When my boys were babies and toddlers, the world of food bloggers was just emerging, and family focused web sites were becoming reliable sources of parenting information with their large data bases of content. This is hard to believe given that my kids are only 6 and 8. I can’t imagine life without social media and the endless streams of data we now find on the web. It seems everyone has a blog, or a blog community such as the wonderful one found on this site Best Tools for Schools. Just as the question of “what’s for dinner or school lunch?” can feel a little overwhelming at times, so can wading through content we hope will make our lives better, not just busier.
Since we all want to service healthier and tastier meals to our family, I spent an afternoon going through content to find some great Canadian websites and blogs which I think can help us in our quest. What I found are some great tools, articles and of course recipes that I think you will love. Have a quick look, bookmark what works for you and remember to visit when you need inspiration, a helpful tip or just someone to tell you what to make for dinner.
I found a great lunch box tool on the Today’s Parent website. The site offers a large selection of different lunch menus. You simply need to click on the menus that appeal to you and your kids, click and the tool creates a menu for the week plus a shopping list. There are links to recipes on the menu items which you can then save to your recipe box. Go through the list with your kids and let them “click” away on the lunches they like. The site also features family meal plans designed by dietician Rosie Schwartz, RD. You will love how they have them organized into categories such as “summer produce”, “super foods” and “make ahead”.
The Chatelaine website has an interesting collection of menu plans based on ideas such as brain foods, immunity boosting, low salt, tummy trimming and fill up on fibre. The website is not as user friendly as others and I found that not all of the functions worked. You can search recipes by ingredients or choose from categories such as meal, cooking method or cuisine type which included meatless, party entrees, one dish or big batch. There is a large collection of kid friendly recipes and I appreciated the nutritional information included. Another feature of the site is it allows users to rate or comment on the recipes. In order to comment the site does require you fill out a lengthy registration form.
I thought the “one ingredient, four ways” feature on the Savvy Mom site was fantastic. Not only does the site give you great ideas for an ingredient, they have also categorized the recipes into toddler friendly, 15 minute meal, family meal or easy entertaining. You can then also find collections of recipes under each of these categories which include photographs and easy to follow instructions. There are links at the bottom of each recipe to print, e-mail, or comment. The printing format for the recipes is clear and well formatted. One of the great features of the Savvy Mom site is it allows you to view a version of the site based on your city. Recent Ottawa food articles featured local grocers, prepared food stores and farmers markets.
At the Canadian Parents website I was immediately attracted to the cooking tips and articles section. There was an interesting collection of articles which included topics such as entertaining, kids lunches, cookbooks, holiday menu guides, slow cookers, organizing your kitchen and organic food. You can submit your own recipes to the site with categories including craft recipes, special occasions, school lunches and the great Canadian cookie exchange. The recipes are well laid out and can be printed, e-mailed or even loaded to Facebook.
Two blogs I have had the pleasure to discover on Twitter are Karen Humphrey’s Notes from the Cookie Jar and Chasing Tomatoes. She has wonderful meal plans which she also features on the site EverythingMom. The second blog is Julie Van Rosendaal’s Dinner with Julie. Julie has a delicious selection of recipes including categories for freezable recipes, beans and grains. Both blogs feature great family friendly recipes and of course lots of mouth-watering photos. If you are on Twitter, they are fun to follow and always happy to talk food.
Please let us know what your favourite food sites and blogs are.
Tracey is owner of Epicuria and mother of two young boys. Watch for her lunchtime solutions here at Best Tools for Schools. Follow her on Twitter @epicuriadotca
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