halloween tips

teal pumpkin

TRICK OR TREAT….advice from Marilu !

Tomorrow is Halloween and we want to remind everyone to stay safe.  Check that your kids have good visibility and that they can be seen after dark.  (Witches and bats need some reflective tape.)  Know the neighborhood and supervise young children.  Check out HEALTHY HOLIDAYS for great recipes and party ideas that can help you  and your kids avoid facing Friday with a sugar hangover.  Their teachers will thank you !

Read this advice from Marilu, written when her boys were at the perfect age to enjoy the trick or treat fun….and then relax and enjoy!


“When my sons and I get home, we sort through their trick-or-treat bags.  You probably think I pat them down for hidden Snickers bars and Reese’s Pieces while playing the soundtrack of Midnight Express.  But, no, I’m not that bad.  I let them have some candy, but they swap most of it for little toys or healthy candy that I buy ahead of time.  I know from my own kids’ experience that it’s spending time with other kids, showing off your costume, and seeing what people give you that makes it special, not the candy.”



Healthy Kids

Marilu wrote an entire book dedicated to instilling healthy habits in children.  At this time of year parents are dealing with the school lunch dilemma.  You want your kids to eat what you send but you want it to nourish them and keep them fueled through the day.

We had one nursery school teacher tell us that parents often overestimate what their child can eat, sending in monster cookies.  No one should ever eat anything that’s bigger than their own head.  The teachers at that school were thrilled when parents sent bananas on snack day because they could cut them in half and give each child only as much as they could eat.  No waste.

Try this concept with elementary students also.  Put healthy ingredients on the healthy bread of your choice and cut it with a cookie cutter.  It makes the lunches more interesting and keeps the portion sizes manageable.  Just be sensitive to the age of the child.  There’s an age where this is no longer fun …. but it’s not as young as you think !!

Healthy School Snack

If you’re packing your children healthy snacks in the hope that they will be hungry enough to eat whatever you put there you might be wasting time and money…and FOOD.   Make sure you’re including something you know they will enjoy.  Make it interesting and get the kids involved.

If you want to have an occasional sweet treat there try making your own instead of buying processed snacks.  Even a healthier version of processed food is still processed food.


We know that you’re pressed for time so we’re including a cookie recipe that’s flour free and can be made in ten minutes…counting baking time.  If you’ve got 12 minutes you can use two of them to instruct the kids how to make them.  Just be sure to supervise them with the oven.


1 cup of the nut butter of your choice

1 egg (vegans can use one egg quantity of prepared Ener-G…follow package directions)

1 cup Sucanat or Date sugar


Mix all ingredients with a fork and drop on ungreased cookie sheet.  These are stickier than most cookie recipes so press down gently but don’t expect to flatten them.


Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Remove carefully.  They are crumbly….and delicate and delicious !!


Even in the finest restaurants the chefs are aware that “plating” your food has an effect on appetite.  If you want your kids to be drawn to healthier foods make it interesting.

Ditch the white bread sandwiches and try wrapping healthy ingredients in a tortilla and slicing it into pinwheels.  Include condiments as a dip instead of a spread.  It keeps them from getting soggy and makes lunch more fun.

If you have time in the morning set ingredients out and let the kids stuff their own pitas.  You choose what’s acceptable and let them choose from that on their own.  Young children love the sense of independence and you’ve already approved what you’re offering.

Be sensitive to the cafeteria “climate”.   Your child may like being the only one with a brown bag or they may want the partitioned boxes.  Know what makes them comfortable and work with them.  You provide high quality, nutrient packed, food and let them help with their own suggestions.

Teachers expect an after lunch “slump” in attention.  Let your children be the exception by packing lunches that fuel their bodies.



Don’t forget to delegate !

If you’re feeling pressed for time and wondering how you’ll ever accomplish everything on your to-do list,  look around.  Chances are there’s someone who can lend a hand; a neighbor who can stop in and feed your dog so you can finish your errands.  You might swing by and get their dry cleaning while you’re out.  Think things through and you’ll be more sane at the end of the day.


Don’t  forget to get the kids involved.  There’s so much that even the littlest hands can do.   Be sure to let them know that their contribution is valued.  That speaks volumes.  Those intangible “gifts” are priceless!





Balancing your child’s plate

A recent study shows that when children are given a large portion of an entree that they will eat less of everything else that’s offered.  Of course we’re like that as adults also so we shouldn’t be surprised. 

If you’d like your child to eat more vegetables then decrease the amount of other foods on the plate.   You can read the entire article here:


While we don’t agree with the recommended servings mentioned in this article (meat, dairy etc.) there is some excellent advice regarding the presentation of your child’s food, and most especially the example your setting with the balance of options on your own plate !

Do kids need to diet?

We saw this as we were skating around the internet. Kinda scary.


Fancy putting your daughter off her food? Then buy her Maggie Goes on a Diet, a children’s book aimed – according to Barnes & Noble, one of the many booksellers on whose website it is currently listed – at six- to 12-year-olds. [...]

The book tells the story of 14-year-old Maggie, who according to its blurb “is transformed from being overweight and insecure to a normal-sized teen who becomes the school soccer star”. It’s not out until October, but so disquieting is the cover image that perhaps we may, in this case, allow ourselves to judge the book by it. Maggie is depicted as dumpy, pigtailed, wearing an unflattering jumper (has nobody told her that wide lateral stripes aren’t a good look when you’re carrying a few extra pounds?), staring into the mirror, presumably dreaming of a thinner self who will one day wear the tiny pink prom dress she’s holding wistfully to her chest.

~ Laura Barnett, The Woman’s Blog, The Guardian


There are better ways to teach your kids about health – starting by modeling healthy behavior yourself, and always emphasizing lifelong healthy eating habits over dieting. The book does get one thing right – being physically active (in this case, involved in sports) is good for kids.

While the author probably has good intentions, there are better health messages for kids aged 6-12.


Featured recipe from Marilu’s table * Morning glory muffins

Back-to-school often means that breakfast gets shortchanged. Do yourself and your family a favor, and bake some muffins to avoid the lure of pastries or drive-through breakfast – or no breakfast at all. (Did you know that kids who eat a good breakfast each day do better in school?)

You can mix and bake muffins the night before – or you can just mix them up the night before and bake them in the morning – or you can bake them on the weekend and keep them in the freezer (put completely cooled muffins in freezer weight zipper bags, and “suck” all the air out of the bag before you freeze them). We like to bake them on the weekends – making a double batch, or two different batches, to get through the week.

These particular muffins are full of nutritious ingredients, but mostly they impress people with their good flavor.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Morning Glory Muffins
Green * Makes 12 muffins

1 cup high-fiber cereal (such as Nature’s Path Optimum ZEN in Cranberry Ginger)
2/3 cup vanilla soymilk (or plain non-dairy milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla added)
3/4 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal
3/4 cup Sucanat®
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
scant teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg replacer (try Ener-G brand)

Heat oven to 375F. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups. Spray bottoms only of baking cups with cooking spray or oil mister. (Muffins will stick if baking cups are not sprayed.)

In a medium bowl, mix cereal and soymilk (you may crush your cereal in a re-sealable food-storage plastic bag with a rolling pin if you prefer a smoother texture). Add the apple, carrot, coconut, oil, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, flaxseed meal, Sucanat®, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and egg replacer. Add the carrot-apple mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove muffins from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm with a little Earth Balance margarine.


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