This post was written by Erin Palinski-Wade
April 17th marks the celebration of Healthy Kids Day, a day focused on improving the fitness and nutrient habits of our children. Proper nutrition throughout childhood and adolescence helps to promote optimal growth and development while fighting against future disease. A well balanced diet can do everything from boost your child’s energy level and mood to even improve academic performance. However, many of our children are falling short of their nutrition goals each and every day.
The average youth in the United States fails to meet the recommendations to consume 2 ½ to 6 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. In addition, they fall short of reaching the recommendation to consume a minimum of 2-3 ounces of whole grains daily. Unfortunately, empty calories from added sugars and fats contribute 40% of daily calories for those from 2-18 years old. The majority of these empty calories come from source such as sweetened beverages, pizza, and desserts. If your child is a bit of a junk food junkie, it may seem like a never-ending struggle to improve their overall nutrition, but it doesn’t have to be so hard. With a few tweaks, your child can still enjoy their favorite foods with a healthy twist to help them meet their daily nutrient goals. To celebrate Healthy Kids Day, we took five kid-friendly classics and gave them a makeover that will leave parents rejoicing while little taste buds stay satisfied.
Stuffed Grilled Cheese
A childhood classic, the traditional grilled cheese sandwich contains a large amount of refined carbohydrates from the white bread and lacks beneficial nutrients such as fiber and antioxidants. To ramp up the health benefits while still providing a sandwich your kids will love, swap the white bread for a Flatout 5 Grain Flax Foldit which provides 7 grams of fiber as well as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Then, mix in your vegetable with the cheese for a nutrient-powered sandwich you can feel good serving!
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ cup frozen kale, chopped and thawed
Bring a skillet over medium heat and grease lightly with cooking spray. Place Flatout 5 Grain Flax Foldit into the pan and top with kale and cheese. Fold over and cook until cheese has melted. Flip the sandwich to ensure the bread is toasted on both sides. Serve warm. Makes 1 serving.
Calories: 250 Carbohydrates: 17gm Fiber: 8gm Sugar: 1gm Protein: 17gm Fat: 14.5gm Saturated Fat: 8gm Trans Fat: 0gm Cholesterol: 39mg Sodium: 597mg
Whole Grain PB&J Pinwheels
A staple in the childhood lunchbox, the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich appeals to tastebuds, but the added sugar in the jelly and peanut butter along with the refined carbohydrates in the bread provide less than ideal nutrition. Instead, put a new spin on the old favorite by creating an incredibly fun, tasty, and nutrition-packed pinwheel.
4 teaspoons natural peanut butter
1 Tbs no sugar added jelly
Using a pizza cutter, slice the flatbread into six long, even strips. Spread the peanut butter evenly over three of the long strips and then spread the jelly over the remaining strips. Place one jelly covered strip on top of a peanut butter covered strip (jelly side facing up). Slowly roll the strips into pinwheels and secure the end with a small smear of peanut butter to prevent the pinwheel from unraveling. Repeat with the remaining strips to create three pinwheels. Serve and enjoy!
Calories: 263 Carbohydrates: 32gm Fiber: 9gm Sugar: 9gm Protein: 16gm Fat: 12gm Saturated Fat: 3gm Trans Fat: 0gm Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 279mg
Family Friendly Chips & Dip
Chips and dips are often a snack time favorite, but depending on your chip choice, they can be high in saturated fat, sodium, and refined flours. So why not make your chips healthier while getting your children in on the action? You can create your own delicious chips as a family that are not only fun to make, but are good for you as well.
Olive oil spray
A pinch of pepper
A pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 300 F. Using a pizza cutter, slice the flatbread into chip-sized pieces. Place chips onto a lined baked sheet (you can line with parchment paper or foil). Spray evenly with olive oil spray. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of fresh salsa. Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 144 Carbohydrates: 18gm Fiber: 10gm Sugar: 0gm Protein: 12gm Fat: 3gm Saturated Fat: 0gm
Trans Fat: 0gm Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 373mg
Who doesn’t love a sweet and creamy cannoli? Sure they taste great, but the traditional version is packed full of added sugars and saturated fat. This delicious alternative substitutes pastry dough for a whole grain Flatbread Foldit and replaced the sugar packed filling with a Greek yogurt and ricotta cheese mixture that tastes just like the real thing. This dessert is so delicious you are sure to want seconds and since it’s so nutritious, that isn’t a bad thing!
½ cup lowfat vanilla Greek yogurt
½ cup part skim ricotta cheese
¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips
1 Tbs sugar
Preheat oven to 300 F. Slice Flatout Foldits in half at the narrowest part to make two even, circular pieces. Roll each piece to create a cannoli shell. Place the rolled pieces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray each shell with cooking spray, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 10 minutes. As shells are baking, mix together ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, and 1/8 cup mini chocolate chips. Place mixture into a pastry bag or a small plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to use.
Melt the remaining chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave. Once shells have finished baking, dip the ends of each shell into the melted chocolate and place back onto parchment paper to allow chocolate to harden. Once chocolate has hardened, pipe the yogurt/cheese mixture into each shell. Chill and enjoy! Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 94 Carbohydrates: 13gm Fiber: 3.5gm Sugar: 5gm Protein: 8gm Fat: 3.5 gm Saturated Fat: 1gm Trans Fat: 0gm Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 206mg
We All Scream for ‘Nutritious’ Ice Cream!
Ice cream sandwiches tend to be staples of childhood, but enjoying these sugar packed desserts too often can be damaging to long term health. Instead, let your child get in on the action by creating this delicious and nutritious alternative that is sure to become a summertime favorite!
2 Tbs + 1 teaspoon mini dark chocolate chips
½ cup low fat vanilla Greek yogurt
Cut the Flatout Foldit as it’s most narrow part to make two even pieces and place onto a sheet of wax paper. Place two tablespoons of the mini dark chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over each Flatout Foldit piece until the surface has been covered. Place the pieces in the refrigerator and allow chocolate to harden. Once the chocolate has hardened, remove from the refrigerator. Spread ½ cup of vanilla Greek yogurt evenly over the top of one chocolate covered piece. Sprinkle the remaining one teaspoon of mini chocolate chips on top of the yogurt. Place the remaining chocolate covered Flatout Foldit on top of the yogurt, with the chocolate side facing up. Place sandwich into freezer and allow yogurt to harden. Once yogurt has frozen, slice the sandwich in half and serve. Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 159 Carbohydrates: 22gm Fiber: 3.5gm Sugar: 12gm Protein: 9gm Fat: 6 gm Saturated Fat: 2.5gm Trans Fat: 0gm Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 197mg
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Flatout Flatbread.