With summer nearly here, that means it’s time to hit the road, the beach, or the trail. Instead of stopping for fast food or a convenience store on the way to your summer destination, bring a healthy snack along, preferably one that doesn’t need refrigeration like homemade trail mix. This recipe can be made gluten free by omitting the Cheerios and adding two more cups of your favorite variety of Gluten Free Chex. (Note that Wheat Chex and Multi-Bran Chex are not gluten free.) If you or your children have nut allergies, omit the Planters Energy Mix and use pine nuts or sunflower seeds. Or you can add more dried fruit, raisins, or shredded coconut. Get the kids to help you make some Healthy Trail Mix, especially if they want custom blends without coconut or with more of their favorite dried fruit – or chocolate!
You can find coupons for Cheerios, Chex, Planter’s Energy Mix, and more at everydayhealthyvalues.com. You can also connect with Everyday Healthy Values on Twitter @Evrydyhealthval and Facebook at facebook.com/EverydayHealthyValues.
Healthy Trail Mix
This is a great snack for hiking, hanging out at the beach, taking to summer camp, or with you on family car trips.
- 2 cups Cheerios (any variety)
- 2 cups Gluten Free Honey Chex
- 2 cups Gluten Free Corn Chex
- 2 cups Gluten Free Rice Chex
- 2 cups raisins and/or dried fruit pieces
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 2 cup Planters Energy Mix Nut-Rition Mixed Nuts
- Combine ingredients together in large bowl.
- Store into plastic zipper bags or airtight containers.
One of the biggest joys of becoming a mom was learning that my children make me laugh, especially my daughter, Lucie. Besides being artistic, cute and super smart, Lucie has a hidden talent – she’s a ham. She does a great Honey Boo Boo impersonation and can make her tummy roll like a belly dancer’s. She’s also good at making our dog, Nellie, leap high in the air to get a treat. (Leaping is Nellie’s hidden talent, along with sneaking chips.) She even dances with the dog, even though Nellie doesn’t like it all that much.
Her antics crack me up. I’m sure it’s only because I’m her mom, but I find great joy in these hidden talents of hers!
Green Giant’s hidden talent
The folks at Green Giant have a hidden talent, too! Their giant surprise is that they’ve brought the goodness of vegetables into their new Veggie Snack Chips!
Green Giant sent me their two new chip varieties to try out – Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips and Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips. Both are tasty and a snack you shouldn’t feel too guilty about indulging in (in moderation, of course.) Unfortunately, some of the ingredients of the tortilla chips were things I avoid, like whey due to my food sensitivities, and hydrogenated soybean oil, which I feel isn’t all that healthy even if there’s 2% or less of it in the snack. (You can see the nutritional information on Green Giant's Facebook page on the Veggie Snack Chips tab.)
However, I was really excited when I looked over the ingredient list on the bag of Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips. Even though they’re not certified to be gluten free, the ingredients seem to be free of the stuff. (If you’re very sensitive to gluten or have celiacs, you should assume that the chips are manufactured on machinery that is exposed to gluten-containing foods. Better to be safe than sorry!)
Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips contain: whole grain corn flour, sunflower oil, dried sweet potatoes, rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, whole grain buckwheat flour and 2% or less of refiner’s syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, salt, buckwheat fiber, dried honey, and two ingredients to preserve freshness – sodium acid pyrophosaphate and tetra sodium pyrophosphate. Sure some of the ingredients aren’t what you’d use in your kitchen, but it’s a SNACK CHIP, not a salad! If you want a super healthy snack, have some fruit or a green monster smoothie instead.
In addition, Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g fat per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g fat per 28g serving). So, if you’re jonesing for chips or want to serve a healthier chip at your next party, Green Giant’s Veggie Snack Chips are a good alternative.
What are your hidden talents?
Disclaimer: Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant.
Last month, I attended a Denver food blogger tweetup at the Edge Restaurant & Bar at the Four Seasons in Denver. The purpose was to introduce us to their “Business Quickie” lunch meals at their gorgeous facility in the heart of Denver's downtown on 14th and Arapahoe.
The Edge is known for their happy hour and dinners. However, they want to get the word out that you can stop by during the week for lunch and for only $18 get a fabulous meal off their prix fixe menu.
We were served samplers of four dishes (above from left to right) – Summer Halibut Ceviche, Petit Steak Frites with House Cut Fries and Peppercorn Sauce, Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella with Torn Basil and Aged Balsamic, and Sesame Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing and Crisp Wantons. It’s hard to say which lunch dish was my favorite. The steak was perfectly cooked and tender. The ceviche was spot on and tasty. The heirloom tomatoes were fresh and perfect. (I could have eaten a large bowl of just the tomatoes.) The sesame chicken salad was excellent - crunchy and spicy. (Note: since I’m gluten free and avoiding potatoes, I didn’t have the tortillas, frites, bread or wantons.)
The steak and the ceviche were my favorite. However, if you’re dinning with a friend or two, get a few entrees and share. They’re all terrific!
The Edge also treated us to two of their fantastic desserts. First there was the Organic Chamomile Panna Cotta and a Lemon Oat Crumble with Sweet Roasted Apricots, which you can see on the left. the Meyer Lemon Tart, Candied Kumquats, and Passion Fruit Gelee on the right. It was hard to pick which one I liked more, but if I had to, it would be the lemon tart. Sublime!
As take home gifts, were were given chocolate cow lollipops and a molten chocolate cupcake (with cute little Twitter chocolates), which I took home to the family. I really appreciated the special touch and the warm welcome the Four Seasons and the Edge showed the food blogging community. Can't wait to go back!
Budget conscious and family-friendly dining at the Edge
Just because the Edge is in the Four Seasons, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune or leave the kids at home. There are two weekend dining options that are perfect for families, and both are very reasonably priced for such a fine dining establishment.
The More than Just a “Sundae” Dinner For $28, the adults get a three-course dinner. Also, you can add a wine or beer pairing for $12. This is family friendly dining at it’s best. Kids can eat off a special kids’ menu and then go off to a special room set aside for them to play or watch videos in a safe, kid-friendly environment while mom and dad enjoy dinner in relative peace.
The Sunday Brunch A three-course specialty brunch menu which includes your choice of appetizer, entrée and unlimited trips to our dessert buffet for only $28 per person. Or you can order items à la carte and add the dessert buffet for $12. There are also endless mimosas or bottomless bloody marys for $10, though you may have to walk home after those! Also, kids under 12 can have their choice of kid's entrée with dessert buffet for $10.
You can also check in at the Edge on your smartphone using Foursquare and get a free drink on the house. (Ask your server or bar tender for details.) Of course, there are 50% off selected bar food & happy hour priced drinks during the week from 5 to 7:30 pm, too - $3 Draft & Bottle Beer Selections, $5 House Red & White Wine, $5 Well Drinks, and select items off the EDGE Bar Menu (many around $4).
There's also complimentary valet parking for all bar and restaurant guests.
And while you’re there, check out the wine room. I need me one of these!
More on the Edge
1111 14th Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
Hours of Operation:
Breakfast: 6:30am – 10:30am
Lunch: 11am – 2:30pm
Brunch: Sat & Sun 9am – 2pm
Dinner: 5pm – 10pm
EDGE bar: 10:30am – 12 midnight. Weekends till 2am
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Edge and received a complimentary meal and parking. All opinions are my own.
Recently a friend asked me, “How do you feed your kids healthy meals everyday?” She told me how hard it was trying to change her habits and theirs. I told her it’s all about taking small steps and role modeling healthy living for your kids.
With the kids home for summer vacation, it’s a great time to role model a healthy lifestyle for your kids – and change some of your unhealthy habits, too. Thanks to those long summer days, you can do this whether you’re a stay (or work) at home parent or you work outside the home and the kids are in camp or daycare all day.
Plan healthy meals and snacks. Take the family for a walk after dinner. Go to the city pool, the beach or the lake to swim and be active. Make a healthy picnic to share with the kids after work in a local park or at the beach.
Here are some other suggestions on role modeling healthy choices for your kids!
Role modeling in the kitchen
- Keep healthy stuff in the house and no junk like chips, candy, cookies, and soda. If you aren’t eating it, neither are your kids.
- Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy treats – frozen fruit pops, dried and fresh fruit, healthy breakfast cookies, non-fat Greek yogurt, and so on. My mom always kept Dannon yogurt in the fridge when I was growing up, along with fresh fruit like grapes, bananas and apples. Plus, what child doesn’t love Cuties oranges and kiwis, both of which are fun to eat?
- Don’t keep juice in the house! Eat your juice (fruit) don’t drink it.
- Serve skim milk. On our pediatrician’s recommendation, I limit my children to one glass of milk per meal. They can have water afterwards. It’s all about moderation, even with healthy foods like milk.
- Make eating healthy easier by cooking up big batches of healthy stuff – chili, soup, roast chicken, whole wheat spaghetti and homemade sauce, etc. That way you can heat up leftovers on those busy nights instead of ordering take out. This was how my mom cooked and my dad loved having the leftovers the next day for lunch.
- Start slowly. Buy whole grain bread instead of white bread, then graduate to organic whole grain bread. Start using whole wheat pasta instead of semolina pasta. Use corn or whole wheat tortillas instead of flour ones.
- Make it fun! Having the kids dip cucumber, cherry tomatoes and carrots in a lite ranch dressing is a good start to getting them to eat salad.
- Take advantage of summer – corn on the cob, fresh fruit and berries, and farmer’s markets! Fire up the grill and cook up fish, shrimp and lean meats. One of my favorite memories growing up was all the seafood my mom cooked up during the summer at home and at the beach like steamers, lobster and crab.
- Stock the pantry with healthy convenience foods like the light Progresso soups (my kids eat the chicken noodle for breakfast!), V8 juice (the one juice that I don’t mind the kids guzzling), Amy’s frozen foods and soups, and Healthy Choice Naturals. Many of these can be taken to work instead of getting fast food.
- Other easy to cook up foods include eggs and lean deli meats, both which you can use in chef salads and sandwiches.
- Try a healthy, low saturated fat buttery spread instead of real butter. I LOVE I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and so do the kids. They like saying, “I can’t believe it’s not butter, mom!” almost as much as they like eating it.
- Find a healthy pancake mix. Fiber One is good as are the ones by Bob’s Red Mill. Get lite syrup or try agave syrup. Use a fruit spread on the pancakes. Get a good start in the morning for those busy summer days!
Role modeling an active lifestyle
- Plant a garden with the kids or visit a pick your own farm. Both are great forms of exercise! Look into signing up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) share in your area. Participating in a CSA share or having a garden forces you to cook up a lot of healthy produce.
- Celebrate the release of Kung Fu Panda 2 by going to an Asian market with the kids just to look at all the funky produce and the chicken feet! (Can you say field trip?) Get some bok choy, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, etc. and make stir fry after a trip to the movie theater. Have the kids suggest veggies they’d like to add to it. Don’t forget to make a big batch of brown rice to go with it.
- Find ways to walk or bike instead of driving. Can you walk to the library or store? Are there bike trails nearby? During summer vacation, take the time to do an outdoor physical activity with your family once a week.
- Moms and dads need to make exercise a priority, whether that means getting up early to work out or coming home a bit late a few nights. If the kids see you taking care of yourself, they’ll learn good habits. My mom always played tennis when I was growing up - and still does even though she’s in her late 70s. To this day she inspires me to keep active.
- Don’t forget your vitamins! Kids and adults should take a multi-vitamin every day.
Role modeling at got milk?
As my kids grow older, I realize how my mom continues to shape me as a mother. It’s all about the time we spent together as I grew up and the memories she made for me and my sister from the trips we took to the fun activities we did like berry picking, cooking, and painting.
Now moms can have fun with their kids online. For example, the Milk Mustache got milk? Campaign’s new interactive section on their Facebook page. First, “like” the Milk Mustache Facebook page then go to their Role Modeling page. Click on “get started” to send an e-postcard to someone you love. (Send dad or your favorite uncle the Angie Harmon e-postcard. I’m sure they won’t mind.)
Moms can spend some time reading the Like Mother Like Daughter – A revealing look at the crucial link between mothers, daughters, food and health report. Or click on the “pour one more” for all kinds of healthy recipes that use milk like fruit smoothies and veggie soups.
Have a wonderful summer role modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids.
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of the National Milk Mustache got milk? Campaign and was compensated for my time.