5 Low Carb Fruits For Healthy Dessert Options

When it comes to losing weight, low-carb lifestyles are extremely popular and effective. Apart from weight loss, other benefits of a low-carb lifestyle include reduced hunger, a lower risk of heart disease, enhanced cognitive performance, a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer, and better control over your blood sugar.

You can experience these benefits by simply reducing the amount of glucose you consume. Glucose (and molecules that turn into it once consumed) is found in all foods that contain carbohydrates, including starchy vegetables, grains, fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables, nuts, and more.

Your body typically uses glucose when it needs energy, which is why consuming smaller amounts of it will help you lose weight in an insanely short amount of time. When your body is depleted of glucose, it will turn to stored fat and burn it for energy. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in 2014 confirmed that low-carb diets were much more effective as compared to low-fat diets when it came to losing weight and even supporting healthy cholesterol levels. However, we are not DIET advocates in general.  A better option is to make transformational permanenet lifestyle changes!

When it comes to a low-carb diet, the most popular variation of it dictates that you should focus on eating 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat. However, the truth is that this is NOT healthy.  This diet does not provide enough plants and is too high in fat.  DO not fall into the super high fat diet trap.  In fact, don’t fall for diets at all.  I work with my clients and show them how to treat their bodies as temples and get healthy in the natural way God intended for us all.

In lieu of diets, for optimal health, try simply eliminating all the major sources of carbs, while increasing the amount of non-starchy plants, quality protein and healthy fats you consume. It is a fact that we do not eat enough plants in America AT ALL.

Just  because you’ve decided to swap to a low-carb lifestyle doesn’t mean that you should now stop eating things that taste sweet. In fact, here are 5 awesome fruits that are low in carbohydrates and serve as great healthy dessert or snack options.

Blueberries

Blueberry is low both in calories and carbohydrates, but it provides you with a nice amount of vitamin b-6. This fruit is known for promoting healthy skin, while it can also give a boost to your immune system, since it contains a great dose of vitamin C.Blueberries also contain potassium, which is an essential nutrient when it comes to reducing your stress and anxiety levels.

 

 

 

Strawberries

Strawberries will not only help you lose weight because they are a good addition to your low-carb lifestyle, but because they also stimulate the burning of stored fat. pexels-photo-284969Other health benefits that this fruit is known for include providing you with a short-term memory boost and a lower chance of suffering from cardiovascular disease. Strawberries also promote bone health and are known for their anti-aging properties.

 

Raspberries

On top of containing an insanely small amount of carbohydrates, raspberries will provide you with a lot of vitamin C, as well as magnesium and potassium.pexels-photo-302478 This fruit is known for promoting heart health, and is a diuretic. It can also ease inflammation and improve your immune system.

 

 

Avocado

Avocados are very nutrient-dense fruits, and they contain a lot of vitamins K, C, and B6, as well as folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium. They are also a fantastic source of healthy fats.Avacado halves on dark background

Avocados are known for stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving eyesight, aiding in weight loss, and lowering cholesterol levels. The greatest thing about them is that they’re incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. Avocados are also one of the top healthy fat choices in a low carb plan.

 

Blackberries

Blackberries contain vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6. They also provide you with essential minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous.blackberries-bramble-berries-bush-134581

Some of the most notable health benefits of blackberries include improved bone, skin, and eye health, a stronger immune system, enhanced cognitive performance, and improved digestive health.

 

In Health!

Erin XXOO

Eating the Right Types of Calories To Burn Fat

Body envy. It happens every single time when those infomercials featuring perfectly proportioned models pop onto the television screen promising an enviable body weight if you’ll just fork over enough cash to make you skinny forever. First of all those bodies are not reality and many are airbrushed, so don’t be fooled.

Even though you know there’s no magic pill, patch, or powder that can guarantee long-term success, sometimes it’s tempting to dole out the money for the next enticing fad. It’s enticing because losing weight is a struggle, and a vicious uphill battle that’s not always so easily fought. I know because I am a recovering food addict of 9 years and was at one time 350 pounds.  This was long before I went back to school to study food and nutrition.

The appeal to find a quick fix hits you every now and then – especially when you’ve worked hard to lose a little bit of weight and then you fall off the diet wagon and gain it all back (and then some). You may have lost count of the times you’ve thought, “There has to be an easier way to lose weight!” There is, and it does NOT involve the word DIET.

Have you purchased every weight loss book ever published, forced down the diet bars, consumed the shakes, and attended the weight loss meetings so many times you could have paid for the entire building by the time you quit? Have you done all of this and yet you still haven’t seen the long-term results that you crave more than food itself?

Are you sick and tired of trying, but you still know you need to lose weight so that you can have a healthier life? You know you want to lose weight, but you don’t want a gimmick and you certainly don’t want to keep going down a road that leads nowhere.

You just want to find a plan that really works for you without all of the empty promises. There’s something you might not know about the battle of the bulge – something that can help you gain the victory once and for all without having to resort to any fads or gimmicks.

Understanding the Basics of Weight Loss

To understand how weight loss works, you have to first understand how calories work. A calorie is energy given in the foods you eat. Your body uses this energy as fuel. pexels-photo-220129Think of  your metabolism and food the same way you do wood for a fireplace. If you put in too much wood, the fire gets snuffed out and if you do not add enough wood, the fire once again burns out.  A fire burns best with small amounts of wood added throughout the day. Same with your metabolism.  Never skip meals or eat huge meals.

In the same manner, there has to be the right TYPE of wood to burn best, just as you need the right type of calories.  The same way you would store wood in stacked piles for your fireplace, the body stacks an overabundance of the wrong types of calories as fat.

It then takes that fat and adds it to the places you don’t want it put. Cellulite are pockets of that stored fat beneath the surface of your skin.  In other words, it’s the chocolate cake or donuts or the heaping helping of empty carbohydrates like rice and pasta and bread, are all stored away if you are not a big workout fiend or endurance athlete.  VERY few of us can burn off those types of excess calories.

Now, all of that’s the bad news. But the good news is, you don’t have to accept being overweight as your fate (no matter how many times you’ve fallen off the diet wagon in the past).

The wrong types of calories lead to fat storage

 

Many people sit down to eat a meal or a snack and never give a second’s thought to what goes on behind the scenes once the food is finished. Everyone knows how you gain weight and most of us are pros at the gaining. We gain by eating too much of the wrong kinds of food, having an imbalance in our guts, being deficient in essential vitamins and minerals, and not moving our bodies. All of these things cause our metabolism to slow down and our bodies to convert starches and sugar to fat and store them.

Food is simply fuel. All of it is. But how (and at what rate) the fuel is burned depends on the foods you eat because it correlates to how it makes your body work. Still follow me?

Each time you take out a starchy food such as rice or bread or pasta or white potatoes from your meal, and replace with a non starchy vegetable, you give your body a powerful weapon in the fight to burn calories and fat. When there is not excess starch and sugar to burn, your body burns stored fat instead.  In addition to the fat burning properties of veggies, they also contain many important nutrients your body needs.  This helps to keep your body strong and energized.  There is a reason foods from nature have certain colors.  Each colors represents a different nutrient your body needs.

You Need The Right Vitamins and Minerals, Not Fads

We all need good supplements in order to maintain optimal health.  Yes, even if you eat clean and all organic.  Due to factors like the environment, soil depletion, medicines, food additives and more, we all have gut imbalances that have negative effects on our ability to burn fat and lose weight.  NOW, that being said no you do not need diet pills, and fake ketones, and energy patches and other fads.  You need three things to start.

  1. A super high quality probiotic with antifungals and enzymes like the one from Plexus called Pro Bio 5.  No you do not want one that costs a fortune or has to be refrigerated.
  2. A great multi that contains the most bio-available forms of a variety of vitamins.  I use X Factor Plus from Plexus and it has aloe which aids absorption.  Many vitamins are not even absorbed and they are just moved straight out in your urine which is often seen as orange urine when using lower quality vitamins.  No with Plexus!
  3. You need a great magnesium supplement.  I use Bio Cleanse from Plexus.  Many of us are deficient in magnesium which leads to brain fog, mood issues and more.

 

When we balance the gut and take care of the body and limit sugar and processed fake foods and starches and replenish the vitamins and minerals, your body becomes a less-inflamed fat buring machine!

 

XXOO

Erin

 

 

 

4 Ways To Use Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is not just a kitchen ingredient; it has a wide range of other uses that provide many benefits for your health and physical well-being.

Coconut oil has been increasing in popularity over recent years. With the current campaigns against the use of unhealthy fats, this powerful oil is in growing demand.

Coconut oil is composed of 92% saturated fat, with 2/3 of it coming in a medium chain fatty acids form. The body is able to quickly metabolize this type of fatty acid in the form of energy. Lauric acid is one of the most powerful components of coconut oil, which is recognized for its strong antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

 

To improve your overall health, here are some easy ways to take advantage of coconut oil.

  • Skin Application

Topical application of oil is an amazing solution for young, beautiful, flawless skin. In addition to being a perfect moisturizer, it helps to nourish and heal your skin, and its antibacterial properties can be an effective treatment for acne.

Compared to expensive lotions and skin products, coconut is much more affordable and all-natural. Natural skin care reduces the risk skin irritations. Moreover, coconut oil’s antioxidant properties serve as natural protection from sun damage and free radicals.

  • Pre-wash Hair Conditioner

For healthier and smoother hair, use coconut oil as a natural pre-wash hair conditioner. It can help treat dry scalp, promote stronger hair, and help hair retain its natural moisture.  Simply rub a few drops of coconut oil into your dry scalp and leave it on for about 5 minutes before rinsing. Your dry and dull hair will now be softer and silkier with a healthier scalp.

  • Improve the Taste of Food

Because of its ability to withstand high heat, coconut oil is a must-have ingredient in the kitchen. Since it does oxidize quickly, coconut oil is perfect for roasting, sautéing and baking. Coconut oil can improve the flavor of most foods, especially chicken, fish, and vegetables. You can also mix it with oatmeal or add to smoothies.

  • Balanced Digestion

Coconut oil can be used to treat occasional or mild digestive discomfort and may even relieve other severe digestive problems. It also helps your body effectively absorb many essential nutrients. Be sure to use organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed coconut oil for the most benefits.

In Health!

Erin XXOO

Add Flavor and Not Salt!

Many people don’t worry about sodium in their diet unless their doctor has specifically told them to cut down on it.  So they sit down to an otherwise healthy meal absent of high fat and calories and then spoil it by using an excessive amount of salt. food-kitchen-cooking-spices.jpg

Even without adding sodium to your plate, your diet is probably already exceeding the normal limits of what the FDA recommends.  Since most people habitually add salt to their meals, the doses they’re receiving cause them to take in up to three times as much sodium as necessary.

This overdosing on salt leads to hundreds of thousands of cases of high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke, each year, so it’s vital that you shake your sodium habit and learn to infuse flavor without risking your health.  One way to add flavor without the negative side effect salt delivers is to use a quick spray of lemon juice or lime juice, or a pinch of garlic or onion powder on your foods instead.  Both of these options help bring out the natural freshness and flavor of vegetables.

Garlic, dill, basil, and parsley also allow you to pull out the flavor of the food without having to rely on sodium to do the job for you.  While sodium is the flavor enhancer of choice for most households, many canned, processed, and even frozen foods are already full of this ingredient.  In fact, a single fast food meal can supply more than twice your daily limit of sodium.

Some foods mask their sodium content so that you don’t even know it’s in there.  A Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks packs in 300 mg of sodium.  Baked cookies, doughnuts, and bread can contain baking soda, which houses 1,259 mg of sodium per teaspoon.

If you want to cook some vegetables and flavor them up, instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try roasting them in an effort to caramelize their natural sugars. pexels-photo-76093.jpegThis brings out a rich flavor that will replace your craving for salt once your tastebuds get used to it.

Make immediate choices to cut down on the excessive sodium in your diet.  Too much of this ingredient can cause fluid retention, blood pressure problems, and artery damage.  It can also bring an elevated risk of  stomach disease, and osteoporosis.  Give yourself at least 30 days to begin enjoying the natural flavors of food again and you won’t miss the salt you’ve been adding to your diet.

In Health!

Erin

 

The Most Maddening Time of the Year

SO I have a story to tell you.  It is a drama, a comedy, a tragedy, and a love story all rolled into one.  It is about the human race.  The setting is Thanksgiving week anyplace in America.  Millions of people will gather with their loved ones and celebrate every blessing God has bestowed upon us all year-long and they will have food and fun and fellowship and many will be seeing each other for the first and maybe only time this year because of jobs and distance and expense for travel etc.  I adore Thanksgiving.  For me it can be really easy to take for granted the things I need to be thankful for and sometimes I tend to focus on what ELSE I want or think I need.  Sometimes I need a good reminder that my God is a God of divine provision and always provides exactly what I need each day.  I am breathing and that is a blessing.  I have a warm sweater on today on this chilly fall morning and that for sure is a blessing.  My family all came over for Thanksgiving and I got to see my sweet grand-babies and that too is a huge gift.  Is my life perfect?  Of course not.  We worry about finances and our kids and the same things as everyone else.  But I am beyond thankful.  My cup truly runneth over.  And the fact that God decided five days was long enough for me to have the flu and I woke up today feeling like a new woman is something else I am SUPER DUPER thankful for along with the creator of Tamiflu.  Yep I am very thankful for them!

I love Christmas also.  Most importantly because Christmas celebrates the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. It truly is my very favorite holiday and time of year.  I usually have my tree up by Thanksgiving weekend and have Christmas music on my XM radio by Nov 5.  I LOVE Christmas.  And having grandkids makes Christmas so much fun.  I love watching Ansley and Laila open their gifts and look so excited and now we have sweet little Maddox and his first Christmas this year.  Nothing makes me happier than a house full of smiling faces.  So yep, I am a little Christmas crazy for sure.

However, In my profession, as a nutritionist and holistic health coach, this time of year completely saddens me.  So we start Thanksgiving Day and gorge ourselves (because that truly is how we show thanks in America????) and then we start the gorging season, I mean Christmas season and we eat our way to December 31 and then that night we eat and drink some more just one last hoorah and then we wake up January 1 feeling tired and bloated and our pants are too tight and we make these insane resolutions and purchase an annual membership to a gym (which they love because you don’t use it after March and they make a killing) and buy the latest diet fad that promises you to lose 10 pounds in 10 days and we start this mode of deprivation. We put our bodies into a serious turmoil and this cycle of gorging and dieting and bingeing and starving does terrible things to our metabolism and gut health that most people just do not understand.  Why do we do this?

How did we evolve into a nation that has this feast or famine mentality?  We are always either gorging or dieting and it is a vicious endless cycle. Our gut microbiome is a delicate precious thing that God created with the exact balance of good and bad bacteria.  The day we are born and we start introducing baby formula, processed baby food, sugar laden juices and then as we get older more processed foods and chemicals and medicines the gut balance deteriorates and this causes a host of issues.

We have literally been spending the last 50 years as part of a human experiment gone terribly wrong.  But the story of the covered up science about sugar and the original food pyramid and the Ancel Keys story is another blog for another day.  Just understand that when the food industry, as powerful as it is, manipulated the science and your government, the old grain heavy fat is bad food pyramid came to be and thankfully science is now disregarding and tweaking that daily.  By 2020 hopefully sugar and grains will be the smallest portion of the new “Choose My Plate” guidelines.  However not to digress.

We have set a very dangerous socialization standard for ourselves that says treating our bodies as the temples God intended means deprivation and putting trash into our bodies is a treat or reward?  Backwards much? Oh I am sure the devil loves this trait in us for sure.  See the weaker the body the weaker the mind and the weaker the mind the easier for the devil to get inside.  God doesn’t instruct us to be healthy and treat our bodies as temples just because he cares about nutrition, God knows that the stronger our bodies are the stronger our minds will be and the better we will be able to obey what God is calling on us to do. Think about it for just a minute.

1Corinthians 6:19 tells us “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”  The verse is extremely clear and yet we seem to ignore this one as a society.  We eat an average of 150-170 pounds of sugar per person per year in America.  However during the 1800’s this number was closer to 4-6lbs per year.  We eat more processed fake lab created edible food-like substances than we do real food made by God.  When I speak to local high schools and challenge the kids to go 14 days with no fast food they literally look at me as if I had six heads.  The idea of giving up fake food is so totally foreign to them.  Often I will look at a food log of a teenager and not see one home cooked meal for a week.  This just boggles my mind.  Our taste buds are so jacked up from the chemicals and fake food we eat, (oh and for the record- anything from a box or a package or a fast food joint is fake food.  Anything that doesn’t come from nature and cannot be killed caught or grown is fake food) that we do not even truly know what we like anymore when it comes to food.  It will shock you how differently things taste when you detox off the fake food and fill your body with good real food.

On top of our obsession with food- usually fake food- we have this really unhealthy relationship with our bodies.  The media dictates what beauty is and gives young women and men these insane ideals that they then begin to strive for that are often extremely unhealthy.  Kids are born loving and accepting their bodies and all of those around them.  Once again socialization takes over around middle school and all of a sudden if you do not dress and look and act a certain way kids tend to be cruel and mean and this begins some very unhealthy patterns that can have lasting effects on our lives and our ideas of self-love and acceptance.  Sometimes the pressure of trying to hold up to society’s standards can lead to some very unhealthy relationships with food and with our bodies.

I know because I was there.  See, long before I went back to school to study food and nutrition, I was a 350lb food addict.  I have been in recovery for almost 10 years.  I used to think if I were just skinnier, or just a little bit prettier, or just a few pounds smaller I would be just right.  It took me a long time to realize that I am just right as I am.  Of course I am a work in progress with a long way to go and I spend each day working to treat my body as the temple God created and to refine that temple to the best of my abilities.  Some days I do great and some are total fails, but it was a huge lesson to realize that the shape and size of my body did not define me.  I am six feet tall and will never ever be a tiny petite woman.  But I can be healthy.  I can refine my temple to being the best version of Erin that honors God that I can be!

The diet industry makes me cringe.  Trust me I have tried every single one out there and the honest truth is there is NO DIET that works long-term.  If one did the rest would go out of business.  There are styles of eating that are good in theory.  Staying on a style of eating that is plant heavy, low in carbs and sugar, and low in processed fake food is a winning plan! Imagine if  we all STOPPED THE DIETING MADNESS and focused on getting our guts as healthy and balanced as possible and treating our bodies as the temples they were intended, eating real food and stay off the sugar and fake stuff.  If we truly accomplished this task, as God has commanded us in the bible, we would all be happier and healthier.

Have you ever really thought and prayed about these two verses?

1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Most People take better care of their cars and pets than they do their bodies. To be truly healthy and in a right place with God, we have got to get to the place where we take better care of our bodies and put our health as a top priority.  I think it goes without saying that if we were acting promiscuous or using illicit drugs or overindulging daily in alcohol, we would feel convicted.  But why then do we not feel that same conviction for being sedentary and for putting fake chemical laden food into our bodies day after day?

Let’s keep it real for just a minute.  What I am about to tell you may not be popular but it is the truth.  We all know someone who has struggled with alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or some other addiction and let’s face it we all judge.  But then we think nothing of gorging on sweets and processed fast food and junk and how dare anyone judge us for that???  Treating the body like a temple does not just apply to abstaining from the usual suspects.  It means eat real food.  God gave us all we need to nourish these temples in nature.  Animals and plants.  We certainly do not eat enough plants in this country and if we did we would be a lot healthier.  Each plant color has a specific nutrient and purpose.  And no don’t tell me you eat or drink some superfood powder that gives you your veggies, or drink some artificial ketone drink, or the latest greens drink .  Hogwash.  That is all gimmick after gimmick.  EAT REAL FOOD. Get your gut healthy.  We don’t do this enough which is why every human on the planet needs a great multivitamin, probiotic, and magnesium supplement.  And no for those rolling their eyes at me, this is not a plug for you to use the supplements I use, (which are the best out there) it is a plug to eat real food and treat your body like a temple.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying we will never again have a slice of grandma’s apple pie or ever have a treat on vacation, but what we  are doing on a daily basis is making us sick.  Most people don’t even realize the 95% of chronic disease is preventable based on what we eat and drink.  THAT SHOULD SCARE YOU TO DEATH!  What I am saying is that we need to do a better job of every day asking ourselves if everything we eat or drink or do is truly to the glory of God?  Yes this means what we eat but it also means the thoughts we allow to creep into our heads.  It means comparing ourselves to others.  We don’t need to be like someone else to be good enough.  We are enough and God only calls us to be the best version of ourselves.  The best version or Erin will always be a six foot tall woman and never a petite tiny super model.  But guess what?  That is AOK!  God didn’t call me to be a size six.  God called me to be the best version of Erin.

I say we start a movement.  A real movement of people who say NO MORE to falling for the latest diet trap.  A movement that understands that eating crap daily is just as much a sin as smoking and doing drugs and being promiscuous and drinking to excess.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.  A movement that loves these temples God gave us and that understands we are all beautiful broken works in progress.  A movement that shows ourselves and others grace when we stumble and falter and have a bad day, not one that says “oh well, I ate a cookie so I blew it and may as well eat the whole bag.”  A movement that knows we were made to move and does its’ best to move our bodies daily.  A movement that knows self-care is a critical part of the picture and that means saying no to overextending ourselves and yes to some ME time.  A movement that knows that one bad day of eating doesnt mean we are doomed to be unhealthy forever.  A movement that does our best to refine and tweak these temples.  A movement that wants to be the best versions of ourselves and that truly loves ourselves and understands without a shadow of a doubt that we are beautiful and blessed creations of God. A movement of #templetweakers

No diets, no resolutions, no negative self-talk.  Just real broken flawed people making a commitment to do our best to follow what God commands and to treat our bodies as temples every single day as best we can.  Each meal is a chance to honor God.  Each time we fill our cups is a chance to honor God.  Each time we move our bodies and choose the home cooked meal over the fast food burger is a chance to honor God.  Each time we help and support another is a chance to honor God.  Will you join with me and commit to refining your temple?  Will you be a #templetweaker with me?

We have a public group on Facebook called #TempleTweakers. Feel free to join and have support as you work to refine and tweak your temple.  We want to hear your daily victories and support you when you are feeling low.  Let’s band together and create a movement of positive, loving, grace-giving people working to be the best versions of themselves.

XOXO

In Health!

Erin

 

 

Halloween Alternatives to Candy!

For those of you who want to try and make Halloween a little bit healthier for the kids coming to your door, or at that school or neighborhood party, here are some fun ideas that wont be harmful to their health!  Remember that while many see the day as “once a year” and the candy as a “harmless treat”, the science tells us differently.  Sugar feeds every cell in the body good and bad and also causes the natural balance of good and bad gut bacteria to be out of whack. There is also the well-known issues of increased cavities, increased allergies, and harm to the immune system caused by over-consuming sugar and processed foods. Bottom line- Sugar is bad news.  With all of that said, here are some great ideas for the kids that will be both fun and healthy.

For the Trick or Treaters- Hit up the local dollar store and stock up on fun packs of stickers and erasers and pencils and pens with Halloween themes that often come in bulk for very cheap prices. non-candy-treats-pencils-stickers-spider-rings-dollar-tree-halloween-2015Kids LOVE this stuff.  We spend a lot less than we did on candy and the kids leave happy. It is not time-consuming either.  I am not crafty and so the cute little Pinterest projects are just not going to ever work for this gal.  Loading up on fun trinkets from the Dollar Store- THAT is more my style!  Just be sure you do not wait until the week of Halloween as they tend to run out pretty early in the month.

 

For those parties at school as well as or the neighborhood kids, there are lots of options for things to send and contribute that will not rot the teeth, destroy the gut bacteria, or make the kids wild and crazy.  Let’s talk about just a few here.bubbles I love the idea of  bubbles!  Every kid loves them and they won’t harm their health with these little beauties.  Okay truth time, even I at 46 love playing bubbles with my granddaughter.  They are always on sale super cheap at the local dollar store and can be easily transported to school mess-free!  Trust me you can never go wrong with bubbles.  Just make sure the kiddos play with these outside to avoid a slippery mess in the classroom.  Many stores even offer the little tiny mini bottles which are an even better value.

Another favorite of mine is Play-Doh. 1499374941-halloween-play-doughYour local Wal-Mart carries a variety of colors usually for less than a dollar.  I have seen these as cheap as forty cents each.  Kids can have a blast mixing and matching and once again- no trips to the dentist will come of this.  No lie- I actually love playing with this stuff with the kids myself.  Maybe I am just a big kid!  If you really take the time to look, there are inexpensive ideas all around that kids will both love and look forward to again next year that wont cause harm to their health.  It is so important to remember that we are raising a generation of sugar addicted kids and if we all do just a little bit to change this trend, we can make a huge difference!

I am not saying never ever give your kids sugar, but I am saying we have got to be more mindful of the harm and scale things WAY BACK. Trust me 10-15 years from now your kids will thank you.  Mine sure have!

 

In Health!

Erin

xxoo

 

 

Back to School Healthy Breakfasts and Lunches for Kids!

It is that time of year when we send the kiddies back to school and that also means in most cases, sadly, back to sugar and junk.  The school lunch system in this country is so broken and so filled with cheap processed and sugar and carb laden “foods” that my suggestion is to just send lunch with your child from home if possible.  Why the lunch system is so broken is another blog for another day.  SO with that being said, lets talk about some ideas to pack lunches that are not going to make your child sick and hinder their learning abilities.

Before we look at lunch, lets chat about breakfast.  Most parents are busy and working and on a budget and need fast inexpensive ideas for breakfast.  That usually leads to a breakfast filled with sugar.  Or just as bad, CARBS which turn to sugar once eaten.  It is critical to remember that when you start your day with a carb laden breakfast, you are setting yourself up for a day of blood sugar spikes and falls, hunger, fatigue, crankiness, and more.  Oh and the same goes for your kids.  78321160_XS

To give them the best shot at good grades and good health, you have to start with breakfast.  If you are giving your kids cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, breakfast bars, or even worse, pop tarts or toaster pastries of any kind, JUST PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL STOP! And here is where you say “oh I am doing super healthy cereal like Cheerios or Granola.”  SO here is a reality check for you.  Every four grams of carbs not offset by fiber converts to a tsp of sugar in the body. You can eat a bowl of white table sugar, or you can eat a bagel, cereal, toast, oats, grits, or any other supposedly healthy starch.

Think back to those commercials from childhood with Tony the tiger and the idea of a great breakfast.  It was pretty much all sugar, except the milk.  4936060-Morning-breakfast-with-cereal-toast-and-a-glass-of-orange-juice-Stock-Photo

Orange juice- pure sugar.  Toast- pure sugar.  Cereal- pure sugar.  This entire meal, once consumed will convert to sugar. This is not going to give your child a chance for a healthy day or a happy day or a day of learning.  The only thing that gets healthy with a meal like this is the wallets of the very powerful sugar and corn and grain growers and manufacturers.  Try a breakfast packed with protein and fiber and vitamins instead.

Some great options for breakfast are omelets with meat and cheese and veggies and maybe some fruit on the side.  menu-omelettes-vegetableNot fruit juice but a piece of fruit or some berries.  In a hurry? try a couple of boiled eggs and a banana.  Bacon or sausage and scrambled eggs is actually a pretty quick breakfast.  Another option I love is egg cups.  Check out a million different recipes on Pinterest.  Basically you take a cupcake tin and spray it and put a meat/protein on bottom, then throw a few chopped veggies and some cheese in and then crack an egg in each tin and season the top and bake.  These also keep well for a few days in the fridge so you can make a dozen on Sunday and have breakfast for the kids and yourself for a few days.  I cannot tell you how often we will pop two of these in the microwave on the way out the door on a busy day. Breakfast burritos and breakfast pizzas made with low carb tortillas and breads are also delish.  Options are out there that are made with REAL food and not processed boxed junk.  We just have to make finding these a priority.  Google low carb breakfast for kids and look at the options.  If you are really in a time pinch, buy a protein powder that is low carb and low sugar and give your kids a healthy protein shake.  Some of the best brands out there for taste and numbers are Quest or the one we carry with Plexus. Stay away from high sugar drinks masking as healthy like Ovaltine or the other breakfast drink mixes out there.  They are just chemical laden sugar and carb filled junk.

So now that we have some good options for breakfast, let’s move on to what you can pack in your child’s lunch to keep them healthy and alert and feeling good all day.  636098157941051519-1927003317_lunchablesThere are two things to avoid at all costs, and they are in almost 60% of school lunches brought from home for kids aged 5-12.  Lunchables and juice boxes.  Lets look first at the kid friendly and kid-approved Lunchable. This is literally a box of chemicals and fat and sugar and salt.  Grab one and read the label.  Read the total sugar and total carb counts and it will likely be more than a days worth of sugar and remember that those grams of carbs convert to sugar also.  What makes these little packages even more offensive is the idea that this is just not real food.  Yes it is cheap and quick, but it is not suitable for your child to consume.  In fact it is so bad that if you read the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, you can hear from the man who invented this fake food and how his own kids don’t even eat them.

There is just no way to find a way to call this hot mess food.  And of you wonder why your kids love these little things so much, again I will refer you to the book Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss.

Processed food creators know that any food that has the magic combo of salt, sugar, and fat is irresistible to our brains.  This combo and especially sugar lights up the same places in the brain that are lit up by herion and cocaine. Would you give your kids either of those?  I didn’t think so, and this is a whole different blog in and of itself also.    Just say no to these processed boxed foods for your kids’ sake.

The second one that you should really avoid is the ever popular juice box.  I don’t care if it is organic, no sugar added, all natural, or 100% artificial, it is all pure sugar and your kids don’t need it, nor do the poor underpaid teachers who have to deal with your cranky sugared-up kids all day. 20110929juiceboxprimaryuSend them with water, naturally flavored water.  Teas sweetened with Stevia and things like that.  Plain milk is always good and not the chocolate sugary kind.  Try and send something that is not loaded with sugar.  Use the water enhancement drops with water and create fruit punch that has no sugar.  There are so many options that will not be harmful to your child’s health out there these days.  Plain bottled water is always the best, or a thermos of plain water.  Remember these kids are not born craving this junk from birth, we make them this way via social engineering and exposure to media and our not so great choices.  But I am not blaming parents for the bad choices. There are so many advertisements and ads calling their products all-natural and organic and gluten free that many parents THINK they are doing a great job.  But I am here to educate you and once you know better, you do better.

There are some better choices for the lunch-boxes. Let’s first look at some awesome bread options. If ever Joseph’s Bakery goes out of business, I think I will cry! flax_lavash_02They have a line of low carb pitas, flatbreads and lavash breads that we literally use every day in our home.  They are very inexpensive and can be purchased at most major grocers.  If yours does not carry them, ask them to start! You can also order them online here.  They are so incredibly versatile.  Kids love pinwheels and pitas.  ‘Turkey-Shoot-with-Cheesy-Twists_-LavashSo use these to make healthy lunches that are not loaded with sugar and carbs hat will leave them sluggish in the afternoon.  Fiber and protein will keep them full longer and also keep their blood sugar levels more balanced which means better concentration and more energy.  Oh and these lavash breads make amazing thin crust pizzas!  The options are literally endless and you can get 2-3 wraps per slice of lavash bread.

Instead of a lunchable, try one of these Lavash wraps.  Let your child choose fresh fruit at the supermarket and add that.  Raw veggies like cherry tomatoes and carrots and broccoli served with hummus or ranch dip are always fun as are slices of cheese and fruit. Remember to use real fruit, not the fruit cups that are packaged and processed. Use real cheese and not the processed American slices or the Velveeta type cheese foods.  It is quick and easy to make your own versions of the Lunchable type meal with real food.

Snack Time

Throw in a handful of mixed nuts like almonds and cashews and walnuts and you have an amazing lunch that is packed with nutrients and not packed with chemicals and added sugars.  Kids love textures and finger foods which is part of the draw to the Lunchables.  Creating the same thing in a healthy way at home does not take much time at all.  Boiled eggs are always a great go to as are pickles and olives and chickpeas.   Take the time to introduce your kids to real food and find out what their favorites are and then making healthy lunches will not seem like such an overwhelming task!

Just remember to keep it real and keep it low in sugar and low in processing and you will be fine!  I am always happy to answer any questions about kids and nutrition!  Have a great year!

In Health!

Erin