healthy-snacks-for-kids

10 Summertime Healthy Snack Recipes for Kids

By-pass the junk food isle this summer & serve your family healthy snacks. Check out my top 10 favorite healthy snack recipes – perfect summertime & kid-friendly!

  1. Homemade fruit pops
    Buy a popsicle mold, sold at most stores. Chose any fresh or frozen fruit, single fruit or a combination. Blend the fruit in a blender, with a little bit of water, so it is a smooth puree. Pour into molds and serve to all the neighborhood kids. Unlike those sold in stores, there’s no added sugars – plus they’re super easy to make!
  2. Peanut Butter yogurt dip
    Combine 2-3 TB natural (2 ingredients or less) Peanut Butter with 1/3 cup Plain Yogurt or Plain Greek Yogurt. Whip by hand until it is light and fluffy and the taste is consistent. Serve to kids with apples, celery, or strawberries.
  3. Homemade applesauce
    Cut up apples, don’t peel them and steam or boil them for 8-10 minutes. Throw into a blender and feel free to add a little cinnamon. Blend until it looks like applesauce. Chill. Serve it to kids in fancy little cups or containers, such as small ice cream cups. Having a fun presentation of food to kids, increases the possibility that they will try it.
  4. Fruit skewers
    Use small sizes skewers and cut up various fruits to put on them. A great item to serve at a summertime party.
  5. Dried fruit
    If buying from the store, just make sure there is no sugar listed in the ingredients.
  6. Nuts
    Keep a small basket with 15-20 nuts, in a small baggie, that kids can quickly grab as a snack. Put fun stickers (bought at the dollar store) to make the presentation even more fun.
  7. Fruit
    Studies show that keeping fruit out in a very noticeable spot in the kitchen makes kids way more likely to eat it.
  8. Energy bars or bites: (there are many various recipes for these online)
    Combine 9 dates and ½ cup cashews in a food processor and blend. Then form into balls or bites or bars.
    Other variations use: whole grains, other nuts/seeds, wheat germ, flax seeds, and others. You can even add raising or cranberries, as long as there is no added sugar in any of the ingredients.
  9. Frozen fruit and yogurt:
    Use plain Greek or normal yogurt. You can mix some pumpkins spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg into the yogurt first. Either dip individual grapes into yogurt and freeze. Or add yogurt into the inside of raspberries and freeze.
  10. Homemade parfaits: (my son’s favorite!)
    Use plain yogurt. Make it fun by serving it in a cute cup or bowl.
    Top with any berries you have and either homemade or low sugar store bought (we like Bare Naked brand) granola, and nuts if possible. Great for adults too and a lot less sugar than buying these at the store.
sugar-causes-weight-gain

Excess Sugar and Weight Gain in America

The consequences of excess sugar on your health

Picture this. Your favorite TV show is on. You’ve got a sweet tooth. You reach into the cupboard, grab the bag of sugar and a teaspoon, venture back to the couch, and dig in. After 22 excessively sweet teaspoons, you stop. Sound yummy? Probably makes your stomach hurt thinking about it.

Did you know that the average American consumes 22 tsps (88g) per day? That translates to an extra 350 calories per day! Tons of simple sugars are added into our foods and drinks to help with taste or texture of the food. You’re probably consuming more sugar than you thought possible and the health consequences are dangerous. Can you even imagine sitting down and eating 22 teaspoons of sugar?

Understanding Sugars

Sugar is a carbohydrate. There are good or naturally found sugars in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and whole grains – typically called complex carbohydrates. These are not dangerous to our health when consumed in a balanced diet. The bad sugars added to foods are simple carbohydrates, which are detrimental to our health.

How to spot the added sugars? Easy – check the ingredients. Words that end in “ose” are sugar. Sweeteners that contain simple sugar include, high fructose corn syrup, corn sweeteners, honey, molasses, and fruit juice concentrate.

Weight Loss Tip:
Try to avoid foods with added sugar – especially if sugar is one of the top 3 ingredients.


Daily Sugar Intake

The less added sugar we eat, the better. In the perfect world – you shouldn’t eat any added sugar.

The maximum daily amounts of added sugar you should consume

Gender Teaspoons Grams
Men 9 tsp 36 g
Women 6 tsp 24g
Children 3-4 tsp 12-16g

1 teaspoon equals 4.2 grams of sugar.

Stay away from sugary drinks and cereals. They’re the most common sources of excess sugar. In fact sugary beverages are quickly becoming the #1 cause for weight gain in America.

 


The Dangers of Overconsumption 

There are no health benefits to the extra sugar. Added sugar is empty calories, with absolutely no nutrition.  Eating or drinking added sugar increases hunger and causes carb/sugar addiction. Studies have link excess sugar intake to the following health risks:

Health Risks in Adults Health Risks in Children
Obesity Attention problems
Diabetes Insomnia
Heart diseases Increased weight
Kidney disease Tooth decay
Some cancers
Gout
Tooth decay

 

Hidden sugar in the American diet is a major culprit behind weight struggles. To avoid excess sugar in your diet, read the nutritional labels and then keep track of your daily intake with a food journal. You’ll probably be surprised at how much sugar you’ve unknowingly been consuming.

 

Buyer Beware: What You Need to Know About Whole Grain

Buyer Beware: What You Need to Know About Whole Grain

You’re walking down the grocery aisle and you see a box with the words, “Contains Whole Grain!” on it. It must be good for you, right? Not necessarily because not all grains are created equal.

What exactly is a whole grain? Short answer – whole grain is nature-made, while process is manmade. A whole grain contains three parts – bran, germ and endosperm. During the refining process, the endosperm is typically the only portion left resulting in a significant loss in protein and other key nutrients. Food manufacturers then add refined products to the endosperm. In contrast, the whole grain is much healthier for you and is packed with the protein, nutrients and vitamins you need.

Companies will use marketing suggesting a product contains whole grain but you have to actually review the nutritional label to see if this is true. Simply look in the ingredients section to verify a product has whole grains really in it. Search for “whole wheat” or “whole grain” to verify. If the word “whole” is missing, it means the product is processed, less nutritious and not really a whole grain. Stay away from “enriched,” “refined” or “processed” words on food labels.