empowering your family one bite at a time

Trading Candy with the Kids

With the big parade coming up this week, I thought I'd share a little bit of what we've been doing about candy. Candy used to drive me nuts when my offspring were little and then I got proactive and extra smart. Kids just want to run out and get the goods from the pinata, parade etc. So here is what I did and still do years later.

There are certain packaged or home made treats that my kids really like ie. suckers, jelly beans, gummy bears. I just don't buy them unless it's 'for trade' My kids used to run back to me and have that sad look on their face that said, 'I'm not part of the group', so I taught them to run on out there and have a blast stuffing their pockets. Then they bring it all back, slap it down and we play trade. I give them two handfuls of jelly beans or a few suckers, or whatever dye free, gluten/dairy free, nutrition mom approved treat that I have stocked for the occasion.They're thrilled and their friends want some too. :)

Sometimes we play trade once they get home. There have been many occasions that a birthday cupcake was presented at school; they asked for treat from the treat box that I have provided for this very situation. And then other times they have come home and informed me that I own them from the trade stash.


  • Start as young as you can and you decide what the consistent trade amount will be.It's never too late to start.
  • I personally don't trade one for one. It's too much sugar in their systems.
  • Learn phrases that you consistently use ie. 'in our family we' this works for a zillion situations and brings power to your family.
  • Only use trade treats for trade situations. ie. birthday bags, parades, Halloween etc.
  • Make it very mellow and don't fuss over the situation. Prep your kids before the actual day.One of my friends started this when her daughter was already in elementary school and she made it a special, simple, here's what supports our health kind of way and the new habit began.
  • Fruit can always be taught to be a dessert.

Remember that treats are still treats and sugar is still sugar. I really limit the sugar in our foods so that when these occasions come up I'm not being my nutrition tripy self.  Happy trading.

Power to the family!



Dairy Free 4th of July to Go

With the 4th of July coming up soon, I've started preparing my 'parade cheering' meals. My daughter and husband will be in our local parade this year, so that means breakfast at our road side spot. We pack an ice chest with the usual fruit, vege, sandwich type basics. And this year we will be bringing these way too yummy, festive, 'to go' treats. I love these at home, for breakfast with a little granola, or in a canning jar 'to go'! Seriously, I'm feeling pretty brilliant with this one. For all I know it's on the web some where. But I'll tell you I was thinking hard about festive foods this am and wanted to take it with me. Ta dah! Ahhh, the possibilities!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

Dairy Free 4th of July to Go

  • 4 canning jars or other clear vessel with a lid
  • 1 32 oz plant based vanilla yogurt
  • 2 pints strawberries
  • 2 pints blueberries

Wash berries and layer away. These are big portions, feel free to use a jelly jar.

Power to the family!

Healthy Travels: Gluten Free Granola


Travel season is here! I know that many of you love this time of year; schools out, time to go see family, camping trips, visiting amusement parks, the list goes on. In our home, we’re not big car travelers in the summer time. It’s hot, my man is busy with work and we’ve got a pool. And since we’re a minority, I wanted to share with you what works in our home when it comes time for car travel with the offspring.

As I plan for travel I keep a couple of key things in mind. 1. I’m uber nutrition minded (duh) 2. I don’t like dealing with restaurants and their menus (more on that another day) 3. I don’t like mess in my new minivan.  4. I’m cheap. So that being said, here’s how we role.

A simple 1 day drive would look like this for me:

Breakfast: vegetable, fruit, protein powder, almond milk smoothie; in a cup with a lid and straw. Totally inexpensive and will get us off to a good start on ‘our daily vegetable quota’

Snack: apples, nut butter infused with homemade granola, berries

Lunch: Eating outside at some fab picnic spot. Gluten free sandwiches, root vegetable chips. If someone has a sugar craving, I usually have dried and whole fruit on hand. This is a good time to eat a banana and get rid of that peel AND it hasn’t bruised up yet, so no one is complaining.

Snack: hummus or vege dip and gluten free crackers or pretzels

Dinner:  I’ve usually scoped out some ethnic or salad bar type restaurant before traveling. Left overs are not in my plan; we split meals.

*I also like to know what shopping options that I have at our destination. All of us can create a salad, vege wrap, bean and rice bowl etc. from a local grocery store. We like to travel to places with kitchens or I take an ice chest with cut up vegetables and fruits to add to meals that are nutrition skimpy. Yes, I’m that woman that walks into a restaurant with a cute, soft sided ice chest and quietly whips out a handful of vegetables after our food is delivered.

*I make and bring: vege muffins, nutrition bars, and frozen bags of smoothie, lots of fruit like blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apples, and cut vegetables. Everything is precut and individually packaged for ease and low complaint. I also bring a bag of some kind of healthier chip or popcorn cause I’m a driving nibbler and I don’t want to get stuck staring at the chip aisle at the gas station.

*I love the Bento box idea; hand a box to a kid, everything inside is cut and portion controlled. When they are done, it goes back in the small ice chest behind a seat. I include a small wipe in the lunch. :)


Pre pour it all. I bring two water bottles for each traveler. I’m a tea drinker and often ended up buying way too sugary tea from gas stations. One of my bottles has tea and my man has an iced coffee. The offspring like oxylent brand powder; I’ll put some in one of their bottles too for a change of flavor.

Gluten Free Granola

Using a large cookie sheet, cover the bottom with parchment paper and preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine:

•         3 cups whole GF rolled oats or quinoa oats (not instant or quick)

•         pinch of salt (optional)

•         1 tsp cinnamon

•         1/2 cup pure maple syrup or brown rice syrup

•         1/2 cup shaved coconut

•         1/2 cup of any raw nuts & seeds

•         optional: after cooling, stir in 1/2 cup dried fruit of any kind

Stir all ingredients together (will be slightly wet.) Pour into single layer on pan and bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Stir contents, arrange in single layer again, and continue baking for another 10 to 12 minutes and remove (Bake until barely starting to turn a little tan.) Stir again and allow to cool. Granola will be crunchy when cooled.

Store in a glass jar to ensure longer freshness.


Junk food makes you tired, crabby, can give you stomach aches, dyes will hype or depress you, and you’re not a garbage can!

Enjoy your summer travels!

Power to the family!