Archive for April, 2015

Smoothies: Easy, Kid-Friendly and Nutritious!


by Nina Manolson

Smoothies are a refreshing win-win for both parents and kids in the summer. They taste great and they’re packed with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and protein. While many stores carry pre-made smoothies, making them at home saves money and adds nutrition. It also presents the perfect opportunity for kids to get involved in making healthy food.

Smoothies are a “pack-and-blend” food. Just pack the blender with nutritious and delicious ingredients, press the button and they’re done! As kids become more independent, they can easily make this healthful snack for themselves. Here are four easy ways to make them more nutritious:

  • Lower the sugar content by leaving out juice. Use water or nutrient-dense coconut water instead.
  • Increase the protein content by blending whole raw almonds, unsweetened almond butter or hemp seeds into the smoothie. Hemp seeds can be found at health-food stores. They’re high in healthful omega oils, protein and fiber, and they blend in easily.
  • Go green. A handful or two of spinach, or any other mild greens, blends easily in to a fruit smoothie. A half-cup of blueberries blended in will mask the green color, if desired.
  • Omit dairy. Give smoothies a creamy texture using bananas, hemp seeds or almond butter instead. Peel ripe bananas and place them in the freezer beforehand so they’re ready as needed.

Smoothies can be easily customized to suit individual tastes and dietary needs. Here are two easy and delicious recipes to start with.

Peach and Protein Smoothie

  • 2 peaches
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup fresh or frozen mango
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter or 8 raw almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup water (depending on preferred consistency)

Blend and enjoy!

Power-Packed Smoothie

  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup frozen or fresh mango
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water (depending on preferred consistency)

Blend and enjoy!

Nina Manolson, M.A., C.H.C., L.M.T., is a certified health coach, family wellness expert and author of the upcoming book Feed Your Kids Well in a World That Doesn’t. To learn more about her programs for moms, kids and families, visit

Safer Sleep

BedPeople- and Planet-Friendly Fire Retardants

An ultra-thin film that consists of polymers found in crustacean shells could be an environmentally friendly alternative to the flame retardants used in bedding and sofas. Mattresses and furniture cushions are typically made of highly flammable polyurethane foam; to meet fire safety guidelines, manufacturers treat the foam with fire-retardant chemicals. These are typically brominated compounds that studies by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, in The Netherlands, have shown can act as endocrine disruptors, leading to neurological problems or even cancer.

The European Union has banned several of the flame-retardant compounds and U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies have started to scrutinize their use. The nano-coating could be sprayed on foam, which would make it easy for mass production; several companies have expressed interest in the material.

Source: Chemical & Engineer News

Corporate Do-Gooders


U.S. Recognizes Companies for Earth-Sound Policies

Each year, the U.S. Department of State presents Awards for Corporate Excellence recognizing U.S.-owned business that play vital roles worldwide as good corporate citizens. Parameters include supporting sustainable development, respect for human and labor rights, environmental protection, open markets, transparency and other democratic values.

The 2014 winners, announced last December, include the EcoPlanet Bamboo Group, in Nicaragua, for fostering sustainable development by regenerating degraded pasturelands. The company dedicates 20 percent of its plantations as natural habitat that protects biodiversity by prohibiting illegal hunting. EcoPlanet also focuses on employing persons with disabilities and empowering women through recruitment to managerial positions.

Wagner Asia Equipment, LLC, in Mongolia, a heavy equipment dealership, is recognized for its commitment to public/private partnerships with Mongolia’s local and national governments designed to protect the environment. Initiatives include planting more than 900 trees, conducting workshops for students on environment and ecology, implementing a project to build a community garden and rehabilitating a toxic waste site.

Other finalists include the Coca-Cola Company, in the Philippines; Chevron Corporation, in Burma; ContourGlobal in Togo; General Electric, in South Africa; General Electric International, in Tunisia; GlassPoint Solar, in Oman; and the Linden Centre, in China.

For more information on finalists, visit