7 Ways to Increase Your Child’s Vegetable Consumption

How to go from “yuck” to “yummm.”

The struggle is real.
Are you like most parents (and by most we mean nearly all) battling to get your child to eat those nutritious veggies each day? Or at the very least take a few bites? Sure, there’s the age old “you can’t have dessert until you finish your broccoli… ” bribe. And sure, a bribe may work to some degree, but what if you actually want your child to actually enjoy nutritious foods?

Why the big deal?
Encouraging healthy eating habits early in life has been a proven way to prevent the onset of diet-related diseases.1 Also, exposure to fruits and vegetables in infancy and toddlerhood have been associated with acceptance of these foods as they grow older.2

At BootCampSF, we’ve been researching ways to help parents build their child’s love for veggies, and here are some ideas for you:

1. Believe in butter
Babies are born with a preference for sweet and salty taste.3 This predisposition means sweet and salty foods are much more likely to being accepted by infants compared to bitter flavored foods — such as certain vegetables. So what does this mean for you? You will be more successful in the long run if you disguise rather than bribe.
To help your kid get passed his sensitivity to bitter foods, consider masking that bitterness with butter. Yes, we said “butter,” and more specifically the grass-fed variety which contains vitamins A, E, and D3. These vitamins are important to a growing child, plus the added fat helps their bodies absorb them.4 Try adding 1 tablespoon of butter per half cup of broccoli, green beans, mashed sweet potatoes, etc.

2. Go fresh food shopping together
Teach healthy eating choices by letting your kid help you select the fresh produce. Try making a game out of selecting different colors of fruits and vegetables. Also, a visit to your local farmers’ market can be lots of fun. Not only will you be teaching your child how to select high quality produce, you’ll be more successful come dinnertime when serving the foods you discovered together.

3. Let him be your sous chef
Even younger children can help in the kitchen. Of course, we don’t mean chopping vegetables, but instead let them try simple tasks like tearing the lettuce for a salad, stirring the pot, or measuring ingredients. As with the food shopping, you’re creating a sense of ownership with their food which is a proven technique for encouraging healthy eating.5

4. Grow your own
Research shows children have a more positive attitudes toward vegetables after gardening.6 This should come as no surprise since freshly picked vegetables are so much tastier than those sitting on the grocery store shelves. If you don’t have the means for your own garden, then take a visit to a vegetable farm where your child can pick her own. Growing or picking your own foods ties back into the sense of ownership discussed above.
Healthy Eating for Kids

5. The secret is in the smoothie
Pureeing vegetables is possibly the easiest way to getting kids to consume more fresh foods. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that children ages three to five nearly doubled their consumption of vegetables on days when they were served pureed vegetables instead of whole.7 An ideas for creating a nutrient dense smoothie includes blending: half a cup of spinach, half an avocado, half of a small banana, ¼ cup canned pumpkin, and ½ cup of either almond milk or water.8

6. Create a copycat
Invite a friend over for dinner who you know has healthy eating habits, or send your kid to the older cousin’s house who loves his spinach. The peer pressure of watching the other kids devour their vegetables might provoke yours to give them a taste at the very least.

7. Set a Good Example
No doubt, you already know this one. Yet, knowing what you should do doesn’t always mean it’s easy to do it. For example, you may love Diet Coke. But if you’ve banned drinking sodas for your child, it may be confusing for him to watch you guzzle that Diet Coke during dinner. Also, what is your own relationship with food? Are you trying healthy recipes or complaining about your weight after eating junk food? Bottom line: if you are willing to try new healthy food choices, your kid will be more likely to as well.

In Conclusion
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try creative ways to encourage your child to eat healthily. Though at times it might be frustrating, trying new ways to prepare vegetables and being positive are vital to getting your child to enjoy them… for a lifetime.

1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21651929
2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2678872/#R35
3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2678872/#R27
4) https://www.verywellfamily.com/
5) https://www.eatthis.com/
6) http://gardening.cals.cornell.edu/program-tools/benefits-and-research/key-findings/
7) https://www.sciencedaily.com/
8) https://eatthisnotthat.com

Importance of sleep after BootCampSF wakes those muscles up!

BootCampSF utilizes a wide variety of exercises resulting in a satisfying total body workout. This means you will need to take special care in training-recovery which includes getting a good night’s rest. Sleeping well after you exercise makes your muscles and tissues stronger and helps prevent fatigue and injury. Your muscles learn to adapt to training, but rest is actually when those adaptations are taking place. Plus, with adequate sleep, you’ll perform better as an athlete. And on the flip side, there is solid evidence that exercise helps you fall asleep more quickly and improves sleep quality.

To get more out of your sleep, try these tips:

Power Down the Electronics
The glow from electronics pass through your eyes and delay the release of melatonin which is the sleep inducing hormone.

Turn In a Little Earlier
Get as many hours of sleep before midnight as you can (there’s an empirical belief that an hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight).

Stretch Those Muscles
In addition to relaxing you, stretching releases built-up tension which is great before trying to get some shuteye. Stretching can help you fall asleep fast, as well as help prevent sore muscles in the morning.

Enjoy a Hot Shower
Taking a hot shower 90 minutes before bed can help you sleep better reports Men’s Fitness. After you’ve been in the hot water, your body temperature then cools down which is a signal to sleep.

Create a Sleep Routine
Get in a regular sleep-wake cycle. In other words, go to bed and wake up the same time every day. Then keep to it! When you change this pattern, even if you actually get more sleep, it can negatively affect the impact on recovery.

In Conclusion
World renowned sleep expert, Dr. Mark Rosekind, says, “There are lab studies that show that if you’re an eight-hour sleeper and you get six hours of sleep, that two-hour difference can impact your [athletic] performance so that it equates to how you would perform if you had a 0.05 blood-alcohol level.”

To get the most out of your BootCampSF workouts, the proper amount of recovery and sleep is imperative. Along with a balanced diet and our intense exercise program, getting the right amount of sleep may be the last ingredient to help you decrease body fat or increase muscle mass and strength. We suggest you strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Importance of Good Balance

We’re all searching for balance in our lives. Balanced minds. Balanced diets. Balanced work lives. But have you thought about the importance of having a balanced body? A good sense of balance is critical to preventing injuries and accidents.

At BootCampSF, we carefully consider the types of exercises used in our programs to make sure your muscle groups stay in balance. We also build core strength which is crucial to good balance. In addition to the abdomen, core strength includes strong hips, ankles, and gluteal muscles.

Sometimes you may not be aware you have weak balance, so in addition to BootCampSF classes, we also recommend you doing balance and core exercises a few times a week.

Flamingo Stretches

Hold back one leg and balance on the other foot for about 30 seconds, then switch. Repeat three times. Try moving as little as possible while doing this stretch. Focus your eyes on an object in the distance while standing on one leg to help keep you balanced.

Leg Swings

Stand on left leg and raise the right leg three to six inches off the floor. Then swing your right leg forward and backward, while keeping your arms at your sides, touching the floor for balance, and keeping your upper body straight. Next, repeat without allowing your foot to touch the ground. Lastly, swing the right foot to the right side while extending the left arm. Switch legs and repeat.

Keep Up The Core

You can do sit ups, crunches, and other ab exercises to keep your core in shape. By doing so, it will support your weight when you’re trying to hold still and balance.

The benefits of circuit training: torch calories without getting bored

Circuit training, much like we practice in boot camp, is an excellent way to keep your workout interesting while maximizing calorie burn and fat loss. We work outside during our BootcampSF workouts, which gives you the added benefit of soaking up the sun’s rays to boost Vitamin D and put you in a good mood.

There are other important benefits to circuit training; we’re able to achieve intense results in a relatively short amount of time. Our workouts last an hour, which is an optimal amount of time to combine cardio, resistance training and flexibility. You’re able to challenge your entire body during a class, and it’s proven that high-intensity interval training combined with lifting increases metabolism and leaves you with an awesome after burn effect that causes your body to torch calories for hours after the workout has ended.

According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, circuit training workouts “prompt a higher degree of post-exercise excess oxygen consumption, or EPOC, than traditional cardio workouts. EPOC refers to the metabolic boost your body retains in the hours and days after your workout, and it can be a significant source of additional calorie burn.”

This type of training is also proven to burn more fat by improving insulin sensitivity – this type of training helps keep insulin levels low so that fat can be mobilized and burned.

As with any high intensity workout, post workout nutrition is key to recovery and reaching your fat loss and strength goals. It’s important to consume a source of carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit within 45 minutes of completing your work out. Be sure to replenish with a 3:1 ratio of carbs and protein for ideal muscle repair.

We recommend a super food packed green smoothie as a satisfying post workout meal. The raw cacao is full of antioxidants and may help lower bad cholesterol and decrease inflammation. Try out the recipe below and let us know in the comments what you think:

Post Workout Superfood Smoothie

Ingredients:
2 handfuls spinach and/or kale
½ banana
1 Tbsp. raw almond butter
12 oz. almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
Water as needed
Ice, optional

Directions: Add all ingredients to blender, blend until smooth & enjoy!

3 Core Moves to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Did you know that lower back pain is quite common? According to a study conducted by the UNC School of Medicine, more than 80% of Americans will suffer an episode of low back pain in some time in their lives. However, there’s no need for alarm – lower back pain can be relieved and prevented by strengthening the core muscles.

Core muscles are the support system for your spine and lower back, and if the muscles are weak, your posture may be misaligned causing too much pressure to be placed on the lower back. If there is weakness in the core, hops, gluten and/or hamstrings, the body is thrown off balance and the lower back may be forced to pick up the slack.

Generally speaking, three types of lower back pain may be experienced, and may be temporary or ongoing. The first is a muscle spasm, which appears as pain that comes on suddenly. The muscles will feel ‘locked up’ so to speak, and it may be hard to move. Second is a shooting pain in the lower back and down one or both legs, indicating sciatica. There are no spasms associated with this type of pain, as a pinched nerve is normally to blame. Finally, a general aching across the entire lower back may be caused by arthritis, which is a form of inflammation, or weak muscles from a lack of activity.

One of the best low impact core strengthening exercises that can be practiced is the plank. There are many variations of the exercise, including a forearm plank, a plank done on the hands with the arms extended straight and a side plank variation. If you are new to the exercise, start with a :20 second hold and gradually increase by at least :5 seconds with each practice.

Back extensions are also an excellent way to target the core – specifically the lower back portion. The exercise may be completed on a back extension machine, but, if you’re like us, you prefer to work outside in the sunshine! We recommend lying on the ground on a mat or towel (or the grass, if you prefer) and reaching the arms and legs out as far as you can stretch. Slowly lift the arms and legs up and away from the body simultaneously and then lower back down. You’ll feel the entire back side activate to complete the exercise. These may also be referred to as the “superman” exercise.

Our third choice is the bridge, or hip raises. Lie on your back on the floor with knees bend and feet flat on the floor. Engaging the glutes and hamstrings, raise the hips up toward the sky, pausing for a few seconds before lowering back down. If you have tight hip flexors, this is an excellent stretch to practice.

And as always, keep moving! Getting a workout in at least a few times per week will help you easily increase your core strength and ease any lower back pain you may experience. Sign up for one of our classes and join the fun!

3 Tips For Making Resolutions That Stick

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If you’re the type of person who keeps making the same resolutions year after year, then this post is for you. Here are 3 common problems that keep your New Year’s resolutions from getting accomplished and how to fix them.

  1. They’re too general: How familiar does “get healthy” sound when Jan. 1st rolls around? The problem is that this goal is way too general. It’s much easier to set (and maintain) a goal of eating 2 servings of vegetables before lunch than it is to “get healthy”.

The solution: You must get specific about your goal. Not only what the exact end result be, but also what it will look and feel like to get there. For example, if your resolution is to “get fit”, set a goal of being able to do a certain number of pushups and squats or run a specific distance. Then, ask yourself what it will look and feel like to get there. What will it take on the day-to-day? Do you need to start with 1 push up and 1 squat and add on each day? What does your running schedule look like? The more specific you can be not only about the goal, but about the path to your goal, the more likely you are to succeed.

2. They’re too specific: However, there is the other side of the coin…the issue of getting unrealistically specific. For example, planning to “lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks” is certainly specific, but if we don’t meet that exact goal, we can feel unsuccessful and abandon our efforts all together.

The solution: Make a backup plan. After you give your goal a good, hard look in the eye and determine if it really is realistic and achievable, then make a plan for if you don’t meet it. What will you do if you don’t lose the weight / do 80 pushups / complete the race? Will you try again? Set a different goal? If you have a backup plan in place, then you’ll be able to avoid the all-or-nothing trap of specific goal setting.

3. Clashing goals: Why is that we feel the need to set so many New Years resolutions? Have fun. Sleep 8 hours. Travel. Save money. Relax. Lose 10 pounds. Hang out with friends. Spend more time alone….it goes on, right? The problem with this is that we don’t realize how often these goals can clash. When you have two opposing goals (i.e. save money and travel) it can make us feel like we didn’t accomplish either.

The solution:  We encourage you to try setting just one resolution. Then, commit to 3 different ways to accomplish it. If your resolution is to travel more, then your 3 goals could be 1) set aside a certain amount of money each month, 2) to sign up for flight alerts and 3) to set a calendar reminder to request the time off work.

This single tip makes your goal specific and achievable, sets you with a backup plan and avoids the problem of clashing goals.

Now, we’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite ways to set intentions for the New Year? How will you be using these tips to set powerful resolutions that stick? Let us know!

5 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Whether you’re under 10 years old or over 30, Halloween = candy overload.

I mean, who can resist that pillowcase full of bite sized butterfingers?

Instead of  feeling like the holiday got the best of you, we’ve got some tips to help you (and your kids) avoid the Halloween sugar hangover.

  1. Make a festive meal: Instead of sweets being the center of attention, get festive with savory foods. A healthy meal before trick-or-treating can make a big difference in late night snacking. Here are some ideas:

2. Try a candy inspired smoothie: Blend up one of these nutrient packed smoothie for an afternoon snack. With recipes like peanut butter cup, caramel apple and almond joy, they’re sure to leave your cravings feeling satisfied.

3. Make a splurge plan: If you know the Reese’s will be calling your name, make an agreement with yourself to only have a set amount. Be specific. When you know you only get 1 or two, you’ll enjoy it more and set yourself up to avoid binging. Before Halloween night, it’s also smart to set up expectations with your kids too.

4. Try this sugar hangover meal: protein + healthy fat + probiotics + water. Excess sugar can throw off our hunger/fullness signals and we can often end up with intense cravings. Eat a balanced, protein rich meal with a healthy fat to get your metabolism back on track. Refined sugar can also mess with your gut bacteria, so including a probiotic rich food like kefir, yogurt  or sauerkraut is a bonus. Example breakfast post Halloween: egg and vegetable scramble with avocado and sauerkraut or Greek yogurt and berries.

5. Stock up on the health(ier) stuff. For kids, Thrive market is a great online resource for stocking up on additive-free candies and treats. For the adults, choose dark chocolate or these better choices when it comes to the sweet stuff.

How To Become A Morning Person

Morning

Are you the type of person who enjoys waking up early? Do you feel energized and productive in the morning?Or are you a snooze-5-times and don’t-talk-to-me-for-30-minutes type?

If you struggle in the mornings, there are some proven ways on how to become a (happy) morning person.

1. Get Fresh Air:
The famed “breath of fresh air” actually has some science behind it. This study shows that breathing outside air truly does lower cortisol, leaving you feeling more relaxed and calm. While you might argue that one could get fresh air later in the morning, we think that it’s simply the association we make between mornings and feeling calm that makes, this tip a keeper.

2.  Take Your Time:
What’s your favorite thing about sleeping in? It’s that lazy, leisurely feeling, right? Instead of associating early mornings with rushing, leave yourself enough time to move slow. If you can, find a moment to be alone. Sit with your coffee, watch the sunrise, make a healthy breakfast, lay in bed for 10 minutes before getting up, say a prayer, take a warm shower. Even if it means setting your alarm for just a few minutes earlier, those few moments can make early mornings your favorite time of day.

3. Get Some Sun
There is something about seeing the sunrise in the morning that makes us feel awake and accomplished.  A study notes that exposure to orange light (like the sun’s) can increase brain activity and boost alertness. When you first wake up, immediately open the blinds or curtains to let any natural light in. Summer is the perfect time to start establishing these early morning habits since it’s bright early. During winter months, try to get outside or to a room where there’s sunlight as the sun rises.

4. Have a detailed plan:
The best thing you can do to inspire you to get up is to know exactly what you’re about to do. As that alarm goes off and your thoughts start to rush in, you’ll be much more likely to hop out of bed if you have something to look forward to. The more specific the better. For example, your plan could look like this: sit up in bed and take 10 breaths, put water on for coffee, open the blinds and splash water on your face before and enjoy coffee for 5 minutes.

5. Workout:
For most non-morning people, it’s hard enough to get up for work, let alone a workout before work. However, if you struggle with mornings, changing your workout routine, might be what helps.  Research shows that those who workout in the morning (vs. evening) are more likely to sleep better and reduce their stress. Once we start to consistently feel better (from all that good sleep and reduced stress!) waking up early and exercising will be a habit worth keeping.

Ready for  a way to do all 5 habits in one easy step? Register for our summer session! You’ll get fresh air, see the sunrise, workout, and have a morning routine you love.

Check out our schedule here.

 

Your snacks matter: 5 Snack Ideas For On-The-Go

Snack

Picture this…

You’re starving and running in between work and errands. You don’t have a snack and a meal isn’t going to happen for another hour or more.

What do you do?

Run to the gas station for chips? No.

Something from the coffee shop? Naw.

Swing by a grocery store? For what? A protein bar? An entire bag of trail mix? With the chocolate chips. We can do better….

It can be hard to find a snack when you’re on the run. We can easily end up snacking on treats disguised as snacks (chocolate-y protein bars, premade drinks or coffee shop pastries). When we’re on the go or traveling, having homemade snacks, like our mini frittatas , chia pudding or almond bites isn’t an option.

Here are 5 easy grab-n-go snack ideas you can find at most grocery stores anytime, anyplace:

1. Green Apple + Justin’s Almond Butter

Why: Green apples are lower in sugar than other varieties. Almond butter is higher in anti inflammatory Omega 3’s than peanut butter and also higher in minerals.  Eating fat and protein rich almond butter balances the higher carbohydrate fruit. Justin’s single serving almond butter is perfect for grabbing and eating on the run.

2. Hard Boiled Egg (from the salad bar)

Why: Eggs are high in protein (about 6 grams per egg) and also contain healthy fats in the yolk. This combo keeps us fueled and full. Grab a pre hard boiled egg from the salad bar and you’re on your way.

3: Greek Yogurt + Banana

Why: If you’re wanting a heartier snack, this is the one. Greek yogurt offers a bigger volume of food for less calories than most other snacks. We love Siggis single serving Greek yogurt in plain flavor (low in sugar and high in protein) with banana.

4. Olives

Why: Olives make a satisfying, low calorie snack for when you’re wanting something salty or savory. Try Oloves single serving packets found at Whole Foods or health food stores. Or if you’re at a specialty health food store, grab a couple from the olive bar.

5. Single Serving Protein Powder

Why: Most grocery stores that sell protein powder also sell single serving samples. Pick one up for anywhere from $1-$5, empty into your water bottle and shake. Make sure you read our guide to protein powders, first. It’s an easy way to get in some nutrients, without having to spend much time to stop and eat. (This is a perfect one handed snack if you’re needing to eat while driving!)

Simple Homemade Turkey Burgers

Turkey Burger Image

All those burpees in your BootcampSF workout got you craving a burger?

These simple turkey burgers come together in a matter of minutes, making them an easy choice for weeknight meals. Plus, they’re a lighter and healthier alternative to the red meat counterpart. We love that they sneak in some extra vegetables and are especially kid-friendly.

Cooking tip: did you know that the #1 reason for dry burgers (turkey or beef) is the common mistake of pressing down on the patties while they cook? Make like a chef and leave them alone in the pan until you flip.

Psst…In a previous post, understanding your cravings we discussed all about how to satiate your cravings (including burger cravings).

 

Ingredients
Serves 4
1 lbd organic ground dark turkey meat
1 small zucchini, grated (use a box grater or food processor)
1 large carrot, grated
2 large handfuls spinach, chopped finely (once chopped should be about 1.5 cups)
1 egg, whisked
¼ tsp cumin
salt and pepper
High heat oil (coconut or avocado oil) to cook
Buns of choice (whole wheat, Ezekiel, gluten free are good choices)
Toppings of choice (onion, cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles)
Condiments of choice (mustard, ketchup, we love primal kitchen avocado oil mayo)

 

Directions
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Form into 4 patties (to keep juicy, don’t pack too tightly) and set aside on a plate.
3. Heat oil in Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook patties until browned and cooked through (don’t press down on the burger!), about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate.
4. Serve turkey-spinach patties on buns or lettuce wraps with toppings and condiments of choice

Note: Patties can be formed 1 day ahead and stored in fridge. They also freeze well. Bring to room temperature before cooking.