No-Fail 15-min Beef & Veggie Fried Rice – So Simple a Kid Could Cook it and Did

egglands-best-beef-hah-with-street-corn-salsa-jennifer-fisher-voteI have a proposition! I’ll share my 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe and with all the time you save on dinner, you’ll spend the 1 minute it takes to vote for me in the Eggland’s Best “America’s Best Recipe Contest”! My regional-inspired recipe is for Texas Egg and Steak Hash with Chipotle Street Corn Relish (copied the photo below so you know exactly what to vote for) — thank you, thank you!

 

15 minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice

Now, onto the 15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice recipe (originally developed for Beeflovingtexans,com)  — it’s a win on so many levels. Not only is it a lightening speed dinner solution, it can be kept simple enough that an older kid can make it. Honestly, realizing that my teenage boys were completely capable of cooking dinner every once in a while was a light bulb moment for me. What a relief to know I can call ahead and get them to start dinner on those crazy days when I’m stuck in traffic, sitting at another kid’s sports game or even trying to finish up my own workout.

15 minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice is a super-quick way to get a vibrant and very healthy meal on the table. Plus, its simple enough that younger kids can help and older kids can cook on their own!

One of the tricks to cooking the recipe so quickly is super-thinly cut sirloin steak — a method that also stretches my food budget as it makes the meat look like, well, a larger quantity than it actually is!  So, just firm up your steak in the freezer for 10 to 30 minutes or before getting after it with a super sharp knife across the grain in razor-thin slices (like 1/8″ or less if you can).  When the meat is this thin, it literally takes 3 minutes or less to cook with the stir-fry method — toss in the hot, hot skillet and stir around constantly and quickly just long enough to take the “red” of. Beef should still look pink when you take it off the skillet as it will continue to cook a tiny bit, trust me, it will always be juicy and tender this way! Do NOT leave it in the skillet or wok as you continue to cook the veggies, that will just cause a lot of undesirable toughness.

skillet-vegetables-for-fried-riceAnother WIN is my recipe also includes a scramble of eggs, an assortment chopped vegetables selected by the young chef (a good trick to get kids to eat more veggies), a simple sauce and pre-prepared rice.  Of course, you can cook your rice the old-fashioned way, but in a hurry and with the kids, I either keep those rice pouches from the frozen aisle on hand or meal prep my own and package into portions.

Love to use crunchy nuts for the top, NOW Foods has a great selection of organic options — cashews may be my favorite!

wiliam-and-beef-sirloin-fried-rice

William, the 16-year old chef who picked out all the yummy veggies for this recipe and cooked them up for his mama! 

So, no need to call for Chinese take-out to solve dinner – make your own healthier version in less time than it would take the delivery guy to show up. What’s even better than this? Getting the kids in the kitchen while you kick your feet up!

Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried RiceLooking for a more exotic fried rice recipe? Try my Coconut Macadamia Nut Fried Rice, it is soooooo swoon-worthy!

So, do you get your kids in the kitchen to cook? What’s in their repertoire? If you could only have 3 veggies (or fruits) in a stir fry – gasp – what would they be? Please share in the comments below – XOXO , Jennifer 

 

15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice Recipe
Print Recipe
Get a vibrant and very healthy fried rice dinner on the table in less time that it would take to wait on delivery -- faster, fitter, fresher and easy enough for older kids to prepare!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
15-minute Beef & Veggie Fried Rice Recipe
Print Recipe
Get a vibrant and very healthy fried rice dinner on the table in less time that it would take to wait on delivery -- faster, fitter, fresher and easy enough for older kids to prepare!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minute
Cook Time
5 minute
Instructions
  1. Bring large skillet to high medium-heat. Add olive oil and add cut sirloin and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 4 minutes or until no longer red but pink n the middle with edges browning.  Remove from heat immediately and drain on paper towels.
  2. Spray same skillet (now empty) with cooking spray. Add eggs, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring vigorously, until scrambled. Scoop out of skillet to rest next to beef.
  3. Place bag of rice in microwave and cook on high for 4 minutes. Or, used 10 ounces of previously prepared rice. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add remaining olive oil to same skillet (now empty again) and stir fry vegetables on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Exact time will depend on size and type of chopped vegetables.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add cooked rice, cooked beef and cooked eggs back to skillet with vegetables. Stir to combine.
  6. Quickly mix together soy sauce and Sriracha. Evenly drizzle over top of mixture and stir well to combine, continue to cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until heated through.
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Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes and La Tomatina

Tomato toes IG‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!

Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes - multiply the recipe and store in the freezer or year-round enjoyment on salad, pizza, pasta, steak and more.

Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.

 Also, if you’re looking for a top-notch olive oil, I highly recommend the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Ellydale Organics, a division of NOW Foods.

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes 250 - thefitfork

I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!

So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!

What is your favorite fruit or veggie of summer?  Would you rather eat a tomato or throw it? Let’s connect in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes
Print Recipe
Celebrate summer all year long by roasting up several batches of these succulent, sweet roasted tomatoes -- so much better than sun dried!
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
  2. Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme.
  3. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
  4. Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.
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Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting).  Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.

 

Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com Tri-Colored Quinoa  and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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Asparagus and Feta Egg Scramble – Breakfast in 10 minutes

Are you scrambling to get out the door on time when the sun rises and skipping (or stumbling) right past breakfast? Missing your morning meal is a mistake for sure – I always end up getting “hangry” mid-morning and end up molesting the vending machine. That’s why I like to plan ahead just a bit to have ingredients on hand to make a quick fix like the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese  I’m sharing today or to prep a make-ahead meal  such as my Barn Raiser Beef & Egg Casserole (freezable in individual portions).

sparagus and Feta Egg Scramble is a simple, protein-rich breakfast solution that comes together in 10 minutes.

So, if you’ve got 10 minutes in the morning, you have a whole 600 seconds to get cracking on this Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese. If you prep veggies the night before, you might be able to get it done more quickly!  This easy egg recipe also makes a lightning-speed dinner solution on those nights when orchestrating a complicated meal is absolutely, positively out of the question.

This is how to get the speed you need -asparagus, spinach and tomatoes sautés together on the stove top while eggs are scrambled on a nearby burner. When the two skillets are just seconds from being done, just slide out the contents from one into the next and stir!

Asparagus Egg Scramble with Litehouse Foods Feta Seasons

I’ve give this breakfast dish some salty, tangy zip thanks to the distinctive flavor of feta cheese – love using the new Simply Artisan Reserve Feta Cheese Crumbles, the container sprinkles these tiny cheese pieces just like a grated Parm. It’s genius!  Look for it, along with Bue Cheese Seaons in the specialty cheese section of your local grocery store.

I’ll be sharing this recipe on the Expo Floor Sunday morning, Jun 5th,  at the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Food Show in Houston, Texas. Swing on by, if you’re attending!

Asparagus & Feta Egg Sandwich

Meanwhile, make an easy feat of feasting with the Asparagus Egg Scramble with Feta Cheese recipe! Serve straight from the skillet or spoon atop toasted whole grain toast – I’ve even bookended between bread to eat sandwich-style when rushing out the door. Enjoy!

What is your biggest hurdle getting out the door in the morning? Eggs, how do you take them? Are you running or competing in anything this weekend? Please share in the comments — XOXO, Jennifer

Asparagus & Feta Egg Scramble
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
8 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
8 mintues
Asparagus & Feta Egg Scramble
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
8 mintues
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 2 minutes
Cook Time
8 mintues
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, whisk eggs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Spray 12” skillet with cooking spray and bring to medium-low heat. When hot, add eggs and stir fairly vigorously using spatula, for approximately 5 minutes.
  3. In another 12” skillet, add olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add asparagus and carrots and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Next add spinach, tomatoes and garlic, stirring frequently and continuing to sauté for about 3 additional minutes or until spinach is wilting.
  4. Keep eggs on medium-heat and add sautéed vegetable mixture, stirring to incorporate.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles.
  6. Season additionally with salt and pepper, if needed.
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Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash

Pepita Crusted Salmon & Calabacitas platedCast your net beyond nachos, tacos and enchiladas, my Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash is a yummy Mexican cuisine inspired meal that is guaranteed to reel in compliments. Even though salmon isn’t found anywhere near the mild oceans and seas of Mexico, this seafood-loving culture enjoys fish from around the world – just like we do here in North America. So, it’s salmon for dinner tonight!

Pepita Crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash is a fast, flavorful and fit option for a weeknight dinner.

This fish and veggie recipe will be a regular in your weeknight dinner routine, it’s as easy as uno, dos, tres! First, spread with your favorite ranch or creamy dressing (I use Cotija Cilantro Ultra Premium Dressing) atop a salmon filet. Second, top salmon with crushed tortilla chips and roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), and then bake for 12 minutes. While fish is cooking in the oven, a quick skillet of squash comes together in minutes for a speedy yet stunning side dish generically called “calabacitas”  — I used Mexican-style zucchini but you can easily substitute with your favorite summer squash such as sunburst or crookneck.

Zucchini and Pumpkin Seeds for my  Calabacitas and pepitas

Cooler of Frozen Sizzlefish

This recipe would also work well with a variety of meatier fish types, just swap for your favorite variety. I get my fish from Sizzlefish.com, they only source the best fish and I love how it’s shipped straight to my door, flash-frozen in perfectly portioned, 4-ounce servings. It terms of protein intake for a healthy lifestyle, 4-ounces of most fish and meat proteins gives you 25g (more or less) of protein – which is the optimal amount for your body to process at any one time. So, no guesswork with how much to eat with here, just open the freezer and grab individually-packaged serving from Sizzlefish.  I also love the different “collections” of fish I can order (Paleo Prime Plus my favorite with Coho Salmon, Sokeye Salmon, Wild Gulf Shrimp, Atlantic Scallops, Sable Fish, Cod and Haddock).

Through the end of May, take 10% off your order at SizzleFish.com with the discount code FITFORK10 at checkout.

What is your favorite type of fish? What did you do this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash i
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Pepita-crusted Salmon with Skillet Squash i
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Instructions
  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
  2. Add tortilla chips a zip top bag and crush to a coarse consistency with rolling pin. Add peptias to bag, shake to combine, and pour out mixture onto shallow dish.
  3. Pat salmon filets dry with paper towels, place skin side down and sprinkle top with pepper. Brush each top with approximately 1 tablespoon creamy dressing. 
  4. One at a time, pick up the salmon filets and press the coated side down into the tortilla chip mixture until evenly coated. Place the salmon tortilla side up on the baking sheet and sprinkle with additional pepitas, lightly pressing them down, if desired.  Discard the unused tortilla chip mixture.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes, until the coating is crisp and fish begins to flake when pressed with a fork.
  6. While fish is baking, add olive oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Add garlic, squash and bell pepper and sauté, stirring constantly, for approximately 4 minutes or until softened. Stir in cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt, continuing to cook for another 1 minute. Remove from heat and toss with pepitas.
  7. To serve, top salmon with an approximate 1 tablespoon dollop of creamy dressing with a side of the prepared squash.
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Paleo Carrot Ginger Gazpacho – Some Bunny Loves You

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!”  That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer.  Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration.  Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

 

Benefits of Ginger - TheFitFork.comWhen I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!”  That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful  of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits.  Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.

To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste.  A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need.  Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off.  Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!

Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot?  Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho is perfect for light lunches, Easter brunches and as a prelude to your spring entree. Paleo, sugar free, raw, vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
Print Recipe
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Passive Time
2 hours
Instructions
  1. Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water. .
  2. Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
  3. Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
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5 Ways to Get Teens’ Taste Buds to Grow Up + Visa GC Giveaway

Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course!  Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?!  Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.

I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Vegetables

Always funny or philosophical, this kiddo says “Potatoes are the ‘gateway’ vegetable”

Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.

Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.

5 ways to get your teen's taste buds grown up

  • Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
  • Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
  • Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
  • Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
  • Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.

Birds Eye Flavor Full Veggies - Buffalo Cauliflower

As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn.  Check here for a product locator.

Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).

Win a $25 Visa Gift Card at TheFitFork.comEnter to win my giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card — you can spend it on vegetables for your teens, or whatever you please. Although I really hope you get some cauliflower and beets!

Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.

 

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 No-Cook Jicama Wraps for Dog Days of Summer

These No-Cook Jicama Wrap ideas are the perfect meal solution  for the dog days of summer.

I have a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you (I’m pointing to all of y’all)!  I’ve been having this love affair with jicama for a while now, you’ve probably seen some of the posts here and on Instagram– this is one of my favorite, Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer. I now have a new addition to the no-cook meal solutions — Four No-Cook Jicama Wraps!  It’s the perfect solution for the dog days of summer — and speaking of the “dog days,” check out my Lucy helping me with yoga!

I revisited this jicama obsession when I noticed that my grocery store started stocking jicama “tortillas” in their produce department. They are made in-house and sold in the convenience prepped veggie section – I did a little jump for joy when I first spotted them sitting there waiting for me. I’ve drooled over all the jicama “taco” recipes on Pinterest, but I’ve never been able to slice my jicama that thin (cause I’m not losing a finger on the mandolin)! Yay, now I have people that do that for me!

I originally made this collection of jicama tacos (or wraps or rollups – what does one call them?) to showcase the OPA by Litehouse™ Greek Yogurt Dressings.  I love those dressings, they taste so rich and indulgent but they have fewer calories than traditional dressings . . . and more protein, too!

Some of the perks of these jicama rollups – the are Paleo friendly depending exactly what you put on top; they are crispy, crunch and low calorie; and, whoot-whoot – there is no heating up the kitchen with the oven.

Fig, Blue Cheese and Arugula Jicama Wraps

Sliced Black Mission Figs + Arugula + Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese + Balsamic Syrup + OPA by Litehouse™ Blue Cheese Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Bean and Mango Relish Jicama Wrap makes a sweet and spicy vegetarian meal -- no cooking!Black Beans+ Mango Pico de Gallo + Cilantro + OPA by Litehouse™ Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot, Pea and Radish Jicama is so much tastier than bunny food! Matchstick Carrots+ Thawed Frozen Peas + Radish Slice +Fresh Dill + OPA by Litehouse™ Feta Dill Dressing

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa, Tomato and Ranch Jicama Wrap makes a quick and easy summer lunch -- no cooking!Quinoa + Tomato Slices + Flat Parsley + OPA by Litehouse™ Ranch Dressing

Full disclosure on this one — the quinoa is cooked, obviously. It was leftover — use any leftover grain that you have like brown rice, wheat berry, couscous and so on!

 

Don’t forget to check out my past round-up of Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer.

Jicama is a root vegetable that tastes a bit like a mild apple. It doesn't oxidize when cut -- the perfect crunchy ingredient for salads and summer no-cook recipes.

Are you a fan of jicama? What is your favorite no-cook recipe for the dog days of summer? Please share in the comments below!