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Category Archives: Kid Snacks


Final Tips for Feeding (and Hydrating) a Teenage Athlete

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The third part of our series on teenage athlete nutrition focuses exclusively on hydrating your teenage athlete. Proper hydration in your teen is incredibly important. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can result in vast declines in performance.Teenage athletes

Understand hydration. It is key because too many of us blindly reach for traditional sports drinks for hydration, electrolyte replacement and energy. This can be a big mistake if you don’t know the scoop.

Conventional Sports Drinks …

  • Contain 2/3 as much sugar as sodas. Sugar after exercise negatively affects insulin sensitivity—it may bring an initial boost of energy, but then causes a crash as the pancreas tries to balance out the toxic blood sugar spike.
  • Are made with artificial colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Gatorade and its brethren are NOT healthy beverages. These ingredients promote ADHD, and contain synthetic ingredients that offer the body NO nutritional benefit.
  • Are loaded with sodium – the bad kind – not to be confused with unprocessed sea salt, which contains 84 different minerals and trace minerals that your body needs for optimal function. A far better option is to simply add a small amount of natural, unprocessed sea salt to your water.

 

So, what are your hydration and electrolyte replacement options?

  1. Water is always good, but won’t replace integral electrolytes and minerals.
  2. Coconut Water is rich in B vitamins, trace minerals AND electrolytes, as well as potassium and magnesium.
  3. Bananas are high in potassium, fiber and antioxidants.
  4. Raisins are a great replacement for those “energy jelly beans” and GOO.
  5. Clean Sports Drinks.

 

Wait, what is that, you say? A CLEAN sports drink???The GEM's Sports Drink

Yes indeed! Say good bye to Gatorade. Enter Perform—our super-clean performance and recovery drink! It has a Tart Cherry-Pineapple flavor. It is powered with electrolytes, trace minerals, hydrating coconut water and lightly sweetened with local raw honey for flavor and stamina. Tart Cherry is important because this polyphenol-rich juice reduces oxidative stress, which if neglected promotes excess fatigue, tissue damage and slow recovery, The bromelain in pineapple works to reduce inflammation.

Hydrating your teenage athlete is a minefield, people. Lucky for you we’ve got you covered.

If you want to learn more about this and more GEM~my goodness, join us for our Day in the Life of a GEM counseling series. It is on in September.

Sparkle on!


Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part Two

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Many struggle with knowing the healthiest ways to feed teenagers. Feeding a teenage athlete is even trickier. featureblog2

As discussed in last week’s post, optimal physical performance for your teen athlete requires preparation—not just daily practice, but as it relates to daily dietary input. You can’t expect to put cheap and crappy fuel into your car and expect it to run optimally. The same goes for your body.  What are appropriate pre and post game hydration and energy food options?

Last week’s post covered what your teenage athlete should eat – as a general diet, before training, and before sporting events. But what happens when your athlete is on the go? What choices can you make when you don’t have a great deal of time or the choices are limited and they need quick energy?

Sugary sports drinks and energy bars can actually do more harm than good. Beware of chemical laden, sugar filled energy bars that tout performance improvement.

Healthy and quick pre-game nutrition ideas on the go should be clean and simple:

  • Keep bananas, oranges and green apples on hand. (great with almond or organic peanut butter)
  • Pumpkin seeds, raw trail mix, GEM Remix*
  • Lentil Soup or Quinoa–packed with energy boosting nutrients 
  • Green juice – don’t underestimate the power of green juice! Packed with energizing nutrients that are delivered immediately into the bloodstream. Green Glow is a great pre- and post-game choice.
  • Healthy smoothies (made at home or from a reputable smoothie place without added sugar)
  • Go Lean Crunch or healthy cereals that contain good protein
  • Beet shots – increases endurance, reduces oxygen consumption, increases blood nitrate levels and reduces resting blood pressure. It might be a stretch for some of our teens, but major athletes swear by them!

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Bars are an easy and convenient way to keep your teenage athlete fueled, but choose carefully. Our favorites:

  • Tosi Bars*
  • Square Bars (peanut butter chocolate is the best!!)*
  • Epic Protein Powders (show them how to make their own smoothies!)*
  • GoMacro*
  • Perfect Bars – they require refrigeration but are amazing
  • Kind Bars Strong & Kind
  • Vega One Sport – this company has an entire line of products aimed at sports performance
  • Lara Pro-Bars
  • While not perfect, Clif bars are an energy option that is available even in the most remote of convenience stores.

*Available inside The GEM

Remember: clean and simple food choices are the way to go with your teenage athlete.  And don’t forget – water, water and more water!

Next week, we wrap up our series by tackling hydration and sports drinks. Until then, drink your juice!


Healthy Tips for Feeding a Teenage Athlete – Part One

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image1Our kids are crazy about their sports. They put lots of focus on practice and training to prepare for the big games; but do they place equal focus on the nutrition that will support their play? Optimal performance for a teenage athlete requires preparation—not just with practice output, but also dietary input.

This three part blog series will give you information and helpful tips on how to fuel your teenage athlete in ways that are healthy and promote optimal performance. If you haven’t already, take a look at our series on feeding healthy teens here – part one, part two, part three, part four. This information was very well received, but it resulted in more in-depth questions, specifically about your teenage athlete.

Sports nutrition for teenagers is a bit of a specialized area. Teenage athletes playing high level sports burn calories very quickly. If they don’t eat enough of the right types of nutrients, their performance can decrease and may even result in possible growth problems. Healthy eating allows a teen athlete to achieve peak performance without compromising overall health.

So how do you properly nourish the body pre and post game? Here some tips on how to guide your teenage athlete towards optimal sports performance:

  1. Eat a diet that is about 70% complex carbohydrates – including fruit, vegetables, brown rice, whole grain, organic pastas, quinoa, carrots – to achieve maximum carbohydrate storage. Lean proteins such as organic chicken, pastured eggs and small amounts of grass fed beef are critical. Stay away from the bad carbs: white pasta, white breads, junk cereals, and off the shelf fruit juice.
  2. Eat fat. It sounds crazy, but good quality, healthy fats are a source of fuel for your body and are strongly advised – smart choices are avocados, natural organic peanut / raw almond butter on an apple.
  3. Eat a good breakfast! Every day, but especially on game days. Oatmeal, a fruit smoothie with vegan protein, scrambled eggs.
  4. Eat a meal no less than three hours before exercising.
  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!*** Drink 24 ounces of water two to three hours before the sporting event, during the event on breaks, and especially afterwards to replenish the body. Beware of sports drinks – they can be loaded with sugar, creepy preservatives and artificial food colorings (more about that in part 3).
  6. Pre-game, eat a meal containing complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat pasta, or brown rice with vegetables. Don’t weigh your teen down with heavy proteins or unhealthy fats. If they can’t eat a full meal because they have a nervous feeling in their stomach, a small snack such as a banana or oatmeal is still important.
  7. Avoid SUGAR before exercise – it can speed up dehydration. Your body will thank you later! I know it’s tempting because of the instant energy it provides, but the subsequent crash can be depleting.
  8. Stay away from fast food. It can make your teenage athlete sluggish and it seriously affects performance.  Better “fast food” choices are places like Chipotle and Panera, who have healthier options PLUS they have eliminated unhealthy additives and preservatives across the board. Save the occasional Burger House for a post-game celebration.
  9. Multivitamins are essential! Teenage athletes just don’t get what they need from their food—even if they are perfect eaters. A daily multivitamin is key, along with high quality Fish Oil and a Probiotic. Look for organic ones, made from real food sources. New Chapter, Rainbow Light, Metagenics and Garden of Life are great brands.

 

And, be careful. There are always new ‘miracle’ foods and supplements surfacing. Many are expensive and even dangerous, which makes it confusing. Don’t be swayed. Keep keep it clean and simple.

***Post Note: Water

Water is one of the MOST important components to health and wellness there is. Dehydration is a very real risk if your teen doesn’t continually drink water throughout physical activity. Even dehydration of less than 2% can have measurable negative effects on performance. As a general rule, teenagers should drink 6-8 ounces of water 6 times a day for general health and 24 ounces of water two to three hours before a sporting event, as well as during and after playing.

Join us for parts 2 and 3 of this series for the whattup on teen athlete nutrition on-the-go and sports drinks. Until then … drink your juice.


Snack Ideas for Healthy Teens [Part Three in Four-Part Series]

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Snack ideas for healthy teens got you stumped?

The key is to BE PREPARED. Remember from last post? If you have good food in your fridge, Healthy Teensyou will eat good food. This is true for all of us. So make regular trips to the grocery store, with a list of things that will sustain your teens (and their friends) for the week.

Be Ready!! Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out on the counter.

  1. Organic popcorn made in a Whirley Pop with coconut oil and sea salt. You and your kids will flip for this stuff. Don’t have a Whirley Pop? Just in a lidded pot. So easy. DEE-LISH. Tiny but Mighty brand popcorn kernels are pretty cool to eat.
  2. Sliced cucumbers/carrot rounds marinated in lime juice and sea salt. Don’t underestimate this one!
  3. Tex Mex rules! Keep grass-fed taco meat ready to go. Always have these in your fridge:
    • Fresh pico, salsa and bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and cheese knock Cheetos out of the park!
    • GUACAMOLE is awesome AND Organic chips are a must. Make sure your tortillas are fresh and without chemical ingredients. (Say goodbye to Mission brand)
    • Bean Roll-Ups Spread bean dip on a whole wheat flour tortilla, top with shredded organic white cheddar and roll up. Brush with oil or grass fed butter and bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve with salsa.
  4. GEM hummus with jalapeno pesto. Grab one of our snack packs for their lunch too!
  5. Sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds. Pistachios are fun to eat. Keep in a bowl on the counter.
  6. Sliced apples with organic peanut/almond butter. Even sunflower butter is great (for nut allergies)
  7. Slice bananas and freeze them. AWESOME. Grapes, too. Cutie oranges are fun to eat.
  8. Make smoothies! Keep frozen berries (1c), 1 frozen banana, (1) almond milk (1c), pomegranate juice (1/2c) and plant based protein powder. (We use Epic inside The GEM.) They will love you!
  9. Applegate Farms Turkey or chicken with a little mustard wrapped around a sesame breadstick.
  10. Mini pizzas made with whole grain English muffins, fresh marinara (no sugar, all natural), organic mozzarella.
  11. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Everyone LOVES these high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  12. Whole wheat pasta already made. Or, Tinkyada brand gluten free pasta. Find a pomodoro sauce that is clean and healthy with nothing but tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, spices. NOTHING ELSE.
  13. Make your own pita chips–sprinkle whole grain pita chips with parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies–in a pinch–are okay. Annie’s makes all kinds of convenience foods that can help make a transition into cleaner snacks.
  14. Steam frozen ORGANIC edamame and add sea salt.
  15. Roasted chickpeas. So fun!
  16. Brown rice sushi pieces—cucumber rolls, California rolls.
  17. Make your own cookies and brownies as a special treat. Just use organic flours, whole butters and real chocolates. A little goodness goes a long way. Stay away from Betty and Duncan. They are toxic sh*t storms.
  18. This ain’t working for you? Still need some frozen snacks? Try these. Amy’s Nacho Snacks, Pizza Rolls or Burritos. Available at most grocery stores.
  19. Popsicles? Frozen fruit ones are great–make sure to read the ingredients. Try these GoodPops out of Austin.

 

These are not all super-food healthy snacks–because we aren’t dummies. They are, however, CLEAN, free of harmful chemicals and dyes. This is really important to remember when feeding your families.

What are YOUR go-to healthy snack options? We’d love to hear!

Next up … bad@$$ breakfast ideas!


Six Tips for Feeding Healthy Teens [Part Two in Four-Part Series]

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We need to get teens back to healthy foods.Healthy teens

So how do you start? It is daunting. And I don’t suggest coming in full swing with a super-sized bag of kale chips and quinoa burgers. That is an invitation for a full on revolt. Start slowly. It’s not EVER too late to start. Just two weeks to form a habit.

SIX TIPS FOR FEEDING HEALTHY TEENS

1. MAKE IT RELEVANT. This is my favorite, and the most impactful way to convince your child of anything. In order for healthy options to sink in, teens must believe the message has specific reference to them. Long term health challenges will NOT resonate with them. Let them know nutrition affects their growth, their emotions, their academic and sports performance, their appearance, or whatever seems to be the most important to the teen during that particular week.

How?

Appeal to their vanity. Tell your daughter that eating lots more green leafy vegetables and less dairy/sugar will make her skin glow and eliminate breakouts, you have her ear. Talk to them about the correlation between nutritious food and acne. Want to grow? Talk about foods that promote growth and foods that don’t: promote calcium-rich foods and let them know soft drinks contain calcium depleting phosphoric acid, which can interfere with bone growth.

Appeal to their competitive nature. If you tell your son that he will play much better basketball if he doesn’t choose to drink the milkshake and chicken fingers before a game, he will listen.

Appeal to their academic drive: Tell your teen that eating grilled wild salmon and broccoli before exams and they will think more clearly. You at least have a chance!

BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT RELEVANT.

2. Model good nutrition. You must model healthy eating habits. You cannot preach to them! We all know how well that usually ends. Show your teens how to make healthier choices so they learn the connection between good food and good health.

Want them to eat healthier? Buy and cook healthier!! Have easy to grab options ALWAYS available. This IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT. If you have good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. If you have a bowl of washed strawberries and grapes, they will eat them. Have a plate of veggies, hummus, and sliced apples out when they come home from school. Guacamole and fresh pico? They will eat it! Homemade organic popcorn is always a crowd pleaser.

How?

    • Let your teens help shop for healthy foods that they like and let them prepare their own meals/snacks.
    • Keep junk food out of the house or to a minimum. AND find “cleaner” junk foods. Those made without harmful chemicals, sweeteners and dyes.
    • Make extra when cooking dinner so they can use leftovers! (extra brown rice, chicken, pasta, brisket). I keep grass fed taco meat in the fridge to quickly make quesadillas after school.
    • Sneak spinach into smoothies.
    • The key is to be ready. Don’t wait for them to start rummaging through the kitchen. They will snack on what is in front of them. So have it out!

 

3. Eat more QUALITY protein at every meal. The growing teenage brain needs protein. Protein gives the body the building blocks it needs to repair and renew, and it also serves as a source of energy. But Quality Matters. Try wild fish, organic free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, pastured eggs. I keep a pot of beans ready at any given moment. Nut butters are also good sources of protein—just make sure they are all natural and not loaded with sugars.

4. Get more vitamins. Even if they were perfect eaters, they cannot get all of the nutrients they need from their food sources (soil depletion, environment, stress, etc.). Our teens need at least 20 to 30 percent more of their daily requirements of nearly all the vitamins. These three are imperative:

  • Multi-vitamin/multi-mineral supplement is imperative. Cells are powered by nutrients. Vitamin D alone powers 200 reactions in the body and without it teens will be prone to depression/anxiety. Without enough B vitamins, and B12 (found in proteins) teens will feel lethargic, low in energy. Zinc has been nicknamed the “new anti-depressant”– it boosts mood and appetite and helps kids think. Look for organic, plant based vitamins from reputable companies like New Chapter and Nordic Naturals.
  • Probiotics. Our immune system primarily resides in our digestive tract.  The healthy bacteria that we need has been sabotaged with processed foods, antibiotics, and other chemical stresses we put on our bodies. Probiotics bring the good bacteria back so it can fight off illness, enhance digestion, remedies constipation and believe it or not, improves mood and thinking.
  • Fish Oil. Good omega fats nourish the brains, the nervous system. Combats mood disorders, fights inflammation, great for their joints too. Quality matters!

 

CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTS FOR YOUR TEENAGERS.

5. Pantry clean out. Throw out foods with ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORS and SWEETENERS. PERIOD. Artificial sweeteners are KNOWN to cause 93 unsavory side effects from brain tumors. Memory loss, to hair loss. Food colorings (banned in Europe) are known to cause tumors, ADHD, allergies among lots of other infuriating problems. These are definite NOs in our house.

READ THE LABELS. Take a look at the ingredient labels on your food package. Even the simplest of foods will have more chemicals in them than you can count, much less pronounce.

Fill your kitchen with real, fresh foods whenever possible. Even replacing super bad junk with organic, non-GMO junk is a non-toxic step in the right direction. Shop at Whole Foods, Central Market, even Tom Thumb offers cleaner options. Also, if you haven’t already, check out Thrive Market.

AND THE LAST THING …
6. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Without question this is true, especially for kids. For brain development, their daily energy levels, their ability to focus. Protein rich eggs, oatmeal, breakfast tacos, plant-based protein smoothies. These are great!! Fruit Loops ARE NOT AN OPTION. Sugary cereals and drinks have no place at breakfast—their brains have nothing to function with, and the sugar spike and drop makes them sluggish and cranky.

Getting your kids to eat a good breakfast is simple–if you just do a little planning.

Make it for them! It may be your only chance of the day to influence their choices. If you are not a morning person, prepare the night before–put out plates, glasses and put ingredients together ready to go from the fridge. Place their vitamins in ramekins at their place setting. Plan to get up 15 minutes early to scramble those eggs. It makes all the difference. Added bonus: Breakfast can be a great way to spend a moment with your kids—that you otherwise might not have!!

At the end of the day, it is about a lifestyle change, not a week or so of regimented consumption. A healthy routine paves the way to a vibrant future of health and happiness! If you’d like to dig deeper, we can help you get there!

So you and your teenager can experience daily GEM goodness after school, we’ve extended our hours to stay open until 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. YEP. WE ARE OPEN UNTIL 6.

Next up … What DO you feed those kids? Stay tuned for great snack ideas.


Feed Your Teens Well [Four-Part Series]

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Teens need exceptional nutrition because their bodies AND BRAINS are growing and maturing rapidly. With the exception of infancy, adolescence is THE most critical time for good eating. WOW! The irony, of course, is that the time they need it the most, is the time when they eat nutritious foods the least. They need help. The struggle of feeding healthy teens is a real one.Feed Your Teens Well

Over the next four blog posts, we will discuss ways to raise healthier teenagers–from why they need our help, to how we can play a role, along with an entire post devoted to healthy snack ideas your kids will eat.

Here’s the deal: Our teens ARE overfed and undernourished. (Take a look at the documentary!) Think about that profound statement! We need to help change this. These growth spurts do require more food; but not just more food, they require the good food.

There are lots of reasons this is a problem. Teens eat more meals away from home, and parental supervision is limited. The places they DO eat are usually fast-food restaurants, where “food” is riddled with unhealthy fat and void of nutrients. Basically CRAP.

Their tastes are changing. Boys try to build muscles by eating massive quantities of food. Girls want to be thin, and think limiting calories alone equates to weight loss. There is an increased affinity for fat (not the good kind). Boys crave heavy, protein-rich foods. Girls crave sweets. Hello, Cupcake.

The fact is that healthy nutrition — and especially the lack of it –affects so much of our teenagers lives: their academic success, athletic ability, overall attitude—and even their appearance. Our teens need to know this.

If we can educate them and help them adopt a few good habits, we keep them healthy and happy–not just now but straight into adulthood. This is our duty!

 

Effects of poor teen nutrition. You probably know what it looks like, but what does it do?

The effects of regular consumption of high inflammatory foods, such as fast food, sodas, potato chips, junk, foods with mascots, sweets etc, are NOT positive ones.  Here’s what happens without good nutrition:

  • Acne. Yep. Sugar and Dairy are the culprits. Enough said.
  • Low energy, sluggishness. Excess sugar and bad fats, along with lack of good protein and good fats.
  • Inability to focus/concentrate/ADHD. Largely affected by artificial dyes and lack of good fats and proteins. This is crisis is REAL people.
  • Allergies! Big and little ones. Check out The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Infuriating.
  • Mood swings/depression, anxiety, anger. Food can be a BIG factor in managing mood.
  • Weight gain and risk of obesity. Greater chance of diabetes and heart disease later in life.

 

Bottom line: You and your teen can find better commitment to healthier foods just by knowing what some of these things do to you.

So much of what we feed our kids is full of chemicals and over-processed, nutrient depleted “food-like” substances. You may not even know the culprits–as they are hidden in everything. Junk food abounds, then all of the side effects appear. Providing your family with nutritious, acceptable and SAFE food is HARD to do!

Fast foods and convenience foods are pumped full of chemicals.  It’s a real toxic sh*t storm out there. Even Chick-fil-A contains food colorings AND an “anti-foaming agent” in their fries that is also used in plastics. What????? Packaged snacks are made with hydrogenated oils, scary preservatives, creepy science experiments (GMOs), and things called rendered beef fat. Hidden sugars are everywhere. Prego spaghetti sauce=serving of Chips Ahoy. Sports drinks have tons of sugar, not to mention harmful food dyes that are banned in most 1st World Countries. We now consume 5 times the amount of food dyes than 50 years ago. Check out this frightening guide to food coloring dangers. If that doesn’t get you off your Sugar Smacks, nothing will.

Ramen noodle on that for a while. It’s upsetting to say the least. We need to get teens back to healthy foods. And, we will. Together. Until next time …


6 Snacks for School for Your Lil GEMs

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Hopefully everyone is settled nicely into our new back to school routines. If your kids are anything like our own GEMs, that means It. Is. On.

Snacks for school day, after school sports, group projects, dentist appointments and social gatherings are making for some ravenous kids (and moms). They need proper fuel. The key is to be prepared. If not, the entire day can implode inside the corner 7-Eleven.

It’s critical to make sure your small, convenient, healthy snacks are taken to school for your kiddos and readily between healthy meals. Keep these in your car or purse to that you are always ready!

Check these out mamas and daddies:

The Gem RE-MIX – Yes! Deez NUTS are awesome. It’s our very own raw nut mix! Brain healthy fats and protein abound with walnuts, cashews, pecans, Brazil Nuts, mulberries and dried tart cherries. Super filling and packs a punch!

Sami’s Cinnamon Chips – These millet and flax crackers covered with cinnamon and sugar have been touted as “crack in a bag.” Just know you’ve been warned. Get two bags if you want to try, because once you pass it back in carpool, your chances are none. Deceivingly low in sugar, these chips are also great with almond butter or along side your coffee.

Tosi Bar and Bites – Just the right amount of crunch and sweet. Packed with protein, Omega 3’s and fiber, these bites are made of nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and organic maple syrup. Cashew, Almond and the brand NEW Blueberry and Cappuccino Crunch flavors are super delicious and healthy.

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Pipcorn – Our version of popcorn. The mini kernels are from heirloom seeds–just like nature intended! It’s Non-GMO and has an addicting crunch. Comes convenient pre-popped bag and is sure to please even the pickiest little eater. Find your favorite flavor: Sea Salt, Truffle (my fave), Kettle, or Rosemary.

Alyssa’s Vegan Bites – When you need something sweet but you don’t want to overload on sugar, Mark Cuban’s new company has you covered. These little cookies have very low sugar (2 grams of sugar in 2 cookies) and are delicious. The tastiest oatmeal raisin cookie you will ever eat.

Hail Merry Sriracha Sunflower Seeds – Exclusive to us and beyond delicious, these gluten-free spicy seeds are perfect for the on-the-go kid.

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So don’t let back to life crazy take you down an unhealthy road. Plan ahead, stock up and send your little GEMs off with ready fuel for the school day and beyond.


12 Healthy Breakfast Options on the Go

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We’ve always heard, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Without question this is true, especially for our kids. For brain development, their daily energy levels, their ability to focus.

An apple a day...It can be a challenge with all of the over processed options you see in the grocery store.

Fruit Loops ARE NOT AN OPTION.

Getting your kids to eat a good breakfast in the morning is simple–if you just do a little planning. You need a few of these quick and healthy breakfast options in your arsenal.

Make a shopping list that includes all of the items below and plan out your week. If you are not a morning person, put out plates, glasses and put ingredients together ready to go from the fridge. If they take vitamins (which they should), place them in little ramekins at their place setting. Still plan to get up 10 minutes early. It makes all the difference.

Breakfast only takes 15 minutes, and it can be a great way to take a moment to set your intention for the day, spend a moment with your kids and treat yourself like the royalty you are.

Feed them royally (as our friends at Hail Merry might say) with some of the following options:

  1. Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats. Just add hot water and wait two minutes. Add maple syrup and cinnamon, even berries for a sweet treat. You can also cook steel-cut oatmeal in your crock pot the night before so it will be ready in the am.
  2. Vital Farms pastured eggs. It is very important to get protein in them, keeping blood sugar levels even. Eggs are SOOO fast and easy to make. Try one over medium cooked in coconut oil. Serve them boiled with salt and pepper. Scramble them with spinach if your kids are open to the next level. And why pastured?
    • 2/3 more Vitamin A
    • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    • 3 times more Vitamin E
    • 7 times more beta carotene (according to my friends at Vital Farms)
  3. Applegate Farms Chicken Maple Sausage, scrambled egg and whole wheat English muffin–or try a Van’s GF waffle with it, like a wrap! No nitrates, organically grown.
  4. Fresh smoothies made with frozen berries, bananas, almond milk, pomegranate juice, raw protein like Amazing Meals. Stock up on your ingredients. Keep cacao and agave on hand too. Try the Blueberry Brain Boost Smoothie. Sneak in hemp seeds for extra protein.
  5. Vigilant Eats Oat Cereal if you are in a super rush. Just add cold or hot water and go. Spoon is already in the cup! Eleven grams of protein to start your day. Come get yours at The GEM!
  6. Cherrybrook Farms (gluten-free) pancakes with blueberries. This gluten-free brand is amazing!!!! They really are fantastic when cooked with coconut oil. They need almost no syrup! Combine with #2 or #3 to balance with protein.
  7. Healthy granola, like Hail Merry’s Cherry Almond Hemp with vanilla almond milk or organic Greek yogurt. Add fresh sliced pineapple on the side.
  8. Ezekial Bread toasted with almond butter and their favorite jam (not the kind with food coloring and lots of chemicals. Read your labels!)
  9. Make a peanut or almond butter and jelly whole grain waffle. Heavy on the organic peanut butter.
  10. Breakfast burrito–whole wheat tortillas–the fresh ones from Central Market or Whole Foods, not the ones with a gazillion ingredients–mixed with scrambled eggs and pico de gallo. You can drain a can of black beans the night before and add those in the mix too.
  11. Quinoa Cereal.  It’s reminiscent of Cream of Wheat, but SOO much better.  Here’s a recipe.  Play with it–your kids just might love it!
  12. Bonus: invest in a citrus juicer. You can make fresh squeezed orange or pink grapefruit juice in a matter of seconds. It is AMAZING and a tremendous source of Vitamin C. Everyone thinks it’s cool to operate.

And remember this important detail for breakfast: if it comes from a box, read the label. If you don’t know what the ingredients are or how to spell them, toss it.

Do you have a whole food, protein rich breakfast favorite you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it!


Healthy Snacks for Kids: 21 Ways to Feed Your Kids Better.

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So much of what we feed our kids is full of chemicals and overprocessed, nutrient depleted food stuff. Junk food abounds. Providing your family with nutritious, acceptable and SAFE food is HARD to do! Almost everyday inside The GEM, we hear parents wishing they had better options that their kids would want to eat.

Fast foods are pumped full of chemicals (even Chick-fil-A contains food colorings and an “anti-foaming agent” in their fries that is also used in plastics). Packaged snacks are made with hydrogenated oils (Oreos), rendered beef fat (Chef Boyardee). Food coloring is linked to ADHD and depression. Hidden sugars are everywhere.

These things are acidic, linked to cancer, allergies and make their little brains foggy. You can find better commitment to healthier foods just by knowing what some of these things do to you. I know you can!

Here’s where to start:

1. Try to tell your kids WHY unhealthy choices are bad. Make the reasons relevant to them. If you tell your son that he will play better basketball if he doesn’t choose to eat the electric blue cupcakes before a game, he will listen. Tell your pre-teen girl that eating lots more green leafy vegetables will make her skin glow and eliminate breakouts, you have her ear. Tell your 5 year old that super heros eat grilled organic chicken and broccoli and you atleast have a chance.

2. Have easy to grab options ALWAYS available. This IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A PARENT. If you have a bowl of washed strawberries and grapes in the fridge, they will eat them. Have a plate of veggies, dip, cheese cubes and sliced apples out when they come home from school. Fresh made organic popcorn is always a crowd pleaser. They will eat it!

3. Healthy eaters don’t happen overnight. KEEP IT UP. It takes 10 times of tasting for a palate to change. Plus, they will learn to expect healthy options on their plate every meal and know they will have to try atleast 2 bites. I promise it will happen.

21 Good, Healthy Snacks for Kids

  1. Organic popcorn made in a Whirley Pop with coconut oil and sea salt. DEE-LISH.
  2. Sliced cucumbers marinated in water, 2 tablespoons of Braggs apple cider vinegar, a touch of agave. SOOO good.
  3. Fresh pico, salsa and bean dip. Nachos with pinto beans and cheese are a much better option than Cheetos! Always have these in your fridge.
  4. Cubes of yummy, premium cheddar cheese. (Not the Kraft crap)
  5. Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, dehydrated fruits. Pistachios are fun to eat.
  6. Sliced apples with organic peanut butter, if you don’t have nut allergies. Cutie oranges.
  7. Slice bananas and freeze them. AWESOME. Grapes too.
  8. Keep frozen berries (1c), bananas (1), almond milk (1c), pomegranate juice (1/2c) and raw protein powder on hand. Make a Sparkle Berry smoothie. They will love you!
  9. Turkey (Applegate Farms makes a great one) with a little mustard wrapped around a sesame breadstick
  10. Mini pizzas made with whole grain english muffins, fresh marinara (no sugar, all natural), mozzerella
  11. Fresh lemonade will quench any thirst. 1/2c lemon juice, 1/3c (or less) agave, 4 c water. Make a pitcher and keep it on hand.
  12. Lentil Soup with homemade croutons made with coconut and olive oil. Dinner or snack.
  13. Bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup. Healthy granola that doesn’t list sugar as its first 3 ingredients.
  14. Surprise your kids with Breakfast for after school snack: organic pastured eggs (Vital Farms is my fave), Applegate Farms chicken maple sausage. An amazing after school treat.
  15. Sami’s Cinnamon Chips will disappear at carpool time. Kids LOVE these gluten free, high fiber, low sugar (but don’t tell them that) chips. Available at The GEM.
  16. Whole wheat pasta already made. Even better is Tinkyada brand gluten free pasta. Find a pomodoro sauce that is clean and healthy with nothing but tomatoes, garlic, spices. NOTHING ELSE. A touch of olive oil, maybe.
  17. Make your own pita chips–sprinkle whole grain pita chips with parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown. Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies–in a pinch–are okay.
  18. Steam frozen edamame and add sea salt
  19. Roasted chickpeas. So fun!
  20. Make organic oven fries. YUM!
  21. Make your own cookies and brownies as a special special treat.  Just use organic flours, whole butters and real chocolates. A little goodness goes a long way.

 


GLORY DAYS.

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Freshman 101 Wellness Tips

Remember your freshman year? All of the new things, new responsibilities, new boundaries, new ways to incorporate freedom into your life?

Remember the summer after your freshman year? Coming home to raised eyebrows at how much MORE of you there was? I came home with 20 more pounds. Forget the Freshman 15…I’ve always tried to be an over-achiever.I was a nice sized 12/14 in pleated shorts. It was a good look.

Recently, we hosted a graduation party at The GEM for 32 graduating seniors and we shared a few ‘tips’ with them. I hope they will incorporate a few of these into their daily life. I tried appealing to their vanity rather than their long-term health. I mean, we were all invincible back then. Good skin, better energy, strength & stamina, and clear thinking seem to be a better draw. Share these with your college bound GEM.

Quite frankly, we all need to follow these rules. They make for a happier, healthier you. One more shout out for DIAMONDS ON YOUR INSIDE.

TOP 3 THINGS TO DO

EXERCISE EVERYDAY—even if it is a walk or a bike ride. It makes you happy, too!

DRINK. LOTS. OF WATER. Water keeps your body and mind hydrated. Sometimes you mistake thirst for hunger. Drink 32 oz of water every morning— first thing. Pretty skin, pretty eyes, better energy.

GO GREEN. Eat something green everyday. PERIOD. More green = better mood, better skin, better chance of not taking home the freshman 15!

TOP 3 THINGS NOT TO DO

DRINK TOO MUCH. Bad for your skin, bad for bloating, and really bad for making good decisions.

LATE NIGHT EATING. Pizza delivery after 8pm is evil. An occasional splurge is fine, but keep it to once a month. There is nothing really hip about a slug eating crap. Cut out junk food. Keep healthy options around like popcorn, apples with almond butter, nuts, hummus & veggies.

SMOKE. ANYTHING. Smoke makes your skin dull, your breath stink and your body lethargic.

INCORPORATE HEALTHY CHOICES:

FRESH GREEN JUICE—perfect nutrients, energy, glowing skin, bright eyes

KOMBUCHA—soda alternative, cleansing, great hangover elixir

SMOOTHIES—as a meal replacement, and make sure there are only fresh, clean ingredients. No Jamba Juice imposters!

I can still see myself in my freshman year spring break photos.  My face was so puffy it barely fit into the 8×10 frame. If I’d only known The GEM!!