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School-friendly snacks to share for Valentine’s Day

Kids Eat Smart Cinnamon Crisps with Fresh Fruit SaladSugar overload on any holiday is easy, but Valentine’s Day is one that is particularly heavy on sweets and giant heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. On top of being the month of love, February is also Heart Month—so what better way to show your tiny tots you love them than by showing them desserts can be both tasty and healthy.

This recipe, from the blog Chef Mommy, is perfect for any Valentine’s event – and a great one that your kids can help out with (see our earlier post Kids can help make nutritious meals too!). Pack it in some Tupperware containers and send to school with your kids for the class to enjoy during party time.

Heart Shaped Cinnamon Crisps with Fresh Fruit Salad in a Poppy Seed Dressing

Fruit Salsa

Ingredients:

  • Fresh fruit, chopped (strawberries, melons, grapes etc…)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. poppy seeds

Instructions:

  1. Combine all fruit in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, sugar, and poppy seeds.
  3. Add to fruit and stir to coat fruit evenly.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Cinnamon Crisps 

Ingredients & supplies:

  • whole wheat flour tortillas
  • vegetable cooking spray (or water)
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • heart shaped cookie cutter

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Cut out hearts in tortilla’s and place the tortilla cut-outs onto a foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Lightly spray with the cooking spray or water, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix.
  5. Bake for 6-8 min.
  6. Cool and serve with the fruit salsa.

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

Keeping the snack attack on track

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Kristin’s mid-morning snack

Smart snacking is an important part of a healthy diet because it helps kids get the nutrients they need to keep going throughout the day. However, when you hear the call “I’m hungry!” echo through the house, it is tempting to sacrifice nutrition in the name of quick and easy.

Balance is the key – when putting together snack suggestions, encourage your kids to pair up any two of the four food groups from Eating Healthy with Canada’s Food Guide – like a piece of fruit with cheese, or peanut butter and with whole wheat bread.

My usual pick-me-up mid morning snack is cut up orange slices and some delicious Greek yogurt. I find this healthy snack gives me that extra boost I need until lunch time!

Try to think ahead so you can have quick and easy AND nutritious choices ready on hand. For instance, I try to have my fruit and veggies for snacks washed and cut-up and ready for easy access in my fridge.

Here are some other tips to keep the snack attacks on track:

Variety

Variety in food helps make sure that kids get the vitamins and minerals they need, rather than just getting the same vitamins and minerals at each snack.

When offering snacks, try to offer an assortment instead of offering the same snacks day after day.

Healthy snack foods include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain crackers, cereals, and bread
  • Eggs
  • Low fat cheese, milk, and yogurt
  • Protein-rich spreads and dips like hummus and peanut butter

Make food fun

Be creative when serving fruits and vegetables to your kids, when kids are interested in foods they are more likely to try them.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Cut fruits in fun shapes using cookie cutters
  • Serve fruits or vegetables out of healthy edible bowls, like a carved out pepper or melon
  • Make fruit or veggie kabobs using a variety of healthy options
  • Freeze 100% fruit juice with fruit chunks to make your own healthy fruit pop
  • Dip cut fruit in orange juice or apple juice to stop it from browning and add taste
Strawberry Kisses - a healthy and delicious snack, just in time for Valentine's Day!

Strawberry Kisses – a healthy and delicious snack, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Strawberry Kisses

Get creative for any and all occasions – with Valentine’s Day just around the corner check out these, why not try making these balanced and delicious Strawberry Kisses?

Ingredients:

12 Fresh or Frozen strawberries, washed.
1 ½ cup low fat plain or flavored yogurt.

Instructions:

Dip strawberries in yogurt, freeze and slice.

Happy snacking everyone!

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

Nutritious alternatives for Superbowl Sunday

Nutritious Southwestern Bean Dip

A nutritious alternative for Superbowl Sunday – Southwestern Layered Bean Dip – high in fibre, lower in fat

We all know that Super Bowl Sunday is not just about the game—it’s about the food!

I usually pass on the store-bought snacks and take-out foods and enjoy making delicious homemade dips for the Big Day.

By making homemade dips we can choose the specific ingredients that go in the dip. By choosing low sodium salsa and sauces, as well as low fat cheese and sour cream we can reduce fat and sodium content drastically.

Try this easy Tex-Mex layered dip with plenty of black beans, salsa and chopped fresh vegetables – which mean a healthy amount of dietary fibre – and it packs less than half the calories and fat of traditional versions of other Super Bowl favourites:

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

Source: EatingWell

We use reduced-fat sour cream along with full-fat (and full-flavored) cheese to make the dip lighter without compromising great taste. Be sure to have lots of baked tortilla chips on hand when you serve it.

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce can nonfat refried beans, preferably “spicy”
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa (low sodium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese (light)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canned sliced black olives, (optional)

Preparation

  1. Combine refried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeños in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.
  2. Microwave on High until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato, avocado and olives (if using).

Makes 12 1/2-cup servings.

Nutrition
Per serving :146 Calories; 7 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 12 mg Cholesterol; 15 g Carbohydrates; 7 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 288 mg Sodium; 164 mg Potassium

Make Ahead Tip
Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to one day. To serve, continue with Steps 2 & 3.

Go 49ers! 🙂

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