501 Life Magazine | Keeping the young healthy
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Keeping the young healthy

When cooking healthy food for young people, it is important to always remember to consider the overall taste of the food along with the nutritional benefits. While the “5 A Day” nutritional guideline should be easy enough to follow, there is nothing that can turn them off good food more than a healthy but bland tasting meal. All of the ingredients which are used in a meal should be integrated into a recipe and not just thrown in so that nutritional guidelines are met. 

Cooking is an art form as well as a practical skill, and when cooking for young people – this is even more of the case.
Variety is the key in cooking as well as in life, and if young people have access to a variety of vegetables, fruits, beans, herbs, meats and cereals – both cooked and uncooked – they are almost guaranteed to have a balanced diet. If they can obtain food in a tasty and appealing manner which includes all of the major nutrient and food groups, they are being given the best chance for a positive future.


Easy Snack Wraps

12 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 head lettuce
1 (6-ounce) package sliced deli-style turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups minced tomato

Spread cream cheese evenly over the tortillas. Top the cream cheese with lettuce leaves. Arrange the turkey slices in even layers on top of the lettuce. Sprinkle the carrots and tomato over the turkey slices. Roll the tortillas into wraps. Cut the wraps diagonally into bite-sized pieces. Secure with toothpicks.

Herbed Chicken Nuggets

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs, seasoned
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Trim any fat from chicken and cut into 1-inch cubes.
In a bowl, beat the eggs with the water and add the chicken.
Combine the parsley, thyme, red pepper, bread crumbs, wheat germ, basil and ground pepper. Stir in the oil with a fork and mix well to distribute evenly. Pour seasoning mixture into a resealable plastic bag and the chicken pieces to coat.
Place coated chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, turn the pieces and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Olive Cheese Melts

1 cup black olives, chopped
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 English muffins, split in half


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine olives, green onions, cheddar cheese, curry powder, mayonnaise, and salt. Mix well.
Spread mixture on English muffins. Cut the English muffins into fourths. (Note: If you want to freeze these, now is the time!)
Arrange the muffin pieces on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 10 minutes.

Ham and Cheese Picnic Bread

1 (.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimento peppers, drained
1/2 cup black olives, drained and chopped

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour, egg, butter, sugar and salt; mix well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled large mixing bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Combine the ham, cheese, pimento, and olive in a medium mixing bowl; set aside.
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a 10×14 inch rectangle. Make parallel cuts 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long on the two long edges of the rectangle. Evenly spread the filling mixture over the center of the rectangle. Fold the short ends of the rectangle over the filling. Starting from one of these ends, alternately stretch strips from the two sides across the filling so that the strips overlap diagonally. Transfer the loaf to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.