Kid-friendly recipes

Fast, fresh and healthy brown bag lunches

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School lunch is an excellent time to refuel your child’s energy as well as help boost concentration and memory for the afternoon. The trick is providing a lunch that packs a nutritional punch and appeals to your child. Live Light Live Right nutritionist Judy Marshel shared her tips with us.

The ideal lunch contains 1/4 lean protein, 1/4 whole grain, 1/4 vegetable, 1/4 fruit and a serving of low-fat dairy. Continue reading →

Healthy Tip of the Month: Breakfast is your best friend

breakfast

It’s true, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact, eating breakfast instead of skipping it can actually help you lose weight. Why?

Well, when you sleep for a full night, your body hasn’t had any calories in 8 or 10 hours, so it’s like a car running on fumes. It needs fuel to get going. (That’s why it’s called breakfast as in, you are breaking a fast.)

If you eat when you wake up, it helps fire up your metablism, allowing your body to burn more energy. Eating breakfast helps you from getting too hungry and overeating later in the day.

If you’re not a breakfast fan, try some of these healthy breakfast ideas:

  • Fresh fruit with low-fat or non-fat yogurt
  • Unsweetened cereal or oatmeal with low fat or fat free milk
  • Eggs
  • Whole grain toast with peanut butter

Drink Up: How to stay hydrated this summer

lemonwater

Did you know that water makes up between 45% to 75% of your weight? That your blood is 80% water? That if you don’t replace what’s lost every day, blood thickens, forcing your heart to work harder and raising your risk of a heart attack? But you choose your drinks wisely, because many are packed with calories.

In hot weather, maintaining a healthy fluid balance can be difficult. Yet staying properly hydrated not only helps you stay alert, but helps control appetite, improve your activity and athletic performance, and keeps every day symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and dry skin at bay.

While a large 24-fl oz glass of iced soda or a fruit juice or a chilled juice concoction or energy drink will keep you cool on a hot day, it can pack nearly 300 calories daily from sugar and other unhealthy ingredients!. So that clearly is not a good choice. But there are terrific low-calorie alternatives to a Big Gulp, and they can be just as tasty. Continue reading →

Scrumptious Smoothies

We’re always on the lookout for yummy snacks. One of our all-time favorites: the smoothie. A smoothie makes a delicious and healthy snack, if it is prepared with low-fat ingredients.

We found a whole bunch of delicious smoothie recipes. Try a few out and tell us what you’re favorite is. The apple/spinach smoothie makes for a perfect wintertime treat. Continue reading →

Amazing Oven Baked Sweet Plantains

8  servings, ½ each/Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe plantains ( when the skin is yellow with spots of black they’re perfect)
  • cooking spray

This recipe couldn’t be easier. And it’s hands down delicious. Plantains are terrific with beans and rice, which make a tasty, easy and healthy meal for the whole family.

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Coat a nonstick cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Cut the ends off of the plantains and peel.
  4. Cut each plantain on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices.
  5. Arrange in single layer and coat tops with cooking spray.
  6. Bake, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until plantains are golden brown and very tender.

    Nutrition Information: Per serving, >½ plantain

    Calories Protein  (g) Carbohydrate  (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
    110 2 28 0.3 2 3.5

Raving About Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is a fantastic one-pot meal. A little goes a long way — and can easily feed a big group. This recipe is also a great way to get lots of vegetables onto the plate without turning off the picky eaters at the table.

6 Servings/Total Time:  2 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried small red or kidney beans, picked over and rinsed, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 6 1/2 cups water 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups assorted brown rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each  ground allspice, ground cloves, cayenne pepper and ground bleep pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or broth 1 tomato, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)

Preparation

  1. In a large saucepan over high heat, combine the beans, 4 cups of the water and the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until the beans are tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaves.
  2. While the beans are cooking, combine the rice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery; saute until the vegetables are softened, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute.
  6. Add the allspice, cloves, cayenne, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Cook for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the cooked beans, the vegetable stock, tomato, thyme and hot-pepper sauce.
  8. Cook until the vegetable mixture is heated through, 6 to 8 minutes.
  9. Divide the rice among warmed individual bowls. Top each serving with beans and sprinkle with the cilantro.

Nutritional Information: Per Serving

Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
382 14 63 9 11 517

Recipe Alert! Best Jerk Chicken

Everyone loves jerk chicken and we love this jerk recipe. It’s tasty, it’s easy and it’s sure to please everyone at dinnertime.

8 servings, 1 breast or drumstick /Total Time: (excluding marinating chicken): 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1½ teaspoons allspice, ground
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper, ground
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper, crushed, dried
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons thyme, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, pureed or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 8 pieces chicken, skinless (4 breasts, 4 drumsticks)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash chicken and pat dry.
  2. Combine all ingredients except chicken in large bowl. Rub seasonings  over chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 6 hours or longer.
  3. Space chicken evenly on nonstick or lightly greased baking pan.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 30–40 minutes or until the meat can easily be pulled away from the bone with a fork.

Nutritional Information: Per Serving

Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
145 4 10 5 1.8 202

The Best Mac n’ Cheese on the Block

Mac n’ Cheese is always a dinnertime winner. But, it’s often heavy on the fat and thin on the nutrition. This recipe cuts down on the fat, so your kids will get all the tasty mac n’cheese they love while making healthier choices.

10 servings, about ½ c each; | Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon no-salt seasoning mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup light or reduced fat  cheddar cheese (about 4 oz/cup)
  • 1 cup shredded light or reduced fat American cheese
  • 3 teaspoons light margarine (made from liquid vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 cups skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt substitute

    Preparation

    1. Bring 1/2 gallon water to a boil, Add macaroni noodles and stir. As soon as the water comes to a rapid boil, cook for another 3-5 minutes until tender. Turn off heat, drain noodles and immediately rinse with cold water to cool the noodles. Drain and set aside.
    2. Combine egg substitute with the milk, then add all seasonings. Mix well.
    3. Mix all cheeses and margarine with the macaroni.
    4. Spray a four-quart casserole dish with vegetable spray.
    5. Pour macaroni-cheese mixture in the prepared casserole dish. Pour the egg-milk mixture over the macaroni.
    6. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

    Nutrition Information: Per serving

    Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
    218 14 22 8 1 355

Real (and divine) Cornbread

Cornbread is a great side with everything from chili to eggs to bbq chicken. Although it’s often made with heavy, fatty ingredients, you’ll never miss them with this tasty recipe. It’s a traditional cornbread that is made without flour, it isn’t sweet and it has a crumbly texture. If you’re looking for a more muffin-like texture, substitute flour for half of the cornmeal.

8 servings |  Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk or nonfat buttermilk

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place oil in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or similar-size glass baking dish and transfer to the preheating oven.
  2. Mix cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add egg and milk (or buttermilk); stir until just combined.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the oil to coat the bottom and a little way up the sides.
  4. Very carefully pour the excess hot oil into the cornmeal mixture; stir until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the hot pan.
  6. Bake until the bread is firm in the middle and lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm.

Tips & Notes  Make Ahead Tip: The cornbread can be made up to 3 hours in advance. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a warm oven.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
172 5 24 7 3 228

Recipe Alert! Yummy Cheese Grits

Who loves cheese grits? We do! They’re delicious and creamy and, if prepared with low-fat, nutritious ingredients, can be a wonderful, healthy meal. We found this terrific cheese grits recipe. Make it with the kids, you’ll be surprised by how quickly it’s gone!

2 servings, about 1 cup each | Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat or low-fat milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup quick grits
  • 1/4 cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (light, reduced fat or low fat) , divided

Preparation

  1. Combine milk, water and salt in a saucepan over medium heat; heat until almost boiling.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, whisk in grits and cook, whisking constantly, until they start to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 2 tablespoons cheese.
  4. Cover and let stand until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the grits are creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Divide between 2 bowls, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese and serve.

Note:

Try using regular grits rather than instant grits, as they are more nutritious. This would require about 20 minutes of cooking as compared to 2-3 minutes.

Nutritional Information:  Per serving, 1 cup each

Calories Protein  (g) Carbohydrate  (g) FAT (g) Fiber (g) Sodium (mg)
183 9 26 5 1 217