This Year, Resolve to Eat:
No matter how you say it, lots of us have a resolution that has something to do with eating. When you’re a parent struggling to shop for food, put meals on the table, and pack healthy lunches, living up to that resolution feels even more daunting. Here are some basic strategies from the American Heart Association:
1. Eat a plant-based diet. Vegetables and fruits provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant compounds that have been found to have a number of health benefits. Eat more real food – more apples, less apple sauce.
2. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables.
3. Rein in sugar. Most Americans eat too much sugar, consuming 355 calories – or twenty-two teaspoons – of added sugar a day. According to the American Heart Association, most American women should consume no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men).
4. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages. If you choose to eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available.
5. Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout, and herring).
In a bowl or mason jar, mix together 6 tablespoons chia seeds, 2 cups unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey or sweetener of choice (optional), and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. If you’re using a mason jar, you can put the lid on and shake the mixture to combine everything. Once the chia pudding mixture is well combined, let it sit for 5 minutes. Give it another stir/shake to break up any clumps of chia seeds, cover, and put the mixture in the fridge to set for 1 to 2 hours. You can also prep your pudding the night before, and let it sit in the fridge overnight if that’s easier. When ready to serve, divide the mixture between two bowls, top the pudding with blueberries or strawberries, and enjoy. (Vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and keto-friendly.)
Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray one 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray, or use cupcake liners. In a bowl, mix 2 cups old fashioned oats, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. In another large bowl, mix 1/3 cup egg whites, 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 6 drops liquid stevia (or 1 packet powdered stevia or 1/3 cup maple syrup), and 2 medium mashed bananas until combined. Dump dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix well. Pour in 1½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and stir until combined. Gently stir in ¼ cup chopped walnuts or almonds and ½ cup raisins. Scoop mixture evenly into muffin cups. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the center of each baked oatmeal cup is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy immediately, or allow cups to cool and store them in the fridge or freezer. Reheat them in the toaster oven or microwave when you’re ready to eat them. When frozen, thaw in the fridge over night for the next morning. Toast or microwave for a few seconds before eating in the morning.
Baked Egg Cups
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with silicone baking cups. (I spray the silicone baking cups with spray just to be on the safe side.) Whisk together 6 large eggs and 1 cup egg whites (another 6 eggs) in a large bowl. Season with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon oil. Add in chopped veggies (half an orange bell pepper, ½ cup yellow onion, 1 cup broccoli, and 1 cup mushrooms) and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until they’re a little soft and the onions are fragrant. Add sauteéd veggies into the bowl with the whisked eggs. Add 1/3⅓cup feta and 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, and mix well. Pour egg mixture into muffin cups evenly. (I use a 1/3 cup measuring cup to pour each one.) Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until the egg cups are no longer jiggly, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cups to cool. If prepping ahead of time, store cooled cups in a sealed container in the fridge. When ready to eat, you can enjoy the cups cold or pop them in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to reheat.
Chocolate Banana Overnight Oats
Cut one half of a banana in slices and mash the other half. Combine mashed banana, 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant), 1½ cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 4 tablespoons chocolate protein powder, and ½ tablespoon chia seeds into a bowl. Stir well to combine, until all the protein powder has dissolved. Seal container with a lid and place in the fridge overnight. Take the container out of the fridge the next morning and stir the mixture. You’ll notice that the protein powder, oats, and chia seeds soak up a lot of the liquid, so you may want to add a little more almond milk before serving. Portion overnight oats into two containers, top each with banana slices, cocoa nibs, and almond butter (optional).
Blueberry Eggs Breakfast Salad
Mist a skillet with coconut or olive oil spray, and place over medium heat. In a bowl, whisk 2 eggs plus ½ cup egg whites in a bowl. Add eggs to skillet and scramble until cooked through. While eggs are still runny, add 1/4 cup blueberries into the skillet, heat them until they start to burst. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and cinnamon. Once eggs are cooked through, add one tablespoon chopped pistachios to the skillet. Quickly toss to combine and serve over a bed of baby arugula. Garnish with basil, crushed red pepper, and hot sauce if you like your eggs spicy.
Photos: Brittany Mullins