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Archive for Kid Foods

EVENT: Kids Food Festival, Washington, D.C.

Near D.C.? Got kids? Head to the Kids Food


Three years ago, Kids Food Festival was launched to help fight childhood obesity. The concept: fun and flavorful family activities that help kids learn about balanced food choices.

The next Kids Food Festival will be held at Union Market in Washington, D.C. on Saturday and Sunday November, 2nd and 3rd, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

That’s right after the kids have gorged themselves on Halloween candy. It’s a teaching moment.

If you’re in the greater D.C. area, take the kids to this fun, delicious and unique event.

Activities include:

  • Kids cooking classes curated by the James Beard Foundation
  • Food samplings and product demonstrations
  • Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt
  • Live music
  • Giveaways and more
    A portion of the proceeds from the event will support its charity partner, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (@HealthierGeneration).

    General admission is free. You do need to purchase tickets for hands-on cooking classes programmed by the James Beard Foundation ($25 plus $2.37 Eventbrite service charge).

    For more information, and to inquire about bringing Kids Food Festival to your area, visit

    Join the conversation on Twitter @KidsFoodFestFun and at @UnionMarketDC hashtag #KFF



    FOOD FUN: FunBites Cuts Food Into Mini Squares

    Have fun with it! Photo courtesy


    Typically we avoid gadgets that clutter up drawers and have limited use (mango slicer, anyone?).

    But FunBites is a new kitchen tool that cuts food into 12 perfect bite-sized squares that make food fun for kids and adults alike.

    The curved blade cutter and matching popper top pop out mini-squares of brownies and pound cake, cheese, fruit and vegetables, pancakes, sandwiches, and more.

    This little gadget makes food so much fun that even the pickiest eaters will dig in. The little squares tempt the wary to try new things.

    For kids’ recreation, you can have “make your own snack” art contests at the table.


    The BPA-free plastic is dishwasher safe. At $12.99, it’s a gift idea for kids and adults alike.

    Get yours at

    Then, have fun making bite-size:

  • Burgers
  • Cheese
  • Grilled Cheese, peanut butter and other
  • Melon
  • Omelets
  • Pancakes, waffles, French toast
  • Pizza
  • Tofu

    What are you going to “square” first?


    We’re not lion: This is fun! Photo courtesy Fun Bites | Open Sky.




    PRODUCT: SafetyTat Allergy Tattoos

    A temporary tattoo on the arm alerts
    teachers and others to food allergies. Photo
    courtesy SafetyTat.


    Don’t want to wear an allergy bracelet? How about a tattoo?

    Food allergies affect millions of Americans. This product was developed for kids: When mom or dad can’t be with the child to monitor the food he/she eats, SafetyTat does the talking.

    Easy to apply to a child’s arm or hand, this bright temporary tattoo outlines the food allergy for everyone to see.

    While some kids might object to being tattooed, the clever parent can position this as “your first tattoo.” Or perhaps it’s “The only tattoo you’re going to get for the next 20 years.”

    In addition to medical alert tattoos, the company also makes I.D. tats with name and contact information and tats for seniors.


    Check them all out at



    FATHER’S DAY: Spielgau IPA Glasses

    As any beer connoisseur knows, quality glassware enhances the enjoyment of quality craft beer. And you don’t have to be a connoisseur to know that there are different shapes of glasses for pilsners, wheat bees and other beer styles.

    That‘s because nuances of engineering reflect the different attributes of a particular style of beer (or wine). For example:

    Like a champagne flute, a tall, narrow glass enables the beer to release its flavor more slowly. But for someone who likes a pronounced head, a glass with a deep bowl allows it to form.

    The classic stein and pint glasses are generic glassware that don’t nudge the beer in any specific direction. Before modern engineering, practicality and fashion ruled:

  • The 10-sided handled pint mug, introduced in the 1920s, kept the beer cooler longer by keeping warm hands off the glass.

    IPA, Globe Pilsner, Wheat Beer and Tall Pilsner glasses. Photo courtesy Spielgau.


  • The dimpled glass, introduced in the 1940s, enhanced the visual appeal of the fashionable darker beers by allowing light hit the dimples in the glass.

    Manufacturers of fine glassware learned that they could, among other adjustments, engineer glasses to bring out the particular qualities of a variety of beer:

  • A larger body keeps the beer cooler for longer.
  • Etching the bottom of the glass helps to maintain the head and the release of carbonation (so the beer doesn’t get flat as quickly).
  • A slightly narrow neck traps the aroma.
  • A double thick bottom better insulates from any warmth from the table top.
  • A stem or a narrower bottom where it’s comfortable to hold the glass keeps away heat from hands that could warm the brew.
  • An outward-turned lip can enhance the sweet notes of the beer.

    Fron left to right: IPA glass, globe pilsner,
    wheat beer glass and tall pilsner. Photo
    courtesy Spielgau.



    If you’re a fan of IPAs (India Pale Ales—which happen to be our favorite tyle of beer), check out Spiegelau’s new IPA glass. The manufacturer collaborated with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada breweries to create a glass that best displays the nuances of IPA-style beers.

    Twelve different prototypes were developed by Spielgau and tested by the bewers, designed to showcase varying aromatic profiles for “hop forward” IPA beers, preserve a frothy head and volatiles and maintain a comfortably wide opening for the drinker to “nose” the beer.

    Why is the engineering so important? In the case of the IPA glasses:

  • Thin walls maintain proper beer temperature longer.
  • The slender, bowed shape amplifies the hops aroma.

  • Wave-like ridges aerate the beer to balance flavors.
  • A wide mouth allows the drinker to “nose” the beer comfortably for heightened aroma.
  • Raw quartz silica combined with state of the art production methods help sustain the head and the carbonation. It also delivers the beer evenly across the palate for a pleasant creaminess and harmony of sweetness and acidity.

    The 19-ounce/540 ml glasses are $24.90 for a set of two. You can buy them on Amazon.



    EVENT: NYC Kids’ Food Festival This Weekend

    Kids will discover that healthful foods are
    exciting. Image courtesy Kids Food Festival.


    Last November, Hurricane Sandy caused the cancellation of the Kids’ Food Festival in New York City. But if you’ve been wondering what to do with the kids this weekend, put it on the calendar!

    It’s tough to get kids to establish healthful eating habits. Aside from all the media messages, there’s peer pressure and the ubiquity of not-good-for-you food and beverage choices.

    But what if good eating could be presented as a fun activity? That’s what Cricket Azima, kids food expert and founder of The Creative Kitchen, thought when she designed the Kids Food Festival.

    Now in its second year, in partnership with Cooking Light, the festival is a weekend full of good-for-you, flavorful fun held in Manhattan’s Bryant Park (42nd Street and Avenue Of The Americas) on March 2nd and 3rd.



    The Kids Food Festival is a celebration to educate families about making balanced food choices. This helps to create wholesome lifelong eating habits for both kids and parents.

    The event’s mission is to prevent or combat childhood obesity by engaging families in fun food activities, tastings and exciting family-friendly programming.

    The weekend-long event offers a host of family-friendly activities including cooking classes, food demonstrations and sampling, live entertainment, the Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt for kids, giveaways and more. General admission to the event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required for the kids’ cooking classes, curated by the James Beard Foundation.


    Some of New York’s top chefs will provide hands-on cooking classes for kids at The James Beard Foundation Future Foodies Pavilion. Classes are $25 per child with a portion of the proceeds benefiting FoodCorps, a nationwide team of folks who connect kids to real food and help them grow up healthy. Tickets can be purchased here.


    If you’re not in the New York Area, the Kids Food Festival can come to you. Contact @CricketAzima on Twitter or use the Contact Us form on the Festival website for information.

    You can follow the festival on Twitter @KidsFoodFestNYC and on Facebook and the Festival’s website.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Valentine Gifts

    Choose your snacks from 25 sweet or savory
    mixes. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE


    Sure, it’s easy to give a box of candy or cupcakes for Valentine’s Day.

    But for anyone who can benefit from better snacking, how about something more healthful—and fun?

    There are fruit gifts, of course, and delicious artisan nuts. There are portion-sized snacks like Peeled Snacks and GoBites.

    GoBites is in the healthful snacking business, delivering portion-controlled snacks that are easily portable and plentiful in variety.

    The nutrient-rich ingredients are 100% natural and USDA Certified Organic: the right ingredients and the right amount of them to please both snacker and nutritionist.

    Note that not all so-called “healthy snacks” are that healthy. Read the labels to see if they are chock full of added sugar and artificial ingredients.

    GoBites, on the other hand, are pure goodness: wholesome nuts, seeds, grains and fruits in creative blends.




    There are some 27 choices. You can make your choices, or fill out a profile and have them selected for you (do you prefer sweet, savory, both, nuts, no nuts, etc.). A sample of the snacks:

  • Antioxidant Mix
  • Forbidden Rice Mix
  • Heart Health Mix
  • Pineapple Coconut Mix
  • Tropical Gluten Free Granola
  • Umami Crunch
    You can make a single purchase or sign up for a no commitment subscription program that delivers each week’s worth: 14 packages.

    Check out all the options at


    The snack packages are easily portable. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.




    GIFT: Cupcakes Without The Calories

    Kids are crazy for cupcakes, so how about cupcakes are made from chalk?

    Handmade to order, they let you “enjoy” cupcakes in a different way: on chalk boards, roll-up chalk mats, chalk board place mats or good old driveways and sidewalks.

    Or, they can be used as objets d’art in kids’ rooms.

    The set of six mini chalk cupcakes is available in your choice of blue, green, orange, pink, purple or yellow. They are 2 inches tall and 1.5 inches wide, just about the size as a real mini cupcake.

    Each cupcake is hand piped and topped with glitter. Each set is packaged for gifting.

    They’re great For party favors as well as stocking stuffers.


    You can’t eat them: They’re chalk! Photo courtesy The Chalk Shop.


    And there’s more of a choice than cupcakes: We love the chalk popsicles, as well as apples, tea cups and some 15 non-food designs from ballerinas, bees and butterflies to dinosaurs, lady bugs and owls.

    The set of six cupcakes is $7.00 from The Chalk Shop, which sells via

    Beyond cupcakes, we love the popsicle chalk as well as the apples and tea cups. In the non-food arena, there are some 15 designs, from ballerinas, butterflies and flowers to circus animals, dinosaurs and owls.



    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Gummy Worms Day

    Cherry Cola Cupcake, with cherry and cola
    gummy candies by Goody Good Stuff. Photo
    © all rights reserved, courtesy Hey Little
    , a cupcake specialty shop in
    Manchester, England.


    Today is National Gummy Worms Day. But not everybody can enjoy a juicy gummy worm.

    That’s because many gummy candies are made with gelatin, an animal product that’s neither kosher nor vegetarian/vegan.

    The traditional gummy candy is made with sugar, glucose syrup (more sugar), starch, flavoring, food color, citric acid and gelatin.

    Gummy History

    The first gummy candies, Gummi Bears, were produced in 1922 by Haribo, a Bonn, Germany, confectioner. Founder Hans Riegel invented the Dancing Bear, a fruit gum made in the shape of a bear. In 1967 the Dancing Bears became Gummi Bears, and spawned an entire zoo of gummi animals.

    Worms are not zoo creatures, however, and Haribo did not invent the Gummi Worm. Gummi Worms were introduced by another German gummi candy manufacturer, Trolli (named for forest trolls), in 1981. The U.S. Americanized “gummi” to “gummy.”


    The boom in gummy popularity spawned versions that are organic, kosher and halal. For the latter two, manufacturers have substituted pectin or starch for gelatin.

    Goody Good Stuff is an all-natural gummy candy line that is made with a plant-derived gum. It eliminates the need for animal-based gelatin, while maintaining a smooth and clear consistency. There are no artificial colors or flavors and no possible allergens, such as gluten.

    There are no worms, either. At this time, there are sweet and sour gummy candies in fruit, bear and cola bottle shapes. All of the products are vegetarian (some are vegan), kosher and halal. Here’s the company website.


    Beyond snacking, bring out the gummies for parties:

  • Incorporate them into centerpiece decorations
  • Fill glass candy bowls
  • Garnish the rim of desert plates
  • Top cupcakes or cookies
  • Use as ice cream toppers
  • Make gummy fruit kabobs
  • Dip in chocolate for “gourmet” gummies
  • Decorate the rim of cocktails
  • Add to popcorn
  • Make gummy trail mix: gummies, M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces, nuts, pretzels and raisins or dried cherries

    Gummy Worm Cake

    Back to gummy worms: Make this easy dessert or snack recipe for “dirt cake” using Oreos, gummy worms, vanilla pudding and cream cheese. It’s appealing to adults as well as kids—really!


    PRODUCT: Tea For Kids, Caffeine-Free & Disney-Pixarized

    If you have younger children or simply like Disney and Pixar films, you may be anticipating* the new film, “Brave.” It’s the story of a courageous Scottish lass, Merida, who confronts tradition and, in the poetic words of Disney, “challenges destiny to change her fate.”

    Among other merchandising, the healthiest has got to be the “Brave” herb tea from Republic of Tea. It’s a message to kids (and parents) that herb tea is a good beverage choice.

    A base of caffeine-free, healthy rooibos tea is layered with the flavors of sweet orange and caramel. It can be enjoyed hot, with or without a splash of milk, or iced.

    The limited edition, collectible tin of 36 tea bags is $9.50 at


    The limited edition of tea. Photo courtesy Republic Of Tea.


    *Brave opens June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D, in select theaters.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Teach Kids To Read food Labels

    You can’t read or listen to the news without hearing the alarming childhood obesity statistics, and adults aren’t doing well, either.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled over the last three decades. Today, more than one third of all children and adolescents are considered to be overweight or obese. Adult statistics are similar.

    One way the CDC recommends addressing the problem is for healthy eating to become a part of every child’s life. It begins with reading food labels and learning how to make decisions. The process can be made fun, and a learning experience for both kids and adults.

    As soon as they can read, children can begin to learn how to read food labels. Measuring food to learn portion control can be like a game for younger children, and also teaches measurements. Learning the components of food—fat, protein, salt and sugar, and how many grams are in a portion—leads to healthier food choices. Even young children can learn about vitamins and other nutrients in food.

    Here are some tips for teaching kids how to read food labels, provided by Fresh Healthy Vending. The company is also part of the solution, packing vending machines with good-for-you snacks instead of empty-calorie choices. (The company also offers franchises, if you want to work with healthy foods.)


    It can be fun learning to read nutrition labels. Photo courtesy U.S. Potato Board.


    1. Understand Portion Sizes. Set out a couple of the kids’ favorite foods, such as cereal and juice, along with a measuring cup. Demonstrate how to determine what a serving size is, based on the product’s Nutrition Facts label. Let kids measure out one serving. Continue each day with different foods until they have mastered serving sizes.

    2. Move On To Nutrition Facts. Once kids understand portion sizes, explain the information on the Nutrition Facts label, including calories, cholesterol, total fat, fiber, protein, total carbohydrates and sugar. Explain why it is important to know how much of each is in a serving, and what amount is considered high. For example, kids can look at a can of soda and see that it has 40 grams of sugar, and that is considered high; a serving of Cheerios has one gram of sugar, and that is considered low. This exercise will likely be a learning experience for you, too. The USDA advises adults who eat a 2,000-calorie diet to limit sugar intake to about 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugar per day (in addition to the natural sugars present in fruit, milk and so forth). A teenager who follows a healthy diet can consume about 18 teaspoons of added sugars, according to USDA; but the average sugar intake of a teenager is about 34 teaspoons of sugar per day.

    3. Learn To Read The Ingredients List. Which ingredients are natural, which are artificial and chemical? Remind children that fresh fruits and vegetables don’t usually have labels but are usually the most natural and healthiest options around. Show them how to look up nutrition on the Internet (searching for “apple nutrition” will provide the answers). Explain the Daily Value, and how individual product decisions add up to the day’s total food intake.

    4. Do Product Comparisons. The next step is to do label comparisons, so kids can determine which choices are better for them.

    5. Head To The Grocery Store. Once kids have been exposed to label reading at home, take them to the grocery store. Give them the assignment of choosing between options. Over time, they’ll become familiar with many foods, know which are healthy and unhealthy, and be able to identify healthier food options without always having to rely on reading labels.

    6. Take It To The Restaurant Level. How can kids make the best choices at restaurants? Chain restaurants have calorie counts. A calorie booklet or app can provide guidance at those without information.

    Turn the process into a game, with quizzes. Keep quiz scores on the refrigerator door. Consider rewards for achievement—a trip to the movies or the zoo is also a chance to make healthy eating choices. Offer a binder to keep nutrition labels, articles and comments.

    It will take time and practice—and patience—but you’ll be giving children a healthy advantage for life.

    For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Childhood Obesity Facts.



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