How Can We Encourage Kids to Be More Active?

From my notes for the Daybreak Show on Fox 92.5 with Trey Radel. It was fun, Southwest Florida !

Q: How can we motivate kids to be more active?

1. STOP for a bit after work and take your children to the park. The 20-30 min you spend with them will change their lives and yours.

2. Always have your tennis shoes and change of clothes or a gym bag in your car. It eliminates your excuses. Children are ready to have fun any time. We do in life, what we make time for and a shift in priorities is necessary. In this fast-paced, crazy life we live in, we forget our children only mimic us. If you’re a couch potato, what do you think you’re going to get

3. We live in Florida, go run on the beach, barefoot in the sand with your children. Play Frisbee. Talk a long walk in shallow water.

4. Pick an active hobby that helps others, like walking an elderly neighbor’s dog.

5. Plan games and activies that are fun but active – regular physical activity can improve mental health and mood for both you and your children.

6. Once school gets out, start your day with a walk in the morning before work, to just talk to your your child(ren). Try it just once and I guarantee it will be the MOST rewarding day you have had in a LONG time. You will have activity and learn something about your child(ren).

7. Take your kids to the pool with a snorkel and fins and thrown money in the pool, they will enjoy hunting for even pennies, dimes and nickels. Make a game out of it. How many can they get with one breath? Have them get only the pennies with one breath. Throw in a few quarters, half-dollars or specialty coins. Then let them keep a few at the end. (ps. Don’t forget the sun screen

Simple Changes at Home Encourage Nutrition

Posted May 27th, 2010 by Elaine Hastings, RD - Nutrition Expert and filed in nutrition

Q: What are some simple changes to make at home, which encourage better nutrition and health?
(in terms of shopping, habits, or schedules)

First and foremost: remember that kids mimic adults!
Your children will do what you do, eat what you eat!

With that in mind, here are some simple changes to make, which give the whole family a healthful advantage:

Don’t buy sodas
Don’t buy sugary breakfast cereals
Eat breakfast every day
Keep fruits and veggies on hand
Don’t let kids eat standing up: be mindful of each meal
Plant a garden at home with your kids
Grow or keep herbs in pots in the kitchen
Take walks after dinner or early in the day – a great time to talk (and listen)
Declare one day a week as treat day, when candy or dessert is allowed……..?

Ways to Increase Kids’ Nutritional Awareness

Posted May 27th, 2010 by Elaine Hastings, RD - Nutrition Expert and filed in In The News, Nutrition for Kids

Notes for my interview on Trey Radel’s Daybreak Show on Fox 92.5 this morning

Q: What are some ways to get kids actually eating healthier?

Take kids to a local fish market, talking about fish being heart-healthy for mom and dad, teach them what is caught locally; have them pick out fresh local fish for the family to eat

Teach kids about grilling and get them to choose veggies to grill; make shish-kabobs together.

Teach kids to cook a few healthy things, over the course of the summer.
Make one night a week “Kids Cook” night.

Talk about the best choices on restaurant and fast-food menus

Expose kids to the 12 power foods, and asking them to find tasty-sounding recipes that include them: almonds, apples, blueberries, brazil nuts, broccoli, green tea, olive oil, red beans, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, wholegrain wheat, yogurt.

Smoothies Great in Many Ways

Smoothies are a great snack or meal replacement (and a mobile one at that). They’re especially healthy as a meal replacement if you follow my recommended pattern of eating five to six small meals per day.

Smoothies can also be effective for weight gain or weight loss and are super for helping you stay healthy. It’s all about what goes in the blender, and the beauty of smoothies is that you can customize them not only to your taste, but also to your dietary needs.

If, for example, you need a pick-me-up to aid in recovery after an athletic event or exercise, use orange juice, apple juice, skim milk, ice, soymilk, pineapple juice, Gatorade, water or low-fat chocolate milk as the liquid base. I typically recommend liquid recovery over solid because it’s absorbed faster, is quick to intake and easier to talk someone into doing if they’re hesitant to eat after a workout.

There’s also the rehydration factor.

I recommend smoothies and liquid supplements for the same reasons: they’re easier to consume, and have a faster availability of nutrients due to shorter transit time from ingestion to utilization. The science of nutrition says, quite simply, that liquids simply have a faster absorption rate.

If you’re trying to add protein to your diet, blend natural peanut butter, skim milk or almonds into your smoothie. Green tea smoothies can aid in weight loss as well as give you a healthy dose of antioxidants. I recommend Stevia, Agave and Splenda when you want to add sweetener.

At our house, we use frozen strawberries, banana, cranberry grape juice, AminoRip protein supplement and ice. If we want to make more of a shake, we add skim milk, or just replace the cran-grape with skim milk. When making smoothies for my 14-year-old son, however, I would use all of the above and replace skim milk with whole milk.

After-school snacks that include protein are another way to power-pack your kids with nutrient-dense foods. Almond milk, kale, cacao nibs and vanilla rice protein make a really good smoothie.

Keep your fridge stocked with smoothie ingredients and you’ll be far more likely to whip up a healthy treat for yourself, your friends or family. Buy fresh fruit in season and freeze it.

Yogurt smoothies made with frozen bananas or strawberries are terrific. Some of the tastiest fruits for smoothies include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, banana, apples, pineapple and peaches.

Get creative in how you mix them, and make yourself happy. Experimentation can lead to some wonderful surprises for your palate. It’s that easy.

Frozen fruit smoothies are a quick, nutritious breakfast food, hydrating you early and giving your body the full range of nature’s bioavailable vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. They’re also full of natural fiber and help boost the immune system. You sure can’t say that about a donut.

I love my Magic Bullet blender and the manufacturer has a ton of great smoothie recipes on its “Buy the Bullet” company website. Share your favorite recipe with me via the comments column at The News-Press.com, or on my Facebook page, and I will post the recipe, along with my thoughts, and/or recommended changes.

Don’t be tempted to skip a meal, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Substitute a smoothie instead. And if the thought of cleaning a blender is making your resistant to this oh-so-healthy option, I have fallen prey to that myself. Just head straight for Liquid Nutrition. You might see me there!

Elaine Hastings is a registered dietitian and owner of Associates in Nutrition & Sports Specialty in Florida. Hastings can be contacted at Elaine@associatesinnutrition.com or by visiting AssociatesinNutrition.com. Follow her on Twitter @elainehastings

Take the Challenge, Change your Life!

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Seafood, Shellfish Important for Adults, Kids

Posted April 27th, 2010 by Elaine Hastings, RD - Nutrition Expert and filed in The News-Press Column

Fish: A Four-Letter Word for Healthy!

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet, and nowhere is fresh fish easier to find than the coast. Increase your odds for a long and healthy life with a simple, tasty change: add fish to your weekly menus.

Here are some nutrition facts to motivate you. Fish is a lean, low-calorie source of protein and a great source of critical omega-3 fatty acids. These play a crucial role in brain function, as well as growth and development, and may even reduce the risk of heart disease.

But here’s the catch: the body can’t make them. We must go to the source for omega-3s, and in a seafood-centric environment, that’s easy. They come from fish – such as salmon, tuna, and halibut; other seafood, including algae and krill; some plants; and nut oils.

A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to the whole family’s well-being. Just remember, you don’t have to go overboard to reap the benefits. A little bit of “daily catch” goes a long way. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week (especially fatty fish like trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon) at least twice a week. I personally recommend consuming no more than one fish meal per week from predatory fish (shark, tuna, swordfish, etc.) and no more than two per week from non-predatory fish (sardines, salmon, shrimp, etc.). Very few palate-challenged people will be overwhelmed by this schedule.

Some of you are thinking ‘I know fish is good for you, but my family doesn’t really like it.’ There are many recipes that you can use which will increase the appeal. Look for salmon stuffed with crab and breadcrumbs, or use a tasty pesto to enhance the flavor (Costco offers one of the best I’ve found, in its refrigerated section) . Add grilled fish to a salad loaded with other items. Throw some shellfish into your marinara. Be creative and research ways that might make your family happy when consuming fish or shellfish. Here are two seafood recipes which will help:

Easy, tasty tuna salad
1can (12 oz) water-packed solid white tuna, drained
1/3 cup Yoplait® Fat Free plain yogurt
1can (4 oz) crushed pineapple, drained; or grapes
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (1/3 cup); or sweet onion
¼ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, mix tuna, yogurt, pineapple, celery, pecans, mustard, and cinnamon.
1 serving has approximately 180 Calories, Calories from Fat 50; Total Fat 6g (Saturated Fat 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 420mg; Total Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 9g); Protein 22g.

Shrimp tomato sauce over pasta; makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small bunch scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
¾ cup dry white wine or nonalcoholic white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil
12 fresh or frozen and thawed jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
8 ounces spaghetti
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Warm oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic. Cook 10 minutes, or just until scallions begin to turn golden.
2. Add tomatoes, wine, sugar, and 1/2 cup parsley or basil. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened.
3. Add shrimp and return to a summer. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until shrimp is opaque.
4. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Add sauce and toss to mix.
5. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining 1/4 cup parsley or basil.
Approximately 1 serving has about Calories 380, Calories from Fat 60; Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 65mg; Sodium 650mg; Total Carbohydrate 59g (Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 10g); Protein 19g

Next week, I’ll share some insights about mercury in fish. We’ll sort the truths from the rumors so you can relax at mealtime.

25 healthy snacks for kids

Posted August 24th, 2009 by Elaine Hastings, RD - Nutrition Expert and filed in Meal Tips

With back-to-school time here already, I thought I’d share the American Dietetic Association’s list of healthy snacks for kids. They are perfect for after school or on-the-go!  Adults can enjoy them as well!

When a snack attack strikes, refuel with these nutrition-packed snacks. You may need an adult to help with some of these snacks.

1. Peel a banana and dip it in yogurt. Roll in crushed cereal and freeze.
2. Spread celery sticks with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese. Top with raisins. Enjoy your “ants on a log.”
3. Stuff a whole-grain pita pocket with ricotta cheese and Granny Smith apple slices. Add a dash of cinnamon.
4. Mix together ready-to-eat cereal, dried fruit and nuts in a sandwich bag for an on-the-go snack.
5. Smear a scoop of frozen yogurt on two graham crackers and add sliced banana to make a yummy sandwich.
6. Top low-fat vanilla yogurt with crunchy granola and sprinkle with blueberries.
7. Microwave a small baked potato. Top with reduced-fat cheddar cheese and salsa.
8. Make snack kabobs. Put cubes of low-fat cheese and grapes on pretzel sticks.
9. Toast a whole grain waffle and top with low-fat yogurt and sliced peaches.
10. Spread peanut butter on apple slices.
11. Blend low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana for thirty seconds for a delicious smoothie.
12. Make a mini-sandwich with tuna or egg salad on a dinner roll.
13. Sprinkle grated Monterey Jack cheese over a corn tortilla; fold in half and microwave for twenty seconds. Top with salsa.
14. Toss dried cranberries and chopped walnuts in instant oatmeal.
15. Mix together peanut butter and cornflakes in a bowl. Shape into balls and roll in crushed graham crackers.
16. Microwave a cup of tomato or vegetable soup and enjoy with whole grain crackers.
17. Fill a waffle cone with cut-up fruit and top with low-fat vanilla yogurt.
18. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on hot popcorn.
19. Banana Split: Top a banana with low-fat vanilla and strawberry frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with your favorite whole-grain cereal.
20. Sandwich Cut-Outs: Make a sandwich on whole grain bread. Cut out your favorite shape using a big cookie cutter. Eat the fun shape and the edges, too!
21. Spread mustard on a flour tortilla. Top with a slice of turkey or ham, low-fat cheese and lettuce. Then roll it up.
22. Mini Pizza: Toast an English muffin, drizzle with pizza sauce and sprinkle with low-fat mozzarella cheese.
23. Rocky Road: Break a graham cracker into bite-size pieces. Add to low-fat chocolate pudding along with a few miniature marshmallows.
24. Inside-Out Sandwich: Spread mustard on a slice of deli turkey. Wrap around a sesame breadstick.
25. Parfait: Layer vanilla yogurt and mandarin oranges or blueberries in a tall glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola.

Now that you are refueled, take a trip to Planet Power. Play the MyPyramid Blast-Off game at www.mypyramid.gov.

Enjoy!