Pumpkin Muffins!

In our last blog we talked a little about the health benefits of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. I shared with you a delicious recipe that you could try with the seeds you scooped out when you carved your pumpkin.  If you haven’t already tried it, do it!!  Roasting the seeds is a great way to make use of the pumpkin leftovers, but what about the rest of the pumpkin?  Why not make some delicious pumpkin muffins – they are healthy, tasty and great for the whole family.  Try this recipe I came across, it sounds delicious!


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup of plain or vanilla yogurt
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup butter/margarine, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (you can puree your own pumpkin – use the leftovers from carving)
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, smashed (the riper the better)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cream together: sugar, yogurt, applesauce and butter
  3. Add eggs, pumpkin, carrots and bananas
  4. Mix well add all dry ingredients: oats, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  5. Mix until combined
  6. Scoop batter into greased mini or regular muffin tins. Can use cupcake liners if you prefer. Recipe can make 48 mini muffins or 20-24 regular size muffins.
  7. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes for mini-muffins or 15-18 or until toothpick comes out clean for regular size muffins.
  8. Remove from pans and cool on cooling rack.


Recipe retrieved from: http://reallifedinner.com/the-best-toddler-muffins/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

During this past weekend and throughout this week, many of us have or will be carving pumpkins – it’s always so much fun for the whole family and makes a great decoration! Pumpkins aren’t only a fun addition to the Halloween season, but they are also tasty and nutritious!  Both the seeds and the actual pumpkin can be used to make many delicious foods.

Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A.  Vitamin A helps your eyes and skin stay strong and healthy; as well helps lower the risk of some diseases. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of iron and are rich in protein.  In fact, pumpkin seeds make a quick, tasty and healthy snack for your whole family.  Try the below recipe with the seeds you remove from your pumpkin, as a child I always loved doing this and I’m sure your children will too!


  • Pumpkin seeds, approx 2 cups (cleaned and rinsed)
  • Olive Oil
  • Desired spices


Preheat the oven to 250°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add seeds, lower heat and boil gently for 10 minutes. Drain well then transfer to a paper towel-lined tray and pat dry. Transfer seeds to a medium bowl, toss with oil and spread out in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast seeds, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until just crisp and golden brown, about 1 hour total. Set aside to let cool.

**Note: For spicy pumpkin seeds, mix 1/2 teaspoon each garlic salt, cumin, coriander and cardamom with seeds and oil before roasting. For sweet pumpkin seeds, mix 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger and 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar with seeds and oil before roasting.


Information sourced from: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/Pumpkins.aspx

Recipe adapted from: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/roasted-pumpkin-seeds

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Festive Halloween Treats for Your KES Club!

During the holidays many of our KES Club volunteers enjoy doing something a little special for their students. Sometimes it’s a big pancake breakfast, a special smoothie day, or delicious muffins and other times it’s simply making the food you always serve, festive.  Halloween is just around the corner, and what better way to get into the spirit then by making a “spooktacular breakfast” for your students…they’ll love it!  Try some of these ideas over the next few days in your KES Club.

Healthy Halloween Mummy Tray: For little ones, you can cook the carrots until they are to the desired softness then add the cheese for a yummy but not-too-scary mummy encounter.


Halloween Pumpkin Oranges: For our Halloween-themed party, we used these Halloween pumpkin oranges to make a pumpkin patch on a tray.pumpkin-oranges

Banana Ghosts: These ghouls take mere minutes to scare up, have only two ingredients, and require no cooking.


School Approved Frankenstein: A monster made of grapes adds whimsy to your fruit snack.


Recipes retrieved from: http://www.superhealthykids.com/30-healthy-festive-halloween-treats/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Healthy After School Snacks for the Busy Family

The start of the school year means the beginning of fall and that is always a busy time for many parents, caregivers and children. After school, many children participate in daily extracurricular activities, leaving little time for their evening meal.  We have to remember that eating a proper and well balanced meal during morning, lunch and evening are all equally as important.  We know that structured meal times aren’t always possible with such busy lives and that’s why healthy snacking is so important.  Including snacks in our daily routine can sometimes pose a difficult task, especially when trying to find healthy choices.  Whether you’re heading to hockey, dance or ballet after school, until there is time to eat a proper meal your child needs a snack.  There are many healthy snack options that you can prepare, some are simple but you can also get creative with your snacks as well.

  • Fruit and veggie (you can serve with dip, yogurt or light ranch)
  • Whole fruits and veggies
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Clementine
    • Baby carrots
    • Bell peppers
    • Fruit Cups (in own juice or water)
    • Apple sauce cups
  • Cheese and Crackers
    • Hard cheese cubes
    • Low sodium whole wheat crackers
  • English muffin with hard cheese
  • Muffins
    • Bran, banana, berry, etc (use whole wheat flour if possible)
  • Pinwheels
    • Peanut butter and banana (if no allergies)
    • Greek yogurt and berries
    • Light cream cheese, peppers, and shredded cheese
  • Water


Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador






Breakfast Burrito Bites!

Many of our KES Clubs are unable to serve eggs due to severe egg allergies within their schools, but we do have some Clubs that have the ability to serve eggs. Our Clubs that are fortunate to serve eggs are always looking for new and healthy ways to serve them to their children.  If you don’t already have eggs on your menu at your KES Club, but can be served, you should start!  Eggs help to develop children’s brains and are a great source of protein which helps them grow.  An egg recipe I thought would work well at our KES Clubs is “breakfast burrito bites.”  They look delicious, are fun, and can be a finger food or side dish to go along with other breakfast foods.  Most children are more likely to take foods that are cut up and can be eaten with their fingers as opposed to whole foods or foods that require more work to eat.  Try these in your KES Club, the children will love you for it!


  • 3 tablespoon chopped bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. olive oil, or spray pan with non stick cooking spray
  • 3 eggs (whipped slightly in a bowl)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 (8 inch) Whole wheat tortillas


Cook peppers with oil or cooking spray. Remove peppers from pan. Whisk eggs and water together. Cook egg/water mixture over hot skillet, without scrambling them. Move egg inward to cook although through, and flip, so you have a large “fried egg”. Cut in half. Place one egg on each tortilla. Add peppers to the center of your tortilla and roll up.


Recipe retrieved from: http://www.superhealthykids.com/finger-food-breakfast-burrito-bites/

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador

Healthy Choices for Your Trick-or-Treaters!

Although Halloween is still a couple weeks away, many of us have already started picking up our treats for our little “trick-or-treaters”. For those of you who haven’t already picked up your treats, there are many alternatives to the traditional candies, potato chips, chocolate bars and beverages that we generally give out on Halloween Night.  Children will be surprised and happy when they receive something a little different in their pile of goodies.

Here are some ideas when you go out shopping for Halloween treats:

– 100% fruit juice packs or fruit cups, dried fruit packs, fruit leathers

– Granola bars, popcorn & oatmeal packs

– Halloween stickers, pencils, erasers & stamps

– Glow sticks

– Mini play dough

– Hair buckles, lip gloss, plastic rings & key chains


Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador


Smoothie Day!

This is Kids Eat Smart Week.   Children participating in our KES Clubs are learning about nutrition and the value of making healthy food choices.   As a part of the celebration, tomorrow, October 5, is Smoothie Day and many of our KES Clubs will be partaking in this province wide event.  It’s always a fun day for students and they love the special healthy treat!  If you haven’t planned a smoothie day for tomorrow, in your KES Club, you can do it on another day.  Berry smoothies are always a hit, and because many of our Clubs don’t always have access to fresh fruits or berries this time of year, frozen berries are always a great addition to any smoothie.  As well, bananas are usually an affordable fruit that most Clubs can access year around and for that reason we like to add bananas to our smoothies too.  Tomorrow during my Smoothie Day we will be making “Frozen Berries and Banana Smoothie” for all the students….you should give it a try too!

Ingredients (approx 2 servings)

  • 1 cup frozen berries of choice (mixed berries, strawberry, blueberry or raspberry)
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Honey (to taste)


Firstly, adjust ingredients appropriately depending on how many students you will be serving. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until a smooth consistency.  Pour up and enjoy!


Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/mixed-berries-and-banana-smoothie-recipe.html

Janel Genge is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador