Easy Vegan Swaps

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Thinking about going vegan? The switch is easier than you think! And if the thought has never crossed your mind, maybe it should. Becoming a vegan is not only one of the best things you can do for the environment (20% of pollution comes from the meat industry!), but also for your health. Going vegan, even part-time, has been shown to reduce the risks of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and even arthritis! While going vegan isn’t for everyone, it clearly has its benefits!

Read on for some super easy (and still tasty!) swaps to make in your kitchen to make your lifestyle transition smooth sailing!

  • Replace an egg (in baking) with:
    • 1/4 cup of applesauce
    • 2 tbs ground flaxseed + 1 tbs water
    • Mashed banana
    • 1 tbs chia seeds + 3 tbs water
  • Replace milk with:
    • Almond or Coconut milk
    • Applesauce
  • Replace your meat burgers with:
    • Black bean or quinoa burgers
  • Swap out mayonnaise with:
    • Avocado
  • Use (firm) TOFU in place of meats
  • Replace ground beef in tacos with….. Lentils!
  • Instead of butter, use:
    • Olive oil
    • Coconut oil
    • Avocado
    • Applesauce

Try swapping out some ingredients in the next non-vegan recipe you try and tell us how it goes!

Written by: Leana Varvella

Eight Reasons to Bring Your Kids to the Farmers Market!

Image credit – Natalie Maynor

If you are looking for a fun family activity this weekend, what better place to go than your local farmers market? A trip to the farmers market is a great way to expose your children to new fruits and veggies while introducing them to the idea of eating locally grown seasonal ingredients. Each stand at the market is a hands-on classroom on new textures and tastes with farmers just waiting for inquisitive minds to talk to. Plus, kids are much more likely to try that winter squash if they learned about it and helped pick it out!

Here is a list of eight great reasons to bring your kids to the farmers market this fall:

1. Connecting with “real food”

We have a huge disconnect with our food in America. Break the cycle of processed, packaged food by reconnecting with whole foods at the farmers market. Show your child what a carrot really looks like, or where the corn in that can comes from!

 

2. Talking with farmers

A lot of people don’t know much about where their food comes from or how it is grown, especially if it is done using sustainable or organic methods. As mentioned above, most farmers are happy to field questions about their work and their produce! Farming is pretty amazing, so encourage your kids to ask questions. If you get a chance to discuss growing food with your child beforehand, have them make a list of questions they want to ask the farmer.

 

3. Teaching them how to be a good consumer

If your kids are old enough, give them a small sum to make their own purchases. This allows them to explore the decision process involved behind shopping wisely and will make them excited to try out their very own veggies later for dinner. If you have a toddler, let her give the money to the farmer!

 

4. Introducing new foods

Farmers markets are full of foods your child (or you!) has never seen before. Having such an interactive experience with these new foods makes kids more eager to try them. Combining the new foods with happy memories at the market is a great way to positively reinforce trying different foods. Create a farmers market hunt for your kids – try to find a purple vegetable or foods of different shapes.

 

5. Cooking at home

Cooking with toddlers or young kids can be a messy adventure. But it also cultivates awareness and skills that will help them later in life, as well as bring them closer to their food. If they get to help cook the food they just picked out, it’s even more exciting!

 

6. Learning about nutrition

A day at the farmers market is a great way to talk about nutrition concepts, even basic things like how nutrients can help you see or why it’s healthy to eat a variety of foods. Kids can begin to understand how whole foods are packed with vitamins and minerals as well as being tasty!

 

7. Family bonding time

Weekends are often busy and filled with errands and other obligations as well as family time. An afternoon trip to the farmers market is a great way to get in some quality time enjoying family and food! It may end up being a weekly tradition.

 

8. Experiencing the importance of community

 People from all over your community, no matter how big or small that is, visit the farmers market. Having your child interact with new faces and feel the connections between people is fantastic, no matter how old they are. Eating food grown in their community can also allow older kids to start thinking about the impacts their choices make on those in the area.

 

Ultimately, shopping at the farmers market is an opportunity to connect with your food and the people who grow it. The more you can expose your children to the idea of buying, preparing, and eating real, sustainably grown food, the better they are prepared to make great decisions about their meals and health in the future!


Image credit – Kyle Woollet/Brooks Institute

Farmers markets flourish most during summer and fall, but many are open throughout the winter and spring, offering great cool-weather veggies. To find your local farmers market, click here!

 

Written by Amanda Dunham

 

Sources: EatLocalGrown, Raising Kids With Love blog

How To Get Your Kids Excited About Eating Healthy

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With the school year getting ready to kick off yet again, it is important to get the kids back into the swing of healthy eating after a summer filled with BBQ’s, play dates, birthday parties, and vacation meals.  Here are a few tips to make getting those fruits and veggies back into the routine less stressful and more enjoyable!

  • Have regular family meals. Knowing dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and that the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.
  • Cook more meals at home. Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
  • Get kids involved. Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels.
  • Make a variety of healthy snacks available instead of empty calorie snacks. Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) around and easily accessible so kids become used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks like soda, chips, or cookies.
  • Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

 

Vegan Berry Peach Cobbler

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Berry and peach season is in full swing, so what better way to use some of your fresh produce than by making a delicious vegan cobbler?!?  This is also a great recipe to let the little ones help with since there is a lot of scooping and pouring!!

 

For the fruit:

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries

2 medium sized ripe peaches sliced into 1-inch chunks

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

a big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

(pinch of ground ginger and ground cloves are also encouraged, but not entirely necessary)

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

For the topping:

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (I prefer using gluten free oats)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour or whole-wheat (coconut works well too!)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons canola oil

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the berries and peach chunks with flour, spices and maple syrup. Set aside while you assemble the topping.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, salt and spices. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend with a fork. Make sure all of the dry ingredients are moistened by the oil and maple syrup mixture.
  4. Add half a cup of the topping mixture to the fruit mixture and toss together. Scoop fruit into ramekins, being sure to fill each cup to the top. Spoon and pat topping onto each cup. Sprinkle with an additional dose of ground cinnamon if you’d like. Place the six ramekins on a clean baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbly.

Adapted From: Joy The Baker

Raspberry Coconut Ice Cream

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We all love ice cream, but most that you find in the stores are not only highly processed, but very few are dairy free.  This is why I started making my own last summer and it has slowly become something I make during the year!  Here is my recipe for raspberry ice cream, however, you can swap out the raspberries for any fruit of your choice (I have even swapped the raspberries out for Oreos).

2 (13oz) cans chilled coconut milk (works best with chilled, full-fat milk)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, stevia, or other sweetener of your choice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen) or other fruit of your choice

Preparation:
1. Place the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla in a blender. Blend until combined, about 30 seconds.

2. Freeze using an ice cream maker, according to manufacture’s instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add in the fruit. You can serve immediately for a soft serve texture or you can place the ice cream in a container and freeze for a firmer texture.

Vegan Banana Muffins

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Looking for a quick snack or breakfast to make the little ones this week!  Why not try these delicious vegan muffins!  Even better, you can scoop them into mini muffin tins to make them easy for little hands to not only pick up but will also help them become more of a snack to avoid them becoming too full!

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can use all-purpose flour too)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degree. Spray your mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together to combine. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine your apple sauce, oil, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  3. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are mixed through.
  4. Using a small spoon or a melon ball scooper, scoop the muffin batter into the muffin tin. Only fill each cup 3/4 full.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes rotating pan once halfway through cooking.

 

Looking For A Great First Time Veggie? Try Sweet Potatoes!!

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Are you slowly trying to introduce solids into your little ones diet?  If so, sweet potatoes are great to try since they are easy to digest, have a mild flavor, and are easy to prepare!

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 deg F or 190 deg C.
  2. Simply take one large sweet potato. Scrub it and prick it with a fork.
  3. Bake for about 45 mins or until it feels soft.
  4. Once cooked, all you need to do is split the potato and scrape out the flesh with a spoon. Most sweet potatoes do not even require the additional step of pureeing as they can easily be mashed!
  5. One large potato will give you about 3 or 4 portions at this early stage. Bake a few at a time and you’ve got a fortnight’s supply!

Alternatively… you could peel the potato, then boil or steam it in cubes if you prefer to do so as well!

Looking for some combos?  Why not try mixing sweet potatoes with carrots or squash for a new flavor and even more nutrients!