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Creating a Healthy Summer Meal and Snack Plan for Kids – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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With longer days, hotter temperatures, and no school, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to fill their summer. Whatever they do, there is no reason to slip their diets during the warmer weather months.

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Making sure your children stay in tune with their eating habits during the summer will provide both short-term and long-term health benefits. When they are kept filled with the vitamins and nutrients they need, they will stay active and establish consistent healthy eating habits for them throughout the year.

Child-registered nutritionist Jennifer Hyland, RD, gives us insight into how to keep kids healthy in the summer, tips on developing good eating habits, and even leaves us with some great ideas for summer recipes.

Daylight saving time priorities

According to Hyland, there are no special nutrients or vitamins that children need in summer. “The challenge is usually that children aren’t getting the vitamins and nutrients they need anyway,” she says. “To be honest, we hope that the kids are active all year round so that their needs don’t change much in the summer.”

Instead, she says, the most important thing to keep in mind during the summer is that your children are adequately hydrated.

It’s all about water

“When kids are outside, active, and sweating, they need to stay hydrated,” says Hyland. And while it may be tempting to just let the kids get what they want out of the fridge, it’s important to be in control of what they drink.

“Sugar-sweetened drinks are not recommended at any time of the year,” she says. “This includes sweet teas, lemonade, juice or soda.” Instead, she suggests things like adding fruit to water for flavor or even bubbly flavored water to keep things fun and interesting.

She also says that 100% fruit juice is okay in moderation. But not more than one cup a day, ”she suggests. “Children, especially when they are thirsty, can drink several cups of juice at once, so you want to keep them from drinking too much sugar.

Hydration through food

Yes, we can also get essential water through food. By keeping these types of snacks, you can ensure that your children stay healthy and hydrated. “Fruits and vegetables generally have a high water content,” says Hyland. “Fruits like watermelon, melon, and berries are great for this. And vegetables like cucumber, celery, and peppers have plenty of water too. “

While you don’t just have to offer your kids those water-laden snacks, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve mixed them in to aid in that hydration.

What about sports drinks?

According to Hyland, sports drinks should be reserved for older children, especially those who exercise for an hour or more a day. “It’s just a lot of added sugar and it’s not necessary unless kids are very active,” she points out. “If they’re young and moderately active and playing with friends, they don’t need to. If they’re an older kid or teenager and play baseball or soccer all day, there is a place for sports drinks, but water should always be the priority.

You don’t have to go without cold treats

Summer is high time for ice cream, popsicles and other tasty cold treats to keep the kids cool. But just because you want to keep them healthy doesn’t mean you have to throw these items away entirely. And yes, there are plenty of alternatives that you can ride a bike in.

“We never want to say no, your kids can never eat ice cream, popsicles, or other cold treats. There’s absolutely a place for that, and when they give them these goodies from time to time, they can’t crave them that much, ”says Hyland.

That said, there are some great alternatives for more regular treats that won’t load your kids with as much sugar. Hyland suggests. “You can find 100% fruit pops at your grocery store or, if you like a bit creamier, Greek yogurt bars,” she says. “They taste like ice cream, but they’re made with Greek yogurt to give your kids more protein.”

Homemade frozen delicacies

Hyland adds that you can whip up homemade goodies too. Not only can this be more convenient and save you some money, but it also gives you more control over the ingredients.

Some of Hyland’s ideas are:

  • Mix up different combinations of fruit and yogurt and pour them into reusable popsicle molds.
  • Cut different fruits into pieces, dip them in chocolate or yogurt, and then freeze them.
  • Use frozen fruits like bananas, mangoes, or strawberries to make homemade ice cream.

“Here, too, we don’t want to withhold these funny things from children,” says Hyland. “It’s about giving them snacks from which they can get essential vitamins and nutrients. If you can use fruits and egg whites in a snack, you are giving them long lasting energy and not energy from sugar that doesn’t stay with them for as long. “

Two more steps to a healthy summer

There are two additional points that Hyland emphasizes in keeping children healthy all summer.

Avoid grazing on processed snacks

Many popular snacks, such as french fries and pretzels, are high in refined carbohydrates that turn into sugar in the body. And that’s not a great combo for kids at any time, especially during a busy time like summer. “These sugars are digested quickly and do not sustain a child’s energy and keep them from feeling full for long,” notes Hyland.

The goal is to give children food that will give them more sustainable energy throughout the day and make them feel full so they don’t get into a cycle of overeating. “Again, everything revolves around fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and proteins,” she adds. “We may think it’s just about giving them calories, but we really want to make sure that the calories we give them keep them full and not get burned as quickly.”

Keep the schedule consistent

Another important aspect of summer dining, according to Hyland, is balancing children’s meal plans with the school year. “When children are in school, they don’t have free access to snacks whenever they want,” she says. “And we want to keep the same pattern at home.”

It’s all about balance, she says. It’s okay for kids to have (healthy) snacks every few hours. It’s just important to keep this structure. “It’s a great way to keep her at her three main meals a day and then have scheduled snacks,” she says. “As a parent, you may not always be able to swing it. But as much as you can hold them to this fixed food structure, the better the behavior. “

Ideas for a menu in warm weather

Meal planning is a great way to provide the necessary structure and ensure healthy meals and snacks at any time of the year. But some ideas work especially well in summer.

Hyland suggests that when planning and preparing meals, you include all required food groups – protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables – in the meal. Changing options and even adding different foods to the plate can be fun for younger children and encourage them to become more engaged in healthy foods.

While salads are generally a tried and tested option, things should be done a little bit. “Pick a protein like chicken, then set all the options to create a salad bar for kids to build their own in,” suggests Hyland. “Try different varieties, like some healthy Mexican salads.”

Another option that might seem counter-intuitive at first glance is soups. “A lot of people don’t know that soups can be served cold,” says Hyland. “You can make yourself a large amount of summer soup – like gazpacho or vegetable soup – and freeze it. Then, if necessary, you can either heat them up for serving or defrost them a little to serve them cold. “

Cold pasta salads are another great summer product that can be kept in the refrigerator and spread out over several days. “Use whole grain or bean-based pasta, which can provide both fiber and protein,” she says. “You can throw things like a little cheese or turkey peppers and vegetables like peppers and zucchini on them.”

And if you run out of time – not unusual on a busy summer! – You can keep faster meals like sandwiches and wraps healthy by relying on whole grain breads and mixing in fruits, vegetables and proteins. A combo like spinach, chicken, and hummus in a pack with some strawberries on the side is not only delicious, she says, but also nutritious and filling. Remember to include the kids and always make it fun.

Whole Grain Benefits

Can a Low-Carb Diet Help Your Heart Health?

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Instead, the researchers designed what they considered to be a practicable and relatively healthy diet for each group. All participants ate meals such as vegetable omelets, chicken burritos with black beans, spiced London broil, vegetarian chili, cauliflower soup, roasted lentil salads, and grilled salmon. But the high-carb group also ate foods like whole grain bread, brown rice, English multigrain muffins, strawberry jam, pasta, skimmed milk, and vanilla yogurt. The low-carb group avoided bread, rice and fruit spreads as well as sugary yoghurts. Instead, their meals contained more high-fat ingredients like whole milk, cream, butter, guacamole, olive oil, almonds, peanuts, pecans and macadamias, and soft cheese.

After five months, people on a low-carb diet did not experience any adverse changes in their cholesterol levels, even though they obtained 21 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. That amount is more than double what the federal government’s nutritional guidelines recommend. For example, their LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad variety, stayed about the same as those on a high-carbohydrate diet that got just 7 percent of their daily calories from saturated fat. Tests also showed that the low-carb group had about a 15 percent reduction in lipoprotein levels (a), a fat particle in the blood that has been strongly linked to developing heart disease and stroke.

The low-carb group also saw improvements in metabolic measures related to the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers rated their lipoprotein insulin resistance scores, or LPIR, a measure of insulin resistance that looks at the size and concentration of cholesterol-carrying molecules in the blood. Large studies have shown that people with high LPIR levels are more likely to develop diabetes. In the new study, people on a low-carb diet saw their LPIR levels decrease by about 5 percent – reducing their risk of diabetes – while those on a high-carb diet increased slightly. People on a moderate carbohydrate diet had no change in their LPIR values.

The low-carb group also had other improvements. They had a drop in their triglycerides, a type of fat in their blood that has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. And they had elevated levels of adiponectin, a hormone that helps lower inflammation and make cells more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. High levels of body-wide inflammation have been linked to a number of age-related diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

The low-carb diet used in the study largely eliminated highly processed and sugary foods, but still left room for “high quality” carbohydrates from whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and other plants, said Dr. David Ludwig, author of the study and an endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School. “It’s mainly focused on eliminating the processed carbohydrates that many people are now realizing to be among the least healthy aspects of our food supply,” said Dr. Ludwig, co-director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Ludwig emphasized that the results do not apply to the very low carbohydrate levels typical of ketogenic diets, which have been shown to lead to large increases in LDL cholesterol in some people. But he said the study shows that people can get metabolic and cardiovascular benefits by replacing the processed carbohydrates in their diet with fat, including saturated fat, without worsening their cholesterol levels.

The new study cost $ 12 million and was largely funded by the Nutrition Science Initiative, a nonprofit research group. It was also supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the New Balance Foundation, and others.

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5 Breakfast Myths That You Could Be Messing With Your Morning Meal

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, at least that’s what our parents always told us. But how do we know which breakfast dish suits us best? Whether it’s too much sugar or too little nutrients, many breakfast options depend on nutritional myths. And these myths can do more harm than good when it comes to your morning meal.

We met with the molecular nutritionist Dr. Emma Beckett, who shattered some great breakfast myths that could keep you from maximizing your morning goodness.

Here’s what she shared with us about breakfast myths.

Myth # 1: Traditional breakfast food is bad for you

The truth: “Some high-carb foods like whole grain bread and breakfast cereals contain fiber that helps us feel fuller …”

For those who have busy mornings to complete endless chores, or even those who don’t bother making gourmet meals every morning, granola is the top choice. It’s simple, convenient, and tastes damn good.

The best thing about grain, according to Dr. Beckett that it’s a great way to make sure we’re getting tons of nutrients in the morning. Packed with iron, B vitamins and fiber, muesli is a better breakfast choice than you might think.

Dr. Beckett even gave us some great tips on how to spice up your morning cereal bowl too:

“Grains go well with other nutritious breakfast foods like Greek yogurt and nuts, which are sources of protein. Protein is essential in the diet as it is the most filling macronutrient that can help reduce grazing habits throughout the day, ”she said via email.

If you’re not sure which cereal brand is good to grab, Beckett suggested going for Kellogg’s All Bran or Sultana Bran because they are “high in fiber and have a 4.5 or even the maximum rating of 5 health stars . Grains like this have been a popular choice for nearly 100 years. “

Who would have thought cereal was so good?

Myth # 2: Processed = Bad?

The truth: “Most foods have to undergo processing in order to be edible and digestible – processing is a broad term that encompasses cooking, slicing and packaging.”

Many of us have been afraid to buy something marked as processed, but it is actually an important step for most foods. Processing sometimes has more to do with preserving the food and avoiding waste than with nutritional value.

Dr. Beckett explained, “Key nutrients like protein are not necessarily lost in processing; they can sometimes be retained or made more accessible through processing. Others like B vitamins and iron can be added back when they are lost in a process called fortification. “

In fact, the common breakfast suspects like cereal and bread are often fortified with added nutrients and processed because they are affordable, accessible, long-lasting, and popular. This just makes it easier for us to make sure we are adding the right substances to our bodies to start the day.

However, this does not mean that the all-clear will be given for all processed foods. Dr. Beckett notes that it is still important to consider how much a food has been processed, with products that have been ultra-processed being consumed in moderation.

Myth # 3: Eating healthy is expensive

The truth: “According to a recently published Australian model-based study, it is possible to improve the Australian diet while spending less money on groceries by choosing inexpensive, nutritious foods, improving nutritional quality and potentially reducing a family’s food bills by over 25 Percent. “

A common misconception about healthy eating is that our wallets are pinched and products need to be consumed quickly. Surprisingly, there are actually tons of healthy food options that are relatively cheap for what you get out of them and don’t spoil as quickly. Foods like whole grain bread and cereal are actually pretty budget-friendly and last a relatively long time.

One twist I wasn’t prepared for is that canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as they are fresh (as long as they’re not in syrup). If you’re worried about that bunch of bananas you bought and you won’t finish before they go, toss them in the freezer! They last longer and do not lose any health properties.

“When you do your research and shop, healthy eating really doesn’t have to be as expensive as it may seem!”

Myth # 4: Breakfast cereals are too sugary and have no nutritional value

The truth: “Australian data has shown that grains make up less than 3% of the added sugar in the average diet. Many cereals contain whole grains and fiber that many people cannot get enough of. “

According to Dr. Beckett, many breakfast cereals are “full of vital vitamins and minerals that are important for health and well-being and the most important source of iron in the Australian diet, especially for children.”

Obviously, muesli’s sugar content varies, with some sweeter ones available if that’s your cup of tea (or should I say your bowl of muesli), but most are moderately sweetened and many are sweetened by added fruits that contain natural sugars.

“For example, half of Kellogg’s 55 cereals contain 2 or less teaspoons of sugar per bowl. By updating the recipes, over 700 tons of sugar and 300 tons of salt were removed from the Australian diet – that’s the weight of about seven blue whales! “

Myth # 5: If it’s not whole grain, it doesn’t contain fiber

The truth: “While whole grain foods contain fiber, not all fiber-containing foods contain whole grains.”

How’s that for a mind-bender?

If you’re like me, fiber is confusing and I’m not sure what it is or where to find it. Fortunately, Dr. Beckett broken it down for us.

“Fibers are in the outer part of the grain, the bran. The bran can be removed from the grain and used in food, ”she explained.

This means that foods made with bran aren’t always whole grains, but they do contain a lot of fiber.

According to Dr. Beckett, I’m not the only one confused about fiber. Two in three Aussies fail to meet their daily fiber goals. What’s worse is that four in five Australians don’t eat enough fiber to protect themselves from chronic illness. Yikes

“For most of us, adequate fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams per day. That might sound hard, but getting your daily dose is really easy when you’re eating high-fiber options like high-fiber breakfast cereals, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, “she said.

Dr. Beckett then explained that not all whole grains were made equal (in the fiber department):

“Did you know that different whole grains have different amounts and types of fiber,” she said.

“For example, whole grain brown rice and corn both naturally have less fiber compared to other whole grain products like whole wheat and oats, which have higher amounts of fiber.”

The interesting thing, however, is that just one whole grain contains less fiber, doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial – it is!

Whole grains are exactly what they sound like – it’s whole whole grains. Fiber is only one component of whole grains, and all of the components work together to provide health benefits.

The more you know!

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Dr. Bridget Gibson: Eight ways to get your metabolism moving | Free

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Metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body’s cells that converts food into energy. Our bodies need this energy to do everything from moving to thinking to growing.

If a person’s metabolism is the rate at which their body burns calories for energy, then are there things they can do to increase that rate? And is metabolism the key to weight management and why do some people struggle and others never seem to gain weight?

There are conflicting theories about how your metabolism works and whether it can be boosted to help people lose weight faster. Let’s get the facts about what can be done while losing weight.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is how your body uses food for energy and then burns that energy to keep your body going.

How can I boost my metabolism?

1. Eat your meals on a schedule: Eating your meals at the same times throughout the day helps your body maintain a metabolic balance. In other words, if you overeat and then don’t eat for a long time, your body can overcompensate and burn calories more slowly or store more fat cells.

2. Don’t skimp on calories: Skipping meals or reducing your calorie count too much can slow your metabolism down so your body can conserve energy. Make healthy choices that will keep you within the recommended number of calories but still fill you up.

3. Drink green tea – While studies are inconclusive, some research suggests that green tea extract may play a role in promoting fat metabolism. Green tea can also be a great alternative to sugary juices and sodas, and can help ensure you get enough water during the day.

4. Do resistance training and high-intensity workouts: Lifting weights and doing exercises that use resistance weights or body weight will help build muscle. Muscle mass has a higher metabolic rate than fat, which means that muscle mass needs more energy to maintain and can boost your metabolism. To do this, add a routine that includes alternating periods of higher and lower intensity to burn more energy.

5. Drink plenty of water – Drinking is important for the body to function optimally. Water is necessary for an optimal metabolism and can help with weight loss.

6. Get plenty of sleep – When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases the hormone ghrelin, which can make you hungry. It also releases less leptin, a hormone that helps you feel full. Getting enough sleep can help keep these hormones balanced and can prevent you from overeating.

7. Reduce stress: Stress affects hormone levels and can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, the hormone that regulates your appetite and can lead to unhealthy eating habits that, in turn, disrupt your metabolism. Stress is also closely related to the quality of sleep.

8. Get enough B vitamins: B vitamins in foods like bananas, baked potatoes, eggs, orange juice, peanut butter, peas, spinach, and whole grains are essential for a functioning metabolism. B vitamins help your body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and use the energy stored in food.

Do I burn energy when I am not active?

Yes, even when you are not moving, your body uses energy performing functions such as breathing and keeping your heart beating. This is known as the “resting (or baseline) metabolic rate”.

What determines a person’s resting metabolic rate?

– Genetics: The hereditary traits passed down from your parents and grandparents play a role, but luckily there are other metabolic factors that we can control, such as diet and exercise.

—Age: Most people’s metabolism naturally begins to slow down around the age of 30.

—Gender: On average, women have a slower metabolism than men. This is because men usually have more muscle and therefore burn more calories.

—Weight: People who weigh less need less energy (fewer calories) to keep their bodies energized. As you lose weight, your metabolism slows down too, so losing and maintaining weight can be more difficult over time.

Three tips for healthy weight loss

The bottom line when it comes to healthy weight loss is to be aware of your caloric intake (and the reduced caloric needs as you age) and focus on the factors that you can control.

1. Start with the goal of losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight through more physical activity and healthier diets. The benefits can be dramatic.

2. For example, a person weighing 250 pounds who lost 5 to 10 percent would lose 13 to 25 pounds, which could lower their risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Other benefits that you may actually feel sooner include more energy, less pain, and feeling less breathless or out of breath – which makes it a lot easier to keep moving.

3. Celebrate your victories at every milestone. When you hit 5 percent, feel better, or notice an increase in energy, give yourself a gold star, do your merry dance, or reward yourself with a favorite activity. You deserve it and the benefits are just beginning.

Slowly and steadily the race wins! Extreme diets and fitness routines are not sustainable in the long run. The saying “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” is true. Healthy weight loss and control is about what you can do each day to get more exercise and eat more fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains than carbohydrates, fried foods, and sugar.

Dr. Bridget Gibson is the general practitioner for Brookwood Baptist Health.

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