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Healthy Eating for the Family

Vanessa T.
VANESSA T.
Pediatric Dietitian
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Are you having trouble finding meals that are healthy and taste great that the whole family will eat? You are not alone. Vanessa T., our Tinyhood Registered Dietitian, can help you plan meals that everyone will love.

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Have your own question?

Ask Vanessa, our Pediatric Dietitian !

Message Vanessa
VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Family Breakfast
PAULA, PARENT OF 5 YEAR OLD

Hi! We are always rushing in the morning. Do you have any tips for fast meals in the morning so we can sit down together for a few minutes before heading off to school and work.?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Paula,

We use lots of toast in our family for this exact reason.

Pop a few slices of whole wheat bread in the toaster and use different toppings to keep things interesting. For younger kids, cut the toast into strips for easy finger foods. A few ideas:

- Sliced banana and peanut butter
- Smashed avocado and pepper (maybe hot sauce for the adults)
- Almond butter and blueberries
- Smashed banana and a sprinkle of nuts or granola r/>- Cream cheese and berries
- Smashed hard boiled egg (boil eggs ahead of time so they are ready to peel and eat on busy mornings)

The same principle works with oatmeal (buy quick cooking to save time) and yogurt parfaits. If you use the same easy to prepare base but vary the toppings, you can keep mornings moving with minimal clean up without falling into a morning routine rut!

Vanessa

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Insta-Pot
VIOLA, PARENT OF 19 MONTH OLD

Vanessa, I keep hearing good things about the Insta-Pot and am curious if it is worth purchasing. Do you recommend it as good way to make easy and fast meals for the family? Any particular recipes you recommend?

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Viola,

Funny you should ask! I just ordered an InstaPot on Amazon yesterday! I haven't tried any recipes (yet!) but I have heard great things. It sounds to me like they are great for making full meals that you might use a crockpot for OR helping with meal prep to make a big batch of brown rice, quinoa, etc. that you can split up for meals throughout the week. Yesterday I had a client tell me she roasted a whole chicken in her Instapot in just 30 minutes. Sounds good to me!

I will certainly let you know if I find any great recipes. Please let me know if you pull the trigger and how you like it!

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Meals to freeze?
ARLENE, PARENT OF 15 MONTH OLD

I am due with my first next month and am hoping to fill our freezer with meals. I am looking for some dinner suggestions besides the usual lasagna or pasta dishes.

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Arlene,

Congratulations! So smart of you to think ahead so you can spend all your time snuggling your new baby instead of worrying about what to eat!

Stews, chilis and soups freeze really well and I love that you can freeze them in individual servings so you don't have to defrost a whole pot if you don't want to. Look for simple crock pot recipes then just cool in tupperware completely before storing in the freezer

Before my daughter was born, I found that freezing snacks and breakfast was really easy and helped to break away from heavy lasagnas. I made lactation cookies and peanut butter oat balls for quick, energy-dense snacks. You can also use a muffin tin to make individual servings of oatmeal or eggs. There are plenty of recipes out there- I included a few links below to get you started. Let me know if you need more ideas!

Lactation cookies: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/oatmeal-chocolate-chip-lactation-cookies-by-noel-trujillo-192346

Energy balls: https://www.blessthismessplease.com/8-no-bake-oatmeal-energy-balls/

Oatmeal muffin tins: https://www.justataste.com/baked-oatmeal-cups-recipe/

Egg muffin tins: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/quick-recipes/article/muffin-tin-eggs-breakfast

VANESSA ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Grocery shopping
ALIZA, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

Hi Vanessa. We are a busy family with two working parents. We usually grocery shop on Saturdays and always find we are running out of meal ideas (and food!) by Wednesday and end up getting take out. Do you have any tips for making our grocery runs last longer? Easy ways to meal plan for an entire week at a time? Thank you.

Vanessa
VANESSA

Hi Aliza,

My secret to meal planning: frozen veggies and canned beans. If you don't have to worry about your proudce going bad by the end of the week, it is much easier to use things up and incorporate variety without having to run out to the store. I like to buy bags of some of my family's favorites like peppers, spinach and avocado (did you know you can buy this frozen now?!).

I buy a few starches like whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes and quinoa. For protein, I'll buy 2-3 dinners worth of animal proteins and then I'll pick up a few cans of different beans or packs of tofu. These plant based proteins keep longer on the shelf or in the fridge so you can use them at the end of the week. It is also a great way to incorporate some vegetarian meals into your family routine!

I tend not to work of recipes because I just don't have the time. Instead, I'll choose a protein and a starch, then add veggies to match. We might have black bean tortillas with peppers and onions one night, then chicken with whole wheat pasta, spinach and pesto the next night. If you focus on mixing and matching rather than following complicated recipes, your groceries tend to go a long way!