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The Positive Effect of Family Dinners

There’s a lot of talk about the benefits of family dinners, but what exactly are those benefits?

Many studies have linked family dinners with a wide-range of benefits, including lower rates of obesity, better academic performance, and even increased resilience against bullying.  Dinnertime is also a perfect opportunity to catch up with your kids and talk over the day, and get closer to each other as you strengthen your relationship.  Unwinding over a meal after a busy day at work and at school is a perfect time to allow kids to talk about what’s on their minds.

When you consider how many positive outcomes are associated with something as ordinary as having dinner with your kids, it becomes clear that this seemingly simple activity is one of the most important things families can do together.

Here are just some of the many ways regular family dinners can have a positive effect on your child’s development and behavior:

1. Better health and nutrition
Research has shown that when kids regularly eat dinner with their families, they will be more likely to have healthy eating habits and less likely to be obese.

Kids whose parents eat dinner with them regularly have these traits:

  • Are less likely to be overweight
  • Tend to eat more healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits and drink less soda
  • Are more likely to continue to eat a healthier diet when they grow up and make their own choices

2. Strong mental, social, and emotional skills
Studies have shown that kids who regularly eat dinner with parents experience psychological and emotional benefits such as:

  • Higher self-esteem and resilience
  • More positive family interactions
  • Lower rates of substance abuse
  • Lower risk of teen pregnancy
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Better body image and reduced risk of developing an eating disorder
  • Better social and emotional health (One study found that kids who have regular family routines such as eating dinner, reading, or playing together are more likely to have empathy, understand emotions, and form positive relationships with others, among other social and emotional health factors.)

3. Better performance in school and better behavior
Kids who eat with their parents regularly have been shown to perform better academically. Specifically, kids who regularly ate family dinners had the following traits:

  • Higher grades
  • Reduced risk for delinquency
  • Ability to have complex conversations
  • Stronger vocabulary skills and higher reading scores

While nothing we do as parents can guarantee that our kids will turn out to be happy, healthy, kind, and well-adjusted individuals, it’s clear that making family dinners a regular part of our daily schedules is a great way to boost kids’ chances of being healthier physically, mentally, and even emotionally.

Holiday Stress and Anxiety in Children: How Parents Can Help

The holidays are a fun and joyous time but also a very busy one, and holiday stress and anxiety in children can and does happen.  Here’s how you can reduce stress and anxiety in your children during the holidays.

1. Set a calm example. The most important way parents can help ease anxiety in children during the holidays is by trying to keep things relaxed as much as possible.  If you let holiday stress get to you, your kids will definitely pick up on it, and child anxiety is more likely to be a problem in your house.

2. Set up conditions for good behavior. Avoid taking your child to places such as the mall or holiday gatherings when he is hungry or tired.

3. Remember the importance of routines.  To minimize holiday stress in your kids, try to get routines back on track once an event or party is over.

4. Watch what she’s eating.  Try packing healthy snacks when you have to go shopping or run other holiday errands and try to minimize the amount of sweet treats at home.

5. Get your child moving. Fresh air and exercise are essential for boosting mood and re-setting the spirit, which can alleviate holiday stress and anxiety in children.

6. Avoid overscheduling. As tempting as it may be to accept every invitation from friends and family, try to limit your holiday parties and activities so that you and your child are not overwhelmed.

7. Have your grade-schooler help you. Giving your child a task will not only boost her self-esteem, it’ll distract her and help prevent any holiday stress and anxiety.

8. Schedule some quiet time.  Find a quiet corner and read a book with your child or create holiday pictures for grandma and grandpa. Take a walk outside in nature, away from noise and crowds and obligations.

9. Remind your child—and yourself—what the holidays are really all about. A great antidote for holiday stress and the bloated commercialism of the season is helping others, whether it’s by shoveling an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk or by wrapping presents for needy kids at your local church.

 

Live.Life.Healthy Health Fair at Audubon Park Elementary

Last week, Live.Life.Healthy (LLH) students from Winter Park High School brought their Live.Life.Healthy health fair to Audubon Park Elementary (APE).  LLH students taught to teach students about the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.  Everyone had a great time!

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Healthy Diet as Teen, Less Weight Gain as Adult

Teens who eat right may gain less weight later on, researchers report.

Encouraging more young people to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as lean proteins and whole grains while limiting sugar, red meat and processed foods could have a positive long-term effect on obesity rates, investigators found.

The University of Minnesota researchers tracked the diet and weight of more than 2,500 teens, starting at age 15, over a decade.

“People with a healthier diet at 15 gained less weight over the next five and 10 years,” lead author David Jacobs said in a university news release. Jacobs is a professor of epidemiology and community health.

A separate study of middle school and high school students showed similar results. It found that healthy eaters were not thinner at 15, but were slimmer at ages 20 and 25.

And that held true regardless of their food intake, physical activity and smoking habits, according to the report published recently in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Food preferences and attitudes may be established as early as age 15,” Jacobs said. “The choices adolescents make during that stage establish a lifetime diet pattern, which could influence weight gain over time.”

The study authors suggested that parents and health care professionals help young people develop healthy eating habits and recognize that tastes may change.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about teen nutrition.

$25,000 in Mini-grants Available

Health Innovation Grant Workshop – Wednesday, May 11 from 7:30-10:30 a.m.

CLICK HERE to view video from last year’s Grants Workshop.

Join Healthy Central Florida and hear two rock stars of health – Jeff Speck, nationally-known walkability expert and author of The Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America One Step at a Time, and Dr. Brian Wansink, world-renowned eating behavior expert for over 25 years.  Dr. Wansink is a professor at Cornell University, and formerly was appointed by the White House appointed to lead the US Dietary Guidelines (MyPlate). Both speakers will bring cutting edge strategies for creating healthier environments to our communities.  Don’t miss out!

Attend this free workshop and your organization could be eligible to receive one of the mini-grants totaling $25,000.

Register here – seating is limited.

Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (program starts promptly at 8:05 a.m.)
Where: Bush Auditorium at Rollins College ▪ 1000 Holt Ave. ▪ Winter Park, FL 32789

The workshop is free and open to anyone in Central Florida.  Grant applicant projects must primarily serve the residents of Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park and applicants must attend the workshop to be eligible to apply. All grant applications must target one of these Healthy Central Florida focus areas: Get active or Eat healthy. Individuals are welcome to attend but grants will be made only to recognized 501(c)(3) organizations for implementation. Collaborations are encouraged. A light breakfast will be provided. Sign up early to ensure your place – seating is limited.

Questions? Please email info@healthycf.org or call 407-644-2300 ext. 241.

Enter to Win a Trip to the 2016 Kids State Dinner

The First Lady is once again teaming up with PBS flagship station WGBH Boston, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to host the fifth annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge to promote cooking and healthy eating among young people across the nation.

The challenge invites kids ages 8-12, in collaboration with a parent or guardian, to create an original recipe that is healthy, affordable, and delicious. One winner from each U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia will win the opportunity to be flown to Washington, DC and the opportunity to attend the 2016 Kids’ “State Dinner” here at the White House, where a selection of the winning recipes will be served. Kids will also have the opportunity to learn from television personality and member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Rachael Ray.

Check out USDA’s MyPlate to ensure your child’s recipe meets the nutrition guidelines by representing each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. In addition, in celebration of the MyPlate, MyState initiative, the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is putting a spotlight on homegrown pride across the country and encouraging entries to include local ingredients grown in your family’s state, territory, or community.

We can’t wait to see what kids create this year – so good luck and get cooking! Don’t forget to submit by April 4!

Learn more:

Bonding With Others May Be Crucial for Long-Term Health

Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In Corridor

Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In Corridor

Adapted from www.healthfinder.gov

Social ties are as important to your long-term health as exercise and healthy eating, a new study suggests.

“Our analysis makes it clear that doctors, clinicians, and other health workers should redouble their efforts to help the public understand how important strong social bonds are throughout the course of all of our lives,” study co-author Yang Claire Yang, a professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, said in a university news release.

For the study, the investigators analyzed data from four surveys of Americans who ranged from adolescents to seniors. First, they looked at social integration, social support and social strain. They then evaluated four indicators of health — blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index and systemic inflammation — that are linked to heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases

The more social ties people had at a young age, the better their health early and late in life, the researchers found.

The study was published Jan. 4 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Click here to read more

Spotlight: Lakemont Elementary

We’re highlighting all the amazing healthy activities taking place at Lakemont Elementary!    Students have had the opportunity to participate in yoga, anti-bullying week, blender bike for STEM night, running club Spooky fun run, Fuel Up to Play 60 kick off, and reading of food labels, just to name a few.  Way to go, Lepoards!

Do you see someone you know have fun while learning about healthy behaviors?

Would you like your school featured?  Contact us at healthykidstoday@wphf.org

 

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Dr. Jayne’s Black Bean Burgers

By: President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

black-bean-burgers-32-560x366How do you like your burger? Consider ditching the traditional beef or turkey patty for a black bean burger. When the beans are smashed and mixed with just the right spice, you end up with a delicious alternative.

This substitution is also great for anyone looking for a healthy option without sacrificing taste. Black beans are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and provide 30% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.

Give this recipe a try and tell the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition how you like it! Be sure to share pictures on Twitter. Tag @FitnessGov and/or hashtag #CookWithTheCouncil

#CookWithTheCouncil – Dr. Jayne’s Black Bean Burgers!

Ingredients:

Burger Patties:

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 chopped cloves of fresh garlic

¼ cup diced sweet Vidalia onions

1 egg or 2 egg white (no yolk)

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder (if you like a bit of spice)

1 ½ cup bread crumbs

Other Ingredients:

Whole wheat hamburger buns

1 whole fresh avocado

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor, add all the burger patty ingredients. Carefully place the blended mixture in a bowl so that you can divide and make your black bean patties.
  2. Form your patties and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Light the outdoor grill, or indoor electric grill, and brush lightly with olive oil.
  4. Place the Black Bean Burgers on the grill in either a grilling pan or some aluminum foil until firm. Finish off directly on the grill so they get those wonderful grill marks.
  5. While the Black Bean Burgers are cooking, gently slice into your avocado so that you can place the slices on your burger with any other condiment you desire.
  6. Slightly grill the whole wheat buns on the grill and they will be ready to build your burger.

VARIATION: You can change up the flavor of your black bean burger to your taste by the types of toppings you add. This can include lettuce and tomato, salsa, cheese, etc.

Dr. Jayne's Black Bean Burgers

By: President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition

black-bean-burgers-32-560x366How do you like your burger? Consider ditching the traditional beef or turkey patty for a black bean burger. When the beans are smashed and mixed with just the right spice, you end up with a delicious alternative.

This substitution is also great for anyone looking for a healthy option without sacrificing taste. Black beans are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and provide 30% of the daily recommended amount of fiber.

Give this recipe a try and tell the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition how you like it! Be sure to share pictures on Twitter. Tag @FitnessGov and/or hashtag #CookWithTheCouncil

#CookWithTheCouncil – Dr. Jayne’s Black Bean Burgers!

Ingredients:

Burger Patties:

1 can of black beans drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 chopped cloves of fresh garlic

¼ cup diced sweet Vidalia onions

1 egg or 2 egg white (no yolk)

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder (if you like a bit of spice)

1 ½ cup bread crumbs

Other Ingredients:

Whole wheat hamburger buns

1 whole fresh avocado

Preparation:

  1. In a food processor, add all the burger patty ingredients. Carefully place the blended mixture in a bowl so that you can divide and make your black bean patties.
  2. Form your patties and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Light the outdoor grill, or indoor electric grill, and brush lightly with olive oil.
  4. Place the Black Bean Burgers on the grill in either a grilling pan or some aluminum foil until firm. Finish off directly on the grill so they get those wonderful grill marks.
  5. While the Black Bean Burgers are cooking, gently slice into your avocado so that you can place the slices on your burger with any other condiment you desire.
  6. Slightly grill the whole wheat buns on the grill and they will be ready to build your burger.

VARIATION: You can change up the flavor of your black bean burger to your taste by the types of toppings you add. This can include lettuce and tomato, salsa, cheese, etc.