How Food Absorbs Water

In this fun and fascinating experiment we are mixing science with food! As we all know, plants need water and nutrients to grow, but how do they get them? They absorb everything they need up through their stem! This process is occurring all around us. Yet we don’t see it because water is clear and nutrients are microscopic. However, with this exciting experiment that will all change.

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Materials
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Cabbage Leaves
  • Celery
  • White Flowers
  • Large Cups / Jars
Instructions
  • Fill each jar halfway full of water
  • Add 10 drops of different food coloring to each jar or mix colors to create your own unique hues
  • Place one cabbage leaf in each different color jar
  • Repeat this will celery and then white flowers
  • Let the cabbage, celery and flowers sit in the jars over night
  • The next morning, be amazed! The plants and flowers have absorbed the water and the food coloring. Creating an array of beautiful colors. Sucking up nutrients through a stem is what all plants and flowers do, in order to get the water and nutrients they need to grow and be healthy.

Share photos of your experiment results!

Guide to Reading Nutrition Labels

SERVING SIZE is the first place to start when looking at the nutrition label.

All calorie and nutrient information is based on the serving size. Start by looking at the portion of food in one serving. This may be shown in cups, pieces, or package. This is always followed by the weight in grams.

Below the serving size is the amount of serving per container. Keep an eye out; many food items contain several servings.

Paying attention to the serving size is a good tool to avoid over consuming. If you consume two serving of food from the package you must double the calories and nutrients found on the label.

 

Tip: When comparing two similar products make sure that their serving sizes match. You may think one product contains more fat until you notice it serving size is just larger.

CALORIES are specified below the serving size. The calories listed on the label are based on the calories found in one serving.

 

General Calories Guide

40 Calories is low

100 Calories is moderate

400 Calories or more is high

Tip: Not all calories are the same. Calories from processed, high fat food should be limited, while calories from fruits and vegetables should not.

nutrition-facts-label

% DAILY VALUE is a general guide used to show how much a nutrient is contributing to your daily diet.

As a general rule, if the percentage is high (>20%) it is greatly contributing to the daily value, while if it is low (<5%) it is not contributing much.

NUTRIENTS are listed in grams and milligrams on the nutrition label.

Nutrients to Limit

When reading a nutrient label, keep in mind how much fat, sodium, sugar and cholesterol the product contains. Using the Dietary Guidelines for Americans you can make an informed decision if the product is right for you.

  • Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by

replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids

  • Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol
  • Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible
  • Reduce the intake of calories from added sugars

Nutrient to Increase

A product may be a good choice if it is rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium or iron. These are all important nutrient that are lacking in most American’s diets. Use the percent daily value found next to each nutrient to decide if it is a good source.

The higher the percentage the more of the nutrient the product contains- 20% or more being high and 5% or less being low.

Choose foods that are the most nutrient dense. This means you are getting the most nutrients for the amount of calories. Do this by comparing the calories with the percentage of each nutrient.

Tip: If a product is high in calories and low in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and iron it is not a nutrient dense food.

For a more information on food labeling visit the FDA website http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm274593.htm

Today’s Superfood: Herbs

Herbs are a fresh and flavorful addition to any meal. There are 100’s of herbs all with their own unique taste and aroma. Herbs are amazingly good for our bodies. Many of them provide us with nutrients, aid with digestion and contain ant-bacterial properties. The best part about them is their intense taste, which can transform our food from bland to delectable. Thankfully, there are endless ways to uses herbs and you can even grow them yourself.

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Dill: Fresh dill is perfect for flavoring sauces, fish and of course, pickles

Thyme: Use fresh or dried thyme on meat, fish, in soup and stews to add an earthy taste

Tarragon: Add fresh tarragon in dishes with tomatoes and poultry

Rosemary: Use fresh or dried rosemary when cooking meat, poultry or potatoes

Mint: Chop fresh mint and use in fruits salad, sauces and tea

Parsley: Fresh parsley is a tasty garnish and ingredient in pasta, pasta sauces and salads

Cilantro: Freshly chopped cilantro pairs perfectly with tacos and spicy foods

Basil: Fresh basil can be used in any sauce or blended to make homemade pesto (see below)

Tip: Place fresh chopped herbs and olive oil into ice cub trays and freeze. Toss one cube in a saucepan when cooking to add flavor to any recipe!

Grow Your Own Herbs

Herbs are incredibly easy to grow and maintain. Having fresh grown herbs at your fingertips will add nourishing flavor to you and your family’s food

  • Choose a container- a small-medium pot with good drainage is all you will need.
  • Fill the container with potting mix. Potting mix is a light soil that allows herbs to grow and prevents drainages wholes from getting clogged.
  • Using your finger push small seeds into the top of the potting mix. Larger seeds can be placed slightly deeper. Remember- herbs are delicate and won’t be able to push themselves through thick soil.
  • Place the pot in a well-lit area. Sun is essential to for the growth of herbs. A window seal is the perfect place for them to flourish.
  • Plan to water your herbs whenever the soil becomes dry. Just enough water to keep the soil moist.

Try a delicious homemade, kid-friendly pesto recipe from Honest Cooking. Add pesto to whole grain pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza and even chicken!

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Ingredients

3 cups basil leaves (about 5 sprigs)

¼ cup olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Coarsely chop garlic

Remove stems from basil

Place all ingredients in a food processor, and process until very fine

Add oil, salt, and pepper as needed

Serve on bread, pasta, or grated zucchini and summer squash.

Freeze extra in ice cube trays for pre-portioned servings to use later

http://honestcooking.com/kid-friendly-pesto-with-sunflower-seeds/

Food Art

Frozen Winter Penguins

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup dark chocolate (chips or bar)
  • 1 banana
  • Edible decorations

Instructions

  1. Peel the banana and slice in half
  2. Place ½ cup dark chocolate into a microwave safe dish
  3. Microwave until chocolate melts
  4. Dip the top and bottom of each banana half into the melted chocolate
  5. Begin placing on desired decorations
  6. Shown: orange M&M’s for the feet and nose and edible eyes
  7. Other options: blueberries, sliced frozen fruit, carrots, marshmallows, etc.
  8. Place finished penguins on a plate or cookie sheet
  9. Allow them to set in the freezer for 20mins

Did you know? The colors of a penguin are used as camouflage while swimming in the sea. From above the ocean, their black backs allow them to blend with the murky water. While below, their white stomachs blend with the bright ocean surface.

We would love to see your creations! Send them in, post them below, or post them to our Facebook page!

Today’s Superfood: Pomegranate

Pomegranates are truly a superfood superstar! The name pomegranate comes from a French word meaning “seeded apple”. The hundreds of edible seeds and pulp that fill each pomegranate are packed with nutritional value. Along with their nourishing benefits, the mouthwatering flavor makes pomegranates a juicy and enjoyable treat!

The Power of Pomegranate

The anti-bacterial properties combined with the antioxidant power and vitamin C content makes pomegranates a wonderful immune booster

The delicious pulp of a pomegranate is loaded with many essential vitamins and minerals. Including vitamin C, potassium, iron, vitamin K and several B vitamins

The abundance of polyphenols found in pomegranates is associated with better memory and disease prevention!

Did you know? Arizona’s dry and hot climate makes for an ideal growing place for pomegranates!

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Ways to eat pomegranates

  • Mix pomegranate seeds with yogurt
  • Blend with milk to make a quick smoothie
  • Sprinkle seeds on desert
  • Combined with oatmeal
  • Toss seeds on a fresh salad
  • Enjoy them raw

 

How to de-seed a pomegranate

  1. Score around the middle of the pomegranate-do not cut all the way through
  2. Pry the pomegranate apart using hands
  3. Hold one side of the pomegranate over a bowl
  4. Using a wooden spoon whack the back of the pomegranate till all seed fall into the bowl
  5. Use pomegranate seeds in desired way

Tip: Pomegranates can last two months in the refrigerator; stock up the next time you go to the store!

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Homemade Pomegranate Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • 1-cup pomegranate puree
  • 1-cup Greek yogurt

Blend pomegranate puree and yogurt together

Pour the blended mixture on to silicone mat (used for oven dehydrating)

Cook for 5-6 hours at 200 degrees

10 Tips for a Healthy New Year

  1. Think Fresh

Eat foods that are fresh and unprocessed. Avoid prepackaged meals and snacks. These processed foods are high in sodium and sugars. Fresh foods are in their most natural state!

  1. Keep a Visible Reminder

Keep a full fruit bowl in a noticeable place. A colorful fruit bowl is a great reminder to consume fruits everyday. Easily grab-able fruit makes for quick snacks on the go!

  1. Build a Garden

Building your own garden guarantees fresh and inexpensive food. It is also a fun learning experience for children. Begin growing fresh herbs and beginner produce like tomatoes, carrots and radishes. Search for produce that grows well in your area! Here are some tips to get started.

  1. Be a Healthy Role Model

As a parent, your health behaviors are an important influence on your child. Set a good example by trying new foods, eating fruits and veggies, and making healthy choices. This will positively impact your child’s choices.

 

  1. Save Money

Stretching your food dollar is a great way to save money this New Year. Look at your surrounding grocery stores for daily deals. Use your newspaper for prices and coupons to help you save. Buy food items that are on sale and compare competitors brands.

 

  1. Be Creative

Being creative in the kitchen gets children engaged and excited about health eating. Invent snacks and meals with your child. Have them pair some of their favorite foods with foods they are still warming up to. Create unique names for typical meal items and make fruits and veggies into fun shapes.

 

  1. Limit Screen Time

Too much computer and TV time can be unhealthy. Screen time limits the time children are physically active and engaged with family and school. Limiting electronic use to 2 hours per day will make room for more activity.

 

  1. Makeover your Fridge

A new year calls for a fridge makeover. Clean out all the junk and stock up on healthy options. Pre-wash and cut fresh fruits and veggies. Have low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese on hand. Replace any sugar drinks with fresh filtered water.

 

  1. Be an Active Family

Doing activities as a family makes it easier to live an active lifestyle. Create a schedule of specific days and times for family fun and exercise. Be creative with indoor and outdoor activities so you are prepared for any weather condition. Track you and your families’ progress and continually set goals.

 

  1. Stick to a List

The easiest way to stay on track with healthy eating is to make a list. Plan out all the weeks meals and snacks before your grocery trip. Creating a detailed list will shorten your time at the store and ensure your family stays on track.

All recommendation are verified from the USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov