While there is still much debate about how much of which foods are best for growing youngsters, one thing is certain: Kids are only going to eat what tastes good.
That was the theory behind a recent contest which set out to find the best tasting, good-for-you snack treat for kids.
Called "Healthy Snacks for Healthy Kids," the contest was sponsored by L.A. Parent magazine and Keebler Co., according to the organizers, "to encourage parents to create exciting, innovative, tasty snacks for their children that are healthful as well as fun to eat." Winners received a free cruise for a family of four aboard the SS Azure Seas for the top entry.
Kathy Hooyenga of Pasadena placed first for her Frobana Crunch, a frozen banana concoction featuring bananas, yogurt and graham crackers.
Runners-up included Beth Swartz of Chatsworth for Good Kid Pizzas, Gigi George of Santa Monica for Funny Bunny Salad and Lee Purgasen for Dad's Banana Smiley.
Representatives of the California Dietetic Assn. and American Heart Assn. developed the nutritional criteria for the contest. The dishes were required to include two ingredients from the Four Basic Food Groups. Also, they had to be low in sugar and fat; be creative, original and tasty, and easy toprepare.
One of the most surprising elements, said Bettye Nowlin, a registered dietitian, was that many of the entries called for the same ingredients--used in different ways--which signaled some consistency in parents' perceptions of nutritious foods.
Peanut butter, yogurt, nonfat dry milk powder and bananas were among the popular ingredient choices. Fruit also was a feature.
"As dietitians, we would call these healthy, of course," Nowlin said, adding, "Parents found they could take these particular foods and make them into a fun type of dish that kids could actually make themselves.
"The whole focus on healthy snacks for kids, in general, is good--the fact that people are understanding that snacks can add to total nutrition for the day, in a fun way."
Here are the winning recipes.
1 (8-ounce) carton fruit-flavored yogurt
2 graham crackers, crushed
Cut bananas into halves and place wooden frozen bar stick in each half. Dip banana in yogurt and roll in crushed graham crackers. Place on try and freeze. Makes 4 servings.
GOOD KID PIZZAS
Pizza dough or English muffin halves
Sliced red and green peppers
Make small round circle from dough or use half of English muffin. Make toppings available for children to choose. Spread dough with tomato sauce.
Allow kids to make faces using cheese for hair and eyebrows over layer of tomato sauce. Make eyes and nose from olives and mouths from peppers. Bake at 375 degrees until cheese melts.
FUNNY BUNNY SALAD
1 canned pear half
3 lettuce leaves
1 small strawberry
1 slice American cheese
2 baby carrots
Place canned pear half on bed of lettuce. Use strawberry to make nose and raisins for eyes, using wood picks to attach. Cut 3 thin strips cheese and use wood pick to attach to nose for whiskers. Use baby carrots for ears. Makes 1 serving.
MICKEY MOUSE RICE SNACKS
2 ounces cream cheese
1 to 4 large rice cakes
2 to 8 small rice cakes
Spread cream cheese on top and sides of rice cakes. Place next to each to form head, using small cakes for ears. Decorate face using raisins for eyes, ears and nose. Use papaya for mouth. Makes 1 to 2 servings.
1 3/4 cup peanut putter
2 small ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional
Arrange peanut butter, bananas, milk powder, sesame seeds, oats, honey and coconut in 9-inch square glass baking dish. Break crackers into pieces and place in separate container, for dipping.