Here's a fun way to replace jam with real fruit and make a pretty cool looking snack- make Pb and fruit rolls. When we first made these my daughter thought that they looked like sushi sandwiches. We had a blast making them, seeing as anything that involves a rolling pin is an automatic bonus in our kitchen.
Depending on where you get your jam, you can sometimes run into artificial sweeteners and way too much sugar in your pb and j's. I've always thought it odd that jam can have high fructose corn syrup or even sugar; fruit by itself is pretty sweet. So instead of overdoing on the sugar-front we used actual fruit, chopped bananas and strawberries to be exact.
As always feel free to use a seed butter or another type of nut butter if peanut butter doesn't work for your kiddos. We switch off between sunflower, peanut and almond butter. Personally I love sunflower butter, it's great alternative for kids with nut allergies and becoming more widely available.
PB and fruit rolls
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 8 rolls
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/2 cup finely chopped bananas
Cut the crusts off of the bread. With a rolling pin roll the bread until it is roughly as thick as a slice pita bread.
Spread on peanut butter evenly . Distribute fruit between the slices, leaving 1/2 inch border on one side of the bread, then press fruit down with your palms. Roll tightly, starting with your fruit end and ending with the fruit-free border so that your peanut butter acts as a glue. It should look like a burrito.
Trim off the ends. Then cut into four rolls per bread slice. Serve immediately.
Here's another one of those sneaky recipes. A friend recommended them and I have to admit, I was a little dubious. If you put quinoa in a cookie, how can it not be obvious? But in fact the quinoa melds right into the mix, such that it's pretty much undetectable and yet your still getting a lot more nutrients in each cookie. It also makes these cookies moist and light, which is hard to do when you're working with some of these other ingredients, like whole wheat flour.
Just to recap, here's why I love quinoa:
-It's high in protein, and the protein it supplies is complete protein. That means that all nine amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are supplied, making it well-balanced.
-Quinoa has lots of the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair.
-It is also high in manganese, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus and fiber.
So here's a way to make you cookies a little healthier, sneak in some quinoa! Your kids won't know and you'll feel a little better giving into that cookie craving.
Makes: 2 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature or melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried fruit or coconut
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a medium mixing bowl.
Stir in butter or coconut oil with syrup and honey. Add in eggs and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients. Add in quinoa, oats and dried fruit.
Drop onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Cook and store in an air tight container.
First off sorry it's been awhile since I've posted anything, you know how life gets in the way. Regardless here's an idea that we use everyday around our house.
My kiddos are in daycare and preschool until the early afternoon and they come home hungry. We have about three hours between school and dinner, and they need a snack to hold them over that won't overdo it. So here's a way to spruce up your kids after school snack and diversify that daily diet.
When my kids get home we make a snack platter. Now don't get me wrong with the platter part of that. This isn't some overflowing bounty of food. It's three small food groups combined so that my kids get a snack that includes foods from a few different groups. The platter part of it comes from putting these foods out on a tray that they can pick from at will.
Typically I use one fruit, one dairy and one whole grain. However sometimes I'll swap in a vegetable or a protein. Either way the end result is that my kids get multiple food groups in one snack. The only caveat is not to make your platter too full. Keep in mind that snacks should be about 100 calories per child. With my two kids I shoot for ~200 calorie platters, and to make that mark a little easier to hit I'll use dipping cups and ramekins to limit portion size.
Here are a few days worth of our platters for some ideas:
Energy bar, frozen fruit and cheese slices
I always keep a bag of frozen berries in the freezer for smoothies and it can really be a snack saver at the end of the week when I need to go grocery shopping. Then I added some cheese slices and chopped Lara bar to balance it out.
Banana slices, peanut butter yogurt dip and whole grain mini muffins
is meant for the bananas, but my daughter likes will eat it with a spoon if there's any left. I used Aussie bites in this platter, but any whole grain muffin will do.
Pomegranate seeds, snapea crisps and yogurt chive sauce
This is a great way to utilize your kid's food prep skills in the kitchen and keep them occupied- let them prep you pomegranate while you get the rest of the platter ready. Just cut the pomegranate in half and then pull the fruit into a few sections. Soak in a large bowl with water and have your kids pull out the seeds and drop them into the bowl. The seeds will sink to the bottom and any residual membrane will float to the top. For the yogurt sauce just mix Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon chopped chives, 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
Apparently the Avengers is the biggest grossing movie of all time, as reported by my husband last night at dinner. This means nothing to me since I haven't seen a movie at an actual theater in over a year, but kudos anyways to those masked superheros. In light of that and my own children's personal obsession with everything superhero, here's a snack in honor of those death defying crime fighters.
So what's a great snack for a Superhero? Hummus.
One of the great things about hummus is it's versatility. Though traditional hummus is made with chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) you can use almost any legume. I like white bean variations, but here's a way to make your hummus green like the Hulk- try using edamame.
Though edamame is traditionally served in the pod, lightly boiled in salt water, you can also find shelled edamame in the frozen vegetables section. Edamame are just green soy beans, which are a great source of protein. They also are a good source of fiber, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, and vitamin K. They are enjoyably mild tasting, making them a palatable source of many vitamins and minerals.
So why not put a little superhero into your hummus with this Incredible Hulk variation. It's protein-packed and great with vegetables or pita chips. Enjoy!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
2 cups thawed shelled edamame
2 tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed)
1 clove garlic, chopped
Juice from half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt, possibly more to taste
Roughly 1/4 cup Olive oil
Add all the above, except for the olive oil, to a food processor and process until well chopped. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until mixture comes together. If needed, add additional salt to taste. Store refrigerated in an air tight container.
These are solely my daughter's creation. Seeing as she is my snack guinea pig, I figured she ought to have a little time in the limelight. She independently made these with Pita Jungle leftovers (my favorite place for kids meals!) and immediately said "Won't these be a good snack for Healthy Kiddos?" I think they're pretty good, and I'm happy that after all my efforts this is her idea of a good snack as opposed to the days of old, when she practically lived on cereal and Ritz crackers.
We used cucumbers because cucumber slices were mixed in with the leftovers. But you could also use squash or lightly steamed carrots. We also used turkey cold cuts, but any deli meat or even sliced cheese will work.
So here's another one of my daughters snack recipes. If she liked them, I'm betting that your kids will think they're pretty good too. And with only two ingredients, they take merely seconds to pull together. Enjoy!
Cucumber sandwich bites
Dipping sauce, like Ranch (optional)
Place turkey between two cucumber slices. Serve with Ranch, if using.
Congratulations Amanda! You were randomly selected, via Random.org, as the winner of my smoothie contest. Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly...
Have you seen coconut water all over the place? It comes in cans, bottles and juice boxes and it's become really popular recently. I even went to a lecture comparing it to Gatorade while I was at a conference last week. Now I'm a physiologist by training but I like to sneak into the nutrition lectures whenever I can, seeing as I love the subject so much.
So I figured I'd do a little comparison here. For those of you with kiddos in sports, you know that they can really work hard during games and practices. Afterwards some of us (that includes me) reach for Gatorade as a sort of beneficial reward for swimming their little hearts out. But I might be changing course...
Here's a list of the ingredients in Gatorade:
Filtered Water, Brominated Vegetable Oil (BMV) Sucralose (if sugar-free), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural flavors, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Monopotassium Phosphate,Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin, Artificial Colors
And here's the list of ingredients in Coconut water:
Filtered coconut water
If your on the less-ingredients-is-better boat like I am, then that's a pretty startling comparison. Here's how they compare nutritionally, via their nutrition labels.
What makes sports drinks special is that they have electrolytes, or salts. When people exercise, those electrolytes can be lost in sweat and leave you feeling run down. By drinking something that can recharge electrolyte stores, people feel better faster. The electrolytes here are sodium and potassium- check out how much more is in coconut water! Also coconut water has less sugar and more vitamins and minerals than Gatorade.
So with no artificial ingredients, a better electrolyte profile, less sugar and more vitamins and minerals, I think coconut water is a better alternative.Coconut water has an Earthy taste, its not too sweet and very flavorful. I love the stuff after a tough hike in the hot sun, but my kids are a little more wary. So onto the next challenge, getting your kids on board.Here's a tip that works with my kids for sneaking in that coconut water goodness. Try freezing it in ice cubes, then adding it to a little juice as a homemade sports drink. As it melts it'll flavor the juice and add great electrolytes and nutrients. Enjoy!