Dr. Mom’s Tips to Start The New School Year Off With Better Eating Habits

Children need a wide variety of foods to meet their nutritional needs for growth and hormonal balance, as well as foods that fuel the brain to help them pay attention in school. But parents often complain to me that their kids won’t eat anything healthy because they are picky eaters. As a mother of three children, I am sympathetic. But I also remind them that it is the parents, not the children, who pay for the food at the grocery store checkout. If our children are picky eaters it’s because of us!

School lunches and the “Kid’s Menu” at restaurants complicate the issue. They often consist of grilled cheese, cheese pizza and “mac and cheese.” These commercially prepared foods fill your child’s stomach, but provide absolutely no health benefits. Green vegetables or quality proteins are nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, a diet filled with white flour, white sugar, white rice, concentrated juices, food coloring, sucralose (i.e. Splenda), aspartame (i.e. Nutrasweet), and high fructose corn syrup can lead to your children suffering with a slew of allergies, attention issues, skin rashes and/or constipation.

Studies show that dietary habits forged in childhood are likely to persist into adulthood, so the lessons we teach our children about eating can last throughout their lifetime. It’s never too late for you to reform your own eating habits, and create a healthier future for your children.

Make the changing of eating habits a back-to-school project for your entire family. Keep in mind, the process begins with changing YOUR mindset and YOUR habits so that you can help expand your children’s food horizons. Have a family meeting to discuss the benefits of healthy eating. When everyone believes that they’re capable of “learning to like new foods,” the change can begin. Drop the label “picky eaters” and start referring to your children as “good eaters.” With your assistance and consistency, they’ll soon grow into that new moniker.

Nutrition is essential

The goal is to make sure your children’s meals include good fats, quality proteins, green vegetables and unrefined complex carbohydrates. The right kinds of fats are super important, because they’re essential for proper brain function. Good sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs) are raw almonds or raw walnuts; grass fed meats and eggs; avocados, organic poultry; sustainably caught, cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna and trout, avocado and flax seeds. When cooking, only use unrefined and organic olive or coconut oil.

Cooking? Yes. The first and most important step you must take to change your family’s eating  habits is to prepare the majority of your meals at home. Save restaurant eating for special occasions, or limit it to one time per week. Keep the made-at-home meals simple – baked or grilled poultry, meat or fish; a green salad, and steamed or blanched veggies with a dipping sauce. If you serve a grain, use brown rice, or experiment with higher protein grains like quinoa. Involve your children in the food preparation process. In that way, they’ll not only begin to learn to cook, they’ll grow to understand that the time spent making meals is also an act of love.

 

Five Easy Steps for Enhancing Your Child’s Ability to Do Well in School

1.     Start the day off with protein. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Consider omelets, boiled eggs, yogurt with fruit, cottage cheese with fruit, almond butter on sprouted toast, or a slice of almond banana bread (see recipes). Eating small portions of protein throughout the day, such as raw nuts, keeps your child’s energy balanced throughout the day.

2.     Drink lots of water. The brain is comprised of about 80% water. Increasing your child’s water intake to a minimum of four to eight, 8-ounce glasses of filtered water every day will improve every function of their body – from energy level to brain function. Sodas, Gatorade, tea, slurpies, etc., are liquids, but are not the same as water. Water is essential to the body’s optimal function.

3.     Prepare healthy lunches and after-school snacks; make dinner a family affair: Purchase insulated lunch bags for your children and send them off to school with the nutritional punch they’ll need to get through the day. Need ideas? See the article titled 10 Healthy Snack Ideas, some of which can be used for lunch. Make dinner a family affair – get everyone involved in the preparation.

4.     Spend time outdoors: Spend at least 30 minutes outdoors every day, either exercising together or playing together.

5.   Make time for rest: When we rest, is when the body is restored. Children need much more sleep than adults. Make sure your children get at least nine or 10 hours every night, and watch those grades rise!

Follow these steps, and you’ll see a marked change in the health and well-being of your entire family. Get started today!

 Back-to-School Family Challenge

How would you like to see your family’s photo or story featured on the PureBalance Facebook  Page, or even the PureBalance Health Center website? Follow the “Five Easy Steps” outlined in Dr. Mom’s article, Enhancing Your Children’s Ability to Do Well in School,” and submit your story to [email protected] by September 10th!

 


Dr. Mom’s 10 Healthy Snack Ideas and 6 Recipes for After-School

Many patients have asked me for healthy after school snack ideas. You'll find a few of my favorites here and best of all, they’re so yummy your kids won’t realize how healthy the snacks truly are. As always, I recommend you do your best to use organic fruits and vegetables, and make sure all dairy products are from organic, grass-fed cows or goat milk whenever possible.

  1.  Kale chips (see recipe at the end of the article)
  2.  Sprouted bread toast (such as Ezekiel Bread) with almond butter and organic fruit preserves
  3.  Almond flour banana bread (see recipe)
  4.  Cottage cheese and fresh fruit
  5.  Cheese quesadillas with sprouted-grain tortillas, served with raw veggies
  6.  Avocado and Goat Cheese Dip or hummus and baked blue corn chips, and blanched vegetables. (see recipe)
  7.  Cheese with apple slices, grapes or raw veggies (peppers, cucumbers, carrots.)
  8.  Homemade tomato soup (see recipe)
  9.  Tortilla roll-up sandwich (see recipe)
  10.  Yogurt parfait (see recipe at the end of the article)

Krispy Kale Chips

This recipe is “Bayne Kids Approved!” It can be served with lunch, or make it instead of popcorn when enjoying a movie. Best of all, it’s so simple and fast!

  • 1 head of organic kale, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Gomasio or sea salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Combine the kale, olive oil and seasoning. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through; about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

 Almond Flour Banana Bread

  • 3 cups almond flour                                                     
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil or butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 F; grease a 1.5 quart loaf pan.

Whisk together the almond flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Using a large mixer or a hand mixer, blend the eggs, bananas, sugar, coconut oil (or butter) and vanilla using a medium speed until well-blended. Mix in the almond flour mixture a third at a time, using the mixer on low speed. Mix well; scrape down the sides after each addition. Add the walnuts.

Pour the batter in the greased loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning the bread out from the loaf pan. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing and serving. Makes 12 generous servings.

Avocado and Goat Cheese Dip

  • 1 firm, but ripe avocado
  • 2oz soft goat cheese
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  •  1-3 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
  • Fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro) to taste
  • Sea salt or gomasio and pepper to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a mini chop or food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. If not serving immediately, leave the avocado seed in the dip, and press a piece of saran wrap on the surface of the dip before covering with a lid. Remove the seed and wrap before serving. Serve with vegetable tray.

How to blanch vegetables

Place raw green beans, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower in boiling water for 2-4 minutes then transfer in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Blanched green beans, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower work well with the avocado goat cheese dip, or you can use hummus.

 Homemade Tomato Soup                            

  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 sun-dried tomato slices
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • ¼ cup of fresh onion
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1-2 springs of fresh basil
  • ½ of avocado
  • Add sea salt to taste

Directions

Cut the tomatoes in half and place in Vitamix or high speed blender. (If you don’t have a high speed blender, add extra to water to help blend the mixture, or you can use a food processor). Add sun dried tomatoes and blend until smooth. While the blender is still going, add the celery, sea salt, onion and garlic. Keep blending until fully mixed. Add the basil and continue to blend. Finally, add the avocado and blend for just a few seconds to combine.

Tortilla roll up sandwiches                          

  • 1 sprouted wheat tortilla (by Alvarado St.)
  • Olive & Garlic Tapenade by Cibo Naturals
  • ¼ cup of shredded chicken
  • ¼ cup of grated cheese,
  • ¼ cup of shredded carrots and lettuce

Directions

Generously spread the tapenade over the lower half of the tortilla. Place the shredded chicken and veggies in the middle and roll up the tortilla. Cut the roll-up in half and secure with a toothpick. You can also substitute the tortilla with romaine lettuce.

Peach Yogurt Parfait                                                                  

  • Unsweetened whole milk organic yogurt
  • One peach (diced) or ½ cup of fresh berries
  • ½ cup of homemade granola
  • 1TBS of raw honey

Directions

Spoon unsweetened whole milk organic yogurt into a bowl. Top with a fresh diced peach or other fresh fruit. Top with the homemade granola. Repeat layering of yogurt, fruit and granola. Top with raw honey to taste.