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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

…consistent evidence shows that all manner of nuts, including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and cashews, promote healthy arteries and cholesterol levels when we consume them in moderation. Eating a small handful of nuts about five times a week is perfect (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/food-guides/nuts-seeds ).

pepitas

(Pepitas:Public Domain)

Children form their tastes for foods at home, especially in the years before they go to school. A taste for a variety of nuts and seeds can lay the foundation for a longer and healthier lifestyle, and au pairs (in partnership with their Host Families) are uniquely positioned to encourage the children in their charge.

The list of yummies on the above page from Whole Foods includes “almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, flax seeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistaschios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.” Then, these superfoods can be roasted with or without salt, eaten out of hand, or included in a variety of recipes.

A simple recipe for freshly roasted pumpkin seeds (aka “pepitas” in Albuqueque) follows:

  •  Less processed oil (try olive, flax, or coconut) to cover the bottom of an aluminum pie tin
  • Pumpkin seeds stirred into the oil, and
  • Natural sea salt to taste

Preheat an oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pie tin in the oven and bake, stirring or shaking the seeds as they begin to brown. Some people like their pepitas golden brown—and others prefer just a bit of charcoal. The choice is yours!

Al Ataque!

(Further resources for your pleasure: http://www.nuts.com, and http://www.nutsnberries.com).

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Do you like peppers stuffed with rice and tomato sauce? Now there is an easy way for busy au pairs and Host Families to enjoy this international classic.

No-Measure Recipe

red peppers

(Red pepper, Public Domain,
http://www.public-domain-image.com)

Slice 4-6 bell peppers of all colors into a large baking bowl

Add 1 24 oz jar of prepared pasta sauce, e.g., Regular, 4 Cheese, or Garlic

Mix ¼ to ½ cup white or brown rice, depending on consistency desired

Cover and bake at 350 degrees until the rice is soft, about 1.5 hours

 

Pre-cooked meats may be also added. Try hamburger, shredded pork, or chicken.

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Creamy guacamole

(Creamy Guacamole, Wikipedia: Public Domain)

What is harder than thinking up delicious (and nutritious) meals for Host Children—and doing it every day?

There is hope. Au Pair Sis has gathered an awesome collection of easy and fresh meals on her Pinterest page.

Southwestern soils grow good vegetables: kale, asparagus, avocado, and others. Avocadoes caught my eye, as they are favored in New Mexico cuisine. The featured link to yummly.com offers  awesome alternatives for avocadoes in guacamole. Is anything missing here? Only a local emphasis on green chile added to the guacamole. Yum!

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Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

Ambersweet oranges (Photo credit: Wikipedia, Public Domain)

As part of the general movement toward a healthy and green lifestyle, there is an explosion in children’s nutrition.Cultural au pairs and host families may enjoy the process of learning about supplements for the youngest members of the family.

The following products, chosen from among many similar ones, are found in major health food stores. Be sure to consult the child’s pediatrician for any questions regarding suitability.

  • Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears by Nutrition Now are chewy bear-shaped “jelly candies” that contain extra calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. This product won the Chef’s Award for “Best Taste” in 2011 and is gluten-free. The suggested serving size is 2 bears. Each serving provides 20-25% of the Daily Value of calcium, and 50% of the Daily Value of vitamin D for children 2-4 years/4+ years respectively. Grams of sugar per serving are 3, and calories are 15.
  • Animal Parade Kid Greenz by Nature’s Plus contain “broccoli, spinach, and other green foods” as a chewable vitamin. African animal shapes intrigue kids, and this product is gluten free and hypo-allergenic. Daily values of greens are not established for children under or over 4 years of age, and are therefore not reported. Each one animal serving contains 1 gram of sugar and 5 calories.
  • Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals by Country Life provide complete multivitamins and minerals, plus B vitamins, in a gentle liquid with a berry splash flavor. This product is not recommended for children under 2 years of age. 1 teaspoon provides about 50% of many nutritional guidelines for children under 4 years of age, or 25%-30% for children over 4 years of age. Each serving contains 2 grams of sugar and 15 calories.

As part of the research for this article, I felt compelled to taste-test the citrus fruit-flavored Rhino Gummy Calci-Bears and the tropical fruit-flavored Animal Parade Kid Greenz. I confess to an extra serving of each.

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Svenska: En smoothie år 2009

(Bluebery smoothie, Wikipedia, Public Domain)

It can be a challenge to make fresh fruits and vegetables a regular and well-loved part of a young child’s diet, but fruit smoothies are a favorite for children of all ages. Below is a “generic” smoothie recipe that allows a cultural au pair to make quick and flexible smoothies for home lunches and snacks. Be sure to supervise young children carefully, if they help make their own smoothies.

First you need a blender.

  • For each smoothie serving, peel and slice one banana and place it in the blender. (Tip: If the banana has been frozen, it will chill and thicken the smoothie).
  • To the banana add a handful of seasonal or frozen berries (e.g., blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, singly or as a mixture).
  • Add liquid to cover the fruit. Fruit juices of various kinds (e.g., apple, orange, grape) work well. Soy, almond, or rice milks are another possibility. Experiment with less liquid to make a thick smoothie, or more liquid to make a thin smoothie.

Extra nutritional supplements may be added as desired, to personalize a smoothie. Young children may prefer the plain ingredients above. Older children, who need extra energy for school athletics or other activities, may develop a taste for added ingredients below.

  • Wheat germ increases available B vitamins
  • Bee pollen (watch carefully for allergies with young children) is favored by some to increase general nutritional content
  • Protein powder (e.g., soy, rice, or whey protein depending on desire or sensitivity) adds amino acids that support protein synthesis
  • Spirulina or other greens powders add minerals
  • Juice blends (e.g. ginger and Echinacea) provide gentle levels of herbal ingredients

Blend all ingredients until well mixed. For further information and ideas, you may also enjoy visiting Smoothieweb.

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English: Recreation of the flag of the city of...

Flag of the city of Allentown Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia, public domain)

Each local area representative (LAR) for Go Au Pair has a unique personality that shows in the content of his/her blog. The Go Au Pair Allentown blog is a model of practical information that begins at the top with a navigation bar leading to the Newsroom (topics of current interest, including reports and pictures of Family Days), U.S. Department of State Regulations (required to be followed by all cultural au pairs and Host Families) and U.S. locations where GoAuPair is active.

Two especially interesting videos are embedded in the Newsroom page. The first video features a local television discussion among Erin Mortensen (LAR for Utah), a host mom, and a Go Au Pair cultural au pair. The second video is a discussion with Go Au Pair’s International Director, Meghan Ramirez, regarding the benefits to families and au pairs alike who participate in the cultural au pair program.

Awards won by Go Au Pair, are also show-cased interactively.

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