Building Kid-Pleasing Meals And Snacks

IN THE KITCHEN

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Schools in the Rim country resume next week, but there is still time to make some plans that could help create classroom success.

What do kids need to be their best? Good nutrition -- for physical health -- and family time -- for emotional well-being.

On-the-go lifestyles can sometimes mean a less nutritious diet, just at the time when kids need to be building strong, healthy bodies for life. Busy schedules can also limit family fun time. One solution? Take a break for a healthy meal or snack.

Meal time is an opportunity for families to have fun preparing foods together. It's also an opportunity for parents to help kids make educated choices about what they eat.

Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and Head of Foods/Nutrition at Purdue University, Indiana, says children are being short-changed by not getting the proper amounts of calcium, vitamins and minerals each day.

Part of the problem is food choices. "With so many other drink choices, children are choosing options other than milk, such as soft drinks and sugary juices," says Weaver. "Less milk consumption can mean less consumption of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin D unless these kids are getting these nutrients from some other sources." To get on the right track, try making these wholesome and kid-pleasing recipes, perfect for snack time or a quick meal.

Barbecue Meatball Melters

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 5 minutes

Makes 4 sandwiches

24 frozen homestyle meatballs, thawed (about 24 ounces)

1 cup prepared barbecue sauce

8 Borden Cheese Kid Builder American Singles or similar cheese

4 hoagie rolls, partially sliced

Sandwich toppings such as dill pickle slabs, bread-and-butter pickle chips, chopped onions, lettuce leaves or thinly sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine meatballs with barbecue sauce in microwave-safe bowl and toss to blend.

Microwave on High (100% power) for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes or until hot. Spoon equally into split hoagie rolls.

Top each hoagie with 2 slices cheese.

Wrap loosely in foil and heat in oven 5 to 8 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serve warm topped with pickles, onions, lettuce or mushrooms if desired.

Tip: For younger children, cut each hoagie in half for easier handling.

Cheeseburger Pizza with Everything

Prep time: 12 minutes. Cook time: 8 minutes

Makes 4 individual pizzas

1 pound lean ground beef

3/4 cup ketchup, divided

1/2 cup prepared pizza sauce

4, 7-inch prepared pizza crusts

12 to 16 Borden Cheese Kid Builder American Singles or similar cheese

Pizza toppings such as pickles, ketchup, mustard, onions, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, bacon or mushrooms

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Brown ground beef and drain. Combine with 1/4 cup ketchup and set aside.

Combine pizza sauce with remaining ketchup; spread equally over each pizza crust.

Top each pizza evenly with ground beef mixture.

Arrange 3 to 4 cheese slices over each pizza.

Place pizzas on baking sheet or pizza stone and heat 8 to 10 minutes.

Slice into wedges and serve with pizza toppings.

Tip: Get the kids in the kitchen! Younger children can stir the sauce and help sprinkle on ingredients. Older children can cut cheese into triangles for easier placement on the pizzas.

Fast Fiesta Cheeseburgers

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 14 minutes

Makes 4 burgers

1 pound lean ground beef

1, 1-ounce package taco seasoning

4 Borden American Singles or similar cheese

4 of your favorite hamburger buns, toasted

1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped jalapeño pepper (optional)

1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons chunky salsa

Combine ground beef and taco seasoning in bowl; mix thoroughly. Shape into 1/2-inch-thick patties.

Grill burgers 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

Top burgers with cheese and grill until melted; layer cheeseburgers on bottom halves of buns.

Combine tomatoes, jalapeños (if desired) and shredded lettuce in small bowl; portion equally over cheeseburgers.

Garnish with 1/2 tablespoon each sour cream and salsa and close with top halves of buns.

Pack smart snacks for kids' need to nosh

Are you a mom on the front lines of the snack challenge? Kids and moms often disagree on what makes a smart snack when packing back-to-school lunches. Be a winner by serving snacks that strike a balance between "tastes great!" and "good for you."

Balance is the key to smart snacking: Find foods that both taste good and make you feel good, and fit snacks into an overall balanced daily diet.

Kudos Milk Chocolate Granola Bars offer wholesome granola nutrition as an excellent source of calcium with great taste. With a perfect balance between pleasure and goodness, this granola bar makes an excellent choice for mothers who like to give their kids a little something extra. Available in chocolate chip and peanut butter flavors, the non-chocolate-enrobed varieties contain only 100 calories per serving. This delicious snack also is available in a Snickers and M&M'S variety. And if you're following the Weight Watchers POINTS plan, you'll be glad to know these bars count for only two points.

Borden Kid Builder is a new fortified cheese that can help ensure that quick meals and snacks help provide kids with the nutrition they need. Here are a few easy ways to get a little creative and make snack time nutritious -- and fun!

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