Get Out of Your Snack Rut

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I am in officially in a snack rut.  And with summer here and kids home all day, I needed some new healthy snack ideas for kids. Stat. Because when I am not prepared, the kids go and help themselves to stuff in the cupboard, you know the cereal bars and packaged stuff. Not good.

So I called upon my friend, Kelly, a personal trainer with a passion for fitness and nutrition, to give me some new healthy snack ideas for kids. To read more recipes from Kelly visit www.sneakersandskillets.com.

10 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids

(and adults too!) 
by Kelly Evans

healthy snack ideas for kids

1. Go for Fresh Veggies + Fruits 

Before getting into recipes and snacks you have to put together, I just have to shout out to the fact that the best snack option ever is… RAW VEGGIES! I know you may cringe and your kids might not be super excited, but the health benefits are insane, and if you are buying fresh, organic produce, you may just find they taste a whole lot better! The tastiest raw veggies in my opion (get organic for better taste and better nutrients) are:

Carrots

Celery

Red, yellow or orange bell peppers

Sugar snap peas

Cucumbers

Cherry tomatoes

Jicama

Fresh fruit is a definite runner up to a great choice for snacking as well – especially if you have a sweet tooth! Again – shoot to purchase organic, no pesticides produce whenever you can.

And If You Just Gotta Dip…

If you or your kids have to have a dip for your veggies, hummus is a great option, but read your ingredient label and look for minimal added processing agents, also check your portion size and don’t over-dip!

Almond butter is also a great dipping option – again check your portion size.

Also try apples with Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Dip <— my favorite recipe!

Peanutbutter-dip

2. Coconut Oil Popcorn

Melt about 2 TBS coconut oil in a large pot over med-high heat.

When the oil is piping hot, pour in 1 cup of popping corn.

Cover and wait for your corn to pop – shake your pot here and there to prevent kernels from burning.

When you hear the popping subside, remove from the heat and immediately transfer to a large bowl.

Shake a bit of pink Himalayan sea salt over. Yumm!

coconut oil popcorn

3. Mudballs

½ cup peanut or nut butter alternative & ½ cup honey melted together over low heat, add:

½ cup flax seed meal

½ cup sesame seeds

½ cup cocoa

1 cup oats

Mix all together and roll into balls. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

4. Funky Monkey Smoothie

In a blender combine:

8 oz milk or substitute

1 handful spinach

1 frozen banana

2 TBS cocoa

1 TBS honey

2 TBS peanut butter or nut butter substitute

Handful of ice.

Blend until smooth.

roasted 5. Roasted Broad Beans

These roasted broad beans are our new favorite snacks, especially for on the go.

We get the sea salt variety, but there are many different flavor varieties.

I find there are extra/unwanted ingredients when you start getting flavored things – so if you can, just stick to sea salt!

Sprouts usually has them on sale, 2 bags for $6.

6. Roasted Sea Salt and Vinegar Chickpeas

You can make your own, or buy them at your local market. Crunchy, salty, and you can even make cinnamon and sugar varieties…! Similar to the broad beans, but a nice switch sometimes.

Here is a great recipe for homemade salt and vinegar chickpeas.

salt-and-vinegar-roasted-chickpeas-1-5

7. Raw Nuts

I know it may seem a little boring, but they are crunchy, munchy, and healthy! I like to have a little cup that is the correct portion size (about 1/8 – ¼ cup is a serving), pour my amount, and when they’re gone, they’re gone…no over-indulging!

8. Almond Butter Greek Yogurt Parfait

8 oz plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 TBS almond butter, or alternative
2 TBS hemp hearts

This feels almost like a special treat or indulgence in the middle of the day – but it’s so great for you – packed with protein, healthy fats, and yummy!!

9. Hard Boiled Eggs

These of course fall within your optimum nutritional food plan.

Drizzle with a bit of Siracha sauce, salsa, or homemade guacamole – you have a dynamite clean and high protein snack.

hard boiled egg

10. Easy Homemade Guacamole

Dump all together into a bowl:

1 avocado, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
¼ cup purple onion, finely diced
Pinch of salt – to taste
Juice from one lime – to taste

Smash everything together with a fork and add more lime juice or salt depending on flavor preference. Carrots, jicama and celery are super delish dipped into guac!

Healthy Guacamole

11. Chia Seed Pudding

I have made this three ingredient chia seed pudding a few times and really look forward to savoring it as a decadent treat. Perfect amount of sweet and super creamy – you can feel good knowing you are nourishing your body while eating it too!

three-ingredient-chia-pudding

 

Do you all have any good, healthy snack ideas for kids to share? Please comment below! 

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Yummy 4th of July Recipes for Kids

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Yummy 4th of July Recipes for Kids

Break out the adorable red, white and blue outfits, sparklers, stars and stripes…because the 4th of July is right around the corner this week!  I love, love celebrating this holiday with my family, and have complied a round-up of fun 4th of July recipes for kids, sure to please even the littlest of eaters (and critics!) at your family BBQ.  Plus, you’ll have fun making these with your tiny chefs!

4th of July Breakfast Toast
Idea and image found on http://www.buzzfeed.com 

  4th of July Breakfast Toast

How cute is this??  A great, pretty healthy way to start off your holiday…and sure to impress your kiddos.

Firecracker Popcorn
Idea and image found on http://thenerdswife.com

Firecracker Popcorn

A yummy, easy, festive snack – yes, please!

4th of July Fruit Kabobs
Idea and image found on http://thefrugalgirls.com

4th-of-July-Fruit-Kabobs-from-TheFrugalGirls.com_

There are SO many creative ways you can make fruit kabobs, but I thought this one was pretty cool. I especially love the addition of the star marshmallows – yum!

Watermelon Pops
Idea and image found on http://catchmyparty.com 

Watermelon Pops

This is seriously the easiest recipe I found.  And you know what?  My kids will probably eat these with more enthusiasm, simply because they look like a popsicles.

4th of July Strawberries
Idea and image found on http://www.cutefoodforkids.com

4th of July Strawberries

Deliciousness. Period. My kids will probably eat 20 of these at a time!

American Flag Veggie Tray
Idea and image found on http://www.livinglocurto.com

American-Flag-Vegetable-Tray

I thought this was a really adorable way to serve your veggies.  And you can pick and choose your vegetables, depending on your family’s preferences (and flag color coordination, of course!).

Fruity Stars and Stripes Flag
Idea and image found on http://www.bettycrocker.com

Fruity Stars and Stripes Flag

My kids will pretty much eat anything with graham crackers.  And this is such a cute way to get them involved and help make 4th of July edible “flags.” Love it!

Wild Berry Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches
Idea and image found on http://www.partytipz.com

Wild Berry Frozen Yogurt Sandwiches

This is a (semi) healthier dessert option to serve your kids and party guests – and it looks delicious!  Frozen berry yogurt with red/white/blue sprinkles, sandwiched between graham crackers. YUM!

Red White and Blue Rice Krispie Treats
Idea and image found on http://mylitter.com

4th-july-rice-krispie-treats-

Again, I have found SO many Rice Krispy treat recipes, and I thought this one looked super fun for the 4th of July. And such a cute (and easy!) treat to make with your kiddos!

MnM Sparklers
Idea and image found on http://ourbestbites.com

Pretzel Sparklers

Not only a delicious dessert to serve, but how fabulous would these look, doubling as centerpieces?  So fun for a family 4th BBQ!

What are your favorite kid-friendly 4th of July recipes?  Please share below!
And happy 4th of July!  Enjoy a wonderful day with your families.

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MOMS Orange County

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[Sponsor]

“We believe every baby deserves the chance to be born healthy.” – MOMS Orange County CEO Pamela Pimentel, RN

Moms-Orange-County Local nonprofit, MOMS Orange County is changing lives – those  of the born and unborn by giving families the resources, information and support they need for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

The Importance of Prenatal Care

Many of us were likely over informed on every aspect of our pregnancy.

We read up and studied every topic having to do with pregnancy.  We knew the importance of prenatal vitamins. We had supportive partners that attended lamaze classes. We anxiously awaited every doctor’s appointment to learn more. We avoided sushi and pasteurized cheese. We did kick counts. We knew about proper nutrition.

For those fortunate women like me, our pregnancy was set up for success to give our babies the best chance for a healthy delivery.

But for many women, right here in Orange County, that is not the case.

Many women in low income communities are at-risk for unhealthy pregnancies because they don’t have access to prenatal care, or even know where to go to get the care they need during their pregnancy.  These women might not have easy access to a computer to read up on pregnancy information. Many are in abusive relationships and don’t have supportive partners. Often their living situations are overcrowded and stressful. Or, they are isolated by a lack of transportation.

MOMS Orange County gives these women hope. 

I had the opportunity to tour the MOMS Orange County facility in Santa Ana last week and I was touched beyond words by the work they are doing for these women and their families.

MOMS Orange County provides services to more than 3,500+ pregnant women annually in underserved communities at no cost.

If a woman does not have the means, but is motivated to participate in their programs, MOMS Orange County will support them during every stage of pregnancy and throughout their baby’s first year.

Services include in-home visits, access to prenatal care, referrals, health and developmental screenings, education, classes and workshops to educate moms on all aspects of pregnancy and parenthood.

Breaking the Cycle 

An involved dad is important to the overall health and well being of the family.

MOMS Orange County believes and research shows children with involved, caring fathers have better emotional outcomes, higher IQs, better linguistic and cognitive capabilities. They are often also more emotionally secure, confident and have better social connections.

But many MOMS Orange County families are Latino and come from a culture where traditionally the fathers are not involved in pregnancy and child rearing.

Juan Diego, the Director of Health Education at MOMS Orange County, works with dads to break this cycle and teach them the importance of bonding with their baby.

juan diego

He estimates up to 90% of the dads-to-be he works with had poor emotional connections and relationships with their own father.

He wants to change that, and these dads do too. They want to be better fathers to their own children and better partners to their wives, but many don’t know how.  He gives them the education and encouragement needed to do so.

Workshop for New Fathers 

Juan Diego (incidentally the only male employee!) leads a Workshop for New Fathers in Spanish which focuses on giving men the tools and information to inspire them to be involved when their babies arrive.

The dads are able to ask questions and learn in a supportive environment.

I had the opportunity to witness one of these workshops in person and it almost brought tears to my eyes.  To see the dads holding babies, and the way the babies interacted and looked at them said it all. Total adoration.

baby

In the Workshop, Juan Diego stresses the importance of their role, and covers the topics of infant safety, diapering, burping, swaddling, feeding, holding, soothing, and bathing their new babies.

Here he is giving a demonstration on the importance of never shaking a baby or playing too rough.

infant safety

Perhaps though one of my favorite parts of this workshop was watching the dads talking together in small groups holding infants.  As moms, we have so many opportunities to talk with other parents. Many times the dads don’t have the same opportunities.

dads

The MOMS Orange County Difference  

The positive difference MOMS Orange County is making in women’s lives can be measured in more ways than solely the words of love and appreciation shown by their families, their results are trackable.

Of infants born to mothers in MOMS Orange County’s in-home Maternal Child Health Coordination program:

85% reach a gestational age of 37+ weeks, have a healthy birth weight and spend no time in the NICU

92.5% of babies are on track for achievement of developmental milestones

97% on on track with their immunizations

It’s a beautiful thing.

Get Involved  

To learn more about MOMS Orange County, visit www.momsorangecounty.org.

Hooray! It’s a Tiny Giveaway! 

In celebration of all dads and dads-to-be, MOMS Orange County is generously giving away a $300 gift certificate to www.fodada.com. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids

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A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids

Today, I’d like to share a fun activity at home for little kids this summer…because as much as I love to be an on-the-go mama, with on-the-go kids, sometimes it’s nice to just be at home and enjoy some downtime (especially in the afternoon when it is so HOT to play outside!).

On the flip side, I can only play Legos or My Little Ponies so much before my eye starts to twitch (just keepin’ it real, moms!).  Which means that I am constantly trying to invent (or have the kids invent and create) fun indoor games to play…and if I can get some stealthy learning lessons in there, I will!  Here’s what I call the “Toy Store” game…and it kept them busy for at least two hours!

Prep work

First, I explained that we were going to make a toy store in our playroom – you can pretty much make up any kind of store, but we liked the idea of a toy store the best.  I thought if we played grocery store, they may eat all the “merchandise” before the game even began – lol!

I asked them each to pick seven toys (you can choose any number you want) and set them aside.

“Build” your toy store

Next, I gave them the task of “building” their store.  We have these large play “bricks,” which worked perfectly, but let their imaginations take over.  Part of the fun is letting them create this space!  Get out blankets, blocks, fabric boxes, let them move kid furniture around…whatever they want to do.  My one rule – they had to work together as a team.

Pricing

Then, I had them work on price tags. Here’s where you can sneak in a math lesson and work on fine motor skills.  Each of my kiddos have different things they need to practice, so I assigned each kid a job.  My 5-year-old had to trace rectangles (to immulate price tags) and then carefully cut them out. Next, my 7-year-old assigned each price tag a different monetary value.

A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids_2

Raid your piggy bank

Here’s my kids’ favorite part – I had them dump out their piggy banks and put handfuls of real money in little ziplock bags. I had them each categorize pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters – then pick them up (a great fine motor building activity!) and put them in their ziplocks.  They thought they were rich!

Set-up your store

Here’s when we put the final touches on their “store.”  I had them place each of their chosen toys in the store space, and then assign each toy a price tag.  Just for fun, I threw in a handful of Dollar Store toys so they had some cool, new things to “buy.”  They were thrilled!

Time to shop!

And, finally…it’s shopping time!  They could each pick out one toy at a time to “buy,” and they brought me (their trusty cashier) the toy and the price tag.  Then, they had to count out the exact change to purchase the item. This was awesome for so many reasons – they practiced counting, money denominations, how they could reach a certain price several different ways (depending on their available coins), adding, subtracting – the math lessons rocked in this game!  Here’s a picture of each of my kiddies, deep in thought (and counting).

A Fun Activity at Home for Little Kids_3

Overall, this was a really fun game that both kids enjoyed…and like I said, it took a good two hours! They worked as a team, used their creativity, practiced math, and even got to “buy” some new toys.  They loved it, and asked if we could play “toy store” everyday.  This is a huge compliment coming from them (even though they had already moved on by the next day – lol!).

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Random Thoughts

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Well, we made it. We made it to summer that is. Friday was the last day of school. But every single year, it never ceases to amaze me just how exhausting the last few weeks of school can be. SO much stuff. Too much stuff. My bestie sent me this text in the middle of it. Yep. Summed it all up.

imfine

Last weekend was my husband’s birthday, and of course, also Father’s Day, so when friends invited us to share their campsite down at El Moro for the night, it was pretty much his idea of heaven. And I couldn’t say no given the birthday/Father’s Day thing.

So we packed up for one night of camping.

The entire back of our minivan was full. We packed for 1 night but could have stayed for a month. Here we are in front of my Dollar Tree birthday tent decoration with my husband forced to do an awkward kneel to get the decoration in the photo.

birthdaytent

We had the most gorgeous 24 hours spent on the beach and camping with a group of friends, so the packing of stuff was worth it for the memories.

And my kids had the time of their lives.

Lesson, if something involves potentially good family memories, just go.

firstdayofsummer

The very next day we headed home so we could unpack and get over to my parent’s house for a Father’s Day BBQ. I snapped this selfie with my dad and sis and I truly didn’t realize until this very photo just how MUCH we all look alike.

I’m on the left, my sis Suzanne‘s on the right.

I love my dad.

dad

Emma’s birthday. Check. Hubby’s birthday. Check. Father’s Day. Check. Next up, Morgan’s birthday. Yes, my three family members all have birthdays within three weeks. Um, it’s a lot of celebrating.

One to go.

I recently learned about this company Shindigz and was given a credit to shop for supplies for my little one’s birthday party. We are talking full party themes of stuff. Including lots of personalization options.  I had so much fun. You really could outfit your entire party without having to step in a store. Look out for post to come on all the adorable rainbow birthday party goodies I found.

Squeal.

1B136E41-BE23-E469-887C805D534F7D1D

Speaking of Morgan, yesterday was her first day on a swim team.  I was on a swim team growing up for many years and I have a lot of good memories of swimming.

I love the culture and the sport.

My heart went pitter patter a bit when I saw her in the cap and goggles. Is there such thing as “Swim Moms”?

swim

Happy beginning of summer to you! How has yours treated you thus far? 

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