Homemade Soft Pretzels

It’s #NationalPretzelDay because every food apparently needs its chance to shine. You can make these at home in less than 10 minutes, and they’ll rival the ones that waft through the mall any day.

And you know what? They’re healthy enough to eat with dinner.

Whole wheat soft pretzels

HOMEMADE PRETZELS (from Peas and Thank You cookbook)
3/4 warm water
2t sugar
1t yeast
2.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1t salt
2T butter or Earth Balance
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
2T kosher salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand for 10 minutes. Combine flour, salt and butter with a blender and dough hook. Add yeast mixture and knead with blender and then with hands until fully combined. Place in well-oiled bowl, cover with warm towel and place in a warm place (I use the oven with the only the light on). Let sit for 1 hour. read more

Vitamins, A-Z

Vitamin A

What is vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a fat soluble (requires fat to be absorbed) vitamin that is needed for vision, gene expression, and growth of cells. Carotenoids (anti-oxidant) are also a form of vitamin A and are needed for eye health and heart disease.

What foods contain Vitamin A?
Vitamin A can be found in liver, dairy, eggs, and fortified cereals.

Does my child need a vitamin A supplement?
Consuming a well balanced diet, composed of different fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and meat, should provide adequate vitamin A. Children with fat malabsorption conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis, often need a vitamin supplement containing vitamin A. read more

Mint Chocolate Chip Surprise for St. Paddy’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day, like nearly every holiday, brings with it lots of sugary, food colored snacks. Sneaky parents, though, can still manage to please their kids with healthy eats. Try either of these for breakfast, lunch or after school. Cheers!

mint smoothie 2

Mint chocolate chip smoothie. They’ll never know it has spinach unless you tell them!

Mint Chocolate Chip Surprise

  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2t vanilla
  • 1T real maple syrup (omit if you used vanilla yogurt)
  • 2 drops mint extract
  • 1T chocolate chips
  • read more

    4 Weeks to a Healthier Home

    March is National Nutrition Month–what better time to make a commitment to healScreen shot 2013-04-03 at 11.33.57 AMthy living? Following are four tips for creating a healthier home that we think are attainable for any family. The idea is to adopt one tip per week, or adapt the ideas to what works in your own home. If you have any of your own suggestions, do share!

    1. Buy food plain and flavor it yourself. Take a look at the ingredients on flavored oatmeal, flavored yogurt or packaged couscous. They’re full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and pretty much don’t need. They’re meant to preserve the products’ shelf life and taste salty or sweet enough to keep you shoveling in the spoonfuls. Plain yogurt, plain oatmeal, raw and plain grains–not only is it healthier to flavor food yourself, but it’s also cheaper. For yogurt and oatmeal, we add honey or real maple syrup. read more

    The Importance of Fiber By Gia Diakakis, RD

    Among children and adults alike, fiber is one of the most often macronutrients in the diet. When considering macronutrients, most people focus on carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Fiber, though, plays a vital role in gut health, stool patterns, weight management and satiety.

    What is fiber?

    “Dietary fiber is the edible parts of plants or analogous carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion and absorption in the human small intestine with complete or partial fermentation in the large intestine. Dietary fiber includes polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, lignin and associated plant substances. Dietary fibers promote beneficial physiological effects including laxation, and/or blood cholesterol attenuation, and/or blood glucose attenuation.” 1 read more

    Super Bowl Pizza Bites

    Whether Sunday finds you as the football party type or the bake-with-your-kids-on-vacation type, this recipe is for you. The dough is easy to make in a food processor, and you can use your slave labor little people to make the stuffed balls of dough. You just might want to double the recipe, though. These go fast.

    whole wheat pizza dough (see recipe below)
    Mozzarella cheese
    pizza sauce (I use Trader Joes, but you could use any homemade or store bought recipe)
    roasted chopped veggies of choice read more

    National Peanut Butter Day Cookies

    It wasn’t until I got rid of cookbooks that I started to enjoy cooking. Sure, I still use them a bit, but looking back and forth at a recipe is tiresome. Throwing ingredients in a bowl and coming up with something halfway decent is fun. A little like being a scientist or artist, right?

    So, here’s a little secret. Memorize the basic formula of cookies, and you can make them yourself. Somebody has to make up original recipes, so why not you?

    Peanut butter (or any nut butter) is optional. But today, it’s mandatory. Creamy or chunky, take your pick, but on Jan. 24, it’s a must. read more

    Why Kids Need a Variety of Fat By Gia Diakakis, RD

    One of the reasons I have always been so passionate about nutrition is that it is tied to everything in life. Even things that may seem to have nothing to do with food and nutrition, like rising rates ADHD, is in one way or another linked to diet and eating habits.

    Recently, I discussed a book, “Bringing Up Bébé,” with a friend. The book addresses the differences between French parenting and American parenting and cites lower incidences of ADHD there. We also discussed a recent article that shows a link between inadequate fat intake and ADHD in young boys. read more

    Food Myth Busters

    With so much information out there on food, both research-based and pseudo science, it’s hard to know what to true and what is healthy. We are using this space to inform readers on the truth about many of the questions we receive. Want to ask your own question? Email info@feedtosucceed.com

    Giving my child vitamin C supplements will prevent them from getting colds.


    Recent studies have shown that vitamin C supplementation is typically not effective for preventing colds. However, regular vitamin C supplementation prior to catching a cold may decrease the DURATION and SEVERITY of a cold. Studies show that the duration of a cold was 1-4 days less for those that regularly took a vitamin C supplement before catching a cold than for those that did not take a supplement. read more

    Hot Drinks for Cold Weather

    We’ve been lucky so far in Chicago this winter, but with December here, cold and snow are sneaking into town. Try these hot drinks, perfect for kids and adults, to pull you through.

    4 cups warmed milk (in a pot or in the microwave for 2 minutes)
    1T vanilla
    2T real maple syrup
    1/4 cup cocoa powder

    Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 3o seconds, until top is frothy. Drink immediately.


    2 overripe bananas
    1 cup milk
    1T cocoa powder
    1t maple syrup
    1/2t vanilla
    cinnamon to sprinkle read more