Build a Better Easter Basket

Easter is just around the corner, and this year you may be able to avoid giving your child a high calorie basket with no nutrients. We went to one of our local Market Streets and designed a basket you can feel good about giving your child.  Here is what we did!

In the Easter aisle, we first found a basket, some grass, bubbles, empty eggs, a few fun Easter candies, and a few toys to promote playing outdoors. When shopping avoid grabbing a basket too big that will be overfilled with treats. Remember candy is best in moderation. (Check out http://www.candyusa.com/moderation for some more ideas on moderate candy consumption)

Keeping this in mind we then ventured over to the candy aisle to find a few favorites packaged in small servings.  Reeses Minis and Strawberry sugar free Orbit gum were our picks! 

Next we wanted a cookie, cracker, and nuts to help fill our eggs. Keeping with an Easter theme we chose Annies Homegrown Friends Bunny Grahams. This variety pack includes bunny shaped cookies in honey, chocolate, and chocolate chip; all whole grain. While down this isle we picked up some whole grain goldfish and Cocoa dusted Planters peanuts to fill our eggs with as well.  

 Next we were off to the bulk section to grab some dried fruit! We chose dried apricots and cranberries to fill our eggs with.

Then we couldn’t have an Easter basket without some fun Babybel cheeses.  These are individually packed and easy to throw in with your mix of plastic eggs. For a fun little treat we also added a fun lip balm for the mix! We took a stroll down the cooking isle and found  a popsicle set to make some healthy juice pops!

Last, but certainly not least, fill your basket with produce to add bright colors to the basket, and remember bright colors mean lots of nutrients! We went for the strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and an orange! The cherry tomatoes were easy to fit inside our plastic eggs, and the orange is so big it can just sit on its own in the basket adding variety and color! As for your strawberries, use the empty plastic bag you took your eggs out of and fill it up! You can tie this off with ribbon or some of your grass.
Here’s our final product!
Don’t feel like you need to make your child’s basket exactly like ours for it to be healthy. Here are some other great options still promoting health and wellness!  Happy Easter!
·         Garden Gloves
·         Garden Shovel
·         Garden Seeds
·         Jump Rope
·         Pistachios
·         Almonds
·         Trail Mix
·         Clementine’s
·         Chocolate covered fruit
·         Dark Chocolate
·         Water Bottle
·         Frisbee
·         Apron
·         Fun Measuring spoons
·         Pretzels
·         Grapes
·         Baby Carrots
·         Hard Boiled Eggs
·         Nail Polish
·         Toy Race Cars
·         Sunflower Seeds
·         Coloring book
Written by Texas Tech interns Melanie Boynton and Justine Sustaita


Dietitian's Top Pick: Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera

Sometimes finding a healthy frozen meal can be a challenge. To continue our celebration of Frozen Foods Month, we wanted to highlight one of our frozen Dietitian's Top Picks: Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera.

When you look at the nutrition below, some people may worry that it contains too much fat, but a closer look reveals that only 2g of the total 11g of fat comes from saturated fat. That means that you are getting 9g of unsaturated (or heart healthy) fats. Also, check out the fiber: 7 grams in one entree! That's really hard to find.

Of course we have to look at sodium. While 750mg may seem like a lot, it's a pretty average amount for a meal. The new USDA recommendations are 2300 mg/day for the average American. If you average that out over your 3 meals for the day that's about 760 mg/meal.

Considering that this is a vegetarian meal, it is also a pretty good source of protein and iron.

Overall, Kashi's Pesto Pasta Primavera gets one of the highest NuVal scores for frozen entrees (which is what makes it a Dietitian's Top Pick). Let's add another side of vegetables or a salad and you've got yourself a pretty good lunch or dinner!

Kashi Pesto Pasta Primavera - NuVal 35
Serving size: 1 entree
Calories: 290
Total Fat: 11g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 5mg
Sodium: 750mg
Total Carbohydrates: 37g
Fiber: 7g
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 11g
Vitamin A: 20%
Vitamin C: 15%
Calcium: 30%
Iron: 15%

Ingredients: Cooked Multigrain Penne Pasta (Water, Whole Wheat Durum, Oats, Wheat, Rye, Brown Rice, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat), Water, Pesto (Basil, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Water, Parmesan Cheese [Milk, Salt, Cultures, Enzymes], Garlic, Sea Salt), Peas, Carrots, Sweet Red Pepper, Garlic (Garlic, Water), Basil, Rice Starch, Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Evaporated Salt, Dehulled Barley Flour, Soy Flour.


Trade Up Tuesday: Frozen Grains

So maybe you resolved that you are going to add more whole grains to your dinners but you want something that's simple and will end up on the table in as little time as possible. Today's Trade Up is the solution to your problem.

This month, we put on our winter coats one more time for a few trips down the frozen food aisle. This week we found a great Trade Up that puts whole grains and veggies on your plate in a matter of minutes but remember not all grains are equal. Take a look:

You can see that the rice contains less calories, less fat, less saturated fat, remarkably less sodium and more fiber. Of course you don't have to check the labels when you have NuVal. The couscous gets a NuVal score of 24 and the rice get a NuVal score of 96. It's that simple!

Birdseye Steamfresh Chef's Favorites Couscous Pasta and Spinach - NuVal 24
Serving size: 1/2 bag
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 4g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 420mg
Total Carbohydrate: 30g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 6g
Vitamin A: 25%
Vitamin C: 4%
Calcium 6%
Iron: 10%

Ingredients: Pasta (water, semolina (wheat), niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin and folic acid), spinach, sauce (water, olive oil, lemon peel, (water, citric acid), Parmesan cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, culture, salt, enzymes), salt, modified food starch, roasted garlic (garlic, evaporated can juice), lemon juice concentrate, sugar, onion powder, spices, xanthan gum.

Birdseye Steamfresh Brown & Wild Rice with Broccoli & Carrots - NuVal 96
Serving size: 1/2 bag
Calories: 150
Total Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 25mg
Total Carbohydrate: 31g
Dietary Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 4g
Vitamin A: 15%
Vitamin C: 15%
Calcium 2%
Iron: 4%

Ingredients: Cooked whole grain brown rice (water, rice), broccoli, carrots, cooked whole grain wild rice (water, rice).