Delicious Dairy Free Dips

Matthew and Chloe enjoying a cucumber

While having all the kids at home over the Christmas holidays I discovered that my kids will eat pretty much anything, that they are not fussy eaters. I also discovered that whatever I put in front of them they ate. So even with the surplus of yummy sweet treats around, if I put  fruit or vegetables in front of them that is what they would eat. Not that they did not ask for the sweet treats mind you, I did too at some points. But I noticed that when I was prepping a veggie tray and Matthew came wandering by, he would pick up a carrot or celery stick and start eating – without being asked! – and then he would come back for more. I felt I was onto something…

Now my kids will eat their fruit and veggies regardless if there is a dip to go with it or not. Which is great because sometimes when I am running out of time, the dip is the thing that does not get done! But they and I do enjoy a yummy dip to go with it. In fact, often Chloe will eat only the dip, which I know defeats the purpose, but the dips I provide have good stuff in them too so it is ok. Sometimes though I do use it as a bargaining tool, “more dip if you eat your carrot stick”, not always the best tactic in getting kids to eat I know, but I think you would agree that we all do it to some degree.

So today I am sharing you with some of my favorite dips that are great with a variety of things, fruit, veggies, fish even, depending on the dip. (My sister made a fabulous dinner at Christmas of fish and chips and I could not get enough of dipping my fish in the Peppery Dip, it was delicious!)

Dill Dipgreat with veggies and/ or tortilla chips

1/3 c. veganaise

1/4 c. vegan sour cream*

1 tsp. parsley flakes

1/2 tsp. dill weed

1/8 tsp. onion powder

1/16 tsp. celery salt

1/16 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve immediately or chill until ready to use.

Recipe can easily be doubled. Makes about 1/2 c. dip

Peppery Dip

1 c. veganaise

2 tbsp. grated onion

2 tsp. tarragon vinegar (can use regular vinegar and tarragon seasoning)

2 tbsp. chopped chives

2 tbsp. chili sauce

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. thyme

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with veggies, also great with fish!

With fruit I use this homemade caramel sauce that is made from dates. It is especially good with apples, but goes with any fruit well. All the dips will keep in the fridge for at least a few days, so make ahead of time or keep until later -that’s if you have any left 🙂

Enjoy and happy dipping!

*when I first started making dairy free dips I used Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese, a soy based product. I discovered that they use sugar in their product and since then have moved to using Earth Island, which has no sugar and I feel is a better product in general. Both work well and is up to you as the cook which one you’d like to choose – or maybe you have another favorite vegan sour cream 🙂

3 Easy Steps to Healthy and Nutritious Eating (The kids will LOVE it!)

Eating well is something that is on many of our minds at this time of year. After the overindulgence over the holidays of food and especially treats, many of us look to make changes in what we eat come January. Whether the goal is to lose weight, feel better or just have the entire family eating well balanced and nutritious meals, here are some quick and easy things you can do to make changes right away.

healthy dips for kids

Veggie Cheese Tray

1.Have nutritious snacks on hand. I often find it is not our meals that get us but the snacks we have in between. I have found that my kids will eat what is put in front of them (I have even noticed this for myself as well). If there are veggies and dip out on the counter then that is what they will grab when they are hungry, but if there are cookies near by and accessible then they’ll go for those. So I have started putting together a veggie tray and setting that out afterschool. I like to include variety such as grape tomatoes, mushrooms and snow peas; include your kids faves and watch them disappear. I have some yummy dairy free dip recipes that are easy to make and great with vegetables. You can also do a fruit tray as well with this yummy healthy caramel dip.

2. Provide sugar free sweet treats. There are lots of great recipes out there for sweet treats that do not contain the refined sugars and use natural sugars instead. My kids love banana candy, which is easy to make ahead and have on hand. Or raw chocolate truffles and chocolate pudding (my mouth is watering already!) We all love our sweet treats, it’s in our nature. By providing healthy ones, we satisfy our cravings for something sweet and can feel good about it – not only for ourselves but for our kids to.

Raw chocolate truffles

3. Plan the menu for the week. If you plan out ahead of time your meals (especially dinner) this will not only reduce your trips to the grocery store and save you money but it will reduce stress and the “I don’t know what to make for dinner so I will grab this quick easy (and often unhealthy) option” -whether it be the frozen dinner or the scrambled eggs.

Starting with these 3 easy steps to healthy eating will put you on the road to eating a healthier and more balanced diet.

Tip: I have found that it is easiest to start small and break things down into steps that you can achieve easily, one at a time. If you take on too much at once and try to radically change everything not only are we more likely to give up because we are so overwhelmed, but those changes probably won’t stick. Aim for easy, aim for success!