The original article was published on October 31, 2011.
Witches, pumpkins, trick-or-treating, and lots and lots of candy. Today is Halloween. Worried about your kid’s candy consumption? Me too. With all the crazy additives from food dyes and preservatives,to partially hydrogenated oils and the 18 million different types of sweeteners out there, it sucks. Oh, and don’t even try to pretend that you’re not worried about all the candy YOU’LL be eating. So what to do? Turns out there are some creative ideas out there to deal with the candy issue:
A few years ago, a family member made a delicious cookie ball that required no baking and instead, a little freezer time. I ate them with great gusto and told myself, “I need to try making those myself.” I was emailed the recipe and then, like most things, I promptly forgot about it. I’m not sure what made me think of this recipe again. Maybe it was a random search of my Gmail account? Perhaps something I saw on Pinterest? I blame mommy-brain for my complete lack of memory on how I came up with this recipe again.
It was my daughter’s birthday and I needed something simple to make with a group of ten preschoolers. I figured, no bake, what could be easier? I adapted the recipe considerably to make things much healthier and was absolutely astounded at how good these cookies turned out when we were done. No seriously…best dessert I’d had in a VERY long time and that was saying a lot.
As summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to be packing in those lunch boxes, snack bags, and what you’ll be feeding the kiddos when they come bounding off the bus. First and foremost is to feed them a nutritious, protein-packed breakfast to start their day. And, no, a Pop-Tart doesn’t count. Those tasty pastries are essentially a giant candy bar filled with sugar, HFCS, trans fats, artificial colors and sodium. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them growing up, but the over 50 ingredients inside can lead to a myriad of health problems down the road and a sugar crash before they even finish first period.
A great start to the day could include a scrambled egg with whole grain toast, whole grain waffle with peanut butter, oatmeal with berries, or a protein smoothie (blend berries, whey protein powder, nut butter, spinach, yogurt, milk or milk alternative).
There are many prepackaged options out there for lunches, but be careful of dangerous preservatives, trans fats, excessive amounts of sodium and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) that are often laden in those foods. The worst offenders are Lunchables, 100-calorie snacks, packages of chips, cheez-its and juice boxes. The winner for worst offender is the Uncrustable sandwich. It contains 38 ridiculous ingredients (5 of which are sugar and more than a dozen are chemicals) like HFCS, trans fats, sorbates, sulfates, and phosphates. A simple PB & jelly takes 1 minute to make – please make them from scratch. I’m disgusted that my children’s school offers these as alternatives to a hot lunch.
So, here’s my shopping list for the Back-to-School Pantry:
It’s important that lunch contain a protein item, a whole grain carb option, fruit and lots of water. Kids don’t need a sugary treat or cookie for lunch. Between all the treats and birthday parties at school, they get enough sugar! They need a highly nutritious meal that can carry them through the rest of the day for optimal learning.
Some of my favorite containers:
Top photo by o5com via Flickr
About the author:
Cindy Santa Ana, CHC
Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Health Coach dedicated to helping clients discover the healing properties of real food. Successfully healing her own allergies, high cholesterol and migraines with health-promoting foods and exercise was the catalyst that transformed Cindy’s life, health and profession, and she is passionate about sharing this information with others. www.UnlockBetterHealth.com
Note: Some images and/or highlighted product names link to Amazon. If you make a purchase through one of our product links, Be Food Smart receives a small commission that does not cost you anything. Need to buy something from Amazon? Use one of our links and your purchases during that shopping trip will help benefit Be Food Smart.
My hubby used to joke that he looked forward to having a child so he could order food for himself off the kids menu. Why? They are loaded with junk at a reduced price.
Here is a typical kids menu:
Pasta with Butter or Marinara Sauce
Grilled Cheese & French Fries
Chicken Fingers & Fries
Macaroni & Cheese
When I order an egg salad sandwich from a deli, it’s never as good as my mama’s. It’s generally dripping in mayo and has way too much crunchy celery. I recall my mother dipping her finger in the mixing bowl and giving me a taste of the still-warm goodness while being asked if it needed anything. It rarely did. The egg salad of my youth is a creamy, curry-infused concoction that people of all ages enjoy. My love of egg salad has not waned over the years and is now one of my favorite things to make with my own daughter.
We often have other little 4-year-olds over at the house and I’ve discovered that egg salad sandwiches are something that virtually every kid likes. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the kiddos are always very involved in the cooking process and by the end, can’t wait to build their own sandwich. This is my mama’s awesome recipe which only takes about 30 minutes to make, including the time to boil the eggs. If you are prepping with kids, check out the notes at the bottom of the post for ways they can help you in the kitchen.
Updated 4/19/12: Starbucks has announced that due to the controversy surrounding the use of cochineal extract, that they will use lycopene to color their Strawberry & Creme Frappuccino and Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Starbucks is also dropping cochineal extract in their Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.
Virtually every news outlet is reporting that Starbucks is using cochineal extract in their popular strawberry beverages. When I read this, my first thought was, how did people find out? Starbucks doesn’t post or provide any of their ingredients to consumers (only allergy information and the required nutritional information). Apparently, a vegan Starbucks barista notified the site, www.thisdishisvegetarian.com, that Starbucks had changed the formula of their Strawberries & Cream Frappucinos and Strawberry Smoothies to contain cochineal extract. The barista also included a few cell phone pics of the packages to show the ingredient lists.
So what’s all the fuss about cochineal extract? It’s made from…bugs. It’s used as an alternative to artificial dyes and can be found in many foods including yogurt, candy, applesauce, baked goods, and other red processed foods. Here is an excerpt from our Cochineal Extract Ingredient Report on exactly what this dye is and how it’s made:
Arsenic. When I hear that word I immediately think of a TV mystery where someone’s lover is poisoned to death via the toxin. Today, arsenic is not the star in some made-for-tv drama but rather a news-maker for a completely different reason. Arsenic is in our food and you could be eating it every day. Have you read the recent reports of elevated arsenic levels in apple juice? Just weeks later, and now, it’s showing up in many organic food products.
Environmental chemist, Brian P. Jackson, and his team at Dartmouth, discovered that organic foods containing the popular alternative sweetener, brown rice syrup, tested high for arsenic. Among the foods tested were infant formula, cereal bars, energy bars, and energy “shots.”