EyeWear5 Ways to Naturally Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

If your child suffers from vision problems, you surely want to do anything and everything in your power to ensure that he is able to see. This is important not only for his ability to navigate the world now and in the future, but considering that the majority of learning done in our school system in based on visual instruction, the truth is that he’ll have a much easier time if his eyesight is unfettered. On the other hand, your first instinct is probably to avoid the dangers inherent in surgery if at all possible. Although you might eventually exhaust your options and settle on surgery, depending on the condition that is impacting your child’s eyesight, you should definitely gather information on alternatives therapies. And if you happen to lean towards natural and non-invasive options, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few things you can try.

1. Food. You’ve no doubt heard the adage “you are what you eat”, and there’s actually some merit to the statement. The foods you give your child provide essential nutrients that will help him to grow and develop, and you can use this knowledge to provide foods that are proven to benefit eyesight. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and particularly DHA, boost eye health in a number of ways. And while the best source is salmon, you might not want to risk too much mercury in your child’s diet. Flaxseed and walnuts are also good sources. Antioxidants like beta carotene and lutein also support eye health and help to prevent (and even reverse) some types of damage (like that caused by the sun). Good sources include leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and eggs. And you might be surprised to learn that sulfur-rich foods like garlic and onions can help to prevent cataracts, although you probably know that kids don’t tend to like them much.

2. Vitamins. It’s practically impossible to get all the nutrients you need from food, and kids can be pretty picky about what they eat on top of it. So you might want to talk to your pediatrician about the prospect of giving your child a daily multivitamin that will ensure he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs for overall health and wellness, not to mention those that will help to make his eyesight strong.

3. Adequate rest. Kids can be temperamental when it comes to bedtime, but it’s your job as a parent to make sure that your child is receiving adequate rest. So if you have trouble getting him down for the night, he awakens frequently, or he rises early, there are a couple of steps you can take. First, cut back on sugar intake, which will only keep him up. Then make sure that you don’t give him water right before bedtime and that he uses the restroom before going to sleep. Finally, think about implementing mandatory naptime. This will give you a much-needed break during the day and ensure that he gets all the rest he needs to support healthy vision, not to mention mental wellness.

4. Exercises. Just like any other part of your body, your eyes can atrophy if they’re not properly exercised. Since a child’s eyes are still developing, you don’t want to work them to hard, but easy exercises like eye rolls and changing focus (from an object up close to one far away) can help to strengthen eye muscles and potentially prevent vision problems.

5. Eco-friendly eyewear. When you’ve exhausted natural options like diet and exercise, the next step is to think about whether or not glasses can help your child to see. And there are plenty of international eyewear brands that offer eco-friendly options. One of the best may be Eco, which is certified by independent product evaluator ULE to feature 95% recycled materials. Proof Eyewear is another option that makes cool, modern frames from sustainable wood. And you can always look for vintage glasses that can be outfitted with new lenses as a means of recycling, although you might have a hard time finding eyewear for your tot by this last method. On the upside, all of these options are preferable to surgery.

ID-100163322FASD Awareness: What’s Nutrition Got To Do With It?

By Lauren Bartell Weiss, Ph.D.

As International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day approaches, people all around the world are planning events to raise awareness about the potential risks of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and the difficulties of people and families who struggle with FASD. The first FASDay was celebrated on 9/9/99. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from drinking alcohol. As a published researcher specializing in nutrition and it’s impact during pregnancy, I thought about how I could do my part during FASD Awareness Month. It came down to spreading the word about what I know best- good nutrition.

You might be asking yourself, “what does nutrition have to do with FASD?” The answer might surprise you. Let’s start with some facts about alcohol consumption. Approximately 60% of child-bearing-aged women consume alcohol and it has been suggested that up to 30% of women drink while pregnant. In addition, about 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and it is likely that a woman may unintentionally drink during the early stages of pregnancy.

Here’s where nutrition comes into play. While the recommendation is still to abstain from consuming alcohol during pregnancy, there are ways to reduce potential risks to the baby by optimizing your nutrition status. While eating a healthy balanced diet is very important for health and disease prevention in general, women of childbearing age, especially those who consume alcohol, should also take a multivitamin/prenatal supplement to maximize their nutritional health in the event that they do unexpectedly become pregnant. Pregnancy increases the demand for many vitamins and minerals in order to adequately support a developing fetus and alcohol can interfere with nutritional supply from the mom to the unborn baby. It can also change the metabolism of the nutrients. This can be dangerous by potentially increasing the risk of pregnancy and baby complications and, also, of birth defects. There is strong evidence that a deficiency in folic acid is associated with an increased risk of neural tube defects. Folic acid supplementation before and during pregnancy protects against this. The same may hold true for other vitamins and minerals in the protection of FASD so taking extra vitamin supplements before and during pregnancy may serve as a type of “insurance policy” if a pregnancy were to occur.

A new study I co-authored found a link between multivitamin use and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. We looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s multiple-state Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) of more than 100,000 women between 2004 and 2008. The women answered a series of questions involving their alcohol use before pregnancy as well as multivitamin consumption during it. The study found women who reported consuming alcohol regularly or binge drinking were significantly less likely to take a multivitamin supplement compared with those who did not report alcohol consumption. The findings of this study, in addition to other research, emphasize the importance for all women of childbearing age, especially those who drink alcohol, to take a multivitamin supplement regularly whether they’re planning to have children or not.

I now encourage you to do your part during FASD Awareness Month by spreading the word about daily multivitamin use among your circle of friends. Let them know, a prenatal vitamin today could make for a healthier child tomorrow, even if they don’t plan on starting a family for a very long time.

MotherToBaby has facts sheets on alcohol’s risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which can be found at MotherToBaby.org. For more information or to get a personalized risk assessment about alcohol, medications or other exposures, call MotherToBaby toll-free at (866) 626-6847. MotherToBaby is a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS). MotherToBaby and OTIS are suggested resources by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About the Author

Lauren Bartell Weiss, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UC San Diego’s Center for the Promotion of Maternal Health and Infant Development and co-author of “Associations Between Multivitamin Supplement Use and Alcohol Consumption Before Pregnancy: Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2004 to 2008,” which was published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research earlier this year.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

ID-10069058Tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and obesity is an epidemic that everyone in the family can help combat!

Did you know that in a study researching the trend of childhood obesity, an estimated 43 million children around under the age of 5 were overweight or obese, globally, in 2010. This number is staggering, but in honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are a few tips to help prevent any more children from becoming part of this statistic.

Designate Family Time for Getting Active

Whether it’s a walk together after dinner or getting together in a park on a Sunday afternoon, there are always times to get in some time for physical activity. Doing this together holds you all accountable, sets good examples for kids, and gives you more time to be with your loved ones!

Limit TV and Video Game Time

Sitting in front of electronic screens for prolonged periods of time isn’t good for kids—it makes it easy for them to fall into couch-potato status instead of getting outside and playing sports or meeting friends outdoors.

Fresh-Fruit-Bonanza

Cook Meals Together

Here’s another easy opportunity to stay fit as a family. Cooking homemade meals together increases bonding time with the family and prevents you from picking up take-out or pizza on your way home from work

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Make Sure They Get Proper Nutrients

Following the idea of cooking meals together, you have to make sure what you are feeding your kids will help them continue to grow strong and healthy. Try to limit sweets, increase veggies, and make sure they get all of the vitamins and nutrients they need. Incorporating a children’s multivitamin like USANA USAnimals into your kid’s daily routine can help ensure that this happens.

*Main image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

UsananimalsAs the kids start back-to-school, a nutritious breakfast is a wonderful start to the school day, and to make sure they are receiving all of the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, choosing a high-quality vitamin is essential. “Mom” was recently introduced to Usanimals by USANA, which has a wild berry flavor that her little one enjoys! No struggles to ger her to take her vitamin every morning – it is delicious and easy to chew! Science-based and free of artificial flavors and sweeteners, Usanimals daily multivitamin helps support development for children ages 2 to 12.

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Why Choose USANA Usanimals?

Provides excellent nutritional support for growing children*
Supports healthy immune function with vitamins A, C, E, and zinc*
Includes vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline for healthy brain function*
Includes calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D for strong bones and teeth*
Includes iron, thiamin, and B12 for energy*
Easy-to-eat chewables stamped with fun animal shapes

To learn more about USANA Usanimals, or the other various supplements and products offered by USANA, visit USANA.com.*

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

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7 Steps to a Smarter Kid

With kids headed back to school, it’s more important than ever to support their healthy development to ensure they have every advantage in school!

One of the most overlooked aspects of brain development is the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids on a child’s brain. A recent study shows the significant impact of omega-3 DHA in relation to a child’s vocabulary and comprehensive testing. Early intake of omega-3 supplements will benefit your child’s cognitive learning and may increase intelligence in their pre-school and school-aged years.

Karlene Karst, a mother, Registered Dietician and five-time published author on “Healthy Fats,” believes so strongly in the power of Omega-3’s that she developed her own line called Sea-Licious, which she gives to her two young boys every day! To help other parents, Karlene has outlined 7 steps parents can take to help build smarter kids by incorporating Omega-3’s into their everyday lives.

7 Steps to a Smarter Kid:

1. Supplement each day with ½ tsp. of pure Omega-3 oils. Sea-Licious is one of the tastiest and most powerful options on the market.

2. After age 1, begin to incorporate nut butters such as almond and sunflower as a way to increase healthy omega-3s. Nut butters can be spread on brown rice cakes, pita bread or sprouted grain bread for a delicious breakfast or snack.

3. Incorporate ground flaxseeds, chia and pumpkin seeds into baked goods such as muffins, loafs and cookies. They can even be added to soups and stews for additional fiber, protein and of course healthy fat.

4. Greek yogurt — such a delicious, healthy snack! You can incorporate a brand such as Sea-Licious right into the yogurt if your child doesn’t want to take their omega-3 oil on its own.

5. Smoothies — this is one of the easiest and delicious ways to pack a ton of nutrients into your child’s diet. As a base use organic milk or a dairy alternative such as rice, or almond milk. Load the smoothie up with spinach, berries, and add a banana for sweetness. You can also add the chia/flaxseeds as well as Sea-Licious right into the blender!

6. Serve fish such as halibut and salmon. There are many delicious ways to prepare it. Make it flavorful and your kids will love it!

7. Be your child’s role model — they will do what you do! If you are taking your Omega-3’s, so will your children! If you eat healthy, so will your children!

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

2022582_CSVeggie_Sport_Protein_VNL_85Tub_stg2Mom” starts every morning with a protein smoothie complete with chia seeds, rice or soy protein, strawberries, 1 banana and all-natural peanut butter. So when she learned of the new CleanSeries™ line from Twinlab, she was excited to test it out! This new high performance line is Non-GMO and banned substance tested, certified gluten-free, and formulated without artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

The CleanSeries line features five products, two of which have “Mom” raving – the Veggie Protein and Soy Protein Isolate. Although “Mom” is not a vegetarian, but traditional whey protein powders cause her belly to bloat and feel uncomfortable, so she sticks to vegetarian-based powders for her smoothies. She also loves the fact that the Soy Protein Isolate contains no sugar!

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The five new products in the CleanSeries™ line include:

CleanSeries™ Sport Protein
· 23g of high quality protein per serving to support lean muscle growth*
· Promotes muscle repair and helps aid recovery*
· Enzyme-assisted formula to aid digestion

CleanSeries™ Whey Protein Isolate
· 23g protein per serving from premium cross flow ultra filtered Whey Protein Isolate
· Promotes muscle repair and helps reduce recovery time*
· No fat and only 2g sugar

CleanSeries™ Soy Protein Isolate
· 30 grams of superior quality protein per serving
· 100% soy protein isolate, a complete vegetable protein source
· Zero cholesterol and sugar free

CleanSeries™ Pre-workout Activator
· Total energy activator features clinically-studied herbal complex plus caffeine to deliver energy you can feel*
· Concentrated formula helps fight fatigue and boost endurance*
· Timed-release carb blend fuels intense, extended exercise*

CleanSeries™ Veggie Protein
· 21g vegetarian protein per serving to promote muscle repair and recovery*
· Enzyme-assisted formula to help aid digestion
· No cholesterol and no lactose

You can learn more about the new CleanSeries™ line on http://cleanseries.twinlab.com/.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Girl holding bananaHead Back-to-School with a Healthier Lunch!

It’s difficult to believe that it’s almost time to send our little ones back to school. This year, fix healthier lunches by stocking up on foods that you and your child will love. Try new packaged snacks like Smash Smoothies from Sprout Organic Foods as a nutritious and delicious option for lunch or after-school. Cute superhero packaging is fun for kids while parents can rest assured that their children are getting proper nutrition from the wholesome organic ingredients like veggies, fruits, coconut milk, quinoa and Greek yogurt. They come in a handy squeeze pouch with a resealable top too.

Here are some other suggestions when packing lunches this year:

1. Make a low shelf or a basket that has all healthy options and let you child pack their own lunch. By allowing them to make decisions, toddlers and children feel like they are in control of their eating and won’t feel forced to eat what they don’t like.
2. Plan ahead by having your child try all of the foods before putting them in their lunch bag. There’s nothing worse than having a full lunchbox go to school and a full, uneaten lunchbox come home. If your child tries everything ahead of time, they’ll be likely to eat their meal.
3. Eat the rainbow by providing a wide variety of colorful foods. Chances are if the lunch bag has all white and neutral foods, there are too many carbohydrates and not enough balance.
4. Make clear definitions about dessert. Perhaps specify one or two days a week for a sweet treat to keep them special.
5. Write a short note to your child reminding them that they are so special and loved.

About Sprout Foods

Sprout Baby Food’s mission is simple: provide children, and the parents who feed them, with fresh and delicious whole foods that encourage happy and healthy eating. Founded in 2009, the entire product line is organic and features dishes and recipes created by renowned chef Tyler Florence, a 15-year Food Network veteran, author and father of three and one of Sprout Food’s founders. Using unique cooking methods and seasoning the recipes with gentle, beneficial herbs and spices, Sprout Foods has created tasty, unique, nutritious combinations that children – and their parents – love.

For more information, and to see the complete Sprout Food product line, please visit: http://www.sproutorganicfoods.com.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Family Travel Tips for a Healthy End of Summer Vacation

Summer vacation may be coming to an end, but did you know that August is one of the busiest travel months for families? As parents are trying to fit in that last bit of fun before school starts up again, families everywhere will be preparing their carry-on bags and packing the car to hit the road. There’s no telling what adventures await you on your final summer trip, but you have to be careful, as traveling can upset your family’s health regimen and mastered schedule. Fortunately, a little planning ahead can help you fill your head with memories instead of regret!

Exercise Is Important, Even on Vacation

A great secret to staying healthy is exercising on a regular basis; this actually helps to boost your immune system! No time for the gym because your shopping too much? Take the longer route when walking to and from your car to the stores. Hitting the club scene? Dance the night away! Average 30-minutes of dancing can actually burn 150+ calories!

Upping Your Zinc Intake

Zinc Gluconate is clinically proven to short duration of a cold by almost half and if you start feeling symptoms of a cold, taking natural, homeopathic remedies such as Cold-EEZE Cold Remedy, which releases Zinc ions into the throat and upper respiratory system to prevent the cold virus from spreading. They are great to have on a plane, too. Sucking on a lozenge will alleviate the popping of your ears while flying!

Vitamin C – Complex B and Calcium

These vitamins not only strengthen your immune system, but they are easy to get a hold of as well! A glass of milk, orange juice or a quick trip the pharmacy can help you prevent a cold. Did somebody say Mimosa with extra OJ?!

Having Fun

Of course, stressing out before a trip is never any fun. Loosen up, laugh with friends, and dance a lot! Laughter reduces stress and the less stress you have helps your immune system function effectively

Don’t Deprive Yourself of Sleep

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and avoiding the cold! Getting 8 hours of sleep on regular basis (even on vacation) is important and can help protect your physical and mental health. Staying up late and waking up early doesn’t allow for your body to get the rest it needs to fight off germs.

About the Author

These timely tips were provided by Dr. Jennifer Collins, a New York based Physician specializing in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

Orgain healthy kidsCan you believe it is almost time to send the kiddos back-to-school? This Fall, pack a healthier lunchbox with the addition of Orgain Healthy Kids! To add nutritional support to your child’s diet, especially for little who are extremely picky (we have all been there!), these organic nutritional shakes are the perfect addition. Available in 3 flavors, Vanilla, Chocolate or Strawberry, Orgain Healthy Kids provides 8 grams of organic protein, organic complex carbohydrates, organic fiber, a complete vitamin and mineral blend, and a blend of 10 different certified organic fruits and vegetables. It is gluten-free, and free of soy, preservatives, artificial sweeteners and corn syrup. Yes – it is truly a powerhouse!

We tested all three flavors in “Mom’s” kitchen, and loved the Chocolate flavor the best. Another great way to enjoy the shake is to add the Vanilla or Strawberry flavors to a fruit smoothie for a quick breakfast on-the-go or for an after school snack! We also created this little gem of a recipe!

Bananas

Tiny Green Mom’s Monkeyin’ Around Shake

Ingredients

1 container Chocolate Orgain Healthy Kids drink
1 banana
1 6 oz. container Redwood Hill Farm Organic Goat Milk Yogurt – Vanilla (you can use plain for less sugar)
8-12 ice cubes

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

The story behind the brand is one after “Mom’s” own heart! After years of trial, Andrew Abraham, M.D., a practicing physician, father of two, and cancer survivor created an organic nutritional shake called Orgain Healthy Kids (www.orgain.com).

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Kiss My Face Kids SunblockWith kids spending more time playing outside or practicing cannonballs into the pool now that summer is upon us, it’s time to protect little ones from the harmful effects of the sun – naturally, of course! Kiss My Face Kids Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is one of “Mom’s” top picks this summer – this natural mineral sunscreen glides on evenly, offers SPF 30 protection and does not contain nanoparticles, phthalates, fragrances, artificial colors or any other animal ingredients. It’s an excellent choice for parents who are concerned about their children as well as the planet!

With a little one who could swim for hours in the pool if it was up to her, “Mom” tested the new Kiss My Face Kids Sun Collection and was very pleased! It did not wear off quickly, and provided her sun-kissed child with optimal protection, no matter how many times she dove into the pool!

To learn more about the Kiss My Face Kids Sun Collection, or to order, please visit Whole Foods and KissMyFace.com.

*Company generosuly provided samples and images for this piece.*