(Family Features) The early morning chaos and activity-packed evenings of the back-to-school season can make finding time to connect challenging. Throughout the day, there can be small windows of time that your family can make the most of – even if only for a few moments that matter.
“As a busy mom, I know how hard it can be to find time to slow down with the kids,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann, pediatrician and parenting expert. “After-school snack time is my secret weapon. It’s a time we can all pause for a few minutes before running out the door to soccer or starting homework. As a doctor, I’ll take any extra opportunity to provide the nutrients my kids need. That’s why I focus on nutrient-rich snacks, which always include milk in our house.”
Most Americans, including kids, fall short on the recommended three daily servings of real milk and milk products for kids ages 9 and up, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Adding real dairy milk to afternoon snack time is an easy way to get kids nutrients they need to grow up strong, which is one less thing for parents to worry about.
“The great thing about milk is that kids already love it, so it’s an easy way to get protein and other essential nutrients they need to fuel their after-school activities and meals,” pediatrician Dr. Ilan Shapiro said. “It’s not a battle to get them to drink it like so many foods can be.”
You can make the most of snack time with simple, fun recipe ideas like Harvest Fruit and Oat Energy Bites, which are a quick way to fuel up. Pairing these with an 8-ounce glass of real milk provides protein and essential nutrients kids need to power through after-school homework or activities.
Snacking recipes are not only easy to make, but also easy to plan. For more tasty on-the-go recipe ideas to try this back-to-school season, and to shop for ingredients, visit milklife.com.
Recipe courtesy of Emily Caruso of Jelly Toast on behalf of Milk. Love What’s Real
Servings: 10, 2 bites per serving
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
- 2 tablespoons almond nut butter
- 2/3 cup dried apple rings, chopped (soft variety)
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried tart cherries
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans or almonds
- 1 glass milk (8 ounces each) per serving
- In bowl of food processor or high-speed blender, combine milk, 1 cup rolled oats, nut butter, dried apple rings, apple pie spice and salt. Pulse until mixture becomes fairly smooth and holds together when rolled. Transfer mixture to medium size bowl.
- Stir in remaining oats, dried cranberries and chopped nuts. Roll mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Chill 1 hour, or until firm. Keep bites covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.
- Pair each serving with 8-ounce glass milk.
Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 3.5 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 12 g protein; 28 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 150 mg sodium; 334 mg calcium. Nutrition figures based on using fat-free milk and include 8-ounce glass fat-free milk.
Photo courtesy of Emily Caruso of Jelly Toast on behalf of Milk. Love What’s Real
Discover recipes chock-full of heart-healthy pecans
(Family Features) Sometimes making small changes can have a positive impact on your health – including heart health – like drinking more water, taking the stairs instead of the escalator and adding nutritious ingredients to your snacks and meals.
Incorporating nutritious ingredients is an easy way to step up your mealtime – for example, American Pecans can super-fy nearly any recipe by adding flavor and nutrition.
It’s always a good time to include heart-healthy ingredients on your shopping list. Certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check*, American Pecans and their unique mix of unsaturated fats, plant sterols, fiber and flavonoids add up to help promote a healthy heart. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, research suggests but does not prove that eating 1 1/2 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, each day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce your risk of heart disease. One serving of pecans (28 grams) contains 18 grams unsaturated fat and only 2 grams saturated fat.
Boosting the heart-smart punch of your favorite recipes can be easy with pecans. Whether topping a salad, sprinkling into bread batter or using them as the foundation of a portable snack, there are few things America’s native nut can’t do.
Start the day right with a bowl of Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal – a comforting and hearty combination that can keep you full for hours. For a wholesome, on-the-go option perfect for school snacks, desk drawers or an afternoon pick-me-up, try Cherry Pecan Energy Bites. Dried cherries, dates and crunchy pecans combine for an all-natural burst of heart-smart nutrition to help you power through the day.
Discover more ways to create heart-healthy meals with pecans at AmericanPecan.com.
Banana Pecan Cherry Oatmeal
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup pecan milk
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup pecan halves
- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
- 1/4 cup honey
- In large, microwave-safe bowl, combine oats and water. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, or until oats are cooked through. Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.
- Remove from microwave, stir and divide between two bowls. Pour 1/4 cup pecan milk over each bowl.
- Divide sliced banana, pecan halves and dried tart cherries between each bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons honey. Serve immediately.
Cherry Pecan Energy Bites
Makes: 10-12 energy bites
- 1 cup toasted pecan halves or pieces
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 4 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder, plus additional, for coating (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In bowl of food processor, combine toasted pecans, dried cherries, dates, oats, cacao powder and vanilla extract.
- Pulse until ingredients begin to bind and form loose, dough-like ball.
- Roll into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in additional cacao powder, if desired, and transfer to airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to seven days.
Note: To make gluten-free, substitute 1/4 cup of certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats.
*Heart-Check certification does not apply to recipes.
Source: American Pecan Council