Healthy Halloween Treats!

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The weather is cooling off, leaves are starting to change, and pumpkin patches are open for business – Halloween is just around the corner! Whether it is your little one’s first Halloween or you’re a veteran of this night of pumpkins, glitter, and masks, there’s sure to be plenty of treats.

While the occasional Halloween treat never hurt anyone, the standard packaged candy can actually be a bit of a trick, piling on sugar and processed ingredients. If you are looking to throw a Halloween party or play date for your children and their friends, it’s easy to make healthy treats that are just the right amount of sweet and spooky. Kids can also jump in the kitchen to help create these yummy snacks, extending the Halloween fun!

Healthy Halloween Recipe: Spooky Strawberry Banana Ghost Pops

4 ripe bananas
½ cup unsweetened strawberry jam
1 cup unsweetened coconut
16 semisweet chocolate chips
8 dried cranberries
8 popsicle sticks

1. Peel your bananas and cut each in half

2. Cut a slit in the bottom of each banana piece and insert a popsicle stick

3. Wrap the bananas in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about an hour, or until firm

4. As bananas are freezing, heat your jam on medium heat until it reaches a syrupy consistency

5. Dip the banana in the jam to coat it in a thin layer

6. Roll the banana in coconut or sprinkle it on by hand

7. Decorate your banana ghost with chocolate chips for eyes and a dried cranberry mouth

8. Repeat for all eight banana pieces

9. Place your bananas back in the freezer for fifteen or twenty minutes to firm back up – then your healthy ghosts are ready to go!

For some more fun recipes like “Snack-o-lanterns” and pretzel bones, check out this list from Spoonful (http://spoonful.com/halloween/best-halloween-recipes-gallery)

Written by: Amanda Dunham

Sources:
Ghost Banana Pop recipe – Tom’s of Maine blog (http://blog.tomsofmaine.com/index.php/healthy-halloween-treats-spooky-strawberry-banana-ghost-pops/)

How To Get Your Kids Excited About Eating Healthy

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With the school year getting ready to kick off yet again, it is important to get the kids back into the swing of healthy eating after a summer filled with BBQ’s, play dates, birthday parties, and vacation meals.  Here are a few tips to make getting those fruits and veggies back into the routine less stressful and more enjoyable!

  • Have regular family meals. Knowing dinner is served at approximately the same time every night and that the entire family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Breakfast is another great time for a family meal, especially since kids who eat breakfast tend to do better in school.
  • Cook more meals at home. Eating home cooked meals is healthier for the whole family and sets a great example for kids about the importance of food. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt. Save dining out for special occasions.
  • Get kids involved. Children enjoy helping adults to shop for groceries, selecting what goes in their lunch box, and preparing dinner. It’s also a chance for you to teach them about the nutritional values of different foods, and (for older children) how to read food labels.
  • Make a variety of healthy snacks available instead of empty calorie snacks. Keep plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages (water, milk, pure fruit juice) around and easily accessible so kids become used to reaching for healthy snacks instead of empty calorie snacks like soda, chips, or cookies.
  • Limit portion sizes. Don’t insist your child cleans the plate, and never use food as a reward or bribe.

 

Seaweed for the Soul

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When you hear the word “seaweed”, an image of a day at the beach ruined by slimy plants sticking to your body may come to mind (at least, it does for me). But what most people don’t realize is how nutritious and healthy this weed, also known as Nori, is! Sure, it may not be the most pleasant thing to play with in the ocean, but seaweed should start becoming a regular at your meals – especially for expecting moms! 

Scientists have found out that seaweed has an extreme abundance of minerals ranging from folic acid to magnesium to pantothenic acid; great for preventing anemia, aiding in the fetus’ development and fighting acne. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and has a salty taste to kick those cravings to the curb. Get a feel for seaweed with this delicious recipe below!

Savory Seaweed Chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl combine 1/4 coconut oil, sprinkle of salt & pepper, 1 clove garlic chopped, small handful sesame seeds and whisk. Cut 8 sheets raw Nori into strips and dip in water to soften. Place on lined sheet pan in even rows (don’t be alarmed if the seaweed starts to shrink!) and drizzle oil mixture over chips. Bake 12-15 minutes, flipping once. Allow the chips to cool and enjoy!

Baked chips are just one thing to make with seaweed. Pop the plant into a soup, stir it into a pasta dish, create a seaweed salad, or combine it with your regular vegetables for a new side dish. I hear the sea calling your name, so go out and get weeding!

Written by: Leana Varvella

Fresh Frozen Yogurt Fruit Snacks

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With the temperatures starting to soar and the little ones playing outside for most of the day, what better way to call them in for snack time than with fresh frozen yogurt fruit snacks?!?  You can mix and match different fruits to provide a variety while also helping to introduce new fruits into their diets.

Choose Three to Four Fruits

Pineapple
Watermelon
Mandarin oranges
Strawberries
Blueberries
Raspberries
Blackberries
Honeydew melon
Cantaloupe
Guava
Papaya
Bananas
Apples

Choose One Flavor of Yogurt

Plain
Vanilla
Cherry
Lemon
Strawberry
Blueberry
Raspberry
Strawberry Banana

Cut your chosen fruit in to bite sized pieces, place it in to a bowl, and add 6 ounces of yogurt (approximately one small container) for every 4 cups of fruit. Mix the fruit and yogurt together until the fruit is covered. Pour the mixture in to small freezer safe containers and place them in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Make Creamy Popsicles

Mix the fruit and yogurt as directed above, but pour it in to popsicle molds or paper Dixie cups. Place the molds or cups in to the freezer and allow them to harden slightly (for about thirty minutes). Position a popsicle stick in the center of the slush and refreeze for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

Source: 

Yahoo

All-Natural Fruit Popsicles For Toddlers

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With the temperatures getting warmer by the day, popsicles make a great afternoon snacks for your little ones after a fun-filled day in the park or pool!  Here is a great recipe using fresh fruits and coconut milk that your little ones are sure to love!!

3 small mangos
1 cup of pineapple
1 banana
1 cup of coconut milk
juice and pulp from 1 lime
2 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
honey (optional)

Preparation:

Juice lime and add both the juice and pulp to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add the shredded coconut and pulse just long enough to mix it in. Taste your mixture and add a small amount of honey if desired. Pour into moulds and freeze for several hours.

Healthy Homemade Popsicles!

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Now that the warm weather is FINALLY here, you and your toddler must be craving some light refreshing springy snacks. Popsicle are a spring and summer favorite, they’re a great way to quench your thirst and keep cool, but the store bought variety are loaded with all sorts of chemicals and sugar. But don’t fret, popsicles are fun and easy to make at home, and your kids will love to help you make them!

These delicious frozen treats have endless flavor options. Here is a general recipe that you can follow with any combination of fruit, berry, or vegetables. To make 8 ice pops, take about 3 cups of your favorite fruit(s), and a tablespoon of lemon juice. You can also add sugar, syrup, honey, or any sweetener if you prefer your popsicles sweeter. Next take your fruits, lemon juice, and sweetener and use a blender on high speed to mix them until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into ice pop molds, insert the sticks or handles, and place them in the freezer until they are firm, do this overnight as it takes several hours for the mixture to really freeze. If you don’t want to purchase ice pop molds you can use small plastic cups and popsicle sticks, just spray them with a little non stick cooking spray or wipe the insides with any type of oil, so the ice pop can slide out easily. If want to avoid the oil all together, you can make wash your cups or molds with hot water prior to pouring the mixture in, in our experience however, the nonstick cooking spray or oil tend to work better.

This is a great, healthy, and versatile snack that your entire family will love! What are your favorite ice pop flavors? 

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rolls Ups!

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Admit it, growing up fruit roll ups were one of your favorite childhood snacks. However, store bought fruit roll ups are loaded with sugar and chemicals and probably don’t have a single actual fruit in them. Here is a healthy homemade and all natural alternative to these sugary treats that your little one will go crazy for!

Homemade Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups

Ingredients 

1-pound strawberries, stems and leaves cut off

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (about half a lemon)

¾ cup granulated sugar (Optional) This is just to sweeten your fruit,  if you think it is naturally sweet enough, you don’t have to add anything.  I always add a little somethin’ somethin’ to mine.  You can use granulated sugar, honey, or even splenda or agave syrup. 

Instructions

  1. Cut the strawberries in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Mash them roughly with a potato masher in a large bowl to yield about 2 cups of mashed berries.
  2. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to break down the berries. Stir once or twice while they sit to dissolve sugar.
  3. Pour the strawberries and their natural syrup into a blender and blend until a smooth puree forms, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the puree into a high-sided pan (the wider the better to help the liquid evenly evaporate) and bring to a low boil over medium heat.
  5. Cook the strawberries for 20-25 minutes, stirring often. The liquid will foam and then become clear as the bubbles slow and the puree thickens. When it done cooking the puree will be consistent, thick, and almost opaque.
  6. While boiling preheat the oven to 175˚F
  7. Lines 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and divide the cooked strawberries between the baking sheets. Use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly into as think and wide a rectangle as possible.
  8. Heat in oven for 5 to 6 hours, or until the fruit feels slightly tacky but no longer sticky. The timing depends on your oven’s strength as well as the humidity level, the more humid the longer it will take to cook.
  9. Transfer the parchment paper on to wire racks, or just the kitchen counter, and cool completely.
  10. Use clean kitchen scissors to cut the fruit roll ups into square or strips. Store them at room temperature in airtight containers for up to a week. 
  11. Enjoy these healthy treats with your family!

 

This recipe is for strawberry fruit roll ups, but feel free to substitute the strawberries for your favorite fruit or berry, or for an even easier recipe just use apple sauce and start at step 7!

Source: http://www.ourbestbites.com/2011/09/how-to-make-homemade-fruit-roll-ups/