It's major confession time. Not sure why I feel the need to get these things off my chest, but maybe I just want to be recognized more as a human, not a robotic dietitian that surely must have it all together. Newsflash- I don't always meal-prep and you may be surprised at some of my food habits... some I'm working hard to break, others... not so much. There's just some things, like licking a bowl (raw egg and all) that at the age of 31 I'm just going to own. So here it goes.
1.) I eat chips, crackers and sometimes even cookies straight from the package. This is something I talk to my clients all the time about NOT doing. Do I feel like a hypocrite when I tell them this? No, because I'm honest about struggling in this area, and the fact that I struggle with it, makes me human. I do believe pre-portioning is always the best choice, especially when talking about snacky foods... but sometimes, life just happens and I find myself elbow deep in a bag of pretzels. #sorrynotsorry
2.) I eat sugary cereals... like Lucky Charms. Maybe it's because I didn't eat these types of cereals growing up or maybe it's just the fact that Lucky Charms is like crack, but either way I have a magically delicious bowl kinda sorta on the reg. This one falls in the category of currently doing nothing to change this habit. I eat plenty of other colorful foods that aren't marshmallows, so I'm going to keep enjoying this magical experience.
3.) Yet another habit that I don't intend on breaking. This one I probably should- it's not good and I'm in no way condoning or encouraging bowl-licking, but I do it. I've always done it. It's really therapeutic and rewarding to me.. I work hard on making a recipe and I'm excited to get to the finish line. To clarify, the finish line is not the BAKED food, the finish line is the bowl of batter. And sometimes eggs are in that batter and don't you dare shame me. For the life of me, I won't be stopping this habit (pun intended).
4.) I sometimes take huge bites of food. I'm not alone in this- I have a best friend (who will remain nameless but because she's my best friend and reads all my blogs she'll probably stumble across this) who is a dietitian and she can out-bite me any day. I know there have been occasions where we probably look like 2 monsters at meal time. This one goes under the trying to improve category. In all seriousness, this is definitely something I think is important to work on. Eating slower and taking intentional bites (not intentionally large, lol) is an important healthy habit. I don't think it's good that for whatever reason I enjoy putting 3 chips in my mouth instead of 1, but if I'm hangry- it's happening. All the more reason #1 is important to work on and same thing with #5- planning ahead.
5.) I don't always meal plan. This one is an ongoing struggle in the house... because our house is like every other house- humans live here, not healthy robots. We have work, deadlines, functions, and everything else normal people have. (IMO, "normal" is just a setting on the dryer, but it's an appropriate word to use every now and then). So sometimes dinner is a frozen meal (gasp!), a sandwich or my favorite is breakfast for dinner. Brinner has saved the day more times than I can count. And speaking of brinner- here's one of my fav clutch meals that goes from the oven to table in under 30 minutes!
So there it is- more than enough proof that I'm just as human as anyone reading this and definitely have some not-so-healthy habits that are what they are. I'll keep working on becoming the best version of myself possible and I know you'll do the same- that's all we can ever really ask for! And when in doubt, remember to just KISS it! <3 Shannon
Duda Farms Fresh Foods is a brand I enjoy working with, but this is not a sponsored post. I'm just excited to share fun ways kiddos can enjoy Ants on a Log!
Did you know there's actually a National Ants on a Log Day? It's the second Tuesday in September every year and it gets me excited because I love anything that celebrates fruits and vegetables and it can be a fun way to encourage kiddos to eat more of both! I especially love making Ants on a Log with Dandy Celery because it's less stringy! They actually have 5 PhDs on staff and their job is to work with Mother Nature to make the celery sweeter and crisper than other varieties. So when trying to get kiddos to try new fruits or vegetables, in this case- celery, it's always helpful to pick up one that has less strings!
Y'all know I love creating healthy, fun and creative lunches (I actually made a whole post on Bento Box lunches last month)! Different variations of Ants on a Log are perfect for Bento Box style lunches, a lunch at home or even an afternoon snack! And these are NOT your grandma's Ants on a Log- from sweet to savory to holiday-themed, check out these fun options that will definitely have your kiddos excited about lunch and maybe even trying a new food!
1.) Here are some of my favorite sweet options! What kiddo doesn't love a PB & J? Well take that love for the classic straight to the celery stick and make these super cute PB & J celery boats.
2.) If your kiddo loves S' mores, they will love this twist on the campfire classic! PB & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter + graham cracker crumbs + mini marshmallows. Can lunch get any cuter and delicious?
3.) One of the easiest swap outs for the classic Ants on a Log are these Apples on a Log- creamy peanut butter with sweet and crunch apple. 4.) I also like this version with pumpkin spice peanut butter for a super fun seasonal treat. Pb & Co makes the perfect pumpkin peanut butter that gets me excited every fall!
5.) Now for those who love savory a little more than sweet, check out these fun creations! Ants on a Log went for a swim in these Fish up A River celery sticks! Simply spread your favorite hummus flavor in a piece of celery and top with whole grain Goldfish. 6.) This also works great with pretzels or popcorn!
7.) Another easy favorite is to fill up a celery boat with cream cheese (if your kiddos like ranch, I'd suggest the vegetable cream cheese flavor!) and put fresh diced cucumber and tomato on top. 8 & 9.) You could also try pimento cheese or guacamole bites to be different!
10.) Celery also makes the perfect dipper or boat for chicken salad! You can snag this super simple 5 Ingredient Chicken Salad Recipe below!
This recipe is a piece of cake to whip together and has kid-friendly ingredients like mandarin oranges and cranberries! It has a creamy and smooth texture that goes perfectly with crisp celery!
5 Ingredient Cranberry Orange Chicken Salad
Time: 10 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1 12.5oz can of chicken breast, drained
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbsp chopped almonds
1/3 cup mandarin oranges
2 Tbsp avocado mayo
salt & pepper
Celery Sticks for dipping and to make Chicken Salad Boats
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I'm thrilled to partner with California Giant Berry Farms for this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I had the pleasure of visiting California Giant Berry Farms in June and learn all about the family business and non-GMO strawberries that are never sprayed with pesticides! Their naturally large strawberries are the perfect addition to these kid-friendly bento box lunches!
Ready or not, back to school time is officially here. And chances are, most of us really aren't ready. This time of year always ends up feeling daunting and chaotic. I'd say at least half the families I work with end up needing to reschedule their sessions because everything going on! But just like many other stressful seasons, the #1 key to success is planning ahead. And I'm thrilled to share some helpful tips and lunchbox ideas that kids won't throw away or come back home with a full lunchbox!
Bento boxes are all the rage and rightfully so- they make for the cutest, while still practical containers for a child's lunch. Since we eat with our eyes first, it only makes sense that the more attractive and kid-friendly the lunch, the more likely they are to eat it! And with big juicy strawberries- what's not to like? California Giant strawberries are naturally large because of the perfect climate and soil they grow in, making them eye candy and tasting super sweet!
As much as most kids love a PB & J, including unexpected and fun foods like pasta salads, pin wheels or even a fruit salad is a great way to liven up lunch. If your immediate thought is "My kid would never eat ________"- try including ONE new thing with other liked and familiar foods, like strawberries, blueberries or their other favorite fruit. Often times moms (and dads) go all out packing what they think is the coolest and healthiest lunch, but the kiddo is overwhelmed and even fearful of that many new foods. Try just one and consider including a favorite condiment or dipping sauce to entice them further!
KISS Tip: Try cutting a wrap into pinwheels- little hands love the pinwheels it makes a wrap easier to eat.
KISS Tip: Put a really thin layer of cream cheese on the inside of a wrap- it helps prevent sandwiches or wraps from getting soggy! The most popular KISS in the Kitchen recipe is actually this Viva Fiesta Turkey Wrap where I used some veggie cream cheese and also created pinwheels!
Don't be afraid to "not pack a main meal". Many parents are concerned if they don't pack a sandwich or "entree", there isn't enough food! That couldn't be farther from the truth and often kids enjoy eating a lunch comprised of "heavier snacks" than a real meal.
Consider these protein-style Bento boxes options:
2 Hard Boiled Eggs + handful nuts + Cheese Stick + Strawberries + Carrots with Ranch
Turkey + cheese rollups + Olives + hummus + edamame + Blueberries
Cheese cubes + Ham cubes + Greek Yogurt + cucumbers + Strawberries + Blueberries
For more back to school hacks, including 10 recipes, head on over to California Giant Berry Farm's website to snag the free e-Book download and enter to win their Fresh Start sweepstakes where one grand-prize winner will get a $500 Visa gift card and 2 secondary winners will receive a $150 Visa gift card!
Here are a few other healthy ideas that save you time, money or both!
-Pre-prep breakfast by creating DIY Instant Oatmeal Packets (this saves money plus you can control how much sugar actually goes in there) or pre-portion and freeze individual smoothie baggies. You can find a multitude of recipes on Pinterest for both of these, but get creative and inspired by what your kiddos like!
A great basic recipe is 1 cup strawberries and blueberries + 1/2 banana + 3/4 cup spinach placed in a freezer safe resealable bag and frozen until ready for use. Remove from freezer, place ingredients in a blender and add ~1 cup of your favorite milk. Blend in a high-powered blender until smooth. Add yogurt, tofu or your favorite protein powder for a protein boost!
-Make batches of Snack Bites or bars like these Creamy Cashew Lemon Bites or these Gluten-Free Blueberry Oat Squares.
-Bust out the crockpot and ask your friends to do the same. Instead of just picking out a new recipe, talk to the moms in your circle and have everyone pick a recipe. Not only does that help with meal planning accountability, but you can share the results and figure out what recipes are the easiest and tastiest!
-Make sheet pan dinners! Almost as popular as Bento boxes, sheet plan meals are recipes that allow you to put everything on the same sheet and it cooks at the same time and temperature! Check out this Southwest Breakfast Sheet Pan Bake I just made last week!
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One of my favorite things is hearing feedback from my clients about how their kiddos tried a new food or liked something new in their lunch- would love to hear what new foods your kiddos are trying too! Wishing y'all a safe and blessed back-to-school season! <3 Shannon
Welcome to KISS in the Kitchen! I'm Shannon, and my dad always told me "Keep it simple, Shannon". And that's what you'll find here- simple recipes and simple ideas to help you get healthier and happier.