How to get your kids to eat healthy foods……. without the meltdowns!

How to get your kids to eat healthy foods....without the meltdowns

Moms! This is one of the topics I get asked about the MOST. How can we help our kids learn to make better food choices and to eat more balanced meals?

We talk about this a lot in my online fitness challenge groups. The struggle is real!! When did kids get to have so much of a say in what the family is eating?? (I mean, they don’t even do the grocery shopping). When did “kid food” become its own category??? How did we get here?

Think back to when you were a kid. You mom would have laughed you right out of the room if you had the guts to mention that you preferred chicken nuggets over the family casserole she had prepared. In my house, there was one dinner on the table each night and that is what we ate.

Moms today are tired. Make that Tired– capital T for sure!! We work hard at work and at home, we volunteer, we try so hard to do it all…… which leads to deciding to pick our battles and sometimes give in to our kids to avoid a fight.

I am all for the pick your battles parenting style— but not about food! It is too important to start early teaching your kids about the nutrients in food and how they matter to our health, mental health, and overall energy levels and well being.

I am going to give you some tough love on this topic moms and will warn you that I have LITERALLY heard it all— all of the reasons why Johnny can’t eat this, and Julie can’t eat that. These tips are SUREFIRE ways to improve how your family is eating and they start with YOU!  None of my tips involve force feeding kids or having long, drawn out power struggles at the table. None of these tips will cost you extra money, and some of these tips may just settle the dinnertime whining after all.

Ready to work on changing the eating habits at YOUR dinner table?? Here we go. Here are my TOP 5 Tips to encourage kids to eat healthier meals:

Top 5 Tips to Encourage Kids to eat Healthier Meals

  1. MODELING: You are the best role model for your kids! They are watching everything you do .  Are you modeling making healthy choices? Did you pack lunch for the travel swim meet or tell the kids you would hit the drive through? Did you order a salad with your meal or get the french fries? Sometimes even small choices that you make towards eating nutrient dense foods can be a big signal to your child that this is important to you!

Fact: Kids will do what you do, not what you sayIMG_0096

2. Get your kids involved in cooking or preparing the meal.

Kids love to help in the kitchen! Especially if they can feel empowered to use the big kitchen tools (safely of course!). Kids in America are so sheltered from using kitchen tools due to mom’s fears of severed fingers! Get your child a kid-safe version of your favorite kitchen tools and let them rip. When kids get involved in making the food, they are much more likely to taste and enjoy it! Plus, it builds responsibility and self efficacy when kids contribute to the family through meaningful chores.

 

3. Find healthier versions of your family’s favorite meals. 

The internet is your friend. Pinterest is your friend. There are likely 624 versions of kid- friendly-but-much-healthier chicken nuggets. Seriously! Get creative. Get an air fryer. Get nuggeting.

Pizza, burgers, french fries— all of these “kid foods” can be made in cleaned up and much healthier versions at home. And besides saving TONS of calories and saturated fats, you are going to save some major $$$ too!! Cooking at home is so much cheaper than eating out. For real!

We even make cleaner ice cream and desserts too! The recipes out there are real and delicious— you just have to be willing to try something new.

4. Don’t change it all at once! 

Just like when you tried the Atkins diet, or Keto or some other fad diet. When you change everything all at one time, it is so much harder to stick with the changes! Kids are the same way. No one likes change. No one. So do it gradually. Pick one meal that you can start with and start by changing one thing. For example: dinners— change up a side dish. Instead of buying that powdered mac and cheese in a box, or a box of anything for that matter, work on finding a better version. Start with something you KNOW your kids already like to ease them in to these changes. Get them to buy in by talking about your reasons for wanting them to eat well. All of our kids play sports or do activities– talk about how eating well can help them improve their sports performance, or have more energy for after school play practice.

 

5. Drop the excuses and the guilt.

YOU BUY THE FOOD! You pack the food! You can make changes without the guilt!

When you make excuses for your child, you enable them to continue to feel entitled to have whatever foods they wish to eat, whenever they wish to eat them. When you buy the junk food and pack it in their lunch, you are saying: I need to keep you happy at all costs– even if that means your health. When you feel guilty for asking your kids to work on eating well, you are further sending the message that eating well is hard, and they shouldn’t really have to do it.

It’s all in how YOU present it! Work to change your mindset about food in general and your family’s habits before you start to ask your kids to do the same thing.

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Want to learn more about healthy eating for the whole family? Message me for details on getting started at katelepley@hotmail.com.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Eggs and Bacon

No-Bake Birthday Cakes

 

Sundays are for meal prepping around here and this one was a big one! We are heading into week 6 of our current workout program and we need to complete this program STRONG!

Meal prepping is the #1 habit that we teach in our online fitness and nutrition challenge groups. It can feel really labor intensive the first few weeks you try out making a meal plan and prepping clean foods ahead of time. To be honest, when I first learned how to meal plan and prep I hated it!! Now I cannot imagine life without this habit! I take 1 hour on Sundays to prep foods ahead to make clean foods into fast and easy foods all week long.

When I saw this recipe on http://www.cleanfoodcrush.com, I knew it would be a winner! I also knew I would have to tweak it and make it my own. Maybe it’s the totally disorganized part of my brain– but I can never follow a recipe just as it is written. I always have to add or take out parts. It’s my favorite part of cooking! If you make this, I would love to hear how you change it up too!

This recipe combines some of my all time fave foods and will make a super quick and easy breakfast all week long! Eggs, peppers, and sweet potatoes? Yes, please! And add some smoky fire roasted poblano peppers and bacon? Double yes!

Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Medium Sweet potatoes (cut lengthwise)
  • Coconut oil spray (trader Joes is my fave)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup frozen diced fire roasted poblano peppers
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 slices Trader Joes Nitrate and Nitrite free Bacon (microwaveable!!)
  • 8 eggs (medium eggs work well)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise and spray them with the coconut oil.
  3. Roast them on parchment paper on a baking sheet for 35 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Allow the potatoes to cool while you add olive oil to a saucepan on medium heat. Saute the peppers (red and poblano), garlic, and green onions for 3-4 minutes. Add in the seasonings. Turn off heat when the veggies have softened.
  5. When potatoes have cooled, scoop out the flesh and add to the pan of sauteed peppers and onions until well mixed.
  6. Scoop the potato mixture back into the skins of the sweet potatoes.
  7. Cook the bacon in the microwave as directed. Crumble and scatter across each sweet potato top.
  8. Make a well in the center of each sweet potato using a spoon. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl and add to the well of each sweet potato.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven.
  10. Enjoy!

Alternate method: Skip Steps 8-9 and add the egg just before eating in the morning.

I can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow!! Let me know if you try this one and how you liked it!

 

Happy Clean Eating!!

XO-

Kate

Sweet Potato and Spinach Waffles

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Sometimes I see or hear about a recipe and I think, “That will NEVER work.”

Spinach? In a waffle? Say what??

These came out to be delicious!!

I love my green veggies, but I was super nervous about how this might come out. After some googling, I found a few recipes to for this special breakfast item but none really fit what I needed.

That’s when I decide I had to try it my own way. I am a rogue when I cook in terms of recipe following and I am always looking for ways to make it on my own so that it will have the cleanest ingredients and will fit into my current nutrition plan.

I am working my way through a brand new workout program called 80 Day Obsession. It has 80 different workouts that I can do at home, on my time schedule, it comes with a nutrition plan that is based on eating the right foods at the optimal times to build lean muscle, shed fat, and tone up all over- but especially abs and booty. It has been a tough program but I have stuck with it for 50 days so far and am getting ready to start Phase 3. This timed nutrition means that I am getting up just a smidge earlier than normal to eat breakfast BEFORE my workout at 5:30 am. This preworkout breakfast HAS to be made ahead of time, has to be delicious and easy to eat, and needs to have a protein, carb, veggie, and a tsp of healthy fat. That’s what I used as my guide for this recipe.

 

Full Disclosure: I tried a few different methods of putting together the ingredients and you can see in my picture that the waffles looked different with each method.

The first way: I mashed the sweet potato by hand and whipped it into the eggs, then added chopped spinach. This was the best way to get a waffle that looked most waffle-esque.

The second way: I blended all of the ingredients in a blender. This made the waffles come out green (hello, spinach!) and might be less appetizing to some of you out there.

In order to stick to my nutrition plan, I made these one at a time to ensure they each had the right amount of ingredients in them, but you could always double and triple this recipe to make a bigger batch!

After the waffles are made and cooled, I tucked them into a large plastic baggie with wax paper in between them and stuck them into the fridge. Each morning I would grab a waffle, toast it up in the toaster oven and then schmear it with a teaspoon of natural peanut or almond butter. Delish!

The recipe below makes exactly 1 waffle:

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1/2 cup steamed and then mashed sweet potato

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 cup finely chopped spinach (loosely packed)

1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Steam and then mash the swee

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Sweet Potato Spinach Waffles

t potato. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then whip together eggs, sweet potato, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Add the spinach and mix well. Pour onto a hot waffle iron that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. I like to use Coconut Oil spray. Cook for 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Allow to cool completely before storing.

Serve with a tsp of peanut or almond butter, or your favorite maple syrup!

Turkey Meatball Sliders

Have you seen that Tasty video going around about the sliders 4 different ways? They look amazing but definitely not healthy. One thing I love to do is take a yummy but unhealthy meal and make a clean-er version of it. The only thing unclean about these are the rolls– and you could buy fresh bakery whole grain rolls to clean that up a bit.

These are a HUGE hit at parties too! Make a double batch and take them along to your next event.

Here is my take on the sliders:

Clean Eating Turkey Meatball Sliders:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds ground turkey
  • Whole Wheat Slider Rolls (package of 12)
  • Fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced into 12 slices
  • Rao’s tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic, grated
  • Italian seasoning blend, 1 tbsp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Mix ground turkey with Italian seasonings, then press it into the bottom of a glass baking pan that has been sprayed with Olive Oil cooking spray. Bake the meat at 350 for 20 minutes until cooked through and then drain the liquid off. I had to slice the meat into strips since it shrunk and did not fill up the entire pan space. Use whole wheat slider rolls, no sugar added tomato sauce (Rao’s is a great brand!) and fresh mozzarella cheese. I brushed the tops with olive oil that had fresh garlic and Italian seasonings stirred into it. Bake the whole thing again at 350 for 20 minutes. My kids and husband loved these and have already asked when I can make them again!!

 

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Super Bowl Recipe Alert! Buffalo Chicken Meatballs!

Clean Eating Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

So, you have started a new health and fitness program and made it all the way through January. Then BOOM- the Super Bowl comes, with all of it’s snacks, sodas, and fried finger foods. Not to mention a party full of people who have long since abandoned their resolutions and cannot wait to talk you into doing the same thing.

Before you think about staying home, alone, and eating your pre-prepped clean foods, think again! You CAN and should enjoy going to parties while still working on your goals. Being able to find balance and enjoy life while eating well is CRUCIAL to your success and your ability to stick with a plan for better nutrition!

Here are my best tips to do just that! And a recipe for a super yummy and clean appetizer that even your non-healthy food loving friends will eat!

TOP 5 Tips for enjoying a party while working on your nutrition goals:

  1. Make and take a clean dish to the party. These meatballs are the perfect appetizer to share!
  2.  Eat something before you go so that you do not arrive in a state of hanger and end up overeating. My favorite pre-party snacks include Shakeology, or a greek yogurt smoothie. You fill up on protein and nutrients and don’t go straight for the food when you arrive.
  3. Fill your plate with veggies and the most nutritious options. No one ever eats from the veggie tray at the party so I know there will be plenty of fresh veggies there for you! After the first fill up, enjoy a bite or two of the foods you want to taste, and leave the rest alone.
  4. Get busy doing something away from the food. Play a tailgate game, chat with an old friend, ask the hostess if you can help in any way. When you are busy socializing, you won’t be mindlessly munching.
  5. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This helps you stay full and is great for flushing out toxins too!

 

Here is a great recipe to bring along! Stay tuned this week as I share more ideas for  clean eating party foods that really taste great!

Buffalo chicken meatballs:

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

3 green onions, diced

1 tub of blue cheese crumbles

1 egg

1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning

1 tsp dill seasoning

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 cup greek yogurt

1/2 Cup Blue Cheese crumbles

Garlic and herb seasoning

Dill seasoning

 

Buffalo Sauce: ½ cup honey and ½ cup Franks red hot (do not buy the Franks Wing Sauce)

 

For the meatballs:

Combine the meat, egg, seasonings, ½ cup of blue cheese crumbles, and green onions in a bowl. Use a small scooper to make even meatballs about 1 tablespoon each. Lay a piece of foil on a baking sheet and place meatballs evenly apart. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, combine the honey and Franks red hot. Let simmer until well combined. After meatballs are cooked, place them into a dish and cover them with the sauce.

Want clean blue cheese sauce? Combine greek yogurt with blue cheese crumbles and more garlic powder and dill. Use a little bit of milk to thin this and drizzle it over the meatballs or serve it on the side.

 

Enjoy!

-Kate

 

 

Clean Eating Spaghetti Squash Pie

@bmorefitmom

As a mom of two super active boys, we are constantly in the car on the weeknights running here and there to practices. Between getting home from work, getting the homework completed, and getting back out the door, it means that sometimes we have just 30 minutes or less for dinner. I am not a drive thru dinner mom! So I rely on recipes that are fast but still keep us eating clean foods as much as possible.

With this kind of time crunch, I am always looking for easy recipes that can be made in just one dish. This saves time and dishes too! This recipe is a hit because it has all of the italian flavors that my kids and husband love to eat, but it really full of healthy lean proteins and tons of veggies too. The ground turkey can be swapped for grass fed beef, if you choose to use that. You can also throw in a ton of chopped fresh spinach to really boost the nutrients in this meal!

Best part– the leftovers are almost better than eating it the first time around. It reheats in a snap!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey (organic)
  • 1 jar of Rao’s tomato basil sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt, pepper, parm cheese to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. Poke holes with a fork all over the spaghetti squash. Place it on a plate in the microwave for 8 minutes. Allow to stand in the microwave for an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the ground turkey in tsp of olive oil in a saute pan with deep sides. Add salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop the seeds out of the middle using a spoon (a grapefruit spoon with those little edges on it works really well here). Then scrape the spaghetti squash strands out and into the pan with the meat. Add the jar of sauce, the cup of ricotta cheese and stir, using a fork, until well combined. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Temper the eggs by putting a small amount of the warm spaghetti squash mixture into the beaten eggs and whisking to bring the temperature up. This will help keep the eggs from scrambling when you add it to the hot spaghetti squash mixture. Add the tempered eggs to the squash mixture and stir to combine.

Spray two baking dishes with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dishes and top with the shredded mozzerella cheese. Bake at 350 for 205-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the middle is set. Allow the pies to cool slightly before serving. This dish is even good served at room temp.

Top tip: This makes two pies— eat one for dinner and save the other for lunches/ leftovers for a quick reheat meal!

spaghetti squash pie

Meal Planning 101

K Lepley Nov 30 meal planMeal Planning 101! I am sitting here with my cup of coffee and getting a meal plan on paper and ready to go for this busy first week in December. If you are struggling with being healthy or losing weight, I can almost guarantee that you are not doing this number one healthy habit– making a meal plan!

Here are the steps I follow:
1. Look at my calendar to see what nights we have events– dinner out, work events, sports for the kids, etc.
2. Plan all workouts and breakfasts first— super easy since I love my chocolate Shakeology for breakfast each day! If you plan your workouts for the week and put them in writing, it is like any other important event on your calendar and you are more likely to stick to it!
3. Plan dinners– easy or quick things on the nights my kids have sports, crockpot meals for really busy nights, and things that make leftovers for an even quicker dinner fix!
4. Fill in lunches and snacks last. Sometimes I use leftovers from dinner for lunches. Other times, I keep it simple with greek yogurt and fruit, or homemade chicken salad.

Then I go shopping— and only buy items I need for my meal plan. I am rarely throwing away food and by the end of the week, our fridge and pantry are pretty bare—- we are getting really good at eating through everything we have bought for the week.

Later today I will post pictures of the SECOND most important step======> Meal Prep. I spend one hour or less on a Sunday each week prepping foods so that I can stick to my meal plan throughout the week. This makes my life easier all week long!

If you need help with this, message me at katebbcoach@gmail.com and we can get started working on your meal plan today! One great thing about the challenge groups I run online is that we walk you through how to do this— step by step— and support you every step of the way. A new Challenge group is starting tomorrow called “Beat the Holiday Eats”. I can help you learn to enjoy this holiday season- with a few treats and cocktails, and get into shape at the same time!

K.L. November 30 fix meal plan