Say Yes To These Healthier Snacks For KidsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Thursday, January 5th, 2017

made-in-nature-coconut-chips-maple-vanilla

Milk and chocolate-chip cookies may be a classic, but for all its appeal this pair often comes up short on nutrition. Instead, consider one of these tasty snacks for kids, which put a healthier spin on snack time and also offer key vitamins, minerals and healthy fats for growing bodies. We’ve divided our go-to snacks by those that take a little preparation time and those that can be enjoyed straight from the bag. Don’t worry, all are long an enjoyment, short on prep time and super healthy– which we think is exactly what any snack should be.

No assembly required:

Choco Crunch Figgy Pops. Got a chocolate lover in the house? Instead of reaching for a bar, consider this healthful treat. Organic cocoa and cacao nibs, dates, figs, seeds and coconut combine for a decidedly indulgent snack that you can pass out with impunity. These Figgy Pops are sweetened with just a touch of organic apple juice concentrate and are an excellent source of fiber. Try all 5 delicious flavors.

Cinnamon Citrus Nut Fusion. Who doesn’t love cinnamon? This kid-approved spice pairs with citrusy orange, walnuts, cashews, almonds and dried apples and cranberries in this taste-bud tempting mix. Even better, all our Fruit and Nut Fusions are free from refined sugar and packed with protein-rich nuts, which can help anyone feel full longer. Translation, fewer, “mom, when’s dinner” interruptions.

Maple Vanilla Coconut Chips. Meet the humble and astonishingly delicious coconut chip. Kids will love this crunchy delight, which is kissed by vanilla bean and just a touch of real maple syrup. Go ahead and let them indulge. Coconut is packed with the good kind of fat. And don’t forget there’s more where these came from. Our coconut chips come in 5 other delicious flavors including kid friendly Spiced Cacao and Toasted Cinnamon.

Smyrna Figs. Fig-filled cookies? Who needs ‘em? These kid favorites are often loaded with unhealthy ingredients including high-fructose corn syrup. Yuck! If your tots like getting figgy with it, consider giving them the real deal instead. Our Smyrna Figs are truly nature’s candy offering flavors of honey, butterscotch and a slight nuttiness from the seeds. What’s more, they’re entirely free from added sugars and naturally high in fiber.

Some (painless) assembly needed:

Banana Date Pineapple Granola Bars. Make your own granola bars and avoid the unknown and unhealthy ingredients that often wind their way into this lunchbox staple. This recipe delivers, soft, chewy bars stuffed with tasty (and perhaps undetected) healthy ingredients.

Goji Berry Truffles. These dark cacao truffles are totally delicious, super easy to prepare, and packed with healthy fats, antioxidant-rich cacao and vitamin A-rich Goji. Yum! The only trouble will be keeping them around.

Sweet and Salty Popcorn. Making popcorn on the stove is fun for kids (under adult supervision, of course), plus popcorn is a good source of fiber and who doesn’t love it? Add some sweet coconut chips for a nice flavor balance and to boost this snack’s hunger-curbing power by delivering satiating healthy fats.

Immune System Boosting Holiday Hacks For Busy MomsWritten by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 12th, 2016

 
No time is a good time for catching a cold, but if ever there were a season to diligently strive to keep your immune system strong and the sniffles at bay, it’s now, right? With the holidays just around the corner, life is likely everything but simple. There are cards to send, shopping lists to cross off, parties to attend and flights to catch. Unfortunately, all that time out-and-about means you’re exposed to more germs.
Immunity Booster Hydrating Lemon Water

In fact, it’s not the cold weather that makes winter prime time for getting sick, but our preference for staying indoors when temperatures dip. More time inside means more potential for interacting with others, and it’s not just the germ-y handshake you’ll need to craftily dodge. You’re also more likely to be breathing in recycled air (think, air that someone else has exhaled), which may contain viruses. Gross! We know adding something else to your mounting to-do list may be the last thing you want to consider, but luckily keeping you and your family healthy is simple with these easy tips.

Catch your Zzz’s

Make hitting the hay priority numero uno. Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Children need more depending on their age. You’ll know you’re getting enough if you feel fully rested upon waking – before that mug of coffee. Not getting enough sleep impacts the immune system by lowering the number of killer cells that fight germs. Also, without a full recharge your body doesn’t have the fuel to properly run all systems, often at the expense of the immune system. Be diligent about lights off, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Doing so will reinforce your body’s sleep cycle and promote better sleep.

Drink up

Dry winter weather, and our tendency to indulge in one or two, ok, a few, more alcoholic drinks this time of year increases the risk of dehydration. Without enough H2O, your body can’t eliminate toxins and waste materials. Additionally, not getting enough water can cause energy dips and negatively impact sleep. The recommended intake is 64 to 80 ounces of water a day for men and women and 40 to 64 ounces for children 5 to 12. Front-load consumption by putting a glass of lemon water on your nightstand table and drinking upon waking. You’ll get the additional power of cold-fighting Vitamin C and potassium from the lemon. Plus, this much-touted elixir has a host of other health benefits including helping your skin glow.

Junk the junk food

We know it’s tempting, especially during the holidays, to give in to cravings. It’s just once a year, right? But indulging can be a slippery slope, especially when you’re surrounded by temptation, stressed and exhausted. Before you know it you’ve polished off the box when you only meant to eat one or two. There’s a reason you might not feel so amazing after being bested by sugary, salty, fatty urges, and it has nothing to do with guilt. Research shows that the health of our immune system is directly related to the nutrients we receive in our diet. While one or two indulgences won’t have dire effects, a week or month of unhealthy eating may keep you under the covers. Prepare for sticky situations by carrying healthy snacks that deliver immunity-boosting protein, Vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. Here’s our favorite party treat.

Carry a pen

Invest in your own supply of ballpoints and you may just save yourself from getting a cold. Just think of the number of places you may use a communal pen throughout the day – at the bank, doctor’s office, yoga check in, restaurants, retail stores – and the number of other hands that were likely there before you. It’s a wonder we’re not sick more often. Germs are most easily spread from hand-to-hand (or, object-to-hand) contact. Avoid touching items that are not sanitized often. Think, menus, grocery carts, condiment dispensers and bathroom handles. Also, wash your hands at least 7 times a day. It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Have a good laugh

Go ahead, click that Funny or Die link that your best friend just sent you. Fire up Tina Fey on the DVR. When we laugh, research shows we decrease stress hormones and increase the number of killer cells that fight germs. As you may imagine that means added stress has the opposite effect. Getting serious about lightening up may be the best thing you can do to light up your immune system.