Tag Archives: nutrition

Tweet Yourself to a Better Breakfast: Celebrate Better Breakfast Month

If you’re on the run like most, consider tweeting the links below to yourself and friends. This wealth of great breakfast bootie is meant to be shared, partly because making your own breakfast will save you cash.

My top three picks this fall include:

1. DIY breakfasts have saved me at least $16,000 to-date. (Yes we do eat breakfast out too.) Biscuits, muffins and pancakes are just three options for home baking savings while serving breakfast at home.


2. Leftover slices of pizza or quiche make great grab-and- go breakfast. Beginner breakfast pizzas can be made in 20 minutes. Keep on adding your savings. Indie servings like these at your favorite coffee stop cost about $5.


3. The masters of overnight breakfasts have grasped the issues. Getting up to Peaches and Cream slow-cooked steel-cut oats or Chai Buckwheat Groats lets you sleep a little longer if you prep the night before.

Finally, you will never go wrong with a freezer that contains a good Pumpkin muffin. Add some great Energy Bars or Whole Grain Jam Bars, both packed with essential nutrients, flavor, and you too can save a grand or ten over time.


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Whole Grain Sampling Day


Given that March is National Nutrition Month, Whole Grain Sampling Day  March 29, 2017, is the perfect time to sample the nuttier, rich taste of whole grains, and to share recipes that showcase the unique baking characteristics of whole grains A to Z.

Help us meet our goal!  Get as many people as possible to give whole grains a try. You can channel Green Eggs and Ham, but there are lots of places to give them a try!  You can try them

  • On the bus and in a car on the way to school and work.  Gnosh a great homebaked item
  • In the classroom.  Surprise everyone with a “locally made” whole grain Carrot Cake Cupcake from the HBA Smart Snack Collection!
  • With your personal trainer, coach or gym mates.
  • At home, by making whole grain recipes likeWhole Grain Blueberry Muffins

Need a baking tip or two? Put Whole Grains Made Easy and Baking with Whole Wheat Flour 101 to work!


When planning a whole grain event, reach out to Kelly Toups, RD at the Whole Grains Council (Kelly@oldwayspt.org, or 617-896-4884). Kelly will help you brainstorm more great ideas and ways to support your whole grain promotion efforts.

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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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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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Wake Up To Whole Grains!

Bread_and_grainsThere is a sizable gap between the amount of recommended whole grains and the amount children are actually consuming. In fact, a recent large-scale study found that only 3% of boys and 2.4% of girls were meeting the daily goal of three 1 oz. servings of whole grains*.The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of our grains should be whole grains so for most children, this amounts to three daily servings.

Breakfast is an ideal time to introduce your child to healthy whole grains and get started on those three daily servings. Especially since March is National Nutrition Month! Simple solutions include whole grain breads, muffins, waffles and pancakes.

There are a number of delicious whole grain pancake/waffle mixes on the market and these can save time on those mad dash mornings. There is so much you can do with these mixes, including adding other fun ingredients. Incorporating applesauce for some of the liquid, stirring in blueberries or adding grated carrots or zucchini all add to the nutrition and the fun. To add more protein, you can add an extra egg or incorporate yogurt or milk as part of the liquid.

Children love to get in on the action when it comes to making homemade waffles or pancakes. Ask them to help with simple measuring, stirring and grating. They can even come up with clever names for their creations. Carrot pancakes become “bunny rabbit cakes” and blueberry waffles turn into “smurf waffles.” When children are part of the process, they are much more likely to sit down and enjoy their creations.

Other fantastic options include “make ahead” muffins, Hearty Energy Bars, and Butternut Softies that incorporate whole grains such as oatmeal, whole wheat flour, or whole corn meal.

The Home Baking Association is a great resource for recipes, tips, videos and more!

*Source: Ning, DR; Labarthe, CM et al. Status of Cardiovascular Health in US Children Up to 11 Years of Age. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2015: 8 164-171

This article was contributed by Connie Evers, a child nutrition expert, mom of three, and the author of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids- a book used in thousands of schools throughout the world as a framework for nutrition education.


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The Truth About Wheat

Video  The Truth About Wheat   Watch OETA Presents… Online   OETA Video

With all the inaccurate gluten-free messaging that surrounds us daily the Oklahoma Wheat farmers and Oklahoma Educational Television Authority have produced “The Truth About Wheat,” a 30 minute program with a panel of highly qualified experts: Dr. Brett Carver, Regents Professor and Wheat Genetics Chair in Agriculture from Oklahoma State University; Dr. Julie Miller-Jones, Board Certified Nutrition Specialist and Licensed Nutritionist and current Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Nutrition at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. and Sara Olsen, Colorado Wheat Farmer, Mother & Colorado Wheat Administrative Council board member moderated by well-known agriculture reporter Ken Root.

Take the 27-minutes to view, and share this truly informative educational television feature. Thank you www.okwheat.com for pulling together the information teachers and consumers need to better process all they hear about gluten and wheat.

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Hands-on Food Fun with Kids: Guest Blog with Connie Evers

In my work as a child nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire kids and families to adopt healthy habits. My approach is to educate kids to be smart consumers, develop a positive body image and learn to love a variety of healthy foods. Instead of lecturing children, I try to make it fun and challenging. I want kids to become involved in learning by experiencing and discovering nutrition. The goal is to stimulate lots of questions and lively discussions about food choices. I call these “aha” moments.

For instance, nutrition education takes on a whole new life when combined with cooking and baking projects. Learning to bake is a great way to boost confidence and expose kids to new foods. Baking promotes skill development in math, planning, timing and organization. Children who grow up helping in the kitchen enter the adult world with competent cooking skills, a list of recipes they can prepare and a knowledge that healthy cooking and baking doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Below are some examples of experiential activities that I have successfully used with children over the years.

Make “Little Red Hen Bread”
Combine a bread baking activity with a sequential lesson, featuring the story of The Little Red Hen. As you read the book, talk about the stages of bread making. When the Little Red Hen finds a wheat seed, show the children real wheat seeds and explain that all grains are seeds. When The Little Red Hen plants and grows the wheat seed, show the children a dried wheat stalk. When she takes the bread to the mill, show the children the whole wheat flour. Next, enlist the children in measuring, stirring and kneading the bread dough. You can find some great bread recipes at the Home Baking Association website.

Play with your food
Call it “edible art” and let children have fun shaping, arranging, cutting and sculpting healthy foods into their own personal creations. Because of their vibrant colors, fruits and vegetables make beautiful food art. I know this activity is a success when kids ask, “Is it OK if I eat it?” In the fourth edition of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, there is an entire chapter devoted to edible art. Children learn to make fanciful food garnishes, healthy dips that entice them to eat more fruits and vegetables, and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes with cheese, whole grains or melons.

Grow something edible
From seed to table, growing vegetables, herbs or fruit inspires kids of all ages. If you don’t have the resources for an outside garden, start with a container filled with organic planting mix and plant easy-to-grow edibles such as basil, radishes or lettuce. Nutrition Fun with Brocc & Roll provides edible gardening activities as well as dozens of resources for home and school-based gardening.

Plan healthy (or healthier) restaurant meals
Challenge kids to find the healthiest food combinations from their favorite restaurants. Using restaurant brochures or online nutrition information, ask kids to design a breakfast or lunch that includes at least four different food groups. For older kids and teens, ask them to calculate levels of sodium, fat and sugar in different meal combinations with the goal of finding healthier choices.

Compare two or more similar foods
Turn kids into label sleuths by challenging them to find the most nutritious breakfast cereal, yogurt or spaghetti sauce. In the math chapter of How to Teach Nutrition to Kids, there are dozens of activities that promote Nutrition Facts “label literacy” while honing critical thinking and math skills.

Learn where food comes from
Take kids on field trips or visits to grocery stores, ethnic markets, farmer’s markets, farm direct stores, community gardens, farms, mills, dairies, orchards and any other local resource that teaches children about the “roots” of their food.

All of these ideas and many more are included in the 4th edition of my book, How to Teach Nutrition to Kids (©2012, 24 Carrot Press).This new edition has been updated and is designed to empower children to evaluate nutrition information, make smart food choices and creatively prepare food. Previous editions of the book have been used with success in thousands of schools, hospitals, scouting programs, 4-H, summer camps, and many other youth-focused initiatives.

The companion workbook and activity guide, Nutrition Fun With Brocc & Roll, 2nd edition (©2012, 24 Carrot Press) combines a discovery approach to learning with a healthy dose of humor. With 42 activity sheets, puzzles and recipes, children ages 6-12 learn to assess food and activity habits, set goals for good health, decode advertising and food labels, and develop basic cooking and gardening skills. The second edition includes the new MyPlate food guide and features activities such as making a snack plan, keeping a weekly exercise tally, analyzing food labels, creating “wacky snacks” and growing an indoor herb garden.

by Connie Evers, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD


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