Are you looking forward to Winter Break, it’s starting on Friday!
Some families choose to run away from the Canadian cold and pack up the family to a hotter climate (although December has been surprisingly mild this year in Canada).
We’ve decided to stay local this year and I’ve planned two weeks full of activities and fun for the kids, and of course food has crossed my mind as well, so I’ve prepared a list of food, healthy snacks and treats for my family and thought you might enjoy it as well. If you’ve been following me for a while now, you know that I am not a crafty or artsy kind of mom, instead I always opt for the simple, easy and convenient. So all of the ideas below are super easy and not labour intensive, because you and I have better things to do!
I’ve divided the list into three categories: 1. Healthy Snacks to make at home, 2. Store-bought healthy snacks, 3. Food Chains approved by HealthBeginsWithMom.com.
1. Healthy Snacks to Make at Home (prepare before you leave the house or the night before)
The old favourite – Sandwich. But think outside the box – Replace the standard bread with a sprouted whole grain bread, a whole wheat pita or a wrap. Try nitrate free meat (I like oven roasted turkey) with hummus and pickles or fresh veggies. Change up the PB & Jelly with different nut and seed butters with sliced fruit on the side. My favourite upgraded PB&J sandwich is made with Organic Sunflower Seed Butter made by ‘Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc.’ and raspberry jam by Crofter’s.
Crepes – I like to use homemade crepes instead of store bought tortillas or wraps when I don’t have any handy. You can make them either sweet or not sweet, depending on what you choose to fill them with.
Waffle-wich – We have always loved waffles for breakfast, now we use them as a base for a sandwich. Try it with your filling of choice. Fruit, honey and peanut butter, homemade jam…
Sushi bread – I LOVE THIS IDEA!! It’s super easy and fun to make and kids love it!
Banana Bites – This is another excellent idea for an on the go snack that kids love.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Homemade quiche – Very easy to make and easy to pack. Cut into squares and store in a BPA free container.
Pasta Salad mixed with Vegenaise, celery and red pepper (cut up into tiny bits).
Tuna or Chicken salad
Fried whole grain rice with veggies
Cut-up fruit – grapes, melon, apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, Chinese pears
Cut-up veggies – carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, snap peas, cooked chickpeas, pickles and olives
Dried fruit – raisins, cranberries, dates, organic apples, organic apricots (important note: do not buy dry fruit that has sulphites in it, or that has been bleached. Always get the darker coloured dried fruit).
Homemade muffins – I like to call muffins “vessel food” as you can add stuff to it that otherwise kiddos won’t eagerly eat. This recipe works great with grated carrots, squash, zucchini and cauliflower. Just add a little bit more sugar and enjoy!
Homemade cookies – who doesn’t like cookies? I use whole ingredients in my cookie recipes as a strategy to keep kiddos full for longer periods of time. Also, I appreciate the option of offering them cookies and not feeling guilty about the integrity of the ingredients.
2. Store-bought healthy snacks (things you can buy and take with you to feed the kids and yourself on the go)
Potato chips (my favourite brands are: Terra, Good Health avocado oil chips, Food Should Taste Good sweet potato tortilla chips, Tostitos oven baked scoops)
Cookies (Trusted brands: Shasha Co., GoGo Quinoa)
Muffins (Trusted brands: Sweets from the earth, U-Be-Livin-Smart)
Unsweetened apple sauce
Crackers (Mary’s crackers, gluten free crackers)
Bread sticks (can be eaten with a dip of choice or with a healthy chocolate spread as a snack)
Raw & Unsalted Nuts & seeds – almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, etc (if your kids won’t eat them raw and unsalted, you can roast and salt them at home, very easy to do).
3. Food Chains approved by HealthBeginsWithMom.com (eat out delicious food without feeling guilty afterwards)
Sometimes prepping ahead of time just doesn’t work, for whatever reason. We are all moms, and life happens. So I though you’d find a list of food chains which I approve of and think it is totally safe to eat, without feeling guilty afterwards. Having said that I can’t say that I’ve eaten everywhere in Toronto, so keep in mind that this is not an extensive list.
Freshii – this is my favourite restaurant and they have a wide variety of make your own salads and meals and the ingredients are excellent! Hubby and I travelled to Montreal this past summer and ate there daily. The great thing about these ingredients is that they are very filling and you won’t feel hungry for a long time after eating. This is the beauty of feeding your body highly nutritious diet, it won’t ask for food often.
Fresh – this is a vegan restaurant which has the best veggie burger in town! It literally tastes like meat, and even my hubby enjoyed it (it’s very hard to fool him with these things).
Porter House – also a vegan restaurant which has a wide variety of comfort foods that both you and the kids would love
The more time passes the more I realize the value of planning ahead of time for the sake of my and kids’ sanity and health. I hate when kids are screaming in the car as a result of low blood sugar levels and hate even more to randomly stop by any restaurant or a fast food chain to buy something for them just so that peace can be restored (always feel guilty for doing that). It happened way too many times so this year I vowed to be organized and focused on healthy options for myself and my kids to avoid the chaos.
I Want to Hear From You!
Do you have any ideas for quick and easy healthy snacks & treats to either make at home or buy? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below. Also feel free to tell me how to organize around food and how you avoid screaming, nagging and redundant visits to the store. I would love to get more ideas, definitely need to work on this department!
To your family’s health!