Friday, February 26, 2021
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Bringing Balance: A Fun & Healthy March Break

Are you sticking around the HRM this March Break?  Here are some fun ideas you can do as a family while providing your kids with a little healthy food education. Give a couple of them a try if you’re looking for something new to do!

Daily Family Smoothies: There are loads of fun, delicious recipes on the internet: Let a different family member choose the “secret ingredient” each day, and then google a smoothie recipe with that ingredient. Challenge yourselves to include a veggie in the mix most days (HINT: baby spinach or a couple spears of frozen broccoli will literally disappear if there is something sweet in the blender like berries and banana!)

The Great Fruit and Veggie Family Challenge: Use a fun chart to track family members’ individual fruit and veggie consumption, and come up with a fun prize or reward for the family member who eats the most servings over the week, and another for the person who tries the most new fruits & veggies. (HINT:  We should be eating a minimum of 5 servings a day, and most of our kids are not, so aim for that as a base number of servings!)

Healthy Night Out Challenge: Go to one of your favourite family joints or try a new local restaurant and challenge each member to choose a slightly healthier option than their old standby — it’s a great opportunity to teach your kids what types of dishes/
choices are generally healthier when dining out.

Family Recipe Book: This is a great activity to do with your kids — Let them decorate a special binder and put all the recipes they know and love in it to get it going.  Try one new recipe a day over the break and add it to the book if it opens to rave reviews. Promise your children when they are old enough to leave home they can take a copy, and that you will teach them how to make all of the family’s recipes before that time comes!

Road trip? Try a new twist on an old game: Name a healthy food that starts with every letter of the alphabet (Hint: xacuti is an indian curry, there is such a thing as an ugli fruit, and don’t forget zucchini for “z”!)

Grocery Store Scavenger Hunt: This is the best distraction ever for kids in an otherwise totally boring place!  Make a list of healthy yet unfamiliar foods they need to find, and let them check them off as you go, get them to come up with a list of 20
healthy foods that start with a particular letter, or find one healthy fruit or veggie in every colour of the rainbow.  The possibilities are endless!

Real Food All Day Challenge:  Challenge your family to a day of “real eating” where you try to eat only one-ingredient, no-label whole foods all day long. It’s harder than you think! (HINT: Think foods you would find in the produce section and along the
perimeter of the grocery store or at the Farmers’ market!)

Original Secret Family Soup Recipe: Create your own secret family recipe from scratch – it’s not nearly as hard as you might think, and is a fantastic way to get your kids involved in the kitchen!  Here’s a guide to get you on the right track:

Basic “Anything Goes” Soup:
1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil
one chopped onion and a glove of garlic, crushed
2-4 cups chopped veggies of your choice
4 cups of low-sodium chicken or veggie stock
2 cups or more of water
1 tsp of salt and a 1/4 tsp of pepper to start
other fresh herbs for flavour (bay leaf, oregano & basil; garlic & rosemary; cilantro & parsley; or thyme & nutmeg)
1/2 cup of uncooked whole grains, like brown rice, barley, millet or quinoa or 1 cup of uncooked whole grain pasta
some protein of your choosing (1/2 cup lentils or split peas, 1 cup chopped cooked meat, 1-2 cups cooked beans, etc)
water to thin as necessary!

To prepare: Heat your oil over medium heat in a large soup pot, then saute your onion and garlic until softened.  Add your chopped veggies and cook, stirring for a few minutes, until slightly softened (you can add a little stock at this stage if your veggies are sticking to the bottom of the pot).  

Add stock, water, salt, pepper, herbs, grains and lentils (if using) and bring it all to a boil and then back to a simmer until the veggies, grains and beans are cooked through.  If you are using precooked protein, like chicken or canned beans, add them in the last five to ten minutes of cooking to ensure they are heated through.  Add water as needed to thin your soup a little! Give your creation a great name and add it to your Family Recipe Book!

Enjoy the Break everyone!


Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 8 & 9. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.