Creating Meals and Snacks You Love with the Help of Wise Apple

Wise Apple

Thanks Wise Apple for sending me a complimentary week of meals for my family and me to try!

Wise Apple

Now that we’re back into the school routine, you, like me, may be ready to mix up your kids’ school lunch and snack options. How to do that you ask? Well…

How to mix up your kids’ school lunch and snack routine: 

  1. Do an internet search for kid-friendly recipes or school lunch ideas
  2. Switch to hot lunch for a week if your kids regularly take a packed lunch or vice versa
  3. Take your kids with you to the grocery store to pick out a few new foods they would like to try
  4. Consider signing up for a meal delivery service like Wise Apple

My family and I got the opportunity to try Wise Apple recently and we loved it. Not only did it give my kids some new food options to try, but I loved that it kept meal prepping in the morning super easy.

Fast Facts about Wise Apple 

  • You can select 5, 8, or 12 meals to be delivered at a time
  • Meals are all pre-approved by the Wise Apple registered dietitian and include a protein, vegetable, fruit and a sweet treat.
  • Lunches are designed with children ages 4-8 in mind
  • All food options are ready-to-eat; no microwave required!
  • The packaging is recyclable (you can learn more about how to recycle it here)
  • You can mix and match your meals OR re-purpose parts of the meals for school snacks as well
  • The Wise Apple team is passionate about offering locally sourced and organic options as much as possible if this is a food value that matters to you and your family
  • Cost ranges between $6.50 to $6.99 per meal

Our family appreciated mixing up our routine with Wise Apple and found that it fit well into our approach towards making meals and snacks work for all members of our family. You see, we’re dedicated to creating meals we love, that support the everyday function of our bodies, and allow each of us to become more confident eaters at the table.

Wise Apple Set of 5 Meals
Our 5 Wise Apple Meals included familiar and new foods for my kids to try. From baby carrots with yogurt ranch to crispy green pea fries, my kids enjoyed trying it all.

If you’re looking to embrace a similar approach towards meals and snacks, here are a few practical steps to make the most of each eating opportunity for you and your family:

Build up from your food group basics. Each meal or snack opportunity you have will come with food choices -what foods you choose to incorporate is up to you. I always like to encourage people to get started with their basic food groups – grains and starches, protein, fruits, vegetables and dairy. These foods tend to compliment each other well, providing both energy and a variety of nutrients needed for bodies to function properly.

Related: 3 Ingredient Bell Pepper and Hummus Flatbread

Plus, mixing and matching foods from your basic food categories can help keep things interesting without things getting overly complicated. Don’t forget to leave some room for some flavor enhancing fats and oils and fun foods too to maximize the fun and enjoyment of each eating experience.

Keep things familiar, but leave some room to grow. One of the greatest ways to support positive eating is to let new foods in from time to time. Not only does this help expand your family’s collective palate, but will give you additional foods and food combinations to work with so that you are continuously creating more dishes you and your family loves.

For kids in-particular, it may take some time to warm up to new food options. This is normal and it’s OK to ease into it. As you look to make the most of each eating opportunity, consider introducing new foods gradually, encouraging your kids be curious. And if they don’t try it on the first go around, you can rest easy knowing that they will at least eat the foods they are familiar with.

Allow for personal preference. Did you know that we all have innate hunger and fullness cues within us? It’s true BUT it’s rather easy to override these signals.  Luckily, it is possible to reinforce them through the regular meals and snacks we have and provide. Although there are many ways we could go about this, recognizing that everyone at the table is in charge of what and how much they eat is an important first step.

Related: Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding

This might mean not finishing one food before moving on to the next or letting kids eat as much or as little of something as they want. Again, providing a diverse array of food options can help ensure that kids not only get a variety of nutrients at each eating opportunity as they jump from food to food, but can also allow nurture confidence at the table.

Although Wise Apple may be a little more costly than a traditional school lunch, I really do appreciate that their meals easily allow for families to support positive eating experiences. Food groups are easily identified, familiar foods are next to new foods to try, and they are easy to mix and match based on personal preferences that can change from day to day.

And bonus: the meals are all nut- and allergy-free, making them a safe option for other students who are enjoying their meals alongside my sons.

Want to give Wise Apple a try? Get started here and get $20 off your first order!  or use code “katimora” at checkout.

4 Strategies to Head Back to School with Food Confidence

Back to School with Food Confidence

I always look forward to the beginning of each school year, but admittedly, I often forget just how busy the season can be. Whether you are headed back to school this fall, have kids who are, or are watching safely from a distance, the start of a new school year may require us to change up our strategy to maintain positive eating behaviors.

Back to School with Food Confidence

If change seems scary, take a deep breath, and read on because one thing that can remain steady in times of flux is your commitment to taking care of yourself.

Make meals and snacks a priority. Your schedule may change the exact times you eat, but it won’t change the fact that you still need to eat. This means you may need to look for different pockets of time where eating is possible for you. This will allow you to plan ahead and incorporate foods throughout the day that will help support your body.

Be food flexible. When life gets busy, our options for what we eat may not always seem “perfect.” But don’t let perfection stop you from eating. Instead, be food flexible.  By adjusting your food expectations, you may find that you stress less about what you eat. Not to mention, a food flexible approach can expand your food options, actually increasing your likelihood of better meeting both your energy needs and nutrient needs consistently.

Keep it interesting. Once you create space for meals and snacks and make eating a priority, it’s then possible to make the most of each eating experience. Whether you are eating in a college dining hall, packing lunches for you or your kids, or packing options to get you through a busy day at work, look for new foods and food combinations to try. Not only will this help keep meals and snacks more interesting, but it will also allow you to get more comfortable putting foods and flavors together.

Remember you’re not in this alone. If you find yourself struggling to make time to eat, find yourself stressing out or feeling bad about your food choices, or need fresh ideas to keep meals nourishing and enjoyable, I’m here to provide support. Whether you schedule a one-on-one session with me or want virtual support by connecting with me through the Healthie app, I’d love to be apart of your wellness team. To learn more about how we can work together, give me a call at 989-400-1478 or book your appointment online.


10 Strategies for Making Dinner Time Less Stressful

Stress Less Dinners

I look forward to dinner with my family every night. It’s one nonnegotiable in our schedule. But believe it or not, it’s not necessarily the most peaceful part of my day nor is it even my most peaceful meal. Dinner, for my family, is often crazy and chaotic and I’m not alone.

Stress Less Dinners

Many of the individuals I work describe their dinner time meals in the exact same way. And let’s face it, dinner is often challenging! Not only are we short on time, but we often have multiple people weighing in on what to eat or being easily distracted by the world around them. Not to mention the constant demands our kids often make while we attempt to get plenty of food around the table. So it’s no wonder that for many families, this meal loses it’s luster.

But guess what? Meals together matter. Although the meal you eat as a family or enjoy with friends doesn’t necessarily have to be dinner, this may be your opportunity to spend time together and reap the many benefits family meals can provide.

To make the most of dinner, here are some of my favorite strategies for calming the chaos:

Maximize your prep time. For some, this may mean prepping entire meals in advance. If this works for you, awesome! If you find that you are always busy or this seems too big of a project to attempt right now, look for ways to maximize your prep time in shorter intervals.

For example, you may not have time to prep an entire meal in advance, but maybe you have 5 extra minutes you can add in one evening while prepping a different dish. In that extra five minutes, consider preparing extra servings of vegetables, or reserving some parts of the meal you are preparing (think chicken breast, rice, quinoa, beans, etc). These items can then be stored in the fridge and incorporated into other meals throughout the week.

Create a plan for success. Knowing in advance what meals you want to enjoy can also help relieve stress and save some time. If you arrive at dinner time unsure of what is on your menu, it may take longer to figure out what you’ll eat and possibly frustrate you along the way. Even a general idea of what you’ll eat in advance can help you feel more prepared at meal time.

Mix & Match Dinner
Not sure where to start with your meal plan? Use this easy graphic to mix & match a few foods together to create balanced meals for the week.

Establish a consistent meal time. I’m not sure if anyone likes their meal to be a surprise, especially when they are hungry. Establishing a consistent dinner time allows everyone to be prepared for when to eat. This can also help individuals better regulate hunger or plan snacks accordingly. Being overly hungry when dinner is ready, well, even I might throw some tantrums in that state of mind.

Have a snack handy.  This strategy may not benefit everyone, but depending on when you’re able to get dinner on the table, may be an important step towards everyone eating well together. A small snack offered before dinner prep begins may help calm ravenous appetites and keep kids occupied while you start preparing your meal in the kitchen.

Related:  5 Reasons Snacking Can Benefit Your Kids Meal Plan

Offer options. Although you should avoid becoming a short-order cook for your family, it is okay to offer variations of a meal. Whether this is a deconstructed option where kids and adults alike can select which ingredients of the meal they want to incorporate on their plate, or even providing a base meal and then one or two optional add-ins, this method can give everyone the opportunity to create a meal they love without having to create multiple, separate dishes.

Keep one kid-approved food on the table. Sometimes new foods are intimidating for young eaters. To help reduce food anxiety, make sure there is a familiar food for your child on the table as well.

In my house, this is usually cottage cheese, bananas, or bread – all foods my kids enjoy and will eat no matter what else is on the table. By ensuring they have at least one familiar food, you can also stress less knowing that they will at least eat something that you’ve offered.

Acknowledge the chaos. To really make meals manageable, it’s important to be realistic with what to expect. Unrealistic expectations may set you up for a failed experience before the meal even begins. Recognize that it probably will be chaotic – something will probably get spilled, someone will probably not like something you’ve served, and someone will probably be done eating far sooner than anyone else.

By acknowledging the realities of your family meal time, you can come to the table prepared. This may mean you have a plan of action for how to deal with these certain situations or it may mean you look for ways to focus in on what truly matters. Either way, awareness can allow you to be best prepared for whatever may happen.

Stay positive. You have the ability to set the tone at meal time. Actually, we all do. By intentionally deciding to approach our dinners with a positive mindset, we automatically affect the overall tone of the meal. It may take a few meals for your positive attitude to impact those around you, but it can be a good start towards more enjoyable mealtime moments.

Know your division of responsibility. Division of responsibility is a way of deciding what role parents and kids play at meal time. According to the Ellyn Satter Institute, parents are responsible for the what, when and where of eating. Children, on the other hand, are in charge of how much and whether to eat from what parents provide. This division can be difficult to master, but as you become more comfortable practicing it, it will help make meals more enjoyable overall.

Remember why you’re gathering together in the first place. In the hustle and bustle of meal time, it can be easy to forget why you’re gathering together in the first place. After all, wouldn’t it just be easier to eat on your own? No matter who you decide to eat with, family-type meals are associated with all sorts of benefits.

In fact, families that eat together 3 or more times a week may see improvement in their emotional well-being and enjoy more nutrient-rich foods that sustain an active, satisfying life. Kids who eat with their parents may also perform better academically, be less likely to engage in risky behaviors, and have a better relationship with their parents.

Making time for dinner can be very beneficial for you and the ones you love. Consider incorporating a few of these strategies to make meal times work for you. Need more reasons to make meals work? Here are some great insights from the Six O’ Clock Scramble.

Need More Fiber in Your Life? Here Are 5 Foods To Help (And Whole Wheat Pasta Isn’t One of Them!)

fiber rich foods

Fiber. It’s an important nutrient we all need to feel our best. But for many of us, knowing we need it isn’t enough. In fact, most Americans struggle to find and enjoy enough fiber-rich foods to meet their daily needs. In case your curious, women typically need between 21 and 25 grams each day while men need between 30 and 38 grams.

fiber rich foods

Fun fact: Most Americans, on average, only get about 15 grams of fiber each day.

Fiber can be beneficial to your meal plan for a variety of reasons – improved digestive health, reduced risk of certain cancers, and lower cholesterol levels – just to name a few. But what I love about fiber is the delicious food it’s often found in. These foods tend to contain other important nutrients too and, when incorporated consistently into your meals and snacks, may help you better regulate hunger and satisfy your appetite.

Now before you automatically envision cardboard-like bars, breads or pastas, keep in mind that these aren’t the only fiber-rich foods on the market. I hear all the time from clients that either they or members of family just can’t stomach the texture of these particular foods. Lucky for them, and you, it is possible to meet your daily fiber goals without these particular fiber-rich options.

Fiber can be found in many foods, but these are some of my favorite non-grain options.

Black Beans. Omelets, quesadillas, and on top of sweet potatoes are just a few of my favorite ways to enjoy black beans. And guess what? There are approximately 15 grams of fiber in each cup!

Artichokes. This may be a less familiar veggie for you and your family, but there are a lot of ways to creatively add it to your meals and snacks. As you discover ways to add it to you day, keep in mind that a medium artichoke will provide you with approximately 10 grams of fiber every time.

Raspberries. Although you’ll find fiber in a variety of fruits, raspberries pack a major fiber punch! One cup of raspberries will increase the fiber content of your meal or snack by about 8 grams.

Flax seed. Although 2 grams of fiber may seem small in comparison to the amounts other foods listed here provide, keep in mind that the serving size for ground flax seed is a lot smaller too. In just a tablespoon you’ll find those 2 grams of fiber and this can be easy enough to sprinkle on top of your favorite cereal, yogurt or smoothie.

Avocado. Another great way to top off your meal with fiber is to top it off with a few slices of avocado. Despite its softer texture, it’s actually another fiber powerhouse with 3 grams of fiber in each serving. And by the way, a serving is just 1/3 of an avocado – not the whole thing.  Doable right? And avocados are a great example of a food with multiple benefits per serving thanks to the 20+ nutrients it contains.

Related: Avocado and Turkey Breast English Muffin Sliders

Meeting fiber goals doesn’t have to be complicated. Get curious in the kitchen and begin exploring basic foods that allow you to feel your best both now and in the future.

5 Foods to Add to Your Holiday Food List

Foods to Add to Your Plate this Holiday Season

Just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat without nutrition in mind. Actually, eating nutrient-rich foods may need to become an even bigger priority this time of year, especially if you plan on attending holiday parties, potlucks, or networking events.

This year, keep nourishing foods on your plate by seeking out a few of my favorites at your next holiday get together. These foods not only taste great, but will help ensure you get some much needed nutrients too.

Foods to Add to Your Plate this Holiday Season

Cheese. Cheese boards and platters are one of my absolute favorite finds at a holiday event. By adding it to your plate, you’ll be adding calcium, protein, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12 too. Cheese is often loaded with flavor too, so you don’t need too much to feel completely satisfied.

Pears. Another season favorite of mine are pears and this food typically isn’t served as often as other fruits like apple wedges, grapes, or orange slices. If you see these at a party, plate up! Pears are rich in fiber and vitamin C, making them another satisfying option. Not sure if pears will be at your party? Bring them yourself! Slice them up and dip in melted dark chocolate for a decadent yet delicious treat.

Pear and Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Related: Pear and Blue Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are becoming the ever-popular vegetable with more and more people incorporating them into their meals. Whether served roasted or shredded, Brussels sprouts are another great in-season food to keep an eye out for this time of year. Within each sprout you’ll find a wallop of nutrition. Fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and manganese are just a few of the nutrients you’ll find there.

Brussels Sprouts
Related: Brussels Sprouts with Feta, Walnuts and Honey

Water. It can be easy to forget about water despite it’s essential nature to our well-being. At holiday events, stick with water to stay hydrated and rely on food to provide you with the energy your body needs.

Fish. When it comes to main course items at holiday get-togethers, fish happens to be one of my favorites. Fish is protein-rich, and unlike other meat options, can provide a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids if its a fatty-fish. Currently, the American Heart Association recommends individuals get two servings of fatty-fish per week; however, if you are like my family, you may find it difficult to reach the recommendation consistently. That’s why you should take advantage of its offering at any holiday gathering that you can.

This holiday, keep an eye out for foods that will enhance your plate. Often there are many nutrient-rich foods present, you just have to know where to look or plan to incorporate them in yourself.