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Back to School Snacks: Nutritious Foods to Pack for Your Children

Written by: Famous Foods | 2017-10-22 | no comments

It’s that time of year when your children are off to school and you can’t always be sure what they are eating at lunch or when a snack attack hits. A good practice is to pack some nutritious snacks in their backpacks or school bags for when they have those afternoon crashes and need to reach for something for a boost of energy.

Easy and Basic Go-to Snacks

The no-fail snack option is to have small containers with 2 to 4 compartments in them. Or, use snack-size resealable Ziploc bags. These both work well to give your children options. Kids are picky eaters and they change their minds often as they mature. So, provide a small variety for them to choose from.

For your compartmented containers or baggies, these are some standard items to include. Keep in mind that the snacks are kept at room temperature so choose foods that can last several hours.

  • Carrot sticks
  • Grapes
  • Raisins, including yogurt covered
  • Fruit leather or rolls
  • Small cheese bites
  • Pieces of nitrate free cured meats
  • Multi-grain cereal rounds
  • Toasted nuts, unless there is an allergy
  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate or vegan carob chips

Make good use of the bulk section of your market. You can find good deals and some great pre-made snack mixes. Also, buy some mini bottled water. As suggested by the Government of Canada nutrition website, children need to drink plenty of water to replenish fluids. You need to remind them of this by adding a bottle of water to their backpacks.

Recipes for the Adventurous

If you have the time, try to make some creative and healthy snacks for your children to take along. Consider asking them to help you make these. They may be more likely to try something they had a hand in creating.

  • Banana Sushi: This recipe is as simple as it gets with bananas and Nutella. You can ramp it up by adding nuts or dried fruits.
  • Healthy Trail Mix: This is a fairly basic recipe that hits all the notes of sweet, crunchy, and salty.
  • Apple Cookies: These are just good. Stack them in a small container.
  • Energy Bars: This no bake recipe is a chocolate, nut butter, fiber treat. If your children don’t like these, enjoy what they bring back home. Again, be mindful of allergies to nuts and gluten.

Drop by Famous Foods, where you can find produce, meats & cheeses, healthy packaged foods, and bulk items for all your back to school snack ingredients.

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Turn a picky-eater into a happy eater

Written by: Famous Foods | 2017-10-22 | no comments

Most parents have faced this scenario: After a long day, you prepare a meal for your family, only to discover that your child refuses to take a bite. Picky eating is a widespread problem, with many parents feeling frustrated over their children’s eating habits. Fortunately, there are ways to help your child try new foods while incorporating healthy ingredients. Here’s how:

  1. Stop Using the “Picky Eater” Label

When your child only eat a handful of foods, it’s easy to call him or her a “picky eater.” However, using that label for your child may cause him or her to internalize that behaviour, which can lead to more pickiness. Instead, try to take a positive approach when asking your child to try new things. Encourage your child to try a food several times as he or she learns to enjoy it.

  1. Put an End to Short-Order Cooking

Anyone who’s visited a grocery store knows that many foods are catered to kids’ picky palates, and you may find yourself breaking out the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets when your child refuses to eat dinner. However, making “special” meals for your children may reinforce their picky behaviour. If your child argues with you, don’t engage – simply inform your child that the food you’ve prepared is the only option.

  1. Sneak Healthy Foods into Recipes

Combining healthy foods with items your child already enjoys is a great way to sneak in vitamins and nutrients. For example, macaroni and cheese is a kid-friendly favourite that can be made healthier with pureed squash or pumpkin. You can also experiment with different spices and flavourings to make food more appealing to children, like orange zest on vegetables or cinnamon on sliced fruit.

  1. Get Your Kids Involved in the Kitchen

Learning to eat a variety of foods is much like learning to read – it can be taught in a fun way. Try letting your children help when shopping at the grocery store or preparing meals, which can make them more interested in trying new foods. Many grocery stores even offer children’s cooking classes, which allow your child to socialize while learning about new foods.

Remember, picky eating is not a personality trait and doesn’t often become permanent. Children’s eating habits can be erratic, so patience is key when helping your child discover new foods. With patience and a bit of fun, your child may become an adventurous eater in no time.

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Which Coconut Oil to Choose?

Written by: Famous Foods | 2017-08-25 | no comments

Coconut oil has really gained in popularity as a healthy fat that contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). That is really just a technical term for essential fatty acids. The essential fatty acids in coconut oil are what increase energy, boost metabolism, increase HDL cholesterol, and help fight fungal infections, among other benefits.

There may be some confusion about which type of coconut oil is best to use for cooking vs. topical use. When shopping you may see coconut oil labeled in a variety of ways:

  • Refined
  • Unrefined
  • Expeller-pressed
  • Cold-pressed
  • Virgin
  • Organic

This can be confusing, so let’s break down what these terms mean and what are the best uses for these products.

Refined and Unrefined Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oil is commercially processed using a high heat extraction process. This oil has been bleached and deodorized, resulting in a tasteless and odorless oil. It may also contain preservatives. This oil is fine for high heat cooking without the coconut taste.

Unrefined coconut oil is minimally processed and isn’t exposed to high heat levels. It tastes and smells of coconut meat. It has a higher nutrient content than refined oil. This form of oil is derived from fresh coconut meat, not dried, and is sometimes labeled “pure”. Unrefined coconut oil is great for cooking at slightly lower temperatures and imparts a rich flavor. It can also be used for moisturizing the skin and hair.

Expeller-Pressed and Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil

Expeller-pressed coconut oil involves pressing or squeezing the meat of the coconut to extract the oil. No heat is added during the process, yet the friction of the machining produces high temperatures of up to 200˚F (93˚C) causing some of the beneficial fats to be lost. Expeller-pressed has a bit of a toasted aroma that many cooks desire. This is a good product for use in baking.

The cold-pressed method keeps the temperature below 120˚F (49˚C) by just pressing the oil from the meat. The end product is purer with more nutrients retained. Cold-pressed oil is excellent for fighting fungal infections, boosting metabolism, and moisturizing skin and hair. 

Virgin and Organic Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil simply refers back to the processing method. Virgin and extra virgin coconut oil is unrefined, and contain higher vitamin, antioxidant, and mineral content. Virgin coconut oil is also richer in taste and fragrance.

Organic coconut oil can only be labeled as such if it is certified as not being grown using any pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or other synthetic compounds. Organic oil does not necessarily guarantee that it is unrefined. So, read the label carefully.

Your best coconut oil option for cooking or topical use, is unrefined, cold-pressed, and virgin. This will be the purest, least processed, and most nutrient dense form of coconut oil. Choosing an organic option is also important to ensure the product is non-gmo.

Check out our large selection of coconut oils at Famous Foods!

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