Healthy and Happy Kids

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Today I shared some healthy breakfast and lunch ideas on the show.  Check out the link below to catch up.

Sending my own baby off to kindergarten this year made me worry. Did she eat enough before school? Will she like what’s in her lunchbox? Is she miserable? She tends to be a bit of a diva, so it was hard to pre-plan for her.
I am sort of famous for “running behind” every now and then.  I have not had that problem so far this school year. I have trained myself to stay focused and not get distracted by my plethora of projects.  That being said, I get everyone up, dressed, hair done, teeth brushed, bags packed before they are allowed to go downstairs and even look at a breakfast spoon. Occasionally that has left us with just 15 minutes to eat before school. Yikes!

Here are a couple of breakfast ideas full of nutrition and can be eaten in 15 minutes!


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Breakfast can be fast, healthy and delicious!


This one is definitely good on the go. Lots of flavor, high iron, high protein and filling. My foodie friends, Jennifer McCormick and Charity Ross helped me with this one. Thanks gals!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Smoothie —

1 cup almond milk
several  spinach leaves
1 tablespoon of  almond butter or peanut butter
1frozen banana
1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder

Throw it in a blender, blend and serve!

We never made it to these today, but these are great! I fooled around with a couple of different recipes and created this one. These are whole wheat, not bitter and super soft.

I LOVE granola! You can make so many variations.  Oats are high in fiber, low fat and have been  proven to help lower cholesterol. I used the below recipe with plain greek yogurt (high protein) and a little bit of honey. It is like dessert for breakfast and will sustain your appetite until lunch. I got this recipe from You can also find lots of other healthy recipes on this website.

Roasted Banana-Nut Granola

•    2 barely-ripe bananas
•    ⅓ cup walnut oil
•    ⅓ cup maple syrup
•    1 tsp cinnamon
•    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
•    pinch of sea salt
•    3-4 cups old fashioned oats
•    ½ cup chia seeds
•    ½ cup pecan pieces

1.    Preheat oven to 400˚. Place whole bananas in the oven and let roast until peel has browned. Remove and let cool slightly.
2.    Remove banana from peel and place in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add walnut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Mix on medium-high until mixture comes together a bit.
3.    Add the 3 cups of oats and let mix on medium-low until oats are covered. Toss in pecans and chia seeds, mixing and adding a few more oats until granola comes together and clumps.
4.    Scrap out onto a covered baking tray and return to 400˚ oven. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Half way through baking remove from oven and flip granola.
*you can vary the above recipe with different items. I added almonds and a few dark chocolate chips to today’s recipe.

Finally, one of our favorite anytime snacks is this “Hand Pie” from the July, 2013 issue “Bon Appetit” magazine.  This is great substitute for the high sugar, preservative loaded “Pop Tarts.” The Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op ( sponsors the food for my segments. They support local farms, organic farming and healthy living.  So saying that, they would not have blueberries on their shelf in mid-September. They are not in season. I altered the original recipe ( for this one below using seasonal pears.

Pear Hand Pies

Pear hand pie


Pastry –

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•    1/2 teaspoon sugar
•    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•    1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter; pulse until the texture of very coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water; pulse, adding more water if dry, until dough comes together in clumps. Form into a square, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
-Crust can be made successfully 3 days in advance.

Fruit Filling-

All-purpose flour (for dusting)

-2 cups diced pears (about 10 ounces)
-1/2 tsp of ginger
-1/2 tsp of cinnamon
-1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
-1/4 cup sugar
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 large egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
-1 tablespoon raw sugar

•    Preheat oven to 375°.Roll out dough on a floured surface to a 15×12-inch rectangle. Cut into 6 rectangles.
•    Toss pears, lemon zest, ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Brush edges of rectangles with water; mound some blueberries in center of each. Fold dough over, and press edges to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut slits in tops.
•    Bake hand pies, rotating sheet halfway through, until juices are bubbling and pastry is golden brown, 35–40 minutes (juices will run onto parchment). Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
* you can alter recipe with seasonal fruits.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies


•    3 cups whole-wheat flour
•    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•    1 teaspoon baking soda
•    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
•    (2 sticks) softened
•    3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
•    3/4 cup granulated sugar
•    2 large eggs
•    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•    2 cups ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer;  until just blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture and beat until barely combined. Stop to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed just until evenly distributed.
Use small spoon to scoop (a little over a teaspoon)  and roll dough into even sized balls.  Bake on nonstick cookie sheet for approximately 10 minutes.

We ran out of time today, but I did want share with you some of the things I use in my children’s lunch-boxes that have been successful. I try to do things that are creative and special. Drawing a mustache on a cheese-stick may seem so silly, but they love it! They think its funny and eat them. I also use lots of cookie cutters to create fun shapes. They don’t like the crust anyway, so this makes it even easier to remove. Writing fun, silly things on the wrapper seem to work too. Its all about the presentation. I often say a meal served on glass plates with nice flatware and a pretty centerpiece somehow tastes so much better then the same meal on paper plates and SOLO cups. It is a mental thing for us and for them too. Fun food just tastes better!

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Who wouldn’t want to eat a piece of cheese with a mustache?

I like using whole wheat breads and wraps. The Ezekiel brand breads are great because they are so healthy. Below are some of the advantages of this brand over traditional wheat bread.

•    Source of Complete Protein – Rated 84.3% as efficient as the highest source of protein (comparable to that of milk or eggs)
•    Contains 18 Amino Acids – Including all 9 essential amino acids
•    Increased Digestibility – Sprouting breaks down starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
•    Increased Absorption of Minerals – Sprouting breaks down enzyme inhibitors, so your body can more easily absorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
•    Increased Vitamin C – Sprouting produces vitamin C.
•    Increased Vitamin B – Sprouting increases the vitamin B2, B5 & B6.
•    Great source of Fiber – Combining sprouted grains and legumes gives a good amount of natural fiber in each serving.

This being said…. and if I am forced to be completely honest… kids still prefer wheat bread  over the Ezekiel bread. Wheat bread is simply softer and still a better choice then white bread.

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I hope this was helpful and remember, just try to avoid unnecessary sugars and read the labels.  Remember to pack real food, packed with nutrients.  Water bottles are the best choice for lunch box beverages. Keeps them hydrated and healthy!

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Thanks again to Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op for providing the food and just being all around fantastic and thank you NBC WSLS 10 “Daytime Blue Ridge” for continuously bringing me back. It is always a fun day!

American wife to this Indian life. I am a right-brained, American woman married to a left-brained Indian man. I love art, design, up-cycling and multiple DIY projects at the same time. He loves simplicity and order. Follow us on this cultural collision as I combine our personalities and cultural differences through art, design, food, and raising kids. When I am not working on a craft or project, I co-host a lifestyle/entertainment show called "Daytime Blue Ridge," on our local NBC affiliate, WSLS 10.

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