Wednesday's Weekly Wellness Tips

Welcome to our Wednesday's Weekly Wellness Tips where every Wednesday you will find helpful information on nutrition, exercise and overall wellness.

Turn healthy snacks into convenience foods
Today, many “convenience foods” are quick, easy and UNHEALTHY. However, convenience foods really do not need to be this way; they can be quick, easy AND healthy! Some of the easiest (and most cost efficient) foods are fruits and veggies. Many already come ready to eat and are in nature’s perfect package (like a banana)!
To create your own convenience foods, spend a couple of minutes after grocery shopping and separate some fruits (grapes, berries) and veggies (broccoli florets, baby carrots) into plastic baggies so that they are easy to take with you on-the-go. Yes it might take a little rearranging, but place some easy to grab snacks such as apples, pears and cucumber slices towards the bottom of the fridge so your child is more likely to reach for them the next time they want a snack. Also skip the candy jar and instead leave out fresh fruits on the table. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t dive right in -- give it some time and feel good that you are exposing your family to healthy foods ready to eat!

There is a lot of misinformation out there on proper nutrition and exercise, and my goal will be to help you get through these myths, and learn ways to help your family and yourself eat and live healthier. My name is Elle MacKinnon, and as a Registered Dietitian and Health Fitness Specialist, I look forward to helping you and your family eat better, exercise more and have fun while living healthier!

Wednesday August 1, 2012

Kids will be picky so let them pick!

At times kids can be picky eaters (some a lot more than others), so let THEM pick what they eat! No, not everything that will be served for dinner, but let them have some input in foods to try. A great way to do this is by engaging them at the grocery store. They can help by choosing which piece(s) of fresh produce you purchase look the best (example- find the reddest apple).  They can even pick out a new piece of produce to try each visit. They may get adventurous and want to try something you’ve never even tried (good thing for the internet; just type in the food and many ways to eat it will come up). You will get more help and less resistance at the dinner table since they will take ownership in what THEY picked out…a win win for everyone!

Wednesday July 25, 2012

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…green beans?

That’s right, excitement over veggies! Kids often react more to your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice rather than the words you are saying. So what does that mean at the dinner table? Well, it is important to not just get excited about the dessert after the meal, but get excited about the taste and texture of vegetables served… GENUINELY EXCITED. The best way you can do this is by being a good role model and eating your veggies too! The more of something you eat, the more you will want of it…yum!

Wednesday July 18, 2012

Commercial Break Exercise

We all watch television and know sitting on the couch is not the best way to get active. However, commercial breaks can be a great way to sneak in some physical activity with your children. When a commercial starts, perform exercises throughout the break. A fun way to do this is have a jar of different exercises written on pieces of paper and pick a new one each time. Some examples:

Have fun, get active and still watch your favorite show!

 

Wednesday July 11, 2012

Adding vegetables to foods you already make!

It is best to get your kids used to the taste and texture of vegetables. However, it will also help lower the caloric content and raise the nutrition content of meals when they are “snuck” into other dishes. Here are some easy ways to add veggies to foods you may already make:

1. Minced broccoli or cauliflower to scrambled eggs.

2. Grated zucchini and carrots to muffins.

3.  Canned pumpkin or butternut squash to pancakes or waffles.

4. Handful of fresh spinach or green blends in any fruit smoothie (your kids will love the green look, and you won’t be able to taste the difference).

5. Any extra veggies to boring pasta and casserole dishes (including a kid’s favorite- mac n’ cheese).  

6. Spinach and tomato to grilled cheese sandwiches.

7. Carrot or pepper puree to ground beef before cooking it in hamburgers or meatloaf.

8. Top pizza with a variety of veggies (have your kids add the toppings, they will love helping and it will look a lot more colorful than just white cheese). Or you can add a layer spinach before adding the sauce and cheese if preferred.

9. Vegetable puree to any soup. (It will give it a great texture of a thicker soup).

10. Carrot or pumpkin puree to chocolate chip cookies.

Wednesday July 4, 2012

Red, White and Blueberry

Happy 4th of July! Though it is a great time for friends and family to get together; it can also be full of unhealthy foods!  While teaching your kids about America’s colors, inspire them with some healthy foods. Today try to encourage your children to choose something red (watermelon chunks or tomato slices), something white (a baked potato or cauliflower on the side) and some blueberries (since there are few blue foods). It will not only make the plate nice and colorful, but will ensure your children are getting a variety of nutrients with the mix in colors. There are several other red and white foods, so be creative; just make sure to choose REAL colored foods rather than artificially colored.

Wednesday June 26, 2012

Popsicle Time!

With the hot sun your kids may want a refreshing treat like a popsicle this summer. However, many boxed popsicles have a lot of sugar and/ or chemicals. The good news is healthy popsicles are very easy and cheap to make. All you need to do is blend fruit (and milk source if desired), add it to popsicle molds and freeze! Popsicle molds are inexpensive and can be found at a grocery or department store. Or you can fill small cups and add a spoon or a popsicle stick and freeze.  Just run under warm water and voilà…homemade popsicles! Here are some popsicle ideas, but mix and match to create your own:

Have your kids help choose what fruits to use and even help with pouring. Since you may not always have access to homemade popsicles; when buying boxed popsicles choose one with “all fruit” and no-added sugar.

Wednesday June 20, 2012

Family Walk Time

After dinner instead of sitting in front of the TV or everyone heading to their computer take a walk! It doesn’t have to be long and is a great way to connect with your kids. It will allow blood sugar levels to stabilize after the meal and is a family activity everyone can participate in. Don’t feel like you have to take a long walk, just aim for at least 10 minutes at first. If your children are young they may enjoy biking along instead. If your children are older a walking competition may be more fun- invest in a pedometer and track everyone’s steps for each day! There are 1440 minutes in each day, aim to commit just 30 of them to exercise with your kids!

Wednesday June 13, 2012

Make water more fun!

With school getting out and the weather getting warmer, keeping your kids hydrated this summer is very important. It seems as though everyone is always trying to find the next best thing for hydration (sports drinks, artificially flavored waters, juices). However, with all these new products on the market, water always wins as the best drink to hydrate! If your kids already love water and drink enough that is great! If not here are some tips:

Wednesday June 6, 2012

Turn healthy snacks into convenience foods

Today, many “convenience foods” are quick, easy and UNHEALTHY. However, convenience foods really do not need to be this way; they can be quick, easy AND healthy! Some of the easiest (and most cost efficient) foods are fruits and veggies. Many already come ready to eat and are in nature’s perfect package (like a banana)!

To create your own convenience foods, spend a couple of minutes after grocery shopping and separate some fruits (grapes, berries) and veggies (broccoli florets, baby carrots) into plastic baggies so that they are easy to take with you on-the-go. Yes it might take a little rearranging, but place some easy to grab snacks such as apples, pears and cucumber slices towards the bottom of the fridge so your child is more likely to reach for them the next time they want a snack. Also skip the candy jar and instead leave out fresh fruits on the table. Don’t be discouraged if your child doesn’t dive right in -- give it some time and feel good that you are exposing your family to healthy foods ready to eat!

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