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Quick And Easy: Top Fun Foods For Kids That Can Replace Junk Food

Quick And Easy: Top Fun Foods For Kids That Can Replace Junk Food

Quick and Easy: Top Fun Foods for Kids that Can Replace Junk Food
Monoprixturtles

    We’ve all seen at least a couple of cute ideas on Pintrest for fun food for kids, but who has the time? With work, social and family commitments, we’re all a little prone to getting busy, feeling tired and being tempted to forsake our desire for a healthy lifestyle for the convenience of junk food, but you’d be surprised by what you can whip up with minimal time and effort that will not only look great, but will actually be eaten! Like these cute little Monoprixturtles by Kristen Reece at www.meetthedubiens.com

    There are multiple factors that can make food fun for kids, whether they like the way it looks or tastes, it’s easy to eat or if they can be involved in the preparation. And of course as parents we need to ensure that we are getting a good balance of nutrients into the foods we are providing for our children. Here is my top list of quick and easy fun foods for kids that can replace junk food.

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    Zucchini pizza bites

    A great alternative to pizza that is quick, easy, healthy and due to their small portion size, they’re easy to eat, encouraging you (and the kids) to go back for more! Popular as a snack, party food, appetizers or even suitable as a hassle free dinner on its own or served with a side salad.

    Zucchini pizza bites

      Ingredients:

      • 1 Large Zucchini, sliced into rounds
      • 2 Tbs tomato paste (salt reduced – to cut back on excess salt)
      • 2 leaves fresh basil, sliced
      • ¼ tsp oregano, dried and any other herbs or spices you desire
      • 1 ½ oz full fat Cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) – grated or small slices
      • Optional extra toppings – cherry tomatoes (6 sliced into quarters); traditional pepperoni & mozzarella; cheddar, ham & pineapple chunks; or finely diced or grated veggies.

      Instructions:

      1. Pre heat the grill to medium heat.
      2. Slice the zucchini about 1/4″ thick, discarding the ends, and pop on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil or coated with olive oil cooking spray.
      3. Smear on some tomato paste with the back of a spoon, add herbs, sprinkle with grated or sliced cheese and add any additional toppings. Pop under the grill for a few minutes (no more that 5) until cheese is melted. Yum!
      Here is the nutritional breakdown of these ones from Jennifer at Peanut Butter and Peppers with sliced cherry tomatoes: Calories per 3 slices: 71.2, Fat: 2.3, Cholesterol: 7.4, Sodium: 239, Potassium: 405, Carbs: 8.3, Fibre: 2.7, Sugar: 3.9, Protein: 5.3

      Apple Cookies

      Along the same lines as the zucchini pizza bites, these Apple Cookies from Rachel Schultz at rachelschultz.com pack a nutritional punch, with lots of healthy fats (the good kind that help our brains grow), high in protein and couldn’t be quicker or easier!

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      Apple cookies

        Ingredients

        • 1 apple
        • ¼ cup natural peanut butter or other nut butter
        • ¼ cup almonds, sliced
        • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
        • ¼ cup coconut (shredded or flakes)
        • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)

        Instructions

        1. Slice apple into thin rings and remove core.
        2. Spread nut butter over one side of ring.
        3. Top with almonds, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

        Berry Yoghurt Ice-creams

        A healthy alternative to store bought ice-creams, which are usually packed full of refined sugar and other additives the health conscious parent would rather avoid.

        This recipe is fairly forgiving, you can adjust the ratios until you find a flavour and texture combination you are happy with – some can be so thick you can eat with a spoon, or as thin as a milkshake. These can be blended up quickly as a morning smoothie, adding in all sorts of other healthy extras, like chia seeds for those healthy omega 3’s, a raw free range egg if your game, or anything else you might like to sneak in that doesn’t have too strong of a flavour that will overpower the chosen fruit. Then simply freeze the leftovers to enjoy as a guilt free instant breakfast, desert or snack! You can even substitute the yoghurt for milk kefir to sneak in some extra probiotics if you have it.

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        Image from itsybitsyfoodies.co

        Berry Yoghurt Icecreams

          Ingredients:

          • 2 cups natural Greek or coconut yoghurt (or milk kefir)
          • 1 ½ cups berries (Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or any combination)
          • 1 banana (ripe or frozen)
          • 2 Tbs Chia seeds
          • 1 tsp almond meal
          • ½ tsp flaxseed
          • ½ tsp vanilla powder
          • ¾ cup coconut water or 100% orange juice

          Instructions:

          1. Simply bend all ingredients for 30-60 seconds on high.
          2. Drink as a smoothie, divide the rest into icy-pole molds or ice cube trays with wooden stick inserted and freeze until firm, 4-6 hours.

          Watermelon Cake

          A Great healthy alternative to the traditional birthday cake. You can go as elaborate or as simple as you like, adding layers of various fruits and tooth picks for decoration, like this one from beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood or simply chop up a whole watermelon and throw on some berries and maybe a candle, something like this one from thecarousel.com. Or you can even ice with coconut whipped cream and decorate with toasted sliced almonds like this one from www.jensjustdesserts.co.uk the options are endless.  

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          Melon
            Watermelon Cake 2
              Watermelon Cake 3

                Teddy Bear Toast
                Toast

                  You can’t go wrong with a staple like nut butter (or their favourite spread) on toast. The effort to cutesy it up into cute teddy bears like they have over at www.craftymorning.com with a few slices of banana and a couple of sultans is very low input for a pretty great return, plus adding in a few extra nutrients in a fun way to get them to meet their daily fruit recommendation. You could also try cucumber slices with cream cheese or sliced cheese and a few bits of diced capsicum or cherry tomatoes for a vegie alternative. You can sub the white bread for sourdough for the healthiest option (and more great probiotics) or some Saladas or other dry crackers if they’re not a fan of bread.

                  So there you have it, a nice collection of fun healthy options for kids to keep them full and happy, that don’t require too much more time or effort than grabbing a bowl of sugary or salty junk food.

                  Featured photo credit: By Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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                  Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                  The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                  The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                  At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                  Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                  One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                  When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                  So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                  Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                  This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                  Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                  When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                  Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                  One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                  Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                  An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                  When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                  Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                  Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                  We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                  By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                  Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                  While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                  I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                  You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                  Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                  When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                  Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                  Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                  Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                  One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                  Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                  Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                  This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                  While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                  Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                  Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                  This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                  For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                  Con #4: Unique Distractions

                  Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                  For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                  To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                  We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                  More About Working From Home

                  Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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