Friday, August 10, 2007

Leading down the right path...

Did you hear about the recent study on the effects of food marketing to children? In a nutshell, 3-5 year olds tasted foods, some packaged with a McDonald’s logo on it and some that was in neutral packaging. Despite the food being identical in each package, overwhelmingly the children chose the McDonald’s food as being tastier. What does this say about the power of branding on the preschool set?

The lesson here for me is that children pick up on everything! If your child is exposed regularly to fast food, of course they will develop a taste and perhaps become a Arch-a-holic. So I am trying to use the power of persuasion in more positive ways and expose them to foods that pique their interest healthfully. And I know I am not the first person to type this…there is no better influence on their eating habits than YOU. Whether this thrills or scares you, if you walk the walk, the more likely you are to have little ones following behind you.

So here is one of my family’s favorite healthful meals. It is vegetarian, although we are not vegetarians and my husband would faint at the suggestion! You can easily add meat or seafood to the mixture and make many changes to suit you. We don’t really measure things, we just throw them together…

Baked Burritos

8-10 Whole Wheat Tortillas

2-3 cups cooked Brown Rice

2 cups Seasoned Black Beans*

1 cup Salsa (store bought or see the recipe below)**

2 cups Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Cheese

1-2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

Preheat your oven at 400 degrees. Place a couple tablespoons of the rice and beans on one end of a tortilla. Top with about a tablespoon salsa and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up, pulling in the sides as you roll to bake your burrito. Lay seam side down in a baking dish (9x13 usually fits the bill).

Once your pan is full, brush the tops of all the burritos with olive oil or vegetable oil. Place into the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove the pan, sprinkle with an additional cup or so of the cheese and place under the broiler for just a minute or two to melt the cheese and make the burritos extra crispy.

These are so good, and again, the sky is the limit on changes, alterations, etc.

*Saute a chopped small onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic and one 15 oz can of black beans in a sauté pan with about 1 teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil. Once cooked you can add 2-3 teaspoons of hot sauce and cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. OR- just by a 15oz. can of black beans already seasoned.

**Easiest, Tastiest Salsa Recipe Ever**

2-3 tomatoes

1 medium onion, cut in 4 thick slices

1 jalepeno, halved and deseeded

Place first three ingredients in a sauté pan with no oil or butter over medium high heat. The vegetables will all start to char a bit, a la fajitas. Once they are blackened, remove and let cool for a few minutes. Place into a food processor or blender with a handful of cilantro (no need to chop) and about ½-1 teaspoon salt. Voila, fresh salsa.

Again, try having your kids help with the blending…lots of fun for the preschool set.


Steel Magnolia said...

Can't wait to check in everyday. It looks great! Can't wait to try some yummy recipes.

Mama in Training said...

Yum, Jess! I did read the study and it's about as bad as how much tv babies and preschoolers watch. Great job!