Houston’s Green Plate Foods – A Healthy Living Concept
PLUS RECIPES for Super Easy Cookies
by Bernadette Verzosa
When five-year-old Chloe packs her stainless steel lunchbox, she fills it with some extraordinary foods. On any given day, the compartments may contain muffins made with almond butter, sweet potato and strawberry jam or brownies made with blueberries and spinach. Even the proteins in her lunch kit have panache – nuggets made of chicken, chickpeas and parmesan cheese, meatballs made of turkey, carrots and brown rice crispies.
How does a preschooler have access to such a sophisticated lunch menu? Her mom happens to be Lisa Pounds, founder of Houston’s Green Plate Foods. As the inspiration behind the business, Chloe holds the title of honorary CTO – Chief Tasting Officer.
Pounds launched her company in 2010 when she could not find the kinds of foods she wanted to feed her daughter. “It dawned on me that there are not good options out there. There’s a huge need for healthy prepared foods and I decided I’m gonna do something about it,” she says. “I’ve always been a chef in my own kitchen. I’ve always loved experimenting and having people over, so I started experimenting focused on my daughter and her friends.”
Pounds teamed up with a dietitian and the company first started catering meals at private schools. Now Green Plate Foods products can be found at many stores including Whole Foods Market, HEB, Fiesta and My Fit Foods. Popular items include zucchini chocolate chip cookies and butternut squash macaroni and cheese. Other hot sellers are its “nubblers” – raw, dried, fruit chunks. The apricot cranberry nubbler and the chocolate cherry nubbler are convenient for healthy kids’ snacks.
HEALTHY FOOD AS PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE
Green Plate Foods is also carried by Texas Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann, a testament to the nutrition packed in its products. Many items are gluten-free, dairy-free or vegetarian.
Pounds is committed to creating delicious foods with no artificial ingredients and low sugar content, and she freely shares her kitchen tricks and tips with other parents. She often uses fruits, such as dates, to naturally sweeten snacks and dishes. For festive holiday cookies, she advises using natural-dyes for colorful icing. She uses various vegetables, such as beets and spinach, and fruit juices to color natural frosting.
“The basis of the company has evolved to education. Why is this important? Because early onset of diabetes and obesity are growing at alarming rates, and food is preventative medicine,” Pounds says. “It’s never too late to change eating habits. Parents can eat healthy and be the role models the kids need to see. The kids will mimic parents’ habits and choices.”
Green Plate Foods is expanding nationally so families across the country can stock up on the tasty treats!
COOKIE RECIPES courtesy of Green Plate Foods
EASY BANANA OAT WALNUT COOKIES
(makes 16 COOKIES):
2 large and very ripe bananas
1 cup of oats (Quick or Regular – if regular, chop a little so everything holds together better)
¼ cup crushed walnuts
(1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
(2) Mix the three ingredients together.
(3) Scoop tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.
(4) Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
Old bananas are perfect for this recipe. Since all bananas are different sizes, the needed measurements can vary. If it seems too runny and the cookies would flatten too much, add more oatmeal. You can add some optional ingredients like chocolate chips, cinnamon and raisins. But do not add too many mix-ins as the cookies won’t hold together very well.
NO BAKE COCONUT SNOWBALLS
(makes 15 SNOWBALLS):
1 ¾ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
3 teaspoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Organic dark chocolate
(1) Place 1 cup shredded coconut and 3 teaspoons coconut oil into a food processor. Process on high speed, occasionally scraping down the sides until it reaches a buttery consistency.
(2) Add the maple syrup, coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt. Process on high speed until all of the ingredients have combined.
(3) Add ¾ cup of additional shredded coconut and process on high speed until all of the ingredients have combined and formed a batter.
(4) Shape the coconut mixture into 1-inch balls and coat with additional shredded coconut. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to one week.
(5) Bring to room temperature before serving.
FOR CHOCOLATE SNOWBALLS:
(1) Omit the final coating of shredded coconut in Step 4 above. Allow the shaped coconut balls to firm up in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.
(2) When the coconut balls are firm, melt the dark chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat for a minute or two.
(3) Dip the coconut balls into the melted chocolate and sprinkle them with shredded coconut. Allow the chocolate to harden by placing the coconut balls back into the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.