I had the pleasure to interview Ana Zaga, a health and wellness enthusiast. She is the creator of Cleaneatzdiary on Instagram and now she has over 20K followers!
How did it all begin?
Ana: I started recreating healthier versions of recipes that I loved and began to post pictures of it on Instagram. When I became a mom, I wanted to make sure my kids ate healthy, so real food became a major priority for me. Most of my recipes are kid friendly because who has time to cook twice!? I love making simple, healthy and delicious recipes for the whole family to enjoy. I am all about using REAL ingredients and living a non-toxic lifestyle.
What exactly is ‘Clean Eating’ ?
Ana: Clean eating to me is to consume more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats — and limit highly processed snack foods, sweets, and other packaged foods, most of which have toxic ingredients.
Which foods do you recommend to boost our children’s immune system?
Ana: Load them up on brightly colored fruits and veggies at meals and snacks. I try to get at least three colors in every meal and two per snack. Bell peppers, oranges, strawberries and other berries, carrots, squash, leafy greens, and apples will provide lots of vitamin A and C (which support a normal immune function).
If your child doesn’t have a nut allergy then nuts and seeds are not only nutritional powerhouses full of protein, fiber, potassium, healthy fat and more, but they also contain Niacin and Riboflavin— & B-Vitamins. Just one quarter cup of of these nuts also contain your child’s daily requirements for Vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps support immune function. You can try peanut butter toast or almond butter with sliced bananas and apples, which kids love.
What should we avoid?
Ana: I wouldn’t say avoid, just limit foods that contain added sugar, refined grains, artificial coloring and toxic ingredients. Be sure to always read the label of anything you buy. The shorter the ingredient list the better it is for you. If you can’t pronounce it then maybe you shouldn’t be eating it.
Any kids-approved recipe that you would like to share?
Ana: I have a bunch of healthy recipes for kids on my instagram. Their favorite recipe is my spinach banana muffins. The easiest way to sneak in those greens.
✔️ 1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 2 small or one medium/large)
✔️ 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
✔️ 3/4 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened plain nondairy)
✔️ 1/4 cup honey (omit if they are under 1)
✔️ 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
✔️ 2 pasture raised eggs
✔️ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
✔️ 1 cup rolled oats
✔️ 1 teaspoon baking soda
✔️ 1 cup whole-wheat or gluten-free flour
✅Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a muffin tin well with nonstick spray.
✅Place all ingredients into a blender except the flour.
✅Blend until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed. You want the greens to be very finely blended in so the batter is green, as if you were making a smoothie.
✅Pulse in the flour just to combine, or stir it in gently.
✅Pour batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 cup full.
✅Bake for 18-20 minutes or until firm to the touch and lightly browned around the edges. (You can also check to see if a cake tester inserted into the center comes out cleanly.)
✅Remove from the oven and use a paring knife, if needed, to transfer to a wire rack to cool.
✅Serve slightly warm, at room temp, or chilled.
✅You can store the muffins in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days and eat cold or slightly warmed. Or store in a zip top bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or at room temperature.