Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Drinks in Kid's Diet

It is no secret that kids are born with a sweet tooth. They like to eat all kinds of sweets and they love sweet drinks - juices, hot chocolate, pop and the likes. Sugar quickly provides much needed energy, but more and more often scientists and nutritionists warn about the dangers of including too much sugar in kids' diets.

All sweet drinks contain big doses of  sugar or fructose. These substances very quickly increase the levels of blood sugar, which stimulates the production of insulin , which in turn creates cravings for more sweets and food. Therefore, such drinks not only cause obesity, but can lead to early development of diabetes as well.

Natural juices, especially the ones made without preservatives, are far much better. In fact, it has been proven that kids between the ages of 2 and 11 years who regularly drink natural juices adhere to a more healthy eating, but part of this is attributed to the healthy lifestyle of the family.

What can parents do to limit the dangers of the sweet drinks?

  • Eliminate the worst culprits. Pop, sports drinks, fruit juices, iced tea - most of those are nothing more than water, sugar, artificial colours and flavourings. 
  • Be role models. As parents one of our main goals is to raise self-conscious and responsible people.  At the  same time it is imperative to raise health conscious people with strong eating healthy habits.
  • Control, do not deprive. If you simply forbid your kid to drink the fruit juice he craves, you will not only traumatize him, but you will also make him crave it even more and go a great length to get it. Instead stock in on healthier natural juices and always offer choices.

Did you know that:

When a label says that a single serving of a drink contains 4 g of sugar, this equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. Most sweet drinks have well over 20 g of sugar per serving, which equals whooping 5 teaspoons of sugar. Multiply this by 3 servings, which is about average per day and you get the picture. If your kid really loves his sweet drink it is always a good idea to dilute the juice with water.

Did you know that:

Sweet drinks improve memory and the ability to memorize by more than 20%. This has been proven by a recent British study. According to the same study people with poorer memory have been found to have low levels of blood sugar.

So, beware of the dangers and remember  that everything is good in moderation.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring Immune System Boost

Spring is here and we all naturally shift our emotions, our mentality, our focus to nature or just outdoors, does our immune system. Weather shifts, so common in spring, affect the way our immune systems function and can lead to changes in appetite, mood swings and seriously aggravated spring allergies. Another important spring stressor is increased exposure to crowds and, respectively,  to germs. These changes and stressors may cause the immune system to work overtime to make the transition and this in turn weakens it even more. All this is more pronounced in children. Therefore,  it is extremely important that we give our kids' immune systems (and ours too, of course)  as much natural support as we can. 

This is really quite easy if you only follow a few simple steps.

Enough sleep. Getting enough and quality sleep is beneficial to the body in more than way,not the least of which is improving the functioning of the immune system. Days are getting longer, but still make sure your keep your kids' daily routine, which will allow them to get the rest they need and feel refreshed and energized the next day.

Get moving. An active body is healthier than an inactive one - it is that simple. Joining your child in outdoor games and walks will be equally good for you too.

 Eat well. It is important that your kids and you get your vitamins, but it so much better if they come from natural sources. Do not neglect the variety of immune boosting foods nature generously offer. Among the most powerful immune boosting foods are yogurt, garlic, carrots, leafy greens, apples, berries, nuts, to mention just a few. A good way to introduce old and new favourites is to try new recipes.

Here are some ideas.

Spinach Muffins

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg
150 g Feta Cheese
1 bunch fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh dill


Wash well spinach, chop and transfer in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and squeeze. Let drain very well.

In a bowl mix all dry ingredients. In another bowl lightly beat egg and add the oil a little bit at a time while constantly beating. Start adding dry mixture and milk - a little bit at a time and alternating the flour and the milk until finished. Add drained spinach, finely chopped dill and crumbled Feta. Mix to incorporate. Grease muffin form and fill in each cup about 2/3 with the muffin mix. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top and bake at 375o F until done, about 20 minutes or so.

Nutty Dip

1/2 cup ground almonds
2 cloves garlic
5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh parsley
lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste
bread crumbs, if needed


In a food processor put ground almonds, garlic, parsley and yogurt. While mixing gradually add the olive oil. At the end add lemon juice, black pepper and salt to taste. If the mixture is not thick enough add some bread crumbs.

Apple Delight

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups apples, finely chopped


Mix all dry ingredients. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar, gradually add the oil. Start adding the dry mixture slowly beating until all the flour is incorporated. Fold in apples and walnuts. Bake in greased pan and bake at 375o F for about 20 minutes or until ready.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facebook Home - What Parents Need To Know

Facebook launched their new product, Facebook Home for Android, today.  Much like Kytephone, Facebook has replaced the default Android interface as well, except their interface features status updates & photos from Facebook friends.

What does this mean to Parents?

This is a tool of distraction for kids.

Since Facebook is front & center in the mobile experience - kids will have to swipe past their friend's status updates to get to the apps they need.

Internet memes, Youtube videos, and explicit status messages will greet your kids when they unlock the phone and devour their time when all they wanted to was quickly check Wikipedia or Google for a homework assignment.

Not All is Lost

Help your kids get their time back by managing when they can use Facebook Home or block the app entirely with Kytetime.

Our unique tool will let parents schedule when apps can be used or blocked to help their kids use their time effectively.

Do's and Don't with a Picky Eater

All of us had had to deal with a picky eater while kids were growing up. Having a picky eater is painful. The kid is skinny and as if his legs will give in any minute; you try to force him have some food, but the harder you try, the harder it becomes. Often this turns in a no-win battle and ends up with a kid in tears and a really frustrated parent.

Can you win this battle? Yes, but you have to be smart and very patient. In your strategy the Don’t are as important as the Do’s.

  • Don’t pressure you kid. Even if you are in a hurry, don't show it. You have to make a clear choice between feeding your kid or the other important thing that’s on your mind. Look at it this way: Isn’t feeding your child and spending time with him most important of all? 
  • Say No to all distractions. Turn off the TV, put away his toys and books. From early age try to create in your kid a sense, a feeling, an understanding about the act of eating. Step by step make it known that this time is not for filling up the tummy, it is special time which can and must be enjoyed. 
  • Don’t worry. If the kid refuses to eat no matter what you offer or do, don't get too upset or angry. Instead of interrogating the kid, making all kinds of comments and traumatizing him by forcing him to do something he doesn't want to do, just back off. When he gets hungry, he'll ask for some food.

  •  Introduce “Food Ban”. From early age your kid should know that he can't have candy and cookies all the time; that he cannot eat fruit if it's not well washed. Kids have natural tendency to like sweet food, so the earlier in life you start introducing different tastes, the easier it will be later and the less problems you will have in future. 
  •  Portion Control. Watch the amount of food you offer and the amount of food your kid consumes. Kids, especially between the ages of 2.5 and 5 need little food; kids don't develop good appetite until they are about 7 years old. You can easily scare him with big portion, which he doesn’t nee to begin with. 
  •  Buy special kid’s china. Your kid will have a sense of ownership and if you make the right choice you will have on your hands a kid that will always look for and know how to appreciate the beautiful things in everyday life. 
  • Feeding Schedule. Establish and follow one. All major meals should always be at the same time. In today's fast-paced world this is probably the hardest thing to achieve, but your efforts will pay off. So, do not just dismiss this as impossible, try harder.


  • Right timing. Do not have a major meal right after you get your kid home - from daycare or kindergarten, even from school. The child may be tired, he may have had a late snack. Let him rest first. 
  • Offer Choices. Give your kid the opportunity to choose his food. This will boost his self-confidence and will significantly increase his desire to eat. However, don’t offer two dishes at the same time. Let your kid finish the first one and if he wants more, offer the second one.
  •  Use your imagination. It is important with all kids, but especially with the picky eaters. You can entice them with beautiful and creative choices. For instance, you can serve simple mashed potatoes shaped as a.......bunny; add some salad for the grass and he will eat his portion before you know it. Or you can pile the macaroni and cheese and decorate with some small “trees” made of broccoli florets, add some salad at the bottom of the “forest hill” and your picky eater will be thrilled.
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