Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Reason to Limit Screen Time

We all know that children need to get up and move around more and watch tv less!  We also know that many of the advertisements during childrens' television programming are for foods that are less than stellar nutrient-wise.  So, the results of a recent study may not be surprising, but should make us even more motivated to limit screen time for kids. 

A study reported in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association has shown that if you based your diet entirely on foods that you saw in tv ads, you would eat 25 times the recommended servings of sugar, and 20 times the recommended servings of fat in your daily diet.  The foods featured on tv ads not only had too much sugar and fat, but also oversupplied sodium (not a surprise either considering most of the sodium in the American diet comes from processed and restaurant food).  Additionally, if you followed this "tv ad diet" you would be deficient in 12 important nutrients such as vitamin A, D and E.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Fun Website For Your Kids

Here is a really fun website for your kids to explore!  "Fizzy's Lunch Lab" is a PBS site that promotes good nutrition and encourages physical activity.  You will find games, printable placemats to color, recipes and outdoor activity ideas.  Kids can also listen to musical hits such as "Fruit is Nature's Candy" and "Veggie Fever".  The video section will likely be a hit too with webisodes about the Lunch Lab, and "Lunch Lab Live" videos that are funny talk show parodies.  This is our new favorite website!

Check it out here.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Zucchini Bread

I don't know about you, but my garden is bursting with zucchini!  I just love this time of year when everything starts to get ripe and delicious and ready to eat!  I am always on the lookout for zucchini bread recipes that are not loaded with oil.  (You really don't need an entire cup of oil for one loaf of bread!)  I found this recipe in Healthy Cooking magazine and changed it up a little to include some whole wheat flour. (I like to use whole wheat pastry flour because it gives baked goods a nice texture, but you can use regular whole wheat flour also).
It turned out to be delicious!  It makes two loaves, so you can even put one in the freezer for later.

Zucchini Bread
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups enriched all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cups chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, applesauce, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Stir until well combined.  In another bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until blended.  Stir in the zucchini and walnuts. 

Transfer the mixture to 2, 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pans coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Crediting information:  Makes 51 servings total (both loaves).  Each serving is creditable for 1 bread/bread alternate at any meal or snack for 3-5 year old children.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Snack recipe

Here is a cute recipe adapted from one I saw in Potpourri magazine.  It is always a good idea to serve a vegetable at snack for a little extra "insurance" towards making sure kids get all of the vegetables they need in a day! 

Buried Treasure Eggs
12 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
salt and black pepper to taste

Combine the eggs and milk in a bowl and mix together using a whisk.  Heat a medium skillet over medium  heat and pour the egg/milk mixture in.  Cook and stir until the eggs are thoroughly cooked.  Add the peppers, onion, salt and pepper.  Serve warm.  Encourage the children to search their eggs for the different colors of "buried treasure" (the peppers)!

Crediting information:
Makes 8 servings, each serving creditable for 1 meat/meat alternate and 1/4 cup of the vegetable requirement at lunch or supper for 3-5 year old children. (Or makes16 servings meat/meat alternate at lunch or supper if not counting the vegetables toward the vegetable requirement).  If served at snack, makes 48 servings of meat/meat alternate for 3-5 year old children.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Online Resources for Providers

I just came across a new nutrition website called "The Taste Buddies" for kids aged 6-10.  The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) has just launched this colorful site which has healthy activities, kid friendly recipes and fun nutrition facts.  Check it out here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Whole Grains

Have you been trying to eat more whole grains and/or serve more whole grains to the kids in your care?  If you said yes, you are not alone!  According to a recent study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, most people are trying to consume more whole grains.  The study found that 73% of the respondents said that they were trying to eat more whole grains, and 72% were trying to include more fiber in their diets.  This is very encouraging, however, the study also showed that many people are still confused about just why they should be eating more whole grains.  

What are whole grains?  All grains start life as whole grains.  For example, wheat plants growing out in a field contain wheat seeds.  The wheat seeds, or "kernels" are whole grains.  Seeds contain 3 key parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.  To be considered a whole grain, the seed must retain all of its 3 key parts.  When grains are refined, such as when "white" flour is made from wheat seeds, some of the 3 key parts are removed.  White flour (also known as "wheat" flour on food labels) contains only the starchy endosperm of the seed, the bran and the germ have been removed.  This strips important nutrients from the flour.  Food manufacturers often "enrich" the flour and add back some of the missing nutrients, but they do not add them all back.

What do you miss by eating refined grains?  The bran which contains antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber and the germ which contains B vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats.  When the bran and germ are removed you lose 17 key nutrients and food processors are only required to add back 5 of the lost vitamins and minerals.  They cannot add back the antioxidants.

Why are whole grains important in the diet? The medical benefits of eating 3 servings of whole grains per day instead of refined include:
  • better weight maintenance
  • decreased stroke risk
  • decreased type 2 diabetes risk
  • decreased heart disease risk
  • decreased risk of some cancers.

Your next question may be "That's all great but how do I know which products are truly whole grain"?  This is an excellent question because food companies often engage in deceptive practices when trying to get you to buy their product.  The answer lies in reading the labels carefully, and I have blogged previously about this here   I have also previously blogged about whole grain recipes for use in your child care home using millet, barley, and whole grains in general.

What is your favorite whole grain recipe?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wildwood Conference

It's August already?!?  I simply cannot believe that August is upon us, but that just means that the Wildwood Conference is only about 3 months away.  We are all starting to get excited about the conference and we are getting speakers lined up and ironing out all of the details.  The conference will once again be held at Children's Hospital.  (Check out this link to see the flyer for the conference).  If you haven't already marked your calendar, please do so now.  It is going to be so much fun, and we can't wait to see you all there!