School Age

Frankentoast- a scary delicious Halloween treat!

Looking for a yummy, healthy Halloween breakfast or snack for the little ones (and you?) Well we have the perfect thing- Frankentoast!

First of all, Frankentoast’s big star is avocado.

Avocado is so silky and smooth, and so delicious! It can be added to a lot of meals (even smoothies and cake!) since it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it with. I love avocado, egg, and Mexican Quinoa toast for breakfast!

It also has SO many health benefits. It has “good” fat (these are monounsaturated fats) that is associated with cardiovascular health. It also is thought to help with blood sugar control, inflammation, and satiety. Satiety has benefits on weight control because you’re fuller for longer, and may consume less calories later in the day. (But remember- it IS high in fat content, so intake should still be controlled.)

Besides avocado, the other ingredients are whole grain bread, black beans (both good sources of fiber!) and American cheese slices (a great source of calcium to build strong bones.) The fat and fiber content will work to keep you and your kiddo full, while also providing them with a great flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado, sliced
1/4 cup black beans
American cheese
Whole grain toast

Directions:

1. Toast your bread and smear the avocado slices onto the toast.

2.Mash your black beans with a spoon until they look like this! This was really hard for me, but I bet it will be a lot easier for you, since you’ll probably warm the beans up first. ūüėČ

3. Cut your cheese into 1 inch wide circles for the whites of the eyes.

4. Now place some of the black beans onto the top of the toast, long-ways, to create Frankentoast’s “hair.” (It always grosses me out [...]

Autumn Crunch Muffins

As a parent, I feel like you’re always looking for ways to sneak whole, nutritious foods into your little one’s diet. And why wouldn’t you be? The toddler and early school years are such important years in so many areas, and most notably in physical and cognitive development. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your child consumes during these years build the foundation for the rest of their life!

But getting said nutrients into said child, is often times more of a task than we would like- especially if your child isn’t used to it. If your kiddo LOVES veggies, then way to go! If your kid doesn’t- it might not be your fault. We all have natural taste tendencies that we are born into this world with (sugar and fat being two big ones!), and sometimes vegetables just don’t make the cut. Especially when you’re a child and you don’t understand what all of those vegetables can do for you.

So we improvise.

We food sneak. What I mean by this is, we find ways to incorporate more fruits and veggies into the food we serve our kid, without letting them know it’s in there. Some days your kid just isn’t going to eat a carrot- and that might make for a frustrating meal. But if there is one thing I’ve learned about kids, it’s that they dislike something one day and they love it the next (make up your minds, right?!) But in the meantime, what if you found a way to get them to eat a carrot with them being none the wiser?

That’s exactly what you can do with INDULGE in Nutrition’s Autumn Crunch Muffins.

First of all, who doesn’t love a good muffin? Seriously. People [...]

Your Child and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard a lot about omega-3 fatty acids. You know you can find them in fish and other healthy fats, and you know you need them- but you might wonder what exactly being an ‘omega-3’ fatty acid means. Well, without going into all of the science-y details, it has to do with the number and position of certain double bonds that hold the¬†fatty acid together.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient. This means that we have to have them, but our body doesn’t make them so we have to make sure we are getting them in our diet. Some common omega-3’s are DHA ¬†and EPA.

Okay, so now we know what they are, but why are they good for us?

While omega-3’s are pretty well known for their benefits to the heart(like lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and the amount of “bad” cholesterol), they have a lot of other MEGA benefits as well. They can also help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of¬†certain cancers and arthritis. They can help increase bone strength and decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis. They are also crucial for cognitive development in children and infants in the womb, as well as for eye health and helping the body absorb other nutrients. Some studies have even shown that omega-3’s can help slightly improve ADHD symptoms and depression in children.

Recommended Adequate Intakes vary at each stage of childhood:

0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day

A lot of people tend to add [...]

Incredible Hulk Juice (or a Clean Green Smoothie for Mom)

If you are subscribed to our INDULGE in Nutrition monthly newsletter¬†you got to read all about¬†National Nutrition Month(NNM)¬†which has been going on throughout the month of March. The theme for NNM this year is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and that is exactly what we have been trying to give you the resources to do!¬†There have been a lot of green things in this kitchen this month- we hope you are loving it. And more importantly, we hope you are teaching your kids to love it!

Before we move on to Easter fun on this blog, we wanted to share one more green recipe! Green smoothies are quick and very easy to personalize. They are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (all in one drink)! Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in this particular smoothie:

Dark, leafy greens: Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale- These all promote good blood clotting, healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The fiber content improves digestive function (hello roughage)! They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve muscle strength, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, detoxify the body, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. They are also good for women hoping to get pregnant (thanks to the folate content).
Green apples: Can lower your risk of chronic diseases, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. It also is very good for your heart!
Celery stalks: Thanks to it antioxidant content, celery can help us have healthy cells, blood vessels, and organs. It reduces inflammation, can be soothing to our nervous system, regulates pH in the body (no one wants to be acidic), and lowers blood pressure and LDL(“bad” cholesterol. And [...]

Valentine’s Day Snack: Cupid’s Arrows

Valentine’s Day has to be one of the easiest holidays to incorporate theme-appropriate fresh food! It seems like people get more and more creative each year. Food shaped like a heart, a dessert turned pink or red, and¬†aphrodisiacs¬†make it¬†fun to cook for this holiday!

Maybe you’re looking for a fun-but still healthy snack to bring to your child’s class Valentine’s Day party. (Is that this week?!) Or maybe an appetizer or dessert to serve at your own Valentine’s Day get together. Even if you’re just searching for a creative snack to make with your little ones, Valentine’s Day Cupid’s Berrows (arrows, made with berries…see what I did there?) are the perfect way to celebrate the day.

All you need:

wooden skewers
blueberries
strawberries
honeydew melon or cantaloupe .

**(This recipe can also be made using veggies of your choice, like cherry tomatoes with cheese.)

Wash and sort your berries, then cut a wedge out of the top of your strawberries so that it makes a heart shape (like you see in the picture). You can also buy a small heart cookie cutter if you want the really easy way!

Spear the blueberries(about 5 or 6) in a line down the skewer.

Place a strawberry onto the end of each skewer.

Slice your melon into V-shaped pieces for the end (or is it the top?) of the arrow.

Alternate blueberries and melon pieces until you get 2-3 melon pieces onto your arrow.

And there you have it, a simple, fresh, and delicious Valentine’s Day treat for little people and adults alike. ūüôā

XOXO

 

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

 

 

 

Don’t forget your fresh vegetables when you go to the store to do your Christmas dinner grocery shopping! In the midst of all the cans (cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery- it never ends!), bread, and sweet foods we buy to stock up for Christmas Day, a fresh vegetable tray can be a good change of pace. And this is a veggie tray your little chef will love to help out with! (Just make sure to keep an eye on the tooth picks!)
what you’ll need:

– 3-4 heads of broccoli for the base of your tree

– a handful of cherry tomatoes

– squash or bell peppers, diced

– styrofoam cone, or blocks of styrofoam

– 1 long wooden skewer

– toothpicks

1. If using styrofoam blocks, cut them into the shape of a pyramid.

2. Stick a wooden skewer down the middle to hold everything in place.

3. Trim the heads of broccoli and stick a toothpick in the center of individual florets, as shown, and stick them into the Styrofoam. I found it was easiest to start form the bottom.

 

 

4. After the “tree is done” stick toothpicks into the tree where you want your big “ornaments”(tomatoes) to go. 5. The stick the tomatoes onto the toothpick.

6. Do the same with the squash.

7. I thought it would be a nice touch to add a vegetable star on the top of the tree. (Much easier said than done!) I managed to get a decent looking one with a little trimming.

This can be set in the refrigerator until ready for serving and set with some carrots and cheese cubes for a complete appetizer tray!

Merry Christmas,

Indulge In Nutrition!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets

After a fun¬†weekend filled with friends, Halloween parties, Aggie football, and too much candy (oops!), my alarm went off way too soon on Monday morning. I’m sure this is every weekend for you moms! You know the days I’m talking about- the ones where you hit snooze one too many times, leaving you running late.

On days like that, having a grab and go meal or snack for the kids (and yourself) is a life saver! Sunday is my favorite day to prep all of my food for the week, and that normally lasts me until Thursday (my busiest day when I’m not home to cook.) Being able to have a healthy snack ready to grab on Thursday morning as I’m headed out the door keeps me from having to buy fast food, and is great on my tummy, body, and¬†my dad’s bank account. ūüėČ

One of my favorite grab-and-go’s to make are Pan-Grilled Chicken and Squash Nuggets. They are easy, have two main ingredients, and can be personalized based on your taste. These nuggets are another way you can sneak in vegetables to your child’s diet, too! You can use ground chicken or turkey, although the chicken is more visually appealing. You can also use zucchini instead of squash, or any other moist vegetable. Season according to personal preference.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb ground chicken
1 c shredded squash (1 whole squash makes about 1 cup of shredded squash)
olive  oil for pan
spices and herbs of choice (I used garlic salt, italian seasoning, cumin, and chili powder)

Recipe:

1. Shred squash into a medium sized bowl. Heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil.

2. Add ground chicken to squash and mix well.

3. Add seasoning.
4. Using hands [...]

Jack-O-Lantern Citrus and Granola Parfait

Did you know that even if you get the recommended amount of calcium in your diet, you might¬†not be absorbing that calcium? If you’re not absorbing calcium (through your intestines and into the blood), then your body can’t use it. Calcium is most known for strong bones and teeth, but it also helps with muscle contraction and nerve function, blood vessel constriction, and¬†insulin release. It can play a role in preventing certain types of cancers, bone diseases, and high blood pressure. But it can only do all of these things if it is first being absorbed into the blood.

It’s a well-proven, but not so well known fact that Vitamin C (and others) increases absorption of calcium. You can find Vitamin C in foods like oranges, mangoes, berries, pineapple, watermelon, and many more. Try incorporating some of these foods with your calcium containing foods (yogurt, cheese, fortified cereals, almond milk, leafy greens, and salmon) to get the most bang for your calcium buck. ūüėČ

A great recipe to try out this vitamin/mineral pair is this Jack-o-lantern Citrus and Granola Parfait! Start Halloween morning off in a right (and fun) way this year by making this cute halloween themed breakfast before the kids head off to school. This recipe feeds 2 but can easily be multiplied to fit your needs.

 

What you’ll need:

2 Large Navel oranges
1 c Greek Yogurt – use plain, or look for lower sugar options like Yoplait 100
1/2 c granola (I used ‘Honey Gone Nuts’ granola from HEB’s Bulk section, but any will work)
10-12 rasperries
1/4 c mixed nuts and dried fruit
Optional: honey or agave for topping

How to do it:

1. Slice the top part of a large orange off (about 1-1.5″ down)

2. The peel of the [...]

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    Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

This week we wanted to share with our readers an assortment of quick and healthy breakfast recipes from some our favorite blogs on the web. These posts can all be converted into make ahead, grab and go breakfasts, or are quick to throw together in the mornings. They feature a fruit or vegetable, are minimally processed, and have no or low sugar. What more could you ask for?

 

This Creamy, Dreamy Tropical Smoothie recipe from My Recipes is quick to create. The only sugar comes from the yummy pineapple and the healthy greek yogurt! You could easily add spinach or kale to get an extra serving of veggies in your kids to start their day off with.

 

Looking for something a little more savory, but still just as easy? Mary at Barefeet In The Kitchen has created a delicious¬†Bacon, Potato, and Vegetable Breakfast Hash. You¬†could personalize this recipe to include your family’s favorite vegetables. Simply chop your vegetables at the beginning of the week (I do all of this on Sundays),¬†refrigerate¬†them¬†in an airtight container to keep fresh, and just throw it all in a skillet each morning with eggs and seasoning.

If you’re looking for a make ahead muffin, Sugar Free Mom, Brenda, has a great recipe for you!¬†Sugar Free & Dairy Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins¬†are a breeze to make and freeze or store in an airtight container to use throughout the week as breakfast, lunch box additions, or after school snacks. The muffins use vegetables as their star, are made with clean ingredients, and also have a gluten free option!

 

4-Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies¬†from Melissa at My Whole Food Life can be made using any kind of nut butter, and can trick your kiddos into thinking they’re [...]

Sugar and Its Contribution to Childhood Obesity

Indulge In Nutrition has been doing our part in helping spread awareness of childhood obesity during the month of September. Our September newsletter featured background information on Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, fit tips, and recipes. The¬†month’s blog posts have also¬†brought you¬†back to school tips to keep healthy and active, along with a yummy recipe for Carrot & Oat Cookies!

This week, we wanted to educate you on the added sugars you may not even know you (and your little ones!) might be consuming.

“Added sugar,” as you could probably guess, is just what it sounds like – any sugar added during processing or preparation that is¬†not naturally occurring.

The CDC reports that in 2008, boys consumed an average of 16.3% of their calories from added sugars, while girls consumed an average of 15.5% of their calories from added sugars. As kids age, that percentage goes up. These number have declined since 2008, but still remain higher than the recommended intakes by health organizations.

Some of the concerns of consuming so many added sugars is that our kids are replacing more nutrient dense foods with those high-energy added sugars (also called “non-nutritive calories.”) There are also studies that show there is a relationship between increased of consumption of added sugars and obesity. Not to say that¬†sugars cause obesity, but they may contribute to obesity and all of its negative health effects.

You¬†know the common places for added sugars- junk food, desserts, sodas, sweetened drinks, and candy. But what about all of that HIDDEN added sugar? Added sugars (and their non-nutritive calories) are hiding in all kinds of food we don’t even know about. Products like: dried fruits and raisins, ketchup, other sauces, and dressings, “fat-free” products, fruit and vegetable juices, and [...]