of the few places in the Denver area that has a reasonable kids menu is Ikea… they actually serve kids vegetables with their mac & cheese.

So, what do we do? For now, I am going to just start feeding him off of my plate again unless I see better meals for kids on the menus. It’s not like they don’t give us enough food on our plates.

Cheesy Pretzels!

I am always looking for yummy, homemade healthy-ish snacks to make for my son. He loves all types of breads so I figured why not go ahead and try some soft pretzels and yum them up with some cheese:

I had a couple of people ask me for the recipe so here it goes. Now, these aren’t perfect yet. I needed to add more cheese – I ran out of time in the mixing because 1. our shredder sucks 2. I didn’t pre-shred the cheese early enough.

I took a soft pretzel recipe from FoodNetwork.com by Alton Brown and made some of my own changes. Here is the recipe from the website but I bolded the changes I made to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups (use 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose white)
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (I just used a bit more kosher salt since I didn’t want them to be too salty since my son is only 14 months)
  • Shredded Cheese – Medium Sharp Cheddar was my choice. Use whatever you want – I recommend about 2 cups for mixing with the dough and 1 cup for topping it.

Directions (from FoodNetwork.com)

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam. Add the flour,cheeseand butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope, cut again into several small pieces. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Make small tubes of the dough, you should get about 28-32 depending on size (I made mine just big enough for Miles to hold easily). Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and lightly sprinkle with the pretzel salt and shredded cheese. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

I put about half of these in the freezer but you may not have to because they get eaten pretty quickly.

These are about 100 calories each.

FOOD!!

So, my sons first birthday is right around the corner and I am going crazy with ideas for food. We are having a small gathering of family and some friends. Mostly finger foods. My dad is going to be bringing a turkey up – shredded that we will use for sandwiches. But its the snacks… we will be doing a lot of cooking and in fact I probably should start making a lot of the items this weekend. We have cupcakes and the cake. The cupcakes need a dry run though. Need to make sure I have it all down before I make them for the party.

Then we have some pizza sticks we are making. Miles loves pizza crust so we are going to make this sticks of the dough but making a few versions. One we will mix in cheese, then in another we will mix in carrots and zucchini, maybe another will have a sweet additive or cinnamon. He loves cinnamon.

For the sweet tooth – candies! I am making Mickey Mouse lollipops with red, white and dark chocolate. But I thought it would be fun to make some Pretzel Wands. Basically the larger pretzel sticks (take off some of the salt) then dip in chocolate and then dip in different color sprinkles.

As you can see from the list – there are some items that I can definitely make this weekend and store in the freezer for the party.

We will also be making cookies… probably just chocolate chip. I want to make more but also limited time. With family coming in we have a lot of things to do while everyone is here and the day of the party we are also having my son and niece’s baptism in the middle of the day. My husband and I have this really bad habit of doing as much as possible in a short period of time.

Time to run… someone just fell onto one of his toys. At least not blood just a boo-boo.

Do It Again?

I have been reading some of my old workout blogs… I have come a long way but also have backslid a TON. But rereading them has made me feel inspired to work out again and possibly blog about it.

Yay or Nay? I need to get this baby weight off now!

Finally… I made it to the gym!

For the first time in I don’t know how long but I finally made it. I joined a local Bally’s that is a stones throw from my new place in Los Angeles where I am living with my fiancee Omar. Oh yeah, I moved recently… but he and I are both getting on the healthy kick. Which means, no more frappacinos at Starbucks except once a week – where I will treat myself to their new low-cal ones and only the smallest one which is around 150cals and without whipped cream.

BTW, I noticed the other day when I was at the movie theater, the AMC at Universal Studios now posts the calorie count of their snacks. Very nice!!! Check out the theater near you and see if they do that as well. I am seeing this more and more in places. Outback Steakhouse has a special menu with the nutritional listed on it as well at the location. As them if they have it next time you stop by. They have a decent amount of selections of healthy meals and they have a mark next to the items that can be made low-calorie as well. Its nice to see this happening more and more. Let me know of any others you may see!!

So, I hoped into the car this afternoon – yes, I drove a block to the gym… I suck but it was frakking hot and I didn’t want to walk the streets in my workout clothes which consist of skin tight pants and my flabby butt. 😀
Warmup:

15m30s – treadmill, incline 5, speed 3.0

Work Out:

4×15 @ 30lbs – lat pull down
4×15 @ 30lbs – fly
4×15 @ 35lbs – back excercise

3 x 12 – back extensions – circuit with obliques
2 x 15 @ 45lbs – oblique machine, right side
2 x 15 @ 45lbs – oblique machine, left side

Assisted Chin Ups – counterweighted with 160# (so I lifted around 50-60lbs of my own weight) – 8 then 6 then 7
Assisted Dips – same as above – 9 then 7 then 5

Cool Down

17mins – elliptical weight loss intervals

Finished the workout with a yummy Syntha-6 protein shake!!!

Est. WO Time – 1h15m
Est. Cal Burn
– 891 workout/3580 daily total
Est. Cal Intake – 1909… high on protein, low on carbs


Fall Muffins

Okay, I will say these aren’t oh yummy yummy like blueberry muffins. They are not overly sweet, or sweet at all when you first eat them but they have a flavourful after taste. I made this recipe up today because I was bored and felt like I would share and I named them “Fall Muffins” because the flavor reminds me of the fall…

p.s. if you don’t like them – not my responsibility. I made em, I like em… I posted the recipe… please note there is a splenda aftertaste… but that happens when ever you bake with splenda I have found but its not horrible.

I would suggest trying these with some butter if you want on them, while warm, or a bit of Apple Butter.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup – Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tsp – baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp – baking soda
  • 2 tsp – cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup – crushed almonds
  • 3/4 cup – splenda
  • 1/2 cup – Quaker Instant Oats
  • 1/2 Cup – Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I used EAS which is about 120cals a scoop, any other may add calories so just be aware)
  • 1 or 2 pinches of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup – Reduced 2% Fat Milk
  • 1/4 Cup of Orange Juice (used Simply Orange)
  • 1 Large Egg Beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp – vanilla extract, pure
  • 2 tbsp  – I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter, Light Melted or Margarine of Choice (please note that if you go with something different, the cals may be different. ICBINB Light has 50 cals per tablespoon)

Fruit Ingredients:

  • 1 Apple – cubed (I used a medium Gala) and peeled
  • 1 Small Banana Mashed

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place about 20 – 35 almonds into a large bag, with a mallet or something, crush them into small broken almond bits.

Mix the dry ingredients by hang in a large mixing bowl. Put to the side.

In another container pour the orange juice and milk in together. Beat egg in a bowl then pour into the milk & orange juice. Keep the melted margainine to the side in a seperate bowl.

Pour the orange juice/milk/egg mixture in with the dry ingredients and stir by hand until well mixed. It will be lumpy but that is okay!

Pour the melted butter and fold into the mixture.

Add the cubed apple and fold into the mixture.

Add the mashed banana and fold into the mixture.

Mix by hand all the ingredients until you can tell everything is well mixed. It will look kinda of dry when mixed: Add about a dash more of the orange juice and the milk then stir only a few more times.

In a muffin pan, line with muffin/cupcake liners then fill with two large spoonfuls of the mixture into the liners. This will bring the mixture to the top. If you have some left over after filling it – just add a bit more to each one until you have no more left. It will look like below.

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Place into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until you stick a tooth pick in and it comes clean.

This is your final product:

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Nutritional Information (estimated)

84g per serving

Calories: 175
Fat: 3.75g / Saturated Fat – .75g
Sodium: 114.75mg
Carbohydrates: 24.25g / Fiber 2.75g / Sugar 10.83mg
Protein: 7.5g

Workouts: 7-30-09 to 8-9-09

7-31-09, Friday

Warm Up
15m – Elliptical, Weight Loss, Resistance 3
5m – Stretching
10m – Ballet Toning & Stretching

Toning

Shoulder Press Hammer Strength ISO, weight per arm – super set with chest
12 @ 20#
12 @ 10#
12 @ 10#

Incline Chest PressHammer Strength ISO, weight per arm – super set with shoulder
12 @ 20#
12 @ 10#
12 @ 15#

3 x 15 @ 20# bar – arm curl, hands wide (super set with curls)

1 x 15 @ 15# dumbbells – curl, right
1 x 15 @ 15# dumbbells – curl, left
2 x 15 @ 12# dumbbells – curl, right
2 x 15 @ 12# dumbbells – curl, left

Leg Press
15 @ 90#
12 @ 140#
9 @ 165#
9 @ 185#
6 @ 205#
18 @ 140#

Abs

2 x 15 – Double Crunch
2 x 15 – Reverse Crunch

Cardio
20m – Internvals, 3.5/5.7 – 1m30s walk/1m run – 2incline/4incline changed with each set
5m – Walking, 3.5mph, 2 incline

Est. Time – 1 hour 40m
Est. Cal Burn 1237

8-1-09 until 8-5-09

Rest/Study for Finals Days

8-6-09, Thursday

Warm Up
10m – Ellitipcal, Weight Loss, Level 3

Workout – groupings are supersets/circuits

4 x 20 yards @ 20# bar – walking lunges
4 x 15 @ 40# – lat pulls

4 x 15 @ 20# – kettlebell/dumbbell swings w/ wide stance sumo squats
4 sets @ 25# ezbar – 21s curls (7 low half curls, 7 high half curls, 7 full curls each set)
2m – Row Machine

Cool Down
Stretching

Est. Time: 1h 10m
Est. Burn: 839

8-7-09, Friday

Work Day – ended up working from 9:30am until 8pm…

8-8-09, Saturday

Warm Up
30m – Elliptical, Glute Trainer, Resistance 7 (324 cal burn)
Stretching

Workout

1 Circuit
15 @ 45# – Lat Pull Down with 1 hand reversed (switch hands each set)
15 @ 40# – Bicep Cable Curl
15 @ 45# – Tricep Pushdown with V Bar

(reduction of weight for the rest of the rounds due to a problem with the popping in my sternum)

3 Circuits
15 @ 45# – Lat Pull Down with 1 hand reversed (switch hands each set)
15 @ 40# – Bicep Cable Curl
15 @ 45# – Tricep Pushdown with V Bar

2 circuits
15 @ 20# – Shoulder Press
15 # 50# – Seated Row

Cardio
30m – Treadmill, Random Inclines, 3.5mph (329 cals burn)
30m – Treadmill, Rolling Hills, 3.2mph (308 cals burn)

Est. Time 2h10m
Est. Cal Burn 1464

8-9-09, Sunday

Warm Up
13m – Elliptical Cross Ramp, Crosstraining, Resistance 6,
Stretching

Workout

15 @ 60# – Laying Leg Curl

3 Circuits

15 @ 12kg – Step Up w/ Kick Back, Left
15 @ 12kg – Step Up w/ Kick Back, Right
15 @ 5kg – Sumo Squat w/ one leg up, left
15 @ 5kg – Sumo Squat w/ one leg up, right
10 – push ups on knees
10 @ 8# med ball – wood cutter w/ squat
15 – Poly Side Skip Jump
15 @ 8# medicine ball – Jack Knife Crunches
3 x 30secs – isometric bridges
2 lengths – walking lunges

Est. Time: 1h20m
Est. Cal Burn: 919