Many people feel overwhelmed about health and nutrition- and no wonder, with a new fad diet being popularized each week, and foods that we thought were healthy becoming forbidden, seemingly overnight!Â The truth is, most nutrition advice is based on bits and pieces of research done in the lab, and very little of it is relevant to our varied diets and activity levels.Â The other truth is that almost all of us could improve our diets by eating more fruits and vegetables, and by eating fewer processed foods.Â Itâ€™s not all-or-nothing: there are always going to be times when youâ€™re pressed for time or have little energy to cook, and you end up relying on convenience foods to feed your family.Â Thatâ€™s not the end of the world, and it doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™re a bad parent!Â It helps, though, if you have a strategy for making the shortcuts as healthy as possible.Â Here are some tips for quick, easy fixes to make some convenience options just a bit healthier:
Healthier Tacos:Â Add finely shredded carrots to ground beef when browning to make tacos or spaghetti.Â They will soften with cooking and will disappear when the sauce or seasoning is added. Â
Veggie-packed Pizza:Â When making pizza at home, use a whole wheat crust or dough, and try adding chopped or pureed tomatoes or zucchini to the pizza sauce before spreading. Â
Unbeatable Brownies:Â Puree a can of plain black beans, rinsed, with a can full of water, and use instead of the liquid called for on a box of brownie mix.Â Really! Â Â
Spiced Cupcakes:Â Substitute canned pumpkin for the water in the directions for a yellow cake mix.Â Add some cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter before baking as directed.Â
Better than boxed Mac & Cheese:Â Mix hot, cooked whole wheat noodles with a Â½ cup of plain yogurt mixed together with Â½ cup shredded cheddar cheese and stir to melt cheese.Â Pureed yellow squash is a good addition to this if you have it on hand in the freezer.
Super Pancakes:Â Substitute mashed sweet potato or canned pumpkin for the water in the directions on the pancake mix.Â Or sprinkle frozen berries (thawed and mashed if the pieces are large) onto the pancake batter while the first side is cooking, then flip to finish cooking.
Another local Super Mom, Kristina Wiedenhoeft, offers up this great advice about how to start your own food revolution onÂ Little Ladies Who Lunch,
“I feel that people should start by getting comfortable with making food at home, and then work their recipes toward healthier versions. Â If you know what the ingredients are, and where they come from, thatâ€™s a huge step away from processed food.”Â
Well said, Kristina! We couldn’t agree more.
So far 61 generous backers have pledged $4,550 to the project! We only have 18 days to raise the $5,450 needed to reach our $10,000Â (all or nothing)Â goal. Please supportÂ Super Snacks for Super Kids with a donation and help spread the word!