"Mom - I'm Hungry!"
"Mom - I'm Hungry!"
(ARA)- Ever see a well-prepared Mom offer her child a little bag of carrots or Goldfish crackers and think "Wow, she's on the ball!" You're right. Moms or Dads who remember to pack little healthy snacks for their kids are less likely to incur the crying and moodiness that comes with hunger and boredom.
Registered dietician Toby Amidor, MS RD, Culinary Instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, and busy mother of a five-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn, says parents would do well to take the time to pack snacks before hopping in the car or boarding a plane or train.
"No matter the length of the trip," says Amidor, "be ready with snacks. Kids get hungry after five minutes in the car or just waiting to board a plane."
As a registered dietician, food safety is a number one priority for Amidor. "Stay away from foods that spoil easily. If you pack foods that need to be kept cold, make them the night before your trip, and keep them in the refrigerator until you're ready to leave. Foods from the frig should be eaten within 4 hours of being taken out." If they'll be out longer, use an ice pack to keep snacks cold in a thermal lunch bag.
Among her favorite healthy snacks for the road are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheese sticks, egg salad on whole wheat or cream cheese and cucumber, also on whole wheat pita. And as a registered dietician, it's no surprise Amidor likes fruit for kids. Her favorites are easy-to-eat clementines, grapes and bananas.
Another approach to healthy snacking on the road comes from Culinary Instructor at The Art Institute of Washington, Benita Wong who likes to refer to the Food Guide Pyramid guidelines set up the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In the summer, when fruits and vegetables are plentiful, Wong suggests cut-up fruits and vegetables. Place small pieces of melon such as watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew in containers with tight-fitting lids. Another good idea is to slice-up vegetables such as green and red peppers, celery and carrots.
"Cut-up fruits can be made more appealing with sweet dressings such as Honey Lemon Dressing or Yogurt Dressing. Slices of vegetables go with dips such as Hummus (Chickpea Dip) or Tomato Salsa and even the old stand-by - peanut butter! Try the lower sugar, lower salt versions or make them yourself," says Wong.
Wong recommends packing pita bread, crackers and pretzels to go along with fruits and veggies, opting for the plain or low-salt varieties. She also likes rolls such as Kaiser, onion or whole wheat for something other than traditional white bread.
Keep in mind one of the best things you can do for children on long trips, in a car or on a plane, is to keep them hydrated. Toby Amidor's children are veterans of several trips to Israel and she watches that they drink plenty of water. How do you know if your kids are drinking enough? "They should be taking trips to the bathroom. That's the best way to know, and if they're still in diapers, those diapers should be wet!" she says.
For more information on Culinary Arts programs at The Art Institutes, visit www.artinstitutes.edu.
The following recipes are courtesy of: Benita Wong, Culinary Instructor, The Art Institute of Washington:
Honey-Lemon Dressing (Makes about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lemon juice (or orange juice if too strong)
1. Mix honey and lemon and/or orange juice completely.
Yogurt Dressing (Makes about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon currant jelly
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups yogurt, vanilla
1 Place jelly and lemon juice in a stainless steel pot. Place on low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in sour cream and yogurt a little at a time. Chill until used.
Hummus (Chickpea Dip) (Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chickpeas, cooked or canned
1/4 cup tahini or sesame paste (can also add some peanut butter)
1/2 tablespoon garlic, crushed (use more for a stronger taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or water for a milder taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
1 Puree the chickpeas, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and in a food processor or blender.
2. If too thick, add a little lemon juice or water to adjust the consistency.
3. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
Tomato Salsa (Makes about 2 cups)
10 ounces tomatoes, fresh
2 tablespoons fresh green chilies, such as jalapeno or serrano
3 tablespoons onion, minced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1/2 to 1 tablespoon tomato juice
1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste (add or subtract to make mixture thicker or thinner)
1 teaspoon salt
1. Remove the core and dice the tomatoes into very small pieces.
2. Using rubber gloves, remove the stem end and seeds and ribs from the chilies. Chop the chilies into a small dice. (Use rubber gloves for this step to protect your hands from the hot oils that come from the chilies. When finished, wash your gloved hands and remove the gloves to continue making the salsa).
3. Chop the onion into small dice.
4. Mix together the tomatoes, chilies, onions, cilantro and lime or lemon juice. Add tomato juice and/or tomato paste to adjust the consistency to a thick, chunky sauce.
5. Add salt and season to taste.
The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), with 34 educational institutions located throughout North America, provide an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.