Category Archives: blogs

5 Steps To Get Food Organized for Sports Tournaments

If you have a child in competitive sports you know what an away tournament can look like. Continental breakfasts, restaurant meals, treat sharing every night….That is why being food organized for sports tournaments can make all the difference in the world.

The downside of doing no planning and jumping in the car assuming that your tournament town and the rest stops along the way have all the food and drink that you need is that toward the end of the weekend you and your kids end up low on energy (which really sucks if you make it to the finals), people end up with short fuses….and low and behold, come monday….everyone is sick.

So here are my best tips on how I get food organized before we leave for hockey tournaments. I have to thank all the hockey moms and dad’s from my hometown who have given me ideas along the way.

And make sure to grab the free download at the end. It will be very useful for you.

1. Request a small fridge and microwave in your hotel room.

Many hotels already have these in each room but if you are not sure, just call the hotel in advance and request it. Sometime hotels only have limited numbers of them so don’t wait. Call now!

Remember that the hotel fridges are not large so use smaller packaging with the food that you bring bring ice for your cooler.

2. Find out if your hotel serves a hot breakfast.

One of my favourite hotel features is a hot breakfast. No, not because of the croissants (well, maybe I will treat myself to one…once…maybe:-)…

Seriously though, if they have some fruit, real eggs and bacon then that is perfect. Breakfast is covered. (Yes, we have actually seen not real eggs).

If not, plan to bring some hard boiled eggs, yogurt, trail mix and fruit. And if you want to get real classy, cook up some bacon at home and just heat it in the microwave! We also like Nutty Cereal so I have been known to just throw some almond milk and banana on top of whatever trail mix I bring and Voila! Nutty Cereal at it’s finest.

3. Take a look at your team schedule for the weekend.

Hopefully your team manager has put together an itinerary that notes when the team plans to eat together and when you are all on your own. I know ours does…she’s amazing like that.

There may be a team pizza night on the Friday and restaurant on the Saturday. If so, good/not-good but your dinners are covered.

Did you think I was going to recommend you just attend the pizza party but bring your own chicken breast and broccoli? Surprise! No. After a couple of years at this, I realize that that’s just not going to work for most people.

Enjoy your pizza. I’ll be chomping down on mine right beside you…(but it will probably be gluten-free:-).

You can suggest to the team manager that someone pick up a veggie and fruit platter to go along with the pizza as well as some bottled water (this has always come out of our team budget and I’ve never heard a complaint).

And make a decent menu choice at the restaurant.

4. Fill in the gaps

So if breakfast and dinners are covered, you are left with snacks and lunches.

This is where a little meal prep comes in handy. I usually choose a couple of meals that reheat well and then make them before we go. Perhaps a Shepherd’s Pie and Egg Roll in a Bowl. These serve as meals for in the car and lunch on Saturday and likely Sunday.

Another simple lunch is a pack of better quality lunch meats, raw veggies, cheese and mayo. We like to wrap the cheese in the lunch meat with a little mayo and enjoy the veggies on the side with some hummus. It’s quick, easy, cheap and healthier than most fast food options.

This means I also bring paper plates, plastic cutlery, a little knife and cutting board and stuff to wash the dishes.

And then we just heat up the food in the microwave in our room. But if you are in a decent hotel, they will be happy to bring plates and cutlery to your room. They even brought me cloth napkins once! Just call housekeeping.

5. Make a list

And now for the best part. I am actually going to give you the grocery and packing list that I use when I am getting ready for an away tournament. You can download it for free HERE..

It has all of the ideas I mentioned above plus a few more. You can follow it to the letter or you can use it to get a few ideas so that you feel a little more prepared at your next tournament.

I hope you find it useful. You can get the free list HERE.. And let me know how it goes!

*****

So here is the recap on how to be food organized for sports tournaments.

  1. Request a small fridge and microwave.
  2. Find out if the hotel has a hot breakfast.
  3. Find out your team’s itinerary. When are you on your own for meals?
  4. Fill in the gaps.
  5. Make a list of what you need.

You see, I haven’t told you that I think you should try and eat perfect all weekend. What I want for you is that you have plenty of great options available because it will make your indulgences be a bit less…and that makes a difference.

So feel free to use this list to get yours started. And good luck at your tournament! You can download the list HERE..

What would you add to the list?

Let me know in the comments below! 

 

How to get kids to eat veggies

CTV Live: Getting Your Kids To Eat Veggies

Watch the segment HERE.

During my recent visit to CTV Live in Ottawa, Leanne Lang and I discussed the impossible…how to get more veggies into your kids’ diets!

As you will see, this is not an impossible task and it can actually be a lot of fun.

Watch the segment HERE.

Helpful links:

Magic Bullet: Check it out HERE.

Paleoethics Greens Mix: Check it out HERE.

Learn about Jicama HERE.

And you can get the Avocado Chocolate Pudding Recipe HERE.

For simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

Foil Fondue

Campfire Chocolate Fondue

This summer has been all about the Campfire Chocolate Fondue that my kids and I discovered in the early days of June. You may already know that I love fondue so much if you have seen my Simple Chocolate Fondue Video.

But this one is different…because you cook it over the campfire!

I love camping with friends. But it has always been a bit of a struggle when it comes to campfire time. As everyone settles in around the fire, out come the marshmallows or worse, the smores (have you noticed the ingredients in many of these brands?).

And for years, I never had an alternative. I even made my own marshmallows once but really, who has time for that when you also have to pack an entire family for camping?

So one day my sister introduced me to the idea of wrapping fruit in foil and cooking it over the fire (she did whole, cored apples with raisins, cinnamon and butter). And I took the idea and turned it into what I like best, fondue.

Now to be clear, fondue is generally known for having a pot containing a melted food for dipping (cheese, oil or chocolate) and it is shared communally. This version of fondue has no pot and nothing to dip so on a technicality you may want to argue that it is not really fondue…but you can share it communally right from the foil or serve it up in bowls so I am sticking with the name “fondue.”

Foil wraps are so convenient because they make for easy clean up and they can go directly on the hot coals with no worry about warping a pan or melting anything by accident!

And I love that the fruit is also cooked in this recipe….I am in love with the warm blueberries that pop softly in your mouth, the softened strawberries that remind me of a strawberry pie and the banana slices that melt right in your mouth before you can chew them…(insert a very dramatic, slightly sensual “sigh” here)!

But of course, you can use whatever fruit that gets you that excited!

Notes on cooking these over the fire: First off, you want hot coals not fire. So move the wood aside and place the packet right on the red hot coals.

You will want to have a large set of tongs and perhaps an oven mitt to remove the packets from the heat. And check them after 3-5 minutes. They cook super fast. What you are looking for is that the chocolate has begun to melt. it doesn’t have to be completely liquid to be amazing.

Who needs marshmallows when you have Campfire Chocolate Fondue? (Ok, I admit, I did chop up a few just to see what they would taste like once…and it was pretty (very) good, but totally unnecessary and really not healthy).

Before I give you the recipe here is a little tutorial on making foil wraps:

  1. Place food on foil.Foil Fondue
  2. Bring long edges together and fold them over the top of the food.foil wrap
  3. Fold outer edges inward a couple of times so nothing can leak out.

Campfire Chocolate Fondue

  • Fruit of choice (mixed berries, bananas, apples)
  • dark chocolate chips or pieces
  • sea salt
  1. Wash and cut up fruit.
  2. Break chocolate into small pieces if necessary (chocolate chips are fine as is).
  3. Place fruit on a rectangular piece of aluminum foil and top with chocolate and sea salt.
  4. Wrap the foil as per the instructions above.
  5. Place on hot coals (not in the flame) for 3-5 minutes and then remove foil packet from fire using an oven mitt and large tongs. Check to see if the chocolate is melted to your liking. If not, close it back up and put it back on the coals. Do not let it burn!

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

how to get more veggies

7 Ways To Get More Veggies Into Your Diet

My client sent me a note before our weekly call and said that she wanted pointers on how to get more veggies.

And of course, this is an excellent question. The answers are not rocket science but the discussion even served as a great reminder for me so I know that this will be a valuable list to share.

Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to our health. They help our bodies process and eliminate toxins from our environment and help our cells to avoid being damaged which keeps us safe from chronic disease.

They also contain fiber which keeps our digestive systems running smoothly, helps control our blood sugar levels and may help prevent cancer. It also helps to remove the “bad” cholesterol from our bodies.

And yes, you can get all the fiber you need and more from a grain free diet that contains lots of vegetables.

Here is how you can get more of these important little pieces of goodness.

Be prepared

Getting more veggies starts with being prepared.

You know you are going to get hungry during the day so make sure that you keep easy to grab snacks (ie vegetables) on hand.

For example, right now I am loving snap peas. So I buy a bag or two every week. I snack on them while I cook and I bring some with me when I leave the house.

This eliminates the desire to stop for a quick snack or take out.

You can also do this with mini cucumbers, carrots or any other veggie that you like.

Get a greens powder

Greens

Paleoethics Greens

We recently discovered this greens powder. It is a mix of veggies and fruits and it is organic, wheat free and filler free.

But is not something we have to choke down with the goal of getting more servings of veggies. We actually love it…and we get more servings of veggies!

I add a scoop to my shake bottle in the morning and then, later in the day when I am getting a bit hungry, I just add water and enjoy.

The kids love it too, as a chaser to their breakfast or a midday snack…and even as a bedtime snack (you know what I am talking about…”I’m stiiiiill hungry!”)

Eat a salad with every meal

Yep. Even breakfast.

I like to buy bagged salad. This just gives me the convenience I need right now. And when I have time, I make one of these salads.

Omelettes, Frittatas etc.

If you are eating By Design, paleo or just nutrient dense foods you are likely eating a lot of eggs.

Well, just make sure to add some veggies to those eggs…on the side or in the eggs.

Every morning at breakfast make sure to nibble on some peppers, add a bed of spinach to your plate before plating the eggs or add some onion and mushrooms to your eggs.

Spiralize

Zucchini Noodles

Spiralizing is super easy. You just use the spiralizer to turn your sweet potato, zucchini, butternut squash or beets into noodles.

You can enjoy them raw or sautee them in a bit of healthy cooking oil (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil) with salt and pepper for a few minutes and you have the base of your meal or a perfect side dish.

Many grocery stores are starting to sell spiralized veggies as the trend is catching on!

Buy a veggie tray

This idea came straight from my client! In the spirit of convenience she decided to purchase a big veggie tray and keep it in the fridge.

Yes, veggies stay fresh longer and are likely more nutrient dense if you prepare them right before consuming them but really…if it is a toss up between eating veggies from a platter or not eating them at all… you had better know what the winner is, by a long shot.

Greens Smoothie

Two great things about smoothies:

1. You can put vegetables like swiss chard, spinach and cucumbers in them and still make them taste great.

2. You can meal prep them so that all you need to do in the morning is add all the prepped ingredients to a blender.

This video shows you how to meal prep smoothies and shares my favourite smoothie recipe.

Recap

See? I’ll bet the wheels are turning a bit right now and you are thinking “Yeah, I could start doing…..to get more veggies.”

  • Be prepared.
  • Get a greens powder.
  • Eat a salad with every meal.
  • Make your eggs into an omelette.
  • Spiralize.
  • Buy a veggie tray.
  • Make a greens smoothie.

I would love to hear which action step you are going to take to get more veggies into your diet. Please let me know in the comments below. And let me know what other ideas you have!

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.

 

salmon foil packs

Sundried Tomato Pesto and Salmon Foil Packets

The best summer bbq recipes are healthy and simple but still deliver a ton of flavour.
Admittedly, this Sundried Tomato Pesto & Salmon Foil Packets recipe does carry an extra step of making your own pesto but it is super simple, I promise.

They are great for a weeknight meal but also fancy enough for company!

These packets can be made in advance and then frozen before cooking. Make sure that your rice is fully cooled before you put the salmon on top if you intend to freeze it so that you do not unintentionally heat up the salmon before freezing it. Then, defrost the packets before putting them on the bbq.

And the rice is totally optional.

The best option for a super nutritious meal would be to make a bed full of veggies under the salmon. Cut the veggies small enough so that they will soften in the 15-20 minutes that they cook. Using frozen broccoli is great because it will soften quickly.

Just remember that no matter what you use, adding a little water to the packet before closing it will help to make sure the bottom layer does not burn during cooking.

If you want to make these packets for a weeknight meal, it will speed up the process if you make the rice and pesto in advance, but this is not necessary…just a little food prep tip.

Nutritional Yeast can be found at Bulk Barn, your local health food store or the health food section at your grocery store. It is an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses that tastes similar to cheese. It sounds weird, but it is a great alternative to parmesan for those you cannot consume dairy.

Sundried Tomato Pesto & Salmon Foil Packets

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Special Equipment: Food Processor

  • cooked white rice (optional, I use the equivalent of 1 cup dry rice, before cooking)
  • trimmed green beans (or snap peas or broccoli)
  • 1.5 pounds salmon, cut into four portions
  • salt & pepper
  • sundried tomato pesto (about 1.5 cups, recipe below will yield more…)
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • aluminum foil
  • olive oil
  1. Make the Sundried Tomato Pesto (recipe is below).
  2. Make two large rectangles of aluminum foil (about 2 feet long each).
  3. Pat down half of the rice in the center of each piece of foil.
  4. Create a layer of green beans on top of the rice making sure to have the length of the bean running parallel to the long side of the foil so it folds easily and drizzle a little oil over top.
  5. Place 2 salmon portions over the beans on each piece of foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Spread a thick layer of sundried tomato pesto over the salmon portions (about 1/8 inch thick but more or less will be great too)!
  7. Sprinkle minced garlic over the salmon.
  8. Place fresh thyme sprigs on top.
  9. Roll up the foil by bringing the long edges together and rolling them down. Then roll up one end.
  10. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of water into the open end of the packet (this is to keep the rice from drying out). Then fold up that end.
  11. Foil packets can now be
    cooked or placed in the freezer.
  12. Cook packets on the bbq over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until salmon reaches an internal temperature of 145ºF (or 120ºF if you like it medium rare).
  13. Open packets and place portions on plates to enjoy!

Sundried Tomato Pesto

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 270ml bottle of sundried tomatoes with oil (I use these)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • Additional olive oil if needed
  1. Turn on your food processor and add the cashews and garlic while the blade is spinning.
  2. Open the food processor and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Process until the ingredients have turned into a pesto.
  4. If the mixture seems a little too dry add 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Serves 4-6

For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.