Monday, October 31, 2011

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Makes 1–2 servings

My kids and all their friends love this creamy omega loaded chocolate pudding. It is free of dairy and refined sugars. Even your hard core picky eaters will love it, especially if they have a hand in making it. This delicious pudding makes a great snack, or party treat!

1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 teaspoon agave, maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons almond milk, rice milk or water

1. Halve the avocado and remove the pit.
2. Cut a checkerboard pattern in the avocado and remove it from the skin.
3. Put the avocado, cocoa powder and honey into a blender or food processor.
4. Blend until creamy. You may need to blend it for a while to get it extra creamy and break up the small pieces. 
5. Add milk, vanilla and salt and blend until desired sweetness and texture.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Avocado Power
Avocado’s rich, creamy texture can add great flavor to a variety of dishes. It can also give a nutritional kick to any snack, even sweets like this delicious pudding. Avocado contains over 20 essential nutrients making it a super star food for kids! They are especially rich in vitamin E, B-vitamins, folic acid, omega three fatty acids and beta carotene. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients more efficiently.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Candy" Apple Wedges

Makes one serving per apple

These apple wedges are the perfect not to sweet, healthy Halloween treat! Making these crunchy treats is both fun to decorate, and delicious to eat. Whether at a Halloween party; or after school, kids will have fun adding their own personal touch.

Cold water
Lemon juice
Nut butter or sunflower butter
Agave nectar, maple syrup or honey

Chocolate chips

Goji berries
Chopped nuts
Wheat germ or ground flax meal

1. Cut and core apples.
2. Soak apples, cold water and a few drops of lemon juice in a bowl for a few minutes. This will prevent the apples from browning.
3. Dry thoroughly.
4. Spread nut butter or agave on each apple wedge.
5. Decorate with your kids!

Unsulphured Dried Fruit
Unsulphured fruits are the healthier choice when it comes to dried fruit varieties because they maintain more natural vitamins. Dried, unsulphured coconut is no exception. It contains a good amount of potassium, iron and fiber. Coconut is also naturally delicious, giving a tropical kick to any recipe!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Best Brain Boosting Foods

Adding a few key super foods to your kid’s diet each day is an easy way to help your children to take on the many challenges of their demanding schedules. By adding the following foods you may increase your kids brain function, promote overall brain health, and prepare your kids for a bright future.

Super Brain Foods

Avocados are super food for kids. They contain omega three fatty acids, which are necessary for the brain to function properly. Pack some guacamole and chips in their lunch box.

Eggs are rich in choline which helps promotes memory and brain development. Also eggs provide long-lasting satiety because of its protein power. They are a great for breakfast or snack- hard-boiled or deviled.

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain breads contain phytonutrients, folate and B vitamins that boost memory. Pack some whole grain crackers and pair them with cheese or nut butter of choice.

Deep water fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to healthy brain function. Wild Salmon also contains low numbers of contaminants and it is easy to find both fresh and in cans. Eating salmon helps memory, mood and concentration. Make salmon patties, or use salmon instead of tuna on sandwiches.

Protein is for concentration it helps kids feel full longer, avoiding a sharp drop in blood sugar. Choosing protein sources that are raised humanely and are fed a proper diet, or pastured, are your best bets. Pack your kids pinwheels with organic turkey, cheese on a whole grain tortillas.

Organic fruit: berries, grapes, apples, pears and seasonal fruits are rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and fiber. The fiber in fruit also helps the digestive system. Berries in particular contain high amounts of phytonutrients like anthocyanin that promote high brain function and help to preserve memory function.

Nuts and seeds: A serving of pumpkin seeds offers a mammoth amount of good things to help your children’s brains, bodies and immune systems. A quarter cup contains 92% of your daily value for magnesium, which helps with several body systems including cognitive function and mood. Zinc helps prevent infection and boost immune system. Try roasting them or adding them to muffins and oatmeal.

Filtered water: Dehydration can lead to fatigue, fogginess, and more, so drinking plenty of water is crucial to keeping concentration and energy levels high. Send a fun BPA free water bottle with your kids to school instead of fruit juices or other sugary drinks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Super Foods for Bone Health

Children need proper nutrients to grow. The junky diet of chicken nuggets, pizza and french fries doesn’t cut it. Since kids' bodies are constantly changing and their bones are still developing, they need the right fuel to make their bones grow and move properly. Making sure your kids eat a few bone-boosting super foods everyday is an easy way to ensure your child's bone health.

These best foods include... 
Giving your kids beans, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans, is extremely beneficial to the growth and health of their bones. Beans will give them an extra boost of magnesium and calcium.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that enables the absorption of calcium in the body. There are not too many foods that contain high amounts of vitamin D but some varieties of fish do. Eating salmon, tuna, and mackerel provides vitamin D that the body will store for future use.

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt contain very high amounts of it. Consuming enough calcium is crucial as most of it is in the bones. Eating dairy products which are so rich in calcium promote bone growth and by giving your kids dairy products consistently will keep their bones strong for life. I love organic, and raw dairy products. Many people have allergies, but there are plenty of great alternatives.

Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and swiss chard are packed with bone-building nutrients like Vitamin K and Magnesium. Vitamin K helps to form bone protein and cuts down on calcium loss. Green cocktail are great for your overall health.

Calcium and vitamin D do play a major role in the strength of our bones, but so does magnesium. Magnesium is also stored in our bone and is necessary for the storage of calcium. All seeds are great sources for Magnesium, especially pumpkin and chia seeds.

Soy is a legume that is also very rich in calcium. Soy products like soymilk, miso, tofu, edamame and tempeh are good sources and are easy to prepare or buy in the store. Eating soy foods are good for creating more bone density; denser bones equal stronger bones.

Water is great for the functioning of any part of the body including the bones. Tap water in particular contains fluoride, which is a necessary component of your bones and adds density making them stronger. I am still researching this as there is mixed research on fluoride. I do by my toothpaste with out fluoride.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Makes 4 snack size servings

My kids love this dip served with crispy veggies, pita triangles or, whole-wheat pretzels. With a yogurt base, this dip is a great source of calcium. Combined with the crunch of cucumbers, the dip has a great texture. It also doubles as a great spread for sandwiches and burgers.

8 oz. yogurt
½ cup of peeled chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons lemon
½ tablespoon Dijon mustard

1. Combine yogurt, cucumber, lemon, and mustard into a blender. Blend contents until smooth.
2. Serve with cut vegetables, crackers, or any other foods you like. 
3. Enjoy!

Cool as a Cucumber
Cucumbers are packed with nutrients that enhance brain function. The magnesium found in cucumbers helps the brain to stay focused and pay attention. Cucumbers contain potassium, which makes your brain learn and remember facts. The vitamin C found in cucumbers enters the brain and protects brain cells, acting as a defense shield against unwanted toxins. Cucumbers also provide a dose of fiber, which removes toxins from the body so that your brain doesn’t get foggy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Apple Crisp

Tomorrow is my daughter's first family school breakfast, and she wanted to bring something warm and yummy to share with her friends. Since our fruit bowl is overflowing with apples that we purchased at the farmers market this weekend, we thought apple crisp would be the perfect morning treat. This recipe is not only delicious and easy to make, but is also loaded with omega three fatty acids from the flax seeds and coconut oil, which help to boost kids' moods and learning abilities. Additionally, this is a great recipe to get kids in tune with the seasons, eat locally and help with snack preparation. When kids help make a dish, they are usually more excited about eating it and the experience of trying something new.

Makes 15 snack servings

Apple mix
6 apples, washed, cored, diced
½ cup apple juice

Crumble Topping

½ cup maple syrup
2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoon butter/coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon flax seeds
1/3 cup raisins


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly oil the bottom of baking pan with coconut oil.
3. Spread apples evenly in the pan and add apple juice.
4. In a bowl combine maple syrup, rolled oats, flax seeds, raisins, vanilla and cinnamon.
5. Fold in softened butter/coconut oil until combined. There should be no large chunks.
6. Press dry ingredients on top of the apple mixture.
7. Cook uncovered for 35-40 minutes.

An Apple a Day

Apples provide a big dose of soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as a host of other benefits. The polyphenols found in apples are powerful cardiovascular guardians, also helping to protect growing (and adult) bodies from the oxidation of bad fats (think trans fats), while offering bold anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies have also shown that apple’s phytonutrients and high fiber content help children maintain an even mood by preventing spikes in blood sugar.

Local ingredients 

Purchasing food that’s grown in your surrounding area is beneficial for your health and for the environment. Transporting foods over long distances generates pollution, whereas buying groceries from local venders, like a farmers market, decreases your carbon footprint. Foods sold in grocery stores have traveled an average of 1500 miles from where they are grown. On the other hand, foods that are grown locally are picked when they are ripe, which allows for a better taste and more nutritious product.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Super Foods for A Super Smile

The foods you eat can affect the health of your smile just as much as proper brushing and flossing can. Eating foods high in starch or sugar can create bacteria that cause plaque as well as teeth decaying acids. However, certain foods actually strengthen teeth and gums by fighting plaque and bacteria, improving enamel and freshening breath.

Super Smile Snacks
When eating raw celery or carrots you have to chew extra long; creating more saliva, which stops bacteria from forming. The extra chewing also cleans between teeth and cleanses the gums.

Cheese is low in carbohydrates and extremely rich in calcium and phosphate, which has several benefits for your teeth. It helps to lower acid in your mouth that encourages the growth of cavities. Cheese also strengthens the teeth by rebuilding tooth enamel, and creating saliva, which fights bacteria and helps to prevent gum disease.
Believe it or not some teas like green, white and jasmine are actually good for teeth. These teas contain catechins that kill bacteria in the mouth, which create plaque. Catechins also kill the germs that cause bad breath.

Eating onion causes bad breath but the vegetable has unique properties that are antibacterial. Onions contain antibacterial sulfur compounds that kill several different types of bacteria including the type that cause plaque and gingivitis. They are most powerful when eaten raw or fresh.

Kiwis have tons of vitamin C supplying 100% of the daily-recommended amounts of the vitamin. Getting enough vitamin C is crucial for the health of gums. Vitamin C is necessary for the collagen in gums, which is important for their strength. Without enough Vitamin C gums are more susceptible to the bacteria that cause periodontal disease.

Eating parsley or mint leaves after eating a meal helps maintain fresh breath. These fragrant herbs contain monoterpenes, which travel to the lungs where bad breath is released through your mouth.

Shiitake mushrooms in particular contain high amounts of the sugar lentinan. Lentinan prevents bacteria from forming plaque on the teeth. Fresh shiitakes contain more lentinan but dried ones also contain the bacteria fighter.

Sesame seeds scrape plaque that accumulates on teeth. Seeds also help to build enamel, which protects teeth. Sesame seeds are high in calcium, which preserves and build bone that surrounds your teeth and gum as well in your jaw.

Wasabi and other naturally spicy foods contain isothiocyanates, which are substances that make wasabi hot. They also aid in the growth of cavity fighting bacteria. Eating wasabi a few times per week can drastically reduce the chance of getting a cavity.
Perhaps the simplest thing you can do to have healthy teeth is to drink plenty of water. Drinking water keeps gums hydrated making them healthy and perfectly pink. Water is also necessary for creating saliva, which is the mouths greatest defense for fighting bacteria that causes plaque and cavities.

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is imperative, but these foods can give you that extra boost to maintain a healthy mouth and beautiful smile.