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Q&A: What Should I Feed My Kids?

Written on September 12, 2012 at 8:45 am , by

pistachios

Photo by Mike Jensen.

Nutrition pros and FITNESS contributors Chris and Kara Mohr answer your pressing diet Q’s…

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September means one thing to moms across the country: Back. To. School!

Though there’s certainly a bit of sadness — time with the kiddos is reduced, pools are closed, vacations are over and freedom comes to a screeching halt — let’s be honest, there’s also a sigh of relief for both moms and kids.

One question that always comes up from the moms we work with, though, is “What should I feed my kids at school?”

It’s tough sorting all the messaging, marketing and information companies throw at us. So we wanted to share a few things we do for our daughter that have seemed to work well.  Fueling kids’ bodies is important.  They’re active, they’re learning, and they need to stay alert.  Soft drinks and sugar laden snacks won’t do it. But fiber, protein, healthy fats and the right fluids will.

Let’s  look at four smart options within those categories above and aren’t overly processed, high in sugar, or full of junky ingredients.  The best part of all of these: They’re all perfect for kids (and adults).

1. Wonderful Pistachios.  These are a personal favorite in the Mohr House.  Our 3 year old loves them because they’re fun to “crack open” and of course taste good.  We love them because we know she’s eating something great for her.  Outside of that — you get the most “bang for your buck” with these little green buggers at 49 nuts per serving!  They’re great for after school, at the office and because they’re non perishable, on the go.  Since they’re a good source of fiber, healthy fat and protein, they’re also great for satisfying cravings and keeping your energy consistent between meals.

2. Oranges and Grapefruits.  These aren’t more ‘magical’ than other fruits, but their tough skin makes them more durable and therefore portable, without getting bruised.  And kids like the wedges since they’re more “fun” to eat than many others fruit options.

3. Apple & Peanut Butter Sandwiches.  Ella, our 3 year old, LOVES these.  The apple slices act as the “bread” and the peanut butter holds them together.  Slice an apple thin, spread a side with peanut butter — just like you would with a sandwich — put them together and voila, a fantastic snack.  The apples are of course fantastic for you with all their vitamins, minerals and fiber.  And the natural peanut butter is loaded with healthy fat and protein to help fill you up as well.

4. Sabra Hummus cups.  We love hummus.  And we like that Sabra came out with little individual serving size cups.  They’re convenient, they’re high in fiber and protein, and when you use veggie sticks, like celery or carrots, as the vehicle of delivery, it’s even better.  Enjoy.

That’s it.  Four, super easy, super convenient, and amazingly healthy snacks (that your kids will love).  Pack these in their lunch boxes to help load them up with a great fuel and plenty of goodness.

 

Chef Cat Cora’s Top 4 Tips To Help Your Kids Love Fruits and Veggies

Written on March 2, 2012 at 9:54 am , by

Cat Cora's dishes often spotlight seasonal veggies. (Photo courtesy of Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Hidden Valley Lunch Break for Schools)

The First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign strikes a chord with mom of four Cat Cora. In fact, Iron Chef Cora was at the White House in the spring of 2010 when Mrs. Obama kicked off the Chefs Move to Schools program. The goal: Improve the quality of food served during lunches at public schools and teach students to enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. This week, Cora is spreading the word about the Love Your Veggies Lunch Break for Schools, which raises money to help fund Chefs Move to Schools.

We spoke with the restaurateur, cookbook author and soon-to-be co-host of Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates (with Curtis Stone) about how to help your whole family to enjoy produce.

  • Ask for input. Offer options, such as broccoli or edamame as a dinner side, before you start cooking. Once the young ones come to a consensus, cook it up and prepare to watch it disappear! “If you give your kids a choice, they’ll feel empowered and will be more willing to try a new food,” Cora says.
  • Dip it good. “I always serve my kids crudites as an appetizer,” Cora says. Carrot and celery sticks, snap peas and sliced peppers taste great solo or with a dip like light Hidden Valley Ranch, Cora recommends. Or you can toss roasted or steamed veggies with lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil for some Mediterranean flair.
  • Don’t take special requests. Cora believes that raising kids who eat what the adults in the family eat will make them more adventurous eaters. “That’s how I grew up and I think that’s really what made my palate grow,” she says. “Don’t assume your kids won’t like something just because it isn’t a typical ‘kid’ food.”
  • Think outside the box. When asked what fruit or vegetable she’d most like to see as the secret ingredient unveiled at her next Iron Chef battle, Cora quickly responded, “the all-American vegetable: broccoli! I want to make it fun and cool.” While Cora thinks she might whip up candied broccoli or broccoli ice cream, you can add to the novelty of a meal and inspire your kids to eat more greens by preparing them in different ways (grilling, mixing into soups or chopping and tossing into salads).

Now that we covered the vegetables, we asked Cat to share one of her favorite family-friendly fruit recipes. Who’s ready for dessert?

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Fit Links: Smarter School Lunches and 89 Ways to Live Healthier

Written on January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm , by

Forget to pack a lunch? Your child will soon have better choices at school. (Photo by Evan Sklar)

This week’s fit links from around the web: