Loading up on Antioxidants

The word antioxidants has been a nutrition buzz word from quite some time now but do you still find yourself wondering what it means? Here’s some background on what it means and how it’s good for our body’s.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are naturally found in foods. An antioxidant can be:

  • A vitamin such as vitamins A, C or E
  • Plant chemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids
  • A mineral such as selenium

Antioxidants protect your body’s cells from damage that can occur our body. Cell damage happens naturally as you age or can happen when we are exposed to things like pollution or cigarette smoke. Cell damage can lead to common diseases like heart disease and diabetes. A diet rich in antioxidants can help lower your risk of these diseases

What foods have antioxidants?

Vegetables, fruit, whole grain bread, pasta and cereal, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, garlic, and green tea have antioxidants.

Tips for getting more antioxidants

Vitamin C:

  • Add broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and red, yellow or green peppers to stir fry dishes or serve them with a low fat dip.
  • Add strawberries and raspberries to yogurt or a smoothie or mix them into a fruit salad.
  • Enjoy tropical fruit such as papaya, kiwis, grapefruits, guavas and mangos.

Vitamin E:

  • Sprinkle almonds and sunflower seeds on salads or add them to granola and cereal.
  • Add avocadoes to salads, sandwiches and wraps, smoothies or make a guacamole dip.
  • Choose fish at least twice a week. Mackerel, herring, salmon, halibut and tuna are good sources of vitamin E.


  • Choose green tea more often.
  • Add blueberries, raspberries and strawberries to cereal, yogurt, salads, low fat frozen yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • Add apples and red grapes to a green salad or fruit salad.


  • Make a mixed bean salad for an appetizer.
  • Bake fish like tilapia, cod, haddock or salmon in the oven.
  • Include meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs and nuts throughout the day.


  • Have tomato sauce on top of whole wheat pasta or brown rice.
  • Roast or bake carrots, sweet potato and squash in the oven.
  • Make a tossed salad with spinach, kale and dark leafy vegetables.

Antioxidant info sourced from: http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Antioxidants/What-you-need-to-know-about-antioxidants.aspx

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

A Fresh Summer Snack – Kiwisicles

This fresh summer treat couldn’t be easier! Have the kids help out in the kitchen to make these delightful snacks. Have a summer party or BBQ coming up? – these can be fun for the kids to enjoy while playing in the hot summer sun.

What you will need:

Kitchen Gear: Vegetable peeler
Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Wide plastic lid (such as a yogurt or Tupperware lid)
4 wooden ice-pop sticks

1 -kiwi

1.Peel the kiwi and cut it into 4 thick slices
2.Push a wooden stick into each slice and lay the “pops” on the lid. (Because the lid is flexible, you can bend it to pop the pops off!)
3.Freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Enjoy!

Sourced from: http://www.chopchopmag.org/content/kiwisicles#sthash.zq4k22lU.dpuf

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Try Local Fresh Fruit in Season

Summer provides a wealth of locally grown fruits. At my trip to the Lester’s Farm the weekend I took note of fresh fruit in season and hope to get back to purchase them each month.

Take advantage of the fresh taste that produce in season can provide with these SEASONAL suggestions!

• Fresh summer berries such as blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries make an elegant and tasty dessert with a dollop of low-fat whipped topping.

• When grilling outside, don’t forget the fruits! Summer fruits such as peaches, nectarines and plums can all be sliced and grilled to bring out wonderfully different flavors and textures.

• For your summer family gatherings bring iced melons to cut and serve on site for a refreshing snack! Summer melons include honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

• Farmers market, community gardens, and local produce stands are getting ever more popular in our province. Look around your community for local access to healthy, tasty produce.

The growing season in Newfoundland and Labrador is very short but all the sweeter for it. Check out the list below our province’s fruit in season:

APPLES, August through October


BLUEBERRIES, late July through August

CANTALOUPES, August and September

CHERRIES, June and July

CRANBERRIES, October through December

MELONS, August and September

PEARS, August into October

RASPBERRIES, late July through early August, second crop at the end of September

STRAWBERRIES, end of June into July

WATERMELONS, August and September

Sourced from: www.healthykidschallenge.com and www.about.com

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Starting Healthy Habits At Home

We have all heard the saying “Monkey see monkey do” – I use this saying quite often to explain the importance of teaching kids healthy eating at home.

Kids learn what healthy eating is at a young age and most often they learn what healthy eating is from their parents. It’s important for parents to show kids what healthy eating is by having regular meal times and having balanced meals throughout the day which include foods from Eating well with Canada’s Food guide.

I am frequently in schools and community centres throughout the city and teach kids about healthy eating and am glad to report kids are learning about healthy eating both in school and at home! From K-12 they are learning about Canada’s Food Guide and are quite knowledgeable about what healthy eating is.

Parents can try some of the following things to help encourage healthy eating habits at home:

  • Most importantly, be a role model. Try new foods with the kids.
  • Be creative. Cut fruits into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Add variety. Variety in food helps make sure that children get the vitamins and minerals they need.
  • Involve children in grocery shopping and meal planning.
  • Promote a healthy attitude towards eating and exercise.


Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Fruit Cubes for your Water!

Try this cute idea to amp up the fruit in your kids diet in a fun way! You’ll love how easy they are to create and the kids will love the idea of a frozen treat. Add them to water to create a refreshing natural fruit flavored drink on those hot summer days.


To prepare ice cubes, simply choose a favorite fruit, peel, pit and add to blender, puree, and your done! If the fruits you are pureeing seem quite thick, add just a touch of 100% apple juice to the blender, just enough to thin it out.

No special equipment (other than a blender and an ice cube tray) is needed to make these flavored fruit cubes.  Just puree the fruit, pour it into a standard ice cube tray, freeze, and pop into a drink whenever the kids are looking to cool down.  It’s good idea to have a different fruit cube for each drink to allow for a more distinct flavor in the water. There’s no faster, or healthier way to turn a drink from everyday to gourmet!

Sourced from: www.babble.com

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Greek Yogurt vs Regular Yogurt – What’s the Difference?

Most of us have likely tried the creamy smooth texture of Greek yogurt and wondered hey is this better for me than the regular yogurt I’ve been eating for years? Greek yogurt’s popularity has been on the rise over the last little while and you may wonder what all this fuss is about. My big question was is one more nutritious than the other?

From a production perspective, all yogurt comes from milk that has had healthy bacteria added, causing it to ferment. Yogurt is then strained through a cheesecloth, which allows the liquid whey part of milk to drain off. Regular yogurt is strained twice, while Greek yogurt is strained three times to remove more whey.

While all yogurt provides numerous health benefits the nutritional stats for Greek yogurt and regular yogurt do differ. Here’s how the two stack up:

Protein – Greek yogurt has almost double the protein of regular yogurt. Eight ounces of Greek yogurt has about 20 grams of protein, whereas regular yogurt provides around 11-13 grams.

Carbohydrates – Greek yogurt has fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. This could be beneficial to diabetics, who have to watch their carbohydrate intake.

Calcium – Regular yogurt has about three times the calcium of Greek yogurt. Both are still considered good sources of calcium, but women who don’t get enough calcium from other foods may want to stick to regular yogurt for its bone-building benefits.

Texture – Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because it’s strained more. Greek yogurt can also be used in cooking as it does not curdle when heated like regular yogurt

As both are a nutritious snack especially topped with granola and fruit – choose one which best suits your taste buds and your nutritional needs.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Summer Time Breakfast On the Go!

When the sun is shining and the kids are ready to play breakfast should be quick and easy for moms and dads to get the kids out the door. Having these items prepared and ready for the kids to grab and go can make breakfast a breeze.

Having items pre-packed and ready to go is key!

1. Single-serving bowls or baggies of whole-grain cereal are packed with vitamins and minerals.

2. Pair string cheese with whole wheat crackers.

3. Hard-boil several eggs to have on hand for the kids to grab and go.

4. Small cartons of low-fat yogurt are a good combination of carbohydrates and protein/have small containers of pre-cut fruit on hand to stir in for added nutrition.

5. Whole-grain English muffins can serve as a base for a breakfast sandwich. Spread on peanut butter, a source of satisfying protein and heart-healthy fats.

With kids getting more active on those long summer days it’s important for them to start their day right and have snacks on hand throughout the day to keep their energy up!  Be sure to keep them hydrated on those hot sunny days as well!


Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Oatmeal – A Healthy Way to Kick Start Your Day!

Nothing says “good morning” like a warm bowl of oatmeal. Whether slowly cooked and creamy or blended with fresh fruit in a smoothie, oats provide your body with many benefits. If you’re not eating oatmeal for breakfast, you’re missing out on a delicious way to add fiber and nutrients to your body first thing in the morning.

Oatmeal is a whole grain, and eating whole grains can lower your risk for several diseases, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal also contains lignans, a plant chemical that has been found to prevent heart disease. The food label on your package of oats should list one ingredient: whole grain oats.

To make sure you include at least three of the four food groups for your breakfast – top your oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries and enjoy a glass of milk on the side! Check out this delicious homemade oatmeal recipe I discovered – Mmmmm!

Warm Banana Bread Oatmeal

Yields 2 servings

1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (about 1 1/2) overripe bananas, mashed (you can slice the leftover 1/2 banana and use for garnish)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup quick oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar

In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, mashed bananas, and spices. Heat the mixture on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the rolled oats and cook for 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally, or until the oats are soft and the liquid has been absorbed.

Pour into a bowl, top each serving with a teaspoon of brown sugar, slices of banana, and enjoy your nice, hot, nutritious breakfast.

Information and Recipe adapted from: www.wholegrainscouncil.org & www.foodnetworks.ca

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Cost Saving Ideas for your Breakfast Club and Beyond

Kids Eat Smart Foundation knows that nutritious foods are often costly so when shopping for your KES Clubs and for your family use these tips to make your dollars go farther!

My best plan of attack during the weekly shopping trip is make a list, make a list, make a list. Often on Sunday’s I’ll scan the flyers have a look at the sales and plan my weekly menu based on the sales. I like to get the most bang for my buck when creating my menu – use the tips below when planning your next trip.

Plan Your Budget

Make a list of what food you will need before you go shopping and stick to it.  If you start buying things that are not on your list you will probably go over budget.

Use Coupons & Flyers

Look for specials in flyers and use coupons to get the best deals.  For example, if bread is on sale buy extra loaves and freeze them.  Don’t buy perishable items in larger quantities than you need unless you have an appropriate storage space to keep them.

Portion Foods

Portion foods into smaller, bite-size pieces.  If you cut fruit into segments, students are more likely to take a piece.  Portioning foods often reduces waste as people can choose how much they want more easily.

Buy Local

Buy local foods whenever possible.  Not only are items like fruits and vegetables cheaper and fresher, you’ll be supporting your local community!

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can be a lot cheaper in the long run.  Only buy in bulk when you are going to use the food before it expires

Compare Prices

Shop around and compare prices.  Grocery store brands are often cheaper than big brands, even when big brands are on sale, and are virtually the same products.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

Getting the most out of Balanced Meals

I attended the PGI Children’s Literacy Festival 2013 at the College of the North Atlantic yesterday and met with some 600 school aged kids throughout the day! Some of the schools in attendance included: Hazelwood elementary, Virginia park elementary, St. Andrew’s Elementary, and Bishop Abraham.  Although the kids were young in age between 7-9, I was excited to hear how much they already knew about eating healthy and Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide

I chatted with the kids about the importance of balanced meals and snacks throughout the day as well as went over the Food Guide. Then as a group we worked together to come up with a balanced meal for breakfast and lunch. Did you know that if we include fruits and vegetables with each and every snack and meal it’s a little easier to attain those recommended servings from the Food Guide?

It’s important to have balanced meals throughout the day to ensure we are eating a variety of foods and getting the required nutrients we need. Balanced meals should include foods from all four food groups: Fruits and Vegetables, Grains, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat an Alternatives. Balanced snacks should include foods from at least two of the four Food Groups. Please refer to Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide for your recommended servings per day for your specific age group – you might be surprised to see if you’re meeting the recommendation servings or not.

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.