I Wish Red Delicious Apples Would Just Go Away

by Sally on September 12, 2014

I Am Sick of Red Delicious Apples by Real Mom Nutrition

I am sick of Red Delicious apples. Specifically, I am sick of Red Delicious apples being passed off as actual apples when really, they’re just very attractive props.

Red Delicious apples, with their chewy skin and mealy flesh, are the most common apple in America, grown and sold more than any other variety. Thanks to years of breeding, the skin is redder and thicker than ever. They’re able to be picked before they’re ripe and resist bruising while they travel across the country…to people who don’t want to eat them.

In a new piece in the Atlantic, “The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious“, Sarah Yager describes the “paradox of the Red Delicious” as this:

“Alluring yet undesirable, the most produced and arguably the least popular apple in the United States. It lurks in desolation. Bumped around the bottom of lunch bags as schoolchildren rummage for chips or shrink-wrapped Rice Krispies treats. Waiting by the last bruised banana in a roadside gas station, the only produce for miles. Left untouched on hospital trays, forlorn in the fruit bowl at hotel breakfast buffets, bereft in nests of gift-basket raffia.”

Don’t get me wrong: Red Delicious apples look terrific in a bowl at a health fair. They’re the perfect vehicle for evil queens to poison unsuspecting storybook characters. But there is nothing “delicious” about them.

I Wish Red Delicious Apples Would Just Go Away

Yet those beautiful, bland things are served almost every day at my children’s school, where many of them get tossed in the garbage by the kids. Even when we cut them into easy-to-eat slices as part of the Fruit Ninjas program, most students take a few nibbles and push them aside. Who could blame them? “They’re green inside,” my six year old told me one day with horror. He’d never met a piece of fruit he didn’t like until he tried a Red Delicious at school.

I’m sure Red Delicious are the most economical choice for our school district to buy. I get it. But what a shame that there are apple orchards mere miles away where varieties like Melrose, Gala, and Honeycrisp are grown to perfection. Apples that would make kids swoon! And to think that some children may only know “apples” as “those tasteless round things I get in the cafeteria”.

Thankfully, there are signs that the vile Red Delicious may be on its way out. Production has dropped 40 percent, as more consumers demand Galas, Granny Smiths, and Fujis. I can only hope that trickles down to the lunch tray. Because how can we expect children to develop a taste for healthy foods if we don’t give them healthy food that actually tastes good?

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20 Healthy Team Snacks for Kids

by Sally on September 9, 2014

20 Fruit & Veggie Team Snacks

Leaves are falling. Soccer balls are flying. Naturally, my thoughts turn to healthy team snacks.

Since I first voiced my frustration over junky soccer snacks a few years ago (read Soccer Mom Soapbox), I’ve advocated for fruit-and-water team snacks. I’ve also made the case for simply eliminating the team snack altogether (read The End of Soccer Snacks?). Young children playing an hour or less of soccer aren’t typically exerting themselves to a degree that warrants much of a snack, much less a sports drink (or a large frosted cupcake). Most of them are better off going home for a healthy lunch or dinner.

But some coaches and parents like gathering for a post-game team snack. In that case, fruit is a perfect solution. It’s refreshing, easy, and usually safe for children with food allergies. And many children don’t get enough fruit anyway. So if you’d like to bring fruit (or even veggies) to games and are looking for ideas, I’ve got some!

It’s true that junky snacks seem easy: Just pop into the store and grab a pack of snack-size cookies, a few boxes of gummy fruit snacks, or a couple dozen donuts or cupcakes. But fruit and veggie team snacks can be just as simple (and fun).

Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

Whole Fruit:

  • Bananas (budget friendly!)
  • Apples
  • Clementines (easy for little hands to peel)
  • Pears
  • Peaches or nectarines
  • Plums

Cut Fruit:

Fruits & Veggies To Go:

  • Paper cups of berries
  • Individual bags of baby carrots (look for these in the store by the regular carrots)
  • Baggies of sliced peppers and celery sticks
  • Snack-size baggies of melon
  • Small paper bags of grapes
  • Paper cup or baggie of cherries
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Prepackaged blueberries
  • Cups of sugar snap peas (nice and sweet!)
  • Cups of pineapple chunks

Get a free printable version of this list: 20 Healthy Team Snacks from Real Mom Nutrition.

If you’d like help organizing healthier snacks for your child’s team, consider using the resources in my Sports Snacktivism Handbook. It includes sample coach and team emails, an FAQ, this snack list, and a slideshow.

20 Fruit & Veggie Team Snacks by Real Mom Nutrition

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16 Yummy Ways To Get More Whole Grains

September 5, 2014

Switching from refined grains to whole grains is really a no-brainer for health. Unlike refined grains (think bread and pasta made with white flour), whole grains contain all the naturally-occurring parts of the grain. That means more protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals–and according to research, maybe even a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes […]

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{Recipe} An Easy & Delicious Cinnamon Quick Bread From 100 Days Of Real Food

September 3, 2014

Like so many others, I’ve followed Lisa Leake’s blog 100 Days of Real Food for several years. For those who don’t know the backstory, what started as her family’s experiment to eat no processed foods for 100 days (bringing separate food to parties, eschewing all white flour and sugar, and avoiding anything in a package with […]

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Your Child’s Lunch Makes Me Feel Inferior

August 28, 2014

Ever been gripped with insecurity after seeing photos of stunning packed lunches on Pinterest or Facebook? I have. I mean, c’mon. Look at these lunches. They are things of beauty! They were all packed by my friend and fellow blogger Bri from Red, Round, or Green. She often posts photos on Facebook of the lunches she assembles for […]

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Want To Improve Camp Food? Now Is The Time To Act!

August 27, 2014

You may be in back-to-school mode, but if you were unhappy with the snacks or meals your child received at summer camp this year, now is the time to speak up. Why now? Because camps are sending out end-of-summer evaluations and surveys–and there’s plenty of time to look at parent feedback and make improvements for next summer. This summer, […]

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{Recipe} Peanut Butter Breakfast Shake

August 27, 2014

Breakfast is not my fifth grader’s favorite meal of the day. (My first grader, on the other hand, practically jumps directly from his bed into a seat at the kitchen island with a spoon in his hand.) I invented this breakfast shake one morning to sweeten the deal. It’s something fun and filling. I also love that it’s […]

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5 Grab-n-Go Healthy School Snacks

August 22, 2014

Does your child take a snack to school? Many do, to eat in their classroom or between school and sports practices. Sure, it’s easy to wash a piece of fruit–and ideally, it’s good to avoid waste with reusable food containers. But boy, it’s awfully nice to have packaged options on hand for mornings so nutty, you’re lucky if the […]

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School Wellness: 3 Ways To Get Involved This Year

August 18, 2014

School is starting in the next few weeks. Are there are changes you’d like to see in your child’s school, like less sugar in the classroom or more events that get kids moving? If so, make this the year you get involved! Here are three ways to jump in: 1. Attend PTA meetings. It’s the very best way to know […]

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{Recipe} Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins

August 14, 2014

This is a guest post by my intern, Hannah Bills, who blogs at Pretty Normal Diet. Over the last few months, Hannah has been helping me create recipes, take photographs, and brainstorm ideas, plus fetching my coffee and picking up my dry cleaning (kidding about that last part).  Hello all! My name is Hannah, sometimes known at Real Mom Nutrition […]

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