Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Food For Thought: 10 Super Foods! By Deborah Lowther October 30, 2012 By hywo Leave a Comment Food For Thought: Top 10 Super Foods for Better Learning We know eating fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and whole grains are good for our health, but did you know they are also good for learning? 
Whether it is the antioxidants in berries, the fibre of apples, the phytochemicals in sweet potatoes, lycopene rich tomatoes, choline in eggs, or the unsaturated fats of an avocado, what you eat is important for healthy brain development, cognitive learning and memory. Add in some of these Super Foods for a super school year and better learning. Berries. Include berries such as vitamins and antioxidants, they ward off damage caused by free radicals and may improve the cognitive function of the brain, improving memory and motor skills. Eggs. Just one egg contains an amazing amount of nutrition. With 6 grams of protein per egg and more than a dozen vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, B12 and folate, they are a rich super food. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, an important nutrient for brain development. Dark Leafy Greens- Spinach and Kale. Greens such as spinach and kale pack an immune boosting punch with their vitamin A and C. The vitamin B-12 and folate in spinach improves brain health and the maintenance of cognitive functioning, including memory. Kale is rich in manganese, a trace mineral that helps synthesize fatty acids critical to healthy brain function. Salmon, Tuna and Mackerel. These fatty fish are full of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 rich fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are important for brain development, heart health and reducing inflammation. Your brain is comprised of approximately 60% fat, and by including Omega 3 fatty fish such as salmon and tuna at dinner you are providing the essential fats your brain requires for optimal functioning. Grape Juice from Concord Grapes. Grape juice may be a smarter beverage choice. Research shows that the polyphenols from concord grapes can improve the communication between brain cells. The antioxidant rich grape juice improves short term memory and motor skills. Whole Grains and Brown Rice. A simple switch to brown rice, whole wheat pasta’s and whole grain breads can increase brain health. Filled with vitamins and magnesium, important to cognitive health, whole grains contain B vitamins including folate and B12 that increase memory and regulate energy levels to keep kids alert in class. Add in fibre rich oats and quinoa to get the benefits of more fibre and added protein in your casseroles, baking and morning hot cereal. Beans. A nutrient-rich food, beans contain protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, iron and important B-Complex vitamins. Try adding beans to a wrap, soup, pasta sauce or chili. Bean dips are a great way to spice up raw veggies for an afterschool snack. 
 Puree chickpeas, lentils or white kidney beans with some garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil for a brain healthy dip for snacks. Dark Chocolate. Warm up with hot chocolate to help your brain! Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than blueberries and natural cocoa rates higher than raspberries and blackberries for these key nutrients. The antioxidants in chocolate protect brain cells from damaging free radicals and improve cognitive function. Nuts- Almonds and Walnuts. Walnuts are the top nut for brain health with their high concentration of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid shown to improve cognitive performance. Just a ¼ cup of walnuts provides almost 100% the recommended daily intake of DHA. Almonds are high in Vitamin E, also shown to improve memory function and make a great mid day snack. Olive Oil. Olive oil contains brain friendly monounsaturated fats that can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Extra Virgin Olive oil is also rich in potent antioxidants called polyphenols that prevent damage to cells in the brain from free radicals. Eating whole foods will ensure your child has a nutrient dense, fibre rich diet that maintains consistent blood sugar levels and helps them stay focused and avoid the highs and lows from sugary processed foods. Incorporate antioxidant rich berries, brain boosting omega 3 fish, satisfying protein in eggs, beans and oats, and fibre and vitamin B rich grains to provide your young scholars with a great school year. Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails! She blogs about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy & staying active. To read more articles you can visit her websites and or visit her on Facebook at IronKids.Health and Adult Essentials. ShareThis Filed Under: Kids/Teen Corner Tagged With: brain foods, childhood nutrition, deb lowther, healthy eating, healthy kids, healthy lifestyle, Healthy snacks, healthy study habits, nutrition for kids, study snacks, studying better Kid-friendly Healthy Recipes by Deb Lowther October 9, 2012 By hywo Leave a Comment Encouraging kids to eat healthy is a challenge many parents face! With a little creativity, healthy eating is possible! Here are a few kid-friendly, healthy recipes to get you started: Spinach Brownies Nonstick cooking spray 3 ounces semisweet chocolate 1/2 cup carrots or cauliflower cooked & pureed 1/2 cup (or more) spinach steamed & pureed 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 tablespoons margarine or butter 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 large egg whites 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup chocolate chips Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8×8-inch baking pan with cooking spray & dust with extra cocoa powder. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or over a very low flame. In a large bowl, combine the melted chocolate, vegetable purees, sugar, cocoa powder, margarine, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in egg whites. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting Healthy Apple Oatmeal Flax Cookies 1/2 cup butter 1/4 cup agave syrup 1/4 cup apple sauce 1 egg 1tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup ground flax 1/2 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp cinnamon 1 1/2 cup oats 1 apple peeled and shredded Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, agave syrup, apple sauce, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. In a separate bowl combine whole wheat flour, flax, soda, cinnamon and oats. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and combine. Add in shredded apple and a handful of chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto a cookie sheet and pat down with the back of a spoon, bake 8-10 minutes. Cool completely and then freeze! Whole Wheat, Flax, Carrot, Zucchini & Apple mini muffins 3/4c all purpose flour 3/4c whole wheat flour 1/2c oat bran cereal 1/4c flaxseed meal 1/2c brown sugar 2tsp baking soda 1tps baking powder 1/2tsp salt 2tsp cinnamon 3/4c milk 2 eggs beaten 3 tbsp agave syrup 1 tsp vanilla 1c shredded carrots 1/2c shredded zucchini 2 peeled & shredded apples Directions: Have kids mix together flours, flax, oat bran, sugar, soda, powder, salt & cinnamon in large bowl. Shred and add in zucchini, apples and carrots. Have kids crack eggs into a separate dish (pull out egg shell bits if you need to!) then add milk, vanilla and syrup. Have kids add the wet to the dry ingredients and they can also fill mini muffin tins. (This might be messy, but use a small spoon and they will improve!) We then top ours with 3 (yes 3!) chocolate chips. Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cheddar Crust & Crumble 1 1/2 cups large flake rolled oats 3/4 cups whole wheat flour 1/4 cup flax 1/3 cup brown sugar 2tbsp agave syrup 1/2 cup melted butter 1 cup shredded old cheddar Filling 4 apples 3tbsp agave syrup 2tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon Line 9 inch sugar metal cake pan with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch over. Set aside. Directions: In a bowl, mix together oats, flour, flax, sugar and syrup. With a fork stir in melted butter until mix clumps & is crumbly. Mix in cheese. Press ALL but 1 cup evenly into prepared pan. Bake in centre of 350 degree oven until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile peel core and slice apples 1/2 inch thick. In skillet bring apples, syrup, lemon juice and cinnamon to boil, adding up to 1/4 cup water if apples stick to pan. Reduce heat and simmer, until apples are tender crisp, about 5 minutes. Spread apples over base, sprinkle with remaining oat mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into squares. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze. This article is written by Deb Lowther. Deb is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails! She blogs about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy & staying active. To read more articles you can visit her websites & or visit her on Facebook at IronKids.Health and Adult Essentials. ShareThis Filed Under: Kids/Teen Corner Tagged With: baking, deb lowther, healthy cooking, healthy recipes, Healthy snacks, healthy treats, kid recipes, recipes Back to School with Less Stress by Juli Shulem August 26, 2012 By hywo Leave a Comment Teaching your child efficient and effective study habits allows for less stress, for all family members! Students of all ages can improve their study habits for better scholastic success. Consistency creates habit. Here are some tips to increase the chances of your student in dealing better with homework, exams, and school stress: Set up a regular routine for doing homework. When your child arrives home they are most likely in need of a break and perhaps a snack, so let that be the first thing they do. However, this shouldn’t go on for longer than 15-20 minutes. Establish a place/desk-space where they can do their work easily. Some children do better in the kitchen with things going on, while others prefer complete silence. Test different spots until the best one is determined, as their room may not be where they concentrate best. Secure the tools they will need to do their work. Determine what kind of paper, writing tools, calculators, etc. are necessary. Additionally, help them become organized by having a consistent location for their completed homework to go inside their backpack immediately when completed. Doing so will make sure their assignments are returned to class on time. Finish homework early. Encourage your child to get their homework done before dinner (when possible) so they can relax the rest of the evening before bedtime. Many children try to bargain for “gaming time” before they complete their work only to not have enough time to finish what is due. Teach them responsibility by doing the higher priority tasks first. Use a timer to aid in sustaining focus for those who find that difficult. Set a timer for 30 minutes to work, ending with a short break before resuming once again. If your child does best powering through their work without a break – great! If that kind of sustained focus is difficult, or your child has AD/HD, then the timed-focus sessions will really help. Teach your child to schedule exams and projects well in advance. If a student has a paper due in two weeks, starting it the night before is a recipe for failure and stress. Show your child how to break a large assignment into small steps and to do step daily. Write these mini-steps on the calender and hold them to their commitment. Giving praise and encouragement plus listening to your child’s concerns about their strengths and weaknesses is necessary as a parent. However, note: not everyone is good at everything. Your child may need a tutor or more time in a subject to understand it. Listen to them, then empower them to learn effective and efficient study habits. Juli Shulem, CPC, is an ADHD Coach specializing in students with ADHD and related challenges. She can be reached at or (805) 964-2389. ShareThis Filed Under: Kids/Teen Corner Tagged With: back to school tips, encouraging your child in school, how to study better, study habits Routine for Healthy Learning by Deb Lowther August 3, 2012 By hywo Leave a Comment It’s time to think about back to school, and while we immediately think of buying backpacks, new lunch bags and indoor runners, but it’s actually the perfect time to look at your back to school routines and make some healthy changes!! Morning Routine Before the first day of school, talk to your kids about what the morning routine will look like when everyone needs to get up and out the door without a mega melt down! Get all the kids involved in setting up the new schedule and deciding who will help with which tasks. Create a small poster together that highlights what everyone is expected to do in the morning. Review each year and add new responsibilities as the kids get bigger and can handle more tasks. Hang this poster near the front door, so everyone can see it and have the kids refer to it instead of asking you what they need to do next! Sample Morning Routine List: *Get dressed *Brush hair *Eat a healthy breakfast *Take your vitamins *Brush teeth *Pack library books/homework *Empty dishwasher Snack Routine Make homemade snacks. It takes less than 2 hours every 3 weeks to make a batch of healthy cookies, healthy muffins & spinach brownies. Bake with the kids, then store them in the freezer and on school mornings the kids can pop them into their snack container with their lunch. Teach them the benefits of homemade snacks and avoiding processed packaged snack foods, while improving their baking skills and having fun as a family in the kitchen! Lunch Routine Set a routine for making lunches and get the kids involved. Have a container for everything and teach the kids what goes in each container. Give them healthy options and let them choose some items that are part of their school lunch. Sample Containers for Healthy Lunch: *Sandwich *Fruit *Yogurt *Cereal Snack (pretzels, shreddies, oat squares) *Milk *Water Vitamin Routine Add handing out vitamins to the morning school routine and give the kids a healthy start to their day of learning! Studies are proving the benefits of Omega 3s for brain and eye health, Calcium and Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth, and a good Multi that contains vitamins A, B, C, and E that promotes a strong immune system. Imagine sending your kids off to school each day with that kind of start! When you begin preparing for back to school, don’t forget to schedule in a few routines to give your kids the healthiest school year possible! Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails! She blogs about Raising Healthy Kids and ensures her own have fun while eating healthy & staying active. You can visit her websites to learn more & ShareThis Filed Under: Kids/Teen Corner Tagged With: back to school tips, children and health, healthy kids, teens and nutrition How to Keep Your Teen Active This Summer by Maggie Ayr

What will your family do this summer? Do you have time off or will your teen be amusing themselves?
When kids are young it can be easier to entertain them with family outings or activity days where they can learn new skills. But, what do you do with a teenager who could quite happily sit in front of the TV or computer for hours or even days on end?
Here are five top ways to ensure your teenager stays healthy and active this summer:
Sign them up for a “cool” activity. You can find holiday clubs where they’ll teach you everything from skateboarding to surfing to juggling to street dance. They’ll make new friends and learn a new skill at the same time.

Plan a family day out. Even the most independent teen enjoys a bit of attention from Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters. Find an activity you’ll all enjoy and give it your full attention. What about a trip to the beach, 10 pin bowling, swimming or ice-skating? There’s something whatever the weather.


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