Like many busy parents these days, Rumble Co-Founder and GM James McQueen and his partner Danielle are working from home. In the daily rush of Zoom calls, emails, and toddler tantrums, it can be tough to prioritize nutrition.
“There’s a lot of macaroni and cheese being eaten around here,” says James. “On days when we don’t have leftovers ready for lunch and there’s not a lot of time to be creative, it just feels easier to open a box of noodles. We’re trying to change that though, so the mac ‘n cheese becomes a weekly treat, rather than an every-other-day thing!”
Here, James shares five tricks the McQueen family are using during these busy times to sneak more nutrition into the diet of even their pickiest eaters.
“It’s now fairly easy to find high-quality and great tasting alternative pastas, like chickpea or lentil penne. The noodles are much higher in protein than your traditional wheat pasta, and our toddler can’t tell the difference. For a kid-friendly meal that takes just as much time to make as a box of macaroni and cheese, we boil the noodles then stir in pesto, thawed frozen peas, and aged cheddar cheese.”
“My son’s been loving soups lately, so instead of the canned kind, we’ve been making pureed vegetable soups from scratch (like tomato, pea, or butternut squash), and freezing them for later.”
“Smoothies, like Rumble, have the quality of being both nutritious and a total treat. My son loves them (maybe it’s the straw?), and they’re an easy vehicle for nutritious ingredients. The trick is to balance out the sugar with protein and healthy fats, by including ingredients like plain yogurt, peanut butter, and coconut milk.”
Batch Baking Healthy Snacks
“Instead of buying ready-made granola bars, we try to do our own baking every week or two. My partner, Danielle, bakes double batches of carrot muffins and other healthy snacks and freezes them until they’re ready to be warmed and eaten on the run.”
“My son loves apple sauce and baby food pouches, so Danielle found some reusable food pouches online and started making her own simple purees to freeze and keep in the fridge. You get a bigger nutritional punch with fresh purees, and so much more flavour."
“We do all of these things, but rest assured, we still have our mac ‘n’ cheese days. In fact, we had leftover pizza for lunch today! You’ve got to treat yourself and take a break when you need one, especially right now. That said, having healthy snacks around for the kids and ourselves (we keep our fridge stocked with Rumble!) helps us turn stressful days into more enjoyable ones.”