Making meal time fun, healthy

Meal time is an important part of diabetes management, but it also can be a chore when it is the child who is diabetic.

The other challenge is bringing the entire family to the table at the same time. There is baseball and soccer practice, after-school activities and meetings for the parents as well.

With the “Dishing it Up Disney Style” cookbook as a guide, moms and dads and kids can discover the fun of exploring in the kitchen while making meals that are both wholesome and delicious.

The recipes are based on sound nutritional recommendations from the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association.

They have been selected to provide options that are low in added sugar, high in fiber and low in fat – but never lacking in taste.

What makes the recipe so special is that each and every one is pictured with a Disney character – and I did not realize there were so many of the delightful cartoon characters.

Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Baloo, Piglet and Tigger are some of the celebrities who promote the healthy recipes ranging from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

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Almost everybody likes pancakes, and these contain rolled oats, whole wheat flour and orange juice. They are advertised as Piglet’s Pancakes, but Winnie the Pooh is holding the mixing bowl and whisk.

Piglet’s Oatmeal


2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh

2 tablespoons butter

In a small bowl, mix the eggs with the oil. In a medium-size bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, then stir in enough orange juice to create a thick batter. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, then pour batter into the pan by quarter cupfuls. Cook until done, turning once. There is 16 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrates and 3 grams fiber.

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Rapunzel is promoting Chicken and Biscuit Pie, with a creamy filling of chicken, mixed vegetables and seasonings, and fluffy biscuits on top. Three biscuits with 1 cup filling equal 366 calories, with 16 grams fat, 35 grams carbohydrates and 2 grams fiber.

Chicken and Biscuit Pie


4 tablespoons butter

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 rib celery, finely chopped

1/3 cup flour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 teaspoon each dried sage and thyme

2 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken

2 cups vegetables of your choice, leftovers or frozen but thawed

Salt and pepper

Biscuit topping:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch pieces

3/4 cup reduced fat, 2 percent milk

Melt the butter on the stove top in a Dutch oven or other oven-safe saute pan with high sides. Stir in the onion and celery, then cover the pan and cook for 7 to 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the flour, stirring for 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown it. Whisk the chicken stock into the pan. When it starts to thicken, whisk in the milk. Add the sage, thyme and chicken and vegetables, continuing to stir until the mixture is heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the stove and heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, make the biscuit topping by combining the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the dry ingredients. Add the milk and stir briskly, just until the dough pulls together. Flour the work surface and turn the dough onto it. Using floured hands, knead the dough two or three times then flatten to about 1/2-inch thick. Using a small round cutter, cut the dough into 24 biscuits and place as many as will fit, barely touching, on top of the filling. You can bake any extras separately on a lightly greased pie plate for about 15 minutes. Bake the potpie until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Makes eight servings.

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Prince Phillip, who comes blazing in on a white horse to rescue the damsel in distress, is promoting these potato wedges that are covered with a flour and egg batter and baked.

Baked Potato Wedges

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt

2 large eggs

4 medium potatoes, 1 1/3 pounds, scrubbed and rinsed but not peeled

Canola cooking spray

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with a tablespoon canola oil. With a fork or whisk, mix the flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper, celery salt and seasoning salt in a shallow dish and set aside. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Cut each potato into 16 one-half-inch wedges. Dip each wedge into the beaten eggs, then the flour mixture, making sure it is well coated. Place the coated wedges on the prepared baking sheet and let them sit 10 to 15 minutes. Coat the tops of the potato wedges generously with canola cooking spay. Bake in the center of the oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes. Makes five servings of 12 wedges each. The calorie count is 261, with 8 grams fat and 39 grams carbohydrate.

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Lady and Tramp are two of the most adorable creatures to grace a Disney screen. They say that this recipe for pasta is one to bark about. And you will likely remember the advertisement of them slurping a long strand of spaghetti and being shy when they both came to the center of it.

Cartwheels with Tomato Sauce and Sausage

4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Medium onion, finely chopped

Medium green bell pepper, finely chopped

Small carrot, grated

1 clove garlic minced

4 1/2 cups, about 42 ounces, crushed tomatoes in puree

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 2 teaspoons for the cooking water

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Half pound smoked turkey sausage, quartered, lengthwise and diced

3/4 pound cartwheel pasta

Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion, pepper and carrot. Partially cover the pan, then sweat the vegetables over moderate heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and sausage – use smoked sausage that is precooked, do not substitute raw sausage. Cover the pan and cook the sauce at a gentle simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce simmers, bring 4 to 5 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons salt. Gradually add the cartwheel pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss briefly. Spoon one third of the sauce over the pasta and toss again. Ladle on the rest of the hot sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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Pocahontas is one to know about trails in the forest, and she is promoting peanut butter trail mix balls as a dessert. They are easy to make with no baking.

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Balls

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup honey

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice

1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice

Mix together peanut butter and honey until smooth. Gradually add old-fashioned oats and flaxseed. Add the chocolate chips and 1 cup any combination nuts and soft dried fruit. Try coarsely chopped peanuts and 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup dried cranberries. Mix gently in the mixer or smush together by hand. Roll into ping-pong size ball and for maximum presentation value, put in paper mini-muffin cups.

You can eat them right away, but they will be less sticky after a night in the fridge. They freeze well, too, layered on wax paper in an airtight container. Makes 40 pieces.

(McCoy can be contacted at