Nutrition and Children Category
It may seem summer was long ago, but this yummy, easy-to-make frozen treat is a great way to have your kids get a serving of fruit and enjoy a throwback to summer.
What you need:
- Bananas (ones that are on the verge of becoming overripe work perfect!)
- Popsicle sticks
- Semisweet or dark chocolate chips or carob chips (we recommend the dark chocolate chips)
- Wax paper
- Baking sheet
What to do:
- Line your baking sheet with wax paper.
- Peel banana.
- Insert a popsicle stick into the bottom of each banana.
- Place on wax paper & freeze for at least an hour.
- Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in a double boiler. Be sure to stir frequently.
- Dip each frozen banana in melted chocolate & allow access to drip off. Return dipped bananas to wax paper lined backing sheet and refreeze for an hour.
Today it is becoming more common for children to be gluten intolerant. In my own family, half of us are gluten intolerant. The good news is that today there are more and more options for eating gluten free. We received a few product suggestions from our readers and we thought we would share them.
- Udi’s Sandwich Bread
- Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta
- Italian pasta producer Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s corn pasta
- Gluten-Free Pantry makes mixes for pancakes, pizza dough, cornbread, and brownies
- Annie Chun’s rice noodles are a great alternative to pasta
- Tamari is a gluten free soy sauce
Does your family eat gluten free? What are your favorite gluten free food products?
Now that they kids are back in school, you may be running around a bit more as you try to squeeze in homework, sports schedules and dinnertime. We love this easy-to-make Sloppy Joe Casserole recipe from Pillsbury. It only takes 30 minutes to make!
What you need:
- 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef or turkey, cooked, drained
- 1 can (15.5 oz) original sloppy joe sauce
- 1 can Pillsbury® refrigerated original breadsticks (you can use low-fat options too!)
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
What to do:
- Heat oven to 375°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, mix beef and sloppy joe sauce. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. Cut each into 4 pieces, about 1 1/2 inches long.
- Pour beef or turkey mixture into ungreased 12×8-inch or 11×7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish. Place dough pieces in single layer over beef or turkey mixture.
- Bake uncovered 13 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; bake about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Find more easy, quick recipes on the Pillsbury website.
Who knew there is a day devoted to trail mix? We thought that this special day would be the perfect opportunity to get outside with your children and take a hike while eating a healthy trail mix snack!
Tips for planning a hike:
- Pick someplace where you would like to hike/walk with your children. This can be a trail at a nature preserve, a beach or lake, a forest, a meadow,etc.
- Plan a theme for your hike. You can go bird watching, rock hunting , seashell finding, bug discovery, etc. Do some quick online research on your theme before you go so you can identify some of the things you are looking for (i.e. birds in your area, rocks in your area, etc.)
- Bring some water and a healthy trail mix snack. We love these trail mix ideas from the Healthy Kids Snacks website.
What ideas do you have for a healthy hike and snacks for kids?
Who doesn’t love to snack? It’s hard to go between meals without some sort of snack, but the trick to healthy snacking is keeping a few rules in mind. The best part is if you snack healthy, the chances of your kids snacking healthy are higher because they will follow your lead especially if you don’t have a lot of sugary or fatty snacks in the house to begin with!
5 Tips To Healthier Snacking:
- Prepare portions of healthy snacks ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to grab a bag of chips or a cookie. Divide up almonds or other nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit or cut up vegetables into containers that you can grab on the go.
- Give whole grains a chance! Whole grain tortillas, cereals, pretzels, etc. are a better alternative than their white flour equivalents plus they tend to give you energy that is longer lasting.
- Have hummus on hand to spice up your vegetables. The added protein will help fill you up!
- Look at labels. Some will brag that they are fat-free or low-sugar but they are high in cholesterol, etc. Check the label to get the whole picture.
- Drink plenty of water in-between meals. Staying hydrated is key to healthy living and will help fill you up!
Tomorrow is National Trail Mix Day! Don’t miss our post on taking a hike with your kids and how to make a yummy trail mix snack!
Nutrition impacts how your child sleeps, plays and develops so you want to give your baby the best food. But where is a mom supposed to start? How do you know what is best?
We recently met Michelle who works for the HappyFamily organic food company as one of Chicago’s local representatives. She is a mom to twin 10 month old girls and is passionate about giving children the best healthy start to life. We had a few minutes to catch up with her and get the inside scoop on raising a happy, healthy baby.
HappyFamily was started when your founder, Shazi Visram, realized there was a real need for busy parents to find a solution to giving their babies healthy food. Can you tell us more about how HappyFamily came to be?
Shazi’s vision came about as she listened to a friend’s anguish about the difficulty of finding the time to make her own baby food between caring for her baby, keeping up with her work, and all of the other demands of her very full life. When we launched our first product line called HappyBaby in 2006, there were no other homestyle options on the market. The only alternative to highly processed baby food in jars was making your own at home, which can be time consuming for busy families.
You gave your twins a healthy start. Can you tell us about your mom journey with this? Were you overwhelmed at where to begin?
The amount of information out there about what you should and should not feed your children is definitely overwhelming. I knew from the start that I wanted to stick with organic, fresh foods as much as possible. My approach when I need to use packaged foods has been to find products that are certified organic and have ingredient lists I can easily understand. The minimally processed foods will typically have a list that is relatively easy to decode. If I don’t know what an ingredient is, I look it up. So far, the process has been very manageable and I have peace of mind in knowing what I’m feeding my kids.
What is the biggest challenge to raising your kids in an organic environment and eating healthy?
For me, it’s time. Shopping for the best foods and cooking wholesome, healthy meals can be very time consuming. Add to that the fact that parents and kids are constantly on the go with work, school, and countless activities, and it can seem impossible to keep up with healthy eating. I try to get around this by being diligent about planning ahead. Each week I make a list of meals we will eat, including snacks and meals that can be taken “to go” if needed. (For my girls, this means snacks I can throw in the diaper bag in case our outing runs too long.) I use that list to do all the grocery shopping for the week. The planning takes a little extra time on the weekends, but makes life so much easier during the week.
This can be more difficult if your kids are not always eating under your supervision – for instance, at daycare or school. Be sure to find out what foods are being offered and pack food from home if possible. As parents, I think our best bet is to teach our children about healthy foods and lead by example so that they will automatically make good choices when we can’t choose for them.
Can you give us 3 tips any parent can do to help their children to live a more organic & healthy lifestyle?
Make a healthy diet and regular exercise the norm for the whole family. It’s so important not to overlook our own health since our children will learn from the examples we set.
Choose organic whenever possible. When organic foods are not available, or are cost prohibitive, use the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists as a guide: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
Make healthy eating fun by cooking together, visiting farmers’ markets, and planting a small garden. Even though my girls are only 11 months old, I already take them out in the backyard with me to pick the veggies that we grow. Their faces light up when I let them have a taste.
Now for a quick glance into Michelle’s life.
What has been your greatest joy as a mom?
Watching my daughters grow and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they learn something new.
What keeps you going through busy days?
Remembering how blessed I am to have two happy, healthy babies and a wonderful husband. It helps to keep things in perspective.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A giant piece of chocolate cake.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
I would “sleep in” until at least 7:00am (I can’t remember the last time that happened.) Then, I would treat myself to a morning at the spa, followed by meeting the girls and my husband for a picnic lunch or trip to the zoo and finally, dinner and a movie with my husband.
If someone was going to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
August is National Peach Month and what better way to celebrate this yummy fruit than to have a fun-filled Peach Party with your kids. You can even invite over their friends for a real peachy event!
What you will need for the party:
- A copy of James and the Giant Peach
What you will need for the craft:
- Tissue paper in orange, yellow and pink
- Non-toxic glue
- Paper plate
- Scraps of brown and green paper
- Scissors (adult use only unless child is able to use safely)
What to do:
Set up an area outside if possible for your peach party. Have a big bowel of washed peaches in the middle of the area where you will hold the peach party. If you want to be really creative you can have several peach dishes for the kids to eat such as:
Read James and the Giant Peach while the children enjoy their peach snacks. Have everyone clean up from eating their juicy peaches and begin the peach craft.
- Tear or cut tissue paper into squares.
- Put glue on a portion of the plate (you don’t want to put it on the whole plate because it may dry by the time your child gets to decorating that side of the plate).
- Put the colored tissue all over the paper plate that has glue on it. Once finished, put more glue on plate & then put down more tissue paper.
- Cut out a small rectangle of brown paper for peach stem.
- Cut out leaves with the green paper.
- Attach stem and leaves to top of peach.
- Leave to dry.
- When the plate is dry trim any rough edges.
Fun Facts about peaches to share with kids:
- Peaches are a fruit that grow on trees.
- Georgia is known as the peach state.
- California, however, provides half the world’s supply of peaches.
- Peaches are believed to be native to China.
- Peaches are a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Today is National Watermelon Day and to celebrate this tasty treat, Wally Wonderbug has shared his easy-to-make watermelon craft for children.
What you will need:
- White, pink/red and green construction paper
- Scissors (adult use only unless child can safely use them)
- Non-toxic glue
- Non-toxic black marker
How to make watermelon craft:
- Cut the green construction paper into a half circle (we used a big bowl to help draw the lines before cutting).
- Cut pink or red construction paper into a smaller half circle (about 1/2 to 1 inch smaller in diameter).
- Glue the pink or red half circle on the green one to make the watermelon body.
- Cut two small circles out of white construction paper to make the eyes.
- Glue to top of watermelon.
- Draw in small black circles to complete the eyes.
- Using the green construction paper, cut a small half circle in a smile and place on the red/pink part of the watermelon under the eyes.
- Cut four 1 inch strips of green construction paper lengthwise.
- Fold stripes into an accordion by alternating folds back & forth. Once strip is completely folded, let it go & you will get the bouncy accordion effect for the arms & legs. Glue onto the back of the watermelon body.
- Draw in little circles on the pink/red part for the watermelon seeds.
After you are done making the craft, enjoy a slice of nutritious watermelon with your children!
“Mom what’s for dinner?” A statement that can put you in a full out panic if it has been “one of those days”. Not to fear, Weelicious is here! We love this website because this mom is serious about good nutritious meals that don’t take hours to prepare.
Her motto? Fast, easy & fresh baby food, toddler food and recipes for the entire family! What’s not to love? She also involves her kids in the cooking process with age-appropriate tasks giving them hands-on experience. The result? Her children learn about good health, how to cook and how to perceive food in a positive, healthy way. Best part? She teaches us to do the same!
Check out her site! You will love the recipes, food group info, weekly menu, daily recipe sent to you, healthy tidbits and more!
Today is national Eat Your Veggies Day (we are sure a mom thought of this holiday ) To celebrate, we have some fun ideas to help your children eat a variety of healthy vegetables.
Tips for encouraging children to eat their vegetables:
- Introduce a variety of vegetables early on and often. If your child has repeated opportunities to sample new foods, at least some of them will be accepted.
- Include vegetables in foods your children already like – make zucchini or banana muffins instead of chocolate or sugar-filled muffins.
- Switch from soda or fruit drinks to 100% fruit juice.
- Make fruit smoothies. This will give your child fruit and calcium!
- Make a healthy trail mix for a snack with raisins, nuts, and non-sugary cereal.
Fun kid-friendly vegetable recipes:
- T-Rex pizza
- Mini Technicolor Veggie Pizza
- Galloping Good Eggplant
- Creamed Dill Potatoes
- Red Pepper Walnut Dip (great to dip veggies in!)
How will you celebrate Eat Your Veggies Day?