Summer is prime time for excess weight gain for kids.  This is partly because of the changes in food choices and eating habits during summer break. The #HalfPintChefs campaign designed by LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is about keeping kids healthy when school is out by teaching and empowering them to get active in the kitchen.  By using the fun do-it-yourself (DIY) kits that parents and caregivers put together using our recipes, and your own creative ideas, our #HalfPintChefs are able to assemble nutritious and delicious meals and snacks on their own.

Recipes

Rock’n Summer Rolls
Makes 1 serving
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Ingredients
1 sheet of rice paper
3 large shrimp, cooked and sliced in half down center
⅓ cup cooked soba noodles
½ small cucumber, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 handful shredded carrot
1 handful shredded purple cabbage
8-9 fresh mint and/or basil leaves
2 tablespoons tamari
1 dash sesame seeds
2 lime wedges

Note: Baked tofu or chicken can be used in addition to or in place of shrimp.

(Parents) Directions to Assemble Kit:
Place soba noodles and cooked and sliced shrimp into small containers.  Place prepared vegetables, herbs and time wedges into small snack-sized plastic bags.  Pour tamari in small reusable dressing container and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Put sheet of rice paper, noodles, shrimp, prepared veggies, herbs, lime, and tamari into a large reusable container.  Place into refrigerator until use. 

(Kids) Directions to Make Rock’n Summer Rolls:
Fill a large bowl with warm water and place on work surface.  Take the brown tamari sauce and lime wedges out of the kit and place them on a plate to the side.  Unwrap the other ingredients from your kit and place on a large cutting board or clean countertop. Dip the entire sheet of rice paper into the bowl of water just long enough to wet it.  Do not allow the rice paper to stay in the water for more than a few seconds.  Place the rice paper on your work surface.  Immediately, begin to lay the slices of shrimp in a row across the rice paper.  Then place the noodles on top of the shrimp.  Next, layer the carrot, cucumbers and cabbage in rows across the rice paper.  It will begin to look a bit like a rainbow.  Finally, add the fresh herb leaves on top.  Starting with the side of the paper closest to you, wrap the rice paper over the ingredients, tightly, like a burrito.  As you roll the rice paper away from your body, tuck the sides inward to make sure the filling does not come out.  Place the Rock’n Summer Roll on the plate with the tamari and lime wedges.  Enjoy!

Fun Fact: Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a gluten-free grain that is not actually wheat or related to wheat.  Buckwheat contains carbohydrates and protein and is a good source of Manganese.


Pesto Pasta Skewers
Makes 1 serving
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Ingredients
1 box farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 container cherry or plum tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted or 1 jar of roasted bell peppers
1 container basil pesto
1 container of mini mozzarella balls
1 package turkey pepperoni

(Parents) Directions to Assemble Kit:
Cook pasta per the package instructions.  Toss pasta with a few tablespoons of pesto sauce to coat thoroughly.  Place twelve bow ties into a small container.  Place two 1 ½ inch pieces of bell pepper in plastic wrap.  Place two mozzarella balls in a small container.  Put four slices of pepperoni in a piece of plastic wrap.  Next, put two cherry tomatoes, containers of mozzarella and pasta, pepperoni, bell pepper, two cocktail stirrers, and recipe into a large reusable container.  Place into refrigerator until use. 

(Kids) Directions to make Pesto Pasta Skewers: 
Grab a plate and the stirrers to use as skewers.  Gently slide a piece of pasta onto the skewer, followed by the tomato, followed by a pasta, next slide on pepperoni, followed by a pasta, next a mozzarella ball, followed by a pasta, followed by a pepperoni, next a pasta, followed by a slice of bell pepper, and finished with a pasta.  Repeat the same pattern with the second skewer. 

Fun Fact: The basil from the pesto is a good source of magnesium, which helps your muscles relax and "chill out".  There are 60 kinds of basil with different flavors and appearances.


Go Fish Pinwheels
Tuna and veggies rolled up in a whole grain tortilla
Makes 2 servings
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Ingredients
1 pouch chunk light tuna
1 large whole grain or spinach tortilla
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup loosely packed spinach
1 avocado, mashed with fork

(Parents) Directions to Assemble Kit:
Place 4 tbsp of mashed avocado into a small container.  Place spinach into a plastic sandwich bag.  Place about ten slices of each colored bell pepper into a plastic sandwich bag.  Next, put avocado container, bags of veggies, one rolled up tortilla, tuna pouch, spoon, dinner knife and recipe into a large reusable container.  Place into refrigerator until use. 

(Kids) Directions to Make Pinwheels: 
Unroll tortilla and place on cutting board.  Open container of avocado and spread over tortilla using a spoon.  Tear open pouch of tuna and sprinkle across the avocado-spread tortilla.  Place bell pepper slices across the middle of the tortilla.  Top with spinach.  Tightly roll the tortilla like a burrito, but do not fold the ends.  Hold tortilla with one hand as you slice the pinwheels into 1 to 1 ½ inch thick slices (about the thickness of two fingers).  Place pinwheels onto two plates and enjoy!

Fun Fact: Tuna is a great source of omega-3, “brain-boosting” good fats, important for learning and your heart.  Enjoy seafood 2-3 times per week.


 Follow me on twitter @halfacupRD for the next video reveal of this Summertime Sipper recipe.

Follow me on twitter @halfacupRD for the next video reveal of this Summertime Sipper recipe.

Summertime Sippers
Homemade lemonade with fresh fruit skewers
Makes 2 Servings
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Ingredients
4 large grapes
1 mango, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1 small watermelon, cut into 1½ inch cubes
1 small honeydew or cantaloupe, cut into 1½ inch cubes
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 packets of sugar

(Parents) Directions to Assemble Kit:
Punch straw holes through two cubes of mango, two cubes of watermelon, two cubes of honeydew and two grapes.  Place fruit into a small plastic bag.  Place lemon wedges into a small plastic bag.  Place prepared fruit, lemon wedges, two fun straws, sugar packets and recipe into large reusable container.  Place kit into refrigerator until use.

(Kids) Directions to Make Sippers:
To make lemonade, pour one cup of water into a cup.  Squeeze lemon wedges into water, stir in one packet of sugar and add a handful of ice.  Repeat steps to make a second cup of lemonade.  Place straws into each cup of lemonade.  Slide one piece of mango, watermelon, honeydew and grape onto each straw.  Enjoy this refreshing snack. 

Fun Fact: The vitamin A in mango is good for your eyes and gives you “super” vision.


 Follow me on twitter @halfacupRD for the next video reveal of this Sweet Start recipe.

Follow me on twitter @halfacupRD for the next video reveal of this Sweet Start recipe.

Sweet Start
Chocolate dipped pretzel rods with low-fat yogurt
Makes 2 servings
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Ingredients
4 large pretzel rods
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 single serving cups low-fat yogurt

Toppings
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

(Parents) Directions to Assemble Kit:
Place chocolate chips into a small microwave-safe container.  Place all toppings into individual containers.  Put pretzel rods, containers of chips and toppings, yogurt cups, a cookie sheet-size piece of foil and recipe into large reusable container.  Place kit into refrigerator until use.

(Kids) Directions to Make Sweet Start:
Melt chocolate chips by placing the container of the chips in microwave for thirty seconds.  Peek at them to check for melting; return to microwave for an additional thirty seconds.  Continue to microwave for thirty seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon until chips are all melted. 

To make your pretzel station: Place foil flat on table or counter.  Pour melted chocolate in the lower half of the foil in the shape of a rectangle.  Pour toppings in small piles towards the top of the foil.  Place a large clean plate next to your pretzel station.  Take pretzel rods and roll them, one at a time, in the melted chocolate.  Continue to roll them in toppings as you like.  Place rolled pretzels on the plate.  Refrigerate pretzels for 15 to 30 minutes to allow it to harden.  Enjoy your decorated pretzels dipped in yogurt cups.

Fun Fact: Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells.  Think of antioxidants as nutritional “superheroes” that fight the “bad guys” that try to make us sick.