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!

 

 

Advertisements

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!

 

 

New Year’s Resolution: Convert your Kids to Healthy Snackers

Standard

5330108093_46f5eee785_o

Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country. It’s not uncommon for children to be overweight, but think about the convenience foods on the market. They are loaded with sugar…even some foods that we think are “healthy.”  And. sugar converts to fat and has even spiked incidents of type-2 diabetes in children

Start reading labels when you go grocery shopping and have your children “investigate” with you. Look at yogurt for example; it’s marketed as healthy, but many yogurts have 16 or more grams of sugar. That’s crazy—every four grams of sugar represents a teaspoon and your kids up to the age of 8 really should not be having more than 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This means that one container of yogurt could take up all the added sugar they should have in a day (try plain Greek yogurt instead and add fruit for sweetness).  Older kids and teenagers should limit themselves to no more than 5 to 8 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

You will find that sugar is everywhere when it comes to packaged foods, so your best bet is to try to get your kids hooked on fresh fruit for a sweet treat. Here are some other healthy snack ideas:

  • Mixed Nuts
  • Trail Mix
  • Edamame Poppers
  • Hummus Dippers
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Tuna and Whole Grain Crackers
  • Roasted Chickpeas
  • Popcorn
  • String Cheese
  • Hardboiled Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt & Berries
  • Dried Fruit
  • Frozen Watermelon Kiwi Or Grapes
  • Melon Kabobs
  • Cherry Tomato & Cheese Kabobs
  • Whole Grain Cereal Dry

Also make sure that your kids drink a lot of water, avoid soda, and when they drink juice, make sure that it is 100 percent fruit juice.

I hope these tips help you help your kids! It takes a little planning, but the snacks I listed are “almost” as convenient as sugary granola bars, yogurts and other not-so-healthy snacks that are marketed otherwise.

Halloween Advice for Parents

Standard

IMG_3003

Halloween is almost here! Are you worried about all of the sweets that will invade your home after your kids go trick-or-treating ? In this blog entry, I will teach you some strategies for limiting your kids’ sweets consumption and I will give you some options that you can pass out to trick-or-treaters so that you aren’t contributing to the onslaught of unhealthy “goodies” kids are bringing home.

Okay, so let’s talk about the ingredients found in most candy these days. Look for these ingredients and toss most of the candies that contain them. I’m not saying you have to trash them all, but at least educate yourself on these sneaky, yucky chemicals

High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High-Fructose Corn Syrup is so ubiquitous in candy because it is cheap. We know that too much sugar all together is a bad thing, but the reason why I am especially concerned with high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener is because in addition to a ridiculously high content of fructose, it also contains other chemical toxins. What we know, for example, is that chloralkali is used in making HFCS, and it contains mercury. While some may argue that it is a “trace” amount of mercury, I am going to do whatever I can to limit the amount of mercury entering my daughters’ bloodstreams.

Partially-Hydrogenated Oils

Partially-hydrogenated oils are trans fats and trans fats contribute to high cholesterol, obesity, and subsequently heart disease. It is also important for children to avoid trans fats because they block the utilization of healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids that children need for optimal brain development.

Artificial Dyes

Commonly-used food dyes like Yellow #5, Yellow #6, and Red #40 are made from petroleum and have been shown to be carcinogenic in various research studies. Additionally, studies have shown that consumption of artificial dyes contribute to hyperactivity and behavioral problems and should especially be avoided by children on the autism spectrum or those who have ADHD. Note that “caramel color” is also an artificial dye.

Does this scare you? One thing you can do to combat these toxins is to make sure your kids have extra vegetables (you can even sneak them into smoothies) so that they fight the free radicals produced by this junk food.

And, as I promised, here is the list of options you can give out so as to lessen the junk that your trick-or-treaters bring home:

  • Stickers
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Halloween-themed Pencils
  • Halloween-themed Erasers
  • Halloween-themed rings (spiders—eek!)
  • Bottled Water
  • Swirly Straws
  • Bubbles
  • Glow sticks
  • Whistles
  • Crayons

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Halloween!

 

 

October 10-14 is National School Lunch Week

Standard

I don’t know about you, but for me growing up, our school lunches were far from nutritious. French fries and ketchup counted as vegetable. Even tomato sauce on pizza counted as a vegetable. When a vegetable side was served, it was always mushy—what kid would consider eating veggies like that? Well, I have good news for you!school_lunch

School lunches are getting healthier! So don’t totally freak out if you aren’t able to prepare your kids’ lunches from time to time. Looking at my daughters’ school menu, I see choices like turkey tacos with roasted carrot “fries,” fish sticks with seasoned broccoli, and chicken fajitas with  marinated cucumbers. Not too terrible if you ask me!

Statistics back the fact that school lunches are getting healthier. A federal report released last spring showed that the nutritional profile of school meals in the United States had improved substantially since higher government standards went into effect in 2012. Nearly 80 percent of schools offered two or more vegetables per meal in 2014, the data showed, up from 62 percent in 2000. Two or more fruits were offered in about 78 percent of schools, up from 68 percent in 2000. About a third of schools now have salad bars.

Our kids need healthy lunches to perform well in school, to develop healthfully, and to conquer the obesity epidemic.  School Lunch Week is sponsored by the School Nutrition Association; the theme this year is “Show your Spirit,” which reminds parents, school officials, and students that a healthy school lunch helps students power through the day! The School Nutrition Association website has a plethora of fun resources to help make this week effective and celebratory. Click here to check them out!