Nutritious Back-To-School Meals

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine…..

healthychoicePlanning children’s meals during the school week can be made simple when providing nutritious foods. Alicia Beltran, research dietitian at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, maps out healthy meals and snacks to feed your child before, during and after school.

Breakfast

Protein fills you up for longer, so you should always include protein in your child’s breakfast. Eggs are a perfect and flexible meal that keep your child full, especially if you incorporate vegetables, which adds more fiber to the meal. Another simple morning meal is a quesadilla with chicken and cheese. Make this with a whole wheat flour or corn tortilla for more fiber and less fat. Serve this with a side of fruit and milk to give your child energy for school.

For a quick breakfast, you can give your child yogurt with fresh fruit and granola so they get their dairy and grains. You can also make them a fruit smoothie. According to Beltran, parents often serve their children orange juice, which is simple sugar since you are not incorporating the fiber of a fresh orange, and is not filling. Instead, make a fresh fruit smoothie with no added sugar to get more nutrients that will keep them full.

Lunch

Make sure you always include protein, whether it’s baked or grilled chicken or low-sodium deli meat. For adequate dairy intake, pack cheese, yogurt or milk in your child’s lunch. Be careful when purchasing yogurt, as many of them contain added sugars. Fruit flavored yogurt also can double as dessert for the meal. It’s important to always include fresh fruit or vegetables in their lunch – preferably both. Talk to your child to learn which produce they prefer, and pack them for lunch daily.

Parents often choose easy meals over nutritious foods for their children’s lunches. Buying processed foods seems easier, but you spend more money purchasing this instead of taking time to prepare healthier meals for lunch. Beltran suggests making tuna or chicken salad with Greek yogurt instead of the traditional fatty mayo. Children can enjoy this in a sandwich with whole wheat bread or in a whole wheat wrap. You can also change it up and serve it with crackers.

“You can use the same protein in different recipes, depending on what your kid prefers.”

Avoid packing sports beverages or juices that are not 100 percent juice, since they contain added sugars. Chocolate milk should not be their main source of dairy for the meal, but can be packed as a dessert or treat. Pack plain milk for dairy. Children should drink water throughout the day. If they want flavor, try adding fresh orange slices or other fruits to their water. Make sure your child always has water and can refill their bottle at school.

“Add a little treat or note for dessert. It’s ok to pack a small cookie or piece of chocolate from time to time. Just choose wisely,” Beltran said

After-school snacks

Children should eat a snack after school to keep energized for homework and extracurricular activities. Beltran lists nutritional snacks that will keep kids full until dinner:

  • Cheese sticks or string cheese
  • Cut up fruits and vegetables
  • Raisins
  • Trail mix
  • Plain popcorn
  • Fruits they can easily peel, such as citrus like mandarins or cuties
  • Carrots with hummus or low-fat ranch
  • Small peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a small amount of jelly

saladheartRefrain from giving children sugary cereal, candy or other snacks that are high in sugar after school. These snacks will not fill them up or hold them over for dinner. They will grow hungry and cranky quickly.

“Plan ahead. Making lunch doesn’t have to be a nightmare,” Beltran explains. “Take your kid to the grocery store and involve them in the preparation. This makes it fun for them, and they will enjoy it more.”

Common Fitness Mistakes And How To Correct Them

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine….

stretchRegular exercise or sports participation is a great way to sustain a healthy lifestyle, but mistakes in your training could lead to injury or keep you from achieving your fitness goals. A sports medicine expert at Baylor College of Medicine discusses common mistakes that can result in injury.

Repetitive Stress Injuries

“Repetitive stress injuries are common when you are doing the same activity, such as running, swimming, throwing and lifting repeatedly, particularly without supportive cross-training, core conditioning and rest days,” said Dr. Theodore Shybut, associate professor in the Joseph Barnhart Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Baylor.

Often when people experience pain during their preferred activity, they try to push through it or rest for a minimal amount of time and resume the activity as soon as it starts to feel slightly improved. Shybut advises stepping back and looking at the big picture.

“It doesn’t make any sense to push back to activity too fast. If the stresses of a sport or exercise have resulted in injury, returning to that same activity too quickly may not allow for proper healing and recovery,” he said.

It’s important to identify issues early on, he said. For example, speaking from his own personal experience as a Boston and New York Marathon runner, people training for a marathon generally start training 15 to 24 weeks ahead of time. They can get too focused on their day-to-day workout goals, pushing through pain to complete a day of training, and lose sight of the overall goal of finishing the race.

But according to Shybut, people training for a marathon should identify pain early and take a few days to a few weeks off to cross-train, work on corrective rehabilitation and let the issue resolve before pushing back into hard training. Evaluation by a sports medicine specialist and rehabilitation with a good physical therapist also may be beneficial and is recommended for any pain that persists.

The same is true for repetitive upper extremity workouts, such as swimming, throwing, Olympic lifting, rowing, etc. Shoulder pain can indicate rotator cuff injury, muscle strain, an impingement syndrome, and evaluation with an experienced sports medicine specialist can help diagnose the problem and optimal treatment.

Muscle pulls and tennis elbow also are common with repetitive workouts. Keep in mind tennis elbow does not only occur during tennis. It can be the result of any repetitive stress, including lifting weights, rowing, other racquet sports and may even occur in some professions such as butchers, plumbers and carpenters whose work involves repetitive wrist and forearm activities.

seniorjoggerIt is fine to rest for a few days and modify training to pain-free activities to see how your injury responds. Some training aches such as delayed onset muscle soreness will improve, and athletes may quickly resume high intensity training. If pain persists, see a sports medicine physician or physical therapist.

“It’s important to remember that when you see world-class or elite-level athletes, they have done a lot of extra work in training to get where they are. This includes cross-training, proper dynamic warmups, strengthening and flexibility work, preventative exercises, core fitness and corrective exercises focused on the weakest elements of their kinetic chains,” Shybut said.

It’s also important to understand your fitness program may have relative deficiencies, Shybut said. Common deficient areas include core strength, postural and small muscle groups, endurance and eccentric tolerances. The goal of a good corrective program is to find a way to strengthen the deficient muscles in a way that replicates the activity without the extreme level of stress and build the muscles up so that they are strong enough to handle the actual sport or movement, for example throwers performing a PEP (Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance) program or runners doing eccentric single leg squats.

Proper Technique

Understanding the proper technique for different workouts is key in injury prevention. Using bad form during activities such as squatting can aggravate your knees or strain your back if the body is not properly aligned.

Shybut suggested engaging with a fitness trainer with a strong rehabilitation background when starting a new workout routine.

Too Much To Soon

Shybut said that he often sees injuries when people do too much too soon in a new exercise routine. For example, if you’re starting high-intensity interval training that involves Olympic lifts and sprints, where muscles are maximally engaged, be aware of your baseline fitness first. If you haven’t been working out, start with basic cardiovascular fitness exercises, including walking, biking or swimming. Start weight training with light-resistance exercises to get comfortable with the proper form before you “max out.” Seek out coaching guidance.

“It’s important to know when to stop, and severe pain should be a red flag. While some soreness is normal, the amount of soreness you experience with workouts should decreases as your body adapts. See a sports medicine specialist for evaluation if you experience joint pain, swelling, painful popping or catching, or instability,” Shybut said. “Exercise is medicine, so do exercise and have fun.”