10 Easy and Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

It’s always a struggle to find easy, healthy, kid-friendly snacks. I say this because most places around me sell or serve prepackaged chips, candy, sugar-filled drinks, and who knows what else. Moving from California to Oklahoma made me realize not all places are as health-conscious as the West coast. Around here, it’s common for kids to go to the local gas station to get Big Gulp sized cups of carbonated sodas. So as my kids grow older, I want them to see that eating clean and healthy doesn’t have to be a struggle. And I’d like for you to see that, too.

 

I’ve compiled a list of 10 easy and healthy snack ideas for your kids (or you!).

  1. Fruit. Fruit is seriously the best thing your kids could eat as a snack. Ideally it would be raw veggies, but fruit is a favorite with many kids. Packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, it’s a nutritious snack and easy to hand out. Our favorites include bananas, apples, pears, berries, oranges, and grapefruit in this current season.
  2. Veggies + dip. I admit I have a bit of a hard time getting my son to eat the dip part, but he loves the veggies. Cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, carrots cut into matchsticks are all great to dip into hummus and other dips.
  3. Multigrain crackers + cheese. I buy bulk pack organic multigrain crackers from Costco that last us a while, and I like to pair them with organic cheeses that I pick up from our local stores. I cut them into cubes so they’re fun to eat with a toothpick.
  4. Dates + nuts: this is essentially a Larabar (great for on-the-go), but it’s nice to have 3 dates, a few pecans or walnuts, and sometimes some freshly whipped cream. It’s the simple things, guys.
  5. Smoothies. Super easy to make and so easy to hide nutritional foods. I have a couple of smoothie recipes already in the recipe archive. My basic go-to is 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen fruit, and 3/4 cup of milk + spinach, chia seeds, etc.
  6. Nut butter sandwiches. Almond butter and honey is our favorite combo, but we’ve had cashew butter, peanut butter, and sunflower seed butter that all taste great on some multigrain bread. Tip: I cut into squares for easy picking up and eating.
  7. Trail mix. Equal parts of raisins, nuts (cashews, peanuts, etc.), dried fruit like pineapple or papaya, and some chocolate chips.
  8. Granola bars. Larabars will be mentioned again, and Cascadian Farms is a great brand that carries a variety of organic granola bars, usually pretty affordable.
  9. Honey yogurt. I drizzle raw honey into some organic yogurt and often add berries or even some sugar free jams to create variety.
  10.  String cheese + fruit. Something about that sweet and salty combo that’s just satisfying. Plus, string cheese is so much fun! And it’s nice to see organic string cheese in my stores now, too.

 

I hope this list helps you and your kids find some healthy options for snacking! Please comment and share if you’d like more content like this in the future.

 

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Curry

I’ve got a super simple, easy weeknight dinner that will knock your socks off. Trust me. This easy instant pot chicken curry is my lifesaver on those days when baby decides to take a 10 minute nap and call it a day. What makes it easy? Not just the instant pot…but also the use of all powdered/ground spices to cut down on grinding and mincing.

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Curry

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Curry

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 2-in pieces.
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 green chili, slit in middle
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Set the IP on saute and heat up oil. Add the onion and salt and fry until golden brown.
  2. Add the tomato and the chicken thigh meat. Brown for 5 min before adding all the spices (EXCEPT for garam masala), the green chili, and 1/4 cup water.
  3. Close lid and set for high pressure, 7 min. Natural pressure release for another 10 min.
  4. Turn back to saute mode (remove the green chili) and add the garam masala, cook until gravy is desired consistency.
  5. Serve with rice, naan, or boiled quinoa.
http://allflouredup.com/easy-instant-pot-chicken-curry/

I love using boneless chicken thigh meat for this curry. It’s juicier and absorbs the flavors of the spices so much better than breast meat does.

I serve this with either whole wheat naan, plain white quinoa, or fluffy basmati rice depending on our mood that day. Try this recipe out and tell me if you liked it!

Spice Cabinet Organization

My spice cabinet is my favorite spot in the kitchen. First, no toddler can reach into it. Second, the possibilities of endless combinations of spices and herbs amazes me. So I like to keep this specific cabinet well maintained and organized.

When I first organized my spice cabinet, I had two goals in mind: accessibility and functionality. Thus, the spice cabinet is set up in a way that makes the most used spices closer to my stove. It also works because I have it organized based on type. Read on to see how I store and categorize everything.

 

 

The most top shelf are my bulk spices, mainly those Costco large containers. I love their garlic powder, organic no-salt seasoning blend, and their black pepper the most.

The middle shelf contains lesser used whole spices and blends. Some of these whole spices include fennel seeds, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, nutmeg, allspice, star anise, bay leaf, and so on. My bigger batches of homemade masalas (or spice blends) includes my mom’s chaat masala, nihari masala, and tikka/tandoori mixes.

Finally, the bottom shelf is the most used shelf so I tend to keep this well stocked and clean. Starting at the bottom row, I’ve got my favorite spices: black pepper powder, paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion powders, and cinnamon. Above that are some common desi spices like crushed coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, cardamom, clove, and whole cinnamon. The back row contains all my herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, and basil. On the left side are also smaller containers with spices I frequently grind like garam masala and cumin.

Near the stove in large 16 oz. mason jars, I’ve got salt, red chili powder, turmeric, and ground coriander seed. These four are the most basic essentials to Pakistani cooking and I love how pretty they look on my counter.

And since I know many of you have asked: the small containers are from Ikea. The mason jars are from Walmart. I also use some clean empty Talenti jars on the second shelf (reuse, oh yeah!) because they stack well and have larger mouths to use bigger spoons with. The wire rack is from HomeGoods.

If you’ve got any questions, leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you and I hope this really helps some of you with your spice organization.

 

4 Essentials to Bounce Back During Flu Season

This year’s cold and flu season have really taken a huge toll on me. I’m finding myself very vulnerable to illness this winter, and maybe it’s got to do with having a newborn.  We are just healing back from a very tough bout with a nasty virus. I’ve got some excellent tips to help your immune system if you’re going through something similar. These five tips will help you and your family bounce back  to health during flu season.

Before I dive into the tips, I’d like to mention that when we get sick, I do everything in my power to avoid conventional medication. I am a strong advocate for aiding the natural immune system to heal from within. So before I  “treat” my sick child, I will cut off all sugars and processed foods so that the body can absorb all the amazing nutrients from the healing foods and supplements.

I have listed what I have found works for my family. It’s not about “does it work” because nothing is a magic pill. It is about finding the right ingredients with the right healing properties and giving it time so that our bodies can recover. Please do not make the mistake of thinking one herbal tincture will solve all flu symptoms overnight the way a course of antibiotics would.

You will see that  a lot of the things I use “aid the immune system”, or make it stronger. This just means that the immune system, the powerhouse that fights off antigens, becomes healthier and more fit to defend your body against viruses and bacteria.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am simply a mom who has done her research and has seen improvement from following a more gentle and natural approach to health. For a list of my sources, check out the bottom of this article. I am wishing you all the best in health!

Chicken Broth

It’s an age old recommendation for when we are sick for very good reason! Broth is full of great minerals and collagen, which help to boost the immune system. It helps with reducing inflammation in the body and improves digestion as well. Plus, it’s very easy to digest and it’s one thing my family will never say no to when they are not feeling well. Check out my super easy homemade chicken broth recipe to make your own asap.

Essential Oils

I plan to write more in detail about why my family loves essential oils. Let me just start off by saying, if you can condense the naturally occurring beneficial oils of a plant and use them to heal, what’s not to love? A great brand I trust for quality and find affordable is Plant Therapy.  I love using Plant Therapy’s Kid Safe line because I don’t have to worry about whether it is safe to use on my little kids or not. All the plants used in the kid safe ones are meant to be gentle and safe on children. The Kid Safe kit includes two great ones for the flu season (Sniffle Stopper and Germ Destroyer), both of which I use day and night to fight stuffy noses, chest congestion, and protection from germs.

Oils I like to diffuse during flu season are “germ fighter” blend from PT as well as eucalyptus, clove, frankincense, and lemon essential oils. These essential oils aid in fighting viruses, helping breathing and congestion, or have anti-bacterial properties to clean the air from lingering germs.

Herbal Tinctures and Teas

My top herbs and teas are usually made from everyday ingredients, believe it or not. Cloves, cinnamon, ginger, raw honey, fresh lemon, raw garlic, and turmeric are ingredients I always have in my kitchen for both cooking and conjuring up tinctures.

No matter what sickness we battle in our household, this healing spiced ginger and honey tea is always ready for us to sip throughout the day. I kid you not, it makes a world of a difference with even one cup.

I take a teaspoon of crushed raw garlic, turmeric, and raw honey for antibacterial benefits to avoid an illness turning into an stubborn infection.

We also love ready made organic tea and herbal blends to steep in hot water like this Throat Coat blend for coughs and sore throats. Another one I found extremely beneficial with the onset of any sickness is this Echinacea Plus seasonal tea which has echinacea, an herb to boost and improve immune function.

For my little one, I buy immune boosting drops, such as these Children’s Immunity Booster Drops. I love these blends because I can just give one dropper full (in some fresh orange juice) instead of individual herbs and ingredients. This tincture linked includes echinacea, grape root, yarrow root, and ginger root extracts, all wonderful for supporting the immune system.

Individual Supplements

I take these individual supplements on a regular basis but I do tend to increase the amount I take when I am not feeling too great. Vitamins D and C are both excellent in aiding the immune system so that when sickness does come calling, our bodies are better fitted to fight it off. Basically, it means shorter recovery time. We like to take Vitamin D through drops and Vitamin C through a powder that I mix in some water. Vitamin C is also found in high amounts in fresh fruits and veggies like broccoli, lemon, orange, strawberries, kale, and papayas.

I also tend to take a shot of apple cider vinegar with the onset of any sore throat or cold (1 tsp in 1/4 cup filtered water). Gargling with ACV is also amazing because it really soothes a sore throat (2-3 tsp in 1/2 cup warm water).

Finally, elderberry syrup is an excellent (and increasingly popular) natural supplement many people like to take to get better sooner. Elderberry is shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties as well as help the immune system.

 

I hope these tips and suggestions help you to improve your immune system and to get better faster next time a cold or virus hits. Again, if you are unsure about any of these suggestions please do your own research and definitely consult a physician if you’re pregnant or nursing!

For a List of Some Resources I have Used:

Bone Broth

Essential Oils

Elderberry

Vitamin C

PS. Thanks mom for letting me borrow your home decor and china for this photoshoot 🙂

 

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

As much as I love winter weather (hello, snow…hello, bug-free world), I absolutely dislike the flu season it comes with. Last time I shared this amazing healing spiced ginger and honey tea that my family loves to sip throughout the cold months. In addition to that, I love having a huge batch of this easy homemade chicken broth either on the stove or in the fridge to quickly warm up. We drink this multiple times a day when sick, or just a few times a week just for some nourishment.

 

I can cook this broth for 6-12 hours, depending on how much time I have. This chicken broth is so simple, you literally just have to throw things together and simply let it cook for a decent amount of time. I like the minimum of six hours because that’s when the flavor really gets locked in. Plus, the nutrients and minerals only start to release after a few hours of cooking. This is an ideal broth to drink after a full day’s worth of simmering.

This easy homemade chicken broth requires very simple but wholesome ingredients: chicken bones, whole peppercorns, garlic, ginger, and some onion. I don’t like adding anything else since I feel it overpowers the delicious natural flavor of the chicken stock. All the ingredients have great properties to heal and nourish the body. My mom actually made double batches of this soup weekly after I had my second baby and I would constantly drink this broth to warm up and to have some energy.

Besides drinking this broth when I’m feeling down, I also love using this broth for the base of many soups: lentil, minestrone, harira, corn soup, and so on. Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Easy Homemade Chicken Broth

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb chicken bones (ribs, drumstick, etc.)
  • 12 cups filtered water
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 1/4 cup peeled raw garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion, roughly diced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste (1 heaping tsp approx)

Instructions

  1. Wash the soup bones and place in a large pot with the water.
  2. Add the spices and remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover pot and bring to boil. Skim off the layer of foam.
  4. Cover again and let it simmer on low for 6-12 hours.
  5. Add water if it evaporates too quickly, and check salt before drinking. Enjoy on its own or use as base for other soup recipes.

Notes

Adding in a dash of turmeric in every serving makes it more beneficial.

http://allflouredup.com/easy-homemade-chicken-broth/