Tag Archives for eating healthy

Our Learning Garden!

March and April are our favorite months because they signal the start of spring. At The Garden Preschool it will mean that we can start planning and planting our beautiful garden and the students get to learn many lessons as we work together in the great outdoors! How great are these ideas for our learning garden? We will spend a lot of time in the spring studying science, math, art, health, and literacy through our garden. We will have units on seeds, insects, weather, healthy eating, plants, and water that will integrate learning from all subjects.

Last Spring Nicole’s family planted a garden and had a great time learning about the growth process and enjoying the bounty of the harvests.

Logan_Garden

Logan helping plant the garden

Nicole's Garden

Nicole’s Garden

Along with our personal experiences with home garden building we have found some other great ideas to help us build our future learning garden at the preschool.

Garden Ideas

Each student gets their own tire planter!

Pea trellis the kids can paint

Colorful garden fence

Colorful garden fence

We have a passion for all of the lessons that can be taught through hands-on experiences in God’s glorious outdoors and can’t wait to get out there with our students next year!

Sweet (and Healthy!) Treats for Valentine’s Day

VALENTINES-HEART-FRUIT-KABOBSValentine’s Heart Kabobs

Valentine’s Day is today! I have always loved to make festive, fun foods and treats for holidays but have found it difficult to find healthy options, especially for a day like Valentine’s Day (when chocolate, candy, and frosted cookies fill the store shelves and kids’ bellies)!

As an elementary teacher I’ve found it hard to plan class celebrations without bringing in a ton of sugary treats. Kids LOVE decorating cookies and munching on the conversation hearts gifted to them by friends, and that is what they expect at a Valentine’s party. It can be hard to bring in the festive feeling of the holiday while still making health a priority.

Now that my son or daughter will be joining us soon (maybe even on Valentine’s day!) I am thinking ahead to the ways I can make holidays like Valentine’s Day special while still providing healthy, nutritious foods.

So whether you’re a teacher planning a class Valentine’s party or a mom hoping to make some special treats for your family, here are a few ideas I found that I wanted to share with you.

Simple Valentine Breakfast Ideas:

  • Heart Shaped French Toast: cut your bread out with a heart cookie cutter and then proceed with making french toast. Make it with whole wheat bread and add fresh berries with a little powdered sugar for a healthy option!
  • Heart shaped whole wheat pancakes: Use a metal heart cookie cutter and pour pancake batter inside.
  • Toast Made with Love: Cut whole grain toast into a heart with a cookie cutter and spread with red jam.
  • Cupid’s Biscuits: Make biscuits shaped like hearts and serve with eggs

Valentine Snacks and Treats for throughout the day:

  • Cheese and Crackers: Low-fat cheese can be cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter and paired with crackers or fruit. Just 2 ounces of cheese equals one serving of calcium. Use whole wheat crackers for a punch of fiber.
  • Strawberry and Cream Cheese Sandwiches: These tasty sandwiches can be cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter. Two tablespoons of cream cheese provide a full serving of calcium and the strawberries are packed with Vitamin C. Your kids will love the heart-shaped surprise when they open their lunch box.
  • Heart Shaped Hard Boiled Eggs: Give this protein-packed snack a loving twist by making the eggs heart shaped! Check out this blog for step by step directions (it’s easy, with no mold needed!)
  • Fruit Heart Kabobs: Use a small heart cookie cutter to cut fruit, and spear with a popsicle stick. Serve with a healthy dip or eat them on your own for a sweet and healthy treat!

And here is a quick and delicious recipe to try:
Love Potion Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 small carton of yogurt
1/2 Cup ice cubes
1 cup apple juice
Place strawberries, raspberries and juice in blender. Blend several seconds. If you would like a thicker smoothie add more fruit or for a drinkable smoothie add 1/4 Cup more juice. This is one of those Valentine recipes that can be used year round.

These are just a handful of great, healthy ideas for your family on Valentine’s Day! Enjoy!

Resolving to Get Fit as a Family – It’s Easier Than You Think!

Stoller Strides BothellStroller Strides Bothell

It’s that time of year! The time when many individuals and families vow to get up and moving and back into shape. The TV ads and packed gym parking lots are evidence of the “get fit now” mentality that tends to come with the new year. And as someone who places a strong value on health and fitness, I think these are great goals! The problem is that for many people and their families, the goals are too big and our lives are too busy, so after a month or so the fitness resolutions fizzle out (I’m speaking from experience here!).

With a baby on the way in just under a month, I have been thinking ahead to when our little one arrives and different ways that I can get back into a work-out routine that is manageable and fits into what I know is about to become an extremely busy season of life. I’m a first time mom and my workouts in the past have consisted of playing on soccer teams, training at the gym, and a lot of running in recent years. And while all of these have been great for me, I wanted to find some things that I could do together with my husband and child, so we are all getting fit as a family. So, I started to do some research, and I found there are plenty of quick, easy, and fun ways you can get moving as a family, even during these cold, winter months.

Pick one of these to try!

  • Turn your living room into a gym and let the games begin!
    I can remember going over to a friend’s house when I was young and our favorite activity was pretending we were gymnasts. We’d push the couches back (with the help of her mom!), lay out some thick comforters, and swirl, somersault and bound around the living room until we were out of breath and red in the face! This is a great way to get your kids active and moving. Just make sure to move the coffee table and cover any pointy corners!
  • Family Dance Party!
    Find an open space in your house, crank up the music, (pull the blinds if you’re embarrassed!) and dance! My mom has an in-home daycare that I visit regularly and on many occasions I’ve found the kids having an impromptu dance party. Join in and you get a great workout too. Plus, the kids LOVE it. My current favorite dance party music: Casper Baby Pants and Recess Monkey.
  • Walk/Jog as a Family
    If you have kids who are old enough to hit the trails with you, head out on a family walk or jog. Start small and work up to a goal as a family. First, loop the neighborhood, then head to a local track or trail. You can even train for a family race or event! There are many great FREE 1k races for kids locally. Check out race websites to see if they include a kids’ 1k option.
  • Stroller Strides
    While I, (Nicole speaking here), was pregnant with my first I attended a pregnancy workout class offered at Evergreen Hospital and I absolutely LOVED it! It got me out and moving and made the end of my pregnancy tolerable. The instructor was the owner of the Bothell Stroller Strides group and I joined that shortly after Logan was born. I’ll give a shout out to Hillary because she is so outgoing and fun and Stroller Strides (fitness classes where you get to take and bond with your child) was the best thing I ever did for myself as a new mom. When I went back to work full time I had a really hard time keeping a workout schedule and I really regret that, but I fully plan to join Stroller Strides of Bothell once Dylan is born! Hilary makes the classes fun and while you are focused on yourself; you also can bond with your baby. Check it out at Bothell Stroller Strides!

These are just a few of my favorites. For more on family fitness, check out the following websites:

Carrots and Peas, and Green Beans, Oh My!

Resolving to Eat Healthy as a Family
100 Days of Real Food

If eating healthy as a family was one of your New Year’s resolutions, you are not alone. Many families (and individuals) resolve to eat healthier in the New Year, but it is usually easier said than done. I know from my own experience managing a full time job, friends, church, and my husband and toddler’s busy schedules that making time to prepare healthy meals and snacks often falls off of the limited day’s itinerary. I certainly have not mastered every day healthy eating/food preparation, but I have a few resources that have helped me to make it easier that I want to share with you!

  1. Resolve to pack the lunches the night before while one parent does the bath/bedtime routine. We usually have leftovers from dinner the night before for lunch the next day, which means kitchen clean-up and lunch prep go hand in hand.
  2. Bento Box style lunch containers have been instrumental in helping me pack a balanced lunch. They have separate compartments, so I am visually reminded that I need to pack something from each of the food groups. I will slide fruit in one smaller compartment, frozen peas/corn/carrots in another, and then the leftovers (hopefully a balanced meal of protein and carbs) in the biggest section. Here are the ones that I use for our family.
  3. As a previous year’s resolution my family changed to a “real food” mentality. At first, it was daunting for me to try to think of how to eat real, whole foods all of the time, but then I found a website that I use (to this day) for most of my meals; 100 Days of Real Food. We started by doing the mini-pledges to build up to a completely whole foods plan. Her recipes are amazing and tasty (did not find one “dud” on the whole site) and my husband and toddler loved all of it too!
  4. Here are also a few pins from Pinterest that had great resources for healthy eating:
  • Lunches – 100 days of lunches with no processed foods
  • Fruit Snacks – My son LOVES “cheweys”
  • Fruit Leathers – Also a popular snack
  • Breakfast – Breakfast on the go is always tricky…My husband and toddler love these samis! I make mine with the nitrate free ham and Tillamook cheese (no growth hormones).
  • Oatmeal – My toddler won’t eat it, but my husband and I also do a lot of oatmeal during the week!

I hope these resources help you to get off on the right track with your healthy eating resolution!  Remember, don’t beat yourself up if you mess up one day.  It took me many baby steps to change my family’s eating habits!