Monday, September 8, 2014

Start Them Out Young

Almost 6 months ago my dear friends had a new baby and shared this adorable picture with me.  Of course I immediately asked permission to share it...and then waited 6 months to do so.

Look at her...showing her tiny little guns on day 5.  I was so proud that she was already showing signs of healthy and active living!

Photo courtesy of J. McClosky - thank you for allowing me to share!

Starting kids on a path to healthy eating and activity is more crucial now than ever.  Here is a graphic I ran across with some startling information - it's not as cute as that first photo but it sure is an eye-opener.

So, what can we do to fight childhood obesity?

1.  Pack your child's lunch - and not a lunchable.  Toss in an organic PB & J on whole wheat bread and some apple slices or baby carrots.  Want to give them a treat?   How about a homemade oatmeal cookie?    Or these easy no-bake cookies I found on Pinterest last week - sugar-free doesn't always mean Splenda & Sucralose!

2.  Better yet - have them pack their own lunch and make it a game....who can get the most colors in their lunch today?  The loser has to pack their siblings lunch the next day!  Love a little fun competition before bedtime.

3.  Get moving!   If you are lucky enough to live in Arkansas, state parks abound and are trail and river rich - how about a hike or some kayaking?  There are so many ways to incorporate activity and fun into your family - and start a new Sunday Funday tradition.

4.  Plan dinner a week in advance.   Planning your meals is as important for your health as it is for your sanity.   Having a plan in place for dinner (hello slow cooker) and stop ordering pizza and going out - where you'll eat twice as many calories as if you cook at home.

5.  Stop using the excuse "Ah, they're just kids, they'll burn it off."  Because the reality is, they aren't! Only about 1/3 of all adolescents get the recommended daily activity - and teaching them young means better habits when they are older.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Betty Crocker's Drop Biscuits (circa 1950)

Ingredients & Recipe
Preheat oven to 450.

Sift together:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cut in:
1/4 cup palm oil

Stir in:
1 cup organic 2% milk

Knead lightly in large bowl until mixture is soft.  Drop from a spoon into lightly greased muffin tins.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 20 biscuits.

Vanilla Almond Granola

Vanilla Almond Granola

6 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 cup raw almonds (whole)
2 TBSP peanut oil -- i actually think coconut oil would be amazing here!
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine 1st 5 ingredients & set aside.
Combine last 3 ingredients in glass bowl or measuring cup & microwave for 1 minute.
Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and mix until well coated.
Spread into a cookie sheet & bake for 8 minutes.  
Stir and spread again, baking an additional 6-7 minutes.

YUM!  It can stay up to a month in the pantry in an air-tight canister.  In our house it lasts about 10 days!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Did you know that exercise can help you.....

Manage your weight?  The more you exercise, the easier it is to keep you weight under control.  Cutting calories will help you lose the initial weight – maintaining an exercise program helps keep the weight off.  Dieting changes your weight – exercising changes your body!

Sleep Better?  A drop in body temperature signals to the body it’s time for sleep.  Exercise raises your core body temperature for 4-5 hours, and then it drops lower than it would had you not exercise letting your brain know “Hey, I’m tired!”

Increase focus and concentration?  When you get a good night’s sleep, you are more productive and concentration improves. 

Have more FUN?  Take your dog for a walk, push your kids on the swing set, sign up for that salsa class you’ve been eyeing.  Fitness doesn’t have to be boring and doesn’t have to mean going to the gym.

Improve your Mood?  Exercise stimulates chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy and relaxed.  It can also help with anxiety, depression and make you feel better about yourself.

Lower blood pressure?  Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger.  A stronger heart pumps more blood with less effort.  Less effort means less force on your arteries, which mean lower blood pressure.  **1-3 months to see the effect and it only stays down if you continue to exercise**

Lower blood glucose levels? When your muscles contract during activity, it stimulates another mechanism that is completely separate of insulin. This mechanism allows your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not.  And when you are active on a regular basis, it can also lower your eAG (estimated Average Glucose). 

Lower bad cholesterol & raise good cholesterol?  Exercise lowers LDL by helping stimulate the enzymes that carry the LDL to the liver, where it is processed for excretion.  It raises HDL by increasing the size of the protein particles so they can’t squeeze through the lining of the heart & blood vessels and create a home there.  (Source:  Exercise to lower cholesterol, WebMD Medical Reference, Reviewed by:  Dr. Rob Hicks)

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