Solar Eclipse Smoothie

If you missed the 2017 solar eclipse, or if you are needing to find another use for those glasses, you have come to the right place! Our solar eclipse smoothie has the a tropical mango, peach base layer (the sun), covered by a blueberry layer (the moon).


We talked about the great benefits of yogurt on Monday, and today we get to try out some of those benefits in a fun smoothie!

This recipe makes enough for one large glass (perfect for a morning time kick start, or after school snack!)


For the sun layer, throw 1-2 cups of your favorite light colored frozen and fresh foods. For my smoothie I used crushed pineapple, frozen peaches, 1/2 a mango, a cutie (mandarin orange), 1/2 a banana, and some vanilla yogurt.


Carefully pour the smoothie into a cup.


For the second layer you can again add your favorite fruits and yogurt but I used frozen blueberries, the other half of the banana, and some more yogurt.



Finally, its time for your own eclipse! Pull out those glasses and watch the sun get covered up as you pour the second layer into your cup.


You can be creative with smoothies. Feel free to add any fruit, veggie, or other food you are craving!

Here are some add ins you might enjoy:

  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter
  • Milk
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Other Fruits
  • Veggies: carrots, spinach, even avocado for some creaminess!
  • Spices: cinnamon, or nutmeg
  • Ice (if your smoothie is too watery)

Happy Creating!


Yogurt: A Nutritious & Delicious Bowl

This week I will highlight a creamy, nutrient-packed ingredient that you will love. We are talking about yogurt! Pretty much everyone has heard of yogurt, and chances are you have tasted it too… but did you know how healthy it is and how many dozens of different ways you can use it?

In my home, we like to always have yogurt on hand. After you learn about the benefits and uses, you might want to ask mom or dad to keep it on hand too!

Did you know?

Greek Yogurt is made by draining regular yogurt over a cheese cloth to get rid of a liquid called whey.

Straining the whey out of yogurt

After a while, you are left with a thicker yogurt with less sugar and more protein than regular yogurt. This can make a healthy ingredient even healthier!


Health Benefits
  • Yogurt has something called probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that keep our stomachs and intestines healthy. They can help digest foods, they help boost your immune system, they prevent infections in the body, and they help heal your gut when your stomach is hurting.
  • Yogurt is a great source of calcium! Calcium keeps your bones strong, it helps your nerves send signals to each other, it helps your muscles flex, and much more!
  • Yogurt has quite a few B vitamins helping your body create energy from the food you eat, they help your heart function properly, they help create blood cells, and they can help keep your immune system strong.
  • Yogurt is full of protein (Especially if you get Greek Yogurt!) Protein is important when you are growing. Your bones, your muscles, and many other cells all depend on you to eat enough protein building blocks to grow.
Creative Creations

The USDA recommends getting 3 servings of dairy products a day to get adequate nutrition, so what are some ways to use yogurt to meet your 3 serving goal?

  • Try chips and salsa mixed with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream (You can use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in really any dish)
  • Add to smoothies
  • Put your favorite flavored yogurt in popsicle trays and freeze for a sweet summer treat
  • Make parfaits
  • Add to oatmeal
  • Have a side of plain Greek yogurt with curry dishes to compliment the meal
  • Add to oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, or any other topping for a quick breakfast in the morning
  • Top fruit or desserts with yogurt instead of whipped cream
  • Put drops of flavored yogurt on parchment paper and freeze for yogurt drop snacks
  • Add plain yogurt to your spaghetti sauce for a creamy nutritious boost
  • Make sweet fruit dips
  • Make savory veggie dips
  • Mix in with scrambled eggs
  • Marinate chicken for an Indian cuisine
Varieties to try
  • Low fat flavored yogurt
    • To make your own: Thaw out your favorite frozen fruit, puree and mix in with plain yogurt.
  • Low fat plain yogurt
  • Flavored Greek Yogurt
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Low Fat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Kefir
    • Kefir is technically not yogurt, but it is a product very similar to a yogurt drink, but healthier. Kefir is another great probiotic that can keep your gut healthy and feel better
Nutty Crunch Fruit Dip


Solar Eclipse Layered Smoothie


Happy Creating!

You are the ‘Peanut’ to my ‘Butter’

Happy Monday friends! Hope you had a fun weekend and are ready to start off the week with a running start! Today we are highlighting another ingredient that is great to keep stocked in the pantry: Peanut Butter!

Peanut butter was likely made by Myan Indians many years ago, but the first time it was introduced to the United States was at the St Louis World Fair in 1904. A physician had developed peanut butter as a healthy protein that could be given to people who couldn’t chew very well. Later, soldiers during World War 2 used peanut butter as a protein source when meat was scarce.

Nowadays kids, teens, parents, and the elderly all share a love for that creamy (or crunchy) delight. In fact, it is estimated that the average American eats 6 pounds of peanut product each year!

Did you know? It takes 540 peanuts to make a 12- ounce jar of peanut butter!

That’s a lot of peanuts! So, what is the big deal about peanut butter?

Quick Tip: Look at the ingredient label at the grocery store with your parents. Some companies like to add a lot of sugar and additives, but it is much better to find a peanut butter that only says: “Peanuts” or “Peanuts, and salt”, as the ingredients.

Health Benefits:

Peanuts (and several other nuts) are:

  • Full of protein- Peanut butter is a great plant based protein that is easy to add to recipes and snacks to help build muscle and other tissues in your body. 2 Tb of peanut butter has the same amount of protein as a whole cup of milk!
  • Fiber: If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet, you might want to reassess! Fiber keeps your gut healthy and strong so that your body digests foods easier. It also keeps your heart healthy, and can help prevent scary, painful diseases such as heart disease and colon cancer.
  • Healthy fats- Believe it or not there are good and bad fats! The worst fat (one that you want to avoid completely) is trans fat. Saturated fat is another one that is not as good for your and should be limited in your diet. On the other hand, unsaturated fats can help with your body’s metabolism, and peanut butter has more than double the unsaturated fats than saturated!
  • A healthy source of calories but be careful of overdoing it! Remember how there are 540 peanuts in 12 ounces of peanut butter? That makes this treat pretty high in calories (2 Tb is about 190 calories)
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Peanuts have several vitamins and minerals including biotin, manganese niacin, folate, vitamin E, copper, and thiamine.
Creative Creations:

We have all tried the classic PB & J but here are some other healthy ways to try Peanut Butter:

  • Add 1-2 Tb in a smoothie
  • Make a peanut butter and fruit sandwich (use apple slices, banana slices, or any other whole fruit that you like)
  • Use as a dip for fruits and veggies
  • Make oatmeal peanut butter energy balls for an easy snack to grab on the go (look for the recipe this week)
  • Use to make a peanut sauce for pasta dishes
  • Put in parfaits
  • Put on oatmeal

What is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?

Varieties to try:

There really isn’t a wide variety of peanut butter types (aside from smooth and crunchy), but if you want to try some other nut or seed butters here are a few:

  • Almond butter
  • Soynut butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Sunflower seed butter
  • Hazelnut butter
Nutty Fruit Dip


Happy Creating!

I’ve ‘Bean’ thinking of you!

Hi all! Today is the day that we start highlighting ingredients! As we learn about more and more ingredients, you can go to ‘ingredient exploration’ under the ‘Recipes’ tab, and look up fun facts, tips, and recipes for each ingredient. So let’s begin!

Today we are featuring a classic ingredient: beans!

Beans are a great ingredient to always have in the pantry. Did you know there are about 40,000 varieties of bean in the world? Some of the more common varieties include black beans, pinto beans, soybeans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans, and kidney beans. And if you are creative, there are dozens of ways to prepare them! Between the varieties and the preparation options, you should never have a dull moment with this classic ingredient.

Did you know? January 6th is National Bean Day!

So what is a kid to do about these beans? Some general tips for preparing beans are:

  1. Soak them! Do you ever get that gassy or bloated feeling after eating beans? Beans have sugars called ‘oligiosacharides’ on the outer layer that some people have a harder time digesting. To prevent that uncomfortable, embarrassing side effect you can soak your beans overnight in the fridge and then rinse before cooking. This will remove those sugars that are so difficult to digest and allow you to enjoy the flavor rather than worry about the side effects.
  2. Try cooking a batch of beans in a crockpot or pressure cooker and putting them in the fridge. Then you have a quick healthy protein that can be added to salads, turned into a dip, used in a baked good, and much more
Health Benefits:
  • Amazing source of fiber! Fiber is a nutrient that helps keep our digestive tract healthy and strong. Beans happen to have both kinds of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and can keep your belly working the way it should
  • Healthy Protein: Beans are a healthy and cheaper substitution for meat. In fact 1 cup of beans has close to the same amount of protein as 1 cup of diced chicken.
  • Full of healthy minerals: Our body needs minerals to stay healthy. Our heart, especially, loves the minerals you can get from beans. So keep your hear healthy and strong by adding some beans to your next meal!
Creative Creations:

Want to try something new with beans? Here are 10 creative ways to add beans to your cooking:

  1. Toss cold cooked beans in a salad
  2. Add to hot and cold pasta dishes for a protein boost
  3. Mix in with baked goods (brownies, cakes, etc.)
  4. Top off a slice of toast with your favorite type of bean for a famous English treat
  5. Eat beans with rice and eggs for a morning breakfast burrito
  6. Add to soups
  7. Puree with spices for a veggie dip
  8. Make a bean burger to grill
  9. Toss in with your favorite salsa recipe for a more filling snack
  10. Mix with your favorite veggies for a great pita or wrap filler
Varieties to try:

There are approximately 40,000 varieties of beans with several dozen available at the grocery store.

Here are a few examples to try:

  • Lima Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Blackeye
  • Kidney Beans
  • Garbanzo (Chickpeas)
  • Great White Northern
  • Navy Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Small Red Beans
  • Fava Beans

So what are you waiting for? Let’s start creating! Look for this week’s recipe featuring this great ingredient!


Meditteranean Burrito







Smashed Chickpea Dip


25 Creative Foods for Summertime Grilling

One of my favorite parts of summer is pulling out the grill and having some family fun. The great thing about having a healthy lifestyle is how CREATIVE you get to be! Grills aren’t just for burgers and hot dogs! Heat things up with these 25 creative options. Who says we can’t bring healthy and creativity to the grill?

For the first section, you are going to use that tin foil.

Quick Tip: When you use foil, make sure to roll up the seams and seal it really tight so that juices don’t escape!

  • Spiced nuts: Try a few different spice combinations added to nuts
    • 2 cups nuts + 1 tsp chili powder+ 1 /4 tsp ground pepper + ¼ tsp cumin + 1 Tb olive oil
    • 2 cups nut + ½ lime juice + ½ cup cilantro
    • 2 cups nuts + 1 Tb cinnamon
    • 2 cups nuts + peel of 1 orange + ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • Potatoes:
    • Small potatoes (or potatoes diced) + garlic + Pepper + oil + lemon juice + other favorite spices
  • Amazing Asparagus
    • Toss some asparagus spears in olive oil and spices and wrap well with tin foil
  • Quesadillas
    • Cheese + veggies + whole wheat tortilla
  • Popcorn:
    • Put 1Tb oil with ¼ cup popcorn kernels and any spices you are in the mood for in a tin foil pie pan. Making a dome over the top using two sheets of foil and seal at every seam. Put over high heat, and keep shaking until popping stops.
  • Roasted Veggies:
    • Zucchini + tomatoes + garlic + carrots+ onion + mushrooms + olive oil
  • Sweet Potato Fries
    • Sliced Sweet Potatoes + cinnamon + oil
  • Sautéed Squash with Thyme and Feta

For this next section, Kabobs are where the party is at!

The main rules for kabob ingredients are 1) The food should fit and should stay on the skewer and 2) you must think it tastes delicious. So get creative and try something new! You can substitute favorite fruits and vegetables and top with any spice that smells good to you. This is your masterpiece we are talking about here! To help get your creative juices flowing, here are a couple ideas:

*Quick tip: Soak the skewers beforehand to reduce burning. You can soak them for as little as a half hour beforehand but the longer the better. To make things easy just put them in a bowl of water the night before when you go to marinade your chicken and veggies.

*Quick tip #2: Be sure to cook chicken to at 165° F to prevent foodborne illnesses like salmonella. Try putting chicken in a frying pan for 5-10 minutes before putting it on a skewer and onto the grill.

  • Tango Mango chicken kabob
    • Chicken +Mango+ Bell pepper + Onion (sprinkled with lime juice, garlic, and chili powder)
  • Fajita style kabob
    • Chicken + red bell pepper + onion + yellow bell pepper + green bell pepper (marinade chicken with lime juice, garlic, chili powder, and cumin)
  • Paprika Chicken Kabob
    • Chicken + Mushrooms (sprinkle with paprika)
  • Ham & Yam Kabob
    • Large diced deli ham + diced sweet potatoes (sprinkle with Italian seasoning)
  • Apple Sweet Potato Kabob
    • Sliced sweet potato + apple slices (sprinkle with cinnamon)
  • Chicken Casserole on a kabob
    • Chicken + broccoli+ mushroom+ onion (marinade chicken in lemon juice, garlic, and pepper)

  • Fruit Kabob:
    • Put all of your favorite kabob sized fruits (pineapple, mango, strawberry, apples, nectarines, plums, etc.)
  • Roasted Veggie Kabob:
    • Choose your favorite combo (ex. Zucchini + onion+ mushroom + bell pepper)

And for the final section: Classic Grilling with a Twist.

These options go straight on the grill like normal, but the twist is, these aren’t your typical burgers and hot dogs! In fact, these options are not only healthier but they might even be tastier to you.

  • Personal Pizza
    • Use some homemade dough or ciabatta bread for the crust and then top with your favorite low fat cheeses and veggies. The grilling will add a nice flavor to your pizza







  • Pineapple slices
  • Zucchini boats (Zucchini sliced in half or quarters long way)
  • Marinated Chicken (Put your favorite marinade and chicken in a bag the night before for best results):
    • Lemon juice + Olive Oil + favorite spices
    • Balsamic vinegar + Olive Oil + favorite spices
    • Italian Dressing
  • Veggie Burgers:
    • Either buy frozen patties, or find a recipe to make your own!
  • The Real Grilled Cheese
    • Throw some cheese, tomato, avocado, and slice of turkey on thick slices of bread over low heat for the ultimate grilled cheese
  • Grilled Eggplant
    • Peel, brush on some olive oil and spices and place directly over the heat. Cook until tender.
  • Ears of Corn (try rubbing with a little lime juice for extra flavor)
  • Egg Breakfast
    • Put a cast iron pan on the grill. Mix up some ground turkey, diced peppers, zucchini, eggs, and spices for a fun twist on breakfast.


There you go! 25 experiments for you to get your creative juices going. Get the whole family involved and comment with pictures of what you can come up with

Happy creating!


Dry Fruit, Not your Body!

Pop Quiz! Can you spot the difference between pictures from A and B?

                                A                                                                                                                  B


If you said that the B foods are the DEHYDRATED version of the A foods (or something to that effect), you, my friend have passed the quiz of the day. That wasn’t so bad was it?

Those dehydrated fruits and veggies are wonderful healthy snacks, but something that isn’t so wonderful and healthy is when YOU are dehydrated.

Water makes up about 60% of the average person. So you can imagine all the consequences of not staying hydrated!




Some examples of where that water goes is: blood plasma (water makes up 93%) and bones (water makes up 20%)!



Water helps:

  • build cells and is extremely critical during growth spurts
  • prevents constipation by improving digestion
  • carry nutrients to the cells and take waste products out of the body
  • regulate body temperature
  • lubricate joints and muscles
  • absorb shocks from walking, running, and any other impact on the body

So how much should we drink?

Age Males Females Add some more water  if you experience the following:
9-13 5-6 cups/per day 5-6 cups per day Exercising

Higher temperatures (Hello summertime heat)


14-18 7 glasses per day 6 glasses per day
Adults About 10 glasses per day 8-9 glasses per day


Water shouldn’t feel like a chore but rather it should help you feel refreshed, energized, and healthy! So mix it up a bit and look up different water-fruit-herb combinations and comment with a picture of your favorite flavored water creation!

Happy Creating!



Summertime Fun

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


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 for a chance to win a outdoor fun prize. Winner will be selected August 24th.

Now get going and have some healthy fun!

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?


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 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 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:

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.01.15 PM.png

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.

ProteinScreen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.02.20 PM

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.


Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.02.11 PM

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.


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:

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 3.12.30 PMPrintable Version

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!






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’!


Here are some ways to Fight ‘Bac’:

    • 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
    • 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
    • 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.



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