Healthy Kids

Happy, Healthy Halloween

TRICK OR TREAT!

Soon we will be hearing children walking through our neighborhoods, singing to us their requests for something sweet and then filling their trick or treat bags to the brim. I love the fun of Halloween: the parties, the happy kids, the decorations and, yes, even the sweet treats. (Within reason, of course!)

In the past, Halloween has also been a little bit of an anxious time for me. Once upon a time, it marked the beginning of my downward, unhealthy end-of-the-year spiral.

Do you know what I mean?

Looking just at Halloween, first there is lots of candy in the house. You know, "getting ready for the trick or treaters" but then I'd mysteriously have to restock before the big day.

Then there are the school parties, friends' parties, Halloween itself....

...and then the AFTERMATH. The candy that sticks around until it all gets eaten.

But it really doesn't end there because then we have Thanksgiving and the over-indulgences it can bring, followed by all the yummy treats that correlate to so many wonderful December holidays along with parties, get-togethers, and one reason after another to over do it.

See? Downward spiral.

By the time it all ended, I was making New Year's Resolutions to lose the weight I mostly just gained in the last 3 months. Eek.

But let's not get too far ahead though. I want to share a little bit about why Halloween is NOT a time of anxiety for me anymore (I will talk about the rest of the holiday season later on)  and why it does NOT represent the beginning of my downward end-of-the-year spiral anymore. In my own journey for my best health & wellness, I have discovered a few strategies for keeping Halloween in check for both myself and my children that I want to share with you.

  1. FILL UP ON GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD

Do not ever be HUNGRY around Halloween treats! (Um, I believe that is the definition of "disastrous outcome".) This strategy is something to use for ourselves and our children. Halloween party at school? Cool. Huge healthy breakfast, huge healthy lunch, healthy snack. Of course this is our goals on a daily basis but I want to be particularly on top of it during a time like this. If I am going to slip up, it would be best not to do that now. I know that my kids will eat some sweet treats and I am fine with that. But I know they are less likely to go overboard with bellies full of healthy goodness.

This is true for me, too. I host a Halloween party here in my home. We usually have a combination of healthy food options and some fun holiday treats. Before I step foot in a room that has luscious homemade cookies and cupcakes (we have some amazing bakers in this family), I make sure to eat first. Showing up hungry to a room full of naughty food options is like inviting a vampire into your home, it renders you powerless. (Anyone get that movie reference? ha!) So, eat up!

 

2.  QUIET YOUR CRAVING WITH SOMETHING WARM AND COMFORTING

During the times that a sweetness craving is calling (Ok, maybe SCREAMING) my name, I quiet that craving down with something warm and comforting like hot tea. There are so many types of teas that go well with this time of year. Teas that include cinnamon, apple and cranberry are perfect for the autumn weather. I love rooibus, it is probably almost always my tea of choice to walk around the neighborhood with as we trick or treat. Hot apple cider or just hot lemon water can also do the job to quiet that disruptive craving.

 

3.  HAVE HEALTHY OPTIONS

Simple enough but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, this strategy can get pushed aside. Coming up with sweet treats is easy, and there are certainly plenty you could grab in a pinch at any grocery store. If you are going to spend time and effort figuring out any part of your Halloween traditions, figure out how to include some healthier options. It is possible, I promise!

Last year, our very sweet neighbor brought my kids a unique bag of Halloween treats. It included seaweed snacks, organic dried fruit, super food chips, energy bars and organic candy. It was a great idea and we felt so good about the kids receiving it! The best part is that they LOVED it! They tasted Chomperz (the seaweed snack) for the first time and ever since then I can't keep a package in my house for more than a day. They devour it immediately!

There are so many simple and healthy, not to mention adorable, options for your Halloween table this season, too. These clementine "pumpkins" took me a just a couple of minutes to put together and my kids went ga-ga over them. Nobody is going to feel cheated out of sweet treats when you have something like this gracing your party table.

 

4. THE SWITCH WITCH (AKA "Get the candy out of the house AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!")

I don't know who created this idea but I would personally like to give them a huge hug. The first time I heard about the Switch Witch I embraced the idea whole-heartedly. You may have heard of this awesome, new tradition and it is how I remove the over abundance of candy from my home as soon as possible. Like anyone else, if there is a ton of candy in my house, I (and everyone else that lives here) is going to eat it. I desperately needed a strategy to deal with this and the Switch Witch works out perfectly.

The basic idea is that the Switch Witch comes during the night, after all trick or treating is done, and trades the candy for a gift. Each of my kids picks 5 or 6 of their favorite pieces of candy from the night to save and the rest is offered to the Switch Witch. She takes it and leaves a gift. You might like to have that gift be a book, a craft, a toy. We usually have a book, a craft and/or a healthy snack. If you are feeling particularly crafty, the Switch Witch might leave a note about how they made a good choice to limit the amount of sugary treats they had this Halloween season!

What you do from there is up to you. Some local dentists will BUY your Halloween candy, some folks bring it into the break room at work, some organizations include donated Halloween candy in care packages for U.S. troops like Operation Gratitude. No matter what you do, this is a great way to move candy out of your house and make it that much easier for you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

 

It is possible to put a healthier spin on this fun holiday. If you decide to try any of these strategies, please share your thoughts in our free online community, The Real Moms Collaborative!

I would love to hear the ways in which YOU make Halloween a little healthier, too, so be sure to send your ideas our way!

Thank you so much for reading.

 

 

 

Healthy Dinners for Busy Nights

Let's see, today is Monday... so that means art class for one child, boxing gym for another and at least one responsible adult needs to get to the school event by 7pm. 

As I look at the rest of the week there is kid yoga, kid fitness classes, language class and a few other things that I am probably forgetting. 

I love that my kids are passionate about so many different things and we try to give them the opportunity to experience as much of the things they are interested in as we can. The tricky part is making it all fit and not derail our healthy lifestyle. Their busy schedule can make healthy dinners a challenge. 

However, with a little creative thinking even the busiest mom can make healthy dinners a reality even on those really busy nights! I wanted to share with you a few ideas I use to make sure that we keep up a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious dinners even when we are busy!

 

Here are 4 creative ways to make healthy dinners work on your busy nights:

  1. Pack an extra lunchbox. Instead of worrying about getting dinner on the table, pack an extra lunchbox when you are preparing lunches for the day. Many families eat on the way to the baseball field or dance studio. Avoid drive-thru's and take-out by packing a second healthy lunchbox.
  2. Eat dinner at 4PM. On night's that we have enough time to sit and eat as a family before activities and extra curriculars, I make a point to definitely do just that. The fact that we do so at 4pm, a little early for what most people think of as "dinner time", but it actually works in our favor. If I have dinner ready at 4PM we can still sit and eat together without the rush. We also get some quality time before the pace picks up! 
  3. Prep dinner in 20-minutes or less. Having a few "go to" recipes and even some "mom hacks" to create quick healthy meals can be a real game changer for busy moms. Leftovers, crockpot and instapot meals as well as simple recipes can all be great ways to create a healthy meal in a snap. Check out this article for more on about dinners in 20 minutes or less! 
  4. Breakfast for dinner. For some reason I have no problem making a big, healthy breakfast quickly. I have a few standard recipes that I use a lot, greens & eggs, zucchini pancakes, pumpkin pancakes, and others. They are easy for me to whip up in no time. So, when I am pressed for a quick meal for dinner I sometimes declare it to be, "Breakfast for dinner night!" and whip up one of my quick and healthy breakfasts! Not only do I still get a healthy meal on the table, but the kids love it!

I know that our kids' after-school schedules can make healthy dinners a challenge but there are ways to have a busy schedule and continue to make eating healthy a priority. Pick one of these simple strategies to try and let us know how it helps you make healthy living a little easier! Join us in our free online community for busy moms, The Real Moms Collaborative, and share more ideas like these! 

 

Thank you so much for reading! Until next time...

 

Eat well, be well, 

Michelle 

 

Good Grades Are Made In the Kitchen

It is time again for book bags and lunch boxes as our little humans are heading back to school. 

(Is it just me or did summer just wiz by?) 

Some of the first things we think about once the new school year begins are school supplies, first day jitters and all that paperwork coming home after the first day. (Ugh.) 

As the grown ups on the scene, we are also taking stock of how much good nutrition our kids are getting on a regular basis. As the gate keepers of the food in our house, us grow ups need to make sure our healthy eating habits are on point... Or at least as close to it as we can get right now. 

Back To School time the perfect time to check in with what is going on our plates and our lunch boxes, too.

Our kids' nutrition, whether good or bad, will have a strong impact on their school year and that is another reason to make and maintain healthy eating habits for our kids. In a study published in the Journal of School Health, reports cited show a clear link between eating a healthy diet and higher academic performance. Students who had a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, protein and fiber outperformed students who ate a more processed diet, high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats (not to be confused with GOOD FATS!) 

In an article published in the Chicago Tribune, we are reminded that kids need the right foods, (aka "healthy fuel"), to sustain them throughout the day of learning. Sugar, highly processed foods with unnatural ingredients, food coloring and other unhealthy ingredients should be something we try to reduce and eliminate from our children's diet. 

It is not hard to believe that a child who has a diet high in sugar, as most highly processed foods are, finds it harder to concentrate and focus in and out of school. This same child is more likely to have less energy as well. This is all directly linked to academic performance but are also the recipe for increased risk of having one or more chronic disease later on in life. 

All of this is preventable. All of this can be turned around with good, healthy food. 

Now I can't guarantee a full scholarship to the Ivy League school of your choice courtesy of kale and carrots, but we can all give our kids the best opportunity to achieve academically and beyond by giving them the nutrition they need.

Easier said than done, especially for moms who already have their hands full, right?

Gotcha.

As a busy mom with 3 kids myself, I get it.  

You don't have to make major changes overnight. In fact, I don't ever recommend that.

Instead I recommend making one or two small changes a week. Keep things simple!. 

Here are 3 simple changes you can make to add more wholesome, nutritious foods into your kids' diet:

  1. Swap out one processed, packaged snack for a piece of fruit. (Psst, it helps to have lots of colorful choices that hang out at eye-level of the young'ens. Just saying.) 
  2. Include one or two fresh veggies in their lunch box. Experiment a little, too! Being a little adventurous led me to discover that 2 favorite things for my kids are raw fennel and raw white mushrooms! 
  3. Encourage your kids to try new things by letting them choose something new from your local fruit and veggie aisle. The first time I ever cooked yucca here at home was when my son (3-years old at the time) just had to try it!

So there you have it! 3 simple ways to continue to improve your kids' diet!

One step at a time, you can make healthy living EASY for you and your family!  

(Psst, if you want to connect with other moms on the same mission, check out our FREE ONLINE COMMUNITY, the Real Moms Collaborative!) 

Thanks for reading, Momma!

Eat well, be well,

Michelle

 

Does this seem like a good idea but you aren't sure if you will make it happen?

Are there other parts of healthy living that seem out of reach with a day-to-day busy mom schedule?

Maybe it is time to set up a no-cost Breakthrough Session with me. Together we will figure out what is getting in your way and create a plan for you to EASILY embrace healthy living and inspire your family, too!

Email me now! Michelle@RealMomsRealHealth


 

MICHELLE OBERMEIER IS A BUSY MOM OF THREE AS WELL AS A CERTIFIED HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH AND OWNER OF REAL MOMS, REAL HEALTH. SHE STUDIED AT THE INSTITUTE OF INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION AND IS BOARD CERTIFIED BY THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF DRUGLESS PRACTITIONERS. IN ADDITION TO GIVING WORKSHOPS AND LECTURES, SHE WORKS WITH BUSY MOMS TO LOSE WEIGHT, HAVE MORE ENERGY AND IMPLEMENT A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE IN THEIR HOUSEHOLD BY GIVING THEM NEW TOOLS AND LOTS OF SUPPORT TO REACH THEIR GOALS. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HER PROGRAMS, HERE ON HER WEBSITE OR FOLLOW HER ON FACEBOOKTWITTER OR INSTAGRAM