Lunches they will actually eat!!
Well its official, its Back to School time, and with that comes the challenge of providing our children with not only nourishing lunches, but lunches they will actually eat!! As a mom of 4 children, and Nutritionist I know the struggles families face when it comes to packing healthy meals at school!
One of the biggest concerns I have for school age children is the amount of processed foods that can find their way into their lunch boxes. Now, I will also share that my children’s lunches are never perfect, and yes we do purchase granola bars and the occasional treats, BUT what I am talking about is the highly processed lunches that are mostly packaged foods, full of preservatives, colouring, flavourings and frankly chemicals that will NOT help your children focus!
With so many children diagnosed with learning and attention challenges, and as a mom and Nutritionist, I always tell my clients to start with what you are packing them! If you want to learn more about foods that help them focus you can read this article here.
If you want to help them to focus, then you must understand they need stable blood sugar and clean nutrition to fuel their brain. In order for this to happen we have to begin by providing them with healthy lunchbox options. Now for the moms of picky eaters who are about to leave this article, hang tight!!! I got your back with this one!! Here’s the thing, often for our picky eaters, it has a lot to do with the flavour enhancers, sugars, and chemicals that our children’s processed foods are loaded with, not the whole foods!
Think about it this way, do you get the same taste, and physical response from eating an apple as you do eating Doritos? Children’s foods are so loaded with chemicals and sugars, their body’s start to expect the chemical reaction and intense taste every time they eat something. If the food you are providing them does not offer that chemical/sugar reaction, then it often ends up on the no list! But there is a way to help re-wire them!
The challenge is to eliminate the processed options and work with your children on what they DO want in their lunches without offering the flavoured and food colouring heavy foods. Which actually brings me to Tip #1!
Create a Lunch Box Plan, and Let them choose!
This is the first step. The old is no longer an option, so you will need a lunch box idea’s chart to help them choose the items they want in their lunches. You can use this form (above), or if you are a Pinterest mom, sit down with your child/ren and scroll through healthy lunch idea’s and make a list! This list will be one of your most valuable healthy eating tools!
If you were to work one on one with me for your own personal health goals, the fist thing I would do is help you create a menu to follow, in order to help you eat the right foods. The same thing needs to happen in your home around your children’s lunches. Have a plan, and you are way more likely to stick to it. Also when you have a list of healthy lunch options ready to go, it makes planning for your week way easier!! And it will also help you to eliminate the processed foods that can decrease their ability to focus, and offer ZERO nutritional value!!
p.s. Zero Nutrition value foods actually ROB your child’s body of its stored nutrients in order for these processed foods to be broken down and eliminated. This can lead to concerns like a weakened immune systems, and decreased nutrients available for healthy brain function. Too much processed sugar also causes blood sugar spikes, which can lead to hyperactivity, followed by a blood sugar low, which can cause lethargy and lack of focus!
Plan Your Shopping.
This is just as important as number one, and should be based on the healthy lunch choices each week. The trick is to create routine around what day you grocery shop. For our family we shop weekly and only after we have our healthy menu planned, which is done on the same day each week. Now before you feel unqualified to write your family’s menu, let me start with, A planned week will ALWAYS be a healthier week than an unplanned one! The moment you start planning for healthier, and less processed meals and snacks, and then shop for those particular foods, the sooner your entire family will start eating more of the right foods!
Click Here to Download my Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping Meal Plans!
Do weekly Prep.
If you are rolling your eyes over this one, stay with me!! This is the step most families miss, and it’s really the one that determines if little Jimmy is getting a lunch full of pre-packaged food, or a healthy lunch!! The BIGGEST challenge I see in most families when it comes to healthy eating is a total lack of time. I get it! That's why so many Canadian families are eating WAAAAAY to much processed foods and in my opinion that is a huge contributor to why we have so many issues with attention deficit disorders, immune and gut health issues, and even the big scary ones like Cancer!
EVERYTHING YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY DETERMINES HOW IT FUNCTIONS. If we plan for the right foods, shop for the right foods, the final step is we need is to prep the right foods. Since time constraints are a real issue for busy families, I suggest a non-negotiable weekly time slot for prep time. Setting aside an hour a week, same day, preferable same time, you can create routine around getting your children’s healthy lunch set up for the week, which WILL reduce stress and time in helping them eat the right foods!
So what will you be prepping?
Here are my favourite weekly foods to prep for healthy lunches!
Ok, so I know this is a lot of information!! Take some time to revisit this article with a pen and paper and make a list of things you want to do before school starts. Or if you found this mid-year, make a list of what you know you want to improve on. Sit and make a list of healthy options your children want in their lunch, plan your lunch menu each week, shop for the items you need, and set aside 60 minutes a week to get your prep done and I promise you, you will be so proud of the healthy lunches you are sending your children to school with!!
Need some one on one support? Connect with me here and we can set a time for a telephone or zoom chat!
Do you ever feel like life is so busy, that even though we had great intentions to eat well, we often miss meals, eat total "crap" food on the go, and at the end of the day feel exhausted, moody and bloated? Pretty picture isn't it?! I know this is not a positive opening statement, but after years of working with busy and exhausted people its become the norm for so many!!
Eating Well does NOT take more time, nor does it cost more money!
I want to give you my Top Tips to helping you eat better all while reducing the time and money investment. If you have read previous blog posts on here you may be familiar with some of these already. I will post links to other articles that cover many of these tips in greater detail.
My Tips For Nutrition Made Easy
1. Plan your meals and snacks. Yes I am totally saying it again. If you fail to plan, it is really very hard to stay on track! Check out this article on how to plan and download my free menu planning worksheets!
2. Make Freezer Bag Smoothies. Having a smoothie ready to be emptied into your blender when running out the door will help you get great nutrition while on the go!! Make 5-7 bags every week. Check out more info here!
3. Grocery Shop Online. If you have the option to order your groceries online, do it!! You can update your cart all week and choose a pick up time. This will save you hours each week and allow you to purchase ONLY the food you want to have in your home! You can earn a $10 grocery coupon by clicking this link!
4. Plan for a RESET every month! Purposely planning for a 10 Day RESET each month will allow you to focus on healthy habits that will carry over into the rest of your month. We offer group RESETS every month!! Learn more here!
These are simple and incredibly effective strategies for Improving your Nutrition Conveniently!! All four will have a positive impact on your healthy habits. My suggestion? Start with one, become routine with it, and then add another one!
What Do You Want To Learn About?
There are so many great topics we can offer education and guidance one!! I would love for you to share what you want to learn more on. Send me a email here!
I want to help Families eat healthy and live healthy. I know the challenges of a busy lifestyle and I know that our health as a whole suffers when we don't find the time to create realistic soltuions. I am the Nutritionist for REAL Families. Thank you for Reading and sharing my articles!! Be Sure to follow me on Facebook!
Do you ever feel totally overwhelmed with all of the health information and advice out there? I know I sure do!! Every time a new fad comes out I am in a position to look at it objectively, and ask myself a few questions that will also come in handy for yourself when trying to decide if the next health trend is really for you or not.
Lets look at these two things more closely........
Is there scientific evidence this works? This question will help you rule out the testimonial based marketing that so many companies and programs use. “Just Look at Sally’s results, in just 4 weeks!!” Well my question to that is, why did it work for Sally? What EXACTLY did Sally follow? How did this work in Sally’s Body? Is there is actual human research on it? (trust me you don't need to be a research geek to ask these qualifying questions!)
If what you are considering is backed by some real human evidence, and there is something clinically to support it, or even statistical evidence to support it, then GO for it!! If they can prove it works outside of a bunch of testimonies, then you know you are looking at something legitimate.
(Let me give you an example of statistical proof: We know statistically that people who follow a plant based, whole food diet, have much lower risks for some diseases including certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The China Study written by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell, is a statistical study on the role of plant based nutrition backed by actual science!!)
Second will this fit your lifestyle long-term? Let me tell you something, heart to heart, as a Nutritionist there is NOTHING and I mean NOTHING that drives me more insane than “Quick Fix Programs”, that offer zero long term stability in results! Restrictions are temporary, and perpetual weight gains and losses is problematic over time, as the muscle loss which is associated with restrictive diets is damaging to your metabolism, and your muscles are what burn calories when you are at rest! More muscles, more calories you burn! Feed your muscles and throw in some daily exercise, and you will have incredible and lasting results!
Now I often get asked “Alisa if we shouldn't do restrictive programs, why do you run short 10-21 Day programs?” and my answer to that, is these are not restrictive programs. These 10-21 Day Jump Starts help my clients focus on eliminating unhealthy habits, like processed foods, and eating late at night. They are never calorie or carbohydrate restrictive, but instead focus on incorporating healthy lifestyle habits you can live with long after the initial timeline has been met.
Bottom line if you want long-term results, you need to create a long-term lifestyle. Sometimes the best changes are the small ones you learn to live with daily. For example eating oatmeal for Breakfast on the weekdays helps stabilize blood sugar during the workweek and curve cravings due to blood sugar instability. Also drinking a plant-based smoothie every day increases your daily nutrition intake, feeds healthy gut bacteria and helps keep your body feeling nourished for hours!! I personally use Complete at my house, since is a Vegan, Gluten Free and Non GMO Shake mix that is safe for my entire family!
If you want Great Results you can keep, you want to follow protocols that are PROVEN to work, and incorporate strategies you can live with.
Now don't forget I have an Educational Workshop Happening at the end of this month!! July 31st, 6pm EST
I am running a FREE Online Workshop on how to create your own health program!!!
You will learn:
Now you need to Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-create-your-own-health-program-tickets-48065136116
Once you are Registered you will get a email later this week to join my mailing list. The Access Codes are ONLY going out through my mailing list so be sure to Register and CONFIRM your subscription for access to this free online workshop!
Want to know how to create your own Health Program?
Do you have health goals but are not sure where to start? If you are like most people who want to make changes and up your game when it comes to your diet and lifestyle, But feel totally overwhelmed by all of the information and options out there, then I hear you!!
Even as a nutritionist it takes me a great deal of time to weed through all of the information and I truly understand how you are feeling!
My goal as a practitioner is to help you weed through it all, and find solutions that work for your unique body and your unique lifestyle. That is exactly why I teach programs like The Women’s Natural Health Program workshop, where women attend and create their own hormone balancing program based on the information we discuss.
I have ONLY done my job if I am leaving you more capable then when we met. My job is to decipher the information, and put it together in a way that allows you to take what works for you and apply it to your life. Information is powerful when its laid out in a way that works for us as individuals.
That's why I have decided to offer a FREE Online Workshop for anyone who wants to take charge of their own health and create their own health programs.
July 31st At 6pm EST I will be running a totally Complimentary online workshop for you showing you how to create your own health program.
In this workshop we will cover
Space is super limited for the live event and the only access is through my mailing list. On …… I will email out the link to Register. If you are not on my list you wont have access!!
Weight Loss is a HOT Topic as a Nutritionist. Over the past 14 years I have ran thousands of weight loss programs. Weight Loss is definitely the #1 Reason most people want the support of a Nutritionist. Now that being said, clients come looking for weight loss, and we end up correcting poor digestion, determining food intolerances, clearing up skin conditions, stabilizing blood sugar levels and improving immune function, Because the right diet doesn't just promote a healthier weight, it promotes a healthier body!
So since summer is officially upon us, and as Canucks we tend to eat a whole bunch of the wrong foods, and drink way too much of the wrong beverages, while we enjoy the precious few months of nice weather we do get, I thought I would share some tips to not only help you prevent weight gains.
If you are hoping to shed a few pounds, Let me share my 5 Tips to Summer Weight Loss.
#1 - Avoid Restrictions. Yep, I’m totally serious. See the problem I have with low calorie, low carbohydrate, and low fat, is for one thing, none of these focus on eating the right foods, and second, Protein (muscle) is a faster source of fuel than fatty tissue. If you follow a restrictive program you WILL burn muscle. Your Muscle also happens to be your metabolism, and what is burning calories when you are at rest! Restrictive programs result in a couple things…...
One you wont be able to maintain the weight loss once you stop your restrictive program (many gain more back than they lost!) and ….... Two it will be harder to lose weight in the future. If you are a chronic dieter who has hit a point where you are not able to lose weight, then the above may have already happened to you!
Watch this video I did for an event where over 600 people joined us to learn “why they couldn't lose weight”
#2 - Plan your Week!! Seriously it doesn't matter if you are home, at work or camping, if you fail to plan, you will fail to stay on track! Menu Planning takes only a few moments each week, BUT will have a Huge Impact on how well you eat. Check out my article on meal planning here and download the free Menu Planning worksheets.
#3 - Join a Community of people who are working on their healthy eating and living too!! You know the old saying “You are what you hang out with!” well let me tell you a little secret, if you hang out with 9 unhealthy people, I can almost guarantee you will be the 10th!! One of the most important ways to stay on track is to make sure you are hanging out with people who are on the same journey as you!! There are so many great groups of people online and in communities you can be a part of. I LOVE my healthy living community as they inspire and motivate me everyday!!
Don't have a healthy living community? You can join mine!! Send me a message and I will add you in!
We just ran a successful 21 Days of Loving Your Body Group with more than 300 women this June!!
#4 - Do a 7-10 Day Jumpstart in July and August. Jump-starts are 7-10 days (only includes one weekend!!!) where we focus on no processed foods, menu planning, adding in really clean nutrition, and eliminating the bloating foods like dairy and gluten. We have a full program ready for you if you are interested, you can contact me by clicking here. Jump Starts are an amazing way to reset your metabolism, clean your body, stay on track, and lose a couple extra un-wanted pounds during the summer months.
#5 - Drink a Smoothie Every day! This is a simple one, but an incredible way to keep yourself on track!! You can pack a lot of great nutrition into a daily smoothie!! We even have a blog post and Free Kids Smoothie Guide ready for you to download!! Smoothies are an excellent way to ensure good nutritional intake. Many of the key nutrients our body needs for daily function are water soluble (we don't store them), which means we need to consume them daily! Think of your Smoothie as your Nutritional Insurance Policy!
Need a shake mix? I only use Complete with my family because its vegan, gluten free, Non-GMO, made with plant powders, and safe for kids!
Do you ever feel like there is simply not enough time in the day? OR that you WOULD eat healthier if only you had a plan to follow? Well there are definitely some strategies I use in my practice to help my clients simplify healthy eating!
Here are my TOP 4 Time Savers For Healthy Eating....
1. Menu Plan!! If you have been following this blog, or watched my recent video on Facebook, Menu Planning is the #1 way to get the right foods into your household and body!! Click here for my Menu Planning Strategies and Free Menu Planning Worksheets!
2. Weekly Prep Time. Now if this one makes your roll your eyes, then I am definitely speaking to you!!! Seriously I know prep time, takes time, and your likely thinking its time you don't have, BUT I am here to tell you, you DO have the time, because prep time SAVES YOU TIME! (Totally just mom rhymed there!!)
Let me explain……. Aim to find one day and time, each week you can be committed to 30-60 minutes of meal prep. During this time you can: Cut veggies, cook chicken, cook rice, cook oats and make up some freezer bag Smoothies (see #3). If you are feeling really adventurous you can even make a few salads in mason Jars. (see image below)
3. Freezer Bag Smoothies. These are super fast to make and will save you time every day, while increasing your whole food nutrient intake! I LOVE when my clients drink smoothies daily, especially when they drink them with a high quality plant based shake mix like Complete! All you need to do, to create your Freezer Bag Smoothies is to grab a couple of your favourite smoothie recipes and put all of the ingredients (minus liquid and shake mix) in the baggie and freeze. This way when in a rush in the morning you are simply emptying the contents of your smoothie baggie into your blender, adding water or dairy free alternative (rice, almond or soy milk) and blending to go!
Ok so lets be real here for a moment. Getting healthy foods into our children can be challenging on the best of days. And some days it’s simply easier to throw in the towel, and hope for a better day tomorrow. I have spent the last 14 years working with moms and dads who are frustrated with picky eaters, and overwhelmed with busy schedules. We care, we all do, about the foods that enter the bodies of the little people we love so much, but sometimes its just tough!
If you are feeling me, then you know I get where you are coming from. Even as a Nutritionist I struggle regularly with feeding four children, with four different taste preferences, and four personalities strong enough to give the leadership south of the Canadian border a run for his money. (lol, totally giggling as I write that, because its true!!).
Alisa Herriman has been researching and teaching Nutrition since 2003. Leaving her job in the health care industry to share her passion for healthy living, Alisa travels all over Canada sharing her mission and teaching communities how to prevent and fight disease with Nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.
Alisa Teaches at Edision Institute of Nutrition, and is a very popular coporate speaker. Join Alisa in her mission to change the health of families and share these holistic living articles!