Today marks the day we celebrate the incredible blessing of our Earth! With so many ways to commemorate this day, I decided to turn to my amazing intern Kelly and ask her how she plans to spend the day:
From Kelly: Many children don’t know where their food comes from. Earth Day (which is today!) is the perfect springboard to teach them the basics of how to grow food. Start small and go to your local grocery store to buy herb plants that can be found in the produce section. I like to add fresh herbs to my meals for more color and flavor; for example, you can add basil leaves to pasta dishes or buy mint for fresh watermelon salad. Carefully cultivated, these plants can live for months and can give you the opportunity to talk about sustainability.
Kelly’s Earth Day Fresh Fruit & Mint Salad
- 1 lb. strawberries, cut in half
- 6 oz. red raspberries, rinsed
- 6 oz. blueberries, rinsed
- 3 pears, rinsed and cut into cubes
- 1 bunch fresh mint, minced
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for 20 minutes and serve cool.
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.
Sometimes you just want dessert. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it! After all of the leftover Easter candy that has been tempting me seems to have finally worked it’s way out of our house (or into our tummies), I have found myself craving chocolate on a regular basis. And sure, dark chocolate is packed full of health benefits, but you still have to demonstrate some level of portion control when it comes to eating it. And let’s face it chocolate + portion control is a concept I struggle with (who doesn’t?).
So I decided instead of feeling slightly guilty about downing an entire bag of dark chocolate chips, I could throw together a few of my favorite ingredients and create a ‘dessert’ that was actually packed full of nutrients. This way I could eat it with every meal if I wanted to (and so could my chocoholic family) and actually feel good about.
So I whipped a few things together, enlisted my favorite taste-testing toddler to help, and out came my newest creation: Dark Chocolate Superfood Pretzel Pops. It’s a dessert, it’s a superfood, it’s a family favorite!
Dark Chocolate Superfood Pretzel Pops Recipe
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips, melted (use at least 70% cacao)
- ¼ cup chia seeds ¼ cup freeze dried raspberries
- ¼ cup freeze dried mandarin oranges
- ¼ cup freeze dried pineapple
- 18 100% whole grain pretzel rods
Melt chocolate and mix in chia seeds. Stir thoroughly. Dip pretzel rods into chocolate and coat evenly. In a small bowl, gently crush freeze dried fruit to create tiny ‘sprinkle-sized’ pieces. Roll chocolate covered pretzels into the fruit then place on parchment paper. Allow chocolate to harden and enjoy! Makes 18 servings
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving)
75 calories Carbs: 12gm Fiber: 2gm Protein: 2gm Fat: 3gm
Is your water boring? Today is National Water Day so we are celebrating it with a few ways to change up your water because hydration is important! Drinking water replenishes the skin and assists in proper body functions in the body. It is especially important for those who work out, sweat or are out in hot weather for long periods of time, to drink water throughout the day due to the increased loss of water from the body. We all grew up knowing that the recommended amount of water an individual should drink each day is 8 cups, however, staying hydrated can depend on the individual and their body. Many people may ask if one can stay hydrated by consuming foods or other beverages then water. And the answer is YES! You can stay hydrated by drinking a variety of beverages such as tea, lemonade or coffee—the only difference between those beverages and water is the nutrition facts! So if you decide to hydrate with water, change it up and add some spices, fruits or herbs to your next glass and hydrate frequently.
Get creative with fun and vibrant combos such as
Orange, Lime and Lemon
Strawberry, Blueberries and Cucumber
Watermelon, Lime and Mint
Cinnamon Sticks and Pears