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I am so excited to be partnering with Target and Kidfresh Frozen Meals and Snacks today – and the timing is perfect because from now through 9/24 you’ll receive 40% off any Kidfresh meal at Target (more about Kidfresh below)!
With 3 kids ranging in age from 25 to 7, I’m in the unique position of having parented both before AND after the internet.
As a “new-young” mom I relied solely on my family, my pediatrician and the few trusted books out there for advice on feeding, disciplining and entertaining my kids. I wasn’t just a 24/7 “click” away from any answers I needed. And yet I know that this also built my confidence and skills as a parent.
But with Noah, it was a whole new world (a world wide web, to be exact), with literally no end of information on literally any parenting question imaginable. As a “new-old” mom this was, at first, quite thrilling. I could now instantly quell fears, crowd source and endlessly comb through blogs and sites for allthethings.
That thrill, however, quickly turned into a mountain of anxiety, insecurity and feelings of “lesser than”. Especially when it came to Pinterest. Where before I felt pretty proud of my baking and occasional crafting – knowing that there were “probably” others doing it all far better – there was now no denying the scores of super-talented, creative and industrious moms out there. Whose dust (homemade and rainbow colored, natch) I was now eating.
And I was not alone – a TODAY study of 7,000 women revealed that 42% (!!) said that they sometimes suffer from “Pinterest stress” – whose symptoms include staying up until 3 a.m. clicking through photos of exquisite hand-made birthday party favors, or adorable bunny cookies for the school bake sale.
And I get it.
But I’m also an “old-old” mom, and I knew enough to not get unreasonably swept up in this quest for unattainable perfection. I decided to exploit the interwebs for all the good stuff it could offer – and there was (and is) so much good stuff! ESPECIALLY when it comes to parenting.
And these days parenting needs all the help it can get. From the moment I pick Noah up from school we are RUNNING until dinner. And weekends? Just as hectic. So if I want to ensure that Noah is eating relatively healthy snacks and meals – regardless of where we are and what time we get home – I need to plan ahead.
I’ve shared my meal planning and prep tips on these pages, so you know how I wrangle dinnertime. But even the best plans are sometimes not enough. And that’s why I also rely on my always-ready stock of easy and healthy snacks, and a freezer full of prepared foods that I actually feel good about giving Noah.
First up? My “top five” tried-and-true snack ideas – the ones that I turn to time and time again (and all inspired by Pinterest!). They’re all easy, healthy, delicious and gluten- dairy- and peanut-free!
Apple Chips It doesn’t get any easier than this – simply core and slice an apple (you don’t even need to peel it!), and bake the slices in the oven. Crunchy, naturally sweet and no-mess portable!
One-Ingredient Ice Cream You read correctly. One frozen banana placed in your food processor whips up into creamy, no-churn, dairy- and sugar-free ice cream!
Breakfast Popsicles Say “yes” to ice cream for breakfast! Layer lightly sweetened yogurt (dairy-free or regular) with fresh fruit and granola. Perfect for busy mornings, after school or staving off pre-dinner hunger pangs.
No-Bake Energy Bars All you need are three simple ingredients (1 cup pitted dates, and 1 cup each your choice of dried fruit and nuts), blended in your processor and pressed into a baking pan, for your own customized energy bars! Delicious and perfect for lunch boxes, desk drawers and glove compartments everywhere!
“To-Go” Crudites and Hummus Spoon some hummus into a sealable jar – pop in carrot and celery sticks and you have a mega-healthy snack that you can take anywhere!
That takes care of the snacks. As for the prepared foods?
I was thrilled to discover Kidfresh meals – they are a perfect example of how far kids’ prepared foods have come since my first round of parenting, and I wish they’d been around when Chelsea and Conor were little.
Kidfresh meals were developed with the help of a top chef and a pediatric nutritionist, to conform to USDA dietary guidelines for all children. Each meal contains up to 1/2 cup of hidden veggies, like carrots, peas and sweet potatoes. And all meals and sides are made with no artificial flavors, ingredients, synthetic colors or GMO’s. Ingredient lists are short and clean – a welcome change from most typical kids’ offerings.
Even the packaging has been thoughtfully designed – bowls and trays are BPA- and phthalate-free, 100% recyclable and safe for use in the microwave or oven.
Kidfresh meals and snacks are available at Target (like you need another excuse to go):
Our faves are the Kidfresh Wagon Wheels Mac + Cheese and Kidfresh Super Duper Chicken Nuggets. They are my go-to dinner when time is tight, or a nutritious hot lunch to send to school.
So tell me – what are your favorite tricks for keeping things easy, healthy and “kid-approved” during the hectic school year?