Happy Halloween! I bet you’re expecting a blog all about how horrible candy is and that you should help your kids avoid it this Halloween at all costs. But, man have we got a surprise for you! The reality is that sugary junk foods like candy exist in the real world! Your kids have access to it at school, at friend’s houses and for many of you, even in your own home. Just like everything else, the trick is to teach your kids how to enjoy their treats responsibly. For many kids, simply heading out for an evening of trick or treating with a tummy full of nutritious, filling foods will help them make better decisions and not overeat all of the sweet treats they receive.
Here are a few simple & fun ideas to help you fill your family up before you head out for a night of Halloween fun!
Turkey Mummy’s: Slice your mummy wrap (square wonton wrappers) in to strips. Then, wrap the strips around your mummy (a turkey hot dog) and bake. 350° for 20 minutes should do the trick!
Pumpkin Veggie Tray: Simply fill a plate with any vegetables of your choice and use them to make a pumpkin outline. Your kids will think its fun to make and then enjoy snacking on it too!
Pumpkin Krispies: Prepare your crispy rice treats the way you’ve always done it. But, add orange food coloring once your marshmallows have melted. After you’ve mixed in your crispies, set the mixture out on parchment paper in ‘blobs’ to let it cool. When it has cooled, but not quite set, form the blobs in to a pumpkin shape and add your features. We used chocolate chunks for the eyes and nose, almond slivers and white pearl candy for the mouth and Twizzlers for the stem. But, you can use your favorite treats to decorate your pumpkins.
Strawberry Ghosts: A Halloween twist on an old favorite. Using white dipping chocolate, give your strawberries a ghostly cloak, then decorate their faces using chocolate decorators icing.
We hope you all had a happy National School Lunch Week. Like we said in the NCES HealthLinks Newsletter, School Lunch Week is all about raising awareness for this cause and praising those that are doing a great job of actually improving school lunches for children across the country. In our last newsletter, we asked our readers to participate by submitting their list of favorite blogs or websites that they think are the best resources for packing yummy, healthy lunches. Here’s what we got from you! (In random order)
- TheLunchTray.com: The Lunch Tray is a blog all about food and kids, both in school and out. The blog has a big focus on school lunch reform. But, also is passionate about sharing ways to feed your kids healthy both in and out of school. From articles about current trends and issues to recipes that will help your family eat healthy, The Lunch Tray is a great source for healthy families.
- 100DaysofRealFood.com: 100 Days of Real Food has one goal: Eat without processed foods! It may seem like a lofty goal in today’s society. But this blog can help you do it. It’s full of tips, recipes and lots of resources perfect for someone that is just trying to cut out processed foods or a seasoned professional that just wants to stay on top of this industry. If you’re just coming around to the idea, 100 Days of Real Food even helps you with their ‘10 Day Pledge’ to help you get on the right track.
- FedUpWithLunch.com: Are you a parent looking for ideas to help your youngsters be fit and active? If so, this is a great spot for you! You’ll find everything here from blogs about how to spend less at the grocery store to cookbook reviews to help you make buying decisions. Looking for more than just a blog? Fed Up with Lunch even has a self-titled book out. The tagline; “How One Anonymous Teacher revealed the truth about school lunches-and how we can change them”.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: ChooseMyPlate.gov is the official website for everything MyPlate. So, although their site covers a lot of topics outside of child nutrition, they offer great resources on school lunches, healthy snacks and even physical activity for kids. Have you seen the Super Tracker yet? The USDA’s super tracker allows you to track your food and activity to make sure they balance! Sounds familiar, huh! Learn about balancing Energy In and Energy out with the NCES EIEO handout.
- NourishInteractive.com/Blog: Great for parents, teachers and everyone interested in kids health and nutrition. Nourish Interactive’s ‘Nourishing Thoughts’ blog is here to help you dig through all of the news you hear about nutrition these days. With more and more studies, products and trends constantly being thrown at us, the goal of Nourishing Thoughts is to do some of the legwork for you and only bring accurate, relevant information to the table.
Well, there you have it; our reader favorites! Going through each of these websites to research their purpose, I found each one of them to bring their own special piece to the table. I guess what Simon Cowell would call their “X Factor”. Using the links above, you can go check out each of the blogs for yourself! From the blog, you can easily follow them on Facebook and other social networking sites. If you like this list, but feel like we left your favorite off, please feel free to leave it in the comments sections so that we can all check it out!
For more great resources, you should check out the NCES Educated Kids section. Here a couple of our favorite products from this section!
MyPlate Munch and Learn Placemat:
Make eating out or in fun with these Placemats. Each one provides activities to teach young children about eating healthy and being active while waiting to eat their food. This placemat is great for in-home, restaurants and any school or hospital cafeteria. Grades Pre-K-6. Pkg of 50, 2012.
Pack lunches fast with these sturdy and reusable containers. Great for work, school or travel and perfect for both children and adults. Dishwasher, microwave & freezer safe. Made of non-toxic, food safe polypropylene (PP) BPA, PVC & Phthalate free. FDA-approved.
The AND Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) is kind of like Christmas in the nutrition and dietetics community. Four jam-packed days of interesting education sessions, networking and foodie events, and the inevitable attempt to fit as many free samples from the Expo into our bags as possible. But aside from the whirlwind of activity, what has and always will make FNCE the extraordinary experience that it is every year, is the energy, the people and the newfound sense of drive you feel every time you leave.
As part of the Executive Board of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group, our theme at the conference this year was “Declare Your Passion.” I had the amazing opportunity to meet and network with registered dietitians who have found a way to take their passions and incorporate it into a career that is both emotionally and financially fulfilling– I’m pretty sure not many other professions can say that! From supermarket dietitians, to authors, to social media gurus, to research experts (just to name a few!) there was never a shortage of colleagues to talk to and learn from.
FNCE is about celebrating collaboration, not competition. This weekend I saw friends reconnecting, long-lasting business relationships being formed, and students interacting with their mentors. We shared ideas, we asked questions, and we motivated one another. The one buzz word that kept being tossed around to describe the 2012 FNCE experience was “inspired,” and I couldn’t agree more.
In essence, FNCE to me this year served as a reminder of how truly lucky we are to be in a profession where we can make whatever career we want. There are no limits, there are no boundaries–we get to wake up looking forward to going to work every day! I’ve already started outlining my 2013 “career to-do list” inspired by my interactions with fellow dietitians this weekend, and I can’t wait to experience it all over again next year in Texas!
Kristen Carlucci, RD
Nutrition Expert for Pitney Bowes
NEdpg Director-Elect of Member Services