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Why Kids Fitness Foundations and Three Moves You Can Do At Home

Good morning healthy legacy builders. As most of you may already know, I have finally started my kids fitness class. (Kid’s Fitness Foundations) What some of you may not know is why I am so passionate about its format. Below I have included a paragraph straight from my ACE Youth Fitness Manual. (edited ever so slightly for length)

“A 10 year evaluation of changes in muscular fitness in English children revealed observable declines in measure of upper-body and abdominal strength( such as sit ups, bent arm hang and handgrip). (Cohen et al., 2011)
These findings are troubling as physical activities during childhood have typically involved high-energy movement such as jumping and running. However , children with low levels of muscular fitness may be less likely to engage in free play and more likely to engage in sedentary pursuits.
The eventual decline and disinterest in physical activity appears to begin early in life in sedentary boys and girls.
Children who are not exposed to an environment with opportunities to enhance muscular strength and Fundamental Movement Skills such as catching, kicking, jumping, and balancing appear less willing to participate in games, sports and free play activities.
By middle childhood, children more accurately compare their physical prowess to others and their perception of competence can influence their persistence in games and activities. Some 10 year olds already know they are not as good as their peers and, consequently, they choose to be sedentary rather than display low levels of motor-skill competence in front of their family and friends.
In support of these observations, motor proficiency was a significant predictor of physical activity in children 6 to 10 years of age in a longitudinal study that examined the determinants of physical activity in youth.
That is, children with high levels of motor coordination at age 6 showed negligible changes in levels of physical activity over the next three years compared with children with low and moderate levels of motor coordination, who experienced declining levels of physical activity.”

Yes, you read that right. By age 6, children are already likely to start having a decline in their levels of physical activity. I choose to group the ages the way I did because one, those ages are close enough to keep everything appropriate for everyone and two, these are such crucial years in determining a child’s fitness levels later in life. If we can get a child confident and comfortable with their fitness abilities early in life, we can set them up for success in a big way.

Another piece of formatting for my class is keeping a positive environment. I think we all have experienced feeling “less than” or not good enough. And what happens when we feel like we are destined to fail? Well as shown in the research above, we shy away from those feelings and activities surrounding them. It is so important we create a space that it is okay to fail in order to be encouraged enough to keep trying.

And thirdly, every class is designed to hit each Fundamental Movement Skill that is necessary for a child’s development. So while the activities appear to just be fun and games, Kids are actually learning and developing skills they didn’t even know they had!

For those of you who aren’t local and able to attend a class, I have created three moves you can do at home with your child. All you need is a kiddo and some sidewalk chalk!

1.) (chalk) Cones Drills

No cones? No problem! I used the same fun drills I would with cones, but I colored circles where the cones would be. Not only did this work well, but it was a nice little change from the norm.

2.) Obstacle Course

By drawing a few lines, circles and dots we were able to practice almost every fundamental movement skill in this fun obstacle course. After the kids went through a couple times, I let them draw their very own course. This ended up being great for spacial awareness too! (If you liked this- check out our indoor obstacle course!)Β Β 

3.) Letter ‘S’ Tracing

Tracing the letter S has kids crossing the midline of their body which is amazing for their brains. It basically causes both sides of the brain to “light up” and the more practice kids can get doing this the better! Draw an S on the ground (about the width of the child’s chest) and have them trace it with their pointer finger.

And that’s it! Simple yet effective moves to help hone your child’s skill set and help empower them for a healthy feature.

I hope this post was of some help to you! Please feel free to ask any questions, my e-mail box is always wide open! Let me know in the comments what your favorite physical activity was growing up πŸ™‚

-Ashley

 

Making Fruits and Veggies Fun

While meal time can often mean ‘war time’ with picky little ones (no judgement I’ve been there myself!) Recent studies show a more fun, relaxed environment sets the stage for children to eat MORE produce (on average one full serving size more, according to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology) reporting “moms who telegraphed more positive emotions, such as warmth and encouragement- and who seemed to be enjoying themselves- had children who ate about one more serving, on average, of healthy food like fruits and vegetables”.

Cool story Ashley, you say to yourself, but how am I supposed to apply this on 4 hours of sleep nights and teething babies and soccer practice etc etc?

I present to you my top 5 tips,tricks and hacks for enjoying your fruits and veggies!

1.) Never Underestimate The Power Of Silliness

See those carrots and sugar snap peas we put little edible eyeballs on with honey? They were devoured! At our house when we are trying foods my kids are “learning to like” we put on silly songs (my personal favorite are veggie tales but any will do) and rock out during dinner.

2.) Set The Table

Now we don’t do this all the time. But days where we do, I’ve noticed an improvement in the kids willingness to participate in meal time. Make it special with some name place cards! Use a dollar tree table cloth to mix things up. Use fun colored or character based plates.

3.) Always Offer A Vegetable With Your Meal

Even if it doesn’t get eaten or even tried, your kids will learn they are a part of life. However once your kids see how much you enjoy it, they are more likely to give it a go themselves.

4.) Meal Prep/ Plan Ahead

Admittedly one of my weaknesses. However its a lot easier to keep my attitude in check to help create that warm, encouraging environment when I’m not being screamed at by hungry minions while trying to decide what to make for dinner at 5 o’clock. πŸ˜‰ It also helps meΒ to choose healthy options when I plan out what we eat when I’m not starving.

And on that note

5.) Do What Makes Meal Time Enjoyable for You

Be it lighting your favorite candle, using your all time favorite salad dressing, or melting some dark chocolate over your favorite fruits for dessert, having things to look forward to and things to enjoy at meal time can create an experience for yourself too. Not only do you deserve to have a nice meal time, your whole family will benefit too.

But lastly,

6.) Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

It’s not going to be perfect. That’s okay. As long as you keep doing your best, keep a positive attitude and keep offering up those veggies, things will fall into place.

Positive Affirmations for Kids

It’s no secret that self confidence is arguably one of the best life skills to have.

But as a parent I have found myself often at loss of ways to truly build up my children. Sure we give them praise and make sure to say I love you like constently .But I’ve been on the hunt for ways to really build them up .With no achievement or expectation attached.

So (after some Googling and Pinterest-ing) I came across positive affirmations. The first couple days it felt nice, but I wasn’t sure if I was making a huge difference. My 5 year old was very into it, but my 3 year old didn’t want to say them out loud. (So I just asked him to say them in his head when he felt like it)

However about the 3rd day in, my 3 year old came up to me randomly, gave me a hug and said “Mommy, you are loved.” It was so incredibly sweet. But it also showed me that the practice was really getting through. And a reminder that kids who are built up and loved on, know how to love others better. And at the risk of sounding dramatic, that makes the world a better place.

So here is my list of positive affirmations. This is just what we do. Sometimes we do them in the car, sometimes we have time to sit down and do them that way. Whatever works for you is perfectly fine. Also this list isn’t an exact science, it just happens to be what we do in the mornings. (This would also make for a wonderful bedtime routine.)

Positive Affirmations for Kids

I am loved.

I am safe.

I am special.

I am unique.

I am strong.

I am kind.

I am caring.

I am smart.

I am patient

I am important.

I am a great friend.

I am thoughtful.

I am loved.

 

Honestly this list could go on and on. I also start and end with I am loved because if anything else it’s a message I really want to drive home.

What little ways do you encourage your child throughout the day?

~Ashley

Sports Team Snack Ideas

Ah May. If you are a mom with a school aged kid, it is truly the busiest time of the year. Field trips, end of year parties, outdoor play dates and an a shockingly large amount of birthday parties. Throw in a sport and the days will literally fly past you.

And I will be the first to admit it has been difficult to focus on nutrition once life picked up this much!

In my book, every little bit helps. Evening T ball games have dinner rushed (and quite chaotic). So I figured the last thing I wanted to give our little growing athletes was more junk, with an already skimped dinner!

So here is my list of healthy and better for you foods to bring when it’s your turn for snack.

Sports Team Snack Ideas

  • String Cheese
  • Apple slices
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Oranges (and cuties)
  • Bananas
  • No- sugar added granola bars
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Real fruit leather
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Carrot sticks

When it was our snack day we brought honest juice boxes for the drink. I felt it worked as a decent alternative to other sports drinks.

I hope this post was of some inspiration for you! Let me know what some of your go to group snacks are. And bonus points for healthy quick dinner recipes πŸ˜‰

Have a wonderful day.

~Ashley

EGG-xtra Fun Easter Egg Hunt Workout

I absolutely adore Easter egg hunts! It’s so fun seeing the kids get so excited over their discoveries, and a wonderful way to have some memory making traditions.

I also think it’s a great opportunity to make working out fun. Early experiences with (sports and) exercise set the tone for a child’s attitude towards being active later in life. The more chances we can make being active become associated with fun times is, in short, setting the scene for healthy adults.

And I must say this Easter egg exercise hunt was a hit! We laughed as much as we worked out, and that is a huge success for this age group!

Here is an example of what we wrote down for each egg.

The only “Notes” I had from our experience is to open and do each egg’s activity as you find each one. If you have more than one kid make sure to encourage everyone to do the activity with the person who found the egg. And lastly make sure to make it FUN. Fun is the language of this age. If your child would love the challenge of having 3 push ups be in an egg go for it! But if you know your child hates push ups, try some bunny hops or tree pose. I also made a point to include give a high five, and give a compliment. It’s never too early to encourage good sportsmanship!

Let me know if you give this twist on the Easter egg hunt a try! We love seeing pictures too πŸ™‚

Also let me know (in either the comments or an e-mail) if you would like this list in printable form.

Thanks for reading and I hop you all have a wonderful Easter.

~Ashley

If you liked this post, you might like last year’s post on non- candy Easter basket ideas! πŸ™‚Β 

Healthy Baby Smash Cake

The smash cake. For those of you who don’t have a Pinterest account, the “smash cake” is a small adorable cake just for your one year old to make a huge mess with.

And while I’m all for messes and happy toddlers, I try to avoid food coloring whenever I can! I also, mainly due to my children’s highly sensitive teeth, avoid sugar as much as possible.

So I was determined to make a delicious cake that was mom and birthday boy approved!

First a couple of notes. I used whole wheat pastry flour. I absolutely love this stuff. It helps keep things lighter and fluffier without having to actually use white flour. I highly reccomend it for most of my baking recipes.

Also I used all organic ingredients. I don’t usually “promote organic” as I can’t always afford it myself and would hate for anyone to be discouraged from healthy eating. However I could taste a huge difference in this recipe (mainly due to the organic vanilla and bananas) so I just thought I would give a heads up.

And lastly I always try to give credit where its due. This cake was very much inspired by this post from Super Healthy Kids.

Okay! Now lets get to the cake πŸŽ‚

*2 mashed bananas

*3 teaspoons vanilla extract

*1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk

*1 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

*1 egg

*1 dash of Salt

*1 teaspoon baking powder

*1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Now for the “frosting”

*Heavy Whipping Cream

*1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Mix the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract in a bowl. Then I used an electric hand mixer until it resembles frosting! I swear this took about 10 minutes so be patient with it. If you have older kiddos they would LOVE to help you with this step!

(Also make extra because you will want to snack on this with strawberries πŸ™‚ )

*3 Strawberries

To top and make festive! Although you can obviously get creative and top with whatever fruit your little one loves most!

Thanks for reading and happy birthday πŸ™‚

<3 Ashley

Rainbow Salad for Kids | Plus a Free Shopping Printable

With so much talk about dieting these days, I have been making a very mindful effort to teach my kiddos to just simply enjoy real whole foods.
One point I try to really drive home is eating the rainbow. Having a large variety of fruits and veggies is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need throughout the day.
Another benefit to this recipe is the rainbow aspect helps make salads more appealing and fun to kids who might be hesitant.
Without further ado, here is our favorite rainbow salad recipe!

Rainbow Salad

  • Red- Red Bell Peppers
  • Orange- Shredded Carrots
  • Yellow- Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Green- Baby Spinach
  • Blue- Blueberries
  • Purple- Purple Cabbage

*Rainbow Carrots for fun!*

Another way to get kids excited about eating right and trying new foods is to get them as involved as possible.
Grocery shopping can be a great way to help get the veggie hype started! To help with this I created a grocery list for this meal for kids! It went over so well with my boys I just had to share with all of you.

Some tips; bring a clip board if possible, or at least something hard to write one. I also printed a few extra coloring sheets for the boys to have in case the trip went long! I’ll include those here too πŸ™‚

Once your fun shopping excursion is done, do as much prep work as possible before you actually bring the kids into the kitchen with you. Depending on age, having everything pre chopped and portioned, ready to just pour into the bowl can be the best way to go. The more fun the experience the better. Older kids can cut up the spinach with some kitchen scissors. And don’t forget the best part can be sampling while cooking πŸ˜‰ Put on some fun music and embrace the chaos, your kids are learning some of the best life lessons they can.

I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe! Please send us pictures of your own creations, we love to see what you guys come up with.

Have a beautiful day.
~Ashley

P.S- If you liked this, don’t forget to check out our Fruits and Veggies Hack | Getting Your kids To Eat Veggies

Peanut Free Granola Bars

At the risk of sounding dramatic, these are the tastiest, most filling, kid approved granola bars know to man kind.

Seriously though, these babies are quick easy and of course yummy.

With my oldest in school (and soon t ball eeeek!) I see the importance of allergy safe snacks. We may have lucked out in the peanut allergy department but I don’t even want my kiddos eating any on the way to school. I would want the same curteousy from other parents if that were my child who had severe reactions. Another need now is healthy nutrient dense food that can be eaten quickly. We are always rushing from one place to the next, and probably half of our diet is snacks. So I try to do my best to make our snacks work for us.

ANYWAYS these bars are free from peanuts but filled with taste!

Without further ado here is my school friendly granola bar recipe!

School friendly granola bars

  • 2 cups quick cook oats
  • 1 cup sunflower butter
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Combine and mix ingredients

Pour mix in 6Γ—10 pan with wax paper.

Freeze for 1 hour.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Don’t forget to make in bulk and freeze. I’d keep these in the freezer and then pop them in lunch boxes straight from there. These can get kind of crumbly, and freezing them seems to help.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

What are your go to snacks for busy days?

Ashley

 

 

FREE Printable Lunch Box Notes

Hello healthy legacy builders! And happy February!

I absolutely love February, valentines day and all things hearts. And being a mom makes the holidays that much sweeter. Now that I’m actually packing lunches, I thought it would be nice to add some cute and fun lunch box notes!

I thought I would put these up on here for a quick, easy but meaningful way to remind your kids you are thinking of them throughout the whole day.

I hope you all enjoy these cards as much as my family hasπŸ’š

 

 

~Ashley

PS don’t forget to check out our healthy valentines day heart pancake recipeΒ !

Healthy Valentine’s Day Pancakes

Needing a sweet, tasty yet heart friendly valentine’s day breakfast? Look no further than this delicious pancake recipe! The best part? It’s easy to make.

All you need is pancake mix, beets, milk and frozen berries! (and any ingredients the box says you would normally need). Mix up your pancake batter according to the directions.

I then blended 1 cup of frozen mixed berries, 2 cooked beets and 3 cups of almond milk (or milk of choice). Once liquefied I added the berry/beet mix into my pancake batter. And then cook the same way you normally would πŸ™‚

I also like to throw in some flax and chia seeds, which of course are optional!

The ‘syrup’ I made by taking a cup of frozen berries and microwaving them for a minute and a half. I then just mashed the berries and poured over my stack of adorable pancake hearts.

And there you have it! The berries mask any beet flavor (although I LOVE beets) and the beets give it this beautiful rich coloring. No artificial colors needed!

Use our healthy frozen hot chocolate recipe to make a decadent drink to top off your perfect valentine’s day meal <3

Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a happy Valentine’s Day.

~Ashley

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