So, with all the stories about the ammonia-treated pink slime hiding in fast food, our kids’ school lunches and even the ground beef and lunch meat we buy from the grocery store, let’s just say the Millner/Chiles household has become increasingly dedicated to knowing what’s in our food, eating more clean food and tracking down great, healthy recipes like the ones we’ve been highlighting here as part of the Vicks Nature’s Kitchen campaign with chef Curtis Stone.
This is important to us because, ewwa!, who wants to eat crushed, dog food-grade “meat” bathed in chemicals? And plus, we want our growing girls, who come from a curvy family with strains of diabetes running all through it, to avoid become statistics in the obesity epidemic plaguing our country in general and black children in particular.
Of course, sitting down to healthy meals every night isn’t an easy proposition; both Nick and I are busy freelance writers and authors and we’ve got our girls in a gang of after school activities spanning from music lessons, soccer and chorus to math and language enrichment and science and reading club—a dizzying array of events that can slay even our most well-intentioned healthy sit-down dinners. It’s so much easier to pull into a fast food restaurant, plunk down some cash and let the kids do the happy dance while they devour their goodies on the ride between the soccer field and our house.
What we’ve found, though, is that eating clean on the road has proved elusive and expensive. And more recently, when we found ourselves at soccer games and other extra curricular activities in predominantly black neighborhoods, it wasn’t lost on us that while grocery stores and restaurants with healthy menus were in seriously short supply, almost every corner was filled with popular fast food chain restaurants and more fried fish joints than we could count. Don’t get it twisted: we love us some fried fish, french fries and hot sauce. But really, our stomachs—and waistlines—were begging for more healthy options.
So with the help of some great recipes—and how-to videos!—from Chef Curtis’s series on the Nature’s Kitchen YouTube channel, our family is rededicating ourselves to cleaner, healthier eating. We started our mission last week with Curtis’s Healthy Homemade Pizza. Confession: to save time, we totally cheated a little. Instead of making the home made dough, we used store-bought, whole wheat flatbread, and instead of shrimp, I shredded a couple of pieces of roast chicken I bought from the grocery store. Check out Curtis’s step-by-step instructions for the home made dough and shrimp version of his Healthy Homemade Pizza here.
If you want to get a few more veggies into your kids’ dinner without making a big to-do about it, check out Curtis’s Southwest Chili Tacos, rich with all kinds of yummy veggie goodness.
Of course, we’ve totally incorporated Curtis’s One Pot Wonder recipe for corn and potato chowder, which my kids love—not just because Chef Curtis’s video features MyBrownBaby (woot!), but because it really is easy to make (it goes from my grocery bags to the table in all of 30 minutes or so) and total yum.
Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making healthy after-school snacks for my girls so that when they come in, they’re not grabbing junk food. The trick has been to replace the chips and cookies with super tasty options they love. I’ve been really glomming into home made pico de gallo with tortilla chips (I’ll post my recipe sometime soon—promise!), but I’m about to go all the way in on Curtis’s Healthy Snacks video, which includes recipes for home made salsa, Tzatziki dip and pita and tortilla chips.
For more of Chef Curtis Stone’s great healthy recipes, totally check out the Vicks Nature’s Kitchen videos and recipes. You’ll be happy. Your family will be happy. And you’ll keep the pink slime meat at bay—one great meal at a time. Happy eating!
So you know: I’ve partnered with Vicks Nature Fusion to write about ways I keep my family healthy, happy and eating right. Yes, I’m getting a check for this. No, they’re not paying me to say nice things about their products. As always, my experiences and opinions are my own.
1. Curtis Stone’s Secret To Getting Kids To Eat Veggies: A Great Chili Recipe
2. Curtis Stone’s Secret To Healthy Families: Great Recipes & Vicks Nature Fusion
3. Curtis Stone Whips Up A Healthy One-Pot Meal For MyBrownBaby and Vick’s Nature Fusion