Healthy School Lunch Planning

It is time to start thinking about how to come up with some interesting and healthy lunches for your kids again!  My boy is starting school this year and I am starting to give some serious thought to what to send with him.

Sandwiches are a definite given when preparing school lunches.  Make sure that you are using a whole grain bread, this allows for slower digestion and will provide your child with stable sugar and energy levels for the afternoon.  Using lean cuts of meat that are not heavily processed are a good choice for sources of protein.  However, you do not need to limit yourself to the conventional sandwich, using a variety of breads such as flatbreads, tortillas, bagels, etc. will give your child the feeling that they are not eating the same thing all the time.  Also, sending them with a hearty soup, stew or chili will provide them with all the nutrients they need and mix things up even more!

Fruits and vegetables are essential in a growing child’s diet, but can also be the most challenging to get them to eat.  Perhaps, getting your child involved in actually making the lunch with you would ease the pain of wondering if they will eat their whole lunch.  Another fun way to get them to eat their fruits and vegetables is to cut them into various shapes and put them on skewers.  Making food fun and easier to eat is a good way to encourage your children.

Now, for drinks, keeping children away from sodas and high sugar drinks is very challenging, I know.  So, perhaps offering some flavored teas and waters is a wonderful way to entice your child.  They offer both the allure of bright colors and wonderful effervescent flavors!

The most important thing to remember is that your child is probably willing to try more than we give them credit for and keeping them involved in the decision making process will make coming up with creative lunch ideas that much easier.

What are some healthy school lunch ideas you make for you kids?



Cooking is Kid’s Play

I love cooking for my wife and son; however, I truly love cooking with my son!

My boy has expressed interest in my life as a chef ever since he could talk, and I have to admit I have mixed feelings about that as a career path for him.

It is not the easiest lifestyle or the easiest on the nerves. I was one of those chefs who succumbed to every evil cliche’ there is about being a chef.  I also had some of my most satisfying and proud moments as a chef. If my son chooses this as a profession, I feel my experiences and poor choices could come in handy while I’m teaching him as he is rising the ladder in the culinary field.

That being said, the boy and I love getting up in the morning, putting on his chef hat and making breakfast for mommy.  He is my big helper, the best egg cracker, and the best pancake batter mixer on the planet!!

And he says his daddy is the best chef in the world!

Together we are the bandits of brunch, haha!!  When breakfast is done, he gets so excited to wake up mommy and bring her the plate of goodies we made in there!

Not only do I find cooking with my son rewarding in a bonding sort of way, it allows me to expose him to foods he might not be privy to elsewhere.

He has sampled so many different vegetables. He absolutely loves mushrooms and broccoli!  And who would have thought that at the age of four he would absolutely fall in love with Scallops.

He truly has a good palate and is willing to try anything once!

I think one of our best experiences together has to be making some simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! We made a cooking show on how to make them for my wife’s blog and it was hilarious!

He truly helps ignite the fire in his daddy from time to time that he once had working as a chef.

All in all, cooking with your child is one of the most bonding and educational experiences you can have!  I highly recommend trying it if you haven’t and to do it more often if you do!

Do you have any fond memories of cooking with your children?

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Eating Healthy During PregnancyMy sister-in-law is days away from having her first child and it has inspired me to write a post on some helpful eating habits for those mothers to be out there!  Now, while there are no sure fire guarantees that eating a certain way is the only answer to preventing certain complications or health issues, it is still important to do everything you can to supply your body with all the proper nutrients.  A steady diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins is a good way to start.

Folic Acid is an important part of your diet and has been known to help prevent birth defects in newborns.  It is recommended that mothers get about 800 micrograms of folic acid a day.  This can be obtained by choosing fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits and dried beans and peas.

Calcium helps to promote strong bones in both mother and child, and can be found in milk, yogurt, cheese, spinach, fruit juices and cereals fortified with calcium and salmon.  Recommended amount per day is 1000 milligrams.

Vitamin D is another element that helps promote bone strength and this can be found in fish, eggs, asparagus and milk.  It is suggested mothers consume 600 IU per day.

As far as choices of proteins, lean proteins are best, however to get the proper vitamin D, a little fattier cut of fish can be eaten (i.e. salmon, tuna).

Processed lunchmeats and unpasteurized cheeses are best to avoid. If you crave lunchmeat, I would recommend Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeat.

Chicken, free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics is highly suggested. Smart Chicken or any other variety of organic or free range chicken is a good way to avoid this in your chicken.

Lean cuts of pork are ok, but should be limited because of the link to high blood pressure.

Beef, any lean cut, like a top sirloin or filet mignon is a good choice. When eating ground beef it should be cooked to 165 degrees to ensure it is well done. Undercooked ground beef is not safe for your unborn child.

When eating fish, it is important to stay away from fish that are high in mercury.  Typically, this is judged by how big the fish is, the longer it is alive and how big it gets usually is a good indicator that it is high in mercury(i.e. swordfish, halibut, king mackerel, tilefish, and certain tunas).

All in all eating smarter and healthier when pregnant will make mommy and baby healthier and happier during pregnancy and after.  I hope you found this a little helpful and good luck to all those awesome mommies to be out there!

Have you tried any special pregnancy diets?

The Pride of Detroit Still Swells in the Texan!

I was going to take the opportunity today to do my first product review, but as I sat here watching Andrew Zimmerman touring Detroit, my mind was changed!

People all over the country think that my beloved city of Detroit is just some downtrodden city on the brink of being wiped off the map. And all I say to them, is you better check your facts before spouting off!

Just watching this show brings back such amazing memories of Panzckis in Hamtramack on Fat Tuesday, the best Delis anywhere in this country. Sorry Mr. Mark Katz, but my great grandmother's deli killed yours in it's hayday! Opened in 1922 in Detroit, The Modern Delicatessen still lives on today! Thanks Great Grams for showing me the way to serve food with love and integrity.

Yet, I have not even touched on the one and the only, often imitated, but never duplicated Detroit Coney Island! As the battle wages for decades and which ever side you are on Lafayette and American Coney Island stand alone as the pinnacle of what a true chili dog should look and taste like!

I miss my town where I spent so many amazing years cooking at some very fine establishments, and I hope to return for a visit to show my wife and son all the great things that Detroit has to offer. From all the new restaurants to the classics, Detroit will never lose it's foothold on who it truly is in the culinary department! A melting pot of food from every corner of the earth perfectly blended in one city on the rise!

One man on the show simply said that more independent businesses are making up the rebirth of Detroit, because noone wants to depend on big business anymore! And, so I say to those just starting with a booth in America's largest farmer's market (Eastern Market), to the newly established restaurants and to those like my friends, Sharon and Mary, who are keeping tradition alive with Diamond Jim Brady's. Stay strong, for the phoenix shall rise from the earth once again!

Thank you all for keeping Detroit's pulse beating. I love you all and I love my City! Peace!