Kids in the Kitchen

These adorable budding chefs in Mexico have the right idea – “pear”-ing USA Pears with summer fruit for a refreshing snack or side dish!  You and your kiddos can also enjoy Pear Kabobs with Strawberry Dipping Sauce, and the recipe is so simple that they can help put it all together.  Check out more kid-friendly recipes here! Pear Kabobs with Strawberry Dipping Sauce A fruity interpretation of the traditional kabob, this treat is as fun to make as it is to eat! Makes a pear-fect after-school snack! Ingredients 1 cup vanilla yogurt 4 tablespoons strawberry preserves 2 Green or Red Anjou USA Pears, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes 2 bananas, cut into 1-inch slices 1 can pineapple chunks, drained 2 cups strawberries, stems removed 6 wooden skewers Directions In a small bowl, combine the vanilla yogurt and strawberry preserves. Continue reading

Preference for Pears

Recent research published in the journal Appetite found that preschool children prefer the tastes of salt, sugar and fat and they equate these taste preferences to specific brand foods. The study focused on 3 to 5 year old children who responded to how tasty they found specific foods, both familiar “natural” (fruits and vegetables) and familiar “flavor-added” foods (soda, chips, etc.); children preferred the processed foods. The second portion of the study found that recognition of fast food and soda brands is linked to the development of a preference for sugar, fat and salt. Since taste preference develops at home, these results suggest that when parents frequently expose children to processed and convenience foods, children develop a taste specifically for those choices. Particularly in light of the current obesity epidemic, these data stress the importance of offering healthful choices to Continue reading

This just in… Senate Revamps School Nutrition

Lunchtime memories from elementary school still hold a very special place in my heart. I remember bobbing up and down in the hot, sticky lunch line, likely standing on tippy toes, anxious for a glimpse of the rations being slopped into square slots on beige plastic trays. A good day would be greasy pizza or day-glo orange mac-n-cheez; a bad day would resemble roast beef with lukewarm au jus that smelled of beef flavor and rust. I would practically drool thinking about my own little corner of heaven if I spotted rectangles of droopy pizza and ice cream cups, already planning to wash everything down with a quaff of chocolate milk. I wouldn’t even give a second thought to the olive-green string beans or mushy corn niblets on my tray that would inevitably find a new home in the child-sized Continue reading

Pear PB&J Bouquet

Kids will love this colorful, fun, and fruity take on the classic PB&J. Get kids involved in the kitchen, and let them help you make this recipe! The strawberry preserves are sticky and can be a bit tricky to drizzle—try a squeeze bottle for an easy fix! Ingredients 1 Bartlett or Anjou USA Pear 8 teaspoons peanut butter 4 teaspoons strawberry preserves 8 slices whole grain wheat bread Directions Use a flower-shaped cookie cutter to cut each slice of bread. If bread sticks to cutter, gently push the petals out with your fingers. Wash the pear and dry it with a paper towel. Cut the pear in half, and remove the core. Cut each pear half into four slices, then cut each slice into five pieces. You will use only the center three pieces of each slice, so go ahead Continue reading

Print with Pears

Ahhh, summer. The sun is shining, the days are long, and the new school year is weeks away… and your kids are dying of boredom. Save them with this fun craft courtesy of Family Fun. They say it’s great for Christmas gifts—we say it’s great for everything! Pears are almost always in season, and with this do-it-yourself wrapping paper, you can enjoy them even when they’re not. (Which will be soon, so get busy!) Pick up some Anjou pears at your local grocery store—their egg-shape outline is quintessentially pear. And when winter does roll around, you can use little Seckel pears or long-necked Bosc to give your wrappings variety. Kids can use the rainbow of pear colors for inspiration, too. They can re-create the brilliant red of a Starkrimson, paint the pretty blush of Comice pears, or use metallic colors Continue reading

Food Revolution? Start at Home!

Americans are in an uproar over school nutrition right now, and admittedly, we should be. I, too, tuned in to watch Jamie Oliver serve up disappointment at an elementary school in West Virginia. As a dietitian, I was baffled and even angered by some of what he encountered. Eating a nutritious breakfast and lunch has been shown to improve academic and social functioning in school, not to mention improved future health outcomes. But having personally worked in the school system, I know that designing nutritious, kid-friendly menus on a budget requires skill and patience. And despite our best intentions, many children are still drawn to processed foods. Yes, school food needs an overhaul; but, nutritious choices must also be reinforced at home! Although processed foods will always be part of the American diet, parents can improve what children eat now. Continue reading

Así son las Peras USA

I just returned from a trip to Mexico, and had the opportunity to see a variety of our different USA Pear promotions in action.  In the produce section of the supermarket, Mexican shoppers can often spot demonstrators handing out samples, recipe brochures, and nutrition information about USA Pears.  We also have many activities for kids: in schools, children’s museums, and in stores as well for the little ones that tag along shopping with mom and dad.  The giant Pear Buddy puzzle below is just one example – did you notice baby Seckel in the bottom right corner?  Pears are a sweet substitution for candy and other sugary treats that kids love to snack on! Our Spanish-speaking USA Pear enthusiasts can visit Club de Peras for video games, kids’ recipes, coloring sheets, and other fun activities that teach kids about nutrition Continue reading

The State of the Union

Last month, the president gave his first state of the union address; again, healthcare reform was at the forefront of the political conversation. Nutrition professionals are pleased that, as part of the debate, obesity and obesity-related diseases are finally receiving the press they deserve. Unfortunately, the solution is complex. Perhaps, politicians should take a break from debating, and focus on what the First Lady has been doing. As soon as she and the president set up house in Washington, Michelle Obama planted fruits and vegetables on the south lawn of the White House. Then, last week she launched a new project aimed at fighting childhood obesity, called Let’s Move! ( One-third of American children are obese, and the Let’s Move! project plans to end childhood obesity in one generation by focusing in part on physical activity and fresh fruit and Continue reading

Picky Eater? Pick a Pear!

Helping kids to eat healthfully can be challenging for parents, but is necessary for your child’s nutrition and wellbeing. What can parents to do? Start with a few simple steps to get your kiddo eating better in no time! Start by being a great role model! Children learn from the environments around them, and if they regularly see mom and dad snacking on chips and soda, they will think these are normal food choices. However, if parents make smart choices, children are more likely to make smart choices. Get your kids involved! Mealtime can be fun time for families. At the grocery store, let your child select the fruit or veggie to have for a snack or dessert. Then, let him or her help prepare it in the kitchen. Kids love to play with their food, so let them! Get Continue reading