~2 cups fresh strawberries/10 medium strawberries, tops cut off
Juice from 3 lemons
1/4 cup sugar
3 leaves of basil (I couldn’t taste these except in the last popsicle, so I must not have blended it quite thoroughly
This made 4 popsicles
You can of course, adjust the proportions to taste if you decide to make them.
1 serving of fruit in each popsicle
Strawberries: excellent source of vitamin C, and a pretty good source of fiber
With the lemon juice, you’ll get even more vitamin C – this is classically known for being good for immunity, but it also is a vital part of how your body literally holds itself together (it regulates collagen synthesis)
The American Heart Association recommends that adults limit added sugars to less than 6 (for women) to 9 (for men) teaspoons a day – if you make 4 popsicles from the amounts above, each popsicle will only have 3 teaspoons added sugar
Naturally dairy and gluten-free. Vegan depending on the sweetener you use.
My personal rating
A great way to use summer strawberries, a delicious serving of fruit, sooo refreshing, exactly what I was wishing for.
This is the first popsicle I’ve tried that I would neither recommend or make again. But in the name of science, I’m sharing all of my results
Leftover champagne + peach + honey popsicles
I didn’t use a recipe for these (which may have been part of the problem), I just googled to see if it was feasible to use leftover champagne as a popsicle.
I added some sliced peaches, a drizzle of honey and filled the rest of the mold with champagne. Thankfully, I only had enough champagne for 2 popsicles so we weren’t stuck with meh leftovers.
Meh because 1) the champagne just got really icy and made the pop taste mostly like alcohol, 2) because they were icy they just fell apart while we ate them, 3) the peaches were in big chunks and you definitely had to bite into them – not good if you have sensitive teeth.
Many of those problems might be improved if I had blended everything up? But I probably won’t try it again.
As peaches make up the majority of this popsicle, you will get a good portion of fruit
Peaches themselves are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A
As alcohol is not classified as a “food” legally, it’s hard to look up any micronutrients present in champagne. It will provide some carbohydrates and calories for energy. Moderate intake of alcohol which has been shown to have some benefits, but enough drawbacks that most experts won’t recommend starting to drink for the health benefits. Anyway. Don’t drink champagne for the health benefits 🙂
Technically dairy-free and gluten-free
My personal rating:
It gets a 1 instead of a 0 because it was edible, and I did eat the whole thing, plus, got to use up extra champagne? However, taste was very alcohol-y, texture too icy, made a mess and hurt my teeth. Would not make again
Feel free to try, if you’re of age, of course and share your results!
This has been my favorite popsicle so far. Ok it’s only the second one, but it’s good. If you like fudgesicles or if you grew up eating homemade popsicles made from chocolate pudding, you’ll probably like this one:
Chocolate Avocado Pudding Popsicles
The recipe, from Chocolate Covered Katie, isn’t even a popsicle recipe. It’s just for a chocolate avocado mousse, which is also delicious in its non popsicle form. But as a popsicle? It’s even creamier and richer than I remember fudgesicles being.
The ingredients are avocado, cocoa powder, sweetener of choice, and milk of choice, vanilla, salt. Blend them up and put them in your popsicle molds and freeze them!
This recipe involves 2 avocados, and for me, it made about 4 and a half popsicles. That means each pop contains about 1/2 an avocado, which you can totally count as a serving of fruits/vegetables
Avocados are a good source of unsaturated fat, which is known as heart healthy fat. The fat is also what makes these popsicles so creamy and rich
From my estimates (depending on the size of the avocados and how many servings are made), each pop could provide around 20% of your daily fiber needs for the day
These are made with fresh or frozen raspberries, coconut milk, and chia seeds (and sweetener; I used maple syrup). You can visit Happy Kids Kitchen for the recipe.
These interesting-looking popsicles have a combination of creamy, mild sweetness from the coconut milk, bright tart-sweetness from the raspberry, and an different but not unpleasant texture from the chia seeds.
Some fruit towards your recommended 5-9 fruit and veggie servings/day (raspberries) that provides a decent amount of vitamin C
Fiber from: raspberries, chia seeds, and even a little from the coconut milk
ALA (the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids) from the chia seeds
A little bit of protein from the chia seeds
Because it’s homemade, you control how much added sugar (and the type) you would like to add
Creamy without dairy, in case you’re lactose or dairy intolerant
also gluten free and vegan if that’s your jam (haha jam)
My personal rating:
Packed with nutrients, pretty tasty, easy to make, would probably make them a little sweeter next time, raspberries and chia can get expensive so probably wouldn’t make them often.
(Also if you are looking for ways to get kids – even little kids – excited about cooking and food, spend some more time on Happy Kids Kitchen. Heather knows what she is talking about and has so many great ideas and tasty recipes! I will be probably trying several of her popsicle recipes which she has collected here)
Do you want to adventure into cooking from a different cuisine? Do you want to do some culinary traveling but don’t feel like flying yet? Are you just looking for inspiration for something different to eat?
I’ve been trying recipes from various places around the world. To get as close to the real thing as possible without going to the country or a restaurant serving that type of food, I’ve been trying to find the recipes written by people who are actually from those parts of the world. (Or in some cases, their parents are from that part of the world and they grew up cooking those recipes)
For my own future reference, I collected the websites,blogs, etc. on a Pinterest board, but I realized I could share them with you!
Some of them are recipe blogs and some are specific recipes. Enjoy! I hope you learn something new!
(Also it will continue to grow as I try new recipes and find new recipe authors, so don’t forget to follow it or check back periodically if you want to see updates!)
I originally wrote this post before a class I was scheduled to teach at The Thinkery. I’ve updated the post with my online Mini Kitchen Explorers class in mind.
I’m pretty excited because I’m going to be teaching a series of food and cooking classes for preschoolers and their parents. It’s called Mini Kitchen Explorers, and it will be online August 5 or 6 (two different times offered). Kids and their parents will use all their senses to explore different foods in many different ways in a fun, interactive, low-pressure environment.
If you’re reading this before this class takes place, and you’re interested, you can learn more or sign up here:
Now, the reason I’m excited to teach this class is that it will just be fun. I mean, it’s not going to be easy. Maintaining a semblance of order and keeping things interesting for 3-5 year olds is no easy task (even if their parents are there too).
However. Right now, I spend a lot of my time talking to people about changes they should be making, changes they want to be making, or changes they might experience as a result of their current health condition. This is often hard (because change is hard) and is not usually fun. As much as I really try to make it positive and empowering, it often feels like telling someone the rules.
This class will be preschoolers and their parents doing fun activities that involve food.
Talking about food.
Playing with food.
Looking at food.
Or not tasting it if they don’t want to. This is a low pressure, relaxed environment. The goal is to give kids and parents lots of different ways to experience food and cooking together with no pressure to EAT VEGETABLES or TRY HEALTHY FOODS.
Lots of experience with any skill increases comfort and ability with it. This is no different for eating and being around foods, including unfamiliar foods.
A kid who says broccoli is gross and yucky and won’t eat it or anything remotely like it is really different than a kid who knows they don’t really like the texture of broccoli and can express that politely and clearly and also knows that trying a food and not liking it is not that scary because they’ve done it before lots of times and it was fine.
A kid who’s messed around in the kitchen and tried some cooking techniques and recipes (even a little) is going to be more comfortable eventually cooking or preparing foods on their own.
A kid who has learned a lot of value-neutral ways to talk about food (salty, fresh, rich, crunchy, colorful, high in protein) may be better equipped to have a nuanced understanding of nutrition and avoid black and white, extreme diet mentality around food.
Being comfortable around food and cooking doesn’t mean guarantee a person will make “the healthiest” choice. It does mean making a healthy choice (if they want to) is going to be way less difficult because they already have a basic familiarity with food.
They know what they like and what they don’t and why. They know how to choose and procure food, and how to prepare it. And if they don’t, they probably feel fairly comfortable learning how. They know at least a little bit about how foods affect them and what food can do for them.
They have a foundation from which they can make choices, rather than being hindered by fear of the unknown.
So I mean, I guess that’s my hidden agenda – remove barriers for future patients and make my future job easier. Or you know, prevent that they even have to come see me, because they have a healthy relationship with food and don’t even need my help.
Plus, seeing kids learn and explore anything is SUPER fun. They have such honest questions and interesting observations.
Or if it sounds good to you but your kids aren’t in the 3-5 age group, or you have other questions – talk to me about how we can design a learning experience just for you, your family, or your group. Let’s find a solution that will work for you.
There’s a bunch of suggestions out there for ways to eat more vegetables. Today we’re focusing on the best way to eat more vegetables FOR YOU.
Not in general, not just how anyone can, but what about you?
What will help YOU eat more vegetables?
By the way, you can use this same process for any goal you want to work on, (doesn’t even have to be nutrition-related) so if you’ve got another goal that comes to mind, just read [your goal here] instead of [eat more vegetables].
1) Start with a question: Why do you want to eat more vegetables?
To get more fiber? To lower your blood sugar? To help you lose weight? Because you want to eat fewer animal products? Because you want to broaden your palate? To have beautiful Instagram salads? Because someone told you to?
Why you want to eat more vegetables may help you narrow down the best way to go about doing it.
If it’s to get more fiber, look up some high fiber vegetables to start with – or see how many of your favorite vegetables you need to eat to reach your fiber goal.
If it’s to lower blood sugar, make sure the vegetables you are choosing will actually help you lower your blood sugar.
If it’s to broaden your palate, you will want to choose a variety of vegetables – maybe quality over quantity is your goal.
If you’re not sure why, or you’re doing it just because someone told you to, take some time to figure out why you want to.
If you know why, it’s easier to maintain long term motivation.
2) Ask the next question: What keeps you from eating as many vegetables as you would like?
Really think about this.
Is it that you get bored of eating broccoli and carrots all the time?
Is it because you hate mushy-textured boiled vegetables?
Is it because you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables?
Is it because you hate washing your cutting board?
Is it because you don’t have a place to store fresh vegetables or they are difficult to afford and go bad too fast?
Is it because your family doesn’t eat veggies and you don’t want to be/are tired of being the only one eating them?
Make sure you know your barrier (or barriers). Only then you can move onto the next step.
Guess what, it’s another question:
3) How can you solve the problem?
Brainstorming any and all ideas can be helpful, but make sure that whatever solution you choose is something you can actually picture yourself doing. Something that’s realistic and might even seem easy or too simple. Successfully completing a goal (even a small one) can propel you toward the next one, so choose a step that you are as likely as possible to do
If you’re bored of the same veggies, can you pick one new vegetable to try each time you go to the store or sign up for a CSA near you?
If you hate mushy veggies, are you ok with eating crunchy raw veggies or crispy roasted ones? (Lots of different ways to eat veggies can be found at itsavegworldafterall.com)
If you’re intimidated by cooking vegetables, can you start with those microwave-in-bag vegetables? Can you buy pre-chopped vegetables if you really hate chopping or washing your cutting board?
If you can’t store much fresh produce, can you look up some recipes for ways to use canned or frozen vegetables? Are there resources you can connect with to help you afford some more vegetables? (In the U.S. you can always call 211 to find out what local services are available near you)
Very important note: Choosing a very achievable and realistic step may not bring you to your ideal yet- your ultimate goal. That’s ok. The important thing is that this steps brings you closer to your ultimate goal
4) Do it.
Do the thing (or things) that will make eating vegetables easier for you.
Then, hey look at that! Either you’re eating more vegetables now, or you’ve realized that there were barriers you didn’t initially think of that you can now figure out how to overcome because you know what they are. Either way, you’ve moved forward toward your goal.
If you are stuck on any of these steps, a dietitian (like me :D) should be able to help you figure them out 🙂
Also sometimes just talking through these steps with a good listener (even if that’s your dog, your toddler, or your favorite houseplant) can help you realize what you already know, if you know what I mean.
What goals are you working on? What goal setting strategies work for you? What are the barriers you’ve identified? And how are you overcoming them?
Frozen fruits and frozen vegetables are good for you!
They are just as nutritious as fresh produce, and may sometimes be even a little more nutritious!
Because fruits and/or vegetables are processed (washed, cut, and frozen) very soon after being harvested, their freshness is “frozen” in place at just-picked quality! This can include ripeness (as they don’t have to be picked early to prevent spoilage on the way to the customer) and nutrition. Here’s how the process works:
Why are frozen vegetables and fruits are sometimes higher in nutrition than fresh ones?
Some vitamins and antioxidants degrade over time. Freezing a fruit or vegetable stops or really really slows down this process, so the vitamin content of frozen produce might be higher than one that has been sitting in the produce section (or in your fridge drawer) for a few days.
(This is not to say that fresh vegetables or fruit are devoid of nutrition if you don’t eat them right out of the ground or off the tree – it is only a very small portion that degrades. I just like to illustrate that you aren’t missing any nutrition by eating frozen produce)
Besides excellent nutrition, think of the other benefits of frozen produce!
No washing, chopping, slicing, peeling, needed – ready to use!
Most plain frozen fruits and vegetable products are just that – frozen fruits and vegetables. They don’t contain any added salt, sugar, fat, or preservatives! (You can always check the ingredients list if you want to make sure)
Sometimes they are more affordable than fresh, especially if it is a seasonal item (like strawberries or peaches) or one that does not grow where you live
Some vegetables are even packaged in a bag you can microwave directly so you don’t even have to get another dish dirty! (This is easy and pretty safe and a great way to get kids helping – just be careful with the hot package when it’s done!)
Some ways to use frozen produce besides steaming or making smoothies
Add frozen fruit to baked goods – blueberry muffins anytime 😀
Top a cereal or yogurt with frozen fruit
Cook frozen fruit with a few spoons of sugar to make a syrup that you can use on whatever you like!
Add frozen vegetables into the last few minutes boiling pasta to get an extra serving of veggies
Add frozen vegetables to a soup – again you can just throw them in the last few minutes
Look. I’m tired today, so we’re going to talk about something that I had actually planned in advance, but is appropriate for a day when you are tired and don’t feel like cooking or maybe don’t even feel like eating a meal:
How to make a meal out of snacks.
The fancy version of this is charcuterie. Or a smorgasbord. Although I recently looked up what a real Swedish smörgåsbord is, and apparently it includes 7 courses and must include herring and I don’t know if I’ve ever even had herring.
Anyway, you can have snacky meals that look like this:
But they can also look like this:
They can be fancy, but they don’t have to be. Most of the time when I eat a snacky meal, it’s because I’m already tired or too hungry to cook, so putting in the work to make it fancy would defeat the purpose.
The snacky “meal” I’m writing about today is assembling a meal out of things you already have on hand, or can prepare quickly and easily (like washing grapes, cutting up cheese, or baking some frozen sausage cheese puffs)
What are the ingredients?
Ideally, a snacky meal contains at least 1 fruit and/or vegetable, at least one protein food, and at least one starch.
This can definitely be modified, but the dietitian here recommends you get all your food groups (or at least 3 out of the 4).
What do you have in the fridge/freezer/cabinets that can fit in each of those categories? See some examples below
All of my examples here are finger food, but they don’t necessarily have to be – this is a great time to bring in leftovers.
As you can see, we often eat cheese for our protein – but you can use whatever you prefer and generally have on hand: hard boiled eggs, jerky, tuna salad, leftover chicken, salami, sliced lunch meat, nuts or seeds or trail mix, yogurt, leftover meatballs, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, hummus, leftover lentil or bean salad
Best if you can include both a fruit and a vegetable – or even a variety of both, but again, the idea is to pull from what you already have, not make more work for yourself. This is a great time to pull out leftover vegetables, the bag of baby carrots, the end of the salad greens that need to be eaten, those random olives or pickles that you always forget about and the bag of grapes that nobody is eating because they’re in the fridge and not on the counter. Don’t forget about dried fruits! No prep needed for those and I know mine often get neglected as they are hidden in a cabinet.
Starches are often prevalent in pantries and readily available for snacky dinners: crackers, bread, chips, pretzels, tortillas, etc. Don’t forget about leftovers – leftover pasta, potatoes, waffles – you might come up with some odd combinations, but the bottom line is – you’re being nourished!
This is a perfectly fine way to have a meal. Kids (especially young kids) often love eating this way because there are a lot of finger foods involved, they feel like they have more choice, and there are often a lot of familiar foods offered.
It may also be helpful for adults who are struggling with poor appetite, low energy, or low motivation to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need.
What do you think? Have you ever had a snacky meal before? What type of foods do you like to include?