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Today, turn off all the devices, and get outside. Enjoy the rewards of a simpler life, if only for an hour.
To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring –
Eat a varied menu of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, without added fats, that supplies generous amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and derives less than 10 percent of its calories from fat.
Have more than one vegetable at each meal and at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Avoid animal products and minimize added vegetable oils.
Minimize alcohol intake.
Engage in regular physical activity.
Maintain your weight at our near your ideal level.
When it’s warm out, you probably wear less clothing. Make sure you’re still covered.
Apply an ounce – that’s a FULL shot glass – of SPF 30 sunblock all over every day. Find one that’s PABA-free, too. Use it as a moisturizer every day. Oh, did we say “every day” already? We must mean it.
Put it on your kids every day, too.
Use a facial moisturizer with SPF year round. Use a good amount, don’t skip your neck, and slap the extra on the backs of your hands. Yep. The two parts of your body that get sun all the time are your face and hands. Coincidentally (or really, NOT), those are the parts that look old first.
It’s really important to encourage FREE PLAY! Remember when your mom shoved you out the door on a bright summer day? You can do that, too. Supervise as appropriate for age and environment – but don’t keep the kids cooped up inside.
Supply your kids one of more of the following – chalk (remember – it washes off with the next rain), jump ropes, hula hoops, frisbees, bubbles, and/or a playground ball.
What about rainy days? No need to rely on the television or video games.
Create an “art box” with all those leftover school supplies, some construction paper, and odd things like egg cartons, bottle tops, glitter pens, pipe cleaners (what do they call those now?), rick-rack, and other oddball things from around the house.
Create a “drama box” with clothes for dress up (men’s and women’s!), a feather boa, a tiara, men’s and women’s hats, and costume jewelry. Periodically toss in a few surprises – a waiter’s order pad, a couple of Chinese takeout boxes (ask for clean ones at the restaurant), a briefcase, kitchen utensils (pie plate, spoons, measuring cups), raffle tickets, movie popcorn bags (yes, unused ones), sleeping bag, camping dishes… you get the point. Shop yard sales to fill the drama box.
Put an old plastic shower curtain on the floor and allow some messy play with water, sand, paint, etc.
Dress the kids in rain gear and boots, and let them out for some puddle-jumping.
Bake cookies (healthy ones!) – or make a pot of soup. Kids can cook with supervision.
And of course, there’s always fort-building. Who doesn’t love a fort? Get out the blankets and take away the breakables in the living room, dining room, or family room, and let the fort-building begin. For extra fun, deliver a picnic lunch to the fort.
We don’t believe that you need to treat yourself with food, especially with something like dessert. However, there are times when you have to have a dessert – so you need one you can feel pretty good about. With our family focus this week, Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars seemed like the perfect dessert to share.
1 cup Earth Balance margarine (that’s half a tub), plus some for the baking dish (note – don’t use the whipped one, it has too much water for baking)
1 cup Sucanat®
3/4 cup maple sugar or date sugar
2 extra large cage-free eggs
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (or 1 package) non-dairy chocolate chips (Tropical Source or Sunspire)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9×13-baking pan. In a bowl combine the Earth Balance and both sweeteners. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Do not overbeat. Stir in the dry ingredients and mix well, then with a wooden spoon, stir in the chips. Spoon the cookie dough into the baking dish and spread it evenly in the pan, to the edges. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden on top. Let cool for 30 minutes. Cut into bars.
… turn ON the activity! Summer is for FUN, so bring it on. Encourage kids to get involved in “real life” activities instead, such as joining a sports team, playing outside, or creating artwork.
Need specific ideas? Try these.
Sign your kids up for swimming lessons and sports camps
Try scouting activities (many councils have summer programming, and registration is open year-round)
Try the local Y summer leagues, camps.
Developmentally delayed kids should not be left out – contact your local Arc chapter for special Olympics, camps, and recreation leagues.
Dig out that community education brochure, or call your city or school district to get a new one. There are often cooking classes, crafts classes, language classes, sports camps, and supervised open gym and weight training times.
Here’s a good reason to get your kids away from the television: They’ll be healthier as adults!
Children who watch two or more hours of television a day face an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular problems when they grow up. TV tots were also more likely to have higher rates of mental-health problems, physical woes, weight issues, smoking, high cholesterol, and more.
So what’s a parent to do?Limit television viewing to one to two hours per day, experts advise. In fact, less than an hour a day is even better, they say. Include computer time in that limit for even better health for your kids.
Long ago (or at least it seems that way), we wrote about rice – the world’s most common food. Today, we have more grains for you.
Whole grains are amazing in part because they are the kernels of new life for the plant. They contain all kinds of nutrients at their center (the germ), protein and carbohydrates for growth and development surrounding that (the endosperm), and fiber in the protective cover (the bran).
Whole grains give you vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytoestrogens, lignans (healthy fats), antioxidants, and more. Experts think the total whole grain package taken together provides protection against diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. They’re still gathering evidence, but they aren’t waiting to urge you to eat more whole grains now.
Today we have a list of grains for you, with some of their benefits and a few tips on preparation. And of course, we have a couple of great grains recipes, too! Keep reading!
There’s always a lot going on, and the craziness can take over if we let it. Make sure to take time for yourself, and to take care of yourself. That means eating properly, getting enough sleep, and having a little downtime each day. If you’re not at YOUR best, you can’t take care of your loved ones.
Here’s to healthy moms (and dads), to healthy kids, and to healthy families – crazy as life may be.