Eat Right: Healthy foods for a Spring in Your Step

Spring brings the opportunity for New Jammies families to welcome the new season feeling refreshed. We say goodbye to the stuffy head colds, high fevers and sore throats of winter, taking an holistic approach to health with immune-boosting foods. Whether it’s a natural immune-supporting power bowl or an energy ball with chia seeds, these recipes harken back Spring’s fresh take at a healthy life.

Spring Power Bowl

Courtesy  Two Peas and Their Pod

For the Quinoa Bowl:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 asparagus spears, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Swap proteins, grains, veggies to your liking.

 

Kid Friendly Energy Balls
Courtesy The Lean Green Bean

These little morsels pack a healthy energizing punch.    Not only are the freezable, but they travel well and hey their something you can feel good about giving your child.   The lean green bean shares and assortments of recipes but this one caught my eye.  Citrus is always a great immune boosting food to enjoy in warmer weather and longer days.

Bursting with citrus flavor, these Lemon Energy balls make the perfect snack. Made with just 5 ingredients, they’re gluten-free, paleo-friendly and perfect for stashing in the fridge or freezer!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • zest and juice from a medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put dates, nuts and seeds in a food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  2. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and process until mixture comes together.
  3. Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. (I made 14 balls).

 

Veggie Spring Rolls20-Minute Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 6 spring rolls
Courtesy chefsavvy.com

This fresh recipe for vegetable spring rolls are perfect for a light lunch, healthy snack or easy-to-make appetizer. Colorful and full of flavor, these naturally vegan spring rolls include mango, high in Vitamins C & A. “The large amounts of Vitamin C act as a great immune booster. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin A. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins and fiber. Also a great source of antioxidants. The scallions’ Vitamin K and fiber make this a good choice for the spring rolls. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants,” says the recipe on chefsavvy.com.

Ingredients
6 spring rolls wrappers
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
1. Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit. Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff)
2. Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight. Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
3. Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won’t be serving them right away.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
1. Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
3. Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.

Instapot Lemon Veggie Risotto
Courtesy Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

It seems like every other day a parent is telling me how they are obsessed with their Instapot and it’s time saving ability to create homemade meals for the family.   When time is of the essence, but we still want to put a healthy dinner on the table, Instapot to the rescue.   If you too are in the Instapot fan club you may enjoy this veggie loaded risotto.   For all you classic risotto cooks, here are some new flavors to add to your slow cooked love.

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh peas, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add asparagus, broccoli, and peas to the baking sheet. Coat with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepper, toss well. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.
2. In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, press SAUTÉ. Add remaining extra-virgin olive oil and let the pot heat up. Once hot, add in onions, leeks and garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent.
3. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.
4. Add vegetable stock, butter and thyme. Stir well.
5. Turn the pressure cooker or instant pot off. Secure lid in place, turn valve to sealing, press manual, and modify time to 7 minutes.
6. Once the time has lapsed, and the pressure cooker is done, turn the valve to venting to quickly release the pressure. Open the lid and stir well.
7. Turn the setting to SAUTE. Add spinach, chives, roasted veggies, and spices to the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with lemon zest and additional chives.

Bon Appetit!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Eating in 2018

Every January, millions of Americans make resolutions to improve their health and well being in the new year, including through diet and exercise. The intention is there, but only about 8 percent of people who make resolutions keep them. At New Jammies, we’re here to improve those odds with these tips for healthy eating habits for the whole family in the new year.

The CDC Office of Women’s Health offers Six Tips for 2018, including No. 3, make healthy food choices.

”A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products,” the CDC says. “It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.”

One way the CDC offers advice on Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight is by trying a new twist on an old favorite.

“If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling,” the CDC suggests. “Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish.”

This American Heart Association recipe for Kid-Friendly Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs with Brown Rice, from its Simple Cooking with Heart program, “helps you travel to the islands with this recipe. Kids can help make them and because they’ll be in the kitchen where all the action is, they’re probably going to be excited to eat them, too.”

Ingredients

4 Servings

For the Marinade:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (at least 36 pieces), all visible fat discarded, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
20 oz. canned, unsweetened juice from pineapple chunks can
2 clove fresh garlic (minced)
OR
1 tsp. jarred, minced garlic

For the Chicken Kebabs:

Non-stick cooking spray
36 pineapple chunks (packed in their own juice)
2 fresh, chopped bell peppers (chopped into 36 pieces)
1 pint grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
12-15 wooden skewers
2 cup brown rice (cooked to package instructions)
OR
2 8.8- oz. packaged, cooked brown rice

Directions

For the Marinade:
1. In a plastic bag, add chicken chunks.
2. Have kids add soy sauce, 1 cup pineapple juice, and garlic into the plastic bag. Seal and let chicken marinate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

For the Chicken Kebabs:

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Take chicken out of marinade and place in a bowl.
2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Have kids wash bell peppers and tomatoes before chopping peppers. For kid-friendly assembly, place the pineapple, chopped peppers, and tomatoes in 3 separate bowls.
3. Let kids add 1 tomato to the bottom of 1 skewer. Top with pineapple, chicken and bell pepper 3 times, letting kids add everything but the raw chicken. Let kids add 1 more tomato to top. Repeat with the rest of skewers.
4. After 12 skewers are made (and all the chicken has been used), have kids make their own skewers with any remaining pieces. Cook kabobs in oven until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes. Serve with rice.

Quick Tips

Cooking Tip: Pineapples have an enzyme called bromelain that helps to make meat tender, making pineapple juice an excellent quick marinade.
Keep it Healthy: Skewering pieces of meat, vegetables, and fruit for dinner makes it fun for kids to eat, along with a having a meal with a quick cooking time.
Tip: You can also cook these on the grill but first, you would need to soak the wooden skewers in cold water to prevent them from catching on fire.
Tip: Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, so more will fit in a pint container. If using grape tomatoes, there will be enough tomatoes to add 4 grape tomatoes per skewer. If using cherry tomatoes, just stick with 2 per skewer.

In helping people stay on course for their wellness resolutions, the American Heart Association suggests these tips on How to Eat Healthy without “Dieting”:

• Choose mindfully, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot.
• Read labels. Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
• Watch your calories. To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories.
• Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out.
• Don’t dismiss entire food groups. Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
• Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.

Another kid-friendly, healthy recipe to help you and your family eat well throughout the new year is courtesy the We Can! program, a collaboration between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute.

Find more easy, healthy Fun Family Recipes from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

11 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 medium stalks celery, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups dry lentils
1 can (14 ½ ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
6 ½ cups water

Directions

1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onions; cook and stir until the onion is tender.
2. Stir in garlic, oregano, basil, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Stir in lentils and tomatoes, then add the vegetable broth and water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour or until lentils are tender.
4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave. The soup will taste better the next day!

This recipe for a Superfood Smoothie from the American Diabetes Association is great for kids and adults, for breakfast, a snack or dessert on the go.

“Blueberries, spinach, and almond milk make this a Superfood Smoothie and a great way to start your day,” says the ADA. “Superfoods provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet.”

Ingredients

2 Servings

1 cup original almond milk
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 cups baby spinach
1 banana

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and thick.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Confirm all ingredients are gluten-free and this recipe can be made gluten-free.

Cheers to a happy and healthy new year!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Healthy Summer Snacks for Families On the Go

StripesSummer sure is great for relaxing, but it can also be a busy time when New Jammies families are on the go.

Whether it’s to and from ball games and the pool or traveling for family vacations and reunions, helping kids eat right is made easy with tips on packing snacks with a healthy punch.

New Jammies founder Nicole Ludlow opts for healthy snacks on the go including dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, banana, and bringing along a soft-pack cooler for cut-up fruit, veggies and cheese.

“Veggies are an easy route for snacks, especially when chopped into child bite-sized portions,” Nicole says. “We love carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, jicama, and red, yellow and green bell peppers for fresh, mobile snacks.”

Jicama is a fun, nutritional vegetable, native to central and South America, that kids enjoy because it has a crisp sweetness that stays cool in the summer. The root veggie has been used for thousands of years as a medicinally beneficial dietary element, according to organicfacts.net.

“Some of the health benefits of jicama include its ability to help you manage your weight, optimize your digestion, boost your immune system, prevent various types of cancer,” says the Organic Facts website, which provides unbiased info on nutrition and benefits of food and home remedies. “It also increases energy levels, helps manage diabetes, builds strong bones, increase circulation, lowers blood pressure, and boosts brain function.”

Fresh fruit is also a favorite with New Jammies kids. From watermelon and blueberries to strawberries and mango, fruit goes with summer like sun and a day at the beach. Fruit is extremely versatile — it can be eaten alone or diced up and mixed in with yogurt. Apples, oranges, pears, and peaches make for quick snacks to take on the go.

And dried fruits including cranberries, apricots, and bananas are nutritious non-perishable items to pack for longer trips or vacations. Dried fruit can be packed in individual travel snack bags or added to homemade granola and protein-heavy nut mixes that include peanuts, pistachios, pecans, almonds, and cashews.

GranolaTry this easy sugar-free granola recipe that can be packed for snacking from superhealthykids.com:

Ingredients:
2 cup oats, dry
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
2. In large bowl, combine oats, nuts, seeds, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into dry oat mixture. Stir gently until dry mixture is coated.
4. Turn oat and egg white mixture onto a cookie sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner)
5. Bake in pre-heated oven for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

Also easily portable are wheat crackers topped with peanut butter, hummus, cheese cubes and pepperoni slices, and dry snacks including pretzels, apple and sweet potato chips, goldfish and graham crackers, and low-sugar fig newtons. This recipe from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission for homemade baked sweet potato chips is easy to prepare, and can be great for snacking or family get-togethers. They can be made with or without the red pepper for spice, if needed, for kids:

Courtesy sweetpotato.org

Spicy Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and dried
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Peanut oil for frying
1 recipe Vidalia Onion Dip (recipe follows)

Instructions:
1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly slice sweet potatoes.
2. In a small bowl, combine salt and red pepper. Set aside.
3. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, pour oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium-high heat to 350°. Plunge chips, 10 to 12 at a time, into oil. Fry until light golden brown, 3 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove, and drain on paper towels or paper bags until completely cooled. Sprinkle with salt mixture.
5. Serve immediately with Vidalia Onion Dip, if desired.

Serving Size: 12 servings

Vidalia Onion Dip

Ingredients:
1 Vidalia onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

Garnish: chopped fresh thyme

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Place onion slices on prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, coat onion with olive oil.
3. Bake until slightly charred, approximately 12 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool, and roughly chop.
4. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine onion, sour cream, ricotta, tarragon, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Pulse until smooth.
5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Garnish with thyme, if desired. Serve with Spicy Sweet Potato Chips, if desired.

Serving Size: approximately 3 cups

Happy, healthy snacking from New Jammies!