Healthy Belly, Happy Child

Healthy Lunchbox: Chicken Quesadilla and Salad

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Healthy Lunchbox: Chicken Quesadilla and Salad

chicken questadilla

We love slightly updating traditional foods to make them healthier, especially for kids. I think it’s safe to say that we all love the comforting and delicious taste of a quesadilla. The problem is, store bought, white tortillas are loaded with processed ingredients and can lead to blood sugar spikes and weight gain.

Does a simple and delicious tortilla need all of those chemicals? We don’t think so! Instead, opt for a whole wheat or a whole grain option. The complex carbohydrates in whole wheat or whole grain tortillas will not lead to blood sugar spikes and eating whole grains is much more beneficial to our health.

Today’s sneaky healthy lunchbox includes whole grain tortillas with a side of simple salad, fruits, and veggies.

Quesadilla Ingredients:

  • Whole grain or whole wheat tortilla
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Grilled or broiled chicken

 

Directions:

Take a tortilla and place the cheese and chicken over one half. Fold over the ingredients and cook on a pan over the stovetop or bake a few minutes in a toaster oven.Quesadilla 1

Salad Ingredients:

  • Arugula (or any other spring or field greens)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Baby or Persian cucumbers

 

Directions:

Chop your ingredients into pieces that are suitable for your little ones and mix. There is no need for salad dressing, but if you would like to add a little more moisture, you can sprinkle a little bit of olive oil on top.

Sides: cucumbers, carrots (we prefer to use regular sized carrots instead of baby carrots because they are less expensive and sweeter), apple slices.

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Beet Away the Winter Blues!

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Beet Away the Winter Blues

beets

The humble beet is an excellent food addition to your healthy diet and we’re going to take the time to sing the praises of this much overlooked vegetable in this week’s edition!

If you’re hesitant to try beets, an easy first step is to try it in a smoothie. Beets have a sweet earthy taste to them and are a great way to introduce nutrient dense foods into your diet.

Beets are chuck full of beneficial vitamin C, fiber. They also have essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. On top of all of that, they produce nitric acid, which helps increase blood flow throughout your body, including to your brain.

Ingredients:

  • Mixed berries (we used strawberries and blueberries)
  • ✿ We prefer frozen because they are easy to store in your freezer, are less expensive, and more readily available throughout the year. Frozen fruits and vegetables maintain their nutritional content and they are often a great alternative to their more expensive fresh, organic counterparts.
  • 2 small or 1 large boiled beets
  • 1/2 cup of beet juice (look for pure beet juice and make sure to read the ingredients list to ensure there are no added sugars.
  • 3 tablespoons of whole milk plain yogurt
  • ✿We prefer whole milk plain yogurt versus the low fat versions. Low fat dairy is not a healthy option because the fat is often replaced with added sugar.
  • 1/4 cup of coconut water


Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients in a blender and beet away those winter blues! It’s as simple as that. Isn’t the color gorgeous? Happy eating!

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Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

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Healthy Dessert? It’s Possible.

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Healthy Dessert? It’s Possible.

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Sometimes, we just need a little sweet in our lives. This week’s post shows you a healthier alternative to cookies and cake with this delicious baked pear.

✿ Pears are a very good source of dietary fiber. Adequate intake of dietary fiber is a long-established factor in reducing our risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Ingredients:

  • Pears (Serving size for one person is 1/2 a pear)
  • Unsalted Sliced Almonds
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Greek Yogurt

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Wash the pears under water thoroughly. Slice them in half long ways and remove the core. Take a baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil. Place the pears skin down on the aluminum and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle cinnamon and no more than a tablespoon of sliced almonds on top. Place the pears in for about 15-20 minutes or until nice and soft. Take the pears out and plate with a tablespoon of greek yogurt. Enjoy!

Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

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Cauliflower “Baked Potato” Soup

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Cauliflower “Baked Potato” Soup

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It’s chilly outside and Los Angeles has been getting a lot of rain! A hearty soup is always a nice accompaniment to gloomy weather. If you’re like me, you crave heavy comfort food when it’s cold out, but we all know that loading up on carbohydrates and starch is not the best choice. So, how do you fulfill your need for hearty food while staying healthy? CAULIFLOWER.

Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile vegetable can take many shapes. It can be used an alternative for pizza crust, mashed potatoes, rice, and so much more.

✿ It is a great source of vitamin c and manganese, which have antioxidant properties; a wonderful source of vitamin k and omega-3, which have anti-inflammatory properties; and a hearty source of fiber, which is great for digestive system support.

In this recipe, we use cauliflower as a replacement for starchy potatoes, which allows us to indulge a bit more with cheddar cheese and bacon. All you need is a food processor or blender and a big pot!

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of bacon (center-cut preferred)
  • 1/2 an onion (we used yellow)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small-medium cauliflower head
  • 2 tablespoons flour (you can use gluten-free flour if needed)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups of your choice of milk (we used almond milk, but soy works as well)
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce of choice to taste

 

Directions:

Take any green leaves off of your cauliflower head and then rinse in water. Once clean, chop up into chunks that will fit comfortably in your food processor. Pulse the cauliflower until it is in small grain-like pieces. It took me a couple of rounds because I have a small food processor. Once you’ve grated the entire head of cauliflower, set aside.

Chop up your onion and garlic (I threw them into the food processor for an easy prep) and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour and 1/4 cup chicken broth and set aside. Take your bacon slices and chop into small chunks.

✿ Kitchen scissors are very helpful for cutting up fatty foods like bacon. They cut right through the pieces with ease.

Throw the bacon into a pan at medium-low heat and cook to your preference of crispiness. Remove the bacon and place on a plate that is lined with paper towels so that the excess fat drips off. Take 2 tablespoons of remaining fat from the pan and place into the large pot you will be using for the soup.

Cook the onions and garlic in the pot on medium-low heat until the onions become translucent. Once cooked, mix in all of the grated cauliflower and the water. Place a lid and allow the cauliflower and veggies to steam, about 5-7 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Once tender, add remaining chicken stock and milk and bring heat up to a boil.

Once the mixture has reached a boil, slowly whisk in flour mixture and bring heat down to a simmer. Allow to simmer, while occasionally stirring, until the mixture has become your desired thickness. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, a few dashes of hot sauce, and bacon bits (leave a few for garnish). Serve in a big bowl and ENJOY!

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Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods

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Healthy Belly, Happy You!

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Feed Your Gut Healthy

There has been a lot of news lately about our microbiota, or what is commonly known as “gut bacteria.” Did you know that our intestines carry tens of trillions of 1,000 different species of bacteria? That’s about 8 pounds of bacteria!

Some of these microbes are beneficial to us because they help us break down food to release energy, produce vitamins, and protect us against germs. The amazing fact is that a vast amount of our immune cells live in our gut, representing about 70% of our immune system.

Researchers believe that disturbances in our intestinal micro-biome (the ecosystem of microbes) may play a role in multiple chronic diseases, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and many others.

Scientists have been studying the various ways our gut bacteria aid or damage our health. More research is necessary to pinpoint the exact inter-relationships between our diet, these microbes, and chronic disease, however, we do know that the bacteria are influenced by our diets and that they are modifiable, sometimes in a very short period of time. So, what does this mean for all of us? It means that the choices we make every day about the types of foods we eat will optimize our health and reduce our risk for chronic disease.

For example, researchers believe that the bacteria in our intestines feed on the fiber that we eat. If we don’t get enough fiber in our diet we will starve the good bacteria, which will disturb the balance of good versus bad microbes or will allow the bacteria to eat away at our intestinal lining. That can’t be a good thing!

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. So feed your gut healthy and give those little guys the fuel they need to help you achieve good health and keep the bad guys from taking over!

Healthy Belly, Happy You!

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Fruits and Vegetables High in Fiber:

  • Apples (especially the skin)
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Raspberries
  • Mangos
  • Dark colored vegetables like beets, carrots, broccoli, and spinach
  • ✿ The darker the veggie, the higher the fiber content.
  • Beans: navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, lima, and pinto
  • Lentils
  • Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, almonds, and popcorn.
  • ✿ Pop your own popcorn and stay away from the artificially colored and flavored microwavable stuff!


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Sources:

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Healthy Grilled Cheese

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Healthy Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Who doesn’t love a delicious grilled cheese sandwich? If not prepared correctly, grilled cheese sandwiches can become very unhealthy, however, if you use the right ingredients they can be a healthy and delicious meal. This particular recipe adds in the delicious and nutritious flavors of tomatoes and Californian’s favorite fruit, the avocado!

    Ingredients:

  • Whole grain or whole wheat bread
  • ✿Whole grain or whole wheat bread is much better for you nutritionally than white bread. Bread is made out of flour that comes from grain kernels. A grain kernel has 3 parts: brand, endosperm, and germ (called this because it’s the part of the kernel that germinates into a new plant). Whole grain and whole wheat bread contain all parts of the grain kernel. White bread is made from flour with refined grains that have had the fiber-dense bran and the nutrient-rich germ processed out, leaving only the starchy endosperm. Removing the bran and germ also removes key nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein, and fiber.*
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil (only needed if making on the stove)


Directions:
Cut open your avocado and use a butter knife to create thin slices of the fruit. You will only need a quarter of the avocado for each sandwich. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. You will only need about 3 or 4 halved tomatoes, but you are welcome to throw on more! Take a slice of whole grain or whole wheat bread and cut in half. Place a slice (or two) of cheddar cheese in between the two pieces of bread.

If you have a conventional oven, you can lay down some foil and place the sandwich inside to toast up and melt the cheese. Once it’s toasted to your preference, take the sandwich out and layer with avocado slices and sliced tomatoes. Yes, it’s really that easy!

If you do not have a conventional oven, warm up a drop of olive oil on a skillet and place the sandwich on top. Flip over to toast the other side. Once the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted to your preference, take it off of the skillet and layer the sandwich with avocado slices and sliced tomatoes.

This grilled cheese sandwich is a perfect example of how eating healthy can be easy and delicious! Enjoy!

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Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

squash

This delicious and healthy “pasta” is a great dish to serve as the cooler weather starts to set in.

✿Spaghetti squash is a great low carbohydrate alternative to pasta and it contains a high amount of potassium, which helps regulate your heart beats and helps with muscle contractions. After cooking the squash and scraping a fork against the flesh, the squash produces spaghetti-like strands – that’s where the name comes from! The turkey bolognese turns this dish into total healthy comfort food.

Ingredients:

  • 2 spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Mozzarella cheese (I used whole mozzarella cheese, but you can also use shredded mozzarella)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Rosemary (you can use fresh or dried), dried oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper to taste


Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375ºF. Cut the ends of the spaghetti squash off and cut the squash in half length wise. The rind of the squash is very thick so, use a sharp knife and be very careful! Once your squash are cut in half, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Rub the flesh of the squash (the part not covered in rind) with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Take a baking sheet and line it with foil for easy clean up. Lay the spaghetti squash flesh down on the baking sheet so that they are flat. Place in the oven for 30-45 minutes. When they are done, take them out of the oven and lay them on their rinds to cool.

While your squash is baking, dice the onion and chop the garlic. Place a dash of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until they are slightly translucent and are letting out a nice aroma. Add ground turkey, garlic, all of your herbs and seasonings (rosemary, dried oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper) and stir. Cook until turkey is lightly browned, but not cooked all the way through. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a slight boil, cover the pan, and bring the heat down to a simmer. Remove the lid after 10 minutes and allow the bolognese to continue to simmer for another 20 minutes.

While your bolognese is simmering, cut slices of mozzarella cheese and chop your basil. Set aside.

When the bolognese is finished, scoop hearty portions into the “bowls” of the squash. Sprinkle the basil on top of the sauce and lay slices of mozzarella on the very top.

If you have a broiler, turn your oven to broil and place the squash back in the oven to brown the cheese. If you do not have a broiler setting, up the heat on your oven to 475ºF and leave the squash in for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and gooey.

When the squash is ready, serve whole with a fork. As you dig into the squash you’ll see that the inside starts to break apart like spaghetti. Enjoy!

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Quinoa and Veggies

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Quinoa & Veggies

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This week’s recipe comes from Care Coordinator Alfredo Munoz and was featured at our National Health Center Week celebrations in August. It’s easy to make and packed with nutrients.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • ✿ 1 cup of Quinoa contains 3.6g of total fat, 0.4g of saturated fat, 2g of polysaturated fat, 3g of monosaturated fat, 12.9mg of Sodium, 39.4g of carbohydrates, 5.2g of Dietary fiber, and 8g of protein.

  • 2 cups water
  • Green bell pepper
  • Orange bell pepper
  • Red tomato
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumber
  • Jalapeño
  • Lime
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (you can substitute regular salt)


Directions

Place 2 cups of water in a pot to boil. While your water is boiling, dice up all of the veggies like you’re making a chunky salsa. Take 1 cup of quinoa and rinse in a strainer. Place the rinsed quinoa in a pan and cover with boiling water. Let it simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes.

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Once the quinoa is ready, serve on a plate. Cover the quinoa with the diced vegetables, squeeze fresh lime juice on top, and sprinkle with salt to taste.

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Pimientos Rellenos

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Pimientos Rellenos

stuffedbellpeppers

Los pimientos son unas de nuestras verduras favoritas, ¡especialmente en el verano! Este recete para pimientos rellenos es fácil y se puede adaptar a sus gustos y para cualquiera verduras están frescas y disponibles en su mercado local.

✿ Los pimientos tienen una amplia gama de antioxidantes como la vitamina C y E.

Ingredientes:

  • 4 Pimientos (nosotros utilizamos pimientos rojos, amarillos, y naranjas)
  • Pavo o Pollo Molido
  • Hongos
  • La Mitad de Una Cebolla Roja
  • 2 Dientes de Ajo
  • 2 Tomates
  • 1/2 Taza de Queso Mozzarella Rallado
  • Aceite de Oliva
  • Sal y Pimienta


Direcciones:

Hierva agua en una olla suficiente grande para poner los pimientos adentro. Corta la parte superior de los pimientos y saque las semillas. Ponga los pimientos adentro el agua hirviendo para 5-8 minutos, o hasta que los pimientos estén suaves. Saca los pimientos y pon los boca abajo en una toalla de papel para secarse.

Precalienta el horno a 375°F. Pica la cebolla, el ajo, y los hongos y tomates. Calienta un chorrito de aceite de oliva en una sartén. Pon el ajo y la cebolla adentro y cocínalos hasta que se ponen translucidas. Añadir el pollo o pavo molido y cocina. Añadir sal y pimiento a su gusto. Saque el carne y ponlo en un bol. Echa un chorrito de aceita de oliva en la sartén y añadir los tomates y hongos. Cocínalos hasta que se hacen suave, como 3-5 minutos. Ponga las verduras cocinadas en el mismo bol que el carne y mezcla los ingredientes con el queso de mozzarella.

Pon la mezcla de ingredientes adentro de los pimientos. Pon los pimientos derechos en una cazuela. Pon un poquito de mozzarella rallado arriba de los pimientos y cocina en el horno para 25-30 minutos.

✿ El foto tiene una ensalada de verano con lechuga romana, melocotones y aguacates picados, peras picadas, y un aderezo que tiene aceita de oliva, limón, miel, sal, y pimiento.

Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=50&tname=foodspice

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

stuffedbellpeppers

Bell peppers are one of our favorite veggies especially in the summer! This easy to prepare stuffed bell peppers recipe can be tailored to your taste preferences and to the whatever veggies are fresh and available at your local grocery store or farmers market.

✿ Bell peppers have a broad range of antioxidants including vitamin C & E.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Bell Peppers (we used red, yellow, and orange)
  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Half of a Red Onion
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper


Directions:

Bring a pot of water, large enough to hold all of your bell peppers, to boil. Cut off the tops of your bell peppers and scoop out the seeds. Place the clean bell peppers into the bowling water for about 5-8 minutes, or until they have started to soften. Take them out and place them upside down on a paper towel to dry.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Chop the onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic. Heat a splash of olive oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic and onions. Cook until it begins turning translucent and add the ground turkey or chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook until your meat has browned and is all the way cooked through. Remove the meat and veggie mixture and place it in a bowl. Add another splash of olive oil to the sauté pan and then add the chopped tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until they have both softened, about 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the bowl with the meat.Mix the meat, veggies, and shredded mozzarella together.

Scoop the mixture into each bell pepper until they are completely full. Place the peppers up-right into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with a little more mozzarella cheese. Place the dish into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Take out and enjoy!

✿ The picture above includes a delicious and easy summer salad with romaine lettuce, blue cheese crumbles, chopped pears, peaches, and avocados, and a home-made dressing of lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and salt & pepper to taste!

Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=50&tname=foodspice

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