Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

heartysmarty

After a fun weekend of weddings, barbecues, and a movie (Toy Story 4 was so cute!), I am ready to get back into the kitchen, making fresh meals for the family. Here’s what I am making for dinners this week:

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

Monday

It is still a bit chilly here in Utah from a cold snap we got last week. That’s why I am feeling ok about turning on the oven to bake a casserole tonight.

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Family Gathering–Sweet Salsa Chicken Salads

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

heartysmarty

It’s warming up in Utah and barbecues and outdoor parties are in full swing. Thus, several Summer salads are in the works for this week’s family meal plan. I made THE MOST DELICIOUS mango berry salad last week and put it in this week’s meal plan again because everyone at my dinner table loved it. I hope my meal plan provides some inspiration for your family dinners. Here’s what’s on tap this week:

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Pool Party Contribution:

Friday

Dine Out

Saturday

Barbecue Contribution:

Sunday

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSaladsSauces and DressingsSides

Mango Berry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

heartysmarty

I was worried the combination of bell peppers, strawberries and poppyseed dressing wouldn’t work with the mangoes, avocadoes and spinach–but this was MAGNIFICENT! The macademia nuts gave it a perfect hint of savory crunch to tie all the textures and flavors together deliciously. My toddler AND my “picky” eater (AKA eater-in-training) asked for second helpings. I call that a major win! I’m planning to bring this salad to our next Summer barbecue, so that’s an indication of how confident I am in its ability to WOW my friends and family. I hope you enjoy it too.

Mango Berry Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

A tropical salad perfect for summer socials and barbecues

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword mango berry salad, poppyseed dressing, tropical
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Mango Berry Salad

  • 4 cups Spinach
  • 1 large mango chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 large avocado chopped
  • 1 1/4 Cup Fresh Strawberries sliced
  • 1/3 Cup Macademia Nuts chopped

Poppyseed Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon poppyseeds

Instructions

Mango Berry Salad

  1. Mix 1/4 Cup Poppyseed dressing with spinach until the leaves are completely coated. Top with remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle another tablespoon of dressing over top.

Poppyseed Dressing

  1. In a blender, add all dressing ingredients EXCEPT poppyseeds in the order listed. Blend 1 minute. Add seeds and blend a few seconds more. Dressing can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.

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Lifestyle EatingNutrition Education

Helping Kids to Try New Foods

heartysmarty

It can be an uphill battle to coerce children to try new foods. In our family, we have just four guidelines around meals and snacks:

  1. All are encouraged to taste each dish served at meals. They don’t have to finish if they don’t like it.
  2. There’s only one main entree choice at meal time. Mom and Dad are not short-order chefs.
  3. For side dishes, there is at least one familiar food. (bread, fruit, etc.)
  4. A meal is not complete without a fresh fruit and/or vegetable.

I try to provide a neutral and safe space around meals and snacks so there’s little pressure or stress surrounding food. Sometimes I slip up, but I really do try. We also don’t label our foods as “bad” vs. “good.” Food is food, and all foods can fit into a well-rounded and nourishing diet. With that being said, sometimes it can be a challenge to move past step 1–getting kids to taste the food being served. It’s hard for kids to decide whether they like something and how much of it to eat when they refuse to even taste it. So what can a parent do?

The story I am about to tell you is just an example of how I helped my (adorable, blonde curly-haired) son when he was 3 years old to try a new food. Obviously, this exact situation won’t work or apply to everyone–you know your own kid–but this was something I just pulled out of my hat, and it worked.

My kindergartner was gone at school, baby sister was napping, and it was just me and my 4-year-old boy. His request for lunch was chips and melted cheese. I was heating some leftover Pressure Cooker Refried Beans to go with it when he began protesting, “No beans! No beans!” I can’t blame him for not wanting to try this new, brownish-grayish mushy food, but I pressed a little bit further.

I related a story to him from that morning’s scripture study about a man named Lehi who had a dream about a big, beautiful tree. Lehi had to feel his way through mists of darkness, holding on to an iron rod that eventually led him to the tree. Once he was there, he picked from the tree the most delicious fruit he had ever tasted. The fruit was so good that he immediately wanted to share some with his family. Half of his family made their way to the tree and got to taste the fruit while the other half refused to try, and they missed out on the delicious treat.

“Just like Lehi, I know that these refried beans are delicious, and I want you to try them. I hope you would trust me to know that I would never ask you to try a food that I didn’t enjoy myself,” I explained. And with that, he dipped his chips in the beans and didn’t stop dipping until the container was gone. To this day, he is my very best bean-eater at the dinner table! I understand, it’s a bit of a stretch to compare a scripture story to trying a new food at the dinner table, but it worked! Maybe something about having a bit less pressure, and a one-on-one discussion to help build my son’s trust in me (and my cooking) was just what he needed.

Additional Resources for Feeding Children

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Since 2009, Megan has used her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University to help people develop healthy food relationships. She combines evidence-based science, a dash of alternative medicine, and a large dose of practical food preparation to teach individuals how to feed themselves and their families nourishing meals with common ingredients. As a busy Mom of 5, she believes food should be simple, intentional, and HEARTY!

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

heartysmarty

Summer is settling in and we are loving the long days and warmer nights to play and work in the yard. Swimming lessons start this week and the kids have scout camps and dance classes to look forward to. We need some good meals to fuel all our fun, so here goes:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

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Lifestyle EatingNutrition Education

Feeding Children: Food Freedom

heartysmarty

In college, I studied two books which became the premise of my approach to child nutrition. The first was Intuitive Eating, co-written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. The second was Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. (afflilate links) The story I am about to tell you combines principles from both books. But–before I get into that I have to start with a little disclaimer with another story: When I was in the thick of my Dietetics studies, my husband and I were visiting his family in Arizona. We were sitting at a meal with one of his siblings who was feeding his toddler. I started talking about the division of responsibilities of the parents and children at meal times–the parent determines what, where and when the food is served and the child determines how much and whether they eat. His response was, “Well, we will see how that works for you once you have kids.” …Touche… He had a good point. The textbook is not the end-all when it comes to feeding our kids. Every one of my kids has come wired differently with different tastes and habits. These two books, however, give some really sound advice–much of which has worked for feeding my five kids in the last 10.5 years. So, take that for what it’s worth.

After a two-hour play date with friends, my 4-year-old burst into the kitchen, desperately declaring, “MOM! I NEED CHOCOLATE!” In the past, I would have answered something like, “Why don’t I fix you some lunch first, and then you can have a treat?” Or I may have even said, “We will have a treat tonight for movie night, so no chocolate right now.”

However, in the last few years, I have been working to let my kids have more input on their meals and snacks instead of being so authoritarian about what I serve. I was actually quite impressed that he recognized his hunger signals and was able to narrow in on exactly what he was craving. And, he doesn’t ask for chocolate every day–this was pretty rare. Usually I have to give him a couple options for lunch and he chooses between the two. That day, I made him a sliced apple topped with peanut butter and chocolate chips. He munched on chocolate chips while I was making the snack and asked for another handful to go with his apples. I played it cool, but inside I was like, “Ah! That’s too much sugar for you, man!” We went with it, though, and here is what happened:

He finished a full apple’s-worth of the snack, and then nibbled at his handful of chocolate chips before losing interest and running off to go play. The chips stayed on the counter for about an hour until I finally put them away. This happens all the time with my kids–they fuel up and then they move on. When I let them have freedom to make food choices within meal/snack time boundaries, they don’t obsess over food. They move on with their life until the next meal or snack time. It took me (too many) years to figure this out. In the past, I was worried my kids would scarf down a whole bag of chocolate chips if I let them have the freedom to. And, frankly, they have done that too, when I was restricting them from eating the chocolate at all. They would take the bag and hide in their bedroom or play room and I would find the remnants scattered in the carpet. That happens much less often know that I have given them some slack.

I’ll get down to more of the nitty-gritty in my next few posts, but this is a good place to start. If I have learned anything about feeding children, it is to allow them a bit more freedom with food.

Stay tuned, friends.

Since 2009, Megan has used her Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics from Brigham Young University to help people develop healthy food relationships. She combines evidence-based science, a dash of alternative medicine, and a large dose of practical food preparation to teach individuals how to feed themselves and their families nourishing meals with common ingredients. As a busy Mom of 5, she believes food should be simple, intentional, and HEARTY!

Featured Products

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Lifestyle EatingNutrition Education

June Theme: Successes and Failures in Feeding Children

heartysmarty

“How do you get your kids to eat so many vegetables?” or “I just can’t believe your kids eat all those meals you make!” I am asked these questions all. the. time. So, my theme for June over on heartysmarty.com is going to be my offering of tips that work for helping my kids eat well-rounded meals and snacks. Honestly, I hesitated following through with this theme this month, because I still have challenges in this area. Even within our family we have great diversity of eaters and taste preferences. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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That being said, I have learned a lot through the years on what works for our family. You will probably be surprised by some of the successes and failures I have had in teaching my children to be intuitive eaters, and I am going to share lots of those with you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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To start, the division of responsibility in feeding children from @ellyn_satter_institute is the basis of how I frame most meals and snacks. Staying within my responsibilities and trusting my kids to stay within theirs is the first key to helping them feed themselves what their body needs. Chew on this for the next 24 hours, and we will dive into more details tomorrow.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Family Meal Plan

heartysmarty

Whew! We are only 3 days in to Summer vacation, and I am already struggling to keep the cupboards and fridge full! My meal plans are becoming even more crucial on these summer days when the kids are home with their friends. They need guidelines for what foods are free game and what needs to be reserved for meals later on. The meal plan is helping with that. Here’s what’s on tap this week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Date night–so the kids get Mac and Cheese and someone else makes my dinner. Win-win.

Saturday

Sunday

CLICK HERE to download the FREE Prepear App and get the shopping list for this week’s meal plan!

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Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Buttermilk Blender Waffles (egg-free and whole wheat)

heartysmarty

I’m forever indebted to my sister-in-law for sharing the idea with me that you can make waffle batter in the blender. They are so fast to make and their buttery, sourdough flavor is off the charts! My kids and I love them so much that I have added them to my running list of school-morning breakfast options.

My SIL shared her recipe with me on a morning when we were out of eggs, so I made due with ground flax seed and it worked! Knowing me, I wanted to see what else I could substitute to boost the nutrition content of these waffles. Thus, this is my recipe for blender waffles on those days when you are out of eggs.

Buttermilk Blender Waffles (egg-free and whole wheat)

Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, healthy blender waffles.

Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword blender waffle, egg-free, mango kefir smoothie, whole wheat
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 Cups Kefir plain
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour

Instructions

  1. In a blender, add melted butter, flax seed, water and honey. Cover with the lid and blend for 30 seconds.

  2. Add remaining ingredients in the order listed and pulse for 2 seconds, 6 times to incorporate the ingredients. You may need to scrape the sides with a rubber spatula and pulse once more. Do not over blend.

  3. Let batter rest for 2 minutes before adding to a Belgium waffle-maker in 1/2 cup portions. Cook according to your waffle-maker instructions.

  4. Top with yogurt, berries, honey, syrup, butter or nut butter. Enjoy!

Featured Products

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Ninja Smart Screen Blender

Cuisinart Belgian Waffle Maker

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Cooking Tips & TricksRecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Homemade Pizzas on the Outdoor Grill

heartysmarty

When we lived in Mesa, AZ we were introduced to the art of making pizzas on the outdoor grill. Grilling outside is a means of survival in the Arizona desert, and there are really only a few months out of the year when you dare to turn on your oven to bake in your kitchen. Okay, that might be a slight over-exaggeration, but certainly, in the summer months, the oven was off-limits for us. As you know, every Friday is pizza night at our house, and even though we live in Utah now, it can get too hot to turn our oven on as well. If you find yourself in a similar predicament–wanting homemade pizza in the summer months without heating up your kitchen–here is your solution. I make my own Whole Wheat Pizza Dough Recipe, but you can buy pre-made dough as well. Enjoy!

Homemade Pizzas on the Outdoor Grill

Make homemade pizza in the summer time without heating up the kitchen!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword grilled pizza, outdoor grill, pizzas, whole wheat
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

  • 2 Cups Water at 80°F
  • 2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 4 3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour approximate

Pizza Toppings

  • 1 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 24 oz Tomato Sauce divided
  • 4 Cups Mozzarella Cheese shredded
  • 6 oz Canadian Bacon sliced
  • 10 oz Pineapple Canned
  • 4 oz Pepperoni sliced
  • 1 Cup Ground Sausage cooked

Instructions

  1. Light your outdoor grill and heat to medium high or about 300 degrees. Grease three, 12-inch round pizza pans with cooking spray. Also, grease a pizza paddle and sprinkle with corn meal. Set aside.

  2. Set up your mixer with the heavy dough hook inserted. Add yeast and warm water to mixer and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. Mix olive oil and salt into the yeast water.

  3. Add half the flour to the wet ingredients and begin mixing on the lowest setting. Slowly add no more than 1/2 cup of additional flour at a time. Once the dough begins to "clean off" the sides of the bowl as it mixes, stop adding flour. Increase the mixing speed to the medium setting and mix for 6 minutes.

  4. Grease hands with a bit of oil. Pull out of the mixer three equal portions of dough, shaping into balls, and place in the center of each pizza pan.

  5. Using the palm of one hand, press the dough ball into the pan as you slowly spin the pan with your other hand. The crusts should fill the 12-inch diameter pans and be about 1/2 inch thick. (See Notes)

  6. Poke several holes in the dough with a fork. This prevents large bubbles from forming in the crust. Flip the crust onto the greased and cornmeal-covered pizza paddle. Brush 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil onto the top of the crust on the pizza paddle.

  7. Hold the handle of the pizza paddle and transfer to the outdoor grill by flipping the oiled side over onto the hot grates. Grill the crust for about 2 minutes. While the bottom is cooking, brush the top with another 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer from the grates to the pizza paddle with a long metal spatula. Repeat this process with all three crusts.

  8. Add your sauce and toppings to the COOKED SIDE of each pizza crust. Return to the grill (uncooked side down) and immediately close the lid. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or or until the bottom is medium-brown and the cheese on top is melted.

  9. Cut pizza into 8 slices and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Pressing the dough into pans this way prevents extra clean-up with having to scrape dough or wipe grease from your counter top. However, if you prefer to roll out your dough with a rolling pin on a floured or greased surface, that works too. This recipe makes 3, 12-inch pizza crusts. The nutritional information is based on 1 out of the 24 slices this recipe yeilds.

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