Healthy Kids’ Meals

October 13, 2008 · Filed Under Frugal Meals · Comments Off on Healthy Kids’ Meals 

Kids are often the choosiest eaters in the family. They are drawn towards unhealthy foods such as salty or sugary snacks and fast food. If getting your kids to eat healthy meals is a battle in your home, here are some tips that will make your kids happy and give you the satisfaction of knowing you are feeding them foods that are good for them.

Naturally Sweet

Most kids will ask for sweets such as candy and snack cakes. Instead of giving in to the pressure, give your kids applesauce and homemade oatmeal cookies prepared with a sugar substitute or honey rather than white sugar. Fruit snacks and dried fruit roll ups made from 100 percent fruit are great ideas for kids.

Make Healthy Meals Fun

The secret is in the presentation. Arrange an assortment of healthy foods in a fun way on your child’s plate. You can include smiley faces made from raisins or nuts and choose foods that are colorful. Kids will eat most things if they are presented in a unique design that makes eating fun.

Healthy Start to the Day

You can give your kids a delicious, healthy breakfast by getting rid of the ready to eat cereals and pastries and replacing them with bran pancakes and low-sugar syrup and/or fruit. Whole-wheat tortillas filled with fruit, scrambled eggs, or cheese and turkey bacon are delicious and your kids will have fun eating them, paying no attention to the fact that it is actually good for them.

Sugary Drinks

Replace fruit drinks and sodas with flavored tonic water and fresh fruit juice. Drink boxes containing pure fruit juice are relatively inexpensive and kids love the individual boxes, complete with straws.

Finger Foods

Kids love finger foods. Vegetables with low or fat-free ranch dressing are sure to be a hit as will sliced fruit or canned fruit in individual cups. Small sandwiches with the crusts removed served with a few carrot sticks and cheese are great ideas for kids.

Making Healthy Dinner

Dinnertime can include homemade pizza topped with cheese and vegetables, or soft tacos made with shredded chicken and cheese. Chicken strips prepared in the oven are always a hit and you could include an assortment of fresh vegetables and whole-grain breads. Fish sticks are relatively healthy if you prepare them in the oven rather than fried. Cheese and legumes are healthy choices.

It’s not difficult to get kids to eat healthy meals. It just takes a little extra thought and planning. Start by using our tips and you may be surprised to see what your child will eat.

Would you rather spend time doing the things you love rather than being stuck in the kitchen? freequickrecipes.com has quick recipes for mothers… and others. And, if you are looking for fun exercise videos for your kids, don’t miss funexercisevideos.com .

Save Money and Grow Your Own Herbs

October 13, 2008 · Filed Under Frugal Meals · Comments Off on Save Money and Grow Your Own Herbs 

I’m sure you have noticed the high price of herbs at the grocery store; a small bottle can sometimes run $4 or $5 or more. Why not save some money and grow your own? It’s simple, provided you have a sunny area to grow them.

How to Grow Them

To grow herbs, all you need is a sunny area, fertile soil and a little of your time. If your soil is clay or sandy, you will need to add organic material such as compost or manure to get the best results. Once your herbs are planted, make sure they get at least an inch of water each week and keep the area weeded. If you have added plenty of organic material to the soil prior to planting, you probably won’t have to worry about feeding the plants for a while. All I do is work in a layer of compost around the plants each season and my herbs grow fine.

If you don’t have a whole area to devote to herbs, that’s okay, you can squeeze them into your flower beds or vegetable garden. Herbs make a pretty combination to flowering plants and some will actually benefit nearby plants by repelling insects. Just be sure the area gets plenty of sun and the soil is fertile and weeded.

You can also grow them in containers provided they get enough sun. If you do this, you will have to water on a daily and sometimes twice daily basis. Be sure to check the soil often to see if it is drying out. You will also have to fertilize the plants often because as you water, the nutrients get leached out of the soil.

What it Will Cost You

An herb plant at the local nursery will cost you between 99 cents and $5 depending on the size of the herb. I usually purchase the smallest size to save money because I usually don’t need a huge amount right away. If this herb is a perennial, it’s going to be there year after year supplying you with fresh leaves for cooking and will be growing bigger each year which will allow you to propagate plants by division, cuttings or seed which means more herb! If the herb you purchased is an annual, that’s okay because it will supply you with enough herb to still make it worth the purchase. You can also propagate annual herbs by collecting the seeds or by taking cuttings. If you’d like to save more money yet, you can start the herbs from seed or get a division or cutting from a friend, neighbor or relative.

How to Use Herbs

Through the growing season, you can use the herb fresh. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried herb, substitute one tablespoon of freshly chopped herb.

Drying and Storing

You can dry your herbs for winter use or convenience. To dry them, cut them early on a dry day after the dew is gone. Bundle 8-10 stems of the herb with a rubber band at the cut end and hang them upside down in a well-circulated area out of direct sunlight.

I have a piece of lattice hanging on one of my kitchen walls for this purpose and I also use a pegged, wooden coffee cup holder which is made to hang on a wall. They both make pretty decorations with all the herbs and flowers hanging from them drying.

In about a week or so (or less if weather is hot and dry), check the leaves to see if they are crispy to the touch and no moisture remains. If so, remove the leaves from the stem, crush and put into a lidded container, label and store out of direct sunlight. When removing the leaves, it helps to do it over a piece of paper so you can catch any fallen leaves.

Growing my own herbs has saved me a bundle of money and has provided an enjoyable hobby, fresh taste and something to offer my friends and family. You can even make your own herb seasoning mixes to bottle in pretty jars to give as gifts as an additional way to save money. I’m sure you’ll find it worth the small effort too.

About the Author: Monica Resinger is the creator of ‘Homemaker’s Journal E-Publications’ where you will find many fun and informative home and garden related e-books, tip sheets and how to sign up for her FREE home and garden newsletter! Click here to visit: http://homemakersjournal.com/

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