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Mix It Up With Jenny - Shhh! Sneak Nutrition Into Snacks

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Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars

(Family Features) - If your child is like mine, the first thing on his mind after school is "snack!" Now that's okay, except I want "nutritious," and he wants "treat." In trying to get kids to choose nutritious snacks, sometimes sneaky works. Like these Pumpkin-Carrot Swirl Bars.

Homemade treats can be nutritious-and believe me, they can still taste amazing! For these bars, I've used a light cream cheese and swirled it into the bars for a creamy sensation with less fat than the traditional cream cheese frosting, and I've substituted egg whites for some of the whole egg. And I've boosted the fiber and vitamin A by using nutrient-rich pumpkin as a base for the batter and adding shredded carrot.

Kids learn habits by watching others: Your food choices and lifestyle habits are a model for them. Don't panic! In honor of Nutrition Month, consider these tips:

  • Keep a regular meal schedule so kids don't snack so much that they're not hungry at mealtime.

  • Involve kids in planning and preparation: Kids who fix foods are more likely to eat them. This is a great way to get kids to try something new-enlist them as kitchen help for preparing a new food or dish.

  • Eat as a family, at least once a day. Eat slowly and savor your meal.

  • Snacks can be nutritious! Plan ahead to have healthy options available to discourage grazing on junk food.

  • Move it! Children and adults both need to move for good health. Make exercise a daily habit. It can be as simple as taking a walk or taking the stairs. Family fun is ensured with an active sport or game everyone enjoys.

Want more inspiration for home-baked after-school snacks? Visit VeryBestBaking.com

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the NestlĂ© Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.
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Pumpkin Carrot Swirl Bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup (about 1 large) finely shredded carrot
  • Cream Cheese Topping (recipe follows)
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    1. PREHEAT oven to 350F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
    2. COMBINE flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until crumbly. Add eggs, egg whites, pumpkin and carrot; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; mix well. Spread into prepared pan. Drop teaspoonfuls of Cream Cheese Topping over batter; swirl mixture with spoon.
    3. BAKE 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
    4. For Cream Cheese Topping: COMBINE 4 ounces softened light cream cheese (Neufchâtel), 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon milk in small mixer bowluntil thoroughly blended.

Calories: 70g     Total Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 15mg     Protein: 1g
Carbohydrates: 13g     Sodium: 75mg

Makes about 4 dozen bars
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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