First off, happy New Year! May 2012 bring everyone health, happiness and lots of quality time with the ones you love.Here's a dip we brought to a New Year's dinner last night that is really tasty and a healthy rendition of a layer dip. Think of 7 layer dip, so delicious yet so bad for you with all that sour creaminess. Over Christmas we inadvertently found the perfect sour cream substitute
when Family friend was making her dip and realized she didn't have enough sour cream. But she did have hummus, and though we were all dubious at first we were all amazed at how well guacamole and hummus go together. And thus a dip that has less fat and more protein was born.I packed these into individual servings by using small plastic disposable tumblers. That makes them more kid-sized and also cuts down on the germ factor, which is a added bonus with all the Holiday colds going around. This idea is not my own but comes from one of my favorite food blogs, the girl who ate everything.
She did these individual seven layer dip cups, and they are the inspiration for my single serving layer dip.I typically make my own hummus and guacamole, though this time I bought ready made guac because I couldn't find ripe ones at the store I was at. They were all rock hard, so I bought a basic guacamole that only have a few ingredients. But making your own is really easy; it's just several avocados, a clove or two of garlic, lime juice and salt to taste. So here's a healthy layer dip rendition to start the New Year off on the right foot. Enjoy!
Healthy Kiddos Layer DipTotal time
: 10 minutesMakes: 8 servings2 cups guacamole
2 cups hummus1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese1 cup chopped tomato1/2 cup chopped green onion1/2 cup diced black olives8 small plastic tumblersCarefully add the guacamole evenly to all 8 cups. Tap cups down on the counter to settle, then add the hummus. Again tap on the counter, then sprinkle on the cheese and gently press down. Sprinkle on the tomatoes and onions. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with tortilla chips.
I only have time for a quick snack today- check out my monstrous laundry pile. Yikes.
Add in a fussy toddler and a four year old with a cough, and that doesn't leave much time for being in the kitchen.
So I decided to make a quick snack that was suggested by a graduate student I've been training in the lab. I've always paired cottage cheese with sweet foods, like preserves and fruit butters. But she suggested a tangy take on cottage cheese, specifically mustard. I was dubious at first, but I love the combo, and even better my kids really like it too.
Cottage cheese is a really great source of calcium and protein, all while being low in fat and calories. To be perfectly honest I don't buy the low-fat or fat free varieties because they just don't taste as good and are supplemented with lots of sugar and salt to make up for the lack of flavor. Full fat cottage cheese has only 5 grams of fat in a 1/2 cup serving, which is a pretty generous amount if you think about it. Typically 1/4 of cottage cheese is enough for small kids.
To make this snack even more appealing to my kids we whipped together cucumber cups to hold our cottage cheese. Cucumbers are low in calories, high in potassium, vitamin K and also have anti-oxidants. They also have tons of water, which makes them really refreshing.
To make these cups I cut off the ends of a large cucumber. Then I trimmed off ~1/4 inch off the bottom so that there was a flat surface to set the cucumbers on. Then I hollowed out the center with a melonballer. With the remaining center of the cucumber I sliced it into straws for dipping. That was the most labor intensive part of this recipe, and it really took very little time. You can just use a bowl if you like, but the kids like the cups more and you can eat them when you're done. And for someone like me, the mama disposal, that makes this snack pretty tasty for me too.
Cucumber cottage cheese cups
Prep time: 3 minutes
1 large cucumber
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard
Cut off the ends of the cucumbers so that they are roughly 3-4 inches high. Hollow out into cups as described above. Cut the remaining center into straws for dipping.
In a bowl combine cottage cheese and mustard. With a small spoon fill the cucumber cups with the mix, then serve.
Have you ever tried oranges with tomatoes? It sounds like a crazy combination, but they actually really compliment each other. The tangy citrus flavor of the orange spices up the sweet tomato, making for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
Speaking of nutrients, this salad is bursting with vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, B vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, potassium, molybdenum and manganese and many other minerals. That's just when you look at the fruit, there's also calcium and omegas when you account for the other ingredients. It is overflowing with nutrients that are great for your kids, and it tastes great too.
I gave my kids a small amount as snack, but my husband and I put it over a few shreds of romaine lettuces or a tasty side salad for our dinner. The fruit juices and olive oil made a natural salad dressing. So however you decide to eat it, I hope your family enjoys this salad!
Tomato orange salad
Prep time: 5 minutes
5 plum tomatoes, quartered or 8 grape tomatoes halved
1 1/4 slice of jack cheese
3 mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Peel the orange and separate into slices. Cut each slice in half and place into a small bowl. Add the tomatoes.
Cut the slice of cheese into thirds lengthwise, then into thirds widthwise so that you half 9 small cubes. Place into the bowl with your fruit.
Roll of your mint leaves together, then slice with a knife. Add to the bowl, then drizzle on olive oil. Toss gently and serve, or refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
At my kids daycare they've been highlighting themes for each week over the summer. This week... under the sea, So that got me thinking of a snack that fit their school submersible activities.
That being said, here's a simple way to spruce up a snack- wrap it in an incredibly nutritious paper. Edible seaweed that is most commonly available around here is sometimes called nori (which is used to wrap sushi). It is known for having iodine, vitamins A, B, C, E and K, sodium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc and protein. I found a pack of roasted seaweed at Trader Joe's, but you can also find it at Asian markets or world markets.
So I decided to pair it with something else that is readily available round here- pretzels. I actually found whole grain pretzels but you can use any type as long as they have a thicker circumference. That means pretzel rods will work better than pretzel sticks, so just make sure you can track those down.
If your kids like sushi, by all means be adventurous with stuffing some items in with your nori. I also tried some fresh, hardy vegetables (you want them to be OK drying out in the oven). Some ideas include cabbage strips, carrot straws and bell pepper strips.
My other tip is to not saturate the nori- you need to wet it down to help it roll but you'll make your pretzels soggy if you add too much water so make sure that you use a light touch. My other main problem with this recipe- my toddler ate it so quick it was hard to get a picture of!
Nori wrapped pretzels
Prep time: 2 minutes
Cook time: roughly 20 minutes
Serves: however many you want to make
Nori sheets, roughly 2 X 3 inches
An equal amount of pretzel rods
Preheat oven to 250F.
Moisten the top side of your nori lightly with water, using your fingers. Turn the nori over to expose the dry side. Then, starting at the end of the nori sheet, start horizontally rolling in the pretzel rod. Keep rolling so that the entire sheet is used and the pretzel center is completely covered.
Place the nori wrapped pretzel sticks in the oven and dehydrate for ~20 minutes, or until the nori dries completely. Enjoy!
In honer of Father's day I bought some ready made bread sticks dough. My husband loves bread sticks. Where we grew up the Italian fast food restaurant next to the movie theater used to hand out free bread stick samples and we used fill up on them before watching a movie. Those were bathed in butter, so I though I wold make a healthier alternative and I thought it would be fun to customize them with my daughter. We tried a few different things, but this was the favorite. And an added bous is that they smell terrific while they are cooking.Anyone who's read this blog knows that I truly love trail mix. It's an easy way to get protein, healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E into your kids diets. Furthermore you give them an additional helping a fruit if you use varieties that have dried fruit. The mix that I have is actually pretty heavy on the dried berries
so I added cashew pieces and sunflower seeds to the mix for a little more variety and a little less sugar. But they still came out sweet, almost like a dessert bread stick.I hope that your family likes these... we certainly gobbled them down. Enjoy!Trail mix bread sticksPrep time
: 5 minutesCook time: 10-13 minutesServes: 6
I canister ready made bread stick dough1 cup trail mix
2 tablespoons berry preserves or jam
1 teaspoon cinnamon1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 350F.Lay out bread sticks on an ungreased baking sheet. Spread preserves on the dough, then sprinkle on cinnamon. Sprinkle on trail mix, then press into the dough with your fingers. Twist the sticks (some trail mix will probably fall out, just press it back into the dough) and press the ends down flat onto the baking sheet Brush on honey with a pastry brush. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for a minute or two, then remove from the baking sheet.
So Dr. Seuss's birthday miraculously passed us by. It was March 2nd, but I think that his birthday still deserves a Healthy Kiddo's homage. Thanks to Theodore Seuss Geisel I get to constantly contort my tongue in Fox in Socks
, nod off several times reading The Sleep Book
, and enjoy the redundantly hypnotic power of Green eggs and Ham
. So, with all my gratitude, here's a rendition of green eggs, Healthy Kiddo style.I absolutely love eggs. They are a great food for kids; packed with protein, low in fat and one of the only foods that has naturally occurring vitamin D. They are also versatile (try them scrambled, poached, fried, boiled, baked) and tasty, so it's not a battle getting your kids to eat them. We have our own chickens and consume roughly 15 eggs per week among the four of us.
We're not big meat eaters, and eggs help fill that gap in our diets. I feed our chickens lots of flax and sunflower seeds so that their eggs have lots of omegas, but you can easily find omega-3 eggs at your grocery store if you want to incorporate them into your kids diets.So how can you make them green without using artificial food coloring? Enter the avocado, a.k.a. the alligator pear
. Rich in vitamin E, carotneoids, beneficial fats, vitamin K
, and potassium
avocados are a great food. Sometimes they get a bad rap for being fattening, but the fats in avocados are fats that are good for you. Commonly we make the mistake thinking that all fat is bad. In fact fats are a necessary component of human's diets. Children need to get 30% of their calories from fats, ideally fats that are beneficial as opposed to fats derived from animals. So go ahead and give them an avocado, it's good for them despite the fat content.I hard boil several eggs at the beginning of the week for lunches during our crazy weekdays. It's easy to make great hard boiled eggs, and then you don't have to worry if you're out of bread for sandwiches on Friday morning
. I hope that your kids enjoy this recipes, and while you're at it you might as well enjoy a reading session of Green Eggs and Ham
. Ultimately Sam I am is right- you might just like different foods if you only give them a try.Green eggsPrep time
: 5 minutes (if eggs are already hard boiled)Serves: 2 2 hard boiled eggs1 avocadopinch saltPeel the hard boiled eggs, then cut in half, Remove the yolks. Set the whites aside on a plate.
In a small bowl combine the egg yolks with the avocado. Add a pinch of salt, then mash everything together with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the mix into your egg white halves. If desired, serve with ham slices.
It seems like most kids really like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. My daughter used to make them first thing in the morning for breakfast while the rest of us ate our cereal. Likewise, here in the Southwest quesadillas are also a mainstay in kids diets. So why not unite these two favorites? When I was a kid we used to eat tortillas with jam when we visited my Grandma, so I know that it's not that wild of an idea. And by using two things that kids already like, your success is almost guaranteed.
This recipe is actually quicker than a traditional quesadilla since you don't need to spend time shredding cheese. You can use other types of nut or seed butter, like almond butter or sunflower seed butter if your kids have a peanut allergy. I used both whole wheat tortillas and regular ones for the quesadillas, but you can use regular if that's what your family prefers or if you can't find wheat ones. I was just looking for a little more whole grain goodness, but with the reaction I got from my husband when he saw them I might not go that route again. My daughter loved them regardless, after all it' s the marriage of two of her favorite foods. I hope that your kids love them too.
PB and J quesadillas
Total time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2 per quesadilla
1 tortilla (whole wheat or regular is fine)
1 teaspoon butter
Spread peanut butter on half of the tortilla. Then spread jelly on the other half. Melt butter in a pan, then place the tortilla in flat. Once the tortilla begins to get some air bubbles, fold the tortilla in half with a spatula. Cook a couple of minutes on each side so that tortilla get lightly browned. Let cool a couple of minutes before serving since the peanut butter and jelly get pretty hot.
We really like fairies. My daughter has fairy wings, a wand, Tinkerbell PJ's (note the plural there), you name it and she's got it. If it's anything dealing with fairies, we're on it like syrup on waffles. Conversely, my little fairy princess does not like any green vegetables. So I thought that I would pull a Jessica Seinfeld and sneak some greenery into her snacking regime, all under the guise of a fairy favorite.
In this recipe I have two really great foods, along with a few other embellishments. First and foremost, the star of this recipe is spinach. There is a reason this stuff is a superfood; it has just about every vitamin and mineral you could hope for. Within these leafy greens are Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese, Niacin and Zinc. If that's not a packed list of goodies that your kids really should be eating, then I don't know what is. The only issue is that a lot of kids don't like the bitter taste of spinach. Enter my solution: kefir.
Kefir is a cousin of yogurt that actually has more probiotics then yogurt does. Furthermore it also has beneficial yeasts. This pro-digestive-health flora can colonize your GI tract, helping bring things back into balance. Yogurt does not have that colonizing ability, instead the probiotics are flushed through. If your kids are having any sort of GI issues, than you really should try giving them a glass of this stuff. It will get them back to normal quickly. An added bonus is that it also tastes good, kind of like a yogurt smoothie but just a little tangier and creamier. And since it's made with milk, it also has calcium and protein.
Well I think that it's time to come full circle and combine all of these great elements into one fairy loving combination. I hope that your kids enjoy it. When my little boy is old enough, it might change into an elf elixir, but for right now it's fairy nectar. It tastes great, and is also great for your kids.
Fairy nectar (a.k.a. green smoothies)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 3-4 kids, depending on how much you pour
2 loosely packed cups of baby spinach
1 cup strawberry (or similar flavor) kefir
1/4 of one pineapple
12 ice cubes
In a blender combine all of the above ingredients. Blend until smooth, then serve immediately.
I have to be honest here, she does pull out all the pimientos
Kids like unusual food pairings. Obviously they're not always terrific; combining every soda from the soda fountain comes to mind, but there are also some really tasty ones. They're more adventurous than us adults, despite the fact that they would prefer eating chicken nuggets and ketchup for dinner to seared ahi. So in honor of kids love of wacky food, I've decided to start a new category that pairs up unusual flavors, all in the name of getting kids to eat unusual mixes that are still healthy, unlike pretzels and ice cream, my personal favorite when I was 11. The chicken nugget rut is over, here are some fun alternatives. .
So crazy combo #1 is an oddball mix that sounds like something a pregnant Mom would wolf down in the second trimester. But in fact the flavors work together to make a tasty snack that my little girl loves. You'll have to trust me on this until you try it, it somehow melds into something that's meaty and satisfying. So for the first bizarre food combination I have... (drum roll please)..
PB and Olive pita
2-3 green olives (pimiento stuffed OK)
miniature whole wheat pitas
Simply spread the peanut butter on the pita. Cut the olives in half, then add them to the top of the pita.
I hope your kiddos like it, happy snacking!