Posts Tagged ‘health’



Recipes and Tips for Kid-Friendly, Allergy-free Lunches

Monday, August 18th, 2014


As seen in iVillage
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Need some tips for gluten and allergen free lunches?  Here are some “out of the lunchbox” ideas.

Parents with children that have severe food allergies can especially feel challenged by the morning lunch prep routine– easy options for lunch seem limited.   Without advance planning, the morning rush can make your head spin. Here are some easy ideas to help overcome those mental blocks that we can face during the hectic, rush around mornings.  The tips below are all geared towards the gluten-free and allergy-friendly lunchbox but really anyone can add these ideas to their lunch prep repertoire.

1. Plan and prepare in advance

As much as possible, prepare at least part of lunch the night before, while you are preparing dinner.  If you are making a salad for dinner, make an extra salad for your child’s lunch.  If you are preparing pasta, make an extra serving and re-warm in the morning.  Soups, pastas, risottos all make great lunch box options.

-Wash and chop a plethora of fresh veggies and place in air-tight container in the refrigerator.  Use what you need as you go.

-Make and freeze larger batches of items such as gluten-free granola bars and home-made gluten-free cookies.

-Purchase handy lunch containers, a thermos and a large enough lunch box to fit everything.

 

2.  Think outside of the regular sandwich

The challenge with gluten-free sandwiches is, of course, the bread. It often crumbles, doesn’t taste good, has holes in it, is expensive, etc.  A great way to prepare sandwiches on gluten-free bread is by using a panini maker or sandwich press.  The flavor and texture of purchased gluten-free bread is enhanced by toasting or grilling.

Panini’s:

panini-1024x680

Turkey Pesto Panini:

2 slices whole grain gluten-free bread such as Rudi’s

2-3 turkey slices, nitrate free, try organic brand like Applegate Farm

1 slice cheddar, Monterey Jack or Provolone Cheese, or Daiya dairy free cheese

Sliced tomato or avocado

Pesto sauce for the adventurous kids

Spray a little cooking spray on the Panini maker, place your first bread piece, then add nitrate free turkey, a cheese slice or Daiya Cheese Shreds (our favorite!)  add optional sliced tomato or avocado, then another cheese slice, and top with second slice of bread, for the adventurous kids, pesto sauce can be spread on the top piece of bread.  Cook as instructed.  Wrap in reusable sandwich wrapper.  While the Panini will not stay hot until lunchtime, it still tastes great.

Almond Butter, Jam and Fruit Panini: Spray a little cooking spray on the Panini maker, spread one piece of bread with almond butter, the other with low sugar, organic jam, place first bread piece, thinly sliced apples or bananas, place other piece of bread on top.  Cook as instructed.  Wrap in reusable sandwich wrapper.

Waffle sandwiches: Try The Pure Pantry Buckwheat Flax Pancake and Baking mix to make waffles on the weekend.  Make extra a freeze.  In the morning, lightly toast two waffles, spread with nut butter and organic jam or cream cheese and jam.  Try turkey slices or ham with swiss cheese or Daiya Mozzarella to create a “Montecristo” type of sandwich. 

Cookie Cutter Sandwiches: appearance is everything to some kids.  Create cute cut-out finger sandwiches with large shaped cookie cutters.

3.Make a Hot Lunch

Not a lover of the gluten-free bread choices out there?  Think outside the sandwich, and get into thermoses!

This Bento box type thermos provides great versitility: www.ebagsetc.com

Thermos Meals

Again, planning ahead pays off in the morning.  Left overs make great lunches the next day.  Soups, stews, pastas, risottos, are all easily reheated and packed into a thermos.

Soups: What can be more satisfying that a nice homemade cup of soup?  Here are a few ideas:

White Bean Oregano Chili: A family favorite in our home. A large pot can be made on the weekend and doled out during the week.  Accompany with organic corn chips or gluten-free corn muffins.

Asian Noodle Soups: gluten-free rice noodle packaged soups with added veggies are a perfect, quick hot meal to take to school.

Pastas:

Pasta Salad: gluten-free fusilli pasta tossed with chopped celery, cooked broccoli, shredded carrots, diced black olives, and 1 tablespoon Balsamic salad dressing. 

Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballsmake a big batch for dinner, then warm and serve it up for lunch the next day.

Mac and Cheese – Dairy based or Dairy-Free with peas or broccoli. 

BBQ Chicken:

Left over BBQ’d chicken: My son’s favorite.  Barbeque extra chicken legs or thighs, pair them up with coleslaw or a side salad.

4. Get in the greens with salads

 I am proud to say my 3 year old eats salads.  If your children are salad eaters, a whole world opens up for lunch box choices.  It is easy to prepare a chef salad or garden salad with a protein.  For dinner the night before, prepare an extra portion and place in a lunch container.  Put salad dressing in a smaller container.  There are endless options. Here are a couple of ideas:

Chef Salad: top lettuce mixture with slices or turkey,cheese, add hardboiled egg slices, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices.  Place salad dressing in a separate small container.

Greek salad: top lettuce mixture with cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, Greek olives and feta cheese crumbles or Daiya Mozzarella shreds, add sliced grilled chicken if desired.  Place salad dressing in separate small container.

Garden salad with tuna: top lettuce mixture with sliced carrots, sliced cucumbers and any other veggies your child likes. Combine one can tuna with 1 tablespoon Vegenaise (egg free,dairy free mayo) ½ cup diced celery, ½ cup diced pickle, a squeeze of ½ lemon, dash of dill.  Place one scoop of tuna salad on top of greens.  Place salad dressing in a separate small container.

5. Add Some Easy Snacks and Sides:

Trail mix: make your own or purchase.

Yogurt Parfait: Your child’s favorite yogurt or coconut yogurt flavor with a small container of sliced fruit and a container of gluten-free granola to top it off.  Our favorite gluten-free granola is from Healthy Creations.

Home-made Gluten-Free Granola Bars: try this recipe for Cherry-Almond Oat Bars. Make double batches, cut into bars, wrap each bar individually and freeze.  Pull out a ar when needed – it will defrost by snack time.

 

Home-made allergy-friendly cookies:  Try some fun fall recipes like Pumpkin Pie Bars, or Molasses Ginger Cookies, or an old time favorite, Old Fashioned Chocolate Chip cookies.

Gluten-free Chex Mix: try my Agave-Almond Chex Mix recipe for a great snack to pack for lunch or to bring to a class party.

Pre-packed healthy snacks: Organic Fruit leathers, organic squeezable fruit purees, organic apple sauce are all easy to throw in options.  Gluten-free crackers and cheese, and organic gluten-free corn chips with salsa are also easy to pull together.

Fresh fruit is a staple in every lunch we make.  We always keep apples, oranges, bananas and grapes on hand as a grab and go lunch item or snack.  More fragile fresh fruit such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, we place in small containers.

Fresh veggies and dips: Carrots, celery, red pepper strips are all great with hummus, organic ranch dip, or Edamame Pesto Dip (recipe in “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen”).

There are so many options for gluten-free, allergen friendly lunches.  With a little advance planning you can provide healthy, tasty lunch options that will keep your kids well-fed and make your mornings flow smoothly.

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The Thyroid – Diet Connection

Friday, June 24th, 2011

So many of us with celiac disease also have thyroid issues. I share this article by Valerie Breslow with you as it provides helpful guidelines for food choices – and most importantly, gluten-free foods are part of the equation for supporting your thyroid.

The Thyroid – Diet Connection
Given the fact that we live in a toxic world full of chemicals combined with our stress-ridden culture, it’s no wonder our thyroids are challenged to function normally. And it’s not uncommon as we age to become more susceptible to a low-functioning thyroid gland. Why does this matter? Because your thyroid is the master gland of your metabolism and it relies on the dietary intake of certain minerals to produce key thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is actually a butterfly-shaped endocrine organ and is tucked in your neck just in front of the larynx. Since it’s so close to the surface of your body, and not usually covered by clothing, the thyroid gland is highly sensitive to environmental changes, oxygen levels in the air, and exposure to toxic chemicals. It is also dependent on elements in the foods you eat and controls all the key functions in your body, including your ability to gain or lose weight! Now that I have your attention…here are some key facts:
Because it’s difficult to avoid toxic chemical exposure in our world today, one of the best things you can do is (more…)

Top 10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil

Friday, May 13th, 2011

In my cookbook “Fresh from Elizabeth’s Kitchen” I often suggest using coconut oil as a butter substitute. Here is an article on the top 10 benefit of organic coconut oil – a wise choice for good health and wonderful baking results.

Top 10 Benefits of Organic Coconut Oil
(sourced from: http://www.healthiertalk.com/top-10-benefits-organic-coconut-oil-3892)

This might come as a surprise to you, but one of the smartest choices of good fat you can add to your diet is organic virgin coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil. Although it is a 90% saturated fat, organic coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that can improve your health in many ways. First of all, organic coconut oil is very stable to cook with because it withstands high temperatures without heat damage. If you switch your cooking oil to organic coconut oil, you can start improving your health right away.

What’s more, you can easily digest the MCFAs in coconut oil. So, it’s a lot easier on your system than other oils. Plus, these hard-working fatty acids are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored in your body as fat. Overall, MCFAs help to boost your metabolism, which is a great help to any weight loss program. Considered a functional food, organic coconut oil is now being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune system related diseases. Several studies have been done on its effectiveness in this area, and much research is currently underway concerning the incredible nutritional value of pure organic virgin coconut oil. Organic coconut oil is highly nutritious and contains a superior disease fighting fatty acid called lauric acid. It is also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The best kind to get is organic raw unprocessed extra virgin coconut oil. This will assure you that your product is unrefined, certified organic by USDA standards, and contains no added chemicals or genetically modified additives. [My favorite brands are from Artisana and Garden of Life because they’re sold in glass instead of plastic.]

You’ll also know your organic coconut oil is made only from fresh coconuts and is a solid at room temperature. The Philippines is the world’s largest exporter of organic coconut oil.

Used in tropical cultures as a nutritious diet staple for many centuries, organic coconut oil can help:

1. Keep You Healthy and Slim
You can help boost and regulate your metabolism to keep your weight under control with this wonder oil.

2. Support Your Immune System
Organic coconut oil is jam-packed with lauric acid, the immune supporting nutrient.

3. Promote Heart Health
Packed full of healthy fats that are good for your heart, organic coconut oil is a great addition to your daily diet.

4. Give You Instant Energy
Organic coconut oil can help you feel less fatigued and require less sleep by stimulating your metabolism. It can also enhance athletic performance.

5. Support Healthy Thyroid Function
Organic coconut oil helps to stimulate the activity and proper functioning of this important gland which provides energy, supports the health of your skin and metabolism, and keeps your moods in balance.

6. Help Keep Your Skin Youthful, Smooth & Healthy Looking
Using organic virgin coconut oil as a lotion will help improve your skin, hair, and nails due to its moisturizing and smoothing effects that also promote elasticity.

7. Increase Cell Regeneration
When your metabolic rate increases, your cell regeneration speeds up, too. This means that your body will more quickly replace old cells with newer, healthier cells.

8. Promote Anti-Viral, Anti-Fungal, and Anti-Bacterial Activity
Teeming with lauric acid, organic coconut oil possesses abundant natural agents that may reduce fungus, bacteria and the viruses that cause influenza, herpes, and other illnesses.

9. Improve Insulin Secretion
This helps to better utilize glucose to balance insulin output which can help relieve the symptoms and reduce the health risks associated with diabetes.

10. Protect Your Body from Disease
Organic coconut oil may help protect your body from cell damaging free radicals.

Gluten-Free New Year’s Celebration!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009


By Elizabeth Kaplan

This year I am hosting a New Year’s Eve party with appetizers and desserts — and its all going to be gluten -free!

In year’s past I would create dishes that were both gluten-free and gluten-containing.  Nowadays, everything I make is gluten-free, and it is so much easier to entertain.  To be honest with you, no one ever misses the gluten.  I haven’t had one friend say, “Hey, where is my gluten!”

The reason I have gone this route is that my family is gluten-free:  I was diagnosed 6 years ago with celiac disease, and consequently I had my three children tested and they are also gluten-free.  My husband, who is extremely health conscious, does not need to be gluten-free but he goes along with it because, well, I am the cook so he doesn’t really have a choice.

This year for New Year’s Eve we are having over 8 families, kids and all.  So my menu is both kid-friendly and gluten-free-friendly.  Here is my menu with links to the recipes:

Appetizers:


Gluten-free Turkey Meatballs

Both kids and adults love these meatballs! You an either make the bbq sauce from scratch or purchase gluten-free BBQ sauce.  I often use Annie’s brand available at Whole Foods and other finer natural foods stores.


Chicken, Manchego and Pomegranate Polenta Squares

This is the MOST delicious appetizer.  Everyone loves it!   Again, you can use the same BBQ sauce is you make it from scratch or you can use a gluten-free purchased BBQ sauce.


Italian Salad with gluten-free croutons

Healthy and delicious!

Assorted gourmet cheeses served with grapes, green apples and Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free crackers, available at Whole Foods and other finer natural food stores.


Gluten-free Cheddar Biscuits

Top these with gluten-free chicken salad served with Dijon mustard and Major Grey’s Chutney!  This is a little sandwich type appetizer, filling and savory.

Desserts:


Gluten-free Chocolate Bourbon Pie
Mmmmm, this is so good served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!


Gluten-free Cranberry-Ginger Pound Cake

We love this for dessert and eat the left-overs in the morning with our coffee!

These recipes combine to make a fabulous, festive table: the colors and aromas will truly make for a delightful New Year’s Eve celebration!  Bon Appetit and Happy New Year!!!!!

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