Eating Healthy at Home

Eating Healthy at Home

Your kids will love eating healthy foods in no time if you take these simple steps at home. It is also proven that kids who eat healthier at home are the ones that are likely to make better food choices outside of the home.

Of course, we all care about our family’s health, but it’s hard enough just to get a meal on the table most days, let alone having to worry about making it nutritious, too. Remember, it’s okay to start small. Simply switching to whole grains or replacing soda and sports drinks with water will help you become more conscious of the foods and beverages you and your kids are putting into your bodies. Before you know it, making healthier choices will be second nature. You’ve got this—and we’ve got your back!

MyPlate is a great place to start educating yourself about healthy eating. The site uses visuals to help your family make healthy food and beverage choices from all five food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy.

Start with a few of these small changes:

  • Make half your plate fruits and veggies.
  • Focus on whole fruits.
  • Vary your veggies, with a rotating cast of dark-green, red, and orange vegetables at dinner.
  • Make half your grains whole grains (think whole-wheat pasta and tortillas, brown rice and quinoa, whole-grain bread).
  • Change up your protein routine, with an emphasis on chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of pork, beef, bison, or game meats, trimmed of fat. Beans are a great plant-based protein source to include in your diet as well.
  • Offer water, low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk, or 100% fruit juice instead of juice drinks, sports drinks, or soda.

You may be wondering, “How am I ever going to incorporate enough fruits and veggies into our meals to make them half the plate?”

It’s not as hard as you think. Chances are, your kids are already eating a good amount of fruit. Make sure you’re offering fruit with breakfast, lunch, and snacks. If you still think they’re not getting enough, smoothies are a delicious (and efficient) way to pack in one or more servings. And don’t forget dessert! Try berry parfaits with Greek yogurt; halved peaches or sliced pineapple, grilled and drizzled with a little honey; homemade fruit popsicles; blueberry crumbles; and baked apples or poached pears with cinnamon.

We’ll admit, you might have to get a little more creative with veggies. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw away all your existing recipes and start from scratch. Simply find ways to incorporate more vegetables into the meals your family already loves. Here are a few of our go-to tricks:

  • Wraps: Step up your standard turkey-and-cheese by adding extras like baby spinach, red pepper, cucumber, avocado, tomato, shredded carrots and sprouts.
  • Pizza: Top whole-grain crust or dough with any combination of mushrooms, peppers, onion, fennel, zucchini, tomatoes, Brussels sprout leaves (trust us, it works), arugula, spinach, and fresh herbs. Create a pizza bar of options for DIY pizza night.
  • Quesadillas or Bean Burritos: Stuff with corn, peppers, tomatoes, onions, avocado, spinach, or cilantro, and serve with salsa.
  • Soups and Stews: Gazpacho, minestrone and chili are all so easy to upgrade! Throw in whatever extra veggies and beans will work best with your recipes.
  • Pasta: You can add nearly anything to this dish! Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, peppers, snow peas, mushrooms, onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, pumpkin, zucchini, spinach, kale, escarole, herbs—and, of course, tomatoes—are all perfect partners for whole-grain noodles. If you’re willing to mess with your recipe, carrots, zucchini, and onion make nutritious additions to your Sunday sauce.
  • Smoothies: Not just for fruit. Try adding carrots, beets, cucumber, ginger, avocado, spinach, or kale to your smoothies, and have your kids guess the mystery ingredient!
  • Salad Bar: Set out small bowls of broccoli, shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, raisins, cherry tomatoes, and other ingredients for kids to create their own leafy masterpiece.

Get Kids in on the Act

You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it works! The more involved kids are in planning and cooking meals, the more likely they are to eat them.

  1. Include your kids when planning the weekly family menu so they feel like they have a say in what they’re eating.
  2. Look at your school’s website together to see what’s being served, and decide if you’ll make breakfast and lunch at home or buy it at school.
  3. Shop for groceries together. Make a list before you go to the store and only buy foods on the list. Once in the store, let your kids help you find items on the list. Read food labels out loud and talk about the choices you’re making.
  4. Cook with your kids. It’s a great opportunity to teach them measurements, conversions, and cooking skills, and it gives them a vested interest in the finished product.
  5. Hold family taste tests. Buy different brands of a healthy food (whole-grain pasta, for example) and let family members decide which one they like best.

Eating healthy outside of home is important for kids growth too. Do you pack your kids a healthy lunch box for school? Or do they pack your own? Check out our E-Book of 100+ healthy lunches for kid lunchboxes.

These lunch box recipes are set-up to accommodate a busy schedule, variety of preferences, without holding down to specific ingredients or recipes.

 
  • Get 7 Tips for Packing a Healthy Lunch & Preparation How To templates
  • Learn the lunchbox recommendations to meet your child’s nutritional needs
  • Learn how to stock-up your kitchen to make quick, easy and flavorful meals
  • Learn PRO tips & tricks to cook more flavorful meals with little extra effort that kids will enjoy
Being Vulnerable

Being Vulnerable

Adventure Begins when you leave your comfort zone
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”
-Brene’ Brown
an American research professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host.
 
Being Vulnerable The definition of vulnerable is the willing to show emotion or to allow one’s weaknesses to be seen or known. In a world of 24 hour media with social media showing us the best and brightest moments in all the lives of all the people around us, being vulnerableis neither common nor popular. I think as a society, most of us are less willing to take risks and try new things because it makes us vulnerable…. Vulnerable to having the risk not yield some sort of reward, not being good/successful at the new thing, andbeing susceptible to ridicule by others.
 
There are all sorts of ways in which we can avoid being vulnerable… in our professional life, in our social life, in our hobbies and activities. If we play it safe, we are just that… safe by staying in our comfort zones and doing what we’ve always done. However, ironically, avoiding risks in those areas, limits the opportunities that might arise from trying new things, meeting new people, pickup up a new hobby, making a career change etc…. It’s quite a catch 22.
 

As a middle-aged woman, who recently took a few large risks professionally and has many more left to go, I can attest to the deep feeling of fear that burns in your stomach when you make choices to seek new opportunities. The fear that these risks won’t work, the fear of judgement of others, the fear that maybe this was the wrong choice…. However, every time I go back to the why… the reason I made these choices and made myself vulnerable, I remember that it is worth it, and always will be. I needed a personal and professional change in my life so I could be more physically and mentally present in my kids’ lives. So I made a big career shift, took a few big gambles and in doing so have landed on a winding path that requires continual growth, learning,resetting, and changing. And while I’m not 100% certain where this path will lead,I know it is well worth the journey with all of its unknowns and fears. The lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, the communities I’ve become a part of, has all been incredible and if I’d played it safe, my life would not be as enriched as it has become over the past two years. It’s also allowed me to not only be more present in my kids’ lives but to show them what bravery looks like, what hard work looks like, and to show them life is a great adventure with so many opportunities, as long as you are open to being a little vulnerable because that is where the lessons are learned and the spirit is strengthened.

 
Live Boldly. Live Bravely. 
 
 
How it Started... How it's Going

How it Started... How it's Going

HOW IT STARTED... HOW IT'S GOING

At the conclusion of last summer’s youth baseball season, both of my sons found themselves without a team on which to play for the following summer. After countless discussions, brainstorming, try-outs, more discussions, more brainstorming and a few more try-outs, they finally landed on the same team, the La Stars 12U (meaning all the kids on the team are under 12 or younger.  

 

At this age, most teams have played together for a few years and have a strong sense of team dynamic, which helps them perform well on the field. This new 12U team is a hybrid of players from a variety of backgrounds. Some from my older son’s original team, some migrated over from other teams, and some had never played competitive travel baseball before.  

baseball huddle

At the onset of this season, several things were apparent. One – that all of these boys and their parents were happy to have found a team on which to play, and there were little expectations other than showing up to play some baseball. Two – the team had some really good potential but would need a bit of work to bring it out.   

 

This past weekend’s tournament was one that most of the players and parents will remember for a very long time. Our team came together and played incredible baseball – with each player realizing their potential on the field, which resulted in some really solid baseball. Our pitchers were on fire, nailing the strike zone and pitching with confidence. In the field, we dialed in the amount of errors and were executing diving catches and cross-field throws with impressive precision. At the plate, our bats were hot. Our team hit 7 home runs in 3 games. Three of our players hit their first ever home runs, and two of the players hit two home runs in the the same game. It was impressive to watch.  

 

On Sunday, after a decisive 10 run rule victory over our first opponent, and just before we were set to take the field for game 2, a storm blew in. It was quick and fierce, but we were certain that after a short delay we’d be back on track, playing more baseball and with high hopes of wining game 2 and making it into the championship game – a feat that seemed a little out of reach for our team a few months ago – especially in a 12 team tournament. However, our confidence was high with the way we’d been playing thus far.  

baseball pitcher

Then, the baseball organization made the unfortunate call that due to inclement weather, the tournament was over. Our hopes of wining and our opportunity to keep playing baseball for the day was over. I know I was bummed because it was a joy to watch the team play and to watch them celebrate each other’s epic plays and in-game victories with high-fives, and fist-bumps.  

 

After the news of the cancellation, I spent about 15 minutes packing up our sports wagon with all the gear required to survive a weekend of baseball with two kids on the team and a husband who coaches (the amount of bags , balls and bats is like NEXT LEVEL… and that doesn’t even account for all the snacks). Once the wagon was packed and the gear expertly balanced on top, I made my way over to the field where our team was. I expected to find sad faces and hear lots of complaining. Instead, I saw a field full of boys, being boys, running around in the dirt and mud and sliding in water puddles, and laughing all the while. The boys were so dirty that when they walked off the field, they looked like they were covered in wing sauce – all orangish red and gooey.  

My first thought was OMG – those pants will never be white again. OMG there is so much dirt and mud all over them.  

After exiting the field, the boys all made their way over to the pond at the park for a quick rinse and then followed that up with a second rinse at the splash pad which took off the first 7 layers of dirt and mud. All of them rode home soaking wet, but happy.  

Today, I did a second Clorox soaking of those “white pants” and another cold water wash with OxyClean and the pants are a little whiter but still have a red hue to them. While considering whether to try another method to get them white again, I decided that was ridiculous – these pants and their new hue are a visual mark of the great memories the boys made on Sunday. To wash that away would be pointless. Of all the baseball games they are likely to play in their lives, they will remember this past Sunday forever. The day they played some of the best baseball of their lives, and when their games were canceled, they to got play like little kids again – in the dirt and mud with their friends. 

I hope those stains stay in their pants for as long as they can fit in them and those memories stay with them forever. Because life isn’t about the wins or loses, it’s about the memories we make along the way and, the fun we have with friends. And this Sunday we got to check all those boxes.  

 

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Gratitude

Gratitude

GRATITUDE

Basic is a company that strives to Encourage + Inspire, Healthy + Active Lives and we know that a healthy life is heavily affected by our mental health. Something that Jennifer (co-founder), and I (Nely) both do is practice gratitude. It has made us both be better business partners and happier people. A gratitude practice is just being intentional and consistent about noting what you are grateful for. It can be very informal. For example, at night before you go to bed you could think to yourself about what you are grateful for from the day. Your gratitude practice can also be more formal. Write down each day what you are grateful for and/or tell someone else about it. The part that really makes it a practice is that you do it at the same time, and you do it every day. It is a ritual for you.

At Basic in the workplace we have even implemented some gratitude practices at the office by going through our “High & Happy” at the end of the week. Our Highs are work related accomplishments of tasks that we completed- they are as small as getting the printer fix, it’s about finding the little things to be happy about or proud of each week. For Happy we do work or personal life things that made each of us happy that week. It helps us be present and more in-tune to the small steps we take as a company in the right direction and checking in with everyone to make sure that we are all living the lifestyle we strive for at Basic, inside, and outside of the office.

SO HOW CAN GRATITUDE CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

I get it…you might be skeptical. How could the simple act of writing down what you are grateful for each day really change your life that much?! From my own experience, I will share just a few of the ways my gratitude practice has changed my life.

-CALMS ANXIETY

Whenever I get anxious (which those who know me, know that this is quite often), I try to turn my focus to what I’m grateful for. Try it. It’s hard to be anxious and grateful at the same time. Gratitude wins, and anxiety fades. Having a steady gratitude practice helps me focus on the positive, rather than the what-ifs, maybes, and worries.

-BRINGS ME TO THE PRESENT

Thinking about what I’m grateful for shifts me right to now. Whatever is happening right now that is beautiful and worth pausing on for a moment. It’s easy to get lost, focusing on re-hashing the past or worrying about the future, but right now, this moment at our feet, is the only one that we have. Gratitude practice has made me feel more present.

-CHANGE FOCUS TO WHAT YOU HAVE

This kind of goes along with being more present, but with a little different twist. Sometimes when we are so goal-oriented and always striving and reaching to be better, it gets easy to forget to be grateful for what we have and what we’ve already achieved. I get caught in this trap at times. Have you ever noticed how always thinking about what you want gets very unsettling? You feel like you are lacking, but really your life could be very full. You’ve just wandered and are focusing on the wrong things. A gratitude practice helps you focus on what you have, and you start to realize just how full and amazing your life is.

INITIATE A RIPPLE EFFECT:

Starting small, finding gratitude for the simplest things leads to more gratitude. You start to see things you are grateful for everywhere. And as you carry this attitude and practice forward, you begin to attract more good stuff. Something as simple as writing down what you are grateful for each day, shifts the way you look at life. This creates space for more and more of the good stuff.

TIPS FOR HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE:

  • DECIDING RIGHT NOW: Choose to start your own gratitude practice. Find an empty journal or get a new one you’re excited about.
  • SET A TIME: Choose the time of day you will consistently write down what you are grateful for. We find it works best as part of your morning or nighttime routine. Basically, right when you get up or right before you go to sleep.
  • JUST 1-3 THINGS A DAY: Find the simplest of things you are grateful for and write them down. Going for a walk, a sunny morning, a coffee date to catch up with a friend, etc.

Even more amazing would be to tell the people you jot down in your journal that you’re grateful for them. You’ll make their day!