Today, the ladies from Prescribe Nutrition are talking nutrition andit's impact on kids' brains and learning.
Nutrition has something to do with the ability to learn? You betcha. We can’t believe Summer is right around the corner but before we all go run out and play – here is some information to cap the school year off right!
What do kiddos need learn, think and pay attention to absorb all the information they receive day to day? How about the best and smartest fuel for each and every day? At Prescribe Nutrition we see food as fuel. Like vroooom … fuel. Sure food tastes pretty dang good and is a fun way to gather and celebrate, but what’s more important is its impact on our bodies, our organs and our brains. The brains of the most important individuals on the planet... our kids, our future!
Did you know that the human brain is over 70% fat? So in order to function correctly, we might need what? Fat. The good kind of course. That healthy balance of omega’s, unsaturated and even some healthy saturated fats (hello coconut). Our brains also need amino acids, which are the very building blocks of protein. That is how our neurotransmitters (the brain's chemical messengers) transmit.
With no healthy fats or amino acids on deck, it’s going to be really tough to think, concentrate and retain information. Can you think of a time as an adult where you just felt … blah? A few times? Did it have anything to do with what you put in your body? Think snack chips, dips, maybe a soda (or two), cookies, a little bit of cake or …..?! Sound familiar? It does for us. We’ve all been there. Then what do you want to do after that? If you’re like me, I just want to lie down.
Now there’s nothing wrong with a day like that, every once in a while. Hey, it happens. Even sometimes when we vigilantly plan around it. But what if that is a daily occurrence for your kids? Sugar, creamy dairy and crunchy snack, they tend to love this stuff, right? So consider how you feel you’ve been living off the fast and easy food for a little stint, and then how they may feel- only their bodies are tiny, growing and running a mile a minute compared to ours. Feeling like that would sure make sitting in a classroom pretty challenging, huh?
We want them to learn, grow and thrive in school. That’s our passion. Healthy nutrition made accessible and tasty for growing minds and bodies.
"Each year 17,000 new products hit our grocery shelves. 17,000 new products vying for your food dollar."
– Michael Pollan.
Unfortunately those 17,000 new products are doing less good then we might hope. Incidence rates of almost everything are on the rise – especially things like ADD, ADHD and mood and behavior challenges. This because food that is highly processed interferes with the brains ability for proper cognition. One of our favorite ethos: “The more alive your foods are, the more alive you will feel. The more alive your kiddos will feel!
Ever wonder why we all love those foods so much? In fact, it’s not by mistake. Interestingly enough there are actually addictive principles in some of our most popular foods - like gluten & dairy. If the body doesn’t properly break down those foods, compounds are developed that sit in opiate receptors (you heard that right – opiates) in the brain. This is just one of the reasons we want more and more (in addition to additives and preservatives that are meant to enhance flavor). This is also why many kids and adults alike react behaviorally to food.
Have you observed your kids mood or behavior change after a meal or snack? BINGO. That’s the elements of food at work. How about a really colorful and nutritious breakfast and then the kids just run, play and laugh for hours on end? BINGO. That’s food at work too. GREAT work.
So what else is important to have in the nutritional picture for our healthy learners? Well surely vitamins, mineral and antioxidants, because they turn on all the switches, just like keys to the locks. A very great friend, physician and nutrition expert always uses the analogy of gauges. Like gas gauges – get it? Fuel. Our goal in feeding children should be to fill up their nutrient gauges. When the gauges are full they fire on all cylinders, and sweets and treats become far less impactful on their bodies, because they have a strong foundation.
Here’s how to fill up the tanks so your best gals and guys get the most out of their education:
1) Start the day off right. Think protein! Protein has those amino acids they need for healthy neurotransmitters. Bright fruits or vegetables will provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and energy dense carbohydrates. A nutrient packed smoothie or a fun egg scramble where you can get in some greens (yes greens in the am!). Here’s a favorite smoothie at PN we feature in the Kids Rule program:
GREEN MACHINE2 cups spinach (or your favorite dark leafy green - spinach tends to be most mild tasting)
Other fun breakfast recipes you can look forward to during the Kids Rule program - homemade pop tarts (you heard it), sunbutter granola, chocolate zucchini muffins and more and MORE!
2) Mini fuel stops during the day. Let them in on filling up their tanks! Explain the need for great, powerful snacks in between meals. When kids have a better understanding of how the body works, they will better appreciate the power of foods, just like you and I.SWEET CHICKPEAS
3) End the day the same way you started. After a long day in school, running around, sports, activities, etc., it’s important to recharge. Dinner gives their bodies that replenishment it needs. How about a bunch of great ways to create a healthy DIY taco bar!?
4) Hydration is fuel too. Water is the most important element each body needs and far too often kids gets less of it then they need.Let’s wrap this school year off on the right foot - happy, healthy and full of energy!
Happy Earth Day! This week we are focusing on all things green and simple ways to go green.
With the massive amounts of information available about eco-this and sustainable-that, the pressure to be "green" can be overwhelming. We don't claim to be perfect (what fun would that be, anyways?), but we do understand that even small changes and choices that seem inconsequential can make an impact. The best advice we can give is to determine what is most important and realistic for your family. The realistic piece is key here. Don't bite off more than you can chew or, no matter what your intentions, you may end up with a stockpile of cloth diapers that never get used.
Here's are some little green things you can do:
Between Lunchables, juice boxes, disposable food pouches, and Ziploc bags, waste from traditional lunch boxes are filling our landfills. Lucky for us, there are so many great, affordable options to easily make changes. We love the bento box style lunch boxes. Easy to clean, super cute, and they also force us to get creative with school lunches. Coming up with contents for all those little containers is a fun challenge. Read more about our Real Food lunchbox strategies. Weelicious is another great resource for school lunch inspiration. And of course, stock up on Little Green Pouches for a great way to send smoothies and applesauce to school with your kids.
While paper towels are convenient and easy to grab for quick messes and spills, if you've ever kept an eye on how quickly you go through a pack, it is frightening. Instead, stock up on cheap washcloths. Keep two bins under the sink—one for clean rags, one for dirty. When you need to wipe down your little one's face and hands after a meal, or clean a quick spill on the kitchen floor reach for a clean rag instead. When you're done, toss it in the dirty bin. Every few days, toss the dirty rags in the wash and start over. Bonus: you'll also save a lot of money.
Go vegetarian once a week. One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. Did you know it requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef? Meatless Monday is a great resource for inspiration and recipes. We promise, you won't even miss it.
It's good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling (plant on the west side of your home), and tree can also improve the value of your property. Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every year for each member of the family.
We've said it before, but shopping local deserves to be repeated. Consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers' markets, supporting your local economy and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in. Plus, local produce just tastes better. Check out Eat Wild, Local Harvest and Real Milk to research local dairy, meat and produce in your area.
We want to know...what are your favorite tips for making the switch to green? Tell us in the comments below.
Happy Earth Week! We love Earth Day because it is an opportunity for us to step back and take a look at the impact we have on our environment and make some simple changes that have a big impact.
But we think every day should be Earth Day. Swapping out disposable food pouches for Little Green Pouch is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. So this year, we want you to stop throwing away food pouches, and start reusing them. Think of the waste you will be saving. To help get you started, we are offering 20% off all orders through Friday, April 25th.
Shop online and use promo code EARTHDAY20 at checkout. Happy (Earth) Saving!
This week, certified clinical nutritionist and herbalist Christa Lund shares her insights on what makes “a good meal” for growing kids and why it’s so important to start kids on Real Food for lifelong health. Her no-noodle chicken soup recipe made with bone broth is perfect for Paleo food pouches--and for the Real Food Lover’s soul!
Blending the right Real Food nutrient balance for kid power
As parents, some days, it’s hard enough to feed ourselves. Add to the to-do-list “feed tasty and nourishing meals to my kiddo” that falls somewhere among all of your other daily duties, and this simple task can seem ominous.
If that’s not enough, perhaps your family is learning to navigate a life with food intolerances or you are making a sudden step toward cleaning up your diet for the sake of the little person in your household, because we all know establishing good habits starts when they are young.
So what’s a mom to do? Can’t we just feed them carrots and apples at each meal and call it good? Not really. Those growing bodies need a variety of nutrients to keep up with the demanding needs of their brain, eye, skeletal, development not to mention power their endlessly energetic systems.
First consider their nutrient needs at each meal. A nice blend of protein and fat for building the system and carbs (we’re not talking the white, processed kind of carbs, here) for powering the system, should go into each meal, especially for a developing child.
You’ll be surprised to find that some of your regular meals can actually be blended for on-the-go, nutrient-packed reusable food pouches for everyday use.
By making meals at home, using only whole, fresh ingredients, you can forego the need to become a master label reader for fear of dosing your child’s sensitive system with an offending food.
Bone broth adds a healthy dose of minerals
This chicken soup recipe is as easy as it gets. By using homemade bone broth you can get your dose of minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, trace minerals, and the all-important collagen, as well as glucosamine, glycine, and chondroitin (this nutrition information does not apply to store bought broth).
Add a little chicken for protein, flavor, and fun and a few veggies and away you go. Now, who said fast food can’t be healthy?
Allow this recipe to grow with your child. If you are giving this to a younger baby, skip the salt and spices. As your kid’s palate progresses, season to your heart’s content
This is free of all common allergens and can be eaten fresh or frozen in a reusable food pouch for a to-go option.
3 Tbsp coconut oil
4 carrots, sliced into full or half moons (depending on the size of the carrot)
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large yam, diced (you can also use red potatoes if you’re into that kind of thing)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 handful of fresh parsley
enough bone broth to cover by about 1”
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
In a stock pot, sautee onions in coconut oil until translucent. Add all other ingredients except the parsley. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 45 mins. Remove from heat. Add parsley and any more salt and pepper that is needed to taste.
Divide the soup into that which can be eaten fresh and at home vs that which you will blend and put into reusable food pouches. Pulse your “to go” portion in a blender or food processor until the pieces are fine enough for your or your little one’s taste.
Printable Recipe Card:
Christa Lund is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Clinical Herbalist and the owner of Wee Wellness. An honors graduate of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, Christa’s training includes over 2000 hours in nutrition, natural herbal remedies, and medical sciences. Christa passionately shares her knowledge with those seeking to improve their health. She offers her services in Northern Colorado and beyond.
Today we have a wonderful and insightful guest post from Heather of Multiply Delicious. We asked Heather to share her Paleo/Primal lifestyle journey and how it works for her entire family, including her adorable twin daughters.