Posts filed under ‘Chipper Snacks’
Spring is in full throttle and summer is right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to get outdoors and explore your gardens! Finding little creepy crawlies with your little ones is not only a fun exercise, it instill an inherent curiosity in your child. That curiosity will push them to explore and learn about not only the great outdoors, but all aspects of the world. Education should inspire them to find out more, not stifle their natural wonder.
Take your little one(s) on a nature walk, strolling slowly in your back yard or community garden. Take 5 minutes in each area, observing things carefully, to see what you can find! Keep a look out for lovely little ladybugs. Here are 10 fun facts about ladybugs to teach your kiddos:
- Ladybugs are also called Lady beetles or Ladybirds.
- The male ladybug is usually smaller than the female.
- A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second when it flies.
- The spots on a ladybug fade, as the ladybug gets older.
- In many countries, ladybugs are considered to be good luck.
- Aphids are a ladybug’s favorite food, making them good for your garden.
- There are over 5000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide.
- A female ladybug will lay more than 1000 eggs in her lifetime.
- Ladybugs chew from side to side and not up and down like people do.
- Ladybugs are all around us! Ladybugs can be found in trees, shrubs, fields, beaches, and even houses!
What you Need:
- Egg carton or round cardboard piece
- black and red markers, paint or crayons
- scissors or whole puncher
- Pipe cleaners
- Optional: googly eyes
- Separate one cup from an egg carton or use any round cardboard pieces you have on hand.
- Using markers or paint to color the egg carton cup red. Then, using black paint/markers, color in the head, and make spots on the body.
- Using the point of a scissors or a hole puncher, an adult should make 6 small holes (3 on each side) at the base of the cup (these will be for the legs. Make 2 small holes (for antennae) where the top of the head will be.
- Insert a black pipe cleaner into each a side hole and out the other side for the legs. Use half a pipe cleaner for the antennae.
- Glue on googly eyes or paint on white eyes.
- Take your ladybug into the garden and try to spot some real ones!
This Simple Recipe is Tasty and Cute!
1-small red apple
2tsp.- strawberry cream cheese (low-fat)
1/8 cup- raisins or dried cranberries
1 or 2-red or black seedless grapes
Optional: lettuce leaves for garnish if desired.
Alternatives: peanut or almond butter instead of cream cheese. Round cereal instead of raisins, a small pinch of cinnamon. Use your imagination and what you have on hand in the kitchen.
Wash the apples and lettuce. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on each plate. Cut apples in half from stem to bottom. Remove seeds. Lay each half of apple cut side down on
cutting board and cut in half from stem to bottom. With skin side up place both halves of apple on top of lettuce. Put a small amount of cream cheese in-between the apple
halves to adhere the apple back together (enough to have a small amount squish out the top). Stick raisins to cream cheese down the middle of apple, then use a small dab of cream cheese to adhere the raisins (see picture below) on each wing. Cut a grape in half and use cream cheese to stick it to one end of your ladybug apple for the head.
This is a perfect recipe for adults and kids to make together. It’s fun, easy, cute, and so tasty. And did Chipper mention it’s healthy too? “Healthy before sweet, can’t be beat!”
Happy Sunday! This week, Chipper snacked on and played with one of his favorite nutritious foods, celery! Normally, Chipper picks up some celery every week at the super market. Did you know that celery provides anti-inflammatory health benefits? Or that the crunchy vegetable contains antioxidants such as vitamin C and flavonoids that help protect us from unwanted oxygen damage to our cells, organs, and blood vessels? It does!
This week, Chipper created flower prints from celery. It is an easy craft that can be created with materials that are lying around at home. All you need is: celery, a knife, paint, and a piece of paper! Here’s how:
First, take your bunch of celery and cut off the bottom.
Then, dip the bottom portion of the celery stalk in to paint and stamp away! Chipper used red paint.
The celery stalk ends up creating these fun, flower shaped objects.
Here’s Chipper‘s end product.
Chipper cut up the rest of the celery stalk and enjoyed it with some peanut butter.
According to an article by Harvard Health Publications, peanut butter has fiber, vitamins, and mineras, among other nutrients. Unsalted peanut butter contains a terrific potassium-to-sodium ratio, which “counters the harmful cardiovascular effects of sodium surplus….even salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium.” In addition, many research studies have concluded that people who “regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.”
With this craft and snack, teach your child the importance of being creative and snacking right all at the same time!
Let’s Go Chipper for creativity and healthy snacking!
We all want to eat healthy—it makes us feel better mentally and physically! Choosing which kinds of foods to buy or what recipes to make can seem daunting sometimes. And there are a lot of fake “healthy” foods out there to confuse us, thus making good food decisions isn’t as easy as it used to be!
Knowing your seasonal fruits and vegetables are a good place to start (that’s where Chipper can help!). Buying local, seasonal produce is not only good for your body but a wonderful way to support your community! Look into your local farmers market to do your produce shopping and try out one of these 5 Apps that help you shop for healthier foods at the grocery store and make nutritious recipes in your own kitchen!
One great food to eat during the winter are beans! They are an excellent source of protein and folate; 1/4 cup of cooked dry beans equals 1 ounce of meat! They are also high in fiber; 1/2 cup provides about 1/3 of an adults daily needs. Beans are very easy to use; very low in cost; and can be served hot or cold, mashed or whole. All adults should try and include 3 cups of canned or cooked dry beans in their meals each week.
Today, top your favorite green salad with cooked kidney (or other) beans. Tomorrow, try using left over beans to make a tasty dish: Spicy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Beans (see recipe below). Freeze left over beans in 1 cup portions and save for soups, salads and chili dishes you make later! When shopping, look for beans that are firm, clean and bright in color. Store beans in an air tight container in a cool, dry place. For recipes, 1 pound of dry beans makes about 4 to 5 cups of cooked beans. Soak dry beans overnight to shorten cooking time and retain their texture.
Spicy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Beans Recipe
- 2 CUPS Red Kidney Beans, cooked
- 12 oz. lean ground beef (omit for vegetarian recipe!)
- 1 and 1/2 CUPS frozen whole-kernel corn
- 1 Large tomato, diced
- 3/4 CUP dried whole-wheat elbow macaroni
- 2 TSP Chili Powder
- 1 CUP water
- 1/2 CUP low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
How To Cook:
Heat a large skillet; brown the meat on medium-high heat; drain. Stir in corn, tomato, beans, uncooked macaroni, chili powder, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until macaroni is tender. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve immediately and ENJOY
Makes 6 servings; Each serving provides: 302 calories, 20 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams fat, 116 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
- Graham Crackers
- Chocolate Chips
- Yellow Candy Melts (Butterscotch candies taste great too!)
- Candy Corn
- Cut one marshmallow in half and place both pieces on a large graham cracker (2 stuck together).
- Put a candy melt or butterscotch candy on top of the marshmallows.
- Heat in the microwave for about 2-5 seconds, just enough to make the marshmallows puff up, but not get too hot. Alternately, you can use an oven. Just make sure not to melt it too much!
- Once you take it out of the microwave (or oven), add a chocolate chip on the yellow candy melt and the candy corn beak while the marshmallows and candy are still warm. Everything should stick together nicely!
- Let cool and serve! You can make these the night before a party and everything is still very tasty.
These cute Owl S’mores work perfectly for Halloween Festivities! If your child or class loves owls as much as Chipper, organize an Owl Camp Out Party the next time you go camping or on an excursion or when a birthday rolls along! This snack will be the perfect fun activity! Let’s Go Chipper for Owls this October!
Learn how to make the perfect S’more. Enjoy Chipper’s Song, “Are we there yet? AKA The S’more Song!”
Nothing puts a dent in your day like discovering moldy, wrinkled fruits and veggies in your kitchen. Here are four natural tricks to keep your produce fresher, longer! Are you Chipper for fresh food?
Case #1: Moldy Berries
The tragic tale of berries gone bad too soon (but they were so new!) doesn’t have to plague your kitchen any longer. All you have to do is take your berries, soak them in a bowl of vinegar and water, dry in a salad spinner, and put in a partially sealed, towel-lined bowl and voila! — they will be mold-free for up to seven days! Hopefully by that time you’ll have already used them in a delicious berry smoothie! Add some to your family’s morning cereal or in some yogurt as a tasty yet healthy snack!
Case #2: Browning Avocados
Avocados make for great party guacamole, but nobody wants to dip their chips in a bowl full of browned mush (besides, it tastes funny). Avocados turn brown when they contact oxygen. So, simple solution: don’t let air near your avocados. Many try to do this with plastic wrap or sealed containers. But let’s face it — that never works very well. (Plus, food doesn’t like plastic!) Instead, put the cut avocado in a bowl on top of some onion slices. Th e sulfur in onion’s will slow down the browning process! Plus, they’ll taste extra good when your make that guac!
Case #3: Ailing Apples
Avoiding ailing apples can be somewhat tricky. While uneaten apples are generally resilient to molding or bruising for about a week or even two, the moment you slice them open, they remain white for only a few minutes before they begin to turn yellow and brown…then your little ones probably won’t like to eat them when they open their school lunch! This doesn’t mean your apples are no longer fresh — really, they are! But the immediate browning can make it appear that those slices have been sitting out for a while. The reason for this? Apples, similar to potatoes, have a special enzyme in them that reacts when exposed to oxygen. The reaction forms a type of rust on the surface of the apple that we see as the browning effect, and it actually does cause the apple to spoil at a slow rate.
But there is hope! In order to keep your apples looking fresh, simply do the following:
After you cut your apple slices, immediately soak them into a bowl of cold water mixed with salt (about 1/8 of a cup of table salt mixed in one quart of water per apple). Afterward, rinse the apples under cold water. It won’t leave an overwhelming salty taste. Because salt acts as a preservative, it does just that: preserves the apple from oxidizing! Or, if you’d like to keep your fruits a bit more citrusy, you can also soak your apples in lemon juice, orange juice, or any other type of acidic juice, which will counter the oxidization process as well. Your healthy treat shouldn’t just taste good — it should look good too!
Case #4: Atrophied Asparagus
Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, asparagus is always a great vegetable to add to your diet. Yet while it is renowned for the health benefits it provides, it is simultaneously notorious for its shelf life. Asparagus stored in the refrigerator lasts for only about two days after it is has been bought from the market. If you are an avid asparagus eater, you know that the stalks shrink in size, crispness, and taste if you don’t cook them within 48 hours. Their shriveled and wrinkled appearance isn’t an indication that the thermostat in your fridge is too low, but a result of asparagus’s respiration rate (or the rate in which fruits and vegetable spoil), which is high. Of course, the best way to enjoy this delicious veg is to cook it the day it’s bought. But that isn’t always going to be the case!
So here’s your plan B. Another great way to ensure that your asparagus doesn’t become your next produce casualty is to do the following:
Cut off about an inch from the bottom of the stalks. Then, store upright in a cup, vase, or jar of room-temperature water. Lastly, cover the tops of the asparagus with a plastic bag (grocery bags or ziplocs will work) to retain moisture, and store in the refrigerator. Your asparagus will last a few days longer and taste new and fresh!
Recipe: Kale Krispies
We are so Chipper for kale! This versatile veggie is a good source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A and C. Making a salad or sauteing it with some garlic are some standard ways to enjoy kale. Sometimes though, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and that big bunch of kale is starting to look a little wilted. So is it time to throw it out? No way! Instead, make a healthy snack for when you’re on-the-go. Kale chips are easy to bake and super tasty so your kids will love this healthy snack as well as you!
- a bunch (or two!) of kale
- 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil (depending on batch size)
- sea salt
- cookie sheet(s)
- parchment paper
- a mixing bowl
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and prep your cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Rinse off the kale and remove the stem. You should now have some generous-size strips of kale. Tear the strips into smaller pieces and toss it in the bowl.
Drizzle (lightly) with olive oil and add a few dashes of sea salt.
At this point, you could spread the kale out on your prepped cookie sheet(s), pop them in the oven for 12-15 minutes (or until slightly browned around the edges) and come out with some yummy kale snacks.
You get a little creative with it! Add some crushed red pepper flakes to give it a little heat or whatever other seasonings you or the Kids love! Or add a lemon to the mix for some extra flavor. Maybe try some parmesan cheese or hickory BBQ seasoning on a batch. There are tons of possibilities, but whether you’re a vegetarian or just want to try something new, you’ll be addicted to kale chips before you know it! Let’s Go Chipper and eat some fresh and healthy food!
This week we are Chipper for Bruce the Banana Slug! Banana Slugs are nature’s greatest composter though they often given a bad rap for being slimy and eating your garden. The slimy part may be true, but not all slugs are harmful to your garden! Bruce works in North America to keep decaying matter cleaned up from the forest floor. He may grow to be 18 inches or longer but don’t worry, Banana Slugs have absolutely NO interest in eating your garden…They don’t even like to eat fresh greens (just the rotten brown kind)! Chipper salutes Bruce and his buddies for all the awesome work that they do! Hug a Slug today!
If the slime makes you skirmish, try out this recipe instead. Real banana slugs aren’t so sweet, but you’ll love digging into this fruity treat!
What you need:
- maraschino cherries (or try Organic Black Cherries to stay away from all that sugar!)
What you do:
- Cut the banana in half lengthwise. Place it skin side down on a plate.
- Peel the tangerine and break it into segments. Place the segments on top of the banana.
- Cut the cherries in half and place one on top of each tangerine segment.
Let’s Get Chipper for Banana Slugs this week!!! What kind of slugs or snails live near you???
Recipe: Laura Blankenbaker
Photo: John Collins / Happy Medium Productions
This past weekend, I (Laila–A Chipper Ambassador!) went camping at Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake entirely in California. Located in Lake Port, it’s not the most isolated camping area, but there’s lots of fun things to do on the lake: swimming, boating, water skiing, or just floating around! Luckily, some of the people I went with owned a boat and we had a blast just riding around this HUGE lake and checking out surrounding sites and all the water birds.
Never having been there before, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to bring with me. When in doubt, bring lots of layers! Or whatever you can fit in the car. No matter the conditions (which ended up being perfect!), I was to be in charge of bringing the all-important S’more supplies: Skewers, Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Graham Crackers. You can just find a stick around your camp site instead of skewers but some areas don’t have prime twigs for roasting: long, thin and sturdy! Bringing a few skewers or chop sticks is a good idea just in case so you don’t get stuck with all your ingredients and no way to cook your marshmallows!
One of the campers was a Welsh man, age 63, who had never even heard of S’mores! I had just completed showing him how to make the perfect S’more when I thought–I should document this and share for all of you out there that don’t know much about S’more making! Of course, my second attempt to make a deliciously perfect “Shmo” (as I like to call them–from Toy Story ) and document it was a total disaster. It might have been something to do with holding my camera and taking photos with one hand while doing everything else with the other hand. In the end, my photos are more in line with what NOT to do when making a S’more so I just went with it:
1) Make sure you have all your ingredients BEFORE leaving home or the grocery store:
2) Build a nice big fire and make sure you have plenty of wood to keep it going!
4) Now it’s time to roast: the trickiest part depending on how you like your mellow! I like mine nice a gooey but not burnt so I usually slowly rotate my marshmallow a good distance from the fire. In this picture, I got too close and it caught fire!
6) You want to break your cracker in half BEFORE putting on the chocolate! I did this backwards and my S’more sandwich halves were pretty uneven. Not to mention, the chocolate got completely melted. Make sure to keep your Hershey’s in the cooler!
9) And ENJOY!!! Yummmmmmmm!!!!
Not perfect but it still tasted good! Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and people have different preferences of how they like their marshmallows cooked–squishy, gooey, or crisp! How do YOU make your perfect S’more?
School’s started up again and making sure your child stays focused and alert during the day depends a lot on what and how much they are eating! Encourage mid-morning or afternoon snacks to keep you little ones energized. Tuck one of these healthy goodies into their backpack so they can have something to nibble on during the long school day.
The snacks below are packed with the flavors kids love, and the critical protein, whole grains, and vitamins they need to be their best! Each one provides a bit of sweetness for flavor and a burst of energy, plus vital nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Having a tasty snack to munch on after school (when they are always impatient for some sort of food) also helps your children to avoid cheap junk food that may be available around or on school grounds. Try five these snacks out to have a Chipper school year!
1) Ants on a Log
This healthy snack is one that kids can make all on their own. Simply spread some crunchy peanut butter and sweet raisins over celery for a smart snacking option.
- 5 stalks celery
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup raisins
- Cut the celery stalks in half. Spread with peanut butter. Sprinkle with raisins.
2) Apple Cinnamon Bran Mini-Muffins
A big muffin is often too much for a little kid. These bite-size bran muffins, made with the goodness of apple and cinnamon, are perfect for preschoolers to preteens and are just the right size for snacking between meals.
- 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) natural bran (not cereal)
- 1 cup (250 mL) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp. (12 mL) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease the cups in two mini muffin pans.
- In a large bowl, stir together the bran, flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and eggs. Add the milk mixture to the bran mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chopped apple.
- Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup to the top. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
- Makes 20 to 22 miniature muffins.
3) Apple Autumn Salad
This tart and tangy fruit salad tosses together tart green apples, dried cranberries, cherries and almonds in a refreshing vanilla yogurt for a delightful taste of fall.
- 4 tart green apples, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped dried cherries
- 1 (8 ounce) container vanilla yogurt
- In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, almonds, cranberries, cherries and yogurt until evenly coated.
4) Banana and Peanut Butter Wraps
Kids go bananas for these simple after-school snacks. The peanut butter and banana filling, sprinkled with raisins and drizzled with honey, is a wholesome way to satisfy their sweet and salty cravings.
- 1 (6 inch) flour tortilla
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 banana
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- Lay tortilla flat. Spread peanut butter and honey on tortilla. Place banana in the middle and sprinkle in the raisins. Wrap, and serve.
5) Juicy Fruit Salad
Juicy to the core, this tropical blend of pineapple chunks, orange segments, diced apple, banana slices and grapes makes a sweet gesture for your little ones when they’re looking for a quick snack.
- 1 (15 ounce) can pineapple chunks with juice
- 1 apple – peeled, cored and diced
- 1 orange – peeled, diced and juice reserved
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
- In a large bowl, toss together the pineapple, apple, orange, banana and grapes. Add the juice from the pineapple and orange and let chill until serving.
School Lunch Advice for Kids at Every Age
Try the tips below to make your child’s lunch healthy AND worth looking forward to.
For home-packed lunches:
- Avoid the morning rush by preparing lunch the night before and chilling it in the refrigerator.
- Put slices of tomatoes in a separate bag or container so they don’t make sandwiches soggy.
- Instead potato or corn chips, pack a healthier alternative like veggie chips, bagel rounds, or baked tortilla crisps.
- Round out the meal with kid-sized veggies—baby carrots, celery sticks, or broccoli florets—and a low-fat or fat-free dip.
- Low-fat, high fiber mini muffins make a great dessert alternative to cupcakes or high-fat cookies.
- Use a cookie cutter to transform a plain square sandwich into something unique.
- Turn a container of low-fat yogurt into a complete meal by sending along some stir-ins like granola, trail mix, unsalted chopped nuts, or whole grain cereal.
- Consider alternatives to sandwich bread like burger buns, pita rounds, soft tortillas, and large lettuce leaves (for a no-sog wrap for savory fillings).
For school cafeteria lunches:
- Look over the cafeteria menu with your child ahead of time. Try to agree on items your child like and that are healthy.
- Ask the school’s parent-teacher group to arrange a presentation by the food service department. Express your interest in ensuring that healthy food choices be offered in school cafeterias and vending machines.
- Learn more about new laws requiring healthier school lunches at the Healthy Meals Resource System web site.
Advice and tips for safe lunches
To prevent food-related illness, following the guidelines below when preparing and packing lunches.
Watch the temperature. Harmful bacteria grow best between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so it’s important to keep perishable foods outside this danger zone as much as possible. Foods susceptible to bacterial growth—especially high protein foods like meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and eggs—should never be in the danger zone for more than two hours (one hour in warm weather conditions). Foods destined for the lunch box should be kept in the refrigerator until just before your child leaves for school.
To maintain lunch food at a cool temperature, pack a frozen juice box or water bottle in an insulated lunch bag; you can also use a freezable gel pack. Try to position the coldest item at the top of the bag since cool air settles.
Keep it clean. Always wash your hands (and your child’s) before preparing food. Wash them again after handling eggs or raw meat so you don’t cross contaminate other foods or surfaces. Be sure that utensils, counters, and cutting boards are also clean when you begin. If raw meat or eggs touches a surface, clean it with warm soapy water before allowing another food to come in contact with it.
Be aware of food hazards. Some common lunch foods pose health hazards than you might not expect. Some of the most common include:
- Raw eggs. Uncooked eggs may be contaminated with salmonella. Young children are especially susceptible to this harmful organism, so avoid giving them foods like homemade mayonnaise or uncooked eggnog.
- Peanuts. Children who are allergic to peanuts can have a life-threatening reaction to even microscopic amounts. This is why some schools have banned foods that contain peanuts. Unfortunately, many processed foods contain trace amounts of peanuts, even if they aren’t listed on the ingredient label. If you’re child attends school with a youngster who has a peanut allergy, be sure to pay attention to any guidelines given to you by the school. (To learn more about peanut and other food allergies, check out Medline.)
- Tuna. Albacore tuna—so-called “white” tuna—has relatively high levels of mercury. Though not considered dangerous for most adults, young children and pregnant women should avoid eating more than one meal (about six ounces) of albacore per week. Shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish have less mercury, and are safe for up to two meals per week.
Is There Lead in Your Child’s Lunch Bag?
In 2005, tests by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission revealed that some soft vinyl lunch carriers contained lead. Though the government insisted that the risk associated with these products is very low, parents have reason to be concerned. Lead is an insidious nerve toxin that can lead to retardation and other health problems. Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead.
Although the Food and Drug Administration has asked manufacturers and suppliers to stop using lead in the lunch carriers, it is possible that these products remain in homes and on store shelves. It is also possible, though not likely, that other types of plastic lunch carriers might have lead in them.
To protect your child, consider taking these safeguards:
- Avoid soft lunch carriers made from vinyl (or PVC).
- Look for carriers from reputable suppliers that are certified as lead free.
- If you have a soft lunch carrier and want to know if it contains lead, pick up a home lead testing kit at a well-stocked hardware store or home center.
Check out these environmentally-safe Lunch Totes from Let’s Go Chipper! Perfect for school lunches or summer picnics!