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Improve Your Snack I.Q.

Trying to get kids to eat healthfully often leaves parents feeling like Sisyphus, doomed to perpetual effort without resolution or reward. Enter Whole Foods’ Healthy Eating Specialists.

“There are endless, delicious options for families,” says Ronna Corlin, the Healthy Eating Specialist in residence at the Whole Foods Market in Darien. “We work off of four basic dietary principles. Everyone’s diet should be plant-strong. It should be rich in whole, unprocessed foods, and incorporate healthy fats. And it should be nutrient-dense.”

If that sounds hard, you should spend a few minutes at the Healthy Eating Table at your local Whole Foods. It’s easier than you think, even when it comes to your kids.

“We have tons of healthy snacking ideas to share with parents,” Ronna says. “This Peanut Banana Dip is definitely a crowd pleaser.” Judging by the 10-year-old boy at the table next to Ronna, she’s right. He actually gave Ronna a double thumbs-up. “I always tell people to approach changes to their diet from an ‘add-in’ standpoint. Keep putting the healthy stuff in, and eventually it will crowd the other stuff out. And you don’t have that sense of being deprived.”

Ronna, and her Westport Whole Foods counterpart, Debera Prosek, come armed with tip sheets and recipes for you to take away. The Vanilla-Scented Yogurt Dip is particularly tasty. Hummus, guacamole, fresh salsas, pureed fruits, and nut butters are all on their Healthy Dip list. As for what to dip, Ronna and Debera suggest toasted, whole grain breads and pretzels, whole grain tortilla chips, graham cracker sticks, grapes, veggies and low-fat string cheese.

“When we eat well, we pass the habit on to our kids,” Ronna says. “It’s simple. And it feels good.”

Try out these two dynamite dips on your kids. You might actually get them to eat something with ingredients you can pronounce.

Peanut Banana Dip

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/8 tspn ground cinnamon

½ tspn vanilla extract

Mash all ingredients. Use as a dip with celery, apples, crackers or whole grain bread. Or, use as a spread on toast or as a sandwich filling.

Vanilla-Scented Yogurt Dip

1 cup plain, low fat Greek-style yogurt

1 tspn vanilla extract

Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Fruit chunks or whole berries

Mix ingredients and dip fruits or veggies.

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