Monthly Archives: May 2018
Are you taking steps toward becoming a physically active family? Physical activity is integral to health, and there are many small steps you can take as a family to increase physical activity and improve your family’s health.
Steps toward becoming a physically active family
1. Use What’s Available. Exercise does not have to be fancy be effective. Take advantage of the spring and summer season and step outside for a 30-minute walk before dinner. If walking in your neighborhood is not safe or possible, head to a local park or playground. If the weather outside is bad, start up an indoor dance party!
2. Find Local Resources. Check out your local library or community center for free or reasonably priced fitness classes. If you are interested in a certain class and it is not offered, suggest it!
3. Sneak In Movement. Little habits can make a big difference when it comes to your family’s health and wellness. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far away when running errands and walk to errands that you can do on foot. Instead of worrying about fitting in an hour at a time to exercise, look at all of the five-minute chances you have throughout your day to sneak in movement.
4. Commit. Interested in taking a family yoga or gym class? Most gyms and studios will let you sign up in advance. Plan to take the class, sign up and pay in advance. Planning and paying in advance will decrease stress once you arrive and also motivate you to show up. Come check out our yoga classes at KareBoost
5. Make movement fun. Instead of chore Saturday, make cleaning into one big dance party. Throw on some fun music and assign age-appropriate tasks to family members. Ordinary chores and activities can become opportunities for movement.
6. Turn off the TV. Commit to time each week without screens. Perhaps start with one afternoon a week, and gradually increase it to one day a week. You might be surprised at how much easier being active is when there’s no TV, games or phones around to distract.
7. Respect Family Members. Maybe you love to play team sports, but one child cannot think of anything worse. Instead of making one family member miserable and potentially turning them against exercise for life, listen to them and find activities that they like. Not everybody has to like everything but include some activities for each individual family member so that movement stays enjoyable, and exercise becomes something to look forward to, not dread.
Interested in becoming a physically active family? Come work with our Health Coaches to figure out how to get your family more active or make an appointment with our Fitness Coach.
Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach
Let’s look at ways meditation can help with anxiety and stress. Anxiety affects approximately 40 million Americans, and meditation, along with therapy and medication, can be a helpful to address anxiety and stress. Anxiety and stress have concrete effects on the physical body, triggering the release of stress hormones and impacting parts of the brain.
3 ways meditation can reduce anxiety and stress
1. Interrupt Negative Thought Patterns. Anyone with anxiety knows the constant stream of negative thoughts racing through one’s mind can lead to even more anxiety and stress. By bringing your attention back to one constant focal point, such as your breath or the physical sensations of the body, the constant negative thought pattern is interrupted. Meditating consistently will make it easier for you to break this pattern more frequently, and reduce those racing thoughts.
2. Meditation May Effect Brain Chemistry. There is some evidence suggesting that meditation can increase levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of happiness, and decrease cortisol, a stress hormone that contributes to anxiety, depressions, sleep disorders and memory loss.
3. It Can Be Simple. If the thought of adding one more thing to your daily routine is enough to send you down a stressful path, do not worry. The positive effects of meditation can be seen in as little as 10 minutes a day. It also does not have to be complicated. It can be as simple as sitting down for a few minutes and paying attention to your breath.
If you are curious about meditation, and want to learn simple techniques that you can use in every day life, try our all-level yoga and meditation classes. Perfect for any level student, these classes incorporate simple meditation techniques at the beginning and end of class. You can also have private lessons with our yoga instructors and/or work with our Stress Reduction Coaches to learn other relaxation skills and techniques.
Kara Unal, JD, RYT
Yoga Instructor (classes and private lessons)
If your baby is 4-6 months old and prepared to start eating solid foods, making your own baby food can not only give you greater control over your child’s nutrition but also provide you with more variety. Also, remember to introduce new foods every 3-5 days to monitor for any allergic reactions. However, making your own baby food can seem daunting but here are some helpful tips to make it easier for you.
7 Tips for Making Your Own Baby Food
1. Start small. You do not have to prepare all of your baby’s foods from scratch. Supplementing store bought food with some homemade items will still expose your child to a greater variety of foods, leading to more adventurous eating when they are older. Start by simply mashing or pureeing a very ripe avocado or banana, and progress to produce less common in the baby food aisle such as blueberries, spinach, mango and papaya.
2. Reduce Sugar. One of the main incentives to make your own baby food is to reduce the amount of sugar your baby eats. Puree or mash fresh fruit or fruit canned in it’s own juice, and NEVER add honey, sugar or other sweeteners.
3. Sanitation is Important. Babies are more susceptible to food born illness, so cook food until it’s well done. Wash and peel produce, taking special care with produce grown close to the ground.
4. Tender Food is Best. Steaming or microwaving fruits and vegetables in a small amount of water will help retain vitamins and minerals while making food soft enough to mash or puree.
5. Freeze Baby Food. You can freeze food you prepare for later use. Freeze it in small portions in a clean ice cube tray, and once frozen, transfer to a clean, airtight container to freeze.
6. Avoid Seasonings. If you are preparing food for the whole family, remove baby’s portion before seasoning food. As your child grows, you can introduce seasonings other than salt gradually.
7. Store-Bought is Fine. Commercial options today provide balance and variety for babies, so do not feel bad if you supplement or feed your child commercial foods. Like all foods, get into the habit of reading labels and aiming for as much variety as possible in your child’s diet.
With these tips in mind, hopefully you will feel confident about introducing your baby to new and exciting solid foods. If you would like more guidance, consider working with Dr. Karen Leibowitz or our Pediatric Registered Dietitian to best assess how to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach
Let’s look at some nutrition tips for 4 year olds and 5 year olds. Your child’s preschool and kindergarten years are a good time to establish healthy eating habits. At this age, children should be eating the same foods as the rest of the family. Children at this age are also capable of deciding whether or not they are hungry, and how much they feel like eating. Here are 5 tips to make meals and snacks healthy and stress free.
Nutrition Tips for 4 Year Olds and 5 Year Olds
1. Offer a variety of healthy foods. Providing a variety of foods will not only help your children meet their nutritional needs, it will also help expose them to different foods they may like. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, dairy substitutes, lean protein and whole grain cereals and bread are all healthy options.
2. Have sit down meal times. Providing structure to meals prevents grazing during the day. Sitting down to eat together and turning off the TV creates a calm, mindful environment around eating.
3. Limit sugary drinks. The best drinks for kids are water and milk, including non-dairy milk. Sugary drinks like soda, juice, lemonade and sweet tea can lead to cavities and unhealthy weight gain.
4. Small portions for small kids. Smaller children need smaller servings than adults. Encourage them to choose their own serving size, but use smaller plates, bowls and cups. Do not expect kids to “clean their plates”. Kids should be allowed to stop eating when they are full. This will help them to develop healthy eating habits in the future.
5. Teach table manners. 4 and 5-year olds are ready to learn basic table manners, such as the proper way to hold a utensil. Sitting down to eat together and demonstrating table manners is the best way to develop table manners in your child. Your child will see how the rest of the family is and follow your lead.
With these tips in mind, you can make healthy eating not only stress free but also enjoyable. For more tips on making meals, snacks and a healthy lifestyle adapt to you, consider working with our health coaches.
Dr. Karen Leibowitz
Health and Medical Coach