With school back in session, it’s time to think about what your child’s eating for lunch.
Packing a school lunch seems like a simple enough task, but trying to send your kids to school with healthy food they’ll actually eat is challenging.
Here are five surefire ways to pack a healthy school lunch that keeps your kid’s nutrition on track.
1. Don’t Overdo It
Parents tend to pack too much in lunch boxes, like crackers, fruit, chips, and a sweet treat. The bad thing about this is that more than likely, your kid will fill up on all the snacks and not eat their protein-filled main entree.
Instead of sending extra food with your child, think about their eating habits at home. If they don't usually finish a whole sandwich, for example, only send half.
2. Remember Protein
It’s not always easy to pack protein to go. The source has to be something that won’t spoil during the day and will still taste good by lunchtime.
Of course, sandwiches are a good option for the entree if you make them with high-quality meats, but consider adding protein-rich snacks, like yogurt and granola bars.
3. Incorporate Veggies
Your kid won’t even eat vegetables at home. How are you supposed to make them eat their greens when they're away from you?
Try to find at least one veggie your child will tolerate, and then do something fun with it. Add peanut butter or a yummy dressing for dipping, make shapes out of it, or research some other unique ideas for getting kids to eat their veggies.
4. Plan Dinner
A major mistake many parents make when packing school lunches is forgetting to think about what they’ll serve for dinner that evening. But this is crucial to making sure your child maintains a well-balanced diet.
For instance, if you’re having spaghetti for dinner — which is high in carbohydrates — try to limit the amount of carbs you pack in your kid’s lunch.
5. Avoid Processed Products
It’s tempting to stock up on ready-made processed foods that are marketed toward kids. After all, it’s easy to toss a few of these conveniently packaged snacks into your child’s lunchbox and be done with it. And with many of them claiming to provide all the nutrition kids need, why not?
Most of these foods contain high levels of sodium, sugar, and additives. Instead of opting for the easy way out, choose fresh fruits and other healthy alternatives.
To learn more about keeping your kids healthy, reach out to fitness pro and personal trainer Ralph Roberts and be sure to use Ralph Roberts Training's free healthy shopping list!
Do you remember the days when parents sent their kids outside and told them to come back home when the sun went down?
Life seemed so much better and simpler back then. Nowadays, most kids are hooked on video games, TV shows, movies, computers and smartphones.
I know for me, as well as my kids, sports are a very important part of our lives.
It's difficult to separate our youngsters from their screens and get them involved in physical activities. Follow this advice and you just might get your child, tween or teen off the couch and onto the field of play.
Make Exercise Fun
Too many parents and coaches take youth sports more seriously than the kids who actually engage in such competitions. Do not attempt to live vicariously through your child. Let him try out an array of sports that pique his interest and settle on those that provide him with the most enjoyable experiences. If your child lacks athletic ability or shows no interest in sports, don't give up. Encourage him to hike, jog, sprint, swim or bike. Removing sports' competitive element just might be enough to get him off the couch and onto his feet.
Restrict Screen Time
Plenty of parents let their kids play video games and watch TV for several hours a day. Make your child set a timer every time he turns on his video game or sits down for some TV watching. Allow him a single hour per screen session. Once the timer goes off, it is time to head outside for some exercise. If he spends an hour outdoors exercising, consider rewarding him with an extra half-hour of screen-time.
Be A Supporter, Not A Critic
Though the best parents do not consider themselves to be their child's friend, they still lend support. A screen-addicted child should not be lambasted for his laziness.
Set an example by getting your own rear end off the couch and outdoors for some physical activity. Teach your child how to play a sport, spend time practicing athletics with him and praise him for his fitness accomplishments. The key is to surround the sports experience with positive feelings, thoughts and reinforcement to increase the odds of him sticking with the activity for the long haul.
Sports Are About The Experience, Not The Score
Couch potato kids usually lack athletic ability. Don't let your child's lack of talent cause a bad attitude. Make it perfectly clear that the point of engaging in sports is to build one's health and establish friendships rather than winning the game by a large margin.
Are you on the prowl for the perfect workout routine for yourself or your child? Ralph Roberts Training is here to help. We offer baseball training for kids as well as other fitness activities. Reach out and we'll get the ball rolling on an exercise routine that is uniquely tailored to your (or your child's physical fitness goals.
With your kids back in school or you swamped at the office, you may find yourself out of options for a snack and stop at the vending machine. When you have just a few minutes for a bite to eat and are starving, what should you choose?
The following are a few of the healthiest options in vending machines as well as the top foods to avoid.
Healthiest Vending Machine Foods
Trail mix and nuts
Nuts and trail mix offer a boost of protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you full. Look for portion-sized peanut and almond packs and trail mix varieties heavy on unsalted nuts and dried fruit.
Many single serving granola bars are under 200 calories and contain some type of whole grain, such as flax or oats, as well as nuts, which deliver a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Be sure to look at the nutrition label; some granola bars are very high in sugar and carbs.
Plain popcorn provides whole grains, fiber, and antioxidants for a delicious, low-calorie snack. Look for popcorn varieties that are air-popped with low salt, avoiding kettle corn and other varieties with excess butter and/or sugar.
Most people mistake feelings of hunger for dehydration. If it's been less than three hours since your last meal and your stomach isn't growling, skip the soda, which will only make you thirstier. Instead, satisfy your urge with water.
Unhealthiest Vending Machine Foods
Pre-packaged pastries and cookies
Packaged apple pies, cinnamon rolls, toaster pastries and chocolate chip cookies aren't fresh and contain anywhere from 250-350 calories each. The refined carbs and added sugars won't keep you full for very long and may even lead to a sugar crash. Most pre-packaged vending machine goods also contain corn syrup and added preservatives to extend their shelf life.
Typically the candy in vending machines is pure concentrated sugar, full of preservatives, flavors and artificial colors. Similar to the pre-packaged pastry goods, most vending machine candy won't keep you full and will lead to a sugar crash and even more sugar cravings.
Sipping on soda instead of water leads to an intake of extra sugar and empty calories, packing on pounds without satisfying your thirst. The sugar in soda is also bad for oral health and may lead to increased cavities. Steer clear of sports drinks and sweetened teas as well.
Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts works with individuals from all walks of life to help them get fit and healthy. From advising workout routines to snacking choices, he'll assist you with every aspect of your health. Contact Ralph today for a free personal training session!
Instead of eating from the vending machine, make sure to always have these healthy staples on hand!
School’s out. The kids are happy, but parents everywhere are struggling to find ways to keep their children active. With the beginning of summer comes “I’m bored.” If you’re like most parents, your schedule doesn’t stop simply because school does. So what’s a mom or dad to do? Take a look at these five fun activities that will help your kids stay active in Amarillo this summer.
Splash Kingdom Waterpark
Who doesn't love a waterpark? The kids won't even know you're trying to get them to exercise – they just won't be able to help it! Running, sliding, jumping in the wave pool, and playing sand volleyball are some of the activities offered at Splash Kingdom Waterpark. It's fun exercise for the whole family.
MOMS Club of Amarillo
If you’re looking for a way to socialize and meet new people while your kids have fun this summer, consider joining a group like the MOMS Club of Amarillo. They hold play dates, outings, book clubs, and much more. Particularly for summer, they offer family fun nights at the park. This is great time for kids to be outdoors and get plenty of exercise while running around and playing on park equipment.
Bowling is a game the whole family can enjoy together – in fact, you can make a tradition of it. It's great for the competitive type, as well as for those who just want to enjoy an evening of socializing. But don't let the laid-back atmosphere fool you; bowling is also a decent workout. Your kids will love the neighborhood-friendly feel of Western Bowl, and you'll love the opportunity for exercise they provide.
Run! Jump! Fly!
This program is offered by the Don Harrington Discovery Center, and will be an event your kids talk about all summer. Straight out of the world of popular children's action-adventure stories, the exhibit inspires kids to get physical by allowing them to jump right into action-star training. Activities include Climbing Canyon, Kung-Fu Forest, Yoga Station, and Dance Club, to name a few. What's even better, as you move through the exhibit, you get ideas for simple ways to keep kids moving at home.
You’re probably thinking “Personal training? For kids?!” But in fact, it’s a great way to keep your kids healthy this summer. This time of year sometimes leads to couch-potato children – no school means no recess and no P.E. classes and the hot weather is something to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, in today’s society, children have access to far too many electronics that take away from their desire to go outside and just play. Enter personal training sessions tailored just for kids. It’s fun, it’s healthy, it’s important.
To learn more about how personal training can help keep your children active this summer, reach out to Ralph Roberts today.
All parents want their children to be healthy. Today, children are overall less active than they were 20 years ago. Not only that, but maintaining healthy eating habits has become more challenging in today's busy culture. The result is that children are more prone to obesity than ever before. Encouraging physical fitness at a young age not only helps avoid health and weight problems in youth, it also sets them up for a more healthy and active lifestyle in adulthood.
What Age Should Kids Start Exercising?
While your five to ten year old child is not going to be hitting the gym, he or she should certainly be spending time on physical fitness activities on a regular basis. At this age, the focus should be on fun. Kids should learn to associate exercise with fun, and not think of it as work. This is the best way to set them up to love exercise from an early age.
Another good way to set children up to love being active and fit is by setting a good example. If they see you out walking, being active and enjoying exercise, they will be more likely to do the same.
What Kinds Of Exercise Should My Kids Do?
For younger children, exercise should be focused on fun and movement. Children are naturally playful and energetic, and while there is nothing wrong with channeling that into a structured activity, this is not the age for a strict exercise routine in the traditional sense. Things like dance, martial arts and sports, like soccer and softball, are great for keeping kids active, allowing them to learn a skill and team building. Walks should be encouraged, as well as bike riding and other physical activities.
As kids get older and move into their teens, they may feel an increased pull towards more sedentary activities, such as video games and television. It is good to continue limiting these activities and continue encouraging health and fitness. At this age, some kids may get more serious about sports. If this is not the case, that's okay, but they can certainly spend time each day doing physical activity.
Starting young is a good way to ensure that your child not only stays healthy during their childhood, but also develops a love for physical activity. If your child needs coaching on what exercises can help them at their sport, he or she may benefit from a session with a personal trainer. Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo specializes in sports training. Contact him to discuss what he can do for your son or daughter.
With kids always playing video games and smart devices, as a parent, you may be concerned they aren't getting enough exercise. What happened to the days of riding bikes every day and climbing trees?
Studies show that both kids and teens can benefit from both cardio and strength training exercise. Your child does not have to be athletic or enjoy sports to be fit. No matter what age your child is, there are plenty of exercises that he or she can do, and plenty that you can do together! Why not make exercise fun? Get the whole family moving and see the results.
Which Exercises Are Good for Children?
We all know that jumping jacks are a great way to get moving, but most children find them fun to do. What else do they love but jumping around? Get your kids moving and do some jumping jacks with them. Start out with 10, and then add on. Do not worry too much about their form in the beginning. Jumping jacks get the heart rate up and calories burning.
Ski jumps are an exercise that require you to move from side to side. This strengthens the leg muscles and of course, gets the blood pumping. Have your kids move with you, jumping from side to side. Start with lower jumps, and then, as your kids get into it, have them jump higher into the air, and then, wider and wider. These are fun and will really get your (and your kids') heart rate up. Try a set of 20 or so, and see how that goes.
Of course, as adults, we may hate to do a plank, but we also know how good it is for our entire body. The plank works the core, the legs and the arms. Your kids probably won't be great at it from the beginning, but you probably weren't either, so start them out slowly.
Have your children try a plank on their knees, and as they get better at it, they can straighten their legs and hold the plank longer. Try for a few seconds and add on.
Kids love to run, and sprints are excellent for our health. Try a simple game of tag, or just ask your kids to sprint from one side of the yard, or park, to the other with you. Try to make it a game, getting them to pick up the pace and go faster. Do just a few at first, and then add on. This is a great exercise for the heart and for the entire body.
Squats and Crunches and Push-ups
From planks to push-ups, try that same knee position that you had them in for planks, and have your kids try a few push-ups. Start with a few and add on.
Simple crunches and squats are great for bone density and for building muscle, too. Just like with push-ups, start with a few and add on. In this case, make sure that your children's form is good. Work on form before you add repetitions.
Yoga stretches are good for everyone, and the sooner we start doing yoga, the better. Have your kids start with some simple poses, like downward facing dog or even child's pose. Do these at the end of your workout, or just do yoga one day a week as your work out. You may be surprised how much your kids might love practicing yoga!
Who has experience working out with kids?
As a parent, you want your child to be healthy and happy. Exercising can help your kid achieve that. If you want to get your kids in shape, or help them get ready for a certain sport, contact me, Ralph Roberts. I am a personal trainer with the Downtown Athletic Club and a former professional baseball player. I have years of experience working with kids on and off the field. Contact me today to learn more about helping your children stay fit and be sure to ask about my group training just for kids.
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