It’s been just over a week since our schools were closed and my kids have been home and I have to be honest… I am STILL adjusting.
My normal IS working from home but WITHOUT the kids. I find my own schedule being turned upside down and inside out. I’ve wanted to write this post for the last few days but I’ve struggled to find, not only the time, but the mental energy… The last week has without a doubt been the longest week of my life! I can only imagine how my kids feel…
I’ve seen lots of posts and articles about how to keep kids busy and how to schedule homeschooling. For me at least, it’s just not that simple. My kids want to be with their friends and it’s tough – “mommy school” just isn’t as exciting or entertaining.
We are so caught up in trying to hold on to our schedules pre-Coronavirus that we aren’t giving ourselves or our kids the chance to adapt to this new reality.
The truth is, we really don’t know how long this will last. So we have to give ourselves the space and time to do what is right for our families. For some, that may mean sticking to a set schedule. For others, it may be doing different things each day.
Our health and wellbeing and that of our families come first. When I say this, I simply mean finding your unique family balance. I think this is really important especially when you are physically in the same space all day. It’s okay if the kids are getting more screen time that usual. These are unusual times.
I promise that your kids are learning. They are learning that you will keep them safe. They are learning to be strong. They are learning to be creative. They are learning to to find comfort and joy with their siblings. Most importantly, they are learning to have HOPE for a better tomorrow because you give them hope.
Take a break. Make some Stuffed Pizza Rolls for lunch! Or just do nothing. Find your unique balance.
By now we’ve all heard about the 10 year challenge and to be honest I have mixed feelings about this challenge… Since it began, social media has bombarded us with these side by side images.
I feel like that challenge has the potential to place a lot of emphasis on body image as opposed to other changes that can happen over a ten year period. After 10 years of marriage and two kids I know I don’t look the same. My ten year challenge would be how I’ve grown emotionally and as a parent and wife.
So, instead of a 10 year challenge, I thought we could all try a 10 minute challenge. One that we do each and every day just for ourselves.
For just 10 minutes everyday take the time to do something you enjoy. It could be exercise, reading a book, meditating, listening to music, having a cup of tea… whatever you love to do but can’t usually seem to find the time to do.
For parents, that time may be after the kids have gone to bed. For those of us who work late nights, it might be before we go to work.
It doesn’t matter when you do it; the important thing is that you find the time to have those 10 minutes for yourself without life’s intrusions and demands. Ten minutes may seem like a small amount of time but it can help you to find that balance in your crazy day or help you remember the things that give you contentment.
Our goal is overall health and wellness. This is one small step to being that happier, healthier you.
So take the challenge! Be sure to let me know how it goes.
A Healthier, Happier You…
I know I’m late but I’ve been working on a few changes that I hope to roll out this year here at Simply Nutritious.
I’ve often heard, It’s a new year so it should be a new you. I don’t know that I agree with a ‘new you’ but I do think each of us can work toward making a happier, healthier version of that you. One that you’re comfortable with and more importantly, one that is sustainable.
This year at Simply Nutritious we’ll be working on providing support for your overall health, wellness and wellbeing. We hope this year will be more about living happier, healthier, more positive lives. We want to focus less on image and food and more on wellness – physical, emotional and mental.
The lives we lead should be balanced but that balance must be defined by us and what is important to us. It’s not about reaching impossible goals or fulfilling resolutions made at the start of the new year but about practices that are healthy and sustainable and enjoyable.
For us at Simply Nutritious, this year is about living full lives that are reflective of who we are as individuals. So over the next year we will focus on overall wellness and hope to have a few guest blogs to inspire you in your journeying to reach that healthier, happier you!
Here’s looking forward to the New Year!
Earlier this week, as my son was heading to the table for breakfast, he asked, “Mom, why don’t we get toast for breakfast?”
He’s six so his question shows his curiosity and interest in what he is doing and eating. His question also got me thinking about how to encourage our kids to develop good eating habits and understand the importance of having a balanced breakfast?
First of all, why is it important, for kids especially, to have a balanced breakfast?
- Research has shown that, kids who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in school.
- Eating breakfast also helps to steady blood sugar which in turn stabilizes behaviour and mood. Kids who skip breakfast tend to have a harder time controlling their moods and emotions, which is understandable if you’re hungry!
- Having breakfasts aids in weight management. Kids (or even adults) who skip breakfast tend to eat more junk food during the day.
So what exactly constitutes a balanced breakfast?
A balanced breakfast ideally has protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre as well as calcium and some fat. We really should try to avoid a sugary breakfast (especially those brightly coloured boxes of cereal*). Proteins help to give the brain and body a boost while carbohydrates aid in relaxation. Both are necessary for the optimal performance of the brain and body. Fibre in the breakfast helps with the steady absorption of nutrients so that the nutrients can be steadily released throughout the morning, preventing blood sugar dips or sugar cravings. Calcium has been shown to enhance behaviour and learning in children and fats enhance brain performance.
This all sounds like a lot to remember but it’s easier than you think to put together a quick, balanced breakfast. To help out, here a few ideas:
- Whole grain cereal with milk and fresh fruit*
- Whole grain toast with boiled eggs (you can boil the eggs the night before) and calcium-fortified 100% orange juice
- Melted cheese on toast with fruit
- Peanut butter on apple slices with a glass of milk
- Hot cereal with oats, wheat germ, dates, nuts and a glass of milk
*I’ll be posting about how to pick your cereal in my next blog
Of course, this is just a short list. There are tons of variations you can try that works best for your family. Just remember to incorporate proteins, complex carbohydrates with fibre and calcium with a bit of fat. The possibilities are endless. Get your kids to think of what they might want to eat and make a list to follow during the week. If they’re old enough they can help with the preparation which is a great way to build a positive relationship with food. If kids feel they have a choice then they’re more likely to eat what is served.
Today is World Diabetes Day and I’m sure we’ve been hearing and seeing a lot about diabetes and diabetes prevention but today I would like to focus on how to translate this information for our kids and their little bodies. In a previous post, I spoke about creating choices for our kids and providing alternatives but now I want to chat about how their little bodies and brains are affected by the sugar. Children are more ‘sugar sensitive’ than adults because their bodies are growing and adapting.
We already know that complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains and fruits are all part of a healthy diet. However, simple sugars we find in sodas, candy and many packaged snacks can harm little bodies that are still growing.
How sugar harms
An excess of sugar can depress the immune system especially in growing children. Two 12 oz. cans of soda can cause a 50% drop in the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria. For tiny bodies that are constantly being exposed to germs and bacteria, this is very dangerous. If their bodies can’t fight the bacteria efficiently they are more likely to fall ill all the time.
Sugar affects behaviour, attention and learning in young children. Studies have shown that their behaviour and their learning deteriorates in proportion to the amount of junk sugar they consume.
Here is an example of a six year old child’s handwriting before and after a change in diet high in junk food and sugars.
Sugar craves sugar. A meal high in sugar triggers the production of excess insulin which lingers in the system and causes a craving for more sugar. So the more sugar you eat the more you want.
For a long time we have focussed on fat as a key cause of obesity but sugar promotes obesity. Many foods low in fat have high amounts of sugar to compensate for the taste. Sugary foods trigger the production of LPL, the enzyme that encourages the body to store food in fat cells. So the more sugar the more LPL in our system and the higher the chance of it being stored as fat.
As caregivers, we can shape young taste buds. We have a tendency to choose sweet over savoury or sour but we need find a way to show our kids that whole foods can be very satisfying and leave the sweet treats for special occasions. Help them to gain a healthy appreciation of the food they eat and how it can affect them.
Instead of offering a pre-packed or sugar-loaded snack try some of these alternative:
- Fresh cut fruit and dip/ nut butter/ seed butter
- Frozen grapes
- Plain yogourt with fresh fruit and granola
- Dried fruit, nuts and seeds
- Crackers and all fruit jams
Most importantly, let your kids see you enjoying whole foods.