Kid-Friendly Make Ahead Meals

Coming up with lunches and snacks for kids, or even yourself for that matter, that provide variety from that standard PB&J or ham and cheese sandwich can be tough. With the busy summer months fast approaching, here are some great plan-ahead meals and go-to snacks that are kid-friendly and mom-approved.

Incorporate the colors of the rainbow so it can be nutritiously well rounded. Something to also think about when creating a meal kit is to have a balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats.

Mediterranean Mix

Cucumber, cherry/grape tomatoes, olives, mozzarella pearls, hummus, whole-grain cracker or pita bread

Deconstructed American Classic

Cottage cheese, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries, peanut butter and whole-grain crackers or bread.

Breakfast Option 

Hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt and granola, banana

These ideas are like homemade Lunchables, so you could easily put them together on a Sunday for the week. It’s easy to substitute something if your child is allergic or hasn’t developed a taste for a certain food yet. Another option is to make either egg salad or tuna salad for kids to dip crackers or bread into. Dipping food is way more fun than a regular sandwich. You could add a small serving of chocolate chips, a cookie, or one of my favorites, dried fruit.

Taken from:  Greenbaypressgazette.com

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National Crepe Suzette Day

May 6th is National Crepes Suzette Day. What on earth is a crepe suzette?

According to Wikepedia, a Crepe Suzette is a French dessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, served flambé.

Go ahead and try it! Others across the country will be enjoying this elegant dish also. Bon appetit!

crepes suzette image

Crepes Suzette

Ingredients
Crepes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup clarified butter
Sauce:
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
3 oranges, peeled and sectioned
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Crepes:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until pale. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of the milk, orange liqueur, vanilla, and orange zest and flour until combined. If the mixture is too thick, add the remaining milk until a thin consistency is achieved. Cover and refrigerate batter for 30 minutes.
Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Cover the surface of the pan with clarified butter until it gets sizzling hot. Ladle some batter onto the middle of the crepe pan and immediately start swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the surface. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds or until lightly golden brown. Flip over and cook the other side for 20 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

Sauce:
In a large skillet over high heat, bring the orange juice to a boil. Add the sugar and zest, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the sugar has melted and the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange liqueur and orange sections. Set aside.
Working in batches, gently place a crepe into the pan holding the orange juice and orange sections. Leave for 1 minute to absorb some juice. Using a narrow spatula, remove the crepe to a warm serving plate. Repeat with remaining crepes. Roll the crepes into a cylinder. Spoon on some of the orange sections. Serve 2 crepes per person. Top with vanilla ice cream and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay

Read More from Food Network.

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Almonds Suppress Hunger and Tackle Obesity

Almonds Suppress Hunger – Tackle Obesity

A new study, presented at the North American Association for the Study of Obesity reports that eating a handful or two of almonds every day may fit into this category. Almonds are a rich source of flavonoid antioxidants, Vitamin E and magnesium which enhances the feeling of fullness in people and aid in weight management.

AlmondsResearch, funded by the Almond Board of California, looked at the effect of supplementing the diet of 20 overweight women with two servings (300 calories) of almonds each day for ten weeks.

At the end of the study, the researchers, led by Richard Mattes from Purdue University, found that there were no changes in energy intake or body weight after almond supplementation. No changes in body fat, body weight, and BMI were observed.

“We concluded that the women found their daily almond snack to be very filling, and so they naturally compensated in their caloric intake at other times of the day,” said Mattes. In other words, almond consumption could displace other foods from the diet, leading to a stable weight.

Instead of filling the candy bowl with M&M’s, mints or chips, fill the bowl with raw almonds. Almonds will help the hunger pangs as well as give the body a deserved treat of essential vitamins and minerals!

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Imperfect Produce Means Healthier Produce

When orchardist Eliza Greenman walks through a field of apple trees and gazes upon a pocked array of blemished and buckled fruits — scarred from fighting fungus, heat and pests — she feels a little thrill of joy. “I’m Apple Treeabsolutely infatuated with the idea of stress in an orchard,” says Greenman, who custom grafts and grows pesticide-free hard cider apples in Hamilton, Va. These forlorn, scabbed apples, says Greenman, may actually be sweeter.

In an unofficial experiment, Greenman tested scabbed and unscabbed Parma apples, a high-sugar variety native to southwestern Virginia, and found the scarred apples had a 2 to 5 percent higher sugar content than unmarred apples from the same tree. More sugar means a higher alcohol content once fermented, producing a tastier hard cider.

But she loves these ugly apples for another reason: They may be more nutritious and have a higher antioxidant content. Says Greenman: “I believe stress can help create a super fruit.”

Apple Scarred

So, backyard organic gardeners, rejoice: Your imperfect produce may be more perfect than you thought. Next time you hesitate over a flawed fruit, remember that it may be a hardy survivor bearing hidden nutritive gifts.

Taken from article by: Jill Neimark, NPR, April, 2016

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Grapes – A Nutrition Treasure

Concord Grapes

Nutrient profile

Grapes 3 Kinds“Grapes, especially the Concord grape variety, contain phytonutrients, including phenols, polyphenols, resveratrol and carotenoids,” said Alissa Rumsey, a New York City-based registered dietitian.

“Grapes are also a good source of vitamin K, copper and many of the B vitamins,” said Rumsey, adding that they are also a good source of fiber and relatively low in calories.

The richest concentrations of nutrients and antioxidants, including resveratrol, are in the grape skin and seeds, and most scientific studies of grapes have looked at extracts of these parts.

Raisins, which are dried grapes, do not contain as many nutrients as fresh grapes, but they do contain four times the amount of sugar. This is because the dehydrating process condenses the sugars and calories and removes some of the nutrients. Therefore, studies on the benefits of grapes cannot be applied to raisins, according to World’s Healthiest Foods.

Here are the nutrition facts for grapes according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Nutrition Facts

Grapes, red or green

Serving size:
1 cup (151 g)

Calories 104
Calories from Fat 2

*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Amt per Serving %DV* Amt per Serving %DV*
Total Fat 0g 0% Total Carbohydrate 27g 9%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%   Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Sodium 3mg 0%    Sugars 23g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A 2% Calcium 2%
Vitamin C 27% Iron 3%

Health benefits

Antioxidant power

World’s Healthiest Foods estimates that the number of antioxidants in grapes is in the hundreds. Grapes have well-known antioxidants like vitamin C and manganese as well as lesser-known antioxidants like beta-carotene and resveratrol.

Heart healthHeart Image

Polyphenols can help promote a healthy heart by increasing HDL [good cholesterol] levels and decreasing inflammation levels in the body,” said Rumsey. Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet.

The review noted that resveratrol is a polyphenol especially well known for these effects. Its high content in grapes (particularly red grapes) likely Wine Glass Red and Whiteexplains the”French paradox,” in which French people who drink a lot of red wine enjoy long and healthy lives despite eating saturated fats and smoking. This is likely because of resveratrol’s ability to reduce the risk of heart disease through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

A cup of grapes can provide you with 25 percent of your daily vitamin K needs, and some research suggests that vitamin K might reduce the risk of heart disease. Without it, mechanisms that stop the formation of blood vessel calcification might become inactive.

Diabetes

A 2013 study published in the BMJ suggests grapes may have preventive properties when it comes to diabetes. The study looked at a large cohort of women over the course of nearly two decades and found that a greater consumption of whole fruits, particularly grapes, blueberries and apples was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Fruit juice consumption, however, was associated with a higher risk.

Digestion

Rumsey noted grapes’ fiber content, which can help ensure smooth digestion. Though one cup of grapes only accounts for 5 percent of your daily fiber needs, it is an easy snack that, when combined with other high-fiber foods, can make a big difference in your regularity and colorectal health.

 

Cancer

Animal studies have linked grape seed extract to reduced occurrences of prostate cancer in animals, and a 2014 study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that a compound in grape seed extract blocked prostate cancer cell growth.

 

Risks of eating grapes

You want to eat grape skins — it’s where the majority of the nutrients are. But grape skins can be covered in pesticides. Grapes rank sixth on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, which compiles the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides in the United States. Be sure to wash your grapes thoroughly, or try buying organic grapes.

Wine, especially red wine, contains many of the same nutrients as grapes, but be sure not to overdo it. Rumsey suggests limiting your vino intake to one glass a day for women and two for men.

Taken from: Live Science: by Jessie Szalay, Live Science Contributor, April 28, 2016

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April is National Soyfoods Month

Soy

April is National Soyfoods Month

The secret behind soy foods is variety. There are numerous soy products that help you and your family enjoy healthy options at any meal. From soy snacks, like whole soy nutrition bars and soy yogurt and pudding, to meal options, like soymilk, soy burgers, tofu, and edamame, there is a tasty soyfood option to fit into your active lifestyle. Soy foods, to name a few, are Soy Milk, Soy Joy Bars, Boca, Yogurt and more.

Quick Facts About the Safety of Soyfoods and Breast Cancer

  • According to the American Cancer Society two to three servings of soyfoods a day are safe for women at-risk of or recovering from breast cancer.
  • Health professionals agree a balanced diet that includes soyfoods along with plenty of whole grains and fruits and vegetables promotes breast health. Some studies have found that introducing soyfoods early in life may decrease the risk of developing breast cancer.
  • Soyfoods contain very small amounts of a large variety of isoflavones that may look like estrogens but work differently in the human body.
  • Taking soy isoflavone supplements may not be the same as eating soyfoods.  Consult with your physician as to the best approach for you.
  • Two strong research studies conclude that women with breast cancer may safely consume soyfoods without reducing the effectiveness of Tamoxifen.

Soy Makes Healthy Kids

Soyfoods are rich in the nutrients kids need and can be used to promote healthy eating. Fruit soy smoothies, made with fortified soymilk or soy yogurt, are a fun way to help ensure proper calcium intake. Try soy burgers or soy crumbles in place of ground beef to reduce calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. Here are some other creative ways to add soy to your child’s diet.

 

In the Lunch Box or at Snack Time

If you’ve ever packed a school lunch you know that it isn’t always easy to find healthy options that your kids will actually eat. Here are a few suggestions that are simple and kids will love the taste:

  • SOYJOY bars combine soy and the great taste of fruit for a tasty snack.
  • Soy yogurt is always a huge hit plus it has the protein and calcium kids need.
  • Soymilk is a great option for a low-calorie, protein packed drink that taste great.
  • Try hummus made from soybeans in a pita or as a sandwich spread.

If you need to keep your kids busy at snack time give them a bowl of edamame (steamed soybeans.) Kids love popping them out of the pod as much as they love the taste. Plus, they’re quick and easy to prepare, all natural and a great source of protein.

Kids and Food Allergies

Soyfoods bring variety to children who have certain food allergies or choose soy for cultural reasons. Children who are lactose intolerant, or allergic to milk protein, can pour soymilk over cereal or enjoy soy pudding. Children with peanut and nut allergies can try a soy nut butter and jelly sandwich or roasted soy nuts as a snack. Even soy chips can be a treat for kids with wheat allergies! It should be noted that less than 1% of children have allergies to soy and that soy allergies occur less frequently than other allergies. Most kids out grow soy allergies.

 

 

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Nutritional Information on 7 Great Cereals

In an article written by Shereen Lehman in Verywell.com, she says:

I checked out 17 major name brand breakfast cereals that I think would probably be the most appealing to grown-ups. I went with major name brands – General Mills, Kellogg’s and Post Cereals because they’re available in every grocery store. And of those 17, I picked what I think are the seven best.
I based my choices on the amount of sugar, sodium, fiber, protein and calories in one cup of dry cereal. I looked at the fat too, but they’ll all pretty low in fat except for one. Also, I looked at the first two ingredients listed on the labels. Some type of whole grain is a must-have.

Nutrition information is available for all the cereals at the brands’ websites. Or you can find them all at Calorie Count. I had to do a little math for some brands because they claim their serving size is 3/4 or 1/2 cup, and I wanted to compare the same volume for each cereal.

So, in no particular order, these are the seven major name brand cereals that I think are pretty good for you.

Post Shredded Wheat Post Shredded Wheat

Shredded wheat is the simplest of all the cereals. It’s nothing but wheat and a little bit of BHT as a preservative. It has no sodium and no sugar, which I like. I also like that one cup of Shredded Wheat has 6 grams fiber and 6 grams protein.

 Calorie-wise it was about in the middle of the pack – with 170 calories.

General Mills Fiber One

I think breakfast time is good for getting more fiber, and one cup of Fiber One cereal has 28 grams of fiber. The original Fiber One has no sugar and 4 grams of protein. It’s on the lower end of calories, too, with 120 per one cup. Its first two ingredients are whole grain wheat and corn bran. It’s not the lowest in sodium – with 220 milligrams per cup. But it’s not high in sodium either.

Most people need more fiber but be careful if you want to switch to this brand from a lower-fiber cereal. You ought to start with half a cup (that’s the serving size on the box) and work your way up. That’s because your digestive tract may need a little time to get used to the extra fiber.

General Mills Cheerios Cheerios

I know there are several varieties of Cheerios, but I’m only talking about the original version. One cup of Cheerios as only one gram of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 100 calories. The first ingredient is whole grain oats and cornstarch. It also has 140 milligrams sodium per one-cup serving, so it’s excellent for a low-sodium diet.

General Mills Total

Total’s big thing is that it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. I mean all of these cereals are fortified, but Total contains 100 percent of most of Total cerealthem. That’s good – but it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for the rest of your diet to suck. You still need plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Total is good because it has 4 grams fiber, about 3 grams protein, and 133 calories. That’s pretty good sodium-wise, with 186 milligrams. It has a bit more sugar than I like – it’s listed as the second ingredient, after whole grain wheat, about 7 grams per cup of dry cereal. But I think it’s fine as long as you don’t add more sugar. But feel free to add berries and fruit for extra sweetness.

Post Honey Bunches of Oats

This one might be a surprise because it’s one of the sweeter cereals, but he,y not everyone wants something that tastes like cardboard every morning. But even though it’s sweet, the first two ingredients are corn and whole grain wheat (you’d be surprised how many cereals have sugar listed second).

It does have a little more sugar than I’d like – 8 grams per one cup of dry cereal, so I wouldn’t add any more sugar to a bowl. But it has almost 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. One cup has about 160 calories and 187 milligrams sodium – not bad.

General Mills Wheaties

Wheaties BoxWheaties aren’t really a sweet cereal, but they do have a little sugar added. Still, with 133 calories, 253 milligrams sodium, 5 grams sugar, 4 grams fiber and 3 grams protein, it’s a solid choice for a healthy breakfast. The first two ingredients are whole grain wheat and sugar.

Wheaties is good when it’s topped with fruit or berries, along with your favorite type of milk. Maybe some whole grain toast and nut butter on the side.

General Mills Corn Chex

Corn Chex is another rather plain cereal, but it’s low in calories and sugar, so it makes the top seven. One cup has 120 calories, 220 milligrams sodium, 3 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber and 2 grams protein. The first two ingredients are whole grain corn and corn meal.

Since it’s low in sugar, you could add a little bit of regular sugar. But since it’s on the low side as far as fiber content, I think it should be served with a big helping of fresh fruit.

 

Updated April 17, 2016

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Vitamin D Foods with a Pinch of Sunshine

Sunshine PictureVitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for proper absorption of calcium in your digestive tract, and it helps maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphate. So, getting enough vitamin D is necessary for bone health throughout your life — vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in kids and osteoporosis in adults.

The thing is, people don’t get much vitamin D from the diet. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. It only takes a few minutes of sun exposure every day to get your vitamin D, but if you live in a place where it gets colder in the winter, there’s a good chance you won’t get enough sun exposure for several months out of each year.

Most experts recommend a daily intake of 600 International Units. You won’t find many foods that are high in vitamin D, but there are some. Following is a list of foods higher in Vitamin D. Milk Glass

Maitake Mushrooms
Chanterelle Mushrooms
UV Exposed Portabella Mushrooms
Halibut
Salmon Fortified Breakfast CerealTrout
Milk
Milk Alternatives (Almond Milk, etc)
Eggs Eggs in Carton

Taken from Verywell.com

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Simple Margaritas

One of the favorite refreshing, summer drinks is Margaritas. Here is a great recipe we found.

margaritas

Margaritas

Ingredients

  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 6 fluid ounces tequila
  • 2 fluid ounces triple sec

Directions

  1. Fill blender with crushed ice. Pour in limeade concentrate, tequila and triple sec. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

    Margaritas2 Serve with your favorite Mexican food or to cool off on a hot day.

    Muy Bueno.

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How Corona Made Cinco de Mayo an American Holiday

In America Cinco de Mayo has evolved to become one of the country’s largest drinking holidays. In 2013, over $600 million dollars worth of beer was sold, according to Nielsen data, which is more beer than is sold for St. Patrick’s Day or the Super Bowl, two holidays where beer consumption is the primary focal point. And most of that beer is Mexican in origin, which has also meant that the Mexican beer sector, thanks to Cinco de Mayo, has continued to grow and thrive north of the border, experiencing the best sector growth in the American market according to EuroMonitor data, second only to the rapid growth of American craft beer.

corona beerThe holiday originally gained significance in America thanks to the growing push for Mexican-American civil rights in the 1940s and ‘50s. The Chicano movement formed in the 1960s with the stated goal of empowering Mexican Americans to embrace their cultural heritage, and celebrating Cinco de Mayo became a useful tool in connecting these new citizens to the story of America as a whole. That’s because the 1862 battle of Puebla not only impacted citizens of Mexico, it potentially impacted the fate of the Union. The French were the ones backing the Confederate army in America’s civil war, which was occurring at the same time, and their attack on Mexico City was described by Mexicans as if the French had opened a second front of the same war – meaning Mexicans and the Union had a common foe. The resulting victory by the Mexican army slowed down French support of the Confederates north of the border, which helped solidify Mexico’s assistance in securing the fate of the Union. It’s a great story that allows America’s largest immigrant group to feel even more connected to the history of the country they now inhabit, and the Chicano movement was instrumental in spreading the celebration of this holiday to Mexican cultural centers across America.

Yet, though the holiday gained in popularity among Mexican immigrants in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, it remained relatively insular. While more Mexican Americans began celebrating the holiday as a way to embrace the connection between Mexican and American culture, most other American groups had no idea the holiday existed. But in 1989 the San Antonio based Gambrinus Group, who were the regional importers of Corona and Grupo Modelo, launched a Cinco de Mayo themed ad encouraging Mexican Americans already celebrating the holiday to make it a priority on this day to drink Mexican beer. The campaign took off.

As the holiday has grown in popularity, its connection to the original meaning has continued to weaken, while its excuse to party has drastically increased. Much of this has to do not only with the adept marketing of companies like Corona – who spend $1 on Cinco de Mayo promotions for every case of beer sold – but also the time of year in which the holiday falls. Early May signifies the true start of spring in most of America, just as the weather is turning balmy and with Memorial Day almost four weeks away, many Americans are looking for any excuse they can get to be outside celebrating in the sunshine.

Taken from: Vinepair.com

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