Kids Test Kitchen is sponsored by Lee’s Marketplace

THERE’S NO DOUBT that most kids get more than enough to eat (climbing rates of childhood obesity are proof of that). The problem is, much of what they eat every day — like over-processed and fast foods — is calorie dense, but nutritionally slim. According to HealthyKids.org, many young children are now falling short on many essential vitamins including calcium, Vitamin E, fiber, potassium, and iron.

Filling your childs’ diets with healthy foods, and even better, healthy foods they help prepare, will set them up for the best chance for success on the day-to-day and throughout life.

That’s why Cache Valley Family Magazine, Lee’s Marketplace, and Love to Cook have joined forces for a Kids Test Kitchen to inspire local families to spend time together preparing and enjoying nutritious food.

Five Nutrients Kids Are Missing

CALCIUM: About one-third of kids ages 4 to 8 aren’t getting enough calcium, according to the latest government statistics. Calcium is not only good for building healthy bones and teeth, it also plays a vital role in the blood stream by helping regulate heart rhythm, blood clotting, and muscle function. Milk, yogurt, cheese, dry cereals, and collard greens are all great sources of calcium.

VITAMIN E: A whopping 80 percent of kids under the age of 8 are missing their daily vitamin E needs, according to studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The surprising culprit is fat-free and low-fat foods, which tend to be low in E, a vitamin that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. The best sources for this nutrient include avocado, nuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and spinach.

FIBER: Fiber is essential in healthy bowel movements, preventing constipation (a common issue for children), and helping kids feel full longer. Research also shows it can help fight cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease. Good sources of fiber include beans, most fruits and vegetables, or whole-grain bread/pasta/cereal.

POTASSIUM: Potassium ensures normal heart and muscle function, maintains fluid balance, participates in energy production, and promotes strong bones. Most kids don’t get enough. Common potassium- rich sources include bananas, oranges, white and sweet potatoes, yogurt, milk, and some fish (like halibut and cod).

IRON: Iron helps the body make red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body, and helps kids grow. Without it, kids become anemic. Red meat, beans, green leafy vegetables, tuna, eggs, and iron-fortified cereals are all rich sources for iron.

No-bake Protein Balls

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Quick Oats
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
2 T cocoa powder
2 scoops chocolate orgain powder 1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
small glug of vanilla

optional:

1-2 T chia seeds
1-2 T ground flaxseed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Stir together oats, cocoa powder, and chocolate orgain powder in a large bowl.
  2. Add peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, vanilla, and optional ingredients and stir it all together until smooth.
  3. Line a small baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the bombs out onto the cookie sheet.
  4. Freeze for a couple hours, then store in a Ziplock back in the fridge.

Join in the fun!

Would you like to take a cooking class, too? Love to Cook hosts a wide variety of cooking classes. Check out their ongoing schedule at luvtocook.com for more information and available dates.

Follow @cachevalleyfamilymag on Facebook and Instagram for future opportunities to join our next Kids Test Kitchen.