MONGO’s Finger Food Fridays – Apple Boats

Each week, we will be posting one of MONGO’s favorite FINGER foods.  These snacks are fun, healthy and yummy!  Round up the kids this weekend and get ready to get your hands dirty.This week, we’ll make something you can make with your toddler, APPLE BOATS!  Here are a few variations.

Totally Tots

Made with apples, pretzels, peanut butter, and marshmellows

Tutus and Turtles

Cut up thick slices of apples and cheese. Use a toothpick to attach the sail.

Try them all or create your own.  MONGO would love to see your APPLE boats, share them below.

 

This post was written by Fareesa

Plan a Trip to the Apple Orchard

Did you know, one hour of picking APPLES burns 208 calories? So get ready because MONGO is going to tell you all the fun things you need to know before you go to your local APPLE orchard this fall.

  • APPLES are:
    • Fat free
    • Sodium free
    • Cholesterol free

A medium sized APPLE is about 80 calories

The only way to tell if an APPLES is ripe is to take a little nibble

APPLES come in a variety of COLORS
dark green, yellow, pink, orange, bright red, dark red, or even a COMBINATION.

The best way to pick an APPLE is place your palm all the way around the firm , unbruised APPLE and gently twist and pull downwards. Place the APPLE lightly in your bag or basket. APPLES are a very delicate fruit. Once bruised, it rots quicker.

Once you’ve picked your APPLES, make sure to ask the farmers which ones are the best to eat.

APPLES are very versatile. You can freeze them, bake them, can them, make them into APPLE cider and make them into so many recipies. MONGO especially likes to eat APPLE pie!

Find an APPLE orchard near you at www.pickyourown.org

MONGO would like to know, what’s your favorite APPLE recipe??

This post was written By Fareesa

Five Ways to Get Involved; They’ll Thank You Later

Let’s face it, we’re all busy parents.  We work, clean the house, walk the dog, and try and save an hour for ourselves.  As parents, our job is to mold our kid’s impressionable minds, distinguishing right from wrong and good from bad. Here is a list to of ideas to develop healthy eating and exercising habits for your children. Together, you are building lifestyle skills for the future.

1. Plan ahead and develop a meal plan with a nutritionist or online

Nutritionists are in high demand.  Everyone is becoming health conscious with the rise in obesity related diseases. By taking a little time to plan ahead, your life becomes A LOT easier and healthier. With a meal plan, you can put together a list of foods your child will enjoy. No longer will the 5 p.m. doom of “What’s for dinner?” haunt you. Ask other parents and friends for fresh food ideas and the best way to prepare them!

Are your kids picky eaters?  Here is a good blog about “Why Toddlers Don’t Like Eating Vegetables” by Mamapedia that recommends sprinkling a little salt or sugar temporarily on vegetables until your toddler develops the right taste buds. Fresh vegetables are more nutritious and usually better tasting than canned.

Another idea? Get your children involved!  Consider a “make your own pizza” station at home.  Placing a platter of fresh vegetables and all the other ingredients develops a sense of curiosity and a new canvas to explore their creativity.  NickJr has fun recipes for your kids.  Check it out here.

2. Talk to your pediatrician

Your family pediatrician may help you find the best option.  You can schedule follow-ups and keep track of your child’s growth and improvement.  Their doctor can also tell them the health issues related to childhood obesity.

3. Join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign

First Lady Michelle Obama is working with communities to stop childhood obesity.  Her Let’s Move Campaign demonstrates what you, as a parent, should do to help your children be active.  Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for better meal plans.  Join the Let’s Move Meetup, to connect with parents in your community and together raise a healthier generation.

4. Set a good example

Children are very impressionable.  If you make bad food choices and enjoy being a couch potato, chances are your kids will too. Take 30 minutes in your busy schedule to go play with your kids.  Live in a cold climate?  Encourage moves you learned in your aerobic class, like who can jump the highest or play your child’s favorite song and groove to the music!

5. Limit media exposure

This is one of the most important things you can do for your kids.  Media, which includes, TV, video games, and Internet are affecting your child in more ways than you can probably think of.  Here’s a good article called “The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity.”  It lists the media’s influence in obesity for children as young as two.  The time children spend on various media is time away from physical activity.  What can you do to limit your child’s exposure to the media?

Hope this list helps.  What would you do or what have you done to get involved?  With perseverance, we can make a healthier future for our children.  Trust me, they’ll thank you later.

FOOD – Getting to Know It

EAT the RAINBOW. different VITAMINS and NUTRIENTS distinguish themselves through colors. By combing colors, you consume more nutrients in natural form aka the most effective form.

 

A+ BROCCOLI:

– more vitamin C than an ORANGE

– as much CALCIUM as a glass of milk

3 TIMES more FIBER than a slice of whole wheat bread

– popularity increase of 900% over 20 years

 

Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family and apples are a member of the rose family

 

Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Bananas are all FRUITS

 

B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

Think you don’t like them? Try another one. There are over 500 different types of bananas! Bananas are mash-able, freez-able, bake-able, and port-able. A banana a day is a filling, 99.5% fat free snack, with a rich source of potassium to build strong muscles!

 

Honey is the ONLY food that never spoils. With a lower glycemic index than sugar (meaning a slower and healthier absorption rate into the bloodstream), honey is a great substitute for sweetening drinks, cereals and baked goods.

 

Mongo Mystery: What is the only FRUIT with seeds on the outside ???

FOOD Deciphered

meet ANDI

ANDI, meaning Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, ranks FOOD on a scale of 1-1,000 based on the number of nutrients per calorie (# of nutrients/ # of calories) Holding the perfect score of 1,000, KALE and COLLARDS (both dark leafy greens) provide the most nutrients for the fewest number of calories. The first fruit to make the list are STRAWBERRIES, weighing in with a score of 212. With a spread of 788 points, the moral of the story is EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!

http://www.goodlifer.com/2011/07/andi-scores-helping-you-choose-nutrient-dense-foods/

 

FOOD WORDS

ORGANIC– food produced with no synthetic pesticides(keep bugs away), chemical fertilizers(grow faster), genetically modified organisms (GMO- combing DNA molecules from different sources) and irradiation (exposed to radiation)

CONVENTIONAL– food produced with chemicals, including fertilizers (grow faster), insecticides(reduce bugs and diseases), herbicides (reduce weeds), and antibiotics (growth hormones)

GLUTEN FREE– gluten is a protein found in grain products such as wheat, barley and rye. Since humans evolved as hunters and gathers, the main protein source was animal, not grain. Our digestive systems are slowly adjusting, explaining the sensitivities to gluten.

HEIRLOOM– most commonly used to describe a variety of tomatoes, heirloom seeds are saved from the best crops each season. The seeds are passed down through generations unaltered so their unique tastes can shine through.

Healthy Tips Calendar

NUTRIENT– substances needed to build cells, regulate internal body processes, and supply energy. Carbohydrates (sugars, starches, and fiber), fats ( saturated and trans fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), protein ( enzymes-metabolism, amino acids, myosin-skeleton) and vitamins (A, B1-B12, C, D, E, K) are the main nutrient groups.

GOOD FATS/ BAD FATS– fats which are solid at room temperature (saturated and trans fats) are bad, while fats that are liquid at room temperature (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are good.

 

FOOD LABELS?!?!

Check out this 2 minute video for quick tips in deciphering food labels

Confusing Food Labels

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/video-hub/food/diet–health/confusing-food-labels/16817885001/54212443001/

 

SHOPPING BUDDY

Do you walk into grocery stores and become instantly overwhelmed by all the choices? Fear no more, ShopWell is the companion you’ve been looking for. Take 3 minutes to create a personalized profile including your likes, allergies, and goals. Then search ShopWell’s extensive food database, where items matching your unique needs appear. Discover new foods, create grocery lists, and take the mobile app along with you to take the stress and time out of grocery shopping!

http://www.shopwell.com/

Cartoon Characters: Higher Authority Than Parents?

Do your children drop everything for Dora the Explorer and Shrek, but won’t listen to a word you say? These lovable characters influence the games kids play, the toys they buy, clothing they wear, and even their bed sheets. Where does it stop?

Leaving parents with little influence, these popular characters have even started to shape food choices. In an article by Heath.com, cartoon characters debuted on food items as early as the 90’s with green Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies.

Dr. Thomas Robinson, M.D., a professor of child health at the Stanford University School of Medicine says the use of TV and movie characters on food packaging is “designed to access certain feelings, memories, and associations. If you associate certain products with things that are otherwise considered fun, it’s going to make those products seem more desirable.”

Food and beverage companies spend more than $1.6 billion a year in licensing and cross-promotion efforts to attract kids’ attention. Cartoon characters appear on unhealthy food like chips, cookies and salty crackers. Good news though, they also started to use the same characters on healthy foods. Problem? Health experts believe children will confuse junk food to be nutritious.

According to a study, children develop an emotional connection with name brands as early as three-years-old. Researchers put 40 children to the test. Each child was given two clear plastic bags containing the same foods, but one bag had a sticker of an adored character and the other didn’t. The children claimed the food in the bag with the cartoon character tasted better, the apples were crisper, and the carrots were crunchier. What does this mean?

How can we limit character influence over children’s junk food consumption? Would it be beneficial to ban all cartoon characters on unhealthy snacks? Would you spend the extra dime on character packaging to ensure your child is eating nutritious foods?