Kids 12 April 2019

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Kids

(Family Features) As a parent, instilling healthy eating habits in your children at an early age can aid in proper growth and development. Eating well goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight, increasing energy levels and improving moods while also reducing risk of obesity and other chronic issues such as heart disease and diabetes later in life.

Set your children on a path to making lifelong nutritious choices with these tips:

Foster independence. Allowing your children to help with shopping and meal prep can aid in them taking ownership of what they’re eating. Start by divvying up easier tasks such as setting the table then work toward creating snacks and meals on their own. These Rainbow Fruit Parfaits are simple for kids to assemble – just set the ingredients out and let them layer – and can serve as a healthful on-the-go breakfast or after-school snack.

Offer balanced options. Children require balanced diets made up of all three major food groups, including fruits and vegetables, for proper development. Looking for the Produce for Kids logo next to nutritional, family-friendly items at the grocery store is an easy way to identify healthy food choices while also supporting local organizations that help children and families in need.

Be a role model. Typically, your children will follow your behaviors, which includes the types of foods they select at mealtimes. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables can help ensure your family is getting a complete range of nutrients. For example, a recipe like this Rainbow Buddha Bowl provides a combination of fresh and roasted vegetables that can be customized to meet your family’s tastes. Thinking about how many colors you eat in a day may inspire your kids to do the same, which can foster a lifetime of healthy eating habits.

To find more healthy meal inspiration, including more than 500 registered dietitian- and family-tested recipes, visit produceforkids.com.

Rainbow Fruit Parfaits

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 3

  • 1/2       cup sliced strawberries
  • 2          mandarins, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2       cup chopped pineapple
  • 2          kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2       cup blueberries
  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  1. In parfait glasses, layer strawberries, mandarins, pineapple, kiwis, blueberries and grapes.
  2. Top each fruit parfait with yogurt.

Rainbow Buddha Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Jodi of Create Kids Club on behalf of Produce for Kids
Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1          cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2       small purple cabbage, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • 1          cup red cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2       cup yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1          avocado, sliced
  • 4          tablespoons yogurt ranch dressing
  1. Heat oven to 425° F.
  2. Place sweet potatoes, broccoli and cabbage on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.
  3. Divide cooked quinoa into four bowls. Top with roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes and avocado.
  4. Drizzle with dressing.

Source: Produce for Kids

Healthy 27 March 2019

Creating Healthy Eating Habits

(Family Features) When it comes to eating, it can be difficult to find foods that kids can enjoy while also introducing them to valuable nourishment and health principles.

Instead of giving in to ice cream for every meal or forcing children to eat something their taste buds don’t agree with, there are tasty recipes like Chicken Noodle Soup, Cinnamon-Sprinkled French Toast and Flower Salad that can quench their appetites without giving up nutritional value. These fun recipes can give kids a chance to help in the kitchen, learning important life skills while spending quality time with family.

To find more fun, kid-friendly recipes that include both taste and nourishment, visit culinary.net.

The Classic Kid-Favorite

When mealtime hits and bellies start growling, turn to a classic to keep your kids full and satisfied. Chicken Noodle Soup has always been a favorite among children, so keep tradition alive in your family with this scrumptious recipe. For more delicious chicken recipes, visit eatchicken.com.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Recipe courtesy of National Chicken Council

  • 1 chicken (3 pounds), liver discarded
  • 2 1/2 quarts cold water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 onions, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into 4 pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Soup:

  • 1 cup small pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  1. To prepare broth: In large pot over high heat, bring chicken and all remaining broth ingredients to boil. Reduce heat to low; skim surface of broth to remove foam. Let simmer 1 1/2 hours, skimming occasionally, and turning chicken. Add more water if necessary to keep chicken submerged.
  2. Remove chicken with tongs and cool. Strain broth through fine sieve. Discard celery, herbs and spices. Reserve onions and carrots. Remove any excess fat from top of broth with spoon.
  3. Pull chicken meat from bones and discard skin and bones. Dice chicken and reserve. Quarter cooked onions, if desired.
  4. To prepare soup: In large pot over high heat, return strained chicken broth and bring to rolling boil. Add reserved onions and carrots. Reduce heat to low; stir in reserved chicken meat, pasta and frozen peas, cooking until warm. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with dill and parsley.

Connect Kids with Food for Healthy Habits

More than nine in 10 millennial moms think it's important for their kids to learn about where their food comes from, and more than three-quarters of those moms actively do things with their kids to help learn just that, according to recent findings.

Building healthy habits is the top reason moms cite for encouraging more learning when it comes to food, according to research conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Cuties – the sweet little clementines. Even when the weather is colder outside, recipes like this Flower Salad can help encourage kids to eat healthy for a lifetime.

For more kid-friendly recipe ideas and content exploring where food comes from, visit cutiescitrus.com/our-story.

Flower Salad

Recipe courtesy of Ellie Krieger
Servings: 1

Flower:

  • 1 Cuties clementine
  • 9-10 thinly sliced strips red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 grape tomato
  • 1 celery stick, cut to 3 inches
  • 2 small leaves romaine lettuce
  • 1 piece English cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and cut to 1 1/2 inches then thinly sliced

Dip:

  • 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Peel clementine and separate sections almost all the way, leaving attached at the base. Place on plate with base down. Place piece of red bell pepper between each citrus section, and half tomato in center to form flower.
  2. Place celery and lettuce leaves underneath as stem and leaves. Arrange cucumber slices below to represent grass.
  3. In small bowl, stir together yogurt, honey and lemon juice.
  4. Serve dip in dish alongside flower, or in a mound underneath cucumber slices.

Nutritional information per serving: 76 calories; 0.5 g total fat; (0.3 g saturated fat, 0.2 g poly fat); 4 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 2 mg cholesterol; 21 mg sodium.

A Memorable Morning Meal

Whether it’s before school or after sleeping in on a Saturday morning, breakfast is a popular meal for children of all ages. Next time you and your family rise and shine, go with this recipe for Cinnamon-Sprinkled French Toast to keep the whole gang happy. Find more kid-friendly recipes for every meal at nutrition.gov.

Cinnamon-Sprinkled French Toast

Recipe courtesy of the USDA

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon soft margarine
  • 4 teaspoons light pancake syrup
  1. In flat-bottomed bowl, crack eggs. Thoroughly whisk in milk and cinnamon. Dip bread slices, one at a time, into egg mixture, wetting both sides. Re-dip, if necessary, until all egg mixture is absorbed into bread.
  2. Meanwhile, heat large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add butter. Place dipped bread slices in skillet. Cook 2 1/2-3 minutes per side, or until both sides are golden brown.
  3. Drizzle with syrup. Serve when warm.

Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 8 g total fat; (3 g saturated fat); 10 g protein; 19 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 215 mg cholesterol; 250 mg sodium.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Chicken soup photo and French toast photo)

Source: Culinary.net

Snacks 21 March 2019

Making Munchies Matter

Better-for-you snacks kids will love

(Family Features) Kids love to snack. But left to their own devices, most kids don't always make the healthiest snack choices. A new study of long-term eating patterns in children, from researchers at the University of North Carolina, shows that kids today are getting nearly one-third of their daily calories from unhealthy snacks such as chips, crackers and candy.

Nutritious and delicious snacks are as close as your produce aisle. Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself - and its natural sweetness is something kids love.

Did You Know?

  • A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C.
  • Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health.
  • Vitamin B6 found in watermelon is used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic.
  • Vitamin C in watermelons can help to bolster your immune system's defenses against infections and viruses, and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.
  • A 2-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. A 2-cup serving has less than 10 percent of the daily reference value for potassium.

Try these fun recipes as after-school and post-activity snacks. For more kid-friendly recipes and healthy eating tips, visit www.watermelon.org.

Send some healthy lunch munchies to school - watermelon chunks are an easy way to brighten up a sack lunch and give kids a tasty nutritional boost in the middle of the day.

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating habits start at home. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to be a role model for smart food choices. Here are some simple things you can do to help your kids develop healthy lifelong habits.

  • Shop for food together and take time to examine, discuss and select fruit and vegetables that catch your child's eye. Allow your child to help you to prepare these healthful foods. For example, let your child use a melon-baller to create melon balls from watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to create a festive, nutritious and visually appealing dessert.
  • Make healthy snacks available at all times for your children by keeping the fridge filled with flavorful, nutrient-rich treats such as grapes, cherries, carrots and watermelon cubes.
  • Simple changes are easier for your child to get used to. Try switching from full fat milk to non-fat milk, serving sherbet, sorbet, ice milk or fruit juice bars, or adding fresh fruit to his or her cereal in the morning.
  • Serve your children colorful, deeply pigmented plant food. These foods tend to offer tremendous nutritional value. For example, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, oranges and watermelon are all packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Start each day with breakfast, preferably fruit with low-fat yogurt or granola. Make a fruit smoothie by blending watermelon cubes and a banana with crushed ice.

Watermelon Kebabs

Makes 6 servings

  • 1-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
  • Smoked turkey breast
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Coffee stirrers or beverage straws
  1. Cut watermelon, turkey and cheese in cubes and skewer on stirrers or straws.

Watermelon Nachos

Serves 6 to 8

  • 12 to 16 1/2-inch thick watermelon triangles with 3-inch sides
  • 2 cups Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A few drops almond extract
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Arrange the watermelon triangles on a serving platter or glass cake stand. Mix yogurt with extracts and spoon yogurt over the watermelon in the fashion of nacho cheese sauce. Sprinkle craisins, white chocolate chips, and almonds over the yogurt and dust with cinnamon.

Watermelon Dippers

  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Watermelon sticks or small wedges
  1. Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl. Use as a dip for the watermelon.

Watermelon Cut Outs

  • Seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices
  • Yogurt
  • Granola or similar cereal
  1. Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Frost with vanilla or other flavored yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.

Watermelon Berry Slush

Makes 6 servings

  • 4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries
  • 1 12-ounce bottle sparkling mineral water
  1. Place watermelon in a single layer in shallow pan; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand 5 minutes. Drop watermelon through food chute of a food processor or blender with the motor running. Add frozen raspberries alternately with mineral water, processing until smooth.

Watermelon Jelly Logs

Makes 6 servings

  • 6 3-inch x 2-inch x 5-inch watermelon rectangles
    3 flavors all fruit or low sugar preserves
    6 ginger, molasses or peanut butter cookies
  1. Using a melon baller, cut 3 divots into a long side of each watermelon rectangle. Fill each divot with a different all-fruit or low-sugar preserve. Serve each rectangle with a cookie.

Source: National Watermelon Board

Kids 14 March 2019

Easy, No-Bake Goodies

(Family Features) Summer is a great time to get kids into the kitchen to make some snacks and desserts. Whether you need something to take to a picnic or just something to do on a rainy day, making easy, no-bake goodies like Rice Krispies Treats(r) can show kids just how fun cooking can be.

Even young children can be kitchen helpers, so the whole family can get involved. What can your child do to help prepare a recipe?

2 to 3-year-olds can
-Wash and scrub fruits and vegetables
-Name and count foods

3 to 4-year-olds can
-Shape foods
-Mix dry ingredients together
-Pour pre-measured liquids into batter

4 to 5-year-olds can
-Help measure ingredients
-Open packages
-Pour cereal
-Mash soft fruits and vegetables
-Press cookie cutters into dough or soft food

6 years old and up can
-Beat recipe ingredients with a whisk
-Help locate ingredients in a spice rack or pantry

Make some summer magic with these tasty no-bake recipes for Choco P'Nutty Bars, Itsy Bitsy Fruit Pies, and Ice Cream Sandwich Treats. For even more kid-friendly recipes you can make together, visit www.Ricekrispies.com.

Note: The following recipes should be made with adult supervision.

Itsy Bitsy Fruit Pies

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup milk chocolate morsels
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups Kellogg's® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 2 cups assorted fresh chopped fruits
  • Frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • Assorted sprinkles
  1. In medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in chocolate morsels until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon.
  2. Place cereal in large bowl. Carefully pour melted chocolate mixture over cereal. Gently stir until cereal is completely coated with chocolate.
  3. Spoon cereal mixture into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray. Using your finger or thumb, press cereal mixture onto bottoms and up the sides of each cup, forming crusts.
  4. Place crusts in freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
  5. Before serving, fill each crust with fresh fruit. Dollop with whipped topping. Decorate with sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Note: Extra unfilled crusts may be frozen in air-tight container for up to a month. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Kid-friendly Kitchen Tips:
-Children of all ages should have an adult assistant with them at all times when cooking.
-Chefs 7 and older can measure the ingredients and help stir the melted chocolate into the cereal.
-Little ones, ages 3 to 6, will enjoy pressing the mixture into the muffin cups and decorating with the fruits and whipped cream.
-Make sure to have plenty of extra fruits for snacking while making these little pies.

Ice Cream Sandwich Treats

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 10 to 12

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 10 ounce-package (about 40) marshmallows, or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/2 cup assorted sprinkles
  • 2 pints desired flavor ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet or gelato
  1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.
  3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper, evenly press mixture to 1/4-inch thickness on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Decorate with sprinkles. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from refrigerator. Using 2-inch cookie cutters coated with cooking spray, cut into desired shapes. Place small scoop of ice cream on undecorated side of one cut-out. Top with another cut-out, decorated side up. Gently press together. Return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cut-outs and remaining ice cream.
  5. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to airtight container. Freeze for 2 hours to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Choco P'Nutty Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 18

  • 1 12-ounce package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Kellogg's Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 18 wooden or plastic sticks
  1. In large saucepan, melt chocolate morsels and peanut butter over low heat; stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal and marshmallows.
  2. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly into 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Chill in refrigerator about 45 minutes.
  3. Cut into 18 bars. Serve by inserting plastic or wooden stick into each bar.

Microwave Directions: In large microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate morsels and peanut butter at medium power for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well coated. Continue with recipe directions.

Source: Rice Krispies

Kids 19 February 2019

Creative, Kid-Size Snacks

(Family Features) The ultimate kid-friendly snack comes as a package deal – simple, delicious, nutritious and fun. One option that readily meets those demands are apples, pears and oranges perfectly sized for small hands, mouths and appetites.

While Lil Snappers’ smaller sizes allow fresh fruits to easily fit into bento boxes and brown bags for a wholesome lunchbox companion that leaves little waste, a dash of creativity also transforms these fruits into a favorite snacktime star – from crunchy critters to sweet treats.

Available in three-pound pouches and found in the fresh produce aisle, Lil Snappers come seasonally in a wide array of fruit varieties, including organics, grown by a sixth-generation family farming operation, Stemilt Growers. Options range from popular apples such as Gala, Pink Lady and Granny Smith, to delicious Bartlett pears, Bosc pears and more.

Try out these recipes for pint-sized snackers, and find quick and easy recipe ideas at lilsnappers.com.

Crab Critter

  • 1          Lil Snappers apple
  • 1          mini marshmallow
  1. Cut apple in half lengthwise and remove stem. Remove core from one apple half.
  2. Slice apple half without core into 8 wedges to serve as critter’s legs.
  3. Set aside second apple half, which will serve as critter’s body.
  4. Take two legs and make simple zig-zag cuts into flesh to create “claw-like” shape.
  5. On a plate, arrange critter’s legs, fanning them out, then place claws in front of legs and reserved apple half on top for the head.
  6. Cut mini marshmallow in half. Gooey side of each will easily stick to critter’s head to serve as eyes.

Little Mouse

  • 1          Lil Snappers pear
  • 1          slice orange rind
  • 1          marshmallow
  • 1          grape
  • 2          toothpicks
  1. Cut pear in half lengthwise. On plate, lay pear cut-side down. Using peeler, slice 3 inches of rind from orange. Trim sides to result in long, thin rectangle. Coil length of rind around finger and hold to set shape.
  2. Cut one slice from end of marshmallow then cut that round in half to create two half-moon shapes. Gooey edge of each half-moon will stick to top of pear half to serve as critter’s ears.
  3. Break toothpick in half and place picks in location for critter’s eyes, leaving about 1/4 inch sticking out from fruit.
  4. Slice ends off of one grape and place domes over toothpicks to serve as eyes.
  5. Using toothpick, make hole in back end of critter to place tail. Stick end of coiled orange rind into hole using toothpick to wedge rind into fruit. Reshape coil, as needed.

Note: Remember to remove toothpicks before nibbling.

Source: Stemilt Growers

Kids 01 September 2018

School Mornings Made Easy

(Family Features) Most parents know the first few weeks of school season and new daily routines can be hectic. From stocking up on school supplies to finishing up homework, there's few unused minutes in the day.

One thing that's particularly easy to forget in the mad dash to catch the bus or make it to morning drop-off is a well-balanced, protein-packed breakfast. According to a No Kid Hungry study, when students have a balanced breakfast in the morning, they are more likely to attend school and perform better on standardized tests.

Start the school year off right by giving your kids a breakfast they'll love that also provides the protein they need to kick-start their day. Recipes like Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches or Baked Eggs in Avocado can be ready in minutes and provide fuel long past the first morning school bell.

As a simple time-saver, Smithfield offers pre-diced, cubed and sliced ham that can make breakfast a breeze any day of the week. Incorporate it into a simple breakfast sandwich for a protein boost you can enjoy on-the-go. Served crispy or chewy depending on your preference, Thick Cut Bacon also puts a savory spin on nearly any breakfast plate, whether paired with eggs and avocado or a simple side of toast.

For more information and breakfast ideas, visit smithfield.com.

Simple Ham and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 8 frozen prepared waffles, toasted
  • 8 ounces Smithfield Anytime Favorites Quarter Boneless Sliced Ham, any flavor
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
  • maple syrup (optional)
  1. Prepare waffles according to package directions; keep warm.
  2. In nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook ham slices until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side; keep warm. In same skillet over medium heat, fry eggs until desired doneness.
  3. Lay out four waffles and top each with sliced cheese, ham and fried egg, topping with remaining waffles to finish. Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.

Tip: Try spreading fruit jam on your sandwich for a change of pace.

Baked Eggs in Avocado

Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 large avocados
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 strips Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon, diced and cooked until crispy
  • 1 cup blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  1. Heat oven to 450 F. Spray baking sheet or glass baking pan with cooking spray. Cut avocados in half. Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of avocado to create well for eggs. Place avocados flesh-side up on prepared baking sheet or glass pan.
  2. Gently crack one egg in each avocado well, making sure to keep yolk intact. Bake 10 minutes, or until eggs reach desired temperature. Remove.
  3. Top with bacon pieces, blue cheese and cilantro.

Source: Smithfield

Kids 03 September 2018

Back-to-School Seafood Favorites

(Family Features) With a new school year beginning, it’s important for parents to be prepared and help their children start forming good habits. For example, most children function better on a routine. They wake up every day at a certain time, they practice the same sports and eat nutritious, fresh foods that fuel their bodies.

One healthy option for kids is seafood. When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are all needed for strong bones, brain development, healthy immune systems and cardiovascular systems.

In fact, research published in “Acta Paediatrica” shows an association between kids who eat fish at least once a week and better grades.

With a new routine in place, it can sometimes be hard for parents to keep up, but with fast-cooking seafood like thin fish fillets and shrimp, a healthy dinner can be ready in minutes. However, since some kids can be picky eaters, consider these tips from Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools, to add seafood to your family’s table.

  • Start creating meals featuring seafood early in their lives, as children who are exposed to seafood at an early age may develop a fondness for the cuisine.
  • Introduce them to mild varieties such as cod, pollock and haddock, then have them try other species as they become accustomed to the taste.
  • Seafood can be substituted in nearly any dish that normally calls for chicken, beef, pork or other proteins. Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood.
  • Canned seafoods like tuna and salmon make for quick, budget-friendly options when time is short, plus they can be mixed in with a variety of recipes.

For more seafood recipes and meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.

Hearty Salmon Skewers over Brown Rice

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1          pound salmon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • 8          skewers
  • 1/4       cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1          cup pineapple, cubed
  • 1/2       cup canola oil
  • 1          lemon
  • 2          cups cooked brown rice
  1. Coat salmon with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika, to taste. Slide piece of salmon onto skewer, followed by tomato and then pineapple. Repeat three times on each skewer, or until skewer is full.
  2. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 cup canola oil 1 minute.
  3. Place skewers in pan and turn every 2 minutes per side. Squeeze lemon on skewers while cooking.
  4. To serve, place 1/2 cup rice on each plate and two skewers on top. Squeeze hint of lemon over each serving, if desired.

Source: Seafood Nutrition Partnership

Kids 06 February 2019

New Research Links Refrigerator Staple to Teenage Height

Study finds drinking more milk growing up is associated with increased height at 17

(Family Features) Drinking real dairy milk is especially important for growing kids, and new research suggests regularly drinking more milk throughout childhood is associated with an increase in teenage height, according to a new study in “The Journal of Nutrition.”1

Researchers followed more than 700 kids from the time they were born, analyzing their height and diet from ages 2-17, and found each additional glass of milk kids drank per day throughout childhood increased their height at age 17 by around 0.39 centimeters. That means the more milk kids drank regularly growing up, the taller they were. Water and other beverages, including 100 percent juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, didn’t have the same effect.

These findings add to a growing body of research that suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years is associated with greater height in the teen years, while regularly skipping milk or drinking non-dairy milk alternatives, like almond or soy milk, is linked to shorter height.2, 3, 4

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend two cups of milk and milk products each day for kids ages 2-3, two and a half cups each day for kids 4-8 and three cups each day for kids 9-18. While it’s hard for kids to get nutrients they need to grow strong without milk in their diets, eighty-five percent of Americans fall short of these daily recommendations, which includes most children over 3 years old.5, 6

Serving an eight-ounce glass of milk alongside meals or snacks is an easy way to give kids nine essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, and get them closer to these recommendations. Try pairing these homemade cereal bars from Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, with a cold glass of milk for an easy after-school snack, and find more kid-approved recipes at pourmoremilk.com.
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Homemade Cereal Bars

Recipe courtesy of Jamielyn Nye, author of iheartnaptime.net, on behalf of Milk Life

Servings: 16

  • 1/2       cup peanut butter
  • 1/2       cup honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2    cups dry cereal
  1. Line 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium size sauce pan, combine peanut butter and honey and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Add in dry cereal and stir until completely coated then press into lined pan. Use piece of parchment paper to press firmly down on bars.
  4. Refrigerate bars 1 hour, or until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with eight-ounce glass of milk.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 4 1/2 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 10 g protein; 26 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 160 mg sodium; 306 mg calcium (30% of daily value). Nutrition figures include an eight-ounce glass of fat free milk. 
 


1Marshall TA, Curtis AM, Cavanaugh JE, Warren JJ, Levy SM. Higher longitudinal milk intakes are associated with increased height in a birth cohort followed for 17 years. The Journal of Nutrition. 2018;148(7):1144-1149.

2Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Releationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.

3Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.

4 Morency M, Birken CS, Lebovic G, Chen Y,  L’Abbé M, Lee GJ, Maguire JL and the TARGet Kids! Collaboration. Association between noncow milk beverage consumption and childhood height. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;106(2):597-602.

5 Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. The Journal of Nutrition. 2010;140:1832-1838.

6 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. 8th Edition, 2015.

Source: MilkPEP

Meal Ideas 05 February 2019

6 Ways to Build a Better Lunchbox

(Family Features) Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor.

Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox:

Get creative. Foods that look can good taste good, too. Transform sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or make tiny heart- or star-shaped, bite-size pieces of cheese for a fun finger food. Another fun idea: thread sliced and bite-sized vegetables on a wooden stick for a no-cook kabob. For a sweet variation, use fruit instead and sprinkle with coconut for extra flavor.

Skip the packaging. Little fingers can struggle to open pre-packaged foods, so instead opt for fresh ingredients that fit into a bento-style box. Not only can kids see what tasty treats await and dig straight into their meals, less packaging means less processing, which is good for their health and the environment.

Keep it simple. Opt for delicious, flavorful foods that deliver nutrients kids need and the taste they want without any extras. An option like Hidden Valley Simply Ranch makes for a rich and creamy complement to carrot sticks, cucumber and other lunchbox staples. With no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors this ranch is perfect for encouraging kids to eat the veggies you pack. Look for Classic Ranch or for a special twist, try flavors such as Cucumber Basil or Chili Lime.

Rely on the familiar. Refueling during the day is important to keep kids focused and able to mentally and physically tackle the rest of the school day. Avoid trying out new foods at lunchtime and save experimenting with new flavors for meals at home.

Go for variety. Representing multiple foods groups isn’t only a good way to deliver good nutrition, the variety in colors and textures can make the meal more interesting and encourage kids to eat more. Include savory meats, crunchy crackers, veggies and sweet fruits.

Add a treat. Whether it’s a favorite fruit or yogurt, a single piece of candy or even a simple note that says “I love you and I’m proud of you,” find a way to add something sweet to every lunch and bring a smile to your child’s daily routine.

Look for more kid-friendly meals at hiddenvalley.com
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Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6-8

  • 1          cucumber, sliced
  • 1          cup broccoli florets
  • 2          carrots, sliced
  • 8          cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8       wooden skewers
  • Hidden Valley Simply Ranch
  1. Gently thread cucumber slices, broccoli, carrot slices and cherry tomatoes on skewers, placing 2-3 pieces of each veggie on each skewer to make a rainbow of colors.
  2. Serve ranch dressing with veggies for dipping.

Tip: Add cheese cubes for protein on kabobs, if desired.

Photo courtesy of Mick Jones

Source: Hidden Valley

Breakfast & Brunch 29 January 2019

A Sweet Recipe to Share the Love

(Family Features) When you serve kids milk with breakfast, you can feel good knowing they’ll love the taste. Not to mention, as a parent, you’ll appreciate the quality nutrition in each glass. As one of the original farm-to-table foods that kids already love, milk is a simple, wholesome way to show your family how much you care.  

Starting the day around the table with loved ones and a glass of milk will help your family get nine essential nutrients that everyone can benefit from, like calcium and vitamin D. Plus, with 8 grams of high-quality protein per every 8-ounce glass, milk at breakfast is a great way to help power through your morning. It’s no surprise that 96 percent of Americans have milk in their refrigerators – because when you pair quality nutrition with quality family time, everyone will feel the love.

Add some excitement to your morning with these quick and easy Homemade Pop Pastries. Kids will enjoy helping to bake up this homemade, heart-shaped version of a breakfast favorite, perfect to share with the people they love. Pair this strawberry-filled recipe with a glass of milk for a delicious breakfast to start everyone’s day on the right foot.

To share the love with more milk-inspired recipes, visit milklife.com, and watch how you can add a little love at breakfast with these tasty pastries at YouTube.com/MilkLife.
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Homemade Pop Pastries

  • 1          package (2 crusts) rolled pie crusts, 9-inch diameter
  • 3/4       cup strawberry all-fruit spread
  • 2          tablespoons lowfat or fat free milk
  • 4          fresh strawberries, stemmed
  1. Heat the oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Unroll both rounds of pie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and place one on top of the other. Using a pizza wheel or a chef’s knife, cut the rounds into eight wedge-shaped pieces (for a total of 16 wedge-shaped pieces).
  3. Arrange wedges on a work surface. Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the fruit spread onto eight of the wedges, leaving 1/2-inch margin around the sides. Arrange the eight wedges on the prepared baking sheet and brush the edges with some of the milk.
  4. Using a small heart-shaped cutter cut a heart out of each of the remaining eight pastry wedges (discard the hearts) and arrange on top of the jam-filled wedges. Press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.
  5. Brush the tops of the pastries with additional milk and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Let the tarts cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Before serving, slice the fresh strawberries in half from top to bottom to form heart shapes. Place a strawberry slice in each heart cut-out.
  7. Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.

Variation: For a flavor twist, spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate hazelnut spread onto eight of the wedges, then spread with just 1 tablespoon of the strawberry spread. Proceed with the recipe as written.

Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 11 g fat; 3.5 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 38 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 180 mg sodium; 16 mg calcium (2% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk.

Source: MilkPEP

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