Now that the dark rainy season is in full effect and playing outside may be less of an option, we wanted to bring you a few ideas for mixing fun and food with these indoor family activities. Round up the kids, a few ingredients, and get playing!
Cinnamon Sugar Snowflakes
Make these crunchy sweet snacks on a cold day with kids aged 3 and up .
- Flour tortillas (regular or gluten-free)
- Cinnamon sugar
- Melted butter or cooking spray
- Clean kid’s scissors
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Microwave the tortillas for a few seconds so they don’t break when you fold them. Fold in half, and fold in half again. Cut out shapes as you would a paper snowflake. Unfold.
- Spray with cooking spray or brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and bake for 5-10 minutes until golden, watching carefully so they don’t burn.
- Remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!
Rainbow Fruit Skewers
- Wooden Skewers
- Washed and cut colorful fruit: strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes (green and purple), blueberries
- Skewer one piece of fruit at a time onto a wooden skewer in your favorite color pattern.
This is a healthy and fun way to get kids of almost any age to eat their veggies! You can keep some dipping sauces at the table to encourage dunking and snacking along the way.
- Small tortillas (flour or corn)
- A variety of vegetables (carrot julienned and rounds, cucumber spears and rounds, bell pepper slices, cherry tomato halves, etc)
- A variety of cheese slices (shredded, triangles, and rounds work great) or cream cheese
- Place a tortilla on each plate for a head, and lay out the sliced veggies and cheese for creating facial features.
- Place the veggies on the tortilla in creative ways, making silly faces and munching along the way.
Making butter at home is a fun way to teach kids about where food comes from and how it’s made. It will keep a couple of days in the fridge, but it probably won’t last that long because it’s so delicious!
- Heavy whipping cream
- A jar with a tight fitting lid
- Pinch of salt
- Bread (or something to eat the butter with)
- Pour the heavy whipping cream into the jar, making sure it’s about half full. Add a pinch of salt
- Close the lid tightly and take turns shaking the jar. After about 5-10 minutes of shaking it will turn to whipped cream, and the noise of the liquid sloshing around will stop. Keep shaking! A chunk of butter will separate from the liquid soon after.
- Pour the buttermilk off (you can save it for baking), get the butter out of the jar and rinse under cold water to remove the rest of the buttermilk. Enjoy!
Tis’ the season for friends, family, traditions and…. yummy food! Kids are introduced to a myriad of traditions during the holiday which typically engender warm and fond memories. When it comes to mealtimes, they can become a bit challenging. From sweet treats like pumpkin pie to decadent entrees like turkey and stuffing, the holidays are often a time of caloric indulgence and motivating healthful behaviors while not compromising the joys of indulgence can be tricky.
While we can’t ignore the fact that tasty treats seem to appear everywhere during the holidays, we can still be mindful, healthful and enjoy the season and all of its delicious glory! While it is okay to celebrate and enjoy yourself, it is important to make sure that your family practices moderation, especially when it comes to your young children.
Here are some tips to help you and your family stay on track with good eating habits:
- Depending on their age, take your children with you when you shop for the holiday meal and ask for their input. Should our vegetable be carrots, broccoli or cauliflower?
- Bring the kids into the kitchen. This will help allow them to understand and appreciate the work that goes into preparing the meal.
- Plan ahead. If you know that Grandma’s house is going to be filled with sugar-laden desserts and sweets, bring carrot sticks or other healthful snacks. Try giving them to the kids when they’re hungry and before you arrive to Grandma’s.
- Practice what you preach. If you want your kids to eat well, then you have to eat well. Remember that they will follow your lead and that children model their behaviors after ours!
- Eat normally leading up to the big meal. Don’t encourage skipping meals or “saving calories” for the big meal. Incorporate fiber and protein throughout the day. You want kids to not feel crazed with hunger, particularly if they aren’t going to eat much on their rather different-from-usual plate.
- Let kids serve themselves. Adults tend to overestimate the amount of food kids can eat, and young kids are usually good at self-regulating.
- It’s OK if they don’t clean their plate. Even if your kid serves themselves more food than they can eat, don’t make them be part of the “clean plate club” – it’s okay if they don’t finish everything.
- End the day on a healthy note. Take a walk with everyone after big family dinners. You can enjoy one another’s company, fresh air or the pretty neighborhood lights.
The holidays are a time of appreciation and togetherness. As families get together and share meals, children are introduced to an array of different and often new foods. For the picky eater, these experiences may bring about verbal criticisms and down right refusal to try certain things.
For those who tend to be on the pickier side, the following tricks can be helpful:
- Do a dry run– experiment with a certain food or dish before the event in a non-stressful environment. You want the experience to be as positive as possible.
- Try using this time as a fun experiment and put them to work! For example, if Brussel sprouts elicit a “bleh” response, talk about new ways to prepare them like roasting them so that they’re crispy and tasty rather than dull and mushy. Collaborate with them and allow them to help. They will be much more inclined to try it when they’ve been involved in the process.
- Encourage them to try what’s on their plate. Communicate the importance of gratitude towards the meal and all that went into it.
The holiday season also brings about colder weather. Therefore it is also important to
make sure that children are getting their nutrition that they need. Cold weather requires healthy fuel such as those offered by warming foods. Soups, stews, and other warm, hearty meals are a good choice, as are winter vegetables such as dark, leafy kale, pumpkins, and squash. Swap out cold breakfast cereal for warm oatmeal and add in dates to give it a sweet texture without adding in too much sugar.
Really and truly, it’s all about balance, moderation and about teaching your children to enjoy treats thoughtfully and sparingly. Remember that it’s important not to make your child feel guilty about enjoying foods that they love. This way, treats are always a special and exciting occurrence, and your children stay healthy and strong all winter long.
Tips on Making Healthier Versions of Some Holiday Favorites…
- Add Several healthier options to your menu such as salad and sautéed greens with almonds rather than green bean casserole.
- Did you know that low-fat Greek yogurt can be a great substitute ingredient in mashed potatoes?
- When making mashed potatoes, use low-fat skim milk or coconut milk rather than whole milk or half and half. You can even use low-fat Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk. Or you could add some pureed cauliflower to add flavor and fiber to your dish.
- Remove some of the top crust on the apple pie to reduce calorie and fat intake.
- Bake cored apples, stuff them with cranberry relish and top them with a dollop of whipped cream for a healthier dessert option.
Healthy Holiday Recipes!
Quinoa and Roasted Yams and Feta-http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/quinoa-roasted-yams-and-feta
Dry-brine Roasted Turkey- http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/dry-brined-roast-turkey
PCC Roasted Squash and Apples and Bacon- http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/pcc-roasted-squash-apples-and-bacon
Grinch Kabobs- http://www.raininghotcoupons.com/grinch-kabobs-recipe/
Oatmeal Cookies with Banana- http://www.food.com/recipe/ridiculously-healthy-banana-oatmeal-cookies-206246
Carrot and Yam Soup with Cardamom- http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/carrot-and-yam-soup-cardamom
Apple Dumplings with Cider-Cinnamon Sauce- http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/apple-dumplings-cider-cinnamon-sauce
Holiday Turkey with Rice Stuffing & Gravy with Fresh Herbs- http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=154
Greek Yogurt Banana Bread- http://redefinedmom.com/greek-yogurt-banana-bread-recipe/
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