Sunday, October 25, 2015

Healthy Snacks

Kids love to snack and most of the time they want the snacks that are high in sugar! Kids need to eat a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables each day (between 5 and 13 servings). Here are some healthy alternatives to sugary snacks. First we'll start with a few fruits. Fruits are naturally sweet, high in good fibers and some even help prevent us from getting sick.

1) Blueberries: blueberries are high in vitamin C, antioxidants and manganese. Manganese helps the body process cholesterol and process nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein. Vitamin C is an immune booster and helps prevent colds, or at least helps you feel better if you have a cold. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are also high in vitamin C.   

2) Bananas: bananas are a good source of Vitamin K (A.K.A potassium). Here's a hint for you. If you have ever had ringing in your ears, that is a sign of low potassium. If that happens, start eating more bananas or even baked potatoes with your dinners. The skin of potatoes are high in potassium and is great if the body is craving it. A peanut butter and banana sandwich is a very good alternative to high sugary and processed foods.

3) Raspberries: these delicious red berries have rheosmin which helps increase metabolism in your body. Increasing the body's metabolism can help burn the fat in our cells and that in turn can prevent obesity.  

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Kids love bright colors. Making a colorful fruit salad or cutting up some fruits as a snack for them instead of  just handing them a candy bar can be beneficial for both you and them. Sugar is just going to hype them up. That, in turn, will drive you crazy and you'll wonder what ever got into them! 

Next, vegetables. Now, I know most kids won't go near a vegetable! Both my children (ages 4 and almost 2) don't mind them though. My daughter loves broccoli! Since my children are younger, I steam my vegetables. Usually, the best way to eat any fruit or vegetable is raw. Steaming drains them of most of their nutrients, but they are still a healthful food regardless. Some vegetables my daughter can eat raw, such as carrots and celery. A childhood favorite of mine was celery with peanut butter. Peanut butter is also high in protein and is a great to add with snack time!  

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For some children, presentation is everything! If it is presented in an appealing way kids are more likely to eat it. Make it fun for them and easier for you! Let them help too! My daughter loves to eat anything she has helped make. They feel a sense of accomplishment when they help and, based on my experience with my daughter, she has always wanted to eat whatever she helped me make!  

Dessert. Yes there are healthful desserts and they are an option!  Dessert pizza made with fruits are both healthier and fun for the kids!

Here is a recipe that I recommend! 

It Makes 1 large pizza
for the crust
3 cups soft pitted dates
2 cups whole almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
for the middle
2 1/2 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
for the toppings
strawberries, sliced
blueberries
blackberries
raspberries
Either oil a circular pizza pan (standard size) or line with parchment paper (I cut a circle from parchment paper to line mine).  Set aside.
In a food processor, processor the dates, almonds, coconut, and cocoa powder until broken down completely.  Add the honey and almond butter and process until it comes together and forms a ball.
Form the mixture into a ball. Using slightly wet hands, press the mixture onto the pizza pan.  Use a rolling pin or your hands to press the mixture to the edges of the pan. Work the mixture so it is evenly distributed all the way to the edge of the pan.
Put the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes.  (I washed and sliced my fruit during this time.)
Use a spatula to spread the Greek yogurt on the crust.
Top the crust with your fruit in a circular pattern as shown in the pictures.  I didn’t include measurements for the fruit as you can use as little or as much as you prefer.  Chill until ready to serve.  A pizza cutter works well for slicing when you are ready to serve.  Enjoy!  
That is it for this post. I hope you enjoyed and come back soon to read more on healthy living, recipes and beauty tips.
Christina Peck