Inspire Creativity with Fun Snack Hacks
(Family Features) School days offer nearly endless opportunities for learning and exploration in the classroom, but education doesn’t have to end with the final bell. Parents can ensure their students feel energetic, creative and confident by inspiring snack choices that are as smart as they are fun to make together.
Whether you’re whipping up a snack to send to school or your little learners need an energy boost before starting afternoon homework, creative snacking can help encourage inspiration. As a trusted ally with better-for-you and convenient whole-fruit lunchbox snacks kids can enjoy, Sun-Maid offers these easy tips and ways to embrace the fun side of snack time.
- Keep It Simple: Look for recipes with five ingredients or less so your children can show their artful nature without becoming overwhelmed. Plus, this often leads to a more budget-friendly at-home treat.
- Shop Together: Gathering ingredients and equipment is an important part of any recipe, and bringing your future chefs along helps them feel like it’s their creation from start to finish. Additionally, some important life lessons can be learned along the way, like how to navigate the store and compare costs.
- Provide Kid-Friendly Instructions: There are many ways kids can lend a hand in making their own snacks, like mixing ingredients, washing produce or arranging a plate or platter. However, some steps are best left to the adults – make sure to do any cutting, slicing or dicing before letting children take the reins, for example, then just enjoy the creative fun.
With childhood favorites like crackers, marshmallows and vanilla yogurt covered raisins, Gimme S’mores Trail Mix offers a perfect way to get young minds thinking in the kitchen. A little guidance is all it takes to teach them each step of the recipe to make a crafty, delicious treat. Plus, with only a few simple ingredients that just need to be mixed together, it’s a low-stress, low-mess way to cook up creativity.
For a healthier version of a snack time superstar, Apple Nachos combine sweet apples like Honeycrisp, peanut butter and versatile, whole-fruit Sun-Maid Raisins. Naturally made with nothing but grapes and California sunshine, these sweet raisins have been trusted as a better-for-you snack for kids and grown-up kids alike since 1912.
With zero grams of added sugars, they give parents the confidence they need to choose snacks that provide both great taste and nutrition for a happy and healthy family. As a household staple, they can be enjoyed as part of tasty recipes or as a standalone treat kids crave and parents approve.
Find more sweet ideas to inspire confidence and creativity at sunmaid.com.
Gimme S’mores Trail Mix
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1/2 cup Sun-Maid Vanilla Yogurt Covered Raisins
- 3 cups graham crackers, assorted flavors
- 1 1/2 cups colored mini marshmallows
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- In large bowl, mix raisins, graham crackers, marshmallows, almonds and chocolate chips.
- Serve immediately, or store in airtight container up to 1 week.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
- 5 sweet apples, such as Honeycrisp
- lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1/2 cup Sun-Maid California Sun-Dried Raisins
- Wash and slice apples.
- Arrange one layer of sliced apples on serving plate. To keep apples from browning quickly, squeeze lemon juice on top, if desired.
- In microwave, melt peanut butter about 30 seconds until smooth.
- Drizzle 1 tablespoon peanut butter over first layer of apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup raisins.
- Repeat with remaining apples, peanut butter and raisins.
Source: Sun-Maid Raisins
Make Cooking Fun for the Whole Family with this Sweet, Seasonal Snack
(Family Features) No matter how busy your schedule gets this fall, it’s important to take time to nurture your physical and mental health and well-being. With busy schedules underway, remember to take time to cook and eat together with loved ones.
In fact, research from the “Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health” shows regular family meals make it more likely kids and adults will eat more fruits and vegetables.
Making healthy choices, including eating fruits, like those in Apple Nachos, and vegetables have also been linked to greater happiness, according to research published in “Canadian Family Physician,” and can help you through the transition back to school, the office or wherever your routine takes you. Pairing a healthy diet with other science-backed tips and recipes from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by Kroger Health, can help you and your family feel your best.
For more free recipes, and to access more health tips, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced unsalted almonds
- 2 tablespoons unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
- 3 medium green or red apples, cored and thinly sliced into 12 wedges each, divided
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup smooth low-sodium peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In small bowl, stir cranberries, almonds and sunflower seeds.
- Layer 18 apple wedges on large plate or platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep apples from browning.
- In small microwaveable bowl, microwave water on high 2 minutes, or until boiling. Add peanut butter and honey, stirring until mixture is smooth.
- Using spoon, drizzle half peanut butter mixture over apple wedges. Sprinkle with half cranberry mixture. Layer remaining apples over cranberry mixture. Drizzle with remaining peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining cranberry mixture over top.
Nutritional information per serving: 167 calories; 7.5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 66 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein.
Source: American Heart Association
Fun, On-the-Go Health Hacks
(Family Features) As many people start getting back into normal routines, they’re returning to familiar on-the-go lifestyles by heading back to work, traveling to new destinations and enjoying time with loved ones.
While you get out to explore and gather with family and friends again, remember you’ll need fuel for your adventures. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, most Americans fail to get enough whole grains each day, opting instead for mostly refined grains.
Foods like tasty whole-grain popcorn offer an easy health hack so you can make every bite count. Try getting in the habit of popping 9 cups of popcorn in the morning and dividing it into two containers. Season one container with salt and herbs, the other with a pinch of sugar and cinnamon so you can alternate between sweet and salty throughout the day. Bringing delicious options like these while on the go can help satisfy hunger pangs while adding the fiber your body needs.
Because mouthwatering whole-grain popcorn is versatile and 3 cups is equal to one serving of whole grains, it’s a simple yet flavorful option for meeting dietary recommendations. It can be a breeze to add it to snacks like Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars, Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix or Sweet and Savory Curried Popcorn. You can even satisfy kids’ cravings with Grab and Go Pizza Popcorn, a six-ingredient recipe made in a matter of minutes.
Visit popcorn.org to find more nutritious snack ideas.
Sweet and Savory Curried Popcorn
Yield: 8 cups
- 8 cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
- 1/3 cup ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
- Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.
- In saucepan over medium heat, melt ghee, brown sugar, honey, curry powder and cumin; stir until dissolved. Bring to light boil; remove from heat.
- Toss ghee mixture and salt with popcorn; transfer to serving bowl.
Crunchy Popcorn Trail Mix
Yield: 9 cups
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 3 cups whole-grain oat cereal
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup peanuts or other nuts
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- In large, microwavable bowl, stir popcorn, cereal, raisins, nuts and seeds; set aside.
- In small saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until boiling; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour over popcorn mixture, stirring to coat evenly.
- Microwave 3-4 minutes, stirring and scraping bowl after each minute.
- Spread onto greased cookie sheet; cool. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
Blueberry and Pomegranate Power Bars
Yield: 12 bars
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup whole natural almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In large bowl, combine popcorn, oats, blueberries, pomegranate seeds and almonds.
- In small saucepan over low heat, boil honey, brown sugar and butter 2 minutes. Pour over popcorn mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Using damp hands, press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into 12 bars.
- Dip bottoms of bars into melted chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined pan; refrigerate until ready to serve. Store in tight covered container in refrigerator.
Grab and Go Pizza Popcorn
Yield: 6 quarts
- 6 quarts popped popcorn
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Place popcorn in large, sealable plastic container or 2 1/2-gallon plastic sealable bag.
- Spray popcorn lightly with olive oil cooking spray.
- Sprinkle cheese, garlic salt, paprika and Italian seasoning over popcorn and shake to distribute evenly.
- To serve, scoop popcorn into reusable plastic cups.
Source: Popcorn Board
A Natural Solution for Summer Hydration
(Family Features) Fun in the summer sun can mean anything from poolside play and outdoor exercise to simply relaxing in the shade. While these activities make the season special for people of all ages, the heat also leads to the inevitable: sweat.
Electrolytes, critical for the human body to function, are lost via sweat throughout the day. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, helps keep you hydrated. However, adding 100% orange juice to your diet can help replace those lost electrolytes in addition to aiding hydration. According to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences,” drinking 100% orange juice following exercise contributes to hydration equally as well as water and sports drinks, making the beverage a viable alternative for recovery.
“Electrolytes include nutrients such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, scientific research director at the Florida Department of Citrus. “In fluids, these nutrients carry an electric charge, which allows muscles to contract and nerves to transmit signals, and are critical for the human body to function. Plain water contains few if any electrolytes, so you must replace lost electrolytes by consuming foods or beverages that contain these nutrients. Drinking fluids that contain both water and electrolytes, such as 100% orange juice, may help support hydration.”
In fact, 100% orange juice contains about 90% water and can contribute to overall water intake. With no added sugar, it’s an ideal way to support hydration by drinking it on its own or by adding it to recipes like this Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing or Pineapple Orange Smoothie.
Consider these major electrolytes found in orange juice:
- Potassium: The major electrolyte within all cells, it helps balance fluid in the body with a strong relationship to sodium, the major electrolyte in the blood and outside the cells. Potassium is especially important for regulating heart rhythm and function. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice provides 10% of the recommended daily value for potassium.
- Magnesium: The fourth-most abundant mineral in the body and essential in the regulation of muscle contraction, cardiac excitability, blood pressure and other vital processes. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice contains 6% of the recommended daily value for magnesium.
- Calcium: Found in fortified varieties of orange juice, calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, nerve transmission and the contraction and relaxation of the cardiovascular system. As an excellent source of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of fortified orange juice provides 30% of the recommended daily value.
Visit floridajuice.com to find more recipes that aid in summer hydration.
Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing
- 2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
- 2 cups purple cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
Miso Orange Dressing:
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons miso
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 shallot
- To make salad: In bowl, toss broccoli, cabbage, raisins, almonds and green onions.
- To make miso orange dressing: In food processor or blender, pulse orange juice, canola oil, miso, almond butter and shallot until smooth.
- Pour dressing over salad, tossing to coat. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.
Pineapple Orange Smoothie
- 1 cup Florida Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 scoop walnuts
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 1 scoop plain protein powder (optional)
- In large blender, blend orange juice, almond milk, frozen banana, frozen pineapple, turmeric, walnuts, cayenne, ice cubes and protein powder, if desired, until smooth.
- Portion into two small glasses.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
Savory Leek, California Raisins and Ricotta Tart
(Culinary.net) Versatile recipes that make mealtime a cinch for busy families are one easy way to free up time for moments with loved ones.
This Savory Leek, Raisin and Ricotta Tart is a perfect example of a dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or even if your family gets a craving for a breakfast-for-dinner swap. Prep time is minimal before simply baking in the oven 40 minutes, meaning you can have a meal ready in under an hour. Plus, because it makes 10 servings, you’ll have leftovers to help curb appetites later in the day.
To go along with the convenience and ease, it’s made using California raisins as a key ingredient. Dried in the California sunshine, they come by their sweetness naturally as a fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-sodium ingredient that can also be enjoyed on their own as a snack that packs nutritional value with 6% of the daily value for potassium and 7% of the daily value for fiber in each serving.
Find more recipes for meals from morning to night at calraisins.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Savory Leek, Raisin and Ricotta Tart
- 1 pastry (9 inches, not in pie shell)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large leeks, chopped
- 1 cup California golden raisins
- 3 ounces diced smoked ham
- 15 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil or arugula
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out pastry dough and press into 9-inch springform or tart pan. Bake 10 minutes.
- In large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil. Add leeks and saute until browned, about 10 minutes. Add raisins and ham; cook 5 minutes.
- In bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese; whisk well. Add leek mixture and basil; stir well.
- Spoon ricotta mixture into tart shell. Bake 40 minutes or until puffed, golden and set.
Source: California Raisin
Heart-Smart Recipes You’ll Love
(Family Features) Eating for heart health is actually easier — and more delicious — than you might think. When you have a good plan and plenty of mouthwatering recipes, you’ll enjoy taking care of your heart.
According to the FDA, diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Here are some tips to help you make these kinds of heart-smart choices:
- Choose leaner cuts of meat. You can find plenty of delicious options such as skinless chicken, lean pork and beef. And you can make smart substitutions, too — use ground turkey instead of ground beef to make meatloaf or burgers even leaner.
- Add fruits and veggies to every meal. Strawberries in yogurt, blueberries on a salad, carrots and hummus as a snack, roasted sweet potatoes with dinner — it’s easier than you think to add nutrient-dense produce to your diet. Eat plenty of different colored produce for variety and a wider range of health benefits.
- Enjoy more whole grains. Whole grains add carbohydrates for energy, fiber to fill you up, and nutrients important for good health. And, according to a recent national survey, 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Post Shredded Wheat as part of a healthy, low-sodium diet, to maintain a healthy heart, reduce the risk of heart disease, and support healthy blood pressure levels.
These recipes are a great start to adding more whole grains — and they’re so good, you might forget they are heart smart. Get more tips and heart-smart recipes at www.PostShreddedWheat.com.
Total Time: 65 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
- 5 cups peeled apple slices
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tapioca
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups Post Original Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Cereal, finely crushed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix apples, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, tapioca and cinnamon in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.
- To make topping: stir crushed cereal, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and margarine in medium bowl until well blended.
- Spread apple mixture in ungreased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with cereal topping.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until topping is browned and apples are tender when pierced with fork.
Total Time: 75 minutes
Makes: 12 servings
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 3 biscuits Post Original Shredded Wheat Cereal, crushed
- 1 can (8 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Beat eggs and milk in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
- Shape meat mixture into oval loaf in shallow baking pan.
- Bake 1 hour or until cooked through (160°F).
Variation: Prepare as directed, using fat-free milk and substituting 1/2 cup cholesterol-free egg product for the eggs and 2 pounds thawed frozen ground turkey for the ground beef.
Grab ’n Go Peanut Butter Bars
Total Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 16 servings (1 bar per serving)
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup reduced fat peanut butter
- 3 cups Post Original Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Cereal, coarsely crushed
- 3/4 cup raisins
- Mix sugar, honey and peanut butter in large microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until bubbly at edge; stir until well blended.
- Stir in cereal and raisins.
- Press firmly into 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into bars.
- Store in airtight container.
Take Along Tip: After completely cooled, wrap bars individually in plastic wrap. Leave in bowl on kitchen counter for a great grab-and-go snack.
Total Time: 65 minutes
Makes: 16 servings (1 slice per serving)
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup Post Original Shredded Wheat Spoon Size Cereal, finely crushed
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup fat-free milk
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, cereal, spice, baking powder and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.
- Beat sugar and margarine in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Blend in bananas.
- Pour into greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan.
- Cool completely.
Special Extra: Toast the bread slices and top each with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate sorbet and a drizzle of strawberry sauce for a different kind of banana split.
Source: Post Foods, LLC