Archive for the ‘ Green ’ Category

How to Drink Your Vegetables

Monday, March 10th, 2014

VanTrang Manges - Green MustacheYour kids happily eat plenty of vegetables. They look forward to lettuce, zero in on kale, and beg for broccoli. Right?

Ha.

Chances are, they don’t. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a four-year-old child should eat 1 1/2 cups of veggies a day. That can be a tall order especially when you have picky eaters on your hands.

Enter NYC mom of two VanTrang Manges. VanTrang began experimenting with green drinks for her youngest daughter when she realized that the toddler ate virtually no vegetables. One delicious drink led to another and VanTrang abandoned a career in finance to launch Green Mustache, a line of organic fruit and vegetable juice smoothies for kids. Green Mustache features three yummy flavors and is currently sold throughout the New York area.

If you can’t find Green Mustache at a store near you, or if you simply wish to DIY it, VanTrang shared with us a simple formula for blending up one of these nutritious drinks at home.

Start by enlisting your kids to help choose ingredients from each of these categories:

Smoothies are an easy way for kids to eat fruit and veggies.First, pick one of these for your base:

  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk
  • Low-fat cow’s milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Orange juice
  • Water

Next, choose a green veg:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Collards

Then, pick a fruit (or two or three):

  • Banana
  • Berries
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apple

Finally, supercharge it with one of these power foods:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Chia seeds
  • Nut butter
  • Raw cacao
  • Spirulina

Then simply blend it all together!
More smoothie tips from VanTrang:

Make It a Family Activity: Allow your child to choose which ingredients she would like to try mixing together—experimenting with different combinations is part of the fun! And this simple formula is a great way to start teaching children about proportions and how to follow a recipe.

Color is Key: Use berries to help turn your smoothie a reddish or purple color, which might make it more visually appealing for your child. Or use lighter-colored ingredients like peaches, bananas, and mango for a paler shade of green.

Choose Dark Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens contain high-quality amino acids, important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals that support your immune system, improve health and longevity, and may reduce life-threatening diseases.

Freezer Fun:  Keep some frozen fruits on hand, especially some of your favorite seasonal fruits to ensure that you can have your tasty smoothie anytime. Freezing fruits is also a great way to not waste ripe fruit. If you like your smoothies extra cold like we do, use at least one frozen fruit to help chill the smoothie. And of course, you can turn your smoothie into an ice pop and serve it to the kiddos as a healthy treat!

Smoothie Sweetness: You’ll notice we didn’t add any sweeteners to the smoothie formula. Using fruits like bananas, mangos, or apples will naturally sweeten your smoothie and help mask the “green” taste of the veggies.

2+2+3 Rule: Part of the fun of making smoothies is experimenting with all the different possible flavor combinations. But keep in mind the following proportions to ensure a tastier experience: 2 cups greens + 2 cups liquid base + 3 cups fruits. Adjust as needed to make it more palatable for your child.

Thanks for the tips VanTrang!

Find more easy smoothie recipes.

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How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

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Sunday Saver: How to Reduce Food Waste and Slash Grocery Bills

Friday, November 8th, 2013

“When my daughter wakes up, she opens her eyes and asks ‘What’s for dinner?’”

“I wish I was kidding,” Alex Guarnaschelli laughs. ”By the time she’s eating breakfast, I better have an answer for her.”

Like moms everywhere, this Food Network star faces The Dinner Question. (And thus, trips to the market and food storage tasks.)

Alex, the author of Old-School Comfort Food and mother to a 6-year-old, is the executive chef at Butter in New York City. Last year, she became one of Food Network’s Iron Chefs, and she is a regular judge on Chopped.

Every morning Alex goes to the kitchen to plan her entire day—breakfast, lunch, and dinner included.

Making a plan of attack on your groceries will save time, money, and cut back on waste, she says, which is why she partnered with Glad for the Save It Sunday campaign. The movement, which encourages participants to protect and preserve food, centers on the Sunday ritual of grocery shopping.

“It’s the one day of the week when you can commit to setting aside time: for shopping, cooking ahead meals, and storing other items—it’s about starting the week on the right foot,” she says.

Alex does a lot of her cooking on Sunday, which is why the pledge really speaks to her. But it also goes a step further.

“Ironically, the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook—because I’m doing it all day everyday and by mid-week I’m fried,” she says. “Taking that time on Sunday, and getting joy from it, is wonderful.”

A proponent of reducing waste, Alex is extremely conscious of the issue both at work and at home.

“When I talk to my team about how to prep and store 100 pounds of beans for the restaurant, the same thing applies when I go home and make braised short ribs for my daughter,” she says. “You have to be very proactive.”

According to a 2012 study by the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household throws out 25 percent of the food purchased—roughly $1,500 worth each year.

 

Try Alex’s tips for saving time, money, and reducing food waste:
• Make a meal plan.

“Figure out what you are going to do with everything you buy,” she says. “It’s a pleasure to have an agenda—you’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast one on everybody because it’s so easy!”

Read the Parents meal-plan guide to get started.

 

• Stop thinking about leftovers as, well, leftovers.

“Instead of looking at packaging as something that lets you recycle and throw back in the scraps no one ate, think about it as a new beginning,” she says. “And, by making a plan, you’re actually ensuring there aren’t any leftovers.”

Plus, “leftovers” can be better than the first time around: “Growing up my mom would make a big batch of meatballs and sauce and, to me, the sauce tasted better two days later,” she says. “It’s not a leftover—it’s something you created that got better with age or other ingredients.”

 

• Don’t be hard on yourself.

“Some weeks, I don’t have my act together,” she says. “As a busy working mom, there are nights when I have to say, ‘Guess what kid, it’s fried eggs tonight.’ And that’s okay.”

 

• Reorganize your fridge.

“The crisper can be the kiss of death. Don’t put your fruits and veggies in there,” she says. “Instead, fill it with club soda and put your produce on display. My favorite thing to do is put herbs in a jar of water on the top shelf, or sometimes right on the kitchen table.”

 

• Buy different ingredients.

“Challenge yourself to use new items—like a bunch of thyme or mint—by taking one little step each day for a week. In order to use it up, you’ll find creative ways to add the ingredient to dishes.”

 

To join the #SaveItSunday movement, visit glad.com. If you pledge, you’ll be entered to win a meal prepared by a personal chef.

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Prop 37: What You Need to Know About the Food Labeling Bill

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

When you head to the polls on November 6, there may be an item on your ballot that you haven’t heard of before. Californian voters will have the option to vote on Proposition 37, a bill that would require foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) to be labeled for consumers. A GMO is a food that has had specific changes to its DNA by genetic engineering techniques. The purpose of these genetic alterations is to make crops more resistant to rain, drought and pests.

Supporters of the bill say that GMO’s have been linked to allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Fifty countries in the world, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China, already require labels on GMO’s. Over 400 nationally renowned chefs have signed a petition in support of the bill saying that consumers should have a right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.

Based on those facts, passing Prop 37 may seem like an easy decision. However, its opponents firmly believe otherwise. According to No Prop 37, GMO’s are products of biotechnology— a safe anti-pesticide process that has been going on for nearly two decades. Opponents believe that by banning the sale of millions of common grocery products unless they are repackaged or made with higher cost ingredients would increase government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs.

To research both sides further, visit CA Right to Know and  No Prop 37.

Do you think GMO foods should be labeled? Let us know in the comments.

Image: Woman checking food labeling in super market, via Shutterstock
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How “Walk To School Day” Turned Out

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As I posted the other day, I was worried that the bad forecast would literally rain on my parade as I walked my children to school in honor of Walk To School Day. This was a big deal for me–my work schedule prohibits me from driving the girls to school, much less walking them, but I was able to work at home yesterday. Happily, the weather was fine, and not only did I walk with the girls, we even picked up two of their friends along the way. It took less time than I expected, there was no complaining, and all four kids seemed very proud of themselves when we arrived at school. More than 3,700 communities across the U.S. held events to boost participation, and next year I’m definitely going to lead one in our town.

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Will You Walk Your Child To School Tomorrow?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

October is International Walk to School Month, and tomorrow, October 3, is Walk to School Day. The aim is to build awareness for the need for walkable neighborhoods and to promote all of the benefits of walking to school. I’m sure you can guess what they are: Walking helps kids (and their parents) be more active, it fosters a sense of community, it’s better for the environment and your gasoline budget, and it cuts down on traffic.

A great site created by the National Center for Safe Routes to School (yep, there is such a thing) gives all kinds of fantastic information, including a directory of all of the Walk to School Day events taking place around the country. As of this writing, there are 3,794 events happening all over the U.S. You’ll also find safe-walking tips and ways to map your route to school.

Tomorrow’s forecast in my town isn’t looking promising, but I have every intention of walking my girls, ages 4 and 7, the 9/10 of a mile to their school in the morning. I’m so curious to see how they do–I can’t remember the last time either of them walked that far. Fingers crossed the rain holds off…

If you walk your child to school tomorrow, please let us know how it went!

 

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: $100 Spree at AbesMarket.com!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

They've got a beautiful online baby registry!

You don’t have to be a “green” mommy to love eco-friendly baby products. Sometimes the earth-friendly stuff is just ridiculously adorable. That’s how we found AbesMarket.com some years ago. We were looking for something new and different for a nursery-storage story in the magazine, and found the $70, completely recyclable, no-screws-necessary Beehive Bookcase. And we were hooked!

We’ve since gone back to them a bunch of times. We showed one of their $68 organic baby blankets in a layette story, for instance. And here I’ll give up one of my editor’s secrets, which is that I sometimes refer to them as a sort of cross-check. Lots of companies promise that they are eco-friendly, but because I know Abe’s Market does a serious amount of research before taking on a product line, I’ll sometimes just peek and see if a product that says it’s green is on their Web site. (I do these kinds of cross-checks with Whole Foods too, but they’re tougher, because you can’t shop Whole Foods online!)

Also, if you just like to read about where your baby products come from, you’ll like the company overviews. Check out this one about Green Sprouts. You can learn what they make, where, and with what materials! If you’re not careful, you’ll turn into a product geek like me.

I’m finally working around to their new news: AbesMarket.com launched a baby registry! It’s presented in a gorgeous online magazine format and is a pleasure to browse through.

To help them celebrate and spread the word to moms and moms-to-be, we’re giving away a $100 giftcard to AbesMarket.com. Just leave a comment here (you can comment up to once a day) and let us know what your favorite eco-friendly baby product is. You can comment through Wednesday May 9th; on the 10th, we’ll randomly chose one winner. See the complete rules here. Goody luck!

What would you buy with $100 at their site?

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The Latest Question About Vaccines

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The new study about perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) has parents concerned once again about immunizations, but not for the usual reason: Research shows that PFCs may affect how well children’s bodies respond to vaccines. The theory is that this chemical interferes with the immune response once a child is vaccinated. This is just an association for now–not a cause-and-effect–so the word is not final, but it has lots of moms and dads worried about how often their children are exposed to PFCs. And the unfortunate answer for most families? A lot.

PFCs are found in the coating of Teflon pots and pans. In the lining of microwave popcorn bags. On coated paper plates. In Scotchgard spray and treated fabrics. In Stainmaster carpets. Gore-Tex clothing. The Environmental Working Group has a quick worksheet on how to avoid exposure, and it’s helpful, but the fact is, PFC is a tough thing to avoid.

We tackled the tough topic of chemicals in Parents, and one of the most useful parts of the story was our section on “Safer Swaps.” While we didn’t address PFCs, we covered other troublesome sources of chemical exposure, including phthalates and BPA. Take a look–you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you can do to protect your child.

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Take A Bath on the Wild Side

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Woodland creature bath towels by Danny Seo

Are your kids sick of splashing around with the same old rubber ducky? They’ll love cozying up to the cuddly critters that decorate eco-chic designer Danny Seo’s new collection of bath linens ($2.99–$7.99). Your waterbabies can dry off with woodland creatures and friendly crocodiles. Visit your local HomeGoods store to turn every bath into a walk in the woods or a savannah safari.

 

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