Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Ways Nutrition Helps Kids At School

By now all the kids are back to school.  Even my kids who have already taken a week off of school due to a virus and two broken bones are back at school.  Whew!  Kids are busy these days.  Dance classes, football practice, music lessons............all sorts of things.  They sure do need lots of energy to make it through the day.  Of course, their first priority always has to be school.  My mom used to refer to school as "my job."  She had a point.  If I want my children to be successful at their school jobs, nutrition needs to be a part of that.  


Nutrition helps kids with school

Here are 5 ways nutrition helps kids at school:

1.  Start the day off right.  Make sure to include protein and carbohydrates in their breakfast.  Protein has amino acids that really get the brain fired up and energy dense carbohydrates will give them the energy they need to make it to lunch.  Fruits and veggies provide lots of vitamins and minerals to keep them performing at their peak.  Think scrambled eggs, toast, and smoothies.

2.  Make sure they are hydrated.  After going all night without drinking anything the kiddos really need to be hydrated.  Water helps the organs to work properly and clears the cobwebs from sleepy brains.  Pack a refillable water bottle in their bag so they can keep hydrated all day.

3.  Make sure they have healthy snacks throughout the day.  My little guy eats his snack in the afternoon.  My daughter eats hers in the morning.  It's based on when they eat lunch.  It's important to maintain a healthy blood sugar level all day.  I try to have snacks ready to go so they can grab something each morning and stuff it into their back-packs.  Think baggies with cheese and crackers, cut fruit and veggies, dried fruit and nuts.

4.  Avoid foods that impair mood.  Excessive amounts of caffeine from sodas and energy drinks can lead to highs and lows during the day.  It is believed that artificial colors lead to ADHD - like behavior in some children so artificially bright colored foods should be avoided.  Nutritionists also believe that a diet high in processed foods which are made up of excess sugar and refined flours and grains can increase a child's risk for anxiety and depression.

5.  Enjoy a balanced dinner with your children.  After a long day of school and activities the kids are going to need to re-energize.  A balanced meal will do just that so they can finish their homework and then do it all over again the next day. 

So.........what are your favorite snacks to send to school with your kids?  Have you noticed a difference in behavior depending on what your kids eat?  Do your kids eat breakfast? 

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Taking Control of What We Can And Letting Go Of The Rest

Wow!  Last week was a heck of a week.  The local news was reporting a "mysterious virus" affecting children and don't you know my daughter spikes a fever Sunday night that lasted the whole week.  While my daughter was sick in bed, my son decided to break the two bones in his lower arm while playing on the playground at school.  Our week was spent changing schedules, running to doctor appointments, and even a trip to the operating room for my little guy.  And in case you don't husband and I both work full-time outside of the home.  As crazy as the week was, for some reason the teenager still wanted to be taken care of as well.   Emotions and exhaustion were in high supply.

My little guy at the emergency room
Since we are a real food house, the only thing we didn't have to worry about is what we were going to eat all week.  Right? Wrong!  I so wish this was true.  If I was really on the ball, I would have had plenty of bone broth in the freezer and lots of quick and easy meals ready to go.  The problem is................all of the illness and broken bones came before I had a chance to go to the grocery store.  I barely had any milk in the house.
It was not a wonderful clean eating week.  I bought soup from a local restaurant more than once last week.  Boy, was that stuff salty!  It reminded me how much better homemade is in both taste and nutrition. However, my daughter was able to keep it down which kept her out of the hospital.  That was a definite win.  We also ate my favorite quick meal which is breakfast for dinner.  We had plenty of nuts and raisins in the house so that was the majority of our snacks.  Smoothies turned into a requested treat to fix all our ailments.  There is nothing like a frozen treat to make everything feel better!   

Scrambled eggs for dinner with frest cherry tomatoes
My friend Gaye's words kept running through my head all week and they really helped me to relax and just get through things.  I realized that although I had a ton of obligations last week (and likely let some people down) my family had to come first.  There was no multi-tasking or being superwoman.  There was just being mom which was a big enough job. Gaye's blog Calm.Healthy.Sexy has been such a blessing to me.  She really has helped me to realize that "when I say YES to someone that I am saying NO to someone else."  In this case, I just couldn't say no to my children.  They needed me more than anyone else.  
What does this have to do with real food?  Let me tell you.  I try to eat real about 80% or more of the time.  Sometimes it is easy to cook and prepare our real food diet and sometimes it is not.  Last week I decided that I would take control of what I could and just let go of the rest.  And.........that is how we ended up eating restaurant soup and homemade smoothies.  
I like to be a good example to all of you folks out there who really want to eat real food, but have busy family schedules.  It IS possible!  Don't forget that, but's OK to let go a little.  Just don't eat artificial colors.  I don't want you to drop that far............she says with a smile.  
I decided to write this because I figure if I felt this way sometimes, then maybe you do too.  There are a lot of expectations out there about how we should feed our families.  I am clearly on the real food side of the argument.  Just do the best you can when times get tough and then get back to the good stuff as soon as you can.  Your body will thank you for that.
Misery loves company.  What has been one of your toughest weeks lately?  How often are you able to eat real food?  What are some of the things that get in the way of eating real food?
Make sure you follow along my Facebook page so you don't miss out on the fun we are having over there.       


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Let's Get Real Friday Party #56

Woot! Woot! Let's get this Friday started. Let's Get Real is all about Healthy Living. That's right! It's all about Real Food, fitness, health and wellness, and home life tips and tricks from Real people. That's you! Grab a cup of coffee (or other preferred beverage ). Relax into a comfy spot and take some time to get to know the great folks that link up here.

**This week you can enter to win next week's special co-host spot. If you are interested in co-hosting next week, please enter the rafflecopter give-away. We would love to have you join us for the week.**

Special Note: We have started a "Let's Get Real Bloggers Facebook Group". We would love to have all of you Let's Get Real bloggers join us as we help each other to grow.

Let's Get Real

A Big Welcome to our very Special Co-Host Elizabeth from Balm To My Soul! Make sure you give her a big Let's Get Real welcome!

Elizabeth from Balm To My Soul

I'm not big on rules (since this is what I do for fun), but I do have a couple of guidelines.

1) Follow all your co-hosts. We follow back! Leave a comment for us on the post and we will know you are a new follower.

ChristinaBlog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram
NicoleBlog/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google +/Instagram

2) Please don't link and run! Follow and comment on at least 3 other blogs. The more effort you put into getting to know everyone, the more you will get in return. Everyone is here to get more readers and traffic to their blogs so let's show them some love!

3) Let people know where you party! Add our party badge or link back to the party on your blog or post.

We will be pinning our favorites!!

My Let's Get Real Featured blogger this week is:

(Drum Roll Please!)

The (mis) Adventures of a "Born Again" Farm Girl

Since my little guy broke his arm this week and my daughter has had a virus, I thought it would be a good time to make some bone broth.  It is not only delicious, but it has wonderful healing powers as well.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lisa Leake's 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook Review - You've Gotta Have This Book!

Have you ever had a friend that is just perfect in every way, but you just can't hate her because she is so darned nice?  I have several of them.  They know who they are because I tell them all of the time.  They always seem to have it together and they are beautiful inside and out.  That is how I feel about Lisa Leake from 100 Days of Real Food.  Although, I have never met her in person...........I have read every word of her blog and really feel like I know her and her family pretty well.  Her girls are the same age as my younger two kids, so I really feel like we have a lot in common.  If nothing else.........our love of real food really brings us together. 

Lisa Leake 100 Days of Real Food

I have followed the story of her cookbook with great interest.  There have been plenty of highs and some lows during this progress.  It is not easy to get a cookbook or any book published these days.  Lisa has wanted this book published for a long time and has plenty of great ideas and recipes to fill a whole slew of books.  I was absolutely thrilled when she found out the release date for her book and asked me to write about her "3rd baby"/ cookbook.  I am so excited to celebrate with her!  Dreams really do come true...........if you work really hard for them as Lisa and her family has worked to make this book a reality. 

100 Days of Real Food: : How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love

100 Days of Real Food: : How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love is born out of Lisa's blog.  There she chronicled her family's transition to real food.  She fills the book with lots of great information to convince you to make the transition to real food and gives you all of the tools you need to really make the change to real food for good.  The world of food can be very confusing.  How do I define processed food?  What oil should I use?  What should I look for when buying meat?  What grains are actually "whole" grains?  She has helpful advice for all of these questions in her book.

Leake family at the farmer's market

The other thing you need to successfully make the change to real food is a whole arsenal of recipes to try.  Let's face it.............your entire family is not going to like all of your new recipes so it's important to have lots of recipes to try so they don't give up on your new real food cooking and start demanding their processed food again.  Yes, this is the voice of experience talking here.  Lisa's recipes use ingredients that you can find at your grocery store.  There is no need to go crazy shopping for a lot of unusual ingredients.

Veggie Corn Chowder

Lisa includes 100 recipes in her book.  She breaks the recipes down into categories which include breakfast, lunch, snacks and appetizers, salads and sides, simple dinners, special treats, and homemade staples.  Each recipe has a beautiful picture so you know what your dish is supposed to look like when it's done.  Pictures are so helpful to me.  I find that I never make recipes unless I have a picture to go with it.  In addition to the recipes, Lisa includes 4 seasonal meal plans.  It is so much easier and enjoyable to eat real food when you have a plan that really works with the seasons. 

Awesome lunchbox recipes

Another really cool section of the book is Lisa's section on label reading. Yes, clearly I am a real food geek if I think label reading is cool!  She includes lots of real world examples of foods that are commonly purchased.  She gives the real food pros and cons to each one.  It really gets you thinking about what real food really is and helps to keep you on track as you head out to the grocery store.

If you are a person looking to start a real food journey or you already are a seasoned pro looking for some great new recipes, Lisa's book is for you.  Put it on your birthday list, your Christmas list, or just go out and buy it because you are that awesome.

Make your own granola......try Cajun Alfredo with about veggie corn chowder and breakfast tacos?  Yep, you can find those recipes and more in Lisa's 100 Days of Real Food book.  You are going to love Lisa and her book as much as I do. 

Have you followed Lisa's blog?  Have you purchased her book yet?  Where are you on your real food the beginning, somewhere in the middle, a seasoned pro...........or still need some convincing?

If you purchase Lisa's book through my Amazon affiliate link, you will be supporting the future of this blog as I receive a small commission from your purchases at no additional charge to you.  You will also be supporting Lisa's blog.  How great is that?  You get to help two real food blogs for the price of one!  You can also find Lisa's 100 Days of Real Food book at your local bookstores.  You are going to love it!