Tips for talking to teens about body weight and food choices

Weight Loss Tips for Teens to Lose Weight and Feel Great

This post originally appeared in SplendaLiving.com.

Whenever I see old television clips from American Bandstand, a popular television show in the 1950-80’s that featured teenagers dancing to the latest hit songs, I can’t help but think that all that dancing really helped to keep those kids in shape.

Do you ever wonder what people will think about the youth of today when they look at archived YouTube videos 50 years from now?

Sadly, what they will see is that about one-third of American children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are overweight or obese, as reported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The only thing sadder than that statistic is the one that predicts 80% of these teens will become overweight or obese adults. The single most important step we can take to reverse this trend is to prevent excess weight gain right from the start in childhood. And if excess weight gain begins in adolescence, the next step is to stop or slow down the rate of weight gain during the teen years. Tackling that problem is important for health, much more so than body image, and is the focus of this blog.

How to Get the Conversation Started

Research indicates that over-consumption of added sugars, from foods like full-calorie sodas and sweet treats, can increase the risk of becoming overweight in teens. The American Heart Association notes, “Although added sugars most likely can be safely consumed in low amounts as part of a healthy diet, few children achieve such levels, making this an important public health target.” Not having an abundance of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages in the house is the best way to help everyone in the family limit their intake of added sugars. It’s also important to talk to your teen about the need to eat all of the other foods that make up a balanced diet for good health, and to be a good role model for them to follow. The focus of these discussions with your teen should always be on achieving a healthy lifestyle, not a certain body weight.

Here are some straight up sensible weight loss tips to help you and your teen get started.

Tips to Help Your Teen with Sensible Weight Loss

  • Sugar swaps:  Your teen can enjoy the taste of something sweet without unnecessary added calories by swapping out some sugar for a low-calorie sweetener, like SPLENDA®No Calorie Sweetener. Use it in favorite hot and cold drinks, sprinkle some on plain yogurt layered with fruit and a crushed graham cracker for a parfait, or get creative in the kitchen making other lower-calorie dishes. Here are a few fun ones that your teen can prepare and share with the whole family – just remember to observe the yield and serving size for each recipe and make your selections with that in mind: Sweet and Spicy Snack MixBanana Mini-Chip Muffins and Harvest Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
  • Revamp snacks:Making sure your teen eats regular meals and snacks during the day can be a helpful way to keep them from getting so hungry they overeat, or eat impulsively. And when you have foods on hand that your teen likes and can assemble quickly – like whole grain cereal and lowfat milk, lowfat cheese and crackers or hummus and carrots – it makes it easier for them to choose healthier snacks.
  • Modify fast food menus:  Have your teen download the menus from some of their favorite fast food restaurant chains and, together, highlight the healthier food choices available so you’ll both know what to order the next time either of you eat there. You can also look at the menus from other restaurants in your area to see if they offer options your teen would like to try the next time you are dining out together.
  • Reduce added sugars and calories in drinks: Most teens have no idea how much sugar and calories they drink in a typical day. Here’s a great printable chartfrom the National Institutes of Health “We Can!” program. You can also encourage your teen to drink water with and between meals.

 Fitness Tips

  • Take a stand:  Being active doesn’t mean that you or your teen has to spend hours in the gym. Even standing instead of just sitting can help burn calories, such as when texting, talking on the phone or face-timing. The goal is to sit less, and then move a little more while standing – maybe rocking in place or pacing the room. Taking a walk together is always a great way to get moving, and if you can convince your teen to leave the phone behind you might have a great conversation along the way!
  • Move Together:  Encourage every member of the family to think of ways you can do things together away from the computers and TV screens to be more active as a family. You can include household chores like raking leaves or biking to the library to return some DVDs. Just be careful you don’t talk about exercise as a punishment. You want your teen to know being active is fun and feels good.
  • Go with the flow:Yoga is still “in” right now, and it’s hard to believe that it has been practiced for over 5000 years. Encourage your teen to try it with you, or download an app that shows some poses to start stretching and breathing for relaxation while improving fitness.

If you’re interested in more healthy lifestyle tips for teens, be sure to check out my other blogs on the topic: Healthy Eating Choices for Children and Teens and Winning Kids Over from Sugary Drinks to Ones with Less Added Sugar or Sugar-Free Drinks.

 I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Tips top pack healthy lower sugar lunches for kids

Back to School: Packing a Healthy Lunch

This blog was originally written for CalorieControl.org. You can read that  post here.

If you’ve stepped into an air-conditioned store to get out of the August heat, then you know retailers are all stocked up to help us get our children ready to go back to school. Everything from highlighters to hand sanitizer is on the shelves to satisfy the “must have” list for kids in every grade. I recall one of the biggest back-to-school decisions my sons made each year was finding just the right lunch box they could carry with pride into the cafeteria. Having their favorite superhero on the outside was all that mattered to them!

What goes inside all those carefully selected lunch boxes has taken on greater significance over the last 16 years since September was first declared National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. It was launched to focus attention on the need for kids across the country to lead healthier lives and prevent the early onset of obesity. Providing our children with a balanced and nutritious midday meal is an important way we can do just that.

Feeding Kids Right for Success in School and Life

Children need to be properly nourished to reach both their physical and intellectual potential. Even when they look fit and appear to be thriving, an inadequate diet can set the stage for future health problems. Eating well-planned meals and snacks each day is one of the best ways to ensure that all of the essential nutrients children need for growth and development are being consumed.

The routines of the school day provide an ideal way to help children form good eating habits that can last a lifetime. Starting with breakfast – either at home or in school – kids need to refuel their bodies in the morning after the overnight fast and get key nutrients that will make them ready to learn. A mid-morning snack also may be needed by younger children, or a breakfast split into two parts, to carry them over until their next meal.

When the lunch bell rings at school it’s time for kids of all ages to eat something nourishing, socialize with friends and, hopefully, get some physical activity. Sitting behind a desk all day is not good for children or adults, so taking advantage of this, and every other opportunity to get up and move around is perfect practice for a healthy lifestyle.

By the time the school day ends, most children are hungry and thirsty. That’s a good time to offer them nutrient-rich foods and beverages to replace any they may not have eaten at breakfast or lunch rather than letting them fill up on less nutritious snacks. Some popular options include cut-up vegetables and hummus, whole wheat crackers and cheese or a fruit smoothie made with yogurt. The goal is to reenergize and rehydrate them for their afternoon activities without letting them get too full to eat their dinner.

Making time to eat with your children each evening can provide one of the biggest boosts to their well-being, regardless of what is served. Research reported in the Family Dinner Project indicates children who eat with their family have higher self-confidence, better grades in school and lower rates of obesity among other benefits. Getting them involved in meal planning and preparation adds to their success by teaching them skills they will need the rest of their lives.

What About Weight Gain in Children?

Preventing unwanted weight gain in children requires that they get enough calories to support normal rates of growth and physical activity, but not much more than that. It is a delicate balance that must be adjusted to meet their changing needs, such as when their activity level slows down after their regular sport season ends.

Replacing some of the added sugars in your child’s diet with a low-calorie sweetener, like aspartame, is one way to reduce unneeded calories and make many of the foods and beverages you want them to eat and drink more enjoyable. Lower calorie, reduced fat and/or sugar-free products can also be substituted for their regular counterparts to help create more balanced menus. (See examples in the chart below.)

Making Healthy Meals and Snacks Part of Your Back-to-School Plan

While plenty of attention goes into making sure the first packed lunch of the year a good one, it’s important that every lunch is as good as the first. One way to do that is to create an idea board—like a Pinterest board—to use as a template for packing lunches. Start by drawing a grid similar to the one illustrated, and then let your child list items under each food group heading that he or she likes, will eat in school and can be easily assembled each day. Remind your children they don’t have to limit themselves to “traditional” lunch foods as long as the items belong in the designated group.

You can see sample foods found in each group on ChooseMyPlate.gov along with the recommended daily servings for children of different ages and the suggested portion sizes. Following the My Plate Daily Checklist will allow you to see how many calories your child needs each day and how to be sure they are getting all of the nutrients they need in their meals and snacks, without exceeding their recommended caloric allowance.

Once the chart is completed lunches can be packed using any combination of foods from each list as long as your child will eat them. All you have to do is make sure the items on the chart are on hand at the start of each week!

Sample School Lunch Planning Chart with Lower Sugar Options

low sugar menus

Introduce sugar free drinks to children to reduce added sugars

Winning Kids Over from Sugary Drinks to Ones with Less Added Sugar or Sugar-Free Drinks

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com. You can read the original post here

Every generation of parents faces different challenges when it comes to raising their children. That may explain why grandparents and their adult children don’t always see eye-to-eye over what a child should eat for breakfast. Yet the one part of childhood nutrition they usually do agree on is the need to reduce the amount of added sugars children consume.

Back when I was in elementary school parents and teachers warned us to cut back on added sugars to avoid cavities and those dreaded trips to the dentist for drillings and fillings. Today, thanks to fluoridated water and better dental hygiene, childhood tooth decay is better controlled. Now children face rising rates of obesity and excess added sugars are being blamed for contributing to the problem.

So when I get questions from parents (and grandparents) about whether their children should have chocolate milk or plain milk with their school lunch, drink lemonade or lemon seltzer at the family picnic, or order a soda or glass of water at a pizza party, I recommend drinks that replace sugar with low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, for a simple solution.

As fellow Registered Dietitian Hope Warshaw explained in her blog, “American Academy of Pediatrics Weighs In on Added Sugar and Sugar Substitutes,” the Academy recognizes the safety of low-calorie sweeteners for children and their use as a tool to reduce the added sugars and calories in a child’s diet. The important point here is that they are a tool, and when used as part of a balanced diet, low-calorie sweeteners can help children enjoy a wide variety of foods and beverages they might not be willing to eat without a little sweetness.

 Lead By Example

The best way to introduce children and teens to drinks with less added sugar is to let them see you choosing and drinking them. They should feel good about the choice, not stigmatized for having something labeled “sugar free.” It also helps if you serve just one beverage option for everyone in the family instead of segregating the sugar-free version for only some members. And it makes life easier when you only have to find room for just one pitcher of sugar-free iced tea on the picnic table!

Another important behavior to model for children is moderation. Serving sizes of no-calorie and low-calorie beverages should be age appropriate along with their frequency of use. And they should never replace recommended servings of low-fat milk and 100% fruit juices that provide essential nutrients.

Special occasions like birthday parties and youth sporting events provide a perfect opportunity to offer drinks with less added sugar to a child since plenty of high-calorie foods are typically being eaten, including many that contain added sugars. These occasions also provide a very effective “teachable moment” for a child when they realize they can have the frosted cupcake or goody bag of candy and the drink with less added sugar, but must give up the treats if they have the sugar-sweetened drink.

Let Children Help

Allowing children to help prepare family meals is a valuable way to teach them about good nutrition. A good place to start is by making smoothies together. This Strawberry Orange Smash Smoothie contains strawberries, calcium fortified orange juice, non-fat yogurt and SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener to make a delicious and nutritious drink for kids of any age.

Since most children love watermelon and it doesn’t require a sharp knife to chop up once cut open, you can let your little ones help make this Watermelon Lemonade. Just make sure they wear their swim goggles while squeezing the lemons!

And if you have teenagers looking for something more “sophisticated” to drink, let them try this Homemade Chai. It’s full of flavor from the fresh ginger and dried spices with just enough sweetness from SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, to keep them smiling as they sip.

You can find many more beverage recipes with less added sugar on Splenda.com and more good advice on dealing with childhood weight gain and obesity in the blog “Small Changes Can Help Children and Teens Manage Weight” by my colleague Sue Taylor.
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Taxing soda can't fix a poor diet

Can We Tax Our Way to Better Diets?

If your kids aren’t doing well in school, do you tell them they just have to give up video games and they’ll do better? Of course not! Even if they never played another video game for the rest of their lives, they’d still have to read books, complete assignments, and pass tests to attain those better grades.

The same is true for improving the quality of our diets or losing weight. It can’t be done by asking people to give up foods and beverages they enjoy, like soda. That’s simply not sustainable. A healthy and balanced diet requires eating the right foods in the right amounts and in the right frequency to get the desired results, with or without soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks.

The amazing thing about a well-planned diet, matched by regular exercise, is that you can actually have the occasional soft drink without “ruining” your health or gaining weight! It’s all about eating the foods that supply the nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy since nothing we remove from the diet can replace them.

While no food or beverage can cancel out the nutritional benefits of the other foods we eat, we can gain weight if we eat too many calories, including those found in the most nutritious foods. That means eating a strawberry-banana smoothie every day that is full of vitamin C, potassium, protein, and calcium can supply more calories than we need and result in weight gain over time. Those excess pounds can lead to obesity, and obesity can increase the risk for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer no matter how many nutrients came with the calories.

So when you hear people blaming sugar-sweetened drinks for obesity or other health problems and propose to tax them or implement warning labels to improve our diets, remind them that’s not how good nutrition works – just like banning video games at home won’t make kids get better grades in school.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Tips for parents and grandparents to get kids to eat more vegetables

11 Ways to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS CAN USE THESE TIPS TO GET KIDS TO EAT MORE VEGETABLES

 Parents and grandparents alike want to know how to get kids to eat more vegetables. It was the number one question my clients asked me when I was a pediatric dietitian over 20 years ago. Since then, the quest to find ways to get more vegetables into children has grown steadily.

I knew we had reached the tipping point after reading the results of a survey done by a major frozen vegetable company a few years ago.  They found parents thought their children had a greater chance of becoming president of the United States than eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day! I can’t find a link to the study, but the results stuck with me.

Are Vegetables and Obesity Linked?

I remember wondering at the time if this was a global problem? Have children around the world suddenly started turning up their noses at turnips? And if so, is there a link between the aversion to vegetables among children today and the growing rates of obesity?

My professional instincts told me it wasn’t that simple. Modern lifestyles have changed dramatically since the dawn of the “Information/Digital Age” in the late 70’s. The impact of all that technology and information has been universal, and rapid.

One could argue that the only reason parents worry about how many servings of vegetables their kids eat today is because they now know how many they should be eating. Technology has added to their  frustration by making an abundant assortment of vegetables available all year round.  All that’s left is getting kids to eat them.

The USDA’s new ChooseMyPlate eating plan did its part by recommending that we fill half our plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.  Here are some other proven strategies to help your little ones eat like bunnies.

Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables

Imitation. Make sure the child sees you and others in the family eating the same vegetables.

Smile! Ever see someone frowning while licking an ice cream cone?  Children need to see the same expression of enjoyment when you are eating or serving them vegetables.

Repeat exposure. Don’t stop offering them, even if they have been rejected by the child in the past, and don’t stop eating them yourself.

Different textures. Vary the textures (and odors) by serving them raw, cooked, and frozen, such as frozen peas and carrots.

Visual stimulation. Feature different colors and shapes to spark curiosity, such as lima beans, button mushrooms, and baby beets.

Pair with favorites. Vegetables can be put on a pizza, in a dip, or under melted cheese that the child already likes.

Offer any time. Dinner is typically the meal with the most food to eat, so vegetables have to compete with other preferred foods. Make vegetables available at other times of day, especially when kids are hungriest.

Reward the willing. Research suggests a tangible reward or verbal praise can be effective in getting a child to try, and learn to like, a food they are not otherwise motivated to eat.

Change the Name. Some vegetables may have unpleasant associations to a child, such as “squash” and “succotash.”

Let them help. Take them to the grocery store or farm market to select vegetables they’d like to try; let them use age-appropriate gadgets to peel, shred and chop.

Don’t deceive. If you incorporate vegetables in another dish, tell them you made “carrot-tomato sauce” or “carrot-raisin muffins.” They need to appreciate that the vegetables are there, not be wary of them.

 Which list is longer, the one of vegetables you do like or the ones you don’t?

Find plenty of tips and recipes on vegetables from artichoke to zucchini at Fruits & Veggies More Matters

Milk and milk products provide an overlooked source of protein

Milk is a Great Source of Protein, Too!

MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR CALCIUM, BUT ARE ALSO A GOOD SOURCE OF PROTEIN AND OTHER NUTRIENTS

This blog was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated in July 2013, but you can read the original post here.

Most people know that milk is a great source of calcium. Unfortunately the connection between milk and calcium has been so well taught, many people don’t know about the other important nutrients found in milk and milk products. Protein is one of them.

In my work with vegetarians, finicky eaters, and others who struggle to plan nutritionally balanced diets, the question of how to get good sources of protein always comes up. When I point out the protein content of milk, yogurt, and cheese, they are always surprised those foods can supply protein and calcium at the same time.

The truth is, most foods provide an array of different nutrients. But in an effort to make menu planning easier, nutrition educators have grouped foods according to the key nutrients they contain. For example, milk became known for its calcium, orange juice for its vitamin C, and meat for its protein. That strategy obviously had some drawbacks when it came to learning about the other nutrients those foods contain.

So for those who need more protein in their diets and are not able to get it all from meat and meat substitutes, such as beans, nuts and soy products, milk is your go-to source. Milk is also a good source of Vitamins A, B2, B12, and D and a good source of the minerals magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium in addition to calcium.

Ways to Add Milk Products into Your Meals

A big advantage in using milk products to bulk up your protein intake is how easily they can be combined with other foods without taxing your appetite. For just a few ideas, you can add powdered milk to fluid milk, use evaporated milk to make “creamed” soups, blend strained yogurt into mashed potatoes, melt cheese onto your vegetables, stir ricotta cheese into pasta before adding sauce, or whip cottage cheese to use as a base for a cream sauce.

Protein Content of Milk Products

1 cup portion used for easy comparison

grams protein

28 Cheese, shredded: American, Cheddar, Mozzarella

28 Cottage Cheese: low fat or full fat

28 Ricotta Cheese: part skim or full fat

24 Powdered Milk, instant: fat free

22 Greek (strained) Yogurt, plain: fat free or reduced fat

19 Evaporated Milk, canned: fat free or reduced fat

14 Yogurt, plain: fat free or low fat

11 Milk Plus: fat free

8 Fluid Milk: fat fee, low fat, reduced fat and whole

Low calorie sweeteners are safe for everyone in the family

Are Low Calorie Sweeteners Safe for Children and Pregnant Women?

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on October 31, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

The most successful clients I ever saw in my 30+ years providing nutrition therapy to individuals and families were pregnant women. They could break a bad habit overnight and maintain a new one without missing a beat. As proud as I was of their results, I knew it wasn’t because I was such an exceptional counselor. It was because they were all so exceptionally motivated.

They knew their food choices didn’t just affect their own health, and that made all the difference.

One of the most frequently asked questions I got from these women – and they asked a lot of questions – was if it was safe to use low calorie sweeteners while pregnant. Many of them learned the calorie-saving advantages of drinking diet soda in their teens and developed the habit of sweetening their coffee with a no-cal sweetener packet, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, while in college. They wanted to continue these simple and satisfying weight control strategies during their pregnancy, but needed reassurance.

The advice I gave these clients of mine was the same whether they were pregnant, nursing or making decisions about what to feed their children. I told them low calorie sweeteners are safe for us all because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for all food additives, including low calorie sweeteners, covers the entire population since food is equally available to everyone (while drugs require a prescription). If the FDA does feel certain consumers must be made aware of particular ingredients in the food supply, they require food companies to list them on their food labels. That is why there is a statement on products containing phenylalanine to alert those who must avoid it due to a condition called phenylketonuria (PKU).

I would then tap into their motivation by telling them the rest of their diet (or their child’s) matters much more than any one food, beverage or ingredient, such as low calorie sweeteners. My goal was to help them look at the big picture when it comes to food and nutrition, or as we dietitians like to say, takeThe Total Diet Approach. Eating the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, dairy and oils each day is essential to good health, yet easily overlooked if distracted by the latest diet fads.

If my clients asked for evidence to back up my claim that low calorie sweeteners are safe for them to use, I would then refer them to the information on sugar substitutes provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians, which addresses many of the questions families have about the use of low calorie sweeteners. If they still had doubts, I would encourage them to discuss their concerns with their personal physician since he or she is the most qualified person to discuss their health needs. I would remind them that some of the people making unfounded criticisms on the Internet have no medical or other professional qualifications, and that such claims on the Internet are not regulated by anyone.

You have to wonder what motivates some of them?

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

References:

 

Have fun burning calories this fall

Family Fitness Tips for the Fall

This post was written as a guest blog for SplendaLiving.com on September 30, 2014. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

The added hours we get to spend outdoors during Daylight Savings Time and mild weather that goes with it make it easy to be more active in the summer, even if it does just feel like you’re having fun. Who doesn’t jump at the chance to go for a swim or paddle a kayak on the lake?

Contrary to what some kids may think, the sound of school buses rumbling through the neighborhood doesn’t mean the fun is over. There are still plenty of ways for the entire family to enjoy outdoor activities together now that fall has arrived.

Energy Balance Knows No Season

Maintaining a healthy weight is all about energy balance. The calories we consume from foods and beverages must be matched by the number of calories we use up each day. The problem with most advice on how to do this is it often focuses on getting enough “exercise” to use up those calories. But what if you don’t belong to a gym and don’t have the recommended number of hours per week to spend in one?

The solution is to have more lifestyle activities. They can be things you build into your everyday routines, like walking the dog, or chores you do yourself instead of paying someone else to do, like mowing the lawn. It can also be doing things you enjoy, like dancing. As long as you get your body moving you are helping to stay in energy balance.

Here are 30 Family Fitness Tips for Fall to help get you started.

Parks & Playgrounds

  1. Gather pine cones, rocks or interesting leaves
  2. Climb the monkey bars
  3. Climb a tree
  4. Ride on a swing
  5. Have a scavenger hunt
  6. Hit a tennis ball against a wall
  7. Shoot a basketball and rebound it yourself
  8. Hit golf balls into a field and retrieve them
  9. Play catch with a baseball or softball
  10. Fly a kite

Driveways & Sidewalks & Backyard

  1. Play hopscotch
  2. Draw a mural with chalk
  3. Blow bubbles and chase them
  4. Have a beach paddle ball contest
  5. Throw a football
  6. Hula hoop
  7. Jump rope
  8. Play monkey in the middle
  9. Play bean bag toss
  10. Kick the can

House & Yard Chores

  1. Wash the car and bicycles
  2. Rake leaves
  3. Bag the leaves or pile at the curb
  4. Sweep the garage, porch, patio, deck
  5. Turnover and mulch garden beds
  6. Wash the windows
  7. Shake or beat throw rugs
  8. Paint a fence
  9. Plant fall bulbs in flower garden
  10. Wash patio furniture

And if you want a steaming cup of hot cocoa after your outdoor activities, you can save some calories without giving up the sweet taste by preparing it with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. Keep a batch of this Mix Ahead Hot Cocoa Mix in your pantry so it’s ready when you are.

For more information:

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Nothing could be easier than these quick desserts with just 3 ingredients!

Cooking With Kids: Quick Desserts with Just 3 Ingredients

NOTHING COULD BE EASIER THAN THESE QUICK DESSERTS WITH JUST 3 INGREDIENTS!

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

If you want to get your children and grandchildren more interested in cooking,let them make dessert. Having a file of quick dessert recipes on hand makes it easy to get them involved. And with only 3 ingredients in each of these, clean up time is much faster, too. You’ll enjoy eating some of these desserts right away, while others are great gifts to give away.

95009073

Perfect Peach Sherbet

8-ounce container nonfat peach yogurt frozen + 8 ½-ounce can sliced peaches in heavy syrup frozen + 1 tablespoon peach preserves. Empty yogurt and peaches into food processer by dipping them in hot water for up to one minute first to loosen. Add preserves. Break up frozen chunks with a knife to make processing easier. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Serve immediately in 4 small wine glasses.

200376262-001

Fruit Cocktail Cake

1 cup self-rising flour + 1 cup sugar + 15-ounce can fruit cocktail in juice. Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until well blended. Pour into greased 8” square pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

chocolate clusters

Crunchy Chocolate Clusters

16 ounce chocolate morsels (milk chocolate, semi-sweet or mix of both) + 8 ounces crunchy chow mein noodles + 1 cup lightly salted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped. Melt chocolate morsels in microwave or double boiler. Add noodles and peanuts and stir to coat. Drop by teaspoonful onto paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate to set.

56108918

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg. Combine ingredients until blended. Drop 1” apart onto ungreased cookie sheet using teaspoon. Flatten with back of fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

rolo

Pretzel-Pecan Candy

50 mini pretzel twists + 50 Rolo candies (chocolate covered caramel) + 50 pecan halves. Line cookie sheet with foil. Arrange pretzels in single layer. Top each pretzel with Rolo, small side up. Bake at 250 degrees for 4 minutes. Remove and press pecan half into the top of each.

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Cute Crispy Cut-Outs

6 cups crispy rice cereal + 4 cups mini marshmallows + 3 tablespoons butter. Melt butter with marshmallows in a large bowl in microwave. Stir in cereal until coated. Press into an even layer in a greased 13” X 15” baking pan. Let set one hour then cut into shapes using large cookie cutters.

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Simply Sweet Baked Apple

1 apple + 1 tablespoon maple syrup + 1 tablespoon raisins. Cut a thin layer off the top of the apple and core. Fill cavity with syrup and raisins. Microwave on high power 3-5 minutes, testing with fork after 3 minutes to see if tender.

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Banana Cream Pudding Parfaits

1 box instant banana cream pudding + 2 cups low fat milk + 1 medium banana. Whip pudding and milk together 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon into parfait glasses in alternate layers with banana slices.

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Foolproof Coconut Macaroons

14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk + 14 ounce bag flaked coconut + 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. Line baking sheets with parchment paper then grease the paper. Drop macaroons by teaspoonful onto to baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove immediately onto cooling racks.

Learn some fun facts about honey during National Honey Month

Fun Facts About Honey for You and Your Family

LEARN SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT HONEY DURING NATIONAL HONEY MONTH

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Family Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.

Honey is one of those foods that has been around for so long we don’t think about it too much. But any food that is made exclusively by honey bees and has remained in the human diet for over 8000 years deserves our attention. After doing some research for National Honey Month I can say there are many fun facts about honey worth celebrating!

But first, let me interrupt this blog for an important public service announcement.

At What Age Can You Give a Child Honey?

The most urgent question I am ever asked about honey is, “When can I safely give honey to my child?”

It seems many parents hear loud and clear the warning from their pediatrician not to give honey to an infant, but miss the part about when they can offer it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, honey can be introduced into a child’s diet after their first birthday.

That’s valuable information since the Food and Drug Administration recommended in 2008 that over-the-counter cough and cold medicines not be used in children under age 4 years. Honey is a good cough suppressant and has been shown to be more effective in reducing nighttime coughing than drug store cough syrups. It can also relieve a sore throat, and because of its sweet taste, can help other medicines go down.

Fun Facts About Honey from the National Honey Board

How many types of honey are there?

There are more than 300 varietals of honey in the U.S. alone, each with distinct flavor profile and color based on the floral source where the bees collect the nectar. Popular varieties include alfalfa, orange blossom and clover honey. Less familiar ones are avocado, eucalyptus and sage honey.

How many bee keepers are there in the US?

The U.S. has an estimated 139,600-212,000 beekeepers. The majority are hobbyists with no more than 25 hives, while commercial beekeepers have 300 or more.

How many flowers does a honey bee visit during one collection trip?

Honey bees tap between 50-100 flowers in a single trip.

How many flowers must honey bees tap to make one pound of honey?

At least two million flowers are needed to yield a pound of honey.

How much honey does the average worker bee make in her lifetime?

One worker bee makes about 1 ½ teaspoons of honey in her lifetime.

Where is honey produced?

Honey is produced in all 50 states. The top five producers are North Dakota, California, South Dakota, Montana, and Florida.

How much honey is made in the U.S.?

Honey production in the U.S. in 2011 was 148 million pounds, down 16% from 2010.

How much honey do Americans consume?

Americans consume approximately 1.3 pounds of honey per person annually. About 61% of the honey eaten by Americans is imported to meet demands.

What other value do we get from honey bees?

One third of the total human diet is derived directly or indirectly from insect-pollinated plants, including the cattle and dairy cows that feed on insect-pollinated legumes (alfalfa, clover, etc.). The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 80% of insect crop pollination is accomplished by honey bees.

Are any crops totally dependent on honey bees for pollination?

The almond crop is entirely dependent on honey bee pollination. It takes more than one million colonies of honey pees to pollinate the California almond crop each year. Apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and sunflowers are 90% dependent on honey bee pollination.

What is the shelf life of honey?

The low moisture content and high acidity of honey makes it an unsuitable environment for bacteria and other micro-organisms, so it can be stored indefinitely. The appearance can change during storage and crystallization may occur over time, but this does not affect wholesomeness.

Tap into some great recipes using honey here.