Stretching is critical to maintaining good range of motion in the body’s joints. Without stretching, the muscles become shortened and tightened. Thus, adequate range of motion is one key to injury prevention. Both stretching before an activity, as part of a warmup, as well as after to increase blood flow and flexibility are important. Dynamic stretches help warm up the muscles as they are movement-based such as a heel-to-rear jog or side shuffle. Static stretches that are typically held for 10-30 seconds each can be done after a workout. Stretching is also a great way to build positive mind-body connection. Stretching releases endorphins - an added benefit of an already beneficial tool that allows you to carry your body with greater ease and confidence.
While it is true that a food’s appearance can have an impact on its consumption, social media platforms have taken the concept of food styling to an entirely new level. An actual food stylist showcases food for photography, video or film according to CareerExplorer.com. Combine easier than ever access to technology with a pandemic and you get a new group of amateur lunchbox stylists creating bento boxes that look like executive chefs from Disney World put them together. Don’t sweat! A few tips to increase the appeal of meals includes offering bite sized portions (e.g., cubed cheese blocks and mini muffins), adding easy whimsy with mini cookie cutters (e.g., making star shaped cucumbers) or creating funny food names on labels such as Planet Box’s reusable magnetic labels.
Tahini has really only made its pointed U.S. debut within the last five years. Seen more frequently in middle eastern cuisine, this sesame seed paste is oftentimes found in hummus and salad dressings. As it has become a more popular household staple there is demand for recipes beyond just sauces. This is especially the case as tahini is relatively inexpensive, comes in a sizeable amount, and packs an assortment of vitamins and minerals. Try using tahini in a no bake nut butter bar mix like this one from Trader Joe’s. MyRecipes.com offers up a great tahini chicken marinade recipe that is simple and nutritious. Using tahini in cakes and breads is increasingly popular. Broma Bakery has a delicious tahini banana bread recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Tahini is also a fantastic nut butter substitute for those with nut allergies. No bake cookies afterschool can still be on the menu even for those children with peanut allergies.
Packing well balanced, varied lunches can help your child establish a healthy eating pattern over time. There are so many ways to interpret "balanced" these days. Does a meal need to be "plant-based" or always have something green included to be healthy? In short, the answer to all these questions is a resounding "no." While there are many plate infographics that represent a healthy plate, a general rule of thumb that anyone can follow is to aim to get at least 2-3 food group each time you build a meal. With all of today’s trendy and useful lunchboxes (e.g., Bentgo to Planet Box) this should be an easy rule to follow. Do not overcomplicate things by assuming all items needs to be fresh or homemade, either. Sit down with your kid and ask for feedback on what they would like. A good question prompt may be, “Is there anything that a classmate of yours packed last year that you would like me to buy?”
Kids Eat Right Month is a national campaign that helps families focus on healthy meal planning and active family lifestyle choices. On the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website, families can find varied resources like this yummy apple cinnamon baked oatmeal recipe by Registered Dietitian Taylor Wolfram.
Make-ahead Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
1½ cups fat-free milk or soy milk
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup egg substitute or egg whites
1 tablespoon melted trans-fat-free margarine
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ cups chopped apples
Serving size: 1 square
Calories: 160; Total fat: 3g; Saturated fat: < 1g; Sodium: 80mg; Total Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugars: 18g; Protein 4g; Vitamin A: 248 IU; Vitamin C: 1.5 mg; Calcium: 56mg.
Recipe retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/apple-cinnamon-baked-oatmeal-recipe
What Is Oat Milk? While almond milk and soy milk have long been on grocery store shelves, oat milk seems to be making a statement all its own. Another cow’s milk alternative, oat milk boasts some surprising nutritional benefits. Oat milk is typically made using gluten free oats and water. Like most milk products, it is also fortified with nutrients such as Vitamins A, D and Calcium. Being allergen free and protein packed means multi-person households can buy just one milk product to satisfy all. Compared to milk alternatives, oat milk is marginally higher in calories while boasting more fiber and protein.
1. Healthline. Oat Milk: Nutrition, Benefits, and How to Make It. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oat-milk#nutritionCleveland Clinic. 2. Health Essentials. Is Oat Milk Good For You? (2019). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-oat-milk-good-for-you-a-dietitian-explains-this-trendy-dairy-alternative/
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.