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If you like creamy, sweet potatoes with a buttery texture, then you’ll love how they turn out in the slow cooker or Instant Pot! Try this hands-off, foolproof method for perfectly cooked sweet potatoes.

Sometimes I feel like when I cook my sweet potatoes in the oven, they don’t quite get soft enough for my liking. Cooking them in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot is incredibly easy, and they turn out so good they literally almost melt in your mouth. And the best part is you don’t need to add anything to them!

Super Nutritious Sweet Potatoes

We love sweet potatoes because they are very versatile, tasty, and they can be cooked in a variety of ways.  But we also love them because they are SO good for you! Some of the major health benefits are these:

  • VITAMIN A  262% of the Daily Value in ONE small sweet potato!
  • VITAMIN C  29% of the Daily Value in ONE small sweet potato!
  • Beta – carotene 23,018 mcg
  • Fiber Twice as much fiber compared to regular potatoes
How to Make Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

First, rinse/scrub the outside of your sweet potatoes.  I like to scrub them well because we like to eat the skin. Don’t dry them; just put them right in your slow cooker. The liquid that clings to the outside of the potatoes after rinsing is the only liquid you need.

Set your cooker to low and cook for 6-7 hours depending on how big your sweet potatoes are. I recommend cooking 4 at a time so they’re in a single layer on the bottom of the pot. This helps them cook evenly. They’ll produce a little bit of liquid during the cooking process. You’ll know they’re done because you will be able to stick a fork right through the potato.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes in the Instant Pot

Cooking extra-tender sweet potatoes in the IP is just as easy as using your slow cooker. (And it’s faster, too!)

Rinse and scrub your sweet potatoes, and place them on top of the metal wire steaming rack that came with your IP. Like this:

Add one cup of water to the bottom of the IP, and lock the lid. Set the pressure cooker to cook for 15 minutes under pressure for medium-sized sweets, or 19 minutes for large sweets.

Let the pressure come down naturally for at least ten minutes. (You can let it come down naturally all the way if you like… but if you’re in a hurry to eat, you can go ahead and flip the valve after ten minutes.)

That’s all there is to it! With basically no effort yo’ll have perfectly cooked sweet potatoes: smooth, creamy and sweet. These are so good!

We like to eat them just like they are, as a side dish for dinner, or the main course. Cooking them in the slow cooker or Instant Pot is great, because you can cook a lot, save them in your fridge and then use them for all of these other yummy recipes!

More Sweet Potato Recipes

Eat MORE of this tasty and nutritious veggie! Try these recipes:

Print
Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 4
Ingredients
  • 4 sweet potatoes
Instructions
  • Rinse sweet potatoes well. (Don't dry them off.)
  • Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Set the cooker on high 6-7 hours, or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork.
  • Serve hot, or cool and refrigerate up to 5 days.
Print
Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 8
Ingredients
  • 4 medium sweet potato
Instructions
  • Place the steel steamer rack inside the instant pot, and add one cup of water.
  • Rinse the sweet potatoes* and arrange them on top of the rack in a single layer, as many as you would like, and can fit.
  • Lock the lid and set the manual pressure: 15 minutes for small-medium sweet potatoes, and 19 minutes for large sweet potatoes.
  • At the end of cooking, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, or until the button drops.

The post Sweet Potatoes in the Slow Cooker (Or Instant Pot!) appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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Keep your kids happy and hydrated this summer with simple real fruit slushies! These frosty treats are 100% free from artificial flavors and dyes, and sweetened with nothing but real fruit and a touch of honey.

Do you have an ice cream truck in your neighborhood? If so, tell us honestly: do you dread the sound of that merry jingle coming down your block?

Kids love all the cold, sweet things in the summertime. You really can’t blame them. But for those of us wishing to limit sugar-laden and highly-processed foods, the summer parade of soft serve and neon-colored popsicles isn’t necessarily welcome.

Of course, we still want our kids to experience the joy of a frosty treat in the shade on a hot day. That’s where these real fruit slushies come in majorly handy.

A Fun and Healthy Summer Treat

These real fruit slushies get their gorgeous color and sweet flavor from whole frozen fruits and a touch of honey. Whole fruits provide kids with fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, folate, and potassium… (good luck finding all that in a storebought popsicle… even the “natural” kind!)

These slushies come in a rainbow of natural colors depending on what fruit you make them from. You can get as creative as you (and your kids) like with the fruits you use. Here’s a few ideas to try individually, or in combinations:

  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • watermelon
  • peaches
  • pineapple
  • mango
  • grapes
  • cantaloupe
  • honeydew
  • cherries
Tips for Making Fresh Fruit Slushies

The whole recipe for these slushies won’t take you more than five minutes. But we’ve compiled a few tips to help you make the tastiest and most fun fruit slushies.

First, be flexible with the amount of honey you add. Some fruits, like grapes and mango, are quite sweet. Others, like raspberries and strawberries, might taste best with an extra tablespoon of honey added to the blender.

Serve slushies in a clear cup with a spoon AND a straw. You might notice that the slushies are thick at first (best eaten with a spoon), and more slurpable after about five minutes of resting (hello, straw.) A clear cup lets that beautiful color shine through.

Say yes to frozen fruits. You can absolutely cut and freeze your own fruits. But it’s perfectly fine to use bagged frozen fruit in this recipe. The flavor and nutrition is all there.

A good strong blender makes great slushies. We use a Blendtec.

Turn leftovers into homemade ice pops. Pour any extra into a pop mold and freeze for a second round of healthy frozen treats.

Craving more fruity summer treats? Try Pineapple Lemonade Ice Pops and Strawberry Mango Chia Pops.

Print
Whole Fruit Slushies
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2 cup frozen fruit of your choice (strawberries, peaches, pineapples, watermleon, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup water
Instructions
  • Place frozen fruit, honey, and water in a blender or food processor.
  • Blend thoroughly, adding an additional 1/4 of water if needed to blend.
  • Serve immediately for a slushy you can scoop with a spoon, or let rest for 5-10 minutes for a slushy you can sip through a straw.

The post Real Fruit Slushies appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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Is sugar really that bad for your kids? We will explore the role of sugar in your kid’s diet and also have a low sugar meal plan for you!

How Much Sugar is OK in your Kid’s Diet?

The newest guidelines from the American Heart Association about sugar for kids, say that kids should have less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar daily. This is because eating foods high in added sugars throughout childhood is linked to the development of risk factors of heart disease like obesity and elevated blood pressure.

In addition, kids who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer foods with more nutrition like fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

Lower Sugar Meal Plan

Balancing protein, fiber and carbs in a meal plan help your kids feel full and don’t leave a lot of room for added sugar! If you want to use this meal plan on our meal planning app that allows you to save the recipes, auto-create a grocery list and even shop the ingredients, check out Prepear!

Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner
Monday Baked Eggs Chicken and grape salad on a bed of lettuce Hummus and pita wedges Fish Sticks with green salad and strawberries
Tuesday Vegetable Omelet Broccoli Waldorf salad with apples, green onions, and chicken Celery sticks filled with tuna Chicken Marsala with mushrooms and green onions with Potato fans
Wednesday Spinach Smoothie (Orange Juice, plain yogurt, spinach, and blackberries) Quesadillas (whole wheat tortillas grilled with laughing cow cheese Banana Ice Cream Oriental Steak Stir fry with brown rice
Thursday Apple Omelet Whole wheat wrap with leftover steak, lettuce and avocado Grapes and mozzarella cheese Grilled tofu and veggies over whole wheat noodles
Friday Oatmeal with cinnamon and apples Waffle-almond butter- strawberry sandwich with chopped veggie and dip.
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This meal plan is full of healthy breakfast and dinner recipes that can be packed to-go. Prep ahead of time, use seal-able containers, store in the fridge, reheat if needed and be on your way!

Weeknights can be hard with practices, sports games, performances, and all of the other activities kids are involved with. This meal plan is designed to help you make meals that are balanced and healthy but are quick to make, and easy to take with you even if you have to eat on the go!

This On-The-Go-meal plan is available on Prepear, The connected cooking app that helps you organize your recipes, plan your meals, and get your groceries fast so you can spend more time with the people you love.

The post On-The-Go Meal Plan for Busy Families appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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The ultimate kid-favorite dinner doesn’t have to come from a box! Make this easy, creamy homemade mac and cheese on your stove top using just simple, nutritious ingredients.

You’re never too old to love macaroni and cheese. True, it may have been a long time ago that those chewy noodles in yellow creamy sauce first captured your heart but this… this is a love that lasts a lifetime. And now you can share all those good feels with your kids with this delicious, gooey, homemade mac and cheese recipe.

The big not-so-well-kept secret of homemade stove top mac and cheese is that you can make it SO EASILY, and in exactly the same amount of time that it takes to whip up the boxed stuff.

So if you thought homemade mac and cheese was super involved, or if the idea of making a roux has you running back to boxed mac and cheese, stick with us here. You’ll be glad you did. Because once you have a solid homemade mac and cheese recipe in your back pocket, you’ll always have a crowd-pleasing dinner idea for all ages.

Why Homemade Mac and Cheese is Healthy

Homemade mac and cheese is healthy because you make it healthy! And the key to a healthy mac and cheese is to use simple, whole-food ingredients.

Here are the ingredients we trust for making nourishing mac and cheese we feel good about serving our kids:

  • Whole wheat noodles. Whole wheat pasta is more accessible now than ever, and kids tend to accept this high-fiber swap in place of regular white flour noodles. Dellalo makes an excellent whole wheat macaroni noodle you can buy at Walmart.
  • Real cheese. Even some homemade mac and cheese recipes call for highly-processed cheese-type foods (Velveeta, we’re looking at you.) We prefer to stick with minimally-processed, whole milk cheeses. Shred your own for a creamier sauce.
  • Whole wheat flour. Flour thickens the creamy cheese sauce in this dish, and white whole wheat flour works perfectly.
  • Nutritious add-ins. Adding tiny, tender vegetables to homemade mac and cheese brings the nutrition in this dinner to the next level. We’ll talk about some of our favorite add-ins further along in this post.

Here’s another mac and cheese nutrition tip: think of this recipe as a main course, not a side dish. Mac and cheese provides plenty of complex carbs and protein for kids (really!), so you can focus on fresh produce sides instead. Serve roasted or steamed veggies, or simple green salad, or cut fruit for balance.

The Basics: How to Make Homemade Stove Top Mac and Cheese

We’re going to give you the step-by step version of how to do this because trust us: once you get the basic technique down, you can add “homemade mac and cheese maker” to your list of life skills, and it will never let you down again.

Start with two pots. One pot is for boiling your pasta, plain and simple. You already know how to do this. So we’re going to focus on the sauce pan. Go ahead and start heating your pasta water while you work on the sauce. With a little practice, you can get everything ready at the same time.

Add the butter to the bottom of your sauce pan and let it melt gently. Then sprinkle the flour over the butter, and use a whisk to turn the butter-flour mixture into a paste. Keep the heat on medium low and whisk. You’ll notice small bubbles forming, and the paste starting to thicken. This only takes a couple of minutes. There! You’ve made a roux.

Next, add your milk to the pan, and use that whisk to mix it in with the roux really well. For one hot second, it’s going to look like a mess. But before you know it, the thickening power of your roux is going to create a smooth, creamy-looking sauce.

At this stage, add a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder. Strictly speaking, this is optional. But it adds a nice extra dimension to the flavor of your sauce (and since you’re using powdered spice, you don’t have to worry about texture-sensitive kids reacting negatively to chunks of onion or garlic.) You may also add a half teaspoon of a good dijon mustard here to develop the flavor even more. Again, optional.

Now it’s cheese time. The best time! Sprinkle your cheeses into the sauce one handful at a time, whisking gently to melt as you go. Keep your heat on low to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Taste, and add some salt. If you’re used to eating boxed mac and cheese, you might be surprised at how very UN-salty your cheese sauce tastes. Don’t be afraid to add a generous pinch of salt.

Pour your sauce over cooked noodles. Stir well, and enjoy.

What Can I Add to Mac and Cheese?

You can use this base recipe as the starting point for so many different healthy and delicious variations. Here’s just a partial list of add-ins, and how to get them into your dish without a fuss. (Most of the time, you don’t need an extra pan. Cool!)

  • Spinach: Stir raw baby spinach into the pasta immediately after draining, until wilted.
  • Frozen peas: Pour frozen peas into the pasta cooking water just before you drain it.
  • Carrots: Add small diced carrots to the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
  • Mushrooms: Saute separately in a pan until tender, then stir into finished pasta.
  • Bell peppers: Saute separately in a pan until tender. Add a pinch of Cajun spice for a twist, then stir into finished pasta.
  • Cauliflower: Add small florets into the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
  • Broccoli: Add small florets to the pasta water during the last two minutes before draining.
  • Ham. Stir in cubed ham just before serving.
  • Bacon. Sprinkle cooked bacon on top of finished mac and cheese.
  • Tomato. Sprinkle raw chopped tomato on top of the finished dish.
  • Basil. Cut fresh basil into ribbons, and sprinkle it on top of the finished dish.
  • Chicken. Stir in hot cooked and cubed chicken to the finished dish for an Alfredo-like mac and cheese.
  • Apples. Yes, apples! Try sprinkling cubed green apples on top at serving time.
Can I Make Mac and Cheese without Flour?

Yes! Believe it or not, you can skip the roux phase altogether and still end up with serviceable mac and cheese. You even earn the added benefit of turning this recipe into a one-pot dish.

Here’s how to tweak this recipe if you don’t have flour on hand: boil your pasta, drain it, add it back to the pot, then simply stir in the shredded cheese and milk.

So you can totally do this. Here’s the thing, though: the flour goes a LONG way to creating a creamy texture in your mac and cheese. If you leave it out, you can expect to have a slightly lumpier sauce, and it’ll become more lumpy still as it cools. A dollop of cream cheese can help if you choose this option. Just stir it in with the cheeses.

Print
Homemade Mac and Cheese (Stove Top)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta macaroni, rotini, or other short chunky shape
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar you may use a blend of cheeses if you like.
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions
  • Boil a large pot of water for the pasta and cook as directed. Grate cheese and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until bubbles form and the roux begins to thicken.
  • Add milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and continue whisking until the cream sauce starts to thicken. (You may need to turn the heat up slightly if your milk is cold.)
  • Add cheese by the handful and whisk between handfuls to melt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Pour sauce over cooked, drained pasta and serve immediately.

The post Homemade Mac and Cheese (Stove Top) appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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The ultimate kid-favorite dinner doesn’t have to come from a box! Make this easy, creamy homemade mac and cheese on your stove top using just simple, nutritious ingredients.

You’re never too old to love macaroni and cheese. True, it may have been a long time ago that those chewy noodles in yellow creamy sauce first captured your heart but this… this is a love that lasts a lifetime. And now you can share all those good feels with your kids with this delicious, gooey, homemade mac and cheese recipe.

The big not-so-well-kept secret of homemade stove top mac and cheese is that you can make it SO EASILY, and in exactly the same amount of time that it takes to whip up the boxed stuff.

So if you thought homemade mac and cheese was super involved, or if the idea of making a roux has you running back to boxed mac and cheese, stick with us here. You’ll be glad you did. Because once you have a solid homemade mac and cheese recipe in your back pocket, you’ll always have a crowd-pleasing dinner idea for all ages.

Why Homemade Mac and Cheese is Healthy

Homemade mac and cheese is healthy because you make it healthy! And the key to a healthy mac and cheese is to use simple, whole-food ingredients.

Here are the ingredients we trust for making nourishing mac and cheese we feel good about serving our kids:

  • Whole wheat noodles. Whole wheat pasta is more accessible now than ever, and kids tend to accept this high-fiber swap in place of regular white flour noodles. Dellalo makes an excellent whole wheat macaroni noodle you can buy at Walmart.
  • Real cheese. Even some homemade mac and cheese recipes call for highly-processed cheese-type foods (Velveeta, we’re looking at you.) We prefer to stick with minimally-processed, whole milk cheeses. Shred your own for a creamier sauce.
  • Whole wheat flour. Flour thickens the creamy cheese sauce in this dish, and white whole wheat flour works perfectly.
  • Nutritious add-ins. Adding tiny, tender vegetables to homemade mac and cheese brings the nutrition in this dinner to the next level. We’ll talk about some of our favorite add-ins further along in this post.

Here’s another mac and cheese nutrition tip: think of this recipe as a main course, not a side dish. Mac and cheese provides plenty of complex carbs and protein for kids (really!), so you can focus on fresh produce sides instead. Serve roasted or steamed veggies, or simple green salad, or cut fruit for balance.

The Basics: How to Make Homemade Stove Top Mac and Cheese

We’re going to give you the step-by step version of how to do this because trust us: once you get the basic technique down, you can add “homemade mac and cheese maker” to your list of life skills, and it will never let you down again.

Start with two pots. One pot is for boiling your pasta, plain and simple. You already know how to do this. So we’re going to focus on the sauce pan. Go ahead and start heating your pasta water while you work on the sauce. With a little practice, you can get everything ready at the same time.

Add the butter to the bottom of your sauce pan and let it melt gently. Then sprinkle the flour over the butter, and use a whisk to turn the butter-flour mixture into a paste. Keep the heat on medium low and whisk. You’ll notice small bubbles forming, and the paste starting to thicken. This only takes a couple of minutes. There! You’ve made a roux.

Next, add your milk to the pan, and use that whisk to mix it in with the roux really well. For one hot second, it’s going to look like a mess. But before you know it, the thickening power of your roux is going to create a smooth, creamy-looking sauce.

At this stage, add a pinch of garlic powder and onion powder. Strictly speaking, this is optional. But it adds a nice extra dimension to the flavor of your sauce (and since you’re using powdered spice, you don’t have to worry about texture-sensitive kids reacting negatively to chunks of onion or garlic.) You may also add a half teaspoon of a good dijon mustard here to develop the flavor even more. Again, optional.

Now it’s cheese time. The best time! Sprinkle your cheeses into the sauce one handful at a time, whisking gently to melt as you go. Keep your heat on low to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Taste, and add some salt. If you’re used to eating boxed mac and cheese, you might be surprised at how very UN-salty your cheese sauce tastes. Don’t be afraid to add a generous pinch of salt.

Pour your sauce over cooked noodles. Stir well, and enjoy.

What Can I Add to Mac and Cheese?

You can use this base recipe as the starting point for so many different healthy and delicious variations. Here’s just a partial list of add-ins, and how to get them into your dish without a fuss. (Most of the time, you don’t need an extra pan. Cool!)

  • Spinach: Stir raw baby spinach into the pasta immediately after draining, until wilted.
  • Frozen peas: Pour frozen peas into the pasta cooking water just before you drain it.
  • Carrots: Add small diced carrots to the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
  • Mushrooms: Saute separately in a pan until tender, then stir into finished pasta.
  • Bell peppers: Saute separately in a pan until tender. Add a pinch of Cajun spice for a twist, then stir into finished pasta.
  • Cauliflower: Add small florets into the boiling water along with the dry pasta.
  • Broccoli: Add small florets to the pasta water during the last two minutes before draining.
  • Ham. Stir in cubed ham just before serving.
  • Bacon. Sprinkle cooked bacon on top of finished mac and cheese.
  • Tomato. Sprinkle raw chopped tomato on top of the finished dish.
  • Basil. Cut fresh basil into ribbons, and sprinkle it on top of the finished dish.
  • Chicken. Stir in hot cooked and cubed chicken to the finished dish for an Alfredo-like mac and cheese.
  • Apples. Yes, apples! Try sprinkling cubed green apples on top at serving time.
Can I Make Mac and Cheese without Flour?

Yes! Believe it or not, you can skip the roux phase altogether and still end up with serviceable mac and cheese. You even earn the added benefit of turning this recipe into a one-pot dish.

Here’s how to tweak this recipe if you don’t have flour on hand: boil your pasta, drain it, add it back to the pot, then simply stir in the shredded cheese and milk.

So you can totally do this. Here’s the thing, though: the flour goes a LONG way to creating a creamy texture in your mac and cheese. If you leave it out, you can expect to have a slightly lumpier sauce, and it’ll become more lumpy still as it cools. A dollop of cream cheese can help if you choose this option. Just stir it in with the cheeses.

Print
Homemade Mac and Cheese (Stove Top)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta macaroni, rotini, or other short chunky shape
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar you may use a blend of cheeses if you like.
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Instructions
  • Boil a large pot of water for the pasta and cook as directed. Grate cheese and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until bubbles form and the roux begins to thicken.
  • Add milk, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt, and continue whisking until the cream sauce starts to thicken. (You may need to turn the heat up slightly if your milk is cold.)
  • Add cheese by the handful and whisk between handfuls to melt. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Pour sauce over cooked, drained pasta and serve immediately.

The post Homemade Mac and Cheese (Stove Top) appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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Roll up super-nutritious veggies and protein inside these tasty Turkey Ranch Wraps. Kid-favorite dressing makes these wraps a lunchbox hit!

Out of the way, sandwich bread! These Turkey Ranch Wraps combine simple, healthy ingredients into a flavorful, pack-able lunch you’ll want to make again week after week.

One of our favorite things about these turkey ranch wraps is how fast and easy they are to make. Just five minutes! That, and you know your kids are getting a complete meal in a little handheld package. Add a piece of fruit on the side and you’ve included every food group. Cheers to that.

Why Kids Love This Wrap

We love surprises. Well, some surprises. Like the surprise of your kids eating what’s basically a salad inside a wrap, without complaining that they’re eating salad. And the surprise of your kids asking, “Can we have this again tomorrow?” Still not registering that they’re loading up on fresh lettuce and tomato, and loving it all the while.

What makes this turkey ranch wrap so magical that way? For certain, the ranch dressing helps. Any brand of ranch will work, so go ahead and pick the one your kids like best.

Kids also tend to love cheese, of course, and the soft Mozzarella in this recipe helps bind the ingredients together, making this wrap easy to hold and eat. (Yup, this is true even though the cheese isn’t melted.)

Aside from that, there’s just something about the combo of these flavors that tastes familiar and delicious. The contrast of the fresh veggies and the rich dressing and cheese. The thinly-sliced turkey, and the soft tortilla. Here’s a pro tip: make an extra wrap for yourself. You’ll love it, too!

What Makes This Turkey Ranch Wrap So Healthy?

The answer is simple: balance, balance, balance.

Fresh lettuce and chopped tomatoes are filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (that your kids might not get in their typical lunch.) Turkey and cheese provide protein and fat. And the tortilla wrap delivers carbohydrates for energy, along with some fiber. All together, this lunch gets two thumbs up for balance.

You have options when it comes to which kind of tortilla wrap you’d like to use. We used a spinach wrap, but you can use a different kind if you like. Whole wheat works great as long as it’s pliable. (You can warm it up for 10 seconds in the microwave to make it more so.) Also, check your labels: tortilla wraps often contain unhealthy hydrogenated oils. We love the taste, texture, and ingredients list of this brand.

More Lunch Inspiration

Top 10 Kid-Friendly Wraps

10 Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas for Kids

Print
Turkey Ranch Wrap
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 1 wrap
Ingredients
  • 4 10 inch spinach tortilla wrap
  • 8 slice turkey breast, deli style
  • 1 cup chopped tomato, red
  • 2 cup lettuce, romaine
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing, low fat
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  • Place 1 tortilla on a plate, and layer on two turkey slices.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Mozzarella cheese on top of the turkey, then add 1/4 of the tomato, diced, plus a half cup of chopped romaine lettuce.
  • Drizzle a tablespoon of ranch dressing on the fillings, then roll the tortilla tightly.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 with remaining tortillas and fillings.
  • Serve cold, or wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate for later. These wraps can be made up to 2 days ahead.

The post Turkey Ranch Wrap (Lunchbox Friendly) appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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Health claims and public opinion about coconut oil swing wildly back and forth. Is this faddish fat a healthy superfood? Or is it a toxic poison? We’ve waded through the hype to find out.

Is there any other ingredient with quite as much star power as coconut oil? (Well, maybe kale…)

For a while it seemed like coconut oil could do it all. It tasted rich and indulgent, had a long shelf life, it was vegetarian and “natural,” and it didn’t have the unhealthy reputation of butter or trans fat.

During the golden era of coconut oil, families were baking with the stuff, putting it in their coffee, and even using it as a moisturizer on their kids’ skin.

But then the tides of public opinion started to turn. Nutritionists began speaking out about this oil–a saturated fat–as being no different from other unhealthy saturated fats.

In the summer of 2018, Harvard professor Karin Michels gave a lecture in which she called it “pure poison,” adding that it’s “one of the worst foods you can eat.”

So what’s the real story behind coconut oil? Does this tropical fat belong in your pantry and in the foods you serve to your kids? Let’s dig in to our most current understanding about this popular oil and nutrition.

What Kind of Fat is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is a saturated fat made from pressing raw or cooked coconut flesh.

Compared to butter and other saturated fats from animal sources, coconut oil’s fatty acids are arranged in shorter chains, called “medium chain fatty acids.”

Usually you’ll find two main types on the shelf: virgin or cold-pressed oil, and refined oil. Virgin oil is pressed from raw coconuts, has a strong coconutty flavor, and contains high levels of polyphenols that may have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Refined coconut oil is bleached and heat-treated, which creates a neutral flavor that some people prefer for cooking. But the heavy processing of refined oil damages the structure of the fatty acids and antioxidants in the oil, creating a strong cholesterol-raising effect. If avoiding unhealthy oils are important to you, you should bypass refined coconut oil.

But Saturated Fat is Bad for Us. Should We Avoid Coconut Oil Entirely?

The short answer is… maybe not. (So maybe there isn’t a clear, short answer!)

It’s true that many nutrition professionals and organizations, including the FDA, recommend limiting saturated fat intake. Large studies have linked saturated fat to health problems like high cholesterol and heart disease.

In the last few years however, the saturated fat picture has grown less clear. A few studies have found that full-fat dairy products (which are rich in saturated fat) correlate with surprising health outcomes like obesity prevention in adults and a lower body mass index in children, compared to populations who drink low-fat or fat-free dairy.

We also know that populations who consume a lot of coconut oil (as in the Phillipines and the South Pacific) have low rates of heart disease compared to Americans.

So the evidence is mixed right now, but our stance is this: fat, as a macronutrient, remains part of a healthy diet for kids and adults. And balancing the types of fat you eat and serve your family is a smart strategy. In this approach, there’s room for virgin coconut oil.

The Bottom Line

The most important steps you can take to set the stage for your kids’ lifelong health is to serve a variety of whole foods daily, including plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Coconut oil is just one piece of the dietary puzzle, and it’s neither a poison, nor a superfood. It makes sense to vary your oils just as you would any other part of your kids’ diet.

So the bottom line is: keep focusing on the big picture, and enjoy coconut oil in moderation.

Recipes Using Virgin Coconut Oil Toasted Coconut Pumpkin Bread
Coconut Snowballs

The post Is Coconut Oil Healthy? appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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Freshen up your dinner rotation with fast and easy tostadas made from whole grain flour tortillas and cheesy refried beans with a crunchy cabbage topping. This recipe is super popular with our meal plan subscribers, so we’re sharing it here!

Move over, tacos! Tostadas have arrived. Creamy, crunchy, fresh, and fun, these super simple tostadas are doable and delicious when you need a good meal in a hurry.

For a quick throw-together dinner, these tostadas really pack in the nutrition. Beans! Whole grains! Fresh veggies! Dairy! So many boxes checked, and with you barely lifting a finger.

So join us for Tostada Tuesday. OR, pick your busiest run-around day this week, and plan this recipe for that day. Your family will be impressed you pulled off such a good dinner in so little time (even if their mouths are too full to say so.)

What Are Tostadas, and What Do You Put on Them?

Tostadas are basically a crispy Mexican pizza, piled high with flavorful toppings like beans, cheese, meat, and vegetables.

We love refried beans as the base and protein for these tostadas, because they’re so tasty and nutritious. And since all you need to do to get them ready is open a can, refried beans are one of the secrets to making this recipe a 15-minute dinner.

Speaking of the beans, we recommend fat free refried beans. NOT because we believe that low-fat products necessarily benefit kids, but because the ingredients list in the fat free varieties tends to be shorter, simpler, and less processed. This brand is excellent, and Trader Joe’s also carries one that’s good.

As for toppings, you’ll love the simple trio of shredded cabbage, bright carrots, and zesty cilantro for this recipe. Squeeze a bit of lime juice over these veggies, and you’ll wonder how it’s possible to get so much freshness and flavor from three little ingredients.

How to Make Tostada Shells

Making tostata shells is so easy, you can practically do it in your sleep. (But please don’t. There are ovens involved.)

While traditional tostada shells are made from corn tortillas (and sometimes fried in oil), we use whole wheat flour tortillas for this recipe because it totally works, and kids just love them. Follow these steps to turn your tortillas into tostata-ready shells, without the need for added oils:

  1. Lay whole wheat flour tortillas on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake for 4 minutes.
  3. Flip, and bake 4 minutes more.

That’s it! The consistency of your shells should be crispy, but don’t worry if they still have a little give to them. Crispy edges + crispy/chewy middles make for excellent tostada that remind kids a little of pizza.

No need to sit around while your shells are cooking. Use the eight minutes your tostada shells are crisping up to open a can of refried beans, shred your cheese, and toss together the simple cabbage/carrot/cilantro topping.

You’re just minutes from dinner, isnt’ that cool?

Serving Tips for Kid-Friendly Tostadas

If you’re not in a hurry, try making this recipe with the kids. Spread out an assembly line of tostada shells, beans, shredded cheese, cabbage topping, jarred salsa, and lime wedges.

Show your kids how to spread the beans on the shells using the back of a spoon, then let them sprinkle their own cheese on top. Bake until the cheese gets all melty, then let them pick the rest of their toppings.

Think they’ll shy away from the cabbage mixture? Don’t feel like you need to pressure them to add it. It’s truly delicious, and you can trust that someday they’ll want to try it.

For now, let them have their tostada how they like it, and let them see you enjoying the whole meal, piled high. You can still feel confident that your kids are getting good nutrition from whole grains, beans, and dairy.

You can also totally customize the toppings for these tostadas, depending on your family’s tastes. Avocado, diced tomato, or shredded lettuce all work well.

More Mexican-Inspired Dinners Easy Weeknight Skillet Enchiladas
Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas
Print
Easy Tostadas
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Ingredients
  • 4 whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups fat free refried beans
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1/2 lime
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay tortillas on a baking sheet. Bake approximately 3 minutes per side until browned.
  • Meanwhile, shred cabbage, grate carrot, and chop cilantro finely. Toss until combined. Squeeze the lime over the veggies.
  • Grate the cheddar and set aside.
  • Remove browned tortillas from oven and spread each with beans and cheese; bake again, just until cheese has melted.
  • Add shredded veggie topping, and serve hot.

The post Easy Tostadas (15-Minute Dinner!) appeared first on Super Healthy Kids.

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