Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Classroom Halloween Party ideas. What is a fruit mask?

From the very first day that I brought our son home I have worried about the nutritional health of our children. When they were infants I worried if breast milk was enough, when they were toddlers I worried about fortified finger foods and when they started school I stressed about simple snack time offerings. Schools made it a rule that homemade goodies were not allowed and parents, like myself, were left to choose only what the grocery stores have to offer which are refined, quick and for the most part sugar laden and unhealthy choices. I decided to make a list of unrefined snack ideas that can spruce up the Holiday party. I started with Halloween and came up with a list of seven unrefined, healthy Halloween classroom party ideas.

These seven tantalizing treats can be made by the children in a classroom setting with minimal mess or prep time. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and calcium that are sure to keep the festivities going in a healthy and unrefined way.

Apple Costumes
Is that a bat in the classroom? No it’s an apple with a funny mask! This Vitamin C and fiber packed treat will keep those choppers chewing. Printout the free printable and wrap those washed red or green apples. These masks will make the whole fruit mysterious and appealing! To print out the apple masks click here to takeyou to the down loadable sheets.

Banana Ghost Pops
Where does a ghost go to take a swim? Well vanilla yogurt of course! Take half of a peeled banana and place the cut end on a Popsicle stick. Press the pointy side of two small chocolate chips into the banana to make the eyes. Frozen bananas with chocolate chips make this treat especially chilling. Using the Popsicle stick dip the banana ghost into a serving of low-fat vanilla yogurt. These potassium rich ghosts swimming in a sea of calcium and protein make a super hero snack. Click here to see them on our Pinterest page! 

Swamp Water and Bugs on a Raft
Nothing says swampy like green or brown juice! Mix 100% grape juice with 100% orange juice or purchase Green Machine juice by Naked brand for an authentic swampy effect. Maneuver the swamp on a rickety raft made of apple slices with a layer of nut butter and topped with raisins and/or chocolate chips. Serve raft and water separately.

Sangre Salsa Dip
Little vampires can’t resist the temptation to dip precut carrots, celery, baked blue corn chips or pretzel sticks into Vitamin C rich tomato salsa.

Mummy Unwrapped
Some mummies just don’t have it together. Take string cheese and peel the strands off and layer them in a whole wheat tortilla. Garnish with a tablespoon of hummus and matchstick carrots. Roll together all of the ingredients in the tortilla and enjoy this protein rich and whole grain ancient inspired spooky snack.  

Witch Mix
Bring out the cauldron to mix together these fall favorites including Pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, dried edamame or dried peas, nuts, raisins, dried cranberries or apricots. This good witch mix will serve up vitamins, minerals and protein in a healthy blend.

Clementine Pumpkins
Small oranges, like Clementine’s or Cuties, can be eaten with ease by little hands. Peel the pumpkins and stick a 2 inch celery stick down the center of the pumpkin.

When it comes down to it, children like to play with their food, maybe even more than they like the bright colored, sugar filled character dressed candies, cakes and cookies. This year say goodbye to the wicked witch that brings in the artificial colors, chemicals and supped up sugar foods and say hello to the nutrition fairy that wants only healthy alternatives to ease the crazy holiday season.

R.I.P unhealthy classroom snacks.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Sports activities and kids...Do they really need sports drinks, cookies and chips to refuel after the game?

As a Registered Dietitian, I often get asked the question “What is a healthy snack for a child who plays sports?” A healthy snack is one that is unrefined (not overly processed), may include a protein (made up of lean meat, nut butter, nuts, seeds or low fat dairy products) and is fiber rich (containing fruits and vegetables ). If you are trying to replenish and rehydrate a young athlete, you want to avoid foods that are filled with sugar, chemicals, additives and colors. Here is a list of 12 inexpensive options to keep the young athletes healthy and happy!

1.       Apple slices or carrot sticks- Kids love to crunch. Fill them up with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants after the big game.

2.       Orange slices- Perfect to make smiles turn orange and fun while you reap the juicy benefits of natural juice, fiber and Vitamin C.

3.       Bananas- This appealing snack is packed with Potassium which may be lost during sport events.

4.       Trail mix- A trail mix can be made by mixing seeds, nuts, whole grain cereal such as Cheerios, dried fruit such as raisins or craisins, pretzels and tiny chocolate chips. This mix is protein and fiber rich as well as filling!

5.       Low fat yogurt sticks- Freeze them the night before for a protein rich and cool snack.

6.       2% cheese sticks and whole grain crackers (ie. Wheat Thins) – Refuel the muscles with protein from the cheese and fiber from the whole grains.

7.       Raisins- The original “fast food” that packs a nutritious punch.

8.       Applesauce squeezers- This fun pouch is full of fiber and vitamins.

9.       Pirate Booty puffed corn- This chip contains one of the lowest amounts of salt in all the chip options.   

    10.   Popcorn- Natural and the original whole grain and unrefined snack.

    11.   Pretzels and Gold Fish- Whole grain goodness that kids love.

    12.   Granola bars- Packed with nuts, whole grains and sometimes dried fruit. These versions of nature’s candy bars are a great option for kids. Try Clif bars, Kind bars or Cascadian Farms.

To rehydrate don’t forget about WATER! The most important drink there is. Other alternatives include coconut water, and 100% fruit juice. If you feel pressure to choose a “sports drink” pick one that does not have artificial colors added and are low in sugar. Examples include: Vitamin Water ZERO and Gatorade Ice Punch and Gatorade Frost.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Important snack tools to last throughout the year

This month I have been posting daily snack ideas for after school, sports and classrooms. Along the way, on my quest for healthy snacks, I was introduced to a really fun Popsicle maker and snack cup. Two products both made by a company called Fresh Baby.The So Easy Popsicle Maker and So Easy Snack Cup were easy to use, easy to clean and not to mention super cute in bright orange and green colors.
The So Easy Popsicle Maker and Snack Cup are Bisphenol-A (BPH) free and simple to use. The fact that the product is BPH free is a plus for me. BPH is currently being studied and may be linked to causing potential health effects on the brain and the behavior. The less chemicals I can expose my family to the better off I think they will be.

Making the pops was easy. The Popsicle maker stood up on its own and was an easy, non-spill fill and an easy seal with the pop on  lid.

We made our Popsicle from prepared smoothies that we purchased (to save some time). Normally I would blend up my favorite smoothie concoction but lately we have been on the go a little too much. We ended up making delicious Mango Madness and Green 
Goodness smoothies which were easily removed from the Popsicle maker (another plus because I hate fighting with the Popsicle maker to release the pops) and enjoyed a healthy after school snack! 

I had to seek out an adorable baby to test out the Fresh Baby So Easy Snack Cup. Thankfully my friend Kim has the cutest 20 month old in town, Natalie. Natalie loved the colors on the snack holder and easily reached for the snack inside. Kim commented that the snack cup was great because with her toddler being always on the go it was nice to see that snacks were kept in their place (instead of spilled all over the floor). 

Check out the So Easy Popsicle Maker and So Easy Snack Cup by clicking the words above. You will not be disappointed! 

And...don't forget to check out our series on snacks and just all around healthy eating for kids and families by "liking" our Facebook page: ABCD Eat Right and visiting our web page www.ABCDEatRight.com 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 days of Healthy snack ideas for sports, after school and classrooms! Spooky fun!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. So many fun fall events to look forward to, a slight change in the weather (we live in South Florida) and mid season football. The only thing I don't look forward to is the large amount of candy, colored festive foods and sugar...sugar...sugar! 
Therefore, I wanted to come up with a daily fun snack idea to share with you to reach a healthy snack time wherever you are throughout the month. 

For the next 31 days make sure and check out our Facebook page: ABCD Eat Right to "like the snack", post your own snack ideas and share the snacks.   

Here are a few pics of ideas that will be posted 
throughout the month! 

Keep up with us on Facebook so you don't miss a 
spooky healthy post! 

And don't forget to printout your Halloween Bat Masks to wrap all of your whole fruit in! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

What are you doing for Family Health and Fitness Day this September 27th?

Why family health and fitness day?

National Family Health and Fitness Day (NFHFD) will be celebrated on September 27, the last Saturday of the month. This is the Eighteenth year that the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC) has promote the national event in order to recognize the importance of family influenced physical activity. NFHFD is inspired by the US Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health which stated that the majority of Americans and especially children between the ages of 12 to 21 are not participating in enough exercise.
The national day of recognition emphasizes that fitness can be fun and that as a family it is an important part of staying healthy and building a healthy lifestyle. 

Try some of these fun activities to get your family moving on September 27 and everyday to come: 
  1. Pick a park and go for a walk
  2. Bike ride around the neighborhood
  3. Hula hooping contest 
  4. Obstacle Course set around the house
  5. Dance party

On September 27, and any day of the year, become a role model for your children and encourage your entire family to get moving for at least 30 minutes per day!

Just do it...everyday! 

Follow us for 31 days of spooky and healthy snacks! 
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Are you ready for some football?

Tailgating is a community bonding experience that can be filled with outrageously delicious, but not always the most healthy, foods. Here are 5 healthy and easy food items that can be added to any tailgating festivity that squeeze in a little bit of healthy fats, vegetables and lean proteins. Guaranteed to  score a touch down with the taste buds and the body!

1. Guacamole- mash up a few ripe avocados, squeeze a half a lemon and add salt and pepper to taste. Dip your favorite chopped vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, red peppers, cauliflower. 

2. Skewered thinly cut chicken strips with cherry tomatoes and onion. Marinate the chicken overnight in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

3. Salad on a stick: Layer chopped romaine lettuce, quartered tomatoes, carrot slices or coins, red pepper slices and cucumbers. Dip in oil and vinegar. 

4. Grilled portabello mushrooms with goat cheese. 

5. Grilled stuffed peppers. Stuff with black beans, cheese and cooked rice or cooked quinoa and garbanzo beans. 

Have a great season!

Join us for 31 days of healthy snack posts at 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recipes: Tour guides or the Law what do you think?


Do you ever follow a recipe? My clients are often asking me what I eat and what I cook for my family. I go back and forth and usually end up somewhere between following a recipe and branching off to substitute ingredients I don't have or know that my family won't eat. 

In the book Cooked: A natural history of transformation, Michael Pollan writes " the recipe is never the recipe". He continues with "a recipe is merely a sketch or notes". 

Maybe you know that, maybe you never follow a recipe and live on the edge when it comes to dinner time and you are able to throw together a meal without any qualms. But to some, recipes are the law, whatever the small font says, its followed to the utmost detail.  

Why does it matter if you follow a recipe or make up your own? 

Well...it really doesn't if you are an experienced cook. If you know how to balance meals and have your protein, vegetable, starch and dairy then you are good to go. 
But for those of us that are hindered and confused about the balance and just the anxiety of "what am I going to make every night" recipes can be key. 

Here is what I recommend...

1. Make it easy. Meal planning can be as easy as 1 + 2 + 3
Pick a flavor desired + pick a protein + side of carbohydrate and vegetables and fruits. Top off with making sure there is water or low fat milk to drink. 

2. Make it a task that is not hard and can be easily replicated

3. Use My Plate as a guide. 

Why is it important? 
1. Because planning meals are one of the best things that a family can do to stay healthy. 
2. Pre-planned meals help a family avoid fast food restaurants
3. Pre-planned meals help families stay within a budget. 

So you have burned a few pieces of toast or boiled plastic in with the pasta...things happen and there is always a new day and with each day a new idea and fabulous recipe. If you don't think cooking is fun, change your perspective. It doesn't have to be a chore, it can actually be a lab for experiments, a classroom for teaching and an area to grow and nourish your children. 

Good luck and if you need recipe ideas click here. Or if you want to check out a box full of recipes for only $40 with a menu planning system click here

**Image of child chopping vegetables by Hanna Mayo Photography. 

Twitter: @ABCD Eat Right1