Snack Healthy: Mini-Meal Chart

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The days of three square meals may be a thing of the past. Busy daily schedules, limited time for cooking and the ever increasing popularity of smoothies, juices, protein bars, power bowls and the like are packing many nutrients into quick, on-the-go options. Bigger than snacks, these “mini meals” nourish us throughout the day and have the potential to work together to satisfy our nutrient needs.

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School Nutrition Standards: Where are We Now?

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On July 1, 2012, schools and programs that utilize the National School Lunch program began the process of adopting the changes required under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act (HHFKA). Though challenging to implement, the strong need for better nutrition for the over 30 million children who rely on the National School Lunch program and the opportunity for greater reimbursement per meal (an extra 6 cents), encouraged schools to comply. The transformation to come was so monumental and innovative for a program that hadn’t seen change in fifteen years, that Guiding Stars devoted a webinar on the topic. Now, two years later, we can see how the changes are being implemented and where we are on our journey toward feeding the next generation.

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Making Banana Pancakes

I love pancakes. They’re such a cozy way to start the weekend, and having extras on hand to heat in the toaster makes the work week easier to manage. The problem is that I prefer pancakes covered in butter and syrup, which is not the most nutritious way to start the day, especially given that pancakes are typically not what you could call nutritionally dense to begin with.

I’ve been learning a lot about improving the nutrition of my favorite recipes while working with Guiding Stars, so I decided to try modifying the buttermilk pancake recipe in my favorite cookbook. The result was completely delicious (without syrup!) and earns 3 Guiding Stars…this is the process I used to get there:

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Beautiful Pomegranate

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November is Pomegranate Month! If you’ve never tried pomegranate before, the fruit can look a bit intimidating. Don’t let the newness scare you off, though. Beyond being rich in antioxidants, pomegranates are a wonderful source of vitamin K, which is beneficial for healthy clotting, preventing calcification of your arteries and improving bone loss. They’re also a strong source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fiber, offering a multitude of other important nutrients into the bargain.

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Cooking By the Seat of Your Pants

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Working with Guiding Stars has had some definite impacts on the way I eat and cook. It’s impossible to spend several hours a week reading and writing about nutrition and healthier cooking without picking up some better habits. But all intentions of healthy meal planning aside, life happens, and more weeks than not, I find myself hitting the end of the week with weird bits of odds and ends in the fridge and no carefully considered meals at hand. My first instinct used to be to order out or make ramen, ignoring the weird odds and ends until I had no option but to toss them out. In the past few years, however, I’ve developed a routine for making a cheaper, healthier meal out of whatever is not yet crawling around in the back of my fridge.

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