Back to School Blog # 3: Sleep supports Success

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My girls are headed back to school and that means things will be getting a little bit more organized around here. Back to school means back to routines. Gone are the days of staying up past midnight and sleeping until noon! During the school week, I make sure my girls are in bed by a decent hour so that they can get a good night of sleep and be ready to take on the school day.

Sleep is so important especially for kids as this is a critical time for their development. Endless studies have shown the benefits of a good night’s sleep including improving cognitive function, memory, and increasing energy levels.

To make sure your kids are getting all of these benefits, first things first, make sure your kids are getting into bed so that they can get at least  nine hours of sleep. To help them keep up with this, stay on them each night about getting in bed at the same time. Get them in a routine.

It’s best to stop using electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. My kids are so connected all the time but when bedtime rolls around, their phones go off. There’s been a number of studies done to show the negative effects looking at your phone before bed can have on your sleep. Looking at an illuminated screen actually excites your mind and wakes you up rather than helping put it at ease. If you have little ones, I recommend reading a book or two with them before bed. If they’re a bit older, encourage them to read books on their own before bed!

One last tip I have is to get your kids moving during the day. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help regulate sleep patterns and make for a better night’s sleep. Instead of letting them lounge on the couch on the iPad or watching tv when they get home from school, encourage them to go and play outside in the nice weather while we still have it!

I hope these sleep tips help you to get your kids (and maybe you) a better night of sleep as we jump back into the school year!

Back to School Blog # 2: Getting creative with trail mixes

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Looking for a healthy snack for your child in this busy back-to-school season. Trail mixes are your answer. Below are some great mixes that your child will love. Simply choose the recipe you think your kiddos will like best. Fill up a gallon-size Ziploc bag with the ingredients and shake. You can then divvy up the mix into the small snack-size Ziplocs. These are way healthier than most snack packs you would find at the grocery store and you still have the convenience of trail mix snack packs that you can stock in your pantry!

Cranberry and White Chocolate Trail Mix

  • 1 cup Roasted Almonds
  • 1 Cup Roasted Cashews
  • ¼ cup Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • ½ Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Peanut Butter Cup Crunch

  • 1 cup Peanuts
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup peanut butter chips

Superfood Plus

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup coconut shreds
  • ⅓ cut gogi berries

Autumn Mix

  • 1 cup sweet potato chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

I hope your kids enjoy these as much as my girls do!

Back to School Blog #1: Packing Healthy School Lunches even for Picky Eaters

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Do you believe school starts in just over a few weeks?  I’ve had so much fun with my girls this summer and I’m always a little sad to send them back to school come September. But each year it gets a little easier seeing them grow and turn into little ladies!

One thing I’ve been sure to teach both my girls growing up is the importance of nutrition. I always think that I’m so lucky my girls eat everything. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. But I think that this is because they’ve grown up eating this way. From the time they could eat solid foods, I started feeding them veggies, fruits, dairy, meats, and whole grains.

I’ve heard so many parents complain to me about their kids being picky eaters. So if you’ve got a little one coming, my best advice is to start them young! Start making sure that they’re exposed to all the food groups as soon as possible.

But for those of you with the picky eaters, don’t worry there’s still hope! Usually the complaint is that their kids won’t eat fruits and vegetables. Here are some steps to conquer this with your kids’ lunches.

Let’s start with slowly incorporating veggies into their lunch. A great way to do this is to add in more veggies to their sandwiches or wraps. Swap out mayo in a sandwich for hummus. .Hummus is made from chickpeas which is packed with plant-based protein. It’s an easy and delicious switch that your kids will barely notice. Other veggies to include in sandwiches can be spinach, lettuce, cucumbers (they provide a great crunch!), and peppers. Once your kids start getting used to this, I recommend adding in some fresh kid-friendly vegetables like carrots and celery with a dip of some kind as a snack.

Fruit tends to be a little bit easier. They’re naturally sweet so if your kid has a sweet tooth, this is a great way to curb that craving! If they don’t like to eat fruit by itself try pairing it with other food groups. If they love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, swap out the jelly for crushed fresh berries! Another recommendation I make here is to swap out  traditional white bread for a whole grain bread. This is loaded with nutrients and will help your kids stay fuller longer. Some fresh berries with yogurt and granola is also a great way for you kids to get in a fruit serving. My girls love this combo. Bonus: if you use Greek Yogurt, this gets your kiddos more than double the protein of traditional yogurt.

When it comes to packing kids lunches, you may be tempted to pick up some pre-packaged meals. But buyer beware–these tend to have a lot of added sugars and lack the nutrients your kids need. I always recommend making your own lunches for your kids. Doing this ensures you know what your kid is really eating. Just remember- always go back to the main food groups: fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, and meat! Happy Back to School!

Celebrate National Watermelon Day with Watermelon Pizza Cake

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Today is National Watermelon Day! I wrote earlier this summer about the many benefits of watermelon. Click here to read that blog. Made of almost 92% water, the fruit is full of Vitamins A, C, and antioxidants. In honor of this August 3 holiday, Kelly’s Choice intern Celina Rescott came up with this recipe. We’re calling it pizza cake because some of us liked eating it the way you would eat a slice of pizza and some of us used a fork, the way you would eat a piece of cake. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

WATERMELON PIZZA CAKE

SERVING SIZE: 1 slice
SERVINGS PER RECIPE: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

1                              Watermelon

1/2 cup                   Low Fat Greek Yogurt

1 tsp                       Vanilla

1 tbsp.                    Honey or Maple Syrup

¼ cup                     Strawberries sliced in half

¼ cup                     Blueberries

2 tbsp                     Granola of choice*

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut a slice of watermelon right out of the middle about 2-3 inches thick
  2. In a medium bowl combine Low-Fat Greek Yogurt, Vanilla, and Honey or Maple Syrup. Mix until well combined.
  3. Using a spatula, spread yogurt mixture on top of watermelon
  4. Arrange strawberries, blueberries, and granola over top the yogurt.
  5. Cut into 6-8 slices to serve cold!

 

*Choose a low sugar granola with minimal ingredients for the healthiest option!