Snack on This

While the kids are out of school for winter break, you’ll probably be hearing a lot of requests for snacks.

Fear not: Parents for Healthy Kids has got plenty of ideas for healthy snacks, from ones you can quickly grab to others that you can make together on a relaxing afternoon.

The first thing you can do to help your kiddos create healthy snack habits is to set yourself up for success. Limit the amount of junk food you have in the house, and stock the fridge and pantry with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Bonus: If only (or almost only) healthy options are available, you don’t have to be the bad guy by always saying no.

Below are some of our favorite nutritious snack ideas – for after school, or anytime – organized by how quickly you can pull them off. Because let’s be honest, some days, removing the packaging is about all that’s possible.

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Quick Tips to Tackle Emotional Eating

College of DuPage Nursing Student Elena Basch suggests you ask yourself, “Am I hungry or am I bored? Stressed? Depressed? Am I rewarding myself? Why am I hungry?”  because it’s essential to know the cause of hunger in order to address it appropriately. Eating is something we all do to provide nutrition and nourishment to our bodies. Our bodies need this for it to perform adequately, but our bodies need GOOD food. Ever notice that when we eat poorly, we often feel the same way?

The food choices we make in relation to our emotions often aren’t the healthiest ones. It’s easy when feeling emotionally distressed, to pick unhealthy comfort foods. For me, that’s probably any baked good in reach or anything with sugar. Sugar makes me feel great. According to Laura Schwechrel from the, sugar releases endorphins which cause a temporary “high”. To tackle my emotions, I have started doing two things in lieu of eating:

  1. I feel wonderful after a good workout. It also helps with weight loss. It’s a win-win. Need exercise ideas? I use Pinterest to look for exercises, they also have visuals to aid in the exercise I wish to perform. Also, it lets me try exercises I never thought I would try before. Some of these can be done in 15 minutes or less at home. Do what best fits your needs
  2. This one might not be as popular but writing on getting my thoughts down on paper has proved revolutionary. The poems don’t even have to be good but I sure do feel relief.

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Why You Should Stop Tossing Your Citrus Peels

KAT KINSMAN share in My Recipes on December 18, 2017 that if you still consider the rinds on your lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits garbage, it’s high time you step into the light.

Have you ever gotten a present, squealed with delight at its contents, then tossed the box and packing materials out only to realize later that you inadvertently chucked out something else that was in there—cash, a gift card, or something else of value? If you’re tossing out your citrus peels all willy nilly, that’s exactly what you’re doing. The jewel-like segments and tangy juice may get all the fanfare, but there’s plenty of appeal in the, y’know, peel.

Lemons, grapefruits, limes, pomelos, tangerines, and an exceptional array of oranges are at their peak this time of year, and you might as well put the whole fruit to work. In addition to the obvious pleasures of citrus fruit in seasonal baked goods, salads, savory dishes, cocktails, and mocktails, those rinds are permeated with fragrant oil that can be showcased in plenty of unexpected ways.

If you possibly can, opt for organic and unsprayed fruit, or give it a thorough scrub to get rid of any possible pesticides and other contaminants. For each of these uses, assume unless otherwise specified, that you should be removing the outermost layer of the rind in broad strips with a vegetable peeler or a very sharp knife, picking up as little of the spongy white pith as you can. This is most easily accomplished while the fruit is still whole, but if life hands you a hull, you’ll cope. Just drape it over a sturdy, upended glass and do your best.

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Did You Know Each Maraschino Cherry Has 2 Grams of Sugar>

Healthy Lombard Foundation Partner Nancy Nance, CPT, WFS, NFS, CESA composed the following post for today’s blog article:

A few days ago, I had lunch with a new friend. We were at a great restaurant and had a healthy meal of salmon and veggies. As we were talking, the topic of how to eat out and choose the best options came up.  One of the things I noticed was she had three maraschino cherries in her water. She mentioned that she loved the taste of her water with the cherries.  Since we were talking about ways to cut calories and sugar intake, I mentioned to her the maraschino cherries are not helping her lose weight.  She was really shocked and had no idea they were not the best choice when trying to lose weight.

Each maraschino cherry has 2 grams of sugar. Women should keep their daily intake of sugar to 6 teaspoons a day, and men no more than 9. That sounds like a lot, but if you check the labels on the foods and drinks you have each day, you will be surprised how quickly that can add up.

Besides the sugar content, the bright red color of the cherries comes from artificial coloring. Use of red dye is a main part of the processing.  You can google more information about the processing they go through.

So, while they look really good on top of a sundae or in pineapple upside down cake, they are not good on a regular basis. I would say one or two a year.  My friend was drinking the water with cherries about twice a week.  So, that is roughly 24 cherries a month. That is a lot of sugar and red dye. Just by switching to lemon or other fruits, she can save calories and protect her body from the hazards of the red dye.  What little changes can you make in your diet, that can make big changes?

Some healthy snacks for kids

March is National Nutrition Month, a nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The group offers ideas for healthy snacks for kids including:

Parfait: Layer vanilla or plain low-fat yogurt with fruit and dried cereal.

Smoothie: Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for 30 seconds for a delicious smoothie.

Frozen Treats: Mix equal amounts of fat-free plain or flavored yogurt with 100 percent fruit juice, then pour into paper cups and freeze for a tasty treat.

Quesadilla: Sprinkle shredded cheese over a corn or whole wheat tortilla; fold in half and microwave for 20 seconds. Top with salsa.

Pita: Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.

“Food for Thought”

College of DuPage Nursing student Bertie Schlossberg asks, “Do you or someone you know have a food allergy or intolerance?” If you answered yes, you might want to keep reading.

Per the Food and Allergy Research and Education network (FARE), 1 in every 13 children in the USA underage 18 have food allergies. Although less common in adults. Food allergies affect nearly 15 million people a year ( Below I have included some easy recipes …whether you are just starting out on your new diet or you are a seasoned pro you are sure to enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment or share your favorite allergy friendly recipe.

Gluten Free (


Ingredients you’ll need:
2  [8 oz] softened cream cheese [16 ounces total]
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 [14 oz] box chocolate graham crackers gluten free
1 [12 oz] bag miniature peanut butter cups
3/4 cup cocktail peanuts [sea salted peanuts or plain salted peanuts]
Chocolate drizzle:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. To prepare the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together in the microwave until smooth. Melt in 15 second increments stopping to stir periodically. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a medium mixing bowl, whip together both blocks of softened cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Whip for 2-3 minutes until fully combined and smooth. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Add 16 ounces of thawed whipped topping, 8 ounces at a time. Continue to whip until fluffy and light. The filling will be divided into thirds to layer the dessert.
  5. Remove the wrappers from the peanut butter cups and chop. Roughly chop the peanuts. Divide both into thirds for layering. In a 9 x 13 inch dish start with one layer of graham crackers.
  6. Add ⅓ of the filling mixture, sprinkle with ⅓ of the chopped peanut butter cups and ⅓ of the chopped peanuts.
  7. Gently press the next layer of graham crackers into the filling and repeat, ending with the final ⅓ of the peanut butter filling.
  8. Frost with whipped topping, and sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups and peanuts. Drizzle with chocolate.
  9. Chill for at least 4-6 hours before cutting.

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Be strategic about your snacking picks

These should be savored and enjoyed for what they are. Personally, two butter cookies made from my grandmother’s recipe would give me more satisfaction than 10 of any other treat.

For the same calories, you get more than four times as many shrimp, and that volume alone will leave you feeling more satisfied.

Plus, the shrimp provide more protein and essential minerals, without any of the unhealthy fat or nitrates.

1 tablespoon sour-cream-and-onion dip vs. 6 tablespoons salsa – 30 calories

Besides the huge portion difference per calorie, tomato-based salsas are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which might help you fight off the colds that tend to get passed around at parties this time of year.

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Healthy-up your holiday sweets!

choc chip cookiesThe holidays just wouldn’t be the same without cookies, cakes and other sweet goodies.  Mayo Clinic and The Huffington Post have posted lists of healthy substitutions, including the following:

Sugar: In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla (try using 4 tsp vanilla to replace ½ cup sugar), nutmeg or cinnamon. You may also use Splenda, mashed banana, or applesauce – the same amount as the called-for sugar.

Eggs: Try two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for each whole egg. You can also mash up a banana to use in place of an egg if you’re baking bread.

Cream: Try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk

Whole or 2% milk: Use skim milk instead, you’ll save 80 calories and 8 grams of fat per cup!

Butter, shortening or oil: Use applesauce or bananas for half or all of the called-for butter, shortening or oil. Try butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don’t have trans-fats. Or use mashed avocado to replace half the butter in a recipe; this cuts trans and saturated fats while adding good, healthy fat.

  • Chia seeds are a great way to ditch the butter and add some healthy omega-3 fats and fiber to your food! Substitute 1 cup of butter with 2-3 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1 cup of water (soak for at least 20 minutes to absorb liquid).
  • Greek yogurt makes a great butter substitute. Use it for half the butter called for in a cookie recipe, or all of the butter/oil called for in a cake recipe.
  • Pureed prune can also sub in for butter. Replace the entire amount called for — try baby food prune puree.

All-purpose flour: Use whole wheat flour instead, which adds fiber and vitamins/minerals.  In brownies, use 1 cup of black bean puree in place of 1 cup of flour.

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Chicken Nachos