Back to School Lunches & Snacks

BACK TO SCHOOL

LUNCHES & SNACKS

 

 

The following ideas are general and do not take personal or social circumstances, food allergies/sensitivities, philosophies, specialized diets or medical conditions into consideration.    To discuss individual concerns and receive individualized counseling and dietary/behavioral suggestions, contact an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) who is highly experienced in pediatric concerns.


Children who learn about nutrition may make healthier food choices through their lifespan. They are naturally curious about how food affects their bodies.  Involving them in the selection and preparation of their meals and snacks will help them understand how diet directly affects their energy, fitness, mental acuity, test scores, mood and health. Be enthusiastic about their taking care of themselves and reaching their peak potentials through diet.
 

Tips for Parents

  • Include your child in planning their diet. 
  • With your child, create a list of their favorite and least favorite lunches and snacks.  Consider their tendencies toward crunchy or smooth, spicy or mild, hot or cold, individual items or mixed foods.
  • Together, design a calendar of weekly menus and shopping lists.
  • Bring your child with you to the grocery store or open-air market.
  • Encourage nutritious, satisfying foods. 
  • Healthy lunches and frequent snacks minimize after-school hunger and may curb carb cravings.
  • It’s okay if kids regularly repeat their favorite veggies and fruits. 
  • Provide easy to eat foods due to brief lunch periods, snack breaks and distractions.
  • Some children eat very little at one sitting.  Consider packing “appetizers” instead of a big sandwich and whole piece of fruit.
  • Some children like ingredients packed individually. They create their own sandwich or they may eat the ingredients separately.
  • Cut sandwiches into bite-sized pieces or turn them into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Have your child select a lunchbox, thermos and water bottle with their favorite color or pattern. 

 
Strive for Wholesome Foods


To support optimal health and wellbeing, buy foods that are organic and free of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, nitrates and nitrites.  Vegetarian, vegan, dairy and gluten free diets can provide optimal nutrition if selected and consumed wisely.   See a qualified RDN to confirm adequate nutrition intake and supplementation as needed.

 
A Few Smart Swaps

  • Whole grain bread, wraps, crackers or pretzels instead of white.
  • Whole fruit instead of fruit snacks or leathers.
  • Organic nut butter and fruit spread or banana for a healthy PB & J. 

 
A Few Alternatives to Sandwiches

  • Hummus, egg, tuna, or chicken salad with whole-grain crackers, pita wedges or wrap and veggies or fruit.
  • Whole grain pasta salad with legumes, cheese, chicken, or veggies.
  • Chili (vegetarian or meat based) made with beans.
  • Macaroni and cheese made with real cheese (dairy or non-dairy).

 
A Few Smart Snacks – Protein & Fiber are Key

  • Wholesome yogurt with cereal, granola, nuts or seeds.
  • Wholesome crackers, pita, veggie sticks or fruit with nut butter, hummus, guacamole or low fat cheese (dairy or non-dairy).
  • Unsalted nuts or trail mix.
  • Protein-based smoothie.
  • Wholesome nutrition bar.

 
We wish you and your children a happy, healthy school year!

Sugar's Dirty Little Secrets

Sugar's Dirty Little Secrets


Americans may have a sweet tooth but this love for sugar is not so sweet for our health or waistline. A study recently published in JAMA has connected excess sugar consumption to heart disease. Sugar has also been linked to increased risk for type 2 diabetes as well as obesity.
 
On average, Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar daily.  This amounts to 350 empty calories which can increase weight by 36 pounds per year!  By contrast, the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommends only 6 teaspoons per day of added sugar for adult women and 9 teaspoons daily for adult men. “Added sugar” refers to sugar added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, including all sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. To determine the amount of sugar in a specific product, food labels display the total amount in grams right on the package (4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar).
 
 
Still wooed by sweets?  Check out the soon to be released movie, That Sugar Film,which follows the story of Damon Garneau, a healthy man who decides to experiment with a high sugar diet. Through his journey, Damon faces unexpected negative consequences.  Along the way, he learns many shocking truths consumers should know about sugar, the industry, and much more. This film will definitely give you pause next time you reach for a cookie!  Click on the link to see a preview of the film.
 
(http://www.laemmle.com/search?q=That+sugar+film&x=0&y=0)

How Healthy is Your Health Food Store?

How Healthy is Your Health Food Store?


Do you shop for health enhancing food?   If so, your intentions are admirable, but regardless of your efforts, you may not be getting all the advantages you imagine.  Nutrition claims, packaging design and missing information can seduce you into purchasing food that may be less healthy than they appear. Become supermarket savvy to get the edge that yields true benefits.
 
BUZZWORD BETRAYAL?
Organic butter is still butter, raw sugar is still sugar, and hormone free sausage is still sausage. Purchasing wholesome products that are pure, less processed and “cleaner” may carry elements of advantage, but at their core, the nutrition value and its impact on health risk may be identical to the original version.   
 
HALO EFFECT
Many buzzwords and health food stores can be thought of as having a “halo effect”.  This is when one positive attribute of an item, concept or company is generalized to a positive belief about the entire entity.  Edward Thorndike, a psychologist known for his work in belief systems, behavior and reinforcement, coined this phrase and concept; it is akin to judging a book (food) by its cover.
 
Research strongly reveals that consumers are more likely to buy products with buzzwords that imply health promotion, regardless of the foods true nutritional value.   Advertisers and food manufacturers proudly display these buzzwords which help their product sell faster than their competitor’s version.   But the product should be considered in its totality.  Regardless of the product’s wholesome element, it could still raise risk of medical concerns (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.)  Organic Oreos are still Oreo cookies; Whole Foods’ sweetened yogurt is still a sugar laden yogurt. 
 
The aisles and “grab and go” cases may have “halo labeling” such as “organic, locally sourced, free range, gluten free, whole grain, and vegan” but these products aren’t necessarily angelic.  We need to make our best judgements based on the facts, i.e. appropriate serving size and content of calories, fat, sugar, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein as well as vitamin and mineral content.  Be sure the underlying facts suit your goals/needs.  Many markets and health food stores don’t provide these essential nutrition facts in their “grab and go” or deli case. In these circumstances, consumers often buy and eat larger portions of food making it harder to lose weight or achieve greater health. 
 
The “halo effect” of health food stores or health food brands can seduce us into thinking that any item at their Deli, Salad Bar, Hot Food, and Baked Goods sections may be suitable for health.  If no nutrition facts are available for analysis, err on the side of caution and purchase only small amounts of that food. 
 
By becoming supermarket savvy, a conscious consumer can avoid the pitfalls set by marketing strategists. 
 

  1. Rely on whole foods more often than prepared meals.
  2. Buy prepared meals as long as there is enough nutrition information available to judge its usefulness in your diet.
  3. Read labels—look at serving size and nutrition facts.
  4. Shop at markets where full disclosure of information is revealed.
  5. Go on an educational tour of a grocery store with your Dietitian/Nutritionist.

 
Purchasing “natural, organic, free-range, locally grown or fair trade goods” may show commendable behavior, but a true understanding of the product and mindful eating must be used when purchasing and consuming “health” food.
 
Always feel free to contact your Dietitian Nutritionist who has the authoritative answers that clarify your best selections.  

Healthy Shopping!

Summer Hydration Tips

Summer Hydration Tips


How paradoxical.  We live beside the vast Pacific Ocean yet we face the most dangerous drought in history.  Water’s extreme importance influences critical factors, externally and internally.   

Rationing water for our own personal consumption is paramount for optimal health. Discover how and why hydration is so essential to our wellbeing, especially during the hot summer months ahead.
 
Approximately 65% of our bodies are composed of water.  It is the element upon which almost every mechanism of functioning is dependent.  It stimulates clearer thinking, transports nutrients, aids in metabolism, maintains cellular equilibrium, bolsters gastrointestinal system competence, drives removal of waste products, regulates body temperature, and provides countless other key functions as well.
 

WEIGHT LOSS
Nerves in our stomach communicate with our brain signaling fullness based on stomach expansion.   You may hasten weight loss by cutting your hunger and calorie intake by drinking 8 oz. water before and during your meals. 

In addition, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading us to overeat, when our bodies actually need more fluid, not more calories.  Whenever you feel “hungry”, ask yourself if you’re truly physically hungry, or not.  Try drinking a hot or cold beverage instead of eating and see if all you really needed was liquid, not food. 
 

BRAIN POWER
Strong mental focus, concentration and acuity rely on adequate hydration.  Conversely, fatigue and tiredness are often linked to dehydration.  To perk up your senses, try using a glass of water instead of using coffee or other liquid stimulants.
 

CLEAR SKIN
Reputable studies have determined that dehydration is not the source of all acne, but drinking more water may help flush out impurities in the skin, resulting in clearer, more glowing skin.
 

REPLENISHING LOSSES
Typically, by the time we feel thirsty, we are already experiencing dehydration. 

  • At the Day’s Beginning - To give your body a strong foundation, drink 8 oz. water when you wake up and before you go out for the day.
  • After Voiding - Replace what your kidneys expel.  Follow your output (urination) with 4+ oz. fluid.
  • After Elimination - Easy, smooth transport of waste products through the GI system is reliant on adequate hydration.  Simply doubling your water intake may help resolve constipation.  This is especially important when eating a diet high in insoluble fiber.  Follow elimination with 4+oz. fluid.


EXERCISE - (SPORTS HYDRATION)

  • Before exercise, drink 4-8 oz. water; during exercise, drink 3-5 oz. water every 20 minutes; after exercise, drink 8+ oz. water.
  • Intensity and duration of exercise affect hydration and fluid needs.   When exercise lasts less than one hour, water is best.  When exercise lasts longer than one hour and is moderate to high-intensity, use electrolyte based fluids.
  • Take breaks to hydrate throughout your routine.  When exercising outdoors, bring water with you or know where water fountains exist. 
  • Well-trained athletes perspire more than those who are less fit.   Extreme physical effort and elevated body temperature requires a more efficient cooling system prompting more extreme perspiration. 


CHILDREN
Children can readily experience dehydration due to many factors, including extensive exercise (especially outdoors in summer heat), fever, and diarrhea.  This summer, be aware of children’s long hours at outdoor camps, sports programs, or days spent at the beach, park or pool.  Activity indoors during peak hours of sun exposure (10-2) can help protect against water loss.

CHILDREN'S WATER NEEDS  
Children need at least six 8 oz. cups of water daily.   Additionally, they should drink 8 oz. water per hour while engaging in recreational outdoor summer exercise.  Add another 8 ounces per half hour of strenuous activity.

TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO DETECT THEIR NEED FOR FLUID
Children should be taught how to detect their need for hydration based on a quick urine check.  Clear/pale yellow nearly odorless urine indicates adequate hydration.  Absence of urination or dark-yellow, strong-smelling urine indicates dehydration.
 
 

CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH GREATER FLUID NEEDS

  • Salt, Sugar, Carbohydrate, Alcohol
    These elements tend to increase needs for fluid.
  • Gender and Body Size
    Men generally perspire more than women and people with larger body size sweat more than those who are trimmer.
  • Air Travel, Temperature, Humidity, Altitude
    Plane flights and high air temperature, humidity, and altitude increase fluid needs.

 
GLASS vs PLASTIC
Invest in a glass water bottle to avoid any potential leaching of chemicals from plastic water bottles (BPA and others) and to lessen your carbon impact on the planet. 


ALTERNATIVES TO WATER
When adults and children don’t drink enough water, try alternatives that may be more appealing, thirst quenching and just as rehydrating: “spa water” (add mint, cucumber and/or sliced fruit to water), diluted 100-percent juice or sports drinks.  Ice cubes or popsicles made with fresh fruit can make hydration fun and yummy. 


REMINDERS
To build a habit of regular fluid intake throughout the day, set a friendly reminder on your phone.  Also, keep your water bottle in sight while at work or keep a pitcher of chilled spa water in close reach while at home.
 

This summer, take measures to help modify the drought, but not at your body’s expense.  Enjoy the pleasures that come with substantial hydration.  It’s a critical and refreshing practice; you’ll feel the difference.

Spring into Summer Health

Spring into Summer Health

Quarterly Resolutions Review

Spring is here, to be enjoyed in full measure.  On the horizon is summertime swimsuit season.  Now is a good time to reflect on the resolutions you made at the start of the year.  Without judgment, review the goals you made in January.    See which ones may be working favorably and which ones need readjustment.  The following tips may help you reach your goals more easily.

Plan then Act

Write down the goals you wish to accomplish including practical, feasible dates by which you plan to achieve them.  If your goals are health or weight related, change may occur more easily if you become accountable to yourself through a tracking system.  Record your food intake, exercise, energy and other features that help you recognize smooth as well as tough spots.  Reinforce positive progress.  Integrate new strategies to make tough spots easier.  Reach out for help if you find yourself stuck or frustrated.

Small Changes, Big Success

To make progress easier, take the stairs rather than the elevator; swap out soda for water flavored with fresh fruit; snack on crunchy veggies instead of chips; have fresh or frozen fruit or yogurt instead of ice cream or cookies; prepare or purchase veggie laden meals to have wholesome food within reach; eat regularly to discourage voracious hunger; eat at home more often than dining out to keep temptation and portions in check.

Exercise Essentials

To succeed make yourself, your health and your body priorities.  Schedule your workouts as essential events in your calendar.  Exercise in enjoyable, practical ways, thirty to sixty minutes, five days weekly, whether at home, outside, in a studio, gym or your office.  Contact us if you’re having trouble getting started, staying consistent or falling short of seeing the results you expect. 

Reward Yourself

Preplanned rewards can help you stay focused and speed your progress.  Indulge in healthy rewards to celebrate your hard work.   Buy a new fitness outfit or sneakers, book a personal training session, go to a museum or the theatre, treat yourself to a massage or pedicure, plan a getaway, visit a loved one.

Reach Out For Success

Sustainable change takes time.  Try to be patient.   If you get stuck or frustrated, reach out for the support, strategies, accountability or personalized programs that will get you where you want to be.  We can help you.

Valentine's Day: Beyond the Sweets

Valentine's Day: Beyond the Sweets

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolates, candy and decadent desserts.  Yet there are plenty of ways to show your love without giving overindulgent sweets.  Express your affection while supporting your sweetheart’s health and well-being by using the following refreshing tips.

Time is the Essence   

Quality time spent together expresses love in cherished ways that candy can’t.   This could be the sweetest gift of all providing precious meaning and memories that last years longer than edibles.

Gifts of Active Time  

On Valentine’s Day, make time to get active together.  Depending on your mutual interests and levels of physical fitness, go for a good walk, hike or bike at a beach, marina, park, favorite neighborhood or mountain trail.  Offer to play tennis, golf, miniature golf, kayak, bowl, roller-skate, horseback ride, or take a yoga or spin class.

Gifts of Recreational Time

Show your love by spending time together engaging in favorite recreational activities.  Go to a museum, gallery, zoo, botanical garden, vintage book or antique store, performance, nursery, amusement park, pet store, outdoor adventure, cooking or dance class, seminar, etc.  Or, stay home and enjoy favorite pastimes: garden, cook together, frame photos, or have fun with household projects, painting, puzzles, arts and crafts, etc.

Gifts of Peaceful Pleasures  

People rarely give themselves the gift of peaceful pleasures.  Give a gift that fulfills your sweetheart’s desire for relaxation:  spa treatments such as massage, facial, manicure or pedicure, a gift box of various teas and an attractive tea cup, a good book, magazine subscription, or theatre or movie tickets.

Light Hearted Sweets

If you choose to give sweets, offer lighter options: fruit dipped in dark chocolate or sweets make from seasonal fruit with pink, red or blue Valentine’s themed hues: gelato, sorbet, parfait, low sugar cobbler, frozen yogurt, or smoothies made of berries, cherries, pomegranate, acai or watermelon.

 Shape Food With Heart

Simple changes can make homemade Valentine’s Day meals feel special.  Shape food to fit the day.  Use heart shaped cookie cutters for whole grain sandwiches, quesadillas, wholesome pancakes, waffles, French toast, fish or chicken filets or veggieburger, turkey or meat patties.  Arrange veggies or fruit in the shape of a heart. 

Teach Love Without Sweets

Teach others the true meaning of this day as a celebration and gift of love rather than focusing on merely giving chocolate and candy.  Help children see other ways of giving their love by making homemade Valentine’s cards using thoughtful words, poetry, colorful paper, glitter, and crafts. Decorate old shoe or gift boxes to fill with Valentine’s stickers, notepads, books, pencils, gift certificates or other fun surprises.

Spread The Love 

The act of giving induces a sense of well-being for the giver and receiver.  Volunteer, alone, as a couple or family, at a local charity, shelter or food bank.  This may be the sweetest inedible and most memorable gift of all.      

 Love Yourself

Give yourself the gift of your own positive recognition.  Take a few minutes to reflect on your life and things you appreciate about your body and yourself.   Consider writing down your thoughts and feelings and post them or keep them with you in your wallet as a friendly reminder of self-appreciation. 

Putting New Habits in Motion

Putting New Habits into Motion

January is a time to reset the unhealthy habits acquired during the holiday season and is a time to forgive yourself for any setbacks experienced during these treat-filled times.   In these times of change, remember the famous saying of Alexander Pope, “to err is human; to forgive, divine.”

  1. Establish an exercise routine
    Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.  Daily movement will help shed any of the holiday weight gain, and will ensure you are developing healthy habits to keep up for the entire year.
     
  2. Clean up your diet
    If you are easily tempted by holiday treats, clear them out of your house.  Throw out any food that will not provide healthy nourishment.
     
  3. Be forgiving of yourself
    Having one unhealthy meal in a day is no reason to give up on your health for the day.  Instead, vow to eat more veggies than normal the next day and make sure to drink plenty of water. 
     
  4. Stay hydrated
    Often we mistake our thirst for hunger.  Buy a colorful reusable water bottle to remind yourself to drink more water.  Drink a glass as soon as you wake up, one before every meal and one before you go to sleep at night.  See how much more energy you have when you are hydrated and notice how you skin glows when you drink more water. 

The whole year is ahead of you.  This leaves ample time to make small changes to equate to a long-term lifestyle change.  Rome was not built in a day; neither will all unhealthy habits diminish overnight.  This year, write down one goal per month you wish to work on and build on these goals every month.  By the end of the year you will have 12 new healthy habits that will seem second nature.

We encourage you to be open-minded to change and to be patient with your hard work.  We promise it will be worth your while.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

Recently, Consumer Reports has pin-pointed exactly what GMOs are, why they are causing so much controversy and what actions consumers are taking to raise consciousness about their place in our food.

What are GMO’s?

Genetically modified organisms are created by altering the genetic makeup of an organism with the DNA of another organism such as a plant, animal, bacteria or virus. GMO’s where created so that crops could defend themselves against herbicides that would normally hinder their development.

Recent studies on animals consuming GMOs have suggested that genetically modified foods may have a negative impact on one’s immune system, liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, the government has taken few measures in restricting the use of genetically modified organisms in our food. 

In recent reports, Dr. Michael Hansen, an expert on genetically modified crops, states: “There hasn’t been enough research to determine whether GMO’s are harmful to people, but scientists around the world agree that GMOs have the potential to introduce allergens and create other unintended changes that may affect health.” 

Many people unknowingly consume GMO’s; according to the USDA, 89% of crops in America are genetically modified to be herbicide tolerant.

It is important to make educated choices regarding the foods we consume on a daily basis “GMO verification” allows us to identify which foods have been have been genetically modified.

We strive to help you become aware of genetically modified organisms and where they are found in foods.

Food Facts and Tips:

Look for these logos verified by the USDA Organic guidelines, which forbid the use of GMOs. All products with this seal have been verified non-GMO, meaning their       ingredients contain no more than .09% of GMOs.

 

Crops grown with a genetically modified seed may include corn, edamame, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash. Additionally, 94% of soy crops     have been known to be genetically modified.

Animal products such as milk, eggs and meat may have come from animals that were given GMO fodder. Verify that these types of products are organic or non-GMO.

Be sure to check out the Non-GMO Project website at http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/ for a full list of restaurants and foods that abstain from using GMO’s.