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Quick And Easy: Top Fun Foods For Kids That Can Replace Junk Food

Quick And Easy: Top Fun Foods For Kids That Can Replace Junk Food

Quick and Easy: Top Fun Foods for Kids that Can Replace Junk Food
Monoprixturtles

    We’ve all seen at least a couple of cute ideas on Pintrest for fun food for kids, but who has the time? With work, social and family commitments, we’re all a little prone to getting busy, feeling tired and being tempted to forsake our desire for a healthy lifestyle for the convenience of junk food, but you’d be surprised by what you can whip up with minimal time and effort that will not only look great, but will actually be eaten! Like these cute little Monoprixturtles by Kristen Reece at www.meetthedubiens.com

    There are multiple factors that can make food fun for kids, whether they like the way it looks or tastes, it’s easy to eat or if they can be involved in the preparation. And of course as parents we need to ensure that we are getting a good balance of nutrients into the foods we are providing for our children. Here is my top list of quick and easy fun foods for kids that can replace junk food.

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    Zucchini pizza bites

    A great alternative to pizza that is quick, easy, healthy and due to their small portion size, they’re easy to eat, encouraging you (and the kids) to go back for more! Popular as a snack, party food, appetizers or even suitable as a hassle free dinner on its own or served with a side salad.

    Zucchini pizza bites

      Ingredients:

      • 1 Large Zucchini, sliced into rounds
      • 2 Tbs tomato paste (salt reduced – to cut back on excess salt)
      • 2 leaves fresh basil, sliced
      • ¼ tsp oregano, dried and any other herbs or spices you desire
      • 1 ½ oz full fat Cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) – grated or small slices
      • Optional extra toppings – cherry tomatoes (6 sliced into quarters); traditional pepperoni & mozzarella; cheddar, ham & pineapple chunks; or finely diced or grated veggies.

      Instructions:

      1. Pre heat the grill to medium heat.
      2. Slice the zucchini about 1/4″ thick, discarding the ends, and pop on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil or coated with olive oil cooking spray.
      3. Smear on some tomato paste with the back of a spoon, add herbs, sprinkle with grated or sliced cheese and add any additional toppings. Pop under the grill for a few minutes (no more that 5) until cheese is melted. Yum!
      Here is the nutritional breakdown of these ones from Jennifer at Peanut Butter and Peppers with sliced cherry tomatoes: Calories per 3 slices: 71.2, Fat: 2.3, Cholesterol: 7.4, Sodium: 239, Potassium: 405, Carbs: 8.3, Fibre: 2.7, Sugar: 3.9, Protein: 5.3

      Apple Cookies

      Along the same lines as the zucchini pizza bites, these Apple Cookies from Rachel Schultz at rachelschultz.com pack a nutritional punch, with lots of healthy fats (the good kind that help our brains grow), high in protein and couldn’t be quicker or easier!

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      Apple cookies

        Ingredients

        • 1 apple
        • ¼ cup natural peanut butter or other nut butter
        • ¼ cup almonds, sliced
        • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
        • ¼ cup coconut (shredded or flakes)
        • ¼ cup chocolate chips (optional)

        Instructions

        1. Slice apple into thin rings and remove core.
        2. Spread nut butter over one side of ring.
        3. Top with almonds, walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips. Enjoy!

        Berry Yoghurt Ice-creams

        A healthy alternative to store bought ice-creams, which are usually packed full of refined sugar and other additives the health conscious parent would rather avoid.

        This recipe is fairly forgiving, you can adjust the ratios until you find a flavour and texture combination you are happy with – some can be so thick you can eat with a spoon, or as thin as a milkshake. These can be blended up quickly as a morning smoothie, adding in all sorts of other healthy extras, like chia seeds for those healthy omega 3’s, a raw free range egg if your game, or anything else you might like to sneak in that doesn’t have too strong of a flavour that will overpower the chosen fruit. Then simply freeze the leftovers to enjoy as a guilt free instant breakfast, desert or snack! You can even substitute the yoghurt for milk kefir to sneak in some extra probiotics if you have it.

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        Image from itsybitsyfoodies.co

        Berry Yoghurt Icecreams

          Ingredients:

          • 2 cups natural Greek or coconut yoghurt (or milk kefir)
          • 1 ½ cups berries (Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or any combination)
          • 1 banana (ripe or frozen)
          • 2 Tbs Chia seeds
          • 1 tsp almond meal
          • ½ tsp flaxseed
          • ½ tsp vanilla powder
          • ¾ cup coconut water or 100% orange juice

          Instructions:

          1. Simply bend all ingredients for 30-60 seconds on high.
          2. Drink as a smoothie, divide the rest into icy-pole molds or ice cube trays with wooden stick inserted and freeze until firm, 4-6 hours.

          Watermelon Cake

          A Great healthy alternative to the traditional birthday cake. You can go as elaborate or as simple as you like, adding layers of various fruits and tooth picks for decoration, like this one from beautifulpicturesofhealthyfood or simply chop up a whole watermelon and throw on some berries and maybe a candle, something like this one from thecarousel.com. Or you can even ice with coconut whipped cream and decorate with toasted sliced almonds like this one from www.jensjustdesserts.co.uk the options are endless.  

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          Melon
            Watermelon Cake 2
              Watermelon Cake 3

                Teddy Bear Toast
                Toast

                  You can’t go wrong with a staple like nut butter (or their favourite spread) on toast. The effort to cutesy it up into cute teddy bears like they have over at www.craftymorning.com with a few slices of banana and a couple of sultans is very low input for a pretty great return, plus adding in a few extra nutrients in a fun way to get them to meet their daily fruit recommendation. You could also try cucumber slices with cream cheese or sliced cheese and a few bits of diced capsicum or cherry tomatoes for a vegie alternative. You can sub the white bread for sourdough for the healthiest option (and more great probiotics) or some Saladas or other dry crackers if they’re not a fan of bread.

                  So there you have it, a nice collection of fun healthy options for kids to keep them full and happy, that don’t require too much more time or effort than grabbing a bowl of sugary or salty junk food.

                  Featured photo credit: By Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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                  12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                  12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

                  Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                  But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                  I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                  Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                  1. Nuts

                  The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                  Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                  Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                  Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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                  2. Blueberries

                  Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                  When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                  3. Tomatoes

                  Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                  4. Broccoli

                  While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                  Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                  Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                  5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                  Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                  The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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                  Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                  6. Soy

                  Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                  Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                  Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                  7. Dark chocolate

                  When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                  Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                  15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                  8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                  Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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                  B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                  Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                  Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                  To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                  9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                  Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                  Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                  Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                  10. Gingko biloba

                  This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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                  It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                  However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                  11. Green and black tea

                  Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                  Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                  Find out more about green tea here:

                  11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                  12. Sage and Rosemary

                  Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                  Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                  When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Reference

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