Favorite Characters Help Kids Learn to Love Healthy Snacks!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012

Favorite Characters Help Kids Learn to Love Healthy Snacks!

Elmo Tray via Hatter and Hare events A healthy snack is a an essential element of the Playtime Project, but sometimes the kids are apprehensive about a plate full of fresh fruits and veggies. Looking for a new way to get kids to give our delicious healthy snacks a fair chance? Consider bringing in some back-up from a familiar face . . .  A new study* conducted by researchers at Cornell University found that children ages 8 to 11 were 65%  more likely to add an apple to their lunch when Elmo stickers were placed on the apples than when the apples did not have stickers. This finding did not surprise Elmo’s friends at the Sesame Workshop who found in 2005 that placing an Elmo sticker on a picture of broccoli caused children to report liking broccoli as much as they like chocolate! In addition to using stickers to enhance the appeal of vegetables and fruit, try the following suggestions for incorporating favorite characters into snack (based on ideas from Sesame Workshop): 1) Have a decorating activity during the night where kids can put stickers and/or draw pictures of their favorite characters on cups & plates – and then they can eat of their creations at snack time! 2) Advertise snack by using character’s names (Mickey Melon & Grover Grapes, anyone?) or list snack on a sign decorated with characters. 3) Arrange fruits & vegetable in the shape of a character – or make an activity out of it & have the kids do the arranging! Do you have other ideas for making beloved characters a part of snack? Let us know! *Published this month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent...

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Fruit Flag

Posted by on Jun 29, 2012

Fruit Flag

Making snack time extra-special doesn’t have to be difficult/ Simply arranging things a little bit differently on the plate can make even basic snacks exciting. With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner, arranging red & blue summer berries in a flag shape is both festive and refreshing! Do you have other ideas for fun fruit shapes? Let us...

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Tip of the Week: How Safe is your Playtime Snacking?

Posted by on May 21, 2012

Tip of the Week: How Safe is your Playtime Snacking?

A delicious, healthy snack is one of the highlights of Playtime! However, we need to remember that even seemingly healthy snacks can be unsafe in some circumstances. To ensure that our kids are snacking safely, review the following pointers: 1) Make sure your site has a posted and updated list of kids who have food allergies! 2) Rinse fruits and veggies well before serving and gently scrub apples, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc. with a drop of dish soap to help remove pesticides. 3) When possible, get organic when buying strawberries, apples and grapes especially. 4) We should not give babies under age one any food without talking to the parent first. 5) No honey or dairy for babies under age one, and avoid easily chokeable snacks like raisins, grapes, other veggies that size, nuts, popcorn, peanut butter, etc. for...

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Snap Pea Christmas Tree

Posted by on Dec 20, 2011

Snap Pea Christmas Tree

This adorable tree arranges a few favorite healthy treats in a festive way in honor of the holiday season! Ingredients:Snap PeasPretzelsCheese Directions: Take 8-10 snap peas and arrange them in the shape of a tree, as shown in the photo. Add a cheese star (you can cut these with a cookie cutter – or let the kids do it) and a pretzel stick trunk to make a snack that is fun, healthy, and perfect for the holidays. You can also cut out cheese circles for ornaments and let the kids decorate their tree before eating them! Thanks to Little Nummies for this creative...

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Homemade Fruit Roll-ups

Posted by on Nov 28, 2011

Homemade Fruit Roll-ups

If you have a little time on your hands and you’re feeling ambitious, try making a healthier, homemade version of this childhood favorite for a fun Playtime treat, courtesy of Martha Stewart Kids.Ingredients: 2 cups dried apricots3 cups boiling water2 tablespoons honey1/2 cup sugar  Directions: Preheat oven to 160 degrees with rack in center. Place apricots in a large bowl, and cover with the water; let soak until they are completely soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve; drain, and reserve liquid. Place apricots in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; add honey and sugar. Process until mixture is very smooth and easily spreadable. If it is too thick, add up to 1 tablespoon soaking liquid. Cover two 10-by-15-inch baking sheets with plastic wrap. Divide puree between the sheets; spread in a thin, even layer with an offset spatula. Let dry in oven until mixture is firm but slightly tacky, about 8 hours or overnight. Remove from oven; let cool. Peel fruit leather from plastic wrap, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips using a pizza cutter. Roll tightly into cylinders, and serve. Roll-ups can be stored in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 5 days. Recipe makes 30...

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