Summertime Fun

It’s mid-summer and the temperatures are rising!

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These clear and sun-shining days are the perfect time to be active with friends and family. Did you know that it is recommended to participate in an average of 60 minutes of moderate to intense activity every day??

60 minutes of play a day!

Staying active while growing helps…

-Improve mood through hormonal changes in the body

-Increase energy levels

-Keep our hearts strong and healthy

-Strengthen our bones before they stop growing

-Help our bodies grow to a healthy size (both height and weight)

 

With all these great benefits, how do you stay active during the hot summer days? Here are some ideas to help you soak up the sun, but keep you cool as well.

  • Have a pool day
  • Explore a state or national park (bring lots of water)
  • Have a water balloon fight with all your friends
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go ice blocking (buy a block of ice from the store, put a towel on the top and slide down your neighborhood grassy hill)
  • Pull out the chalk and make the ultimate sidewalk fun zone! (giant hopscotch, four square, etc.)
  • Create an obstacle course in the backyard (be sure to add some water to your course with the hose or kiddy pool)
  • Create a human board game. You can draw the spaces with chalk on the sidewalk or paint on the grass and make a giant dice with construction paper.
  • Have a water relay and transfer the water from a full bucket to an empty bucket with only the use of a big sponge.

**Remember to wear sunscreen if you are outside for longer than 15 minutes, and anytime you are outside between 12 and 3 o clock p.m. Also drink lots of water with EVERY fun activity.

What are some ways you stay active and cool in the summer time?

Make Your Move 10 Day Challenge

Printable: Make your Move 10 Day Challenge

For the rest of the summer make your move and do 60 minutes of activity a day. Bonus points will be given for trying a new activity! Fill out this 10 day challenge handout and email me at foodsense@usu.edu for a chance to win a outdoor fun prize. Winner will be selected August 24th.

Now get going and have some healthy fun!

3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes

Good morning, creators! If it’s not morning when you’re reading this, don’t worry. These pancakes are so incredibly easy and delicious that you will want to make them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is likely that you already have all of the ingredients you need in the house. These pancakes are not only easy, but also healthy. the ingredients skip a lot of fat, added sugar, and refined grains that most pancakes have. We love this recipe, and we hope you will too. Let’s get started.

You will need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 large egg

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Now that you have your ingredients, you are only a few steps away from eating your pancakes.

(1) Mash your banana with a fork until it is almost smooth. The more ripe your banana, the easier it will be to mash and the more flavor it will have.

(2) Crack your egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Then mix the egg into the mashed banana.

(3) Add 2 1/2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour to to the mix. Mix the three ingredients together, and you have your batter.

(4) Heat an electric skillet or a simple frying pan on the stove to medium-low heat, and spray the surface with cooking spray.

Create Tip: Every stove is different. If the first pancake cooks too fast, turn down the heat for the next one!

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(5) Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto your cooking surface, and flip when one side is cooked.

Create Tip: A great way to test doneness is to use a flat spatula. Once you can scoop under the pancake without sticking to the pan, it is time to flip.

(6) Remove from skillet and top with your favorite toppings! This is where you can get creative. We have included some of our favorite combinations below:

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

Be Brave! (Build Variety)

Is it bad to be a picky eater? Here’s the deal. Every food has different nutrients in it. If we eat a lot of different foods, we get a lot of different nutrients. If we eat the same foods over and over, we may get a lot of some nutrients and be missing out on others. It is important to eat a lot of different foods, and continue to try new foods. The word to describe this is variety. When we have variety in what we eat, we we are giving our body many different nutrients it needs to do its job. If you are picky eater, don’t worry! That doesn’t have to last forever. Keep being brave when it comes to trying new foods. It has been found that it can take about 12 times of eating a food until we start liking it. So if at first you don’t like a food, Keep trying! Being brave with food is the way to a diet full of variety and a healthy body and happy tummy.

Which of these meals looks like it has variety?

If you chose the first picture, you’re right! Different kinds of foods means more variety. To have more variety in what you eat this week, BE BRAVE! Try one food you have never tried, or you didn’t like the first time you tried. Creating a diet full of variety can be exciting and fun.

Happy Creating!

Art + Eat: Greek Yogurt Finger Painting

Who likes painting? Who likes snacking? Today’s post combines two of the world’s most wonderful activities! Greek yogurt finger painting is both a fun activity, and a colorful, nutritious snack. You will only need two ingredients:

  1. White Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, honey, or coconut)
  2. Food Coloring (a pack of 4 colors should only cost around $1.50)

To start, separate your yogurt into separate bowls, however many colors you would like to create. If you are painting with friends, make sure you each have your own bowl of each color so you don’t share germs.

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Next, create your color palette. We used about 3 drops of coloring for one cup of yogurt. the more coloring you use, the darker the color.

Create Tip:  There are endless possibilities when mixing colors. Experiment with mixing and create your favorite!

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Once your colors are mixed well, it is time to create your canvas to paint on. You could use simple sheets of paper, or for a bigger canvas, try covering your entire table or counter with plastic wrap. Again, if you are paining with friends, make sure to have a separate sheet of paper for everyone.

The next step is very important, especially for finger painting…WASH YOUR HANDS. In order to make sure your hands are as clean as can be, wash them for at least 20 seconds.

Create Tip: Try singing the ABC song as you wash, and when the song is done you can be done too.

Once your paintbrushes (fingers) are squeaky clean, paint away!

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The great thing about having clean hands and not sharing paint or paper with anyone is…you can lick your fingers! When you’re needing to switch colors, just lick your fingers and start using your new color. Double dipping is okay if you aren’t sharing.

Now would be a great time to eat yogurt with your hands…when else would your parents let you do that?? This finger painting is a fun way to get messy and eat messy, but make sure you keep the space other than your fingers and painting space clean.

Have extra paint? Try topping your yogurt with granola, fruit, or your favorite cereal for a colorful snack. If you want to get creative and make homemade granola, there is a simple recipe here:

We hope you enjoy this fun Art + Eat.

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

Simple Salsa

One simple way to make your food more nutritious  is to make something homemade that you would normally eat canned. Today we are making a salsa fresca, also known as pico de gallo. The challenge is to swap this out for canned salsa.

First, the grocery list to give to your parents:

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 lime (or lime juice)

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Now, let’s do some chopping. First, wash your tomatoes off in the sink, then cut the cores out.

Next, cut your tomatoes in half from the top where you just cut, to the bottom.

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After they are halved, we are going to gut the tomatoes. Never gutted a tomato before? This just means to remove all of the extra juices so our salsa doesn’t end up soupy.

Take the tomato half and also get a bowl to put the guts in. Use your finger to scoop out the more juicy inside of the tomato that has the seeds out into your bowl. It should end up looking something like this:

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After all tomatoes are gutted, chop the four tomatoes and 1/2 the yellow onion into small pieces.

Create Tip: Not sure of the best way to cut an onion? Stay tuned for a new post in coming weeks…

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Pour both into a bowl and mix. Next, grab a large handful of cilantro.

Create tip: If you want a strong cilantro flavor, you can use some stems. If you want the flavor to be more mild, only use the leaves! 

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We are now going to chop the cilantro. Follow these three steps to make the chopping easier:

  1. Wash the handful of cilantro under cold water
  2. Squeeze as much liquid out of the cilantro as possible
  3. While keeping the cilantro in a tightly packed ball on the cutting board, cut into small pieces.

Mix your chopped cilantro in with the other ingredients.

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Now, for some fresh lime! Slice your lime into four wedges. Squeeze all of the juice from two of those wedges (1/2 lime) into your mixture.

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The finishing touch to bring out the flavor in our fresh salsa is salt. We used a 1/4 teaspoon.

Create tip: Because most of us get too much salt in our diet, only add as much as you need for flavor. Start with a small sprinkle, and slowly add until the taste is where you want it to be.

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Mix in your salt and lime juice. Taste test with a tortilla chip, and feel free to add more of an ingredient if you think it needs it.

Create Tip: If you would like a spicy salsa try adding some serrano and jalapeño pepper.

After that, crEATe!

Here are a few ideas for eating this simple salsa. Try using it wherever you would use canned salsa.

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Simple salsa with corn tortilla chips is a fresh summer snack.
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Simple salsa served with scrambled eggs and black beans is perfect for breakfast.
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Simple salsa in a bean burrito is a great meal on-the-go.

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

Veggie Vibes

Welcome to Part 2 of the MyPlate series! We talked about what MyPlate is and now we are going to take a closer look at each section with some fun games and contests.

First off we have fruits and veggies. Remember when mom said to eat your veggies? We need to not only eat them, but we need to eat half a plate worth of them! So why is that?

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Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Full of fiber→ helps keep your belly healthy
  • Loaded with vitamins and minerals → helps with muscle building, vision, bone building, building immune systems (AKA preventing your body from getting that annoying cold)
  • Phytochemicals → help keep your heart healthy, fights off ‘bad’ cells (free radicals), improves vision, and prevents your body from developing certain chronic diseases in the future (Alzheimers, Heart disease, Cancer, Stroke, and the list goes on).
  • When prepared right, they can have some of the best flavors
  • Colorful combinations make dishes more appealing

 

Fruits and vegetables don’t have to be boring. Check out these fun creations for ideas on how to brighten up your plate:

 

Send your own food art creation to  foodsense@usu.edu for a chance to win a fun kitchen gadget and have your food art displayed! Judging will take place on July 22nd so you have one month!

Happy Creating!

The Best Spinach You Never Tasted

You’ve probably heard how healthy dark green vegetables are. This is because most dark leafy greens have a lot of Vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate. These are all important to keep our body working at its best. Instead of only eating them alone, it helps to think of creative ways to fit them into our meals. This week’s recipe is one of the simplest ways to eat more spinach, and to add it to a meal without even tasting it. Who’s ready for Eggs Gone Green??

First, what you’ll need:

  • eggs
  • spinach
  • green bell pepper
  • green onions
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • oil cooking spray

IMG_1469Keep in mind that the only ingredients you need to have are eggs and spinach, but this combinations is what we have found to taste the best.

First, chop your bell pepper and green onions into small pieces.

img_1478.jpgNext, crack as many eggs as you would like to cook in a blender. Then add spinach. We have found that 1/8 cup of tightly packed spinach for every 2 eggs is a good amount. This means…

2 eggs = 1/8 tightly packed spinach

4 eggs = 1/4 tightly packed spinach

8 eggs = 1/2 tightly packed spinach

You don’t need to measure spinach if you don’t want to, but too much spinach could change the texture.

Blend until chunks of spinach are smaller than grains of rice. This should only be about 5 seconds, or 5 pulses.

IMG_1472.jpgCreate Tip: Place the eggs closer to the blender blade and spinach further away. This will help it to blend faster.

Next, coat a frying pan with oil cooking spray, then heat over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add the bell peppers.

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Stir the bell peppers with a wooden spoon until they are soft and starting to turn brown. Then, add your blended spinach and eggs. Right after pouring in the egg mixture, add a little bit of salt and pepper. Stir slowly until eggs until they are no longer runny.

Create tip: Turn heat on low when cooking scrambled eggs. It will make them less rubbery and more fluffy!

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Plate your eggs, then garnish with green onions. To garnish means to decorate a food dish with a topping that can contribute to the taste and look of the dish.

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These eggs have flavor on their own (especially with bell peppers and green onions) but feel free to try your favorite dipping sauces. Possible options include:

  • Salsa
  • Green salsa verde sauce
  • Ketchup
  • 1/2 ketchup, 1/2 hot sauce mixed together (pictured below)

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After about only 10 minutes of prep and cooking, you’re ready to crEATe!

To simply this meal in one simple line, here it is: Blend eggs and spinach together and cook in a oiled frying pan. Enjoy your Eggs Gone Green, a simple combination that is full of nutrients, inexpensive to make, and tastes good too.

Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

The Perfect Plate is MyPlate!

Last week we talked about how to ‘Fight BAC’, and this week we got a taste of the Mediterranean Burrito!

Today let’s talk about the best way to fill up your plate. The USDA put out a great picture diagram to help you remember what needs to go into each meal:

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Let’s start with my two all time favorite groups. Fruit and Veggies!

FruitsVegetablesFruits and Veggies, my friends, are AMAZING. Here are a couple reasons why:

  • They make your dish more exciting with colors
  • They have the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to grow and stay healthy
  • There are always multiple ways to prepare each fruit and vegetable
  • They are full of fiber which can keep you belly full and healthy
  • They are great for mealtime, snack time, AND dessert time

Tip: At the beginning of the week fill 5 sandwich bags with veggies and fruits such as carrots, cucumbers, grapes, apples, etc. for an easy snack to grab after school.

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On the bottom right of the plate you will notice the purple section that says “protein”. Protein is important for your body because it helps repair and build up your muscles. Protein will break down in your digestive tract and give your body energy over a longer period of time, so having a little bit of protein with each meal (or in a snack) will keep your tummy full for longer.

Another great thing about protein is that it comes in many different forms. The goal is to choose ‘lean’ protein options such as beans, nuts, eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, and more!

Tip: Add nuts to a salad or parfait for a boost of protein after exercising.

Grains

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Next on the MyPlate diagram is ‘Grains’. Grains can be found in breads, cold and hot cereals, and more. The goal is to make half your grains whole. Look for labels that say ‘whole wheat”, or “whole grain”.

Tip: Next time you are at the grocery store, check out the different breads or grain bins and try to spot out 4 foods with whole grains.

Dairy

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.02.29 PMLastly, we come to our side of dairy. Dairy is a great way to get in extra minerals, protein, and other nutrients in one tasty bite! Dairy is anything that comes from milk including cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese. A glass of milk with dinner, or yogurt with fruit for breakfast are both great ways to get in your dairy each day.

Tip: When choosing out dairy products look at the ingredient label and find the products with lower amounts of sugar. Usually flavored products are high in sugar and take away some nutritional value.

Think you have the facts down? Test your knowledge with this crossword puzzle:

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Having trouble remembering the details? Listen to this tune for some more MyPlate fun:

Alive with Five mp3

 

In summary, you can make the ultimate plate with this equation:

Load ½ the plate with fruits and vegetables

+

Add a lean protein

+

Make ½ the grains whole

+

Have a side of dairy

 

Print this checklist to help you keep track of your MyPlate ‘Wins’: MyPlate Daily Checklist

Some days we might not have the ultimate plate at every meal, but if you are running low on one part, just have a snack to make it up. For example: No vegetables at breakfast? Grab a bag of carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers for an extra boost during snack time! 

Happy MyPlate Creating!

 

 

 

 

 

The Mediterranean Burrito

Many of you have had a classic bean and cheese burrito originating from Mexico. All the fillings wrapped up snug in a tortilla, it is always a favorite. Today’s recipe is the burrito with a Mediterranean twist. Mediterranean means coming from the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as southern France, Italy, and Greece.

Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 10.37.29 PMThis a perfect summer meal to prepare either together as a family, or by yourself. There is no cooking, only some vegetable chopping.

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Let’s start with ingredients to gather. Most of these are common foods, but you may need to put a few things on your parents’ grocery list for next time they go to the store.

IMG_1345You will need:

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Feta cheese
  • Spices (Use what you have, but these work best)
    • Oregano
    • Ground coriander
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Onion Powder
    • Garlic Powder
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Vegetables (Use your favorites, this is what we used)
    • Spinach
    • Carrot
    • Tomato
    • Cucumber
    • Red onion
  • A can of garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)

IMG_1351First we are going to make the creamy, cheesy spread that gives the veggies all of their flavor. To do this, mix together 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup feta cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon of each spice. Create tip: This recipe makes enough spread for 4 burritos. Ask your parents if you need help changing the recipe to make more or less at a time.

Next, chop up your vegetables. In our case, the carrot, tomato, cucumber, and red onion. We peeled our large carrot with a peeler, and used the shavings. it makes for a nice thin crunch! Create Tip: When choosing vegetables, pick a lot of different colors. Different colors mean different nutrients that help your body to keep doing its best.

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Now it’s time to start filling the burrito. Smear the feta spread across the middle of your tortilla, then pile on the vegetables!

Top the vegetables with some garbanzo beans. These beans and the Greek yogurt are the main sources of protein of the meal, which makes this meal filling even without meat. By now you should have a crisp colorful mountain of flavor on your tortilla.

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And now, a short lesson on burrito folding. Take the short ends of the tortilla, and fold them in. Tuck one long end across and around the toppings, then continue folding to wrap the deliciousness safely in its whole grain packet.

Next up, crEATe!

Here is the recipe all in one place to look back on, but as always, get creative. Feel free to try out different spice and vegetable combinations, and let us know how it goes by commenting on this post. Happy Creating!

– Kids Create Team

THE MEDITERRANEAN BURRITO

Fight “BAC”!

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a master chef? Or of being that one friend that everyone can’t stop talking about how AMAZING your food is? Or have you simply just wanted to make something better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a snack after school?

Cooking Girl

Well look no further, you have come to the right place! Each week we will have new recipes and tips that will not only help you become a culinary genius, but will also give you tools to stay energized, healthy and having fun.

As you follow these posts and develop your cooking skills , there is one obstacle that you will face that could ruin all the fun… and that is……… bacteria!Unknown

If you are not safe with your food, these nasty little guys could make your food taste funny, they could make you EXTREMELY sick, and ultimately, your cooking party gets ruined. So fight that bacteria. Fight ‘BAC’!

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Here are some ways to Fight ‘Bac’:

  • CLEAN
    • Bacteria will spread quickly if everything isn’t kept clean. Start off by wiping down counters and washing hands for at least 20 seconds, and then make sure all your fruits and vegetable are washed and scrubbed well before preparing your cuisine
  • SEPARATE
    • Never let foods cross contaminate! Use different knives and cutting boards for vegetables and meat.
  • COOK
    • Bacteria is pretty durable, so if you don’t cook foods such as eggs and meat to the right temperature, you could let some bacteria spread! Use a thermometer when cooking foods like chicken, beef, fish, and pork, to make sure you get your food hot enough.danger-zone-lg
  • CHILL
    • The favorite temperature zone for bacteria is between 40 F, and 140 F, so it is important to chill food quickly. After you are done eating, cover it and put it in a refrigerator right away. Food should never be out of the fridge for more than 2 hours.

 

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Nice! Now that you are brushed up on some food safety tips, click on the link and see how well you can ‘Fight BAC’ and then check your answers!

How well can YOU ‘Fight BAC’?

Answer Sheet

Great Job! You are ready to fend off those fun-killing bacteria! Make sure to print up THIS checklist and hang it on your fridge to remind you about Fighting BAC!

For some extra fun, check out the free ‘Perfect Picnic’ iPhone app. Its a fun interactive game that lets you plan the perfect picnic party while avoiding those pesky bacteria that cause food poisoning!

Fight BAC
Perfect Picnic App