Smart Snacks


Crisp fall days remind me of great after school snacks. We knew the ropes. We could have a piece of fruit, 2 cookies and milk. The fruit and the cookies were small in those days. What came next was equally important: a list of chores – indoors or out. We lounged about a half hour, then it was time to get busy.

“Smart snacking” wasn’t on the radar then, but our snack limits and activities (chores) were–all without a government agency within 200 miles. Today government gets involved because so many children are overweight or obese and snacks make up at least 27% of their daily calories. (Trends in Snacking Among U.S. Children view here)

HBA staff rolled up their sleeves to address the latest snack guidelines for schools along with Kansas State Department of Education’s Team Nutrition. Guidelines for in-school snacks can be found here.

Our goal: Provide bakers at home, in Family & Consumer Sciences classrooms, school clubs and cafeterias A Baker’s Dozen Smart

Snack Baking Recipes!

The Top 5 “smart snack baking” steps we used for developing the recipes include:

  1. Use 51% or more whole grain – whole wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, flax meal are whole grains used in the recipes. Every serving is 8g or more whole grain.
    Baking with Whole Wheat Flour
  2. Portion control— we have to lose the “mega-sized” rolls, bread sticks, cookies, cupcakes or bars. A look at the Portion Distortion Interactive quizzes helps tell the story of our American weight gain.
  1. Control sugars with an icing drizzle…no ½-inch frostings.
  2. Reduce saturated fat—cream vegetable oil with butter and used flax meal egg substitute in some recipes. Check out this Kitchen Science handout
  3. Home-baking recipes are often less sodium than commercially baked goods. Using vegetable oil and unsalted butter also reduce sodium.

HBA can’t assign active chores for kids to get them moving, but we can offer A Baker’s Dozen Smart Snack Baking Recipes. The recipes can all be served or sold in school hours and include:


Breakfast: Oatmeal Fruit Bars; Apple Cinnamon Rolls; Carrot Streusel Coffeecake

Breads: Bread Sticks; Confetti Cornbread (still testing!) and Soft Pretzels

Cakes: Buttermilk Chocolate; Carrot Cupcakes and Spice Snack Cake

Cookies: Cinnamon Crunch; Double Chocolate; Oatmeal; Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip; Soft Sugar

Dessert: Country Fruit Cobbler

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Celebrate National Breakfast Month

Who knew breakfast would ever be a hard sell? For a gazillion years it was a no-brainer. Humans need breakfast to launch the day. With National Better Breakfast Month off to a good start, here are some top picks for eating breakfast as the anchor of all things healthy, wealthy and wise.


For those who “just want a few more minutes of sleep,” prep ahead. Mix Crockpot® Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut oats the night before. No half-and-half on hand? Sub ½ cup 2% milk plus 3 teaspoons melted unsalted butter.

Pre-mix the batter like these Overnight waffles (photo above) or the dry ingredients for pancakes.

If you need gluten-free, don’t miss this great recipe! (Good Morning Pancakes)

Pre-bake and freeze and re-heat Quick Granola Breakfast rolls, waffles, or hand-held
hot pocket sandwiches or a cousin called bierocks

Last but not least, fresh-from-the-bread-machine bread with peanut butter, oranges and milk!

If you’re a teacher or student, expand the learning AND breakfast options.   Once a week offer a Breakfast Club with your classroom. Here’s how one middle school did so with a Life Skills class. School Nutrition Association’s SmartBrief Sept. 6, 2016,

Two resources to check out include

If you’re draggin’ long before lunch even when you eat breakfast, something’s not right. There’s breakfast and there’s grabbing an energy beverage, soda, coffee or candy bar. Get in balance with some good guidance like The Wheat Foods Council
Back-to-Breakfast Tool Kit of research-based recipes, blog posts and tweets.


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Twenty Tweets About Breakfast

The benefits of a healthy breakfast are astounding! Share this information throughout the month of September, National Breakfast Month, and the rest of the year as well!

  • September is National Breakfast Month! Dig into cereals, breads, pancakes 2 start day with grains. This is one meal u can’t skip.
  • Not good: 93% of Americans think breakfast is the most important meal, but only 44% eat breakfast every day. Be a breakfast eater!

( International Food Information Council, 2009 Consumer Attitudes Torward Food, Nutrition and Health survey)

  • 79% of parents say they eat breakfast with their kids. Now that’s a good example to set!

(Kix cereal survey by Opinion Research Corporation, 2010)

  • 80% of school kids eat breakfast every day. Start the school year off right by making sure breakfast is eaten.

(Temple University Center for Obesity Research and Education. Foster. 2011 study; presented to Obesity Society.)

  • It’s not just little kids who do better with breakfast. College students who ate breakfast did better on memory tests, says British study.

(Am J Clin Nutr 1998. Benton and Parker.)

  • School-age girls need a larger breakfast than same-age boys do in order to do well in school, says Univ of Ulster report.

(Univ of Ulster, Northern Ireland, study. Stewart. 2003 study.)

  • Are you a breakfast eater? No?! Best to be one. Breakfast-skipping often leads to overall bad eating, study says.

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Feb: 50 (2): 97-9. Giovannini.

  • Start your school year off right. Make back-to-school meal.
  • Did u oversleep? Spread nut butter on toast or pita bread, add ground ginger or cinnamon & you have a fast breakfast sandwich.
  • How do you make sure breakfast is part of your kid’s morning, every day? Share your tips with other shoppers!
  • People who skip breakfast eat 40% more sweets, 55% more sodas, 45% fewer veggies and 30% less fruit than people who do eat breakfast.

(Dairy Research Institute, Auestad, June 28, 2012 presentation to IFT)

  • In a hurry? Grab a whole grain cereal and sweeten it with fruit or low-fat yogurt.
  • Kids who eat breakfast do better on math tests, studies show. Make sure your family starts the day right with a healthy breakfast!

(Physiol Behav. 2012 Jun 25;106(4):548-55. Epub 2012 Apr 4. Pivik.)

  • Men who skip breakfast are 21% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, says a Harvard study.

(Am J Clin Nutr 2012 May; 95(5):1182-9. Mekary.)

  • Eat breakfast daily & you’re 43% less likely to become obese & 40% less likely to develop fat around your belly.

(University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Odegaard. 2012 study; preliminary results presented at American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions)

  • Eating whole grain breakfast cereal lowers your risk of high blood pressure by 20%, says Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

(Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Kochar. 2011 study; presented to American Heart Association meeting)

  • Skipping breakfast can raise cholesterol levels in healthy, lean women, according to a UK study.

(Am J Clin Nutr, 2005 Feb; 81(2):388-396. Farshchi)

  • Eating a healthy breakfast that includes whole grains lowers risk of heart disease, says the Harvard Heart Letter.

(Harvard Heart Letter. May 2008.)

  • What did you have for breakfast today? September is National Breakfast Month. Help us spread the word!
  • You need at least 6 servings of grains daily. How many did u get at breakfast? Try: toast, cereal, pita, tortillas, whole wheat waffles.


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Celebrate National Breakfast Month

September is National Breakfast Month


If back to school means back to busy mornings at your house, don’t let the hectic rush force you to sacrifice breakfast. September is National Breakfast Month – a good time to commit to incorporating a smart morning meal into your family’s daily routine.

Make sure that breakfast is as healthy as it is tasty by including grains and protein as part of the meal. Grains are an important part of daily dietary needs; strive for two or three servings each morning to get a good start on the six servings you need each day. Protein means staying power: these foods will keep you and your kids feeling energized all morning long. Here are some tips to help ensure that your family gets a nutritious start to even the busiest of days:

  • Making a simple, healthy breakfast can be one of a young child’s first “I can do that!” moments in the kitchen. Set out two or three boxes of favorite cereals and teach your preschooler to pour it into a bowl. Use a small scoop or measuring cup to demonstrate portion size. Incorporate her participation into the morning routine, and before you know it, she really will be handling it by herself.
  • Teach kids the difference in the nutrition profile of cereal by using the “topping” method. Three-quarters of the bowl could be a whole grain, low-sugar cereal.
    Colored cereals or those with higher sugar content can be sprinkled lightly on top.
  • Use weekends wisely. If you’re whipping up pancakes or waffles one lazy Saturday morning, make an extra batch to be enjoyed during the week. Wrap in plastic, store in the refrigerator or freezer, and warm in the microwave or toaster when ready to eat.
  • For a fast, tasty start to the morning, nothing beats the simplicity of toast. Top with peanut, almond or cashew butter, or melted goat or feta cheese, for protein staying-power. A sprinkle of fresh herbs like chopped basil or sage, or a spice like ground ginger or cinnamon, adds important anti-oxidants.
  • Also easy: Toast an English muffin or bagel, and add a sliced hard-boiled egg, slice of ham, Swiss cheese or anything else you have on hand that appeals to your taste buds for a quick breakfast sandwich.
  • Absolutely no prep time? Open a box of whole wheat crackers, grab a banana or apple, and head out the door!
  • Kids will enjoy creating their own combinations of breakfast trail mix. Fill small plastic baggies with a mix of healthful, whole grain cereals, sunflower seeds, chopped almonds or walnuts and dried fruit. Keep a stash on hand to grab when eating in the car.
  • And finally: Get in the habit of taking 10 minutes before turning off the kitchen lights each night to set up for the next morning. Make sure that backpacks, homework and balls for after-school soccer practice are in place. Recharge your cell phone. Clear the kitchen counter. Little tasks like these take up valuable time on busy mornings; addressing them the night before will leave more time to focus on breakfast the next day


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Summer Baking Calendar & Ideas


July 9—Can you believe National Sugar Cookie Day is on #SweetTreatSaturday!

Start with the pros! At Land O’Lakes, C&H Sugar, Domino Sugar, and Hecker’s Ceresota.

National-Parks-and-Recreation-Month-MCS-770x414Why not celebrate Park and Recreation Month with a picnic!? These Lemon Bars from “Jiffy” Mix will surely brighten up your next picnic

July 14, National Summer Learning Day, reminds us to not snooze and lose reading and measurement math skills! Sounds like baking to me! Check out the latest “Book and Bake

In the Kitchen Blog

Summer has a reputation. Teachers and parents fear students will “snooze and lose” reading and math skills. We’re here to tell you, baking is the answer! Not buying it? Find out more information here

Here are the ABCs to bust the summer snoozers:

A: Baking is “all things wheat harvest”—from Texas to North Dakota! Take a virtual wheat farm and harvest tour with our wheat commission members and the farmers they serve.

Send your “summer school” student to view Sprouting Up: Wheat Foods for Kids  and the Whole Grain Council’s featured whole grain of the Month Wheat 

You can also “meet a wheat farmer” via Find the Farmer at Stone Buhr or Meet our Farmers 

B: Book and bake, Blueberries for Sal to see that “baking works!”  Take it to the next level…enter the county fair!

C: Celebrate National Parks or stay local! It’s Park and Recreation Month!

Prep your dough using Bread in a Bag, pack it on ice and head to your favorite park to grill flat bread or pizza 

or, create your own Jurassic Park!

Who said reading, math and science can’t taste great too?

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Steps to Home Baking Food Safety


The recent recall of 10 million pounds of home baking flour products is a wake-up call for us to do our part to “groove” essential home, community and classroom baking practices to insure food safety problems are not us. Food safety should ALWAYS be part of food, nutrition and STEM learning objectives.

Steps to home baking food safety include

FIRST: Review “Core Four” food safety practices and download teaching resources


SECOND: Apply and teach home baking core food safety practices

 CLEAN: Replace kitchen cloths and towels daily; change baking mitts or hot pads after use.

BEFORE BAKING: (do in this order)


  1. Tie back long hair, remove jewelry
  2. Wash hands with warm water and soap
  3. Wear a clean apron…clothes carry dirt and germs from where you’ve been
  4. Wash counters, assemble ingredients and tools needed for recipe
  5. Re-wash hands before beginning to measure, mix or portion products


  1. Wipe flour and batter from stand or hand-held mixers, counters
  2. Scrape mixing tools and bowl of excess batter, discard and load dishwasher
  3. Wash hands before packaging baked and cooled products in food-safe packaging

 SEPARATE: Follow storage and use rules for fresh eggs or egg substitutes and all perishable ingredients.

  • Shell eggs in a separate small bowl to avoid shell in batter
  • Separate the bowls and utensils used for eggs or other perishables from dry ingredients and dry measuring tools.
  • Cool baked goods on wire racks placed separately from mixing counter and tools

BAKE/COOK: It’s the facts…unbaked ingredients, dough or batter should not be consumed…Salmonella and E.Coli are NOT a treat…no “licking” spoons, beaters or bowl.

  • Use a toothpick to check center of pancakes, waffles, quick breads, and cakes for raw batter. Brown crust color does not mean the middle is done.
  • For oven-baked products, place food thermometer probe in center of product and pan Internal temperature guide:

Cheesecake – 150°F. (remove from oven—temperature will rise to 160 ° F.)

Meringue pies, quiche and bread pudding – 160 ° F.

Custard pies, flan, crème brulee – 170-175 ° F.

Yeast breads: Soft rolls -190 degrees F.; Crusty bread – 200-210° F.

Cakes, quick breads, scones: 200 to 205 ° F.

(Temps courtesy of Crafty Baking)

  • Mix egg wash and apply just before placing product in a heated oven; discard remaining egg wash.

CHILL: Keep refrigerator at 40 degrees F. or below


  • Cool products on clean wire cooling racks, not counter tops
  • Refrigerate after two hours at room temperature: Unbaked batter or dough,

pies, cheese-filled breads or baked goods with perishable filling ingredients (eggs, custards, cheese, pizza, meats, casseroles, cream pies and puffs)

 THIRD: Download the newly revised Home Baking Food Safety 101 Fact Sheet




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Educator Award Winner Announced

Delaine Stendahl, a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher from Whitehall, Wisconsin has won the 2016 Home Baking Association Educator Award contest with her entry The Power of Eggs.


Each year the HBA has recognized outstanding educators with innovative programs for teaching kids of all ages to bake in communities and classrooms throughout the nation.  Family and consumer science educators and youth leaders for 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, Camp Fire USA and other after-school or community programs are encouraged to share their successful baking programs.

Charlene Patton, Executive Director Home Baking Association, says the association believes baking plays an important role in the development of healthy children that are socially and academically well-rounded.  Baking provides an opportunity to share family time and a joy of baking for others while learning life skills.

Math, science experiences, comparison shopping, examining the reaction of baking ingredients are all aspects of the baking process.

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