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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Want to Boost Your Child’s Health? Make These Easy Swaps Today!

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As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about how to help your little one grow up happy, healthy, and strong. Sometimes though, despite our best intentions, our kids can form habits that aren’t the healthiest. Whether grandma has your little one hooked on sweets or business forces you to hand over the iPad while you finish cooking dinner, it’s easy for your tot to form habits that won’t serve them well in the long run.

Developing a love of physical activity, a taste for fruits and veggies, or a desire to spend time reading can impact them for their entire life. Check out the health swaps below to find out how to easily bring health habits into (or back into) your little one’s life.

Swap juice for water

While most kids do enjoy the taste of juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics now says that little ones simply don’t need it. Besides adding lots of empty calories to a child’s diet, filling their tummy with juice can make them feel full and less willing to eat nutrient-rich foods. Make the swap by diluting your babe’s juice with increasing amounts of water until they’re drinking 100% water again.

Swap cookies for fruit

Many parents offer cookies, chips, or snack crackers as a first option when their little ones complain of hunger. Instead of offering these sorts of snack foods, consider offering fruit instead. Not all kids like all fruit, but many find the (naturally!) sweet taste of apples, grapes, or melon to be delicious!

Swap screen time for play time

There’s plenty of evidence that kids who spend too much time using screens struggle in ways that their screen-free peers don’t. Consider offering your child engaging activities that don’t involve a screen. Many kids enjoy arts and crafts, listening to audio books, or flipping through their favorite books.

Swap indoor time for outdoor play

One way to get kids moving is to get them outdoors. Because of the limited space indoors, many indoor activities are somewhat sedentary. By moving playtime outdoors, you’ll be giving your child the physical space they need to run, jump, and play!

 

This article was written by EverydayFamily from Everyday Family and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Save Time and Keep Your Family Healthy with These Quick Tips

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Most moms are aware of the need to keep their children healthy to ensure proper growth and development. However, when the demands of the day limit your time, sometimes being healthy isn’t as convenient. When you’re at work all day, it can be easy to develop poor habits just to ease the stress. Things like preparing healthy meals, making sure the kids stay active, and even keeping up with doctor’s appointments do require a bit of time and effort, but are important. If time prevents you from being able to keep your family healthy, consider these time-saving tips below.

Pick One Day of the Week for Meal Prep

Any mom would agree that when you’re pressed for time, one of the most time-consuming tasks is preparing meals for the family. Bogged down by demands from work, household chores, and perhaps running the kids around to their after-school activities, it’s much easier to order takeout or grab a kids meal from a fast food restaurant and keep moving.

Though a treat every now and again won’t do the kids any harm, often time the quickest meal solutions are the unhealthiest for them. To cut back on time and the number of processed foods and saturated fats your family is consuming, why not pick one day to prep meals? Choose a day where you have the most time and cook all your meals. You can then place them in plastic containers and freeze them for the week.

Schedule Appointments Together

Visiting the doctor periodically – especially during school-age is imperative for children. Annual physicals, vaccines, and shots, as well as other medical services, allow doctors to provide you with the best child development & nutrition resources to ensure your child is developing properly. Doctors can also recommend adjustments in nutrition, supplements, and ways to help your child grow in confidence, like giving your child Healthy Height’s nutritional shakes that promote growth in height. Be that as it may, most working mothers are plagued with minimal time off from work. Not to mention, a scheduled doctor’s appointment tends to last longer than anticipated, which can cause conflict.

If you work in an environment where time isn’t flexible, try to kill a few birds with one stone. Take off one day instead of trying to break it up into hours. Schedule the entire family’s appointments for the same day. While it will mean sitting in waiting rooms all day, it eliminates the need to take off several hours every few months.

Work Out Together

It can be tempting to let the kids sit in front of the television or on the computer all day while you tend to the household chores (or take a break), however, too much screen time is detrimental to your child’s health. It is important for all of you to get active to remain healthy. If time prevents you from being able to get the kids out, consider working out together. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym together or sit in front of the television doing exercise video moves either. There are a lot of fun activities you could try indoors or outdoors to get active. Whether you go outside and play basketball or stay in the house and rock out to your favorite dance simulation game, you’re moving, sweating, and working out. Not to mention, you’re creating fun memories with your family.

Unfortunately, time isn’t something we can make more of. All you can do is learn how to make the most of the time you have. If you’ve been trying to prioritize your family’s health, but find time to always get in the way, utilize the above-mentioned tips. They are all convenient solutions that not only save you time but allow you to ensure your family is as healthy as they can be.

 

This article was written by Natalie Bracco from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Things Healthy People Do Every Morning

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Fads like barefoot running and IV drip bars may be fun to read about — and there’s no shame in giving them a whirl — but jumping on these bandwagons won’t necessarily lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Really, simplicity and repetition still reign, which is why it’s good to build healthy habits into your day. Here are a few easy ones to try each morning if you want to start your day on a healthier note.

1. Drink hot water (with or without the lemon)

Instead of going straight for the caffeine, start with a hot cup of water. It may not taste like much, but doing so can improve blood flow, aid in digestion (perfect after a Sunday brunch) and even cleanse the body of toxins. Plus, it helps you meet your water quota. Speaking of which, make sure you have a water quota.

2. Balance your breakfast

Try to get an equal amount of protein, fiber and produce at breakfast. Of course, eggs are a go-to protein. And if you’re not one to make breakfast every morning, hard-boil a batch to eat throughout the week. Just make sure you buy high-quality eggs from vegetarian-fed hens, such as Eggland’s Best. Its eggs have twice as much vitamin B12 and omega-3s, six times the amount of vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. Try them in a huevos rancheros-inspired chopped salad for breakfast and be on your way for the day.

3. Meditate

Don’t diss meditation until you try it, and don’t feel like you have to be floating on a cloud, om-ing or burning incense while you do it. All meditation requires is to sit still in a comfortable position and tune into your body. You can try these five-minute techniques or download an app that guides you (try Simply Being).

4. Move

You can rise early for an intense HIIT class, or you can simply take a walk down your block. The point is to get moving. In one study published by the American Medical Association, simply increasing walking pace reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in study participants. Furthermore, a 2008 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise concluded that if more people walked more often, it could help reduce the prevalence of chronic disease.

5. Slip yourself a superfood

Here’s the super-unofficial definition of a superfood: a food that’s more nutrient-rich than other nutrient-rich foods. We’ve got a handy superfood list you can take to the grocery store, but for breakfast, think blueberries, strawberries, almonds, apples and avocados — for extra nutrients, try these baked eggs and avocados.

Your mission: No matter what you eat for breakfast, pick one superfood side. Just think about how that adds up over time.

6. Slow down

Instead of rolling out of bed, getting ready and jamming out the door to make it to work, take a beat. Allowing yourself time in the morning to just be can help you handle the stress that may come with the rest of your day. Enjoy your hot beverage of choice, read a book or stretch as you reflect on yesterday. This is that “me time” you’ve been craving. Sure, sometimes kids, unexpected situations and life in general can get in the way, but does that mean you shouldn’t try?

7. Set intentions in the shower

If you think about it, that time spent in the shower could really be maximized. While you shampoo, set some intentions for your day. They don’t have to be about exercising or eating healthy at all. It can be as simple as this: What do you want to accomplish today? What will make you feel fulfilled at the end of the day? Reflect on how you’re feeling. Self-care reduces stress, and less stress makes you healthier.

So, while it’s pretty hard to drill “healthy” down to one definition (it’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all situation), it’s also hard to deny that committing to a handful of simple habits can make a difference. They’re tried and true and completely good for you.

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.

 

This article was written by Catherine Conelly from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

These Simple Tips Can Trick You Into Eating Healthier

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“There’s no shame in buying pre-packed, pre-cut veggies ― riced cauliflower, cut-up broccoli florets, pre-made zucchini noodles, pre-chopped and pre-washed kale,” said Andrea Moss, holistic nutrition coach and founder of Moss Wellness. “Same with frozen veggies. Anything that gets you to eat veggies and makes it easier for you to do so is a win.”

If your schedule doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to prepare those foods, many stores offer fruits and vegetables that are ideal for on-the-go folks. 

Bonus points if you can complete this task on a Sunday and get your food ready for the week. Another food prep hack from Moore: If you prep soup for the week, store in the freezer in a clear bag, making sure it’s flat so it’ll save you space for more goodies. 

“If you have a whole pineapple, you’re less likely to eat it than if you go ahead and cut it up into smaller pieces,” she said.

Marisa Moore, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Atlanta, encourages her clients to wash the fruits and veggies they buy when they get home from grocery shopping and then chop them up into bite-sized pieces.

Do the dirty work first

Making this tip effective at home and keeping those better options to the front means you’re more likely to grab healthy food to munch on for a snack or add that food to a meal you’re already cooking. Plus, since you can have your eye on it, the food is less likely to go bad and you won’t be deterred from buying fruits and vegetables in the future (this is a common annoyance for people trying to eat healthy, according to several of our experts). It’s a win-win. 

“We focus on making it as easy as possible to make great choices by making the most nutritious foods highly visible, while indulgent options are just a little harder to find,” he said. “Because we know hydration is important, water is the first thing you see in our refrigerators. Seasonal fruits are placed in bowls on open counters while packaged snacks and sweets are relegated to drawers or opaque jars.”

To encourage their employees to eat healthy, Google uses a similar strategy. Scott Giambastiani, the company’s global food program chef and operations manager, told HuffPost that the offices offer less healthy options, but they’re tucked away in favor of healthier foods.

″Put healthy food where you can see it [in the fridge] and keep foods you want to cut back on in the fridge drawers,” said Katie Serbinski, the registered dietitian behind Mom to Mom Nutrition. “You can even go a step further and store healthy foods in clear containers or bags, so you can easily see and grab them without having to rinse or wash, assuming that step has been done ahead of time.”

Having healthy snacks ― fruits, vegetables, grains ― visible and within reach can change your snacking habits, according to the food and health experts we interviewed. 

Fruits (and other healthy items) to the front

We chatted with dietitians and nutritionists about simple ways you can arrange your fridge, prepare your food and store your snacks to promote a healthier lifestyle. Here are their tips. 

Looking to eat healthier? With a few subtle changes in your kitchen, you might just be able to trick yourself into making it happen. 

Trinette Reed via Getty Images

We talked to experts about simple ways you can prep, store and arrange your food to get the most out of a healthier lifestyle.

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Preparing food (washing, cutting, etc.) as soon as you get home from the grocery store can encourage you to munch on healthier snacks and put together more well-balanced meals. Also, keep the healthier food in clear containers so you always know what you have in stock.

Dorling Kindersley: Dave King via Getty Images

Divide the fridge into sections (and CLEAN IT.)

Many people keep fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawer of their fridge and fill their pantries with boxed and canned goods, but how many of us really go beyond that? 

Molly Lee, holistic health coach and founder and director of Energizing Nutrition, said that further organizing your fridge and the rest of your kitchen can make it easier when you’re cooking.

“Have different sections for different categories of food,” she said. “It prevents cross contamination, but it also is organized so you can make a well-balanced meal.”

If you have kids who can pack their own lunch or grab their own after-school snack, consider having a drawer in the fridge and/or a section of the pantry just for them, suggests Serbinski. You’re establishing both independence and good eating habits. 

Also don’t forget ― seriously, don’t forget ― to clean your fridge.

“A tidy fridge is an inviting fridge! Throw out those leftovers weekly,” Moss said.

Consider revamping your dishes (and don’t forget about mason jars)

Lee told HuffPost that “organization is the key” when it comes to a kitchen that will help you eat healthier, but having an appealing kitchen can also help. 

“If you have chipped plates or you don’t have the right equipment, it’s not going to be pleasurable to make food,” she said. “A beautiful bowl, plate and mug that you love can really go a long way for making sort of a ritual.”

Don’t sleep on mason jars, either.

“You just stack your favorite ingredients,” Lee said. “You can stack greens, nuts and seeds, chickpeas, tuna or leftover chicken or feta cheese, and it’s easy. Plus, it looks beautiful and you won’t forget about it because it’s clear.”

For those with a sweet tooth, Lee suggested adding organic Greek or plain yogurt to fresh berries and low-sugar granola (make sure it’s naturally sweet, not made with a ton of added sugar).  

Don’t be too hard on yourself when it comes to indulgences

Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth or are always craving something salty, ridding yourself of all your cravings doesn’t always work. For a more realistic balance, Moore suggests having only “one indulgent thing” in your living space at a time and leaving the rest at the store (that midnight snack craving won’t be as difficult to overcome if you’ve only got one option).

Lee sticks to encouraging her clients to eat “the highest quality of your favorite dessert.” Think organic dark chocolate or raw honey, perhaps mixed with another healthy snack.

“It’s more expensive so you really savor it, and it tastes really good because it’s using really good ingredients,” she said. 

However you deal with those cravings, a good rule is to somewhat fool yourself and tuck them away somewhere.

“Maybe you have chips or you have cookies in the back of the bottom shelf,” Moore said.

Out of sight, out of mind, and hopefully out of your healthier lifestyle.

 

This article was written by Taylor Pittman from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

What Nutritionists Give Their Kids For After-School Snacks

“An afternoon snack at our house is usually either a smoothie or fruit with protein, such as apples with peanut butter or orange and cheese slices. Other favorites include yogurt-based Popsicles, trail mix or homemade popcorn.” ― Kath Younger, a registered dietitian and blogger at Kath Eats Real Food 

“For an after-school snack, my kids have enjoyed fresh fruit like banana or any combination of cut-up cantaloupe and grapes and berries (e.g., raspberries, blueberries or strawberries) plus warm cashews. They’ve also enjoyed Triscuits and cheese, and plain low-fat yogurt with berries, or unsweetened applesauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon.” ― Elisa Zied, a certified dietitian nutritionist and author of Feed Your Family Right!

Fruit

A group of nutritionists shared the general guidelines and kid-approved picks they use in their own homes for after-school snacks.

But how do you choose a snack for your kids that will fill them up enough to stop the “when’s dinner ready?” nagging without spoiling their appetites or loading them up on empty calories. 

The lag between lunch at school and dinner at home can feel like a lifetime to kids. The after-school snack, therefore, is a time-honored tradition in many homes. 

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Nutritionists share the go-to snacks they feed their kids.

“Since my kids are 12, 10, 7 and 5, they do a pretty good job of getting their own after-school snacks from the fruit bowl or the snack cupboard containing: graham crackers, peanut butter, pecans, raisins, prunes and peanuts in the shell. The big thing I encourage is drinking water or herbal tea with a drizzle of honey. They don’t get much time to drink many liquids at school. Tea with honey helps them drink more to stay hydrated in the winter and chilly spring when they aren’t ‘hot and thirsty’ like in the summer. Plus the honey soothes their sore throats when they have colds and has antioxidant polyphenols, which may help boost their immunity to prevent future colds.” ― Serena Ball, a registered dietitian and health blogger at Teaspoon Of Spice 

Tea

“I’m a big believer in the concept of small, frequent eating. Many schools start lunch too early in the day and don’t have opportunities for eating after that. If kids are starting lunch at 10:30 a.m. and don’t have dinner until 6 p.m., after-school snacks should be an option. I prefer to fill them up on vegetables and fruits during this time of day, with moderate amounts of proteins and fats that can be obtained from a slice of cheese, peanut butter or milk. Generally, kids don’t eat enough produce, so my children are typically offered sliced bell peppers or cucumbers with hummus or cheese.” ― Rick Hall, a clinical professor and registered dietitian at Arizona State University

“Some of our favorite after-school snacks are cut-up vegetables (carrots, peppers, celery, tomatoes) and hummus as a dip.” ― Katja Leccisi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of How To Feed Your Kids: Four Steps To Raising Healthy Eaters 

Hummus

“My kids love apple “nachos,” which are sliced apples, melted nut butter with a sprinkle of dried cranberries and chia seeds.” ― Lauren Kelly, a nutritionist and author of The Everything Wheat-Free Diet Cookbook

“I always offer an after-school snack to my boys each day. If I don’t, the cries of ‘Mom! When is dinner going to be ready?’ start earlier than my sanity can handle. I try to focus on a balance of protein and carbs, offering a variety of choices throughout the week, and I try to make sure it includes fruit to help boost their fruit/veggie count for the day. That may mean a combo of cheese and apple slices, peanut butter and banana or even something like a simple trail mix of whole-grain cereal, raisins and nuts.” ― Regan Jones, a registered dietitian and founding editor at Healthy Aperture

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Apples with peanut butter or cheese is one snack option.

“I have four kids ages 10 to 17, and I give them various snacks. I sometimes make organic air-popped popcorn with Himalayan pink salt and Barlean’s butter-flavored coconut oil.” ― Rebecca H. Lazar, a registered holistic nutritionist and founder of Real Health and Fitness

Popcorn

“My kids love chocolate avocado mousse and of course peanut butter chocolate chip energy bites!” ― Kelly

“The old-fashioned favorite is homemade cookies (ginger, chocolate chip or oatmeal) with a glass of milk or hot chocolate.” ― Leccisi

Treats

“After-school snacks can be tricky because you don’t want them to eat so much that they’re not hungry for what’s probably their main meal of the day … When my kids played sports, after school they needed a heartier but high-carb snack such as a fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt, oats, a few nuts or peanut butter powder, a grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of cereal with fruit and milk.” ― Bridget Swinney, a registered dietitian and founder of Eat Right Mama

Carbs

“After school, my kids will grab a yogurt or a few cookies, but I generally serve them dinner around 4:30 p.m. so they aren’t snacking for hours between getting home and having their next meal! That’s my strategy, but I work from home, so this method won’t work for everyone.” ― Abby Langer, a registered dietitian and founder of Abby Langer Nutrition

“A favorite is fruit and yogurt, either separately, as a dip, or in a sort of ‘parfait.’” ― Leccisi

“I make low-fat Greek yogurt dips with fresh or dried herbs. The herbs provide potent antioxidants and lots of flavor without added salt. My daughter also loves red bell pepper slices or baby sweet peppers with dip.” ― Melissa Halas-Liang, registered dietitian and founder of SuperKids Nutrition

Yogurt

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Tea can help with hydration.

“My daughter is 13 and prefers to make her own snacks. Her two go-tos are half a baked sweet potato drizzled with natural peanut butter and a side of mixed berries or apple slices with almond butter and cacao powder sprinkled on top.” ― Jacqueline Carly, an integrative and functional nutritionist and creator of Get Planty

Sweet Potato

“My daughter isn’t a big milk fan, so I often make low-fat milk and add a little sugar and vanilla extract. I use a tiny handheld milk frother. It makes it seem fancy but it takes seconds to make and it’s easy to wash. I’ll serve that with any fresh or frozen fruit (served cold).” ― Halas-Liang

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A baked sweet potato can be the base for a snack.

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Milk

“Sometimes I’ll make a vegan chocolate protein shake with banana and almond butter or another type of smoothie … Other snacks are cut-up fruit, or Siggi’s Icelandic yogurt with organic granola added as a topping.” ― Lazar

Protein Shake

“If we are on the go I’ll split a peanut butter sandwich between my toddlers. I always try to pair a protein choice with either a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain so the snack isn’t too filling, but is just enough to hold my children over until dinnertime.” ― Katie Serbinski, a registered dietitian and founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition

Peanut Butter

“A classic is a peanut butter sandwich. Other favorites include fruit pieces like apple or pear with peanut butter as a dip or spread and crackers with cheddar cheese and fruit pieces (apples, pears or clementines), with some olives and pickles on the side.” ― Leccisi 

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KidStock via Getty Images

Air-popped popcorn can be a fun snack.

Sandwich

“If my teenage boys are really hungry, I’ll make an organic mozzarella sandwich with whole-grain spelt bread.” ― Lazar

Soup

“I meal prep soup every week, so sometimes they’ll have a cup of that if it’s ready at the right time.” ― Alaya Wyndham, an intuitive holistic nutritionist

Car-Friendly Food

“I have three kids, and they all have slightly different food preferences. We generally pick them up with the minivan, at least in the winter months, so I choose snacks that are both nutritious as well as non-messy. For my 3-year-old, I often bring shelled pistachios in a snack cup or a banana. My 6-year-old son is ravenous by the time we get him, so I’ll bring him a cheese stick and a granola bar or goodnessKnows snack squares, something with protein. My almost 9-year-old is a carb lover and also gets car sick easily, so I bring her some type of cheddar cracker or veggie chips. She also really likes dried seaweed. When it’s hot outside, they tend to be more thirsty than hungry, so an organic juice, like Capri Sun, is often what I’ll bring them.” ― Frances Largeman-Roth, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Eating in Color

‘Mini Meals’

“Snacking has definitely taken on some negative connotations since typical snack foods tend to be synonymous with foods high in fat, sugar and salt. However, I am actually a big proponent of snacks as a way to maintain energy levels and satiate hunger between meals. I think of snacks as mini-meals, meaning, smaller portions but still containing a healthful variety of foods. When it comes to after-school snacks, I generally stick to the following criteria: no more than 200 calories, at least 2 grams of fiber per serving, low in saturated fat (percentage daily value of 5 percent or less per serving), low in sodium (140 milligrams or less per serving), low in added sugar (6 grams or less per serving) and at least two food groups per snack.” ― Ilaria St. Florian, a clinical dietitian at Stamford Hospital

These quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity. 

 

This article was written by Caroline Bologna from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

What Nutritionists Pack Their Kids For Lunch

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Kids aren’t exactly known for their refined palates, which can cause issues for parents who want to pack healthy lunches for them to take to school.

But delicious and nutritious options are available ― and they don’t always take a long time to put together.

HuffPost asked a group of nutritionists what they pack in their children’s lunch boxes, and they shared their general guidelines and kid-approved dish ideas.

Edamame

“Like many parents, my wife and I work hard to find the balance between what our kids like and what is good for them. It’s important to us to reduce high-sugar and high-sodium options, which limits options, as many convenience foods tend to be saturated in these ingredients. It’s helpful for us to prepare healthier options at the beginning of the week and keep them in the refrigerator so they’re readily available and convenient when we need them. Our oldest daughter, as an example, likes edamame. Often, when we pack that in her lunch, she ends up sharing with friends who also like to eat them.”  ― Rick Hall, a clinical professor and registered dietitian at Arizona State University

Favorite fruits and veggies

“While my goal is to pack all five food groups in my preschooler’s lunch, I really strive to serve a fruit, vegetable and healthy protein option. My preschooler is given a snack at school that is usually a whole grain, so I load up on his favorite fruits (apples, grapes, bananas) and veggies (cucumber slices, red bell pepper sticks, carrots). And when it comes to protein, he loves individual hummus cups and crackers, or cheese and turkey roll-ups.” ― Katie Serbinski, a registered dietitian and founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition

“Vegetables and fruit top up my kids’ vitamin needs, and add variety and color. Kids eat with their eyes first!” ― Cara Rosenbloom, a registered dietitian and founder of Words To Eat By

 

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Healthier PB&J

“A typical lunch for our kiddos includes a half sandwich with peanut butter and instead of jelly, fruit like grapes, banana, pomegranates, etc. We combine our professional knowledge in nutrition with our practical knowledge of ‘what will my kids eat’ ― we also often have them help us make their lunches so they have a say in what goes in there. Building off the base of always having a fruit (in this case on the sandwich), veggie (usually to dip), protein (peanut butter) and grain (sprouted grain bread), they can pick and choose from what we have. They love helping and getting involved, and it also teaches autonomy and teaches them how to balance their plates.” ― Christopher Mohr, a registered dietitian and co-founder of Mohr Results with Kara Mohr

“I’m a firm believer in serving something familiar or ‘liked’ when it comes to school lunch, with both something healthy and ‘treats’ mixed in. School is a time when your child might be missing Mom or Dad, so their favorite PB&J or Cheerios trail mix every day isn’t the end of their diet. Just serve a new fruit or veggie with their dinner to make up for it!” ― Serbinski

Whole-grain pasta salad

“One family favorite is pasta primavera salad with roasted tomatoes and chicken with baby spinach. I use whole-grain pasta (bowtie or pinwheel) with tomatoes roasted with crushed garlic (fresh or canned); chicken (shredded or cubed, which I cook in bulk and freeze in individual portions); and pre-washed baby spinach, which I quickly wilt in the microwave (kids like it more than grown-up spinach). Then I add a little lemon juice and olive oil, which makes everything taste better, and toss it all together. For sides, we’re partial to golden kiwi or frozen or fresh chopped mango.” ― Melissa Halas-Liang, registered dietitian and founder of SuperKids Nutrition

 

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Chicken quesadillas

“One of my kids’ favorite items that my wife packs for them are spicy chicken quesadillas. She prepares them the night before school using organic tortillas, diced pre-cooked spicy chicken and a cheese blend. After cooking on a frying pan, we cut them into triangles and keep in the fridge overnight. They are easy to pack, hold and eat ― and the kids love them. They are often asked to trade with friends who want to eat them. It’s the most popular item we pack and super easy to make.” ― Hall

Yogurt

“I have two children who both have great palates, so I feel lucky that packing lunch is not too much of a challenge. Every day, I pack a mid-morning snack that usually consists of a Siggi’s yogurt tube or goat milk squeeze pouch, cucumbers, baby bell peppers and a portion with a side of hummus for my son. For my daughter, I pack a Siggi’s yogurt tube or goat milk squeeze pouch, cucumbers, berries, cherry tomatoes. On occasion I’ll swap the yogurt out for one hardboiled egg with seaweed.” ― Maya Feller, registered dietitian and owner of Maya Feller Nutrition

Dips for veggies

“We also pack mini peppers, cucumbers or baby carrots and hummus or guacamole to dip the veggies.” ― Mohr

“Sometimes I make Greek yogurt dip with veggies and whole grain crackers, chickpea salad and fruit.” ― Rosenbloom

“I keep pre-bought sliced jicama in stock and we make a lot of dips like this homemade ranch: 2 tablespoons of mayo, 2 tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 teaspoon parmesan cheese, half a teaspoon garlic powder and half a teaspoon dried parsley.” ― Halas-Liang

 

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Nuts (when possible)

“Other popular items for our kids include foods with peanut butter or nuts.  Unfortunately, they are sometimes limited in taking these foods because of nut allergies of classmates ― but nuts tend to be high in healthy fats and proteins that are both healthy and tasty treats.”  ― Hall

Bean and cheese sushi wrap

“A fun lunch is a bean-and-cheese sushi wrap. Spread mashed black beans with a bit of lemon juice on a whole grain tortilla, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, and roll into a tight log. Cut slices just like sushi. Add in orange sunshine. Peel an orange and slice them into thick circles. Veggies would be edamame or sugar snap peas.” ― Halas-Liang

Bento boxes

“When my daughter was in preschool, she loved bento box meal assembly dishes, like smoked Gouda chunks with whole wheat woven crackers (with no added sugar), frozen peas or corn (which she ate frozen), berries or baked apple chunks. We microwaved the chopped apple, then chilled in the fridge. It keeps it from browning and it’s sweeter. We grow cucumbers well into late fall so we add those in too. It was always a hit!” ― Halas-Liang

Quality protein

“My background in nutrition has taught me that kids fare better in school ― both academically and physically ― when their lunch is nutritious and provides long-lasting energy. That’s why there is always a source of good-quality protein in their lunchbox (chickpeas, cheese, Greek yogurt, chicken, lentils, etc.) and some slow-burning, high-fiber whole grains, like quinoa, whole-grain pasta or oats.

My kids’ lunches are made with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and something high in protein. Some of their favorite combos are: cubes of chicken, grape tomatoes and cucumbers on a skewer, with whole grain crackers and fruit; a turkey or cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole grain, and fruit; and quinoa and bean salad with string cheese, carrots, peppers and fruit.” ― Rosenbloom

 

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Flavor, texture and variety

“When I’m building my kids’ meals I think about variety, temperature, texture, flavor and of course nutrition. Lunch is usually one of the following with a side of fruit and vegetable: bean and rice burrito, veggie dumplings (tofu and cabbage), soup with a side of fruit, spinach and cheese tortellini with a nut-free sauce (the school has a strong nut policy), homemade salmon salad with carrots and celery topped with tzatziki on a whole wheat English muffin, or a spinach and potato patty inside of a whole wheat English muffin.

Children are in a phase of growth and development and ideally their foods should support this. My goal for my children is to give them healthy options that they love, so they will eat and have the energy they need to focus and engage during school hours, play and continue to grow. I aim to send them with a tasty balanced meal that supplies vitamins and minerals from whole and minimally processed sources.” ― Feller

Leftovers

“Lunches for my children are nearly always leftovers from dinner the night before. I like to start with the vegetables first, such as sautéed broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower mash. We always supplement with additional vegetables, which are typically raw, such as avocado, cherry tomatoes, peppers (though never green ones) and celery. If we include animal protein in the lunch, it can be roasted chicken, hard-cooked eggs, lamb or beef ― basically whatever we may have had for dinner. If there is no animal protein available or if that’s not preferred, we add sunflower butter in an individual packets, raw almonds or walnuts, or hemp seeds. Juices, carbonated beverages, sweetened drinks and milk are never included. Always pure water.” ― Laura Lagano, a registered dietitian and owner of Laura Lagano Nutrition

“Family favorites include supper leftovers in a thermos (pasta, soup, stew) along with fruit (of kids’ choosing) and a couple of homemade cookies.” ― Katja Leccisi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of How To Feed Your Kids: Four Steps To Raising Healthy Eaters

Dessert?

“People always ask about dessert. In an effort to encourage children to focus on vegetables first, I suggest not putting fruit in the lunch box until you’re certain that your youngster craves the vegetables. And, when you do include fruit, start by opting for the lower-sugar fruit such as organic strawberries and raspberries.” ― Lagano

“Sometimes I add a small treat, like some chocolate chips or my homemade no-bake granola bites.” ― Rosenbloom

“My kids always also get a dessert ― usually something homemade, like cookies, muffins or date squares.” ― Leccisi

 

Courtesy of Cara Rosenbloom

Safe choices

“When I pack my children’s lunches, I always think food safety first and include adequate ice packs to keep cold foods cold.” ― Halas-Liang

“My expertise in nutrition shaped my choices by thinking about food safety, temperature controls and balanced nutrition to prevent childhood obesity and reducing refined products. I also teach my kids to recognize foods as ‘everyday’ versus ‘sometimes’ foods. Therefore they are aware of what foods make them healthy eaters, readers and leaders.” ― Tambra Raye Stevenson, founder and culinary nutritionist at NativSol Kitchen

Rule of three

“I avoid the three S’s: stinky (like fish); sticky (like maple syrup); and soft drinks (too much sugar).” ― Rosenbloom

“For a balanced lunch, I aim for three plant-based colors, plenty of fiber and a good source of protein. ― Halas-Liang

Meal prep

“It’s not just about what you pack, but when you pack it. Make packing lunch the night before part of the nighttime routine ― for us, it’s eat dinner, clean up kitchen and pack lunches. You’re not rushed and can make better decisions vs. adding one more thing to the already crazy mornings as everyone is trying to get out the door.” ― Mohr

“I think it’s easy to get stressed out about packing lunch. To avoid this, I usually pack after dinner or during the after-school snack if I’m home. That way the food is already out. Plus I keep a few sets of containers, some of which are dishwasher-safe. I also don’t make everything from scratch, but do a lot of meal assembly! It’s quicker and with so many healthy options, like beans from a can or pre-washed spinach, it’s easier. And I like to include a quote or little note when I have time.” ― Halas-Liang

Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.

 

This article was written by Caroline Bologna from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Ready! Set! Snow!

Snowfall can be very exciting, especially for children who are full of anticipation for winter fun and games.

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The yard is covered in a white blanket just waiting for little footprints. Children love building snowmen, constructing snow forts and making snow angels.

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Some children believe that wearing their pajamas inside out or putting a spoon under their beds will increase snowfall and may increase the odds for a snow day.

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There are many quirky superstitions to try. What has your family tried? Did it work? How do you celebrate a snow day?

Play in the Park

Parks are a great place to encourage outdoor play. Instead of sitting inside watching television or playing on a tablet, plan a day at the park with your little one. Bring lunch, water and snacks so you and your child can enjoy the outdoors all day.

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A few activities to get you started for the day can include playing Frisbee, playing catch and jumping rope. Try to gather a group of children and their parents for a friendly game of whiffle ball. If your park has a walking trail, bring a notebook and ask your child to draw things that you see along the way. Take photos of unique animals, flowers or trees and research them at home for a nice cool-down activity.

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What are some activities you and your children do at the park?

Summer Activities

Ten activities to do with your child this summer:

  1. Ride your bikes around your neighborhood or in a local park to increase family togetherness and to emphasize the importance of exercise.

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  1. Have a picnic. Encourage your child to help pack the basket. You can talk to him about the different types of food you are putting in the basket, where the food is from and what foods are best for his health.

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  1. Go on a leaf hunt. Your child can learn about different types of trees by their leaves, and she can observe how the trees grow. To create a lasting memory of your wonderful walk, you can collect a few leaves, place them on a sheet of paper and color them with a crayon. This will produce an imprint of the leaf to have for the future.

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  1. Volunteer in your community. Many communities have public gardens where children and parents come to plant their own flowers to contribute to the beauty of the community. If your community doesn’t have a garden, consider starting one. This will teach your child the importance of being involved and giving back.

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  1. Plan a treasure hunt. For more enjoyment, include the whole neighborhood.

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  1. Prepare new summer recipes. Encourage your child to use his skills to help with the ingredients and measurements. Soon, he’ll be cooking meals for you.

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  1. Take some of your old clothes and place them in a chest. Now, you can have a dress-up day, which is a perfect inside activity for a rainy day. Your child will love dressing up just like mom!

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  1. Create a craft table. Prepare a corner in your child’s playroom or bedroom with a table for craft activities, such as drawing, painting or building. This makes for another great indoor activity for rainy days.

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  1. Stargaze. On a warm, clear night, sit outside with your child and observe the various Talk about what you can and cannot see with the human eye. Enjoy the starry night!

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  1. Teach your child to conserve water during her daily activities. Since we enjoy pools, oceans and lakes during the summer months, this is a good time to teach your little one about the dangers of pollution and the effects it can have to our oceans and lakes.

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Good Sportsmanship Is a Learned Skill

Being a part of a team, whether it is a sports team or a debate team, can cause the competitive side of children to surface. There is value in talking to your child about being a good sport both in winning and in losing. Emphasize the old saying, “there is no I in team.” Explain to your child that teams work together, win together and sometimes lose together.

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Learning to display good sportsmanship both when winning and when losing is a valuable life lesson. Our natural reaction is to be excited about winning, which sometimes can result in bragging. The act of being happy without bragging to others is an important skill. Our natural reaction to losing is to be upset, and this may cause us to place the blame on a someone. The skill is remembering that it is okay to be upset without blaming yourself, your teammates or members of the opposing team. As parents, we see our children as MVPs (and of course they are), but we should support our children and teach them to be happy for the winning team and be humble when their team wins. A great strategy is to encourage your child to move forward and start preparing for future games.

 

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When your children sign up to be on a team, remind them that winning is not the most important goal. It is more important for them to do their best and to work with the other team members to create a fun environment for all the children, their parents and the community.