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Fun Spring Food Ideas

Get kids interested in healthy foods by being creative. Make a fun spring-themed scene for a tasty snack!

Tips for a Healthy St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun food holiday!  Add some green tint (Simple Homemaker has tips for natural tinting) for an instant St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Some of our favorite healthy St. Patrick’s Day treats from the web are listed below.  Have a favorite healthy St. Patrick’s Day recipe?  Share it with us below.

Enjoy!

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Fruit Leprachon from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons.

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Rainbow Veggies and Humus from JDaniel4’s Mom.

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St. Patrick’s Day breakfast from Meet the Dubiens.

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Leprechaun hats from Creative Food.

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St. Patrick’s Day lunch from Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons.

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Pot o’ Gold Applesauce from Two Healthy Kitchens

Healthy Holiday Snacks at Brookshire Elementary

Ms. Overstreet’s class at Brokshire Elementary sure does know how to mix fun and healthy together!  Check out the cute candy canes and snowman snacks these Kindergarten students made from fruit.

Way to go, Ms. Overstreet’s Kindergarten class!

25 Days of Kid Friendly Healthy Holiday Snacks

From December 1st, through December 25th, we will be providing daily recipes to you with our favorite kid friendly, healthy, holiday themed snacks for the classroom (and home or other parties).  During this time when so much focus is on food (and most of that tends to be unhealthy choices) we think it’s a great idea to infuse healthy and FUN options into the mix.

We hope you’re as excited as we are!

For a sneak peak (and a bonus option), check out this Christmas Fruit Candy Cane from Kitchen Fun with My Three SonsChristmas-Fruit-Candy-Cane_PM

It doesn’t get much easier than this–slice a banana and a strawberry, alternate on plate in shape of candy cane.  Enjoy!

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive daily recipes over the next 25 days.

Do you have a favorite healthy holiday themed snack?  Share it with us and we’ll share it with the world.  Email us at healthykidstoday@wphf.org

Healthy Snacks for On-The-Go

The following on-the-go snacks are good choices for most kids and teens. But be sure to read labels for hidden ingredients, allergens, and surprising sugars and calories.

  • Whole fruits: apples, bananas, pears, nectarines, grapes, berries, cherries, melon wedges or chunks, kiwi, pineapple (not packed in syrup), plums, citrus fruits like clementines, tangerines, and oranges
  • Trail mix: avoid those with lots of candy; try to stick with nuts, dried fruit, and seeds (and okay, maybe a few chocolate chips)
  • String cheese*
  • Hard-boiled eggs*
  • Dry cereal (look for varieties with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving)
  • Whole-grain pretzels or baked chips or crackers
  • Popcorn, without butter or lots of added salt
  • Sandwiches made with whole grain bread and lean meats,* cheese,* or nut butters; add extra nutrients by including fruits or vegetables, like spinach leaves or thin slices of app
  • Fruit leathers (made with 100% fruitjuice or puree), dried fruits, or freeze-dried fruits
  • Squeezable yogurt* or applesauce (check labels for sugar content)
  • Raw vegetables: carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, green beans, cherry tomatoes, green pepper or cucumber strips*
  • Lightly cooked vegetables, such as broccoli or cauliflower florets or edamame
  • Veggie chips, like sweet potato or kale; homemade is usually healthier, if you can swing it
  • Small to-go containers of healthy dips, such as hummus, salsa, and guacamole, to go with whole-grain pretzels or raw veggies
  • Beef or turkey jerky
  • Seeds: pumpkin and sunflower are popular
  • Nuts (in the shell is messier, but helps guard against overeating); watch labels for salt content
  • Cookies: fig bars, animal crackers, oatmeal cookies, graham crackers

*Requires refrigeration or a cooler with a cold pack

Healthy Snack List from Audubon Park Elementary

At Audubon Park Elementary, students’ health and wellness are important.

The Healthy School Team (HST) at Audubon Park Elementary realized that it can be often be confusing and complicated to find healthy snack foods appropriate for the classroom.  As a result, the HST created a list of healthy snacks that meet Smart Snack Standards issued by the USDA and followed by Orange County Public Schools.  The snacks are all mom/HST member approved. Many are sold in bulk at Costco or other cost-saving stores.

“We have some very dedicated parents and staff over here at Audubon Park Elementary who are dedicated to healthy life choices,” said Sean Paino, HST leader at Audubon Park Elementary.  “We came up with what we thought would be an acceptable list for healthy snacks.”

The list was sent home with the latest school newsletter so all parents can see the quick, healthy, and kid/mom approved snacks for school.

We love this list and hope you do as well!

Download the Healthy Snack List .

Lifelong Learning Volunteers Teach Children to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit

Children and seniors are getting active and healthy together thanks to the CATCH Healthy Habits program.

Supported in part by a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), the CATCH Healthy Habits program enlists teams of specially trained older adult volunteers to work with children in after-school and summer programs in school- and community-based settings. Teams of 5-8 adults lead children in a 60 minute lesson each week consisting of a nutritious snack, health lesson and physical activity.

CATCH Healthy Habits is a program offered through VOICE (Volunteers Organized in Community Engagement). VOICE is a program of the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning.

Data from the CATCH Healthy Habits sessions held in the WPHF catchment areas shows the program has resulted in successfully improving youth and seniors’ eating habits, increasing levels of participation in physical activities, reducing screen time, and fostering development of positive intergenerational relationships.

CATCH Healthy Habits at Rollins was established in response to the rising rate of childhood obesity in the United States. Central Florida mirrors this epidemic as the 2013 Professional Research Consultants Child & Adolescent Health Needs Assessment conducted on behalf of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando found that 26.7 percent of children ages 5 to 17 in Orange County, Florida, are overweight or obese.

Adults are not immune to the obesity epidemic either. According to the Healthy Central Florida study, The State of Our Health 2015, 26 percent of adults (age 18 and older) in the study’s targeted communities of Winter Park, Maitland, and Eatonville are obese.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020, children and adolescents who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. They are likely to stay overweight or obese into adulthood, placing them at increased risk for serious chronic diseases. The CATCH Healthy Habits program and its team of older adult volunteers is making a very positive impact for both children and older adults on reducing this epidemic and lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

“I love being able to connect with the children and enrich their lives with healthy habits and smart food choices,” says Marie Lee Jenkins, a Rollins CATCH Healthy Habits volunteer .

“We are very grateful to the Winter Park Health Foundation for their generous support of the program,” says Holly Tanyhill, coordinator for CATCH Healthy Habits. “It is so great to see such a valuable program provide an opportunity for children and seniors to learn healthy habits together.”

Adults 50 and older who are interested in volunteering or learning more about CATCH Healthy Habits may call (407) 646-2459 or write htanyhill@rollins.edu.

If you are interested in bringing CATCH Healthy Habits to your school or organization, please contact Healthy Kids Today.

Healthy Spring Break

For Orange County Public School students, spring break starts tomorrow!  With it often comes family fun, from vacations to local activities, which can sometimes result in making some not so healthy choices.

Worry not, the break doesn’t have to be all about junk food and rest.  An active break can promote fitness and healthier eating for the whole family.

Here are some of our favorite tips to keep you and your family healthy during the break:

  • Maintain your healthy lifestyle rules, but be flexible. Watch portion sizes, but truly enjoy the food. Exercise to offset additional calories.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.  Dehydration can aggravate altitude sickness, motion sickness and jet lag. It can also cause headaches, dizziness and tiredness. Drink plenty of water, especially in warm weather or when you’re physically active.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Plan activities such as hiking, scuba diving or snorkeling, skiing, surfing or a walking tour.
  • Sample the local cuisine. Foods made from fresh ingredients help you experience the local culture — and stay on your health regimen.
  • Fill small, zip-top bags with raisins, dry cereal, carrots, pretzels, nuts or granola bars for between-meal munching. If you have healthy alternatives, you won’t be tempted to buy sugar- and calorie-laden snacks
  • Consider sharing large entrées with someone else in the family. You’ll be able to sample more variety of foods without overeating.

For additional tips, click here

We want to see how your family is choosing to be active during the break.  Share your pictures with us!

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Tips For When Your Toddler Won’t Eat

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Adapted from Snotty Noses

Life with toddlers can be tough in so many ways, especially when they won’t eat. It is difficult for them as well as parents. They are transitioning from ‘baby’ to ‘big boy or girl’ and they have SO much to learn, especially rules, communication and language skills. It’s difficult for everyone and on top of that, their eating habits change and suddenly you have a toddler who won’t eat.

They change from ‘baby who eats everything’ to toddler who shouts “NO!” and shoves their plates away. Cups, plates, forks, spoons go flying whilst parents silently (or not so silently) scream in exasperation.

This is normal toddler behavior. It is frustrating but normal.

  1. Be Patient. It’s difficult to stay calm in the face of a screaming toddler but remember you are not alone. All toddlers scream and shout. That is normal.
  2. Keep presenting new and healthy food. It takes time for children to accept a new food. The first time they see it, they probably won’t like it. You just need to keep presenting it. (The norm is 10-15 times but some children take longer.)
  3. Toddlers tastes can change. They may love something one day and then hate it the next.  Likewise, something they have turned their nose up at may become their favorite food tomorrow.  See tip #2.
  4. Let them feed themselves. It’s frustrating and messy but exploring food is a great way for them to learn about the food and to learn how to feed themselves. If they ask for a bit of help that’s fine too.
  5. Don’t pressure them. Toddlers, like most people, don’t like to be told what to do. It will only serve to make them more stubborn. (There is lots of evidence that pressuring children to eat has adverse affects.)

For tips 6-10, visit the Snotty Noses website

Healthy Super Bowl Snacks

We have gathered some fun, tasty, football themed snacks your kids are sure to love while watching the Super Bowl!

Football cheeseball

Football Cheese Ball

Classic cheese balls are stuffed with fatty fillers like butter and mayo, but ours blends in nutritious chickpeas for a lightened-up, spreadable appetizer that is just as delicious.

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Chocolate Footballs

Whole grains, honey and raisins join forces for a nutritious and energizing sweet treat. Make these for the family and guarantee you’ll be awarded MVP.

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Watermelon Football Helmet

Looking to add a bit of fruit to the Super Bowl table? Turn a watermelon into a football helmet and fill it with fruit. It can double as an awesome centerpiece!  These homemade fruit bars are sure to be a hit and they’re perfect for a football game. Healthy, easy to eat, and fun.

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Football Fruit Bars

These homemade fruit bars are sure to be a hit and they’re perfect for a football game. Healthy, easy to eat, and fun.