Healthy Easter Snacks

Today is Good Friday which means Easter is only a few days away!  Here are a few great Easter snacks that are full of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin C!!

Carrot Pizza

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-your children’s favorite wrap or pita

-hummus

-chopped carrots

-broccoli florets

 

  1. Use a pizza wheel or knife to cut the wraps into carrot shapes. Take the excess dough and cut it into three pieces.
  2. Brush the top edge of the wrap carrot with cream, milk, olive oil or egg white.
  3. Press one end of each of the three excess pieces onto the top edge of the carrot creating the green leafy part of the carrot. 
  4. Bake wrap or pita in low heat oven until warm and slightly toasted.
  5. Allow to cool
  6. Divide hummus and put it on each carrot.
  7. Sprinkle finely chopped carrots over the triangle part of the carrot then add broccoli to the top.

Eggciting Buffet

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-12 plastic eggs

-1 egg carton or other egg holder

-bite size snacks such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes, berries, pretzels, small sandwich squares, etc.

 

  1. Fill each egg with a different snack but only a small amount since there will be 12 eggs to open.

 

Bunny Plate

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You can use apples, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, cheese cut in circles, carrots, cucumber, and mini almonds but feel free to get creative with what you have on hand! You can even pre-cut everything and have your kids put together their own bunny!

 

 

 

 

Importance of Vitamin C

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Vitamin C is something we have all heard of and know that it is vital to make sure out little ones consumes adequate amounts but have you ever wondered why?

Vitamin C helps form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues. It also helps to keep your child’s gums stay healthy and strengthens their child’s blood vessels, minimizing bruising from falls and scrapes. In addition, vitamin C helps cuts and wounds heal, while also boosting the immune system to help keep infections away. 

How much Vitamin C is required each day?

Ages 1 to 3 years: 15 mg per day

Ages 4 to 8: 25 mg per day

What are all-natural sources of Vitamin C?

In general, brightly colored fruits and veggies are full of Vitamin C; so incorporating these into your children’s daily diet will insure they receive adequate amounts.  Below are some of the best sources of Vitamin C!

  • 1/4 cup guava: 82.5 mg
  • 1/2 cup orange juice: 50 mg
  • 1/4 cup red bell peppers: 47.5 mg
  • 1/4 cup papaya: 47.5 mg
  • 1/4 cup kiwi: 41 mg
  • 1/2 medium orange: 30 mg

 

Source: Babycenter.com

 

 

Tips and Tricks to Get Your Toddler to Eat Their Veggies!

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Sometimes toddlers need a little time to warm up to new foods. So what is the best way to encourage trying new things and including a diversity of fruits and vegetables?
Most parents give up after 2-3 introductions of a new food, but did you know it takes 10-15 tries with one food for a toddler to fully accept it? Here are some tips and tricks to get your little one to not only eat their veggies but to enjoy them!

Be a good role model.
Remember that your toddler idolizes you. They want to grow up and be just like Mommy and Daddy, so they mimic your actions, as well as your food choices. Make an effort to eat the foods that you are feeding your toddler, and you will both be better off in the long run. Also try to make meal time a fun bonding activity, turn off your screens and eat together at the table in order to establish a good healthy relationship with food.

Get your toddler involved in the food selection and food preparation process.
Toddlers love being mommy’s little helpers and they love trips to the grocery store; they always tend to be attracted to the bright colors of fruits and veggies. Ask your little helper to hold your grocery list while you shop, and occasionally have them help you make decisions: green apples or red? Carrots or celery? Your little one will be more likely to eat the foods that they helped you pick out.

Make meals fun!
Make your child’s meal attractive to them. Cut their foods into fun shapes, arrange them in eye-catching patterns. For example, arrange their veggies to look like a face on their plate, or put their fruit on a fun placemat with colorful toddler friendly silverware.

Juices and smoothies
Juices and smoothies are a great way to get your toddler to reap the health benefits of vegetables while enjoying the taste of fruit. If you have a juicer or blender, combine some fruits and veggies and give them to your toddler in their favorite cup. Juices and smoothies will take on the color of vegetables, but the flavor of fruit. Home made juices and smoothies are the best and can also be a fun activity for you and your toddler to do together.

Most importantly have a great attitude. It is easy to get frustrated when your little one refuses to eat healthy foods, but patience is key, remember it takes 10-15 introductions for them to fully accept a new food!

What are some things that work for you in introducing new fruits and vegetables?

Jump Into Spring With Natural Egg Dying!!

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Spring is finally here and one of the traditional crafts of the spring is egg dying.  Looking for a way to do it yourself using natural dyes?  Here is your step by step guide to getting the rainbow of colors that are sure to entertain your little ones for the day!  Even better is most use fruits and veggies, so you can do the prep while also getting the afternoon snacks ready!

Bluish-Gray


Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water, bring to room temperature, and remove blueberries.

Blue


Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.

Jade Green


Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.

Faint Green-Yellow

Peel the skin from 6 yellow apples. Simmer in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer 4 oz. chopped fennel tops in 1-1/2 cups of water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.

Orange

Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.

Faint Red-Orange

Stir 2 Tbsp. paprika into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar.

Yellow


Simmer 4 oz. chopped carrot tops in 1-1/2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.

Mustard-yellow

 Stir 2 Tbsp. turmeric into 1 cup boiling water; add 2 tsp. white vinegar. 

Various shades: Steep 4 bags of chamomile or green tea in 1 cup boiling water for 5 minutes.

Pale yellow

Chop 4 oz. goldenrod and simmer in 2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.

Faint yellow

Simmer the peels of 6 oranges in 1-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. vinegar.

Brown-Gold

Simmer 2 Tbsp. dill seed in 1 cup water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar.


Brown

Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.

Light pink

Chop 4 oz. amaranth flowers and simmer in 2 cups water; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Simmer the skins from 6 avocados in 1-1/2 cup water for 20 minutes; strain. Add 2 tsp. white vinegar. Mix 1 cup pickled beet juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.

Dark pink

Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
Lavender
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.

 

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Benefits of Iron

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We see so many articles on Iron and as parents are told the importance of including it into our children’s diets, but do you know why it is such an important mineral?

It is a vital nutrient that helps make hemoglobin, which are the components that carry oxygen in the red blood cells.  Without iron, the body cannot make enough red blood cells and our organs and tissues will not function properly.  Iron is also vital for brain function and development as well as helping to increase concentration levels.  With so much information out there, it can become difficult to keep track of how much is required in your children’s diets each day, so here is a guide to help eliminate the confusion!

  • Infants 7-12 months require up to 11 mg of iron daily.
  • Toddlers need 7mg of iron each day.
  • Children 4-8 years old require 10 mg of iron.
  • 2 servings a day of lentils, legumes, cooked spinach, and seeds such as pumpkin or sesame provide an adequate intake of iron for those children who do not favor iron rich proteins from meat.

We want to know….how do you make sure your family is getting enough iron in their meals?

Source: www.kidshealth.org

 

Pureed Veggies

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As a parent, we all want to make sure that we are providing our children with the most nutritious meals possible and what better way to do that than with pureed veggies!  Sometimes, one of the easiest ways to make sure they are getting all of their servings of vegetables is to incorporate purees into traditional dinner time staples such as mac & cheese, pasta sauces, soups, muffin, breads and casseroles.  Here are a few easy puree ideas to incorporate into your next meal!  This is a great way to introduce your little ones to a new vegetable so that they can enjoy the taste first and then gradually expose them to different ways of eating that item.

White Puree (perfect for an Alfredo sauce or mashed potatoes)

2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets 


2 small to medium zucchini peeled and rough chopped 


1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 


1 tablespoon water

Preparation:

  1. Steam cauliflower for about 10 to 12 minutes until very tender.
  2. Pulse the raw peeled zucchini with the lemon juice only.
  3. Drain the cooked cauliflower.
  4. Working in batches if necessary, add it to the pulsed zucchini in the bowl of the food processor with one tablespoon of water.
  5. Puree on high until smooth. Stop occasionally and push contents from the top to the bottom.

**This makes approximately 2 cups of puree and is a great recipe to double and freeze small batches to have on hand for later use.

Yellow or Orange Puree (great for cheese sauces)

Puree 1 cup of orange cooked vegetables such as butternut squash or carrots for every 16 oz. of pasta required in the recipe. 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins With Pureed Zucchini

2 eggs

1 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup honey

¼ cup pureed dates or date paste

2 cups pureed zucchini squash

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts work great), optional

 

Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with non-stick baking spray or use muffin liners.
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed beat together the eggs, vanilla, applesauce and pureed or shredded zucchini.
  • Add all the dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Add nuts and pour the batter into muffin tins, filling each tin about 3/4 full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean. Let cool slightly before removing from muffin tin.  Makes a dozen muffins. Recipe yields about 12-14 muffins

Adapted From: www.sneakychef.com

 

 

Healthy Homemade Alternatives To Your Kids Favorite Snacks

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With busy schedules full of play dates, appointments, and school, sometimes it becomes difficult to prepare healthy snacks for the kids.  Here are a few great recipes for traditional go-to convenience snacks that are all natural and healthy!  They are easy to make and can be stored for those days where you need a fast snack.

Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers (makes 100 1.25” crackers)

1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar

4 tablespoons butter


½ cup whole-wheat flour


¼ cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon onion powder


1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes.
  3. If the dough feels warm or too soft, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. This also makes it easier to transfer shapes once they are rolled out.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8 -inch thick.
  5. Form shapes with a cookie cutter, dipping it in flour from time to time to ensure a clean cut. Gently transfer crackers to an ungreased cookie sheet with a ½ inch between them.   Here is an adorable gold fish cookie cutter that would be perfect!
  6. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are barely browned at the edges.
  7. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

Adapted From: http://www.smittenkitchen.com

Graham Crackers

1 cup all-purpose flour


½ cup whole-wheat flour

1 & 1/3 cups graham flour


1 teaspoon baking soda


½ teaspoon salt


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature


2/3 cup dark brown sugar


3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preparation:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all flour, the baking soda and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and honey, and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended and the dough comes together, about 30 seconds.

3. Transfer the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press into a 7-inch square, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

4. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 3-inch squares. Transfer to the baking sheet, spacing the crackers at least ¾-inch apart, gather any scraps, re-roll, and cut out more cookies.

6.  Sprinkle all with cinnamon.

7.  Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and then rotate the baking sheet. Bake for another 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are dark golden brown and just firm to the touch.

8.  Let cool for a minute on the baking sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely (they will crisp up as they cool). Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Adapted From: www.browneyedbaker.com