Back to School Blog # 3: Sleep supports Success

Standard

4313920244_ce62b5b1e4_o

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!

Advertisements

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

Standard

trail mix

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

Standard

Pick-A-Pocket Bags

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!

Woohoo for Watermelon!

Standard

3963187280_44f43f2e6a_o

Here in CNY, it may hit close to 100 degrees the next few days. What does that mean? Beat the heat by loading up on the watermelon. Here are five reasons I love watermelon and you should too.

Watermelon is hydrating

The heat increases your risk of becoming dehydrated and if you are like me, I can only drink so much water so I like to eat foods with a high content of water. Watermelon is comprised of 92 percent water, which makes it an ideal food to help prevent dehydration.

Watermelon can decease your risk of heart disease

Watermelon has a lot of lycopene, an amazing antioxidant that can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two risk factors for heart disease. Watermelon also contains citrulline, an amino acid, which increases nitric oxide in your blood and nitric oxide helps your blood vessels expand, lowering blood pressure.

Watermelon is good for your eyes

Lycopene is the star again! Several studies have found that lycopene can help prevent macular degeneration, which is a common eye problem in older adults that at times can cause blindness.

Watermelon is good for your skin and hair

Obviously in the heat, sunscreen is important! You can also help counteract the damage the sun does to your skin and hair by eating watermelon! Watermelon is high in vitamin C and A. Vitamin C increases collagen, a protein that keeps your skin smooth and your hair strong. Vitamin A repairs skin cells, preventing dry, flaky skin.

Watermelon is a win with the kids

I have never met a kid who doesn’t love watermelon. This is one of the healthiest summer treats to bring to your next cookout or picnic and it will be a hit with all of the kiddos!

Woohoo for watermelon! Oh so sweet—oh so delicious—and oh so healthy!

 

 

Go Local with Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk

Standard

3d_Lactose_Free_Group

It’s that time of year when farmers markets are bustling with people excited to add fresh, local veggies and fruits to their meals. I love supporting the Go Local movement with all my food choices and one new local product that I’m excited about Is Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk. And I can buy it year-round!

If you’re from Central New York, you probably recognize the “Byrne” part of the name—it’s an icon! There are dozens of Byrne Dairy stores throughout the area. Guess what? Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk comes from the same tradition!

The story of the Byrne Hollow Farm brand of milks, which hit the market in 2014, actually began way back in 1933 when Syracuse-native, Matt Byrne, began delivering milk in glass containers by horse-drawn wagon! Matt Byrne worked with local farms that he was sure would supply the freshest and highest-quality milk.

The Byrne family tradition continues. Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free milk is sourced exclusively by one family farm–the Hourigan Family Dairy. Each day, milk is picked up from their farm and delivered to the bottling plant, only 25 miles away! You can’t get fresher than that!

So many of my clients have a hard time digesting dairy because of the lactose. This milk is good news for them because Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk, as its name suggests, is lactose-free! Lactose is broken down into simple sugars (glucose and galactose) by the addition of the enzyme lactase to create sugars that are more easily digested.

Some clients who are lactose-intolerant ask me if I would recommend an alternative to milk such as almond milk or rice milk and I advise them to consider Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk instead, especially for their kids. A 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that children who drank almond, soy, or rice milk were shorter than their peers who drank cow’s milk. Children’s height is one indicator of their overall health. Alternative milks lack the protein and nutrients that are essential for proper growth in early childhood.

Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Whole Milk is so much more than just lactose-free. A serving of this rich, creamy, oh-so-delicious milk offers 15 percent of your daily vitamin D and 20 percent of your calcium needs and gives you 8 grams of protein! Like all Byrne Hollow Farm milks, this lactose-free milk is free of antibiotics, artificial growth hormones (rBST-free), and is non-GMO.

What type of milk do you have at your family table? I highly suggest giving Byrne Hollow Farm Lactose-Free Milk a go. Now you can support the Farm-to-Table movement with your milk choice, even if you or your kiddos are lactose-intolerant! No tummy aches with this choice!

Kelly Springer is the founder of Kelly’s Choice nutritional company. For more nutrition tips, visit www.kellyschoice.org and find Kelly’s Choice dietitians’ advice throughout social media. Click here for Facebook. Click here for Instagram. Click here for LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Happy National Picnic Day

Standard

2735043027_58a0db8f0d_o

Like many other places across the U.S., Old Man Winter has not wanted to leave Central New York. National Picnic Day is celebrated April 23 every year because it is usually picnic weather. And how serendipitous is it that it is has actually been a sunny weekend with temperatures in the high 50s for the first time this spring! Tomorrow, April 23, National Picnic Day, is looking to be sunny and in the mid-60s!

I’m celebrating. You should too! If you fear you don’t have time, here are some quick picnic packing ideas that adults and kiddos will both love. Picnics are one of the best family bonding experiences you can have!

Whole-grain sandwiches:

Get creative with your sandwiches!

  • Choose a whole grain bread.
  • Add your protein: tuna, egg salad, nitrate-free deli meat, or hummus (great choice for vegans).
  • Load up the veggies. Lettuce and tomato are not your only veggie options. Try sliced cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, or roasted red pepper—yum!!!
  • Add your spread. You can get more original than mayo or mustard here too! I love using mashed avocado, hummus or a low-fat Goddess dressing for a sandwich spread.

Quick Grab and Go options:

Here are some great sides:

  • Olives galore. Visit your local olive bar and choose a wide variety. Have fellow picnic-goers choose which type is their favorite!
  • Air-popped popcorn. Try different types of seasoning and again, vote for your favorite type!
  • Homemade trail mix. Mix raw nuts with dried fruit and maybe some dark chocolate chips.
  • Fruit skewers. Bring along different types of fruits like bananas, strawberries, mango, chopped watermelon and cantaloupe. The kids can choose the fruit they like to make their own fruit skewers.

Drinks:

Water of course is the best option, but for a little bit of added fun, bring a couple of different 100% fruit juice options and lemon, raspberry, or lime-flavored seltzer waters. Make sure you bring cups and you can mix half fruit juice and half seltzer for a delicious fruit spritzer drink!

C’mon, go out and have a picnic tomorrow—it will be fun. You will boost your health with delicious food, family bonding and a blessed dose of vitamin D from the sunshine!

 

Get your Kids Excited about Eating Healthfully

Standard

3800306463_dda1b213da_o

My girls love to eat healthy and this warms my heart. I have many clients who tell me that their kids are picky eaters or that they have no interest in trying new and healthy foods. Well, here are some tips they may just excite your kids about eating healthfully.

Play a game in the supermarket

Have each child pick out three snacks that they think are healthy to add to your cart. Getting them involved in the shopping process helps spark their interest in healthy eating. Empower them to make good food choices.

Get creative with cooking and let them help!

I make my girls whole grain pancakes that look like Mickey Mouse or a bowl of oatmeal with a smiley face made with raisins…little things like this get kids excited to eat healthy! There are great recipes out there that are kid-friendly and fun too—check out this website to give some a whirl.

Our government has some pretty awesome kids’ recipes too! Check them out!

Go for colorful

Kids are attracted to vibrant colors. I keep red, green, and yellow peppers on hand. My girls eat them like an apple. You can also cut them into strips and use ranch or hummus as a dip for them.

I keep frozen grapes and berries in the freezer. The perfect healthy snack or dessert. We also use them in smoothies.

Make up cool names for veggies

A 2009 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that kids are more likely to eat food with cool names. Introduce them to power peas, x-ray vision carrots, or dinosaur trees (broccoli).

Grow your food

Kids love playing in the dirt! Easy to grow veggies like beans and tomatoes will excite them! Tomatoes in particular grow well in containers too—no big yard needed!

Eat together

Research shows that families that eat dinner together typically have healthier diets that are higher in fruits, vegetables, and calcium and lower in saturated fat.

Try these ideas out with your kiddos! I find that it actually keeps me on top of my nutrition too!