If you’re feeling pressed for time and wondering how you’ll ever accomplish everything on your to-do list, look around. Chances are there’s someone who can lend a hand; a neighbor who can stop in and feed your dog so you can finish your errands. You might swing by and get their dry cleaning while you’re out. Think things through and you’ll be more sane at the end of the day.
Don’t forget to get the kids involved. There’s so much that even the littlest hands can do. Be sure to let them know that their contribution is valued. That speaks volumes. Those intangible “gifts” are priceless!
A recent study shows that when children are given a large portion of an entree that they will eat less of everything else that’s offered. Of course we’re like that as adults also so we shouldn’t be surprised.
If you’d like your child to eat more vegetables then decrease the amount of other foods on the plate. You can read the entire article here:
While we don’t agree with the recommended servings mentioned in this article (meat, dairy etc.) there is some excellent advice regarding the presentation of your child’s food, and most especially the example your setting with the balance of options on your own plate !
We saw this as we were skating around the internet. Kinda scary.
Fancy putting your daughter off her food? Then buy her Maggie Goes on a Diet, a children’s book aimed – according to Barnes & Noble, one of the many booksellers on whose website it is currently listed – at six- to 12-year-olds. [...]
The book tells the story of 14-year-old Maggie, who according to its blurb “is transformed from being overweight and insecure to a normal-sized teen who becomes the school soccer star”. It’s not out until October, but so disquieting is the cover image that perhaps we may, in this case, allow ourselves to judge the book by it. Maggie is depicted as dumpy, pigtailed, wearing an unflattering jumper (has nobody told her that wide lateral stripes aren’t a good look when you’re carrying a few extra pounds?), staring into the mirror, presumably dreaming of a thinner self who will one day wear the tiny pink prom dress she’s holding wistfully to her chest.
~ Laura Barnett, The Woman’s Blog, The Guardian
There are better ways to teach your kids about health – starting by modeling healthy behavior yourself, and always emphasizing lifelong healthy eating habits over dieting. The book does get one thing right – being physically active (in this case, involved in sports) is good for kids.
While the author probably has good intentions, there are better health messages for kids aged 6-12.
Back-to-school often means that breakfast gets shortchanged. Do yourself and your family a favor, and bake some muffins to avoid the lure of pastries or drive-through breakfast – or no breakfast at all. (Did you know that kids who eat a good breakfast each day do better in school?)
You can mix and bake muffins the night before – or you can just mix them up the night before and bake them in the morning – or you can bake them on the weekend and keep them in the freezer (put completely cooled muffins in freezer weight zipper bags, and “suck” all the air out of the bag before you freeze them). We like to bake them on the weekends – making a double batch, or two different batches, to get through the week.
These particular muffins are full of nutritious ingredients, but mostly they impress people with their good flavor.
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Morning Glory Muffins
Green * Makes 12 muffins
1 cup high-fiber cereal (such as Nature’s Path Optimum ZEN in Cranberry Ginger)
2/3 cup vanilla soymilk (or plain non-dairy milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla added)
3/4 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal
3/4 cup Sucanat®
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
scant teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg replacer (try Ener-G brand)
Heat oven to 375F. Line 12 regular-size muffin cups with paper baking cups. Spray bottoms only of baking cups with cooking spray or oil mister. (Muffins will stick if baking cups are not sprayed.)
In a medium bowl, mix cereal and soymilk (you may crush your cereal in a re-sealable food-storage plastic bag with a rolling pin if you prefer a smoother texture). Add the apple, carrot, coconut, oil, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, flaxseed meal, Sucanat®, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and egg replacer. Add the carrot-apple mixture to the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove muffins from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm with a little Earth Balance margarine.
THE CHALLENGE: This September 17, you’re invited to take back the ‘value meal’ by getting together with family, friends and neighbors for a slow food meal that costs no more than $5 per person. Cook a meal with family and friends, have a potluck, or find a local event.
WHY: Because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. If you know how to cook, then teach others. If you want to learn, this is your chance. Together, we’re sending a message to our nation’s leaders that too many people live in communities where it’s harder to buy fruit than Froot Loops. Everybody should be able to eat fresh, healthy food every day.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED: Sign up for the challenge! You can cook a meal with friends and family, find a local event, or host your own event. When you sign up, Slow Food USA will send you $5 cooking tips.
The challenge pledge is as follows:
“On Sept. 17, I pledge to share a fresh, healthy meal that costs less than $5 — because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food.”
From Slow Food USA
Stay involved in your child’s physical education classes at school.
Ask about the frequency of classes, the length of classes, the activities, class size and curriculum. Ask about the teacher’s philosophy concerning children’s fitness. While you’re at it, ask about recess – frequency and length, and what kids are able to do during that time. If possible, offer to help coach an activity you’re good at.
This is not just for parents. Community members are taxpayers, and their opinion matters, too. When we all (the whole village) demand excellence from our schools, our kids and our communities benefit. So get vocal about physical education, recess, and sports in your schools.
Remember back in the 90′s when those little spiral quotation books were all the rage? We had one on our kitchen table, and we used it with our children every day (they were young; we were trying to cover all our bases in the great experiment that is parenting). Our quotation book was called “3 Words a Day” and there were some 3-word sayings that stuck with all of us. Our favorite was:
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.
There are fancier ways to say it, but we like that this one doesn’t mess around (and what an easy reminder to use with kids – no judgment, no blaming, no shaming – just a reminder of the truth). How you choose to look at the world and what you choose to project will make or break your experience of everything you do and everything you are.
Marilu says “Work the coat” – project your best in everything you do and go for it.
Even when you’re facing a bad day or a difficult person or a big challenge, your positive attitude and willingness to put your best effort and best face out there makes a huge difference. Go for it.
So you’d love to have family meals, but you don’t know where you’d get the time?
- Be fast and easy * Make dishes that have a short list of ingredients and a quick cooking time.
- Keep it simple, sister! * Simple side dishes, like a tossed salad and steamed or grilled vegetables take little time and can be made while the main dish is cooking.
- Be supplied * Keep your kitchen well-stocked with staples, and buy produce regularly. Prepare double quantities of cooked grains, soups, and one-dish meals and freeze the extra portions for busy days.
- Now you’re cooking * Use quick cooking methods, like steaming, grilling, broiling, and sauteing. Use a slow-cooker for foods that take longer to cook. Look for meals that “recycle” the planned leftovers into another meal.
- Be the prep cook * Do some of the preparation ahead of time. Chop some veggies or mix up the dry and wet ingredients separately for corn bread or muffins in the morning or the night before.
- Be the boss * Invite family members to help. Setting the table is pretty obvious, as is pouring the water. Young children can tear lettuce for a salad or put pre-cut raw veggies in a bowl for the table. Older children can stir a soup or sauce, wash and cut veggies, make a vinaigrette, or mix up a quick bread. Teens can cook (yes, they can, and it’s good for them to learn life skills!).
If you’re running out of ideas for ways to enjoy the summer, try some of these. Make a “bucket list” for the next six weeks and see what you can accomplish. And don’t forget your sunscreen.
Go to a water park.
Watch a movie under the stars.
Explore a cave.
Visit a brewery.
Learn to sail.
Take a hot-air balloon ride.
Tour a winery.
Take a dinner cruise on a riverboat.
Have supper at a farm.
Tube down a river.
Attend a polo match.
Sleep in a train.
Catch a water-ski show.
Learn to golf.
Explore the Milky Way.
Rent a boat.
Have a mini-golf-a-thon.
Enter a triathlon.
Learn to water-ski.
Visit a sculpture garden.
Take a road trip to a weekend festival.
Learn to wake-board.
Attend a concert in a park.
Explore a scenic waterway.
Watch a baseball game.
Take a river rafting trip.
Go to a flea market.
Hit the beach.
Visit an art fair.
Watch a regatta.
Camp in the backyard.
The importance of family dinner is often overlooked. Researchers have proven that sitting around the table and sharing a meal has long-term value for our families and even our society.
- Teens from households where family dinner is common are more apt to be well-adjusted and more motivated in school (Columbia University, 2007). They also relate better to their peers, and are less likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or try marijuana.
- Kids aged 9-14 who typically eat dinner with their families consume more fruits and vegetables, drink less soda, and eat less fried food (Harvard Medical School Obesity Prevention Program).
- Regular mealtimes with parents and children increases each child’s sense of belonging and stability, and boosts the family’s feeling of group connection (American Academy of Pediatrics).
That doesn’t even cover the fact that kids learn practical things too, like table manners and how to participate in adult conversations.