Posts in: Healthy Eating

Healthy Halloween Treats

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Booger Balls
1¼ cups pecans
10 dried dates, pitted
2 tablespoons cacao powder (unsweetened)
pinch of sea salt (regular salt OK to use)
Green food coloring

Put pecans into a food processor and chop for 15-30 seconds or until nuts are in tiny pieces, but not powder. Add the dates, food coloring and the cacao powder and blend another 15-30 seconds. Roll into balls and serve. Makes 12-18 pieces

Chocolate Covered Apples Jack o’ lanterns
4 apples
1 cup dark-chocolate baking discs or chips
Parchment paper

Remove the apple stems and insert the sticks into the top of the apples. Melt a cup of dark chocolate baking discs or chips in a double boiler (or just insert metal bowl into a pot of boiling water). When the chocolate has melted, slowly rotate each apple until all sides are covered in chocolate. Place on a tray lined with parchment or wax paper and set in the fridge to cool.
Once cooled, take a tooth pick and carve out a jack o’lantern face into the apple.

Kids Oughta Be Covered!

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According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, kids who get regular medical checkups and health care, including vaccinations, have better attendance rates and get better grades.

As many parents know, back to school is also the time when kids get sick. So now is the perfect time to be prepared for those routine maladies like scrapes and cuts, colds and ear infections; as well as those chronic problems like asthma or allergies, and occasional emergencies such as broken bones.

But paying for all of that care can place a huge burden on the family budget. There are more than 17,000 uninsured children in Duval County, with more than 16,000 who qualify for low-cost health insurance through the Florida KidCare program – however, most are not enrolled because either their families are unaware of the program or that they qualify.

Free or low cost health coverage, through the state of Florida’s KidCare program, offers health insurance for children from birth thru age 18.

Even if one or both parents are working, coverage may be available for as little as $15-$20 per month per household, which will cover up to 8 children. A family of four earning $48,500 qualifies for low cost coverage.

Florida KidCare services include doctor visits & checkups, shots & prescriptions, dental, hearing & vision care, hospital care, surgeries & emergencies, mental health services and much more.

It’s now easy to add health insurance to your child’s backpack and can be even cheaper than the cost of all your children’s school supplies. And with KidCare, enrollment is open year-round. In Jacksonville, application assistance is available by simply dialing 211 or visit to find an enrollment location near you. Families may also visit or call 1-888-540-KIDS.

Lunchbox Health: Tips from the Pantry

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Here are some ideas and recipes to get your child’s school lunch menu started off right! The perk of introducing new food to your child at lunch, is that you don’t have to negotiate with them if they are hesitant to try it. They will be in their own element, and hunger is the best sauce!

Water Down!
While juice boxes are easy, juice itself is high in calories and more sugar than vitamins. Pack your child with an ice cold cool thermos of water to wash down their lunch, instead. Or, if you feel like flavor is necessary look to coconut waters or other “water” products that will be better for hydration and have less sugar than a juice box.

Go Lean!
Change out roast beef, bologna, or ham for lean meats like chicken or turkey, and lay off the mayo. By either going light on mayo, or cutting it out entirely, combined with using a leaner deli meat you can reduce both the fat and caloric intake significantly in a simple sandwich. Oh, and using whole grain bread is only going to bring more vitamins to the table!

Go Whole!
Stay away from granola bars and other processed food snack items, like gummies for example. They are full of ingredients that are hard for the body to process, and in turn tough to provide any nutritional value to your child. Here are some options to consider as sides to a sandwich or main dish.

Yogurt Parfait: Kids love toppings. Pack a vanilla organic yogurt in their lunch and include a little sampling of their favorite cereal, fruit (dried or diced fresh), and honey for them to build their own little parfait.

Ants on a Log: Celery topped with your child’s favorite nut butter, or cream cheese, topped with dried fruit (raisins, cherries, cranberries, etc.) is a classic kid snack that is easy to pack.
Hummus: Hummus is healthy and delicious. Pair it with carrot sticks, celery, or pretzels and you are good to go!

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