Healthy Eating Tips to Build a Better Breakfast and Cholesterol Awareness Month

September is Build a Better Breakfast Month and Cholesterol Awareness Month. It’s a wonderful time to play around with new recipes and seasonal flavors and it’s even better when it’s good-for-you too. I recently appeared on WBAL to share some of my favorite ways to help you make better breakfasts and heart healthy meals. Check out the clip or continue reading to learn these cravable food ideas that will please the whole family!

Build a Better

Breakfast powers your potential at school, work or at play. So it makes sense to take a look at how we can Bran Muffinimprove during Better Breakfast Month. I love making sure that no matter what you’re serving up, that milk is on the menu too. All milk – including low-fat and fat-free, white and flavored – has the same 9 essential nutrients including 8 grams of high-quality protein. When we look at nutrients of concern most likely to be missing from kids’ diets – three of them: calcium, vitamin D and potassium – are all found in milk. So including milk, helps to ensure kids (and adults too) meet their needs.

One quick tip is to make your morning oatmeal with milk instead of water. A fall time favorite in my house is pumpkin oats, which is just plain oatmeal with milk, pumpkin puree, and a nut topping. I love recipes that use fruits, whole grains, and milk – like Whole Grain Raisin Muffins, which are great to make ahead on the weekend and have as an easy option in the morning rush. Build a better breakfast by discovering creative recipes at MilkLife.com.

Heart Smart Foods

GreenSuperFoodSalad_0091_rt1_HR_CROP-494x408Eating healthy and exercising are two important things you can do to keep your cholesterol in check. One tip for healthy eating is to get fruits and vegetables on about half your plate. I wanted to feature kiwifruit because it’s now season now and only available through October. BlackRiceSalad_0123_HR_CROP-494x345 It’s a versatile fruit that can be added into salads, used in marinades or enjoyed on its own. Green kiwifruit is probably what you’re most familiar with, but have you tried the Sungold kiwifruit? The Zespri Sungold kiwifruit variety has a golden yellow  color and a sweet, refreshing tropical flavor.

Zespri kiwifruit are nutrition “powerhouses”–two kiwifruit have more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana and they’re high in fiber and cholesterol free. Two SunGold kiwifruit have 2.5 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. This “Shades of Green” superfood salad is made with mixed greens, edamame, pistachios, cucumbers, and organic green kiwifruit. Enjoy it as a colorful side or make it a meal by adding any lean protein, like fish or shrimp. For a colorful addition to your meal try this beautiful Black Rice Salad with Kiwifruit and Cashews. It has beautiful contrasts of color and flavor with red strawberries, green mint and Sungold kiwifruit. Visit ZespriKiwi.com for more great nutritious recipes.

Heart Smart Your Cooking Oil

As the weather gets cooler, I start to look for more ways to enjoy cooked vegetables. I love to sauté them in a little bit of oil and garlic to let their natural flavors come out. A recent study found corn oil can help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil. Mazola corn oil is a heart healthy oil that has more cholesterol blocking plant sterols than other oils, 4x more plant sterols than olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil.lemon salmon I often use Mazola corn oil to sauté my veggies, or you can try it in any marinade or follow a recipe. You get the heart health benefits from Mazola plus fish and vegetables with this Honey Lemon Glazed Salmon with Spinach Sauté. Visit Mazola.com and browse the heart healthy recipe library where you can find something for everyone to enjoy.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite ways to build a better breakfast and  favorite fall time activities to keep you heart healthy!

Disclosures: I was compensated by Milk Life, Mazola, and Zespri Kiwifruit for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Food Ideas for Fall Fun

Fall is just around the corner and that means football parties, weekend getaways, and outdoor entertaining.  This week I appeared on Let’s Talk Live DC to share some of my fun and flavorful ideas to blend a little health and happiness into your fall gatherings. Watch the clip below or read on to learn more delicious fall food ideas.

Take Nutrition To-Go images index

Starting with the weekend getaway, whether you do a day trip to a local farm for apple picking or overnight at a B&B, nutrient-rich road trip snacks help keep you feeling full and satisfied. I love packing Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks for a delicious and convenient snack option that’s portion controlled. Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks are a natural source of high-quality protein offering 4-8 grams of protein per serving to help keep your body fueled. They are available in 15 delicious varieties, including the Sargento Natural String Cheese, which actually contains MORE PROTEIN than a serving of almonds or a hard-boiled egg. Another favorite in my house is the Sargento Natural Reduced Fat Colby-Jack. With the fresh flavor of real cheese, they’re a wholesome snacking option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste. Check out the Smart Snacker tool at Sargento to build your own snacks pairings.

Take Nutrition To-Go proimages

You also want to pack fruits for your weekend getaways. One food I’m loving right now is Sunsweet’s D’Noir Prunes, which are picked from among the best tasting “California reserve” prunes and packed without preservatives for an amazingly fresh flavor. They are an excellent source of fiber, and a smart choice as most Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of fiber each day. That’s one of the reasons I love these as a choice for healthy snacking on the road, but you can also use them as a versatile recipe ingredient. The special care taken in growing these reserve prunes leads to a smooth, elegant, and complex flavor profile to compliment all your fall entertaining dishes. Make an easy party platter with the Sunsweet D’Noir prunes, the Sargento cheese stick chopped into bite size pieces, some nice crackers, hummus and green olives. Check out Sunsweet D Noir to learn more.

Entertain with Flavor and Funstrong_kind_asset_bars_vert

You know it’s not often that the dietitian gets to talk about beer. But I love looking for creative ways to help people enjoy foods and have fun entertaining. I’ve paired the Strong and KIND bars from KIND snacks with a few of my favorite brews – kind of like a wine and cheese pairing but with KIND and beers. The new STRONG & KIND bars offer BOLD and SAVORY flavors and 10 grams of protein per bar from almonds, seeds, and pea protein. These bars do not contain soy or whey protein. The Five Bold Flavors go great with some seasonal favorite brews, like Hickory Smoked paired with a dark stout beer, Honey Mustard pairs well with an IPA, Thai Sweet Chili is delicious with a seasonal Pumpkin ale, and Roasted Jalapeno pairs well with a crisp Oktoberfest. You really can’t mess it up. Have fun with it. Check out Kind Snacks for more info.

tostitos-scoopsAdd In Nutrition to Tailgates

Whether you are having people over to watch the game or tailgating at the stadium, you need something to crunch on. I like Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips because they are made with simple ingredients – just corn, oils and salt. You can use Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips as a vehicle to scoop up extra nutrition by pairing them with wholesome dips, like bean dip or veggie filled salsa. Fritolay has great recipe ideas, such as Cheesy Bean and Kale Bake that is a guaranteed crowed pleaser. Plus, you can feel good about serving Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips to all your guests – even those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, since they have been qualified as gluten free.

Share a Snackwonderful_hero

Like Wonderful Pistachios! Everyone will love this because Wonderful Pistachios taste great, they are FUN to crack, and they are CONVENIENT. Just pick them up in the produce aisle and put them in a party bowl. And Wonderful Pistachios are a high-quality food with great nutrition. They boast plant protein and fiber – and no cholesterol. Better yet, you get a whopping 49 nuts per serving, and the shells can help slow your eating pace and be a visual reminder of how much you are eating. That’s good news for the hours spent snacking in front of a game. Try Sweet Chili and Salt & Pepper flavor varieties. And of course, everyone loves the Roasted & Salted. Wonderful Pistachios even offer lightly salted and no salt. Check out Get Crackin to learn more.

Bring a Healthy Dish to PassOR_SpinachCheese_tort

It’s always good to serve something of “substance” at tailgates, but rather than rely on the store deli, you can do better on your own where you control the quality of the ingredients. Make a simple and healthy pasta salad using Three Bridges Organic Spinach & Cheese Tortellini. After a quick boil, cool pasta and tossed them with shredded carrot, chopped red bell pepper, arugula and Italian dressing. It really takes the chore out of cooking and empowers anyone to make a delicious dish. Three Bridges fresh-cut pastas are chef-crafted and available in the refrigerated aisle at Super Target’s and Safeway in the metro DC area. Visit Three Bridges to discover more tasty pastas and sauces.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite fall recipes and activities.

Disclosures: I was compensated by Frito, Three Bridges, KIND Snacks, Sargento, Pistachios, and Sunsweet for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

September 30-Day Challenge: Take Care of Your Heart

heart

I love the heart. For one, we all need our hearts to live and we need our hearts to love.

If you know me, you know I’m all about self-care and self-love. Most of my clients, family, and friends are so good at taking care of others, yet many of them struggle with taking care of themselves – yours truly included (hello, mom of two fabulous and energy-draining girls under two years old.)

We obviously need a healthy heart to live a long, happy life and enjoy the ride. Six years ago my mom suffered a near fatal heart attack. She’s had two more minor ones since then and quadruple bypass surgery. While she has heart disease, she has been able to quit smoking and she enjoys water walking.

As you can imagine, healthy hearts are personal to me. When it came time to come up with a new monthly challenge for September and I realized it was National Cholesterol Education Month, I decided to honor hearts everywhere – my mom’s, mine, and yours!

The focus of this month’s 30-Day Challenge is THREE SIMPLE WAYS you can take care of your heart (yes, only three!) and help keep your cholesterol in a healthy range. And maybe even more importantly keep your heart healthy for years, and years, and YEARS of love.

So What IS Cholesterol?

Our bodies actually need cholesterol in order to make vitamin D and hormones like estrogen and testosterone. We get some from out diet, but most of it is made in our liver. HDL (“good” cholesterol), is the kind that helps to protect our heart and carries cholesterol to our liver for our bodies to get rid of it. This is the one where a higher number is a good thing.  LDL (“bad cholesterol”) is the kind that carries cholesterol from the liver to other parts of the body. The problem is that when your LDL cholesterol gets too high it can end up accumulating in your arteries which can lead to serious issues like heart attacks and strokes. The goal is to have a low LDL and a high HDL to help keep your heart healthy.

What Are Some Ways I Can Take Care of My Heart?

The good news is that there are things each of us can do every day to help bring our cholesterol into a healthy range. 3 things you can do EVERY DAY are:

  1. Eat well — this means eating a balanced and varied diet full of color and wholesome, nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and lean proteins. Emphasizing heart healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, canola oil and nuts and seeds is important too. Cooking at home lets you control the ingredients of your meals, so set a goal to get in the kitchen more — even have your kids help out! Check out this list of 10 foods to break your low cholesterol diet rut to help keep your meals exciting and prevent boredom. The American Heart Association has a great collection of heart healthy recipes if you need some ideas to get you started.
  2. Exercise regularly — exercise has been shown to help improve your cardiovascular function, and it can help lower your cholesterol. Choose whatever kind of movement feels fun and makes your body feel good (yoga, hula hooping, walking your dog, playing outside with your kids, a dance class, etc.) and aim for 30 minutes per day (about 2.5 hours per week).
  3. Not smoke — smoking is the number one cause of heart disease and heart attack. Your body gets healthier even within 24 hours of quitting, so why not choose today to quit? For resources and support for how to quit, you can visit http://smokefree.gov.

I want to hear how YOU take care of your heart!

  • Share your heart healthy recipes, favorite workouts, and other inspiration with me on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest. I’ll also be posting motivations, tips, and responding to your questions EVERY SINGLE DAY.
  • If you have a blog, write about your experience and share those links.
  • I’m using the hashtag #heartsmart

Think Outside the Lunchbox with Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

It’s that time of year! Summer is over and the kids are headed back to school! This year think outside the lunchbox with nutritious and tasty snack and meal ideas that your kiddos will gobble up! Check out my recent appearance on DC’s Let’s Talk Live to help kick off the school year with healthy food tips that will make the transition back to school easier and healthier!

Get Your Goodness to Go

Cereal can be a smart choice for a quick breakfast. Look for high fiber, whole grain options like Post Grape Nuts and Shredded Wheat.
But what about when you really need “grab and go”? chocog2gPost has a new breakfast shake called “Goodness to Go”. These new dairy blend beverages are an excellent source of protein and are made with natural sweeteners and flavors. Post is making it easy to have a nutritious and satisfying breakfast. Its available in three flavors, Dutch Chocolate, Tahitian Vanilla and Mocha, so there is something for everyone. Check out Post Goodness to learn more.

Power Up Your Lunch Box

About half our plate should be fruits and veggies. Besides the sandwich, the sides and snacks can be a great way to get in fruits and vegetables.
Pack Zespri kiwifruit, it packs a “punch”. Two kiwifruit have more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana. And they’re high in fiber and cholesterol free. Kiwifruit are easy and fun to eat, but most people cut them wrong–All you do is cut it in half with a knife and spoon it out. You can send a cut kiwifruit in the lunch box and let your kids scoop out the goodness. Or you can slice it, which are great to snack on or even place on a peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly. Another option is to dice it up for a fruit salad you make at the beginning of the week and pack each day. Kiwifruit is quite versatile. You can also add kiwifruit to your kid’s yogurt for a sweet tangy taste.Zespri_Landing_Hero_Gold

Did you know Zespri kiwifruit is available in two varieties? The Zespri Green kiwifruit is probably what you’re familiar with. The SunGold variety has a sweet, refreshing Tropical flavor and it’s newly available in the U.S. And, two SunGold kiwifruit have 2.5 times the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. Don’t miss out! Zespri kiwifruit are only in season through October. You can find the Zespri brand at Safeway, Whole Foods and Wegman’s– or check with your local grocery retailer. Be sure to visit ZespriKiwi.com for more inspirational recipe ideas.

calraisinsSend the kids to school with a nutritious sandwich or wrap. I love tuna salad, egg salad, and the classic “PBJ”. The sides and snacks you send can be a great way to get fruits and vegetables.
California Raisins
are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit you can feel good about sending with your kids. The ingredient list says it all: Raisins. They have Zero fat, no cholesterol, no added sugar, California Raisins come by their sweetness naturally. Plus they have fiber, potassium and iron, too!
Convenient and portable, California Raisins are a great choice for wholesome, healthy, on-the-go snacking. Try them on their own or in one of the recipes from Love Your Raisins like the honey nut mix, crunchy cinnamon mix, peanut butter pretzel, or the cocoa peanut raisin mix. California Raisins have a great giveaway happening on their Facebook page for Back To School–if you love raisins check it out!

Choose a “Better Bar”

EnviroKidz Back to School Snacks Giveaway - prize graphicThere are lots of granola bars on the market to choose from. You want to pack a quality bar that tastes good and is good for you. EnviroKidz products come in delicious flavors that kids love like Chocolate and Berry Blast.
Parents can feel good about them because they are organic and non-GMO, which means they are not made from synthetic chemicals or Genetically Modified Ingredients. The entire EnviroKidz line is gluten-EnviroKidz Envirotrip contest graphicfree, so everyone in the family can enjoy them together. They are also whole grain, low fat, and trans-fat free. As part of their ongoing Conservation efforts, EnviroKidz is having a contest where you can win an all-expense paid family trip to Costa Rica to help save the Sea Turtles. Enter at EnviroKidz.com and learn more about their Environmental initiatives.

Hydrate Young Athletes

After school, the real fun begins with after school activities like sports. Pre-fuel those practices with high carbohydrate foods like fresh or dried fruits, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Most kids doing sports are probably going to ask their parents about a sports drink, but not all sports drinks are equal. Body Armor_BRANDEDBODYARMOR is a healthier alternative to other sports drinks because it has no artificial ingredients. It’s made with coconut water and is high in potassium and low in sodium. Most people get enough sodium through their diet and don’t need to get it from sports drinks. BodyArmor has 2.5 times the electrolytes and more vitamins than the other sports drinks on the market. It comes in 6 great tasting flavors fruit punch, orange mango, and strawberry banana so everyone can enjoy!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite back to school tips and recipes for keeping the kiddos healthy and happy.

Disclosures: I was compensated by California Raisins, BODYARMOR, Post, Zespri Kiwifruit, and Nature’s Path for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

 

Make Your Own “Deconstructed” Grilled Guacamole

Taditional Gauc

Holey moley, grilled guacamole? Summer is coming to an end but the weather is still perfect for grilling and being social. If you’re finding yourself wanting to do something fun and flavorful for your end of the summer dinner party or cookout, you MUST try my grilled guacamole!

With a little inspiration from the brand folks at Mazola Corn Oil, I’ve created four guacamole dips with creative flavor twists that will make you look like a culinary rock star! Read on to discover how you can add a sweet, smoky and tangy twist to your guacamole.

You might be wondering how one “grills” guacamole? It’s simple! Just grill the avocados and any other veggie that you’d like to add to create a unique creamy and smoky twist to a traditional favorite. Mazola Corn Oil is a versatile all-purpose oil that is great for grilling due to its high smoke point, which is why it’s perfect for my “deconstructed” guacamole recipe below.

Avocados are loaded with 25 essential nutrients, including potassium, which helps in controlling blood pressure. And if this guac couldn’t get any healthier, it’s made with Mazola Corn Oil which is a heart healthy cooking oil! It contains more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils, and can play an important role in helping to lower your cholesterol. It’s also a great source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, or “good for you” fats. A recent study even found corn oil was better at reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol than extra virgin olive oil.

Grilled Guacamole

Grilled avocados add that extra special touch to fresh made guacamole.

 Yield: 12 servings 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Grill Time: 4-8 minutes

 Ingredients

1 lime

1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil

1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon Paprika

2 avocados

1 jalapeno

3 green onions, diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 teaspoon salt

Baked tortilla chips

Making the guacamole:

First cut lime in half, squeeze 1 tablespoon fresh juice and set aside.

Next, combine oil, lime juice, garlic powder and paprika in a small bowl.

Then cut avocados in half, remove pit but leave the peel, cut jalapeno in half and remove seeds-if you like more of a heat kick leave the seeds. Gauc 1Brush cut sides of avocados, jalapeno and remaining lime with flavored oil.

Place avocados flesh-side down on grill over high direct heat. If you have a grill pan, use that to grill the jalapenos and limes. After 4-8 minutes you should have some great grill marks or grill until avocados, jalapenos and lime are lightly browned, brushing with any remaining flavored oil.

Gauc Grill1

 

Remove from grill and let cool 5 minutes.

 

Gauc Grill2

 

Scoop out the avocados from peel and place in a bowl and mash with fork

Finely chop jalapenos and add to avocados with green onions, cilantro and salt.

Squeeze lime juice from grilled lime over guacamole

Lastly, mix well. You can serve this warm or cold with baked tortilla chips or fresh vegetables, either way is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

Taditional Gauc

 

Here is how to make the deconstructed version:

First, grill the vegetables and cool as directed above.

Then scoop out avocados from peel and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch slices.

Arrange on a serving tray with chopped jalapenos, green onions, cilantro and salt.

Lastly, squeeze lime juice over all.

 

You can also try adding a flavorful twist to the traditional gauc by switching things up! Grill the green onions whole and use them in all three flavor variations below!

Sweet – add some sweet to your spice with diced up kiwifruit and grapes for a flavorful deconstructed guacamole platter

Gauc Fruit Combo

Smoky – for an even smokier, spicy flavor puree one diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with 1 TBSP Mazola and drizzle over avocado slicesGauc Chipolte

Tangy – add feta cheese crumbles and diced dried tart cherries to deconstructed guacamole platter

Gauc Feta Cran

Once you’ve added a twist, you’ve got the perfect fun and flavorful guac! Just be prepared, ‘cause this stuff will fly out the bowl!

I’d love to hear some of your favorite summer grilling recipes! Share your ideas in the comments below and be sure to visit Mazola on Facebook to learn more about the health benefits of Mazola Corn Oil and get other great recipes.

(Disclosure: I am currently working with Mazola as a paid spokesperson.)

Meals and Snacks to Make “Back To School” Easier

It’s time for parents to rejoice, the kiddos are headed back to school! We all know that “time crunch” of getting the kids up, dressed, fed, and off to school WITH a nutritious lunch in hand – it’s like a race. I appeared on WBAL to share food ideas to make getting back in the school grove easier and healthier. Be sure to check out the segment clips below–I’ve even got after school snacks and dinner covered too!

Power Up with Peanut Butter

Including foods like peanut butter in your “quick and easy” breakfasts helps make sure your child’s day kicks off in a nutritious way and keeps them satisfied until lunchtime. Peanuts are a “superfood” with more than 30 essential vitamins and nutrients.  Spread peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel, English muffin, or toast, stir peanut butter in a smoothie, like this Blueberry Peanut Smoothie, or top off your waffles for a quick and easy serving of protein in the morning. blueberry-smoothie-largeProtein is essential for growing children and with seven grams per ounce, peanuts have more protein than any other nut.

Peanut butter is a great vehicle for other foods too. 64 percent of children said they’d eat more fruits and vegetables when served with their favorite peanut butter dip. Try pairing with baby carrots, celery and jicama sticks or apple and pear slices.  Great ideas for breakfasts, school lunch box, or after school snacks.For more recipe ideas visit the National Peanut Board.

Make Taking Your Morning Vitamins Easy and Delicious

As parents sometimes getting the kids to eat their veggies can feel like a “food fight.” Make it easier by working Gummy Vite 190ctVF_MVPlus_HSNwith their food preferences (keep trying those veggies and fruits, it can take time) and include a daily multivitamin for kids (and your peace of mind). Say bye-bye to those hard-to-swallow pills! L’il Critters GummyVites are delicious, convenient, and easy to take, you don’t even need water. They have a flavorful taste kids love – a perfect fusion of health and enjoyment!

L’il Critters gets it color from plants, fruits, and vegetables and they have natural flavors. You’ll have the peace of mind that they provide a blend of essential vitamins and minerals to support kids growth and development. L’il Critters also comes in Immune C Plus Zinc & Echinacea to support immune health.

Parents need to be sure they’re getting all the nutrients they need, too! Vitafusion delivers nutrition in a delicious gummy form for adults, making it easy and enjoyable for them to cover their bases, as well. Visit GummyVites.com for more info on how to add a does of health and enjoyment to your day.

Pack Nutritious Snacks in the Lunchbox

Send the kids to school with a nutritious sandwich or wrap. I love tuna salad, egg salad, and the classic “PBJ”. The sides and snacks you send can be a great way to get fruits and vegetables. California Raisins are an all-natural, dried-by-the-sun fruit you can feel good about sending with your kids. The ingredient list says it all: Raisins. They have Zero fat, no cholesterol, no added sugar, California Raisins come by their sweetness naturally. Plus they have fiber, potassium and iron, too. Peanut_Butter_Pretzel_Raisin_Snack_Mix_876x328Convenient and portable, California Raisins are a great choice for wholesome, healthy, on-the-go snacking. Try them on their own or in one of the recipes from Love Your Raisins like the honey nut mix, crunchy cinnamon mix, peanut butter pretzel, or the cocoa peanut raisin mix. California Raisins have a great giveaway happening on their Facebook page for Back To School, so if you love raisins check it out!

Make Easy Dinners Delicious and Nutritious

I found an option that kids will love and parents can feel good about. It’s new Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese! Thpirates booty mac and cheeseis is a great choice for families looking to upgrade their mac-n-cheese because Pirate’s Booty mac-n-cheese offers quality ingredients:

  • organic wheat pasta
  • real cheese
  • and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives

This dish is a good source of calcium offering 10-percent of the daily value and protein, with 9g-10g per serving. You can get Pirate’s Booty Mac & Cheese in four varieties – my favorites are the shells with aged white cheddar and the traditional elbows with mild cheddar! I like to pair it with a simple side of roasted broccoli or any vegetables the kids will eat – and all kids love Pirates so you’ll be good. Be sure to visit Pirate Brands website and Facebook page for more creative meal and snack ideas!

caramel_biteUpgrade Your Sweets

Let’s be honest, sometimes you want “something sweet” after a meal and you crave chocolate more than fruit. I’m all for using fruit as a sweet treat, but I think it’s better to satisfy a “candy craving” with moderation rather than policing it out of your eating.

I love Rickland Orchards Greek on the go! Bites – these are Greek yogurt coated, bite-size snacks in resealable pouches, so you can take your handful portion, reseal the bag, and enjoy your snack.

This is a great way to “upgrade” those candy bars or bites with delicious sweet treats made with real Greek yogurt imported from Europe. These two new flavors, Strawberry Fruit and Caramel Bites, offer a delicious indulgence in a convenient, on-the-go snack. Visit Rickland Orchards to learn more about these delicious snack treats.

 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite back to school tips and recipes for keeping the kiddos healthy and happy.

Disclosures: I was compensated by Pirate’s Booty, L’il Critters, Rickland Orchards, California Raisins, and National Peanut Board for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Foods and Snacks to Keep Your Cool

It’s the ‘dog days’ of summer and the heat can really take a toll on our willingness to cook hot meals. Watch my recent appearance on Let’s Talk Live DC as I show some of my favorite foods and snacks that are nice and cool and you don’t have to turn on the oven to enjoy them!

Read on for some fresh and flavorful foods and snack ideas to help keep your cool in this hot and humid summer weather.

Go Tart

Go tart – tart cherries that is! Tart cherries have been found in research to help ease muscle pain and improve sleep quality and they happen to be a great ingredient in some cold food recipes. We’ve seen tart cherry juice be effective for muscle recovery in both runners and cyclists, so no matter what your sport, this is a cool addition to your nutrition routine.  Enjoy a refreshing homemade popsicle  made with tart cherry juice and coconut milk. Not onTartCherryCoconutPopsiclesFinal-700x455ly is this an easy way to cool down for anyone in the family, but it’s a smart idea for after a workout too so you can get the benefits of easing muscle pain and inflammation associated with exercise. Chilled soups are hydrating and refreshing in this weather. Try making Tart Cherry GazpachoTart-Cherry-Soup-700x455 which is a chilled soup made with tart cherry juice and frozen tart cherries – this is a really flavorful, cool way to start off a summer brunch or dinner party. Tart cherries naturally contain melatonin which helps improve sleep quality and duration.Tart cherries are easy to include in a variety of recipes, and they add a really nice tart flavor and nutrient punch to any meal.  Visit  Choose Cherries for many more delicious recipes and research on the health benefits of cherries.

Let Someone Else Prep

The Fresh Food line at 7-Eleven makes it convenient to eat a healthy bite, especially while on-the-go. The Fresh Foods line offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, whole and fresh cut fruit and yogurt parfaits, all made fresh. 7-Eleven’s salads are available in 4 different varieties all under 500 calories – like the BLT Salad loaded with crisp romaine lettuce and shredded red cabbage, grape tomatoes, real bacon and grilled chicken and served with avocado ranch dressing. They come in easy and portable packaging, which makes them a great lunch option and really affordable at $3.99. 7-Eleven’s sandwiches are all prepared locally and delivered fresh every day. They are made with fresh ingredients including premium meats and fresh-blended spreads – like tuna salad or smart turkey sandwiches. If you’re looking for a nutritious snack for on-the-go, 7-Eleven has a fresh selection of snack options like hard boiled eggs. You can also pick up yogurt parfaits and Carrot and Celery packs with dips. You can also follow 7-11 on Facebook to learn of Fresh Food in-store promotions .

Keep Cool with Smart Snacks

Keep cool between meals with smart snacks. Snacks are a great opportunity to get nutrients if you choose wisely. SunChips® multigrain sunchipssnacks are made with 100% whole grains and are a great tasting option to have on hand at home for a quick snack or if you’re throwing a BBQ. Each 1-ounce serving of SunChips snacks contains 21 grams of whole grains, which is almost half the recommended amount of 48 grams per day.  SunChips multigrain snacks can help you “keep your cool” by pairing with a protein-packed dip such as Savory Edamame Puree made with edamame, peas and ricotta cheese or with my Healthy Tuna Salad recipe made with tuna, hummus, spinach and other veggies. Visit Fritolay for more recipe inspiration and be sure to “Like” them on Facebook.

A Healthier Frozen Dessert

Ice cream and frozen yogurts can’t be beat in the summertime. This is one you can do at home, even if you don’t have an ice cream maker. My Banana Nut Crunch “ice cream” has two simple ingredients – frozen banana just pureed in a blender layered with KIND Healthy Grains Banana Nut Clusters. banananut_417x417The clusters are like a better kind of granola packed with super grains! Made with a unique blend of Five 100% Whole Grains: Gluten Free Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth and Buckwheat. They are gluten free and available in 8 flavors like Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters, Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seed and Maple Quinoa Clusters with Chia Seeds. You can also enjoy them with yogurt, milk, and on their own as a snack. Visit KIND Snacks for more

What are your favorite foods to keep your cool?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to@ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite summer time tips and recipes for keeping cool.

Disclaimer: I was compensated by KIND Snacks, Fritolay, Cherry Marketing Institute, and 7-11 to do the tv segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

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