News: healthy

Toddler Lunch Ideas

By Gen Cohen

New ideas for sandwiches, wraps, mini-pizzas and more tasty lunch recipes for kids. 

By Jennifer Saltiel, Stephanie Eckelkamp and Kelly Ladd Sanchez
parenting.com
Honey, Almond Butter & Banana
Spread 2 slices of whole-wheat bread with almond butter or peanut butter. Top 1 bread slice with a drizzle of honey (for kids 1 and up) and a layer of banana slices. Cover with the other slice, butter side down.
Pear & Avocado
Mash 1/2 ripe avocado in a bowl. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the avocado evenly on 2 slices of sourdough bread. Add a layer of thinly sliced Bosc or Asian pear to 1 bread slice. Cover with the other slice and press gently to adhere. Swap in pomegranate seeds for the pear, if you like.
Apple, Cheddar & Peanut Butter
Split a focaccia square in half crosswise. Spread the cut side of 1 half with peanut butter. Top with a layer of cheddar-cheese slices and then a layer of thin apple slices. Cover with the other half, cut side down and press gently.
Strawberry & Goat Cheese
Split an English muffin and lightly toast the halves. Spread each half with softened goat cheese or plain whipped cream cheese. Top with a thin layer of strawberry jam, followed by a layer of thin strawberry slices. Place the top half of the muffin over the bottom half, and press gently.
Slice It Right
If it seems like that sandwich you packed in the morning makes a soggy return uneaten in the afternoon, swap in Pepperidge Farm Goldfish—shaped bread. It'll remind him of a familiar snack and get him to eat up. $3 to $4; grocery stores.  Try our Healthy Lunch Maker Tool for more more kid-friendly ideas.
Leave a Message
Whoever said you can't package hugs and kisses? Surprise your little scholar by tucking a love note into her lunch box so she knows you're thinking about her even though you're far away. And you'll know that every day at 12:30 p.m., she's reading your note and thinking of you, too!
Cut It Out
Turn the ordinary lunch-box staple into a menagerie of animals with these sandwich cutters. Check out Munchkin's elephant cutter, above ($3; Walmart stores).

Turkey Pinwheels 
Serves 1
Spread dollop of store-bought hummus on whole-wheat tortilla, then layer a slice of turkey and some spinach leaves. Roll up and cut.

Serve with:
Cheese cubes
Fruit salad

Pack it up: Svenja Lunch Box, $34, beatrixny.com; Small Round Containers, $16 for two, kidskonserve.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Teacher's Pet Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; White Traveler water bottle, $25, mysigg.com

 

Egg Salad Sandwich
Serves 1 to 2
Mix two crushed hard-boiled eggs, ½ tsp mustard, 1 tsp mayo (or plain yogurt) and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-wheat or multigrain bread.

Serve with:
Oranges
Pretzel sticks

Pack it up: Maxi Storage Box in Blue, $36, mysigg.com; Sigg Cuddle Monsters water bottle, $20, mysigg.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Jam Session Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; Snack Disk, $6, oxo.com; large and small bowl set, $10, oxo.com

Vegetable Pasta
Serves 4
Mix 6 oz cooked tricolor rotini pasta, ½ Tbsp melted butter, ½ cup cooked peas, 2/3 cup quartered cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with:
Carrots
Applesauce

Pack it up: Frog Zoo Lunchies, $13, skiphop.com; Large Round Containers, $19 for two, and thermos, $21, kidskonserve.com; Love, Not Waste hand Towel, $7, peopletowels.com; Beverage Bottle With Solid Cap, Spring Green 9 oz, $13, lifefactory.com; Light My Fire Spork little, $7 for three, amazon.com

 

Pita-Butter and Jelly
If your child's main food staple is PB&J, but peanut butter is a no-no at her school, here's a peanut-free option. Substitute butter or cream cheese in for peanut butter and spread on whole-wheat pita bread. Top with jelly, or if she loves apple pie, try cinnamony apple butter.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
Squeezable yogurt tube
Sliced grapes & sliced grape tomatoes

 

I Heart Turkey
A plain ol' turkey sandwich gets a little love with this Thanksgiving-inspired, heart-shaped version. (Kid not a heart-lover? Stars or dinosaur shapes work, too.) Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on two pieces of whole wheat bread. Layer two slices of roasted turkey breast and sliced cheese. Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into the shape of a heart.

Serve with:
Baby carrots with ranch dressing dip
Squeezable applesauce tube

 

Build-Your-Own Sandwich
Let your little chef test his culinary skills by packing the ingredients to a sandwich á la Lunchables. Assembling his own meal right at the lunch table may inspire him to eat it as well. Slice lunch meat and cheese into small squares. Serve with whole-grain crackers and individual packets of mayonnaise or mustard.

Serve with:
Pear or apple slices (squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them to prevent browning)
Store-bought cinnamon pita chips

 

Mini Pizzas
This kid-favorite gets a healthy makeover to fuel your child's busy body all day long. Make these the night before to save time in the morning. Top English muffin halves with jarred marinara sauce (if your child won't object, add chopped steamed broccoli or spinach to the sauce.) Sprinkle pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then wrap up.

Serve with:
One half cup of blueberries
Individual chocolate pudding

 

Brunch for Lunch
Who says French toast and eggs are just for breakfast? This traditional morning meal makes a power-packed lunch. Feel free to make these the night before. French toast cinnamon sticks: Add pureed squash or sweet potatoes to egg-milk batter for an extra boost of beta-carotene. Cook French toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Let cool and slice into sticks for an easy-to-eat fork-free option.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
1/2-cup fruit salad

 

Go Fish!
An under-the-sea adventure right in your child's very own lunchbox: Tuna fish sandwich shaped like a fish. Cut a corner off of the bread and reverse it, placing the point at the middle of the cut line. Use a round slice of baby carrot for the eye.)

Serve with:
Baby carrots (Write "Fish Food" on the plastic bag)
Blue-raspberry "water"—an individual Jell-O container
Mini goldfish-shaped cheese crackers

 

Fruit Roll-Up

While your child would no doubt enjoy diving into a meal of sticky sweet fruit leather, this guilt-free version offers nutrients and energy to keep her going for the second half of the school day.

Spread blueberry or strawberry-flavored cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla wrap. Top with fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries and roll tortilla.

Serve with:
Small container of hummus
Celery sticks and sliced cucumbers for dipping
A real fruit roll-up for dessert

 

Kid-friendly Chicken Salad
Sliced grapes and cubed apples add sweetness to plain old chicken salad. If your child eats nuts, add crushed cashews for extra crunch. Serve in a small container with whole wheat crackers or flatbreads.

Serve with:
String cheese
Cook-free S'Mores: Spread Marshmallow Fluff on one graham cracker square, nutella on the other and press together and enjoy!

 

Rainbow Wheel
A colorful, super-healthy lunch choice. Spread white bean dip on a whole-wheat or spinach tortilla wrap. Layer with lettuce, sliced tomato, cheese, thinly sliced cucumber (or pickle if your child is a fan), avocado and other favorite vegetables. Roll up the tortilla. Then slice into 4 1-inch cross-sections to make the wheels.

Serve with:
Banana
Chocolate milk

 

Cube Food
Kids love finger foods—why not serve up a whole meal of uniform, easy-to-eat cubes? Serve with a toothpick if your little one doesn't want to use his hands.

Cubed rotisserie chicken
Cubed cheddar cheese
Cubed sweet potato (microwave the whole potato for 8 minutes, let cool, then cut.)

Serve with:
Cubed cantaloupe
Cubed brownie bites

 

Ham and veggie pinwheels
Pinwheels aren't just cute toys. Try these tasty sandwich alternatives.

 

Don't forget the snacks!
It's always a good idea to toss some after-school snacks in their lunchbox, too. Stock your pantry with these delicious and nutritious munchies, sure to keep them happy until dinner.

Brain Snacks for Kids
These yummy, healthy treats make great back-to-school snacks

7 No-Mess Snacks
These neat eats are yummy, healthy and easy to clean up

7 Delish Snack Mixes
Salty pretzels, cheesy crackers, protein-packed nuts, sweet raisins and more—all mixed up for some yummy snack packs

6 Naturally Sweet Treats
Your kids will love these dessert-like snacks—just don't tell them how healthy they are!

7 Snacks that Teach
Kids can learn about numbers, letters, colors and even bugs with these yummy treats

8 Fruity Snacks Kids Love
They see: cookies, gummies and chips. Yum! You see: fiber, vitamins and calcium. Score!

7 Healthy Kid-Friendly Dips
Kids will have fun getting their fruits and veggies with these yummy sauces and spreads

7 Snacks That Won't Spoil Dinner 
Stave off "when's dinner?!" whining with these nutritious treats

 

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21 Pool-Party Pastas the Kids Will Love!

By Gen Cohen

 

 

21 Pool-Party Pastas the Kids Will Love!

Pasta salad is a staple at summertime pool parties, picnics, and BBQs. But after your first few batches, you start to get a little bored by the dish, and so do your kids! Kick it up a notch with these tasty (and healthy!) recipes that highlight the season's best ingredients. From "cool" mac and cheeses to colorful pasta salads, these pasta and macaroni salad recipes for kids will have your little ones asking for seconds without a sweat!

1. Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad

Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad

Got leftover grilled vegetables? Turn them into this tasty pasta dish from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

2. Macaroni Salad With Chickpeas

 

 

Macaroni Salad With ChickpeasMacaroni with a kick of protein: what could be better? Unlike most macaroni salads, My Whole Food Life's healthy dish is a great option for meatless Mondays!

Source: My Whole Food Life

3. Confetti Pasta SaladConfetti Pasta Salad

Loaded with seasonal veggies like cherry tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, Peas and Crayons' confetti pasta salad will become a pool-party staple.

Source: Peas and Crayons

4. Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad With Feta and PeasWhole-Wheat Pasta Salad With Feta and PeasClever Carrot's kid-friendly pasta salad actually tastes better the longer it sits. The whole-wheat pasta is a filling option, and the pea shoots give it a nutritious crunch.

Source: The Clever Carrot

5. Chicken Pasta SaladChicken Pasta Salad

Two summertime classics — pasta salad and chicken salad — come together to create one tasty dish.

Source: Circle of Moms user Robin Bunker

6. Southwestern Pasta SaladSouthwestern Pasta Salad

Packed with protein and veggies, Two Peas and Their Pod's fiesta-inspired salad is great as a side dish or main course. To avoid a soggy salad, serve the dressing on the side.

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

7. Pesto Pasta SaladPesto Pasta Salad

If you want to sneak some extra veggies into your tot's pesto pasta salad, substitute half of the basil with spinach.

Source: POPSUGAR Food

8. Orzo Salad

Orzo Salad

Orzo makes a great, light alternative to traditional pastas.

Source: Circle of Moms user Nicole Diffenbaugh

9. BBQ Macaroni Salad

BBQ Macaroni SaladMel's Kitchen Cafe kicks up traditional macaroni salad with kielbasa, peppers, and BBQ sauce.

Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

10. Avocado, Shrimp, and Pasta Salad

Avocado, Shrimp, and Pasta Salad

A great lunchbox or picnic dish, Good Cooks' avocado pasta salad is easy to make and bursting with flavor. Try making different variations by substituting chicken for shrimp or using seasonal vegetables throughout the year.

Source: Good Cooks

11. Tricolor Pasta
Tricolor PastaKids will be able to taste the rainbow in Mel's Kitchen Cafe's vibrant pasta salad.

Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

12. 5-Ingredient Pasta Salad

5-Ingredient Pasta SaladEverything you need to make Gimme Some Oven's simple salad is probably already in your pantry and fridge.

Source: Gimme Some Oven

13. Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Thanks to its tangy taste, Sunny Side Up's pasta salad is sure to be a dish everyone will enjoy. Try adding your own twist using fun-shaped pasta.

Source: Sunny Side Up

14. Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Kids with or without a gluten intolerance will devour Keep It Simple, Keep It Fresh's gluten-free creation.

Source: Keep It Simple, Keep It Fresh

15. Crab Pasta Salad

Crab Pasta Salad

Take advantage of the season's fresh seafood, and whip up this crab-filled salad.

Source: Circle of Moms user Sarah Schroer

16. Sunbutter Noodles

Sunbutter Noodles

Shh, don't tell the kids that these noodles are actually strips of zucchini. Oatmeal With a Fork's sunbutter noodles fill the kids with nutrients without them knowing!

Source: Oatmeal With a Fork

17. Pasta With White Beans and Tomatoes

Pasta With White Beans and Tomatoes

The Clever Carrot's simple pasta recipe has seasonal favorites like arugula and white beans for creaminess.

Source: Good Life Eats

18. Home-Style Macaroni Salad

Home-Style Macaroni Salad

Peas and Crayons' home-style macaroni salad is Summer's version of your little one's favorite dish. It directly translates to creamy, cheesy goodness with a (healthy) catch.

Source: Peas and Crayons

19.Crazy Delicious Pasta Salad

Crazy Delicious Pasta SaladWith ingredients like fresh vegetables and Summer sausage, we can understand why Keep It Simple, Keep It Fresh dubbed this a crazy delicious salad.

Source: Keep It Simple, Keep It Fresh

20. Pasta Salad Skewers

Pasta Salad Skewers

Thanks to Cooking With My Kid, your child can enjoy pasta salad on the go!

Source: Cooking With My Kid

21. Fruity Pasta Salad

Fruity Pasta Salad

Who said pasta salad can't be a dessert? Western Gardens' sweet salad highlights Summer's best produce — fruit!

Source: Western Gardens

 

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Take the Heat Out of the Kitchen! 20 Summer Crockpot Recipes

By Gen Cohen

Crockpots are a cold-weather essential, but if you're accustomed to putting your slow cooker away from April to September, you may want to reconsider. These 20 recipes do what the grill cannot, allowing your dinner to cook itself while you head off to work, Summer camp carpool duty, or whatever else the day has in store. From pulled pork to vegetarian lasagna that lets you put all of that seasonal squash and zucchini to use, you're guaranteed to find a few great meal ideas to get your family through the second half of Summer.

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Skip the Gas Station With These Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

By Gen Cohen

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6 Best Dog Breeds For Families With Small Kids

By Gen Cohen

It's not unusual for families to adopt a dog around the same time as having their own children. But are some dog breeds better suited for families with small children? We were recently asked that, so we reached out to Dr. Eva Radke, DVM, of the East San Rafael Veterinary Clinic in California to see what we could come up with.

There are various things to consider, according to Radke, aside from a dog just being a family-friendly breed. She recommends taking your own daily life into account. "Are you an active family who spends a lot of time hiking, running, and camping?" she asks. "Or do you tend to stay home cooking and enjoying movies? You will want to choose a dog whose temperament, size, and energy level best matches your family."

At the end of the day, it's also important to remember that your dog is just that: a dog. "Even the gentlest-mannered dog is still an animal with her own set of instincts and ways to express herself," Radke said. She suggests you never leave your small children unattended with the dog, just in case, and always supervise them when they're together. Your pup may always tolerate the ear and tail tugs from your kid, but you don't want to run the risk of the dog snapping one day when you aren't paying attention.

Scroll through to find six dog breeds Radke said are best suited for families, based on each breed's typical personality traits.

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7 Carriers to Make Bike Riding With Tiny Ones Fun For the Whole Family

By Gen Cohen

Before we dive into this awesome list of 7 bike trailers for kids, it's important to remember to protect those baby blues with our kids' rubber sunglasses. They're light, comfortable, and they keep your junior's eyes safe from harmful UV rays!

 

 

Going for a bike ride as a family is a fun and fit bonding activity, but if you have a tiny one who isn't quite riding a bike on their own yet or can't keep up the same pace as older children, it could be difficult to execute. Don't skip the ride or have anyone stay behind — with one of these accessories, you can bring the entire family to the bike trail with ease.

Read on for seven bike accessories that will change your family's bike rides this Spring and Summer.

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Created by Collective: 10 Healthy and Delicious Meals to Kick-Start the New Year

By Gen Cohen

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