Posts Tagged ‘ healthy snacks ’

Superfood Snacks for Kids

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

If your kids are constantly snacking, you can feel a little better about their eating habits if you know that what they’re munching on is wholesome and tasty. I recently met with Kate Geagan, RDN, and Earth’s Best spokesperson, to discuss some smart new snacking options for kids.

Snacking has its unhealthy connotations, but if you branch out beyond the processed stuff, you can introduce your child to more mom-approved snacks you’ll both enjoy. “Snacks are comprising a larger portion of our calories than ever before, which means that nutrient-rich snacks are more important than ever before,” Geagan says. The fix? A range of delicious and beneficial superfoods.

Superfoods have been big in the news lately, with their potential for immunity-boosting and age-defying properties. If you’re skeptical about the powers of superfoods, take solace in knowing that the core of the buzzword is based in real science. The nutritional values of foods like beets, quinoa and blueberries are common knowledge, and since you already know they’re good for you, their booming popularity is worth taking advantage of.

When stocking your kitchen with superfoods, the darker and more vibrant the better. Opt for deep green produce like kale, beets and sweet potatoes that are versatile enough to be blended in a smoothie or tossed in a salad. Pump up foods lacking in nutrients like white potatoes with darker, richer superfoods for a more balanced dish.

For on-the-go snacks, kids can pop dark chocolate-covered seeds or fruit for the antioxidants, or even make their own creations. Lay out a do-it-yourself granola assortment with coconut, cranberries and sunflower seeds, or arrange a fruit salad bar with superfood stone fruits like plums and cherries. Many superfoods are also available in portable snack packs for nutrition on the run, like Earth’s Best line of fruit and yogurt smoothies or infant puree pouches.

Most children have grown up with the a few tried-and-true favorite fruits and vegetables in their lunchboxes, but offering a treat from a completely different part of the world can open your little one up to more sophisticated snacking. “Expose your children to a greater variety,” Geagan encourages. With more choices, your child is sure to find something she likes and won’t grow tired of the same snacks day after day.

Geagan also suggests taking your child to the grocery store to choose unusual dried fruits, nuts and grains from the bulk section and explaining the foods’ countries of origin. Teach your child about acai berries from Central and South America or purple sweet potatoes popular in Japan.

The goal is to raise a healthy eater for life, Geagan says. Being more adventurous is just a bonus.

Put these super snacks on your shopping list the next time you go to the grocery store:

-Blueberries

-Acai berries

-Sweet potatoes

-Pumpkin seeds

-Pomegranates

-Chia seeds

-Cherries

-Quinoa

-Kale chips

-Pistachios

Image via Shutterstock 

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Andre Agassi’s Box Budd!es Shake Up The Lunchbox

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Parents caught up with tennis star, humanitarian, father (and now snack-creator) Andre Agassi upon the launch of his new snack line for kids, Box Budd!es. Agassi teamed up with V20 Foods to create snacks from milk boxes to granola bars.We particularly enjoyed the fun new Peachy Apple Fruit Pouch as a twist on traditional applesauce. The chocolate granola bars win the Parents vote since they’re the perfect size for a lunchbox treat, with only 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar each. Not to mention, all of the proceeds from these foods benefit the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. But aside from this endeavor, as dad to Jaden, 11, and Jaz, 9, this pro has plenty to say about healthy eating, kids and sports, and teaching your child kindness.

P: What got you started on the nutritional front for kids?

AA: The impetus was about education and it morphed into educating on two fronts. All the money goes to my Foundation for Education, so we can educate our future, and we also educate parents on how to make better choices for their kids.

P: The snacks are a bit healthier and the proceeds support education, but I have to imagine taste was a factor. Were Jaden and Jaz your taste-testers?

AA: They were two of them, let me put it that way. Their cousins were four more and their friends. As we got closer to the end product it became a fun thing in the house. We would line up all these blind taste tests and cut them into little tiny squares so you could compare them and then they would all do their little notes about them. It was actually a pretty fun process.

P: So are applesauce and chocolate milk some of their favorite foods?

AA: We have the same dilemma every parent has in that you keep your kids living a well-balanced health lifestyle and it starts with educating them on their choices and forcing them to eat something healthy before they eat something that’s not as healthy.

P: What are you tricks of the trade in getting them to choose that healthier option?

AA: Well, it’s a mandate. If you want something that’s unhealthy for a snack, you first have to eat an apple. You want to go to dessert, you have to finish this on your plate. It’s filling them up on the good stuff before they choose the bad stuff. If they ask for snacks, as long as they eat something healthy they can have the snack. We don’t discriminate against the snack as long as they start with the healthy option.

P: I know that you are involved with the Boys and Girls club, an organization that mixes education and athletics. Do Jaden and Jaz play sports to keep active and healthy?

AA: Yeah. My son plays baseball, full stop, and my daughter’s on two hip hop dance competition teams. She is rock hard now and she’s nine. I didn’t even know bodies could do those movements. It’s crazy to watch her do it.We’re there at competitions and games cheering all the time.

P: In your autobiography, Open, you talk a lot about how tennis felt pressurized for you. How do you keep athletics, or dance, or physical activity in general fun for your kids? 

AA: Well, we’re not the kind of parents who expect them to do this for a lifetime. We try to nurture what they gravitate towards and they both found their niche pretty quickly. We just support it. There’s nothing to push them at. They just have to see through their responsibility. It’s really smiple: You’re going to fulfill your responsibility. Jaz is part of two dance competitions. She doesn’t have to do it next year, but this year I say, “You’re going to every practice, you’re going to go to every competition.” Same with Jaden—he can make his choices year to year if that’s what he chooses, but I harp on being responsible.

P: Through your Foundation and all of the wonderful causes that you’ve been a supporter of, giving back is clearly an important value to you. How do you go about instilling that value in your children?

AA: All of those things I did that led me  to education. I got tired of sticking band-aids on issues and I wanted to give the tools for real systemic change. But I will tell you this, and one thing I’ve learned most profoundly as a parent: children will learn from what they see way more than what you tell them. So the fact that I’m in New York right now for two days and I’m not home with them, they want to know where I am and why I’m going. I walk them through what I’m doing, as an example, with Box Budd!es. They all of a sudden realize that I’m not really doing something I want to do—I don’t want to travel, I don’t want to leave them—but I have to because it is the right thing to do. So they see that more than telling them. Next thing you know on the weekend they’re having a lemonade drive for the ASPCA to save pets and animals. It’s remarkable how that correlates.

P: I know that Jaden has a birthday coming up, he’s about to turn 12. Do you have birthday plans?

AA: Both of them actually. Jaz wants to take her entire dance team to the Jabberwockies. So that would be the third year in a row she wants to do that. They’re better athletes than anyone I’ve ever seen on a tennis court. They’re remarkable what they can do. Jaden, his birthday is late October so he’s still sort of morphing back and forth between a very understated barbeque with just a few friends or a big movie night with his entire team.

P: Will you serve Box Budd!es at the birthday party?

I’m gonna push this as much as possible. I hope this brand builds. I hope that when people see that seal, that logo, that this is really going towards our future, that they trust the source, and that 100 percent of all my proceeds are going directly to our future.

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7 Delicious Foods for Your Kid’s Heart

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

You may have read the news yesterday that blueberries and strawberries can lower your risk of heart disease by about a third. I thought the study—a joint effort between Harvard University and East Anglia University in England—was totally cool for two reasons: Researchers started tracking the women when they were young moms—25 to 42—while most other work of this kind has been done in older women, and blueberries and strawberries are my daughter’s two favorite foods. Seriously, Katie said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I like strawberries better than candy.” And knowing how much she loves candy, that’s a bold statement!

Last night, I sent a note to one of the study’s authors, Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., from East Anglia University, asking whether she thought her results applied to kids as well as moms. She responded right away: “This is a very interesting question,” she wrote. “We don’t have data on kids but if you extrapolate from our study, it’s likely that a healthy diet in childhood will also play out to a reduced risk of heart disease later in life.” That’s good enough for me. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, two big-time risk factors for heart disease, are becoming increasingly common in kids. One study published last year found that 24,000 children received treatment for elevated BP in 2006—double that compared to a decade before.

Dr. Cassidy also added that besides the strawberries and blueberries that got all the attention on the news yesterday, eggplant, plums, red cabbage, and other berries (like cranberries and raspberries) are also rich in pigments called anthocyanins that help lower the risk of heart disease and keep blood pressure in check. I’ve found some great recipes for each of them. Dig in!

* Strawberries: Puree berries in the blender for strawberry milk or make this strawberry soup for a Valentine’s treat.

* Blueberries: For baby, consider this blueberry puree while older kids will love these blueberry yogurt pops.

* Eggplant: Watch Disney’s Ratatouille, then make this pasta and eggplant dish.

* Plums: This plum pizza with feta cheese is a great way to work fruit into dinner.

* Red cabbage: Try this recipe for apple and cabbage baby food. For older kids, slip shredded cabbage into sandwiches—they’ll probably like it better than lettuce.

* Cranberries: Both fresh and dried are packed with the healthy pigments. Try these cranberry granola bars and this homemade cranberry sauce (it’s not just for Thanksgiving!)

* Raspberries: Whip up a healthy raspberry sauce to top whole-grain pancakes and waffles.

 

 

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Healthy, New Kids’ Meals at Jamba Juice

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

I’ve always thought of Jamba Juice as a delicious place for smoothies. Still is. But today it started offering a couple of kids’ lunch and snack options, plus three smoothies in smaller portions. My favorite new menu item: the “pizza swirl,” an adorable pinwheel-shaped mini pie with turkey, cheese, and tomato sauce on whole-grain crust. (But your kid will never notice because it doesn’t look at all like it’s made with whole-wheat flour). The pizza contains 300 calories and only 300 milligrams of sodium—which is super-low for fast-food fare. My daughter most wants to try the new Poppin’ Peach Mango Smoothie. It doesn’t have added sugar; it’s made with bananas, peaches, mangos, and passion fruit juice. For more healthy picks when dining out, check out Parents new guide to chain restaurants. 

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Kids Given Healthier Snacks Eat Fewer Calories
Kids given a combination of cheese and vegetables will eat only about a quarter as many calories as those given potato chips, according to a new study. (via Reuters)

Children of Older Parents with Cancer May Be at Risk, Too
Children of parents diagnosed with cancer when they’re old are at increased risk for certain types of cancer, a new study suggests. (via HealthDay News)

Poor Children Have Highest In-Hospital Death Rate
Children from poorer neighborhoods who are hospitalized are more likely to die before discharge than kids from wealthier areas, according to a new study. (via Reuters)

Supportive Role Models, Coping Lead to Better Health in Poor Teens
Low-income teenagers who have supportive role models and engage in adaptive strategies have lower levels of a marker for cardiovascular risk than low-income teens without such resources, according to new research. (via ScienceDaily)

Parents: Don’t Jump Into Sibling Squabbles
Sibling conflict may increase a young person’s risk for depression and anxiety, but parents can help guard children’s mental health by setting up “house rules,” a new study finds. (via University of Missouri)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Mobile Apps Make Reading Fun for Children With Dyslexia, Occupational Therapist Says
Mobile apps and daily visual activities can encourage children with dyslexia to participate in reading exercises, says Lenin Grajo Ed.M., instructor of occupational science and occupational therapy at Saint Louis University. (via ScienceDaily)

Acetaminophen in Infancy Again Tied to Asthma, Study Suggests
Babies given acetaminophen for fevers and aches may have a heightened risk of asthma symptoms in their preschool years, according to a Danish study. (via Fox News)

Dance Intervention Improves Self-Rated Health of Girls With Internalizing Problems
A dance intervention program improved the self-rated health of Swedish girls with internalizing problems, such as stress and psychosomatic symptoms, according to a new study. (via ScienceDaily)

CPS ‘Healthy Snack And Beverage’ Proposal Could Ban Gatorade, Whole Milk, Sugary Drinks
Chicago Public Schools this week could move to ban the sale of a swath of snacks and drinks deemed unhealthy as part of its broader “Healthy CPS” initiative. (via Huffington Post)

Kansas Board Of Education To Discuss Role Of Cursive Writing In School Curricula At Tuesday Meeting
The Kansas State Board of Education will discuss the role of cursive handwriting in school curricula during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Wichita Eagle reports. (via Huffington Post)

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