Tag Archives: family meals

Weekly Groceries from Around the World

The What’s Cooking Blog has moved: Please visit us at our new location: whatscookingblog.com

You will find this article there 🙂


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Filed under Cooking with Kids, Meal Planning, Musings of a Cooking Teacher..., Nutrition and News

Contest – Win a FREE Subscription to What’s Cooking Weekly!

The What’s Cooking Blog has moved: Please visit us at our new location: whatscookingblog.com

As of 11/3, this contest is closed. Check here to see if you are the winner. Plus, get a special discount if you would like to subscribe to What’s Cooking Weekly and see what all of the buzz is about!

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The new books by Missy Chase Lapine and Jessica Seinfeld have generated a lot of enthusiasm about getting our families to eat better. But rather than focus on how to hide healthy foods from our children, now seems as good a time as any for families to learn how to bring the kids INTO the kitchen to learn about healthy eating and to help cook the family meal.

What’s Cooking Weekly is an online service that provides families with Healthy Menus for 5 meals every week. Subscribers receive recipes, organized grocery lists, nutrition information and tips on getting kids into the kitchen to help prepare healthy and seasonal meals. What could be easier than getting healthy menus delivered right to your email in-box?

In an effort to generate more buzz about our new healthy service, What’s Cooking is holding a contest during the week of October 29 through November 2. Win a FREE 6-Month Subscription to What’s Cooking Weekly.

Here is how to enter:

If you have a blog:
Place a link to this post on your blog and describe What’s Cooking Weekly. Let me know you have participated by writing a comment here, along with the link where I will find your post.
OR
You can visit our Free Trial Menu and tell us what your favorite recipe is

If you do not have a blog:
Please visit our Free Trial Menu and tell us what your favorite recipe is.

This contest is open to residents of…planet earth 🙂 We will post the winner here on November 3 or 4th.

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Lie to Your Children—It’s Good for Them

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You will find this article there 🙂

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Fast food: 6 ways to healthier meals

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Making Smart Choices at a Fast Food Restaurant

Fast Food: Friend or Foe?

You are in the car, shaking and cranky with hunger, as you taxi your children around town…A whiff of food comes through the window, and you find yourself steering towards the fast food drive through. Such convenience!

But is it really possible to make healthy choices at a fast food restaurant? Here is what the experts at the Mayo Clinic have to say…


Can fast food be part of a weight-loss or healthy diet plan? You might not think so. In fact, you might even think that you can’t have a meal that’s both quick and healthy.
But this isn’t necessarily so. An occasional stop at a fast-food restaurant can fit into a healthy diet plan. The key is to choose wisely.

  1. Keep portion sizes small. If the fast-food restaurant offers several sandwich sizes, pick the smallest or order half a sandwich, if available. Bypass hamburgers with two or three beef patties, which can pack more than 1,000 calories and 70 grams of fat. Instead, choose a regular- or children’s-sized hamburger, which has about 250 to 300 calories. Also, skip the large serving of french fries or onion rings and ask for a small serving instead. This switch alone saves about 300 calories. Or better yet, select a lower calorie option.
  2. Choose a healthier side dish. Take advantage of healthy side dishes offered at many fast-food restaurants. For example, instead of french fries choose a side salad with low-fat dressing or a baked potato. Or add a fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option to your meal. Other healthy choices include apple or orange slices, corn on the cob, steamed rice, or baked potato chips.
  3. Go for the greens. Choose a large entree salad with grilled chicken, shrimp or garden vegetables with fat-free or low-fat dressing on the side, rather than regular salad dressing, which can have 300 or more calories per packet. Watch out for high-calorie salads, such as those with deep-fried shells or those topped with breaded chicken or other fried toppings. Also, skip salad extras such as cheese, bacon bits, croutons and fried chips, which quickly increase your calorie count.
  4. Opt for grilled items. Fried and breaded foods, such as crispy chicken sandwiches and breaded fish fillets, are high in fat and calories. Select grilled or roasted lean meats — such as turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, or lean roast beef.
  5. Have it your way. Don’t settle for what comes with your sandwich or meal. Ask for healthier options and substitutions. For example, ask for reduced-fat mayonnaise or mustard on your sandwich. Or at a fast-food Mexican restaurant, request salsa with your meal instead of shredded cheese and nacho cheese sauce. Try to avoid special dressings, tartar sauce, sour cream and other high-calorie condiments.
  6. Watch what you drink. Many beverages contain a large number of calories. For example, a large soda (32 ounces) has about 400 calories. Instead, order diet soda, water, unsweetened iced tea, sparkling water or mineral water. Also, skip the shakes and other ice-cream drinks, which can contain more than 1,000 calories and all of your saturated fat allotment for the day.

You can eat healthy away from home, even at fast-food restaurants. The bottom line: Be choosy. Make wise menu choices and focus on portion control.

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Meal Planning Made Easy – Recipes in your Inbox

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A lot of us find that the main reason we go to the farmer’s market is to take our kids to the jumpy house and to get a bag of kettle corn. But as we walk through the aisles, enjoying the flavors and colors of the seasonal produce, we wonder how to include these treasures into our repetitious dinner menus.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone could just tell us what to make for a healthy dinner every night, and how to do it? And how about including an organized grocery list, at the same time? To be honest, it would be hard to imagine a shopping trip that didn’t include the grocery store shuffle – going up and down the aisles, only to return to fetch several forgotten items.

As if planning meals isn’t challenging enough, we have to figure out how to keep the kids occupied while preparing dinner. Send them outside to play? Park them in front of the television for some “educational programming”? What else are we supposed to do? It can be such a challenge to cook a meal with miniature cars speeding between our feet, and listening to a chorus of: “I’m telling!”

There are a variety of tools to help busy families get healthy meals on the table. Take-out menus and meal assembly facilities are two that we may be familiar with. But a third and more exciting option is now available. Online recipe subscription services address people’s biggest issue head on: Lack of Time. No time to plan healthy meals, no time to write a thorough grocery list, no time to cook elaborate meals, and perhaps worst of all, little quality time with our children. Imagine a service that solved the time dilemma and enabled us to spend more time with our families.

Real Simple magazine says that “online dinner-strategy services…manage to alleviate the stress of deciding what to make for dinner.”

How They Work:

Most of these types of services are subscription based. Some of them send their customers a weekly e-mail, complete with recipes and grocery lists. Others send you an e-mail that summarizes that week’s meals, and remind you to login to their website for the details. Subscription costs vary from $4 to $10 per month, and are usually available in 3, 6 or 12 month bundles, with price breaks for longer subscriptions. (In case you are not a numbers person that translates to 6-months worth of meal plans for less than the cost of one take out meal!)

Which One is Right for Your Family?

The one you choose will most likely be based on how easy their style, format and recipes are for you and your family to digest (pardon the pun!).

If the following options are important to you, be sure that they are addressed by the service you are considering:

  • Affordable cost
  • Healthy recipes
  • Seasonal ingredients
  • Clearly written recipes
  • Recipes for Main Dishes, Sides and Vegetables for every meal
  • Organized grocery lists
  • Nutrition Label for each recipe
  • Tips on what your children can do to help prepare each recipe

Yes, you read the last feature correctly! Believe it! There are fun and simple tasks that your kids can do in the kitchen while you cook the meal. Even if you are the type of cook who burns water, your kids CAN participate in your meal preparation. Helping you cook may even encourage your kids to expand their horizons and try something new or green every once in awhile!

Ready to look forward to meal time again? Now that you know about the knight in shining armor who can tell you: a) what to make for dinner; b) how to do it; c) what ingredients to buy; and d) what kids can do to actively participate, what are you waiting for? Get online and find the right one for your family!

Michelle Stern owns What’s Cooking, a business that offers cooking classes and gifts to children of all ages. She recently launched What’s Cooking Weekly, a healthy family menu subscription service for families.

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