Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining

The countdown is on!  If you aren't already in the throws-of-it, within just a few short weeks you'll be among family, friends, and food (lots, and lots of food!).

If it's your job to host any holiday functions this year, we've researched & accumulated the top 3 ways to ensure that your meal-planning is stress-free:

1.  Schedule-then-Tackle:   Make a list (or several) of everything that needs to be done; from the menu to the cleaning, by making a detailed list you'll make sure that you don't forget anything last-minute.  After everything has been listed, tackle 1 or 2  tasks daily (including food prep that can be chopped or frozen).

2.  Ask for help!  Get the kids on board (whether it's helping with the meal prep or simply dusting and putting things away) as well as your significant other.  Reaching out will ensure that you get the help you need so that you look forward to the holiday event.  If you have a friend who is hosting a party on a different night, offer to swap kitchen-duties.  If you enlist someone to always be in the kitchen making sure that food is ready and glasses are full, then it will give you time to circulate and enjoy your guests.

2.  Stay Simple:  Making a 5-course meal isn't always better (or necessarily welcome); remember that you don't need to put on a full meal for every holiday event.   Everyone loves cheese & appetizers (which means that your guests will circulate as well), and you'll "wow" your guests with your talents in the kitchen.

Have you registered for our Appetizer Workshop?  Speaces are going fast, so make sure you click on the Register tab above to reserve your spot!

 

The Picky Eaters Project, Week 8

Congratulations!  After two full months, you've successfully finished The Picky Eaters Project; you have a lot to be proud of (we're sure you had extra patience on-hand), and your Picky Eaters deserve a gold star!

We're finally at the end of our journey, and this week we are reminded to embrace the fun surrounding meals and planning.

WEEK 8: Don't Forget the Fun!

1.  Do something fun and physical.  Enjoying some active family time outside prior to a meal will ensure that your Picky Eater has built up an appetite.  Whether you rake leaves together or shovel snow, make sure that everyone is having fun doing it.  If you're feeling short-on-time pre-dinner because of meal-prep, make sure you register for one of our classes (by popping a meal in the crockpot, you'll be able to enjoy a lot more family time outdoors!).

2.  Make a recipe with your kids.  If you feel that your talent is lacking in the imagination area, then encourage your Picky Eater to make a healthy alteration to a food that they enjoy (for example, try adding pureed sweet potato to a pasta dish).

3.  Review progress, including successes and failures so far.  Dig out your Daily Victory File and see how far you've come.  Like us, you probably aren't using it much anymore, so now is the time to review your progress.  Be sure to keep it handy when those little "failures" occur to remind yourself of the milestones that your Picky Eater has hurdled over.

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!  Be sure to leave your successes (and frustrations) in the comments section of our Facebook page, and please Share below on social media with the other meal-planners in your life!

The Picky Eaters Project, Week 7

 We've seen amazing things happen in our home these past few weeks and we hope that you have too!  Working through The Picky Eaters Project has made mealtime more enjoyable and we can feel good about the fact that our family is on the road to making better food choices.

While we've spent a great deal of time on dinner, this week we are going to Tackle Breakfast & Snacks.

WEEK 7

1.  Breakfast — protein, complex carbs and vitamins.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it helps to refuel your body, gives you energy and is a great opportunity to start your daily activities with a boost of nutrients.  Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important for children; children who eat breakfast are more likely to do better in school, meet nutrient needs and concentrate better.

Many studies, in both adults and children, have shown that breakfast-eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast-skippers.  By making lean protein part of your breakfast will be just the boost you need to help keep you feeling full until lunchtime.  The Canadian Heart & Stroke Foundation has an extensive list of healthy breakfast recipes on their website (for the list, please click here).

2.  Snacks — two solid snacks a day.  Snacks provide an opportunity to improve the quality of your diet. Nutrient-dense foods help you meet recommended intake levels of nutrients and food group servings.  After you eat a meal or snack, your blood sugar levels rise and then decrease, so snacks can prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too much between meals. While sugary snacks can lead to sugar highs and subsequent energy crashes, healthy snacks promote more sustained blood sugar levels and energy. High-fiber, high-protein snacks are slow to digest so your blood sugar levels do not fluctuate much, so plan ahead by preparing healthy snacks so they're readily available when hunger strikes. Whole fruit, cut vegetables, cottage cheese and whole-grain pretzels are examples of easy snacks to have on hand. Even healthy snacks can lead to weight gain if you eat too much of them, so monitoring your portions should become a habit when you serve yourself snacks.

We are so excited to be on this journey with you!  Be sure to leave your successes (and frustrations) in the comments section of our Facebook page, and please Share below on social media with the other meal-planners in your life!