Go Back Jack – Baby Steps Check In

You go back Jack, do it again.

So says Steely Dan.  And so says the Baby Steps approach to healthy eating.

How are you coming along?  Successes?  Failures?

Build on the successes & Learn from the failures, and most importantly, do it again.

Make that choice again.

Making changes can be much easier with a buddy.  Do you have a friend or relative (or maybe you’re lucky and have both in one like my Little Sis) who would like to eat healthier and look and feel better?  Why not share the Baby Steps with him or her.  Tell your Buddy what you are doing and invite them to come along.  You can even post our Baby Steps button on your blog and invite friends that way.  (The link is on the sidebar).  The more the merrier and the more people eating healthier, the cheaper and more plentiful healthy food will become… in restaurants & schools, at events & practices and in the grocery store.  But it has to start with us, in our homes, in our pantries and in our refrigerators.

And now is a great time to re-check Baby Steps #1 & #2

Baby Step #1 –The ol’ Switcheroo.  What did you switch?  I switched apple butter for maple syrup on breakfast foods.  I’ve had some successes and a couple of failures… but the apple butter is in the fridge and I’ll have more chances to make the switcheroo.  Time for another switcheroo?  Did you find something in your pantry that you know you should live without?  We found too many chips.  We get the ‘healthier’ versions when they’re on sale (by this I mean natural ingredients, good oils, low calorie doesn’t mean healthy, i.e. read the labels), but we’ve begun mixing in more triscuits when making a snack of chips and also substituting popcorn.

Baby Step #2 – Be Fearless, Be Honest

Be conscious of what you are eating and why you are eating it.  Is it for comfort?  Is it for convenience?  Is it for cost?  What can you switch or eat less often on the list of things you know you’d be better off without.  And again, it’s often time to go back to Baby Step #1.  Switching, not losing.  Replacing, by type of food and by function (comfort, convenience, cost).

If you haven’t checked on your pantry yet… give it a go.  Here’s a refresher for Baby Step #3.  Below I’ll give you some links to recipes Little Sis and I use with our standard pantry items.

Brown rice: Sweet potatoes and brown rice for breakfast?  Yes!

Brown rice and lentil casserole dirt cheap and kid friendly
Stir fry using rice
Lentil and oat ‘neatloaves’
quinoa main dish called kichadi – lots of room for variety!
another quinoa main dish with whatever veggies you’ve got : When time runs out on dinner
My personal favorite sweet substitute – Brownie Bites and
an awesome sauce Little Sis came up with that will dress up whatever you’ve got!  Pasta, grains, meat, veggies.  Fabu Asian Peanut sauce

Please feel free to search our site, send us questions, ask us for encouragement.  We’d love to keep your toes pointed in the right direction while you take those Baby Steps towards healthier eating.  You might be behind us, or you might be in front of us but we’re all on the road together so make sure to wave and smile.

I’m So Glad You Won’t Eat That

Little Sis and I talk a lot about whether our children like our food discoveries and creations.  It’s important to us to find kid-friendly healthy foods as kids are easier to get along with, have fun with, and most importantly – CONTROL – when they’re not doped out on chemicals and stimulants such as sugar.  Really, I am much happier when I am in control of the little people in the house.  In fact, I’m a little happier when I’m in control of ALL the people in the house but this is a discussion for a therapist, not you long suffering blog-readers who are wondering if I’m ever going to get to the point.  Suffice it to say that one of my favorite lines to my family is, “If you would just do what I tell you, everything would go so smoothly around here.”  Don’t worry, they are not daunted in the least and go on about their business as usual.

During this process of searching for kid-friendly foods one sometimes joyfully discovers something that the little people don’t like.  I am very glad in this case because their ‘No’ is my ‘Go!’

Brownies!  Say it again – Brownies!  Brownies are chewy, fudgy and in my book, usually far too sweet… what’s an adult taste bud to do?  Concoct something from dates, almonds, cocoa, and a wee bit of sugar that looks and smells like a brownie, but tastes much more sophisticated.  I am hooked and not the least bit sorry about it.

I got the recipe from Snack Girl and here it, along with a few pictures, are to tempt you to indulge your adult taste buds.  Slip the kids something you don’t particularly care for and enjoy!

No-Bake Brownie Balls
(15 balls)
1 cup roasted almonds (no salt added)
15 pitted dates
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting)
1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup
2 tablespoons water
confectioner’s sugar (optional) – I used unsweetened coconut instead for rolling

Add almonds to food processor and pulse until ground.

(I used a Vita Mix.  It would be a LOT easier in a food processor.  The first time I made a single batch and I cut the dates into 3rds before adding to Vita Mix to try and help it out.)

Look at those almonds-a-grinding!

Add dates (chopped if using Vita Mix), cocoa powder, honey, and water. Mix until it just forms a sticky mass.

(The second time I made these greed got the best of me – I attempted to make a 1 & 1/2 times recipe and the Vita Mix safety kicked in to keep from burning up the motor and it stopped.  So I removed the mixture a bit early but the next direction in the recipe was the same…)

Wash hands and attempt to make a ball with the dough (it may need a few drops more water to get to the perfect consistency).

Nothing like having tasty gooey stuff all over your hand.  How was I ever going to get it off?   : )

Here is the dough after lots of squeezing, mashing and kneading.

Put a tablespoon of cocoa or confectioner’s sugar (or coconut) on a plate. Roll balls in your hand and then roll in sugar or cocoa (or both).

Eat! These can be stored in the fridge for a week.

For one brownie bite: 109 calories, 6.8 g fat, 12.2 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g protein, 3.5 g fiber, 3 PointsPlus

(My bites were evidently much smaller as I got many more than 15 – so that means I get two, right?)

TaDah!  Truly tasty and children need not force them down – just pass ’em over to me.