Kids in Motion


“Kids in Motion” was a community festival to promotes physical wellness for children and their families in the Tallahassee community.

It was held on Saturday, April 21, at Southwood Town Center. It featured a 5K, 1-Mile Fun Run & Family Walk. Additionally, parents were given valuable tips on wellness for their children and families. The “Fresh from Florida” Kids staff was able to distribute delicious, fresh and juicy blueberries along with ice-cold tangerine, clementine and blood

orange juice and $1.00-off coupons, all compliments of Noble Juice. Noble has been a member of the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign from many years. We’d like to give a special shout out to Allison, Danny and Gee from Noble for their help with this event.

Along with the display of Florida fruit and vegetables, we had “Fresh from Florida” goodies to hand out to the participants. Everyone had a great day and the “Fresh from Florida Kids” staff is looking forward to our next event!

Citrus Classic 5K Run at Legoland

It was the crack of dawn on April 14 inWinter Havenand the “Fresh from Florida” Kids staff was busy setting up a display table featuring some of Florida’s fabulous fresh fruit and vegetables in the parking lot of LEGOLAND Florida. We were invited to attend the new theme park’s 5K race benefiting the Winter Haven Foundation Fund for Women and Children. The race began at an early 7:00am and had a total of 762 participants.

Florida Watermelon Queen Christine Chaloupka joined “Fresh from Florida” at the event, meeting with guests and educating them about the benefits of Florida watermelons. LEGOLAND Florida presented trophies of 12-inch runners made from LEGO bricks. Very cool!

Everyone had a great day!

Christine Chaloupka, Florida Watermelon Queen, is pictured with 16-year old Jonathan Hulzebos from Lakeland, the male overall winner with a time of 17 minutes 2 seconds.

Winter Haven ROTC

Kids in Motion Event

Come join the fun on April 21st at Southwood Town Center in Tallahassee for the Kids in Motion Community Festival and 5K/Family Fun Walk. Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to get involved with various physical activities. The Fresh from Florida Kids staff will be there offering our newest kid-tested recipes and samples of Florida’s fresh produce.

For more information about Kids in Motion Community Festival check out

When the Fresh from Florida Kids program get evolved with any upcoming events you guys will be the first to know. So stay tuned for update on the where’s, when’s and how’s!!

V-Day with the Kids

Happy Valentine’s Day! Are you celebrating with your children? Ditch the candy and cupcakes and head to your produce department for Fresh from Florida strawberries. They are currently in season (which means CHEAP and FRESH!) and are perfect to use for Valentine’s Day treats. Here is our favorite recipe for a simple and healthy strawberry snack:

Strawberry Pops


  • 12 Florida strawberries
  • 12 4-inch lollipop sticks
  • 1 cup lightly crushed whole grain cereal
  • 12 paper candy cups, or use plate


  • Rinse strawberries and remove leaves.
  • Dip berry in yogurt, then in the cereal.
  • Insert sticks into the narrow end of the strawberry. Serve immediately

Healthy Kids, Healthy Parents

As you help your child build healthy habits, now is a perfect time to examine and improve your own lifestyle.  Knowing that your child learns and copies your own actions can serve as great motivation.  Set a good example by making an extra effort to drop your bad habits around your kids.

While time is something that every parent needs more of, there is no excuse for neglecting your own needs.  It is essential that you find time to relax and take care of your own well-being. Eating well and adding a little exercise to your routine will give you more energy and can help clear your head of stress.  You can also try these cheap and easy at-home spa treatments.

Tips for Taking Time to Relax

  • 30 to 45 minutes before your bedtime, stop the chores and unwind. Take a relaxing bath, read a book or watch a TV show. Try to make this a nightly ritual!
  • Remove clutter from your bedroom.  Keep children’s toys and clothes in proper places and not the floor of your room. This will make relaxing in the evening easier.
  • Take a few minutes at any point during the day to head to a quiet spot. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and visualize a comforting place for you.
  • Make a list and prioritize what you need to accomplish.  Start one task at a time and finish it before moving on to a new one.  Praise yourself for completing each one.

How do you squeeze in “me time”? What are some bad habits you have dropped since having children? Please share with us in the comments!

Blanching Vegetables

Steamed vegetables are a nutritious and great choice for snacks. The best way to cook vegetables is a method called blanching. This simple technique maintains a vegetable’s nutrients and flavor while keeping its crunchiness. Blanching is especially good for green vegetables.

Steamed Florida Vegetables


  • Assorted Florida vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, green beans, zucchini and squash.


  • Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place on medium-high heat. Cover with a lid and bring water to a rapid boil.
  • Add cut vegetables to boiling water. Vegetables will cook quickly so check them every other minute to see if they are cooked. Vegetables should be slightly crisp but tender at the same time. See below for suggested cooking times.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pan to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let the vegetables cool completely.
  • Remove vegetables from the bowl and dry with a paper towel.
  • Repeat the process for each type of vegetable. You can use the same boiling water and ice bath.

Tips: Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces or sticks for easy toddler handling.
Store in an airtight plastic container or bag for later use. The blanched vegetables should last at least 3 days in the refrigerator.

Estimated Cooking Times for Selected Vegetables

Note: Cooking times vary based on which vegetables are used and how large they are cut; therefore, cook one vegetable type at a time.

  • Broccoli, chopped or stalks – 3 minutes
  • Carrots – diced/strips – 2 minutes; whole baby carrots – 5 minutes
  • Cauliflower – 3 minutes
  • Eggplant – 4 minutes
  • Greens (spinach, collards) – 2 to 3 minutes
  • Okra – 3 minutes
  • Bell pepper, strips – 2 minutes
  • Snap Beans – 3 minutes
  • Zucchini, slices or chunks – 3 minutes
  • Squash, slices or chunks  – 3 minutes

Toddler Diets

Having trouble getting your toddler to eat right? Here are some tips and guidelines for feeding your little one!

  • Stick to 3 meals and 2 snacks at regular times and avoid additional foods in between. Establish times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Wholesome snacks are important several times a day because children’s stomachs are small and they usually do not eat enough during each meal. Choose nutrient-rich snacks similar to the meals you prepare.
  • Toddlers do a good job of determining how much food they need to eat. If you are worried that your child may not be eating enough, look at his food intake over a week and not over a day. A general guideline to calculate children’s caloric needs from 1 to 3 years is to multiply your child’s weight by 45 calories.
  • Make sure your child is getting enough iron in her diet for proper development. Iron-rich foods include fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables and beans, as well as tofu, poultry, fish and meats.
  • It is recommended that whole milk and dairy products be served until the second birthday. Extra fat is necessary for proper growth and brain development during this period. Milk is also an important source of calcium and vitamin D.
  • Water is a perfectly good drink to serve your toddler. You can add a small amount of juice for variety, but juice and sweetened beverages do not offer much nutrition. For children ages 1 to 6, intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces per day (about a half to three-quarters of a cup). Too many sweet drinks can cause tooth decay and add unneeded calories to your child’s diet.
  • Check labels to make sure you are not giving your child unnecessary calories and sweets. As a rule, every 5 grams of sugar equals about one teaspoon. Be especially careful when purchasing juices, cereals and snack foods.
  • Talk to your pediatrician before introducing high allergenic foods such as milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish.

Starting Solid Food

Is there an easy to way to know when baby is ready for solids? Well, every child is unique, so there are no definite timetables. Always follow a recommended diet from your pediatrician or health care provider to provide a fully balanced diet to meet your baby’s nutritional requirements. Many doctors recommend beginning solids at six months.

Typical signs that indicate your baby is ready for solids include:

  • The ability to sit without help
  • Active interest in food that others are eating, watches people eat
  • Does not use tongue to push solids or spoon out of mouth
  • The ability to signal she wants to be fed or has had enough to eat
Here are some general guidelines for when starting solid foods:
  • Consult with your pediatrician or health care provider if you have any questions concerning introducing foods.
  • Breast milk or fortified formula should be continued until the first birthday. Cow’s milk should not be introduced until the baby is at least one year of age.
  • Always check with your doctor or health care provider if you think your baby is not eating enough of the right foods.
  • Use a high chair or infant specific chair when feeding your baby.  If your baby is sitting is upright, he is less likely to choke.
  • Never leave your baby unattended when eating.  If possible, feed baby with the family.  This will get your child on a regular feeding schedule and enjoying a familiar routine.
  • Juice should be given after regular fruit has been introduced.  Try waiting until 10 months of age.  Juice intake should be limited to 4-6 ounces/day for children 1 to 6 years of age.
  • Do not get discouraged.  Children’s appetites and tastes are finicky and change throughout development.
Think your baby is ready to start solid foods? Here is more help on starting solids with a suggested timeline of when to introduce different types of fruits and veggies.

Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Food

The benefits of homemade baby food seem apparent to us involved with this program, but may not be so obvious to new parents who are faced with the daunting task of introducing solid food to baby for the first time.  After all, the jarred food is found on the baby aisle at the grocery store. It seems like that’s where you’re supposed to get it from, right? Well, if you take a few minutes to consider all of the health and economic benefits of making your own, you may find yourself in the produce section instead of the baby aisle when the time comes.

Long Term advantages

  • You control what goes into your baby’s food.  There are no extra additives, seasonings or preservatives.
  • The earlier healthy eating habits are introduced and re-enforced the more likely it would be for your child to make wise choices in the future.
  • Preparing home-made baby food can help the entire family make wiser food choices.
  • The groundwork you lay at this phase of your child’s life will make it easier at the next stage to continue healthy eating for the whole family.
  • When fresh vegetables and fruits are a part of your baby’s diet, it will be easy to make these items a regular part of family mealtime.

A Healthier Baby

  • Giving your baby food made from fresh fruits and vegetables increases the vitamins and nutrients in the diet.  Canning and processing can eliminate these vitamins and nutrients.
  • Your baby will react to the stonger tastes, smells and colors of homemade foods.  Cooking food at home can maximize the outstanding color, texture and taste of the food.
  • Serving fresh or even fresh-frozen baby food to your baby can help them be more open to tasting new flavors as they grow older (babies respond to taste, color and smell).
  • Home-prepared baby food allows for a better variety of foods and a more balanced diet.  As your baby grows you can add herbs and seasonings and combine flavors to make mealtime stimulating.
  • Early and repeated exposure to a variety of foods like fruits and vegetables has been shown to increase children’s taste for them.

 Time and Financial Savings

  • Today’s convenient storage containers and food processors make preparing baby food easier than ever.
  • Many of our family recipes have fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients that can be removed and prepared just for baby before other ingredients are added, making one recipe good for the entire family.
  • Parents can spend over $300 on processed food the during their infant’s first year of life.  On the average, home-prepared baby food can cost around $55 for one year.
  • Grocery store weekly sale circulars often have a variety of fruits and vegetables on special that can be used in making your baby’s meals.
  • Buying seasonal vegetable and fruits can be more economical than buying items that are out of season.
  • Check out local co-ops and farmers’ markets. These can be a wonderful source of fresh and inexpensive fruits and vegetables.