We planted our microgreen garden yesterday! It was really easy and I'm hoping that we'll have some seedlings in the next few days. We live in the desert and it's been ridiculously hot lately, so there is a chance that they'll get overly baked beforehand, but I'm remaining cautiously optimistic.So how do you find microgreen seeds? It's really easy; basically any salad mix, herbs and lettuces can be microgreens. We just went to Home Depot and picked out a few vegetable seed varieties. All of the following can be mircogreens, so just choose some that you can find locally:Mustard greens
Lettuce (any)We got beet, radish and mesclun (baby salad greens) seeds. We have raised garden beds, but you can grow microgreens in pots or even trays if you don't have a garden bed. In our case we broke up the topsoil with a and rake, then added a little home grown compost. After mixing it all together we then raked it smooth. We then all took turns spreading the seeds out. Ideally they should be 1/8-1/4 inches apart, but my toddler liked to pile them up all together. Since they will be harvested so young they don't need much room to grow, which is nice if you have a space limitation.. Then we covered them with a little soil, about 1/8 inches worth. If you are using a pot or tray make sure that you have a depth of at least 2 inches and a wide diameter.
Fill it with organic potting mix, then scatter your seeds over it. Again you are shooting for a distance of 1/4 to 1/8 inches apart. Cover with 1/8 inches of soil, then place either outdoors or at a window that gets plenty of sunshine.The key with microgreens is to keep the soil moist, so you'll need to water them often. You don't need to add fertilizer since they have such a short lifespan. That makes it easy to grow these organically. When the plants reach 1-2 inches, it's time to harvest! That should be in about 2 weeks
. I"ll keep you all updated on Facebook as to our progress, and I'll definitely be posting the harvest right here. If you'd like to try it out too, let me know what you decided to plant. Hope you have fun with this snack garden!Related reading:
Featured food: microgreens
Step 1: Get your soil ready
Step 2: Scatter seeds 1/4-1/8 inches apart
Step 3: Cover with 1/8 inch soil
Yogurt is a great snack. It is full or calcium and protein and can be low in sugar if you get the right type. It also is easily digestible and has probiotics that help digestive tracts work better. It's also convenient and kids at various ages usually go for it's creamy taste.
Yet when it comes to yogurt, plain is the way to go. Yogurts that come in flavored varieties, unless purchased from natural food stores, is chalked full of sugar, preservatives and artificial colorings. With all those additional ingredients there's less room for the things that make yogurt so good for you. But with plain yogurt you only getting those great benefits without all the additives.
Yet for most of us plain yogurt is a little too tart for our liking. We've been trained to go for the sweetened varieties and thus need a little more sweetness in our plain yogurt. So here's 10 ways to flavor your plain yogurt so that it tastes great, is a little sweeter and doesn't have anything artificial.
10 ways to flavor your yogurt
1. Honey: honey is a great, unrefined ways to sweeten your yogurt. Honey also has natural amino acids and enzymes that are good for your health.
2. Dried fruit: Dates and figs make a great natural flavoring for yogurt. If you dice them, add them to your yogurt and then let the flavors combine overnight then the flavors will really meld together.
3. Spices: Cinnamon and pure vanilla extract make for excellent flavors in plain yogurt, particularly if you accompany them with some of these other options.
4. Frozen fruit: The freezing process can make fruits break down a little, which makes it so that the yogurt and fruit mix together uniformly.
5. Natural preserves: Artisan preserves and fruit butters make for great flavors and natural fructose ( fruit sugars) sweeten your yogurt.
6. Apple and other fruit sauces: My kids still totally go for apple sauce in their yogurt- it mixes in well combines two of their favorite foods.
7. Maple syrup: Not only does maple syrup add in a little sweetness, it also adds in some great flavor too.
8. Fresh fruit: Strawberries and banaas make for some great yogurt mixers, and add in some more vitamins.
9. Nut butters: If you want a little more protein in your yogurt, nut butters will give you that while also helping make your yogurt a little more flavorful.
10. Granola: Granola and yogurt make for a great parfait. Add in some fresh fruit, and it's almost a meal in it's own right.
Now this is going to sounds crazy, but have your kids tried microgreens? No longer solely the product of gourmet restaurants, mircogreens are now easy to find in the grocery store. I got a package or organic microgreens from Trader Joe's on a whim and we devoured them. My kids loved them, especially when my daughter found out she was eating a broccoli plant in just one bite.
So what are microgreens? Commonly mislabeled sprouts, microgreens are popular vegetables that are harvested in their early development. The typical microgreen is only 1-2 inches tall. Unlike sprouts, which are grown in water, microgreens are grown in soil or peat moss. Another big difference is that microgreens are just the plant leaves attached to the stems, whereas sprouts are the entire plant (i.e. roots included).
Microgreens made their debut in the 90's and hit the restaurant circuit like crazy. They became the new fad amongst primo chefs. Foodies honed in on them as the new health food of the decade. They added texture and taste to just about everything, like soups, salads, sandwiches, dips, and whatever else chefs could dream up.
Some even began to tout their health benefits as the ultra nutrient source. However microgreens are so new that the science is still out on the front. Immature plants have not developed enough to to meet the full nutrient potential of their mature counterparts. However that's not to say that they lack nutrition, they still have a lot of nutrients in their own right. They are a plant at the first start of it's cycle, where it has some of it's basic components to grow into a mature vegetable.
So why would I recommend these as a snack for your kids? They are palatable and the diversity of one forkful is profound. In a good mix your kids will get broccoli, amaranth, celery, radish, kale and a whole mix of lettuces and herbs in one bite . Sure it's not like they ate as much nutritionally as they would have if they ate all those veggies in the full-grown stage, but there's no way your kids would be able to do that with their tiny tummies and discerning palates. So here's your chance to diversify their diets in one snack. And who knows, maybe your kids will be as excited about eating a brocolli plant in just one bite.
So I obviously really recommend microgreens, but here's way to take your snack a step further.
One of the caveats of microgreens is the cost, they are not something that you can buy in bulk for a discounted rate. But they are incredibly easy to grow. They grow outdoors, indoors, in garden beds, pots or trays. And an added bonus is that they only take a couple of weeks from planting to harvest. That's especially beneficial for kiddos, which don't always have the patience to deal with a 50 day germination period.
So here's our personal kiddos challenge. We're going to plant microgreens in our garden. I'll keep you all posted on this website and on Facebook as to our progress. Let me know if your interested in joining us and if you have any microgreen stories to share.
I've been looking though a lot of green blogs lately and have learned a lot about living a greener life. As you can already probably guess from the content of this site we already are a pretty green family. We compost, grow vegetable and citrus, have chickens that lay the most delicious eggs while eating our scraps and making terrific fertilizer for our garden, hang our laundry on the clothesline and produce just 1-2 garbage bags a week. To top it off
I even keep rotisserie chicken carcasses and chicken stock supplies in my freezer for one of those laid back Sundays (yeah right!) when I get a little time to cook. And I'm not quite sure when the last time I had a shower without a kid in there with me, though that's more a keeping-the-toddler-from-hurting-himself as opposed to a green maneuver.But that being said there is always room for improvement. So in the hopes of helping everyone become little more verdant of a family here are some ways to make your family snacks a little greener. Sure it's just snacks, but all those little green things can really add up to something big environmentally. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for making your kids snacks a little greener. I hope that you all get some good ideas!
5 ways to green up your snacks1. Use reusable containers
: Pack your snacks in reusable containers and lunch bags. You can even step this up by using clean, left over food containers. I especially like yogurt, butter and small glass jars for this purpose. Just don't microwave or put these containers into the dishwasher because they aren't heat tolerant plastics.2. Buy organic snacks
: Organic foods
are better for both your family and the Earth. But if you can't afford to buy organic all the time, check out the dirty dozen
and clean 15
, which let's you know when it's important to buy organic or if it's OK get conventional produce.3. Buy local snacks:
Shop at your local farmers market
for foods that are produced a little closer to home. Not only will you be helping out the local economy, you'll be purchasing food with a lower carbon footprint and getting some great natural snacks and produce4. Cut down on packaging:
Individually wrapped snacks create a lot of packaging waste. Check out the bulk bins and get foods like trail mix and dried fruit in bulk. When you are ready to use them as snacks, pack individual servings into your reusable containers.5. Shop with reusable bags
: Use reusable canvas bags when buying your groceries. After you unpack them, make sure that you put them back in the car so that they are ready and handy for the next shopping trip.
Well the one year anniversary of Healthy Kiddo Snacks has quietly passed us by. In that time this website has grown steadily, completely changed appearance several times over, progressed from a point and click camera to a DSL and aided in the indoctrination of a new sous chef in my kitchen, my one year old toddler with the hardy appetite. It's been so much fun and I have learned a ton. I can't wait for another year of exploration into the world of natural, affordable, easy-to-find foods.
In celebration I looked up which recipe Igets the most hits on this website. My creamy apple dipping sauce is a recipe that continually draws people in, and it's also one of my first. I put it together before I even had this blog up and running so it's never really been featured, so now is the time to remedy that glitch.
As for its merits this snack has quite a few. It crosses three of the four food groups (dairy, fruit, protein). It also is really easy to make and you don't even have to measure your ingredients out, just go by taste. It also only uses ingredients that are easy to find at your grocery store, so no need to go hunting for flax seeds this time around.
If you want to up the cuteness in this recipe you can use an apple as a serving bowl, as shown in the picture above. Simply cute an apple in half, then scoop out the center of one half with a melon baller. Viola, you have a fun, edible bowl to serve your dipping sauce in. Enjoy!
Creamy apple dipping sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
1 apple, cored and sliced
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
Mix the yogurt, peanut butter and honey together in a small bowl. Then place the sauce on a plate with the apple slices.
A while ago, when I was working on a guest blog about travel snacks
I noticed that lots of parents rely on energy bars as snacks for their carbound kids. Energy bars have some great nutritional benefits, but can be a little too much for kids with regards to sugar, calories and additives. I have tried my hand at date energy bars (pumpkin pie
, cherry pie
, apple pie
and ginger cookie
) but this time around I wanted to make ones with a crunchier texture.In this recipe I made my own almond and oat flour by processing raw almonds and rolled oats in a processor for a few minutes. That makes the base for this recipe full of fiber, vitamin E. good fats and tons of minerals (thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus, and manganese)
. Add chocolate chips for the antioxidants
and walnuts for the omegas
and you have a great snack. One of the best parts is that you don't need to bake it, so it's also really easy. Finally if the ingredient list doesn't speak for itself, these taste great.
In fact I even heard them called "dangerously good", then they quickly disappeared.Enjoy!Chocolate chip walnut energy barsPrep: 5-10 minutesMakes: 9 squares2 cups raw almonds1/2 cup rolled oats1/2 cup chopped dates1/4 cup chopped walnuts2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoons water1 tablespoon roasted flax seed
s In a food processor process almonds and oats for a couple minutes so that it becomes fine crumbs.Add oats and almonds to a bowl. Add dates, walnuts
and honey. Combine until crumbly with a fork. Add water. Using your fingers, combine until mixture holds together. Press firmly into a parchment lined loaf pan. Sprinkle on flax seeds, then press into the bars with your hands. Refrigerate for ~30 minutes, then cut into 9 squares and serve. Store remaining bars in a tupperware in the fridge.
My kids love fruit roll-ups. And on the surface they seem great, with a full serving of fruit packed into a transportable, no mess package. The only catch is that a lot of times they are high in sugar and sweetened with fruit juice, cane sugar or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. I have always wondered why you need to sweeten them so much, seeing as fruit already has so much sugar, So I set out to see if we could make then ourselves. After all we're still in the thick of great summer produce, and I got a killer deal on berries at the market.
After a little research I found out that fruit roll-ups are pretty easy to make. The hardest part is the dehydrating process, which takes several hours in the oven and careful planning when pouring your fruit puree into your baking sheet. So this might not be my quickest snack ever, but it's still pretty low maintenance since you just pop your baking sheet into the oven and walk away for a few hours.
I just got a new oven so the thought of testing it out over the course of 3 hours sounded like fun. My old oven was pretty inconsistent at baking and attached to a microwave that made ventilation in the kitchen pretty limited. We all called her Old Bessie, and there's a pic at the end of this so you all can marvel at antiquity of the thing. And after the fruit roll-ups were done I have to say, my new oven kicks some even cooking at low temp butt.
This recipe calls for mixed berried and a nectarine, but feel free to swap our with the fruit that you have at home. Ultimately the main goal of anything we cook around here is for it to be purple, my little girls' all-time favorite color. It's up to my own ingenuity to find a way to make all our purple food healthy, as this is with tons of vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber and manganese, Regardless of color I think that berried and stone fruits are your best option, but let me know if you find another combination that you like.
Mixed berry nectarine fruit roll-ups
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook time: ~3 hours
1/2 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1 tablespoon honey (optional, depending on how sweet your berries are)
Preheat oven to 250F.
In a food processor or blender puree berries until they are liquid.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour in your fruit puree, then spread out into a flat, thin layer with a spatula. Make sure that the center is a little thinner and that the edges are thicker. A uniform layer will result in burnt edges, so you want the edges to be thicker.
Cook in the oven for ~ 3 hours or until the fruit layer peels off of the parchment cleanly and evenly. Let cool completely. With a sharp knife and a ruler, score around the outside of the ruler to make even strips. Thoroughly cut through the strips and paper, so that the parchment stays attached to the fruit. Roll the strips up. When ready to eat, simply peel the parchment paper backing off. Store leftover strips in an airtight container in the fridge.
Dearly departed Old Bessie, probably not up to the task of cooking fruit roll-ups
Have you ever tired to make your own almond butter? Guaranteed it's better than even though most expensive jar at the grocery store, and much cheaper too. It's also really easy and completely natural. In no time you'll be thinking about making this stuff for friends and family to enjoy.
All you need are almonds, honey and a little vegetable or canola oil. Oh, and just to warn you, lots of time in the food processor. If you want to make it with without any oil, 10 minutes ought to do it. However if you're like me and want to speed things up a bit, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil, then let it process for several minutes.
What's great about this recipe is the honey roasting part of it. The honey caramelizes in the oven as you roast the almonds, making for these teeny tiny honey crisps that you taste every few bites. It's pretty decadent and I can't tell you enough how much my kids went for this stuff. If I had given them a spoon, they would have eaten it out of the jar.
Another great thing about this recipe is that almonds are so good for us. Almonds are actually seeds, essentially they are the pits of tiny fruits born by almond trees. They have half an adults daily serving of vitamin E, and manganese. They also have magnesium, tryptophan, copper, phosphorous, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and fiber. Finally (as if you needed more reasons) they are a good source of monounsaturated fats (i.e. the good fats).
So now that you know how good they are for your family, it's time to make some butter!
Honey roasted almond butter
Cook time: 10 minutes
Processing time: 5-10 minutes
Makes: 4 ounce jar
1 cup almonds
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (optional, depending on processing time)
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add almonds, then drizzle them with honey. Using a spoon, coat almonds with honey so that they are all covered, then press them down into a flat layer. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
After almonds are done cooking, let cool so that foil is easy to handle. Lift up sides of foil and transport the almonds to a food processor, then shake them from foil into the processor. Process until almonds are crumbly, then add salt and oil, if using. Continue to process for several minutes, until a butter forms. Refrigerate for long term storage for up to a week. Enjoy!
So this is obviously not a snack posting tonight, but I just want to highlight some wonderful bloggers out there that have helped give me insight and ideas.
I've recently been working on building my readership and have been surfing the blogosphere for tips and links. So if you want to read some more from Mom's that blog about food, family, and life here are five of the great sites that I have found:
Super Healthy Kids
: This is one of my favorite sites. Amy tirelessly posts great recipes and advice and I enjoy checking in regularly. there is also a great giveaways section.Raise Healthy Eaters
: This site is ran by a registered dietitian and is a great source for all your family nutrition questions. I recently got all my dinner recipes for the week from this site and my kids have been cleaning their plates.Health Nut Foodie: I love the mission and recipes on this site.
Sometimes healthy is seen as tasteless, and this site is really triumphing over that misconception.Natural Parents Network: This is a comprehensive site for parents that want to raise their kids
in a compassionate, natural way. An added bonus is that there are some truly great natural products giveaways on this site.Bloggy Moms
: This is a general site that posts blogs from Mom's all over. It's a great way to quickly scan what other Mom's are up to
Here's a great way to sneak more whole grains into your kids diets- make a smoothie. They won't even know it's there and they will be enjoying a snack that has lots of fiber, phosphorus, selenium, manganese and protein
.The inspiration behind this smoothie is granola, another great snack.
Essentially granola is made out of rolled oats, almonds, honey or maple syrup and coconut. Sure there are some other things you can throw in, like additional seeds and nuts, but that's the basic recipe. So I took those basics and turned them into a smoothie. The oats
need to be soaked in vanilla almond milk for at least 10 minutes prior to blending so that they can soften. Almond milk has become pretty ubiquitous the last couple of years, so you should be able to find it in the dairy section of your grocery store. You can use sweetened or unsweetened, but just keep that in mind when you add the honey. Otherwise this recipe is pretty easy, just pop it in the blender, puree and, viola, you have a granola smoothie.
Enjoy!Blueberry granola smoothiesPrep: 5 minutes, after soaking oatsServes: 3-41 cup vanilla almond milk1/2 cup quick rolled oats1/4 cupped unsweetened shredded coconut1 cup blueberries1 tablespoon honey12 ice cubesSoak oats and coconut in almond milk for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.Combine soaked oats with the rest of the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.