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Mmmmmm …… butter!

Mmmmm….. butter. There’s something about the taste of butter that makes so many foods taste even better.  As a Registered Dietitian, I choose avoid margarines or spreads that contain partially hydrogenated oils.  Instead, I opt for all natural fats for cooking and baking such as butter, olive oil, or coconut oil.  And when it comes to butter, taste matters.  Did you know that Cabot Salted Butter took first place at 2003 U.S. Cheese Championships with a score of 99.75 out of 100?  In fact, Cabot has won every major award for taste, including the Kid Kritics Approved seal! 

cabot salted butterI like Cabot Salted Butter is made with just 2 simple ingredients – pure sweet cream and a pinch of salt.  No artificial ingredients or flavor enhancers and especially no partially hydrogenated oils.  Plus, Cabot Creamery is a dairy farmer-owned co-operative of small farms in upstate New York & New England.  As a co-op, they are 100% owned and operated by the farm families themselves with all of the profits returned to the farm owners.  That also means the farmers have a personal commitment to the safety, health, and happiness of their cattle and providing the best quality milk for all of Cabot's dairy products.  Even their largest farms are family operations with several generations working on the farm.   Want to see it for yourself?  You can take virtual farm tours through the Cabot website. ("farm tour.")

With the holidays upon us, I’m sure you can think of lots of ways to use butter, from steamed veggies to baked goods, even basting a turkey.  We have some great recipe ideas on the Kid Kritics Approved website.  Baked goods such as No Bake Nut & Honey Chocolate Cookies, Black Bean Chocolate Fudge Brownies, or Butternut Banana Mini Muffins.  Or try fruit based recipes like Pear Crisp, Wild Blueberry Crisp, or Cool Blueberry Pie.  Cabot Butter is wonderful in veggie dishes – Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes, Roasted Acorn Squash, Sweet Potato Pudding, or Carrot Souffle.  For more ideas visit KidKritics.com or Cabotcreamery.com

Happy Holidays!

…for the health of your family,

Jaimie Proctor, MS, RDN, LDN

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Nut Butters best when made simple!

Don’t ever leave me alone with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon! Something about the pure taste of nuts blended into a smooth perfection is one of my favorite ingredients for recipes, snacks or just an afternoon spoonful delight.

I don’t like my nut butters tainted with any extra ingredients, no other oils, excessive sugar or too much salt, and definitely no unnecessary preservatives. That’s why when we searched for a nut butter to present to our Kid Kritics taste testers we found Once Again Nut Butters the perfect choice!

once again logoThe ingredient list fit our standards with simple and wholesome ingredients.  Their Organic Peanut butter with Omega-3 is just organic peanuts with flaxseed oil (that’s where the omega-3’s come from). Their cashew and almond butters also contain two or three simple ingredients only. They all passed the Kid Kritics taste tests with flying colors; kids who were used to your generic grocery store type peanut butter tasted Once Again’s pure taste and loved it!

I invite you to look at Once Again’s website, you’ll be surprised to learn about this amazing employee-owned business located in a small rural community in Upstate New York that thrives while helping the community and supporting organic and sustainable farming! They provide a healthier alternative to an all-time favorite all American staple food, the peanut butter. Their communications director Gael Orr sits on the board for Domestic Fair Trade Association, their dedication to helping the community and making the earth a better place is clear when you look at the list of charities and projects they donated to in the last year alone.

At this day and age I think teaching our children social responsibility is as important as ever, and when I purchase a jar of Once Again Peanut butter I’m endorsing a company and their actions, and I can feel good about it! But the best part is that I am 100% confident that I am giving my family the very best nut butter they can enjoy.

Back to the peanut butter, they have an All American Style and a Peanut Butter with Omega-3 that are both Kid Kritics Approved. They are both amazing! Smooth and rich as peanut butter should. They spread easily and work really well in baking recipes. We have recipes our Healthier Recipe Moms created and shared as well as our Registered Dietitians.Once Again Cashew butter

Their Organic Cashew Butter, which only has organically grown dry roasted cashews milled smooth with 5-8% expeller-pressed organic sunflower oil to enhance spread-ability. It really is great in cookies, smoothies and whatever you may dream of.  The Almond Butter with Omega-3 is also Kid Kritics Approved is milled smooth, no salt or sugar added, just rich roasted almonds mixed with flaxseed oil to give your body the Omega-3 nutrients that it needs. It tastes amazing, no bitter or aftertaste that I have experienced with other nut butters. Perfect to alternate with Peanut Butter for recipes and sandwiches for the kids. As you all know I like to “teach” variety is always best to accomplish getting all the nutrients, minerals and vitamins from natural sources that our bodies need.

If you would like to try one of these delicious Once Again Nut Butters but haven’t seen them in a store near you, here is a link where you can purchase them online: https://www.onceagainnutbutter.com/shop

For the health of your family,

Carolina Jantac, MS,RD,LD

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Choosing the main star of your Thanksgiving meal: Turkey!

The star of the show, the center of attention, the main dish: the Thanksgiving Turkey! No matter how you prepare it the raw turkey you start with is the single most important decision you will make on your menu. So how do you choose? What size, what brand, what to look for? 

The size is an easy one, most people recommend 1 pound per guest eating, but this will allow for some left overs. If you have children eating as well, I usually count them as 1/2 unless they are over the age of 15. When purchasing a frozen turkey, remember to always read the instructions ahead so you are prepared when you will need to transfer it to the refrigerator to start the defrosting process.

When feeding your family, we know the best quality food is a priority.  So we recommend a free range turkey. Shelton's Turkeys are raised in open range pens for up to 26 weeks.  They are never administered any antibiotics or artificial growth stimulants at any time.  Or as Shelton's says, "Our turkeys don't do drugs!"  Shelton's offers both Free Range Turkeys and Certified Organic Free Range Turkeys.  They are raised the same way – in truly free range conditions (see photos here).  The difference is that the organic turkeys are fed only certified organic feed.  

Shelton's started in 1924 when Mr and Mrs. Shelton received one hen and one tom as a wedding gift! That's a fun fact to share at your Thanksgiving Table.  And the company has been in the family ever since.  The first criteria for their products is that they must taste good, they don't sell anything they wouldn't eat themselves.

When you cook them you will notice the difference, they are so juicy! You might be surprised by no left overs at all.  It is no surprise their turkeys are also found in some of the finest restaurants on the west coast.  It's not too late – look for Shelton's Turkey at your local store or ask them to order one for you.  You won't regret it!

… for the health of your family,

Carolina Jantac, MS,RD,LD   

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Over 75 Healthier Snack Ideas for your kids!

I received requests (or cry for help!) on what would be better alternatives for snacks for children to bring to school. I started to put this list together thinking of practical things that we sometimes don't remember or think of! These are popular choices at my house and I've had great success brining them to my children's schools. No more sugar filled overprocessed snacks for us! Here is a list to help you with ideas and recipes of Better Food Choices Snacks, healthier for your family and Kid Kritics Approved. Note: the items in blue have links you can click on to get the full recipe!

Feel free to print this list and share at your schools, parents groups and after school clubs:

  • Banana (sliced with PB, or dip in honey)
  • Strawberries (dip in yogurt)
  • Mellon (cubed, good in a kabob)
  • Kiwi (cut in half, scoop out fruit – or skin, slice)
  • Grapes (great in a kabob, good frozen)
  • Blueberries (good with yogurt), fresh, frozen or dried
  • Cherries, fresh, frozen or dried
  • Peaches (good with yogurt)
  • Pineapple (great to dip in honey)
  • Apples (sliced with PB – can make into a sandwich, or with yogurt, dip in honey)
  • Applesauce (no sugar added)
  • Watermelon, fresh – in fruit kabobs
  • Oranges (especially easier to peel and eat smaller ones such as Clementine’s)
  • Freeze dried fruit of different flavors
  • Raisins and dried cranberries mixed with nuts (1/3 to 1/2 cup is a good portion size)
  • Carrots (dip in hummus or yogurt)
  • Celery (dip in hummus or yogurt, PB with raisins)
  • Cut up green, red or yellow peppers (dip in hummus or yogurt)
  • Raw broccoli and cauliflower (great with yogurt)
  • Cherry tomatoes (great in a kabob mixed with fruits)
  • Edamame
  • Cooked Green Beans (great with yogurt)

For all fruits and vegetables you can try a few different dips:

Fruits are also great in a kabob type recipe with the variation you choose! Pick fruits and vegetables that are fresh and in season.

Other snacks:

  • Cubed Cheese (great in a kabob with 3-4 veggies or fruit)
  • Gluten-Free Crackers
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Popcorn Mixes –
  •                 Deliciously Yummy Snack Mix
  •                 Light Cinnamon Popcorn
  •                 Monkey Trail Mix
  •                 Spicy Buffalo Trail Mix
  • Rice Cakes (great with PB and fruit spread or hummus)
  • Nut mixes (1/2 cup portion) -
  • Hard Boil Eggs
  • Plain yogurt (send fruits and honey separately for toppings)

Toppings: chia seeds, sesame seeds, chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, granola, flax seeds

With a little more time to prepare:

Products we recommend:

  • Cabot Creamery Cheese and Greek-style yogurt
  • Snackimals Cookies – Barbara’s Bakery
  • Crunchmaster Grammy and Cheezy Crisps
  • Flamous Brands Falafel Chips and Zatar Chips
  • Good Health Natural Foods – Popcorns, Veggie Stix (original, pizza, hot)
  • Greens+ – Chocolate Energy Bites
  • Iceland Spring Water
  • Lisanatti – Rice Cheeze Sticks
  • Once Again Nut Butters
  • Shelton’s Turkey Jerky, and Turkey Sticks
  • RW Garcia Chips
  • Upfront Foods Granolas
  • Naturipe – Berry Quick Snacks

… for the health of your family,

Carolina

The suggested brands listed in this recipe are Kid Kritics Approved.  Once a product passes ingredient standards evaluation followed by a blind Kid Kritics taste test, a company can opt-in to the Kid Kritics Approved marketing program.  Though monetary compensation for marketing is involved, this does not affect the nutrition evaluation or taste test results.    

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DISCLOSURE: Once a product passes ingredient standards evaluation followed by a blind Kid Kritics taste test, a company can opt-in to the Kid Kritics Approved marketing program. Though monetary compensation for marketing is involved, this does not affect the nutrition evaluation or taste test results.