Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Healthy Treat Ideas for the Holiday Season

Holidays are exciting and fun moments to children and adults alike. The last quarter of the year is the usual time for several major holidays that any kid is looking forward.  As part of celebrating holidays feasts and treats are served. Like in most holiday food has become the center of the celebration. Most families would serve elaborate dishes, fancy desserts and sweet yummy treats that are usually loaded with calories and contain too much fat.

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The holidays have become a challenge for most moms – thinking and planning for meals is part of it. If you have kids you sure know how hard it is to control their eating during these special celebrations. That is why as a responsible parent you should be able to provide your children with healthy alternatives such as healthier holiday treats. Whether you are celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas you should provide healthy food options for your family.

The Bad Effects of Unhealthy Holiday Treats

Most holiday treats are loaded with sugar, fat and carbohydrates. All of these would often result in ‘sugar high’ and mood swings in children and soon it will be followed by fatigue and irritability. The long term bad effects would be weight gain from eating too much sugar and carbs. Refine white sugar found in most processed foods are known to weaken the immune system by drastically decreasing the number of white cells which are essential in fighting off infection.

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Halloween Healthier Treats
Kids get so excited when Halloween is just around. This is the season of giving out and receiving treats in forms of candies, sugary snack food and fattening bars. As a parent you would not want to take out the fun stuff from this holiday event instead you could bring in more good healthy food treats that kids would love. Kids would want to receive chocolates on their baskets- good old fashion homemade chocolate goodies are better tasting and healthier. Homemade chocolates are very easy to do. You could go check out your local baking supplies store for chocolate molds and ingredients. Choose semisweet chocolate and skim milk instead of the regular milk chocolate. Pack them in creative Halloween theme.

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Having a Healthy Family on Thanksgiving 
Celebrating Thanksgiving means having a festive dinner with the family and some close friends. In this holiday event the food is the usual highlight. Most hosts would serve Thanksgiving treats for kids while waiting for the festive meal and processed snack foods are often the best choice for this. If you happen to host a Thanksgiving party it would be a smart move to include healthier snack for the kids. Serve some fruits on a stick by skewering fruit bite pieces into it or serve them on a platter. One great idea is to serve fruit slices with a nonfattening chocolate dip that would be a sure hit these kids would love.

Smart Healthy Eating for Kids during Christmas

Christmas is a very special holiday where the focus of this season is the gift giving. The Christmas season would begin this December and during this time many would have some parties and Christmas goodies are being handed out. Instead of giving out the familiar chocolate chip cookies why not baked your own healthier cookie alternative. Delicious but nutritious home baked oatmeal raisin cookies are surely a welcoming treat for anybody's kids and adults too.

About the Author: Michelle is a writer for My Food, a leading provider of healthy delivery diets in and around the UK. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

Holiday Dental Hygiene for You and your Kids

Love the food that comes with the holidays? Can’t wait to dig into your first slice of cherry pie or take that first sip of hot cocoa, this holiday season? Before you go all out and eat a slice while drinking that warm beverage, check our food and beverages that made the Holiday Teeth-Staining List from this Raleigh Dentist.  

Take a look at this list, as you’ll be surprised at which foods can cause serious discoloration despite their nutritious appeal. 

Holiday Teeth-Staining Foods:

1.   Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants, these tiny berries are part of nature’s superfoods. However, there dark blue skin is known to stain teeth.  That shouldn’t sway you from leaving them alone though, just keep a glass of water handy to swirl the aftereffects away.  Also keep in mind, that blueberries aren’t the only deeply pigmented berry-like fruit out there.  Cherries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and pomegranates can cause the same amount of damage.

2.   Hot Cocoa: A delicious winter drink typically accompanied by marshmallows and whip cream while sitting by a fire.  Just don’t drink too many.  Drinking hot beverages tend to open up the pores in your teeth, allowing for those dark liquids to degenerate your teeth enamel opening them up for permanent stains.

3.   Red Wine: Red wine, known for its heart health benefits, is full of polyphenols that prevent damage to the gums and bone surrounding the teeth.  Yet, it’s those same polyphenols that cause teeth staining.  The alcohol in red wine is extremely acidic, which wears away the tooth enamel leaving them open for stains. And don’t brush your teeth right after drinking red wine either.  You can actually scratch the enamel off that way too.

4.   Balsamic Vinegar:  This deeply colored vinegar tends to cling to teeth and cause discoloration.  However, if you drizzle it over salads you’ll be protecting your teeth and eating healthy.  Lettuce creates a film over your teeth that acts like a barrier to shield your teeth from stains.  If you’re not big on eating greens, you can always switch to a lighter colored vinegar.  

While you may not be able to avoid all of these foods during the holidays, you can adapt your dental hygiene practices to your busy holiday schedule:

  • Carry a traveling toothbrush and toothpaste with you for when you are going to a holiday party, that way you can brush away any possible stain potentials and maintain fresh breath.
  • Make sure you have enough toothpaste and floss to make it through the evening should you have to spend the night. 
  • Don’t delay in brushing and flossing, even if you are out at a dinner party.  The longer between brushes, the more time stains can sink into your teeth causing permanent discoloration.
  • Most dental offices close over the holidays.  Call up your dentist and ask who you can call should you have a dental emergency.
Always be sure to ask your dentist what other preventive dental measures you can take during the holidays.  They care about your teeth just as much as you do.   
About our Guest Author:
Rebecca Schmorr is the Owner and head Dentist of Glenwood Smiles, a Raleigh, NC based dentistry.  Their services include cosmetic and family dentistry, as well as specializing in dental procedures including oral dentation, root canal therapy, and composite fillings.  For more information about their services give them a call today at 919-834-4450 or visit them online at http://www.glenwoodsmiles.com/.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome to the World Baby Paul Ryan

Baby Paul arrived 2 weeks early before his due date. Amazingly, he was born on his Dad's birthday last October 9. My brother and his wife got a wonderful present on his birthday- sharing the same birth date as his son :)

Baby Paul's ultrasound which showed his small healthy heartbeat.

A happy Mommy Julie and her cute newborn. He looks very cozy in his blanket!

Totally ADORBS!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween is on a Thursday in Manila

Ready for All Saints Day at the cemetery? How about some costume crazy Halloween parties?

Here's my sister a year ago getting all busy with my niece's paper pumpkin! I think she'll be making another big pumpkin this year. My 'lil ones' costumes need a lot of DIY work as well, definitely need a full crafty weekend to get things done :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

4 Games to Practice Phonics with Young Readers

Hey Mommies, here's a wonderful article on Phonics I just want to share:

Here are a few simple tips that will guide your child down the path to becoming a confident and happy reader. Keep them short and sweet; never impose any reading exercise for more than 10-15 minutes:
1. Play “Phonic I Spy”
The sounds that make up words are called phonemes, and it is crucial that your child learns to hear them. Play the classic “I Spy” game, but instead of using the letter name, use the first sound of the word, like “sh” for shoes.

2. Play “Clink Clink Clink”
This is another simple little game you can play anywhere to familiarize your child with different sound patterns. First, you say a word. Then your child says a word that either has the same initial sound OR rhymes with the word. Repeat back and forth until someone is stuck. Here is an example; fish, wish, wine, whale, bail, sail, etc…  Both of you tap something [“clink, clink, clink”] between the words, and each player has to give the next word straight after the third clink. 

3. Play “Build-a-Word”

Get a set of plastic letters or fridge magnets. Think of a simple word that uses the basic sounds connected to each letter (i.e. a, e, i, o, u are “ah” rather than “ay”, “eh” rather than “ee”, “ih” rather than “eye”, “aw” rather than “oh”, “uh” rather than “oo”). Examples include bid, had, wed, mud, cod etc. Then try to get your child to build the word from a small group of 6 letters that include the ones needed.

4. Play “Nonsense Words”
Using the same set of letters, think of simple nonsense words like wup, pog, gub, bip, that also use those basic alphabet sounds. Write out a nonsense word with the letters and get your child to try reading it. The nonsense approach circumvents your child resorting to guessing the word instead of sounding it out.

Guest Author: David Morgan is CEO of Oxford Learning Solutions and creator of the Easyread System, an online phonics course which teaches struggling readers and spellers through short daily lessons. Find out more at www.easyreadsystem.com or www.facebook.com/easyreadsystem