How to Prep a Fruitful School Snack

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – A healthy diet is a necessity for individuals of all ages, but getting enough nutrients is especially important for school-age children. Not only are children learning and developing eating habits that will follow them throughout their adult life, they also need the right kind of fuel to stay focussed during the school day.
At times, children can be tricky. They may not always agree to eat celery sticks and peanut butter as a school-day snack. However, natural sugars, like those in fruit, instead of processed and value-less candy and potato chips, can play a key role in getting children to snack healthily — especially when they may be short on time.
Fruit offers fiber and minerals to improve performance in class, provide energy for sports and curb appetites. Encouraging children to eat fruit as their snack may also help reduce their risk for cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and strokes later on in life.
Get creative during the school year with your afternoon snack preparations. One way to go is to stuff different fruit concoctions in whole wheat tortilla wraps to add a hearty twist to a sweet snack. For example, try this quick and easy Banana and Raisin Wrap recipe from La Tortilla Factory:

4 Tips for Local Farm Market Finds and Buys

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – All over the country, people are hopping on the farm-market bandwagon. Buying local, organic food helps the environment, is healthier for your family and supports area businesses.
Here’s what to look for when you go out shopping:
Eat fresh. You’ll find only in-season fruit and vegetables, rather than those flown in from around the world. That can mean no blackberries in the winter months, and also higher quality of what is available. Expect to taste the difference with produce so fresh sometimes it’s picked the same day.
Discover more. Farm stands are kicking it up a notch in recent years, selling local products including canned salsa, smoked jerky and baked fruit pies. Taking it one step further, the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York hosts a Cheese Trail introducing visitors to area cheese makers like Finger Lakes Dexter Creamery (www.fingerlakesdextercreamery.com). While you’re in the area also look for such items as honey, jams and jellies, and even pancake mix made from locally grown grain.
Ask and learn. Farm stand employees are a wealth of knowledge. Find a vegetable you’ve never eaten? Ask staff how to prepare it, and even what to serve with it.
Among the 940 farms in the Finger Lakes is Elderberry Pond Country Foods (www.elderberrypond.com), an organic farm, store and gourmet restaurant. Because they believe in eating from the land, they teach their customers how to do that, too. If you’re in town for only a few days, a market is the next best thing to a visitor’s bureau. Ask for directions and sightseeing suggestions. You’re likely to learn off-the-beaten-path ideas that will give you a better sense of the community.
Give. Farm markets not only help you plan better meals, and save the environment, but buying things made local means less travel for everyone involved. You can also find gift ideas for loved ones. Some offer local wine to sample and buy. In the Finger Lakes (www.tourcayuga.com), for example, markets often offer wine tastings from one of the more than 100 area wineries.
Also, look for homemade soap, sweaters and crafts made by local artisans. If you are an antique or art collector, markets sometimes carry items, or they’ll know of nearby locations to find something special.
The next time you’re in town or away from home with free time on your hands, consider a farm market for gifts, ideas and fresh, local produce.

Tips to Help Kids Protect Their Teeth from Sugar

Sugar can be difficult to pass up, especially when you’re a kid. Today’s children are regularly subjected to sugary diets and uninformed eating habits. Although parents may not be giving their children foods that are high in sugar intentionally, there are steps that can be taken to help kids avoid the pitfalls of sugar, such as obesity and dental disease.

•    Monitor snacking choices. Provide healthy foods to eat. Ration empty-calorie foods such as sugar-packed sweets. Instead, offer healthy alternative snacks such as fresh vegetables and fruits and low-fat yogurt with no added sugars.

Help Your Kids Choose Tooth-Friendly Foods

You probably know that sweets and soda are bad for your children’s teeth, but have you stopped to think about what foods are good for their teeth?

Some foods support kids’ dental health. Keep these foods in mind the next time you pack your children’s lunches:

•    Look for vegetables high in vitamin A. Veggies like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots are high in vitamin A, which is important in the formation of tooth enamel. Try packing baby carrots in children’s lunchboxes or making homemade, baked sweet potato fries.

Is Your Child’s Packed Lunch Healthy?

Every time you pack your kids’ lunches, you have an opportunity to give them a fun, healthy meal. Are you making the most of it?

Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD, authors of the book No Whine with Dinner, along with the California Raisin Marketing Board, offer the following tips for better lunches:

•    Take a Lunchbox Assessment. Look at your children’s lunches. Healthy lunches should include whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread, pitas or tortillas; high-quality lean protein, such as roasted deli turkey, beans or tofu; low-fat dairy, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and calcium-fortified soy milk; and fruits and vegetables, such as sliced apples, strawberries, California raisins, sliced bell pepper strips, baby carrots or raw green beans.

Help Your Child Make Healthy Eating Choices Through the School Year

The school year marks a hectic time for parents. Children run out the door to catch the bus,  then spend their evenings at after-school programs or practice. As parents rush children between activities and struggle to balance work and family obligations, many might choose the easiest option available – fast food or convenience foods, like chips and cookies.

But there’s no reason that busy families can’t enjoy healthy meals and healthy snacks through the school year. The Weight-control Information Network (WIN), an information service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offers the following tips for providing healthy food no matter how tight your schedule:

Simple Salad Adds Effortless Class to Your Dinner Table

Summer is a busy time for many families. Among impromptu trips to the beach, picnics outside and grilling in the backyard, moms may feel too rushed to produce gourmet meals every night. Luckily, Libby’s fruits and vegetables, with its mission to help families get back to the table, is here to help.

You can put a delicious meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen or spending too much money. Here is a light and simple recipe for a fruit salad with a twist that adds some serious class to your dinner table. With a salad that both kids and adults can enjoy, your dinner table can look as effortlessly graceful as you!

Add Effortless Class to Your Dinner Table

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The best thing about summer is more family time. With impromptu trips to the beach, picnics outside and grilling in the backyard, summer entertaining can be challenging if you’re a busy mom. Luckily, Libby’s fruits and vegetables, with it’s mission of helping families get back to the table, is here to help.

You can put a delicious meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen or spending too much money. Here is a light and simple recipe for a fruit salad with a twist that adds some serious class to your dinner table. With a salad that both kids and adults can enjoy, your dinner table can look as effortlessly graceful as you!

Butter Lettuce and Fruit

Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

Serves Four

2 heads butter lettuce

1 15-ounce can Libby’s Sliced Peaches in Pear Juice Concentrate

1 15-ounce can Libby’s Sliced Pears in Pear Juice Concentrate

1 6-ounce container lowfat lemon yogurt

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup toasted pecan halves

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Remove the large outer leaves from the lettuce. Cut each head in half through the stem end. Dip the halved heads in cold water to rinse them. Shake the lettuce to remove excess water.

Gently cut out the lettuce core. Place the leaves in a large mixing bowl. Drain the peaches and pears, reserving one-fourth cup of their juice, and add the fruit to bowl. Whisk the reserved juice into the yogurt, salt and pepper.

Pour the yogurt mixture over the lettuce and fruit, and toss gently. Mound the lettuce in a large salad bowl or on four salad plates and arrange the fruit on top. Garnish the salad with pecans and chives.

For more recipes and information, visit www.getbacktothetable.com.

Add Effortless Class to Your Dinner Table

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The best thing about summer is more family time. With impromptu trips to the beach, picnics outside and grilling in the backyard, summer entertaining can be challenging if you’re a busy mom. Luckily, Libby’s fruits and vegetables, with it’s mission of helping families get back to the table, is here to help.
You can put a delicious meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen or spending too much money. Here is a light and simple recipe for a fruit salad with a twist that adds some serious class to your dinner table. With a salad that both kids and adults can enjoy, your dinner table can look as effortlessly graceful as you!

Green Smoothies Help Kids Eat Fruits, Veggies

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans simply aren’t eating their fruits and vegetables, and that spells poor health for the next generation.

The government recommends that adults eat a minimum of four fruit and five vegetable servings every day. And yet, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 32.6 percent of adults eat enough fruits and only 27.2 percent consume enough vegetables. And because parents aren’t eating fruits and vegetables, neither are their children.

The really bad news? Fruits and vegetables have proven health benefits. The less you eat, the more likely you are to develop obesity, diabetes and cancer. If American children eat donuts and french fries instead of apples and spinach, they will likely develop health problems. Even now, more children are becoming obese, which sets them up for asthma, sleep apnea and type-2 diabetes.

Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables, but few want to sit down to a plate of raw greens. The solution? Make meals that are delicious and easy — and that just happen to contain fruits and vegetables.

Take green smoothies, which blend fruit and green vegetables like lettuce, kale, parsley, collards, spinach or chard. The smoothies, while bright green in color, taste light and sweet — the fruit completely masks the vegetables’ taste. For best results, make smoothies about 60 percent fruit and 40 percent greens. If a smoothie tastes too bitter, simply add more fruit.

Green smoothies are best when completely smooth, so choose the top blender available to pulverize completely. The Vita-Mix 5200, for example, uses a two-plus peak horsepower motor and stainless steel blades to break down whole foods, including skins, peels and seeds, giving smoothies extra fiber and antioxidants. Vita-Mix provides the following recipe for a delicious, healthy green smoothie:

Green Smoothie

Serves 3-4

1 cup green grapes

1/2 cup pineapple

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup cold water

1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix container in order listed. Secure two-part lid. Select variable, speed No. 1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to No. 10; then to high. Run for one minute or until smooth. In another type of blender, add all ingredients in the order listed, then blend on the highest setting. Serve immediately.

For more information, visit www.vitamix.com.