April 21, 2024

Strawberry Banana Smoothie by Helen Agresti, R.D.

Strawberry Banana Almond Butter Smoothie

Enjoy the taste of this refreshing smoothie along with it’s many health benefits.

Strawberries have a high content of Vitamin C which helps ward off cancer and heart disease. They also contain folate which has been associated with reducing the risk of birth defects. Almond Butter is rich in protein and monounsaturated fat. This “good” fat decreases cholesterol levels and provides an added punch to help fight cardiovascular disease. In addition, this all natural smoothie stabilizes blood sugar levels and thus satisfies the appetite.

1 serving
In a blender add…

1 frozen banana
1 c frozen strawberries
1/2 c crushed ice
3/4 c almond milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon almond butter
1/2 teaspoon flax meal

Blend and enjoy the benefits of fueling your body healthy!

Helen Agresti is a Registered Dietitian with Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC.  She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and 5 children.  For more Nutrition advice and healthy recipes follow her on twitter @HelenAgresti. For more information and recipes, go to www.pronutritionconsulting.com

Can Exercise Make You Smarter? By Maggie Ayre

Can Exercise Make You Smarter? Securing Better Grades for Teenagers.

Researchers from a study conducted in Taiwan say the results do suggest that any form of exercise should be useful for maintaining and improving brain function.  It does seem to make sense that exercise that helps the circulatory system become more efficient makes the brain stronger as well. However, it’s not just improved oxygen uptake and improved circulation that helps brain activity.

Exercise stimulates the receptors for movement throughout the whole body. This information gets relayed to the brain where it increases the frequency of firing of all parts of the brain.  Movement helps the integration of the whole nervous system because we evolved to be creatures that are always on the go. This research is backed up by anecdotal evidence from regular exercisers who claim their activity has led to more energy, better sleep, increased attention and alertness and overall feelings of happiness and well-being all of which are directly related to the functioning of the brain.

Schools and teachers want the best for their pupils and for years this has led to a decrease in physical activity and an increase in time spent studying and reading books.  This research suggests that to really get the best from young people we should be prioritizing activity. In other countries schools are changing the way they operate to include more, rather than less activity within the school day.  The vast majority of private schools in the UK have followed suit and only the state sector seems left behind.

The NHS recommends that young people should be doing at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day and that they should be working at a strenuous level for at least 90 minutes every week.  By bringing these activity sessions into the school day not only can we ensure they take place but we can also use them to increase brain activity at school and ensure pupils achieve the very best grades they are capable of.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

Summer Family Fitness Ideas by Mollie Millington

Enjoy fitness with your entire family this summer, and enjoy the added bonus of improving your health. How is this possible? 

Set a good example for your kids. They are more likely to follow your example, rather than listen to your lecture. To set a healthy example means you need to be healthy! Join a tennis league, attend Jazzercise, or play on a community softball team. Although this may seem like one more activity to fit into your diary, tending to your own health and fitness simply has to become a priority. Exercise relieves stress, introduces you to new people, and makes you feel good when the endorphins start flowing. These benefits will affect your attitude at home and work in a positive way. 

Start a new family tradition of activity. Desingate a set time each week or month as family activity time. Take turns choosing what you’ll do. Consider going for a walk or bike ride every night after dinner. Or make Sundays the day you go exploring in the woods or along the lake. Enjoy the fresh air and use the time to catch up with everyone.  Regularly scheduling time with another family to get active will also make fitness fun for everyone!

Become involved with your child’s sport. If you’re already active in a sport together, make an effort to get off the sidelines and join in with your child or children more often. Practice together in the backyard or coach or manage their team. Purchasing tickets to see a professional game or local team provides a great opportunity to be active together. Helping your child learn more about the rules and see more competitive matches will help them improve as a player. 

Choosing to be fit can be difficult but it can also be fun when you do it as a family. Competition is motivating, whether it is for bragging rights, an ice cream cone, or a homemade trophy.  Winning and losing (graciously, of course) are also good moments to teach life lessons to your children. Being fit benefits everyone involved and creates memories that will last forever.

London-based personal trainer Mollie Millington is available for in-person and virtual training. She may be reached at www.ptmollie.com, as well as via @PTMollie on Twitter.