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Eating Healthy: How Kids and Adults can Eat for Energy

Learning to Eat for Energy

Not to be overly dramatic, but have I told you guys I’m doing something sort of life-changing right now?  See, about a week ago I found out about this amazing new online course being put on by a pair of awesome nutritionists, Katie and Megan, and they graciously offered me a complimentary spot – despite the program being, literally, hours from beginning.

In their words, “New Year: New Rules is a 15 day program that tells you what foods work, what foods don’t, which habits are the hardest on your body…and most importantly, what to do from here on, because life is not a diet. Life is not a cleanse. In the words of Socrates, ‘Food is thy medicine.’ Time to invest in yourself. Time to show 2013 who’s boss.”

Sounds pretty rad right?  Let me tell you – it is.  I’m half way through my two weeks of “clean eating” and I already have so much more energy then I did before.  In fact, I’m so enamored with the program that I asked the lovely ladies behind it for not one, but two favors and they came through on both (love them):

  1. To guest post here on how we all can feed ourselves and our kids to have more energy (be sure to check out the recipes at the end – our whole family’s loving the protein power bars).
  2. To let me become an affiliate for the program and extend to all of you a 20% off discount so you can get your 2013 started off right too  – Hurry! The next session begins February 18th, 2013 and I hear it’s filling up fast.

Go here and use the code: MPMK20 at check out for 20% off.

 

All signed up?  Good, now just read on to learn how to start eating for energy and feeling like a whole new you.

Energy.  Who doesn’t want more of that? I mean really. As nutritionists we engage in countless conversations with clients about “feeling better,” where we discuss an array of different goals – better digestion, less headaches, solid sleep, hormone balancing, weight loss, fewer aches and pains…

The list goes on, but when we say “more energy…” you know what happens? Their eyes light up. “Yes, I want more energy… more, more, more.” Now, having more energy usually means working on digestion, sleep, and hormones, but today we are excited to break down the energy conversation in a way that is digestible!

Everything takes energy.  Everything.  As a nutrition team we look at food as our energy baseline. It’s where we start.  Real, whole foods provide us access to available nutrients that make us feel alive!

Think about it this way:

The more alive your foods are, the more alive you are.

When we put foods in our bodies that are harder to digest, or that include ingredients that are seemingly unrecognizable, the digestion process steals the energy that we need to do the things we love.

There are a number of messages out there that tell us what’s best – low fat, low carb, more protein, less protein, more meals, less meals… oh and not to mention all the food labels that tout “heart health, “whole grain,” “kid approved” and so on. What do we believe? Where do we turn?

 

How to eat for energy

photos via Barret Loving Photography

 

We love our motto – Life is not a diet – because, that’s just no fun and it’s not sustainable. So let’s break it down. Why do whole foods mean more energy?

Real food goes bad. Simple. Real food rots, bruises, and molds. Yay! Yay? Yes, it’s the very enzymes in those foods that we need for better digestion. Which leads us to MORE energy. Big yay!
Healthy foods are nutrient dense, that means lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that we need to keep up. Our immune, brain, digestive and hormonal systems all depend on these to keep us running. When these systems run better we run better. This means more Energy.

Real food doesn’t have to warrant health claims. It’s just good by nature. There is no wildly funded Broccoli Counsel but yet we know, it is dang good for us. Fresh fruits and vegetables are alive.

Alive = more energy.

So how do we know what to eat? Here are a few things that might help:

  • Stick to the ends of the supermarket. Anything in the produce or cold sections house better options than the middle. Processed, packaged foods are the mecca of scary, energy-robbing ingredients.
  • Always incorporate a healthy source of protein at breakfast. We can’t state this enough. You literally set your day up for success when you have a healthy, hearty breakfast. Without it we succumb to afternoon sweet and caffeine cravings. Check out the protein-packed breakfast recipe we provided; kids go nuts for it.
  • Ditch the sugar. Sugar not only disrupts your immune system, but it also makes you crash. This is often seen even profoundly in children. Recognize where sugar hides: sodas, fruit juice, flavored yogurts, ‘vitamin/energy’ drinks, cereal (yep, even ‘whole grain,’) and in the majority of packaged snack foods.
  • Don’t skip meals. Period. Keep small packs of raw nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit, veggies, bean dips, plain yogurt, etc., on hand. This will keep you and the kiddos energized throughout the day. We gave you our most popular “Protein Power Bar” recipe below.

Ok, so that’s a little ditty about how food fuels us (in a nutshell), but why not hear it from a Mom who’s in your shoes? Prescribe Nutrition’s own Anna Decker shares her journey to better health and nutrition here.

 

How parents and kids can eat for energy

photos via Barret Loving Photography

 

All our same rules apply to your kids… frankly even more. As their growing bodies adapt it’s even more essential that they get the best sources of nutrients. The earlier they are exposed to whole foods the more they will love them.

Our best advice when it comes to getting your kids to love the good stuff? Involve them.

Have them pick out tonight’s carrots, sweet potatoes, or peas and get them in the kitchen. They take pride in being apart of the process!

Finally, if a little help on the side is what you are looking for we’ve opened up Round #2 of our New Year New Rules Nutrition program. Oh yeah. Over 150 people are participating as we speak and it’s been beyond inspiring from all accounts. Just use the coupon code: MPMK20 and receive 20% off the cost of the program.

Think 2-weeks of full access to two nutritionists, a ton of recipes that take the guess work out and a community of like minds supporting you every step of the way!

We are thrilled to “meet” you and hope that energy finds it’s way straight to your home!  Now for those recipes Steph promised. Enjoy one of our favorite family-friendly, energy packed snacks. You will not be sorry you made these, 100% guaranteed.

Protein Power Bars

Makes sixteen 1” square power bites

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup freshly ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup flaked, unsweetened coconut ½ cup almond, cashew, pecan or sun- flower seed butter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped dried black figs

Pulse nuts, flaxseed, coconut, nut butter and salt in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add melted coconut oil to food processor along with remaining ingredients. Pulse to create a coarse and pasty mixture. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens. Cut into mini bars and store in refrigerator. Do NOT eat all at once. You will be fueled for a marathon.

If nut allergies live in your family, here’s a sweet treat you can feel good giving your family. Tons of good foods and chocolate cravings dead in its tracks. Double whammy.

Quinoa Granola

6 ½ cup servings

Make a batch of this on Sunday and have for the week. Quinoa is packed with protein which is exactly what you and the kids need to start any day off right.

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
  • ½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)*
  • ½ cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup dried cherries, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium size bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, pepitas, and dried cherries (or other fruit). Then, spread evenly on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, honey, and vanilla. Then pour over quinoa mixture and toss to evenly coat. Bake for 35-40 minutes, tossing mixture every 10 minutes to ensure the granola cooks evenly.

*Feel free to get creative and swap out your favorite raw nuts, seeds and dried fruit for each other. If you have nut allergies in your family stick with seeds or add a dollop of sunflower seed butter!

*post contains affiliate link.

This post is part of a month of celebrating MPMK’s “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life”. You can read all about it here, check out all of our projects here, and join thousands of POYEL facebook group members here.

 

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