Results tagged “summer” from The Sneaky Chef

The Summer Lady: My New Superhero!

|
thesummerlady-thesneakychef[2].jpg
Spring has officially sprung today, which means summer—and summer camp—is bubbling away vigorously on the front  burner. This year, I won’t be making a last minute scramble trying to find good camps for my girls. I found this great camp consultant (a free service) who found camps that fit my two kids’ widely different interests. The name of this superhero is Ann Travis—aka, “The Summer Lady.”
 
Not only does The Summer Lady find safe camps and programs that focus on language immersion, sports, outdoor adventure, teen travel, academic enrichment, community service and more: she has also kept a keen eye on the health and well-being of thousands of  children for over 20 years, which really gives me peace of mind.  After all, just because my kids will be out of sight as they snorkel and splash, or travel with panache, doesn’t mean I’ll settle for less when it comes to what they’ll be fueling up on.
 
The Summer Lady and I see eye to eye when it comes to good food. She’s a big fan of my new food products: Sneaky Chef No-Nut Butter, a delicious and healthy peanut butter substitute; and Sneaky Chef Pasta Sauces, with 8 hidden veggies in every bite. Both of us are excited to start bringing these great products to the attention of summer camps across the nation. Imagine a camp that is nut-free, still able to give our kids the all-American classic taste of a PB & J! Imagine kids eating their (hidden) veggies without a food fight as they slurp up pasta after being active all day!
 
I’ll be greeting the summer with a big smile this year, letting The Summer Lady tuck my daughters into great camps. And I'm grinning ear to ear, joining my new friend's efforts to spread more sneaky love to our kids! Hello, sunshine!

7 Kid-Friendly Car Snacks

|

Car with dog & kid.jpeg
Summer is the season of family travel, which usually means more time spent in the car. With little ones (and older ones too), moms and dads need to stock up on car snacks to avoid those all-too-familiar “I’m hungry!” complaints. 

 
I’ve picked out my 7 favorite kid-friendly car snacks for you to bring or buy on your next family car ride. They are non-perishable, so you don’t have to squeeze a cooler into cramped quarters. Best of all, they are healthy and wholesome, not loaded with sugars, additives, and fats. So take a few moments in the kitchen to sweeten up your next road trip, while avoiding sugar spikes on the turnpikes! 
 
1. Grab N Go Crispy Granola Bars: this bar does it all, with a boost of whole grains, fiber, and calcium. The optional dark chocolate chips aren’t so optional in our family! 
Granola Bars.jpg
 2. Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins-no one gets tired of this classic taste, with a Sneaky twist! I've amped up the health factor by choosing whole grains, natural peanut butter (or a nut-free substitute), all-fruit jam, and of course, lots of sweet veggies inside.PB&J muffins smaller.jpg 3. Sweet & crunchy chick peas (super popular "Rattle Snacks" from my first book): Rinse a can of chick peas, spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 30 minutes (till crunchy). Season to taste with cinnamon sugar or sea salt, chili powder, etc.chickpeas roasted.jpg 4. Crunchy Snap Peas and/or Green Peas in the Shell: you may be surprised to see how kids take to these friendly green guys, even if they turn up their noses at a dinner plate with cooked peas. Popping open pods to find the sweet peas inside is as much fun as eating them!
snap peas.jpg5. Drive thru options: if you run short on rations, consider drive thru snacks that won’t transform your kids into hyper hellions five miles later. Options include BK Apple Fries & milk, Starbucks fruity smoothies, and Subway subs topped with superfood guac.BK-AppleFries.jpg 6. Popcorn: here’s a great snack to make with your kids before loading up! Let them each flavor a bag of popcorn (you can control the health factor by putting the possible seasonings on the counter). Our present favorite? A light dusting of cocoa powder & sea salt.Popcorn_00004.jpg 7.  Power drink: don’t let your darlings dehydrate! Before hitting the road, load some of my “Super Sports Cubes” in their water bottles, and you’ll love what these ice cubes, made with fruit concentrates, deliver: antioxidants galore, without the sugar level of sports drinks or sodas.
ice cubes 4 berry smaller.jpg... MOST OF ALL, PLEASE DRIVE DEFENSIVELY & BE SAFE!!
HAPPY TRAILS.

 

Easing into the new school year

|

Oh remember the long lazy days of summer….seems so far away already! I miss summer’s carefree attitude, the light clothing, the active lifestyle, the ice cream, the ice cream, the ice cream!ice cream photo.jpgRegardless of whether we are actually away or just spending lazy days at home during the summer, we tend to loosen up the "rules" in our household. And in one respect, that's what makes summer so much fun for everyone - even if we don't go on that much desired exotic cruise! So we all sleep a little later, become a little more lazy in the mornings and definitely eat a little more!

Then summer comes screeching to a halt with September!... it's painful! School, schedules, routines, activities, games, homework, preparations - it seems to all come too fast, too much!

This year I decided to stop reinventing the wheel and to start preparing in advance for this transition phase. I still refuse to corrupt my summer's carefree style, so I will put my emphasis on regaining my routine back slowly but steadily. One of the first priorities I have is gaining ground on our nutritional habits again. While I wouldn't say we are on a family diet, I would say that we need to start eating smarter and healthier again. So a few little sneaky weight loss strategies are always useful!!

Here are a few tactics that I have implemented in my daily dinner habits:

• Set a date on the calendar at least once (or more!) a week to have sit down dinner in the dining room - this ensures the family all sit down together for a more relaxing, less hurried meal – note: kitchen counter doesn’t count like dinner around the dining table.

• Downsize plates for optical illusion - After reading studies that show that eating from smaller plates creates the illusion of eating more and being more satisfied, I was sold! So I traded my huge dinner plates that I tend to overfill and we now eat better proportioned meals on smaller (appetizer sized) plates (same goes for ice cream bowls – oops, I mean cups!)

• Stop serving “family-style” dinners - Small changes make big differences! I now “plate the food” in the kitchen and do not leave bowls/platters on table. Again, I want to be in a better position to control portion sizes and discourage dipping back into the pasta bowl for seconds and thirds! Exception: Only salads and vegetables are displayed on family table and encouraged for second servings before anything else

• Serve less starchy options - I'm making meals with more fresh vegetable options and relying less on filling, less-nutritious starchy options.

If you have any ideas for breaking the summer habits, I would love to hear from you!! 

Quick Links

Links

Archives

The Sneaky Chef is available at fine booksellers everywhere: