Back To School – Being Prepared With Healthy Foods!

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end! For most, back to school means back to a regular routine. With preparing our book bags and closets for back to school we cannot forget our fridges, freezers and kitchen cupboards. Here are a few tips to stock up and stay on budget with easy healthy items for breakfast, lunch and recess on those busy school mornings.

  • Pick up bulk fruits and veggies: prep them when you return from the grocery store and put them in small baggies or containers so that they are ready to go for meal preparation
  • Bulk up on meals so that I have extra meals on hand throughout the week. ie. make an extra batch of pancakes or French toast to freeze for breakfast, make large batches of soup or chili to freeze for lunches, and make large batches of pasta dishes with extra veggies to freeze for dinner
  • Planning ahead allows you to know exactly what’s on the week’s menu without having to think at the end of the day and buying “something quick” on your way home. It also allows you to budget more effectively
  • To save money – rather then purchase individual yogurt and cheese portions – purchase cheese and yogurt in bulk and have plenty of reusable containers on hand to portion out items for breakfast and lunch on the go

Tyr these few tips to be more prepared and organized for the school year to com

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with  Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Quick & Easy Summertime Lunch

With the sun still shining and summer days getting shorter we want to enjoy everything minute we can outside!  Try this easy no-cook summertime lunch or even snack for your kids this week. The recipe has a ton of fruit and is protein packed with nutritious almond butter for a balanced meal.  Ensuring you have balanced meals will allow you to meet your daily nutrient requirements as well as feel fuller longer. Serve with a glass a milk and green salad for a balanced meal.

Fruity Pita Sandwich

  • 1 Whole Wheat Pita, cut into 4 triangles
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Butter
  • 1 Apple
  • 2 Kiwi
  • 5 Strawberries
  • 10 Blueberries
  • Directions
  1. Spread 1 tbsp. Almond Butter on each triangle
  2. Top with Fruit

Recipe sourced from: http://www.produceforkids.com/meal-planning/fruity-pita-sandwiches

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL.

Budget Conscious Healthy Eating at School!

For years, most of us have been aware of the fact that Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest incidence of many cancers, heart disease, diabetes and other health related issues.  There is also no surprise that we also consume the lowest amounts of fruits and vegetables in the country.  You may have seen this article released this week on CBC News (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/canadian-children-school-lunches-1.4260099).  The information sited in this article is dated; however we still face many of the same challenges that led to these results.  While we know that access to affordable healthy foods is an issue in our Province, we need to make an effort to incorporate healthy foods into our diets each day.  There are ways around the high cost of food; be creative, make a meal plan and take the time to pack healthy foods for your child to enjoy at school.

Here are some ideas on how to pack a healthy snacks and lunches for your child, while keeping it budget friendly:

Breakfast

Kids Eat Smart has you covered! We have KES Breakfast Clubs in 90% of our schools so a healthy breakfast is available to most children on school days.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and our KES Clubs offer at least 3 out of the 4 food groups to children and youth including:

  • A healthy whole grain
  • Dairy (milk if possible to serve daily, if not offer hard cheese or yogurt)
  • Fruit or Vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned as long as there are no added sugars)

Recess

KES suggests you offer at least 2 out of 4 food groups

  • Buy items such as whole grain crackers and dry cereals in bulk. Portion them up in resalable baggies and this can be a grain choice for your child’s recess.
  • Frozen fruits or buy fruits when in season and freeze them. Separate in portions to suit your child. When they thaw and your child takes it out for their recess it will be perfect temperature, juicy and sweet!
  • Cheese – portion hard cheese in cubes instead of buying cheese strings. Much more budget friendly.  When on sale, stock up and freeze your cheese and cut portions as needed.
  • Homemade trail mix are a great snack as well. Some dry cereal, dry fruit (ie. raisins, crasins, etc), granola bits and to sweeten you can use coconut if you wish.
  • Yogurt – buy a large tub and use reusable jars from home instead of individual portion cups.

Lunch

KES suggests 4 out of 4 food groups should be offered if possible and could include the following options:

  • Leftovers will always be your best option. With leftover protein from the previous night supper, your options are endless. For example, a leftover baked chicken or beef roast.
    • Chicken and cheese quesadillas (add peppers , kids love the colour)
    • Left over whole wheat chicken or roast beef sandwich
    • Chicken wrap with veggies and cheese
  • Soups, pastas and casseroles are very affordable meals and can be made in bulk and frozen. These can be a lunch option 1 -2 times a week.  An insulated thermos is a great idea to keep these foods warm until lunchtime.   This eliminates the need to use the microwave.
  • Your grains and proteins should be paired with a dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt) For example, whole grain crackers and hard cheese.
  • Your fruits and vegetables can be your sides. Any fruit or vegetable that’s on sale that week will be perfect.  If nothing on sale, frozen, fresh or canned are just as nutritious!

Remember, these are simply just some options, there are so many choices out there that you can give your children for their snacks and lunches.  The main thing to remember when trying to prepare food for the school year is to keep it simple…. plan ahead and prep in advance.  When we don’t plan we have a tendency to throw in more of those “less healthy” options.  At the end of the day we know that avoiding processed pre-packaged foods will save you money and allow you to create healthier food choices for your children throughout their school day!

Please share Kids Eat Smart Nutrition Blogs on Tuesdays and Thursdays for healthy recipes, tips and ideas for feeding your kids at home and at school!

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

A Guide to Choosing a Lunch Box for Back to School

As you shop for back to school supplies for your children, one of the things likely on your list is a new lunch box…..but “what kind should I buy?” is the question you are likely asking yourself. This is a very important, yet confusing topic for many parents, so we’ll post this again!

Like you, many parents and caregivers often struggle with knowing what to pack for their child’s lunch during the school day – I agree, it’s not always easy. With so many restrictions and limitations in schools today, packing lunches can be very difficult. It’s no longer as simple as throwing in a peanut butter sandwich in a plastic lunch bag or some leftovers in a container for your child to warm in the microwave; this is why the proper lunch box and containers are a must!

Ideal lunch boxes and containers should be:

  • BPA-Free– The lunch box should be safe to store food inside.
  • Stay Fresh– A box that will seal and keep all unwrapped items fresh
  • Easy to Clean– I prefer one lid for the lunch box, easy to clean and store when drying
  • Sections– Separate spaces to place different foods
  • Size– It’s not too big to fit into your kid’s school bag, or take up most of the space
  • Perfect Portions– Sections that are big enough for the amount of food your kids will eat
  • Reusable – Save the environment and your pocket, don’t use plastic bags
  • Dishwasher safe– For those days you don’t have time to hand wash
  • Easy to store– not too bulky to store when not in use
  • Machine Washable– lunch bags can easily be washed in the washing machine

When packing your child’s lunch, don’t forget the importance of food safety – keep cold foods cold, and warm foods warm. Some tips to ensure this:

  • Use an insulated bag
  • Use ice packsto keep foods cold
  • Use thermosto keep warm foods warm (most schools no longer have microwaves, so purchasing a good thermos will be very beneficial)

Information retrieved from: https://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/lunchbox-ideas/a-guide-to-choosing-the-best-lunch-box-for-kids/

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

Fruit Packed Summertime Refreshments!

Although we hate to admit it, our summer is coming to a close.  That being said, we still hope for a few more weeks of warm weather to enjoy.  On a hot summer day, we always encourage drinking lots of water, but we also like to enjoy some fruity beverages as a treat on a summer day as well.  While most fruity drinks we tend to see at grocery and convenience stores are high in added sugars, there are alternatives that you can make at home and serve up; the whole family can enjoy these.  I came across these recipes and thought they were great, give them a try!

WATERMELON COCONUT COOLER

Servings: 2

Ingredients
2 cups watermelon, chilled and cubed

1 cup coconut water

Juice of 1 lime

Ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Place watermelon, coconut water, and lime juice in blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve over ice.

TROPICAL FIZZ
Servings: 2

Ingredients
2 cups mango, cubed

½ cup sliced strawberries

½ cup orange juice

Juice of 1 lime

1½ cups sparkling water

Ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Place orange juice, mango, strawberries, and lime juice in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Turn off blender before stirring in sparkling water.
  3. Serve over ice.

PINEAPPLE PUNCH
Servings: 2

Ingredients
1 cup frozen pineapple, cubed

1 banana

½ cup orange juice

½ cup coconut milk

¾ cup water

Ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Put frozen pineapple, banana, coconut milk, orange juice, and water into blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve over ice.

BLUEBERRY LEMONADE
Servings: 2

Ingredients

1¼ cups blueberries

Juice of 2 lemons

1-3 tablespoons honey

½ cup cold water

1½ cups cold sparkling water

Ice cubes

Preparation

  1. Place blueberries, lemon juice, and cold water in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Strain the blueberries mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, using a spoon to press the last of the liquid through.
  3. Add the sparkling water and honey and mix until the honey dissolves.
  4. Serve over ice.

Recipes retrieved from: http://bzfd.it/2hoh1px

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

 

Foil Pack Peach Cobbler – Campfire Dessert!

Last week we gave you an amazing delicious recipe for a healthy campground cook up, well there’s no better way to finish off a healthy meal around the campfire than with a delicious dessert.  This dessert is a healthy alternative to most desserts and is also great for the campfire.  Hopefully I will get a chance to try this before summer is out…if you get the chance, DO IT!! Send us a photo!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups peaches, chopped (~4 medium/large or 6 small)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon flour, any kind
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter/margarine, slightly softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Let fire become hot and burn for 10-15 mins before adding your foil pockets.  Create an 8-inch x 8-inch tin foil pouch and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Prepare peaches, by chopping (keep skin on) and placing in a large bowl. Squeeze on the juice from a half a lemon and add brown sugar. Toss. Set aside. Add oats, flour, pecans, maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to a medium mixing bowl.  Mix well to create your crumble topping.  Next, layer the peaches and crumble topping into tin foil pouch by first adding half of the peaches to the pouch and then 1/3 of the crumble topping over the peaches.  Then, add the rest of peaches followed by the last 2/3 of the crumble topping. Fold the top of your tin foil pouch over the peach cobbler and seal the edges with your fingers making sure there are no holes for air to escape from.  Place in or on the campfire 15-20 minutes or until the top of your cobbler is a golden brown and the peaches are bubbly.  Carefully remove from fire, let cool for 2-3 minutes.

Note: If you wish to top your dessert with something cool and refreshing, try topping it with some greek yogurt as a healthy alternative to ice cream or cool whip.

Recipe retrieved and adapted from: http://fitfoodiefinds.com/2017/07/video-foil-pack-peach-crumble-grill/

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

Fresh Blueberry Breakfast

With blueberry season in full swing there’s nothing better than getting the kids in the woods picking their own blueberries.  Head out this weekend to get your stock of blueberries for the next few months. We love to have blueberries in the freezer all year round – they are easy to add to pancakes, muffins and cereals.  Try this fresh blueberry breakfast for a burst of flavor this weekend:

Ingredients

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
2 cups almond milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cups chopped strawberries, divided
1/2 cup blueberries, divided
1/2 cup  cherries, pitted, halved, divided

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Spray 8×8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix oats, ¼ cup pecans, baking powder and cinnamon in large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk egg in separate bowl. Stir in milk, butter, maple syrup and vanilla.
  4. Add ½ of dry ingredients to prepared baking dish and top with ⅓ cup strawberries, ¼ cup blueberries and ¼ cup cherries. Add remaining dry ingredients and top with wet ingredients. Top with remaining strawberries, blueberries, cherries and pecans. Gently shake baking dish back and forth to allow milk to combine with oats.
  5. Bake uncovered 35 minutes, or until oatmeal is set and lightly browned.

Recipe and Image sourced from: http://www.produceforkids.com/meal-planning/berry-cherry-baked-oatmeal

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL.

Healthy Campground Cook Up!

With many families planning camping trips the summer here is a healthy meal to prepare for your supper time cook up.  If you plan ahead and prepare your meals ahead of time it makes enjoying a healthy meal possible, even in the woods!  Try this simple recipe at your next cook up.  Even if you’re not camping trying this at home in your backyard fire pit can be a fun meal for the family to try!

The images were provided by our very own Registered Dietitian Janel Genge who hosted her own Cook Up in Alberta this past week.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4lbs Stewing Beef  (no need to slice they cook up fine by time veggies are cookes))
  • 4-6 Baby Potatoes, thinly sliced (more, no idea how many prob like 20, slice in half should be fine)
  • ⅓ c BBQ sauce (didn’t use BBQ sauce)
  • Other favorites to add (onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, cauliflower)
  • Oil and Spice to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat grill or if using your campfire, keep fire burning until temperature is quite hot.
  2. Cut 4 sheets of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around the beef and add-ins.
  3. Place thinly sliced stewing beef on each sheet of foil.
  4. Add baby potatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers. BBQ sauce, oil and spices and anything else you wish to add to each foil packet.
  5. Place foil packets on grill or in fire and cook 20-30 minutes or until beef is cooked through.

 

Recipe adapted from: http://www.homemadeinterest.com/cheddar-bbq-chicken-foil-packet-meal-camping-party/

Images sourced by: Janel Genge, RD Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL.

Banana Frozen Yogurt Cool Down Treat

With hot summer days in the forecast try this easy frozen treat packed full of fruit and fiber! Ensuring we are getting enough fruit and vegetables in our diet can sometimes be hard. By including fruits or vegetables in all meals and snacks we can ensure we are getting all the servings we need each day!

Banana Fro-Yo
Ingredients
2 bananas, chopped
3 cups low fat yogurt
1 cup chopped pineapple
Directions
1. Place bananas in freezer bag and freeze overnight
2. Blend bananas, yogurt and pineapple in blender until thick and smooth. Portion and freeze 25 minutes

Recipe adapted from: http://www.produceforkids.com/meal-planning/banana-fro-yo

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL.

Fresh Summer Salad off the Grill

When the weather is nice their is nothing better then a backyard BBQ.  Perhaps you have a BBQ planned for tomorrow’s Regatta – try this delicious recipe packed with a ton of healthy veggies and corn right off the grill.  This salad also includes Avocado which is packed with heart healthy fats and loaded with fiber.  Offer to bring along this simple and healthy salad to your next BBQ:

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad Recipe
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 Ears of Fresh Corn, shucked
  • 1 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 Avocados, peeled and sliced into edible chunks
  • ⅓ Cup of Onion, diced
  • ⅛-1/4 Cup of Fresh Lime Juice (I love lime, so I did the ¼ cup)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Set your Grill to Medium High Heat.
  2. Brush olive oil on all sides of your corn. Place directly onto hot grill.
  3. Turn corn every few minutes, until fully cooked and kernels browned/charred (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. Remove corn from heat and allow to cool for about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix your tomatoes, onion and lime juice in a large bowl.
  6. Using knife, slice kernels from corn husks. Mix with your tomato, onion and lime juice mixture. Add your avocados and mix well (avoid overmixing and mushy avocados)
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve warm or cold.

Recipe and image sourced from: http://raisingwhasians.com/grilled-corn-avocado-salad-recipe/

Kristin Hedges is a Registered Dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL.