Libby Ilson’s relationship with food changed when she discovered that her son, aka “The Kid”, suffered from peanut, shellfish, egg, dairy, beef, lamb and pork allergies. She is on a mission not only to keep her child safe, but to create delicious, healthy meals that replicate foods other kids his age are able to enjoy. The Allergic Kid started as a way to organize her recipes and has become a valuable resource for other food allergy cooks.
What has been the biggest challenge in changing your cooking habits?
The hardest part for me is actually the same thing that every parent has to face, and that is the job of getting a decent meal on the table at a decent hour every night. Ideally, cooking dinner should be a family activity, but in actuality my husband’s still at work, my kiddo’s doing homework at the table and I’m trying to help him while throwing something together that everyone will eat without grumbling. My son’s food allergies do keep me honest, though, since a bag from a drive through or pasta out of a can aren’t just unhealthy, they are horrifically dangerous to him
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This bean salad is perfect for any celebration, but it bursts of flavor make it ideal for Cinco de Mayo. Aside from classic Mexican ingredients, this bean salad takes a twist using white beans instead of black, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream and almonds instead of pepitas. This salad can be served as a light, vegetarian main meal or as a side dish for lunch and it’s perfect for the warm weather that’s headed our way!
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It’s not just about eating more fish and using olive oil. To get the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet, you need to embrace the lifestyle.
Many researchers have found that those living in the Mediterranean have a lower risk of certain types of disease. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that incorporating more olive oil and nuts may help reduce the risk of heart disease by about 30% in folks who are at high risk. Since the release of this study in April 2013 the popularity of the Mediterranean diet has skyrocketed—and with good reason. On top of incorporating many good-for-you foods, the cuisine is pretty darn tasty.
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It’s becoming more common to see parents eliminating foods or food groups from their healthy child’s diet. Even superstar mom Gwenyth Paltrow reportedly cut all gluten and carbs from her kids’ diets. Is it a good idea for parents to make drastic dietary changes without medical supervision?
We’re not talking about a child who is allergic to a food or needs to avoid it due to a medical reason. Parents are eliminating food groups like gluten, carbs, sugar, eggs or milk because they feel they aren’t healthy. Perhaps they spoke to “specialists” who advised them to do so or they made their own decision based on views they’ve seen in the media. (Oftentimes, these recommendations are geared towards adults, not kids.) They may also decide to follow a hot trend that isn’t scientifically sound.
According to this US Weekly article, Paltrow states that all the doctors, nutritionists and health-conscious folks she’s approached agree that gluten isn’t healthy. However, most registered dietitians agree that gluten shouldn’t be avoided if not medically warranted, especially in children.
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Can the key to healthy cooking be found in an aerosol can? There are pluses and minuses to using cooking spray.
Using cooking spray as a replacement for oil and butter can help cut back the calories. Since butter and oil have 100 to 120 calories per tablespoon (respectively), switching to a spray can mean fewer calories (and grams of fat) in your cooking.
Many brands use actual oils (such as olive and canola) as the primary ingredient, others rely on other types of oil and artificial flavorings– check ingredient lists on your brand of choice.
When used in a nonstick pan, a light coating of spray can allow for grilled cheese, French toast and eggs that aren’t glued to the pan. Spray is also good option to help give oven-baked breadings a crispier crust. A neutral flavored spray (like canola oil) can also be used to grease baking dishes and cupcake pans.
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Mix up a batch of lightened-up margaritas, then cook up a bunch of these fiesta-inspired favorites.
Soup, Starters and Sides
Fresh ingredients and lots of spice make these appetizers and side dishes healthy crowd-pleasers.
Mexican Chicken Soup
Mexican Zucchini Oven Fries
Five Layer Mexican Dip
Mexican Potato Skin Bites
Spicy Cheesy Rice
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The great thing about bacon is that everyone loves it and a little goes a long way to enhance a dish. You don’t need to pile it on to get huge flavor. I mean, look at the calories and fat in this feast — it proves that you can enjoy bacon without loads of extra fat or calories.
I love the way the bacon spruces up mild-flavored chicken and keeps the lean meat moist as it roasts. I wanted to create a fantastic presentation so I cut the bacon into little squares and arranged it on top of the chicken, like rooftop shingles. I used applewood-smoked bacon because I like the way the smoky apple flavor (from various apple trees) partners with the chicken and honey mustard. You can use any smoked bacon you want, including hickory or brown sugar. Read more »
Back in 2010, we did our Nonfat Greek Yogurt Taste Test and there were only a few brands to choose from. Today, the number of companies making Greek yogurt has exploded, and so have the flavor options. So how do the flavored varieties stack up? Find out.
I used our typical 5-point scale (5 being the highest) to rate these yogurts. For nutrition, I paid close attention to calories, protein and sugar content. Even plain Greek yogurt contains some natural sugars from milk (aka lactose) but when looking at flavored varieties, there’s often a large variation of ingredients. Sugars on the label can come from milk, fruit and/or added sugars.
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My 22-month-old, Hudson, is a great eater as far as I’m concerned. But that doesn’t mean he won’t dive into a bag of Goldfish crackers and devour them all. It takes a certain amount of effort to offer our little ones snacks that are nutrient rich and likeable. Sure, its easy to fall into the rut of Cheerios, cookies and crackers and there is a place for all of this in a balanced diet. I also believe our kids learn to like the foods we give them regularly. So try these healthy snacks out for size and your little one will benefit from the added nutrition a cracker doesn’t always have.
- Beans: Like a Cheerio, beans are a great, packable, finger food. Having a cabinet full of canned beans like chickpeas and black beans is as simple as being stocked up on cereal. Pop open a can, rinse the beans and offer them as part of a meal or packaged in a baggie as a snack for on-the-go. Packed with fiber, protein and lots of nutrients this is a no-brainer. Plus, soft beans like cannellini are easy on gums.
- Dried Fruit: A great alternative to fruit snacks, dried fruits like apples and cherries are a tasty finger food that have a good shelf life, pack easily and of source are loaded with antioxidants and nutrition. Look for no or low-sugar options. Read more »
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? But do you also love the 500-600 calories and 15-25 grams of fat per cup that comes with it (and who has just one cup)? Truth is, you don’t need heaps of fat to create a creamy and sensuous macaroni and cheese. A little butter goes a long way, as does good quality cheese. When it comes to toppings, I like the contrast of tender, cheesy noodles with crunchy toasted bread crumbs, but when you bake macaroni and cheese with a crust, the noodles dry out. So, for this dish, I created the topping in a skillet and then sprinkled it on at the end, creating golden brown, parmesan-spiked bliss. Also, lots of mac and cheese recipes call for a dash of hot sauce – the heat ramps up the cheese flavor and rounds out the dish. Instead of hot sauce, I decided to add a roasted jalapeno. The freshly roasted pepper adds the perfect amount of smoky heat and a splash of color. I think you’ll adore this! Read more »