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
The Lessons We Learn From Sports

The Lessons We Learn From Sports

This summer, my sons have been training with a semi-retired pole vaulting coach, who is nothing short of a legend in our small town, Mumford Leake. We meet once per week and he works with them on the techniques associated with pole vaulting. He’s also introduced them to the shot put, discus and hurdles during our time together. These weekly workouts have been the highlight of my summer. This may seem a little odd, that the highlight of my summer wasn’t some epic adventure or grand vacation. However, watching Coach Mumford instill in my kids the same love and passion he has for track and field has brought a lot to all of us on those early Monday mornings. 

As our summer of field event training has come to as close, and I think back on what they’ve learned, it’s some of the most basic lessons that sports can teach you. How to overcome adversity, literally… and how to be brave enough to try new things, even if you aren’t good at them. Each of the boys have gravitated to one field event more than the other. Brooks really likes doing the pole vault, and while Ridge thinks vaulting is fun, he seems more engaged in the throwing events. While my hope is that they continue learning these sports and participate in track in the spring season, (they are baseballers at heart… so fingers crossed), I will always be grateful for this summer mornings at the track and the lessons they’ve learned. 

I’ve always told them that we put them in sports so they can learn important life lessons, like how to be a good teammate, how to overcome adversity, and how to win and lose with grace. While they’ve learned a bit of these things on their own this summer, we also got to watch these lessons play out on the world stage at The World Athletics Championships for 10 days in July. Nightly, we’d watch the events which were full of incredible feats of athleticism, speed, and strength that were capped off with victorious moments of athletes draped in their country’s flags being celebrated by all in attendance. However, the moments that stood out the most, were the moments of defeat, specifically in the pole vaulting finals. As the bar rose higher and higher, the number of athletes started dwindling and as each athlete missed their final attempt, they graciously bowed and waved to the crowd. Each one took a moment to literally “bow out” of the competition and they did so with dignity and grace, which left a lasting impression upon all of us.

In sports as in life, we can’t always win, and having a gracious attitude in those moments that don’t go our way, says so much about our character. 

Snack Ideas for Student Athletes

Snack Ideas for Student Athletes

A few weeks ago, I went into Target and saw several products of foods we would personally recommend to my student-athletes and active adult clients. While we will always preach eating real foods, that are low processed first, these options are great for anyone with limited time and little to no cooking skills, but would still like to improve their health.

Many of these items and ideas are great for the pantry at home, to pack in a backpack, have on hand during summer break or for the college dorm!

Just because you are low on time, are stopping at a gas station, or are traveling, does not mean that you have to sacrifice eating healthy. Below are some easy and quick ideas for meals on a time crunch.

BREAKFAST:

  • English muffin cut in half with sliced avocado paired with 3/4 cup Greek yogurt and mixed blueberries and raspberries.
  • A glass of Fairlife chocolate milk or plant-based alternative + Kashi cereal
  • Greek yogurt parfait: Make the night beforehand (Greek yogurt, berries, chia, nut butter)
  • English muffin/Whole-grain pita wrap with mashed banana and peanut butter
  • Toast + 2 oz. deli turkey + 1 oz. cheese + tomato wedges paired with chocolate CorePower
  • Hard-boiled eggs + apple + string cheese
  • Kodiak instant oatmeal+strawberries + Greek yogurt
  • Kodiak Cakes Power Cup Muffins(12 g of protein but you can add milk and Greek yogurt to increase protein) + fruit for more energy!
  • Kodiak cake frozen waffles or pancakes paired with grab n-go nut butter packets + 1 apple 
  • RX nut butter packets or Nuts ‘N More

LUNCH:

  • Spinach bowl topped with two hard-boiled eggs + 1-2 tbsp chickpeas, raspberries, almonds + avocado slices + Kind bar
  • Greek yogurt parfait, pepper/cucumber slices, apple, RX bar, cheese sticK
  • Banza Microwavable lentil pasta + add pre-cooked meat + cheese + marinara sauce
  • Whole-grain pita with 3 oz. deli ham + carrot sticks + kiwi slices + almonds
  • Whole-grain turkey cheese, spinach, tomato sandwich with mashed avocado + mixed fruit cup + serving of whole-grain pretzels
  • Tuna packet (17 g of protein)

DINNER:

  • Microwavable sweet potato
  • Grilled chicken salad: 2 oz of pre-grilled chicken added to a bed of spinach + romaine + ½ cup black beans/chickpea mix + mixed cheese blend, 1 sliced hardboiled egg, 1 tbsp. sunflower seeds with a dressing of choice. Highly recommend Bolthouse Farms Greek yogurt as a healthy dressing.
  • Frozen bag of riced veggies cooked in the microwave that can be topped with edamame, salsa, in a whole-grain tortilla, shredded pre-made pulled pork, cheddar cheese blend with avocado slices.

SNACKS ON THE GO:

Snack pairings (snacks should contain protein and carb) for athletes and for less active days a protein + a plant/healthy fat).
  • Snack pack nut butter + fruit
  • Greek Yogurt Cup + Almonds
  • Tuna Packet + Veggies
  • Sting cheese + Applesauce
  • RX Bar
  • Fruit
  • Grapes + Cottage Cheese
  • Hard-Boiled egg, nuts, dried fruit (healthy trail mix)
  • Hummus + celery/ cucumber/ carrot
  • Teriyaki beef jerky
  • Pre-cut bell pepper slices
  • Serving of trail mix + 2 hard boiled eggs

SUPPLEMENTS:

Whole meals first, supplement second. Supplements are meant to satisfy small gaps in nutrition and to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Good nutritional habits must be established first. For additional guidance to ensure your athletes are meeting their protein and carbohydrate needs check contact us at info@basiclivingbr.com for Nutrition Coaching and Guidance. No supplement can replace whole foods. Eat real foods.

Next time you are out for a road trip, need a quick pick me up, or just forgot to plan your meals, referance this post for easy options that can be found even at a gas station. Don’t sacrifice eating healthy because of time constraints. 

 

Happy healthy living!

The Importance of Keeping Kids Active During Summer

The Importance of Keeping Kids Active During Summer

summer kids active

It is known that children are less active over summer break. A recent study among children 6 to 9 years of age showed that physical activity dropped by 53% during the summer months. Moreover, time spent in sedentary activities (e.g., screen time) increases.

There are many possible reasons for these seasonal differences in physical activity. School days typically involve regular physical activity sessions (e.g., recess, PE class) and limited screen time, which may have a protective effect on children’s health behaviors. The structured days hypothesis suggests that disruptions in such routines are responsible for lower physical activity levels over the summer. Declines in physical activity over the summer can have adverse effects on children’s health (e.g., weight gain). Numerous studies have shown that body mass index increases more in the summer than in other seasons. Excess weight gain can lead to obesity and poorer metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, and mental health for children. Thus, physical activity in the summer months is critical for children’s health.

Tips for Keeping Kids Active During the Summer:

  • Infuse structure into your child’s summer.During the school year, children have to get up and get going, but this may not be the case during the summer. Set up a routine that gets them moving. This may involve going to summer camp, taking walks, going to swim lessons, or just having a standing playdate with friends. Also going to bed at a similar time during the summer as during the school year will help your child to be rested and active the next day.
  • Be prepared for the weather.Heat, humidity, and inclement weather are common barriers to outdoor physical activity. Take advantage of mornings before it really heats up. Water activities can help beat the heat, but also have indoor physical activity options ready to go, which will help kids from bored eating. Think games, building forts, teaching kids how to cook, or even helping around the house with everyday chores while trying to make it fun. On bad weather days, check out local climbing gyms, indoor playgrounds, or bowling alleys.
  • Place limits on screen time.If given the choice, many kids will pick screen time over going outside to play. However, if screen time is limited, they may find something more active to do. One idea is to set your devices to not be accessible during school hours (even during summer) and only allow a pre-specified number of hours of screen time.
  • Find a buddy.Kids are more likely to be active when other kids are around. Scheduling playdates, getting involved in a local kids group like scouts or a sports team are great ways to help kids maintain social relationships and encourage active play during summer.

NOTE: We want kids to get outside and play, and to get fresh air and sunshine every day if possible. But during summer we should take a few additional precautions to help keep them safe.

Did you know that children have a more difficult time adjusting to the heat than adults? Kids are less effective at regulating body heat. Take extra care with kids playing outdoors in the heat.

One way to help keep kids safe is to avoid outdoor activity during midday on a sunny, hot day. Have them play outside in the morning or evening, when it’s likely to be cooler outdoors. Playing in shady areas or doing water activities are also good choices on a hot day.

It’s important to teach children to always stop and come inside when they feel overheated.

Be sure they stay well hydrated with water to help their body sweat and cool down. Help them learn to drink water regularly when active outside, rather than waiting until they are thirsty.

Another important sun safety note is to use sunscreen on children. To help protect from sunburn and reduce their risk of future skin cancer, the CDC recommends applying sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. They also recommend reapplying every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Have a fun, safe, happy summer!

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.  

 

Basic Fitness Logo