A Collaborative Post: Back-to-school “Importance of Breakfast and Snacks”

Today we’ll be having a collaborative post with Christele Daccache, a nutritionist, yoga instructor and blogger at Health ‘n’ Horizons; on the importance of breakfast and snacks for school aged children and young adults. Christele offers at-home nutrition counseling for families in Jeddah, KSA where she helps them adopt a healthier lifestyle through a complete nutrition management program that suits their specific needs with kitchen makeovers, guided grocery shopping tours, and more. If you haven’t checked Christele’s awesome blog already, I invite you to. I am sure you will enjoy her writings and advice as much as I do!


Part 1: The Importance of Breakfast

Why is Breakfast Important?

Breakfast is one of the most important meals especially for school aged individuals (children and teens). As the term “BreakFast” shows that during breakfast we “BREAK” the “FAST”. Meaning, disturbing the sleeping night fast in the morning with a balanced diet, and that is essential for a healthy body.
Studies have shown that breakfast has an important effect on behavior, learning and overall school performance. On the other hand, it may help control weight and reduce the risk of weight related diseases, because when the child eats breakfast he/she will not feel hungry earlier during the day and more kely to eat less fat foods during breaks.

On the other hand, children who do not eat breakfast are often bad-tempered, impatient with bad attitudes toward school with less energy during the day. That in turn affects the child’s concentration and school performance ability.

As a conclusion, it’s very important to make breakfast a repetitive continuous behavior for ourselves and our children.

Now you might say: But we have a hectic lifestyle and no time to make breakfast for ourselves even. We say, nowadays we all have a hectic lifestyle; thus why not prepare the basic ingredients beforehand to make the “on the go” process fast, healthy and easy.

A balanced breakfast contains a source of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with vegetables and fruits.

To make it easier for you, we will share with some simple breakfast recipe ideas.

Breakfast Recipe Ideas

– Labneh Sandwich with a Banana
– Light Cheese Sandwich with an Apple
– Zaatar and Labneh Sandwich with Vegetables
– Broccoli Mini Omelets or any type of vegetable omelet (made in the shape of a muffin)
– Milk, Cereals and mixed nuts (that’s for the weekends)
Stress-free overnight oats recipe

Part 2: The Importance of Snacks

Snacks can be nutritional disasters if children are having sugary drinks, chips and all-they-can-eat candy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Good planning and some tricks can help you make sure your kid is snacking the right way.

Why do kids need snacks?

– Children have small stomachs; they need snacks to keep them going to the next meal – a midmorning snack to keep them focused at school and going till lunch and an afternoon snack to make them go to dinner. However, if the next meal is just within two hours, you wouldn’t want to offer a snack so as not to ruin your child’s appetite.
– Snacks make it easier for children to get all the nutrients they need.

How can you help your kid have the right snack?

Snacking is not equivalent to grazing. You don’t want your children to be eating every hour and they should not be allowed to have snacks in front of the TV or computer screen. They will be more likely to override their satiety signals and gain weight. Plus, you don’t want your children to consume extra calories they are not burning off with physical activity.
– Sit down with your child every week or every month and decide on what snacks to have. They will appreciate being treated as adults and will be more likely to go for nutritious and healthy snacks that they have come up with.
– If your child likes chocolate, include it in the plan occasionally just don’t make the mistake of calling it a treat. You don’t want your child to think there is something special about it.
– Midmorning snacks should be simple and appealing enough to compete with cafeteria junk or whatever other kids are having.
– Afternoon snacks can be a bit experimental. Since they are mostly offered at home, a new fruit or vegetable can be introduced.
– Cutting up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes works well with smaller kids.

What are some good snack ideas?

A snack should be nutrient dense; easy to eat, and low in salt, sugar and fat. You want to steer clear of prepackaged snacks that contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives.

– Fruits are obvious snack foods. They can be served alone or paired with a source of protein: an apple or a banana with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, grapes or watermelon with feta or two slices of halloumi cheese.
– Make your own fruit yogurt without the additives by mixing half a cup of yogurt with slices of peaches, plums or strawberries…
– A handful of dried fruits (apricots, prunes…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
– Veggie sticks including carrots, cucumbers, peppers … to dip in labneh, yogurt or hummus.
– Homemade baked vegetable “chips”. Forget store brought potato chips. Experiment with zucchini, sweet potato and squash. Cut them into thin circles, toss in a teaspoon of canola oil, add your favorite herbs or spices and bake in hot oven until crispy.
– A small bowl of plain popcorn.
– Half a small bagel or pita bread topped with a slice of turkey, low-fat cream cheese, or low-sugar jam.
– The occasional snacks (once a week): a small chocolate biscuit bar, a snack-sized chocolate bar, or two biscuits or cookies, or a small muffin (homemade is better like this Banana Oat Cake with chocolate or check the ingredient list for the most natural ingredients and serving size).

We hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to connect with us 🙂

Photo Source:

http://fisd-reads.blogspot.com/2012/09/welcome-back-to-school.html
http://blogs.faithlafayette.org/community/back-to-school-lunch-boxes/

Additional References

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/healthy-snacks-for-kids
http://www.nfsmi.org/documentlibraryfiles/PDF/20100916044310.pdf
http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2012/07/31/85-snacks-for-kids-and-adults/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dina-r-rose/french-parenting-advice-_b_1499249.html
http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Food-and-Nutrition/-/4-to-13-years/Healthy-snacks-for-kids.aspx
http://www.lowcarb.ca/articles/article122.html
http://recipes.slides.kaboose.com/307-10-back-to-school-breakfasts/7
http://www.lowcarb.ca/articles/article122.html
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442460400#.UHReBxV3bG8
http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=resources/lifestyle_community&id=8333184
http://www.colehealth.com/blog/back-to-school-basics-tips-for-a-successful-school-year/
http://ateacheratheart.blogspot.com/2011/08/back-to-school-breakfast-ideas.html
http://chefmom.sheknows.com/articles/822467/the-best-kid-friendly-breakfast-recipes/page:2

Folic Acid and Mothers to be…

A Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world from Strawberry Blu!! On this occasion we would like to answer the question on Folic Acid for mothers to be: Foods that contain folic acid are good for the brain of the baby in the womb?

Folic acid, a water soluble B vitamin, is an essential nutrient with a special consideration before conception and during the first 6 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid helps develop the infant’s neural tube, which during development of the infant in the womb is transformed into the baby’s spinal cord and brain.

The neural tube forms within the first 28 days from conception; thus consumption of folic acid during this period of pregnancy reduces the risks of neural tube defects; such as Spina Bifida.

Spina bifida is one of the birth defects called neural tube defects (NTD) where a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close correctly.

How much you need:

– 400 micrograms of folic acid/day for women of childbearing age
– 600 to 800 micrograms of folic acid/day before conception and throughout pregnancy

Sources of Folic Acid

Synthetic Form:

– Supplements
– Fortified foods such as breads, cereals or pastas

Food Sources:

– Citrus fruits and juices ex. Orange
– Dark-green leafy vegetables ex. Spinach
– Nuts ex. Peanuts
– Liver

Alert: Always consult your doctor or dietitian for appropriate levels of supplementation.

Related References

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/spina-bifida/DS00417
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=4294967638
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6808

The Manoushe…

The Manoushe is a traditional Lebanese pie; initially know as the Thym Pie.

It’s a traditional street on-the-go food found everywhere and on all streets of Lebanon. It’s usually eaten on breakfast.

The Manoushe has evolved over the years. It’s now made with different ingredients and flavours. Flavours include: Lebanese Thym, Cheese, Kishik, Spinach, Lahm b Ajeen (Meat), Eggs, Awarma, kafta etc.

Those flavours evolved to include a mix of cheese & thym, cheese & tomato sauce, thym & labneh, thyme & hot pepper paste, shanklish, Bulgarian cheese, Feta Cheese, kishik with awarma, Kishik with walnuts, purslane, eggs with awarma, awarma with labneh, kafta & Cheese, kafta & Hommos, soujouk, soujouk with eggs etc…

All those combinations developed with the development of consumer preferences; some people prefer it plain, others with extra spices, extra lemon, cocktail etc…

It has been also transformed into a dessert pie, with chocolate, halawe, sesame and butter, honey and their combinations with fruits such as bananas or dried fruits and nuts…

Caution:

If we consider a regular thym manoushe of around 150g (the dough); that means the dough alone is around 5 exchanges of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to 2.5 loafs of medium sized Lebanese bread. Thus, if you eat a manoushe you’ll be consuming most or all your carbohydrates (of course depending on each individual daily intake requirements) in a single meal, not taking into consideration the stuffing yet.

That being said, if you have the choice to chose between two manoushes of the SAME size (diameter) and the same type; yet one is of a thinner version (made of less dough) go for the thinner one…

Children… Eczema… and Diet

Yesterday night I received an email from “Eggplant”…

“Eggplant”

Dear Blue Strawberry…
Hope this email finds you well…
I have two children and they both have eczema…
Do you have any food/nutrition recommendations related to eczema???
I’m a bit worried…

“Blue Strawberry”

Well… first I need to know if your children have any food allergies… however for now it’s good to know that…

Most children with eczema do not have any reactions to food. Though, in some children, food allergies
may prompt some skin reactions.

The diet for eczema varies depending on the sensitivity of the child towards certain foods.
For example, milk may prompt eczema in some children, while it is safe for other children.
Thus, the diets vary from one child to another.

For me to plan a food related eczema diet, the first important step, is to identify the type
of foods that might affect the eczema.

I’ll give you a list of items that MIGHT trigger some reactions:

Milk and dairy product: Milk, cheeses, yogurt, chocolate that contains cow’s milk…
Wheat based products and cereals: Bread, crackers, donuts, pancakes, barley, oats and rye…
Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts and pistachios…
Seafood: Shellfish, salmon, tuna, lobster, mussels, crabs…
Acidic fruits: Orange, lemon, strawberries, plumps, blueberries, prunes and tomatoes…
Eggs and soy products
Food colorings and food additives: Sodium benzoate, glutamate, tartrazine…

I can’t surely detect what is relevant to your children; nevertheless I insist that you get back
to your children doctor… and upon the doctor’s prescriptions, tests etc… we can move forward to the next step…

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