Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sweet Valentines treats without all the artificial colors and sugars!

Here we are again...another fun classroom party that may be filled with artificial dyes, flavors, processed foods and did I mention SUGAR! Everybody loves the brightly colored red, pink and white for Valentines Day but why not choose some of these easy classroom party snack additions filled with healthy ingredients and subtracting out the unhealthy ingredients. Here are 10 ideas to make your Valentines Healthy and still "Heart-y"

1. Small sandwiches cut into hearts. Fill them with cheese, cream cheese or nut butter and jelly.

2. Strawberry low fat milk (Buy organic milk boxes like Stoney Farms where there is not a lot of additional sugars added), or make your own. Paper straws add a great decoration to the already pink milk.

3. Dark or white chocolate dipped fruit (or vegetables). My daughter can't wait to help me make chocolate covered carrots this year. She thought that was a blast last year when we were experimenting with dipping fruits and vegetables. Dip just the very tips of the produce trying not to necessarily engulf the entire bite, leaving more fruit than chocolate.

4. Tomato salsa with baked chips or raw vegetables like cauliflower and red peppers for dipping.

5. Valentine Confetti Popcorn- Popcorn, dried strawberries, raisins and mini chocolate chips. What is a party without confetti? This confetti will fill the bellies with fiber and antioxidants.

6. Happy Trails Trail Mix are made by mixing together yogurt covered raisins or pretzels, dried cranberries, strawberries or tomatoes and mini-chocolate chips.

7. Layer strawberries and red grapes on a stick up cut out melons into heart shapes to make a festive Fruit kebab.  

8. Whole fruit wrapped in a cute Valentines Day fruit mask! Hooray for the Naturally sweet Valentines Day card! To print out your own fruit mask click here. And Don't forget to post a picture of your wrapped fruits on our Facebook page

9. Consider X-ing out red velvet cake and cupcakes and substituting homemade Strawberry muffins for a healthier treat.

10. Cutie oranges. I can't get enough of these easy to peel handful of healthy treats.

Last year I sent these in with my son's valentines day cards. Not my original idea, I found it on Pinterest but LOVE it!!

Have a great Valentines Day and feed your loved ones with healthy treats that they will love! xoxo

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Friday, December 4, 2015

Classroom party ideas solved! Check out these 10 ideas for a healthy classroom party.

I like a good theme when it comes to a classroom party. Last year we did a Frozen theme and this year we are going with a reindeer theme. I love themes but I also want to make sure that its not a sugar fest and that the kids, even though it might be minor, will learn a little bit about partying with healthy foods. 

Here are 10 healthy snack ideas that I came up with, some with a little influence from Pinterest, whose projects always seem to come out more perfect than mine but I still have fun being creative. 

1. Orange snowman ( We live in Florida and I can guarantee that the majority of kids have never built there own snowman but now they can with the states favorite fruit...the orange! )
2. Don't forget about the penguin fruit masks. Wrap up whole pears (my seasonal favorite) apples and oranges. To download the free link click here
3. Bananas with a message. The possibilities are endless when it comes to message writing on a banana. 

4. Frozen "cocoa" or really just frozen low fat chocolate milk.
5. Cheese sticks (the original ones that I saw had snowmen drawn on them and they were wrapped with a little scarf). Mine were not photo worthy, but you get the point. 
6. Popcorn "snow" . Draw a snowman face on a clear cup and presto you have a snowman. 

7. Frozen lemonade pops (Olaf loves summer right?)

8. "Do you want to build a snowman?" Trail mix. Give each child a bag of marshmallows, pretzel sticks, nuts, fruit rope cut in 3 pieces, chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds. Let them build there own and then munch on a healthy snack. 

9. For the reindeer theme I love the idea of a reindeer food bar which is an easy way to make a trail mix. Trail mix ideas include: cheerios, pretzels, mini chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins, nuts and seeds. 

10. I also like the idea of making water bottles look like Rudolph. These pictures are from Pinterest so I will let you know how our festivities turn out. 

Have a great holiday! May it be Healthy and Bright! 

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Healthy gifts to gift for the holidays (Top 7 choices for families and kids)

Every year I come up with a list of healthy gifting ideas. Some years I recycle ideas from years past but this year I found some interesting contributors. I may not be Oprah,  but here is Americas Dietitians list of favorite things for the Holidays!

1. I like a gift that keeps on giving 
throughout the year. Recently I ran into a company called MightNest. They have a monthly shipment full of healthy solutions that every household needs. For only $10 a month your recipient receives simple yet useful items for the home. Check it out at Mightfix

2. Start your sous chef early by getting them a kitchen kit to help them cut fruits and vegetables safely in the kitchen. Curious Chef fruit and veggie prep kit is safe, colorful and fun. 

3. Give the gift of physical activity by buying: Jump ropes, balls, indoor mini trampolines, bike, skateboards, scooters, skates or a hula hoop. 

4. Gardening tools- From making their own Terrarium to kid sized gardening tools, gloves and aprons helps to promote a love of getting dirty and growing real food. 

5. So Easy Pop Maker is a fun way to eat smoothies, low-fat chocolate milk, lemonade and any other variety of frozen treat. Making a quick blend of vegetables and fruits and freezing them in an easy to use, and clean, pop maker makes for a quick and healthy after school snack. 

6. ChopChop Magazine is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year. A parents choice award winning magazine will provide recipes and great ideas to keep those creative culinary skills cooking throughout the year. 

7. Help them dress the part by buying new running shoes. Shoes that fit comfortably are more likely to promote more physical activity and with all the fun colors and styles you can't go wrong. 

This past summer we did a major purging of "stuff" from our lives and as we approach the holidays I am standing by my promise to myself to think about each and every gift that the kids get. I don't want to contribute to the waste in the world and I want to make sure that the kids understand that healthy gifts can be fun! 

Share the love and share the health! Have a great Holiday! 

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Must have Halloween Classroom Party Snacks!

From the very first day that I brought our son home I have worried about the nutritional health of our children. When they were infants I worried if breast milk was enough, when they were toddlers I worried about fortified finger foods and when they started school I stressed about simple snack time offerings. Schools made it a rule that homemade goodies were not allowed and parents, like myself, were left to choose only what the grocery stores have to offer which are refined, quick and for the most part sugar laden and unhealthy choices. I decided to make a list of unrefined snack ideas that can spruce up the Holiday party. I started with Halloween and came up with a list of seven unrefined, healthy Halloween classroom party ideas.

These seven tantalizing treats can be made by the children in a classroom setting with minimal mess or prep time. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and calcium that are sure to keep the festivities going in a healthy and unrefined way.

Apple Costumes
Is that a bat in the classroom? No it’s an apple with a funny mask! This Vitamin C and fiber packed treat will keep those choppers chewing. Printout the free printable and wrap those washed red or green apples. These masks will make the whole fruit mysterious and appealing! To print out the apple masks click here to takeyou to the down loadable sheets.

Banana Ghost Pops
Where does a ghost go to take a swim? Well vanilla yogurt of course! Take half of a peeled banana and place the cut end on a Popsicle stick. Press the pointy side of two small chocolate chips into the banana to make the eyes. Frozen bananas with chocolate chips make this treat especially chilling. Using the Popsicle stick dip the banana ghost into a serving of low-fat vanilla yogurt. These potassium rich ghosts swimming in a sea of calcium and protein make a super hero snack. Click here to see them on our Pinterest page! 

Swamp Water and Bugs on a Raft
Nothing says swampy like green or brown juice! Mix 100% grape juice with 100% orange juice or purchase Green Machine juice by Naked brand for an authentic swampy effect. Maneuver the swamp on a rickety raft made of apple slices with a layer of nut butter and topped with raisins and/or chocolate chips. Serve raft and water separately.

Sangre Salsa Dip
Little vampires can’t resist the temptation to dip precut carrots, celery, baked blue corn chips or pretzel sticks into Vitamin C rich tomato salsa.

Mummy Unwrapped
Some mummies just don’t have it together. Take string cheese and peel the strands off and layer them in a whole wheat tortilla. Garnish with a tablespoon of hummus and matchstick carrots. Roll together all of the ingredients in the tortilla and enjoy this protein rich and whole grain ancient inspired spooky snack.  

Witch Mix
Bring out the cauldron to mix together these fall favorites including Pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips, dried edamame or dried peas, nuts, raisins, dried cranberries or apricots. This good witch mix will serve up vitamins, minerals and protein in a healthy blend.

Clementine Pumpkins
Small oranges, like Clementine’s or Cuties, can be eaten with ease by little hands. Peel the pumpkins and stick a 2 inch celery stick down the center of the pumpkin.

When it comes down to it, children like to play with their food, maybe even more than they like the bright colored, sugar filled character dressed candies, cakes and cookies. This year say goodbye to the wicked witch that brings in the artificial colors, chemicals and supped up sugar foods and say hello to the nutrition fairy that wants only healthy alternatives to ease the crazy holiday season.

R.I.P unhealthy classroom snacks.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 Days of Healthy sports, Halloween, classroom and home snacks!

October is one of my favorite months of the year. So many fun fall events to look forward to, a slight change in the weather (we live in South Florida) and mid season football. The only thing I don't look forward to is the large amount of candy, colored festive foods and sugar...sugar...sugar! 
Therefore, I wanted to come up with a daily fun snack idea to share with you to reach a healthy snack time wherever you are throughout the month. 

For the next 31 days make sure and check out our Facebook page: ABCD Eat Right to "like the snack", post your own snack ideas and share the snacks.   

Here are a few pics of ideas that will be posted 
throughout the month! 

Keep up with us on Facebook so you don't miss a 
spooky healthy post! 

And don't forget to printout your Halloween Bat Masks to wrap all of your whole fruit in! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Are you NUTS about tailgating?

Photo courtesy of Americas Production Company, Inc.
Tailgating festivities are all about grilling and grabbing easy bite sized foods and the best way to not feel bogged down after the game is to incorporate healthier snacks and foods.

I am always looking for that easy, healthy and delicious snack especially during the big game. Having young children makes it also necessary to have a variety of healthy as well as child friendly foods.

Here is a quick list of healthy snacks that you can make to cheer on the team: 

Guacamole. Full of healthy fats, a good source of fiber and over 20 vitamins and minerals, avocados make a healthy choice for tailgating events. Remember to eat in moderation and serve with an assortment of raw vegetables along with whole grain chips. 
Overtime with veggies! Lay out your tray of cauliflower and broccoli to resemble a football field. Dip the pieces of veggies in low fat Greek Yogurt dip or guacamole.

Trail mix. A great way to incorporate nuts, seeds and dried fruits for a sweet and savory nutrient rich snack. 
Edamame. Sprinkled with a small amount of sea salt, these pod filled protein and fiber rich snacks make a healthier choice over potato chips. 
Apples and nut butter are a crunchy alternative to cookies or other sweet options. Apples and nut butters are rich in fiber and nutrients.
Make them stackable! You can make salad, fruit and sweet kebabs that all have a healthy twist.

No matter who you are rooting for whether its peewee football to the NFL, tackle some of these healthy snacks at your next gathering. If you needs a few more healthy snack ideas make sure and visit .

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Unhealthy school lunches...It doesn't have to be this way!

We have all been there and even as a Registered dietitian I struggle with making a healthy lunch everyday for our two kids. Tufts University recently did a study on what parents send in lunchboxes and why they sent what they sent. It was interesting given all the scrutiny that school lunch has been under in the past years. Here is what I have summarized as the top 3 excuses that parents have used to pack an unhealthy lunch box: 
1. My child is a picky eater
2. I don't have time to make a healthy lunch. 
3. I don't know what to pack. 

So what does the study suggest
NOT do to make it a better lunch? 

1. Justify Junk food by telling yourself that they have to eat something and you do not want them to starve or get dehydrated.

2. Don't stock up on "grab and go's". This makes it too easy to load up the refined foods and is an easy way to forget the healthy stuff. 

3. Convince yourself that they will not eat it. If you buy it...they will (eventually) eat it. 

Consider coming together with the teachers, lunch staff and other parents to encourage them to provide healthier fare. It's called Herd immunity. If everyone pitches in a little bit, eventually the kids won't see the junk food and desire it more. 

For tips on how to bring a healthier atmosphere to the classroom and lunchroom Click here for a lunch box basics printable to share with your classroom and post in your kitchen. 

P.S. Here is a quick pic to show you what I pack for our 9 year old son. I make sure he has a fruit and/or vegetable, something from the low-fat dairy group, whole wheat bread and whole grain crackers and a protein source (In this picture the protein comes from the milk and cheese). 

Have a great school year and keep up with us on 
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