New School Year, New Healthy Changes

By: Mary Gordon

A new school year always means new changes. This year, that includes making some healthier choices both on the menu and for physical activity. But it’s not just teachers making the changes; we are also issuing a challenge to parents.

First, the menu- We have added the option each day to serve fruit slices, such as apples or oranges, with morning snack. This will help eliminate juice as a food group. We are hearing from more parents who are avoiding serving juice at home as well. The high sugar content of juice (even 100% fruit juice) has many medical professionals advocating for limiting the beverage. This school year, the change at Evergreen means the youngest group never gets juice, but are always served milk or water. The older classes will often see fruit slices instead of juice too. I like the change because we are able to present a larger variety to the children instead of them becoming accustomed to just crackers and juice. The more foods they see, the more foods they are willing to try and eat.

Our second change this school year includes going outside more often. Our exciting news- Evergreen is now accredited as a Connect to Nature site through Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside organization. This means, our aim each day is to go outside. Obviously, unsafe weather will keep us indoors, but a light drizzle or cold temperatures will still give a chance for children to get some fresh air. We are also building up our supply of large muscle activities for the children to stay active on days when severe weather does strike.

And now our challenge to you. We made a small, but hopefully significant change, to our party day sheet sign ups. For Breakfast with Santa, we ask parents to bring a snack to share with other parents. Before, this was always listed as a coffee cake. We changed it to just a snack. We may think of giving our children healthy food but sometimes around the holidays neglect our own diet. We ask that you think of items like muffins, bagels or fruit as alternatives to donuts and coffee cakes.

We are heading into our third year as an Ohio Healthy Program at Evergreen Children’s Center. We will continue to push forward with better choices on the plate. We will continue to find new ways to stay active. And we hope to continue our partnership with parents to help children learn how to make healthy choices on their own.

Staying Active with Ecology

Staying active and helping the outside world often go hand and hand. The more you do outside, the more you are exercising without even meaning to. This summer, one of our volunteers  worked on a list of ways you can give back to the environment each month which also helps create a fun activity you can do with your children.Monthly Nature Focus Ideas- By: Thomas Gill

January: Purchase reusable cloth bags able to be used all year for groceries and other things. It can take over a thousand years for both paper and plastic bags to degrade.

February: Investigate other methods of transportations to reduce car emissions. Now that spring is coming, it is a great time to break out the bicycles and skateboards.

March: Feed birds. Birds need food now more than ever because most of their food sources have perished due to winter. On average, birds eat their body weight in food each day.

April: Pull invasive garlic mustard out, and other invasive species, before it makes seeds and spreads. Invasive and nonnative species, like Garlic Mustard, take valuable resources away from other plants and hurt the ecosystem.

May: Put out nesting supplies for the birds (yarn/wool/etc.) to help them build a home before it is time to migrate again.

June: Start a compost pile for your fresh fruit and vegetable scraps. Compost is a great, easy way to cut down on waste so landfills do not overfill. Plus it is a great additive to your yearly garden. Compost is also a main food source for worms.

July:  Pick up litter. Litter is harmful to all plants and animals because to animals it is easily mistaken for food. Beaches are one of the most popular areas for litter, so be sure to keep your eyes open when on vacation. Also, make sure to pop helium balloons so they do not float away into the ocean. Balloons often float to the ocean where their color is corroded away. After the balloons become clear, they are easily mistaken as food by sea creatures. Most importantly, be sure to cut six-pack rings before an animal gets to them.

August: Conserve water. By shortening your shower time by one minute, you could save over 200 gallons of water per month. Also, water plants in the morning before it is hot so the water does not evaporate before the plant can use it. Collect rainwater to use to water your plants.

September: Plant trees. Trees are a necessity to all ecosystems and provide homes and food to numerous animals. Plant trees to cover your house so in the summer months you can cut down on air conditioning costs.

Enjoying the shade of a tree planted many years ago.

 

October: Rake leaves and use for compost or mulch in your yard.

November: Plant milkweed for the spring. Milkweed is the primary food source to the Monarch Butterfly.

December: Use your old Christmas tree for animal cover or plant protection. Close vents and doors in unused rooms to conserve heat.

Get Outside: Exploring Ohio’s Natural Habitats

By: Mary Gordon

There’s just something about Ohio. For this buckeye state native, I’ve long thought Ohio one of the most interesting places to be when it comes to nature. I’m sure others would argue for the mountains of Tennessee, the lakes of Michigan, or the beaches of Southern California. And in the end, I suppose we are all entitled to our opinion but I will continue to advocate for O-H-I-O. From bogs to caverns, from creeks to forests, we don’t have to travel far to get out in nature. The diversity in the landscape gives us many places to explore and the opportunity to teach children about the different natural beauties each season brings.  Exploring Ohio’s natural habitats is a great family activity and an easy way to get outside and stay active.

First, the day trips.

Wegerzyn MetroPark

Five Rivers MetroParks is made up of 25 facilities, in which 90% is natural habitat, according to the organization’s website. Explore the forests at Taylorsville, Sugarcreek, or Englewood MetroParks with a morning of hiking. The Beaver Creek Wetlands Association is another good exploration area scattered throughout Greene County. You will likely see birds of all kinds and keep your eyes open for turtles, snakes and muskrats. We are also fortunate that Clifton Gorge is right in our backyard. Hike through the 268-acre preserve and see how a glacier once cut away at the earth. Charleston Falls can provide some winter interest. It’s one of the best local places to see frozen waterfalls and cave habitats. Learn all about the areas’ river life by climbing into a canoe on the Mad River in Springfield. (29 turtles spotted on my last trip.) The Little Miami River in Oregonia also makes for great fun on the water through use of Morgan’s Canoe Livery. Or if you’d rather get onto a bike, hit the Brookville Rail Trail and you’ll be pedaling through pastures and meadows in no time.

Seibenthaler Fen in Beavercreek

 

Now it’s time to travel a bit farther away.

As we travel outside the Miami Valley, we open exploration to giant caves, bigger rivers, the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and a Great Lake. You don’t usually think of islands when it comes to Ohio. But head north to lake country and make a stop at Kelley’s Island State Park. The limestone grooves present on the island not only teach kids about a natural phenomenon, but it’s a great history lesson as well. In southern Ohio, Hocking Hills State Park offers trails of all skill level and interest. You’ll find rock formations and caves will make your family feel like you are heading straight into Lord of the Rings. Come fall, head to

 

 

Mohican State Park. The forests surrounding Amish country in Ashland County are filled with bright red, orange and yellow. Be sure to check out the Clear Fork Gorge there which is more than one-thousand feet wide. The Magee Marsh Wildlife Refuge is a popular stop in both spring and fall for migrating birds. How exciting for kids to be able to spot a bald eagle when hiking this Lake Erie western basin. Drive now through the hills of Southeastern Ohio where you can tell different species of wildlife are just inches away from you. Make a stop near Athens at Lake Hope State Park and participate in a free opportunity to feed the hummingbirds from your hand. Be sure to enjoy the beach at the park’s 3,000 acre lake too.

You certainly can’t say Ohio is a dull place to live. There is simply too

much nature to explore. With more than 70 state parks to choose from and several national forests to boost as well, Ohio like its motto suggests really is at the heart of it all.  Now, it’s time to plan that next weekend getaway….

Getting out into nature doesn’t mean traveling far. You can explore in the forest just outside of Evergreen.

A Camping We Will Go…

By: Mary Gordon

Jim Gaffigan has a great joke about camping, “My wife says ‘camping’s a tradition in my family.’ Well it was a tradition in everyone’s family till we invited the house.”  Camping is definitely not an easy-going vacation for most people. Packing all the right supplies takes a lot of planning ahead. The sleeping arrangements do not always allow for maximum shut-eye. And the bathrooms are never an easy commute. So why do it?

Camping is one of the best ways to connect with nature and to have an experience children will never forget. Think about your own experiences camping as a kid. Good or bad, it was still very memorable. You never know what wildlife you may see. You get to spend lots of time telling stories with family and friends over a campfire. And don’t forget those yummy, gooey s’mores!

The National Wildlife Federation hosts the Great American Campout on June 17 this year. You can make a pledge to camp this summer on its website and win some prizes too. It’s all part of an effort to get more families outside and stay active in nature. So to help you get the inspiration to pitch your tent this summer, Evergreen staff members are making their campground picks.

Diane Kinney’s pick: Cowen Lake State Park in Wilmington. The best time to go camping here is the weekend near Halloween. Campers will decorate their campsites and hand out candy to kids as a trick or treat takes place on the campgrounds. There are also a lot of great hiking trails and a nice lake, said Diane.

MaryAnn Hart’s pick: Houston Woods State Park near Oxford. “We always liked camping at Houston Woods,” said Mary Ann. She said she hasn’t been there in a while, but the memories remain. The trails are very easy to follow with a family. There is a nature center and naturalist available for rainy days too.

Jill Gordon’s pick: Brookville Lake in Brookville, Indiana. This is a great place to spend the day on the lake boating or fishing and then make a campfire for dinner in the evening. Jill said what stands out about this campground is the availability for large groups to camp, up to 30 people can share sites!

Robin Curry’s pick: Indian Lake State Park in Logan County. You can camp right beside the lake to really connect with nature and listen to the sounds of water all night at this campground. Go near the end of September, if you are able, for the fall festival. It has everything apple and pumpkin to eat, plus lots of crafts and entertainment too.

Jan Domer-Shank’s pick: McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana. This is the oldest state park in Indiana and offers some diverse natural features as well. The park is home to caves, sink holes, and a big waterfall. Even if you can’t ‘rough it’ in a tent, a lodge with a huge swimming pool is available as well.

Mary Gordon’s pick: Alum Creek State Park near Columbus. Driving to this Delaware County park, you may not believe there is actually a campground surrounded by all the shopping centers. The campsites are quiet and there is lots of shade. You can also go swimming at the beach area and enjoy a playground during the day too.

Lisa Hoelle’s pick: My backyard. Not a big fan of traveling? Your backyard lets you give camping a try without investing much time and money. It is close to a shower and bathrooms, but still gets you outdoors.

Sharla Dunham’s pick: Caeser Creek in Wilmington. Sharla said she enjoys setting up a tent by the lake and enjoying the view of the water. There is plenty of hiking opportunities. Caeser Creek State Park also has a nature center and old pioneer cabins to check out.

For more information: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx

Exploring Natural Waterways

By: Mary Gordon

A sure sign of summer: the opening of pools across the Miami Valley. Here at Evergreen, we make sure to plan field trips to splash pads, as well as Cardinal Hill pool weekly for the oldest kids. While pools are fun, we are also looking for ways to connect kids to nature. One great way to do that is through playing in natural waterways.

With the Dayton area situated on five major rivers, there are lots of bodies of water to visit across the area. Activities can include walking in the water, rock throwing, looking for minnows and bugs, and spotting lots of aquatic animals. I’ve put together a list of my favorite waterways and asked several Evergreen staff members for their take on the wonderful world of water and the play possibilities it provides.

  1. Mad River in Springfield. For the older kids who can help paddle, this is a must do! You can rent a canoe from Mad River Adventures on Lower Valley Pike and hit the river for a 3 mile canoe ride. Longer rides are available too but there are more rapids in the longer trips. Turtles, blue herons, and lots of fish are usually spotted throughout the summer. This trip is best to take on hot summer days because the river is fed from an underground spring and chilly. It’s always on my summer to do list.
  2. Rotary Park in Beavercreek. After you pass Owen’s Place on the left, the creek is close to the picnic shelter. It’s not very deep, so kids at any age can make play in the water. Just make sure to bring extra shoes.
  3. Eastwood MetroPark. What a great place to teach kids about fishing. You can hike along the lake’s edge and count boats or bring your pole if you so desire. The lake off Harshman Road is open 24/7 from April until the end of October for fishing. Children under 16 do not need a fishing license.
  4. McGee Park in Bellbrook. Robin Curry picked this park as a great summer stop and it wasn’t just for its shady trees. Beyond the play area, a creek full of rocks and discovery make great adventures for the young at heart. It’s an easy walk and not too deep but definitely pack extra shoes because you will want to get into the water and search for all sorts of bugs and creatures.
  5. Charleston Falls in Tipp City. Maryann Hart recommended this trip for those heading to the north side of town. There are lots of rocks in the stream that give different opportunities for play. Make sure to check out the 37-foot waterfall too!
  6. John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs. Rock climbing, waterfalls, hiking, and lots of opportunity to connect with nature here said Diane Kinney in her recommendation. The gorge is cut out by the Little Miami River, which has been designated as a State and National Scenic River. Pack a picnic here because there is so much to see and do.
  7. Stillwater River in West Milton. A bit of a drive from Greene County but a great place to start introducing kids to canoeing and other water sports. The river is very slow moving so you don’t have to worry about tipping the boat. You can rent canoes from Barefoot Canoe rental. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for a picnic or to swim.
  8. Thomas Cloud Park in Huber Heights. This park is Jill Gordon’s pick for walking in the creek bed. Over the years, many kids have spent summer hours wading through the waterway that runs to the south of the park. Take a net and look for minnows and crawdads before you stop and visit the nearby splash pad.
  9. Buck Creek State Park in Springfield. Hit the beach at this 2,000 square-foot lake in Clark County. Look for rocks along the shoreline, watch for boats, or venture out into the water for a swim too.
  10. Sugarcreek MetroPark in Bellbrook. Located along the Sugar Creek, the park has hiking trails for all levels that allow you to simply enjoy hearing the rushing waters. Leave the trail and splash for a bit in the waters before visiting the natural play area at the park’s entrance.

A Tale of Two Chilis

By: Mary Gordon

“Since soup mainly involves tossing everything in a pot and waiting, it’s one of my better dishes.”

–Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

I love soup. Soup is a great choice for kids for many reasons. The first is mentioned above. It’s so easy to make as time does most of the work for you. Second, it often contains a lot of vegetables. Kids aren’t always aware that they are eating the vegetables they once rejected in raw form. Soup also offers a lot of variety. From broccoli cheese soup to chicken and noodles, most people can find a soup they like. Finally, a pot of soup can feed a lot of people. It’s a great choice for big families or for lots of small friends at Evergreen.

Two of my favorite soups to make at Evergreen are chilis. I make a veggie chili during the school year for meatless Mondays. During the summer, I switch it up with turkey chili. I hope you’ll spend some time simmering over these recipes and cook up your own batch of soup at home!

Vegetable Chili

1 large onion, diced
½ cup salsa
1 large can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced or cubed
2 medium zucchini, diced or cubed
2 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained

In a large pot, saute the onion in a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. After about 5 minutes, add salsa, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. Add pepper, squash, zucchini and beans. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 50 minutes to an hour. There is no broth or water in this soup but you can add some at any time if you want.
Turkey Chili

1 bag of frozen onion & pepper mix, chopped a little if needed
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1 pound of cooked lean ground turkey
2 teaspoons cumin
4 Tablespoons chili powder (or less if less spice is desired)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 large can of diced tomatoes with juice
1.5 cups broth
2 cans dark red kidney beans (drained)
1 can sweet corn (drained)

In a large soup pot, saute onion and pepper mix with garlic for 5-7 minutes. Add in cooked turkey and spices, cook 2 minutes on medium heat
Add in tomatoes, broth, kidney beans and corn. Bring to a boil then reduce heat & simmer for 30-45 minutes or until chili thickens.

20 Easy Activities to Help Kids Play Outside

By: Mary Gordon

Play outside. It sounds like a simple concept, but for some families it’s not as easy as just stepping out their front door. Keeping a child entertained in the outdoors still takes effort. I recently asked a school ager, what did you do this weekend? Did you play outside? She replied, “What am I supposed to do outside?”

At Evergreen, it’s easy because we have the right tools for the job. We’ve created play areas and activities for the outdoors. We also have the adjacent forest which gives all sorts of possibilities to play and explore. Most importantly, the peer group helps provide the entertainment.

So how can you get your kids outside at your own home without making major landscaping changes or spending lots of money? I took this question to the teachers at Evergreen to get their top 20 recommendations.

  • 1) Paint with water. A brush and a bucket are all you need.
  • 2) Hang up bird feeders. Every time you go outside, you can tell the kids to fill the feeders.
  • 3) Color with sidewalk chalk.
  • 4) Make pictures out of natural materials. Collect leaves, twigs, flowers, etc. and make them into a design.
  • 5) Take toys outside with you. Cars, balls, dolls and building toys can all be used in the grass too.
  • 6) Have a picnic outside. Make older kids set it up too.
  • 7) Play “I spy.” A toddler’s favorite at Evergreen as we never tire of looking for airplanes, certain color cars, or just trees and flowers.
  • 8) Put sand in a bucket or tub. Pick up a small bag of sand from any hardware/home improvement store. Rocks are also fun if they can avoid the lawn mower.
  • 9) Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles.
  • 10) Nature scavenger hunts. Put together a list of things you know can be found outside such as rocks, sticks that look like the letter A, ants, dandelions, etc. Just do a search on Google or Pinterest for premade list.

    Mrs. Kinney’s class went on a bug hunt.
  • 11) Build a fairy house. Search the yard for natural building materials like pine branches, leaves, sticks and rocks.
  • 12) Make bark rubbings. A crayon, piece of paper and some nearby trees are all you need.
  • 13) Go for a belly hike. Look for worms and bugs in the grass and dirt.
  • 14) Water plants or clean the outside of the house with a squirt bottle.
  • 15) Cloud watching. Lay out a beach towel, look up, and use your imagination.
  • 16) Take a listening walk. See how many different sounds you can hear in the neighborhood.
  • 17) Create an obstacle course. Using a stop watch or app, time the child and ask them to try to beat their time.
  • 18) Take the ipad outside to take pictures of nature.
  • 19) Sun prints. You will need to buy sun art paper for this but the results are pretty neat. You can also try black construction paper too.
  • 20) Create instruments. Use two sticks to keep the beat with music from your phone.

Evergreen’s Community Resource Guide

The temperatures are below freezing. The wind chills are even colder. The ground hard and frozen with very little green to be seen anywhere. This must mean it’s time for summer planning at Evergreen!

As many parents are asked to select schedules for their kids every February, that’s when the Evergreen staff too begin the work of putting together a summer calendar full of fun. We look for mainly outdoor activities on a variety of topics that don’t cost a lot of money. For the past two years, I’ve been tasked with helping with this process. As I’ve been combing through different recreation departments’ websites and brochures, it occurred to me- many of these activities I could do at home with my own family. That’s why I’m passing on some of our favorites from Evergreen’s community resource guide. (There really is a binder with that title for staff members to share.) We hope you will check some of them out as an effort to turn off the tv and get outside!

Not only do we take trips every summer to many of these parks, we often have the education experts visit Evergreen. We especially love the maple syrup and apple cider presentation. Look for the activity guide under ‘things to do’ for similar special free events for your family.

This organization includes Boonsoft Museum of Discovery, SunWatch Indian Village and Fort Ancient. This coming summer, the school-agers will be headed to SunWatch for some special activities including archery, crafts and scavenger hunts. Last summer, we had demonstrations from workers at the Boonshoft, including one on recycling and trash.

You can visit 16 sites around the Dayton region all connected to the area’s rich history on flight. Last summer, all school-aged groups went to the National Museum of U.S. Air Force to see the newly completed fourth building. Check out the website to see the list of sites and how visiting most of them will earn you a very cute Wil-bear Wright teddy bear!

While there are 11 locations, Evergreen usually opts for the Siebenthaler Fen. It’s hot in the summer but the boardwalk makes it an easy walk. These are great places to search for wildlife.

There are so many good parks to discover in this organization. We enjoy trips to Cox Arboretum’s Butterfly House. A guide is often stationed in the house, not just for school groups, but on weekends as well. We also love trips to Wegerzyn’s Children’s Garden and the splash pad there.

When you are asked to sign permission slips for field trips in summer, it always includes routine trips to any Beavercreek park. Most of our field trips include an additional stop at a public park to play and have snack.

Some favorite recipes with whole wheat flour

By: Mary Gordon

One of the challenges in cooking for kids is finding ways to improve the health of the sweet treats we all love to snack on from time to time. One way to do that- include whole wheat flour.To me, whole wheat flour can be used in any recipe that calls for regular white flour. From breads to cookies and even breading for meats, whole wheat flour is the only one I buy for cooking at home and at Evergreen. As an Ohio Healthy Program, Evergreen is required to serve at least one whole grain food per day. Cooking with whole wheat flour helps us meet that requirement.

My two favorite recipes that include whole wheat flour on Evergreen’s school year menu are banana bread and pumpkin pancakes. I also like both of these because they do include a second healthy ingredient, the bananas and pumpkin. You may also notice my easier way to making pancakes. Place on a cooking sheet instead of standing over a stove top turning one pancake after another on a skillet. Much easier to pay attention to the kids  that way instead of constantly shooing them away from a hot stove top!

I hope you give these recipes a try at your home!

Banana Bread
3 to 4 bananas (The riper, the better)
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Mix all ingredients until well blended. There should still be some small chunks of bananas. Pour into a greased bread baking dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.
Pumpkin Pancakes
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree (about half a 15 oz. can)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together in large bowl until blended. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet and smooth out mixture with spatula. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

 

 

Breakfast with Santa: A cook’s perspective

By: Mary Gordon

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when Santa Claus is coming to town this cook stresses out. Breakfast with Santa is a big challenge in the Evergreen kitchen because instead of feeding 35 kids lunch, we have to feed 60 kids breakfast plus 35 kids lunch. And don’t forget those hungry school-agers in the afternoon too! That’s why menu planning is so important. Here’s a look at this year’s menu:

I tried to mix it up a little each day for those kids who see Santa both days, but still allow easy items that can be prepped ahead of time.

Prep time this year consisted of dicing and slicing. Perhaps that’s because I included more fresh fruits and vegetables this year. It took about 2 extra hours the day before Santa’s trip to Evergreen. I tackled peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, anything that could be cut up and stored in the fridge.

In the past, it’s been a tight squeeze with large casserole dishes. This year, the quiche were so quick and easy that the fridge actually looked quite roomy.

The quiche was so simple and a healthy choice too. Check out the recipe!

 

Vegetable Quiche:  
2 cans crescent rolls
1 bag of frozen pepper/onion mix
Approximately 3 cups of fresh spinach
12 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
16 oz. bag of shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Sauté pepper & onions in olive oil
Press crescent rolls onto greased cookie sheet, leaving no gaps
Spread peppers & onions evenly over crescent rolls
Spread spinach evenly on top of peppers & onions 
Combine eggs, milk, salt & pepper
Pour onto vegetables
Top with shredded cheese

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes

The kids sometimes call it veggie pizza. One parent asked me if the kids eat it. I replied, “Those who try it like it. The staff also love the quiche.”Serving all the classes is a bit chaotic. They are also so eager to see Santa that many of the kids just nipple at their breakfast. That’s why we also plan nutritious lunches on these two busy days. Both lunch and breakfast consist of one item in each food group. 

This year, I decided to add to our holiday theme by adding red and green combinations to the plate. For lunch on Wednesday, we had cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. On Thursday, red and green pepper slices were added to the plate.The kids are so excited about the event that it makes me excited for it too, despite the overwhelming challenges the two days of Christmas parties bring with them.  I look forward to Santa’s visit next year. We will be changing one thing next year. Parents will not be told to bring coffee cake to share with other parents but instead a breakfast food/snack. We hope you look for healthy options to offer each other as I look for healthy choices for the kids.