You know when you’re running out the door or packing lunches and wish you had a healthy snack to grab? These little muffin bites are perfect for that aaaaaaand for using up all those ripes bananas you’ve got hanging out in your freezer (it’s embarrassing how many I have in mine!!! I just don’t like the idea of throwing them out so I end up with half my freezer loaded with bananas waiting for me to get in the baking mood). These little bites pack a nutritional punch and are perfect for an on-the-go snack or as a healthy addition to packed lunches. View Post
This is one of those recipes that takes a favourite comfort food- pizza!- and puts a healthy spin on it. Swapping out a traditional crust for slices of zucchini makes for a lighter and more nutritious option without missing out on this meal time fave. Over the Summer we were picking them fresh out of the garden and I could barely keep up with them, so getting a little creative was the result. I shared about these on Instagram Stories the night I made them and they were such a hit that I wanted to post them here on OHP. View Post
OK- how many of you have a) a freezer full of ripe bananas just waiting to be made into something delicious and b) are digging the cooler weather because it means you can turn on your oven for baking without feeling like you’ll melt like a human popsicle?
How’s that for a recipe post intro (insert teary- eyed laughing emoji here!)? But seriously- how many times do you buy bananas and end up tossing them in the freezer because they get to that ‘too ripe I don’t want to eat them’ stage? This recipe is perfect for this exact situation. Whether you go for it and make a whole yummy loaf or opt to make muffins, the strawberries and chia seeds are a yummy addition to this oh- so- classic of recipes. There’s also a secret ingredient that I love including in a lot of my baking for some added flavour/ moisture/ nutrition, but you’ll have to scroll down to see what that is. Happy baking all!
1 3/4 cups flour (I used a combination of a gluten free flour blend and brown rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2- 3 bananas)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of apple sauce (my secret ingredient instead of an egg! I’ll tell you why after the directions…)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (for a dairy- free version, swap in 1/4 coconut yogurt or another 1/4 cup of apple sauce)
2 tbsp coconut milk
3/4 cup strawberries, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut
2 tbsp chia seeds
Fresh strawberry slices
Unsweetened dried coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees & line a 9″ loaf pan with parchment paper
2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients; in a separate, larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients, including the mashed banana & strawberries (remember to keep some for garnish!)
3. Slowly add the dry mix to the wet mix- about 1/2- 1 cup at a time to avoid lumps
4. Pour the batter into the baking pan and top with strawberry slices and unsweetened dried coconut
5. Bake for 50 minutes- to 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean (I find with my oven it’s always closer to an hour or just over an hour)
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes & enjoy the loaf fresh with your favourite toppings or slice it up & put it in an airtight container for snacking and lunches throughout the week
And as for that secret ingredient: why apple sauce?
When I first started baking gluten and dairy free recipes, I also tried some alternatives for eggs out of curiosity and apple sauce has become a staple in some of my sweet recipes as an egg substitute: simply swap in 1/2 cup of apple sauce for each egg the recipe calls for. And if you’ve followed the blog for a while, you know that our family is a fan of Love Child Organics and their awesome organic food options for littles. Well, guess what I used in this recipe? A pouch of their apple puree! One pouch is equal to almost half a cup, so they work perfectly as a pre- measured ingredient (lol can I consider that a #momwin? 😉 )
I love that I can trust the quality of their ingredients and that their pouches are an allergy- friendly option, free from dairy, gluten, nuts, and absolutely no additives/ fillers. If you look on the back of the pouch I’m talking about there is one ingredient: organic apples. Don’t you wish more food labels were simple like that? And if you have a hard time getting your kids to eat fruits and veggies, their pouches are a great option for babies just starting out on solids and for older kids as well (Ari & Liam practically pounced on the pouches I had on hand for these photos- safe to say they’re a hit with the kids!). If you want to learn more about this awesome company, I’ll share more at the end of this post, but for now let’s get back to baking!!!
A little about Love Child Organics
Love Child Organics was started by a husband & wife team who were frustrated with the food options available for little ones when they became parents. Foods that were labelled ‘organic’ and natural contained added ingredients and fillers that offered no nutritional benefit, so Leah and John set to work creating healthy meals for their kids from organic ingredients and superfoods for an added boost of nutrition. From these efforts, the company was born, with the goal to make pure organic food accessible for all kids. Since then, LCO has grown to offer a variety of food and snack options and will be introducing an organic infant cereal soon. The company also partners with First Book Canada as part of their Spreading the Love Campaign, to provide new books to children in need. From nutrition to overall well- being, LCO is committed to helping kids get the best start in life possible.
To see the full selection of products from LCO & learn more about the company, visit their website.
For the latest product announcementss, giveaways & more make sure you follow Love Child Organics on social media:
Who’s doesn’t love a good, easy- to- make snack idea? How about a no- bake one (especially on hot Summer days when the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven!)? Aaaaand how about one you can customize to suit what your kids like? Yes please! When Ari and I got the chance to get together for a (non) baking day with Cristel from nutriFoodie and make some healthy allergy- friendly snacks I was looking forward to chatting with her about all things food and nutrition. As a Registered Dietician, Cristel helps families with their nutritional needs through consultations, cooking classes, and- to help get kids interested in cooking and nutrition- her annual Spring Break and Summer cooking camps.
While my kids are still too young for her camps, I was excited to learn about what she is doing to teach families and kids about food and nutrition. Her goal is to get everyone in the family interested and engaged with food while teaching them about how food can contribute to improved overall health. And if this wasn’t cool enough, as part of her goal to make good food accessible to everyone, Cristel donates a portion of cooking camp proceeds to a food- related organization every year (learn more about that here).
When Cristel arrived for our culinary collab, Ari was spoiled with an apron and cooking utensils from her, plus some other fun activities to keep her occupied while we chatted and set up the ingredients. Then it was time to make the snacks! Before getting together, Cristel and I discussed the food restrictions in our family and she created a simple recipe based on the information I gave her. Since I like to involve Ari in meal prep and baking whenever I can (ie when she’s in a cooperative mood! 😉 ) we thought it would be fun to adapt what Cristel offers in her cooking camps to include Ari in the process.
While Cristel and Ari measured and mixed ingredients, I snapped away to get some photos of the them working on their tasty creations. The recipe Cristel made with Ari is below (thanks to Cristel for sharing!) along with some info about Cristel’s nutritional services. And I couldn’t wrap up my intro without making this final note: I had been looking forward to this collaboration given our family’s relationship with food, but meeting Cristel got me even more excited and pumped up. Her warmth and passion are contagious. It’s obvious she genuinely loves what she does and sharing her knowledge to help others brings her a joy that comes with loving what you do. It was a real pleasure working with her and I hope there will be more chances to work together to share about food and nutrition with TPB readers. I hope you enjoy this post as much as we did working on it. Thank you again Cristel for such a fun foodie experience!
No- Bake Oat Balls
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup nut or non- nut smooth butter (we made ours with sunflower seed butter)
1/4 cup applesauce
4 tbsp honey or agave
1 tsp vanilla
Choose 3 add- ons of the following (add 1/2 cup of each)
mini chocolate chips: can be dark, milk, or white)
chopped dried fruit: raisins, cranberries, apricots, or dates
nuts or seeds: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
ground flax seed
unsweetened coconut (ground or shredded)
Mix all ingredients together and roll into mini balls. That’s it!
– if the mixture is too sticky, add more of the nut/ non- nut butter and/ or cocoa powder
– if it’s not holding together, add nut/ non- nut butter, applesauce, and/ or honey
Tip: prior to adding a sticky ingredient such as honey, spray the measuring cups/ spoons with oil to prevent from sticking
Optional other add- ons
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp of another extract of choice
3 tbsp of wheat germ
3 tbsp of chia seeds
spices of choice: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger
Cristel’s goal with nutriFoodie is to bring basics back into the kitchen with meals the whole family will enjoy that are nutritious and delicious; to get everyone in the family involved with cooking and improve their relationship with food to help positively impact overall health and wellbeing. She is passionate about helping people make healthy choices and educating kids about nutrition. To help families enjoy cooking and food, Cristel offers a range of services from nutrition assessments and cooking demos to kid’s cooking camps. To see the full list of services available such as family cooking classes and grocery tours, visit the nutriFoodie website.
Find nutriFoodie on social media for recipe ideas and updates:
As part of my collaboration with PC Organics I had the chance to speak with a dietician and ask for suggestions and tips to help families eat healthy. With Ari sans gluten and dairy we are often asked about her diet such as what we give her instead of milk, what she can have for snacks, and if we’ll raise Liam this way for simplicity (answer: yes), and if you’re on the beginning of this journey yourself you’re probably asking the same kind of questions.
Whether you have dietary restrictions in your own family or not, a common complaint I hear from other Moms is how busy the evenings are and the challenge to put a meal- bonus if it’s healthy!- on the table. This can be even tougher when you need something quick & easy. The struggle is real my friends and our health often suffers for it. Even if you don’t have to limit certain foods, the tips below can help you edit your grocery list to include foods packed with a nutritious punch- especially for those busy evenings when you’re out of ideas. Here are some suggestions from Jessica, the Loblaws Dietician I spoke to on getting in nutrition if you’re gluten/ dairy free.
How to make sure you get enough calcium if you’re dairy free:
Milk- dairy free alternatives such as unsweetened nut milks have just as much calcium as cow’s milk (I love cashew milk & almond milk)
Yogurt- if switching to dairy free yogurts, check the label for sugar content as there can be quite a bit of sugar in yogurts
Cheese– try an organic soy cheese; Daiya cheese is another dairy free option
Kefir- if you can’t have kefir, try dairy free milks such as organic soy or rice milk instead
Try eating other foods that are high sources of calcium:
dark, leafy greens such as kale & spinach
oranges (who knew? They’re the only fruit that’s a source of calcium)
beans- especially white beans- are a good source of calcium
organic tofu is also a good option, since it’s minimally processed and versatile in cooking
It can be misleading when going gluten free what options are not only tasty (as in edible!), but also nutritious. Just because something is gluten free doesn’t mean it’s better for you; in fact some options can be even less healthy than the regular ones. Lesson: read the label and pay attention to the ingredients.
Look for the following to get the most out of your gluten free options:
Look for high- fibre in processed products such as breads & cereals
breads- look for high- fibre options with at least 3gr of fibre per serving
cereals- gluten free cereals tend to have a lot of sugar added for flavour; look for options that are sugar- free or have no more than 6gr of sugar per serving
pasta- look for options with whole grains (see below); try organic corn pasta as it’s a good option and less processed than rice pasta
Make sure grains are gluten free- the term ‘whole grain’ can be confusing when identifying gluten free options, so read the label carefully. Here are some examples of GF grains to try:
Sauces, seasonings, & marinades- always read the label as wheat is used in a lot of them & other processed foods. Double check things like store bought pasta sauces, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc
Other general tips for healthy eating:
Buy organic if you can afford to; canola and soy are often GMO so it’s best to buy them organic
if a product is labeled as organic, then it is also non- GMO, but not vice- versa
Try cooking with oils high in omega 3s, such as avocado or flax oil (olive oil isn’t good for cooking with high temperatures)
Find out your daily nutrition requirements and seek out alternatives that will fulfill them
Read the label- just because something appears to be healthy doesn’t mean it is; this is especially important if you have to avoid certain foods such as gluten and dairy
Visit the PC® Organics website to learn more about their products and to find out how to speak with a Loblaws dietician.