Tag: healthy kids

Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s

Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s

Happy Memorial Day Weekend. With summer vacation season upon us, I am so excited to have Kendra Thornton guest post on my blog.  Kendra is a mother of 3, and before being promoted to the full time position of mommy, she was the former Orbitz director of communications. She has traveled all around the world, and has a great perspective of Traveling with Kids: Eating Right and Catching Z’s.

 

Vacation is always fun with the kids. They get to go on adventures, see all new things and have fun. While planning for vacations seems like a lot of work, it’s kind of fun to arrange things and plot those surprises guaranteed to get the smiles. I really enjoy planning meals and packing for healthy snacks as well. It helps me remind my kids of what we eat at home and still allows for a treat while away.

 

1. Stay the Right Way

There are a ton of places out there that advertise as “family-fun” atmospheres” for kids, but really, that may only mean they have a pool and a low rate. You should avoid getting a cheap hotel, particularly if it doesn’t have good reviews.

 

– Go for a true family-fun experience with a well-reviewed hotel like Walt Disney Resort.

– Pick a hotel with free breakfast or discount meals for kids.

– Some hotels even have “Kids stay free” stickers. Check with the hotel first before booking to confirm.

– Find a great market or local grocery store to purchase some of the kid’s favorite breakfast items to quickly make in the morning.

– Cut down on the cost of eating out by making at least one meal per day and bringing food with you to theme parks.

– Many hotels in Orlando offer a quiet hours policy to ensure that their guests get a proper nights rest! This is absolutely wonderful!

 

2. Keep It Nutritious

Kids love vacations because it’s a free-for-all for getting away with anything, including eating any way they wish. However, you should bring along those snacks which they willingly enjoy and that aren’t all sugar.

 

– Purchase healthy snacks beforehand for each of your kids to have on the ride to your destination.

– Create mixes of their favorite crackers, nuts, pretzels and a sweet treat–like dried fruit, M&M’s or other chocolate-covered goody.

– Use sweet treats as a reward for being patient. If it’s been two hours in the car without a peep, give a pudding cup or cookie.

– Dried snacks are always good to bring along on road trips, so don’t skimp on the cereal, nuts, dried fruits, pretzels and crackers.

– If you have to make a quick stop for a meal, you can still make healthy decisions when eating fast foods!

 

3. Plenty of Rest

 

When you’re headed to a different time zone, remember to plan early for sleeping schedules. Kids need to adjust to when they should be asleep depending on the time zone. You can run into some serious issues if you don’t plan for jet lag with kids.

– Beat jet lag by changing sleeping schedules before the trip.

– Pack along a child’s favorite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal to sleep with.

– Allow kids to sleep on the ride or flight to the destination.

– Bring along books that will help them go to sleep at night.

With summer right around the corner and family vacations planned, I hope these travel tips will come in handy for you and your family!

 

 Kendra Thornton

 

Kids On The Move—Getting Kids To Exercise And Have Fun Along The Way

Kids On The Move—Getting Kids To Exercise And Have Fun Along The Way

It can seem like a daunting task to get kids to exercise, but it can be fun and enjoyable when everyone joins in for a good dose of playtime.

When thinking about exercise, most adults see images like the gym, a treadmill, or a weight rack.  But for kids, when they are playing or being physically active, it can count as exercise.  It sounds too simple, almost sneaky even, but running, jumping, climbing trees, riding bikes, even building a snowman can improve a child’s health and fitness.

Exercise isn’t just important for adults, but kids need regular exercise too, and there is no age discrimination when it comes to the benefits of exercise, which sets the foundation for a lifetime of fitness and good mental and physical health. Kids who are active will have stronger muscles and bones, are less likely to become overweight, decrease the risk of developing health conditions like type 2 diabetes, and can even sleep better and handle mental and emotional challenges better. No need to go into the details with the kids, though, because they just wanna have fun.

Kids can have an aversion to things that their parents say are good for them, like eating Brussels sprouts or brushing teeth, and exercise can fall into the same category if parents don’t approach it in a fun and encouraging way. Last weekend I watched as a dad stood behind the treadmill looming over his kids as his pre-teen son and daughter trudged through a workout. Yea, good luck keeping those kids motivated to exercise.

Playtime can mean exercise time, and kids can improve endurance by something as simple as running around and playing tag, or they can increase muscle strength by something as fun as crossing the monkey bars. And by helping kids participate (and even joining the fun), in age-appropriate activities, whether tag football or a serious game of duck-duck-goose, parents can get children coming back for more. The family that exercises together stays happy and healthy together.

Encourage Fitness — Do As I Say And As I Do

Encourage Fitness — Do As I Say And As I Do

Parents influence kids every day with words and actions, and when mom and dad regularly encourage kids to be active, they help kids to appreciate fitness and have fun along the way.

 

Teaching practical life skills is one of the many roles that parents have. Things like how to brush teeth, how to tell time, how to tie shoes, and research now suggests that another one to add to the list is how to be healthy and active.

 

It’s never too late to start a healthy habit, especially with kids. Kids like to move, and though it is highly unlikely that a child goes from couch potato to Olympian, there are several ways parents can influence their children to exercise.

 

While verbal encouragement or logistical support, such as driving kids to soccer practice, is important, parents’ attitudes about health and fitness and their own patterns of physical activity are equally as important, since kids often follow by example.

 

Being active together has shown to have a significant impact on how kids view exercise, but it often goes down as a child’s age goes up.  Younger children are more likely to want to spend time being active with their parents than teenagers, so there may be a window of opportunity to use it before losing it when it comes to co-activity.

 

And even though the sphere of influence on kids can be far and wide from friends to teachers to Sponge Bob, few are as direct and important as parents .

 

Children are well known for their contrary nature. Tell them to do something, and quite often they will do the opposite. So trying to force children to exercise may not be the best strategy.

 

Every parent has his or her way of approaching life lessons, but the idea with fitness is to get children to appreciate being active, and have a little fun along the way. “Because I said so” may work for putting the dishes away, but encouragement, celebrating small victories, and doing things together can be effective ways to motivate kids to get fit and stay active. And no child wants their brain to turn to mush because of too much television.

 

Whether is it sports, riding bikes, a martial arts class, or walking the dog every night, it is important to consistently present each opportunity in a positive light.  It may take a bit of time and patience, but when children find the fun in being active, fitness can become a part of everyday life.

 

When kids are active at a young age, the habit can last throughout their lifetime, and influencing kids to be active at an early age is no different than teaching them the golden rule or respecting their elders. So it’s time to put fitness right up there with teaching children how to ride a bike and that  there’s no hiding a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

 

My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along?

My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along?

 

I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.

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If you are reading this on my website, you have probably figured out that I have a thing for fitness and nutrition… okay more of an obsession really.

I also have a shocking secret. I am not proud of this, but it is time for me to come clean. My kids eat Popsicles for breakfast. (I know… GASP) Breakfasts and snacks have become a free for all of low nutrient, high fat, high calorie foods. I still have control over lunches, and they are packed healthy. Dinners are okay too, but I am verging on a short order cook… something I swore I would NEVER DO.

I have been guilty of buying way too many snacky foods, which of course becomes the kid’s first choice food.

But, change is a comin! I decided to throw out every snack food that was unhealthy and replace it with healthy choices. Not a single unhealthy snack is left in our house.

I am the boss. I am the gatekeeper of the food.  Theses are my new daily affirmations, as I embark on the ‘no crappy food zone’ plan.

Being obsessed with my own nutrition, I must practice what I preach.

Kids will eat what’s available. That’s why I must control the supply lines. Kids can’t eat what is not there. A side bonus is that I will not be tempted by the kid’s rice crispy treats anymore (I know… another GASP).

If you want to join me on my no junk food journey, here’s what we will do:

1. Work fruits and vegetables into the daily routine. Be sure you serve a fruit or vegetable at every meal.

2. Make it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks by keeping fruits and vegetables on hand and ready to eat. Other good snacks that my kids love include low-fat yogurt blended with some low fat milk to make a shake/smoothie, peanut butter and apples, or whole-grain crackers and cheese.

3. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals so kids get more fiber. Don’t be fooled by kids’ cereal marketing. Read the ingredients.

4. Be sneak by adding chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups. Pureeing is also a great way to add veggies. Pureed sweet potatoes go un-noticed in Mac-n-Cheese or chili!

5. Limit sugary drinks, such as soda, juice, and fruit-flavored drinks. Serve water and low-fat milk instead. Make the “juice is for play dates only” rule.

6. Don’t be a short order cook. Repeat… Don’t be a short order cook.
No separate meals.  Keep serving healthy choices until they become familiar and liked.

We can do this.  No Junk Food.

Do you have a shocking secret that you want to share?

Don’t stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don’t get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.

The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD 
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN 
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD 
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN  
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD 
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD 
My Top Ten Tips for Raising Lifelong Healthy Eaters, EA Stewart, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along?, Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD 
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give Up, Diane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD

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