Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Winners

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Kids Eat Right Month is wrapping up as August comes to an end, but it’s a movement we should carry on throughout the year. To showcase some of the amazing things kids are capable of when they get in the kitchen, I wanted to highlight the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.

Close to 1,500 kids from across the United States entered recipes featuring ingredients from the five food groups, and 54 were selected from each state, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories. All of the winning recipes are available in a beautifully created, FREE, downloadable cookbook. Repeat: FREE COOKBOOK. These kids rock and I’m excited to try some of the unique, healthy creations! The winners attended a dinner hosted at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama….pretty cool stuff!

Check out the Let’s Move website for more information on the Kids’ State Dinner and lots of other great tips for healthy eating and staying active!

Oh, and feel free to leave a comment if you find a recipe from the cookbook you plan on trying. I’m eyeing the Quinoa Sweet Potato Boats on page 57….I like your ways Chef Devlyn.

Kids in the Kitchen

In support of Kids Eat Right Month, I’m sharing some great recipes and resources to help get kids in the kitchen! The good people at Cook Smarts created this awesome infographic on ways kiddos can get more involved with cooking. The great thing about cooking is it compliments what children are learning in school–you can improve math, science, reading skills, and so much more just by inviting youngsters to help in the kitchen!

I love that this infographic includes an age participation guide, but be sure to designate tasks as appropriate for your children. Safety first, my friends!

How do you include your kids in the kitchen? Have any personal stories of cooking with kids? I’d love to hear them!

If you’re looking for kid-friendly recipe ideas, check out Kids Eat Right or my Kids in the Kitchen Pinterest board. Or maybe you need a little inspiration to get into the kitchen yourself? These Cook Smarts Kitchen Hero stories just might do the trick!

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Courtesy of Cook Smarts Click image for a larger, printer-friendly version.

Watermelon Revitalizer

watermelon revitalizer

Watermelon is at its peak and I’m definitely taking advantage of it! Did you know watermelon is 92% water? This crunchy, colorful, thirst-quenching fruit is perfect for outdoor get-togethers! While watermelon is easy to pack up for a picnic, it’s not so easy to take along on a hike or bike ride. UNLESS….you turn it into a beverage! Blended with coconut water, ginger, lime juice, and basil, this delightful drink will revitalize you in no time!

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Coconut water is great for replenishing electrolytes after physical activity because it contains potassium, sodium, and magnesium (electrolytes). It’s definitely a better alternative to the sugary sports drinks that can contain more than twice as much sodium (per fluid ounce) as coconut water. BUT, you shouldn’t switch out coconut water for good ‘ol H2O consumption throughout the day. Coconut water still contains sugar, which means additional calories, and unless you’ve just finished working out, there should be no need to replenish the body with all the electrolytes in coconut water. So go ahead, work up a sweat and then treat yo’ self :) You deserve it!

Watermelon Revitalizer


Ingredients
1/2 cup watermelon cubes
1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. fresh, chopped basil leaves (I used basil from my Aristotle Basil plant)
8 oz. chilled, unflavored coconut water

Directions:
1. Blend the first four ingredients together until liquefied. Pour watermelon mixture into a serving glass.
2. Pour coconut water over the watermelon mixture and serve.

Empowering Kids to Eat Right

 Shop Smart. Cook Healthy. Eat Right. 

“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” ~ Guy Fieri

Kids are adventurous. They love to learn and they love to make choices for themselves. But when it comes to food, we often limit the contribution and role children can have in the shopping and cooking process.

When I was still in my undergraduate program, myself and some other students visited several elementary school classes, with kids ranging from age 5-10. Each time we went to the schools, we brought a variety of vegetables, some familiar and some less familiar, like jicama. We didn’t go into the class and start by talking about how healthy the items were that we brought in. We simply presented them with a colorful variety of foods to eat and answered any questions the kids asked. Raw sugar snap peas, asparagus, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, jicama, and carrot sticks. I was shocked at how many kids tried each one of the veggies offered–even those they had never seen before. No questions, they just picked it up and ate it. Of course, some of them may have played with the asparagus stalk for a minute or made veggie faces on their plates before chowing down, but so what? They had fun with it, they ate what they enjoyed and left behind what they didn’t like.

Allowing children to be creative and empowering them to be involved in the selection of fruits and veggies at the grocery store will lead to fewer battles at the dinner table.

The Kids Eat Right campaign is bringing attention to the importance of healthy nutrition and active lifestyles for children and families during the month of August. The Kids Eat Right site is filled with kid-friendly recipes and tips for getting kids involved in grocery shopping and cooking in the kitchen. You can also follow Kids Eat Right on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

To help celebrate the Kids Eat Right campaign, I created this recipe for Jicama Apple Slaw–a crunchy, colorful, and slightly sweet slaw that kids will love! The Kids Eat Right team developed a video for the recipe–see just how easy this recipe is and how kids can help out in the kitchen!

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Image courtesy of Kids Eat Right

Summer Breakfast Quinoa Salad

breakfast quinoa 2Keen-wah.

Keeeeeen-wahhhhh.

Now that we all can pronounce quinoa, lets learn a little more about this tiny, fluffy grain. Well really I should say “pseudo-grain”. Quinoa is cooked and eaten like many grains, but botanically is related to beets, spinach, and chard. Weird, huh? Did you know you can also eat the leaves of the plant?

Quinoa is a nutrition powerhouse–a complete protein source, heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, good source of fiber, and rich in antioxidants. No other grain provides all of the essential amino acids like quinoa does, which makes it a great addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

This recipe is great because it can be quantified easily and modified to your liking with the fruit add-ins. I like to make enough to last for 2 days and always prep the salad the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning! Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor but can be rather bland so spice it up by cooking quinoa with a cinnamon stick, or maybe add in some ground ginger!

Have you tried any quinoa breakfast salads? What’s your favorite way to use quinoa–granola bars, casseroles, baked goods?

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Summer Breakfast Quinoa Salad


Ingredients
1/2 cup tricolor quinoa
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. chopped almonds
2 fresh apricots, diced
6 Bing cherries, stem and pit removed, cut in half
1/2 small Granny Smith apple, diced
2 Tbsp. golden raisins
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. honey
About 1 Tbsp coconut milk per 1/2 cup serving of quinoa salad, if desired

Directions
1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly with water, draining with a fine mesh sieve.
2. In a small saucepan, add quinoa, water, cinnamon stick, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while covered, then reduce heat to medium and allow quinoa to cook for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork and remove cinnamon stick. Allow quinoa to cool completely.
3. Mix in chopped almonds, diced apricots, cherries, apples, and golden raisins.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together lime juice and honey. Add to quinoa mixture.
5. Add about 1 tablespoon of coconut milk per 1/2 cup serving of quinoa salad prior to eating. You don’t want the quinoa to become mushy, so only add coconut milk once ready to serve. Salad will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.

{Giveaway} Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal

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Image courtesy of Vigilant Eats

I’m not much of a cereal eater and I rarely suggest just a bowl of cereal as a breakfast option in my nutrition counseling groups. Many breakfast cereals are lacking in protein and fiber, which means you’ll end up hungry about an hour after eating and you may experience a sudden spike in blood sugar levels followed by a energy crash. That’s no bueno.

But Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal is a different breed. The beautifully packaged cereal cups are filled with gluten-free oats, hemp powder, natural sweeteners, and delicious extras like goji berries, cacao nibs, dates, and dried coconut. So what does that mean for your body?
-More stable blood sugar levels which will help keep your energy level more consistent
-An excellent source of fiber
-Antioxidants
-No additives or preservatives

I prefer adding coconut milk to the cereal, but you can just add water since there’s hempmilk powder inside. This makes the Superfood Cereal cups perfect for camping, hiking, and other outdoor recreational fun! But it’s also a great grab-and-go option for those mornings when you’re running a little late to the office (I speak from experience). Each cup includes a spoon, too! How cool is that?

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Thanks to Vigilant Eats, I’m giving away all four varieties of the Superfood cereal!

{Giveaway Closed}

Congratulations to Sonya! And thanks to all who entered! 

All you have to do to enter is:

Mandatory
1. Leave a comment letting me know Which Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal variety you are most excited to try.

Additional entries (you must leave a separate comment for each optional entry).
2. Follow VigilantEats on Twitter (@VigilantEats) and tweet “Win @VigilantEats Superfood Cereal from @KarmanRD! http://wp.me/pY1if-EM ”, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
3. Like Vigilant Eats on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know that you did. If you already like them on Facebook, let me know!

Contest ends on Friday, August 1st at 12:00 am CDT. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, I will choose another person, so be sure to check your email!

The good folks at Vigilant Eats are also offering a 10% discount for online orders of one (or more) case(s) + free shipping! So head on over to their store and be sure to enter the code NutritionAdventures at checkout.

Disclosure: I received samples of Vigilant Eats Superfood Cereal. I did not receive compensation for my time.

{Recipe Redux} Port Wine & Bing Cherry Pops

A recipe with spirit! Literally. cherry pops This month’s Recipe Redux theme is a lively one as we were challenged to use liqueurs, extracts, and other alcohol in our recipes. I’ve been wanting to make popsicles (haven’t made any yet this summer!), so this was the perfect opportunity to create something a little unconventional. cherry pops2 A couple years ago, I helped out with a wine and cheese pairing class at the Salud! Cooking School at Whole Foods and tried port wine for this first time. I wish I could remember the name of it because it was soooo good. Since then I’ve been in search of a similar port, but have learned a few things along the way about the different types of port wine. I prefer the Tawny variety, which is sweet dessert wine that’s fortified with brandy. Normally I pair Tawny with dark chocolates, but when I came across some perfectly in-season cherries, I thought this would be a match made in heaven for frozen treats! The out-of-place-but-totally-necessary ingredient in this recipe is coconut milk. Just trust me on this on this one. Add the coconut milk and don’t look back. You’ll be glad you did. Besides adding a some creaminess to the popsicles, it lends just the slightest coconut flavor that will leave people wondering what it is they’re tasting as they devour the frozen treat. How many popsicles you end up with depends on the size of the molds you have. You’ll have approximately 14 ounces of liquid to use for popsicle-making.

Port Wine & Bing Cherry Pops


Ingredients
2 cups bing cherries, cut in half, stem and pit removed
1/2 cup Tawny Port wine
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tsp. lime juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, heat cherries, port wine, water, sugar, and lime juice over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until cherries are softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
2. Puree cherry mixture in a blender. This should make about 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Pour liquid into a bowl or glass measuring cup and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator.
3. Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan and add sugar. Allow sugar to dissolve into coconut milk over low heat. Once sugar is dissolved remove pan from heat.
4. Combine the cherry-wine liquid and the coconut milk in a pitcher or large measuring cup that will allow for easy pouring into popsicle molds. You should have about 1 3/4 cup of liquid total. Fill popsicle molds.
5. Let popsicles set in freezer for at least 8 hours. To remove popsicles from mold, run cool water over popsicle mold for about 60 seconds. You’ll see the popsicle start to release from the sides of the mold, then you can gently remove the popsicle.

Need more boozy recipes? Check out the other Recipe Redux submissions by clicking on the blue frog below! Stay cool!

Top 2 Minerals for Bone Health

I was asked to contribute my thoughts on the top 2 minerals for bone health, along with other fellow health professionals, on the AlgaeCal blog. AlgaeCal has a great blog with regular updates, so after you read the post on minerals and bone health, take some time to look around their site! Lauren Slayton of Foodtrainers and Vicki Shanta Retelny are two top dietitians in my opinion, so I’m thrilled to be in the mix with them on this post!

So…can you guess which two minerals I chose for optimal bone health? Read the full post here.

Photos courtesy of Alice Henneman 

{Meals for One} Shiitake & Avocado Sammie

Who doesn’t love a good sammie? Especially in the summer time when it’s too hot to eat anything else except salad.

Shiitake mushrooms are perfect for vegetarian sandwiches because they have a hearty texture and rich flavor. Plus, they’re loaded with good-for-you vitamins and minerals, such as pantothenic acid, vitamin B2, and selenium. The cool and creamy avocado pairs well with the shiitakes and provolone cheese.

Make sure you choose a hearty, crusty bread for this sandwich to stand up to the hearty shiitakes. Nobody likes a wimpy sandwich. Just look at it…that sandwich is fierce.

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Shiitake & Avocado Sammie

Olive oil
Shiitake mushrooms (about 6 caps)
1 thin slice of white onion
Pinch of garlic powder
2 slices quality bread (I used an Italian Rosemary bread)
1 slice Provolone cheese
1/2 ripe avocado

Directions
1. In a skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add shiitake mushroom caps and saute for about 5 minutes, flipping occasionally.
2. Add 1 tablespoon water, onions, and garlic powder to the skillet and allow water to evaporate.
3. While the onions and mushrooms continue to cook, toast bread lightly in a toaster oven. Once toasted, add provolone cheese to one piece of bread so it can melt slightly.
4. Spread the avocado on the other piece of bread and sprinkle just a pinch of salt over the avocado.
5. Arrange the mushrooms and onions on the avocado, then top with the cheesy bread slice.

 

Fresh & Festive for the Fourth

Red, white, and blue. Maybe it’s the American in me, but I think those three colors make for stunning display. Keep your Fourth of July fresh and festive with radiant blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and celebrate the flavors of summer! These recipes are a great place to start.

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1. Berries & Feta Salad from Recipe Runner 2. Red, White, and Blue Smoothie (Vegan) from EarthyFeast 3. Blueberry, Strawberry, and Jicama Salsa from Two Peas & Their Pod 4. Double Berry and Coconut Pops from An Edible Mosaic