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Posts Tagged ‘healthy

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, eating dinner together as a family every night keeps the doors of communication open between parents and children.  Furthermore, family dinners are also a perfect opportunity for moms and dads to teach children about eating healthy and making good food choices.
“Although hectic schedules have made family dinners a thing of the past, there is compelling evidence that sitting down at a table to share a meal is an ideal environment for family interaction,” said Laura Olson, vice president of education for Kiddie Academy International.  “In addition to discussing the school-related events, dinnertime is the perfect time to talk about healthy eating topics, such as the five food groups and the importance of having different colors of food on your plate.”
Olson notes that families should aim to sit down to a meal most nights of the week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  A home-cooked meal is not necessarily required; families can connect just fine over takeout served at the family dinner table.  For those parents wondering how they can make the most of family dinners, Olson offers the following tips:

  • Be curious – Showing an interest in a child’s likes and dislikes can result in the child feeling appreciated, respected and emotionally secure.  Ultimately, the child experiences a surge in self-confidence, which can positively shape his or her developmental progress in the classroom.
  • Get creative with conversation – Lively dialog is crucial to getting your kids to listen and share, so have all family members tell their favorite part or biggest challenge of the day.  Not only will this give everyone a glimpse into each other’s routine, but it will also help kids expand their vocabulary with new and intriguing words.
  • Be specific in your questions – Instead of just inquiring about the day at school, ask about a particular book the child may be reading or an art project he or she may be crafting.  This will help the child foster ideas and opinions about the assignment that he or she may not have previously considered.
  • Let kids plan the menu – Getting children involved in the planning aspect of dinner gets them accustomed to thinking ahead and following step-by-step directions.  Additionally, cooking is a great way to have them practice their math skills, such as adding fractions.

For more information about Kiddie Academy, visit

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The holiday season is upon us and that means delicious and sometimes not so healthy treats. Laurel Hudson, culinary instructor at Wellspring Academies, gave Marvelous Girl a tasty cookie recipe that your family will love:

Gingerbread Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
½ cup Fiber One original bran cereal
1 package whole wheat gingerbread cake or cookie mix
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ginger
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp baking powder¼ cup granulated Splenda
Pinch of salt
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup warm water
3 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
6 packets of Truvia no calorie sweetener
Pam spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with Pam.
  3. In a food processor, grind the cereal until it looks like flour, then pour into a bowl.
  4. Add the gingerbread mix, all the spices, the baking powder, Splenda, and salt and mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin with the warm water, molasses, and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Add the pumpkin mixture to the other bowl and stir until blended.
  7. Knead the dough to combine.
  8. Roll the dough into 1/2” balls, making 36 cookies dough balls total, and place them on the cookie sheet.
  9. Flatten balls or scoops with the back of a spoon dipped in the Truvia, so the dough doesn’t stick to the spoon.
  10. Bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes, or until the edges are firm.
  11. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  12. Remove from the pan and enjoy!

Approximate Nutritional Information:
54 calories/0.1g per cookie

spaghetti squash recipeFall is here and if you haven’t tried cooking with spaghetti squash then you’re missing out!  This recipe will let you enjoy a spaghetti meal without the dreaded pasta carbs:

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sliced black olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2.Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

3.Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion in oil until tender. Add garlic, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and cook only until tomatoes are warm.

4.Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the sauteed vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm.

*This meal is wonderful paired with a Riesling wine. 

For more on this recipe, visit

whole wheat raspberry breakfrast bar kidsBerries may be tiny, but they’re a mighty source of nutrition and energy.  Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries have been shown to improve eyesight, brain function and protect us against environmental pollutants, so it’s no surprise they’re a smart choice at any meal.
Registered Dietitian Tina Ruggiero teamed up with Driscoll’s Berries to develop a nutritious and delicious recipe that is great for on-the-go breakfasts when your kids are running to catch the bus.

Whole Grain Raspberry Breakfast Bars
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Makes 12 servings

Raspberry filling:
1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Breakfast Bars:
1-1/2 cups regular or quick oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1/4  cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 large egg

Raspberry Filling:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
Combine raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer, stirring constantly for 2 minutes until sauce is thick and translucent. Remove from heat.

Breakfast Bars:
Combine oats, flour, sugar, walnuts and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until oats and walnuts are finely ground. Add oil and egg; pulse to evenly combine, scraping sides of work bowl.
Press half of the crumb mixture evenly on bottom of a 9-inch square pan. Spread raspberry filling evenly over crumbs. Top with remaining crumbs and pat down gently. 
Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan. Cut into bars.

Nutrition Per Serving: 229 calories, 9.63g total fat, .94g saturated fat, 4.15g protein, 33.52g carbohydrate, 17.62mg cholesterol, 3.53g fiber, 10mg sodium

Lighten Up:

Helpful Tip:
Two minutes is the magic time it takes for cornstarch to thicken and turn clear – be sure to stir the fruit and cornstarch while simmering.

watermelon drinkInstead of reaching for that ordinary glass of champagne this summer, try “watermelon-ade Sangria,” as a healthy, tasty cocktail:

3 bottles of Watermelon HINT water
1 orange, peeled and broken into sections
2 bananas peeled and sliced right before making the sangria
2 cups of seedless grapes, cut into halves
1 bottle of champagne

FYI – HINT water has no added sugar or preservatives.

her engergy drinkI haven’t tried this yet, but I want to drink it because of the fabulous packaging alone!  Hollywood-based, her, is a hot new energy drink geared towards women who are on the go with active lifestyles while maintaining that fun and flirty image.

Unlike other energy drinks, her claims it will not make you “crash” or give you the “jitters.”  With calcium, antioxidants and ginseng, the her formula is suppose to give you just the boost you need without over doing it.

her has a citrus taste, mixes well with most alcohols (vodka, gin, tequilla, champagne) and is pink!  

There’s some marvelous recipes on the website:  When you try her, be sure to tell marvelous girl readers what you think 🙂

You’ll love this recipe.  It’s quick, healthy, delicious…and perfect for the holiday weekend!

Photo by blazys
Photo by blazys

If you’re an expecting mother, you may want to incorporate more beets into your diet.  Packed with Folic Acid, which is essential for normal tissue growth, beets can lower the risk of spinal bifida and neural tube defects in your newborn. 

Here’s a yummy summer recipe using beets:
Grate Beet and Apple Salad by VeganMania
2 fresh beets
2 medium apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp sweetener
2 tbsp light oil
toasted sunflower seeds
Grate both the beets and apples coarsely.  Toss in the lemon juice, oil and sugar.  Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
Serves 2.


 Easter is just around the corner and carrot cake is the dessert of the season.  But why should the sweet treat be sinful?  Checkout this healthy recipe for a heart-happy holiday!


 Cake:                                       Frosting: 

Cooking spray                                  2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cups all-purpose flour              1/2 (8-ounce) block low-fat cream cheese

2 teaspoons baking powder       1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon                 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt

5 ounces egg substitute

2 cups shredded carrot

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

3. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Whisk together sugar, oil, yogurt, and egg substitute in a large bowl. Add to dry ingredients, mixing well. Fold in carrot, nuts, and pineapple.

4. Spoon batter into pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack.

5. While cake is baking, make the frosting. Place butter and cream cheese in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add vanilla and powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Spread icing on top of cooled cake. (Serving size: 1/12 of cake)

Nutrition: Calories 270 (31% from fat); Fat 9g (sat 3g, mono 3g, poly 3g); Cholesterol 9mg; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 43g; Sugars 31g; Fiber 1g; Iron 1mg; Sodium 303mg; Calcium 73mg

Recipe by Debbie English of Descanso, Calif.

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