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roasted chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

roasted chickpeas

Toddler and Dad approved, Bookofyum.com‘s crunchy twist on a usually soft favorite is low in carbs, gluten free and high in protein, too. It’s also Vegan! Translation: Roasted chickpeas? Yes, Please!

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • herb blend, herbamare or other mild herbal salt blend (salt-free
  • is ok)
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Drain chickpeas in a strainer. If you desire a lower sodium batch, rinse with water.
  4. Place in a bowl lined with a cloth towel.
  5. Pat the chickpeas dry and rub off any translucent skins. Turn the towel wrapped chickpeas upside down into the bowl, removing the towel.
  6. Drizzle the oil over the chickpeas, distributing evenly.
  7. Pour the chickpeas onto the baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with your herb blend, herbamare, smoked paprika, and then nutritional yeast.
  8. Roast for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

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bite size veggies

Why Cooking With Kids is Beneficial

bite size veggiesThis is a guest post by Stephanie Lomax, a personal chef in the Washington Metropolitan area.

In today’s hectic world planning out healthy meals for your kids on top of all your other responsibilities may seem like a daunting task. On top of that getting kids to eat healthy food may seem impossible. Cooking alongside your children can actually prove to be a rewarding and practical solution for both you and your children!!!

You’re a busy parent working on a high stress, fully packed schedule! Taking care of your children is a job in itself but if you work outside of the home you may find yourself exhausted at the end of the day!After a long, tiring day your children run to you and frantically ask “What’s for dinner?! I’m HUNGRY!” As a parent you are left with a challenging decision. You ask yourself: “How can I find the time to cook a delicious and nutritious meal on top of everything else?” or “Should I pick up some quick easy fast food?”. Neither option seems like the best choice. Well don’t worry, there is a better choice!

Cooking meals with your children may seem like it only adds challenges to a tough dilemma. However, with simple meals and a little bit of prep ahead of time the benefits can outweigh the challenges! Here are 5 benefits to cooking with your children and some simple ways to plan meals to cook with your kids.

Benefits:

  1. Teach kids the importance of healthy eating and give them tips to implement even into adulthood. With the right cooking coach they can learn to avoid prepared foods, fast food and see the importance of healthy eating from a young age. Kids are also most likely to appreciate foods they typically wouldn’t eat if they were a part of the preparation process.
  2. Keeps kids busy. If you’ve ever tried to multi-task watching children and keeping them from mischief while try to prepare a meal then you understand the importance of this! Instead of hearing “He hit me!” or “I didn’t do it!” keep your children right by your side and give them productive work to accomplish.
  3. Turns kids into successful adults. The skills learned while preparing meals can be used in all aspects of life even outside the kitchen! Cooking instills skills like teamwork, attention to detail, responsibility, time management, and motor skill development.
  4. Works out better for you in the long run. Imagine coming home to a nice, delicious, meal already prepared and waiting for you. Imagine it being prepared by your own children! If children are trained from a young age by the time they reach their pre-teen years they can become quite independent in the kitchen!
  5. Quality time! This is a phrase that may sound cliche but there really is something to it. Cooking with your kids allows you to get to know your children in a non-threatening, peaceful environment. Observe their work habits, exceptional skills and guide them into success! When you’re cooking talk to your children and really listen as they tell you about the things that excite, worry, or frustrate them.

Tips:

  • Cut vegetables and fruits in bulk and store them in the refrigerator ahead of time so they can be easily assembled when dinner time rolls around.
  • Incorporate a variety of fun colors, shapes, and flavors. If food looks fun, bright and fresh kids will be more likely to get excited about eating healthy.
  • Reinvent healthy alternatives to your child’s favorite meals! Examples: “Wheat-zza’s” (wheat pizzas) using wheat pitas or fresh noodle stir-fry chock full of vegetables instead of prepared noodle soup.
  • Give kids age appropriate tasks to complete. Ages 2-5 can stir, pour, and count food items placed in a dish. As they develop give kids more challenging responsibilities such as measurement, sifting, and proper knife and stove use (with supervision).

Try the kid friendly recipe below!!!


Wheat-zzas (Pita Pizzas)

A healthier alternative to a kid favorite. This recipe uses wheat pita bread and a semi-homemade veggie marinara sauce.

Ingrediants

  • 6 pita rounds
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegetables (try zucchini, carrots, or mushrooms)
  • A handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • Toppings of your choice ( try incorporating your kids favorite veggies or use traditional toppings like pepperoni and sausage)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine the tomato sauce and shredded vegetables of your choice and bring to a boil. Turn the stove down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Warm pitas in the preheated oven or in a microwave for 1 minute, or until soft. Place them on a baking sheet. Spread lightly with tomato sauce, pressing to flatten while spreading.
  4. Layer pitas with first with fresh baby spinach, then with cheese, and last the toppings of your choice.
  5. Place pitas in the preheated oven 8 minutes, or until the pita bread has reached desired crispness. Serve whole, or cut into slices.

What the kids can do:

Kids 6 and under can help mash the warm pita, spread sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Older kids can mix the shredded vegetables with the tomato sauce, shred the vegetables (with supervision) and assemble their own pizzas with less supervision.


Stephanie is a freelance personal chef located in the DC metropolitan area and she specializes in meal prep. If you are a busy working professional, a parent, or a fitness enthusiast then you can benefit from her. She will meet with you to discuss your needs and food preferences and then she will prepare meals fresh for you in the comfort of your own home! Contact Stephanie at stephlomax0392@gmail.com for more information on her services.

MomNMe Fit Virtual 30 Day Fitness Challenge

 

The momNmeFit challenge is a virtual 30-day Fitness Challenge designed to provide mothers with a structured program that will help encourage, educate and empower them to a healthier lifestyle in 2015. However, unlike other fitness challenges, the momNmeFit challenge is a trailblazing program focusing on teaming mothers up with their kids so that they can participate in this journey of health and fitness as a family.

This 30-day adventure forges the proper habits needed for healthy living. Mothers and kids can embrace this challenge together, which allows them to experience a greater joy in their collective success and the improved overall health of their family.

Sophie B. echoes what a lot of momNmefit Challenge mothers have been expressing in regards to the example that they can set for their daughters:

“It’s very important to me to make sure I set a good example of healthy living for my daughter. As she enters her teenage years I know she will be more concerned with how she looks and I want her to be proud of how she looks. Most importantly I want her to develop healthy habits now that she will grow up with so taking this journey together will create great memories and great habits!”

The momNmeFit challenge makes hard work fun and exciting. The enrollment process is a breeze, low-cost and life changing.  And if that weren’t enough to entice moms and kids to enroll, participants can compete against each other for some really cool prizes.

Participants will receive daily accountability, encouragement, coaching, guidance and fitness goals. Mom’s must post one photo on their Social Media accounts to show their commitment and willingness to be held accountable.

Workouts will have a Bootcamp feel and encompass a wide range of muscle blasting, heart pumping exercises to help burn the calories and blast away the unwanted pounds. Individual fitness levels will be taken into consideration.

Participants will also learn how to shop for healthy living, tasty recipes and meal preparation. All the bases are covered in this program. And just to make sure participants stay on track, there are fitness raffles based on the family’s participation.

Rebecca M. is excited about the potential life changing habits that the momNmeFit challenge instills:

“This program will help people like me learn the habits needed for a healthier lifestyle. I’m excited to learn these lessons alongside my kids. Our family will be happier and healthier.”

Don’t let 2015 start off on the wrong foot. Put those New Year’s resolutions into action and get moving with the momNmeFit 30-day challenge.

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Mom’s…Getting Fit on a Tight Schedule

Mom’s…Getting Fit on a Tight Schedule

We all wonder why time is never enough when it comes to health and fitness. For parents, especially mom’s, it is even harder because they have to fit in many tasks in their daily agendas. These tasks not only revolve around themselves, but rather around an entire family making time even shorter. Managing time and prioritizing is the key to success. How important is it for you to stay healthy and to influence your kids to be healthy as well?

Kids’ bigger role models are their parents. Children are like sponges; they absorb (learn and copy) everything they hear or see. While kids are in their developing stage of life, it is of extreme importance that parents do everything in their power to install healthy habits around eating and exercising.

Exercising can be made fun and productive at the same time. It can be used as a way to bond with your kids.  If the weather is nice outside, go to the nearest park or even in your own backyard and take a beach ball or a Frisbee and play a quick game with your kids. You could even involve the family dog in the games. This will help you manage time; while the dog goes out for a walk, you spend time with your kids and everyone gets in a couple of minutes of exercising and fresh air in their day.

As I was growing up my dad would use working out (play) as a motivation for me to finish my homework. I could go ride my bike or skate with him around the neighborhood as soon as all my school work was done. I remember having so much fun that I couldn’t wait to finish it so that I could go out and do these fun activities with my dad.

Swimming is another great way to exercise and have fun at the same time. Recreation Centers are great places to go to on the weekend to bond with your kids, work out and relax for a couple of hours.

When you are purchasing toys for kids, consider toys that will allow kids to move around like jump ropes or hula hoops. Even when you and your family are watching TV at night, during the commercials everyone can fit in a couple of minutes of movement like doing jumping jacks or sit ups.

When grilling food as in for a barbecue, grill things that are considered healthy. Always add more vegetables in your plate than other foods and make sure you always keep a glass of water with you. Fruits are inexpensive and also have great benefits. Make sure your kids eat plenty of fruits and vegetables when eating their meals. I am a vegan and I encourage you to try eating less meat in your diet. Maybe you can have a day in the week in which you abstain from it for example: Vegan Fridays where you and your family will make an effort to only eating plant- based products. Cook with your kids! Involve them in the kitchen. It will serve as a learning experience for them to know what things are healthy to eat and how to make them.

Remember exercise is something that can be done at any time and under any circumstances. You can do it at work, in school (during recess time,) and a little bit before going to bed. It will help release stress and allow you to rest better at night. You can do 5 minutes of exercising with your kids before hitting the shower. There is always room for exercising. Do not let the lazy inner you to tell you otherwise. And the more you exercise, the easier it becomes. When you get used to it, you will be missing it when you don’t do it.

Fitness is tremendously important now days that the rates of child obesity have skyrocketed. People work so hard to pay bills and believe me; we all have them. However, it is possible to fit workout routines throughout your day that will bring short and long term benefits to you and your family’s lives. Inspire and motivate your kids to lead a healthy life by creating these health routines with them. It might seem tougher than it actually is. Just give it a try for at least a month without stopping for a grasp of air and the results of your new lifestyle changes may surprise you and most definitely pay off in the long run.

Stay Healthy,

Grace Vinda

MECKids Ambassador

5 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

5 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

5 Exercises You Can Do AnywhereKids, work, travel. All reasons we look to in order to skip the workout. Not anymore! The best part of fitness is that it’s versatile. You can sit in a chair and workout, you can stand and workout. No matter where you are in your day, you can fit in exercise and show your kids, no matter what the day brings, it can be done!

MECKids has 5 exercises you and your kids can do ANYWHERE and together!

Wall Sits: Place yourself against a wall and walk your legs out until you are at a 90 degree angle. Hold that position for 60 seconds. Do that for 3 reps.

Push-ups: No matter if you are do them with bent knees or or with your legs extended out, you will get your heart-rate UP! Do 15 reps for 3 sets.

Lunges: While in standing position, extend (lunge forward) with one leg. Alternate 15 reps on each leg for 3 sets.

Squats: Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Bend down 90 degrees then return to standing position. Repeat this motion for 15 reps, 3 sets.

Planks: Work that core! Stand in full push-up position with legs extended out and arms out at full extension touching the floor. Shoot for 60 seconds, 3 reps.

The beauty of these exercises is that they are simple, yet effective and of course, can be done anywhere! Stuck in a cramped hotel room? No problem. Busy day at the office or at home with the kids? No problem!

Doing these with the family ensures the workouts will get done and make it that much more fun!

Stay active with your family no matter where you are! You gotta move!

Need some more workout ideas? Join the 30 day #momNMeFit Challenge starting January 26, 2015! Both kids and moms will learn how to stay fit & motivated towards a healthy path for the future. 

5 Tips to Help You and Your Child De-Stress!

Stress is common for adults but did you know, kids can get stressed as well? It’s true, and though reasons adults stress may differ from that of children, it can still wear on them. Their mental well-being is just as important as their physical well-being.   5

Here are 5 amazing tips to help your child de-stress!

  1. Breathing exercises: Have them take 3, deep, 5 second breaths-in and out. This circulates the blood in our bodies and sends oxygen to the brain to help the body release tension.

 

2.   Listen to soothing music to relax them.                Calming music can have a direct effect on mood and ease the mind and body to put                kids in their happy place.

3.  Laughter! Watch something funny with your child or tell them funny jokes. Just like                exercise, laughing releases endorphins or the “feel good chemical” in our bodies and              make them feel less anxious.

  1. Get their minds elsewhere. In other words, distraction. Activities like exercise are best. They cause a calming effect on the body that may soothe and will tire them out as well making them feel more relaxed.

5.   When in doubt, talk it out. Sometimes just venting is all kids need to feel better about            a situation that has made feel tense or anxious. Talk with your kids, ask them what                  they are feeling and figure out the best way to make them feel better, together.

Kids often times don’t know how to deal with their feelings especially ones that don’t make them happy. That’s why it’s important to provide them with methods of coping with the stress they may encounter. We would like to think they have no care in the world but they do experience stress and following tips like these will make it easier for parents to manage stress factors on their kids.


How do you help your kids de-stress? Share in the comments below.

Get Kids Fit, 5 Ways to Set the Example not to Quit!

Parenting is the toughest yet most rewarding job you will ever have in your life.

With the copious amounts of responsibility to work and raise your kids, you may find it difficult on top of day-to-day tasks add in exercise.

Knowing it must be done is half the battle. Luckily, MECKids can help with the other half. Here are 5 great tips on how to get your kids involved with exercise.

1. Be the example! Show them it’s fun. If they see you doing it, they are more likely to want to join in. Remember your kids are watching you and a lot of what they will do in their life has a lot to do with what they’ve seen growing up.file000424689667

2. Make fitness a challenge in your home. Team up with others in your family to create fitness challenges. If you can grab fun gear, you can create challenges like: “Who can hula hoop the longest?” If you don’t have access to gear, make chasing each other at the local park a fun game!

3. Kids may not like the idea of exercising so use alternative words if you have to. Instead ofmentioning the word “exercise,” you can say, “Let’s go have some fun together.”

4. Once your child starts becoming active, praise them for what they are doing to create encouragement. They will most likely want to do it again if they know they will be praised for it.

5. Create a colorful and interactive calendar. Aim for an hour of activity a day. Have them place a sticker or mark off different days with a different color once the activity is done. It gives them something to look forward to after.

If all else fails, sneak in active time. A great way to do this would be parking far away from places you have to go so you have to walk further.

These tips are great ways to set the example for your kids and a fantastic way to create more bonding time.

It can difficult to balance work and all of your family’s needs but that’s why MECKids was created. We are dedicated to helping you and your kids find a passion and a purpose to live a healthy lifestyle! On November 15th, MECKids is launching MomNmeFit, a program designed specifically for Moms and their kids to get out and get active!

Stay tuned and keep moving!

Salty Snacks!

I snack a lot. Working from 9-5 is quite similar to being in school. I am not a fan of energy or sugary drinks to keep me alert so I turn to snacking to keep me energized. When I snack, I like to snack on salty things. I grew up never having a sweet tooth but I can’t get enough of salt.

When I first started college, I did a lot of snacking. Chips were my thing. I ate sooo many chips. Doritos, cheetos, fritos. I also ingested so much beef jerky. I told myself that beef jerky was so good for me because it was protein (I didn’t take into account how much salt I was putting into my body).

Then there were meals. Quick, cheap meals to get me through the day. My go to meal? Ramen. $10 bag of Ramen got me through salt cravings at lunch. I ate so much Ramen, until my body started not functioning properly. I had headaches all the time and I had no energy. Not to mention, I was always grouchy. One day I decided to ‘Google’ everything that was in my diet on a normal basis. Ramen being one of them was by far the scariest foods I was digesting. “Along with other instant noodle products, boost the risk for cardiometabolic syndrome, a risk factor for serious cardiovascular illness and stroke, particularly in women.” I am a woman and I had all the symptoms that kick start these terrible Ramen symptoms. (click here to read article)

I had to change my diet ASAP! But I did not want to get rid of my love for salty snacks! So I made swaps.

Here are of the best salty snacks to eat:

 

1.Edamame – 1 cup unshelled edamame 120 caloriesedanome

2. Tuna Jerky-One 1-oz. package tuna jerky. 90 calories

tuna jerky

3. Pickle and Turkey Wrap: 2 oz. Applegate Honey and Maple Turkey Breast wrapped around 2 bread-and-butter pickles. 80 calories

pickles

4. Cheese and Crackers: 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thins. 85 calories

cheese

4. Cheese and Crackers: 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thins. 85 calories

cheese and tomato

5. Mozzarella and Tomatos: 1 oz. buffalo mozzarella, 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes. 94 calories carrots

6. Hummus and Carrots: 1/4 cup hummus, 3 carrot sticks. 80 calories baked cheetos

7. Cheetos: 1 bag Baked! Cheetos 100 Calorie Mini Bites. 100 calories almonds

8. Almonds: One 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds. 130 calories

To see the rest of the article click here!