5 Tips for Healthy Snacking

 

Five Healthy Snacking Tips For Kids (And Adults)

 

1. Snack Seasonally 

5 tips for healthy snacking

God designed fruits and vegetables to be available for us during certain seasons to give us our best health.  Spring greens, peas, early berries and roots are available in the early springtime to aid as a tonic and digestive from the heavier meals of winter. Soft and sweet fruits and vegetables, like peaches, plums, melons and zucchini are full of natural sugars and water to replenish our electrolytes and give us easily digestible energy in the heat of summer,  while winter squash, potatoes, apples, carrots and cabbage give us more starchy carbs for warmth in the cold months, provide the vitamins that we need and store well for the winter.  Enjoy grapes in September, apples in October and strawberries in June.  While at the the store or farmer’s market, help your children choose fruits and vegetables to eat this week.  Give them ownership about their healthy choices.  Talk about seasonality with your kids and explain to them that if they wait till food is in season, it will taste better and will be more nutritious for their growing body, making them, in the words of my four year old son, “Super Strong!”

 

2. Snack for Energy

A balance of carbohydrates, fat and protein is a perfect combination for growing children and their energy needs.  Think apples with almond butter, cheese and whole grain crackers, carrots and snap peas with hummus, a slice of homemade bread with egg salad, plain yogurt with granola, or even simply a handful of trail mix.

 

3. Limit Sugar

Natural sugars, such as those found in a whole piece of fruit, are fine as the fruit is full of fiber to help digest the sugar, but simple sugars like those found in juice, sweetened yogurt, or baked into muffins aren’t absorbed as well in young, growing bodies. If you must add sugar to a food, choose a natural, unprocessed sweetener like raw, local honey, rather than a super processed one like white sugar.  A little bit of something sweet is fine once in a while, but enjoying sweet things daily, even several times a day, isn’t good for proper growth and development.

 

4. Avoid Processed Foods 

Kids don’t need frozen chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, macaroni and cheese and lunchables to be happy, these are marketing ploys designed by companies to make a profit.  They are made in an undisclosed factory by unknown people with questionable ingredients and are designed to sit in a truck, then on a shelf, then in your pantry or freezer until you are ready to eat them, sometimes months or years later.  They are as far away from God-made foods as you can get.  Yes, our kids think they like them, but I give you permission to just say no.  Highly processed foods are loaded with unhealthy chemicals, artificial dyes, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives and synthetic fats, all of which can have serious harmful effects on your child’s growth mentally, neurologically and physically.

 

5. Time your Snacking Wisely 

Say it with me: a snack is not a meal. Too much snacking becomes a habit, not a hunger.  I enjoy planning and cooking healthy, balanced meals, but if I allow my kids to snack too much, they don’t end up eating much at supper.  Children who snack two to three times a day do not eat as much at meals.  Try to limit snacking to once a day, in the afternoon, at least three hours after lunch ends and two hours before supper begins.  Make sure it’s enough to tide them over and give them energy to play throughout the afternoon, but leaves them with an appetite for supper.

 

I know, sometimes it still seems like too much work to plan and eat real food.  When I’m tired, when I’m going as fast as I can and avoiding all eyes as I push a grocery cart with a screaming, teething toddler in the seat, when I trip over toys and step on a Lego on the way to the kitchen to prepare prepare dinner for my family, I give it up and pray,

 

Lord, bless my work and guide me with grace.

 

Don’t forget His healing words

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

 

***

Sarah WootenSarah Warren is a mother of three, two boys and one girl, writes at heartland Renaissance (link tohttp://heartlandrenaissance.com ) and is a Christian holistic health & wellness coach and speaker (link tohttp://sarahwarren.net ). She encourages Women of Faith to Love and embrace their bodies, to care for them as Temples of the Holy Spirit, and to worship God in mind, heart and body. Sarah helps women learn to love themselves where they are today and help them be encouraged to seek faith, health and love.  She coaches individuals, and speaks and teaches classes on topics including preparing for natural fertility, family nutrition, stress management, and healthy body image, all from a Christian perspective.

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Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

 

Feeding my children has, routinely, been one of the highest stress points of staying home with them. So, believe me when I tell you I understand how crazy the food chain can make you and how desperately we want to offer healthy alternatives and teach children about balance and nutrition.

 

So, I offer you our favorite ways to make mama and babies happy when it comes to snacking. These are the things that you can find little people eating around our house on a daily basis.

 

1. Frozen Yogurt.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

We never buy Popsicles. Between the processed ingredients for the bad ones and the price of the good ones, it’s just something I’m not willing to invest in. However, we make our own freezy treats all the time and this is one great example. Whenever I find organic squeezy yogurts on sale I snag several boxes of them and get them suckers to freezing. This is one of the Wild Things very favorite summer snacks.

 

Five Healthy Summer Snacks For KidsI love it because it’s not only a healthier alternative to classic popsicles, it’s easy peasy. And I love me a scenario where the kids don’t even need me to access their snackin. Just freeze, rip, and go.

 

 

 

 

2. Frozen JuiceFive Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Are you noticing a theme here? Y’all, my kids will freeze anything. I’m not kidding, we find the most random things in our freezer. “Hey, why are there chewable vitamins in the freezer?” “I’m freezing them!” Drinks are at the top of their favorite-things-to-freeze list. My oldest freezes orange juice every night to eat for breakfast the next morning. I also like to pick up the really healthy smoothie-type juices when they’re marked down, for freezy experimentation.

 

 

3. Green Smoothies. Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Green smoothies are probably my favorite snack to give my kids because, come on, it’s a victorious day when you get a five year old to suck spinach through a straw.

 

I keep my smoothies very simple – just frozen fruit and spinach. Maybe a little water to thin it out a bit. You can add juice or yogurt or any number of other things, but I like the simplicity of keeping the sugars at just fruit.

 

Five Healthy Summer Snacks For KidsAnd the best part? They freeze great if your kids don’t finish them. Naturally, my kids prefer them frozen. So even if your little one doesn’t like drinking the smoothie, they’re bound to like it in it’s freezy form. My kids pretty much treat it like it’s green ice cream.

 

 

 

4. Apples with Peanut butter.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

My kids love apples, but if left to their own devices they’ll leave a lot of half eaten ones lying around. This nips that problem in the bud. I find they’re much more likely to finish the whole thing if it’s sliced up and on the side of some delicious, dippable nut buttah. Let’s face it, most sweet things are better with peanut butter.

 

 

 

5. Bananas with Cinnamon.Five Healthy Summer Snacks For Kids

Once again, an old favorite with a slight twist. Like apples, my kids do like bananas, but if I just peel one of those suckers and hand it to them, I’m likely to find it lying around later with a single bite taken out of it.

However, slice them puppies up and sprinkle the lightest bit of cinnamon (or in this case, pumpkin spice) and they gobble them up like it’s candy. Winning.

 

That’s it, the most common healthy snacks around the Bowman house. Sure, there’s still the occasional cookies or the ever-present Lara Bar, but for the most part, these are the snacks my kids come back to again and again. And seriously, don’t underestimate the power of freezing. It really makes kids think they’re getting something extra scandalous. Try freezing grapes (best bite-sized popsicles ever), sliced watermelon, and other things.

 

What are some favorite summer time snacks at your house?

 

-Jessica

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Troubleshooting Your New Healthy Lifestyle

Let me just start by saying that going from a family most characterized by McDonald’s french fries and sweet tea to one now munching happily on homemade granola and taking local honey in their coffee in less than a month isn’t necessarily an easy task.

We’ve made so many changes to our diet at The McGlothlin Home for Boys over the last four weeks that I sometimes feel my head must be spinning. And the changes haven’t come without some grumbling, especially from the biggest guy in my house.

My husband works out 3-5 times a week AND runs 2-3 miles 3-5 times a week, weather permitting. So obviously, his need for food is much greater than mine (because I pretty much exercise never) and even our boys (who are endless bundles of energy). I’ve struggled with finding healthy, real food snacks that fill him up and keep him full.

Case in point:

The other night I made a meal he didn’t love. He was a trooper and ate it anyways, but within about 10 minutes his stomach was in a full on growl. He was working evenings that week, so it was really no surprise that when his tummy started talking to him about a Mountain Dew and a Snickers bar, he listened. In his words…

“And it was GOOD! At one point I was on such a sugar high that I had to pull over. People probably thought I was drunk, but I don’t care. I enjoyed every. single. bite!”

Clearly, I have some work to do with that one. He groaned in ecstasy in the middle of church Sunday when my youngest shared his Cheezits from Sunday School. Good grief.

So I gathered the wisdom of my friends who have been at this healthy living stuff much longer than me, and came up with the following list of things to help us troubleshoot our weak spots on our journey toward healthy living.

change is rarely easy. It can be even harder for adults to get on board with a healthy lifestyle, especially when they're active and hungry all the time. Learn how we're dealing with it in this post!

1. Good Fats

My wise friend Kristen, from The Schell Cafe, was quick to point out that my dear sweet hubby could probably benefit from more healthy fats in his diet. Things like:

  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil
  • Walnuts
  • Bananas
  • Plain Greek yogurt sweetened with local honey

2. Something to sit on his stomach after he works out

Adam DeGraff, of the Dueling Fiddlers and The Weight, who happens to also be my boys’ fiddle teacher (and a pretty healthy eater himself) suggested having my husband drink organic chocolate milk after he works out. We just happen to have a Homestead Creamery nearby, so we picked up some of their non-hormone chocolate milk the very next day. He’s loving it.

3. Easy snacks for throughout the day

This one is admittedly the hardest for me, because our budget won’t allow me to purchase ready-to-go healthy treats to keep on hand. I still have to make everything we eat in order to afford it, so I’ve been scanning Pinterest to find some easy snacks to keep on hand for my hungry hubby. Here are a few we like so far or plan to make soon:

Peanut Butter Granola Bars – yea…these are good.

Two Ingredient Cookies – these are just OK, but they’re super quick to make, which makes up for it.

Almond Butter Zuchini Bars – our youngest has a slight allergy to peanut butter, so I’m anxious to try these soon.

The Crazy Train

In order to keep myself going and minimize the stress of trying to learn all of these new things, I’ve been playing a bit more with my new essential oils. I’ve been spritzing Lavender spray (very simply made from a bottle of water and about 20 drops of Lavender EO) around the house like a mad woman. It goes on the furniture before the boys wake up in the morning, and gets sprayed pretty much everywhere (even on the dogs…who have a small problem with separation anxiety right now) to just take the edge off of the madness that can happen in our house of testosterone.

In addition to the Lavender, we’ve been playing with a blend of oils called InTune from doTERRA that are supposed to support brain function. Heaven knows we need more of that around here, so I’m excited to share that I am seeing a small difference (not to mention that it smells really good…and boys need as much smell good as possible, right?) If you’d like to learn more about using EOs in your home, I’ve created a page just for you!

It Ain’t Easy

Nope, it ain’t. But it’s worth it. I look forward to hearing how you’re troubleshooting the healthy life too! Share your ideas and recipes in the comments!

Photo Credit

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Hibiscus Tea Popsicles {Dye-Free, Red Popsicles}

A healthy, delicious alterntive to store bought popsicles.

 

Healthy Dye-Free Popsicles

Looking for healthy popsicles for your kids? You’re in luck. I’m going to show you how to make your own healthy alternative to store-bought popsicles without all those terrible dyes, refined sugars, and preservatives. If you’re like me, you cringe every time you pass the bulk bin of those color-laden freezy pops in the store and have your kids pretty please beg for them with puppy dog eyes. I don’t want to deprive my kids of the joys of summertime popsicles in the sun. But I also don’t want to purchase Sugar Dye Ice.

 

Hibiscus Teahibiscus tea leaves

Hibiscus tea is an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers. It has a slight tartness and a beautiful red color (no Red 40 needed!) It’s rich in vitamin C, making it great for defending against colds, and is also supposed to help lower blood pressure. A popular drink in spanish speaking countries, it’s often called Agua de Jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-kah) and the flowers can be found  in any Hispanic Market under the name flor de Jamaica. You can also order dried hibiscus flowers on Amazon.

 

 

Hibiscus Tea
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Ingredients
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
4 quarts water
1/2 to 1 cup of sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
(optional)
cinnamon stick
slices of ginger
Instructions
Bring flowers, sugar, half of the water, and optional cinnamon and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for at least 15 minutes.
Once the concentrate is finished steeping, pour it through a strainer and into your pitcher, adding the remaining water.
Raising Hearty Boys http://www.raisingheartyboys.com/

 

A healthy alternative to store-bought popsicles.

 

Your beautiful red tea is ready! Chill in the fridge and garnish with slices of orange for a super refreshing summer treat.

 

 Hibiscus Tea Popsicles

 

The only thing left to do is pour your tea into your favorite popsicle containers and wait for the freezy magic to happen.

 

dye free popsicles

I used organic agave syrup when making my teasicles and 1/2 a cinnamon stick. I added just enough sweetness to take the edge off of the tartness. I don’t want to add too much sugar or I’d be hard pressed to keep “healthy” in the title, dye-free or not!

 

And, as always, this recipe is boy approved.

 

I’ll be making this regularly now that I know it’s such a big hit. Every kid deserves a  red popsicle, right?

 

Do you experiment with homemade popsicles at your house?

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Natural Mothering eBook Collection Sale!

As we are a site about doing our best to raise healthy boys, we just had to share with you about this awesome ebook bundle sale going on this week only!

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The Fine Print

This Bundle contains digital downloads in ZIP and PDF formats, so there is no shipping involved. You will receive your unique download link immediately after download. Please note that this Bundle is provided as is: no refunds, no exchanges, and no late sales will be provided.
While you must purchase the Bundle by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 17, you have until June 30, 2013 to download the books and redeem the bonuses. It is your responsibility to download and back-up your purchase by June 30, 2013. After that date, the books will no longer be available for download.
With proof of purchase, we can renew download links until June 30. After this date we will no longer have access to the books and will not be able to provide any new links to download.
Please read our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the file types, deadlines to redeem your bonuses, and reading the books on your eReader device.
Each bonus offer can be redeemed once only per eBook Bundle purchase. You may purchase multiple bundles in order to redeem a bonus offer more than once.
For each bonus offer, transaction numbers or proof of purchase may be required at the time of redemption.
All bonus offers are the sole responsibility of the bonus sponsors to provide and are subject to availability.
 

 

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Natural Health Solutions for Boys

Today’s guest post is from the lovely Brooke McGlothlin! Enjoy!

*****

You’ve made as many healthy changes in the last two weeks as I have in the last two years!” said one of my best friends. And she was right.

About two weeks ago, my husband and I decided the time had come to make some radical changes in the way our family eats. I began to research (on Pinterest) a healthy diet filled with more “real” food. And you know what happens when you start researching things on Pinterest? You find other things to research on Pinterest—like how harmful household cleaners can be, or how our moods can be affected by the smells in our home.

There’s a multitude of information out there on healthy living. But if you’re a newbie, like me, and grew up loving sweet tea and green beans cooked in bacon fat, sifting through it all can be a bit overwhelming.

I’m just a mom who wants to offer her boys (the big one included) the very best I can…food that will benefit them instead of hurting them, cleaning methods that aren’t hazardous to their health, and natural methods of lifting their mood, soothing their booboos, or calming their sometimes over-the-top personalities.

There's a multitude of information out there on healthy living. But if you're a newbie, like me, and grew up loving sweet tea and green beans cooked in bacon fat, sifting through it all can be a bit overwhelming.

photo credit

So here are five natural health solutions for boys we’ve found to be helpful at The McGlothlin Home for Boys:

 

1. Low Sugar

Local honey has become our best friend. I use it everywhere I would normally have used sugar. And even though I know to our bodies, sugar is sugar, I love knowing I’m using a natural version of it that has health benefits for my boys—like the possibility of eliminating their seasonal allergies. Here are some of my favorite low (or no)-sugar recipes (you can find a lot more at a Healthy Living Pinterest Board I share with some of my local friends):

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes from 100daysofrealfood.com

Homemade Granola from jessiemonds.com (oh my heavens this stuff is addicting!)

 

2. High Protein

We’re eating 100% whole grains, Greek yogurt every day, nuts, and as many other foods we can find that fill the boys’ bodies with protein and help their brains get what they need to concentrate. I’m making my own bread too! Baking your own bread is an art, so if you’re going to try give yourself plenty of grace and consider actually baking your bread in the oven. Your machine can do all the work, but I think the bread cooks up better in the oven. Here’s my new favorite recipe:

Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwhich Bread (from 100daysofrealfood.com)

 

3. No Red and Yellow Dyes

The boxed Mac-n-Cheese is gone, as well as Goldfish crackers, and some of our other favorite jams and jellies. This means I’m making a lot more of our food from scratch, including our snacks, but it’s worth it to know these two infamous dyes aren’t a part of our boys’ diets. Here are two of my favorite snacks to make for the boys:

Energy Bars for the Weary Mom (I have to be careful with these or my little guy (6) will eat them all!)

Toddler Muffins from allrecipes.com

Fruit is the new Goldfish crackers, smoothies with fruit and spinach are the new ice cream, water with lemon is the new Sprite, and carrot sticks dipped in homemade ranch (without the MSG) are the new chips. My poor husband routinely comments that there’s nothing in our house to eat, but that’s because I have to make everything! Sometimes it’s annoying, but over time, I think we’ll get the hang of it.

 

4. Homemade cleaners

This is going to take some time, but I think eventually that making some of my own cleaners, like counter wipes and bar soap, will help balance out the extra money we’re spending on healthier food. Here are a few direction posts for some cleaners I have or plan to try:

Homemade Disinfecting Wipes (from the doTERRA blog)

All Purpose Spray (I’ve made this one using peppermint and lavender essential oils. I tried it first with just lavender, but it needs the stronger peppermint smell to overcome the vinegar smell. You could also use lemon)

Vinegar and Lavender Softener (I’m planning to make this one as soon as we use up our old fabric softener)

 

5. Homemade booboo comforts

I recently started experimenting with doTERRA Essential Oils (EOs) and I’ve simply been amazed at the success stories we already have under our belt. I never thought I would say that an oil could make such a difference in our lives, but they already have. Here are a few of the ways Lavender oil is helping us:

  • My boys (6 & 8) got sunburned while we were at the lake. Lavender EO covered with my favorite lip balm over top practically healed cracked, peeling lips overnight!
  • My son got bad blisters on the palms of both of his hands from the monkey bars. I’ve been applying Lavender to them and they’re almost healed already!
  • A water bottle + 2 cups of water + 20 drops of lavender EO = room spray to help calm our home. I spray it on my boys’ pillows before bed to help them sleep.
  • Lavender on the bottoms of feet and behind the ears helps take the edge off the craziness at my house.

For us, doTERRA Essential Oils have made a big difference. I’ve also used them to calm bug bites, decrease swelling after a knock to the head, and prevent stomach problems while eating at a restaurant that always gives me trouble. I’m sold on them. If you’d like to learn more about them, or start experimenting a little yourself, take a minute to read how.

It’s a Challenge

This healthier lifestyle is not without its challenges—it’s hard on our budget, and time-consuming—but I’m living proof that even the busiest of moms can make time and find money in her tight budget to make changes that really will benefit her boys in the longterm. Hopefully, these simple hints will encourage you to do the same! 

What other healthy living tips would you recommend for a household of boys?

*****

Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder of Raising Boys Media and author of Hope for the Weary Mom.

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Chocolate Banana Smoothies

 

Chocolate Banana Smoothies (raw, dairy free)

 

What do you do with overripe bananas in the summer?

 

In the Fall and Winter months, Banana bread would be my go-to solution. But it just seems a little out of place in the summer. Plus, who wants to heat up the house even more with a baking oven? Here is a recipe that is quicker, cooler, healthier, and all around less mess and fuss than banana bread.

 

CHOCOLATE BANANA SMOOTHIES

 

 

Chocolate Banana Smoothies
A quick and healthy smoothie that uses up those over-ripe bananas in summer.
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Ingredients
6 over-ripe bananas
3 tsp cocoa powder
1 Cup coconut milk
1/2 an avocado
Instructions
Add all ingredients to your blender or food processor until smooth!
Raising Hearty Boys http://www.raisingheartyboys.com/

Throw your bananas in your food processor or blender with a bit of cocoa powder, coconut milk (or yogurt), and a sneaky sneaky helping of avocado. Add a dash of cinnamon if you’re feeling frisky!

These make a great quick snack for little boys with bottomless pits for stomachs.

 

-Jessica from Bohemian Bowmans and Parenting Wild Things.

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Get Active Outside with KidVentures!

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The sun is shining, the boys are rowdy, the outdoors is just calling your name…but what will you all do outside?!

Mother of quadruplet boys, Jen Murray, has FIFTY ideas for you in her brand new ebook launching today, KidVentures: 50 Outdoor Experiences of Wonder, Discovery, & Childhood Memories!

KidVentures-300x250

 

KidVentures is a practical step-by-step ebook guide for your outdoor summer adventures, filled to the brim with creative, active, and hands-on learning activities for you and your family!  It also includes supply lists, detailed instructions, printables, diagrams, and resources to take each activity a step further!

A few of our favorite ACTIVE activities in the book include…

  • Go Geocaching
  • Swim in a Natural Body of Water
  • Play Water Balloon Dodge Ball
  • Paddle a Canoe or Kayak

There is so much fun for year-round outdoor awesomeness in this book! I guarantee you and your boys will go back to it over and over again as you enjoy the outdoors together! My boys and I have been making big plans for our summer with this ebook!

The ebook just launched today and you can get your copy NOW as a PDF or for Kindle for just $4.99!

To connect with others using this book over the summer, like the KidVentures Facebook page and tweet with the #KidVentures hashtag!

Now tell us: What active outdoor activity does your family enjoy together?

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Serving Food with Love

Bread Proverbs 1517

What does this look like at your house? How do you serve food to your family with love?

We’d love to hear your everyday and special family meal traditions!

 

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!

Boy-Approved Broccoli

I honestly thought my boys would never eat broccoli. And I seriously mean never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams.

We are a family of somewhat picky eaters, although The Hubby and I have grown out of some of it, so I thought broccoli would never even make it on to their plates.

However, The Hubby and I enjoy broccoli so I decided to try roasting it in the oven one night and required the boys to try one bite.

I think their may have been angels singing when the older two BOTH said they liked it and wanted more! It was a major mom victory for me that night, and even better, they’ve continued to eat it ever since that night. Little J has even requested the “crunchy broccoli” on more than one occasion.

As an added bonus for me, I throw in some sliced red peppers to roast right alongside the broccoli. I think it adds to the flavor of the broccoli and I get all of the red peppers!

Now for the recipe, if you can even call it a recipe since it is so amazingly simple and you can make as much or as little as you want…

Boy Approved Broccoli

 

Boy-Approved Broccoli

Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Red pepper {optional}
  • Olive oil spray
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with olive oil.

Cut the broccoli into florets. If using the red pepper, cut the red pepper into strips.

Put the broccoli {and red pepper} onto the baking sheet. Spray the vegetables lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the broccoli tops are a little crispy and the red peppers are soft.

Will your boys eat broccoli? How do you prepare it?

What other veggies do your guys enjoy?

 

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!