Packing a healthy school lunch

Packing a healthy school lunch is easy. Getting your kids to eat it is another issue entirely.  Since the advent of the doughnut, parents have struggled to convince their kids to eat the nutritious foods they prepare for them.

The following are a few tips along with sample cold lunches that may help get your kids to finally eat those veggie sticks while they’re at school.

Make lunches fun!

At first glance, the look and taste of Lunchables® isn’t anything special. Contrary to appearances, however, Lunchables quickly became one of Oscar Meyer’s most successful products, partly due to the fun kids have eating them. Consider making your own healthy alternative. Pack some whole grain crackers, lean meat, cubed or sliced cheese, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, etc. and allow kids to build their own sandwiches. Consider using cookie cutters to cut the meat into fun shapes. Use the leftover scraps of meat on a chef salad you can take for your own lunch.

Add in tasty dips.

With a tasty dip, veggies can appear a bit more appealing to kids. Various dip options can be just as healthy as the veggies; but your kids will never know. Cheeses or creams are often the base of dips. Avocados contain healthy fats, which still provide a lot of flavor. As an added bonus, the fat in the dip will actually help enhance the absorption of carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins, as well.  Fat doesn’t need to be the principle ingredient in dips. Recipes using yogurt can be full of flavor, and hummus is mostly made of beans, which pack a fiber- and protein-laden nutritional punch.

Involve kids in the purchasing and preparation process.

Letting your kids help choose foods for their lunch at the grocery store makes them feel like they have some control, which may increase their willingness to eat them. Make sure you’re comfortable with all the options presented. Kids may enjoy preparing their own foods, with help from you, depending on their age. As kids prepare the food, they become more comfortable with the ingredients and the dish as a whole, and may be more likely to eat it.

Make it sweet.

Kids love sweet foods. While it is still advisable to limit the amount of sweetener used in the preparation of their foods, consider adding a little fruit puree, agave, dark chocolate chips, honey or maple syrup to enhance their appeal. Purchase meats and nuts with a honey glaze. Add fresh fruit to a vegetable smoothie. Incorporate fruits into whole-grain baked goods like breads, muffins or cookies.

Mila by PURE is a whole food that is great for children and adults alike. Each serving contains 3g of ALA omega-3 fatty acid which play a crucial role in normal growth and development and brain function.* Mila can be consumed on its own or incorporated into your favorite dishes, yogurt and smoothies. Learn more.

Share with us your tips and tricks on making healthier school lunches for your children.

This article is for nutrition information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any health or nutrition concerns you may have. The information in this article is not intended to promote any specific product, or for the prevention or treatment of any disease.

 

A taste of nutrition terminology

What do all the words on your product label mean? They can be confusing for those trying to make healthy choices or lifestyle changes. Below are some of the most common words. Note that the FDA gives suggested guidance (not legally binding) on many terms.

While this list isn’t all-inclusive, it will give you a good foundation to build your nutrition vernacular. Be prepared and don’t let health lingo fool you when trying to make the best choices for you and your family.

Label terminology:

Gluten-free – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the FDA, a food must contain no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to use “gluten-free” on its label. The label was designed for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance so they can avoid foods that may cause health problems. Be aware that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Even gluten-free foods can be high in calories, fat, sugar and artificial ingredients.

Products by PURE that are gluten-free include: Daily Build, GoYin, CalciuMK+, ENERGY, Mila, Organic Sulfur, Probiotic, Alkaline Water Concentrate, Immune6, Silver, all superfruit juices, 360 Complete Shakes, Matcha Vegan Shakes, Metabolic ONE, Green Coffee Bean, SleepTrim, PURE Café, Cleanse capsule and liquid, PURE Perk and the GPS Sports Performance line.

GMO – GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These modifications have focused mainly on crops, such as corn and soy, which are in high demand from farmers. Genetically modified crops and ingredients have been under much scrutiny lately as to whether they pose a threat to human health.

Ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through natural processes. To the best of the company’s knowledge, its products do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). To validate our belief, PURE has been and will continue to systematically evaluate through independent testing the absence of GMOs.  As additional test results are received, labels will be updated to include their non-GMO status.

Organic – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic products are those without growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. The Matcha Vegan Shakes are organic certified. Greens is another product that is organic but is not organic certified. Organic certification means the finished product has been through a certification process at the manufacturer. A non-certified organic product will consist of ingredients, which are of themselves certified organic, but the product has not been.

Preservatives – These are substances used in products to prevent decay and other undesirable changes. Preservation can either be chemical, adding a compound to a product, or physical, such as refrigeration or drying. Preservatives reduce the risk of foodborne infections, decrease spoilage and preserve quality. A common additive that prevents oxidation is ascorbic acid (vitamin C). CalciuMK+ contains sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, which are necessary to maintain freshness due to the nature of the ingredients of this product in liquid form.

Calories – Technically, a calorie is a unit of measurement reflecting the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In simpler terms, a calorie is the energy released by food, and we need that energy to survive! But calories are only part of the healthy eating equation. One hundred calories of potato chips will nourish and satisfy us differently than 100 calories of nuts or fruits. Other macronutrients matter, including protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugar. Since caloric needs are individualized, the new food label statement is, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.”

Not regulated terminology:

All-Natural – The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic (including color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food. The term “all-natural” is often used to imply foods that are minimally processed and whose ingredients are natural; this means they do not contain additives such as sweeteners, antibiotics, colors, or other synthetic substances.

PURE is committed to providing premium-quality products based on the best of science and nature. This philosophy includes the avoidance of artificial dyes, colors, flavors, sweeteners and other potentially harmful ingredients. Ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through natural processes. Not all PURE products are 100% all-natural, but we offer products that fit into this category. For example, Matcha Vegan Shakes, Daily Detox, Cleanse (liquid and capsule), Greens, superfruit juices (Acai, Goji, Mangosteen, Noni and Fusion), Alkaline Water Concentrate, SleepTrim, Green Coffee Bean and Mila are all-natural products.

Healthy – The word “healthy” means different things to different people; it could be physical health, emotional health, and/or overall well-being, or the absence of certain conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If a food is labeled as “healthy,” many assume it meets this goal. However, even foods labeled as “healthy” can still contain sugar (despite being fat-free or sugar-free), and artificial ingredients, including sweeteners, colors and flavors. Make sure the choices you make, including the food you eat, nourish your mind, body and soul.

 Kosher – These foods are prepared following strict Jewish dietary laws, which can vary in different Jewish communities but have the same basic rules. Consumption of certain animals is prohibited, and the separation of dairy and meat is required. Kosher certified products include superfruit juices (Acai, Fusion, Goji, Mangosteen and Noni) and Cleanse liquid.

Multi-grain – Don’t get this term confused with whole-grain. Multi-grain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although it may not be a whole grain. There is no standardized regulation or definition and the term can be added to any label if the product contains more than one type of grain. Always look for the word “whole” on your labels to ensure you are making the most nutritious selections.

Superfoods – While there is no of superfoods, these are foods that are nutritional powerhouses and pack large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Blueberries, acai, goji, mangosteen and green tea are all considered superfoods.

 Wellness – If we think we are healthy, then what does it mean to be well? My favorite definition is from Dr. Bill Hettler, MD, Co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, “Achieving wellness is about finding balance in the six equal areas of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational.” A high level of wellness is crucial to living a healthy life. Everything we do feeds our well-being. Wellness is what we strive to do here at PURE as we deliver Whole Health.

 

Have a healthy Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means there will be a lot of scary sugar. From parties to trick-or-treating to grocery stores, candy can be found everywhere, and it may challenge you on your path to Whole Health.

As much as I love M&Ms and candy corn, I know they’re not healthy. The bakery aisle usually tries to compete with their creatively decorated cakes, cookies and cupcakes. Everywhere we turn, there seems to be items just leaping off the shelf and into our grocery cart!

Yes, we buy candy for the trick-or-treaters, yet we always find ourselves mindlessly munching on these tempting treats. If you have children, it’s hard not having sweets in the house. For others, it’s about moderation and keeping it out of sight. For myself, there are parties, festivals and other events that just beg for the attention.

Moderation is key

Halloween is a festive holiday and candy is to be enjoyed, but due to the rising rates of obesity and disease and a lack of vital nutrients in the diet, it’s important to watch your intake of sugar. The American Heart Association states that children and teens (ages 2-18) should limit their added sugars to less than 6 teaspoons per day and no more than 8 fl. oz. of sugary beverages per week. The average American consumes about 355 calories of added sugar a day, or the equivalent of 22.2 teaspoons. That is about triple the recommended amount!1

Don’t stray from your healthy habits

Enjoy Halloween with your children, but carefully plan ahead of time. Teach sensible eating so your kids can make wise decisions when faced with an overwhelming amount of temptations. Also make sure your child gets a well-balanced meal before trick-or-treating; it’ll reduce the urge to snack afterwards. Don’t be afraid to offer healthy trick-or-treating alternatives!

Healthier and non-food options for trick-or-treating:

  • Organic juice boxes
  • Natural fruit leather
  • Bouncy balls
  • Hair bows
  • 100-calorie pack snacks
  • Granola bars
  • Card games
  • Pencils
  • Bubbles
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Plastic vampire fangs
  • Toy cars
  • Mini packs: Play-Doh, crayon packs, erasers, coloring books

Inspection

I used to always get frustrated when my parents made me wait to eat the candy I collected. They insisted on inspecting it all first. Rule of thumb — if the wrapper looks suspicious, tampered with or you’re not familiar with the brand, toss it! Another wise rule is to let your child choose a few pieces of candy to eat on Halloween night and then a few pieces each day after that.

Restriction can often backfire, leading to an obsession with candy. Use this time as an opportunity to teach about healthy, nutritious eating. Combine a miniature snack bar with a piece of fruit and then teach the benefits of the fruit while encouraging healthy eating habits.

Be a healthy host

Finally, Halloween isn’t just for kids. Adults like to attend and host costume parties for friends and families. If hosting, incorporate other fall favorites, such as pumpkin, squash, apples and other fresh produce. Check PURE’s Pinterest page for some delicious, healthy food choices that all your guests will love!

How do you celebrate Halloween? It’s your turn to tempt us with your treats. Post your fun Halloween recipes and health ideas on Facebook and tag us @livepureglobal.

 

1 https://www.familyeducation.com/life/sugar/are-we-too-sweet-our-kids-addiction-sugar

 

What’s the word?

There are a lot of “buzz” words out there that can be confusing for those trying to make healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve compiled a list below of the most commonly misunderstood words. While this isn’t all-inclusive, it will give you a good foundation to build your nutrition vernacular. Be prepared and don’t let health lingo fool you when trying to make the best choices for you and your family.

All-Natural – This does not have a legal definition by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The term “all-natural” is often used to imply foods that are minimally processed and whose ingredients are natural; this means they do not contain additives such as sweeteners, antibiotics, colors, or other synthetic substances. Be careful though! Don’t confuse all-natural with organic.

PURE is committed to providing premium-quality products based on the best of science and nature. This philosophy includes the avoidance of artificial dyes or colors, flavors, sweeteners, and other potentially harmful ingredients. The majority of ingredients PURE selects for inclusion are natural, derived from natural sources, or made through nature processes.

Calories – Technically, a calorie is a unit of measurement reflecting the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. In simpler terms, a calorie is the energy released by food, and we need that energy to survive! But calories are only part of the healthy eating equation. One hundred calories of potato chips will nourish and satisfy us differently than 100 calories of nuts or fruits. Other macronutrients matter, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Gluten-free – Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the FDA, a food must contain no more than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in order to use “gluten-free” on its label. The label was designed for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance so they could avoid foods that could cause health problems. Be aware that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Even gluten-free foods can be high in calories, fat, sugar, and artificial ingredients. Products by PURE that are gluten-free include: Daily Build, GoYin, CalciuMK+, ENERGY (Grape, Watermelon, Island Splash®, Mixed Berry and Lemon flavors), Mila, Organic Sulfur, Probiotic, Alkaline Water Concentrate, Cell Water, Immune6, Silver, All Superfruit juices, 360 Complete Shakes (vanilla bean & cacao), Matcha Vegan Shakes (vanilla & dark chocolate), Metabolic ONE, Green Coffee Bean, PURE Café, Cleanse capsules and liquid, and the GPS line.

GMO – GMO stands for genetically modified organism. This is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These modifications have focused mainly on crops, such as corn and soy, which are in high demand from farmers. Genetically modified crops and ingredients have been under much scrutiny lately as to whether they pose a threat to human health.

Following recent guidance provided to the industry by the FDA on non-GMO and GMO labeling, PURE will conduct a thorough evaluation and testing of its products to confirm the absence of GMOs.  Daily Build, GoYin and ENERGY all tested as non-GMO.

Healthy – The word “healthy” means different things to different people; it could be physical health, emotional health, and/or overall well-being, or the absence of certain conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If a food is labeled as “healthy,” many assume it meets this goal. However, even foods labeled as “healthy” can still contain sugar (despite being fat-free or sugar-free), and artificial ingredients, including sweeteners, colors and flavors. Make sure the choices you make, including the food you eat, nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Multi-grain – Don’t get this term confused with whole-grain. Multi-grain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although it may not be a whole grain. There is no standardized regulation or definition and the term can be added to any label as long as the product contains more than one type of grain. Always look for the word “whole” on your labels to ensure you are making the most nutritious selections.

Organic – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), organic products are those without growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and GMOs. Again, just because a product is organic doesn’t mean it’s any healthier than its non-organic counterpart; an organic cookie should be consumed in moderation, just like a non-organic cookie. However, if you have room in your budget, certain fruits and vegetables are best purchased organic. These are known as the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and are singled out because they contain the highest pesticide load. These include peaches, strawberries, nectarines, apples, spinach, celery, pears, sweet bell peppers, cherries, potatoes, lettuce, and imported grapes.

Preservatives – These are substances used in products to prevent decay and other undesirable changes. Preservation can either be chemical, adding a compound to a product, or physical, such as refrigeration or drying. Preservatives reduce the risk of food-borne infections, decrease spoilage, and preserve quality. A common additive that prevents oxidation is ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Superfoods – While there is no legal definition of superfoods, these are foods that are nutritional powerhouses and pack large amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Blueberries, acai, goji, seeds, and green tea are all considered superfoods.

Wellness – If we think we are healthy, then what does it mean to be well? My favorite definition is from Dr. Bill Hettler, MD, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, “Achieving wellness is about finding balance in the six equal areas of your life: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational.” A high level of wellness is crucial to living a healthy life. Everything we do feeds our well-being.

What words often confuse you when making decisions for you and your family?