Category Archives: Healthy Kid Tips

Kids Table Manners

How we experience food in our homes and environment, changes our bodies and our metabolic process. Modern hectic lifestyle has eroded family meal traditions. Recent research shows that the family meal can uplift the mental and physical wellness of parents and kids. Families eat healthier, communicate better, and become closer. Healthy habits for a lifetime can be created for kids while enjoying a nutritious meal with loved ones.  Family mealtime can be made special by including the kids in the family meal planning. Kids can help planning a menu, making a shopping list, and preparing a dish. Depending on their age, they can measure, pour, and stir ingredients for the meal. Kids that grow an organic veggie garden can pick their produce at the height of freshness and add it to the menu. Proud of their offering, they learn to wash their hands, clean the produce, set the table, and keep the kitchen cleaner than when they started.  Parents can discover what is happening in their child’s life at school and play, as kids will want to communicate.  Family mealtime can bring beauty, value, and meaning to everyday life for both parents and kids.

Table manners help create that special environment for parents and kids to show gratitude and respect for the meal.  Kids can swallow their food before talking and use their napkin to wipe sticky hands or to cover their mouth when coughing. Kids can speak kindly at the table: “Please pass the bread,” “I’m sorry for bumping the table,” “Excuse me for spilling,” “Thank you for the mashed potatoes”. When parents set the example of using good manners to enjoy healthy homemade food, kids will too. The wonderful aromas of home cooking and the laughter around the dinner table are the making of happy kids and fond memories.

Kids Mindful Eating

When kids grow their own veggies, they want to eat what they have grown. Even small kids can help tidy the dining area, set the table, or create a centerpiece of flowers, leaves, or fruit from the garden. When kids invest in the growing, planning, and cooking of the meal, they want to enjoy the meal peacefully and eat mindfully, without electronic devises, excited to have their family enjoy what they have done.

However, some kids come to the table complaining about their food. Whatever dish has been prepared, they start crying for something else, throwing the food, and pushing it away. They whine about the meal as they play with the toy car, driving it over the fruit platter on the table. They hit their sibling with the banana. Refusing to eat what was their favorite dish in the past, they scream for their video game until they get a phone, tablet, or computer to continue their play, while some other dish they demanded is being prepared. Some kids will only eat quietly while watching cartoons. Many families with busy schedules eat at separate times and places, while the dining room table remains cluttered with stuff.

Being thankful, polite, and kind at the dinner table is the beginning of Mindful Eating. Kids can begin the meal with a song of gratitude for the abundant harvest. They can thank the many farmers, truckers, food processors, grocers, and their folks who have worked to bring this food to the table. Kids can have a taste test, like the boy in the picture above, to try new foods and compare the salty, sweet, spicy, and sour tastes of foods. Or the taste test can be to guess the ingredients in a dish. Kids can play a game to see how many chews they can have with one bite of food. Twenty-five to thirty chews per bite helps to digest the food and get the most nutrients into their system to build healthy bodies. Kids can find peaceful music to play during a dinner where everyone eats silently. Mindful Eating is kids being peaceful and present in the moment, appreciating every mouthful, especially the delicious organic produce they have helped to grow and prepare.

Kids Aspirin

In 1899, a new synthetic compound was created and patented from salicylic acid and called Bayer Aspirin. It has survived unchanged into the 21st Century, maintaining enviable sales as a heart medication.  Salicylic acid derived from willow tree bark has been used for thousands of years to reduce fever, pain, and inflammation, with the side effects of nausea, tinnitus, and gastric irritation. With the development of television in the 1950’s, people heard the commercials and started taking Aspirin for every little thing. All Big Pharma companies today have a quest to develop better pain relievers. Most of these pain projects focus on blocking some type of ion channel in neurons involved with the transmission of painful stimuli. Hence the immense commercial successes of opiates, which are both psychologically and physiologically addictive, induce drowsiness and constipation, and can halt breathing, causing death.

Organic compounds produced by plants are extremely complex and difficult to manipulate in a laboratory. Other synthetic compounds were created from salicylic acid to compete with Bayer Aspirin, such as the over the counter analgesics, Tylenol, Advil, and Motrin. Most people consider them totally benign and take them frequently with little awareness of their risks. The main adverse side effects of these so called safe products are gastrointestinal ulceration, kidney damage, and excessive bleeding.

Kids should take these salicylic acid products sparingly, only for real illness, fever, injury, or as prescribed by the doctor. For a headache or minor pains, kids can have a relaxing bath, a cold pack, a cup of chamomile tea, and a nap.

Healthy Germs for Kids

Microbes have been living on Earth for 3.7 billion years and perform such vital services that all other creatures on Earth would die without them. Microbes are in the air, the soil, the food, as well as in the human body, especially the skin and intestines. Half the cells in our body are microbial, many are helpful and only a few are destructive. Microbes break down organic substances and change their chemical makeup when foods are fermented, such as yogurt, bread, pickles, and soy sauce, making fermented foods gut healthy. Nutritionists encourage a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods to support a healthy microbial community in a healthy body. Processed food has chemical additives that have been shown to disturb microbes. Antibiotics kill susceptible bacteria but not resistant bacteria which multiply and become more common. Kids should take antibiotics exactly as prescribed by the doctor and avoid antibacterial soaps, lotions, and cleansers. Instead, kids can wash their hands with soap and water, which wash all kinds of bacteria down the drain, and wash often to avoid infection. The microbial cells and human cells work together to keep kids healthy. There are many kinds of microbes in the human body performing many tasks, like helping to digest our food, fighting harmful bacteria in the gut, and developing our immune system. Studies have shown that kids in big families or that go to day care are less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies. Kids that live on farms and interact with farm animals have the lowest rates of allergy and asthma. Kids that grow up with dogs, cats, and horses are also less affected. Antidepressant microbes in soil bacteria produce serotonin bringing happiness and healing to kids and gardeners rooting about in the soil. Kids that spend time outdoors, playing in nature, and growing an organic veggie garden are healthier and happier.

Kids Spring Diet

Spring is the perfect time to start a clean eating diet as local Farmers Markets are filled with abundant fresh colorful organic produce. Seasonal, locally grown fruits and veggies are the most flavorful and nutritious. Kids that grow their own veggies can hardly wait to eat them. Kids can kick the addiction to sodas and junk food filled with chemicals, preservatives, and additives. At the Farmers Market or local farm stand, kids can learn about their food from the farmers that grow it. Overweight kids can lose weight just by switching from junk food to organic whole food. Kids discover that real whole food, fresh from the garden, is sweeter and more satisfying than the food corporations’ processed and packaged foods which have been made with too much salt, fat, and sugar. Processed convenience foods and fried fast foods have caused wide ranged health problems including diabetes and obesity. Studies show that kids who eat home cooked meals from scratch with their families around the dinner table are happier, as well as healthier.  Kids can pack their lunch boxes with healthy snacks, like whole fruits and nuts, to fuel their day. Kids can make their own fresh fruit juice or infuse water with pieces of fruit rather than sugary fruit drinks or sodas. Real food is made from ingredients kids can find in nature, like whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, herbs, and veggies. A clean eating diet means cooking healthy by steaming, roasting, or grilling rather than frying. Kids can start an organic veggie garden in pots on the patio this spring. Kids can cook from scratch with whole organic ingredients and lose weight, gain energy, and feel great.

Kids Harvest Rosemary

Kids can grow rosemary in a container and bring its lovely evergreen fragrance to the patio. Popular with pollinators, rosemary displays little blue flowers that keep bees happy in winter and is a good companion plant for veggies. Because it quickly grows large, kids can freely harvest sprigs for adding to recipes, making dried herb blends, and creating smudge sticks and sachets. Kids can add rosemary to many delicious recipes, such as Rosemary Pesto and Roasted Potatoes or use it as a skewer for grilling. Kids can cut fresh sprigs of rosemary with scissors for dinner and add it to beans, salad, pasta, or bread.

Kids can make Rosemary Smudge Sticks, dried herb bundles that are burnt as incense and release a pleasant, relaxing and peaceful aroma. Scientific evidence shows that smelling rosemary stimulates brain chemistry and helps depression. Kids can make three smudge sticks by cutting 12 rosemary branches, 6 – 8 inches long, and dividing them into three groups for bundling. Cut three cotton threads 6 feet long, double in half, and start wrapping the rosemary bundle about an inch above the bottom of the stems, 10 times in one place and make a knot. Wrap the bundle tightly, spiraling the cotton thread up the stems, and continue wrapping, crisscrossing the cotton thread back down the stems. Tie the loose end to the knot at the base of the bundle. Kids can dry the smudge sticks on a flat surface for 2 weeks. Parents can light the top end of the stick, blow out the flame, while kids hold the base to release the smoky scent and carry it throughout the house and garden. Traditionally, rosemary smudging is used to release negative energy and bring about mental clarity and calmness.

Kids Rosewater Facial Toner

Kids can make a delightful gift for Mom and Grandma with 15 – 20 sweet smelling roses. Rosewater Facial Toner has been a favorite since ancient times as a soothing anti-inflammatory. Roses have edible pedals that look lovely on cupcakes or in salads. Kids need to ask permission to cut the roses before starting this project. Rosewater has the calming scent of the roses and is a natural cooling astringent with skin soothing properties. Kids can pick roses in the morning that are just opening and immediately place the harvested stems in cool water out of the sun. Put a heatproof bowl upside down in the bottom of a large pot on the stove. Clean and remove the petals, scattering them around the bowl. Pour 3 cups distilled water over the petals. Place a smaller bowl right side up on top of the larger bowl. Cover the pot with the lid upside down and bring the water to a gentle simmer. When drops of water appear on the lid, kids can place 10 – 12 ice cubes in the upside down lid. Continue simmering for about 45 minutes until the water has been collected in the top bowl. Kids need to watch carefully at the end so that the water doesn’t boil out and scorch the pot. Prepare a funnel and small bottles or jars with lids. Cautiously remove the top bowl from the pot and pour the hot rosewater through the funnel into the bottles. Strain the petals from the pot and pour any rosewater remaining in the pot into a jar to use to flavor drinks or to add to baked goods. Kids can decorate the bottles with stickers and ribbons. Mom and Grandma will enjoy adding Rosewater Toner to their skin care routines.