Showing posts with label Snack Time. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snack Time. Show all posts

Monday, May 2

SNACKTIME: Child-Friendly Vegetable Salads

Fruits and vegetables provide enormous health benefits, but little ones may find it challenging to meet the recommended number of daily servings for each. In fact, national surveys indicate that most children do not consume enough vegetables, and that about one-third of the vegetables children did eat were mostly from potatoes, such as French fries or chips.

The following strategies can be helpful to get your child to eat a variety of healthy vegetables. It may take some time, but encouragement and a little imagination will increase the odds.

Start Small - Mix familiar salad greens with one or two new veggies.

Color is Appealing - Children naturally navigate towards red, so try red cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, and even red beets. Carrots also come in a variety of colors including purple. Identifying colors can become a fun game and take pressure off eating.

Shape - Get creative with cubes, sticks, and Julienne sliced vegetables. Special peelers can create visual interest with creative swirls and curly cues.

Size is Key - Bite size pieces are easier for small mouths to manage. Carrot or celery sticks are favorite finger foods and dip easily.

Salad Dippers - Homemade or store bought, dips can help veggies get eaten. A creamy salad dressing, bean dip (hummus), or a cheese dip can entice little ones to try new vegetables.

Sweet - A bit of natural sweetness added to salad greens, such as apples, berries, jicama, mandarin oranges, or melon balls can help stimulate appetites.

Getting kids to eat a variety of vegetables from the rainbow diet can be fun!

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services

Wednesday, March 30

SNACKTIME: A Child’s Garden - Lessons in Nutrition, History, and Art

While science and ecology might be the obvious garden subjects, a school or home garden can also provide an environment to support lessons in math, history, art, and social skills.

Science and nutrition:  Nurturing plants from seed to harvest is exciting! Eating a tomato grown in your own garden is rewarding! Eating fruits and vegetables may contribute to the prevention of many diseases, however children often do not eat enough of these foods. Participating in gardening increases awareness of where healthy foods come from, resulting in increased consumption of fruits and vegetables during early childhood and adolescents.

Research shows that students participating in garden activities may reap many benefits, such as
  • A willingness to taste new fruits and vegetables, especially among younger children
  • An increase in overall fruit and vegetable intake
  • An improvement in nutrition knowledge
Overall, children that gardened were more willing to eat nutritious food, try unfamiliar food, had a greater likelihood of cooking and gardening, and expressed a greater appreciation for other individuals and cultures.

Social skills: Additional benefits of gardening include the ability to improve life skills, including working with groups and self-understanding.

History: Children can discover the origins of gardening and design around the globe, from pre-historic forest making to agricultural and ornamental processes.

Art: Garden art nurtures creativity and imagination. Children can create their own planter boxes, paint a garden sign, or add character with small personal touches (colored glass, sea shells, etc).

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services
Image by Dr. Willard’s

Wednesday, March 2

SNACKTIME: Eating for a Healthy Heart

According to the American Heart Association, you can never start too early when it comes to heart health. It may be surprising to learn, but plaque deposits (atherosclerosis), can begin building up in the walls of the arteries in children as young as five years old, leading to coronary heart disease.
Food is Fuel
In addition to regular exercise, diet can help lower the risk of heart disease later in life. Children age two years and older should be encouraged to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily as well as a wide variety of other foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Doing this can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels and promote cardiovascular health.
Healthy Eating Tips for Heart Health
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and pectin (a soluble fiber).
Choose whole-grain foods like steel-cut oatmeal, which are a good source of dietary fiber.
Eat fish for heart-healthy, omega-3 fatty acids.
Limit saturated and trans fats such as fatty cuts of meats, whole milk, cheese, butter, lard, ice cream, coconut oil, and palm oil. Trans fats are found in deep fried foods such as doughnuts and French fries. Look for “partially hydrogenated oils" on ingredient labels and stay away from those foods.
Limit your red meat intake and choose lean meats, fish, and poultry. Try meat-free alternatives such as tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa, and tempeh for protein.  
Snack on nuts! High in healthy fiber, protein. and healthy mono-unsaturated fat. A one ounce serving size of nuts is about 28 almonds or two tablespoons of nut butter.
Add flax seed to cereal or fruit smoothies for a high fiber, healthy fat boost!
Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
Making smart choices every day has a big impact on heart health. Develop proper eating habits early in life for better heart health.
Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services
Image by MintFit 

Monday, January 25

SNACKTIME: What Do the New Dietary Guidelines Mean for Your Family?

Earlier this month, the United States government released new Dietary Guidelines for Americans ages two and older. Issued every five years by the US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines are designed to foster a healthier diet, promote health, prevent chronic disease, and help Americans maintain a healthy weight.

Notable changes to the new guidelines include less emphasis on specific nutrients and more emphasis on overall eating patterns. For example, what you eat over time influences risk for certain diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. In general, plant-based, unprocessed foods help reduce risk.

The new guidelines recognize that American do not receive enough calcium, vitamin D, fiber, and potassium. Therefore, emphasis is now placed on the following foods to meet nutrition gaps. A healthy diet includes:
  • A variety of vegetables: dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), etc.
  • Fruits: especially whole fruit
  • Grains: at least half of which are whole grain
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy: milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods: seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds
  • Oils: those from plants such as olive and peanut oil, as well as oils naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.
 The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommends Americans limit thier sodium intake and the amount of sugary foods and beverages consumed:
  • Adults and children ages fourteen years and over should limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day, and children younger than fourteen years should consume even less. Salty chips and canned soups are often high in sodium.
  • Limit added sugars to no more than 10 percent of daily caloric needs. Americans consume 22 to 30 teaspoons of added sugar daily, half of which come from soda, juices, and other sugary drinks. High sugar intake has been linked to everything from dental cavities to obesity to type 2 diabetes, to heart disease. Daily added sugar intake should be under 200 calories per day, or 12 teaspoons of sugar. For children, who may only need 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day — it's even less.
Use the Nutrition Facts label to check for sodium and added sugars to make informed food choices. A healthy eating pattern is adaptable to a person’s taste preferences, traditions, culture, and budget.

Submitted by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services
Image by

Monday, December 28

SNACKTIME: Kid-Friendly Morning Muffins

The holidays are a time for family, celebrations, and snacking on treats. How can we offset holiday sweets with good nutrition? Begin with healthy, easy-to-make, homemade muffins. Store-bought muffins are loaded with saturated fat, sugar, artificial colors, and flavors. Homemade muffins are easy to make and perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen.

Begin the day strong with muffins made with whole ingredients such as whole wheat flour, flaxseed, or wheat bran for extra flavor and fiber. Increase the nutrition ratio by fortifying with protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Update your favorite recipes by substituting or adding the following to your original recipe:

White flour: Substitute all or half of the white flour for whole wheat flour to increase fiber and trace minerals such as magnesium and zinc.

More fiber: Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or nuts for extra fiber, flavor, and healthy fatty acid boost.

Fortifying batter: Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite protein powder.

Make simple substitutions to traditional family recipes to deliver a nutritional boost without sacrificing flavor. Adding ingredients such as dried fruit (e.g. prunes or apricots) or freshly grated apple will provide a natural sweetness. Create more festive flavors by adding orange zest, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, or nutmeg to the batter.

Bite-size muffins might be more appealing to little ones. Use a mini-muffin pan and colored cupcake papers to create a more celebratory look. Below is an example of a healthy recipe with a holiday edge using whole ingredients and seasonal spices!

Good Morning, Glory Muffins
2 cups grated carrot
1 large apple peeled and grated
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flax meal
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place grated carrot and apple together in a bowl and toss. Set aside. Mix together flours, flax, sugar, coconut, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. Tossing the nuts and raisins in with the dry ingredients stops them from sinking to the bottom. Whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Blend wet and dry ingredients and stir in the grated carrot and apple. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Makes a dozen medium sized muffins.

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company
Image and Recipe Contributed by Sweet Potato Chronicles

Monday, November 30

SNACKTIME: Pumpkins, Gourds, and Squash – Good to Eat or Use to Decorate?

The leaves may not turn brilliant colors here in southern California, but you know autumn has arrived when piles of pumpkins, warty gourds, and various shapes of squash – all in shades of green, orange, cream, and yellow make their market debut.

Pumpkins, gourds, and squash are all related, but not all are edible. Do you know the difference?

Pumpkins are versatile and are used for culinary pleasures and decorating. Roasted or canned, pumpkins contain beta carotene, vitamin C, and fiber and taste great as pumpkin pie, soup, or even added to a smoothie for a seasonal flavor and nutrition boost. Roasted pumpkins seeds make tasty and nutritious snacks!

Gourds come in an array of green, orange, and cream. Some have stripes, spots, and/or varying splotches of color with a smooth, horned, or warty surface which makes for an interesting table decoration. Ornamental gourds are not edible and are grown mainly for show. The flesh they do contain is rather tasteless and may even be bitter.

Mature gourds can be very tiny from only a few inches long to giants over several feet in length.  Depending on the size and shape, unique gourds can become festive table decorations or crafted into bird houses, ornaments, bowls, vases, and more.

Many varieties of Squash exist, but most popular include acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash which are pretty sweet. Upcoming favorites include the Calabaza which looks like a yellow, flat pumpkin. Delicata, also called sweet potato squash because of its creamy flavor and texture, looks like a large, plump cucumber and has yellow skin and dark green pinstripes. Squash may be baked, roasted, pureed, or sautéed depending on its texture. All are good sources of beta-carotene, vitamin C, plus lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all linked to healthy vision and optimal eye health.

So, cook a side dish or create a decoration, bird house, or ornament!
Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
     Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services Company
Image by

Wednesday, October 14

SNACKTIME: Fall into Healthy Habits

Children are getting excited about being healthy and doing what's right! It feels good when we make smart food choices. Use today as your starting point to a healthier life for you and your family, and start planning to eat healthy!
Eat for energy and health - Start with breakfast! Children who eat breakfast do better at school, satisfy hunger, and fuel the brain until lunch time.
Apples are easy, make a great snack, and are available all year long.
Take time to plan ahead. We make smarter food choices when we take the time to plan meals and snacks.
Have a healthy snack after school.
Exercise! Our bodies need to move. Jump! Run! Stretch!  
Aim for lots of color from a variety of plant-based foods: green beans, yellow squash, orange carrots, blue berries, red tomatoes.
Limit sugary and super salty foods.
Take time to stay hydrated! Hot, humid days and outdoor activities increase our fluid needs. Start with water.
Habits become easier with practice.

You can do it!
Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, MS, RD
                          Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services
Image by Urban Woman

Monday, August 24

SNACKTIME: Back-to-School Sandwich Ideas

School is back in session, so get ready to fill that shiny, new lunchbox or those crisp, brown paper bags! Planning your child’s lunch can get monotonous after the first few weeks of school. Ditch the peanut butter and jelly, and spice up your child’s lunch with a few of these creative sandwich ideas!

 Fairy Sandwich courtesy of Kids Activities Blog

 Chicken Potpie Empanadas courtesy of Real Simple

 Sandwich Skewers courtesy of I Love My Disorganized Life

 Minion Sandwich courtesy of Eats Amazing

 Snowflake Sandwich courtesy of Eats Amazing

 Rocket Sandwich courtesy of Eats Amazing

 Roll-Ups courtesy of Martha Stewart

 Starfish Biscuit Sandwich courtesy of Martha Stewart

Visit Fairmont’s Snacktime Pinterest board for more great food ideas and meal tips!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools
Images by,,,, &