Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

Go Fly a Kite

Published March - 11 - 2010 Print This Post

kid flying a kiteby Chef Michelle Austin with Lisa Dorfman, RD, CSSD

Remember being 10 years old and begging to go outside to play? As soon as the first daffodil poked through the crusted ground, I was raring to go. It was my neighborhood’s version of the Little Rascals, hanging out, losing all concept of time, until that whistle from the porch came barreling through the wind calling us to race home before dusk for dinner.

Most of us hard-working adults agree, those were the days — but what will our own childrens’ memories be? Long hours of video games, kid TV marathons and computer virtual reality lifestyles?

What happened to Mom’s ol’ saying, “If you sit too close and too long in front of the TV you will go blind”? A fear tactic I know, but one that just may prove to be metaphorically true. The fact is, times have changed and we are living in a sedentary culture. A culture that involves long, stressful hours at work, electronic babysitters and fast-food alternatives for the family. Growing statistics show that a sedentary lifestyle is having negative long-term effects, contributing to obesity and a host of chronic diseases – especially asthma.

Vitamin D, on the other hand, is associated with warding off a host of cancers, chronic diseases and asthma flare-ups — and helping to improve your mental outlook. Where do you find this nutrient’s primary natural source? Yep, you guessed it: springtime’s sidekick, the sun.

So return to your youth! Get back outside and get your picnic on! Pack a basket, blanket, camera, and a Frisbee or two. Rediscover the wonder of days gone by — with or without the kids — and go fly a kite!! Soak up some sunshine (15 minutes a day gives you a good supply of vitamin D; after that, apply sunscreen!). After you’ve worked up a sweat and an appetite, take a well-deserved break and enjoy this fabulous picnic feast created just for AAT readers!

Picnic Tips: Serve cool refreshing water instead of bee-attracting sodas. Use a food screen to keep flies, bees, ants and other critters away! Keep food packed and cool until ready to eat to avoid food-borne illnesses. Don’t forget to pack inhalers and auto-injectable epinephrine just in case of unexpected stings and wheezes.

Springalicous Picnic Fare

* Turkey Pinwheels 
* Creamy Pesto Bowtie Pasta 
* Root Veggie chips (Terra Chips are good)
* Fruit Kabobs with Strawberry Dip

Turkey Pinwheels

4 multigrain tortillas
4 oz hummus or avocado spread (legume/nut-free alternative)
1 cup spinach leaves mixed with field greens
1 large carrot – shredded
1 cucumber – diced small
8 oz turkey sulfite-free lunch meat

Warm tortilla slightly in microwave so the tortilla becomes flexible (about 15 seconds). Spread hummus or avocado spread onto tortilla; use 2 oz of turkey, spinach leaves, shredded carrot and cucumber. Roll.


¾ cup chickpeas/garbanzos
1 lemon – juiced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup tahini paste
sea salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste (pinch)

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend smooth to desired texture.

Click here for nutritional facts!

Avocado Spread

1 avocado – ripe
½ cup cucumber, skinned and diced
1 garlic clove
1 lemon – juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs of chive – optional
sea salt, pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste -pinch

Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend smooth to desired texture.

Click here for nutritional facts!

Creamy Pesto Bowtie Pasta
Makes 4

4 oz Greek yogurt* 
3 tablespoons Basil Pesto (see recipe below or use store purchased brand)
12 oz bowtie pasta
½ tsp salt
white pepper to taste

Boil pasta in plenty of salted water per package direction to al dente. Drain well. Cool noodles slightly. Mix pesto and Greek yogurt directly into pasta. Chill and serve when ready.

*Greek yogurt is high in protein and a great substitute for any recipe that calls for mayonnaise, cream or sour cream. For a non-dairy alternative, try soy yogurt or rice yogurt.

Basil Pesto

1 bunch of fresh basil 
½ bunch of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of olive oil
fresh garlic clove to taste (1/2 clove)

Put fresh herbs and garlic in food processor. Drizzle olive oil slowly; blend well. Freeze remaining pesto for another day.

Fruit Kabobs with Strawberry Dip

Assortment of fresh fruit, cubed and speared on kabob sticks
Strawberry dip (makes one cup)
4 oz strawberries (chopped) 
4 oz small curd cottage cheese 
(non-dairy alternatives: medium firm tofu, rice or soy yogurt)
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp ginger (fresh grated or powder) optional 
¼ cup organic brown sugar or agave* (lite or regular)
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup water

In a saucepan simmer all ingredients for 15 minutes. Dip will thicken as it cools. After strawberries cool, place ingredients with small curd cottage cheese in food processor and blend well. Adjust sugar to taste.

Agave is a sweetener derived from the cactus plant. It can be found in most supermarkets – usually in the organic and health food sections.

Healthy Bite:

Spinach: high in vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, and iron 
Turkey: good source of protein 
Lemons: vitamin C 
Garbanzo/chickpeas: fiber, iron and calcium 
Avocado: vitamin A, potassium, essential fats—Omega 6

Michelle Austin is a chef, founder of On Thyme Consulting and contributor to SOBeFiT magazine. She’s also co-owner and creative director of Just to Please You Productions, an event production and consulting company, and has been featured on food and design segments on NBC and CBS. Michelle lives in Miami with her daughter, Gabrielle.

Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, is a licensed nutritionist, board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and counseling, and author of 5 books. Lisa is also an adjunct professor at the University of Miami’s Department of Exercise and Sports Science, nutritionist for the Miami Hurricanes and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sailing teams and nutrition editor for SOBeFiT magazine. She lives in Miami with her husband and three children.

First published: Allergy & Asthma Today, Spring 2010

Medical editors: Tera Crisalida, PA-C and Debra Mendelsohn, OSC