Festive Fruit Snacks

We all love fruit and veggie trays as quick and healthy options during the holidays, so here’s a fun way to turn an otherwise boring presentation into an eye-catching arrangement.  Cut a large marshmallow into sixths, and thread a marshmallow bit followed by a raspberry and a green grape onto a small skewer so that the raspberry forms a Santa cap with a marshmallow “pom pom”; the grape is Santa’s face.  Or, thread a golden raisin onto a skewer for a “star” followed by alternating red and green grapes for a festive “tree.” Serve with a snowy vanilla yogurt dip for a treat that even the most grinchy of guests will enjoy.

Merry Elf and Festive Christmas Tree Fruit Snacks

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

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No tricks…just health(ier) treats

Looking for a few last minutes treats?  This year’s Halloween round-up includes brand new, allergy-friendly chocolates from Enjoy Life Foods.  For a last minute snack, try a fun twist on “candy” apples from Eating Well.  Sunflower butter and non-dairy chocolate chips keep them safe for classroom parties.  And, if trick-or-treating didn’t burn enough energy, Taste of Home shares just how many jumping jacks will be needed to spend Halloween candy calories.  Happy Halloween!

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Sizing Up Fruits and Veggies

Plates with pictures may help children select and eat more fruits and vegetables, according to new research with preschoolers.  A study of 325 children found a significant increase in vegetable consumption when a MyPlate plastic plate with pictures of foods in appropriately-sized compartments was used compared to traditional plates.  Perhaps this is an easy way to help kids visualize fruit and vegetable serving sizes as they fill their cafeteria plates this coming school year.

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Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Ready to celebrate healthy eating?  This year’s theme, “Go Further With Food,” is a great reminder of food’s important role as fuel for the body.  It’s also an opportunity to provide savvy shoppers with tips to stretch the weekly grocery budget in ways that avoid food waste.

In honor of the occasion, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has posted tip sheets, games and handouts to share on their website.  Several of the top nutrition journals are celebrating, as well, and free, downloadable copies of recent nutrition articles are available online for a limited time.  And, ChooseMyPlate.gov has launched MyPlate, MyState, a teacher-oriented site to help classes, students and families find out which foods and flavors a state is known for and how they fit into a healthy eating plan.  Happy March!

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All in a Name

Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions to eat healthfully can be challenging, and by mid-January, some of those goals already feel impossible.  If vowing to eat more veggies was on your list but has proved to be difficult for your family, try changing names.  Recent research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when vegetables served in a university dining hall were described using indulgent words, such as “rich” or “caramelized,” students and staff were more likely to choose and consume them compared to those  that were labeled simply with the vegetable’s name or with words like “reduced sodium.”  So, the next time vegetables are on the menu, try a new name.  You might be surprised at the results.

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Deck the Halls Healthfully

Celebrate the holiday season with a healthy table.  Fruit takes a starring role with these stunning, wholesome centerpieces.  Read more at Food and Health.

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Back-to-School at the Grocery Store

Though back-to-school shopping usually brings thoughts of new pencils and sneakers to mind, the grocery store is also important to consider!  Not only is it a regular destination for most families, but it provides the fuel that powers busy schedules all school year long.  I loved the quick and easy tips for efficient shopping textbook publisher Human Kinetics shared a few days ago, like keeping a running shopping list and organizing the list based on your store’s layout.  These are great ways ensure the ingredients for healthy meals are always on hand, even as fall schedules are busy.  Read more of their tips for efficient grocery shopping here, and have a happy fall!

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