In the Kitchen with Kirkman®: Festive Food That Incorporates Healthy Choices Into Every Meal

By Erin Meyering
Copy Writer
Kirkman Group, Inc.  


Happy Holidays Kirkman® Family! With each seasonal holiday comes the onset of food indulgence, and sometimes a lack of physical activity. For families with special needs children, this can be a particularly challenging time. 

Try planning ahead, bringing favorite foods than won’t overly upset the digestive system. Another important thing to remember is that if you or your child wants to indulge, pick one small thing, not the entire holiday spread. With a good diet, should also come adequate exercise.There are plenty of distractors, whether it be an over stimulating trip to the mall with bright lights and loud music, or dining away from home, where holiday food temptations may not be suitable to your or your child’s desired diet. 

Between holiday gatherings with visiting family, and the immense holiday prep that generally takes place, it is easy to become inactive during your downtime (if you have any). Good general health needs both an appropriate diet and regular exercise to thrive… especially during the holidays. 

Get creative this season with activities for the kids when they have (what may seem like a surplus of) extra time during holiday breaks. Provide an artistic outlet, such as coloring, painting or music. You can also find a way to build fitness into playtime so the kids can have fun while maintaining healthy habits. Try an obstacle course or a sports game.

U.S. News & World Report shares some other great ideas on how to keep kids busy and entertained during down time. Our favorite ideas include having kids create and design their own wrapping paper or making a sensory bin with different textures from things like corn kernels and rice. In the sensory bin you can let the kids feel around and let them discover small tokens hidden in the bin for an interesting experience.

Once the kids are tuckered out from their activities, great, satisfying and wholesome food is vital to round out your health-filled day. Although a lot of children don’t specifically request vegetables, it’s important to find a way to incorporate them into their diet since the health benefits of vegetables are widely recognized.

Vegetables can be snuck into smoothies, meatloaf, pasta sauces, casseroles and more. Try this protein-packed meatloaf, sure to be a family favorite. Sneak in some finely diced vegetables for added nutrition. Want your kids’ help? See this article from last month’s newsletter for tips about cooking with your little ones.

Ultra High Protein Meatloaf

Serves 4

Ingredients* –

  • 1 carrot (minced, grated or finely diced)
  • ½ cup onion (finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 large egg (slightly beaten)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ cup Pea Protein Powder, plus 2 teaspoons (available from Kirkman®)
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Directions –

  1. Sauté carrot, onion and garlic in olive oil until softened (3-5 minutes)
  2. Remove from heat
  3. In a bowl, combine ground beef, egg, spices, tomato juice, herbs and ½ cup Pea Protein Powder. Mix gently, until combined
  4. Add sautéed vegetables and mix gently to combine
  5. Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place in a well-greased pan
  6. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup tomato juice, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons Pea Protein Powder and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
  7. Pour the mixture from step 6 over the meat loaf and bake in a 350 degree F  oven for 1 hour
  8. Add about ½ cup water (adjust as necessary) halfway through the cooking tie to prevent meatloaf or pan from burning
  9. After 1 hour, remove from oven and place meatloaf on a cutting board

10. Let meatloaf cool for 5 minutes before slicing 

* You can add other vegetables, such as celery, broccoli or mushrooms. 

This time of year is traditionally a busy one. There’s the chaos that can come from planning holiday gatherings and orchestrating activities for your children who are usually out of both their routines and comfort zones. This simple gluten and dairy-free dessert should help cut some time from your meal-prep and give your children something special they can enjoy.

Gluten-, Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding (adapted from

Mix makes 16  ½ cup servings; use double the milk if making an entire batch at once

Pudding Mix Ingredients –

*Note: You can make extra pudding mix, to keep on hand for after-school snacks, or quick desserts. Try storing extra mix in a mason jar, or tightly sealed container.

  • 1 cup Dutch-Processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ¾ – 2 cups gluten-free powdered sugar (use 2 cups sugar if you like your pudding extra sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt


To Make the Pudding –

  • 4 cups canned GF coconut milk, or your favorite dairy-free milk substitute (try Vance’s™ DariFree™ available from Kirkman®, which comes in original flavor, or chocolate flavor for an extra chocolaty taste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla 

Directions –

For Mix:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to thoroughly blend. 

To Cook:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add 1 1/3 cups chocolate pudding mix and 4 cups canned gluten-free coconut milk, milk substitute or Vance’s™ DariFree™. Whisk to dissolve pudding mix.
  2. Heat on medium until the mixture bubbles and begins to boil, whisking constantly to prevent burning.
  3. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes until the pudding is smooth and thickened. 
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in vanilla and cool before serving.

Use Probiotics and Enzymes to Help Digest Heavy Food 

Heavy foods are front-runners in holiday meals. From heavy meat main courses to carbohydrate-packed side dishes and sugar-filled desserts, it’s understandable why people have a hard time with digestion during the holiday season. To avoid stomach pain or constipation, try Kirkman’s Ultra Tested™ enzymes and probiotics.

Pro-Bio Gold™ is Kirkman’s most popular probiotic. As a hypoallergenic product, it is specifically formulated for individuals with special sensitivities, and it supports the immune system and gastrointestinal health.

Acidophilus Probiotic Powder – Hypoallergenic can be easily added to food or drink for easy consumption. 

Super Pro-Bio™ 75 Billion – Bio-Max Series – Hypoallergenic is an update to Kirkman’s traditional Pro-Bio products, which support good intestinal health and positive flora/immune response. 

EnZym-Aid™ Multi-Enzyme Complex is a plant-based enzyme formulation specifically targets and aids in the proper digestion of peptides, casein and gluten. It also enhances the absorption and utilization of important minerals.

Biofilm Defense® was created to dissolve the sugar and fibrin components of most harmful biofilms.

Phenol Assist™ can be taken with Phenol Assist™ Companion to help digest phenols found in fruits, vegetables. grains and other foods.

Learn why enzymes and probiotics are important in keeping painful tummy troubles associated with rich foods at bay.

However you choose to celebrate this time of year Kirkman® wishes you and your family a healthy, happy and delicious time!

This entry was posted in All, Allergies & Allergens, Gluten Free / Casein Free, Special Needs, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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