Category Archives: foods

10 Dinner Ideas for Your Family to Enjoy Together

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Coming clean here: I often dread dinner time. After a full day, who on earth wants to make two separate dinners – one for the kids and one for the adults?! Not me. Although sometimes I do succumb to this I try my hardest not to make those frozen chicken nuggets the norm. After all, I want my children’s taste buds to be as all-inclusive as possible (ha ha, much easier said than done)! My kids eat super early so it’s often the night before’s dinner leftovers for them, and a new dinner for my husband and me.

Here are 10 healthy, easy and generally crowd-pleaser dinner ideas that your entire family will (hopefully) enjoy. They are tasty, fun, colorful and balanced.

 

* Make Your Own Taco – Let your child help make his/her taco. This is FUN!!! Lettuce, avocado…greek yogurt to dip.   Substitute beef with bison for a healthier option. These shrimp tacos are a favorite in my house!

 

* Crispy Chicken and Homemade Fries – SO much healthier than the frozen chicken nuggets and store bought fries (packed with added sugar, fats, sodium). To make the adults version a little more “mature”, how about a chipotle dip?

 

* Mac n’ Cheese – Adults love a good mac n’ cheese just as much as the littles do.  Want to kick the healthy factor up a notch? Substitute regular pasta with a whole wheat, brown rice or bean based pasta.

 

* Moroccan Chicken – Fast and tasty, this recipe includes peaches and orange juice to add flavor and please those sugar-craving taste buds.

 

* Orecchiette with Broccoli and Walnuts – Fresh pasta with protein and fiber filled walnuts and vitamin-rich broccoli. Simple, colorful and yummy.

 

* Almond Fish Sticks – OK, yum…cod covered in crunchy almonds and flakes. Want to add a little “adult” into this recipe? Make a side dipping sriracha or tartar sauce.

 

* Black Bean Quesadillas – This is my go-to when I need something super-quick, that I enjoy as well.  SUPER simple and healthy. Add a fried egg if you want!  On the “adult” quesadilla, consider adding onions, spices and jalapeños!

 

* Swordfish Piccata – My daughter, like many other 4 year olds I know, will not eat fish (other than shrimp)…HOWEVER, there is something about swordfish that excludes it from the “I hate fish” rule. Maybe it’s the more dense consistency, almost like chicken – not sure. Personally, I don’t include capers on hers, and I’m generally not a fan of thyme either.

 

* Hamburger Buddy Pasta – This recipe helps you hide a few vegetables, like mushrooms and carrots. Try substituting with bison for a healthier version. Add spices to the adult portion as many will find it on the blander side without.

 

* Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce – Kids cannot get enough pasta. Let’s at least try to make it a little healthier for them by making a homemade tomato sauce! Here is basic recipe, for you to tweak as you wish!

 

One piece of advice to new mommies – don’t succumb to “kids food” 24/7. They will be dictating their menu to you, and will refuse to open up to new (healthier) ideas.  Listen, getting a toddler to eat a new food or fish for example (god forbid), can feel excruciatingly impossible. We’re not going to win every food war. My thought is this: have them at least TRY something, even just a few bites. They might actually like something they thought they detested. There’s an old Sesame Street episode about this, where Elmo has to try a kiwi, which he didn’t think he liked…and he enjoys it! Try watching this with them. Note: it can take ten tries before your taste buds decide if they like a food or not.   And…often if my child is not crazy about the dinner option for the evening, I explain there are no other options, so she needs to eat whatever it is if she doesn’t want to go to bed starving. And of course definitely no after dinner sweet if she doesn’t eat it.  Having the energy to take this on every night is difficult, but we can try to introduce new healthy foods once or twice a week and see what sticks! Don’t give up!

 

HEALTHY LUNCH IDEAS FOR TODDLERS & PRESCHOOLERS

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written by Jen #supermom

Sending your toddler or pre-schooler out for the day and need to pack a lunch?  So over making PB&J sandwiches?  I am personally going through this now, as my 3 year old is at daycare 4 half days a week, and I need to provide lunch.  I cannot bear to give her the favorite (PB&J of course) more than once, MAYBE twice a week.  That being said, she’s also a bit of a picky eater and I’m always looking for new healthy options that she will actually consume.

As this seems to be a popular topic among many moms in this situation, I thought I’d share some of the ideas I’ve received from friends near and far:

* Wraps (vs sandwiches) – cheese and/or deli meats or avocado and hummus.  Cut wrap into pinwheels for fun!

* Another more exciting version of your typical sandwich – cut it with cookie cutters!  (After all, presentation of the food is quite a bit deal to the little ones)….and eat the remains for your snack (isn’t that we always end up doing anyway)?!

* Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Pasta in a thermos with turkey meatballs or veggies

* Tomato soup and a grilled cheese

* Hummus or Guac with Veggies and Pita to dip

* Black beans and rice

* Quesadilla with beans and spinach, or cheese and avocado!

* Rolled slices of turkey, rolled sliced cheese and whole wheat crackers

* Yogurt and berries with a half sandwich

* Whole wheat bagel with cream cheese

* Use leftover roasted chicken and add mayo, sweet cranberries and crunchy celery to make a yummy wrap or sandwich

* Falafel patty in a pita with lettuce, tomato and plain yogurt

* Veggie burger with pita & dip of choice

Sides:

* Corn, peas, chickpeas…fun small round things!

* Frozen yogurt squeezers (will be thawed out but still cold by time lunch comes around)

* Chopped up veggies: cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, peppers

* String cheese

* Hard boiled egg

* Fruit salad

* Grapes

Here is some helpful advice in regards to planning for the week’s lunches:

  1. Stock up on non-perishables:  Almonds/cashews, raisins, whole wheat crackers, beans, bread sticks, granola, rice cakes
  2. Make certain things ahead of time (on Sunday perhaps): Hard boil eggs, falafel patties or sandwiches the night before.  Roast a whole chicken so you have it to cut up for sandwiches!
  3. Have a  variety of proteins, carbs and fresh fruit on hand.  I always shop for Sunday night delivery so we are loaded up and ready for the week ahead.

So far I’ve had many days when I pick her up and almost the entire lunch has not been touched, other days it’s been entirely gobbled up.  I think this is completely unavoidable, no matter what is offered!  It just depends on her mood, and I am never exactly sure what she’s in the mood for. Or perhaps it has more to do with what is going on around her at the time (she is so easily distracted)!  Anyway, I hope this list of suggestions will at least empower you to try new things…and who knows, perhaps your child will fill find a new favorite and you’ll come home with more empty lunch boxes!

FAMILY BRUNCHIN’ IN THE SLOPE!

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Written by Jen #supermom

I love brunch.  It’s one of my favorite things to do as a family on the weekend.  Dinners out are tough as we have to go so super early, and our toddler seems to be in better spirit in the morning.  So, brunch is the one meal we try to get out and enjoy.  Once the stroller is introduced into your life, the options however narrow a bit as not every venue in town is appropriate (whether space-wise or just doesn’t have the baby/child friendly vibe).  I’m always seeking out new places where the three of us can sit comfortably and not be totally mortified if our 2 YO daughter gets a bit of the crazies during our meal.  Let’s be honest, that happens!

 

Before I list some of our favorite places to brunch at, let me preface this with the following:

1) I am by NO means a food connoisseur,

2) I live in South Slope and tend to stay local, so it’s very like I’ll be leaving off some well deserving venues further up north (I suggest you share recommendations in comments so we can all learn from you) and

3) these are based on my personal experiences at each of these venues, no one else’s.  Here are a handful of some of my favorite weekend brunch spots (in no particular order):

 

* Korzo (667 5th Ave):  Eastern European dishes are aplenty, and it has that comfort-food feel.  Halusky (noodle dish which it is famous for), latkes, an amazing beet salad, chicken schnitzel or fish n’ chips (to name a few) – you cannot go wrong.  And I can’t forget to mention the fried flatbread in egg custard batter with nutella-like spread, bananas and home made whipped cream.  Large space in back with plenty of room for your little ones. FYI they won best burger in NYC (believe the fried burger is only available at dinner but you MUST try it).

 

* Prospect Bar & Grill (545 5th Ave):  SUPER spacious, friendliest staff and decent food.  Favorites are the breakfast burrito and duck hash.  The staff, space and great beer selection are reasons why this gets on my list.  It’s HUGE and recommend arriving earlier (around 11) before it packs up.  Also – big outdoor space for those warmer days!

 

* Mariella (492 6th Ave): Italian and a bit more on the creative side, they only offer organic meat, dairy and eggs and purchase from local farmers.  Very accommodating for children, especially when outdoor area is open.  Vanilla ricotta pancakes – huge hit with both parents and toddler.  Short Rib Hash – YUMM…and there are often delish specials.

 

* Piccoli (522 6th Ave):  Wonderful spot for families.  AMAZING food.  Hard to choose favorite brunch plates but caramelized french toast with marscapone whipped cream and strawberries or organic polenta with mushrooms, truffle oil and poached eggs are two of my favorites.  Super attentive and friendly staff.

 

* Dizzys (230 5th Ave and 511 9th St):  Had to mention, sure everyone has been here already! It’s a favorite not only because it could not possibly be more child-friendly (random favorite thing – they serve milk in special cup with straw that’s fun for your toddler & you can take it home)….but also because food is awesome, staff is super friendly and they open at 7am during week and 9am on weekends.  For those of us that have children napping 11ish it’s a great option to get out before nap time! I love their grits specials or huevos rancheros.

 

* Sidecar (560 5th Ave):  For a brunch with a southern twist, this is the way to go.  Fried chicken and waffles, shrimp & grits,  biscuits & gravy…so super delicious.  And, if you are into bloody mary’s or other specialty cocktails, they have that area totally mastered.   Although a bit more pricey, it’s totally family-friendly.  From the owners to the staff, they are a great bunch of folks.  PS- go back for dinner and get the fried chicken.

 

* J’eatjet (685 5th Ave):  Before reading further note that this establishment is teeny BUT have beautiful space out back – wouldn’t attempt with child unless you are planning to sit outside.  Deeper into South Slope, this gastrobar offers unique menu items like pretzel bites with cheese mustard, lamb burger (my favorite), grilled squid (yummy), and pierogis.   There’s a deep fried PB&J which I must try one day!!!

 

* Krupa Grocery:  Just opened earlier this year, Krupa is mouth-watering yumminess.  The outdoor space is killer, have yet to dine inside.   Menu changes daily but some of the regulars are breakfast gnocchi with fried egg and bacon, lemon-ricotta pancakes (2 YO fave) and lamb burger.  MEntal note…I need to try the Po’ Boy next go-around.  Please be aware that they don’t serve alcohol until noon, so if you want to have your mimosa, keep that in mind!  231 Prospect Park West.

 

Now I am absolutely starving.  Not a smart idea to write this on an empty stomach!  Hope this list offers up a new restaurant or two for you to add to your favorite brunch spots.  And as I said before, it would be fantastic if you commented with your favorites so we (myself included) can try something new!  Happy Brunching!!!

 

#brunchinbrooklyn #pediatrician #doctorcao