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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Kid Foods

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.

 

WHAT IS THE KIDS FOOD FESTIVAL?

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.

COOKING CLASSES FOR KIDS

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.

WANT A KIDS FOOD FESTIVAL IN YOUR AREA?

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.

  

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TIP OF THE DAY: Healthy Valentine Gifts

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

 

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.

 

 

A DIFFERENT SNACK EVERY TIME

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 GoBites.com.

     

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

     

      

    Comments

    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 Etsy.com.

    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.

      

    Comments

    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
    Cupcake!
    , 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.

    THINGS TO DO WITH GUMMY CANDIES

    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!
     
      

    Comments

    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 RepublicOfTea.com.

     

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

     

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

      

    Comments

    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.

      

    Comments

    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: The Amazing Rice Cube

    From hors d’oeuvre to sushi to snacks,
    Rice Cube turns out dazzling food in minutes.

     

    Faster than most recipes. More powerful than many kitchen utensils. Able to turn out dazzling foods in a single bound.

    It’s our latest super gadget find, the Rice Cube.

    This handy gadget will help you turn out impressive foods for just about any purpose—from hors d’oeuvre and sides to snacks and desserts.

    And it’s so easy, even the kids can help out, or create their own kid-flavored snacks: carrots and peas rice cubes, peanut butter and raisin rice cubes…the combinations are infinite, and include everything from BBQ pork to smoked salmon to a “rice pudding” cube.

    Rice Cube also helps you make sushi at home without having to master the rolling mat.

    Check out this amazing little gadget.

    Good things come in small packages. Consider the Rice Cube for holiday gifts for friends who love to cook and entertain.

    Perhaps your first social event of the new year can be a cube-off competition.

     

    Rice Cube can “cube” other foods, as well. Read the full review.

    RICE 101

    There’s more to rice than “white” and “brown.” Take a look at our glamorous Rice Glossary for gourmet rices that are begging to be cubed.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Teach Table Manners With Manners Cards

    Need help teaching table manners to kids?

    It can be trying, or it can be fun.

    Golly Gee-pers! Table Manners Cards choose the fun way—one that eliminates nagging and prodding.

    And you can get them just in time to impress relatives and friends at upcoming holiday dinners.

    These easy-to-use “manners cards” make sure that kids are on their best behavior during every dining experience—at home, at other people’s homes and at restaurants. Children learn proper manners via fun games.

    The funny-yet-respectful cards depict 14 different table manners, proper and improper, designated with a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Kids and adults alike compete for Ready To Dine Out awards.

     

    Elbows on tables are a “thumbs down.” Photo
    courtesy Golly Gee-pers!

     

    Extra blank thumbs-up and thumbs-down cards can be used to address specific age groups, cultures, family rules, etc.

    And surprise: adults will improve their table manners in the process, too.

    Get your Golly Gee-pers! and have fun learning how to eat genteelly.

    See how easy it is to turn your family into a class act at the table.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Dinosaur Cakes

    T-Rex and Triceratops in a Jurassic food fight.
    Our money’s on T-Rex. Photo by Jaclyn
    Nussbaum | THE NIBBLE.

     

    We’ve all seen films of massive dinosaurs eating their prey. Although mankind and dinos did not walk the earth at the same time, films like Jurassic Park have remedied that fact: We’ve seen more than a few dinosaurs make a meal of man.

    And now, man can eat dinosaurs.

    Although we didn’t have anyone’s birthday to celebrate, when we saw this Nordicware Dinosaur Cakelet Pan from our favorite cake pan manufacturer, we knew we had to bake a batch.

    The pan yields two each of Apatosaurus (formerly known as Brontosaurus), Stegosaurus, Triceratops and the king himself, Tyrannosaurus Rex.

    Both kids and adults will delight in taking a bite of the ginormous antediluvian reptiles—here, reduced to the size of a large cupcake, or cakelet.

    Getting all the tiny details in the mold to come out perfectly is a piece of cake (pun intended): Just follow a few simple baking tips.

    Use your favorite cake recipe or a mix. We used White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Mix from The King’s Cupboard.

      

    Nordicware E-Z Deco Icing Pen

    As cool as the dinosaurs looked when we popped them out of the pan, we couldn’t leave them unadorned. We used Nordicware’s E-Z Deco Icing Pen to create the fine lines outlining each dinosaur.

    For those of us who would never be invited to assist the Ace Of Cakes, the Icing Pen combines a basic pastry bag with a pen-like applicator. Simply fill the bag with icing, insert it into the applicator and start decorating your cake. The easy-to-hold ergonomic handle lets you “write” as if you were using a pen.

    It’s easy to hold and to apply pressure evenly. Even if all you do is write “Happy Birthday” on a cake twice a year, this little gadget is worth its drawer space.

    One tip: Don’t forget to unscrew the two parts of the plastic coupler before you begin. We didn’t even realize there were two parts until we were finished, but the cakelets turned out just fine.

  • More of our favorite Nordicware cake pans.
  •  

    Nordicware’s E-Z Deco Icing Pen. Photo courtesy Nordicware.

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Peas Of Mind “Healthy” Pizza For Kids

    Peas Of Mind is a company that makes products that kids like. And the products—all frozen foods—are good for them.

    Our first encounter with the company was via their Veggie Wedgies: apple, broccoli, carrot and cauliflower sliced to look like French fries. You bake them in the oven. Each serving provides more than half of a child’s Daily Recommended Value of fruits or vegetables.

    The company’s Puffets are kid-style souffles in banana, black bean, carrot and other favorite flavors.

    And now, the specialists in getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies have launched Peas of Pie, a pizza pie with veggies hidden in the crust.

     

    Peas of Pie hides healthy veggies in the
    crust. Photo courtesy Peas of Mind.

     

    They really are hidden. We saw an occasional wee speck of broccoli and carrot in the crust, but nothing kids would notice. The crust, a bready style, will fool every one of them.

    And, those hidden veggies, plus the tomato sauce, count for 1-1/2 servings of veggies.

    The pizzas are available in cheese and pepperoni.

    Learn more on the company website.

      

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