Grilled Vegetable Platter with Yogurt Mint Sauce

This beautiful, Grilled Vegetable Platter with Yogurt Mint Sauce is so colorful and delicious. An easy summer side dish made with asparagus, zucchini, squash, red onion and bell peppers.

Grilled Vegetables with Yogurt Mint Sauce are so colorful and delicious. An easy summer side dish made with asparagus, zucchini, squash, red onion and bell peppers.
Grilled Vegetables with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Grilled vegetables are perfect to make as a side dish with anything you’re grilling such as grilled pesto chicken or grilled salmon, or they can be served as a main dish or appetizer.

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Magnesium Flakes. Better or Worse than Epsom Salts?

jar of magnesium chloride flakesMagnesium flakes are a popular tool for helping to improve one’s nutritional status of this critical mineral. The question is, does it work?

Not only is magnesium deficiency rampant today, even when a person gets enough in the diet (more than two-thirds do not), he/she might not absorb it very well. (1)

This is why even supplementation might not resolve the problem especially for those with gastrointestinal disorders.

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Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad, a light and refreshing salad that requires no cooking! Lime juice and cilantro are the key ingredients to creating this wonderful, healthy salad you’ll want to make all summer long.

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad, a light and refreshing salad that requires no cooking! Lime juice and cilantro are the key ingredients to creating this wonderful, healthy salad you'll want to make all summer long.
Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Made with shrimp and the freshest ingredients – avocados, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and chopped jalapeño tossed with some freshly squeezed lime juice and a touch of olive oil.

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Zero Waste Homemade Oat Milk

This Homemade Oat Milk requires only 2 ingredients and about 5 minutes of your time to prepare. Incredibly easy, it costs nearly nothing to make, on top of generating absolutely zero waste. It’s a no fuss, no mess and no straining needed recipe. Simply put: there’s nothing not to love about it! I don’t know […]

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Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar

Looking for an easy grab-and-go lunch that isn’t a salad? Try shepherd’s pie in a jar!
You can feel good about this nutritiously complete made with ground turkey and plenty of veggies.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Stashing your lunch in a jar is all the rage right now. But most of the meal-in-a-jar ideas out there are of the salad variety. Now, we love salad as much as the next health-conscious parent. But sometimes you want something a little more substantial and filling. Shepherd’s pie is just that.

This recipe combines lean healthy ground turkey with carrots, peas, mushrooms, and creamy mashed potatoes so you can get a completely balanced lunch in a convenient package.

These jars travel to work with you, ready to pop into the microwave (lid off first!) and impress the heck out of your coworkers.

Even though we think of this one as a “mom and dad recipe,” you might also find your kids enjoy having a mini-sized shepherd’s pie in a jar all their own! Got a sitter and a night out planned? Prep these ahead and leave them in the fridge for an easy-to-heat, nutritious kid meal.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

How to Make Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar

Start off by getting your mashed potatoes going. This can be done using your own method, if preferred, but here’s how we did it.

We used small yellow potatoes and kept the skins on because we like them (also nutrients!), but you can peel them if you like. Chop them into inch-sized squares and cook them in boiling water for 15-20 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces them. You want them pretty soft, but not completely mush before you even mash them. Drain when finished cooking.

Meanwhile, dice half an onion into small pieces, mince 3 cloves of garlic, and grate two or three carrots.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

In a large pan over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil (we used EVOO) and saute onions for 2-3 minutes. Add carrots and garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. Next, add ground turkey and sliced mushrooms (I bought mine pre-sliced) and stir, breaking up turkey as you go until it’s fully browned. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of flower, plus a tablespoon of fresh thyme and rosemary and mix well.

Finally, add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, a cup of frozen peas, 1/2 cup of beef broth, and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened just a bit.

TIP: if you have extra tomato paste, scoop it onto a parchment paper-lined plate in tablespoon-sized heaps. Freeze for a day, then transfer to a ziplock bag. Now you’re set for the next recipe that calls for only a little bit of tomato paste!

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Now, back to the mashed potatoes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mash with a potato masher or use a handheld mixer for just a minute to whip them up.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Put Lunch in a Jar

Now is the fun part! Carefully scoop the turkey and veggie mixture evenly into four pint-sized jars. We used maybe 1 1/4 cups per jar. Now layer on 1/2 cup or so of mashed potatoes. Top with a pinch of cheddar cheese, if desired. It doesn’t even need cheese because it tastes great even without it!

Pint-sized jars work well for a hungry adult (very filling!), but you can also use half-pint sized jars for kids or if you have a smaller appetite.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

Here’s an optional assembly tip: you might want to add half of the mashed potatoes to the bottom of the jar. This way, you have a more evenly distributed potato-to-filling ratio. But even if the potatoes are all on top, just stir it all up a bit and it works great!

Make these ahead for nearly a week of lunches! They can be reheated without a lid in either a microwave for 1-2 minutes. The great thing about using a jar is that they can also be heated in the oven, if that’s your preference. About 20 minutes at 400 F works nicely, just make sure to place them on top of  a baking sheet so they don’t fall over.

Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink

What recipes have you tried in a jar?

FOOD - Shepherd's Pie in a Jar! Filling and healthy make-ahead lunch. | Super Healthy Kids | Food and Drink https://www.superhealthykids.com/shepherds-pie-jar/

Print

Shepherd’s Pie in a Jar!

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3 medium carrot
  • 3 clove garlic
  • 2 1/2 cup, pieces or slices mushrooms, white
  • 1 tablespoon oil, vegetable
  • 1 pound turkey, ground
  • 2 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, dried
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, dried
  • 1 cup green peas, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste, canned
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Chop potatoes into inch-sized pieces and boil them for 15-20 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, dice onion into small pieces, grate carrots, mince garlic, and slice mushrooms.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of oil. Saute onion for 2-3 minutes, then add carrots and garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more. Now add mushroom and ground turkey, mixing and breaking up turkey into small pieces until fully browned.
  • Add flour and spices to the turkey mixture, mix well. Now add peas, tomato paste, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  • Now, return to the potatoes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mash or mix until creamy.
  • Fill four pint-sized jars equally with meat and veggie mixture. Top each with 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes. Garnish with cheese or fresh herbs, if desired.

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Skinnytaste Meal Plan (June 24-June 30)

A free 7-day flexible weight loss meal plan including breakfast, lunch and dinner and a shopping list. All recipes include calories and Weight Watchers SmartPoints®.

If you’re new to my meal plans, I’ve been sharing these free, 7-day flexible healthy meal plans (you can see my previous meal plans here) that are meant as a guide, with plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food, coffee, beverages, fruits, snacks, dessert, wine, etc or swap recipes out for meals you prefer, you can search for recipes by course in the index. You should aim for around 1500 calories* per day.

There’s also a precise, organized grocery list that will make grocery shopping so much easier and much less stressful. Save you money and time. You’ll dine out less often, waste less food and you’ll have everything you need on hand to help keep you on track.

Lastly, if you’re on Facebook join my Skinnytaste Facebook Community where everyone’s sharing photos of recipes they are making, you can join here. I’m loving all the ideas everyone’s sharing! If you wish to get on the email list, you can subscribe here so you never miss a meal plan!

Also, if you don’t have the Skinnytaste Meal Planner, now would be a great time to get one to get organized for 2019! There was a print error last year, but it’s perfect now! You can order it here!

THE DETAILS:

Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday, are designed to serve 1 while dinners and all meals on Saturday and Sunday are designed to serve a family of 4. Some recipes make enough leftovers for two nights or lunch the next day. While we truly believe there is no one size fits all meal plan, we did our best to come up with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. Everything is Weight Watchers friendly, I included the updated Weight Watcher Freestyle Points for your convenience, feel free to swap out any recipes you wish or just use this for inspiration!

The grocery list is comprehensive and includes everything you need to make all meals on the plan. I’ve even included brand recommendations of products I love and use often. Cross check your cabinets because many condiments you’ll notice I use often, so you may already have a lot of them.

And last, but certainly not least, this meal plan is flexible and realistic. There’s plenty of wiggle room for cocktails, healthy snacks, dessert and dinner out. And if necessary, you can move some things around to make it work with your schedule. Please let me know if you’re using these plans, this will help me decide if I should continue sharing them!

MONDAY (6/24)
B: 2 eggs, any style (0) with a piece of whole grain toast (3) ½ cup cherries (0)
L: BBQ Chicken Salad (2)
D: Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayonnaise (5) with Air Fryer French Fries (5) (Recipe x 4)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 15, Calories 1,061*

TUESDAY (6/25)
B: ½ cup 2% cottage cheese (3) with 1 tablespoon sliced almonds (1) and a peach (0)
L: BBQ Chicken Salad (2)
D: Barbacoa Beef (3) with Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice (6) and Corn Salsa with Lime (0)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 15, Calories 828*

WEDNESDAY (6/26)
B: 2 eggs, any style (0) with a piece of whole grain toast (3) ½ cup cherries (0)
L: Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill (1) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3) and an apple (0)
D: Barbacoa Beef (3) with 2 corn tortillas (3), 2 ounces avocado (3) and 2 tablespoons chopped tomato (0)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 13, Calories 1,045*

THURSDAY (6/27)
B: ½ cup 2% cottage cheese (3) with 1 tablespoon sliced almonds (1) and a peach (0)
L: Chicken Salad with Lemon and Dill (1) on 1 slice whole grain bread (3) and an apple (0)
D: Turkey Stuffed Peppers (5) with Corn Tomato Avocado Salad (3)
Totals: Freestyle™ SP 16, Calories 933*

FRIDAY (6/28)
B: 2 eggs, any style (0) with a piece of whole grain toast (3) ½ cup cherries (0)
L: LEFTOVER Turkey Stuffed Peppers (5) with ½ cup mango (0)
D: Salmon Avocado Salad (5)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 13, Calories 881*

SATURDAY (6/29)
B: Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (5)
L: The Skinny Tuna Melt (4) (Recipe x 2)
D: DINNER OUT!

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 9, Calories 466*

SUNDAY (6/30)
B: Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (5)
L: California Grilled Chicken Avocado and Mango Salad (4)
D: Vietnamese Shaking Beef (5) with ¾ cup jasmine rice (4)

Totals: Freestyle™ SP 18, Calories 916*

*This is just a guide, women should aim for around 1500 calories per day. Here’s a helpful calculator to estimate
your calorie needs. I’ve left plenty of wiggle room for you to add more food such as coffee, beverages, fruits,
snacks, dessert, wine, etc.

(more…)

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Probiotics and Kids: What You Need to Know

You’ve heard that probiotics are important for good digestion and immune function. Does that mean you should supplement your kids? We delve into the latest research about probiotics and health and provide tips for choosing the right supplements for kids. PLUS, learn about three supplement-free ways you can support your kids’ microbiome.

girl taking probiotic pill

Remember when we were kids, and our parents and doctors led us to believe that bacteria were just plain bad? The story went like this: bacteria made us sick, and antibiotics cured us by wiping out bacteria. Great, right? …

Except that scientific research from the last decade has shown that bacteria are not all bad. Most strains of bacteria in our bodies cause no harm whatsoever, and some, in fact, are downright important to our overall health.

We also know that our bodies are absolutely teeming with the little things. Our mouths, skin, and digestive tract host trillions upon trillions of bacteria: so many that the number of bacterial cells in our bodies roughly equals the number of our own actual cells!

All together, this community of bacteria inside our bodies is called our microbiome. And many doctors and pediatricians now recommend taking probiotic supplements to support a healthy balance in our microbiome.

Read on to learn about the health effects of probiotics, how to choose the right supplements for your kids, and a few non-supplement alternatives that can help kids maintain a healthy flora.

What are the Health Effects of Probiotics in Kids?

Research keeps uncovering more ways bacteria positively affect the health of adults and children. So far, we know that probiotics can prevent or lessen the severity of these conditions:

  • Digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, and IBS
  • Allergic reactions like eczema and hay fever
  • Colic in babies
  • The common cold
  • Certain infections, like yeast and urinary tract infections
  • Autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Asthma

Are Probiotics Safe for Kids?

Probiotic supplements are safe for most kids, though they might have mild tummy troubles like bloating or gas for the first few days. Though rare, kids with serious immune system problems can have a reaction to these supplements. So if you have any doubt about whether it’s OK to try them out with your kids, make sure to talk to your family’s pediatrician first.

At the end of the day, deciding to give any supplement to your kids is a personal decision. But if your child is struggling with mild to moderate environmental allergies or digestive issues, supplementing with probiotics may help. And it’s unlikely to cause any harm.

mom choosing probiotics at the store

What to Look for in Probiotic Supplements

If you’ve decided to buy a probiotic supplement for your kids, prepare yourself for a dizzying array of options. The particular brand you purchase doesn’t matter as much as a few key criteria, which we’ve outlined for you below:

  • “Live, active cultures.” Make sure the supplement you choose contains this actual phrase right on the bottle, so you can be sure you’re getting an effective product. Some brands of probiotic supplements even come refrigerated to help protect these living cells.
  • High bacteria count. The concentration of bacteria in probiotic supplements is measured in CFUs (that’s “colony forming units.”) Look for a probiotic supplement that has, at a minimum, 1 billion CFUs.
  • Multiple strains. Balance matters! Different strains of probiotics can have different health effects. A supplement with eight or ten different strains of bacteria may help to diversify the bacteria that make up your kids’ microbiome.
  • Enteric coating. This refers to a hard coating on the outside of the pill that lets it survive the journey through the harsh, acidic stomach. An enteric coating means that bacteria are released in the intestines, where they can thrive.
cute toddler eating yogurt with probiotics

Three Supplement-Free Ways to Support Your Kids’ Microbiome

Maybe you’re not sold on giving probiotic pills to your kids. That’s totally OK. In fact, there are other ways you can support your kids’ microbiome, without supplementing at all:

  1. Serve probiotic-rich whole foods. Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and other fermented foods contain live active cultures right in the food. You can even make these foods yourself at home! Here’s our recipe for culturing your very own yogurt in the Instant Pot.
  2. Let your kids get a little bit dirty. It turns out, letting kids play in the dirt, and skipping a bath here and there, is actually probably good for them. Early, consistent exposure to a wide variety of bacteria helps diversify their microbiome and improve immune health.
  3. Serve plenty of PRE-biotic foods. Yep, that’s different than PRO-biotics. “Prebiotics” is basically a fancy word for fiber, and it’s what the healthy bacteria in our bodies like to snack on. You can literally “feed” your kids’ microbiome by serving lots of fiber-rich fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and whole grains.
Probiotics and Kids: What You Need to Know | Healthy Ideas and Recipes for Kids | Super Healthy Kids

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