Tag Archives: food

revamp of the packed lunch

Packing lunches can become mundane. As I’m the one packing it, I want to make it more fun for both my sons and me!

There is a wide variety of lunch box options today. We use two different types: a cooler fold up one and a Tupperware one with separate sections to save on plastic bags and make it easy to eat.

There are so many allergies to consider when packing – our schools provide a list of what is not permitted – so I keep that top of mind when grocery shopping and packing.

I try to mix it up daily. I make sure it is balanced; a meat, veggie or fruit, a healthy carbohydrate and then a special treat. I’ll throw in a love note that my son can’t read yet too.

Easy protein options: Chicken apple sausage (I make it the night before), beef jerky packs (I found at Costco) organic pepperoni, and humus with crackers is a hit, too.

Fruits: I’ll cut up anything and put it in Tupperware, or buy the Dole mandarin oranges or dried fruits (mango, raisins, etc.). If I’m in a hurry I’ll pack a fruit or veggie pouch.

Veggies: I’ll make broccoli, carrots or peas the night before and pack in Tupperware, or cut up cucumbers.

Dairy: Cheese or yogurt are my go-to’s. Don’t forget the spoon!

Special treat: We’ll make cookies the night before, or get a variety of fruit snacks. My boys also like Lara bars.

My 18mo-old enjoying the hummus life.

Written by Lindsay Bell, Founder & Owner

Sip Your Way to Less Stress

What if I told you that you could reduce the amount of stress in your life by sipping a natural and truly healthy beverage? Have I got your attention?
Sweet Reason Beverage Company introduces a sparkling water with hemp CBD, so everyone can achieve an easier and more seamless lifestyle. Learn more about the awesome product below through our Q&A with the team.
Q: A big part of Sweet Reason’s mission is to make life easier. To slow things down, relax, and pursue a life well-lived. How does your sparkling water help implement this lifestyle?
A: CBD helps calm and focus the mind. I find it takes the edge off of my anxiety, makes me more present and allows me to concentrate on the task at hand. To me, that is a life well-lived.
Q: Tell us more about CBD: What is it? What are its benefits? And how is it used in Sweet Reason?
A: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid that can either be extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, so as the hemp plant and all of its extracts become legal (thank you, 2018 Farm Bill) you’ll see many other cannabinoids with a wide range of health benefits hit the market. CBD helps calm the mind, reduce random stress and ease discomfort. If that sounds vague to you, it is because companies that are making over-zealous health claims are getting in trouble with the FDA, so we like to encourage consumers to try CBD themselves. CBD affects everyone differently, and pure CBD is a safe to consume (see World Health Organization’s Critical Review of CBD in June 2018, which notes that CBD is, “generally well tolerated with a good safety profile”), so experiment and see how you feel. Sweet Reason is the perfect beverage for the CBD-curious, because it is delicious and at an approachable dosage (7mg). At Sweet Reason, we believe in creating beverages that are truly healthy (aka no sugar or sweeteners and simple ingredients), so that you don’t have to think twice about getting your daily dose of CBD.
Q: Your packaging of Sweet Reason alone makes me want to buy it. Where and how can people go about getting Sweet Reason in their lives?
A: Sweet Reason is in over 150 stores in New York (check out the map on our website for where to find us), including Dean & Deluca, West Side Market and Westerly. And if you want it to come right to your doorstep, order online! We even have a subscription program for the people who want to drink it all day, everyday (like me).
Q: What was the biggest inspiration for creating a product like Sweet Reason? How has it impacted your life for the better?

A: I started Sweet Reason because I couldn’t stop thinking about the future of cannabis beverages and how they will change our culture and social interactions, and challenge deeply held beliefs around cannabis. When I learned about CBD and discovered that it helped take the edge off of my anxiety, I couldn’t resist starting Sweet Reason. Sweet Reason has made my life better in so many ways (where do I begin?), but mostly because it allows me to share the health benefits of CBD with so many different people.
Sweet-Reason
Written by Taylor Bell, Marketing & Social Media

Treats for Santa and Fun for Kids

This week, Bell Family is spreading holiday cheer to families near and far by featuring some great, festive craft activities for the kiddies. Not only are they fun, but they pose as a great way to keep the kids busy while they are out of school for the holidays.
On the night before Christmas, Santa and his team of 8 reindeer deliver gifts and goodies to kids around the world. Many families leave cookies and milk out for Santa, but don’t forget about the reindeer! Help Rudolf and his team journey to your home this Christmas Eve with Personal Creations’ yummy reindeer food and adorable poem printables.
With a few ingredients you likely have in your cupboards (mix oats, sprinkles, and a pinch of sugar), create a special treat the kids can leave out the night before Christmas. This is the ultimate way to say “thank you” to all of Santa’s hard-working helpers. Once you have created your reindeer food mixture, sprinkle onto your yard and await the morning for a special surprise: presents under the tree!
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell, with guest partner Sherry Chen at Personal Creations.
 

Fuel Up with F.I.T. 4 All

F.I.T. 4 All is a nonprofit organization that works to create access to healthy living. They do this through free or low cost fitness classes and personal training, as well as, education for eating healthy food affordably. They don’t believe in counting calories and dieting but rather creating lifestyle changes that make you feel like the best you. For more information on fitness events, partnering with their organization, or affordable fuel recipes, visit their website.
As a treat, F.I.T. 4 All has included a recipe written by one of their team members, Isabel Miranda. But before we get to the actual recipe, let’s take a look at the benefits of meal prepping:

Why Bring Your Own Lunch?

• Cost – A delicious and satisfying homemade lunch can easily cost less than $5. Now think, on average how much do you spend eating lunch out? I know when I lived in New York City it was at least $10 a meal.
• Portion sizes This is a great way to work on weight change and lifestyle change goals.
• Ingredients You get to control what goes into the food, which means you can better track the calories and added sugar.

Three Ways to Meal Prep

  1. Making the food over the weekend and storing in the fridge or freezer
  2. Preparing the night before by making extra dinner, then either use the leftovers, or make a second meal while preparing dinner
  3. Making in the morning before you leave to work, possibly while making breakfast 

Ways to Motivate Yourself

Have Obtainable Goals – Ask yourself what you are already doing and make small changes to that. Bringing your lunch one more time a week is an amazing first step and you can always make a new goal when you complete the old one.
Make a Lunch Club – Have a day when everyone in the office brings in their lunch together. This is also a great time to share recipes and learn new cool things to pack for lunch.
Have Incentives – When you are successful in your goals treat yourself, with non edible items. Things like a new pretty lunchbox or kitchen gadgets are a great way to motivate yourself.

Recipe: Zucchini Rolls

Fit-for-all

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large Zucchini
  • ½ Cup of Ground Turkey (or protein of your choice)
  • ½ Cup of Brown Rice
  • ¼ Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Cup of Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
  • *Onion powder or oregano if you want

For Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Add the brown rice and 1 ¼ cups of water to a pan. Bring the water to boil on medium high heat then reduce to low heat and cook for 30-40 minutes
  2. Rinse the quinoa with water and in another pan, add the quinoa and 1 cup of water. Again, bring to a boil and then reduce to low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn a third burner on to medium heat and in a large, flat pan, add ground turkey. Season with salt and pepper, as well as any other spices you want.
  4. While everything is cooking, prepare the zucchini by using a peeler and slicing down vertically to create ribbons. Peel until you start to see the seeds of the zucchini and then put in a tupperware to use another time.
  5. Add the carrots, cooked rice and quinoa to the pan with the ground turkey. Mix together.
  6. Lay out 3 to 4 of the zucchini ribbons on a cutting board and begin filling with the turkey and rice mixture.
  7. Only place enough in the middle that you can roll the zucchini around it
  8. Once you have filled all the ribbons move place in tupperware containers
  9. To make the sauce add Dijon mustard, olive oil and pepper flakes to a bowl and whisk together with a fork
  10. Put the sauce directly on the rolls or in a small container, so that you can add it to the rolls at work

 
It is also an option to freeze the rolls and heat them up when you bring them to work, so that you can make more servings and have less days of meal prep. If you decide to do this, blanch the zucchini by putting it in boiling water for a minute and then moving it straight to ice water. Also wait to add the sauce and keep it in a separate container in the fridge. 

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 6

With back to school season upon us, those complex, time-consuming meals are left back in the days of summer.
Summertime is a great time to experiment with recipes because you often find the kids preoccupied, and time is in your favor. Finally, those recipes that have been pinned to your Pinterest board for the past year get some action!
But what happens when the kids go back to school, your calendar sees little free time, and dinner should have been on the table 30 minutes ago?
Insert this great recipe for four-ingredient pesto chicken!
Four-Ingredient Pesto Chicken
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 3 chicken breasts
Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts, organic recommended
1 –  6 oz. jar basil pesto
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 slices mozzarella cheese
Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
Use a spoon to cover chicken with pesto.
Top each chicken breast with one slice of mozzarella cheese and two slices of tomato.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Broil the chicken the final two  minutes so that the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Ava_Amelia_eat
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Upcoming Event: The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival

Will you be strolling the streets of NYC this weekend looking for something to do? Head on over to Westfield World Trade Center on August 26th-27th, for a weekend full of flavor and fun with The Creative Kitchen!
The Creative Kitchen Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices to help create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents. The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including food demonstrations, live entertainment, food sampling, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt, giveaways, and more! The event is free and open to the public for General Admission.
And for those enthusiastic eaters and little epicures alike, you can attend hands-on cooking classes at the James Beard Foundation Future Pavilion, where renowned chefs pass on their recipes, skills, and love for all things culinary to a new generation of learners!
Visit the website, on the Kids Food Festival Facebook page, and on Twitter at @KidsFoodFestFun to stay up-to-date on all things about the event.
Kids Food Festival 2017 Digitial Poster
Written by our Marketing & Social Media Consultant, Taylor Bell

Training Thursday Vol. 3 – Snack Time

Welcome to volume three of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we release a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.
This week we are featuring a training video on snack time!
1. First and foremost, be cognizant of ANY and ALL food allergies. Always read ingredient labels and if you are still not certain, snap a photo of it with your phone and send to the parent to ask. Always ask if you are not 100% certain. If you see or sense an off reaction to a food, contact the parent immediately.
2. Solids typically start when the child is six months, usually in a pureed state (before six months babies digestive systems are not developed to digest solid foods). Some families make their own baby food in a food processor and some will buy baby food.
3. Once the baby is beyond pureed foods and ready for big boy/girl food, EVERYTHING needs to be chopped up in small pieces, so it’s easy to munch with their gums (as some babies don’t get teeth till 12-18 months).
4. Warning foods: grapes, blueberries, hotdogs, oranges – be wary of the casing – peel it off or chop up as much as possible.
5. Babies and children should sit in their highchair, booster, or chair at the table to keep messes in the kitchen. It’s a way for them to practice good eating habits at a table with the family.
6. For babies and toddlers use a bib, or for younger children, a placemat to keep their clothes and surrounding area as neat as possible.
7. Depending on the pediatrician, babies start drinking water around six months old. Follow the parents instruction on how much water the child should have throughout the day.
When heating foods, always test the food before you give it to a child to make sure the temperature is not too hot.
Every family has a different way of doing things. Always ask the family for full instruction on how they would like you to prepare foods.
If the child is not taking the food for some reason text the family and let them know. Always keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.
These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.
Eating
Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Training Thursday Vol. 1 – Bottle Prep

Welcome to the start of Bell Family’s video training series, where each Thursday we’ll be releasing a video to help coach sitters on an array of childcare topics.
This week we are featuring a training video about bottle prep!
Always follow the parent’s instruction on what type of milk they would like you to prep for the bottle. The three different types of milk include:
1. Breast milk only: The mother will either freeze or refrigerate her milk and have it clearly labeled. Make sure it is not old or sitting out for more than an hour.
2. Formula only: The video linked above walks through the instruction on powder formula, but there is also full strength liquid formula, which is fully prepared.
3. Breast milk and formula: Some moms will mix the two, and some will feed the baby a formula bottle, followed by a bottle with only breast milk. The reason for this is because some moms don’t produce enough milk, some are weening, etc.
When heating the bottle you can us a bottle warmer, heat the milk on the stove/microwave or, let it sit in a warm bowl for 5-10 minutes. Test the bottle’s temperature on the outside of your hand before giving it to a baby.
You also want to make sure the bottle is clean and that there is nothing in the bottle from the dishwasher. When assembling the bottle, make sure you secure the nipple tightly and that there is no room for leaks.
Every family has a different way of doing things, so be sure to ask the family for full instructions on how they would like you to prepare the bottle.
If the baby is not taking the bottle for some reason, text the family and let them know. It’s always a good idea to keep full records of how much the baby eats when in your care.
These videos are recommended to all BFC childcare providers to view for the latest techniques when caring for children. These videos were designed by our team comprised of long-time babysitters, full-time nannies, mothers, grandmothers, elementary educators, and social workers.
Bottle prep
Note: Always follow the family’s instruction and care methods, and keep the family informed of everything with their baby.  These videos are not required to view, but a simple recommendation. For more information or for questions, please contact our office or read our terms.

Dinner Is Served – Vol. 5

When it’s time for dinner, we often turn to the same short-list of recipes. It usually includes something that is fast to make, has minimal ingredients, and added bonus if the recipe is memorized.
We want to help shake up your recipe box by getting some new and fresh meals onto your family’s plate. A great way to do this is by trying out the new dish below. It’s yummy, and will make you feel like Spring is right around the corner!

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

Ingredients
1 pizza dough
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/4 purple onion
1/4 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
fresh lemon juice

Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4

View the full recipe on Yummly, here.

Ava_Amelia_eat

Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell

Meet Veestro – Healthy Eating Made Easy

Are you looking to eat healthier in 2017? Well, you are in luck, because we are introducing one of our new favorite food delivery services – Veestro.
One of our Bell Family sitters, Rebecca Wong, recently took a job with Veestro as their Marketing Manager. Below, she tells us how Veestro works, how it’s different from like-brands, and why it’s great for both sitters and families everywhere!
Q: What is Veestro and how does it work?
Veestro is a gourmet food company that delivers plant-based, chef-prepared meals directly to our customer’s doors in all 50 states. No need to stand in a store line. All meals are ordered online. There are a variety of meals for everyone, ranging from Thai noodles to quesadillas to cheesecake. Everything is made fresh then delivered frozen for extra convenience. Veestro isn’t just for vegans and vegetarians. It’s for anyone who loves food and likes to eat healthy. Veestro is gaining momentum in the media, with recent features in InStyle, GLAMOUR, Men’s Fitness, and PopSugar, as well as TV features on ABC, FOX, The Doctors, and NBC’s Harry with Harry Connick Jr.
Q: With you being a sitter yourself, why would you recommend Veestro to our other sitters? What sets it apart from like-brands?
As a sitter, Veestro makes it convenient to eat on the run, and even bring meals to appointments. You just heat and eat. Each meal is perfectly portioned and cost an average of $10. There are plenty of meal programs that make clean eating simple, and there are tons of gluten-free options. All ingredients are organic, dairy-free, cholesterol-free, preservative-free, and non-GMO. If you handle kids with allergies, this is your safest bet food-wise.
Q: Why is Veestro a great idea for families?
Veestro is perfect for families because it cuts out the prep work, and fulfills all the nutritional needs of both growing kids and adults. There are endless benefits to eating more plants, and this is a brilliant way to get kids to enjoy veggies. They especially love the pizzas and “chicken” nuggets. There are several meals that come family-sized to share, and the more you buy, the lower the costs. A family can order 12 meals for just $99, with free shipping.
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Written by our Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Taylor Bell