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Archive for Kid Foods

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.



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.



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.



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.


    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.



    PRODUCT: Hawaiian Punch Fruit Snacks

    We admit it: We ate all the Hawaiian Punch
    Splashers. Photo courtesy Farley’s & Sathers.


    We were never a Hawaiian Punch fan. Even as a child, we found it to be “kid stuff” and far preferred Mom’s homemade punch (a mixture of three flavors of frozen juice: lemonade, grape juice and orange juice—try it!).

    But how about a nice Hawaiian Punch fruit snack? How about gummy-like Hawaiian Punch Splashers,* filled with juice?

    *Credit goes to Gushers liquid-filled fruit snacks, made by General Mills.

    We raised an eyebrow when the new Hawaiian Punch and Mott’s snacks arrived at THE NIBBLE offices. We approach most kid-targeted, mass-produced foods warily.

    But we enjoyed Hawaiian Punch Splashers so much, we hoarded them from the rest of the NIBBLE staff.


    The two Hawaiian Punch snack varieties, Hawaiian Punch Splashers Fruit Snacks and Hawaiian Punch Fruit Snacks, include 100% DV of vitamin C and 90 calories per serving. Lowfat (and with no saturated fats), they deliver a big Hawaiian Punch of flavor. Both are equally tasty, but the revived kid in us prefers the splash of juice in the Splashers. Both products are available in nine-ounce boxes of 10 single serve pouches.

    The products are produced by Farley’s & Sathers, a major manufacturer of candies including Brach’s, Chuckles, Heide, Jujyfruits and Jujubes, among other brands. Riding the wave of popularity of fruit snacks, a fast-growing category, the company has licensed the Hawaiian Punch and Motts brand names.

    We found less flavor in the Mott’s Medleys Fruit Snacks, although we did enjoy the teeny, cube-shaped Motts For Tots Fruit Snacks. They’d make a fun garnish for ice cream or frozen yogurt.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Invent Healthy Recipes

    Two of our index cards combine in this
    salmon-avocado salad. Photo courtesy Whole
    Foods Market. Get the recipe.


    Over the last month, one million people searched Google for “healthy recipes.”

    You can search, and you can buy healthy recipe cookbooks.

    But you can also invent your own recipes; and use the occasion as a teaching game for the family. (Plan now to start playing next weekend.)

    Here’s the game:

    1. Announce the rules: First, each family member develops a list of healthy foods. (If your children are old enough, they also need to know why it’s a healthy ingredient—as do adult participants.) The person with the most gets a prize, to be determined by you. The family will gather on [date] and [time] for the next leg.

    2. Next, everyone brings his or her list to the dinner table (or other place and time you designate) and take turns reading them out. You place each new food item on a separate index card. (For example, only make one card for brown rice, even if everyone has it on his/her list.)

    3. Here’s the hard part: You have to know if an ingredient is healthy so you can keep it or reject it. For example, cacao, the base of chocolate, has great health properties; but not when mixed with sugar! If you don’t know, make looking it up part of the game.

    4. Now that you have ingredients, it’s onto the next leg: creating recipes from them. Spread the cards out on the table so everyone can see them. Go around the table, asking each person in turn to suggest a combination of ingredients and a recipe (for example, grilled fish, grape and red onion tacos). Write the suggested recipe on a pad, along with the name of the person who suggested it.

    5. Finally, you get to make the recipes. Print out a calendar and place the recipes on specific days of the month (it’s easier to plan the meals).

    6. After each healthy recipe is made, vote on whether it goes, stays or needs to be revised. Take the time to reinforce why the recipe is healthy, and which ingredients are the healthiest. Mark on the calendar which recipes are “winners.”

    7. At the end of 30 days, tally the winning recipes and declare a winner. Now, you can start the process over again.


    GOURMET GIVEAWAY #1 ~ Cupcake Molds From My Little Cupcake

    My Little Cupcake’s cupcake molds make mini cupcakes on a stick. They’re irresistible.

    Six lucky winners will each receive a set of four My Little Cupcake molds—guaranteed to become the most popular molds in the house. For a kids’ project, there’s a no-bake cupcake recipe (simply make a dough from cream cheese and ground chocolate sandwich cookies—it’s delish) and push the dough into the mold. There are other recipes as well.

    Once popped out of the mold, a lollipop stick can be added (we dipped pretzel sticks in chocolate) and the cupcakes can be decorated with sprinkles, mini chips, etc.

    The little cupcakes make charming ice cream toppers. We decorated a whole layer cake with mini cupcakes. Learn more at


    The mini pink mold on the left produces the
    mini cupcakes the right. Photo courtesy My Little Cupcake.

  • To Enter This Gourmet Giveaway: Go to the box at the bottom of our Gourmet Cake, Cupcakes & Cake Mix Page and click to enter your email address for the prize drawing. Approximate Retail Value Of Each Prize: $24.00. This contest closes on Monday, January 17th at noon, Eastern Time. Good luck!
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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Baseball Shortbread Cookies

    Your favorite slugger will be delighted to receive a box of baseball-shaped shortbread cookies from Cooperstown, New York—home of the National Baseball Hall Of Fame.

    Delicious, buttery shortbread is packaged into a tin representing the recipient’s favorite team, or in this National Baseball Hall Of Fame commemorative baseball tin, for as little as $14.95.

    Many gift variations, including gift towers, are available. If you’re a shortbread lover, you’ll want to get some for yourself (a cellophane Bag O’ Bunts with a team sticker is just $5.99).

  • Purchase from
  • Find more of our favorite cookie and brownie gifts.

    A commemorative tin full of baseball-
    shaped shortbread. Photo courtesy
    Cooperstown Cookie Company.


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