Today is the first day of summer vacation here at my house, and wouldn’t you know it, we didn’t make it to 10:00 before I heard, “Mom, I’m hungry.” I guess the mid-morning snack routine the kids follow when they’re at school is going to persist here at home. I thought it was high time to whip up a batch of energy bars from a recipe I modified from one of my favorite blogs, Brown Eyed Baker. Her recipe was developed as a homemade no-bake version of her favorite store-bought energy bars, and they’re totally tasty as her recipe is written.
To a certain extent, my kids have benefited from their exposure to all the different types of dishes I create for Guiding Stars and the ingredients and techniques I use in my own catering business. But like other kids, their favorite foods are still the pasta, breads, and other yummy starchy carbs that appeal most to the school-aged set. So I still have to be diligent about helping them establish healthy eating habits, and for me, hammering in the importance of diversity–especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables–is the number one goal.
My daughter likes oatmeal but prefers the flavored kinds, especially the apple-cinnamon variety. I like the convenience of instant, but I generally choose whole foods over packaged. In addition, instant oatmeal averages 10 grams of sugar per serving; Quaker makes low-sugar varieties, but I decided I wanted to do even better.
Sure, I write healthy recipes for a living, and over the past few years, I’ve created quite a collection at GuidingStars.com. But like you, I’m always on the lookout for new things to prepare for my family and find inspiration for my work.
Last month, I developed a healthy menu for one of several Guest Chef days at a local school, and I needed an easy, cheap, and appealing side dish to satisfy the fruit and vegetable requirement in the meal. It was important that I created something that would be received well by fourth and fifth graders because I wanted to ensure they had a positive experience with healthy food.
When people find out I develop recipes for Guiding Stars, their first question is, “Why is it so hard to make healthy food taste good?” Well, my answer to that question hinges upon the basic premise that food can only convey health benefits if a person is willing to consume it. I’m not going to publish a recipe unless I’m sure someone will want to eat it; if they don’t, we’re all wasting our time.
We’ve all seen those 100 calorie packs of snack foods in the grocery store and thought to ourselves, “Well, maybe I CAN have Oreos on my diet plan.” Invariably, we buy a box, open them up and one of two things happens: we eat one pack and feel like it wasn’t worth the tease–that such a small amount of something so tasty does more harm than good to our delicate dietary psyches–or we eat three packs, effectively destroying any chance of benefiting from the portion control these items try to impose.
Earlier this week, the Huffington Post published an article outlining seven healthy foods to relax your stressed-out mind and body. I didn’t even bother to click, figuring I would see the same old suspects. But for whatever reason, I checked it out today was so impressed with the suggestions that I thought I would share some of them with you.