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Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

How to Overcome Your Child’s Picky Eating Habits

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You were a picky eater when you were a child. Now your own child is, shall we say, highly discriminating on what he or she eats, too. Coincidence? A recent study says maybe not.

The study, by researchers from the University of Illinois, gathered information from the parents of 153 preschoolers. They found that while many factors can play a role in a child’s choosy eating, genes that are linked to a child’s sensory responses could be one of them.

What does this mean if you’re the parent of a picky eater? Do you simply throw up your hands and say it’s genetic?

Keep trying

Don’t give up on efforts to entice your child to eat a broader range of food, says Jennifer Hyland, RD, CSP, LD of Cleveland Clinic Children’s. It’s important to continue to expose children to new foods over time to get them to try them, she says.

There is a wide spectrum of behavior when it comes to picky eating, Ms. Hyland says. But for most children, picky eating does not go away on its own unless parents really work at it.

Research has shown it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 tries for a child to like a particular food, she says.

But you don’t want to force foods upon your child. Keep meals an enjoyable experience, Ms. Hyland says. One strategy is for parents to ask their children to take no-thank-you bites – which means they can say, “no thank you,” but they have to at least try the food. This leads to continued exposure, and over time, it’s hoped they will learn to develop a taste for these foods.

At meal time, Ms. Hyland says, it’s helpful to have at least one food on the plate that you know your child will eat. Also, but be sure to give everyone at the table the same foods.

“Try your best to cook the same meal for the whole family,” she says. “The child may not eat all of it, but it’s important that you encourage them to at least try, and that you set an example of trying these foods yourself, so that over time, they will learn to eat these foods.”

It begins during toddlerhood

It’s typical for picky eating to start during the toddler years, Ms. Hyland says.

“Normal picky-eating can start anywhere as early as age 2 or 3,” she says. “Usually during infancy, children are adventurous eaters and they’re trying new things. The picky eating really creeps up around the time they become toddlers. Parents will say, ‘My kid ate vegetables and they liked this and they liked that and now they don’t eat anything.’ We see that pretty frequently.” 

Should parents worry about a picky eater? If your child is underweight, you might be worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrition. This results in parents giving their children whatever they want to eat to make sure they’re getting enough calories.

If this is you, it’s a  good time to meet with a registered dietitian or physician, because there are ways to combat that problem, while still improving the picky eating habits, Ms. Hyland says.

The most important thing a parent can do with a choosy eater is be consistent and not give up, Ms. Hyland says.

However, if a child has chewing or swallowing issues, or shows severe anxiety about trying new foods,  talk to a doctor, because you child may need the help of a behavioral specialist or multidisciplinary feeding program.

Complete results of the study can be found in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics.

 

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Learning through Meal Prepping: Five Benefits of Encouraging Children to Pack Their Own Lunches

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Letting children assist with packing their own lunches can be beneficial. You can teach your children about responsibility and portion control and boost their creativity and decision-making skills by inviting your children into the kitchen with you for a lesson. Here are five benefits of allowing children to help prepare their own lunches.

It emphasizes portion control. Bento-box lunch containers are an easy and exceptionally helpful tool for teaching your child about portion sizes and meal organization. When your children select their lunch items with you, provide them with a bento-box container and explain what healthy meal portions look like. They can use the bento box to pack their lunches, which helps them visualize and be aware of the portion sizes they are packing.

It introduces the importance of nutrition. Your children’s favorite go-to treats, such as fruit snacks and cookies, don’t necessarily make some of the healthiest snacks. When they’re in the kitchen with you, teach them about what the key food groups are and how those food groups keep their minds and bodies well nourished. Provide different vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy products, and let them choose what to put into their lunch bags. Guide them to pack meals with all the food groups.

It aids in independent learning and decision making. When your children are preparing their lunches with you in the kitchen, give them options for what to pack. Allow them to choose from two or three different things. Do they want a chicken sandwich, a turkey sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do they want carrots or cucumbers? Do they want strawberries, apples or grapes? Once they decide, let them gather and pack their choices, and then help them focus on the next food group. Once you establish a routine, they will make quicker decisions. Picking their own meals lets them feel independent and accomplished.

It boosts creativity and introduces the art of cooking.
Getting your children into the kitchen at a young age helps them start cooking and learning the steps it takes to create a meal. Instead of providing them with premade and wrapped turkey sandwiches, let them make some with you. Start by letting them select the bread, get out the condiments and select the meat, cheese and toppings they want on their delicious sandwiches. This shows them how much time, effort, creativity and skill it takes to make a proper lunch.

It teaches responsibility, routines and time management. Whether you pack meals after dinner or after your children get home from school, make sure to schedule a meal-preparation time that works best for your family. Meet in the kitchen at your designated time, and start preparing the lunches. By establishing a routine, such as meeting every night or twice a week at 7 PM, you will be familiarizing your children with following a schedule, helping them plan meals. If you want to make meal preparation more fun, consider getting a small chalkboard or whiteboard to keep in your kitchen. Have your children write out the days of the week and the foods they want in their lunchboxes each day. This can keep you organized, and it encourages your children to start planning meals.

5 Easy Tricks for Better Lunch Boxes

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If you send your kid off to school with a lunch box, you’ve already packed close to 100 lunches this school year (and that’s just for one kid!). But even if you’ve got your routine down pat, it’s always good to take stock of what you’re packing and make some healthy changes where you can. Here are some ideas for a mid-year lunch box reboot:

1. Pack LESS. This is my number-one piece of advice when parents complain that their child doesn’t eat what they’ve packed. Cafeterias are busy, noisy places with lots of distractions—and there’s not much time to eat anyway. When you pack less in your child’s lunchbox, portions will look doable (not overwhelming), so he may just eat more food. Sounds counterintuitive, but it works for my kids!

2. Include a veggie every day. It could be a piece of lettuce on a sandwich, a few baby carrots, or even a little container of salsa. No, your child may not eat the veggies every day—or eat all of them—but she’s getting the important message that veggies are part of lunch. And she’s getting a chance to get vegetables beyond what’s on her dinner plate. Vary what you pack, and include her favorite dip in a leak-proof container (research shows kids eat more veggies when they’re paired with dip).

3. Rely on fewer packaged foods. I get it: Individually packed items are heaven-sent on hectic mornings and can truly streamline lunch packing (I use them too!). But with rising concerns about plastic waste, it makes sense to trim back when possible (and teach our kids to generate less waste too). Pick just one item at first to buy in larger quantities—like a large tub of yogurt instead of cups or a family-size bag of pretzels instead of small snack packs—and use a bento lunch box or reusable containers to portion them all week.

4. Get real about sweets. Sugar can add up fast in a lunch box, and beyond the obvious lunch box desserts, it can crop up in a lot of other places you may not think about, like granola bars, flavored milk, homemade muffins, and gummy fruit snacks. Take stock of which items are sugary, then try to include just one. Kids get added sugar in so many places during the day, it’s good to tilt the lunch box balance toward less sugar whenever you can.

5. Teach them to pack all by themselves. If you’re sick and tired of packing lunches every day, it might be time to pass the job onto your kids. Even kindergarteners can help portion items into a lunch box and locate a cold pack from the freezer. It’s liberating to take lunch-packing off your to-do list, trust me. Ready to take the leap? Here’s a guide to making it happen.

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and mom of two who blogs at Real Mom Nutrition. She is the author of

 

This article was written by Sally Kuzemchak from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Encourage Healthy Habits With a Snack Drawer

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Every day after school, it’s the same scene in my house: My son asks for a snack, I offer up an idea (usually starting with what he chose yesterday or the day before), which he promptly turns down. He might come back to it a few minutes later, after I’ve exhausted all other possibilities, but he never says yes to the first suggestion. He holds out until he know what all his options are.

I always have healthy options on hand—grapes and yogurt and pretzels—but I’m also guilty of buying Party Mix, which is decidedly not healthy (and is, therefore, usually my son’s top choice).

Nutrition writer Casey Seidenberg offers up this suggestion in the Washington Post: Create “snack drawers.”

Create a refrigerator snack drawer full of foods such as hard-boiled eggs, blueberries, carrots and yogurt, and always have a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. Also, create a snack drawer outside the refrigerator. Fill it with mostly healthy snacks such as applesauce, raisins and nutritious bars, but add a few less healthy items, such as leftover Halloween candy. Explain that at snack time, they may eat from either of these locations.

My kid eats enough candy already (I pack him a piece in his lunch for dessert and he gets a small dessert after dinner most nights), so I would adjust that part. Instead, I could pack up small portions of so-good-but-not-good-for-you Party Mix next to larger portions of pretzels or granola and let him choose for himself. If he wants to indulge, he can but with a smaller portion. If he’s hungrier, he’ll have to opt for the bigger, healthier choice.

Either way, it’s his decision and I can stop reciting his options day after day after day.

Seidenberg offers up a few more tips for teaching healthy snacking habits to kids, including teaching them about hunger cues, setting specific snack times and deciding on a family rule for sugary foods. I’m admittedly not that regimented when it comes to snacking, but the drawer seems like a quick and easy way to cut down on some of the snack time debate.

As with all things parenting, you can go as quick-and-dirty or as elaborate as you’d like. I searched “snack drawer ideas” on Pinterest and found everything from drawers stuffed with Mott’s, fruit snacks and Cheez-It bags to beautifully organized drawers with tiny containers, perfect portions and helpful labels. I’m more likely to fall in the former, rather than latter, category, but either way it’s worth a shot.

 

This article was written by shared by Meghan Moravcik Walbert to Lifehacker and Meghan Moravcik Walbert on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

9 Wholesome Recipes Made Fun for Kids

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Kids will love preparing these foods as much as they will eating them.

Getting your kids to eat healthy can be tricky. Which is why Shannon Seip and Kelly Parthen, the duo behind Bean Sprouts Cafe, created playful and imaginative meals that get children excited about eating healthy. In their new cookbook Bean Sprouts Kitchen, Shannon and Kelly share 60 recipes the whole family can prepare and enjoy together. Bean Sprouts Kitchen comes out November 6, 2018, but you can make nine of their fun and wholesome meals any day.

Grilledzilla

Make sure the ends of googly-eyed Grilledzilla’s mouth are pointing up in a slight smile, so he doesn’t scare anyone away.

Cooking spray
2 slices cheddar cheese
¼ cup (30 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 zucchini rounds
2 olive slices

  1. Preheat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spray cooking spray on one slice of bread. Flip over and layer one slice of cheddar, shredded mozzarella, and the other slice of cheddar cheese. Top with other slice of bread and spray the top slice of bread with cooking spray.
  3. Grill sandwich in pan until lightly browned and flip over; continue grilling until cheese is melted.
  4. Cut a zigzag line through the bottom third of the sandwich. Place zucchini rounds at the top of the sandwich and top with olives for eyes.

Bean appétit!

Makes 1 Grilledzilla

Bean There, Ate That
Give your Grilledzilla some zip with these additional combos:
• Turkey + Mayonnaise + Cheddar cheese + Apple slices
• Grilled chicken slices + BBQ sauce + Gruyere cheese

Dino S’mores

 

Dino S'mores

 

Your whole family can work together to create this edible prehistoric scene.

Photo: The Quarto Group

We’ve found chocolate to be a much friendlier tar pit for our prehistoric pals.

¾ cup (94 g) whole wheat flour
½ cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (28 g) ground flax meal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup (56 g) butter, softened
¼ cup (60 g) packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons (60 g) honey
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (60 ml) milk (of your choice)
1 cup (175 g) chocolate chips
2 green pears

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Waxed paper
Rolling pin
Dinosaur cookie cutters
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Mix the flours, flax meal, baking powder, and baking soda into a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to blend the butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla extract until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add milk. Stir until blended.
  4. Place dough on a piece of waxed paper. Flatten into a big circle and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  5. On a floured surface, roll the dough to about ¼-inch (6 mm) thick. Press the dinosaur cookie cutters in the dough. Place shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Spoon 2 tablespoons (28 g) of melted chocolate on a small piece of waxed paper and quickly place a dinosaur upright in each chocolate glob.
  7. Place the dinosaurs and chocolate in the freezer, until the chocolate hardens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully peel off the chocolate tar pits from the waxed paper and stand dinosaurs upright on a plate.
  8. Cut pears into slices, and cut slices into tree shapes for the background. Use the pear slices in place of marshmallows for fruit-filled s’mores.

Makes 10 to 12 Dino S’mores

Behind the beans
Many of the science centers and museums where Bean Sprouts cafés are located offer dinosaur exhibits. We even call our fossil friends Bean Names, like “Pea-Rex,” “Tri-Carrot Tops,” and “Eggasaurus.”

Xylofun

 

Xylofun

 

This sweet tasting dish will have your child forgetting they’re eating vegetables.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Try multicolored carrots to make this dish really ring.

Cooking spray
8 carrots
1½ teaspoons (7 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon salt
12 capers
2 pitted olives (optional)
Cooking spray

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Pastry brush (optional)
Lollipop sticks (optional)
Child scissors

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the carrots. Carefully slice in halves lengthwise.
  3. Mix the butter and maple syrup in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to brush the mixture on both sides of the carrots. Place the carrots rounded side down on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Place the two largest carrot halves, rounded side down, turned inwards at a slight angle, like you’re making a “greater than” math sign. Balance remaining carrots flat side up across the two large, angled carrots.
  5. Trim the ends of the carrots with the scissors so they don’t extend beyond the bottom carrots. Place a caper on the end of each carrot key.
  6. If desired, place an olive on the end of each lollipop stick for mallets.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Xylofuns

Broctopus

 

Broctopus

 

A fun way to get your child to finish their broccoli.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

2 cups (142 g) steamed broccoli florets
¼ cup (40 g) diced white or yellow onion
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped parsley
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
⅔ cup (33 g) panko breadcrumbs
⅓ cup (38 g) shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Parchment paper
Pastry brush (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Add broccoli, onion, and parsley to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add salt, egg, panko breadcrumbs, and cheese to the food processor and pulse until incorporated.
  3. Use your hands to roll 1½ tablespoons (17 g) of mixture into a tot shape. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat three times for a total of four tots.
  4. Use the rest of the mixture to create 4 sets of 8 Broctopus legs (32 legs total) on the parchment paper. Form skinny legs and pinch to create curves.
  5. Use the pastry brush or your finger to brush extra-virgin olive oil on the tops of all the pieces. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, without flipping the pieces over.
  6. Place the tot upright and surround with 8 legs. Dip the sea creature into ranch dressing or ketchup or enjoy plain.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Broctopi

Under the Z

 

Under the Z

 

A healthy alternative to your typical pancake.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This silly use of zucchini noodles brings the “z” to under the sea.

Cooking spray
2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles plus 16 to 20 zucchini noodles
½ cup (40 g) shredded Parmesan cheese
1 egg¼ cup
(31 g) flour

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Round waffle maker

  1. Preheat the waffle maker. Lightly coat the iron with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, blend the 2 cups (240 g) spiral zucchini noodles, Parmesan cheese, egg, and flour. Pour into the waffle maker and spread evenly across the surface sothe mixture reaches the edges of the iron.
  3. While the waffle is cooking, place the remaining zucchini noodles on the bottom halves of two plates.
  4. Remove the waffle and cut in half. Place each waffle half at the top of the noodles to create the jellyfish.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 jellyfish

Note
You can use store-bought zucchini noodles or make your own if you have a spiralizer. Or cut zucchini into long, thin noodle-like strips (a mandoline works great for this)

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

Dare-Deviled Eggs

 

A perfect way to introduce kale into your child’s diet.

Photo: The Quarto Group

If only all deviled eggs had the moxie of these go-getters!

3 large kale leaves
1 tablespoon
(15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
¼ cup (60 g) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
12 thin red bell pepper slices, about ½ inch long (13 mm)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Toothpick

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Use the child scissors to cut one of the kale leaves until you have ⅓ cup (22 g) little confetti-like pieces. Set aside.
  3. With the other large kale leaves, cut 6 triangle shapes for capes, about 3 to 4 inches (7.5 cm to 10 cm) long. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to coat both sides of the capes with olive oil. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.
  4. Cut a tiny slice off the bottoms of the wide ends of each egg so they can stand up. Cut off the top third of each egg and carefully remove the yolks and place in a small bowl.
  5. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and kale confetti and stir until blended. Carefully spoon the egg yolk mixture back into the hollowed-out eggs.
  6. Use a toothpick to poke 2 small holes in the top of each egg white and push in 2 red pepper pieces for horns.
  7. Carefully press the short end of each baked kale cape onto the top of the egg yolk mixture so that it’s “flying” straight out. Top with the smaller piece of the hard-boiled egg.

Bean appétit!

Makes 6 Dare-Deviled Eggs

Note
Try serving the Dare-Deviled Eggs on top of tall, clear cups turned upside down, so it looks like they’re flying.

Spagiggles

 

Spagiggles

 

Great with spaghetti or all on their own.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Unleash your inner stylist with these sassy bites.

¼ cup (35 g) cooked spaghetti
2 teaspoons (10 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
12 turkey-black bean meatballs, warmed (from Mash of the Penguins, page 25)
Marinara sauce or your favorite pasta sauce for dipping

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Toss the cooked spaghetti with the olive oil, garlic powder, and salt until evenly coated.
  3. Use child scissors or your fingers to pinch off the spaghetti strands into different lengths. Place the noodles on a foil-lined baking sheet in whatever hairstyles you like—curlicues, spikes, etc. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Let cool slightly. Fix the spaghetti hair onto the meatballs and serve with your favorite pasta sauce for dipping.

Bean appétit!

Makes 12 stylin’ meatballs

Bean There, Ate That
Try using the noodles to create stick figures for your Spagiggles.

Crocamole

 

Crocamole

 

A snack that’s delicious and safe for anyone who’s gluten free.

Photo: The Quarto Group

This croc pot is delightful for dipping veggies.

1 avocado, sliced in half lengthwise
½ cup (113 g) hummus
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 zucchini rounds, plus more for dipping
4 olive slices
14 matchstick carrots
Other favorite veggies for dipping, such as baby carrots or celery sticks

  1. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado pulp and place in a bowl. Set avocado skins aside.
  2. Add the hummus and lemon juice to the bowl and use a fork to mash ingredients until smooth.
  3. Scoop the green hummus back into the avocado skins. Place 2 zucchini rounds and olive slices in the hummus at the wider end of each avocado skin for eyes. Add carrot matchsticks at the narrow end for teeth.
  4. Enjoy with your favorite veggie dippers.

Bean appétit!

Makes 2 Crocamoles

Spaceadilla

 

Spaceadilla

 

The jicama adds a little sweetness to this dish.

Photo: The Quarto Group

Silly shapes of crunchy veggies blast this dish to infinity and beyond.

4 flour tortillas
½ cup (58 g) shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup (113 g) shredded rotisserie chicken
¼ cup (65 g) salsa (optional)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 small jicama
12 olive slices
1 each red and orange bell pepper
1 can (16-ounce or 455 g) refried black beans, warmed

YOU WILL ALSO NEED:
Child scissors
Mini star and moon cookie cutters

  1. Use the child scissors to cut out 8 identical rocket shapes from the tortillas. On 4 of the rocket shapes, evenly divide the shredded cheese and chicken. Top with salsa, if desired, and the remaining tortillas.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add extra-virgin olive oil. Carefully add the rockets to the skillet. Cook until golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
  3. While the rockets are cooking, cut the jicama into thin slices. Use the mini cutters to cut 16 to 20 stars and moons. Use the child scissors to cut flame shapes from orange and red bell peppers.
  4. Use the back of a spoon to spread the warmed refried beans across 4 plates. Place a rocket quesadilla in the middle of each plate. Add pepper flames at the bottom of the rocket and olive slices in the center for portholes. Add jicama stars and moons on the refried beans.

Bean appétit!

Makes 4 Spaceadillas

 

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Bean Sprouts Kitchen

Beat Sprouts Kitchen by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen

Photo: The Quarto Group

 

This article was written by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

13 Healthy Halloween Snacks That Won’t Scare Kids Away

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If you’re anything like us, then you know what it’s like to spend Halloween trying your hardest not to consume the entire candy stash before the first kid knocks on your door.

But if you can’t trust yourself sitting beside that Costco-size box of chocolate bars all night (who can?!), consider stocking up on these 13 healthier Halloween snacks. They offer kiddos more balanced options but also won’t make you feel like crap if you can’t stop at just one.

This list is 100-percent dietitian-approved: Some are allergen-friendly, vegan, or gluten-free; others are organic, non-GMO, and void of artificial colors or flavors. And a bunch of them pack a wide range of lower-sugar, antioxidant-rich ingredients. So whatever your Halloween vice, whether it’s sweet, salty, or something in-between, we’ve got a healthier Halloween treat for you. Oh, and the kids.

 

1. YumEarth Organic Pomegranate Licorice

A common source of food sensitivities, red food coloring isn’t usually a fan favorite among parents of candy-loving kids. Thankfully, these little licorice nibs are flavored with organic pomegranate and cherry juice and colored naturally with organic fruit concentrates, yielding a gluten-free, vegan, and nut-free treat.

($19 for 6 bags; amazon.com)

 

2. MadeGood Halloween Chocolate Granola Minis

Halloween can be a nightmare for a kid with severe food allergies, so we love these limited-edition chocolate chip granola minis from MadeGood. Free of the top eight allergens, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO project verified, these bars are a breath of fresh air for concerned parents. They’re also a charitable choice this Halloween since 2 percent of all proceeds from the bars goes directly to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

($19 for 36 minis; amazon.com)

 

3. Veggie Go’s Organic Fruit and Veggie Strips

Packed with a half-cup of organic fruit and veggies per strip, plus fiber-rich flaxseeds and a touch of cinnamon, these no-sugar-added snacks are a smart way to get your sweet fix on October 31. They’re also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and have less than 20 calories per bar (not that we are counting, but that’s pretty good).

($23 for 20 strips; amazon.com)

 

4. Free2b Dark Chocolate Mint Cups

Ready to trade that classic (massive) Peppermint Patty for something a little lighter? We love these vegan dark chocolate mint cups because they’re free of the top 12 allergens (nuts, dairy, gluten, oh my!) and are made with fair-trade unsweetened dark chocolate so we can feel good about where they came from.

($32 for 24; amazon.com)

 

5. Annie’s Organic Orchard Cherry Apple Fruit Bites

With organic fruit pureé as the first ingredient and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, moms and dads won’t mind popping these fruity bites into kiddo’s lunch for a healthier post-Halloween snack.

($5 for 5 packs; walmart.com)

 

6. KIND Minis

With just 2 grams of added sugars per 100-calorie bar, along with 3 grams each of fiber and protein, you can feel good about these KIND minis making an appearance in your kids’ stash. Sweet, salty, chocolaty, and crunchy, they check all the boxes for a healthier Halloween treat.

($22 for 20 bars; amazon.com)

 

7. The Good Bean Sea Salt Crunchy Chickpeas

Need a savory option for the chip fans in your life? We got you. These single-serve bags of addictive crispy chickpeas pack 4 grams of protein and fiber into every 90-calorie pack, making them an awesome choice for your kids (and you, of course).

($30 for 50 packs; amazon.com)

 

8. Unreal Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems

Getting your chocolate fix doesn’t have to mean tossing junk food into your grocery cart just before checkout. These tasty chocolate rounds are made with organic, non-GMO, fair-trade dark chocolate and are vegan and gluten-free. They’re also colored naturally with fruit and veggie extract instead of the standard food dyes and offer a delicate crunch from protein-rich quinoa.

($26 for 6 bags; shop.getunreal.com)

 

9. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Neighborhood mamas and dads are going to be pumped when they find these in their kids’ candy bag. The better-for-you cups are made with organic dark chocolate and organic peanuts and offer 4 grams of protein per two-cup package. Sorry, kids, we might have to confiscate your bag for these.

($25 for 12 packs; amazon.com)

 

12. Skinny Dipped Almonds

Finally, a Halloween option that could make its way into the holiday season too (seriously, these are great stocking stuffers). The dark chocolate-dipped almonds have just 60 calories per pack and only 2 grams of sugar. The almonds are coated in an antioxidant-rich dark chocolate for a healthy treat that will give Almond Joys a run for their money.

($35 for 24 packs; skinnydipped.com)

 

13. Fruits in Chocolate Dark Chocolate Covered Coconut

Each individually wrapped truffle features a whole dried fruit coated in rich dark chocolate with just 50 to 70 calories per piece. They’re available as a mixed box with prunes, cranberries, and apricots, so you can give ’em to the kids who could use a more natural chocolate fix this fall (so, all of them).

($23 for 46 pieces; fruitsinchocolate.com)

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20 High Protein Breakfast Ideas For All-Day Energy

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Step away from the box of sugary cereal.

If you’re watching your weight or have a hard time keeping your hunger in check in the morning, you likely have heard how important protein is. But while it’s easy for most of us to get enough of the nutrient at dinner and lunch, breakfast can be a struggle. Bagels, cereal, and smoothies don’t always pack a big protein punch. Not to mention, if you skip your morning meal, you’re not getting any protein at all.

That’s a big mistake. “In numerous studies, a high-protein breakfast habit has been linked to weight management or weight loss,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, a New York City- and Los Angeles-based performance nutritionist. “Protein is filling, and triggers the release of satiety hormones that blunt appetite.”

That means you may eat less all day long, including in the evening. “That’s key because most people are inactive in the evening, and therefore less likely to burn off surplus calories consumed at that time,” Sass explains. Protein also boosts alertness so you are productive and helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels so you have steady energy to face the day, she adds.

The ideal amount of protein at breakfast is about 30 grams, according to a review published in Advances in Nutrition in September. (Get your daily dose in these 15 high-protein foods.) However, registered dietitians say starting with at least 20 grams is a good goal for weight loss and hunger management. Ready to start your day off right? Try one of these nutritionist-approved high protein breakfasts next time you’re tempted to reach for the cereal box.

1) Diner Breakfast

“Some mornings I find myself craving a traditional ‘egg platter’ type of meal that you find in most diners,” says Georgia Rounder, RDN, CDN. To make your own (without the grease some diners cook in), she suggests scrambling two eggs and cooking a link of organic chicken sausage. Toast a slice of whole-grain bread topped with jam, add a cup of joe, and you have a DIY diner meal.

2) Avocado Omelet

Eggs are a no-brainer for protein. Sass suggests mixing in veggies and herbs and topping with avocado for healthy fats, which will boost the satiety factor. Using three eggs will give you about 19 grams of protein, so fold in some cheese or meat if you want to get closer to 30 grams.

3) Cottage Cheese Bowl

Cottage cheese is a great start to the day. Half a cup of 1-percent cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein and only about 80 calories, so scoop out the proper portion for your needs. “Combine with chopped or shredded veggies like spinach, bell pepper, tomatoes, zucchini, and red onion, and mix with EVOO-based dairy-free pesto. Chill overnight and grab to go in the a.m.,” Sass says. If you prefer a sweeter breakfast, top with fiber-rich berries instead.

4) Tofu Scramble

Perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike, tofu can mimic eggs. “Crumble a block of tofu in a pan and ‘scramble’ it like you would eggs, adding your favorite veggies, herbs, and spices for flavor,” says Ginger Hultin, RD, a Seattle-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Half of the recipe gives you about 22 grams of protein. Extra-firm tofu tends to work best, and if you have time to press it first, go for it. Your scramble will still be yummy if you don’t press it, though.

5) Scrambled Tofu and Eggs on Toast

There’s no reason you can’t combine plant proteins with the incredible edible egg to diversify your nutrient intake. “Scramble two eggs with 1/4 of a block of extra-firm tofu, tomato, and freshly ground black pepper,” says Keri Gans, RDN, nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. She suggests enjoying your scramble on 100-percent whole-grain bread.

6) Breakfast Quinoa

Although you can have it savory in the morning too, quinoa also makes a good sweet breakfast if you’re sick of oats. “This whole grain contains 12 grams of protein in just 1/2 cup uncooked,” says Hultin, who recommends adding in more protein by topping with nuts, seeds, and soy milk (which contains about 8 grams in one cup). Plus, it’s fairly quick to cook, or you can make it the night before and reheat in the morning.

7) Egg Muffins

Muffins don’t have to be loaded with sugar and empty carbs. Rethink your omelet so you can take it on-the-go and make egg muffins, says dietitian Amy Kubal, RDN. Since one egg has about 6 grams of protein, mix in some turkey or ricotta cheese in addition to veggies, she adds. If you’re eating at home, you can also top them with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and salsa for extra protein and flavor

8) Greek Yogurt Parfait

With 20-plus grams of protein per cup, there’s good reason this thick, creamy yogurt is a go-to breakfast. “Yogurt parfaits are hands-down one of my favorite high-protein breakfasts,” Rounder says. She tops plain, full-fat Greek yogurt with whatever toppings she’s in the mood for-usually a combination of walnuts (for added protein and healthy fat), berries (for fiber), a few spoonfuls of granola (for crunch), and a drizzle of honey (extra sweetness!).

9) Amped-Up Oatmeal

By itself, oatmeal isn’t high in protein. But you can easily increase that amount. “Make it with one cup of nonfat or low-fat milk, 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter, and chia seeds,” Gans suggests. Add some berries or banana on top if you crave something sweet in the morning.

10) Egg and Avocado Toast

Avocado toast is still trendy, but just toast and avocado doesn’t add up to a ton of protein. An easy solution: Add two eggs, cooked however you like. “Throw them on top of a piece of whole-grain bread, avocado, and some Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning for an extra kick,” Rounder says.

11) Breakfast Salad

It’s not a traditional morning meal for most Americans, but a salad is great any time of day and helps you get in those veggies first thing in the morning. “Stir an EVOO-balsamic dressing into canned wild salmon. Place the salmon over a bed of greens along with a scoop of lentils and a sprinkle of chopped nuts,” Sass suggests. Plus, it’s easy to prep the night before if you want to take it on the go.

12) Non-Dairy Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt enjoyed its time in the spotlight, and now there are many plant-based yogurts that have a good amount of protein. In addition to soy yogurt, there’s Kite Hill’s almond milk “Greek” yogurt with 11 grams of protein and Ripple’s Greek yogurt alternative with 12 grams of pea protein. “Aim for an unsweetened variety so you can mix in your own fruit,” Hultin says. “Then maximize protein as well as omega-3 fatty acids by adding in flax, chia, or hemp seeds.”

13) Salmon Avocado Toast

If you’re not in the mood for eggs, try 4 ounces of smoked salmon, or lox, which has about 20 grams of protein. “Top 100-percent whole-grain bread with tofu-scallion cream cheese, lox, avocado, and diced red onion and tomato,” Gans suggests.

14) Overnight Oats

Next time you make your favorite overnight oats, stir in a scoop of protein powder, Sass says. Combine the oats and plain or vanilla-flavored protein powder (unless chocolate goes with your other flavors), then add water or unsweetened nut milk. Stir until well combined. Let the oats soak in the fridge until the morning, then top with berries and pumpkin seeds.

SHOP PROTEIN POWDER

15) Snack Pack To-Go

“This sounds weird, but it totally works,” Kubal says. “A lot of my clients travel and take some deli turkey and veggies and guac, and call it breakfast.” You could also pack jerky, she says, which has the added benefit of being shelf-stable.

16) Cottage Cheese Toast

Switch up your morning slice by topping whole-grain bread with a few spoonfuls of cottage cheese instead of your go-to cream cheese or avocado. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of honey, and a handful of nuts for extra crunch and protein. This combo is super versatile, so if you prefer savory toast, you can top with veggies and nuts instead.

17) Protein-Packed Smoothie

Many smoothies are a bunch of fruit. Delicious, yes, but not very filling and often low in protein. “To maximize protein and create more balance, add a scoop of protein powder,” Hultin says. Look for a protein powder with no more than 5 grams of sugar, Kubal recommends. However, unsweetened is best-the fruit in your smoothie will give you plenty of sweetness. Don’t forget to include a handful of greens such as spinach for some veggies, and nut butter or hemp seeds for more protein and satiating healthy fats. (Check out our favorite smoothie recipes here.)

18) Bagel with Lox

A bagel breakfast doesn’t have to be all carbs. It’s all about portions and proper toppings. “Top either half a whole-wheat bagel or whole-grain crackers with smoked salmon, a tablespoon of whipped cream cheese, capers, and some salt and pepper for a high-protein breakfast that always hits the spot,” Rounder says.

19) Creamy Oatmeal

Another way to make high-protein oats is to stir in cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Top with nuts or seeds, and you have a breakfast that’ s high in protein and fiber for a one-two hunger-fighting punch.

20) Dinner for Breakfast

We’re all looking for a quick bite as we get ourselves and the kids ready to dash out the door. Leftovers can be a great solution-simply reheat. “Include poultry or fish, herb-sautéed veggies, extra-virgin olive oil, and a small portion of a healthy starch, like sweet potato or brown rice,” Sass recommends, so you have a well-rounded meal to keep you full and meet all your nutritional needs.

 

This article was written by Brittany Risher from Prevention and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Kids Are Eating More Fast Food Than Ever Before — Here’s Why

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Fast food has changed quite a bit in recent years. In addition to the usual burgers and fries on the menu, most restaurants now also offer healthier options like wraps, salads, fruit and yogurt. But that doesn’t mean everyone is eating well or as well they should. In fact, a new study out of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that American children are eating more fast food now than ever before.

The study polled roughly 800 parents — in 2010, 2013 and 2016 — regarding their children’s eating habits, particularly those at the nation’s four largest fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway. According to the results, 91 percent of those surveyed bought at least one meal for their child from a fast-food eatery each week, which is up from 79 percent in 2010. 

What’s more, 74 percent of the kids ordered an unhealthy drink and/or side items with their meal.

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center and the lead author of the report said in a statement, “We know that fast food offers parents a convenient, affordable option for feeding their families. But restaurants have a responsibility to make these affordable, convenient foods healthier. Most fast-food meals — even kids’ meals — have more fat, sugar and sodium than children need, and eating this kind of unhealthy food can have negative health consequences over time, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.”

That said, Harris acknowledged that fast-food restaurants have made great strides in recent years. However, they need to do more to educate parents about the options they have.

“While most fast-food restaurants do have healthier kids’ meal drinks and sides available, many do little to make parents aware of the healthier options or to encourage parents to choose the healthier options instead of unhealthy ones,” Harris said. “If restaurants are serious about children’s health, they will make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for parents and the most appealing choice for children.”

As such, the best thing parents can do is to research each chain’s menu and keep an eye out for healthy items and encourage kids to opt for those over the deep-fried offerings.

 

This article was written by Kimberly Zapata from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

15 Easy School Lunches You Can Prep in an Instant Pot

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Getting our kids out the door in the morning is tough enough. But then you expect us to pack lunch, too? Enter these meal prep lunches, which keep in the fridge for up to three days and actually save a bunch of time—thanks to our favorite appliance, the Instant Pot.

The Cookie Rookie

Instant Pot Potato Salad with Dill Pickles

Pair with baby carrots.

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A Pinch of Healthy

Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

No reheating necessary.

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Foody Schmoody

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Be sure to pack extra napkins.

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My Crazy Good Life

Instant Pot Mini Frittatas

Presenting, the portable version of scrambled eggs.

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Tornadough

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Serve it cold and it counts as pasta salad.

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5 Dollar Dinners

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Bento box-ready.

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Sweet and Savory Meals

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This calls for a Thermos.

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Pressure Cooker Recipes

Instant Pot Applesauce

Brilliant.

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The Foodie Eats

Instant Pot Ranch Chicken Salad

Tip: bagels don’t get soggy.

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Meal Plan Addict

Instant Pot DIY Sandwich Meat

No more waiting in line at the deli counter.

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Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

Wrap it up in a tortilla if you see fit.

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Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Instant Pot Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Pair with your kid’s favorite dipping sauce.

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Recipes to Nourish

Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It’s so easy.

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365 Days of Crockpot

Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

Pretty darn good eaten straight from the fridge, too.

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7 Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat (That Aren’t PB&J)

Truth: Your kids are just as sick of eating the same old turkey-and-cucumber sandwich as you are of making it. Win the Best Mom Ever award and pack some of these exciting but totally practical (read: neat, portable and edible at room temp) lunch-box goodies instead. BLT pasta salad FTW.

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Finally, a sandwich you can make ahead (because it won’t get soggy).

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

BLT Pasta Salad

It’s impossible to resist this crunchy-and-creamy combo.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

Anything but a sad lunch wrap.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers

Your kiddo will devour these healthy, colorful boats.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Mini Chicken Shawarma

Tip: Wrap these guys up in waxed paper to keep them extra fresh.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Lunch Kebabs with Mortadella, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Psst: Your little ones can totally help assemble these the night before.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Vegetarian Sushi Cups

Finger food is the best food.

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