Weekend Recipe: Pear & Apple Crumble {with Homemade Whipped Cream}

Screenshot 2014-03-30 15.27.30I am not a chef, my brother is. I am barely a cook, to tell you the truth, and I am one of those people that needs recipes. I like recipes too, I like the whole ritual of it all. I leaf through the book, finding the one I want to make, then go shopping for the ingredients, get them all set up and then take my time to make sure I do all the steps correctly. Once I’ve mastered a certain dish I might play around with it, add or subtract ingredients to make it my own, but for the most part I am a recipe follower and I have no shame in admitting that.

When I first had kids I didn’t know how to cook much, especially kid friendly food. My mother found this little British recipe book and I just adore it. The dishes are all simple and wholesome, easy to make and palatable for little ones. My favorite recipe is the Pear, Apple and Raspberry Crumble. I have adapted this to suit our own taste (no raspberries) and I do add rhubarb when I can get it at my father’s farm or the farmers’ market.

For this recipe, I bought all of the ingredients at Healthy Living Market and Cafe, they had some gorgeous organic pears and I adore their bulk section, I scooped out some fresh brown sugar, flour and oats. What is great about their bulk section is you can get as much or as little as you need, and it is also really affordable. The heavy cream and butter were from Healthy Living Market and Cafe as well, and I feel like using good quality butter (Kate’s butter is delicious) and cream really make a huge difference in this simple recipe.


  • three apples, peeled and chopped (use one less apple if adding rhubarb or berries)
  • two ripe pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

for the crumble topping:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 8 ounces of cold butter, cut into small pieces (make SURE it is cold butter, not softened)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of oats

crumble2photo 4recipePreheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle the sugar over the chopped fruit and mix together with the apples and pears in an oven safe dish, I use an 8 x 8 baking dish.

For the crumble, mix together the flour and salt and rub in the butter with your fingers to resemble large breadcrumbs. There is a little bit of a simple technique with the crumble. Start gently, trying not to smush the tiny cubes of butter but rather coat them all with the butter, separating the cubes so they don’t turn into bigger clumps. At first it won’t turn very crumbly, but you just have to keep at it, gently rubbing the crumbs in your hands. I usually push a handful together in between my hands and then separate them again and just when you feel like this mixture will NEVER become crumbs, viola! It will all start coming together nicely (this makes it sound much more tedious than it is, it really only takes about five to ten minutes, the important thing is to not give up when it doesn’t look crumby yet).

This is when you add in the brown sugar and the oats, again gently, keeping the crumbs nice and crumby. Spoon the crumbs over the top of the fruit mixture and bake for about 30-35 minutes, the crumb topping should be nice and golden brown but not too brown, and the fruit should be bubbling up nicely around the edges.

crumble7For the whipped cream, start with two cups of cold heavy cream and add two tablespoons of sugar, a dash of vanilla if you’d like. Start whipping it with a hand mixer on high for a few minutes, tasting as you go along. I prefer my whipped cream not too sweet, but you can add as much sugar as you’d like (slowly, add about a half tablespoon at a time and mix and taste in between). Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. Lick the beaters or hand them off to eager tasters (I usually have three small eager tasters and one very tall eager taster who are happy to take them off my hands).

dessertThis crumble is best served warm, topped with the whipped cream and some vanilla ice cream as well. Like I said the best part is that you can add in different fruit, this is such a fun little recipe to play around with and highlight the new fruits that come into season. Enjoy! xoxo


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jackme and baby Jack when he was born, click here to read more on how I feel about “post-baby bodies” and how we view them in tabloid culture in my piece on The Huffington Post…


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Common Core Testing: Local Family’s Experience with Refusing the Test

commoncoreCommon Core is a hot topic amongst parents of school aged kids right now, especially as the time for testing draws near. In case you haven’t heard of it or are unsure exactly what “Common Core” entails, here is a little background.

“Common Core” is just a shortened version of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. The state-run program, which was first proposed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, is intended to introduce a single set of newer, more challenging standards for math and language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade. Prior to Common Core, every state set its own academic standards. Proponents of Common Core argue that the new standards, which ostensibly require critical thinking and analytical skills, will make students globally competitive in a rapidly shifting economy. The standards are also accompanied by new standardized tests.

The new standards, which were approved by 45 states and the District of Columbia and are now being implemented across the country (though some states are reconsidering), also have their fair share of opponents. Many argue that the standards, especially for young children, are not developmentally appropriate. Many also argue against relying on test scores to make critical educational decisions about students or schools – or what is called “high stakes testing”. Common examples include retaining a child in grade or withholding a students high-school diploma solely on the basis their score on a test, or relying on test scores to determine whether a teacher or school should be sanctioned or rewarded.

Opposition to the standards, both their content and their implementation, has been growing in New York (and other states) among teachers, principals, superintendents and parents, some of whom have refused to allow their children to take the exams (testing begins in third grade). To read more about the Common Core, click here to read my piece in Mamatoga Magazine.

While there is no provision to opt out of these tests, parents do have the right to refuse them. Under NY state’s education law, there is a difference between refusing to take the test vs. opting out. Essentially, parents can participate in a civil disobedience movement by refusing to allow their children to take the tests. Refusing the testing has no affect on the children’s score, on the school or on the teachers.

The tests under the standardized system begin April 1st, and I wanted to find a local family that had taken the refusal route to see what the process was like. I spoke to Trent and Tara Sano who chose to refuse the testing for their son Carter, and have said that the experience for them has been very positive, citing a good relationship and open communication between their principal and teacher.

What was the process of refusing the test like? Was it easy to do, was the school/teacher accepting of the refusal, was there an open communication about the refusal?

We were fortunate enough to have a relationship with the school principal.  I sent an email letting him know that I’d be refusing the test on our son’s behalf and asked him how he’d like me to proceed in order to be as respectful as possible to the school and teacher.  He asked if we could sit down for a 15-minute meeting when I dropped off my letter, which we did.  We agreed to disagree on the necessity and usefulness of the test, but ensured we were on the same page about what both parties’ responsibilities were.

What was the dialogue like between you and your child about refusing the test?

We explained why we thought the test – in its current form – wasn’t right for him and, while we felt the same was true for other kids, we were only able to do what we thought was best for him.  We told him he had a responsibility to try just as hard – if not harder – on test practice and preparation, and we asked him not to share with other kids that he wasn’t taking the test, as we wanted to cause as little disruption in the classroom as possible.

Are there other parents you know that have also refused?

Yes, my sister (who is a middle school teacher) and a good friend (a former Elementary teacher) have both refused and helped us as resources.

What will your child be doing instead of taking the tests?

He’ll be reading at his desk.  While we wanted the opportunity for him to go to a separate location and/or have some other engaging activities, we understand that the school’s only responsibility is to not have him “sit and stare”.  And they’ve committed to allow him to read during the time.

Do you have any resources (online or otherwise) that you felt were helpful with this process?

There are so many resources it’s easy to get lost.  www.fairtest.org has tons of good resources.

What would you tell parents who are considering refusing the test?

Do your research, connect with someone who has done it in the past, and be very respectful and communicative with the school.  But, most importantly, ensure your reasons for refusing are in your child’s best interest and not because it’s becoming more trendy to do so.  Just because you disagree with Common Core or the direction of our state or federal education doesn’t mean refusing right now is what’s best for your child.  It may cause some children more harm than good.  Don’t make it a political or social statement – really look deeper at the reasoning and goal.

Many thanks to the Sanos for speaking with me and sharing their experience. If you’d like to share your experience, contact me at jenny@mamatoga.com to be included in upcoming posts in this continued series on the Common Core in our schools.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAclick here for more #40Bags40Days

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Mamatoga Camp Spotlight: Riding Camp at North Country Horses

1080709_454046368028064_279271040_nWe are a horse family, and I have been riding since I was a child, so I was super excited to send my kids to horse camp at North Country Horses. I have known North Country Horses owner Amanda since I moved to the area, and she is one of my favorite people.

Located not far from Saratoga Springs in Gansevoort, the North Country Horses Summer Camp is a full day camp (camp hours are from 9am-4pm) for both experienced and new riders, where days are filled with horse activities geared towards developing riders into accomplished horse people. The rider must be 5 or older by their camp week, and kids are grouped according to skill level during lessons.

Part of what I love about camp, and about horseback riding for kids in general, is that along with the fun they also learn a lot about responsibility. They learn how to care for the animals and all pitch in to complete the work it takes around the barn from feeding them and getting them water to helping get them ready to ride. From the first feeding in the morning until it’s time to go home in the afternoon, the focus is on horses. Their unique program provides each camper the opportunity to care for a horse for the week. Levy would come home talking endlessly about Isabella, the horse she was taking care of for the week, and all the things that went into making sure Isabella was well taken care of. Campers are introduced to the many aspects of horse care and handling and learn how to handle and care for horses and tack in a safe and proper manner.

10008337_10202084224480037_1805366747_n 1974486_10202084220119928_1048027965_nGames and crafts round out the week and give the kids some downtime in between riding and caring for the horses. Levy’s favorite part was the “painting the pony” day where everyone gets to paint one of the white horses and the photo album she made at the end of the week full of photos from her experience.

I felt like the horsemanship camp gave Levy (who was 5 when she started camp last year) a great dose of self confidence which she needed as she started kindergarten. She felt capable and proud of herself for being able to haul the water buckets and find the tack and being able to do these things on her own, and she loved showing off her new riding skills. She also made a lot of friends, and was sad to see the week end, making me promise to send her back the next summer (we are already all signed up).

Here are some details on camp for 2014:

There are 8 sessions of Summer Camp on the following dates:

Session 1 July 7th – July 11th
Session 2 July 14th – July 18th
Session 3 July 21st – July 25th
Session 4 July 28th – August 1st
Session 5 August 4th – August 8th
Session 6 August 11th – August 15th
Session 7 August 18th – August 22nd
Session 8 August 25th – August 29th

A $50 non-refundable deposit and completed registration forms are required to hold your spot and the remaining amount is due 30 days before camp begins. The cost of camp is $300.00 per session and discounts are available for children participating in more than one session, children who have siblings attending, as well as children who are current boarders or leasers.

If you sign up before March 30th, receive $25.00 off! They also have a before and after camp program which will run from 8-9 am and 4-6 pm. Before or after camp will be an additional $50 per session or $90 for both am and pm after care.

For more information visit North Country Horses here, and here on facebook.

For more Camp Info click here to visit my Camp Guide!

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Do This as a Family: Maple Weekends

mapleJust like apple picking once fall hits and cutting down your own Christmas tree, Maple Weekends are right up there for a great family outing where you can get out there in the fresh air that also has the promise of something sweet and delicious as a treat. During Maple Weekend, producers from across the state welcome families to their farms to experience firsthand how real, mouth-watering maple syrup and other related products are made. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy fun, family-friendly activities, taste New York’s freshest maple syrup and purchase your favorite maple products. Click here to visit the NY Maple Weekend website which has tons of listings for places to visit, as well as a listing of the places that offer pancake breakfasts.

There are a few different options for a Maple Weekend day trip this coming weekend that aren’t too far away (and are also a very pretty drive to boot):

  • At Mapleland Farms in Salem you can join them on Saturday or Sunday for a hearty pancake breakfast served from 9am to 1 pm. They serve an all-you-can eat breakfast of sausage, pancake and farm fresh syrup right off the evaporator. They will be open each day until 4 pm for tastings and tours of their sugaring operation. Tours are free, and the breakfast cost is based on age.
  • Dry Brook Sugar House also in Salem serves a Pancake Breakfast featuring fresh hot maple syrup. They also offer horse drawn sleigh / wagon rides (weather permiting).
  • At Maple Valley Farm in Corinth they are having a Maple Weekend Celebration this Saturday and Sunday, March 29th and 30th. Located at 84 Harris Road in Corinth they will be boiling syrup and giving sugar house tours, hayrides, Dan Dan the Mountain Man, the bee hive display and the play area for kids. They have maple, honey products, Adirondack pictures, Handmade wood bowl and wood products for sale as well. They will have their famous pancake breakfast with very fresh warm maple syrup on both days as well! Call them at (518) 654-9752 for info and directions.

Want to stay closer to home? On Saturday, March 29th at 2 pm head to Saratoga Spa State Park for their Maple Syrup Workshop where the whole family can discover why sap flows out of the trees and how to make maple syrup. Learn about the history and science behind maple tapping, as well as the process of making maple syrup. Samples will be available in limited quantities and the event is appropriate for all ages. Registration is required, and the fee is $3 per person or $5 per family. Please call 518-584-2000 Ext. 150 to register.


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Springtime on Witte Farm

After all of the excitement of the Children’s Museum at Saratoga gala on Saturday night (we had the highest attendance yet!) it was nice to relax on my father’s farm on Sunday with the kids. All of the spring farm babies are being born, and we got to feed new baby lambs and Levy went on a wild goose (egg) chase and triumphantly came up with two goose eggs along with three chicken eggs, she was thrilled. It was all I could do to keep her from smuggling a baby lamb home in our car along with the eggs.

The highlight of the day was when we got a chance to meet the newest horse, a two day old colt who was just the sweetest thing ever. My father’s mare Dottie had her baby at 2:08 on Saturday morning and it was all long legs and soft little horsey nose. It spent half the time nuzzling up to it’s mommy and nursing and the other half kicking it’s skinny legs up and hopping around the stall playfully.

There wasn’t very much snow on the ground at the farm so it almost felt like it might be close to spring soon. As we left to go back home we got stopped by the geese crossing guards who were splashing about in mud puddles. We can’t wait to get back there soon to see how all of the babies have grown…

farm farm2spring6spring2 spring1spring10 spring8spring5 spring4spring13spring17spring14spring11spring12spring16spring18

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DIY Indoor Planters for Kids {spring}

planters1Today is the first day of spring! Really, I’m serious! Forget that snow, ice, and did I see sleet this morning? Yes it may not look like spring outside (AT ALL) but you can have the kids bring spring inside and get that green thumb feeling going while you wait for all this snow to (finally) melt. Here I’ve rounded up my favorite indoor planting projects that kids will love. They can learn about how things grow, make something with their own two hands, and help celebrate the beginning of a fantastic spring!

First up, the classic and cute eggshell planter. These are so pretty to look at and easy to do (just make sure the kids are gentle with those little eggshells). Plus you can get into some early Easter fun by dying the eggs first to add even more color to your house. For some natural egg dye recipes click here. Plan ahead and use these cute planters as place holders for your Easter dinner table. Find some cute egg cups as holders and paint a name on each egg.

planter2These dinosaur planters are the coolest. Some adult participation is required with cutting the hole in the dinosaur but kids can let their imagination run wild with the rest. Paint them with some gold paint or leave them in their natural dinosaur state, these would be a welcome addition to the windowsill in any kids room. Visit High Walls here for the how to.


photo courtesy of High Walls

I am in LOVE with this letter planter project, and I am already planning on making these for Levy’s birthday party. This one is an outdoor project, but you can start making your monogrammed planter plans today by growing some of the plants indoors. Buy the cardboard letters from a craft store and fill them with whatever blooms you choose. For the full tutorial click here to visit Henry Happened.



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Additive Free Lunch Ideas {what I’ve been packing lately}

The first thing I realized: I’m giving my kids too much food. You’d think I would have realized this sooner, as I would have food coming back in their lunchboxes each day, but they would give me excuses like “I didn’t have time to eat it all” that made me think it was still the right amount. Part of me, as a mom, had this nagging anxiety that they wouldn’t get enough to eat at school so I would over pack and give them too many options. And guess which options weren’t eaten? That’s right, the “healthy” ones. So I cut out the junk 100%, and the lunchboxes started coming back empty. The reusable lunch containers help me keep a reign on portion size too.


I also realized I was buying “lunch food” not FOOD food for their lunchboxes. Boxes full of little single serve packages designed and marketed right toward me, the mom making lunches who wanted something the kids would eat and something that would also be easy to throw into a lunchbox. Full of additives and over packaged, these foods were appealing to my kids but weren’t healthy or environmentally conscious when it came to waste. And since when are gummy snacks even considered food? No wonder my kids liked them, they are barely a step up from Skittles, and emblazoned with cartoon characters they are directly marketed toward my kids. I also found that when I started thinking outside the “lunch box” (pun intended) that a ton of options opened up that I didn’t think of. Breakfast for lunch (whole grain waffles with fruit and cream cheese), olives and cheese cubes, whole grain pasta, anything leftover from dinner that they liked the night before is always an option. Not everything needs to come in sandwich form, and usually I don’t give sandwiches at all anymore actually. Sometimes their whole lunch is just “finger foods”, sometimes it’s an entire leftover mini dinner.

I also had trouble finding a juice box that was healthy and affordable (the “organic options can sometimes seem a little too expensive for what you’re getting, and not exactly “healthy” either), so I started sending them in with Klean Kanteens with just water. Turns out they like the option of being able to refill them as much as they want! Find a ton of great colors and the smaller sizes of Klean Kanteens at Healthy Living Market and Cafe. Kids can put stickers on them and customize them too which is a bonus. When they are home from school I keep them filled with water sitting on the edge of the counter within their reach, when they ask for a drink I direct them back to their kanteens, nice and simple.

Back to the limiting options. This is going to sound harsh, but I looked at it in the way that if my kids are hungry, they will eat what is given to them, so I might as well only give them healthy options. At home they know we have more options on hand to ask for, but if all they HAVE is healthy, then they will have no other choice. 80% of my lunchboxes are usually cut up fruit and vegetables, and that’s it. Peppers, celery, cucumbers, apples, strawberries, carrots (not baby carrots, sliced and cut regular carrots), snap peas, all are big hits. I found that I was overthinking it as far as ways to make veggies more appealing. I usually add a sweet yogurt dip or a ranch yogurt dip (from 100 Days of Real Food) depending on the child or hummus, never underestimate the power of a dipping sauce for kids.


We also do build your own lunchboxes, which are my healthy twist on the Lunchables that my kids ask for ALL THE TIME even though I never buy them. Triscuits (sort of always on the lookout for five ingredient or less crackers), cheese slices (I have even cut up an organic Stringles for cute little “slices”) sliced cucumber and tomato and they get to build their own little snacks. Again, be realistic to how much food your child can and should actually eat during lunch, it is probably less than you are picturing, trust me. As far as store bought stuff, I throw in some Siggi’s yogurt tubes (when I can find them), the organic Stringles, and hummus a lot too.

Also, shaped food is HUGE, especially for little kids. Get a melon baller and use it as much as possible. You can hollow out apple halves and have kids fill them with yogurt dip, use tiny cookie cutters to cut out shapes in cucumber, cheese, kiwi, bananas, watermelon, all kinds of stuff. Levy refused to even try kiwi until it was cut into heart shapes. Now she loves it. Regular shaped kiwi is still off limits though, of course. Overall our lunches are also nut free, my kids don’t have any nut allergies but they both like to sit with their friends that have nut allergies so usually we avoid peanut butter and other nut butters.



Sadly, my efforts to try to give Finn his beloved green smoothies to take to school haven’t worked out yet, they usually are somewhat separated by the time he gets to drink them, but they are still a staple of our breakfasts and Levy is slowly getting to like them although hers are a tad less “green” still. Need some smoothie recipe ideas? Click here for some of my favorites.

Our goal of going additive free is definitely a work in progress, but one that I have grown committed to. 100 Days of Real Food, Weelicious  and Momables have all been great resources for ideas. For the most part though, I am committed to adopting a real food diet that allows for some treats too. Will I let the kids eat a totally sugary birthday cake on occasion? Yes. Do we still have Nutella crepes? Totally (though only once in a while I swear). And guess what? They still have pizza on Fridays at school, because they like to share that with their friends, and I’m okay with that. Everyone is different on that front, but I feel like having a few opportunities for “cheats” works for us (and for a pregnant me who occasionally has some serious Chinese food cravings). Letting them have a few treats in moderation makes it easier for them to have the healthy, whole food stuff on our regular basis, but like I said, every family is different. If you have some favorite recipes or links, share them here!

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Going Additive Free: Our Whole Foods Mission

Levy at Lewis Waite Farm

Levy at Lewis Waite Farm

One of the things I am happiest about as a parent is that all three of my kids are great sleepers. They never fight bedtime and are usually all fast asleep before 8pm, it is amazing. With just one exception- Levy’s night terrors. A night terrors is a sleep disruption that occurs during deep non-REM sleep, and unlike nightmares (which occur during REM sleep), a night terror is not technically a dream, but more like a sudden reaction of fear that happens during the transition from one sleep phase to another. Levy will fall asleep totally fine, but wake up a few hours later screaming and crying, and the most frustrating part of night terrors is that there is nothing you can do to console them, Levy appears “out of it” and is unable to have a conversation or sometimes even speak at all. Sometimes it is quick and she falls back asleep, sometimes it takes a lot longer.

The silver lining is that she almost always has no recollection of the incident the next day, but it can obviously be disruptive for the whole house when she is loud enough to wake all of us up. There’s not a whole lot to do about night terrors either, we keep her on a regular routine with bedtime and make sure she is not overtired or stressed before bed, and that seems to help. One of the things that I noticed was monitoring what she was eating before bed. If we happened to have something particularly sweet and full of sugar (which is even more of a possibility now that I’m pregnant) she was more likely to have a night terror incident.

A study cited in the journal Pediatrics reported that more than 50 percent of hyperactive children show fewer behavior problems and had less trouble sleeping when put on a restricted diet free of all artificial and chemical food additives, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), preservatives, and caffeine. Large quantities of sweets and refined foods can also lead to hyperactivity. Although Levy doesn’t have any issues with hyperactivity, it is worth a shot to see if cutting out these additives will help her have more peaceful and restful sleep.

We all know that foods with the highest amount of additives include processed foods, packaged foods, candy, soda and “junk” foods, but those are just the most obvious offenders. And for the most part, we avoid those types of foods. No soda, very little fast food (once in a while), and candy only occasionally. But it still sneaks in. Plus, you’ll find food additives even in foods that you thought were healthier, much like the “no sugar added” ice cream I picked up one day. It contained Acesulfame Potassium (Acesulfame-K), a calorie-free artificial sweetener 200 times sweeter than sugar that is often used with other artificial sweeteners to mask a bitter aftertaste. Although the FDA has approved it for use in most foods, many health and industry insiders claim that the decision was based on flawed tests and animal studies have linked the chemical to lung and breast tumors and thyroid problems. Sounds good, right? So the food I thought was a better alternative turns out to be worse.

When I first started doing research into how to avoid food additives the information was almost overwhelming, and it can seem nearly impossible. But there are some tips on how to get started, and above all, you just have to keep vigilant. Learn what additives you should be avoiding and check those food labels. You can also follow these tips to get started:

Keep a family food diary for a week: Note everything that is eaten – including at school. At the end of the week, you should have a good idea of your family’s exposure to food additives.

Eat whole foods: Eating a balanced diet of fresh produce and whole grains will go a long way towards keeping additives and preservatives out of your child’s system. Whole foods are much healthier than processed and packaged. If you choose processed foods, look for the organic options which usually have little or no added synthetic colors or preservatives.

Be label smart: Scan labels of anything you buy for some of these worst offenders:

  • Food Dyes and Artificial Colors: Recent studies have linked food coloring to hyperactivity in kids is causing some experts to call on the FDA to ban foods containing them — or at least require a warning label. Click here to read more about these studies and how to avoid food dyes, the use of which has gone up fivefold in the past 50 years.
  • Chemical Preservatives: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Benzoate
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Saccharin
  • Added Sugar: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Corn Syrup, Dextrose, etc.
  • Added Salt: Look at the sodium content and choose foods with the lowest amounts.

Additionally, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, some of following additives have been associated with negative health impacts:

    • Propyl Gallate
    • Sulfites (Sulfur Dioxide, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium And Potassium Bisulfite, Sodium and Potassium Metabisulfite)
    • Potassium Bromate
    • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (keep in mind that MSG can also be found under these names as well)
    • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
    • Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
    • Potassium Bromate
    • Olestra (Olean)
    • Heptylparaben
    • Sodium Nitrite

I’ve also been visiting 100 Days of Real Food a lot lately, written by a mom who decided to take a more whole food approach to feeding her family. She has some really helpful tips on how to make healthier food choices and can make the entire process sound a much more doable (including recipes and how tos). Some of her great tips include:

  • Try to buy items that contain 5 items or less, if a product contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider before buying.
  • According to Michael Pollan: “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” If you had to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you wanted French fries you probably wouldn’t eat them very often. Only eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically ensure the frequency is appropriate.

I have to say, it isn’t always easy to make more whole food choices, and I’m not going to say that I’m 100% going to stick to it all of the time, but I am going to make a more concentrated effort to stay close to these guidelines and see where it takes us health wise. I also think it helps make better choices when we focus on sharing our meals together as a family. How about you? Do you make an effort to stay additive free and stock up on whole foods? Share some tips and recipes to help build a database of healthy family recipes. Need more ideas on additive free lunches? Click here for what I’m packing lately.



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