Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices. Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options
(Family Features) Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed children consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day. Researchers found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which care for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar. When children consume lots of sugar, their palates get used to overly sweet flavors. They may not accept other, less sugary flavors or learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fresh fruit.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2-18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.
For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages.
Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Swap Out Syrup
For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
Eating a nutritious breakfast helps kids start their day off right, and new research reminds us why serving real dairy milk is so important for the first meal of the day, such as this recipe for Bunny Oatmeal.
New Study Suggests This Breakfast Staple Could Help Kids
(Family Features) Eating a nutritious breakfast helps kids start their day off right, and new research reminds us why serving real dairy milk is so important for the first meal of the day. As little as 7 grams of milk protein at breakfast could help set kids up with building blocks they need to grow after a good night’s sleep, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition.
It’s no secret that kids need nutritious foods to fuel their constantly growing bodies, but there’s a period of time when they’re not getting these nutrients – during sleep. Of course kids need sleep – and plenty of it - but as they slumber, they’re using up their body’s energy stores, and if they don’t refuel in the morning it could potentially impact their ability to grow. That’s why a proper breakfast is so important, to ensure kids make up for this overnight fast.
In this new study, University of Toronto researchers gave 28 boys and girls ages 7-11 a breakfast of 170 calories that included 0, 7, 14 or 21 grams of milk protein. While more protein at breakfast was more beneficial, researchers found as little as 7 grams was enough to promote positive effects over the next nine hours.
Serving an 8-ounce glass of milk, which has 8 grams of high-quality protein, each day at breakfast is an easy way to get kids protein they need to support optimal growth and development. In fact, a previous study in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years (all the way through late teens/early twenties) is associated with greater height in the teen years, while research in Osteoporosis International has linked regularly skipping milk to reduced height.¹ ²
Milk is also an easy way to get kids B vitamins to convert food to energy, vitamin A to support a healthy immune system, and phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D to help build strong bones. That’s why experts recommend including milk in kids’ diets. And, with a taste they love, it’s a simple, wholesome and affordable addition to any morning meal.
To kick start your child’s morning, serve a protein-packed breakfast, like this adorable bunny oatmeal, to give them nutrients they need to grow up strong. Not only will it bring a smile to your child’s face, it also gives them 18 grams of high-quality protein when served with a glass of lowfat milk.
For more information and kid-friendly recipe ideas, visit milklife.com.
Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.
¹ Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Relationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.
² Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.
With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well with snacks like this Grape Smoothie Bowl to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Sweet, Simple After-School Snacking
(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.
Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.
Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.
Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.
Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.
This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Find more information and snack ideas at GrapesfromCalifornia.com.
Grape Smoothie Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.SOURCE:
California Table Grape Commission
When school is in session, it’s the perfect time to renew your family’s healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing. While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be with customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes.
Pack a Healthier Lunchbox this School Year
(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.
Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.
Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.
To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Rainbow Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Produce for Kids
Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track.
5 Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition
(Family Features) Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Even if your kids are fairly adaptable, big changes like heading back to school after a summer of limited scheduling can be stressful.
Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track:
Set a Family Schedule
List Family Goals
Buy Supplies Ahead of Time
Find more ideas to ease your family’s transition back to school at MyChinet.com.SOURCE:
(BPT) - The first days of school are filled with excitement and pangs of anxiety, but it doesn’t take long for high school and college students to fall into a routine. Adjusting to the new reality of school can be difficult, but it's the steps students take now that determine their success throughout the school year.
To make sure your child has a successful school year, consider these smart tips. This advice can help you have a great academic experience from now all the way through spring.
1. Eat and sleep well every day
Healthy habits allow the body and mind to be prepared to learn each day. Teenagers (14-17) should get eight to 10 hours each night and young adults (18-25) should get seven to nine hours of sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. On top of adequate rest, make sure to eat wholesome meals starting with a daily breakfast to ensure a hungry stomach is never a distraction in class.
2. Choose the right technology
Advanced classes require note taking, research and more, making a trustworthy laptop a student essential. Stay on budget with the portable LG gram notebook available in 13-, 14- and 15-inch options. With 15 hours of battery on a full charge, students can leave the charger at home, making this ultrabook the perfect fit for students on the go. Featuring Intel’s 7th generation i5 processor and plenty of storage, it's extremely versatile. You can change the display from “Reader mode” to “Movie mode,” which offers versatility for students who plan to use the device for a variety of content.
3. Don't let backpacks weigh you down
High school and college students too often are buzzing through campus with incredibly heavy backpacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight. Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. Select light technology when possible, like the LG gram, the lightest laptop available in its class at just over 2 pounds.
4. Learn smart study habits
How students study influences how well they do in school. Procrastination and last-minute cramming is not effective. The more your child can adopt smart study habits, the better he or she will do in class, plus stress levels will likely decrease. Set times each day to study, preferably not too late at night. Create a quiet, comfortable space free from distractions. If possible, turn the smartphone off or leave it in another room.
5. Reach out for help and available resources
An underutilized resource at high schools and colleges across the country is teacher assistance outside class time. Most professors (and even teacher assistants at colleges) have office hours each week where they help students. If students are struggling or just want to reiterate the material, this is the right opportunity. Swing by the office in person, shoot them an email or set up a video meeting. They are there to help.
6. Strike a balance
There are a lot of demands put on young adults these days. Work, extracurricular activities, classes, study time, exercising, socializing, family time and more make for busy days and nights. It's important to find a balance and set priorities to avoid burnout. Parents can assist children in determining how much they can handle by having an open and honest discussion. Make adjustments as necessary for a happy, healthy school year.
Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor. Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox, and try this recipe for Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip.
6 Ways to Build a Better Lunchbox
(Family Features) Coming up with fresh ideas every day to keep kids’ lunches exciting is no small task. When the goal is an empty lunchbox and a full, happy tummy, the winning combination is a blend of nutrition and flavor.
Step up your game this school year with these ideas for a better lunchbox:
Get creative. Foods that look can good taste good, too. Transform sandwiches into fun shapes using cookie cutters or make tiny heart- or star-shaped, bite-size pieces of cheese for a fun finger food. Another fun idea: thread sliced and bite-sized vegetables on a wooden stick for a no-cook kabob. For a sweet variation, use fruit instead and sprinkle with coconut for extra flavor.
Skip the packaging. Little fingers can struggle to open pre-packaged foods, so instead opt for fresh ingredients that fit into a bento-style box. Not only can kids see what tasty treats await and dig straight into their meals, less packaging means less processing, which is good for their health and the environment.
Keep it simple. Opt for delicious, flavorful foods that deliver nutrients kids need and the taste they want without any extras. An option like Hidden Valley Simply Ranch makes for a rich and creamy complement to carrot sticks, cucumber and other lunchbox staples. With no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors this ranch is perfect for encouraging kids to eat the veggies you pack. Look for Classic Ranch or for a special twist, try flavors such as Cucumber Basil or Chili Lime.
Rely on the familiar. Refueling during the day is important to keep kids focused and able to mentally and physically tackle the rest of the school day. Avoid trying out new foods at lunchtime and save experimenting with new flavors for meals at home.
Go for variety. Representing multiple foods groups isn’t only a good way to deliver good nutrition, the variety in colors and textures can make the meal more interesting and encourage kids to eat more. Include savory meats, crunchy crackers, veggies and sweet fruits.
Add a treat. Whether it’s a favorite fruit or yogurt, a single piece of candy or even a simple note that says “I love you and I’m proud of you,” find a way to add something sweet to every lunch and bring a smile to your child’s daily routine.
Look for more kid-friendly meals at hiddenvalley.com.
Portable Veggie Kabobs with Tangy Veggie Dip
Prep time: 5 minutes
Tip: Add cheese cubes for protein on kabobs, if desired.
Photo courtesy of Mick JonesSOURCE:
With school back in session, many families are beginning to focus on smarter eating habits. Packing your little learner’s lunch with these tasty and fun tips is an easy way to help ensure his or her diet contains enough protein and calcium.
Make Lunchtime Fun Time
Tips for creating back-to-school lunches
(Family Features) With school back in session, many families are beginning to focus on smarter eating habits. Packing your little learner’s lunch is an easy way to help ensure his or her diet contains enough protein and calcium.
By letting your kids play a role in planning and packing their lunches, while tossing in a variety of appealing, fun options, you can make sure your students are set up for success.
“For lunches, I like to include mini-foods, like blueberries, strawberries and Mini Babybel cheese, because there is no prep time needed and they are fun to eat with fingers,” said Amy Bellgardt, mother of two and founder of the lifestyle blog Mom Spark. “When lunchtime is easy and enjoyable, my kids are more likely to eat what we’ve prepared together.”
Bellgardt recommends these tips for creating tasty and fun back-to-school lunches.
Pick a theme
“I love to make lunchtime more entertaining for my kids by serving them in themed bento boxes,” Bellgardt said.
Mix it up
Let kids help
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
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