June 18, 2024

Trick your Kids into Healthy Eating by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Trick your kids into Eating Healthy

It’s Halloween Time!  This marks the beginning of the holiday season when we often find ourselves celebrating weeks prior to the arrival of each holiday.

Begin the season of candy, pies, and cookies with healthy goals set in place.  By committing to a healthier lifestyle now, you can save yourself from ever seeing the scale get to that not so pleasant number at the end of December. Candy is always going to be on the store shelves.  Before buying any candy, try waiting a few days or at least a week before Halloween and school parties.  You may not get the best sale price but you will be saving yourself a lot of guilt and calories.

A healthier option to buying candy and treats is to make them yourself with the help of your kids.  Camouflaging fruit with fun kid-friendly toppings is an easy way to trick your kids into eating healthier this Halloween.  Easy treats such as berries drizzled with chocolate, apple slices dipped in yogurt and granola, and chocolate bananas on a stick are nutritious and delicious.  It doesn’t have to be trick or treat this year. Try doing both, and enjoy a healthier holiday season.

Chocolate Banana on a Stick:
1 banana
2 craft sticks
chocolate melting discs
granola, coconut or sprinkles

Cut the banana in half. Insert a craft stick into the flat end. Melt chocolate in double boiler.  Roll banana halves in melted chocolate. Then roll them in granola, coconut or sprinkles. Put into freezer for at least 1hour.  Enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Helen is the founder of Professional Nutrition Consulting and The 24_7 Dietitian app. She’s a mom of 5, contributor for the Huffington Post, triathlete, and chocolate lover. Helen is passionate about educating families on how to cook healthy meals and snacks at home. You can now receive Helen’s Personal Nutrition Coaching thru her 24_7 dietitian app-available on iOS and android. Go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com for more info.

Energy Boosting Smoothie by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Energy Boosting Smoothie: Avocado+Kiwi+Pineapple

This sweet and tangy smoothie recipe contains avocado, kiwi, and pineapple — a nutritious trio that delivers a healthy dose of fiber and vitamin C. Avocado provides energy, which comes from its monounsaturated ‘healthy’ fat content. It is also a good source vitamin E, known for its ability to help our skin retain its natural moisturizers. Vitamins C & E work as antioxidants to block cell damaging free radicals. Over time, these free radicals may contribute to the aging process and the development of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Enjoy looking and feeling younger with this energy boosting smoothie.

(2 servings)
•    2 cups ice, crushed
•    1/2 avocado
•    2 kiwi, peeled and sliced
•    1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
•    ½ cup almond milk
•    2 teaspoons honey

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
2. Pour and garnish with a slice of kiwi.

COMING SOON! Helen’s new app: The 24_7 Dietitian app download is FREE, and is iOS and Android friendly.  It is a healthy extension of Pro Nutrition’s passion of helping people achieve their weight loss goals by living a more nutritious and healthy lifestyle.  The 24_7 Dietitian app will allow users to journal and track  their nutrition and fitness goals, post questions and pictures, and most importantly have the ability to have personal nutrition coaching anytime of the day (for a monthly fee of $20). Follow her on Twitter @24_7dietitian and check out her site www.pronutritionconsulting.com for more information.

Family Biking Fun by Jennifer Austin

Consider riding bikes for fun as a family. Pick up a bike map at your local bike shop, sit around the kitchen table together and plan a route for a group pedal.

Safety is paramount when riding with little ones. Helmets are a must for all riders. Teach kids these principles so they became safe riders:

Kids in the middle. Riding with one adult in front and one adult behind is a way to make sure everyone stays safe and with the group.

Buddy-up. The buddy system still exists because it works. For big groups, each rider should choose another to keep an eye on.

Focus forward. Reminding kids to focus their eyes forward at all times will insure they see obstacles in the road such as acorns, bumps in the road, tree branches and the like.

Shout it out. When riding with others, communicating about upcoming obstacles or changing direction is nice habit to put in place. For example, simply pointing at the ground as you’re riding by a hazard on the bike path will alert those behind you to something in the road they should be aware of.

Keep it steady. Riding at an even pace adds fitness benefits, but more importantly allows those around you to anticipate your moves. Darting in and out of traffic or speeding up and then randomly stopping creates a hazard to those around or behind you.

Yield to cars. Just because a cyclist legally has the right of way, doesn’t mean the driver sees them. Always assuming the driver does not see you, is a great rule. When in doubt, simply teach your kids to pull to the side of the road, stop and wait for the car, other cyclist, pedestrian, etc to pass.

Rules of the road apply to cyclists too. Cyclists should obey all road rules just as they are required as in a car. For example, teach kids to stop at stop signs, stop for red lights and pedestrians, ride on the correct side of the road, ride in the bike lane single file, and signal to motorists their course (right turn, left turn, etc.)

Pass on the left only. Slower riders should always ride on the right side of the bike path or road, allowing other riders to pass you on the left.

Be seen. Insist every rider wear visible clothing. Choose bright colors, reflectors or even a flashing light that attaches to the seat post is a great idea to insure visibility to cars, other riders and pedestrians.

Ride for fun and boost fitness for the whole family. No mileage or speed requirements. Stop and smell the flowers or check out an interesting sight along the way. Pack a lunch or snacks and sit and relax at your destination for awhile. Just go!

Homemade Chocolate Trail Mix by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Homemade Chocolate Trail Mix

Looking for a healthy and easy snack to serve your kids after-school?  A game day tailgate party?
This healthy trail mix is kid approved.  After mixing up a few different batches, this one scored big!  I received 5 smiles.  Everyone loved the sweet and slightly salty mix. The Chex cereal and bunny grahams are an all-natural source of whole grains.  The raisins contain antioxidants and fiber.  The peanuts complete this healthy well-rounded mix with their addition of protein, fiber, and “good” fat.

2 c  Chocolate Naturally Flavored Chex Cereal
1 c  Annie’s Bunny Grahams-Honey Flavored
1 c  Chocolate Covered Raisins (*dark chocolate is a healthier option)
1 c  Roasted Peanuts-Lightly Salted

Mix and enjoy!
*For kids – practice portion control by using small snack size bowls or baggies.


Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, R.D. Helen is a Registered Dietician with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children. For more nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on Twitter via @HelenAgresti. For more information, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com.

Baked Krispy Kale Chips by Helen Agresti R.D.

Baked Krispy Kale Chips

Have a salt tooth?  This is the easiest and most nutrient dense chip recipe.  Kale is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family.  It’s relatives are broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.  Kale chips are a healthy alternative to store bought fried corn and potato chips.  They are packed with nutrients like vitamins C, K, and E.  Kale can help lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and raise your HDL or “good” cholesterol.

•      1 bunch of kale
•      1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
•      2 teaspoons sea salt
•      2 tablespoons balsamic glaze (optional)

1.  Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2.  With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and dry kale with paper towels or salad spinner.
3.  Place kale in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and combine well.
4.  Spread kale leaves out on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
5.  Bake until kale is krispy with lightly browned edges (approximately 15 minutes).
6.  Allow to cool on baking sheet.
7.  Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve!
1 cup < 50 calories


Recipe courtesy of Helen Agresti, RD. Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Family Fitness by Brett Klika, C.S.C.S

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) nearly 70% of America’s adults and about 30% of our children are overweight or obese.

It appears these stats aren’t independent.

Research suggests overweight, inactive children often come from overweight, inactive parents.

The cycle of caloric over-consumption and sedentary behavior in the home appears to be taking its toll on all members of the American family unit.

Children’s attitudes and behaviors towards exercise and nutrition are significantly influenced by their parents.  If mom and dad see exercise and quality nutrition as punitive, odds are, the kids will too.

On the other hand, if exercise and nutrition are embraced and celebrated in the home as part of a happy, healthy lifestyle, children learn positive habits for a lifetime.

A family that exercises together THRIVES together.  

Getting off the couch and sweating with your kids not only burns calories and improves fitness for everyone, it can improve your relationship, decrease stress, and increase academic performance.

Here are three tips to getting your family sweating and smiling together:

1.  Make it all about fun
Exercise is not limited to regimented routines.  Anything that is sustained, active, and physically challenging can improve health and vitality.

Find an activity the family likes to do together and do it a few times per week.

2.  Family challenges
Kids and adults both love a little competition.  While adults are often physically superior in regards to strength and other athletic attributes, certain activities can even the playing field.

Get off the couch and challenge your kids to one of these fun family competitions below, right in your living room!

1.  The Get-Up Guru
2. The Endurance Challenge
3. Fast Hands

3.  Speak kindly
Remember, if parents have a negative attitude about exercise and nutrition, their kids most likely will too.  If children hear that “mom or dad exercises because they’re fat and have to lose weight” it sounds like it’s a punishment.

When mom or dad talk about exercise in a positive light, i.e., “mom and dad exercise because it keeps us healthy and makes us feel good” it sounds like a reward.

Try these 3 tips to create a happy, healthy, active family for life!

Brett Klika, author of the Underground Workout Manual- Fat Loss Results for Busy Adults (www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com) is an award winning personal trainer, author, and international motivational speaker.  He inspires men, women, and children around the world to create a culture of wellness in their home and live the best version of their life.
Contact Brett with questions or comments at brett@spiderfitkids.com.

Getting Picky Eaters to Try New Foods by Kristen Yarker, R.D.

Child-Feeding Expert Child Feeding Expert’s Secret Tip for Using Packed Lunches to Get Picky Eaters to Try New Foods

It’s back to school. Which is the perfect time for me to share this secret tip that’s been super successful with my picky eater clients.

In the 6 years that I’ve worked with Moms and Dads of picky eaters, I’ve noticed that almost every family makes the same mistake. The only time that they offer their picky child a challenging food is at dinner. (Note that a “challenging food” is either a new food or one that their child has seen many times but refuses to eat). This backfires because even toddlers and preschoolers will notice this pattern. And so they will refuse to eat, act out, or come up with any other excuse not to come to the table and eat dinner. For many kids, picky eating stems from being afraid of the food. It’s a developmental stage that I call “food-wariness”. Instead of facing their fears, kids will do everything that they can to avoid the dreaded challenging food.

The first step to getting these kids to try new foods on their own is to have them become accustomed to seeing a new food in front of them. It’s the first baby step in overcoming their fear. By frequently presenting a new food, they become accustomed to the food’s presence. Thus they become more confident. Eventually that confidence, along with their desire to grow up, is what motivates them to try new foods.

So what’s this secret, successful tip that I promised to share?
Include challenging foods in packed lunches.

Now take note that I’m not saying to pack a lunch that only includes challenging foods. What I’m saying is to frequently (not necessarily every day) pack one challenging food along with your child’s favorites. The “bento-box” style lunch kits make it easy to include a challenging food because the challenging food won’t touch your child’s favorites. And, we all know how much young kids don’t like their foods to touch.
Even if your fussy eater doesn’t eat the challenging food, you’re building their food-confidence because you’re helping them become accustomed to seeing a challenging food in front of them. And, what’s even better is that you don’t have to watch your child not eat it (which I know drives so many parents nuts)!

Child-feeding expert Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky). Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at: kristenyarker.com

Cinnamon Chickpea Clusters by Shirley Plant

Busy, busy! Rushing here and there! Take a breather by preparing delicious food ahead of time. Check out this on-the-go healthy snack for the whole family!

Cinnamon Chickpea Clusters
•    1 cup Good Bean Chickpea Sweet Cinnamon
•    1/2 cup puffed quinoa
•    1/3 cup raw almonds
•    1/3 cup raw walnut pieces
•    1/2 cup chopped dates
•    1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
•    1/4 cup water
•    3 tsp agave nectar or honey

1.    Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
2.    Line a cookie sheet with wax paper
3.    With wet hands take approximately 1/4 cup of mixture and roll into balls and place on cookie sheet
4.    Refrigerate overnight

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Pretzel Chicken Nuggets by Shirley Plant

Prepare a healthy post-school snack or dinner fast!

Gluten- Free Pretzel Chicken Nuggets with Dipping Sauce
•    1lb boneless, skinless chicken cut into strips or bite sized pieces
•    2 cups Mary’s plain or curry flavoured gluten-free pretzels
•    1/4 cup tapioca starch
•    1 tsp sea salt or garlic powder
•    1/4 tsp pepper
•    1 egg
•    2 tbsp honey
•    2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard

Dipping Sauce
•    1 cup peaches
•    1/4 cup water
•    2 tbsp tomato paste
•    2 tbsp honey
•    1 tbsp lemon juice
•    1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
•    1 tsp garlic

1.    Place pretzels in a plastic bag and with a rolling pin crush into small pieces
2.    In a bowl mix tapioca, salt and pepper
3.    In a bowl mix egg, honey and mustard
4.    Take a few pieces of chicken at a time and dredge in tapioca mixture, then in in egg mixture, then put into plastic bag and shake and coat with pretzels
5.    Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 350F for 15-20 minutes depending in size of chicken pieces
6.    Mix sauce ingredients together in a blender or food processor and dip chicken into sauce.

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes

Summer Refreshment by Shirley Plant

Summer Popsicles- Dairy, Sugar Free and Chemical Free

Making your own homemade popsicles means you control the sugar content and leave behind the chemicals, plus many kids who have food allergies cannot have store bought frozen treats.

Using frozen or fresh fruit and dairy free milks are a great way to provide a healthy treat for kids- add in some ground chia or even hempseeds to add some protein to your pops! Check out the recipes below and enjoy!

Peach Cardamom

2 cups frozen peaches
1- 1 1/2 cups vanilla hemp milk
1 tbsp honey
pinch cardamom

Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into popsicle molds and freeze


1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup coconut water

Blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze

Recipe by Shirley Plant- Nutrition Coach and Author of Finally Food I Can Eat
www.deliciousalternatives.com. Follow her on Twitter via @sherrecipes