meal planning

4 Ways to Involve Kids with Thanksgiving Preparation

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to get the kids involved with sharing some of the responsibilities in the kitchen. There are plenty of tasks your children can help with no matter what age.

  • Let each family member select one dish they’d like on the menu. Discuss what new foods they would be willing to try. Use this time to explain the importance of having a balanced meal that includes protein, vegetables and a variety of other dishes.

  • Let children help with table decorations. Ask them to craft some simple table decorations like placing colorful fall leaves in a bottle and create name cards for all your guests. Or they can get creative and crafty with glue making pilgrim name cards.

  • For kids who want to be more hands on with the prep work, give them a specific job in the meal preparation, i.e. mashing potatoes, chopping vegetables or stirring the gravy. (Of course, make sure they are being supervised when they are using sharp knives.)

  • On Thanksgiving, ask your kiddos to help set the dinner table. They can help fold napkins, set out the plates, put ice in the water glasses. Depending on the age, they can also help cook and serve plated dishes.

Your kids will become more invested in the celebration and come to the table with pride in their contribution. Happy Thanksgiving from the Mom Made family to yours!

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Thanksgiving placecards made by kids

Nine tips for an easier back-to-school

After long hours playing in the summer sun, the transition back to regimented school schedules and studying can be stressful on kids. Here are a few tips (and some fun ideas, too) to ease everyone back into the academic year from Mom Made Foods:

  1. It’s back-to-school time! To motivate your children, we’re fans of rewarding kids when they meet their goals. Have your kids set their own goals with your guidance and base them on what’s realistic for each child. Some ideas: eat healthy snacks, save part of their allowance, read a book a week/month or learn to play an instrument. Back to school tips with Mom Made
  2. Ever thought about getting your kids writing in a daily journal? We love this idea because it cultivates the writing and language skills vital to success in school and in life. Favorite topics to start young writers off: favorite school lunch, happiest summer moment, what I learned today.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame3
  3. Create a month-long lunch plan for your family. Bring your kids in on the planning! It’s a great way to make sure they finish their lunch and get the nutrition they need to be successful in the classroom.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame4
  4. Many kids are always on the hunt for a snack, especially right after school. Hide the cookie jar and counter unhealthy choices with easy-to-grab pre-cut veggies and fruit in the fridge.

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  1. Spend quality time eating together as a family! This “together” time is so essential to maintaining a bond for the whole clan. Another great way to squeeze in some QT: Sit down together on the weekend and plan ahead for dinners.

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6. Kids love notes—especially surprise notes from you stowed away in their lunchbox. Simply jot down an inspirational quote or a quick message on a napkin and slip it under their sandwich. THEY WILL LOVE IT.

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame77. How many plastic sandwich bags do you toss every week? We’re betting a lot. Switch to the reusable variety for packed lunches—you’ll reduce waste and save money. Our favorites are from our friends at LunchSkins and…Mom Made Munchies fit perfectly in them!

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame88. It can be next to impossible to find convenient foods that are actually healthy within the packed shelves at grocery stores. You have to commit to reading food labels to differentiate the “real food” from the rest. Simplicity is your best friend here. Focus on products with short, pronounceable ingredients and look for these labels: organic, antibiotic-free, non-GMO! Need more simple guidelines, then peak into our 2 min video "5 Tips for reading food labels."

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9. You don’t have to break into a sweat for exercise to “count.” But you do                   want to be regularly active with your kids—even walking or biking with them to school can make a huge difference. Combining this with balanced nutrition will keep your family on a healthy track and you’ll feel better!

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Fore more healthy insights and advice from our own Heather herself, please watch this 2 min video "5 Steps to hop on a healthy track."

It's never too late to start healthy!

8 Must-Do's to Make Back-to-School Healthier

breakfast1)  No more lazy days of summer!  Use the last few weeks of summer to get into a school-day rhythm. Practice waking up, getting dressed and eating breakfast at the same time every morning. It can also be helpful to prepare in the evening for the morning tasks. Get your children involved in the process, so you have an extra hand. When you do this as a family, life can be easier for everyone. 2) Rise & shine! Wake up an extra 10 minutes early to encourage your family to eat a healthy breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and critical to your child's day of learning.

3) Make it fun! Put on your creative cap to jazz up lunch and snacks with fun shapes and colorful. Write a funny note or joke to put into their lunch. blog1

4) Involve the kiddos! Empower your kids by involving them the prep work and decision making about what goes in the lunchbox. Carrots or sliced red peppers today? Then don't be surprised when they bring home an empty lunchbox after school.

5)  Sweet dreams! Move back bedtime a week before school starts to the "school night" bedtime. A well rested child is a child ready to learn.

blog26)  Stock up on the have-as-much-as-you-like snacks! Pack your kitchen with easy, healthy finger foods, such as grapes, berries, cherry tomatoes and baby carrots. After school, leave healthy snacks on the kitchen counter so your children will help themselves. Or, pack your veggie and fruit snacks in easy-usable containers, that will provide your child access to prepared snacks in the fridge.

7) Plan your dinners! Take the stress out of dinner and get some help planning ahead for easy meals. It also helps to save on groceries if you have a clean fridge at the end of the week. Our founder loves the mom-owned meal-planning service, The Six O'Clock Scramble.

8) Look for healthy shortcuts! Let all-natural and organic prepared foods take some of the stress off of you for those nights when you're dashing from school to after-school activities. Need a meal in 2 minutes that comes with no guilt? That's when Mom Made Meatball Bites, Mom Made Meals and Mom Made Munchies come to the rescue. :-)