Better-for-you snacks kids will love
(Family Features) Kids love to snack. But left to their own devices, most kids don't always make the healthiest snack choices. A new study of long-term eating patterns in children, from researchers at the University of North Carolina, shows that kids today are getting nearly one-third of their daily calories from unhealthy snacks such as chips, crackers and candy.
Nutritious and delicious snacks are as close as your produce aisle. Watermelon is practically a multivitamin unto itself - and its natural sweetness is something kids love.
Did You Know?
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C.
- Vitamin A found in watermelon is important for optimal eye health.
- Vitamin B6 found in watermelon is used by the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, melatonin and dopamine, which preliminary research shows may help the body cope with anxiety and panic.
- Vitamin C in watermelons can help to bolster your immune system's defenses against infections and viruses, and is known to stimulate the immune system and protect against free radical damage.
- A 2-cup serving of watermelon is also a source of potassium, a mineral necessary for water balance and found inside of every cell. People with low potassium levels can experience muscle cramps. A 2-cup serving has less than 10 percent of the daily reference value for potassium.
Try these fun recipes as after-school and post-activity snacks. For more kid-friendly recipes and healthy eating tips, visit www.watermelon.org.
Send some healthy lunch munchies to school - watermelon chunks are an easy way to brighten up a sack lunch and give kids a tasty nutritional boost in the middle of the day.
Healthy Eating Tips
Healthy eating habits start at home. One of the best things you can do for your kids is to be a role model for smart food choices. Here are some simple things you can do to help your kids develop healthy lifelong habits.
- Shop for food together and take time to examine, discuss and select fruit and vegetables that catch your child's eye. Allow your child to help you to prepare these healthful foods. For example, let your child use a melon-baller to create melon balls from watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to create a festive, nutritious and visually appealing dessert.
- Make healthy snacks available at all times for your children by keeping the fridge filled with flavorful, nutrient-rich treats such as grapes, cherries, carrots and watermelon cubes.
- Simple changes are easier for your child to get used to. Try switching from full fat milk to non-fat milk, serving sherbet, sorbet, ice milk or fruit juice bars, or adding fresh fruit to his or her cereal in the morning.
- Serve your children colorful, deeply pigmented plant food. These foods tend to offer tremendous nutritional value. For example, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, oranges and watermelon are all packed with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
- Start each day with breakfast, preferably fruit with low-fat yogurt or granola. Make a fruit smoothie by blending watermelon cubes and a banana with crushed ice.
Makes 6 servings
- 1-inch cubes of seedless watermelon
- Smoked turkey breast
- Cheddar cheese
- Coffee stirrers or beverage straws
- Cut watermelon, turkey and cheese in cubes and skewer on stirrers or straws.
Serves 6 to 8
- 12 to 16 1/2-inch thick watermelon triangles with 3-inch sides
- 2 cups Greek vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A few drops almond extract
- 1 cup Craisins
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Arrange the watermelon triangles on a serving platter or glass cake stand. Mix yogurt with extracts and spoon yogurt over the watermelon in the fashion of nacho cheese sauce. Sprinkle craisins, white chocolate chips, and almonds over the yogurt and dust with cinnamon.
- 8 ounces sour cream
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Watermelon sticks or small wedges
- Blend together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small serving bowl. Use as a dip for the watermelon.
Watermelon Cut Outs
- Seedless watermelon, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick slices
- Granola or similar cereal
- Using your favorite cookie cutters, cut shapes out of watermelon slices. Frost with vanilla or other flavored yogurt. Sprinkle with granola.
Watermelon Berry Slush
Makes 6 servings
- 4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
- 1 10-ounce package frozen raspberries
- 1 12-ounce bottle sparkling mineral water
- Place watermelon in a single layer in shallow pan; freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and let stand 5 minutes. Drop watermelon through food chute of a food processor or blender with the motor running. Add frozen raspberries alternately with mineral water, processing until smooth.
Watermelon Jelly Logs
Makes 6 servings
- 6 3-inch x 2-inch x 5-inch watermelon rectangles
3 flavors all fruit or low sugar preserves
6 ginger, molasses or peanut butter cookies
- Using a melon baller, cut 3 divots into a long side of each watermelon rectangle. Fill each divot with a different all-fruit or low-sugar preserve. Serve each rectangle with a cookie.
Source: National Watermelon Board
(Family Features) If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, game night or TV show marathon with friends this summer, it’s helpful to have a plan in mind before diving in.
Consider these tips and recipes featuring Mrs. T’s Pierogies that can help make planning a breeze and allow you to kick back and enjoy the fun alongside your guests.
- Master the Music. Set the mood as soon as your guests walk in with an upbeat playlist.
- Add a Creative Twist to Your Menu. When you’re craving something real and satisfying – but want to keep things simple – reach for an option like Mrs. T’s Pierogies. Available in 16 varieties, including mini-size, these pasta shells, filled with creamy whipped potatoes, are loaded with flavor and perfect served alone or as part of creative recipes like a Farmers Market Mini Pierogy Salad. You can also grill them up like in this Mini Pierogy Slider Kebab recipe.
- Create Self-Serve Stations. Arrange a buffet-style table to allow your guests to help themselves to food. It’s a simple way to ensure you get to enjoy yourself. Just remember to provide the necessary fixings at each station.
- Bust Out Some Games. Whether it’s a game night or just a get-together with friends, keep games like cornhole or bocce ball on-hand to keep your soiree lively.
For more recipes perfect for entertaining, visit MrsTsPierogies.com.
Mini Pierogy Slider Kebabs
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 box Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced red onion
- 4 deli slices Colby Jack cheese, quartered
- 4-6 skewers
- 14 pieces curly leaf lettuce
- 7 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 14 cornichon pickles
- Heat grill or indoor grill pan to medium heat. Toss pierogies with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove.
- In medium bowl, combine ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, onion, salt and pepper. Form into 14 equal sized patties.
- Add patties to grill and cook 3-4 minutes per side. Add one slice of cheese to each during last minute of cooking to melt. Remove and cool slightly to handle.
- To assemble: skewer one pierogy, flat-side down, then one piece of lettuce, tomato, pickle, burger and another pierogy, flat-side down, to sandwich it all together. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Farmers Market Mini Pierogy Salad
Prep time: 12 minutes
Total time: 18 minutes
- 1 box Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies
- 1/2 cup white balsamic or cider vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded, if necessary, and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Saute pierogies according to box directions; place in large bowl.
- In small bowl, combine vinegar, garlic, salt and oregano; whisk in olive oil until well-blended.
- Add tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta and vinaigrette to bowl with pierogies; toss to mix well.
Source: Mrs. T’s Pierogies
(Family Features) Nothing brings people together like a barbecue. There seems to be something about being outdoors and the sizzle of fresh food on the grill that makes you want to gather with family and friends.
This summer, you can be the hero of your grill with a few simple tips and tricks:
- A great meal starts with great meat. Make sure to use versatile, high-quality and tender cuts like Smithfield Fresh Pork ribs, chops and tenderloins.
- Cut down on time, not flavor. Look for pre-seasoned meats such as pork chops, or slice, dice or cube larger cuts like boneless loin to shorten cook time and increase flavor.
- Grill like a pro. Use direct heat for burgers and chops, and indirect heat for larger cuts like ribs.
Find more summer grilling tips and pitmaster-perfected recipes at SmithfieldGetGrilling.com.
St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs with Coffee Cocoa Dry Rub
Recipe courtesy of pitmaster Chris Lilly
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 3 1/2 hours
- 7 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 2 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 racks Smithfield St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs, membrane removed
- Build charcoal fire for indirect cooking by situating coals on one side of grill, leaving other side empty. Heat grill to 250° F.
- To make dry rub: In small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, chili powder, coffee, cocoa, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chile pepper, coriander and turmeric.
- Generously apply dry rub onto front and back of pork ribs. Gently pat to ensure rub adheres.
- Put ribs meat-side up over indirect heat, away from coals, close lid and cook until ribs are tender, about 3 1/2 hours.
- Remove ribs from grill and let rest, uncovered, 5 minutes. Slice ribs between bones and serve.
Pineapple Pork Kebabs
Recipe courtesy of pitmaster Sterling Ball
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 1/2 Smithfield Prime Boneless Fresh Pork Loin
- 1 sweet onion, cut into 1-1 1/2-inch square pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-1 1/2-inch square pieces
- 2 cups pineapple chunks
- 3-4 tablespoons barbecue rub
- 2 1/2 cups teriyaki marinade
- 3-4 flexible skewers
- Heat grill or smoker to 250° F. Cut pork loin into 2-inch cubes.
- Season pork loin, sweet onion, red bell pepper and pineapple chunks with rub.
- Thread pork loin, onion, pepper and pineapple on skewer; repeat until length of skewer is almost full. Repeat with additional skewers.
- Put assembled kebabs in large re-sealable bag and add teriyaki marinade. Carefully remove air from marinade bag and refrigerate 20 minutes.
- Remove kebabs from marinade bag and place on grill over indirect heat; cook 12-14 minutes, remove and set aside.
- Increase grill temperature to 400° F. Sear kebabs at high heat, until caramelized. Using meat thermometer, check pork loin cubes for doneness; remove from heat once pork reaches internal temperature of 145° F.
(Family Features) When people think of barbecues, many think of foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar, which can seem challenging if you are trying to eat healthy. However, it is possible - and easier than you think - to host a balanced cookout with nutritious options, without sacrificing flavor or quality.
Smithfield nutritionist Erin Thacker, MA, RDN, recommends these tips for hosting a backyard barbecue that will leave your guests healthy and happy:
- Stick to lean protein: fresh pork cuts such as sirloins, tenderloins, boneless loins and chops are packed with protein and contain key nutrients like vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc. Smithfield fresh pork tenderloins and boneless sirloin roasts are even certified by the American Heart Association* as heart-healthy foods.
- Layer on fruits and veggies: grilled vegetables make for a quick and delicious side dish, and grilled fruits are a health-conscious way to end the meal on a lighter note.
- Lighten up: swap mayonnaise and heavy creams for Greek yogurt and vinegars, and opt for homemade dressings or sauces instead of store-bought condiments, which often have high sugar contents.
Try these simple, dietitian-approved recipes for Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon or Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs. For more healthy and great-tasting recipe ideas, visit Smithfield.com.
Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
- 1 Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin, cut into four thick slices
- 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
- 1 zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and flattened
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into slices
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Season fresh pork slices with garlic pepper; grill about 5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145-160° F.
- Brush both sides of zucchini squash, yellow squash, mushroom, pepper and onion, plus cut sides of lemon, with oil.
- Grill vegetables for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add lemon to grill, cut-side down, and cook additional 2 minutes.
- Place vegetables and lemon on cutting board; coarsely chop vegetables. Serve with fresh pork slices on top; squeeze lemon over meat.
Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 6 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 75 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 8 g total carbohydrates; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugars; 30 g protein.
Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 kebabs
- 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 pineapple, cored and cut into 16 (1-inch) cubes
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into 16 (1-inch) pieces
- 16 bamboo skewers (6 inches), soaked in water and drained
- 2/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
- Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
- Thread two pieces of fresh pork sirloin, one pineapple cube and one red pepper piece onto each skewer. Wrap exposed end of skewer with foil to discourage scorching.
- Mix honey, vinegar and jerk seasoning together for glaze.
- Grill kebabs approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until fresh pork reaches internal temperature of 145° F and then rest for 3 minutes. Generously brush kebabs with glaze during last 2-3 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving: 80 calories; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium; 12 g total carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 9 g sugars; 8 g protein.
*Information and recipes not provided by the American Heart Association unless expressly stated.
Apps and starters perfect for game day
(Family Features) Rules may vary from one event to the next, but whether your favorite team kicks it, runs it or dunks it, sports fans and food always provide a winning combo. Gather your friends for the next big game with a menu that gets everyone revved up for a win.
A lineup filled with starters is just the ticket for a game day watch party or tailgate. Offering a series of finger foods and lighter fare lets your fellow fans grab a quick bite before the game or during a commercial break and continue snacking through the game.
Make no mistake, serving up a lighter menu doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality – just the opposite, in fact. Make every bite count by using exceptional ingredients and introducing unexpected flavors such as the distinctive taste of Jarlsberg Brand Cheese, which has a rich, 60-year Norwegian heritage. Best known as a classic wedge, this mild, mellow and nutty cheese can also be served sliced, shredded and cubed.
Quesadillas are always a hit, and this version combines the best of gooey, melted cheese with bacon and a deliciously tangy salsa for a lively burst of fresh flavor. Then keep the mouthwatering cheese and bacon combos coming with a whole new take on grilled kebabs.
No game day is complete without pizza, and this one scores big with its unexpected blend of flavors for a pie that is smoky and tangy, sweet and savory, and briny and creamy all at once. Then round out your menu with these easy sliders that are big on flavor and small on prep time.
Find more ideas to liven up your game day menu at jarlsberg.com.
Hawaiian Sliders with Cheese, Ham and Pork
- 3 Hawaiian bread slider buns
- 1 cup pulled pork
- 3 slices ham
- 3 slices Jarlsberg cheese
- sliced pickles
- Dijon mustard, to taste
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Separate buns and layer pulled pork, sliced ham and cheese. Place sliders on oven-safe tray and bake about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and gently remove top bun. Add pickles and mustard before serving.
Cheese and Bacon Kebabs
- 18 slices bacon
- 2 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, cubed
- 18 pearl onions
- 12 long skewers
- 1/4 cup roasted bell peppers
- 1 1/3 tablespoons capers
- 2 2/3 tablespoons olives
- 1/4 cup cucumber
- 3 1/3 ounces olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest
- Cut bacon slices in half and wrap around cheese cubes. Place cheese cubes and pearl onions on each skewer, alternating ingredients. Roast in pan or on grill 2-3 minutes on each side.
- To make relish, chop peppers, capers, olives and cucumber, and mix with olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Grilled Pizza with Cheese, Prosciutto and Figs
- 2 cups pizza or tomato sauce
- 4 1/2 cups pizza dough
- flour, for rolling
- 3 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced prosciutto
- 8 dried figs, each cut into six wedges
- dried red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- Heat grill and warm pizza sauce.
- Divide dough into desired number of pizzas. On floured surface, roll dough into long, thin ovals and spread with sauce. Sprinkle light layer of cheese over sauce. Add layer of prosciutto and a second layer of cheese. Dot with fig pieces then season with red pepper flakes and pepper.
- Reduce grill heat, slide pizzas onto grill and close lid. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until crust is lightly charred and cheese is melted.
- 4 slices thick slab bacon
- 1 small chili pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon coriander or cumin
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 small lime (juice and zest)
- 6 slices Jarlsberg Original or Hickory Smoked cheese
- 2 large tortillas
- Fry bacon, drain and chop.
- To make salsa, remove seeds from chili pepper and finely dice. Chop tomatoes then dice shallot and garlic clove. Combine pepper, tomatoes, shallot and garlic with lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide cheese slices and bacon on one half of each tortilla, top with 1/4 cup salsa and fold tortilla over, pressing down to close. In medium-hot, lightly oiled pan, toast tortillas about 1 minute on each side.
- Cut each tortilla in half and serve with remaining salsa on the side, or combine salsa with black beans and fresh chopped cilantro to make a side salad.
Source: Jarlsberg Cheese