Monday Message

Article of the Week

The Season for Strawberries:


Studies consistently show that kids are not getting the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Red, sweet, juicy strawberries are one healthy fruit that you won’t have any trouble getting your child to eat. Strawberries are one of America’s most loved fruits, with a recent study showing the average American consuming eight pounds per year. There are plenty of reasons to love strawberries.
A cup of naturally sweet strawberries (about eight medium) has only 50 calories, making them the perfect treat to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth. Strawberries for dessert pack a powerful nutrient punch that many traditional deserts lack.

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, folate, fiber and potassium. Just 1 cup contains 160 percent of the recommended Daily Value of vitamin C, which is necessary for growth and body tissue repair, and for maintaining a healthy immune system. Fiber aids in digestive health and one cup of sliced strawberries provides 3.3 grams of fiber. Strawberries also are rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins, which give them their bright red color. These compounds may help prevent some chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Not only are strawberries delicious and nutritious, but as Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, points out, “What makes them particularly great for kids is that they are the perfect size for little hands and fingers.” Fresh strawberries are extremely versatile and can be served whole, packed to go or used in a variety of recipes, including salads, sandwiches with cheese or nut butter, salsa, smoothies, fruit kabob or served with low-fat yogurt or ice cream. When fresh strawberries aren’t in season, choose frozen, but check the label to make sure there is no added sugar. Sheila Campbell, RD, suggests making instant “ice cream” by blending frozen strawberries with Greek yogurt and avocado. “The avocado doesn’t change the flavor but makes a fun green color and extra rich consistency,” Campbell says. Marilyn Yon, MS, RD, LD, recommends pick-your-own strawberry farms. “It’s fun to see the kids eating strawberries as they pick, red-stained faces and all,” she says. What could be better than watching your child enjoy a healthy food like strawberries? Just be sure to wash fresh berries before eating.

Hot Tip


What is a Whole Grain?  

Whole grains contain three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Refined grains only contain the endosperm. The bran and germ help keep your body healthy, your skin glowing and your hair shiny. Including whole grains as part of a healthy diet has been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease, lower body weight and reduce incidence of diabetes. Some whole grains are: barley, quinoa, oats, brown rice, or whole-grain pastas, breads, or cereals. Make sure to check the ingredient list for “whole-grain.” To make white flour for baked goods, nutrient-rich parts of the grain – bran and germ – are removed.


Recipe of the Week



Polynesian Shrimp Tacos

Taco filling is typically made with ground meat, but it doesn’t have to be. For this recipe, combine the convenience of frozen shrimp with the usual taco seasonings: chili powder, cumin, garlic and salsa. Then toss in some unlikely ingredients: black beans and crushed pineapple. The result is a slightly sweet, fiber-filled dinner that’s sure to make everyone smile. If you have young children and they happen to be missing a few front teeth, you may want to switch from crunchy taco shells to soft flour or corn tortillas.


  • 12 taco shells
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 pound frozen small cooked shrimp, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • ½ cup salsa
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional toppings: diced avocado, chopped tomato, light sour cream, shredded lettuce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the taco shells according to package directions and set aside.
  2. While the shells are baking, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder and cook until the shrimp are warmed through, about 1 minute (if using fresh shrimp, cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes).
  3. Stir in the beans, corn, pineapple and salsa, and heat through, about 2 minutes. Add the cheese and heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Using a slotted spoon to remove any excess liquid, place a generous ½ cup of the shrimp mixture into each taco shell. Serve with optional toppings.

Kids Eat Right

Tip of the Day

What counts as lean? The leanest beef cuts = round steaks & roasts, top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder & arm roasts. The leanest pork choices = pork loin, tenderloin, center loin, & ham. Lastly, for extra lean ground beef, the label should say at least ‘92% lean.’

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Monday Message

Article of the Week

Healthful and Safe Eating on Vacation

Summer vacations are a time to relax, revitalize and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of new places. When it comes to maintaining a healthful eating plan on vacation, your family can still enjoy the new, fun and exciting foods that come with traveling without packing on the pounds. Here are a few tips to eat right while on summer vacation:

  • Sample small amounts of high-calorie foods. You don’t have to avoid these foods entirely, just reduce the amount you eat to a few bites.
  • Share large portions. Many restaurants serve very large portions, so don’t hesitate to split orders.
  • Space meals throughout the day. It can be easy to “graze” while on vacation. Try to set meal times and stick to them.
  • Engage in some type of physical activity most days. There is no better time to enjoy a walk with your family than on vacation. You see the new sights up close and keep your bodies healthy at the same time.

Taking It with You

If a road trip is part of your vacation, packing healthy foods is a great way to maintain a diet. Try these tips for healthful eating on the road:

  • Pack a cooler with fresh vegetables and fruit for snacks. Stock up on cut-up broccoli florets, carrot sticks and apple and orange slices.
  • For beverages, bring canned or boxed 100-percent fruit juice, canned tomato juice and bottled water.
  • Bring boxes of raisins and resealable pouches of dried fruit like apricots.
  • Deli sandwiches, yogurt and low-fat cheese make a great lunch.
  • Get out of the car every hour or two to take a short walk and stretch your legs.

Be sure to keep your backseat treats safe with these easy tips:

  • Pack easy-to-transport, shelf-stable foods. Good choices include cereal, trail mix, popcorn, single-serve applesauce, cans of tuna, peanut butter sandwiches, fresh fruit, carrots or celery.
  • Don’t let food sit unrefrigerated for more than two hours, and make sure coolers remain at or below 40°F.
  • In hot weather, place coolers and lunch bags in the back seat instead of the trunk. The environment tends to be cooler in the car, especially when the air conditioning is on.
  • Make sure everyone in the family washes their hands with soap and water before and after eating. If you don’t have access to a restroom, pack moist towelettes or hand sanitizer.

Hot Tip

Celebrate the Watermelon


It’s fitting to celebrate the watermelon, since no summer gathering is complete without it. In addition to being a tasty treat, watermelon is a good source of vitamins A and C and contains lycopene, fiber and potassium. It’s also more than 90 percent water, so it can help you stay hydrated on hot days too.
Try a new twist on an old favorite with these ideas:

  • Caramelize watermelon slices on the grill, then drizzle with honey, lime and a pinch of salt.
  • Pair with shrimp on a kabob.
  • Carve out a watermelon to use as a bowl and fill with fruit salad.
  • Use watermelon in place of tomatoes in a citrus salsa.
  • Use its juice as a glaze on shrimp or pork.

Of course, watermelon is also a crowd-pleaser “as is.” Slice it up and you have an instant appetizer, side dish or dessert.

Recipe of the Week

Pesto Chicken Salad Pitas


This Mediterranean spin on chicken salad is bursting with fresh flavor thanks to the addition of pesto. Use chopped rotisserie chicken for a time-saving substitute, if desired, to mix up an anything-but-boring lunch in no time!


  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • ½ cup grated carrot (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 4 mini whole wheat pita rounds, split
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves


  1. Combine mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice and pepper in a medium bowl; whisk until well blended.
  2. Add chicken and carrots; stir to combine.
  3. Stuff each pita evenly with spinach leaves and chicken salad mixture.

Servings: 4 (1 stuffed pita Per Serving)

Nutrition Facts (Amount per serving):

Calories 297
Total Fat 11.9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 415mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.2g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Protein 25.6g

  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Kids Eat Right

Tip of the Day



Eating out and tempted by decadent desserts? Order one dessert and several spoons.

Restaurant desserts can look so good they can be hard to resist. Some restaurant desserts can have more fat, sugar and calories than your main meal. Luckily, some restaurants offer bite-size portions so you can enjoy the taste without filling up. If you like to treat yourself to a little dessert after a meal share the taste with friends; order one dessert and several spoons.


Monday Message

Article of the Week


Summer just isn’t quite summer without a trip to the amusement park but between the cotton candy, chili cheese fries and nachos, you may think your family is destined for a day of high-calorie, nutritionally empty meals and snacks. “Eating right at an amusement park can seem like an impossible feat, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Jim White, RDN, ACSM-HFS. “Now that people are more health conscious than ever, there are a surprising number of healthy options. You just need to know where to look for them.” Here’s how:

Scout it out:

While you’re walking through the park keep your eyes open for healthy options, and you’ll be surprised at what you can find. Skip the hot dogs and hamburgers, and go for a grilled chicken breast sandwich with a side salad or corn on the cob instead of fries. Other options: Squeeze in a serving or two of veggies with a veggie burger or grilled vegetable skewers.

BYO snacks:

Just because you’ll be at the park from dawn to dusk doesn’t mean you have to eat every meal there. Before you leave, serve up a healthy breakfast at home. That way you’ll know your family started the day fueled up and ready to go, and, if possible, bring nutritious snacks from home.  A few well-planned snacks can cut down on the number of meals you’ll have to buy and the amount of time you spend waiting in line for food….saving money and the family’s health! “A small bag of granola or nuts or a piece of fresh fruit can help hold kids over between meals and is a lot healthier than an ice cream sandwich,” says White. If the park you’re visiting doesn’t allow you to bring in food from outside you can still snack right. Many amusement parks now stock healthy nibbles like fresh fruit cups, yogurt, and even carrot and celery sticks.

Sip smart:

Super-sized sugar-filled drinks can bring lots of hidden, empty calories to the table. While fat-free or 1% milk or chocolate milk are great choices, so is water. “If it’s hot and everyone’s sweating, replenishing fluids is key for preventing dehydration,” says White. Encourage kids to hang on to their empty water bottles and refill them throughout the day rather than tossing them in the trash.

Don’t cave:

Nothing’s more frustrating than listening to your kids nag you for kettle corn, giant pretzels and funnel cake. While there’s certainly room for the occasional treat, don’t feel that you have to say yes to everything. A 2012 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study found that parents who were most permissive when it came to kids’ eating were the most likely to have children whose diets had the fewest nutrients.

Indulge – a little:

If most of the day’s meals and snacks are healthy, it’s completely OK for kids to have a small treat. Rather than snacking while walking through the park, encourage your children to sit down and savor their food. They’ll actually enjoy it more. If you are going to have a treat, try to save it for later in the day, says White. That way your kids won’t  stuff themselves with not-so-nutritious food the minute you get to the park and you can focus on what really matters – the fun.

Hot Tip of the Week


If you’ve picked up a package of hamburger meat, chicken breasts or pork chops lately, you might have noticed something new: Nutrition Facts. Certain meat products now require nutrition labeling.

Under the new USDA rule:

  1. All ground or chopped products (such as ground beef, ground pork and ground turkey) must have nutrition information on the package label.
  2. Major raw cuts of meat (such as steak, pork chops and chicken breast) must have nutrition information either on the label or on display to consumers, such as a sign or brochure, at the point-of-purchase.
  3. If a ground or chopped product includes a lean percentage statement on the label, it must also display the fat percentage. For example, it must say “90 percent lean/10 percent fat” rather than just “90/10.”

The nutrition label will show total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron, as well as serving size. Servings per container is required for ground and chopped products, but is not mandatory for the major cuts. It may be listed as varied. Also, the label may include an additional, optional statement of nutrient content as consumed (cooked).

Recipe of the Week

Cucumber Watermelon Salad


In Wisconsin, cucumbers and watermelon ripen at the same time. This recipe combines both to produce an unexpected, extraordinary salad.


  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 medium unpeeled cucumbers, washed, ends removed, sliced lengthwise then sliced crosswise
  • 3 cups watermelon, cut in 1-inch cubes (about 1 pound)


  1. Combine the lime juice, sugar and salt in a 2-quart bowl; whisk together. Stir in parsley.
  2. Add the cucumbers; toss with a rubber spatula, coating all cucumber pieces. Add the watermelon; fold in gently.
  3. Cover, set aside and allow juice from the watermelon to mix with the other juices. Stir gently and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Cooking Tip:

Choose a watermelon without a flat side and that sounds hollow when you knock on it. Look for a melon with a dull (not shiny) rind free of soft spots, gashes or blemishes.

Featured Video of the Week

Creamy Basil Pesto:


Enjoy this lower-fat, lower-calorie version of a classic creamy basil pesto. White beans are the secret ingredient!

Important Kids Eat Right links: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and KER website.

Tip of the Day

Got your dairy today? Choose fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt more often than cheese. When selecting cheese, choose low-fat or reduced-fat versions.

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