Do kids need snacks after sports?

Do kids need snacks after sports?

With school back in session, kids across the U.S. are heading to the field to play football, baseball and soccer after school and on the weekends. They’ll definitely need healthy food to give them energy, help them focus and improve their performance, but do kids really need snacks after sports?

When my daughter was 4-years-old, she started playing soccer for our town’s league. Watching preschoolers play soccer is the cutest thing to watch and I was so excited not only because she was playing sports, but also because she was learning new skills and teamwork, getting challenged and feeling pride in her accomplishments.

Every Saturday, the team met at 10 o’clock in the morning for 30 minutes to practice followed by 30 minutes to play the game. Even though they were young, these kids were pushed to hustle and they worked hard.


But let’s be honest: they weren’t running a marathon.

And I wasn’t keen on her filling up on packaged, processed snacks right before lunch either.


Empty, extra calories

 

The Physical Guidelines for Americans state kids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day for overall health and to prevent childhood obesity.

Yet offering snacks after sports negates the health benefits because it puts back the calories they just burned. Not only that but what these kids usually eat are empty calories and snacks filled with sodium and sugar: Goldfish crackers, pretzels, cookies and juice. Not exactly the type of food you want your kid to re-fuel with.


A reward for hard work


Offering snacks after sports also seems to imply that we’re giving kids a reward for a job well done. We tell them work hard and have fun, and afterwards you’ll be rewarded with food. It’s no wonder as adults many of us reward ourselves with food when we’ve had a bad day, are stressed out or even after a hard work out.

Teaching kids from an early age that food is a reward only reinforces that belief when they become adults. In our culture where everyone gets a trophy for effort, we should be teaching our kids why they need to work hard instead of motivating them to do so with food.


Snacks for team spirit

I understand that sharing snacks after sports is part of fostering camaraderie. In the U.S., food is a mainstay for any occasion whether it’s to discuss a business deal, to celebrate a happy event or to mourn the passing of a loved one.

But in sports, the sport itself is the activity and yet we make food the activity as well.

If team building is the goal, why not have a healthy lunch afterwards? Or take food out of it altogether and have the kids play a fun game or work on a project together.


Snacks after sports: a tough call

My kids are still young but for older kids, I suppose the snack question depends on the activity, how long they’re exercising for and the intensity. For example, a basketball practice might warrant a snack but if it’s after school, it’s only logical that they’d go home to eat dinner. If they’re on the field all day, they’ll need to refuel but bringing a package of crackers or chips isn’t the type of fuel they need.

When I posed the question on Facebook, one mom told me that for high school field hockey, the kids had cookies and trail mix. Another mom said for high school football, the kids eat bananas and ice pops.

I think it’s always important to remember that kids won’t pass out or die if they don’t eat right away. Hunger is a natural feeling and one they should have before a meal or after a work out.

I never told my daughter she wasn’t allowed to have the team snack. Although I didn’t agree, I didn’t want to take part of the experience away from her. Yet when it was our turn to bring the snack, I brought cut-up apples and water bottles. “Thanks, apples are my favorite,” one girl told me.

This past spring when both of my daughters played soccer, I suggested we bring orange slices and water. “But the kids won’t eat that,” my 4-year-old said.

But it didn’t matter to me whether they ate it or not.

I didn’t feel right bringing something in a package after what was supposed to be a healthy activity. Perhaps I even inspired a few parents to upgrade their menus at home.

Although some of the kids passed on the fruit, most of them ate it—even the coach.

sports-snacks

My daughter handing out oranges after soccer.

What do you think? Should kids be given snacks after sports or not?

5 Tips for Quick and Healthy Breakfasts

5 Tips for Quick and Healthy Breakfasts

Whether you’re heading out the door with your toddler to a mommy and me class or rallying the big kids to make it to the bus stop on time, mornings can be hectic. And unless it’s a bowl of high-fiber cereal, making quick and healthy breakfasts can seem impossible.

I get it. Even if I wake up at 5am, I’m still rushing to get my kids out the door on time.

But it’s not because breakfast takes a long time to make, it’s because my kids like to eat. My older daughter in particular, lives for breakfast. Whether it’s eggs, toast and fruit, oatmeal or a frittata, she always wants more. My younger daughter? She’s happy with a piece of fruit and yogurt and maybe some of my green smoothie.

You already know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for kids. A healthy breakfast can:

  • keep blood sugar levels steady
  • give kids energy at school
  • helps them stay alert and focused
  • prevent them from being overweight or obese

To ensure your kids start the day right, aim for protein, fiber and healthy fats—and of course fruits and vegetables. But just because you’re serving healthy breakfasts, doesn’t mean they have to be time consuming

5 Ways To Get Healthy Breakfasts On The Table In No Time

1. Make breakfast ahead of time

If you make school lunches the night before, carve out some time and make breakfast for the next morning as well. A quiche, frittata or overnight oats are all good options. The same goes for green smoothies and juices: cut up individual portions of fruits and vegetables ahead of time and put them in containers or food storage bags so they’re ready to go the next morning.

2. Use the freezer

When my husband makes pancakes or waffles for breakfast, he’ll freeze any leftovers from the batch. Then when we’re short on time, we simply pop them in the toaster and they taste just as delicious as the day they were made. You can freeze egg muffins, regular muffins and breads too so you’ll always have healthy breakfasts on hand.

3. Make-your-own buffets

Put out Greek yogurt, berries and granola or nuts and let your kids make their own parfaits. Or try make-your-own breakfast wraps with tortillas, scrambled eggs, beans and last night’s sautéed vegetables.

4. Use your appliances

When my blender was on the fritz this summer, my husband purchased the Magic Bullet and I was instantly obsessed. I love how fast and smoothly it blends everything and what a breeze it is to clean.

 

Any type of blender will do to make smoothies or smoothie bowls. Got a slow cooker? Make oatmeal and you’ve got a healthy breakfast the minute your kids wake up.

 

5. Serve dinner for breakfast

Instead of the same ‘ol meal, re-purpose leftovers for quick and healthy breakfasts. Make a quinoa breakfast bowl with cinnamon, vanilla extract, a bit of honey and your kid’s favorite nuts. Or instead of butter, spread hummus or avocado on toast, top with slices of tomato and breakfast is served.

 

5 Healthy After-School Snacks

5 Healthy After-School Snacks

Kids love their after-school snacks.

If your kids are like mine, they come home from school and head right to the refrigerator for an after-school snack. Despite eating breakfast, lunch AND a snack, somehow they’re (apparently) famished.

After-school snacks can tide your kids over for awhile but if they eat filling foods or overeat, they won’t be hungry come dinner. Instead, afternoon snacks with a combination of protein and fiber will satisfy their hunger without making them too full.

1. Kale chips

healthy-after-school-snacks

I don’t believe in sneaking vegetables into meals or making faces out of food so your kids will eat but I don’t see the harm in preparing one type of food in various ways.

If you can’t get your kid to eat green leafy vegetables like spinach or kale, try making kale chips and watch as your kids will devour them. The next time you make a kale salad or a meal with cooked kale, they may be more likely to try it.

Kale is nutrient dense and an excellent source of vitamin A and lutein for healthy eyes and a good source of calcium for healthy teeth and bones.

2. Hummus and Jicama

healthy-after-school-snacks

If you’re trying to add more plant-based foods in your family’s diet, hummus is a great food to serve for after-school snacks.

Chickpeas are a great source of protein, fiber and iron and sesame seeds which are used in tahini are an excellent source of minerals like zinc, copper and calcium for bone health.

Although you can serve any vegetable with hummus, I like jicama (pronounced HEE-kah-ma), which tastes like a combination of a pear and a water chestnut. Jicama is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, calcium and filling fiber.

3. Celery

healthy-after-school-snacks

A rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, celery is one of the healthiest vegetables you can feed your kids. One cup contains an amazing 5 grams of fiber which will keep your kid satiated and even prevent constipation.

If your kids like foods with a crunch, celery is a great one to swap in for chips. Add a bit of peanut butter or almond butter for protein and a delicious after-school snack.

4. Greek Yogurt

healthy-after-school-snacks

Yogurt is a good source of protein but most yogurts, especially those marketed to kids, have a ton of sugar.

Instead of flavored yogurt, serve your kids plain, Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries like raspberries which are an excellent source of fiber, have a low glycemic load and are super-tasty.

5. Green Smoothies

healthy-after-school-snacks

Like kale, serving a smoothie isn’t a way to sneak vegetables but it can be another way to get in a serving.

A good rule of thumb: the 80/20 rule. Eighty-percent green leafy vegetables and 20 percent fruit. Add some chia seeds for protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health.

4 Reasons School Lunch Isn’t Healthy

4 Reasons School Lunch Isn’t Healthy

When my daughter started full-day kindergarten last year, my husband and I decided we’d pack her school lunch everyday.

I knew that no matter how healthy the school lunch menu claimed to be, there’s no way she’d eat lentils and salad like she did at home. I also knew it wasn’t likely the lunches were made from scratch but instead came out of some sort of a package.

 

With the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, many schools have overhauled their menus to include more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy so I was surprised to hear from other moms that the school lunch wasn’t much better than it had been years ago.

And when I read the school menu, I was shocked.

 

The choices included things like:

  • Chicken fingers
  • Deli meats
  • Pizza
  • Tater tots
  • Cheese-filled breadsticks
  • Hot dogs
  • Crispy chicken patties
  • Meatball parmesan subs
  • Macaroni and cheese with a dinner roll.

 

Sure, they offer vegetables and fruit but the main meal options they offered are not something I wanted her to eat.

 

Now that President Trump has loosened up the school lunch rules former first lady Michelle Obama spearheaded, school lunches may get even worse.

 

Not to mention that studies show kids who regularly eat school lunch are 29 percent more likely to be obese than kids who bring lunch from home.

4 Reasons Why School Lunch Isn’t Healthy

 

 

1. Sodium


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of kids consume too much sodium and 1 in 6 kids has high blood pressure.

 

Deli meats, chicken fingers, hot dogs and French fries are all loaded with sodium and shouldn’t be a school lunch staple.

 

2. Refined carbohydrates

White bread, pasta, rice and processed foods are made with refined carbohydrates that are low in fiber or missing it altogether, lack nutrients and spike your kids’ blood sugar. Eating refines carbs is also linked to an increased risk for obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

 

3. Unhealthy fats


Despite what experts have preached for years about the dangers of eating fat, research shows kids actually need fat, but they need “good” fats, not saturated fats that raise cholesterol and are found in many school lunches. If your kid continues to eat saturated fats at school and at home, over time he’ll have a higher risk for obesity, heart disease and stroke.

 

Kids need healthy fats like those found in salmon, avocado, and nuts. The likelihood you’ll find these on the menu? Fat chance.

4. Sneaky sugar


Schools might not be serving up cookies and cake, but sugar is sneaky. For example, one choice on my daughter’s school lunch menu is “whole grain blueberry glazed pancakes.”

 

One can assume the word glazed means the blueberries aren’t fresh but in some sort of sugary syrup. Other sneaky sources of sugar include yogurt, juice and baked beans.

 

I won’t lie: last year my daughter was allowed to order pizza a handful of times whether it was because I needed to go grocery shopping or we wanted her to experience getting school lunch. The reason she had pizza was because I was concerned about her food allergies. My hope was that she would come home and say she hated it but that wasn’t the case.

 

This year, we’ll continue to pack lunch from home and she’ll be allowed to buy lunch—but only occasionally.

 

Does your child’s school serve healthy lunch? How could they do better? Let me know in the comments.

7 Hacks for Stress-Free School Lunches

7 Hacks for Stress-Free School Lunches

One hundred and sixty-five.

That’s approximately how many school lunches you’ll pack for your kid this year. Got 2, 3 or more kids? You better get started.

I’m not a fan of my daughter buying lunch at school. Although many schools in the U.S. have upgraded their menus in recent years as a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act to include more vegetables, less sodium and more whole grains, the lunches at my daughter’s school pales in comparison to what I pack at home.

The only drawback if I’m being perfectly honest is that packing healthy school lunches with real, whole-foods takes planning, prep work and time. But because I don’t want my kid eating deli meat, chicken fingers or pizza, I send her to school with lunch.

It may not be quick, but packing healthy school lunches doesn’t have to be stressful.

7 Hacks to Make School Lunches Easy

1. Pack school lunches the night before

After you finally get your kids to sleep at night, all you want to do is put on Netflix or curl up with a good book—even if you fall asleep a few pages in.

But it’s worth packing school lunches the night before instead of waiting until the morning. I’ve found that no matter how early I wake up, I’m still running around stressed out and pressed for time if I wait until the last minute.

Packing school lunches the night before also gives you an opportunity to cook a batch of vegetables or even a meal for the next day at the same time so it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

2. Double up

Instead of making individual lunches for everyone, try to find ways to stretch each meal. For example, I make a large salad and then divide it up for my kids and myself. The next morning, I’ll add a bit of olive oil and a splash of vinegar so it’s not soggy by the time they open it.

Or consider making a double batch of a meal. One portion can be dinner while the other can be divided up for lunches throughout the week.

3. Transform leftovers

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, turn last night’s leftovers into school lunch. Roast chicken can be made into chicken salad or combine leftover rice with some edamame, vegetables, egg and soy sauce for a quick and easy stir-fry.

4. Batch cook

Set aside a few hours on Sunday or use your Crock-Pot  to make large batches of meals you can pack for school lunches.

Soups, stews and chili work well but you can also make large batches of baked chicken cutlets, beans or vegetables, for example.

5. Use a bento box

Kids like to nosh. They like to eat a little of this and a little of that. A bento box is a great way to pack a variety of foods and plenty of nutrition into a school lunch that your kid will love.

6. Make perfect portions

Set aside individual portions of fruits, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and nuts and seeds in small containers or Ziplock bags to easily grab for school lunches and snacks. This method works well for making smoothies or green juices for breakfast too.

7. Ask for help

Just because you’re a mom, doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to pack your kids’ lunches. Last year, my husband took on this task and it made my life a little less stressful.

This year, things are going to change again. Although my kids are young, I think they’re ready to pack their own lunches so this school year, we’re going to try it.

Teaching your kids to pack their own lunches or at least help teaches them responsibility, allows them to take ownership and feel empowered and teaches them what a healthy meal looks like. The process might be slow and messy but it’s well worth it.

How do you make packing healthy school lunches quick and easy? Leave me a comment.

5 Best Foods For Healthy Eyes

5 Best Foods For Healthy Eyes

With back to school season upon us, there’s a lot of planning and shopping to do but what many parents forget is making sure their kids’ eyes are healthy before they step back into the classroom.

An eye exam is a good first start because it will detect vision problems that can affect your kids reading abilities, learning and school performance.

When it comes to what your kids eat, surprisingly there’s a lot you can do to keep your kids’ eyes healthy, their vision sharp and their grades top-notch. Here are 5 foods that are superstars for healthy eyes.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a favorite food in my house—so much so that we eat it every week for meatless Mondays and I often pack it for my kids’ school lunches.

Not only is salmon an excellent source of protein and lower in mercury than other types of fish, but it is one of the best sources of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in the retina of the eye.

Omega-3 fatty acids may also ward off dry eye syndrome as your kids get older and accumulate years of screen time. Although it’s unclear how many kids have dry eye syndrome, experts say it’s possible kids who do have it aren’t being diagnosed or treated.

2. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which helps the eyes see in low light conditions and keeps the cornea healthy and lubricated. Pumpkin is also a great source of lutein, a carotenoid or plant pigment, which recent research suggests could improve learning, memory, focus and concentration.

Try baking cubes of fresh pumpkin with butternut squash, adding canned pumpkin to baked goods or adding a handful of pumpkin seeds to your kid’s salad.

3. Eggs

Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants which filter the harmful blue light like those emitted from iPads and protect and keep the eyes healthy, according to the American Optometric Association.

Scrambled, hard-boiled or in a frittata, eggs are easy, versatile and usually a kid favorite.

4. Sweet potatoes

Rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can feed your kid, especially when it comes to keeping their eyes healthy.

5. Pork

Since our bodies don’t produce an adequate amount of zinc, a mineral in the retina that protects the eyes, your kids need to get it from food or supplements.

Pork is a great source of zinc and protein and makes for an easy dinner option. Vegetarians can get their dose of zinc from cashews, almonds and chickpeas.

7 Worst Foods For School Lunch

7 Worst Foods For School Lunch

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Do you dread packing school lunch? I sure do.

I want to make sure my kids get enough protein, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats every day in their lunch bags but packing whole foods instead of packaged snacks takes time and brainpower—two things I often don’t have after a long day or in the early morning.

Like me, I know you also want your kids to have a healthy school lunch, but there are some foods you might think are perfectly healthy but are actually filled with tons of not-so-good-for-them ingredients.

So the next time you pack school lunch, here are 7 foods you should avoid.

1. White Bread

 

White bread is delicious no matter how you cut it. Add some peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish or deli meat and your kid’s happy.

Yet white bread is one of the worst foods you can pack for school lunch. White bread is made with refined, white flour which spikes your kid’s blood sugar. Continue to feed it to your kid every day and down the line, he may be at risk for insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Since white bread is also low in fiber and protein, it’s digested quickly and won’t keep your kid feeling full so he can stay focused and on task all day.

Pack a high-fiber, whole grain bread or tortilla instead. Or nix the bread altogether and choose brown rice or quinoa.

2. Peanut Butter & Jelly

 

It’s the fastest, easiest sandwich to pack and one that is sure to please but it’s definitely not the healthiest option. For starters, most brands of peanut butter have added sugars, vegetable oils and other nasty ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Likewise, jelly and fruit preserves have loads of added sugar.

To upgrade PB&J, swap white bread for whole grain bread and pick a peanut butter that only contains peanuts and some salt. I like Smucker’s Creamy Natural Peanut Butter. Instead of Jelly, add slices of your kid’s favorite fruit.

 

3. Fake Fruit

 

Fruit cups are convenient and portable but they’re not the healthiest option for school lunch. Most are soaked in juice concentrate and some have added sugar—15 grams worth. Not to mention that if you want your kid to eat real, wholesome fruit, then serving fruit drowning in sugar isn’t the way to do it.

Likewise, those gummy-bear-like fruit snacks and fruit leather have too much sugar, lack fiber to keep your kid feeling full and many have artificial colors and flavors.

Instead, just pack a piece of real fruit.

 

4. Juice


100% fruit juice can take the place of one serving of fruit and it definitely contains nutrients. And although experts have said it can lead to obesity, a study out in March 2017 in the journal Pediatrics shows one serving a day of juice is probably OK.

 

Yet because you need more servings of fruit to make fruit juice, there’s still more calories, carbohydrates and sugar in juice than in a piece of whole fruit. Juice also lacks fiber to help your kid feel full and prevent constipation. And look at the ingredients of most juice boxes—even those that are organic—and you’ll see they’re made with fruit juice concentrate.

 

Pack water for school lunch instead and save the juice box as a treat. Or buy a juicer and make your own green vegetable juice at home for breakfast.

 

5. Granola Bars

 

They’ve been touted as a healthy on-the-go snack and for good reason. They have oats, fruit, nuts and seeds—all ingredients that are supposed to be good for you. Yet not only are many granola bars low in fiber and protein and high in sugar, they’re all processed. Experts say processed food is at the heart of leaky gut syndrome and a host of health problems.

 

Instead of store-bought granola bars, make your own or simply swap them for a handful of nuts or seeds.

 

6. Deli Meat


Processed deli meats are filled with sodium, saturated fat and nitrates and some have added colors.

 

Instead of packing deli meat in your kids’ lunch box, roast whole chicken or turkey breast on Sunday, slice it thin and have enough for lunches all week long.

 

7. Yogurt


It’s always been perceived as a health food and although some types may be a good source of protein and probiotics, most kid’s yogurts are sneaky sugar bombs.

 

If you’re going to pack yogurt for school lunch, choose a plain Greek or regular yogurt without added fruit, candy or granola. Add berries on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or choose a yogurt without a ton of sugar, like Siggi’s yogurt tubes.

 

 

5 Reasons Not To Eat Out With Your Kids

5 Reasons Not To Eat Out With Your Kids

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If there’s one thing Americans love to do, it’s eat out. We watch cooking shows on the Food Network, buy the latest gadgets but cooking? Not so much.

Between 2015 and 2016, we spent more money eating out than on buying groceries—about $3,000 a year. Heading to a nearby pizza joint or grabbing take-out is a lifesaver after a long day at work or when your kids have after-school activities and sports. It’s quick, easy and convenient but eating out on a regular basis isn’t the best idea especially with kids.

Here are 5 reasons why you should cook and eat at home instead.

1. Eating out with kids is stressful

Let’s start with the obvious. Unless the restaurant you’re dining at has childcare (yes, places like this exist) any parent knows that when you have kids in tow, someone is bound to spill a drink, drop food on the floor, misbehave or need a diaper change.

Suffice it to say, eating out with kids isn’t fun so avoid it at all costs.

2. Kids don’t eat healthy

Unless you know how to order, most kids’ meals in restaurants are filled with sodium, sugar and saturated fat not to mention portion sizes are usually too large.

In fact, 97 percent of kids’ meals at 34 top chain restaurants failed to meet expert nutrition standards, a 2013 report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found. Sure, restaurants often have vegetables as sides, but kids usually ask for and get the fries. And if there’s bread on the table, there goes any chance of getting your kid to eat healthy.

3. You don’t know what your kids are eating

When you eat out, you don’t really know how the dish is made. Restaurants want you to enjoy their food so you’ll come back so they often use loads of butter and salt to make the meal taste good. You also won’t really know what’s in a sauce, dressing or a meal unless you’re the one cooking it.

4. Eating out loses its flavor

If you eat out several times a week, it starts to become normal for your kids. If you really want your kids to eat healthy, learn how to cook healthy and know what a healthy plate looks like, then they should eat dinner at home. If you go out to eat regularly, chances are they’ll grow into young adults who only eat out or order in.

5. It’s too expensive

To keep their restaurants in business, establishments mark up their food costs—a lot. According to a survey by Plate IQ, a company that processes invoices for restaurants, meals have a mark-up anywhere between 155% and 636%.

That $14 burger doesn’t look so appetizing does it?

If you need to go grocery shopping or you’re tight on time, eating out is OK, but eat out several times a week and you’ll blow your money on more expensive, less healthy meals you and your kids really don’t need.

 

What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

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When your kids go to grandma and grandpa’s house, chances are they’re offered some sort of treat or type of junk food.

Fast food for lunch, baking and eating grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and indulging in cotton candy and ice cream at the amusement park: isn’t it what childhood memories are made of?

Yes, according to a 2013 study out of the U.K., which found 83-percent of parents say their kids eat plenty of chocolate or cake while they’re with their grandparents.

Getting your kids to eat healthy not only requires you to plan healthy meals but you also need to be patient and consistent. So when grandparents put the kibosh on all your hard work, it can make your job that much harder.

A treat or two is OK, but when grandparents feed the kids junk food 24/7, what’s a parent to do?

When grandparents feed your kids junk: say something or stay mum?

I think it all depends on how much you care about what your kids eat when they’re at their grandparents house and how often they’re actually eating junk.

Since my kids eat a healthy, whole foods diet, I don’t mind if they have some cookies at their grandparent’s houses or they take them out for ice cream. Since we don’t live nearby to either family, they don’t see them every week so it really is a treat.

If getting your kids to eat healthy is already a challenge and letting it be a free-for-all at their grandparents’ house makes it harder, maybe you should talk to them about finding a middle ground. Perhaps your kids can indulge in a piece of cake but when they’re with their grandparents, all of their meals should be healthy.

Another thing to take into consideration is how much time your kids spend at their grandparents’ house. If they care for your kids when you’re working and you don’t pack their meals, what exactly are they eating? If most of their meals are packaged and processed and they’re still allowed to eat treats, then it’s probably a good idea to say something or start packing their meals and snacks.

If you both agree that your child’s health is important, then you can probably find a solution to make sure the kids are eating healthy most of the time. The key is not to criticize or attack, but to explain why it’s important to you that your kids eat healthy and hopefully the grandparents will agree. If you’re up against your in-laws, ask your spouse to be part of the conversation and back you up.

Think: do grandparents eat junk too?


If grandma and grandpa don’t cook and rely on grab-and-go meals or fast food or they eat out frequently, expecting them to feed your kids healthy isn’t realistic. If they make healthy eating a priority for themselves, then they’ll probably make it a priority for your kids too.

Both my mom and my in-laws cook and always serve vegetables with meals so I am confident that my kids are eating healthy even if they do eat some treats.

Good reasons to push back on junk food

If you know your kids will get hyper after eating sugar or something with artificial food dyes or they’ll get a stomachache or become constipated after eating fast food or over-indulging in treats, then you should say something.

I’m not suggesting you ban treats altogether, but ask the grandparents to be aware of how junk food affects your kids so they won’t go overboard next time.

What do you do when your kids’ grandparents feed them junk?

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

If your kids are picky eaters and you can’t get them to eat fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables or they don’t drink enough water, chances are they’ll become constipated.

Kids who are active and never sit down long enough to poop or those that are afraid to poop at school can also become constipated.

Constipation is common with kids. In fact, nearly 5 percent of pediatrician visits are because of constipation, according to a report in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

One of the best ways to relieve your kids’ constipation is by eating high-fiber foods. Here are 10.

High fiber foods: fruits


Raspberries

Kids love to pick up small pieces of food and raspberries are sweet little gems that taste delicious and are filled with fiber: one cup has 8 grams.

Add raspberries to a parfait, plain Greek Yogurt or serve them with breakfast for a delicious and filling way to start the day.


Asian pears

With 4 grams of fiber in one serving, Asian pears are a great way to relieve constipation.

I love to sprinkle cinnamon on top of pears and roast them but you can also grill them or pop them in the microwave. Since they’re so soft, they also make a great first food for babies.


Figs

If your kids eat Fig Newtons, why not see if they’ll eat figs? One large fig contains 2 grams of fiber and they’re delicious.

You can also try dried figs but they contain more sugar so it shouldn’t be a food your kids eat all the time.

High fiber foods: vegetables


Broccoli

Raw or cooked, broccoli is a good source of fiber—2 grams in every cup.

Serve raw broccoli with a bean dip, sauté it with garlic and olive oil or make a broccoli quiche for breakfast.


Sweet potatoes

Swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes because it’s a good way for kids to get fiber. One cup has 7 grams.

Roast sweet potatoes, make sweet potato fries or make a sweet potato hash for breakfast.


Brussels sprouts

A half a cup of Brussels sprouts has 2 grams of fiber and although they might be a hard sell for some kids, the more you offer them, the more likely your kids are to try them.

My kids like roasted Brussels sprouts but you can also blanch them or add a handful of raisins.


High fiber foods: beans and legumes


Peas

With 9 grams of fiber in one cup, peas are an excellent way to get fiber into your kid’s diet.

Serve peas as an appetizer, add them to stir fries or pasta dishes or pack them as a snack.


Black beans
My kids love to eat beans and with a whopping 15 grams per cup, they’re one of the best sources of fiber.

Black beans are also quite versatile. Add them to soups, stews and most Mexican dishes.


Chickpeas
Like black beans, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have plenty of fiber: 11 grams per cup.

Add chickpeas to salads, make your own hummus or roast them for a healthy snack.


High fiber foods: nuts and seeds

If your kids have food allergies, nuts and seeds might not be an option. But if your kids can eat certain types, it’s a great way to get their fill of fiber.

Add nuts and seeds to oatmeal, smoothies or serve as a snack.

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

Ice cream is the quintessential summertime treat for kids and on a hot summer day, there’s nothing like it. Our family has a farm nearby that sells the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had and we frequently go throughout the summer. We also have an ice cream shop that serves “freak shakes,” or enormous sundaes covered in candy, cookies and whipped cream. I’ve never tried them but it’s a favorite spot among the locals.

But with lots of calories, fat and plenty of sugar, ice cream isn’t healthy but there are things you can do to make it healthier for your kids.

1. Watch portion sizes

When ordering ice cream for your kid, pay attention to portion sizes. Whether your kid is 4 or 8-years-old, he shouldn’t have a large waffle cone with 2 or 3 large scoops of ice cream. Did you know a typical waffle cone with chocolate ice cream has nearly 600 calories! Instead, ask for a toddler cup, which is usually large enough for an adult, or one scoop which is enough to satisfy your kid’s sweet tooth.

2. Switch up your toppings

Instead of M&M’s or gummy worms, add fresh fruit as a topping or raw nuts. Avoid fruit that’s been soaking in syrup, however, because the sugar negates any of the health benefits.

3. Serve ice cream on the side

If you’re serving ice cream at home, make fruit the star of the show and add a scoop of ice cream on the side. Slice your kid’s favorite fresh fruit or grill slices of fruit for a delicious summer treat.

4. Make parfaits

Let your kids make their own parfaits with ice cream, fresh fruit—berries work well—and a low sugar granola or nuts. A parfait is a great way to control portions and add extra fiber and nutrition.

5. Make fake ice cream

When bananas start to get brown spots on them, cut them up and freeze them. Then place the frozen bananas in the food processor, blend them for a minute or so and you’ve got a delicious treat that tastes just like ice cream.

5 Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Actually Eat

5 Healthy Foods Your Kids Will Actually Eat

When it comes to feeding your kid healthy food, you pull out all the stops. You beg, negotiate, and try to be sneaky. You make food into funny faces, add cheese to everything and cook the same old meal a different way. But no matter how much you try, your kids won’t even take a bite.

Getting your kids to eat healthy foods can be a challenge but if you’re consistent and do your best to provide healthy meals and snacks, one day your kids might surprise you not only by eating a new food, but loving it.

Here are 5 healthy foods my kids eat and I bet your kids will too.

1. Chia seeds
My kids love chia seeds especially when I make chia seed pudding. Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Two tablespoons has 4 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your kid’s heart, brain, eyes and skin. Add chia seeds to cereal, oatmeal, muffins, yogurt or blend them up in a smoothie.

2. Avocado
Rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats, avocados are beneficial for your kid’s brain health and skin. They’re also so delicious and versatile: add avocado to salad, as a substitute for mayonnaise or make guacamole as a snack.

3. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and a great source of fiber and potassium. Cut up and roast sweet potatoes, slice and bake them for a healthy alternative to French fries, or grate them for a breakfast hash.

4. Beans
I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way I can get my kids to eat beans!
But hear me out: kids love little pieces of food. They like to snack and they like finger foods.

Try packing a teaspoon of beans in their lunch bags, serve them for breakfast or offer them on taco night instead of meat. There are so many types of beans, I bet your kids will find a type they’ll love.

5. Jicama
Jicama, (pronounced HEE-kah-ma) is a root vegetable that tastes crunchy, starchy and a bit sweet all at the same time. Jicama is a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber to keep your kids feeling full. Cut up jicama and pair with hummus or roast them with a sprinkle of salt for a tasty, healthy snack.