Kids Health and Fitness

Discover Ways to Improve Children's Health through FOOD and FITNESS

a “GOOD” dessert for you and your kids! March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 10:09 PM

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That’s right! These beautiful chocolate muffins are a healthier option than most muffins and desserts in general. These particular chocolate muffins are a knock-off of Whole Food’s Chocolate Chunk VitaTop Muffins. So they are good. Believe me!

Finding healthy dessert options for your children AS WELL as for yourself can be very difficult but blogs like this one (where the picture and recipe were found) have devoted time to find healthier options for us to enjoy! So try these out…you won’t be disappointed!

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffin

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 c oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain low fat yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (or 1-1/2 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup sugar substitute (like Splenda granular) OR 1/4 cup + 2 tbs stevia
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use white chocolate or peanut butter chips!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with foil cupcake liners, or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate chips. Blend until oats are ground and mixture is smooth.

Place mixture in a bowl and gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips (set the rest aside). Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pans.

Place muffins tins in the oven for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove muffins from the oven (but don’t shut oven off), and distribute the other half of the chocolate chips on top of each muffin.

Place  the muffins back into the oven and bake for an additional 2-5 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. *Note, you could skip this step by putting all of the chips in the batter, and baking the muffins for 12-15 min straight, but this method gives the muffins the traditional ‘VitaTop Muffin’ look with the chocolate chips on top!

Cool muffins before removing from pan. ENJOY!!! 

Servings: 12 Big Muffins or 24 Smaller Muffins
Calories: 116 Calories Per Muffin or 58 Calories Per Muffin

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Healthy Recipes for the Day! February 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 6:18 PM

It is so hard to think of creative meals and snacks for yourself and your children. ESPECIALLY healthy ones. That is why we are so grateful for blogs! On this healthy recipes blog found here there are many different recipes for meals and snacks for kids (and parents too!). One that seemed to jump out at me were the Peanut Butter and Jelly Crepes. I mean who has heard of those…but they sound delicious right?

Look how good these look! They are so simple and easy and are a great alternative to bread if you happen to be all out of it. Partner these crepes with some natural almonds and some fruits or vegetables and you have a great meal for your kids!

Peanut Butter Crepes
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • Filling:
  • 1 1/2 TBL light cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 TBL all natural peanut butter
  • 1 TBLHomemade or all fruit jam
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, milk, butter and eggs; mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, spray with cooking spray. Stir batter; pour about 2 tablespoons into the center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack.
  3. Repeat with remaining batter, spray skillet as needed. When cool, stack crepes with waxed paper on paper towels in between.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, peanut butter, and jelly until well combined. Spread on cooled crepes and roll, fold, or stack.

 

ALSO…if looking for a dinner idea, this soup is AMAZING! Yes, making soup from scratch takes a lot more time but it tastes SO much better! Visit here for a shopping list and directions. Get Cooking!

 

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act February 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 7:36 AM

Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was recently passed by the USDA. This act basically is enforcing rules at schools nationwide to have more healthier options available to kids. We all have witnessed how unhealthy some children eat on a daily basis. Although, most habits are formed in the homes of children, schools can do a better job at helping kids make healthier eating choices. Because of this act vending machines, breakfasts, and lunches are striving to improve the nutritional quality in the food available. Some of these options include:

  1. Making grains offered be “whole grains”
  2. Offering low fat or fat free milk
  3. Reducing sodium amounts in the food provided
  4. Implementing more fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks offered

This is a huge step to fighting obesity in the United States but there are still so many things that children must learn at home. Children look to their parents to be taught what they should eat and ultimately follow their example. If a child’s parents are eating fast food daily and offering unhealthy snacks, those children will accept that as normal and will always want those kinds of foods. On the other hand, if children are taught to include fruits and vegetables in their meals and to eat a balanced diet, they will make healthier choices throughout their lives.

Some questions that were brought up concerning this issue found on the blog, Super Healthy Kids said:

What do your kids see you eating?  What do you buy at the grocery store? What foods are staples in your pantry? What is your relationship with food?  What foods are you creating traditions around for holidays, parties, and events?

All of these help determine what role food plays in your family and what your children learn from you as a parent. These years in a child’s life are vital when forming healthy habits and the most successful way to truly teach is by example. So if you want healthy kids, be a healthy parent!

Visit here for more information.

WATCH THIS VIDEO to see just how unhealthy children and schools can be. This show known as “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution” opens your eyes to how unhealthy some children can get but that there is a way to make a change and help others make healthier habits.

 

Crib Safety Tips February 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 5:00 AM

There are many rumors as to what is allowed and what is not allowed in cribs for child safety. Some parents have been taught all their lives that having pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals are completely fine having in a crib. But on this site by the United States Product Safety Commision, it lists what is safe for infants in cribs. It explains:

  • Place baby on his/her back in a crib with a firm, tight-fitting mattress.
  • Do not put pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, pillow-like bumper pads or pillow-like stuffed toys in the crib
  • Consider using a sleeper instead of a blanket.
  • If you do use a blanket, place baby with feet to foot of the crib. Tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, covering baby only as high as his/her chest.
  • Use only a fitted bottom sheet specifically made for crib use.

http://www.findbabycribs.com/how-to-choose-a-baby-crib/

These may be surprising to many parents, but are rules in place to keep your child safe while they are in their crib.

Cribs should be:

  • A firm, tight-fitting mattress so a baby cannot get trapped between the mattress and the crib.
  • No missing, loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware on the crib or mattress support.
  • No more than 2 3/8 inches (about the width of a soda can) between crib slats so a baby’s body cannot fit through the slats; no missing or cracked slats.
  • No corner posts over 1/16th inch high so a baby’s clothing cannot catch.
  • No cutouts in the headboard or foot board so a baby’s head cannot get trapped.

For “mesh-sided” cribs:

  • Mesh less than 1/4 inch in size, smaller than the tiny buttons on a baby’s clothing.
  • Mesh with no tears, holes or loose threads that could entangle a baby.
  • Mesh securely attached to top rail and floor plate.
  • Top rail cover with no tears or holes.
  • If staples are used, they are not missing, loose or exposed.

Ultimately, all of these suggestions should be applied to anyone who has a newborn baby. Horrible things can happen so fast and should be avoided at all costs.

 

BEST and WORST foods for kids during sick season… January 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 7:24 AM
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Its that time of year again. Stuffy noses, sore throats, high fevers, kids missing school. There are times where it seems there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to beat these sicknesses! But studies have shown there are certain foods that can actually help you avoid sicknesses as well as foods that can make matters worse. The best ways to reduce sick days truly can be done through your child’s diet. According to greatschools.org you can minimize sick days and keep your child happy and healthy this winter by following these simple dietary tips.

  1. SUGAR = Subtract it. Sugar is demonized for many well-founded reasons, but did you know it’s bad for your child’s immune system, too? Implementing these simple carbohydrates into your diet found in glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, and — yes — orange juice, will suppress your child’s immune response for up to five hours. According to a Loma Linda University study, these simple sugars reduce the army of white blood cells, rendering your children’s bodies unable to prevent bacterial and viral invaders from thriving and pillaging their bio-systems. Advice? Try to keep sugar to a minimum.
  2. PROBIOTICS = Add ‘em. Probiotics, also known as “friendly bacteria,” are live, beneficial microorganisms that battle pathogens and toxin-producing bacteria in our intestines. Their outstanding powers are becoming increasingly apparent. You can give your child probiotics through supplements (available in the refrigerated section of most health food stores), but excellent food sources include yogurt, kefir, and even some types of kim chee; before purchasing, be sure to read the labels to ensure they contain these friendly bacteria.
  3. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES = Add ‘em. Another weapon in your “eat your veggies” arsenal: They can stave off icky symptoms. According to a 2011 study in Berlin, dietary supplements from fruits and vegetables provided a 20 percent reduction in days ruined by moderate or severe cold symptoms. While fruits are an easier sell for most children, many veggie-adverse kids won’t find this so compelling — so you’ll probably need to present them with a variety of options.
  4. ORANGE JUICE = Subtract it. Yes, fruits are good for you, and mom and granny may have pulled out the orange juice every time you got the sniffles. But recent findings suggests that if life hands you an orange, don’t make orange juice. While oranges themselves are bursting with vitamin C, healthful fiber, and micronutrients, when squeezed into juice, sugar levels surpass those of most other fruit juices. Loaded with about 24 grams of sugar in an 8 oz. glass, orange juice sugar levels are nearly as high as the same size serving of Coca Cola (which has only 2 more grams of sugar in the same size serving). And sugar, as we know (see #1), is a no-go when it comes to staying healthy.
  5. VITAMIN D = Add it. Colds and flu strike harder in winter because we’re sun-deprived: Limited sunlight means less vitamin D. Numerous studies have discovered that low levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream significantly increase the risk of respiratory infection. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article asserts that Vitamin D is far superior to vaccines at preventing the flu because it activates the killer T cells that protect us. While taking vitamin D in the winter can do the trick, egg yolk, fortified milk, cheese, and breakfast cereals; fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna (a caveat: fatty fish tend to have more mercury); and fish liver oil supplements are all great sources, too — and they may be easier for your child to swallow.
  6. WATER = Add it. Keep your children hydrated with eight to 10 glasses of H2O each day. Water strengthens the body’s immune system by transporting oxygen to our cells, moving nutrients to our tissues and organs, and flushing out toxic impurities.

All of these tips truly will help keep sicknesses away from your children as well as your family this sick season. Immune systems will be strengthened and there will be less sick days in your home. For more information visit the above website and for another related article click here.

 

Tips for staying HEALTHY during winter January 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 6:48 AM

Well its that time of year again. Cold weather, runny noses, headaches, flu, etc. Every parent HATES when their child or themselves get sick! At best, you have a child not feeling well, not eating or sleeping as they normally do, a child missing school and parents missing work. At worst, a cold occasionally develops into something more, requiring a visit to the doctor and more medical attention. What can be done to help prevent these sicknesses? Here are some facts and practical tips to help keep your family healthy this cold and flu season.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION:

According to pacificmedicalcenters.org, Colds and flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Viruses are one type of germ that infects cells and makes us ill. Here are some common illnesses from viruses:

  • Head cold. Many colds are caused by rhinoviruses. Rhino means nose in Greek, so these are viruses that infect the nose. We get runny and stuffy noses when we have colds because that is where the virus is setting up shop.
  • Stomach flu. Rhinoviruses are actually one of a group of viruses called enteroviruses. Entero means intestine in Greek. These viruses infect our gastrointestinal tract, causing sore throat, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea—an illness some people call the stomach flu.
  • Influenza. A stomach “bug” is different from the actual flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. Influenza comes from the Italian word for influence of the stars. In medieval Europe, people thought outbreaks of colds and flu were caused by the movement of the stars.

Some of the discomfort we feel is the direct effect of the virus on our cells; some is the effect of our bodies’ immune systems fighting off the virus. Unlike bacterial infections, which can be treated with antibiotics, there are no medicines we can take to kill the viruses that cause colds and flu. We have to rely on our immune systems to do that job for us. What we can do is protect ourselves from getting infected in the first place. If we do get sick, we can treat the symptoms and help our immune systems do their job.

The TOP SIX WAYS to prevent the cold and flu:

  1. Stay CLEAR of indoor areas. Bundle kids up and go outside instead of hanging out in germ-ridden indoor playgrounds, malls and other densely populated areas.
  2. Cover mouths and wash hands. Teach kids to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm running water for 20 seconds.
  3. Surround yourself with healthy people.
  4. Disinfect Areas. Use disinfectant furniture wipes around surfaces such as doorknobs and shopping carts. Let Lysol become your best friend.
  5. Keep little sick ones at home. Keep a sick child at home and avoid traveling until she’s feeling better–typically 24 hours after her fever is gone.
  6. Keep Immunizations up to date!

If all of these are taken into action! Sicknesses may be better avoided, which would make life much easier! Healthy habits = healthy lives!

 

EASY low-budget meals the whole family will enjoy! January 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurena430 @ 7:40 AM

Finding time to make dinner is hard. BUT finding time to make “healthy” dinners can be even harder and almost impossible at times. But all it takes is finding recipes that are quick and fit into your budget. Cookinglight.com lists many different healthy recipes that kids as well as parents would enjoy. The following recipe is a good way to sneak in vegetables and other important nutrients into an american favorite of pancakes.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

           Ingredients

  • 5 3/5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups finely grated carrot (about 1 pound)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey

           Preparation

  1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs); add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in 2 cups carrot.
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon 4 (1/4 cup) batter mounds onto pan, spreading with a spatula. Cook for 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 1 minute or until bottoms are lightly browned. Repeat procedure twice with remaining batter. Combine butter and honey in a small bowl; serve with pancakes.

Maureen Callahan, Cooking Light
JANUARY 2010

These pancakes are stuffed with toasted walnuts, shredded carrots, and all the spices found in carrot cake, these light buttermilk pancakes are a guilt-free breakfast pleasure. Top with some homemade honey butter or light pancake syrup. Kids love their sweet flavor as well as the novelty of eating a cake-flavored food for a meal. ENJOY!