Halloween festivities are going to be a little different this year because of COVID-19. Many of our favorite celebrations involve large groups of people like fall festivals, trick-or-treating, and school carnivals. This year, families should take significant precautions when it comes to traditional Halloween celebrations. “But how can we have a Happy Halloween and stay safe,” you may ask.
Staying at home and forgoing these usual activities can be a bummer, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate Halloween safely in 2020 and still have all the spooky fun!
Here are our Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween Safely at Home:
1. Have a Halloween Movie Marathon
One of everyone’s favorite things to do when staying home is watching tv or movies. So, why not spend this Halloween in and have a spooky movie marathon with your loved ones. Watching movies together can get everyone in a festive mood! Make the evening even more fun by serving delicious Halloween treats, like the recipes we provide in our next tip. Our staff shared some of their favorite kid-friendly Halloween movies below:
2. Make Spooky Treats
Add some fun and nourish your body this Halloween by making delicious spooky treats with the whole family. This can be as simple as our Spooky Apple Monster recipe, or it can be more elaborate, like making treat bags to give out to friends and family. Don’t forget to remind your little ones to wash their hands before handling any food. If you plan to share Halloween treats with people outside your household, we suggest as a further precaution to wear gloves for each task. Try out our other Halloween tasty treats like these Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers and Veggie Skeletons.
3. Ghost Your Friends and Family
One way to show your friends and family that you care is to ghost them. Sounds weird, right? Unlike leaving someone hanging on a text message, ghosting your friends and family on Halloween is like ringing the doorbell and then ditching. First, make them a fun spooky basket filled with Halloween goodies and treats. Second, drop it off their door, ring the doorbell, and run back to your car. Everyone stays at a safe distance celebrating the holiday in a fun new way. Be sure to wash your hands and sanitize everything before making the basket to prevent spreading germs [ link to germs playlist]. Below is an example of a spooky basket that you and your child can make for your friends and family:
4. Get Crafty with Pumpkins
Carving a pumpkin is a common tradition for most families on Halloween. Luckily, it’s easy to do right in your own home! A basic jack-o-lantern face is a classic, but you can also find simple templates online to try something new. An adult should always be present to help the little ones as they take on this spooky fun task. Once you've finished carving your pumpkins, put a candle inside to light it once it gets dark so that everyone can see your spooky creation.
Another way to decorate pumpkins is to paint them instead of carving them. Painting a pumpkin is safer and simpler for young children. They can also use their imagination to create beautiful paintings. If you are worried about the mess, place a trash bag or newspaper on the ground, and create outside. If painting is not an option, another cool idea is to use stickers instead. You can find affordable Halloween stickers at stores like Hobby Lobby or even at the Dollar store.
5. Ghost Photoshoot
If you have the app Tik Tok, you may have seen the app's ghost pictures trending. If you haven't seen it, all you do is put a white sheet over yourself, cut holes for eyes, or wear sunglasses. Then, take pictures in your spooky outfit doing everyday things like reading or just simply walking. This DIY photoshoot is so easy that you can even do it with your pets, like in the picture below:
Although Halloween won’t be quite the same this year, we hope our tips will help make your Halloween a spooky and memorable event. Just remember that staying at home is the safest option. However, if you are considering going trick or treating, check out our last blog post with 7 Ways to Safely Trick-or-Treat During COVID-19. Happy Halloween!
If you want to hang out with HealthStart and thousands of other parents, make sure to click here to join our HealthStart family on Facebook.
October is finally here, and many families and kids wonder how they will celebrate Halloween this year. Many states are encouraging their families to avoid trick-or-treating because of COVID-19, but if you do decide to participate in trick-or-treating this year, there are ways to do it safely.
Even before COVID-19, most parents took safety precautions when trick-or-treating. For example, they made sure the candy their child brought home was in its original wrapper and hadn't been tampered with, or having their child carry a flashlight or wear reflectors, so they'd been seen. These precautions are still needed for safe trick-or-treating, but this year, there are a few more to consider.
The year's Halloween activities require some additional forethought. Here are our Top 7 Ideas for Safely Trick-or-Treating During a Pandemic:
1. Wear a Mask
Do this even if your family is outdoors and social distancing. Masking is necessary because people outside of your family unit will out and about. Wearing a mask at all times will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep your children safe. Some of the youngest trick or treaters may need help in understanding the importance of wearing a mask. HealthStart explains the ins and outs of wearing a mask in Episode #33 of our Snack Science Video Series.
2. Practice Proper Hygiene
When it comes to COVID-19, it is vital that everyone practices proper hygiene and that they so that they stay safe. Before heading out, make sure everyone has washed their hands and sanitize to prevent spreading germs. Once your kids are ready to trick-or-treat, make sure that your children wait in a socially distanced line instead of bunching up around strangers to get candy. You should also bring hand sanitizer and have your child use it after they get candy. Even if your child wants to eat the candy, you must remind them that they will have to wait to eat it until they get home so you can inspect it for any tampering and disinfect it with spray. While they wait for their treats at home, this will be a great time to have them wash their hands and sanitize before eating any candy.
3. Avoid Houses Not Practicing Social Distancing
Even though grabbing candy is a very brief activity, it can be just as dangerous as throwing a Halloween party. If a house only has a grab bowl, then it would be best to avoid it. "It is a good idea … not having a bunch of kids' hands in the candy bowl," according to Dr. Angela Myers, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy. If you plan on giving out candy this year, a great option would be to pre-make individual candy bags and pass out to trick-or-treaters one at a time.
4. Get Crafty: 3 Ideas Below
Suppose your family plans on giving out candy for Halloween. In that case, check out some of these unique ways that other families have innovated to keep everyone healthy this Halloween. Such as making a candy chute that will keep everyone at a safe distance and allow kids to have even more fun by catching the candy in their bucket.
Have A Halloween Egg Hunt
Just like you would do for Easter, but make it Halloween themed, such as adding glow sticks and candy in the egg so that trick-or-treaters can find their treats. You can make if a fun DIY with your little one by painting some spooky designs on the eggs such as these:
Transform Your Yard Into A Candy Graveyard
This is similar to the egg hunt, but more so! You and your family can get super creative with this one. You can also choose how you want to have trick-or-treaters join in on the fun. You could have one-child come into the yard at a time and having the rest wait in a socially distanced line until it’s their turn to hunt for the candy.
5. Reverse Trick-or-Treat in Neighborhoods
Some neighborhoods plan to reverse trick-or-treat. This is similar to COVID-19 birthday parades. Instead of driving by someone’s house and dropping off birthday presents, drop off Halloween candy instead. This requires a bit of coordination by neighbors, but it certainly can be done. You can also choose to have people drive or walk by the house with an adult delivering candy to the kids. The adults can dress in spooky costumes and make it like a Halloween parade!
6. Follow Your State/Local Recommendations
According to CDC guidance, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating and many regular Halloween activities are considered "high risk" for spreading the virus. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in Halloween activities. At the same time, many state and local governments discourage traditional trick-or-treating such as going door to door. Instead, they suggest that if you put candy in a bowl, you should wash your hands before doing so and leave the candy at the edge of the driveway. Or use a candy chute to keep a social distance like our previous examples. There are many ways to keep a distance; you just have to get creative.
7. Have Fun and Stay Safe
Although Halloween will require us to be more cautious this year, it doesn’t mean you and your child can’t have fun. You can stay as safe as possible by following our tips, practicing proper hygiene, and having a fun Halloween with a little creativity.
One more thing, if you want to hang out with HealthStart and thousands of other parents, make sure to click here to join our HealthStart family on Facebook.
Does your child refuse to eat anything other than pizza and chicken nuggets? Do you struggle to get them to try new foods? You are not alone!
As many as one-third of parents struggle with picky eaters. By the time a child is five years old, most children have established their food preferences. Early food preferences can link childhood and adult health. When children learn smart food habits at a young age, they bring those into adulthood. And we all know it’s much easier to learn a good habit than break a bad one!
Eating a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, is essential to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. However, parents may find it challenging to convince their children to try new, unfamiliar foods once their kids have set their preferences. So you want to introduce your kids to lots of different foods starting in infancy before they establish their likes and dislikes. As they get older, it helps your kids make good food decisions when they know how foods take care of their bodies.
At HealthStart, we give children the science to understand how specific foods keep our brains and bodies healthy. For example, HealthStart teaches that vegetables are rich in nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants, which help boost your immune system, preventing illness.
Below are 10 tips to help deal with picky eaters.
1. Explain that food is a gift
Did you know food is a gift? That’s right; food is a gift. Someone took the time to grow it, get it to the store, and prepare it for them to eat. You can also remind your child that when we receive a gift, we are thankful. Ask your child, “What do you say when you receive a gift? Thank you.” Then you can further explain, “So when someone offers you a new food, you try it, so you don’t hurt the giver’s feelings.” You will also want your child to know that they don’t have to like it, they just have to try it. By trying it, they may discover it tastes pretty good.
2. Practice flexible thinking
HealthStart teaches little ones that it’s important always to try something at least once because that’s how our brains grow and get stronger. In HealthStart’s Snack Science Ep. #33, HealthStart Sharon talks all about flexible thinking and how it makes dealing with change or new things a lot easier. Flexible thinking helps us think about something differently, like foods we think we may not like. By being flexible, kids stay open to foods that might otherwise seem scary or unappealing.
3.Try a little bit at a time
Your child may be hesitant to try something new, especially if they see a lot of it on their plate. A big portion of something may discourage them from trying it. That’s why it’s helpful to introduce them to a new food a little bit at a time. Serving small portions will help avoid overwhelming your child. If they like it, they can ask for more!
4. Try and try again
Younger children tend to test out new foods by smelling or touching, and they might even take a bite and spit it right back out. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, encourage your child with repeated exposure. For example, one night, you could serve a side of green beans, and the next, you include them in a casserole. It’s also helpful to talk about the particular food’s color, shape, smell, and texture to help your child consider more than the food’s taste.
5. Make it fun
Most likely, your child won’t find plain broccoli as visually appealing as a fun dessert. However, making food in a new way, such as creating beautiful snack art, will help your child be more willing to eat foods like fruits and vegetables. An excellent example of making food fun are these Apple Nachos or Hungry Caterpillar SnacksHungry Caterpillar Snack, which are sure to excite your little one.
6. Pair a familiar food with a new one
Another great way to interest your little one in eating new foods is to incorporate foods they already know and love. A great example is to bring in one of their favorite dips or sauces to eat along with broccoli, carrots, or other veggies. You can even whip up a dip that has veggies mixed right into it like this Spinach Yogurt Dip.
7. Get your kid involved
Kids are much more likely to be willing to try foods if they are involved. Next time you’re at the grocery store, have your child help choose the fruits, vegetables, and proteins that look tasty or interesting to them. You can also take them to local Farmer’s Markets to see foods they might not see at the grocery store or discover fruits and veggies in season. While at home, encourage your child to help wash the fruit and vegetables and prepare snacks or meals.
8. Prepare meals/snacks together
Continue involving your child in the meal process by asking them to help prepare what they will eat. While young children may not be able to help with every task, you can still get them involved. Even the youngest can help pour ingredients in a bowl or mix ingredients together. When they help, they connect to their food and are inspired to eat it since they made it with their own two hands!
HealthStart’s Snack Science YouTube series features various simple snack recipes that even the pickiest of eaters will love. Plus, children as young as five can make them all on their own! Check out Ep. #25 to learn how to make Watermelon Pizza.
9. Be creative
There are tons of ways to incorporate a mixture of foods into your child’s meals. You can get creative by sneaking veggies into dishes like a smoothie or spaghetti sauce. When you add veggies to meals in this way, your child obtains the variety of nutrients they need while being exposed to foods in a new way. You can even be creative with desserts! Try making these yummy and nutritious, Healthy Avocado Brownies to sneak in tons of vitamins, fiber, and even healthy fats.
10. Set a good example
Your child picks up their eating habits from you, so showing them that you are willing to try new foods and make healthy choices is extremely important. When they see you eat healthy foods, you encourage them to do so, and you may even find a new food that you both like!
No matter what tips and tricks you try, just remember that your child’s eating habits won’t change overnight. And that’s ok! It’s the small steps you take each day that will promote a lifetime of healthy living. Let us know which tips you plan to try in the comments below.
Most children going back to school will be learning 100% remotely, at least for the first few school weeks. Many schools will continue remote classes on a parttime basis to ensure proper social distancing. This means fewer engagement opportunities with their teacher and classmates and more responsibility on parents.
A child younger than eight years of age may be clingy and won't necessarily understand the difference between "homework time" and "home-play or mommy time." But there are ways to still engage with your child's learning while also establishing boundaries and instilling in them a sense of independence to complete activities and school work on their own.
Why is parent engagement so critical?
Parent engagement is recognized as one of the largest contributors to success, not only in school but also in life. The U.S. Department of Education reports that only 75 percent of American parents are high or moderately involved in school-related activities. This number continues to drop as children get older. While parental involvement naturally declines as children age and gain more independence, the effect of early, positive influence persists to adulthood.
According to the National Education Association, “Ongoing research shows that family engagement in schools improves student achievement, reduces absenteeism, and restores parents' confidence in their children's education. Students with involved parents or other caregivers earn higher grades and test scores, have better social skills, and show improved behavior.”
7 Ways to Engage With Your Child's Learning
Learn with them
Learning along with your children, is a great way to get involved. This learning approach has shown great value in supporting children, both in terms of school readiness and developing positive, long-term health behaviors. HealthStart has many ways for parents to get involved, such as our HEY! Curriculum parent materials include prompts for students to practice what they've learned at home and family-friendly recipes to make together. We also have a Snack Science Video Series where parents can follow along with their child and learn more about the science behind healthy habits.
Take brain breaks
With most classes meeting virtually right now, learning time may look slightly different, including more screen time and less time to interact and play with their classmates. After sitting still for a while staring at a screen, you may notice your child starts to become restless and lose focus. A great way to help with this is to take mini mindfulness brain breaks. Having your child get up and move around or practice some relaxing breathing techniques can help your child release that nervous energy and refocus.
Just a few minutes will do the trick! Check out our Snack Science video Ep. #16 and get your little ones moving with a fun game called Dance Attack.
Set a designated workspace
Learning from home may make it more difficult for kids to focus. That's why establishing a designated workspace at home is so important. This removes distractions and confusion around when it's time to work. You could use a guest room or a specific corner in the living room, as long as it's a comfortable and quiet place to work, it will help your child stay focused on the task at hand.
Help your child get organized
Children can become easily distracted while learning, but being organized can help them stay sharp and learn better. When your little one understands what to expect, they feel better prepared and tend to stay on task. A great place to start is to review your child's schedule with them and make sure they know what the plan is for the day. Having a set schedule will teach your child about setting priorities, so they get the most important stuff done first. Things like setting a designated time for completing homework and studying will also help them form good studying habits for the future.
Set your child up for success
There are a variety of ways to set your child up for success for each school day. Two of the most important are a nutritious breakfast and sound sleep. These two things will help boost your child's attention, span, concentration, and memory and help them stay ready to learn all day. Try setting a bedtime, so they feel rested and ready for school in the morning. Providing a nutritious breakfast full of fiber, protein, and low in added sugar will fuel your kids and prepare them for the day of learning. In general, kids who eat breakfast have more energy and do better in school. Try this recipe for Sweet Potato Boats: HERE
Lead by example
Another way to be more engaged is by showing them ways you involve what they are learning into your everyday life. When your child sees you reading a book and using math to set a budget, they understand why education is needed. This understanding will help them concentrate on their classwork and make them want to improve their skills.
Sometimes children are afraid of getting in trouble because of bad grades or not understanding something, so they aren't as willing to share that they are having a hard time. That's why experts suggest that parents check in regularly with their child's teacher, so you know how they are doing in class. This awareness helps you and your kid understand where they can improve and how you can help them do better. If you see that your child received a bad grade, resist the urge to get upset with them. Learning from mistakes is an essential part of the process. Instead, go over what they missed and contact their teacher to discuss strategies to help your child do their best in class.
We hope that these tips will help you find ways to engage with your child's learning. Your involvement will help motivate your child to want to do better in school and inspire them for a lifetime of success.
What does parent engagement mean to you? Let us know in the comments below.
When the COVID-19 pandemic caused drastic changes to everyday life, many organizations were faced with the imperative need to evolve. Though this has been an unprecedented time, the dedicated Events Committee of HealthStart Foundation has risen to the challenge.
The organization will be hosting the Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala on September 17th at 7 PM CST. The event will include a virtual happy hour, silent auction, and a virtual cooking demonstration led by award-winning Chef Bobo of the Calhoun School in New York City.
Katie Kahn, Events Committee Chair, believes that having a virtual gala creates unique opportunities for HealthStart. “It was a heavily weighted decision to have a virtual gala, but I knew it was not only the responsible decision, but one that gave us a unique opportunity to reach new individuals, companies, and other organizations outside of the Austin area. In hosting a virtual gala, non-Austinites can easily attend and support HealthStart’s critical work,” said Kahn.
HealthStart’s Events Committee has worked hard to make this a one of a kind event that is not to be missed. Throughout the planning process, they have been creative and enthusiastic problem solvers. “We have had to think differently about how to raise money and broaden our reach to continue to make a positive impact on the community during such a challenging time. Additionally, the events committee has really had to come together to reimagine what this year’s gala would look like. This is our first virtual event, so initially, we had to do quite a bit of research to figure out what our approach would be for HealthStart. I am so proud of everyone on the events committee because each person has worked really hard to make this year’s event a success.”
The efforts of the Events Committee have definitely paid off. They have worked hard connecting with businesses and friends to inform them about the importance of HealthStart’s mission and the exciting opportunities the virtual gala has to offer. HealthStart has received a generous and positive response from the community in Austin and around the country. The virtual nature of this event is creating a space to reach beyond the borders of Central Texas. “My hope is that attendees from far and wide fully understand the importance of HealthStart and consider how the foundation can benefit their own communities. I would love to gain new partnerships and re-energize our current supporters,” said Kahn.
This is truly an exciting and unique event. Many people, including Kahn, are looking forward to the event. “I am most excited about connecting everyone who has been so supportive of HealthStart at our virtual event. I am also very excited about watching our headliner, Chef Bobo Surles, in the kitchen! He has been at the forefront of healthy school lunch programs, so watching the expert will be a real treat for everyone who attends. I encourage everyone to visit www.bit.ly/C4KGala to learn more about HealthStart, donate to our cause, and register for our Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala.”
It’s August, so that means we’re all trying to get into a back to school routine. Whether your children are starting classes in-person or online, this change in routine really shakes things up. This often means longer days, more responsibilities, and having less time to rest, but a great way to set yourself up for success is by prioritizing sleep.
Sleep makes a huge impact on our health and well-being. During the day, our bodies work hard to make sure we have all the energy we necessary to do the things we need to do. And by the end of the day, our body craves a break. Good, quality sleep allows our body to rest and recover for the next day. Having a regular sleeping schedule can improve sleep quality and prepare us to tackle the day ahead.
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep?
Getting a full night of rest has many benefits for our minds and bodies, so when we don’t get enough sleep, especially quality sleep, it can harm our health.
How much sleep do I need every night?
One of the first steps to getting a good night's rest is to make sure we are sleeping enough. In general, toddlers need around 12-16 hours of sleep, children age three to six require 10-12 hours of sleep, pre-teens age seven to twelve need 10-11 hours, and teenagers and above need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep isn’t just about the hours slept. The quality of sleep can play a significant role in our ability to perform throughout the day.
What are the benefits of getting enough sleep?
There are many benefits to getting quality sleep each night.
How can I improve my sleep quality?
To enjoy the benefits of getting quality sleep, you might need to adjust your sleeping schedule. Make falling and staying asleep easier by following some of these tips.
What are your tips for a better night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below!
Have you heard about HealthStart’s Cooking 4 Kids Virtual Gala? On September 17th at 7 pm (CST), award-winning Chef Bobo Surles will be headlining HealthStart’s event. Chef Bobo signed up to support HealthStart because he shares the organization’s mission.
Chef Bobo and HealthStart believe that the best way to ensure adults eat well is to start forming good habits early in life. HealthStart knows that investing in early health education is crucial to building the foundation for a lifetime of wellness. One of the ways HealthStart addresses this is with our school nutrition initiative, What Are YOU Feeding?. This program uses a labeling system that helps kids learn which foods are good for the brain, bones, circulatory system, muscles, and digestive system, connecting what they eat at school to their health.
What Chef Bobo and HealthStart do is critical to the future of young children, especially now. It has never been more important for children to understand how their body works and how to keep it healthy. By learning the importance of good health at an early age and providing families with nutritious and affordable food options, we can help prevent illness and future preventable diseases.
When creating school lunches, Chef Bobo’s motto is “Nutrition, bold flavor, and keeping costs down.” Almost everything he makes for lunches is made from scratch. Despite this, Calhoun’s lunches cost about $3 per meal (this is around the average budget for many public schools), proving that we don’t have to spend large amounts of money to feed ourselves and our families healthy, tasty foods. With the lunch program, they hope to promote a healthier mindset about food and eating behaviors.
Who is Chef Bobo?
Robert Surles (aka Chef Bobo) graduated from the French Culinary Institute. He was hired by Calhoun School to change the way their students saw school lunches. Traditionally, school lunches are not known to be very healthy or delicious, but Chef Bobo helped change that.
Chef Bobo believes that learning how to eat is a life skill. With his help, Calhoun began the Eat Right Now Lunch Program, which provides students with healthier meals and promotes a well-balanced diet. Chef Bobo started by offering food that looked like the processed food students were accustomed to, but instead was made with all fresh ingredients.
“I feel that, automatically, if food is made fresh, from scratch, it’s already healthier and tastes a whole lot better than the processed food they were eating,” says Chef Bobo.
Calhoun’s Eat Right Now program has been a model for healthy school lunches. It brings awareness to the impact of school lunch on children and the lifelong habits they form. This program also extends past the kitchen and tries to help students understand how food relates to their physical and mental well-being and even their success in the classroom.
“When kids return to class after a nutritionally balanced lunch, they have “fuel in the tank” to learn. They tend to be more alert.” says Chef Bobo
When you register for HealthStart’s free virtual event, you can watch and follow along as Chef Bobo cooks up his world-famous and family-friendly Jambalaya!
Chef Bobo's Recipes
Chef Bobo is also the author of the Good Food Cookbook. His cookbook features over 140 healthy, kid-friendly recipes along with tips for healthy eating. All the book recipes are favorites in Calhoun’s lunch program and include a variety of foods and cultures.
The book also includes tips on how to involve the entire family. Bobo is a big believer that cooking can be fun and an excellent way for families to spend quality time together.
“Cooking is fun, creative, and somewhat physical. It requires math skills and strategy, along with planning. Parents need to invite the kids to help them. Give kids some responsibility, i.e., if you are scaling a recipe up or down, let the kids do the math. When the food is finished, let the kids prepare the final presentation. Show them the fun that can be had in the kitchen. Also, I think it’s important to take kids to the farmer’s markets to select foods to prepare.”
Here are a couple of his recipes that will be similar to the ones in his books. Both of these recipes are easy to pack for school lunch and kid-approved.
Not only are quesadilla fun to eat, but they are also quick and easy to make. This vegetable quesadilla gives us the taste of quesadilla that we love while also serving assorted vegetables with high amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Ingredients: 2 small zucchini (cubed), 1 red bell pepper (chopped), 1 medium carrot (grated), 8 (8 inch) corn or flour tortillas, 1 cup of shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Directions: Place zucchini, bell pepper, carrot, onion, and mushrooms in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 to 6 minutes. Place two tortillas, side by side, on the prepared baking sheet. On each tortilla layer, cheddar cheese, vegetables, then Monterey jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Top each with another tortilla. Place under the broiler and cook until lightly browned. Carefully turn tortillas and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Remove from the baking sheet and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Cut into quarters and serve. Serves 4 people
Hummus Pitas with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
Chef Bobo’s lunches are mostly made from scratch. Learn how to make your hummus with this Hummus pitas with cucumber yogurt sauce recipe.
2 cans of garbanzo beans, 4 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp. Tahini paste, 1 tbsp. Sesame oil, ½ tsp. Cumin, 2 cloves garlic(crushed), juice 2 lemons
Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:
½ cucumber diced, 1 cup of yogurt, ½ tsp. Salt, 2 plum tomatoes (cut into slices), 1 cup of thinly sliced romaine lettuce, 6 pocket whole wheat pitas
Directions: Mix all ingredients for the hummus in a food processor, process until smooth. If too thick, add some water until the hummus is the consistency of soft mashed potatoes.
Stir yogurt sauce ingredients together, set aside.
Heat pitas in a 350°F oven for a few minutes until warmed. Remove, cut in half, and fill with hummus, 2 tbsp of yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. Serve the remaining yogurt sauce on the side.
If you like the recipes you see, make sure to join us on September 17 at 7 pm CST to watch Chef Bobo work his magic in the kitchen!
Registration for this event is FREE, so make sure to register to access this exciting opportunity. Our goal is to raise $30,000 to get tablets and learning tools in the hands of 100 low-income families, so they can access the vital information needed to stay healthy and return to school safely. With your support, we can build a healthier future for our children. We hope to see you there!
There is not a single food or food group that will give us all the nutrition we need. Because our bodies have an extensive range of needs, it is essential to consume a large variety of foods.
Although there is no perfect food out there, there are “superfoods.” These foods are recognized as being nutrient-packed powerhouses and an excellent choice for improving and maintaining health. You can learn more about nutrients in our previous blog, “What Are Nutrients Anyway?”.
By incorporating more superfoods into our daily eating, we get more of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need and all the amazing benefits that come with them.
Did you know avocado is a fruit? This fruit is well known for its high nutrient value and creamy texture. There are many reasons to incorporate more avocado into your meals.
Avocados’ rich creaminess makes them very versatile in the kitchen. You can even add avocado to desserts! You might be pleasantly surprised. Try this recipe: Avocado Chocolate Mousse.
Fish is packed with healthy fats, protein, vitamin B, and potassium.
Berries are a simple and delicious way to add lots of nutrients to our diets. Some berries to try are raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.
Berries are very versatile. You can enjoy berries in your breakfast, desserts, salads, and smoothies, just to name a few possibilities. Berries can also be bought fresh or frozen and enjoyed all year long. Try adding berries on top of a Watermelon Pizza! Watch the Snack Science video to learn how to make it.
Another superfood that pairs great with berries is yogurt.
Double-check your labels when buying yogurt because many flavored yogurts contain high amounts of added sugar. Instead, look for just fruit or choose plain yogurt. You can always add your own fruits or a little honey to add some sweetness. Yogurt is also great in savory dishes! Try this Spinach Yogurt Dip.
Although they generally go by different names, you have probably had some of these vegetables before. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, and more.
An easy, kid friendly-way to eat these vegetables is by adding them to smoothies. Adding kale in a smoothie adds more vitamins and minerals without sacrificing the taste.
Legumes are fantastic for a quick and affordable meal with a range of health benefits! Some common legumes are beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and lentils.
Beans typically come dried, canned, or frozen, and can easily be added to many of the dishes we already eat. Try this recipe for Chickpea/Spinach Salad with Cilantro Dressing.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains out there. They are beneficial due to their high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients.
Oats are most commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, but they can be found in granola bars, cereals, and many other baked goods. Adding berries and nut butter to our oatmeal can be an excellent way to add even more vitamins and antioxidants
Each of these foods is high in micronutrients and macronutrients that have benefits for our health. By eating a varied diet, we can keep our bodies healthy and happy. To see more recipes using these superfoods and more, make sure to check out our Snack Science Video Series. Comment below to let us know how you’re incorporating superfoods into your meals!
One of the best ways to stay cool during the summer is by enjoying a cold and hydrating snack. What we eat directly impacts our health and ability to keep fresh in the heat. In our most recent blog, we provided tips to beat the heat. One of the ways we mention was by staying hydrated and enjoying cooling meals. Eating healthy and hydrating food during warm weather, when the body loses water and vital electrolytes through sweating, can help keep hydration levels up and provide essential nutrients. Here are some of our favorite nutritious recipes that are great for the summer months.
A fan favorite summertime treat is none other than the watermelon! Not only is watermelon tasty and filling. It is also 94% water and is excellent for preventing overheating. Due to its high water content, they can help us stay hydrated, which is essential if you plan on spending time outdoors.
Our Watermelon Pizza is a fun and refreshing take on the fruit. To make it use a sharp knife, cut off a slice of watermelon right down the middle, about 2-3 inches thick. Use a spatula to spread an even layer of yogurt around the watermelon, leaving a bit of empty space. Layer your fresh fruit on top as you please.
You can add as few or as many toppings as you like. We like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or cherries. If you use strawberries, cut them in half before adding to your "pizza." We recommend drizzling honey on it if you want a little extra sweetness. Pro tip: Using locally produced honey may help people with seasonal allergies.
Watch this HealthStart Snack Science video to make watermelon pizza with HealthStart Sharon!
Find the full recipe here.
Hummus is high in fiber that promotes digestive health and feeds your good gut bacteria. It is also a good source of plant-based protein so it will keep us feeling satisfied for longer, so we can focus on the day ahead. Carrots, cucumbers, and peppers are all full of vitamins and water.
Make your hummus cups by placing a few tablespoons of hummus at the bottom of a small container, then stand raw veggie sticks, like carrots, cucumbers, and peppers, in the hummus. Find the full recipe here.
Nothing says summer like a popsicle on a sunny day. These breakfast popsicles will satisfy any sweet tooth, and they are also nutritious. This treat is made with Greek yogurt, which has more protein and a thicker, creamier, and tangier flavor than regular yogurt. It also contains beneficial nutrients such as protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.
Here's how you can make your own breakfast popsicles: first slice strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis into small pieces. Mix the cut fruit with yogurt. Pour the yogurt and fruit mixture into cups and pop them into the freezer. Don't forget to place a popsicle stick in the popsicle mixture before placing it in the freezer if you prefer eating the treat on a stick like a traditional popsicle. Once it's frozen, you can remove it from the cup and enjoy.
These popsicles aren't limited to the fruits we recommend. Each cup can be personalized with your own favorite fruit. Try mixing in granola for an added crunch.
Find the full recipe here.
Spinach Fruit Salad
Frozen desserts aren't the only snacks that can keep us cool during the summer heat. Vegetables also have high water content making salads a great source of water during the warmer months.
Leafy vegetables, like spinach, contain lots of water to help us stay hydrated, they also have properties that help boost our immune system. In fact, spinach is 91% water. It can help strengthen our bones, which is especially important for growing bodies, and it is rich in Vitamin K, which helps stabilize calcium in bones.
In a bowl, add fresh spinach, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple or peaches, walnuts, and red onions and toss it all together. In a small jar, stir together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to create the salad dressing. Gently mix the salad ingredients and the dressing, and then it's ready to enjoy. For exact measurement check out the full recipe.
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Ice cream tastes great when it's hot outside. Most at-home recipes for ice cream include some kind of dairy ingredient. Did you know you can make healthy and delicious ice cream without dairy by using frozen bananas? This banana-pumpkin recipe is perfect for those who want a frozen treat but can't have dairy. The pumpkin is also terrific for you because it is one of the best-known sources of beta carotene. Food with high amounts of beta carotene may help us by offering protection against asthma and heart disease.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the bananas, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice thoroughly. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 24 hours. Let it rest on the counter for a while before eating to let it thaw so it will be easier to scoop
If you don't like pumpkin, you can substitute it with a cup of frozen berries to make a healthy berry ice cream. Find the full recipe here.
We hope these recipes keep you cool and comfortable. If you recreate any of the recipes, let us know by tagging us on any of our social media pages.
For more delicious recipes and tips for maintaining happy and healthy bodies, check out our Snack Science Video Series.
Summer is here in full force. July and August are usually the hottest months of the year. During the summer, we would normally be heading to movie theaters, hopping into pools, and dining in restaurants to escape the heat. With the closures of some indoor locations and social distancing concerns, many families have taken recreational activities outdoors.
Taking time to go outside and get vitamin D is proven beneficial for our mental health and immune system. However, extended time out in the heat can lead to some unintended issues.
What are some problems that severe heat might cause? Being outside and active in the heat can cause dehydration and increase our body’s internal temperature, leading to heat rash, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Thankfully there are some ways to stay cool this summer and beat this heat.