Helping Kids Make Good Food Choices

Parents should help children make good food choices. Food preferences in children are largely developed by age five. Therefore, it’s important that parents help their children develop a taste for nutritious food early.

Here are ways you can involve your children in making good food choices:

Talk to your children about the categories of foods that are most important. These would include: fruits and vegetables, meat or protein alternatives, breads and cereals, and milk.

Help them cut out pictures of foods from magazines or newspapers. Make sure they have foods from all the groups. When they find pictures of cookies and ice cream, ask whether those have a place in their “good food choice” list? You can tell them they are not “bad” but there are other foods that are better for growing strong bones and muscles.

Have children paste the foods on file cards or construction paper. You can use different colored paper for different food groups: green for the vegetable and fruits, white for the milk group, red for the meat and protein group, and blue for the bread and cereal.

Let children decide which foods from each group they would like to eat. This is a good way for them to see that choosing one food from each group works toward having a balanced meal.

Another card can be made up of “special treat” foods. These are foods eaten only once in a great while. This will probably include pictures of frozen yogurt, cookies, and other sweet and/or high fat foods such as French fries and potato chips.

Here is a recipe for a “special treat” food, granola, which can be a breakfast food with milk or eaten plain as a snack food. It has many ingredients that are very nutritious.

Granola

4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using any salted nuts)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup honey or pure maple syrup

Extra suggestions – may be added when oat mixture has browned:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup of any dried fruit such as raisins, cranberried, pineapple, cherries, etc.

Preheat over to 350 degree F.

In a large bowl, combine oats, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Melt butter in small saucepan or microwave, add honey or syrup. Pour this mixture over the oatmeal mixture until all is coated.

Spread this on a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking and stirring often until flakes are light brown. Watch carefully as they can over-brown easily and the honey will burn and taste bitter. Go light, rather than dark.

When slightly cool, add any of the extras. Mix well. Store in airtight container. I like to use a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Then I place a scoop inside for easy access. Works well to store in a large glass canister, too. This looks inviting sitting on your cabinet. This granola has much more substance to it than many of the already-prepared products on the market. Enjoy.

Lee Jackson
Home and Family Living

P.S. Another issue of my newsletter is coming soon. Sign up and get entered in the drawing for a free cookbook to be given away.

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New Food Innovations

Cucumbers grow on vines

Image via Wikipedia

I just ran across an article in a college magazine about changes college kids are enjoying in their cafeterias. One food service offers “the real thing” in flavored filtered water.

Individual dispensers are filled with layers of ice with cut up fruits and vegetables. Foods such as oranges, lemons, limes, apples, strawberries, cucumbers and other seasonal foods and vegetables are added to the ice to create water that has the flavor of the food. I would never have guessed their favorite flavor is cucumber! The report stated the students are drinking their way through about 150 gallons of filtered, flavored water per day and cutting down on soda drinking.

Another innovative feature of this cafeteria is to go tray-less. This may require more trips to the food counters but the students are responding positively. Going tray-less is saving on water and wash products, as well as on the amount of food wasted.

This sounds like they are taking seriously environmental benefits. Good for them!

Lee Jackson
Books for home and family

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Celebration Foods

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I have just come back from Kansas City where I attended my grandson’s confirmation at Our Lady of Presentation Church. It was a very beautiful and inspiring ceremony with Bishop Finn presiding. Over 80 young people were confirmed in the Catholic faith.

Alongwith ceremonies, there are usually guests. And the guests came bearing food on Sunday. You may know that Kansas City is known for its barbeque beef. We did not have barbeque beef from a restaurant, though. A relative brought his own secret recipe barbeque with its special sauce and it was wonderful. This was probably the most flavorful, mouth-watering barbeque I had ever tasted. It was the epic barbeque experience.

I am trying to cut down or eliminate meat from my diet, but this was food to break rules over. Along with the barbeque we had baked beans, cole slaw, potato chips, assorted relishes, and mixed fruit in season. How much more mid-west summer can a family get-together be? Oh yes, there was key-lime pie for dessert later. It was a memorable day.

My only contribution food-wise, was to bring two loaves of poppyseed bread, which were served for breakfast. This is the recipe I would like to share with you.

Poppyseed Bread

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it is no older than 6 months as it may not work if older)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups oil
1 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
3/4 cup poppyseed

Glaze:
Juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
3/4 teaspoon butter flavoring

In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients except poppyseed. Beat eggs with hand mixer in separate bowl. Stir in milk, oil, and flavorings.

Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in the liguid. Beat until well blended and free from lumps. Stir in poppyseed.

Pour into 3 medium pans, 7 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch, or two large, greased and floured loaf pans. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, depending on size of pan. Tops will crack.

To make glaze, mix together all ingredients but do not cook. Let baked breads rest about 5 minutes, then poke holes in breads with fork or toothpick and pour glaze over breads in pans. Let cool 15 minutes and remove from pans to cool.

Enjoy!

Lee  Jackson

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Kids in the Kitchen

I have been involved in a very exciting publishing project. Amy Houts, one of our authors, has a new children’s book coming out this summer and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

This new cookbook, “Cooking Around the Country With Kids: USA Regional Recipes and Fun Activities” makes cooking with kids come alive! It has an American heritage flavor that helps children experience our country’s vast cultural diversity through food.

Children learn about regional food differences by preparing authentic recipes from various parts of our country. Amy has woven together fun activities along with a little food history and geography of each region showing where our food comes from.

Now I want to share just a bit of my excitement over this new book by sending you a FRe e Recipe Sampler from Amy’s new book.

If you want to be on the cutting edge of discovering this treasure trove of regional recipes, sign up below for her FRe e Recipe Sampler. You will be glad you did because it has one complete chapter from the book. This is the first sneak peak at what she has written to get kids excited about cooking across America.

Click here on SnaptailBooks to get the Fre e Recipe Sampler activated.

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From Kitchen to Classroom to Book Writing

Greetings to all!

Hi! I’m Lee Jackson jumping in here after Chef Crombie left. I hope I don’t disappoint! He has some big shoes that I want to fill but it won’t be easy.

I just wanted to tell you a little of my background. I was a family and consumer sciences (home economics) teacher in the middle school and high school for over 20 years. I taught subjects such as foods and nutrition, clothing and design, child development, housing and environment – all subjects that still interest me and ones I continue to find fulfilling.

Way back before I started teaching, I enjoyed recipe clipping, trying new dishes, and in general, trying to find myself in the kitchen. This is stuff, I see now, I’m still trying to do and still like to do.

Somewhere along the way, growing apples, eating apples, finding recipes for apples, and anything “apple” really appealed to me. So much so that I wrote my first cookbook, “From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers“, which is one of our most popular books.

One good thing leads to another, and I asked orchards and apple cider houses to send me their best recipes and a little information about their apple business. This resulted in another cookbook: “Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards”.

There was a textbook sprinkled in amongst teaching and some of this. It is “Careers in Focus: Family and Consumer Sciences. High schools, Junior colleges, and, I understand, some colleges use this in their curriculums. I took a year’s leave of absence to do this, but by the end of the year I had a good start on an outline. It was a long work in progress, but now, I’m very proud of it.

This blogging is rather new to me, but all media is changing so I figured I needed to keep up with the times.

I have some exciting news about another new children’s cookbook that is coming off the press very soon. But I will leave that for another time. Enough about me, I want to hear from you and about you and about other stuff that we all like to think about – food!

I hope you will come back…

Best to you,

Lee Jackson    flatstan19

(my young friend and I)          

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Sell Spirit and Hope

The South Park character Chef.Image via Wikipedia

Instead of despair and frustration, think and talk about possibilities and hope. Hope for the future and hope our lives get better. These dismal days will not last forever. After the storms, the sun will shine.

Good things continue to happen to us, our friends call us, there is food on the table. We are blessed with what we have. It may not be all we want, but it is what we have, and for that we are truly thankful.

Chef Crombie

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An Invitation

I’ve just set up a new notification list and would love to have you join. Just click here to fill out the short form – and join us to be part of the kids’ cooking community.