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Butter Coffee Buzz

You've likely heard of the latest coffee craze.....adding butter and MCT oil to your morning beverage to infuse it with all sorts of health benefits.

But wait, do you know what MCT oil actually is? Do you know why these ingredients are thought to have health benefits?

Before you jump on the butter coffee bandwagon, take a few minutes to read this post from Functional Nutritionist, Michal Ofer, where she explains the ins and outs of this latest health trend.

Sleep and Weight Loss

In this blog post, from Personal Trainer Irina Almassan, she summarizes the key findings and some cool facts from the book 'Why we Sleep" by Mathew Walker.

Here are a few to pique your interest:

  • A human needs 8 hours of sleep. Anything less than that (even 1 hour) has serious health consequences.
  • The human brain needs a reset after 16 hours. If you are awake for longer than 16 hours, your brain starts to fail
  • When you are not getting enough sleep, the body is particularly reluctant to give up fat

Click here to read her full post, including part 2 of this series.

Recipe: Kale Chips

Making Kale Chips is an extra fun way to eat veggies, and a great recipe for getting kids involved in the kitchen by having them rip or massage the leaves!

Kale is also easy to grow and is a fun gardening activity for home to get kids involved in learning about growing food.

This recipe comes from Appetite to Play.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches kale
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and paper

Instructions

  • Wash and dry kale thoroughly. Remove stems.
  • Rip kale into bite-sized (approximately 2 inch x 2 inch) pieces (not too small that they’ll become crumbs).
  • Spread evenly on baking sheets then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Using hands, massage oil evenly into all piece of kale.
  • Bake in a 325 F oven for 15 minutes checking occasionally but not stirring, until lightly golden and crisped.

Safety Tips

  • Help your child to wash her hands with soap and water before and after preparing food. 

  • Supervise your child when using knives or other kitchen utensils. 


Exercising Your Hands and Wrists at Your Desk

We often use our hands and wrists while we are at our desks, especially when we use computers. When we keep making the same movements, we could strain or even injure our hands and wrists. This video will help keep your hands and wrists strong and flexible.

This information is from the Alberta Centre for Active Living.

Recipe: Apple Sauce

Homemade apple sauce is really easy to make! This can be a delicous and nutritous snack to share with your family, pack in lunches or simply have when you're craving something sweet. If you're family is anything like ours, sometimes we have apples for a bit too long and no one wants to eat them. Those are perfect for making apple sauce. This recipe comes from Appetite to Play.

Ingredients:

  • 9 large Apples (any variety)

  • 1 cup (250 mL) Water

  • 1 Lemon (juiced)

  • 1 tsp. (5 mL) Cinnamon

Instructions

  • Wash and dry the apples, then peel.
  • Chop apples into bite-size pieces. Remove core and seeds.
  • Place chopped apples, water, lemon juice and cinnamon in a large pot
  • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat on medium-high until mixture comes to a boil. Stir frequently.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are very soft and mushy, stirring every few minutes for about 10 minutes.
  • Turn off stove and remove from heat. Stir to cool or refrigerate.

Optional: Add raisins or rhubarb (in season).

6 tips for keeping kids active on long road trips

This information comes from Active for Life.

When it’s time to hit the road for family vacations, the idea of spending endless hours in the car can feel intimidating. Don’t get discouraged. There are things that you can do to get kids to burn off some extra energy on road trips. Last year, I spent the entire summer on the road with my three kids (6, 8, 10) and we drove 14,000 km across Canada. But even on the biggest drives, my passion for the outdoors leaves me with a deep-rooted desire to keep the kids active.

Many times, I’ve been asked how do I do it? So here are some of my tips and tricks:

  1. Stop at provincial parks for lunch
  2. Pack an outdoor recreation bag … and keep it handy
  3. Have a proper bike rack
  4. Play “Find the Monkey”
  5. Save your recycling for creative time
  6. Let the kids help set up camp

For more on specific things to do in each of those tips (or instructions on how to play "Find the Monkey", click here to read the full article.

Recipe: Grilled Cheese - A Healthy Twist

In this 4 minute video from Weelicious, you'll learn how to make cauliflower crusted grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

Active Play for 3-5 Year Olds

This resource from LEAP BC gives parents and garegivers ideas on how to help children (3–5 years) learn through active play.

Each activity outlines how it benefits the child. The directions include necessary equipment, location, safety tips, and notes on additional resources – all in an easy-to-follow format.

The Cost of Winning

Do you have children in competitive sport? If so, this is a must watch video. It's only 12 minutes long and opens our eyes to what we need to do as parents and coaches to ensure that our children have a life long love of sport.

The Cost of Winning from Potential Pictures on Vimeo.

Is it time to become an adult with regards to your nutrition habits?

It is finally the time to become an adult around your food choices and eating habits.

In this blog post from Michal Ofer, she gives insight into the reality of our adult lives with simple ideas on how to make positive changes in some key areas:

  1. Not cooking for yourself when you are alone
  2. Overindulging because you are on vacation
  3. Not being mindful about your eating
  4. Fighting your healthy weight

Click here to read her post.

Cook It Up Healthy! Time Saving Techniques

TIME, TIME, TIME, TIME, – we all want more of it but we can't make more hours in a day. We can, however, find ways to use time wisely to make healthy and tasty food that you and your family will enjoy.  Read our tips below – you're sure to find solutions that work for you.

This article comes from the Dietitians of Canada.

MAKE ‘PLANNED EXTRAS'
 
Different from leftovers, ‘planned extras’ are made on purpose! Get the most out of your time by cooking more food than you need for one meal. Plan to use the extra food for another meal within the next couple of days. Below are some great 'planned extra' ideas.

 
USE CONVENIENCE FOODS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
 
Try the new selections of washed and ready-to-eat produce items such as broccoli slaw, baby spinach or romaine lettuce; the salad will be ready in a flash!

  • Canned legumes, such as chickpeas or black beans, drained and rinsed, make a super simple salad.
  • Pre-shredded cheese can make quick work of pasta dishes, pizza toppings or for sprinkling on salads and using in wraps.
  • Canned fruit in its own juice can jump start a fruit salad.
  • Frozen, partially baked whole grain bread can be popped into the oven.
  • Frozen vegetables are nutritious and ready to help round out your meal; steam them lightly to keep great crunch and flavour.
  • Frozen fruits are great in a smoothie, on cereal or in a fruit crisp.

GO FOR SLOW
 
A slow cooker is a great kitchen appliance that can help you have a hot dinner on the table without much fuss. Simply follow your slow cooker recipe and go about your busy day. The food cooks slowly and safely.

BIG-BATCH IT!

Weekends can be a great time to prepare big batches of food that can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Get together with family, friends or neighbours and share the work. Foods such as soups, stews, chili, casseroles,
muffins, loaves and pancakes are perfect foods to 'big-batch'.

MAKE YOUR FREEZER YOUR FRIEND!

Many standard recipes can be doubled or tripled and frozen in meal sized airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. Quickly defrost a meal on nights when time is tight.

Click here for some menu ideas using these time saving techniques.

Try these fun activities with a fidget spinner

Here’s a way to put those ubiquitous fidget spinners to use that will get kids moving more than just their fingers and will relieve stress in a whole different way.

This article comes from Active for Life.

Here’s how it works:

Take the fidget spinner and place it on the floor or flat part of the ground. If you have a group participating, each person gets to take a turn spinning and also chooses the movement that the group will do together for as long as the fidget spinner keeps spinning. As soon as it stops, everyone stops moving and the next person takes a turn. You can decide as a group how long you’ll keep it up for. Dai and his family chose to keep moving for 15 minutes and that worked great. The time flies by because everyone is having so much fun spinning and moving.

List of movements to choose from:

  • Hopping on your right foot
  • Hopping on your left foot
  • Balancing on your right foot
  • Balancing on your left foot
  • Skipping
  • Jumping
  • Running (on the spot if you don’t have a lot of space)
  • Sprinting
  • Throw a ball into a bucket or large bin (have a bunch of balls ready so you don’t have to retrieve the original)
  • Bouncing a ball
  • Crab walk
  • Bear crawl
  • Playing catch
  • Keeping a volley going with tennis or badminton racquets
  • Galloping
  • Jump rope
  • Tightrope walk
  • Freestyle – make up your own movement for the group to try!

This activity is perfect for classrooms, camp groups, playdates, and siblings looking for something fun to do at home.

One piece of chalk, 8 active games

Find a safe spot in a driveway, a schoolyard, or on a sidewalk, and prepare to chalk up the fun your kids will have.

This article comes from Active for Life.

1. Hopscotch

This is an oldie (as in kids have been playing it for over 300 years) but a definite goodie. The rules are simple and kids can either draw their own course with the chalk or have a parent help. Use your imagination and draw the boxes to be jumped in in various colours and shapes. Use the chalk as the marker or find stones, beanbags, buttons or small plastic toys. Once your children have conquered hopping the course, see if they can double hop on each box or use varying feet for hopping on the way up and the way back the course.

Skills Developed: Hopping, throwing, balance, coordination

2. Avoid the Shark

With different colours of chalk, draw “beaches” various distances apart. Use blue chalk to draw water and shark fins between the beaches and have kids jump from beach to beach to avoid the “sharks” in the “water.”

Skills developed: Hopping

3. Chalk Bullseye

Use various colours of chalk and draw concentric circles with a bullseye in the middle. Within each circle, write point values if kids want to brush up on their math skills or simply use markers to see who can throw an item closest to the bullseye. For markers, use chalk, stones or on hot summer days, wet sponges or water balloons.

Skills developed: Throwing

4. 4 Square

4 Square is extremely popular in many schoolyards at recess. Draw your own 4 Square court with chalk, mark a number from 1 to 4 in each square, and use a bouncy ball to play this fun game. Each player stands in each of the squares, and the player in square 4 starts by bouncing the ball in their square and then hitting it towards one of the other squares. The receiving player then hits the ball to any other player. The ball must bounce in the receiving player’s square once and they must hit it to another player before it bounces a second time. If the player misses a square or the ball bounces a second time before they hit it, they are “out”. If there are more than 4 players, the player who is out goes to the end of the line of waiting players. If there are only 4 players, the player who is out would move to the next lowest position, 4 being the highest square.

Skills developed: Striking

5. Chalk Maze

Have kids design their own web of squiggly lines, circles, and other lines with chalk to design a maze through which others can walk, run, cycle, or scooter. The bigger, more colourful, and more intricate the maze, the more fun kids will have working their way through.

Skills developed: Running

6. Alphabet Hop

Use chalk to make 26 squares or circles fairly close to one another and write the letters of the alphabet in each. For kids just learning their alphabet, call out letters to hop from one to another. For kids who are able to spell, call out words to spell and have them hop using one or two feet from one letter to another. During the summer months, this is a not-so-subtle way to work on spelling skills while having fun.

Skills developed: Hopping

7. Sidewalk Twister

Find me a person who doesn’t like Twister and I will show you my best “what you takin’ about” face. Create your own chalk twister board with at least four colours and four shapes and have another child or parent call out instructions as to where children should place their right hands, right feet, left hands and left feet. Keep the traditional rules of Twister by having kids balance while moving each hand and foot to different coloured shapes without falling over, or make your own rules. Have kids roar like lions on blue squares or hop like bunnies on a green circle. Ask them to laugh like their moms on a yellow triangle or stand as tall as a tree on a red squiggle.

Skills developed: Depends on activities chosen

8. Corners

This game requires at least three players but can be played with many more. Draw a large square court with smaller squares drawn in each corner in different colours. Draw a circle in the middle of the court. One person is designated the “counter” and stands in the circle in the middle of the court. The counter closes their eyes and counts to ten. While their eyes are closed, the other players skip around the court and choose a corner to stand in (more than one person can stand in one of the corners). With their eyes still closed after counting to ten, the counter calls out one of the four corner colours. Whoever is standing in that colour is out. The game continues until all players are out.

Skills developed: skipping

Head to your nearest yard, driveway, or sidewalk and prepare for your kids to spend endless hours of active fun with one piece of “equipment.” And if they start telling you Simon-like stories of climbing into magical places with dragons and fairies, it will have been an even more super-fantastic day.

 

Make Sure Water is Safe to Drink When Camping and Hiking

This article comes from Healthy Families BC.

Summers are wonderful for exploring BC’s beautiful wilderness. With a little knowledge and some preparation, you can make sure the water you drink during your outdoorsy vacation will be safe and clean.

What can happen if I drink water from lakes, rivers or ponds?

Beaver fever: A crazy beaver fad? Nope! A beaver with a high temperature? Wrong again!

Beaver fever is a common name for the water-borne infection caused by ingesting Giardia lamblia, a type of protozoa found in many natural sources of untreated water, such as lakes, rivers and ponds. Protozoa are just one type of itsy-bitsy (not a technical term) disease-causing micro-organisms that you may be exposed to if you drink water from an untreated source this summer. Bacteria and viruses are other examples of disease-causing micro-organisms you might encounter if you drink water from an unsafe source.

How sick will drinking untreated water make me?

Want your summer vacation to be known as that-time-I-drank-untreated-creek-water-and-almost-died-from-liquid-poo? Probably not.

Symptoms vary depending on what micro-organism you drank, the amount, and the strength of your immune system. Generally, the symptoms can include: diarrhea, cramping, gas (foul smelling i.e. rotten egg smell), vomiting, and muscle pain. In extreme cases, death can result, particularly in those with weakened immune systems.

How do I know if water is safe to drink on my vacation?

Although water in streams, lakes, cabins, rural cottages, or campgrounds may appear to be pristine, if the water is untreated or the water system has not been properly maintained, drinking the water may put you at risk for water-borne infections (like beaver fever). Besides the risk to your health, it could make for an awkward first trip with your in-laws to the family cabin!

Contact the campground or cabin owner ahead of time to ask where the drinking water comes from. The answer you are looking for is that it comes from a water supplier permitted by the local health authority. If not, then there is no one overseeing whether the water has been treated well enough.Do Not Drink - Untreated Water

At the campsite, watch for signs posted that indicate water is not okay to drink. If there is a sign of a tap with a line through it or the water pipes are purple, the water is not safe to drink.

If water is untreated, be aware of other ways you could come into contact with it (e.g. accidentally breathing in or swallowing infected water). For example, be careful when showering and when nearby sprinkler systems.

If you are not confident that the water is safe to drink, bring bottled water or make sure to disinfect the water yourself. Learn how to disinfect drinking water.

7 Kid Favorite Veggies

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat vegetables? In this post from Weelicious, you will learn 7 kid-friendly receipes that will make vegetables way more enjoyable for your kids to eat (and maybe even you too).

My kids love vegetables. It wasn’t always that way with each of them, but over the years, through the stages and phases I can get them to eat vegetables without fuss or anxiety. These 7 kid favorite veggies will get even the pickiest of eaters to change their ways. The first and most important tip to get a kid to love them is to change the way they’re prepared. Does you kid hate over cooked, soggy Brussels sprouts? Try lightly sautéing them in bacon so they have a slightly smoky, salty flavor. It will immediately have them intrigued. Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Cut them into sticks, toss with cinnamon and bake them up. Even raw kale can get some extra love with a sprinkle of jazzy seasoning and time in the oven to crisp them up.

Don’t get frustrated or give up just because your little one gives you the Heisman when you’re offering a new vegetable at dinner. All you need to do is switch up your tactic. Serve raw vegetables with hummus, top pizza dough with plenty of gooey cheese and assorted green veggies or mix a few bite size favorites like edamame and corn and turn into a bite size stir fry. No matter what you do, make it fun, eat them with your kids and show them that eating veggies is delicious and nutritious!

Click here to read the rest of the post and to get the receipes.