August 7, 2020

Healthy Eating for Kids (Even Picky Eaters) by Kristen Yarker R.D.

Summer Inspires Healthy Eating for Kids (Even Picky Eaters)

I LOVE summer! Not because of it’s lazy, hazy days, but because it’s the easiest time of year to get kids (even picky eaters) excited about trying fruits and vegetables. Summer is the time for vegetable gardens and Farmers’ Markets! Both of which are fantastic ways to get kids interested in trying new foods. Why are these such powerful tools for getting kids to eat vegetables?


It’s All Mine: Toddlers and Preschoolers are in what I call the “me do it” stage. Independence, skill mastery, and learning how the world works are all highly important. Growing vegetables uses this developmental stage to your advantage. Many children will eat vegetables that they’ve grown themselves that they otherwise wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole.

Variety is Inspiring: When you grow your own and visit the Farmers’ Market you get to experience a huge variety of vegetables and fruit that you won’t find in a grocery store. Engage your child’s innate curiosity to compare and contrast.

Veggies, Veggies, Everywhere: We’re creatures of our environment. What’s even better than role modeling eating veggies? Spending time growing veggies and at locations where everyone eats veggies – a.k.a. the Farmers’ Market! The underlying message that you’re teaching your child is that it’s normal to eat vegetables. This is a great way to counteract all the advertising that kids are exposed to for highly processed junk foods.

It’s Obvious Where It Comes From: Picky eaters are often little conspiracy theorists, highly suspicious of the food that suddenly appears on the plate in front of them. In contrast, when you grow a food yourself, you know exactly where it comes from. At a Farmers’ Market, all the food is out in the open. You’re encouraged to touch, smell, and meet the person who grew the veggies and fruit.

I want to end with a cautionary note. The effectiveness of these summer hobbies to inspire your picky eater to try new foods is related to the attitude that you bring. Yes, you! Make sure that you’re open to and excited about trying new veggies and fruit. Be a vegetable growing, buying, and eating role model!

Child-feeding expert Kristen Yarker, MSc, RD helps Moms and Dads support their picky eaters to try new foods on their own (without being forceful or sneaky). Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at:

Does eating healthy take more time?

Get Fit Quick Tip

Want to save time during your week? Consider implementing Weekly Meal Prep on the weekend! 1. Plan your meals. 2. Make a shopping list. 3. Shop, wash, chop and store all ingredients in portioned containers. Then all you’ll need to do during the week is assemble and cook!

Find everyday, easy and practical healthy living and fitness tips in our Get Fit Quick column.

Making Meals Happen by Kristen Yarker

Two Foundational Steps for Making Meals Happen

Do you dream of having the family come together at the table every day? Are you at a loss about how to make it happen? If so, then you’re not alone.

Here are my two foundational steps for making meals happen:

1. Think Beyond Dinner. Don’t get fixated on dinner being the meal that your family eats together. In many families, it’s breakfast where people come together to eat and connect. It’s a fantastic way to start the day. Another great strategy is a bedtime snack/second dinner concept. This works well in families where one parent works later or gets home from their commute too late to eat dinner with (especially younger) kids. In this scenario, the parent who is home earlier makes dinner and eats it with the kids. When the later-arriving parent gets home, the kids join him/her at the table. The later-arriving parent eats warmed-up dinner and the kids eat their bedtime snack. This way everyone is eating together at the table and connecting.

2. Plan Your Schedule with Eating Together in Mind. As the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. There’s another saying that’s true too: “you can’t have it all”. This next piece of advice may sound harsh, however I’m sharing it in the attempt to be of service – to give some tough love. Many parents have told me that they can’t eat dinner together because the kids’ activities extend over dinnertime. Having this schedule means that you are choosing ballet and soccer as priorities over eating dinner together. Determining your family’s priorities is your choice. If you choose ballet and soccer that’s OK, own your choices! Determine your values, set priorities and then make your schedule to align with it. The problem comes if your schedule isn’t a match with your priorities. If it’s out of alignment, then make changes. If it is in alignment, then let go of the guilt of not being able to have it all.

Kristen Yarker is known as The Dietitian Who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food Confident Kids. From introducing solids through the picky eating years, she helps Moms and Dads be confident that they’re giving their kids good nutrition today… and instilling a life-long LOVE of healthy eating. Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at:

Kids and Vegetables: A New Strategy by Kristen Yarker

Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables: One Simple (and Often Overlooked) Strategy

Do you want to know one simple, effective strategy that many busy parents miss when trying to get their kids to eat more vegetables?

Many kids, especially picky eaters, don’t like to eat vegetables. But we know that kids need the nutrients from vegetables for their healthy growth and development. As a result, parents exhaust themselves negotiating how many bites must be eaten. Or, they stay up late pureeing vegetables to hide in other foods. While these strategies may get a few more bites of vegetables into kids, it turns meals into battles and covert ops. And, it doesn’t teach kids to choose to eat veggies. However, there is a non-sneaky way to get kids to try more and eat more vegetables.

The often-overlooked resource that many parents miss is…snacks.

You’re likely already providing at least two snacks for your child each day. But often, snacks are times when favorite foods (i.e. foods other than vegetables) are provided.

Traditionally, vegetables are served at meals (particularly dinner.) Instead, treat all meals and snacks as equals. Include vegetables at as many snacks as possible. The more times that you present a food, the more likely your child will eat it. Studies show that you need to present a food more than 10 times before a child will eat it, but it varies from food-to-food and child-to-child. By increasing the number of times a day that your child sees vegetables, he/she will become more accustomed to seeing them, and will eat more.

Kristen Yarker is known as The Dietitian Who Transforms Picky Eaters into Food Confident Kids. From introducing solids through the picky eating years, she helps Moms and Dads be confident that they’re giving their kids good nutrition today… and instilling a life-long LOVE of healthy eating. Get scientific evidence-based answers to real questions from real parents (recipes too!) by signing up for her 101 Healthy Snack Ideas at:

Thank You for Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles

Encouraging health living by example is a powerful trait. Check out the following businesses who believe in healthy living and are passionate about sharing the benefits with others. Simply visit their website to learn how they can assist in your healthy lifestyle!

JOIN US on Twitter every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) for our Motivational-Monday Fitness Chat!

THANK YOU to our December Fitness Chat Sponsors!

Flip2BFit. Peak your kids interest to be active through the innovative games. Ideal for the whole family to play on a weekend, for a group activity at a birthday party, or for teachers to have on hand as a rainy day activity. Their games encourage self-esteem all realized through the spin of a wheel and the flip of a card! Follow them on Twitter @Flip2BFit.

Drink Chia. Drink Chia is an innovative all natural chia seed beverage that offers an alternative to sugary and stimulant laden drinks. Drink Chia provides enhanced hydration, endurance and immune system support. They are the only chia drink that has the power of chia with B-complex vitamin, selenium and zinc as well as being rich in plant sourced-omega-3 fatty acids. Follow them on Twitter @DrinkChia.

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Food-Swaps for your Teen by Maggie Ayre

Improvements You Can Make to Your Teens Diet, Without them Noticing

Keep Your Teens Tastebuds Happy With These Tasty but Healthy Alternatives

It’s a struggle every parent faces when their children start at secondary school. On the one hand you want them to be more independent on the other you still want some control over the choices they make.

When it comes to healthy eating there are two main ways you can influence their choices:-

Be a top role model – keep serving plenty of fresh fruit and veggies and other unprocessed foods at family meal times. Be the epitome of good health and they’ll want to follow suit.

Keep going with the healthy eating advice - It may feel like it just bounces back at you but you’ll be surprised how much is absorbed and put into practice at a later date.

There are some healthy foods you can sneak in almost without being noticed. Try these delicious alternatives to your usual teen fare:-

1. Swap regular chips for sweet potato fries. Many teens tell me they’re even tastier than the real thing!

2. Buy a cool fold up water bottle. Guaranteed to get your teen drinking more of the good stuff.

3. Serve eggs for breakfast. Who doesn’t love a fry up? You can prepare scrambled eggs on toast (or better still oatcakes) in the same time it’ll take to make a bowl of cereal yet the protein in them is guaranteed to keep your teen full until lunchtime and away from the vending machine at morning break.

4. If your teen takes sandwiches for lunch why not swap bread for rye bread or oatcakes? A change is as good as a rest and it’ll wake up their taste buds. Once they’re used to this idea introduce 1 or 2 salads or soup in a flask every week.

5. Does your teen struggle to east their greens? Green veggies are full of goodness for teens. Search for new and exciting recipes on Google or simply mix with a white sauce for the less adventurous teen.

6. Leave homemade snacks out for after school nibbles. Even the sweetest cake will be healthier if it is homemade rather than shop bought. Better still cook with your teen. Homemade popcorn is delicious for all ages and ready in minutes.

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.

Back-to-School Healthy Eating Tips by Michele Stalker

Yes, it can be done!

It’s that time of year again when the children return to school and routines fall back into place. One of the most dreaded tasks for parents is making and packing healthy snacks. What if I told you there is a solution that will free up your time and eliminate this task from your long to-do list? Does this sound too good to be true? Well, with a little preparation and planning, it can be done.


Step 1: Educate about Healthy Lunches

Sit down with your children and help them prepare a list of foods they enjoy to eat. Consider separating your list into the different food groups such as Protein, Fruits and Vegetables, Grains, and Dairy.

You could also think about dividing things into categories such as Main Meal (i.e. sandwich or wrap, leftovers in a thermos, etc.), Fruits & Vegetables, Snack (i.e. crackers, dried fruit, popcorn, etc.), and Treat (muffin, cookies, etc.). As time goes on, they can add to their list when they try foods they like. Most schools now have nut-free policies, so remember to make sure you keep this in mind when selecting appropriate foods.

Step 2: Select Litterless Containers

Take a look at your children’s lunch box or lunch bag and decide what system might work best for you. Keep in mind what kind of food they like to eat. If they like sandwiches, you might need containers or reusable sandwich wrappers. If they prefer hot lunches, they might need some thermoses. There are so many options available either online or in stores. Involve your children in picking out the right products for their lunch. Have fun with it! Be sure to label everything so you have a better chance of having things returned if they end up in the lost and found.

Step 3: Prepare a Lunch Station

Dedicate some space in your kitchen that is easily accessible for your kids so they can prepare their lunches. You will need to clear out a shelf space in a lower cabinet or perhaps a drawer. Stock this space with their lunch bags, containers, water bottles, a small cutting board, approved snacks, and other food they like for their lunches. Other suggestions include storing small containers of leftovers in the freezer for days they want a quick hot meal (just heat & put in a thermos in the morning).

It may take some time at first to assist the kids in the preparation of their lunches. However, once they have mastered the art of lunch making, then step back and let them do it themselves! You might even notice they will come home with most of it gone. Go ahead, what are you waiting for?

By Michele Stalker (

3 Tips for a Healthy Home by Brett Klika, C.S.C.S

It has gone from a disturbing trend to a national epidemic. Our nation’s youth are becoming overweight, obese, and unhealthy due to a variety of lifestyle factors.  According to the Center for Disease control, about one-third of our nation’s youth are overweight.  17% are considered obese, of which 70% carry at least 1 risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that 80% of these obese youth will grow to become obese adults.

A marked decrease in physical activity and an increase in the consumption of low nutrient food items are two of the lifestyle factors commonly linked to primary causes of this health calamity.

A smorgasbord of finger pointing has erupted over who is responsible for letting this happen to our children. Schools have fewer PE programs, urban communities lack safe outdoor activity areas, junk food companies target youth in their marketing, and video games command youth free-time pursuits. Before we unholster our pointing fingers to join the shootout, some compelling data out of Duke University suggests we may find a better solution by looking at how we introduce physical activity at home.

Researchers determined that parents’ attitudes and behaviors towards exercise was an extremely powerful predictor of physical activity patterns in youth under 10 years of age.  This is in line with previous research by the U.S. Department of Health.

If home really is where the health is, what can we as busy, stressed out, over-committed parents do to introduce our kids to a healthy, active lifestyle?  

Below are three simple, practical strategies to introduce your children to a life of health and happiness.

1.    Watch your language! Our children’s attitudes and behaviors toward physical activity and exercise are directly correlated to ours.  If we as adults approach physical activity as a punishment, i.e. “Dad has to do exercise because he got fat,” kids begin to share our view and act accordingly. Exercise isn’t punishment.  Highlight the positives in your language towards physical activity i.e.,  “Mom’s going to exercise so she can get some energy!”

2.  Focus on fun! If children don’t enjoy an activity, the odds of them continuing to do it are slim to none.  Forcing children into activities they don’t enjoy ensures they will avoid them whenever possible.  Longitudinal research on high performing athletes has demonstrated that the primary factor in long-term athletic success is a child’s level of enjoyment with their chosen sport. Fortunately, there are a variety of possible physical activities youth can be involved in.  Keep experimenting until you find something they enjoy then facilitate their participation in that activity whenever possible.

3.  Be active with them! Some of my favorite memories of childhood were family bike rides, whiffle ball games in the back yard, and scenic hikes to “secret” (brilliant parent marketing term) locations.  I honestly don’t remember much about sitting around watching sitcoms.

What will your kids remember about physical activity and your family?  

Go to the park, make up games, go outside, and make a conscious effort to limit technology (TV, i-devices, video games, etc.).  Technology is part of modern life, however, it can become a consuming addiction that negatively impacts every member of the household. Focus on becoming a physical activity role model for your children in your thoughts and actions. We can all do our part to reverse the current negative trends and guide our youth to one day become happy, healthy, disease-free adults.

Brett Klika C.S.C.S., author of “The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World” ( is a world- renowned human performance specialist, motivational speaker, author, and educator. He uses this knowledge and experience to motivate individuals and audiences around the world through his writing, speaking, DVD’s, and free blog,

Summer and Kids: How to Stay Organized by Coach Juli

If you are a parent of a student-aged child you may not be as excited for school to end and summer to begin as your child. For kids it is a time for long lazy mornings, random meal times, playing outside in the middle of the day, and mid-week sleepovers, but for parents it’s another story all together!

For the adults in the equation, it’s days of interrupted routines, minimal structure, bored children, and often the need to work with children being left to their own devices during the weekdays.

Staying organized for the summer months takes a bit more planning because of the lack of structure when school isn’t in session. Start by finding out what activities your kids wish to do during the summer days. If they want to sit around and color pictures all day, that’s great, but if they want to do things that require you to drive them around everywhere you might need to work on that with them and come up with a reasonable schedule that works for everyone.

Don’t panic! Here are three tips for staying organized for the summer:
1.    Keep easy to grab snacks and small meals for children so they can feed themselves when they are hungry. Family mealtimes may be a just a few weekly dinners, so for breakfasts and lunches they can learn to fend for themselves – with your providing good food in the cupboards & fridge.
2.    Make a list and post it on the fridge entitled: “Things I can do” that you compile with the children so you don’t have that constant “Mom, I’m bored!” whine coming from down the hall every few hours.
3.    If you have really young kids, you might want to secure a ‘mother’s helper’ over the summer to keep the kids safe and entertained while you are home or running errands. Jr. and Sr. high school students who can’t work out in the community yet often love these opportunities.

Attempt to keep some structure to the days as best as you can as children tend to do better with some routines.

Coach Juli is a Professional Certified Coach with a specialty in Productivity specifically those with ADHD. She works with individuals at any stage of life who find themselves stuck and wish assistance and skills to better organize their lives both in the workplace and at home. For more information, go to




Do Fitness and Fun Really Go Together? Flip2BFit says YES!

Who says fitness can’t be fun? Flip2BFit, an award-winning business, is here to show you how to introduce healthy living to the children in your life and have fun at the same time!

Based out of New York City, Flip2BFit’s mission encompasses two areas: education and family-fun. As part of their education outreach plan, they encourage play and fitness during recess, birthday parties and rainy days. Their family-fun focus demonstrates how easily families can get active together, and have fun while doing it! Invite another family over or friends to play along. The more the merrier and more fun as you strategize as a team how to gain the lead!

Flip2BFit offers an innovative new generation of board games that promote areas of fitness such as yoga, cardio, stretching and strength. Founder Heather Parisi explains, “Flip2BFit was created as a platform to bring healthy lifestyles to everyone that plays through the introduction of fitness, nutrition, individual goals, team work, competition and strategy.” She continues “my overall goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle to everyone that picks up the game and plays – realizing that fitness is fun and that you don’t need to go to a gym. You just have to get up and MOVE!”

Their products are eco friendly and made using soy ink, recycled paper and rubber plan extracts. Recommended for all ages 6 and over, these games encompass all areas of healthy living. “Flip2BFit products ensure nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyle education through the active engagement of having fun” Ms. Parisi explains. As the recipient of the Kidlutions Solutions for Kids Preferred Product Award, Flip2BFit improves self-esteem, leadership skills and confidence through learning about the benefits of movement!

They have a world-wide outreach, as Ms. Parisi shares “my games are used here in the US as well as in Uganda (as shown in this YouTube video clip) promoting a fun way to live and learn about healthy lifestyles and forming a bridge between first and third world countries showing that fitness and health are achievable by anyone and everyone if they are educated and opened up to the concept.” How children view fitness and physical activity has drastically changed over the years, “kids don’t understand what nutritional foods are or what the value of exercise and all components of a healthy lifestyle are – they spend all their time exercising their fingers and minds forgetting to move their bodies. Overseas kids are lacking in education and nutrition and don’t understand that muscles need to be used in order to have a strong body to fight disease” says Ms. Parisi.

For under $35.00 parents can end the days of “I’m bored!” from your children once and for all. Their two best selling products are the Flip2BFit®-Fitness in a Box and Bakari:

Flip2BFit®-Fitness in a Box is a new kids fitness game. No equipment or experience is required; simply give the wheel a spin and pick a card. Participants either complete an exercise together as a team or as individuals. Kids will now associate moving their body with fun, laughter and silliness! They’ll complete tasks such as jumping jacks and running in place for cardio. Sit ups, lunges and planks for strength tasks. Stretching challenges include such moves as arms circles and toe touches, and the yoga tasks include childs pose and downward dog just to name a few!

Bakari is a memory game with a fitness twist. The word Bakari is a Swahili word that upon translation means “one who will succeed.” Empowerment even exists in the name of the game! Participants earn points by matching two physical activity cards, and then completing their tasks. An entertaining fitness and mind challenging game, you’ll improve your memory at the same time.
EVERY parent and educator should know about this innovative proactive company, as it does not disappoint! Their games make thoughtful gifts for your favorite teacher. Here’s what just one of their many fans has to say. Luke Mohatt, Camp Director at Oasis in Central Park, New York raves “Flip2BFit and Bakari were invaluable assets for our campers and counselors this summer. Whether it was for a rainy day activity, during arrival and dismissal, or for an entire activity period these games got our campers up and moving in a way that was fun and educational! We absolutely LOVED the healthy eating tips that went along with the game play. It was so successful this summer that we actually implemented it into our after school programs this year as well!  Thanks for making these great products that are enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike!”

Follow them on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on Twitter for all updates and new product info!

Introduce the children in your life to the many benefits of living healthy! Flip2BFit offers board games and products that will encourage, empower and get your kids active…and loving it!

Order your family-fitness fun TODAY at, via email or call them directly at 516-473-6971.