Back to school lunch treats
Eating healthy when the busy back to school schedules kick in may be a challenge. But you don't have to let a nutritious diet take a backseat. A simple solution is to replace ingredients in some of your every day foods with healthier versions. Smart Balance is making it easy for you to boost the family's omega-3 fats with a butter blend stick and omega-rich peanut butter. Try these recipes, courtesy of Smart Balance, when you are packing your kid's lunch or need a treat yourself - guilt-free.
Rich in Omega's
The big nutrition buzz right now is omega, omega, omega. Omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for being heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory. Good sources are salmon and other fatty fish as well as flax. However, not everyone has an affinity for fish or flax.
To help consumers get more healthy omega-3's in their diet, Smart Balance has come up with cooking and salad oil, buttery spreads, butter blend sticks and peanut butter, all rich in three types of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA and ALA).
"We believe our fortified products are a great way for health-conscious consumers to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into their diets," says Greg Venner, executive vice president and chief consumer officer for Smart Balance, Inc. "Consumers can easily add these better-for-you products to their favorite foods – from their morning toast or muffin, to corn on the cob and salads at their family barbecues – and they'll taste great."
Venner adds that Smart Balance Buttery Spread has won three consecutive ChefsBest awards from the American Culinary Institute, and, in addition, Smart Balance, Inc. recently teamed up with Bob Greene, Oprah's personal trainer and founder of The Best Life Diet, who has given Smart Balance products The Best Life Seal of Approval.
Smart Balance products can replace the oil, butter and peanut butter you now use to help your family increase their omega-3 intake as well as decrease the saturated fats in their diet. Worried that Smart Balance won't be a satisfactory substitute? Give these dessert recipes a try. You won't be disappointed.
Recipes for healthy back to school lunch treats
Chewy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 40 cookies
1/4 cup Smart Balance Omega Peanut Butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Smart Balance Butter Blend Stick, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup pourable sugar substitute
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and sugar substitute in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on high setting, beat until well blended and creamy.
2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Reduce to low speed, add the oats and cherries, and beat until just blended. The batter will be very stiff.
3. Using a measuring teaspoon, spoon rounded teaspoons of the batter onto cookie sheets coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake 3 minutes. Do not cook longer. They will be slightly puffed and a very light golden color on the bottom. They will not appear to be done at this point, but will continue to bake while cooling.
4. Remove from oven and immediately place on cooling racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter. Alternate cookie sheets while baking, using a cooled sheet for even baking.
Developed by food consultant Nancy Hughes especially for Smart Balance, Inc.
Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup Smart Balance Butter Blend Stick Regular with Omega-3
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl or mixer, cream butter blend and sugars together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and egg.
2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Stir into butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips, nuts and oats. The batter will be stiff.
3. Form batter into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until sides are firm and cookies color to a rich golden. Cool 1 to 2 minutes on pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Developed by Sally McArthur for Smart Balance, Inc.
Nutty Fruit Crisp
5 cups sliced apples, peaches, pears, or apricots
3 tablespoons sugar or pourable sugar substitute
1/2 cup uncooked oats
1/3 cup whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup Smart Balance Butter Blend Stick, softened at room temperature for 15 minutes
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of sugar.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter blend until mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in chopped nuts and sprinkle evenly over fruit.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve warm with frozen yogurt, ice milk or reduced-fat whipped topping. Delicious with frozen yogurt, ice milk, or reduced fat whipped topping.
Blueberry variation:Mix 5 cups fresh blueberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour. Prepare with topping as above and bake as directed.
Cranberry Nut Bars
Makes 40 squares
3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Smart Balance Butter Blend Stick Regular with Omega-3
2 eggs, beaten (or egg substitute)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick Unsalted with Omega-3
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fat-free milk
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. To make first layer:, stir together dry ingredients. With pastry blender, cut in butter blend until pieces are the size of peas. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Press dough onto bottom and sides of an ungreased jelly roll pan.
2. To make second layer, bring water and sugar to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool. Mixture will thicken. Spread over first layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
3. To make third layer, melt butter blend and cool. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to make it spreadable. Spread on cooled cookie layers and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cut into squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.