Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Season is Here!

The coolness in the air this morning (and the autumnal equinox on Wednesday) remind me that fall is here!  When fall rolls around I always start thinking about apples, and homemade applesauce, and apple pie, and sweet potato apple bake, and.....  My husband really likes apple pie, but to me there is nothing better than a fresh, crisp apple all by its juicy self!  Did you know that there are several places in Colorado where you can go pick your own apples?  Check out this  pick your own website to see if there is a farm near you. 

After picking fresh raspberries with my family last weekend (at Berry Patch Farms in Brighton), I am looking forward to picking some fresh apples very soon.  My kids just love to do this and I'll bet yours will too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Battery Ingestion in Young Children

I realize that this is not really a nutrition topic, but it does involve eating!  In a previous post I shared a cool new choking prevention poster with you.  Today I wanted to share information about a slightly different subject.  Check out this  recent article regarding young children swallowing disc batteries.  This can be a real danger to young ones, and it seems as though these little disc batteries are more common all the time.  I found the statistics in this article to be quite alarming!  Can you believe that over 2,000 incidences of children swallowing these batteries occured in 1998 alone, and that there has been an 80% increase since that year?!   Keep this article in mind when you are checking to make sure that your child care home is "child proof".  Do your best to keep items containing these batteries out of small hands.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Biscuits, Ice-Cream and Soft Drinks for Infants?!?

I recently came across an article that both shocked and saddened me!  The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Dietetics found that some very young babies had already been introduced to high fat, high salt and high sugar foods even though experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life.

The study was conducted in Australia and was part of a survey in that country. The researchers tracked 587 women for the first 12 months of their infants' lives through regular phone interviews.  They found that almost one in four mothers had introduced biscuits (sweet cookies) and cakes to their infants by six months of age!  This is just so unfortunate because babies do not need sugary solid foods in their diet at this time.  Not only is it increasing the amount of sugar in their diet, but it is displacing essential nutrients that they would get from breastmilk.  In addition, we have to remember that eating habits developed at a young age are likely to continue for life. Why even give a baby ice cream and cookies when breastmilk (or formula) satisfies all of their taste needs?

Like the U.S., Australia has a increasing rate of childhood obesity. According to the study, up to 20% of children aged 2-3 were found to be overweight or obese in Australia.  Another good reason to get children started off on the right (less sugary) path!

Fortunately, I also think that this is partly just an education issue.  That's why I appreciate all of you ladies who do home child care.  You are so good at educating the parents and caregivers of the children in your care.  With your guidance, they can make decisions about feeding their infants and children that will help them to be healthy and develop healthy eating habits for life! 

I also know that sometimes it can be challenging if you suddenly find yourself caring for an infant when you haven't cared for one in awhile.  If you need a little "refresher" information, please feel free to ask your Wildwood rep., or call the office for a copy of our book called " Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs".  It is full of useful tips and hints!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Upcoming Wildwood Workshops

If you live in the Colorado Springs or Pueblo areas of the state, our latest workshop is coming your way soon!  The "Scrumptious Snacks and Marvelous Meals" workshop will be offered on October 6 at 6:30 pm at the East Library in Colorado Springs (5550 N Union Blvd.), and on November 1 at 6:00 pm at the Pueblo Library (100 E. Abriendo Ave.).  This 2 hour workshop will give you lots of information about serving healthy snacks and meals.  Plus, you will get lots of meal and snack ideas and recipes.  YUM!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Have You Signed Up For the Wildwood Conference Yet?

Our conference preparation is in full-swing and every day seems to bring something new and exciting!  We have rounded up lots of little "surprises" for the participant registration bags and we are working on getting more.  I am also working on the correspondence course that will be given to those attending, and I will give you a little hint about it ~ Did you know that chia seeds (formally known from Chia Pet fame) are a tasty, nutritious food?  After searching at my local health food store to no avail, I finally found some chia seeds online (at and have been experimenting with recipes.  You don't want to miss it!~

Will we see you there?  I hope so!  You can find a registration form on our website under the "Forms and Documents" section and you can even register online if you go to the top left-hand portion of the website and click on "Fall Conference Registration".  Register before October 15 to get the best deal!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A New Way to Serve Quinoa

I am so excited that I have found a recipe for quinoa that my whole family will eat.  Quinoa is such a nutritious whole grain that I keep trying to find a way serve it to my family.  Most of my other attempts have been rejected because some of the child members of my family object to the "earthy" like flavor of quinoa.  I am happy to report that this recipe has just enough spice to cover up that flavor and is very tasty! 

Green Bean and Quinoa Toss
4 1/2 cups frozen French-cut green beans
3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
sprinkle of salt
black pepper to taste
1 3/4 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 red onion or sweet onion, finely diced
6 Tablespoons chopped almonds*

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the frozen green beans and cook for 2 minutes.  Drain the beans and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper.  Add the green beans to the mustard mixture and toss to coat.  Add the remaining ingredients (quinoa, cheese, onion, and almonds) and stir well.  This dish can be served immediately or chilled before serving.

Note: if your children don't like the flavor of feta cheese, you can substitute another milder variety of cheese.

Crediting information:  Makes 7 servings.  Each serving is creditable for 1/4 cup of the fruit/vegetable requirement and 1 bread/bread alternate at lunch or supper for 3-5 year old children.

*can be a choking hazard for children under the age of 4.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Americans Are Still Not Eating Enough Fruit and Veggies!

Did you see the latest news from the CDC regarding fruit and vegetable intake among Americans?  According to their survey, most Americans are still not getting enough of either fruits or veggies. This really is a problem because not only are most people missing out on the vital nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, but we also know most people are loading up on the less than desirable things like salt and sugar. 

How does your diet rate?  Do you get enough fruits and vegetables?  One of the things I like about the Child and Adult Care Food Program is that it encourages fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  You can make sure your kids are getting enough by serving fruits and/or vegetables not just at mealtimes but at snacktime too.  If you sit down with the children and eat all of the fruits and vegetables you are serving to them, you will likely be pretty close to eating enough too!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Don't Forget the Herbs!

When cooking do you ever find yourself leaving out the fresh parsley or other herbs because you don't have any, or don't want to buy them to put in just one dish?  I have been guilty of just that when it comes to parsley.  I blame this on the fact that I used to have a nice patch of parsley in my backyard that even grew in the winter!  However, we recently built a deck in our backyard and my parsley patch was destroyed in the process.  I usually forget that I can't go out and grab a handful for a recipe until I am in the middle of meal preparation , and I also forget to buy it when I am at the store. 

I am trying to do a better job of remembering to buy it, and I will surely plant some more next summer.  That is because fresh parsley and other fresh herbs such as cilantro can not only make a dish tastier, but more nutritious too!  Fresh parsley is a good source of beta-carotene and vitamin C.  It also provides a little folate, iron and potassium to the diet.  Herbs are also a great source of antioxidants. 

Now that I think about it, maybe I will even try planting both of these herbs in pots in my windowsill this winter.  But, I haven't figured out how to keep the cats from knocking them over if I do......

Friday, September 3, 2010

Commercials We Actually Want To See More Of

A group of baby carrot farmers has put together a very innovative website to go along with their new "baby carrots, eat'em like junk food" campaign to get people to eat more baby carrots.  You can check it out here.  

The website has videos, a sneak peak at their new "junk food packaging", and information about their "carrot crunch-powered" video game .  The site also promises that a baby carrot commercial will air on September 7 and I can't wait to see it.  These are the type of commercials we need more of! 

Click on the "Nutritional Info (yawn)" section for another funny surprise.   

I really like this campaign and applaud their willingness to compete with other junk food websites.  Here's hoping it works!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Aerobic Exercise Has Lifelong Impact

According to a recent study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a moderate aerobic exercise program can alter the metabolism of sugar in children and adolescents.  This is promising news because it can reduce their risk of developing heart disease and diabetes later in life!

Researchers studied both lean and obese teenagers who were sedentary.  The teens participated in a 12-week exercise program of four, 30-minute exercise sessions every week.  By the end of the program, none of the teens had lost weight, but all of them increased their insulin sensitivity and their ability to maintain normal blood glucose levels.  The obese teenagers also lost some of their abdominal fat which is considered more "dangerous" fat because it is linked with insulin resistance.

Just one more reminder for all of us that we really need to ensure that children are getting the recommended physical activity* every day! 

*Toddlers should accumulate at least 30 minutes daily of structured physical activity; preschoolers at least 60 minutes.  Toddlers and preschoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes and up to several hours of daily, unstructured physical activity and should not be sedentary for more than 60 minutes at a time except when sleeping.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Free Eating Healthy Posters

Looking to "jazz up" your eating area?  The Baylor College of Medicine's Children's Nutrition Research Center has some great downloadable posters on their website.  Many of them would be great for childcare homes.  Check them out here.