dip into a happy valentine’s day

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Deceptively Delicious Cookbook                                                by Jessica Seinfeld

While these may seem like strange ingredients for an incredible dessert, when combined, they make the richest chocolate fondue dipping sauce…ever! This recipe has been a favorite for years- not because it hides vegetables but because it is absolutely delicious!

*Doubling the recipe is usually necessary to make sure there is enough.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup avocado puree
  • ¼ cup carrot puree
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add the avocado and carrot purees to a food processor. Process until very smooth.
  2. Add vanilla and salt.
  3. Sift cocoa and confectioners’ sugar. Add to the processor and mix.
  4. Melt the butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.
  5. Add the chocolate puree mixture to the saucepan and warm through.

*Dip strawberries, bananas, apples, pretzels… the options are endless!

*I’ve made a sugar free version of this by replacing the confectioners sugar with honey, agave or maple syrup to your desired sweetness.  It looses some of the light texture but is still delicious.

*Store leftovers (if there are any) covered and in the fridge. The fondue is great reheated.

*Enjoy!

a healthy dose of thanks!

In Montclair, many classrooms are now up and running with Fresh Fridays (and even Wellness Wednesday Healthy Classroom Snacks)! Having a weekly fresh snack schedule is a great way to organize fueling students with healthy and fresh snacks on a regular basis.

peeled and ready to eat clementines for the whole class!
peeled and ready to eat clementines for the whole class!

Signup genius can make coordinating fresh class snacks simple. Please let us know if you need help getting Wellness Wednesday Healthy Classroom Snack or Fresh Fridays running in your classroom. We can also help set up a Signup Genius for your class!

Classroom Celebrations: The month of November is an easy time to focus celebrations on the fresh autumn produce being harvested. Although there are many ideas on the web for making turkey sculptures out of a wide range of fruits and veggies, seasonal food can be simpler than that. For example, provide apples and pears or make recipes with cranberries, pumpkins or corn. There are many options for healthy snacks and celebration treats that use these delicious ingredients!

Turkey inspired snack creations:

Healthy Turkey Snacks

Fruit Turkey

Harvest Recipes:

Classic Apple Sauce

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you have any healthy celebration ideas, we would love to hear them! healthandwellness@bradfordpta.org

You can always refer to The Bradford Food Guide for ideas:

The Bradford Food Guide

getting into the swing of things

imageWe’re slowly getting into the rhythm of the school year.  Class parents have been assigned and now the Health+Wellness efforts begin.  Every year the same questions come up-

How does snack work in the classroom?

How are birthday celebrations handled?

How will the class celebrate holidays?

Taking things one step at a time, month by month, protects our sanity and makes the school H+W tasks possible.  But the goal should always remain the same- Provide students with good fuel 4 school that is healthy, affordable and convenient.  It’s not always easy to accomplish these at the same time but it can be done.

Check out these suggestions for healthier Halloweens and ways to have non-food focused celebrations and you can always refer to The Bradford Food Guide as well.

Healthy Halloween Handout

The Bradford Food Guide http://montclairpta.org/pta/pages/articles/bradford10978.pdf

thirsty?

hydration's key
                                                                               hydration’s the key

Huge thanks to Sarah Otazo for sharing this post on the importance of Hydration. Making sure to get enough water, whether you’re in school or out, is a key component to health and wellness. And during the scorching heat of summer, it’s an even bigger priority. As reported by the recent CNN article Your kids probably aren’t drinking enough of this (link attached), dehydration can lead to “cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases”.

So, we all know hydration is important, but how much is enough? A quick rule of thumb is to simply divide your weight in half and that number is the minimum number of ounces you should drink in a day. For example, a 60 lb child should drink roughly 30 ounces or a quart per day. An easy way to keep track of how many ounces you drink is to measure it out at the beginning of the day and make sure the container is empty by the end of the day. And that amount is just the minimum.

Beverages with caffeine can dehydrate you further and sugary drinks may not be the best way to stay hydrated either. Both caffeinated and sugary drinks may contain ingredients that are non-nutritive.

Lastly, as we head into the summer, it’s crucial to be mindful that sweating from exercise or heat is dehydrating.  Increasing water intake another 25-50% of your daily intake can make up for sweating or consuming non-hydrating drinks. So reap the benefits of increased energy, better health and vitality by staying well hydrated this summer!

Check out these great links that address the same topics!

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/15/health/kids-teens-water-dehydration-summer/index.htm

http://weelicious.com/2015/06/01/water-best-drink/?utm_source=Master+Weelicious+List&utm_campaign=1af9c61d36-RSS-Daily-Email&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9644fa1dcf-1af9c61d36-24445929

Sarah Otazo is the mom of a Bradford third grader and is currently working towards her certification as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner.

Springtime Fuel- Fresh Air!

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Non-Food Focused Fun

This is the perfect time of year to plan a celebration around an outside activity instead of food. Extra playtime, playground time or a fun group game is a festive option for any celebration. There was a tagline on another school district’s website that had a creative saying- Let’s Party, Let’s Play! Relays, a beanbag toss, Minute to Win It or a scavenger hunt are just some great ideas.

Fuel 4 School April 2015 Update

IMG_2957

How were the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in your class? We’d love to hear about them!

healthandwellness@bradfordpta.org

Classroom Snacks for April: Same old, Same old… apples, oranges or bananas- the go to fresh snack for most of the year. But the students don’t seem to be complaining! No matter how many times apples are offered for snack, the teachers report happy students. Hopefully spring berries will be on their way soon.

Assorted Veggies and Dip are also a great and affordable idea for a fresh classroom snack. Carrots, celery, bell peppers, and cucumbers are well received especially when you find a dip (like ranch, hummus or guacamole) that the classroom enjoys. (See Allergy Reminder below)

Classroom Celebrations for April: There are always opportunities to make balanced food choices or non-food choices for celebrations in the classroom.

http://outoftheboxfood.com/2011/09/25/healthier-options-for-school-parties-birthday-treats/

Spring Celebration Ideas

  • Take a Nature Walk to discover the first signs of spring
  • Decorate Flower Pots
  • Plant Seeds
  • Have a Spring Produce Snack- Carrots/Radishes and Dip, Carrot Muffins, Berries, Berry Smoothies

http://weelicious.com/2008/07/17/carrotpineapple-cupcakes/

http://www.galonamission.com/mixed-berry-smoothie/

Allergy Reminder:

Please be very sensitive to and aware of the food allergies students may have in your classroom. Avoid these food items and carefully read Food Labels when providing shared food at school. Always check with the teacher prior to a snack, birthday party or holiday party to confirm that plans for the shared classroom food are free of food allergens.

You can always refer to The Bradford Food Guide for ideas:

http://montclairpta.org/pta/pages/articles/bradford10978.pdf

Fuel 4 School March 2015 Update

IMG_4397How were the Valentine’s Day celebrations in your class? We’d love to hear about them! healthandwellness@bradfordpta.org

Snack Ideas for March:

Prioritizing the convenience and cost of a healthy classroom group snack at school is sometimes easier said than done. Focusing on seasonal produce can help keep costs lower. And there are so many fresh options that are simple to prep.

Bananas are a nutrient-dense, year-round option for a fresh snack at school. They are a great source of potassium and dietary fiber. Bananas are affordable, easy to transport, and simple to cut in half for snack size portions.

Citrus is still an option at great prices. Oranges of all kinds are a seasonal option for a healthy snack.

naval, cara cara and blood oranges
orange navel, pink cara cara and blood oranges

Classroom Celebrations for March:

It’s time for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Here are some ideas to help make balanced choices, avoid artificial ingredients and food dyes, and have some non-food focused fun.

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Ideas

http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/healthy_school_celebrations.pdf

You can always refer to The Bradford Food Guide for ideas:

http://montclairpta.org/pta/pages/articles/bradford10978.pdf