Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mulled Cider

A warm and fragrant addition to any festive fall or winter event.
*Recipe from Guiding Stars
Servings: 10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

 2 quarts apple cider
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
6 pieces orange peel


  1. In a stock pot, combine all the ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool a bit and strain. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Reheat and serve in mugs.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 6.4 fluid ounces

Calories: 130               Fat: 0.5 g                     Saturated fat: 0 g            Sodium: 10 mg Carbohydrates: 32 g  Fiber: 1.5 g                  Sugar: 25 g                 Protein: 1 g 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Festive Green and Red Healthy Cucumber Hummus Bites

Cucumber Hummus Bites make the perfect finger food and appetizer for your next party or get together. Crisp cucumbers slices are topped with roasted red pepper hummus, tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh parsley.
15 minutes Prep Time
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds {32 slices}
  • 1 10 oz. tub of Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 oz crumbled feta cheese or reduced fat feta
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Toast sesame seeds in a skillet until slightly golden brown.
  2. Slice the cucumber into thin rounds and lay them out on serving platters. Using a small teaspoon spoon a small amount of the roasted red pepper hummus onto each cucumber slice.
  3. Top with the cherry tomato half, sesame seeds, crumbled feta cheese and the freshly chopped parsley.
  4. Serve chilled or store in an airtight container before serving.
These are great with a variety of vegetables. Try adding matchstick carrots, or thinly sliced red onion.
There are a variety of hummus options that would be great with this appetizer.
Feel free to leave the feta cheese off if you do not like it.

Nutrition Info: 11 calories, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 35 mg sodium, 0.4 g protein, 1.3 gm sugar, 1.87 gm carbohydrate, 0.4 g fiber

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Return of Blackstrap Molasses

When sugar cane is processed into table sugar, a thick byproduct remains after the third boiling as the sugar crystallizes.  The concentrated syrup containing the nutrient remnants of the sugar cane juice is blackstrap molasses.

While it is still a sweetener, blackstrap molasses contains slightly fewer carbohydrates than sugar, honey, or maple syrup and is touted for its higher vitamin and mineral.  The following table shows the nutrient content comparison of one teaspoon of each sweetener.

Nutrient Comparison of 1 Teaspoon of Various Sweeteners

Blackstrap Molasses
Maple Syrup
Energy (calories)
Carbohydrates (g)
Sugar (g)
Calcium (mg)
Iron (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Other Nutrients
manganese, copper, vitamin B6, selenium

phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin
manganese, zinc, riboflavin, niacin
kcal = calorie, g = gram, mg = milligram

Added Sugar Fast Facts
·       Added sugar is any sugar added to a food or beverage.
·       Average Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
·       One teaspoon is equal to four grams of sugar.
·       Amounts recommended by American Heart Association:
o   No more than 6 teaspoons per day for most women
o   No more than 9 teaspoons per day for most men
·       Common names of added sugars on food labels:
o   Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup

Historical Facts
·       Blackstrap molasses was cheaper, and therefore more popular than sugar before the turn of the 19th Century. 
·       In 1919, a molasses tsunami coined the Great Molasses Flood tore through part of Boston, Massachusetts at 35 miles per hour causing devastation in the area.
·       Blackstrap molasses has been regaining popularity since the mid-1900s as people continue to make healthier food choices.

Tips for Use
·       Blackstrap molasses has a distinct flavor (think gingerbread cookies) due to the mineral content compared to other sweeteners.
·       Recipe substitutions:
o   1 cup of blackstrap molasses for every ¾ cup of brown sugar (i.e. in baked beans)
o   cup for cup in place of other liquid sweeteners (i.e. honey, maple syrup)

Information Collected from the following sources:
Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1011-20.

Can you tell me more about blackstrap molasses? The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed November 4, 2017.

USDA Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed November 4, 2017.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Stuffing

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and finely chopped
6 cups day-old whole grain baguette, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 large eggs, scrambled
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dried sage leaf, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11-inch oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the broth and cranberries in a small bowl and let soak for 30 minutes. Saute the celery and onions in the butter in a large skillet until tender, 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
Place the baguette cubes into a largebowl. Pour the broth and cranberries over. Pour in the eggs, and then add the salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, cinnamon and sage and mix together.
Mix in the onion and celery mixture. Spoon the stuffing into the prepared dish and bake until the center is set, 35 to 40 minutes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Corn is a whole grain and popcorn can be a healthy snack when prepared correctly. Three cups of plain popped popcorn is only about 80 calories. Kernels can also be purchased in yellow, white and Non- GMO. Here are some ways to dress up your popcorn and avoid the artificial colorings and flavorings, unhealthy fats and sodium of the microwave popcorn.

First, start with the basics…
½ cup popcorn kernels
1½ tablespoons of vegetable oil (sunflower, safflower, or canola)

1.       Turn the stove onto medium heat.
2.       Place the oil in a medium sized pan.
3.       Add the kernels to the oil and cover to allow the kernels to pop.
4.       Remove the pan from the heat when the popping noise is 2-3 seconds apart.

Next… Dress it up!

Add a small amount of parmesan cheese, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin, or any other savory spices

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or any other warming spices


Calories: 110, Total Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4.5g, Sodium: 1mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Sugar: 0g, Dietary Fiber: 2.5g, Protein: 2g

Sunday, October 15, 2017


1 ¼ cup plain, nonfat or low fat Greek Yogurt or Icelandic Skyr 
(Skyr will make it thicker and can eliminate use of fat free cream to keep ingredients more natural)

¼ cup fat free cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar (can substitute honey) or to taste to lower sugar content

1 cup canned pumpkin pie filling, no sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger

Fresh apple or banana slices, 
graham crackers (check labels to avoid hydrogenated fat free  crackers)

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar together on medium until smooth.

Add pumpkin and spices, beating well.  Fold in Greek yogurt.

Each serving provides an excellent source of vitamin A and C, folate, fiber, potassium and magnesium.

Cover and chill for 8 hours. Serve with green apples or banana slices or graham crackers.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Serves 12. Calories: 90, Carbohydrates: 15g, Total Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 0.9g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Protein: 3g.


Thursday, October 5, 2017


·       1/2  cup Unsweetened Pumpkin Puree   =40 calories
·       1/2 of a container of nonfat Greek Yogurt or Icelandic Skyr = 60-70 calories
·       1/3 cup of Silk Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk (or nonfat milk – 45 calories)  =10 calories
·       1 splash of Maple Syrup  =10 calories (optional, but yummy)
·       ¼ tsp of coconut or vanilla extract = ZERO calories
·       One dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice  =ZERO calories
·       1/4 cup of ice  =ZERO calories
·       A light dusting of Graham Cracker Crumbs for topping  =trace calories (also optional)
·       Add a veggie of choice= Minimal calories (10 per ½ cup)
TOTAL =130-140 CALORIES of Pumpkin Pie Yumminess!


Since 1980, rates of obesity have doubled in 2- to 5-year-olds, quadrupled in 6- to 11-year-olds, and tripled in 12- to 19-year-olds. Recent reports show encouraging signs that obesity rates are stabilizing, and even declining in certain populations in the United States. Some probable causes of obesity include culture, societal norms, community assets, and practices at home influence a child’s opportunity to make healthy choices and, in the end, influence weight status. One-third of children in the United States eat fast food. One study indicated that children of certain ethnicities have less opportunities for safe play and have more exposure to media advertisements regarding unhealthy food choices. Other nutrition factors include:
  • ·       Meals away from home 
  • ·       Large portions sizes
  • ·       Increased screen time
  • ·       Advertising
  • ·       Sugar sweetened beverages
  • ·       Availability and convenience of refined foods
  • ·       Decreased physical activity at home and at school
  • ·       Safety issues in their environment for physical activity

  • References: National Institute of Health, Tufts Universtity

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Thumbs up for health!
The Manchester School District is required by Federal Law to have a wellness policy. The policy supports family and community efforts to encourage student achievement and health and address childhood obesity since an active, well-nourished child is more successful in the classroom and performs better on tests.

How Can Parents Support the Policy

  • Following nutrition guidelines when providing food for classroom parties and school events 
  • Supporting non-food fundraisers or sell food items that meet the district nutrition guidelines
  • Providing healthy choices when packing snacks and bag lunches

For more information on our wellness policy, visit our district website at under Departments and Food and Nutrition Services.


A recent evaluation of the Manchester School District compliance of the Food and Wellness Policy is completed by school administrators annually and shared with members of the Food and Wellness Policy Council and the Superintendent of Schools.

Many schools are supporting the district wellness policy by initiating non-food related fundraisers or adjusting the fundraisers to healthier food choices. Most schools teach nutrition in the classroom and encourage physical activity opportunities and clubs. School parties frequently offer healthier choices. Vending machine choices have improved. Most schools do not use physical activity as a punishment unless there is an issue with safety of other students.

Areas of improvement are still needed in the areas of food as a reward, school birthday parties in the elementary schools, school store food and beverage choices, recess before lunch to improve student's intake of lunch and the amount of physical activity offered during the school day.

An annual district corrective action plan will be developed and shared with school administrators and the Superintendent of Schools. If you are a parent and are interested in participating on the district's Food and Wellness Policy Council, please email Sue Sheehy at

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Southside Featured on Cook's Corner

Southside Middle School presented a mouth watering display of spinach stuffed chicken, garlic whole grain noodles and a colorful display of fresh vegetable salad on WMUR's Cook's Corner on Monday, August 21. Cat Levesque (pictured), chef, and Helen Guilmette, Food Service Manager, demonstrated how to prepare this delicious meal served to the students at Southside. Jim Connors, Director of School Food Services, and Jennifer Gillis (pictured here), Principal, came along to help behind the scenes. If you missed this showing, please click  on the link below. Nice job ,Team Southside!

Saturday, August 12, 2017


A sweet and tangy combination of protein-filled beans and flavorful veggies. This salad tastes better when left refrigerated overnight or longer but can be eaten immediately.

2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2 cups cooked chickpeas, low or no sodium
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/3 cup minced red bell pepper
1/3 cup minced carrot
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
10 halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons mayonnaise, olive oil or reduced fat
1/4 teaspoon celery seed, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Mix edamame, chickpeas, red onion, red bell pepper, carrot, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, dried cranberries, olive oil, honey, vinegar, mayonnaise, celery salt, and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl.

Serving: 1/2 cup = Calories: 142, Sodium: 70 mg, Saturated Fat: 1 g; Added Sugar: 1g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Carbohydrate: 11g

Thursday, July 20, 2017


What is the most important thing an athlete can drink?
WATER! Plain water is the best way to replace all the water you lose during all sports and during all seasons. Cold water gets into the bloodstream and will cool you down faster.

Why do you get cramps when playing sports?

The most common cause of cramps is dehydration and not cold water.

What is dehydration?
When your body doesn’t have enough fluid to work properly, dehydration occurs. It is important for everyone to drink fluids or stay hydrated. Kids use more energy than adults during physical activity because they produce twice as much heat. If you do not replace the fluids, you will overheat. Many athletes are sent to the hospital for dehydration. Dehydration can affect your performance too!

How do you know if you are dehydrated?
If you are dehydrated, you may have signs such as dry mouth, headache, confusion, dizziness, weakness, faintness, and nausea.

How much fluid or water do you need?
You can’t wait until you are thirsty to drink fluids. You should be drinking fluids or water before, during, and after sports.
Before Exercise: drink 2 cups of cold water 1 to 2 hours before activity
During Exercise: drink ½ cup of cold water every 15 minutes
After Exercise: drink 2 cups of cold water for every pound of weight loss

What about sports drinks?
Sports drinks contain water, sugar, salt and sometimes unnecessary vitamins. They may be helpful for sports that last one continuous hour or more or during extreme heat. Avoid drinks with caffeine, sugar or carbonation. These drinks lead to cavities and cause unnecessary weight gain. These drinks should contain no more than 15 to 18 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Fruit juice may only be used as a fluid replacement if it is diluted at least twofold: 1 cup water for every 1 cup of juice. Carbonated beverages, high-sugar drinks and undiluted fruit juice are too high in carbohydrates and may cause stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea
Other acceptable fluid choices are nonfat milk, almond milk, soy milk, coconut water, 100% juice, and smoothies, but water is still the best choice of fluid.

Written by Susan Sheehy, RDN, LD

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


Snacking can be an important part of healthy eating if you choose the right foods. Use this handout to make healthy choices for you and your family. Snacking can be useful and can improve endurance prior to exercise rather than eating an entire meal. Healthy snacks can meet our nutrient needs, increase our energy levels, control blood sugars, help with weight loss and manage our hunger.
·       Choose foods a variety from the five food groups: protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Snacks should be at least two food groups.

·       Snacks should always include a fruit or vegetable in addition to another foods group. People who are losing weight or have diabetes should limit intake of fruit to 2-3 servings which is about 2-3 cups of cut up fresh fruit or 2-3 small pieces of fruit.

·       Lean protein as a snack in small amounts can last longer and help with feeling fuller so is believed to help with weight control.

·       Always carry snacks when away from home to avoid the temptation of choosing a high fat, sodium or sugar snack or beverage. Keep snack baggies, plastic storage containers, ice packs and lunch coolers on hand!

·       Water or low fat milk are the best beverage choices. Infused water or hot or cold naturally flavored ice teas are a great choice. Other choices are unsweetened soy or almond milk.

  • Celery with all natural peanut butter
  • Reduced fat cheese or part skim string cheese with whole grain crackers & 4 oz. 100% fruit juice
  • Whole grain popcorn & 4 oz. 100% juice or water with fruit slices
  • Mini pizza made with whole grain pita or English muffin topped with vegetables, part skim mozzarella cheese and low sodium tomato sauce
  • Yogurt parfait: berries, low sugar, nonfat yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of low sugar granola
  • Trail mix: high fiber, low sugar cereal, unsalted nuts, unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds and 1-2 Tablespoons craisins
  • Nonfat cottage cheese and pineapple
  • Part skim mozzarella and tomatoes
  • Baby carrots, grape tomatoes, peppers with hummus
  • Half whole grain bread with all natural nut butter and bananas
  • All natural nut butter and apples
  • Berries with nonfat, low sugar yogurt
  • Smoothie with nonfat yogurt, 100% juice and frozen unsweetened or fresh fruit
  • Low sugar, whole grain cereal (1/2 cup),  nonfat milk and ½ banana
  • Half whole grain sandwich with tuna or lean meat (leftover chicken or turkey)
  • Half small pita loaded with vegs, reduced fat shredded cheese and hummus
  • Dark leafy green salad, almonds and mango or unsweetened mandarin oranges
  • Avocado and/or low sodium salsa with whole grain sweet potato corn chips

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Tis the season.....for berries, especially blueberries!!! With flavors that range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy, blueberries are nutritional stars bursting with nutrition and flavor . This is the time to eat blueberries because they are at their best. The blueberry season can last from May through October. In New Hampshire, July is prime picking time.

Blueberries have been called a “super” food for so many reasons. Want to retain your memory? Lower your risk factors for some cancers? How about a great natural source of antioxidants for optimum health? Research in Canada and the USA supports evidence that blueberries are powerful disease fighters. Blueberries have been ranked number one in antioxidant activity over 40 other tested fruits and vegetables.

We now know that blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, substances that can slow the aging process and reduce cell damage that can lead to cancer, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Blueberries are a particularly rich source of antioxidants called anthocyanins (also contained in apples, grapes, blackberries, radishes, and red cabbage). Several studies suggest anthocyanins discourage blood clots from forming, warding off heart attacks. They also appear to improve night vision and to slow macular degeneration by strengthening tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye. Blueberries have also been associated with improving short term memory loss, promoting urinary tract health, improved metabolism of glucose (type of sugar), and reducing the risk of some types of cancers.

For just 40 calories in a ½-cup serving, blueberries offer a great lineup of nutrients like potassium and iron, as well as being a an excellent source of Vitamin C. And let’s not forget that blueberries also provide dietary fiber, two grams in each ½-cup serving which equals the amount of fiber in a slice of whole wheat bread so make sure to take the whole family blueberry picking this summer.


1 - 6 ounce container non-fat blueberry yogurt
(Try Greek for a thicker consistency!)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup frozen sliced peaches
5-6 ice cubes


1. Place yogurt, apple juice, blueberries and peaches in blender.
2. Add ice cubes.
3. Blend ingredients until smooth.
4. Serve immediately

Makes 2 servings.

Courtesy of Oregon Blueberry Commission , US Highbush Blueberry Council, American Cancer Institute for Research, and USDA