Tips for Feeding Your Family Well in the New Year

kids cooking

If you’re like millions of others around the world, the start of the New Year marks a new or renewed commitment to healthier eating for you and your family. Here are some helpful, quick and easy tips to help make your resolution a reality that sticks.

8 Resolutions for Healthy Family Eating

1. Buy what’s in season

Fruits and veggies that are in season simply taste better and often have more nutrients than produce that’s traveled long distances to get to you. Using what’s in season – greens and citrus are in season now – is the best choice for you, your budget and your environment.

2. Cook quality in quantity

This goes for meals – such as making a big batch of veggie lasagna or a large pot of soup that provides enough for at least two dinners – and for making batches of dishes that can be pieced together for quick and easy meals throughout the week. Make a big pot of lentils, brown rice or any other grain when you have a spare minute, and keep it in the fridge along with fresh fruits and veggies you prep once and have at the ready all week.

3. Buy in bulk

Beans, nuts, grains and dried fruit can all be purchased from the bulk bins. They are hearty, reliable staples that can be turned into meals in minutes. Keep them on hand and you’ll always be ready to whip up something good for your family.

4. Eat less white, and fewer refined grains

If you haven’t already, make a commitment to switch to whole grain bread, pasta and rice. If you’re nervous about sneaking the change past your kids, try mixing brown rice with white, gradually adjusting the ratio of brown to white until the darker wins over.

5. Incorporate more texture and new tastes

If your kids are like ours, introducing them to new foods is often a recipe for disaster. No one wants to toil at a new meal only to have it met with great protest, aghast faces and turned up noses. Instead of throwing something totally foreign at your kids, start by introducing a bit of new texture and taste along with a tried and true meal. For instance, sprinkle some chia or flax seeds into the breading you use for chicken tenders, sneak some greens into a favorite smoothie, or simply add a new, in-plain-sight veggie to your child’s plate, casually suggesting she try your tasty new find.

6. Plan ahead

Nutritional experts say that meal planning is a crucial component to consistently providing your family with healthy, filling meals. Planning ahead is also friendly on the family budget. If you’d like someone else to do the planning for you, check out Yummly. Yummly lets you search through thousands of recipes based on super-specific filters like prep-time, flavor profiles, allergies, special diets, and more.

7. Commit to fewer restaurant meals

With restaurant meals, you never truly know what you’re getting. Chances are, the meals aren’t always as healthy as they are described on the menu, and chances are even greater that the kids’ meals are even worse. View dining out as a treat – book a babysitter and make a night of it – and keep a standby list of local restaurants that commit to healthy meals to call when take-out is your only option for getting food on the table.

8. Get your kids involved in meal planning and preparation

It’s true that kids are more likely to eat what’s on their plates if they helped to put it there. Start talking to your kids about good food and how it grows while they are young, and keep at it by starting your own garden, visiting farms and letting the kids help choose new fruits and veggies at the farmer’s market or grocery.

Remember that how you eat is how you live, and how you live is likely how your kids will live. Giving them good food and healthy habits now will be a gift that lasts their lifetime.

Search for babysitters and nannies who can help cook healthy meals for the kids at UrbanSitter.

10 Healthy On-the-Go Summer Snacks You Kids Will Gobble Up

The end of the school year doesn’t necessarily mean the end of rushing around. And on-the-go summertime families need quick, easy, healthy snacks to keep them energized as they dash from camp to playdates to the pool. “There are good and bad packaged options for your kids,” says Kimberley Grayson of the all-natural online shop, Abe’s Market. She’s helped us round up some of the best treats out there. They come in properly portioned sizes; contain wholesome mixes of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy; contain little sugar; and are non-GMO wherever possible. Happy snacking!

These toddler-friendly bagged snacks are “filled with 100% organic fruits and veggies in bite sized and easily dissolvable pieces,” raves Grayson. “The produce is harvested fresh and quick-dried to lock in essential nutrients. And the flavor combos contain just the right amount of natural sweetness and engaging color.” ($3.50, Abe’s Market)

Two varieties of granola—Caramel Apple and Chocolate Banana—are surprisingly light, easy-to-chew and not-too-sweet. Perfect for those busy mornings when your kid’s got to eat breakfast in the stroller or the car seat, since they’re delicious even without milk and provide plenty of fiber and carbs to get tykes fueled up on the fly ($4.50, Target).

What snack’s more classic than popcorn? If you don’t have time to pop it yourself, or just don’t feel like shaking a pot over a hot stove on a sweltering afternoon, grab one of these handy snack-size bags for a low-salt, high-yum treat ($5/bag of 6, available at Whole Foods).

Maybe you have time to spread some nut butter on a slice of toast; maybe you don’t. Either way, Justin’s has you covered with these 1.15-ounce squeeze packs that get some high-quality protein into your snack-needy child’s afternoon—even if it means squeezing them right into his hungry little mouth ($1.30, Justin’s).

This nutrient-packed bar will give kids and parents alike a wholesome, high-energy, low-calorie snack that’s also vegan, gluten free, organic, and non-GMO. All you’ll notice is its vanilla deliciousness ($22/pack of 12, Pure Bar).

Unlike certain yogurt tubes that shall here remain nameless, Siggi’s squeezable yogurts, in blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry, are low in both sugars and ingredients—no frightening-looking dyes, no weird fillers. And while they’re also low in fat, they sure don’t taste like it, thanks to the Icelandic method of straining yogurt into rich skyr. Also great frozen ($4/box of 8, available at Whole Foods).

Especially well-suited to tweens, these easy-pack bars are perfect for any time of the day and fit neatly into lunch boxes and glove compartments for after-camp pick-me-ups. Says Grayson, “Made with five wholegrain super-grains with mix-ins of flavors kids love, I am in love with the chewy texture and nutrition of these bars!” ($5/pack of 5, Abe’s Market)

These smart snacks were developed by two moms to make eating healthy a fun adventure while boosting the brain power of growing minds, according to Grayson. “As the world’s first fruit and vegetable smart cookies for kids, Bitsy’s provides new palette introductions while providing the nutrition active kids need,” she says. Bonus for kids with allergies: they’re also made in a nut-free facility ($6, Abe’s Market).

A sweet, chewy twist on that old nature-lover’s stand-by, gorp. A little bit sweet, a little bit salty, these little bars are the perfect tidbits to munch on as you make your way to all your kids’  summertime activities ($13/pack of 6, Amazon).

This is puffed fruit that crunches, in bite sized clusters active kids can snarf right from the bag.  “Here’s a snack that spans the ages” says Grayson. “It’s got fewer than 75 calories per serving and is made without refined sugars or preservatives. It can do double-duty as a yogurt or ice cream topper, and mixes well with nuts to create a custom-made snack of your own choosing.” ($5.50, Abe’s Market)

Citrus Recipes Kids Will Flip For

Fruit makes a perfect snack for kids, no matter the season. And all kids seem to love the tender, juicy bites they get from ever-popular mandarin oranges. To mix things up a bit, we asked our friends at Halos for their take on how to get kids eating right with citrus—at snack time and beyond!

Mandarin and Quinoa Chicken Bowls
Serves 4

Quinoa is hearty, healthy, and easy to make. Spoon it into a bowl and top it with Wonderful Halos mandarins, grilled chicken, cilantro, black beans, and savory chipotle lime vinaigrette for dinner or a packed lunch.

1 cup quinoa
3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups baby spinach
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1 scallion, sliced
4 Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled and segmented

Chipotle Lime Vinaigrette:
1⁄4 cup lime juice
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
2 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons adobo sauce, from canned chipotle in adobo 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄3 cup olive oil

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Mix together the salt, chili
powder and cumin and rub on chicken. Grill chicken on both sides until cooked through; set aside to cool, then slice.

3. Make chipotle lime vinaigrette by whisking together all ingredients. Discard halved garlic cloves.

4. Spoon quinoa into 4 bowls. Top each bowl with remaining ingredients and drizzle with vinaigrette e. Tip: If making ahead for lunch, pack vinaigrette separately so bowl stays fresh.

Prosciutto Bruschetta Bites

Toasted crostini is topped with a little slice of savory prosciutto, Wonderful Halos mandarin segments and shallot chutney for a sweet and salty appetizer bursting with flavor.

1 baguette, sliced and toasted
Olive oil, bowl for brushing baguette 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups shallots, sliced
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds 13 slices prosciutto
1 cup Wonderful Halos mandarin segments, roughly chopped
1⁄3 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1. Heat oven to 375oF. Slice baguette thinly, brush with olive oil and bake until just toasted. Let cool.

2. Make mandarin chutney: In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the shallot and salt in 1 tablespoon olive oil until soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf and coriander seeds and let simmer until vinegar is reduced and almost gone. Add the mandarin segments and stir; remove from heat.

3. Top toasted baguette slices with a 1⁄2 slice of prosciutto and a spoonful of mandarin chutney; sprinkle with hazelnuts and thyme.

Smoothie Pops
Serves 12

Sweet Wonderful Halos mandarins transform healthy breakfast smoothies into crave-able frozen Smoothie Pops. You can enjoy these nutritious breakfast popsicles on-the-go or as an afternoon snack—your kids will never miss the sugar.

Version #1: Smoothie Pops with Mango 4
Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled
1 cup pineapple, diced
1⁄2 cup banana, sliced
1 cup mango, diced
1 tablespoon flax meal
3⁄4 cup vanilla yogurt
Extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments

Version #2: Smoothie Pops with Strawberry
5 Wonderful Halos mandarins, peeled
1⁄2 cup pineapple
1⁄2 cup banana, sliced
1-1⁄4 cups strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon flax meal
3⁄4 cup vanilla yogurt
Extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments

1. For each flavor, combine all ingredients in the pitcher of a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into ice pop molds and add extra Wonderful Halos mandarin segments to each pop; insert sticks.

2. Freeze until solid and remove from molds; serve immediately or store in a zip lock bag in the freezer.

5 Easy, Hearty Dinners for Halloween Night

Halloween is no time to be fussing over dinner. You have costumes to assemble, kids to dress up, parties to attend and trick-or-treating to spearhead at home and on the street. Take the stress of “what’s for dinner?” off your plate. You can ensure that your kids have a warm, healthy meal to fuel them before the big night by planning and preparing a make-ahead meal. These five meals are just right for making in advance and heating and serving before the Halloween festivities begin.

image via Blue Apron

Stuffed Shells with Spinach RicottaNo jarred pasta sauce or processed cheese required, this recipe is just as simple without the shortcuts. The surprising combination of ricotta, lemon, cinnamon and basil makes it extra special, while keeping it kid-friendly. (via Blue Apron)

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Spooky Ghost PizzaKeep the kids busy before it’s time to get ready for trick-or-treating by having them help assemble this ghostly pizza. Keep it simple by asking the deli to slice thick slices of mozzarella and use a cookie cutter to turn the cheese into ghosts. Keep the pizza in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. (via Chef Mom)

image via The Stir

Easy Pumpkin Mac and CheeseJust right for a chilly night and spot on for Halloween. Thanks to the creamy, nutritious pumpkin, this is no ordinary mac and cheese. (via The Stir)

image via Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Slow Cooker Braised Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Apple Cabbage SlawNeed a little meat to fuel your fire? Throw a pork tenderloin in the crock pot for a deliciously simple pulled pork sandwich filling and add a fresh apple cabbage slaw for a balanced meal. (via Mom’s Kitchen Handbook)

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Pasta e Fagioli Soup: This hearty soup is just right to have at the ready. Make a batch to keep in the refrigerator and reheat when it’s time to eat. (via Food52)

Pick one of these delicious, make-ahead meals for Halloween night, and you’ll feel good knowing your kids’ bellies are filled with warm, nutritious food before the onslaught of candy begins!

5 Healthy Lunches for Parents on the Go

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Parenting rarely seems to go at a relaxed pace. This time of year especially is a whirlwind of to-dos. Between filling out back to school paperwork, making carpool arrangements, scheduling team photos, packing lunches and shuffling kids to and from after-school activities, there’s rarely a spare minute to take care of yourself.

If you find yourself eating the PB&J crusts off your kid’s plate and calling it lunch, this post is for you. We’ve found 5 delicious recipes for quick and easy, healthy lunches that even the busiest parent can prepare and take to work, enjoy in those few quiet moments when the baby naps or to eat on the go. Not only do they taste great, they’ll also give you the energy you need to power through the day.

Greek Chicken Salad Sandwich
Lightened up chicken salad loaded with healthy fruit and veggies, via Damn Delicious. In a large bowl, combine chicken, red onion, apple, grapes, dried cranberries or currants, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Eat it on a green salad, wrapped in a tortilla or on nice hearty bread.

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10-Minute Tomato Soup
Don’t let the goldfish crackers in the photo fool you, this soup is not just for kids…but they might want some! Puree tomatoes, celery and broth in a blender until smooth. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup. Stir in cream. Keep a pot in the fridge so you can heat a cup at home or take it along in a thermos. Thank you, Food Network!

via Food Network


Couscous Salad with Cucumber, Red Onion and Herbs
This salad resembles tabbouleh, but it’s heavier on the grains and has even more fresh vegetables. Toss finely chopped herbs with the couscous, as well as the sliced cucumber, onion, and lemon zest. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, chili powder, and cumin, then toss this dressing with the couscous. Stir in the pine nuts. Crumble the feta and stir in. Taste and season generously with salt and pepper.

via The Kitchn

Mashed Chickpea Salad
A little like potato or egg salad, but healthier. This hearty salad from Simple Veganista is awesome on a leaf of lettuce with a squirt of lemon and a handful of pumpkin seeds, or slather it on your favorite bread with some leafy and mashed avocado and you have one great sandwich. It’s full of protein, fiber, texture and flavor.

via The Simple Veganista

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Sandwich
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Throw a few ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning, and have a hot lunch at the ready come noon. This one from Chef in Training makes a great dinner, too.

via Chef in Training

These picks certainly trump the ho-hum turkey sandwich…or scraps from your kid’s plate. Wouldn’t you agree!

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5 Simple, Healthy Summer Meals

Whether you’re coming home from work or from a long day at the pool or beach with the kids, you need a healthy dinner to feed and please your family – and you need it quick. In the heat of the summer, the less time in the kitchen, the better. These tried and true favorite summer recipes are fresh and satisfying, and so simple that you could ask the sitter to prepare them.


5 Simple, Healthy Summer Meals

Edamame Salad
A satisfying salad your kids will devour. After all, what kid doesn’t love the tiny green soy bean?

via Whyy Org
via Whyy Org


  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon siracha (optional)
  • 1 pound frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup shredded carrot

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.


Nourish Bowl
Not exactly a recipe, but rather a formula you can follow and customize to create a healthy, delicious one-bowl meal for every member of your family. Start with a big bowl with a base of dark leafy greens, top with a protein, a carbohydrate, and a healthy fat. Check out the helpful diagram and suggestions for each component.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 1.07.36 PM
via Nutritionally Stripped

Greens | spinach, romaine, arugula, kale, micro greens, sprouts, mustard greens, swiss chard, etc.
Proteins | tempeh, beans, quinoa and lentils (starchy-proteins), hemp seeds, nuts/seeds, eggs and wild-caught fish, animal proteins
Healthy fats | avocado, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, truffle oil
Veggies | carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, snap peas, peas, radish, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower; any and all veggies you enjoy!
Carbohydrates | sweet potatoes, quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, beans (starchy-protein), corn and peas (starchy veggie)
Fruits: strawberries, pears, banana, papaya, mango, grapes, raspberries, apples, etc.
Dressings |  2 tablespoons hummus + 2-4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar + 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast = a super thick and creamy dressing.


Any Veggie Frittata
This super simple recipe uses asparagus as the star ingredient, but really any veggie will do.

via Simply Recipes
via Simply Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off, spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1. Heat butter into a 10-inch oven-proof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add asparagus, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.

2. Pour in eggs and cook until almost set, but still runny on top, about 2 minutes. While cooking, pre-heat oven broiler.

3. Sprinkle cheese over eggs and put in oven to broil until cheese is melted and browned, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven with oven mitts and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges.


Lemon Garlic Pasta
What could be easier (and more delicious!) than pasta tossed with lemon, olive oil, red pepper flakes, parmesan and roasted garlic? Dress it up with some roasted chicken, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, shrimp or fresh vegetables…. if you have the time and are so inclined. Roast garlic ahead of time if you know this dish is on the week’s menu, and you’ll have an even speedier meal.

via Wonky Wonderful
via Wonky Wonderful


  • 1 head of garlic (10-15 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 large or 2 small lemons)
  • lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy)
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta (cooked)
  • fresh grated parmesan

1. Place peeled garlic cloves in an oven safe dish, drizzle with olive oil and cover with foil. Oven roast at 400° for 30-40 minutes (until lightly golden browned). Let cool for 2-3 minutes, then chop.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Feel free to use a different type of pasta if you prefer.

3. In a large sauté pan over medium/low heat – heat the olive oil and chopped garlic for 4-5 minutes while stirring.

4. Add the lemon juice and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.

5. Reduce heat to low – add the salt and red pepper flakes.

6. Add the cooked pasta and toss with the lemon garlic sauce until fully coated.

7. Transfer to serving dishes and top with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon zest, fresh grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes (optional).


Mini Breakfast Pizza
Everyone loves breakfast for dinner. Put a twist on the usual pancakes or scrambled eggs by whipping up breakfast pizzas instead. The beauty of the recipe is that it’s highly adaptable. Use what you have on hand – English muffins, bagels or bread, any suitable meat, cheese or veggie.

via Sweet Remedy
via Sweet Remedy


  • 3 english muffins
  • 3/4 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice open English Muffins, top with pizza sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Add olive oil to a skillet, crack eggs inside and cook on high until almost done. Add eggs to prepared english muffins and top with more cheese and parsley. Bake on baking sheet for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

What recipes do you keep up your sleeve for when time is tight or to leave the sitter to make for dinner? Share your favorites with us in the comments! 

What’s In Season: Feeding Your Kids the Best of the Fresh

After a really long winter, it’s exciting to see fresh spring produce start to show up on grocers’ shelves and in farmers’ markets. Even though we can get most any produce any time of year, the fruits and vegetables that have traveled long distances to get to us are no comparison to the foods that are in season locally.

via madlyinlovewithlife
via madlyinlovewithlife


There’s no denying that they taste so much better, are more nutritious and are budget-friendly. Cooking with the bounty of the season is one of the best ways to give your family the freshest, healthiest, most flavorful food. Look for produce that is in peak season right now, including:

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Fava Beans
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peas
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips

While they are likely so tasty that you could simply eat them at they are, why not let them be the stars of your family’s meals and snacks.

6 recipes that make the very most of spring’s fruits and veggies

Spring Leek Pesto Sauce
A veggie-loaded sauce you can serve with pasta or as a spread on bread. It’s a flavorful, sweet and pleasing sauce that’s an  ideal way to introduce kids to leeks. Since it’s made in the food processor, it’s quick and easy and fun to cook with kids.

via Babble
via Babble


Spring Salad
A salad so beautiful, you won’t have to nudge your kids to eat it. It’s a delightful surprise for a salad, leaving out the lettuce and loading up with the best of spring produce – juicy strawberries, sliced radishes, and crisp sugar snap peas.

via BHG


Toast with Lemony Pea Mash
What a lovely snack this would make. Get kids involved by having them help shell the peas – a perfect job for little fingers.

via Bon Appetit
via Bon Appetit

Sesame Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry
Satisfies your craving for Chinese take-out without blowing up your diet. You can whip it up quicker than you’d have to wait for the delivery guy.

via Menu Musings
via Menu Musings

Fava Bean Bread Salad
Simply toss together fresh fava beans, greens, olive oil and vinegar, and pile the mix atop of a few slices of grilled (or not) bread. Voila! It’s dinner.

via Fit Sugar
via Fit Sugar

Rhubard Crisp
When you think of a rhubarb dessert, you likely think of the old standby strawberry-rhubarb pie. While no one can knock the pie, it’s nice to make use of spring’s brilliantly red rhubarb in this one-dish crisp. It’s a simple recipe using apples, pecans and oats to make it hearty and sweet.

via Dish Base
via Dish Base


What are you cooking for your family this month? We’d love to hear how you’re making the most of the season’s best.

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween usually means one thing to children — candy! Of course it also means costumes, trick-or-treating and spooky fun. But candy ranks up there as most kids’ favorite treat when October rolls around. Here are a few healthy indulgences that most little ones will enjoy — mummy and daddy, too.



1. Pumpkin bread. Mmmmm…baking a loaf of pumpkin bread makes your whole house smell like Fall. The cinnamon and cloves, the canned pumpkin — which is super high in Vitamins A and C, as well as beta carotenes — come together in a delectable way. Most supermarkets sell an easy mix, or if you’re inspired, make it from scratch. Throw in some chocolate chips to seriously up the yum factor.

2. Oranges with a celery stem. Easy as (pumpkin) pie. Peel oranges (or clementines) and stick a celery stalk on top. Voila! Mini pumpkins with an edible stem.

3. Pumpkin seeds. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a classic tradition for many families. Kids can help scoop out the mucky insides of a pumpkin and spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Add a little olive oil, toss with salt and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees. Crunchy and filled with vitamins to boot, these little guys are sure to be gobbled up quickly. Change up your recipe by adding cinnamon sugar or garlic salt for a different taste altogether.

Image via Rachel Tayse
Image via Rachel Tayse

4. Hard boiled ghost eggs. These make a perfect breakfast for little ghouls and boys. Just boil a few eggs, let them cool, then make a jagged cut across and bottom and add eyes and mouth with black food coloring. Frightfully easy!

5. Spider web pizza. This one is a great take on a popular kid-friendly dinner. Take standard pizza crust, add tomato sauce, and then thinly peeled string cheese in the shape of a web. Other toppings can be added, too. Bake at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes and dig in.

Whatever you choose to indulge in this Halloween, do it with gusto! Your little monsters are sure to enjoy the process as well as the result.

Search for babysitter and nannies online at

7 One-Pot Family Dinners to Welcome Fall

If you’ve had a minute to come up for air, you may have noticed that fall is nearly here. It’s time to give your BBQ a rest, forgo the salads and bring a touch of the season to your table with warm, homey, harvest dinners your family will love. The ones we’ve selected capture the season in a single pot, which means they are low-fuss and minimum mess. We hope you and yours enjoy them as much as we do.

One-pot Family Meals – Fall Recipes

1. Sweet Potato Soup

This creamy, mild soup is simple to make and truly autumn in a bowl. You can feel good about filling your family’s hungry bellies with such a healthy dose of anti-oxidants. Add a bit of chili for some heat and top with toasted pumpkin seeds for a satisfying crunch.

Sweet Paul Magazine

2. Braised Pork Ragu with Pappardelle

Dinner a Love Story calls this dish an “instant dinner party,” and explains it by saying it’s ideal for preparing in advance of your guests arrival, it tastes divine – warm and hearty – and leaves your house smelling wonderfully welcoming. If you don’t have guests coming, why not serve it for a nice Sunday family dinner.  We like her idea of serving it with a salad that has a little sweetness, such as greens with pears, blue cheese and pine nuts.

Pork Ragu
Dinner a Love Story

3. Kid-Friendly Chili

Some would argue that there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than inviting a bunch of friends over to watch a football game. Few would dispute that there’s no better way to feed them than to whip up a big batch of chili. This particular chili recipe may be just the one you’re looking to find. It was designed with kids in mind and adapted to suit a wide range of tastes, taking into consideration not just spiciness and the bean debate, but also texture. It calls for ground beef or turkey, but of course, simply omit it of you prefer a vegetarian version.

Kid-Friendly Chili
Butter Yum Blog

4. One-Pan Lasagna

One of the many amazing, family-friendly meal ideas from Tyler Florence’s cookbook, “Start Fresh,” this lasagna-in-a-skillet recipe is full of taste and appealing to kids and adults alike. It’s oohy and gooey and just right for warming bellies. Serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and a nice Chianti for Mom and Dad.

One-Pan Lasagna
Tyler Florence

5. Kale Chickpea and Chicken Soup

Not your ordinary chicken soup. There’s nothing wimpy about this soup for the soul. It’s soothing and simple enough for little kids to gobble up without hesitation. Use leftover roasted chicken or pick up a nice one at the grocery store to make this a quick prep meal.  Don’t omit the rosemary croutons, as they add a good chunky, heartiness that make this a meal and not just a bowl of soup.

Kale, Chicken and Chickpea Soup
Feasting at Home

6. One-Pot Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Family Fresh Cooking calls this chicken recipe the perfect meal for those on grain-free, gluten-free meal plans. It’s a protein packed, veggie rich dinner you pop into a pot and let simmer while you do something more important, like tackle a fall craft with your kids or curl up with a book.

Roasted Chicken and Veggies
Family Fresh Cooking

7. Creamy White Bean Stew

The Cozy Apron describes this thick, hearty stew as a “warm blanket for the inside of the body.” It’s a wonderful choice for a rainy, dreary day. Be assured that there’s nothing bland about its milky whiteness. It’s spiked with smoky, thick-cut bacon, and fragrant herbs.

White Bean Stew
The Cozy Apron

If you find these recipes appealing and inspiring, check out our Pinterest Board, “Easy, Kid-Friendly Dinners for Busy Families,” for more great ideas for feeding your family.

How to Start Cooking with Your Kids

flickr/D Sharon Pruitt

Little kids are known for their insistent plea, “I’m big enough to do it!” especially when it comes to helping out in the kitchen. While it’s often easier and just plain quicker to do it yourself, experts say kids benefit in many ways from helping to prepare food at an early age.

Why should I teach my child to cook?

  • Kids who help in the kitchen are more open to trying new foods
  • Have a greater appreciation for whole, fresh ingredients
  • Learn how to understand and follow a recipe
  • Enjoy the pride of contributing or creating something of their own
  • Build life-long healthy eating habits

If you’re sold on the idea of getting your kids to help in the kitchen, but not sure how to begin, read on for suggestions from the experts. You may find these are helpful guidelines for age-appropriate kitchen tasks:

Beginning Kitchen Tasks for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • Tearing lettuce
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Adding pre-measured wet and dry ingredients
  • Stirring ingredients
  • Inserting cupcake or muffin liners
  • Sprinkling cheese
  • Adding sprinkles
  • Frosting a muffin or cake
  • Flouring a pan

Kitchen Tasks for Bigger Kids

* In addition to the tasks for younger kids, and under adult supervision, especially when it comes to using sharp objects or hot stoves.

  • Measuring wet and dry ingredients
  • Scooping batter onto a waffle iron or dough onto baking sheets for cookies
  • Stirring over low heat
  • Cutting soft fruits and vegetables with supervision
  • Cracking eggs

Ready to Tackle a Recipe?

Keep these easy, starter ideas and recipes up your sleeve so you can respond to your child with a surprising and delightful, “I have just the thing for us to make!”

Super Simple Recipes for Wee Little Ones:

Smoothie – There’s no shortage of smoothie recipes out there and for good reason. Smoothies are the perfect recipes to tackle with a little helper. We love this Strawberry Peach recipe because it tastes great as is, and can be easily tweaked by adding more protein or other fruits and even some greens.

Strawberry Peach Smoothie
Strawberry Peach Smoothie via Weelicious

Cookie Cutter Fruit –  When you need to really keep it simple, here ya go. Place sliced fruit on a baking sheet or cutting board and let kids use cookie cutters to create fun shapes that double as healthy snacks.

cookie cutter watermelon via Kids Stuff World

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Fruit Pops – Slice fruit, such as kiwi and banana, insert sticks and freeze flat on a baking sheet. Once frozen, you and the kids can dip it into chocolate and various toppings to create this yummy summer treat.

frozen fruit pops via Our Best Bites

Suitable Recipes For Bigger Kids:

Easy Homemade Bread – No need to wait around for yeast to rise with this no yeast, no oil bread made with whole wheat flour. It’s the perfect recipe for learning to bake.

bread recipe via love food eat

Mini Apple Turnovers – Unroll crescent roll dough, brush with melted butter,  sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, fill with apple slices and bake. Yum!

mini apple turnovers via Cookin Up North

Pad Thai –  Yes, it’s a bit more ambitious than the other recipes, but it’s totally doable for kids to create with you (or a sitter) as the lead. And you’ll have dinner covered! Think how proud your kids will be!

pad thai
pad thai via The Kids Cook Monday

Check out UrbanSitter’s Cooking with Kids Pinterest board for more inspiration, recipes and tips for getting your kids helping in the kitchen.