This week I welcome Guest Blogger Katie Serbinski, MS, RD. Katie is a Registered Dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications. As a public relations and food industry expert, Katie creates social marketing campaigns and customized media content aimed at engaging communities, families, and individuals in healthy and nutritious lifestyles. Along with consulting, Katie is a Millenninial Mom blogger, writing about all things family and food related: healthy recipes, maternal and child health and musings about being motherhood at http://katieserbinski.com/. Katie resides in Metro Detroit with her husband and young son. This week, Katie has some smart ideas about how to have a healthy, yet fun Halloween.
With a chance to dress up in a favorite superhero costume and stock up on sweets, Halloween is the holiday of choice for many kids, from toddlers to teens. While it’s easy to enjoy this festive holiday with your family, it’s also easy to overindulge on those sweet treats. Especially since the goal of many children while trick-or-treating is to get as much candy as possible! The key to keeping candy consumption in check is to have snacks on hand that assure healthy treats are getting into those little tummies.
Now I’m not suggesting you deprive your child of the traditional candy-laden Halloween experience. But practice good guidance and show them that there is more to this spook-tac-u-lar holiday than pre-packaged candy. A little bit of spooky and a whole lot of healthy, these family-friendly treats are options the whole family can enjoy before and/or after the biggest night of candy eating.
Pumpkin Hummus is a twist on the classic party appetizer, perfect for holiday gatherings. Serve with pita chips or fresh vegetable sticks. If the idea of making homemade hummus makes you run the other way, just grab a container of pre-made hummus and mix with half a can of pumpkin puree, adding seasonings such as cinnamon, cumin, and salt to taste. See my recipe below!
photo courtesy of allrecipes.com
Ninja Turtle Apples
If you are looking for a new after school snack or party treat, these Ninja Turtle Apples are sure to be a hit! Plus, October is National Apple Month–why not take advantage of this in-season produce. All you need are green apples, glue, streamers, googly eyes, and a black marker to draw on a mouth.
photo courtesy of getcreativejuice.com
Candy Corn Parfaits
Candy for breakfast? That’s what your kids may be thinking when you present them with a candy corn parfait. Inside each cup, there’s pineapple, oranges, and vanilla yogurt! This is a perfect grab n’ go option for before or after school too!
photo courtesy of mysuperfoods.com
Halloween Day Strategies
If you let your kids indulge in some treats right after trick or treating, consider limiting their intake to a certain number of pieces each day AFTER the holiday or put the candy stash out of reach and out of sight. Then the kids have to ask for it–that is, if they remember that it’s there! You could also remember that a piece of candy is served up alongside something healthy. Use your best judgment given what you know about your child’s personality and eating habits. And lastly, before your kids go trick-or-treating, try to serve a healthy meal so they’re not hungry when the candy starts coming in.
Easy Pumpkin Hummus
1 10 oz. container of store bought plain hummus
1/2 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
Vegetable sticks or pita chips for dipping
-Mix hummus, pumpkin and spices until combined.
-Serve immediatedly or store in refrigeratore for up to one week.
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This Friday, October 24th, is National Food Day, a day to inspire us to change our diets (if they need changing) and focus on the obesity issue our nation is facing. It also touches on the need for improved food policies like reducing hunger, improving food access and promoting fair working conditions for farm workers.
Why A Special Day?
Studies have shown that each year our nation spends billions on obesity-related illnesses and more children are becoming obese at a younger age, primarily due to unhealthy diets. In many cases, a lack of education about the basics of healthy eating–how to select and prepare healthy foods are the culprit of this problem. National Food Day strives to get communities to come together and organize activities that will put Americans on the right path. Such activities include cooking lessons or planting a vegetable garden. More than 4,700 events in 50 states celebrated Food Day 2013–see how it will be celebrated this year near you.
As I mentioned, healthy eating is a great way to celebrate National Food Day and to get you started, I’ve pulled together three vegetarian recipes from Fruits & Veggies–More Matters’ featured healthy plates. I’ll start with this Bell Pepper and Vidalia Onion Strata with Fresh Salsa. This is a savory recipe for your breakfast dish packed with fresh veggies and is only 240 calories–a great way to start the day!
Lunchtime is ideal for this Garden Cannellini Bean Salad, which is still light, yet provides enough protein to get you through your afternoon. The beans and other veggies also are packed with valuable fiber.
Caramelized Mushroom and Vidalia Onion Risotto is ideal for dinner. Mushrooms add a “meaty” texture without the calories or fat of meat.
I hope you’ll try one of these healthy dishes or make one of your own favorites this coming Friday and join me in celebrating National Food Day.
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It’s National School Lunch week and and for me it’s an opportunity to help parents make their child the “star” of the cafeteria lunch table. So often, that lunch you pack your child can go uneaten, traded for something else or thrown in the garbage at school. Why not pack a lunch that your child will crave and make him the envy of his peers? The best part is it’s simple and nutritious!
First, start with a bento box or container with different sections for the various items you’ll be packing. This container serves two purposes–first of all, it keeps the flavors/juices from mixing (bread from getting soggy, etc.) and it is an important part of the presentation. We want to make the lunch look appealing to your child, something really interesting and fun, and separate compartments for each food group helps with this goal. Below is an example of a basic bento box with a toasted cheese sandwich as its entree. Note how the remaining sections are filled with healthy snacks like fruit, seeds and few pickles. The sandwiches are cut into stars to further make the lunch more interesting for the child.
What if you’re little one doesn’t like sandwiches? Not a problem! Bento boxes are great for other items as depicted below. This parent stacked lean ham and cheese together with mushrooms and tomatoes on fun stars and heart skewers for her child. She added cubed watermelon and yogurt to complete the lunch.
If you have a picky eater, this way of packing lunch can be an ideal way to get them excited about eating. Think “finger foods” like this example below. Low fat cheese and crackers with lean ham is provided on one side. The other is packed with baby carrots, celery sticks and strawberries. Your child will feel like she’s snacking rather than eating a meal even though all the nutrition is there.
Photo Credit: Wendy Copley/Wendolonia.com
Extend the creativity to small snacks as well. I love this idea below used on the regular zip-lock bags to make them fun for your child. This example shows grapes and goldfish, but I’d prefer grapes and something more nutritious like nuts or seeds(more fiber and protein).
I hope these ideas will help you create a healthier lunch for your children and one they will want to dig into each day.
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