Healthier Lunches: Three Bean Salad

Beans are a fabulous source of protein, fiber, folate, iron and calcium. Get in a serving of beans, vegetables and healthy fats with this super simple kid-friendly salad!

Ingredients

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

How to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cannellini beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, celery, onion, parsley, and rosemary.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Serve at room temperature.

Healthier Lunches: Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 11

These whole wheat, maple-sweetened banana muffins are so fluffy and moist, no one would guess they’re healthy muffins. They’re easy to make, too, with basic ingredients and only one mixing bowl! Feel free to add mix-ins of your choice, like chocolate chips or toasted nuts.

Ingredients

1/3 cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

2 eggs, preferably at room temperature

1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)

1/4 cup milk of choice (almond, soy, coconut, dairy)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top

1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or other granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

Healthier Lunches: Easy Whole-Wheat Veggie Wrap

Use whichever veggies you have on hand to fill up this veggie wrap. The avocado and hummus help hold the wrap together—and provide heart-healthy fat and fiber.

Ingredients

1 8-inch whole-wheat tortilla

2 tablespoons hummus

¼ avocado, mashed

1 cup sliced fresh vegetables of your choice (shredded carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, spinach, sprouts, lettuce, olives, onion, tomato)

2 tablespoons shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

How to Make It

  1. Lay tortilla on work surface. Spread hummus and avocado on the tortilla. Add veggies and cheddar and roll up. Cut in half before serving.

Too much screen time?

Everyone loves screen time.  Whether it is watching a movie, playing a video game, reading the news, or talking with friends, technology is at the center of all of our lives.  Media and screen time, like most things, should be used in moderation.  While technology use is important in most facets of life today, too much screen time has been linked to obesity, difficulty sleeping, problems in school, aggressive behavior, and bullying.  It is important to help your child find a healthy balance.  A few simple guidelines can help keep screen time in check for you and your family:

  1. Remove all screens from the bedroom. Kids with TVs in the bedroom have been found to watch 1 ½ hours more TV than kids without TVs in the bedroom.  TVs in the bedroom have also been linked to obesity.  Availability of internet and texting in your child’s bedroom gives them unmonitored access to anything on the internet.  Keep all screens (including your own) out of the bedroom.  Try setting up a charging station for all devices in a common area.
  2. Monitor what your children are doing during their screen time! Just like you would ask who they are spending time with on the weekend, ask who they are spending time with on social media.  It is important to teach children what is and is not appropriate to share on social media.  Also, be aware of the websites they are going to and the apps they are using.  Play apps and video games with them!  Then you know what they are doing and if it is appropriate.
  3. Make sure screen time is age appropriate and educational. Not sure if a movie or video game is good for your child? Check out commonsensemedia.org.  This website is run by a nonprofit organization that provides independent ratings for movies, TV shows, video games, and apps.  It provides you with a summary of the game or video and suggested ages for appropriate use.
  4. Limit screen time for everyone in the family. All children should spend no more than 2 hours in front of a screen for non-school purposes.  Think of things you can do as a family that does not involve a screen: go for a walk, play a board game, go to the park, or read a book together.  Any activity that provides family interaction is preferred to screen time!
  5. No screens after dinner. We know that looking at a screen keeps your body from releasing melatonin.  Without melatonin you don’t feel sleepy when bedtime comes.  Sleep is important to help with mood, concentration, and learning.  If sleep is a problem for your child, try a screen fast (by eliminating electronic device use for a few weeks) to see if this helps restore a good sleep pattern.

 

Screen use is here to stay.  Help your child form good, healthy screen habits!

-Ashlee Mickelson, MD Pediatrician