Did you know that Americans waste an estimated 40% of edible food (source: Natural Resources Defense Council
)? That's a lot of food simply tossed out or washed down the disposal. And with recent droughts in the Midwest and increasing oil prices you're grocery budget will probably get tighter in the next few months. So what are the top tossed out foods? Here's a list that was compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council, along with some ideas for using them up so that you can stretch your groceries just a little farther.1. Fruits and Vegetables: 52% lost
Half of all fruits and vegetables are tossed out after they are past their prime. Bruised strawberries and gooey green beans = a trip to the landfill. To make them last longer flash freeze your produce if you bought more than you can eat by simply freezing separate pieces on a baking sheet overnight, then placing a cup or two into storage bags. You can also juice lots of fruits and vegetables that are just starting to pass their prime
, and while you're at it this is also a great way to sneak some veggies into your kiddos bellies.And here's a pampered Mom tip: one of my favorite ways to use up old produce that is past the point of eating is by making my own spa masks. Great bases include strawberries, blueberries, pineapple and avocado. Simply mash a tablespoon or two of your overdone fruits with a little bit of honey and rolled oats and it's a spa day. I leave my mask on for 10-20 minutes while the kids and I put cucumbers over our eyes and chat it up.Finally a great way to reuse really overdone fruits and vegetables is to compost them. Composting is incredible easy and doesn't have to be expensive, and in a matter of months (especially if you jump start the process with composting enzyme) you'll have rich soil to rejuvenate your yard or start a garden.
And you always have a science project in your backyard to teach your kids with.2. Seafood: 50% lostYet again, only half of what is harvested is actually eaten.
Given the over harvested state of our oceans and the environmental effects of seafood farming, it's hard to believe so little is actually eaten.
One of my favorite ways to incorporate seafood, and thus some lean protein, into my kids snacks is with hummus
or yogurt dips. Simply combine cooked fish in with yogurt, tahini, white beans and add lemon juice in a food processor and puree til smooth, then serve with crackers or sliced veggies.Another, cook-free way to use up uncooked salmon that is
in your fridge is to simply cure bite size pieces in salt, pepper and raw sugar in your fridge. Within an hour or two you have a great snack that your kiddos can munch on without much work.3. Grain products: 38% lostOne of the beauties about bread is that you can freeze it until you're ready to use it. Another great way to use up both stale breads and cooked rice is with bread pudding and rice pudding, respectively. Another one of our favorites are French toast mini's.
Grains like oats
also make for really tasty granola. All you need is oil, honey, chopped nuts and dried fruit and you have a tasty breakfast or yogurt topper that's really easy to make.4. Meat: 22% lostToo often you plan out your week's worth of dinners and then life gets in the way; soccer practice
, a late night at work or swim class interferes with your dinner. Or those cold cuts you got for sandwiches gets forgotten in the fridge and looks like it might be growing a new type of penicillin.For us the best way to conserve our meat is to freeze it
and only defrost the night before when I'm sure that I can make it. As for cold cuts they make for an excellent snack just by rolling them with sliced cheese and serving with grapes. You can also finely chop it and toss with peas for a fun nutritious salad
.5. Milk: 20% lostUnfortunately the big culprit here are school lunches- many time kids toss milk cartons that haven't even been opened. But in addition we also toss out that last bit of milk in the container, let our kids milk glasses sit out too long, or don't finish our coffee. According to the USDA, we toss 1/3 cup per day per person. That ends up being milk from 800,000 cows. And once milk spoils, there isn't a lot of recourse.
So in this case a little conscientious discussion with the kiddos is needed, and smaller portion sizes. Related Reading:
Cottage cheese goes pretty quickly in our house. It's just a matter of scooping a bowlful out of the container and you've got a ready made snack with little fuss, which can be really handy right after school. It's also mild in flavor, which means it can be paired with some tasty partners.
Cottage cheese is a great snack for the whole family. Here are some of the highlights:
- It's low in calories and low in fat if you purchase the reduced fat varieties. Even if you don't go that route, a 1/2 cup serving of full fat cottage cheese only has 5 g fat.
- In a half cup serving, it has 14 g of protein, making it a high protein snack that will hold your kids over til the next meal.
- It's low in sugar, with only 3g per 1/2 cup serving.
So if you don't have a container of cottage cheese in your fridge, maybe you should put it on the shopping list. Here are some great ways to make it a tasty snack it even more nutritional value:
1. Sprinkle it on: To boost the nutrient content of your cottage cheese, try sprinkling on a some nutrient packed toppings like wheat germ, flax meal or chia seeds.
2. Spice it up: For more flavor add a dash of spice to the top- we like to use cinnamon.
3. Fruit medley: Add berries, peaches, mangoes or dried fruit for a sweet and savory snack with added vitamins.
4. Use it as a stuffer: We love to stuff apricots, figs and cucumbers with cottage cheese for a pretty snack that has the added bonus of an edible bowl.
5. Seasonal fruit butters: Top with apple butter for a hearty Fall snack. Other options are fruit-filled jams that don't have added sugar.
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!
Yet another study has come out demonstrating the negative health effects of drinking soda. Drinking a soda a day increases coronary heart disease by a whopping 20%. That's just one measly soda a day!
Kids are drawn to sugar, as many parents know. Their growing bodies secrete hormones that cause cravings for carbohydrates and that can lead to kids eating frosted flakes with sugar on top. Soda is super sweet, with 35-40 grams of sugar in one can. Give a kid with a penchant for sugar a soda and it's a happy match, unless of course you look at the adverse health effects tied to soda consumption.
In addition to the recent study mentioned above, drinking soda has been associated with several negative health effects. Examples include:
-An increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes- soda consumption increases the development of inflammation and obesity, which are also increased in type 2 diabetes.
-An increased risk of developing osteoporosis- soda leaches out calcium because it ha high levels of phosphorous, which effectively dissolves bone.
Increased bone fractures- again this is due to losing calcium. Soda consumers are 3-4 times more likely to break a bone.
-Dissolved tooth enamel, increased periodontal disease and gingivitis. This is again part of the high phosphorus content of soda
-Increased obesity- for each soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times
-Increased risk of allergies, like eczema and asthma- This is due to reactivity to the preservative sodium benzoate.
-Decreased effectiveness of the antibiotics penicillin and ampicillan
So if your kiddos are soda consumers, it's probably time to stop that habit. Here are some healthy alternatives help.
1. Coolers: Make a little concoction of a couple of types of juice
2. Sparklers: Mix equal portions 100% fruit juice with sparkling water.
3. Fruit and veggie cubes: Flavor ice water with slices of your kids favorite fruits and veggies. Cucumber strawberry is a nice mix.
4. Vegetable juice: Vegetable juice has less sugar than fruit juice, and is a great way to get a vitamin boost.
5. Home made lemonade- if you make it yourself you can reduce the sugar and use an unprocessed variety.
My little guy has a sensitive tummy, and one of the big agitators is dairy. But that's a food group that's hard to avoid when you have a toddler with growing bones. Milk and it's resulting diary products are the most concentrated sources of calcium, which is a necessary nutrient for bone growth. Calcium is absorbed in the digestive tract (with the help of vitamin D) and incorporated into growing bone tissue.Fortunately there are a lot of calcium-fortified foods on the market, like alternative milks (think soy and almond) and orange juice. That being said, seeing as I'm a natural-fanatic, I wanted to find some alternatives that are naturally high in calcium. And I figured that while I'm researching it I might as well pass this info along to other parents that have kids with dairy sensitivities.
But even if you don't have kids with diary issues, increasing your calcium food sources with your kids is a great idea because it will aid in better absorption. The human body can only absorb ~500 mg of calcium at a time, so a slow and steady technique will result in more absorption overall. If you feed your kids breakfast that consists of cereal with milk, fortified OJ and a multivitamin then your probably losing out on a lot of that calcium. But if you space it out over the course of the day, then you're more likely to hit your kids calcium quota, which is 500mg for 1-3 year olds, 800mg for 4-8 year olds and 300mg for 9-18 year olds. Dairy-free foods rich in calcium1. Leafy greens- These might be a hard sell with your kids, so you might need to adopt the sneak-it-in-under-the-cheese-on-the-pizza technique. Examples of leafy greens include spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, collard greens, kale and bok choy.
2. Broccoli- If your kids are adverse to broccoli, you can try making broccoli dust (this idea comes from the site Flavour Fiesta). Finely shave off the crowns of your broccoli so that you get a fine powder that you can then sprinkle over savory foods.3. Beans- For most kids these are an easier sell. Great sources include soy beans, navy beans, black beans and white beans. You can also try processing them to make a modified hummus dip.4. Nuts- Nuts have so many nutrients in general and are a great snack. A great source of calcium in this group is almonds, but you can also try hazelnuts and walnuts. Try making a trail mix and letting your kids sample it during errands.5. Seafood
- Though not a food that you typically think of as a calcium source, some types of seafood are very high in calcium. Examples include oysters, blue crab, clams and seaweed.6. Molasses: Here's a surprise- a sweetener that has calcium
! Try it out in baked goods for a little more flavor. Specialty types, like blackstrap molasses, have even higher concentrations. 7. Tofu: Easy to sneak into smoothies, tofu is a good source of calcium.8. Seeds: Again, another easy food to sneak in. A great source is sesame seeds (another pitch for hummus) but another good source is sunflower seeds.
| |I just got off the phone with Dr. Dane Buxbaum, a Naturopathic Doctor with a practice that focuses on clinical nutrition. My head is swimming with all the great food allergy information he just gave me. It was a fascinating interview, and I want to pass all this interesting information along to you. His answers to my questions, plus a couple from the ladies at the Natural Parenting group, are paraphrased below. If you have any more questions that you would like to add just comment below and I'll pass them along. Enjoy! Tell me about your education background. I have a B.S. in the nutritional sciences from the University of Arizona. This was in dietetics, which sets you up to do an internship and become a dietician. However I didn't become a dietician because they typically work in a hospital setting and manage disease as opposed to using nutrition as a therapy. Essentially the main goal is to keep disease from getting worse as opposed to better. So instead I got my Naturopathic Doctor degree from the Southwest college of Naturopathic Medicine. Why did you choose Naturopathic medicine? When I was in high school I had a ton of anxiety and general health problems. We had a family physician that was a great doctor but looked at everything from a standard approach, and nothing helped. I finally went to another MD that tested me for food allergies, using a IgG allergy test, which was very off the medical radar. It turns out I was allergic to gluten and dairy. It took about 6 months to have an effect, but I shed a ton of weight and my anxiety (along with other approaches to treat anxiety as well) became much more manageable. I went to the U of A and wanted to learn more about nutrition. Then I stumbled into naturopathy while looking at different career options. I knew that I want to be a physician but I wanted a tool box that included nutrition and I wanted to use a holistic approach. I could have gone the MD route and, much like the doctor I saw, utilize holistic means but then I’d have the obstacle of having to practice different from how I wanted to and then have to use my whole career to develop a tool box that I wanted. There is a lot of obstacles to being and ND, but I started out with a toolbox that I wanted. I use pharmaceuticals too when necessary, but I also always use nutrition and lifestyle changes.I also knew that I wanted to do primary care, which you can do with an ND license. From my personal experience I know it’s absolutely terrible to be dealing with debilitating anxiety as a teenager. It’s such a struggle, and you don’t have the character to deal with it. It’s really rewarding to help other patients with similar issues. What are common symptoms of a food allergy? Most people have digestive problems. That’s usually the giveaway; some degree of a GI, digestive, or bowel movement problem. In that case it’s usually at a minimum associated with a food allergy. Things like Irritable Bowell Syndrome and Celiac Disease come to mind. What about the less common symptoms? Less common symptoms include anxiety, depression, fatigue, autoimmune issues, arthritis, and inflammatory diseases and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. When The GI system is irritated it has these domino effects downstream. Even if there is an allergy, eliminating it is never a silver bullet. Quite frequently it’s part of the dysfunction in the system, a component.Here’s an example. I worked with a doctor that used an elimination diet on patients with rheumatoid arthritis and it was amazing how many had an improvement in their symptoms, not a complete resolution, but still an improvement.
What is the most common food allergy that you see? Here are the five big ones:Gluten (like wheat, rye and barley) DairiesSoyCornEggs Are any specific food allergies becoming more common? A good example is Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder that damages the lining of the intestines upon reaction to the protein gliadin) We used to think 1:1000 people suffered from it. New numbers indicate that it’s closer to 1:100 (1:133 based on a study out of Sweden, 1:113 from a study conducted in the US).Another example is dairy. But in general, we grow food differently, process it differently different, and modify these foods such that we actually changing the protein structure (Jill’s note here, think about GMO’s). For example, the wheat that our Grandparents ate was different from what we consume now. We predominantly grow a high gluten wheat because it bakes better. That, along with reduced fermenting in bread baking, demonstrates that how we make wheat products has changed a lot. I asked readers from the natural parents group if they had any questions they would like addressed. Two main topics kept coming up:Why do we wait to introduce solids to children until 1, 2 or 3 years of age? It seems like it would be better to expose earlier at low levels to get the body used to the new food, as opposed to suddenly exposing at a later age? This is a highly controversial subject. The reasoning for waiting to introduce highly allergenic foods, like gluten, soy and eggs, is because of immune development. If you introduce a food too soon the child doesn’t have the immune capacity to discern friend or foe. That being said, there is probably variability in when to introduce different foods. Some foods might need to be introduced earlier, or there might be an optimal window in which to introduce a food that you can lose quicklyThere are also foods, like peanuts can have molds. So those foods, which are high in contaminants, are typically withheld until later because we don’t want to expose a child to these products and challenge them early in life. Has the incidence of Candida (i.e systemic yeast) infections increased? It seems more common a diagnosis as of late. If so, can you speak as to why it has increased? Along those lines, can you talk about how a food allergy is misinterpreted as a Candida infection? Definitely, though it’s typically more of an adult diagnosis, It’s a normal digestive flora, the issue is when it becomes overpopulated. This overpopulation is a result of a gut flora imbalance, which can open the avenue for opportunistic infections. There are potentially two things that can influence this overpopulation. A lot of times we don’t have a good probiotics exposure. We used eat foods that could to help maintain or GI balance, but those foods have changed. We no longer have diets with such useful natural probiotics.Also our diets are full of sugary foods, which cause Candida to thrive. It allows the perfect environment, essentially a constant fuel source for pathogenic culprits. Thus Dysbiotic guts and high sugar diets are causing this yeast increase.Candida can present similar to a food allergy. Symptoms include skin conditions, GI issues, stool irregularity, fatigue, and headaches. However the big thing that is indicative of a Candida infection is sugar cravings, which thus helps the yeast continue to thrive.
In the last few years we've become inundated by omega supplements. I first heard about them when I was pregnant, but nowadays even everyday adults can get omega gummies at the grocery store. But what are omegas, and what's the reasoning behind they're surge in popularity? I wondered the same thing even while I took them while nursing my little girl five years ago, so here's a my personal crash course on omegas and your kiddos.
-Omegas are imperative for proper brain function. Infants that are supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids have improved cognitive abilities.
-There is some evidence that premature infants grew faster when supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids.
-Omega-3 fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory effects.
-Children with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Supplementation can increase attention duration in children under 12.
-Omega-3 supplementation can improve depression symptoms. Most of these studies relate to adults, however there is a small amount of data showing this effect in children with depression.
-Children with a high omega-3 diet were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
-Omega-3 supplementation may reduce airway inflammation, thereby improving asthma symptoms. However this result has not been consistent among all studies, so keep that in mind if your kid suffers from asthma.
Fats are long chains of carbon molecules. In saturated fats, all carbons and other molecules, like hydrogen, are bonded together with a single bond, or a single tie. In unsaturated fats there are double bonds, or two ties, connecting carbon to the next molecule in the chain. In omega-3 fatty acids, the first double bond occurs at the third carbon in the sequence. In omega-6 fatty acids that double bond starts at the sixth carbon in the line.
Omega-3 fatty acids
In the benefits list above most of the studies used omega-3 fatty acids. Despite their numerous healthy benefits, most people are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Though supplements are readily available, foods like fish and certain types of seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 food sources
Omega-6 fatty acids
It's not as hard to meet the omega-6 fatty acid daily quota. In fact, most people consume 10 times as many omega-6 fats as omega-3 fats. That's because omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils, which are a common cooking ingredient.
With all the health benefits, of omegas, why not go ahead and start adding them to your snack list. Your kids probably won't even notice a handful of flax or chia seeds in their yogurt, but their brains sure will.
Every New Year, how often do you resolve to drop a few pounds, exercise more, or change your family’s diet? It always starts out good, but by February the pounds are still on and your kids are eating Cheetos for lunch. How about a resolution that is a matter of shopping smarter, not adding more to your hectic schedule? This New Year’s I’m making the jump to organic. I’ve been moving that direction steadily, but 2012 is the year to go whole hog. But for many others, just switching over to organic produce is a great start. Work with what you can maintain given your grocery availabilities and budget. Either way, you’ll be improving your family’s food without having to plan huge meals, pour over cookbooks or scribble out shopping lists on old receipts. You have to buy groceries anyway, so buying organic isn’t adding more to your workload. Simply put, organic does cost more. But you get what you pay for- cheaper foods are full of processed ingredients and conventional produce is laden with pesticide residues. If you have a tight budget check out the dirty dozen, a list of fruits and vegetables that have the highest pesticide residues and avoid conventional harvests of those items, otherwise keep the rest of produce traditional. There are tons of benefits to organic foods. Here’s a crash course of some of the reasons many people are spending extra money for organic: · Organic produce is pesticide-free. Pesticides can cause low birth weights, birth defects, impaired cognitive development, neurological problems, hormone disruption and certain types of cancers.· Some pesticide residues are absorbed internally in produce, and thus aren’t washed away by even the toughest scrubbing. In addition some pesticides are designed to adhere tightly to the surfaces of fruits and vegetables so that rain doesn’t wash them off, making it hard to get them off of your produce.· Organically labeled animal products must practice humane treatment of animals. That includes that hormones and antibiotics cannot be used on animals. Furthermore these animals must have outdoor access and livestock need to have access to pastureland.· An organic label means that organic food producers must adhere to regulations regarding soil and water use, resulting in more sustainable land use. · Organic foods cannot contain Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOs. These are foods that are genetically engineered to be pest-resistant. This technology entered our agricultural system in the 1990’s and has since skyrocketed in our crops; 80% of corn and 93% of soy are genetically modified. There is not any research as to how humans react to these altered foods, despite its widespread use.
So whether it’s whole hog or just small bites, going organic is an easy and attainable resolution.
Happy New Years!Related Reading:
One of my favorite small towns in Northern Arizona is a little jewel called Pine. The two best things in pine: Hawaiian ice cream (what!) and local honey. Seeing as this is a healthy blog, I'll focus on the latter. The Honey Stand
sells honeys of all different varieties and potencies. I like the lighter tasting ones, my husband goes for the hardy and and heavy varieties. My kids like their fruit butters (sugar-free, after all why does fruit need more sugar?) and we all leave happy with our purchases.For those of you that follow my sweeter posts, you'll notice that I use honey as my go-to sweetener. It's a great alternative to processed sugar and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It also has antioxidants and is a great remedy for a coughing child (over one years old, of course).
There have been several times that I have mixed it with a little hot water and lemon juice for a natural cough medicine for my daughter, just like my Dad did when I was a kid.Something new that I recently learned is that honey can also help people acclimate to local allergens.
That's because local honey contains local pollens in small doses, which helps immune systems adapt. This pollen is also what gives honey it's nutritional properties. That's why recent analysis of honey samples from large food suppliers is so disconcerting.
The Palynology (the science of studying palynomorphs, such as pollen) Research Laboratory at Texas A&M analyzed 60 honey samples from 10 states and the District of Columbia. Here's what they found:
- 76 percent of samples bought at chain groceries had all the pollen removed.
- 100 percent of the honey sampled from chain drugstores had no pollen.
- 77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores had the pollen filtered out.
- 100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions had the pollen removed.
- Samples bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores had the full, anticipated amount of pollen
Without the pollen, health benefits of consuming honey are removed.
However this lack of pollen at large chain stores also has potential adverse health effects.Pollen residues help trace the origin of honeys. Without those residues that means the location that honey was produced is unknown. This untraceable nature of these honeys makes safety assurance difficult
. These honeys could have come all the way from China and have potential contaminants like heavy metals.
Bottom line: if you want your family to avoid potential contaminants from untraceable honey and get the health benefits of using a natural sweetener, then buy your honey locally. That will probably mean a trip to the Farmer's Market, which is always a great family activity if you ask me. Related reading:
I think it's time for a talk about fiber. Cue in the Metamucil ads that accompany the evening news.
Aside from the nightly reminders during commercial breaks on the news, I know that fiber is on not on the forefront of everyone's minds, unless of course you have a kid that suffers from constipation. And in fact that is a common complaint, according to a friend of mine that is a pediatrician. I know, not exactly a scientific evaluation there, but still relevant. And if it's gotten to the point of making it to the pediatrician, then that means it's pretty serious. However often parents don't recognize that their child has bowel issues if there isn't vocal, tummy aching complaints. But if a kid isn't having a bowel movement regularly (i.e. daily, not every three days) then there is a lack of Gi motility.
Too often kids just aren't getting enough fiber in their diets. This is due to a reliance of many kids on pastas, white breads, heavily processed cereals and cheese. This fiber-deficient diet is bad for the gut, which can result in a cranky kid. This crankiness might not be easily explained because sometimes kids just know that they don't feel right, but they can't necessarily tie it to a specific body malady.
So what is fiber? It is the part of grains and fresh produce that is not absorbed by the digestive tract. This material travels along the digestive tract and helps pull up wastes that might otherwise be stymied in the bowels. Furthermore, bacteria and fiber react to make substances that help repair the gut lining.
If you look at nutrition labels you'll see that there are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Solubility just refers to the ability to dissolve in water, thus soluble fiber will readily dissolve in water while insoluble will not. Soluble fiber, like that found in oatmeal, also pulls in cholesterol and helps satiate appetites by making you feel full. Insoluble fiber helps push wastes through the digestive tract by adding bulk.
Great sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Here's a treat that utilizes that latter of these, and adds in an extra bonus for kiddos that obfuscate whole grains for the white diet (white flour-based foods). If you can't get your kids to eat it, sugar-coat it, literally. Do that in the form of chocolate, and you've got a sure winner.
Around Christmas time I've seen a similar treats made with cornflakes or Chex. As opposed to those, get a high fiber, multi-grain cereal. I used a Trader Joe's variety, but some other good options are Kashi, All Bran, and Fiber One. Just go for whatever cereal you can find that's the highest in fiber.
For this recipe you only need three simple ingredients: fiber cereal, chocolate chips and chia seeds. If you can't get chia seeds at your grocery store, then try your local drugstore. I've seen them at Walgreens. They add in fiber and essential fats. I hope that your kiddos enjoy these snacks, and get some fiber in their tummies without even knowing it. Enjoy!
Chocolate cereal bites
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: ~ 1 hour
Makes: 1 dozen
1 cup high fiber cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, the higher quality the better since they don't have as many fillers
2 tablespoons chia seeds
Nuts to decoration (optional)
Melt chocolate chips in a microwave in one minute increments, followed by stirring, or in a double boiler. Add to cereal and chis seeds and mix well. Form into balls and set on a parchment paper lined pan. If desired, press one nut into the center. Put in the fridge and let cool completely before serving.