Pre-schoolers

Your Child and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

You’ve probably heard a lot about omega-3 fatty acids. You know you can find them in fish and other healthy fats, and you know you need them- but you might wonder what exactly being an ‘omega-3’ fatty acid means. Well, without going into all of the science-y details, it has to do with the number and position of certain double bonds that hold the fatty acid together.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient. This means that we have to have them, but our body doesn’t make them so we have to make sure we are getting them in our diet. Some common omega-3’s are DHA  and EPA.

Okay, so now we know what they are, but why are they good for us?

While omega-3’s are pretty well known for their benefits to the heart(like lowering the risk of coronary heart disease and the amount of “bad” cholesterol), they have a lot of other MEGA benefits as well. They can also help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain cancers and arthritis. They can help increase bone strength and decrease the chances of developing osteoporosis. They are also crucial for cognitive development in children and infants in the womb, as well as for eye health and helping the body absorb other nutrients. Some studies have even shown that omega-3’s can help slightly improve ADHD symptoms and depression in children.

Recommended Adequate Intakes vary at each stage of childhood:

0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day
1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day
4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day
9 to 13 years (boys): 1.2 grams/day
9 to 13 years (girls): 1.0 grams/day
14 to 18 years (boys): 1.6 grams/day
14 to 18 years (girls): 1.1 grams/day

A lot of people tend to add [...]

Incredible Hulk Juice (or a Clean Green Smoothie for Mom)

If you are subscribed to our INDULGE in Nutrition monthly newsletter you got to read all about National Nutrition Month(NNM) which has been going on throughout the month of March. The theme for NNM this year is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle,” and that is exactly what we have been trying to give you the resources to do! There have been a lot of green things in this kitchen this month- we hope you are loving it. And more importantly, we hope you are teaching your kids to love it!

Before we move on to Easter fun on this blog, we wanted to share one more green recipe! Green smoothies are quick and very easy to personalize. They are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients (all in one drink)! Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients in this particular smoothie:

Dark, leafy greens: Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale- These all promote good blood clotting, healthy vision, immune function, and skin and bone health. The fiber content improves digestive function (hello roughage)! They have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve muscle strength, lower the risk of certain types of cancer, detoxify the body, and act as anti-inflammatory agents. They are also good for women hoping to get pregnant (thanks to the folate content).
Green apples: Can lower your risk of chronic diseases, promote weight loss, and regulate blood sugar. It also is very good for your heart!
Celery stalks: Thanks to it antioxidant content, celery can help us have healthy cells, blood vessels, and organs. It reduces inflammation, can be soothing to our nervous system, regulates pH in the body (no one wants to be acidic), and lowers blood pressure and LDL(“bad” cholesterol. And [...]

Valentine’s Day Snack: Cupid’s Arrows

Valentine’s Day has to be one of the easiest holidays to incorporate theme-appropriate fresh food! It seems like people get more and more creative each year. Food shaped like a heart, a dessert turned pink or red, and aphrodisiacs make it fun to cook for this holiday!

Maybe you’re looking for a fun-but still healthy snack to bring to your child’s class Valentine’s Day party. (Is that this week?!) Or maybe an appetizer or dessert to serve at your own Valentine’s Day get together. Even if you’re just searching for a creative snack to make with your little ones, Valentine’s Day Cupid’s Berrows (arrows, made with berries…see what I did there?) are the perfect way to celebrate the day.

All you need:

wooden skewers
blueberries
strawberries
honeydew melon or cantaloupe .

**(This recipe can also be made using veggies of your choice, like cherry tomatoes with cheese.)

Wash and sort your berries, then cut a wedge out of the top of your strawberries so that it makes a heart shape (like you see in the picture). You can also buy a small heart cookie cutter if you want the really easy way!

Spear the blueberries(about 5 or 6) in a line down the skewer.

Place a strawberry onto the end of each skewer.

Slice your melon into V-shaped pieces for the end (or is it the top?) of the arrow.

Alternate blueberries and melon pieces until you get 2-3 melon pieces onto your arrow.

And there you have it, a simple, fresh, and delicious Valentine’s Day treat for little people and adults alike. 🙂

XOXO

 

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    Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Fuel Up the Right Way This Week – 6 Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

This week we wanted to share with our readers an assortment of quick and healthy breakfast recipes from some our favorite blogs on the web. These posts can all be converted into make ahead, grab and go breakfasts, or are quick to throw together in the mornings. They feature a fruit or vegetable, are minimally processed, and have no or low sugar. What more could you ask for?

 

This Creamy, Dreamy Tropical Smoothie recipe from My Recipes is quick to create. The only sugar comes from the yummy pineapple and the healthy greek yogurt! You could easily add spinach or kale to get an extra serving of veggies in your kids to start their day off with.

 

Looking for something a little more savory, but still just as easy? Mary at Barefeet In The Kitchen has created a delicious Bacon, Potato, and Vegetable Breakfast Hash. You could personalize this recipe to include your family’s favorite vegetables. Simply chop your vegetables at the beginning of the week (I do all of this on Sundays), refrigerate them in an airtight container to keep fresh, and just throw it all in a skillet each morning with eggs and seasoning.

If you’re looking for a make ahead muffin, Sugar Free Mom, Brenda, has a great recipe for you! Sugar Free & Dairy Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins are a breeze to make and freeze or store in an airtight container to use throughout the week as breakfast, lunch box additions, or after school snacks. The muffins use vegetables as their star, are made with clean ingredients, and also have a gluten free option!

 

4-Ingredient Almond Butter Cookies from Melissa at My Whole Food Life can be made using any kind of nut butter, and can trick your kiddos into thinking they’re [...]

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    Childhood Obesity Awareness Month + Easy Carrot & Oat Cookies

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month + Easy Carrot & Oat Cookies

If you’ve gotten a chance to read our September newsletter (subscribe here), you know that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Studies and statistics tell us that over 17% of the nation’s children and teenagers were considered obese in 2012- a figure that is increasing every year. These kids have an increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases, several types of cancers, joint problems, sleep apnea, asthma, and high blood pressure. They are also likely to experience a lowered self-esteem and social discomfort.

Those numbers and facts are frightening, to say the least. So what can you as a parent do to help fight childhood obesity in your own home? If your child is overweight or obese, it is important to scale back their calories (mostly from added fats and sugars) but to also allow them enough calories for normal growth and development.  Find ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts and legumes into your daily menu. Kids aren’t famous for their vegetable intake, but there are ways to sneak it into their food without them knowing.

My mom is notorious among our friends and family for her Vegetable Cakes. She uses box cake mix, eggs, water, and tons of grated vegetables like squash, zucchini, carrots, and cabbage.  People LOVE them! The trick is that she doesn’t tell them what kind of cake it is until after they try it (and love it).

Today I want to share a similar recipe for a cookie chock-full of veggies with no sugar (besides that from natural ingredients).

I’m not sure if more of this dough went in my mouth or in the oven, but they taste great either way. This is one cookie you DON’T have to feel guilty about 🙂
Natural Carrot & Oat Cookies

Back In the Swing of Things

A new school year can also bring with it new stresses. And as we all know, stress can be one of the biggest preventers of weight loss and can increase your risk of hypertension and other health problems. More stress can lead to fast food meals, lower sleep quality, and overall compromised health. Here are a few tips to help you stay de-stressed this school year so you can enjoy and make the most of this new school year!

1. Take advantage of your school’s online menu. Most schools will post the month’s meal calendar for parents to view. You can then plan the days you want to pack your child a lunch accordingly. It will save you tons of time and energy by planning ahead.

2. Being a mom is the biggest job in the world in my opinion, so taking time for yourself is one of the hardest (but most necessary) things for moms to do. Whenever you can fit some “me time” in is wonderful– whether that be 15 minutes in the morning, a hot bath or shower after the kids are asleep, or a quick run in the afternoon while the kids are in school. Get a few minutes alone, for your sake as well as your family’s.

3. Make sure you are staying active.  Try clearing your schedule for a 20 or 30 minute walk with your kids after school. It can be a fun way to hear about their day and get a little moving in too! Walking your kids to the bus can also be a great way to incorporate physical activity and can also be used as your alone time in the morning.

4. Stock up on groceries at the beginning of the [...]

Monkey See, [Monkey Hear]- Monkey Do

We’ve already talked about the importance of showing your kids how to eat healthy rather just telling them. And while your kid is more likely to practice healthy eating habits if they see you doing so, it’s also important to make sure they have a small understanding of why you make those decisions.

This is my mom!

Growing up, I never heard my mom say she was eating healthy to be thin. I don’t even really remember hearing her talk about her weight or her body image. She was my mom and I wanted to be just like her! (I still do.) It wasn’t necessary for me to know how food would affect my weight, but she was always sure to tell me the facts on the food she was feeding me.

“This carrot juice is good for your eyes and skin.” — so I drank it, even though I really didn’t like it!

“These Brussels sprouts are SO good for you.” — so I ate them. (Ok, I only would ever eat just ONE of them. But now I love them!) She probably tried cooking those suckers 10 different ways to try to get my brother and I to eat them. Congrats Mom, it worked. I love them and voluntarily make them. A lot.

“Tomatoes have a ton of vitamin C, help fight cancer and kidney stones, and are a great source of vitamin K.”– Not gonna lie, I still hate them. But sometimes I eat them anyways. (Hey, some tastes are just inherent.)

“Take this fish oil. It’ll make you smarter and make your skin pretty!” — She knew just what to say to appeal to my inner-nerd. I took it every day before my ACT my junior [...]

Love you Berry Much Smoothie

Valentine’s Day. A chocolate and candy lovers dream. Have you walked through the stores? Red and pink deliciousness everywhere. It makes it difficult to think outside of that little red chocolate heart box to think of anything healthy for Valentine’s day. So we are doing the thinking for you! You and your loved ones are going to love this yummy, healthy Valentine’s Day smoothie.

The pretty red color comes from the secret ingredient, beets. Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. They won’t know they are drinking such an antioxidant rich drink!

Last year, I posted about pink pancakes that also has beets as a secret ingredient. Check out the post to find out how to roast beets and make a healthy Valentine’s breakfast. Go ahead and roast 2-3 beets so you can make smoothies and pancakes! What a funtritious Valentine’s breakfast!

Once the beets are roasted this smoothie recipe is super easy. Just blend a beet, yogurt, orange juice, and frozen berries.

And don’t worry. This recipe has been kid tested and approved!

Recipe for 2 servings
Ingredients

1 cup greek yogurt with honey
1 medium roasted beet cut into chunks
1 cup orange juice
2 cups frozen mixed berries

Directions
Blend together in your favorite mixer and enjoy your healthy Valentine’s drink!

BOOnanas

The trick to Halloween is making nutritious food fun – funtritious!  It is easy for nutritious food to get booted among the piles of candy and sweets during all the Halloween craze, but with these funtritious treats it is easy to not let it happen to you and your family.

I’m not sure who was the creative mastermind who originally came up with these super cute BOOnanas that have invaded pinterest, but I applaud them!  These are healthy, fun and super easy to make. We made them for a Halloween snack, but you can also make it for a side at dinner or a dessert. Bananas are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and an excellent source of vitamin B6.

This is the perfect snack to get your kids in the kitchen with you to make some fun memories.  It was easy enough for my 2 year old to do.  Remember to keep it fun and let your kids place the chocolate chips on the bananas to make fun faces.  I did have to limit the amount of chocolate chips available to my chocolate loving son, so that might be a good idea for you too.

BOOnanas (Super fun video of my little one making BOOnanas)

Go grab some bananas and a small bag of chocolate chips to make some funtritious BOOnanas.  And remember to have a spooky fun Halloween!

Bribing with Food

It is official. My little one is no longer little. 🙁 He no longer sleeps in a crib and is no longer wearing diapers.  He isn’t actually sleeping in a big boy bed yet even though we took his crib away two months ago. He prefers sleeping on the ground right next to the door instead of his bed. I keep telling myself this is not a big deal, but I am secretly wishing that someday soon he will discover that a bed is really more comfortable than the ground.

Potty training with Elmo went surprisingly well the first five days, then we regressed. This is when I discovered the power of a bribe with a two year old deprived (at least in the eyes of my family) of sweets. We started with a “special treat” aka yogurt covered raisins, for just sitting on his potty and another for using it. This worked so well, that on day two we just gave them for using the potty. We are two weeks into potty training and have very few accidents. Yay for small blessings! (Who am I kidding, in a mommy’s eyes BIG blessings!) Since we are still giving special treats for using the potty I am wondering how long the pantry will need to be stocked with yogurt covered raisins?!?

As a dietitian I gotta tell you, I feel super guilty about bribing/rewarding my kid with food. All the experts and books advice against it including me (most of the time.) Usually stickers are recommended in its place. Then I tell myself it isn’t that bad because at least it is a relatively healthy food. This makes me feel a little better. Giving my child a [...]

By |April 30th, 2013|Pre-schoolers|4 Comments|