Barbara’s 2017 Breakfast Survey + 5 Tips for Better Breakfasts
For many families, school mornings are hectic! We conducted a survey with more than 1,000 parents across the nation to uncover the real challenges families are facing to make sure kids start their days with the best nutrition possible.
The results were surprising, and showed that one in every five children go without breakfast at least once per week, with 38 percent of parents saying this is due to lack of time and hectic mornings. The number of children who skip breakfast at least once per week surges to 50 percent for those who typically eat on-the-go or in the car, demonstrating a direct correlation between eating breakfast on-the-go and poor nutrition in the morning.
To help all kids and families get a nutritious start to the day, we’re sharing 5 Better Breakfast tips from Frances Largeman Roth, RDN and mother of three. Read on below, and click here for her full Better Breakfast tips!
- Breakfast Time Over Screen Time – save time in the mornings by making it clear that breakfast time needs to come before kids turn on the TV or play with their phone.
- Better Breakfasts – help them make better choices like 100% fruit juice and lower sugar cereals like Puffins, which are also packed with whole grains.
- Add Color! – kids like food that’s colorful, so offer brightly colored fruit when possible to tempt their taste buds.
- Streamline Set-up – our survey showed kids who eat on the go are more likely to have unhealthy habits, so prep in advance – like setting out bowls, spoons etc. the night before.
- Always Have Backup! – make healthy breakfast options in advance that can be taken on the go just in case you still run out of time.
What’s your best tip to eat healthy in the morning? Feel free to share with us on Facebook or Instagram, and we hope these tips inspire your clients to think about better breakfast choices for their own families!
Rock Your Road Trips With Adult & Kid Friendly Snacks!
The season of summer road trips starts for most this weekend! Traveling can often be the culprit for unhealthy eating for your clients, and they may argue that there is no way to turn down fast food and gas-station choices because they have to eat what’s convenient. Advise them to bring along a cooler and lunch box and offer some healthy suggestions of what to pack, so they can avoid that temptation when on-the-go.
For the cooler
Let’s start with drinks. Suggest that your clients pack several bottles of spring water or green tea. Here’s a trick: freeze some of the bottles ahead of time and they become their ice. Once they start to melt, they will have fresh cold drinking water!
Next, suggest healthy sandwich fixings. Simply prepare a big batch of tuna fish and store in a Tupperware container. They can also pack some jam and almond butter, a delicious and healthy alternative to peanut butter. Some may want to include nitrate-free lunch meat and mustard or a low-fat mayo. This way, they have protein-rich, meal-worthy food available….with options!
We know that kids love dip and we know that veggies and dip are a way better option than chips and dip. Suggest packing celery, carrots, sliced pepper, cucumbers and even radish along with some ranch or hummus. Yum!
Don’t forget to tell them that they can pack dark chocolate. Most people crave chocolate from time to time, and dark chocolate is loaded with heart-healthy antioxidants. Tell your clients to pack some dark chocolate in a Ziploc bag and keep it in the cooler—that way it won’t melt!
For the lunch box
Your clients should use a box for healthy snack choices, but first things first, they should make sure they have good, hearty, whole-grain bread for their sandwiches. Educate your clients on the benefits of whole grains. Not only do they keep you fuller longer, but many studies have shown that whole grains may help to decrease the risk of heart disease.
Nuts are a great snack option, but opt for raw nuts, like almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. Many roasted nuts are high in sodium, oil, and calories, and tend to have less of the good stuff (protein, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants). Or have your clients mix up this delicious Monkey Trail Mix from Barbara’s using Puffins, nutritious seeds and more. Simply mix the ingredients below and keep in an air-tight container for easy transporting:
- 2 cups of popcorn
- 2 cups of Honey Rice Puffins Cereal
- 1/2 cup tamari pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup dried banana chips
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut chips (optional)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Also, let your clients know they can include healthy savory snacks that will satisfy the whole family. Barbara’s Cheese Puffs are a good choice. The Original Cheese Puffs, a combo of real aged cheddar and blue cheese, are made from non-GMO corn, and completely free of cholesterol, gluten, hydrogenated oils, and yellow dye #6. Barbara’s Cheese Puffs are also available in Baked Original, Baked White Cheddar, and Jalapeno—perfect for the family members that want a kick of heat!
Fruit is always an easy option too. They can’t go wrong with apples, oranges, and bananas, which cut down on the waste when traveling.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!
February Is National Heart Month!
Many roads lead to a healthy heart, but one of the pathways several of our clients seem to forget is sufficient fiber intake. Fiber is a subject few people talk about because it isn’t glamorous, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious! Everyone needs to understand the importance of getting enough fiber from great sources, including whole grains, and how to incorporate them into their diet.
Fiber from whole grains is important when it comes to heart health for several reasons: It helps reduce cholesterol and other plaque materials in the blood stream, it lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and high blood pressure, and assists with weight loss.
Whole grains are among the more convenient foods to boost fiber intake because they can be enjoyed at any meal or snack. The presence of a variety of whole grains in our diet allows families to take advantage of both types of fiber—soluble and insoluble—since both appear in these foods.
Families can be encouraged to start with high-fiber whole grain cereals such as Weetabix, which provides slightly more than one-quarter (6 grams) of the Daily Value of fiber in just one serving. Barbara’s High-Fiber Medley (cranberry and original) each contain up 10 to 14 grams of fiber per serving, respectively. Topping those cereals with antioxidant-rich raspberries or blackberries offers an extra bit of fiber. Berries are also welcome on whole-grain pancakes or waffles any time of the day.
Choosing whole-grain breads, bagels, pastas, rolls, and tortillas over similar processed items helps increase fiber intake, as well as including amaranth, quinoa, barley, or other whole grains as side dishes. These grains and others are easy to prepare ahead of time and freeze well for future meals.
Families looking for heart-friendly snack ideas can enjoy air-popped popcorn, rye or whole-wheat crackers with hummus, or snacks made with Barbara’s whole-grain products.
Soups are another way to sneak extra whole grains into the diet, like barley, buckwheat, and millet. These grains go well with high-fiber beans, lentils, and split peas, as well as fresh vegetables to make a hearty meal during the cold winter months.
Every meal and snack is an opportunity to support heart health and boost fiber intake. The addition of delicious, whole grains to meals and snacks can help everyone achieve the goal of 30 to 35 grams of fiber daily.
If your clients are suffering from digestive issues (i.e. gas and bloating after they eat), inflammation (excess phlegm or acne), and/or skin issues (like eczema), it could be because their bodies aren’t too happy with dairy. If you’re working with them to reduce their intake or avoid it all together, they might feel as though it’s impossible to do so throughout the busy holiday month of December. Not only is it a month dominated by holiday cheer, eggnog, and butter cookies, it is also the time of year, weather-wise, for hot creamy soups, hot chocolate with warm milk, and steaming oatmeal swimming in milk or cream. Going dairy-free may seem like a challenge for your clients, but not to worry—we’ve got them (and you) covered!
Going dairy-free has never been easier. The main reason is the wide range of dairy-free beverages now available in traditional grocery as well as natural food stores. Although soy and rice beverages have been around for many years, they now share shelf and dairy case space with hemp, potato, almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnut, flax, walnut, macadamia, and oat beverages.
Most of these products come in various flavors: sweetened or unsweetened, low-fat, no-fat, and/or fortified with nutrients like calcium or protein. Another great feature of dairy-free beverages is that they can often be made at home—no cow necessary!
When choosing a dairy-free beverage, how your clients will use it is an important consideration. The good news is that these beverages can be substituted one-for-one in recipes. My favorite non-dairy beverage is coconut milk because it can be used for almost everything including coffee, baking, and cereal. If you aren’t a fan of coconut (it does have a coconut flavor), almond and cashew are also delicious.
Soy beverages tend to have a stronger taste and so may not be best for delicate desserts, while the nut beverages may be the perfect substitute because they are naturally slightly sweet. Rice beverages are not as thick as soy beverages and have a mild sweetness, which makes them better for desserts, cereals, or smoothies.
It wouldn’t be the holiday season without some type of nog. Try this dairy-free version at home:
- Two 10-oz packages low-fat or silken organic tofu
- 16 oz low-fat vanilla almond or rice milk
- 2 Tbs vanilla extract
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- Rum, brandy, or fruit juice to personal taste
- Nutmeg for topping
Combine all ingredients (except nutmeg) in a blender and process thoroughly. Chill and dust with nutmeg before serving.
When preparing recipes that call for milk (such as salad dressings, cream sauces, mashed potatoes, or cream soups), a dairy-free beverage can be substituted. Unsweetened hemp, flax, oat, or potato beverages are good alternatives. In recipes that call for buttermilk, an alternative can be made by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to one cup of rice or other beverage.
You can also make a non-dairy whip cream using coconut fat. It is so easy to make and is decadent and delicious! I recently did a Facebook Live and topped this non-dairy version on homemade granola. You can watch it here. Yum!
Dairy-free December is a good time to start exploring milk alternatives. Since there are at least 12 dairy-free beverage options, there are enough to last an entire year!
Have a happy & safe holiday season!
Healthy Thanksgiving Tips
The crisp autumn weather has arrived and so have thoughts about Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether your clients are hosting their own holiday feast, bringing a dish to share with friends or family, or dining at a restaurant, thoughts are typically turned to two important dinner features: the turkey and the side dishes. Some of us are all about one or the other, while others embrace the entire eating experience.
The whole experience can get off to a healthy start by choosing an organically raised turkey, or for plant-based eaters, there are numerous vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Stuffing is a huge holiday favorite, and no one wants to be left out because of dietary restrictions. That means having several stuffing recipes on hand to cover all the bases: vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, low fat, and paleo. After all, no one will complain if there are several different stuffing options on the table as side dishes!
Speaking of side dishes, this is a great opportunity to get your clients— and their families—to eat their veggies! The traditional green bean casserole, candied yams, and mashed potatoes are typically far from healthy, but they can take on new guises. For example, a green bean casserole is loaded with fat, sodium, and calories, but substituting half green beans and half of another veggie, fresh onions instead of the high-fat canned ones, and fresh mushrooms stirred into a homemade white sauce using low-fat milk or a non-dairy alternative will reduce the calories, fat, and sodium significantly.
Rather than customary candied yams, the tubers can be sweetened with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange slices, and a few raisins, instead of sugar. Mashed potatoes can be substituted for whipped cauliflower as a nutritious alternative. Baked butternut, acorn, or banana squash filled with your clients’ favorite veggies, as well as herbs, nuts and/or raisins (according to preference) are tasty and healthy. Raw vegetables can be introduced in a slaw made of both green and red cabbage, carrots, yellow peppers, and onions with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
What’s Thanksgiving without pies? Pumpkin is always a favorite, but chocolate peanut butter Puffin pie could be a close second. Use of wheat-free, high-fiber Puffins cereal for the crust for both of these pies (Pumpkin Puffins for the pumpkin pie) helps make them more nutritious.
After dinner, a brisk walk with family and friends is the perfect way to aid digestion and share memories before tackling the dishes and leftovers.