Monday, April 14, 2014

Earth Day Snacks- Recycled Trail mix, Deliciously "Clean" Dirt Cake, Rice cake world in your hands and much more....

Earth Day was established in the 1970's to promote the health of the Earth and provided educational opportunities to all ages concerning how they can improve and maintain the future of our planet. Typically children plant seeds or maybe a tree, learn about the life cycle of a plant or possibly visit a farm. Some people participate in a litter cleanup project or raise money with a fun run. This year combine your Earth Day festivities with healthy snacks. Here is a list of healthy snack ideas some were found on Pinterest and other healthy sites such as: and

  1. A healthy tree (cucumber slices shaped like hearts hanging from a pretzel tree). There are a million different options we could do with different fruits and vegetables, have fun and make it your own. For the idea photographed above click here for the recipe.

2. The whole world in your hand snack – rice cake topped with low-fat cream cheese, blueberries and sliced grapes.

    4.Deliciously "Clean" Dirt cake – Healthy version 2.0- Use granola as the topping above a layer of low fat chocolate pudding or low fat Greek yogurt. Fill in with gummy worms or Annie's gummy bunnies or yogurt covered raisins to look like rocks, and pretzel sticks to look like twigs. Click here for the recipe.

5. Blue-green popcorn- Use India Tree gel food colors to color the popcorn and agave nectar to sweeten it. For the original recipe click here.

  6. Ocean and Jungle smoothie- Blend together an avocado and soy or almond milk for the green, Then separately blend blueberries and low fat yogurt for the blue. Then swirl together. For the original recipe click here.

7. Kale Chips- Wash and tear into 2 inch pieces a bunch of kale excluding the stems. Toss with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Massage in the oil and salt. Roast at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crispy but not burned. 

8. Desert Dessert- Wash and trim a bunch of broccoli cutting off the tips of the broccoli. Spread a half of a graham cracker square with nut butter and place a broccoli floret on top of the nut butter.

9. Steamed Edemame
So whether you are writing about Earth Day in class or using some elbow grease cleaning a beach or planting a garden take a smart snack break and refuel your body with these healthier snacks.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are you gearing up for traveling this Spring and Summer? Quick tips to keep your travels healthy and active!

We are trying something different with this post and we are merging America's Dietitian with a mom and traveler to give you great tips on how to stay healthy and strong when you travel. Enjoy!

Family Travel and Fun with Fitness
by Kendra Thornton
My family usually sticks to healthy habits. All my kids are active and enjoy sports. At home, I pack healthy snacks for them to enjoy at school, and we regularly share healthy meals together. When we go on vacation, it isn’t as easy to stick to a healthy routine, but I’ve found some tricks that help us stay healthy no matter where our journeys take us.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Never limit the amount of water your family drinks when on vacation. A few extra bathroom breaks aren’t nearly as inconvenient as the discomfort and dangers of dehydration. This is especially true when traveling on hot days or spending time outdoors in the sunlight. My family always takes along personal water bottles. On especially warm days, I often freeze the full bottles before we head out.
2. Eat Right When Eating Out
Eating out is a necessity on vacation. I like to use the same guidelines when on vacation that I use when eating out near home. I research to find restaurants that serve locally produced ingredients. I also try to find places that offer healthy menu options. Places that serve Mediterranean cuisine or offer vegetarian options are great places to eat.
3. Play for Fun and Exercise
Play together as a family. This is important all the time, and on vacation it can help your family get necessary exercise. Have races and competitions to help everyone stay active. My family likes to play together at the hotel pool. We’ll compete to see who can swim underwater the longest or who can swim across the pool the fastest. We even have splashing contests with one another.
4. Use Hotel Amenities
Many hotels offer fitness amenities. I like to learn about these amenities before booking my stay. As a family, we try to always stay at hotels with nice fitness facilities and I researched these facilities for our upcoming trip to Orlando. With so many places to stay, sites like Gogobot can be really helpful. Some of my favorite hotels have yoga classes available to guests. Others have running trails or bike rentals for guests to enjoy. Pick a hotel that has fitness amenities that suit your active lifestyle.
You have to be intentional about keeping your family fit and healthy. When you make a point of keeping to a healthy routine on vacation, everyone will have a better time. I hope you find my special tricks helpful the next time you take a family trip.
Food, Fun and Traveling
by Brandi Thompson RDN, LD
Traveling is a great place to get in your refined foods. Theme parks, beaches and family reunions host a number of unhealthy eating choices. This is also a time of year where you may feel compelled to throw out your healthy eating habits and give in to the easy route of fast food and quick picks.

Here are five tips for circumventing the junk on your family vacay so that you don't go home feeling worse than you did before you left for your summer fun.

Here are 5 things that you can do to make your vacation healthier.

1. Research rocks-

A little pre-planning goes a long way. After you have picked your vacation city do a search for healthy fare in the area. Find out which restaurants have healthier choices. Here are a couple of websites I like to look at: and

2. A little pre-shopping goes a long way-

Let's face it, no matter how hard we try there are very few "clean" options available at theme parks. The best that we did were salads but we ate at the best restaurant the theme park had. It's best to bring your own healthy snacks. When we went to the theme parks we loaded up on dried fruits (mangoes, raisins, cranberries), dried nuts, Kind bars, apples and oranges as well as bottled water.

3. Dine in-

When choosing a place to stay, consider a condo or renting a house. The ability to have a kitchen is by far a life saver when trying to avoid unrefined foods. Double check to see if you have access to a grill. This is a great way to spend time with the family in the great outdoors and an easy way to cook vegetables and lean meats.

4. Hydrate the right way

Don't forget about the importance of hydration. Sometimes being dehydrated gets in the way of eating healthy. Your efforts to take in extra fluids can lead to your intake of easy refined foods that are quick to grab when grabbing a drink. Bring your own water bottle full of water, fresh juice blends or smoothies.

5. Adventure hunt - Seek out local produce or farmers markets in the area where you are vacationing. When we were headed down to the Florida Keys we stopped at an amazing local fruit stand called Robert is Here. Our kids experienced amazing local tropical fruit and we bought enough local produce to last us the 4 days we were in Key Largo. To find local farmers markets in your area of vacationing visit:

Have fun during your travels and remember the tips above to make it a healthy and happy time to remember!
Don't miss out on any great tips!
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Twitter: @ABCDEatRight1

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day- Pranks, Jokes and fun with a healthy twist.

The first day of April has been recognized as the notorious day for jokes and pranks. This year I decided to have a little fun with the kids and try a new dip for an after school snack. Some of the ideas I got I read in Family Fun Magazine then I added a little twist of my own.

For breakfast I told the kids they could have Brownies and pie. They were excited until they lifted up the napkin to find this: Brown "E's" and the Greek letter Pi. Hee Hee.

Then for an after school snack I made them a dip that I modified a little bit to look like raw cookie dough. I never let them eat raw cookie dough so they knew something was up but the joke was on them because not only was the dip delicious it was packed full of fiber and protein. The mystery ingredient was a can of chickpeas!

Here is the recipe that I adapted from April's edition of Family Fun:

In a food processor I blended the following ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup peanut butter (organic, unsweetened)
4 tablespoons raw oats
1 tablespoon almond milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon baking soda or salt

After blending, fold in your favorite cookie fillings (chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, seeds, etc. )
Dip a sliced apple or pretzel sticks. Enjoy!

Keep up with fun tips, recipes and healthy ideas:
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Wrapping up #NationalNutritionMonth2014

Today is the last day of March and hopefully you have picked up a few tips that were beneficial to your families overall health and well being. This years theme "Enjoy the taste of eating right" has many different messages. First, healthy food can taste good and second, eating healthy can be an enjoyable event. Just because you don't like cooked broccoli doesn't mean you won't like it raw dipped in hummus. 

Here are 5 key messages to take away from 
National Nutrition Month: 

1. Eat from the proportions recommended by the My Plate. 

2. Avoid Fast food restaurants as much as possible. Remember fruit is the original fast food. 

3. Learn to cook, share it with your kids and make your kitchen a family friendly place.

4. Make sure to brake for breakfast. Breakfast is a great way to start off the day. Choose protein, whole grains and fresh fruit to start the day in a healthy way. 

5. When you need the most accurate and up to date advice seek out a true nutrition expert, a Registered Dietitian. 

Stay connected throughout the year:
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Twitter: @AbcdEatRight1

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Delicious dairy and perfect protein

Did you know that after the age of 2 years old, children no longer need whole milk dairy products? They still receive the protein, calcium and vitamin D that whole fat milk provides, just with fewer calories and fat, when choosing skim milk and low fat milk. Children should consume 2-3 servings of dairy a day. A serving includes: 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 ½ ounces cheese. 

Protein is one of the most important food groups to include in the diet. Without protein a person will not feel full and miss out on many of the essential amino acids that can only be found in protein containing foods. Protein can be found in beef, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, beans, seeds, soy, dairy, nut and to a lesser degree green leafy vegetables and whole grain products. Roughly a 1/4 of kids meals should consist of a protein containing food. Protein should be chosen from lean meats, low-fat or skim dairy products and should be baked or broiled as much as possible. Frying foods adds unnecessary calories and fats to foods. For healthy and fun ways to include protein in your families diet check out the My Plate Recipes Pinterest board for great recipes!

Even though National Nutrition Month is almost over, dairy and protein 
should be included in a healthy diet throughout the year. 

Keep up with the latest nutrition tips and advice by a Nutrition expert:
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Twitter: @ABCDeatRight1 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shamrock Pancakes! Good greens for breakfast (without any food coloring or chemicals).

This morning I made a recipe that I originally saw posted at I initially thought that the kids would freak out when they saw the "green food" but I spun it a little bit and said that they were "lucky" pancakes!
I made a few modifications from the original recipe and I must say these are probably the best pancakes that I have every made.
Photo courtesy of Kel Thompson
Here is the recipe just in case  you are looking for a fun healthy idea for breakfast or snack for anytime of the year.

5 cups spinach leaves
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. Honey or Maple syrup
3/4 cup almond milk
Blend together above ingredients in a blender or food processor
until frothy and smooth without chucks of spinach.
In another bowl combine:
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix dry ingredients with green mixture and combine. Add more milk if consistency is too thick or more flour if consistency is too thin. Heat griddle and spray with oil. Make silver dollar sized pancakes.
Feeds 2 kids and 3 adults!

Everybody was happy even mom and dad!
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lucky for me these greens are good for me....and Magically Delicious!

St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner. Although traditionally a day set aside for adult indulgence in green colored beer, children have been swept into the "making everything green" day. For children the fun starts with lots of artificially colored green foods such as Jell-O, cakes, cookies, ice cream and cereals. Recently I saw a Pinterest post that had a box of Lucky Charm cereal with a tag wrapped around it that said "Lucky to have you! Love Mom".
Who doesn't remember the happy little Leprechaun  jumping over the rainbow touting about his Lucky Charms Cereal being "Magically delicious". I am pretty sure that the cereal company did not really add any magic into their boxes of sugar, chemical and artificially colored cereals, just a whole lot of junk. Do you know what the ingredients are in Lucky Charms Cereal? Here is a list of the ingredients found in Lucky Charms Cereal.

Whole Grain Oats, Marshmallows (Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Corn Syrup, Dextrose, Gelatin, Calcium Carbonate, Yellows 5&6, Blue 1, Red 40, Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Oat Flour, Corn Syrup, Corn Starch, Salt, Trisodium Phosphate, Color Added, Natural and Artificial Flavor. Vitamin E (Mixed Tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Carbonate, Zinc and Iron (Mineral Nutrients), Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate), a B Vitamin (Niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Mononitrate), Vitamin A (Palmitate), a B Vitamin (Folic Acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3

Needless to say, I got a little upset with the idea of giving out the cereal as part of the festivities.
Why does food always have to be colored, flavored, sugar laden and just flat junk, to make a party fun? Why can't we serve green vegetables and fruits and have just as much fun? Here is a list of snack ideas I came up with and/or found on Pinterest that do reflect a healthier side of St. Patrick's day.

1.Guacamole with green chips, broccoli, celery or sugar snap peas for dipping
2. Green smoothie (combine apple juice, milk, berries, 1 teaspoon honey and an avocado or spinach leaves)
3. Grapes and green apple slices kabobs (vanilla yogurt for dipping)
4. Kale chips (roast kale tossed in olive oil and sea salt until crispy)
5. Veggie Pirate Booty chips
6. Cucumber shaped shamrocks dipped in low-fat ranch
7. Mini-sandwiches cut with clover molds
8. Healthy, low fat potato salad 
9. Ants on a log (celery with nut butter or hummus sprinkled with raisins)
10. Pistachio low fat pudding topped with shelled pistachios.
11. Baggie filled with green grapes with the tag: "Lucky this green stuff is good for me!" To print out the tag click here.

May the luck of the Irish be with you, and not all the junk!
Happy National Nutrition Month!
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