War on Average

encouraging each other not to be satisfied with mediocre


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Veggie and Protein Smoothies

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Everyone always seems to be looking for ways to get extra veggies and protein into their diets and especially into the diets of their kids. Smooties are a great and delicious way to do that. Veggie or Protein smoothies are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I usually give my kids their smooties after naps.

And get the kids involved! Let them help make the smoothies and then it’s their creation 🙂
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Base:
A key ingredient in any smoothie is a quality protein that you can be confident is made well and doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or fillers. I use Shaklee proteins for my family because of the Shaklee Difference. For my kids I most often use the Shaklee Meal Shakes or sometimes the Energizing Soy Protein. I stick with vanilla because I often make shakes for a before bed snack when we’ve had an early dinner so I avoid the chocolate. For myself, I use Shaklee180 smoothie mix (which is safe for the kids too, if you choose to use that one). These are also all great to make Peanut Butter Bites.

All of my smoothies contain almond milk as a base. How much almond milk (or milk or water) you use it mostly dependent on the consistency that you want the shake. My kids do much better with a more liquidy drink. I often add coconut milk to my children’s smoothies (full fat) to add fat and the health benefits of coconut milk. When I don’t have that available, I add straight up coconut oil and just blend really well.

Almost all my smoothies have banana in them as well. This is for flavor and consistency more than health benefits but bananas have great nutrients too. I usually do about 1/3 of a banana per person.

Veggie Smoothie:
A veggie smoothie can be made with whatever veggies you have in the house, which is great. And the great thing is that often RAW veggies and the hardest for kids (especially little ones who are not great at chewing yet) to get and have the most health benefits. Just blend them up—even if it’s a small amount:
Carrots: These add a sweet flavor and a good color. Just make sure to blend well to avoid chunks.
Broccoli: Start with a very small bunch. Not an extremely strong flavor but evident.
Spinach: No flavor change! Just turns the drink green. Put in as much as you want (frozen works too).
Kale: Start with a very small amount. The bitterness can be offset by other flavors but experiment carefully.
Zucchini: Adds a creamy texture without a lot of flavor change
Avocado: A great addition for thickness (especially for those who use water)

One of my favorite smoothie sayings is, “Peanut butter covers a multitude of vegetables.” I often add peanut butter to the shakes. I can add raw broccoli, kale and such and they still mostly just taste the peanut butter. This also works by adding frozen berries.

Protein Milk Shake:
There are times when my kids just need a totally delicious yummy shake and they really only need protein and the other nutrients found in the protein mixes. Examples are when they have had a meal with too many carbs and need to balance it out with protein or when I really just need to get some vitamins in them (see below).

With those I just mix the milk, banana, peanut butter and protein mix.  Or, today I did frozen berries, milk, banana, and protein mix.  These are incredibly delicious and very nutritious. If you are trying to move your child away from an all-grains breakfast, I would start with a shake like this.

Other Additions:
Protein shakes are a great way to get other vitamins into your kids if they do not want them mixed in something like applesauce. Some that I crush for my kids in shakes include:
Nutriferon: A very powerful immune booster for sick seasons and situations
Alfalfa: A great natural decongestant and anti-inflammatory
Defend and Resist: For when a cold or sickness is just beginning
Vitamin D:  To boost the immune system and improve mood and energy
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I also mix these chewables in for my littlest one when needed:
Incredivites Multivitamin Multimineral
Chewable Vitamin C

Sometimes I also add in Chia Seeds.

If the color of a green smoothie bothers your kids (I have one that it does), mask the drink in a non-see-through cup.
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The kids drink up and get so many good things in those little growing bodies!
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Hope this helps get you started with making protein or veggies smoothies for your family! Is there anything else you add that you can share with us?

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Five School Survival Supplies You Can’t Find at Target

Back-to-School-Supplies

Nostalgia wells up in me every year when the “get back to school” season hits.  I’m excited that next August I’ll get to take my own daughter for the first time to grab up all the fun back to school necessities!

Even if you have all the right notebooks and pencils…and for the teachers, all the right bulletin board materials and grading pens, you still don’t have everything you need for a truly successful year.

Every year during the first months of school my Facebook feed is full of teachers or parents commenting on the current illness and ailments of their own, their kids or their classrooms.  It doesn’t have to be that way! Your fall and winter season as a family or as a teacher can be a healthy one, unencumbered by lost days and weeks recovering from illness or nursing your loved ones back to health.

Here are five school survival supplies to make it a more cold and flu free year.

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1. Multi-Vitamin: Because of the quality of our food supply, it is very difficult (pretty much impossible) to all thenutrients our bodies need from what we eat. Adding a multivitamin (Incredivites for get children before they can chew, Vita-Lea with iron for women, Vita-Lea without iron for men) makes a big difference in your immunity’s first line of defense. The children’s vitamin in particular is the first children’s vitamin with lactoferrin—the immune boosting protein found in breast milk. (And no, you can’t get this at Target. My friend, Kylie Hinkle gives an amazing explanation of this on her blog in her post “What You Need to Know about Children’s Vitamins.”  In addition you can take a look at the Shaklee difference and this video for one example).

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2. Optiflora probiotics:
80% of our immune system is in our digestive tract, which effects not only how healthy we are, but how the rest of our body functions. Even our moods and emotions. You can learn more about the importance of a healthy gut in this great explanation by former science teacher and business partner of mine, Katie Odom. She also covers in more detail what makes Shaklee’s probiotics significantly more effective. In summary, because the microflora in probiotics is delicate, they often are destroyed by the acid in our mouths and stomachs.  Studies have shown that as little as 5% of what is included in the typical store bought probiotic actually makes it into your gut. Shaklee’s triple-encapsulated system guarantees that all of the microflora listed will actually make it to your intestines where probiotics live and do their work. This is why people often see completely different results when using Shaklee’s probiotic. AND the tiny pearl is easily swallowed by even the smallest children (my daughter started swallowing it in applesauce before she was a year old).

Shaklee-103. Nutriferon: When it comes to immunity, Nutriferon is the most amazing product in my arsenal. World-renowned immunologist Dr. Yasuhiko Kojima first discovered interferon in 1954, while he was conducting research at Tokyo University. After 40 years of painstaking research, testing hundreds of natural compounds, he developed a unique blend of four powerful plant extracts that boost the body’s natural production of interferon. Scientists and medical communities have identified interferon as critical to healthy immune function. NutriFeron is the only dietary supplement in the U.S. created by the discoverer of interferon that naturally increases the production of interferon in the body. This product has been life-changing for us as we protect ourselves during the flu season and prevent ourselves from catching something our children may have picked up. During cold season, when someone I know we’ve been around has the flu, when my children’s diets have compromised their immune system, I always add this (crushed and added to a shake or applesauce) to my children’s vitamin regimen. With small children I crush a half, but older children can have a whole tablet.

4. Vitamin C: Simple, yes, but effective. Children can add a simple chewable Vitamin C (of the highest quality) and adults can use the very effective Sustained Release Vita-C for all day immune boosting.

Shaklee-145. Shaklee 180 shakes and bars: For both teachers and students, starting your day with a quality source of protein and nutrients will give you energy and focus to make the most of your day. Many students see a distinct difference in their attention in class when getting enough protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar and appetite. The bars also make great after-school snacks or for before sports and extracurricular activities. (These shakes and bars are safe and HEALTHY for children of ALL ages).  They’re priced at a great value for what they contain and beat out the store bought meal bars all day long.

If you’d like to hear more about making this year your best health year yet, check out our these webinars on helping children and teachers have a healthy and successful school year filled with great testimonies:

How To Help Our Kids Have Their Best Year Ever
Teachers Nutritional Survival Kit … How to Stay Healthy and Sane This School Year.
Raising Our Kids in an Increasingly Unhealthy World
Why We Trust Our Kids to Shaklee


Shaklee-7Bonus item for the best year ever: Omegas!  Mighty Smarts for children can help greatly with mental focus and brain development. Not only for those struggling with attention disorders, but for all kids.

 

 

 

Vitamin photo credit: Maggie Fortson Photography


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Because Jim Gaffigan Doesn’t Have to Be Right about Pancakes

Have you ever heard Jim Gaffigan’s sketch about pancakes? He does have a point, even though they are delicious. And don’t get me wrong. I have a  pretty hard time walking away from them when they come alongside my healthy omelet.

After a recent webinar where I shared some healthy alternatives that I need my family, my Almond Meal Pancake recipe was requested. I put together my own recipe from a variety of information I found online.

The best and most affordable place I’ve found to get Almond Meal is the “Just Almonds” at Trader Joe’s. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you, I am very sorry. Find a friend who lives near one and visit them on a road trip.

Let me know (in the comments) when you try them and if you add any variations.

Just be careful. If you have two three-year-olds sleepover and you tell them you’re having pancakes in the morning and you serve them these—they may be disappointed.

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Almond Meal Pancakes
2 cups almond meal
6 large eggs
2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Cook in pan or on griddle like regular pancakes.


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Two Healthy Muffins for the Family

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day? YES! If you’ve spent time reading about nutrition, weight loss or general health, this is not news to you. However, WHAT YOU EAT for breakfast also matters. Protein is very important. Consuming 15-20 grams of protein first thing in the morning is a huge part of getting your metabolism cranked up for the day and it begins to lay the foundation for a day of more stable energy—but more on that in another post.

Today, I’ll share two recipes that have been HUGE in our house in helping combat the tendency to reach for otherwise simple-carb-heavy breakfast options. These recipes are great additions to go alongside your eggs, your morning coffee, your Shaklee Life Shake or a quick mini-meal on the go at any time of day. These muffins are made with nut flower or nut butter instead of grains. They are gluten-free, high in protein, and delicious!

We are not officially Paleo eaters, but we LOVE a lot of the recipes that can be found in Paleo cook-books and websites. I double these two recipes because they both freeze well. My children 5, 3, and one love these and I can be confident they are getting the nutrition they need without all the fillers, sugar and artificial substances that are even in the “healthy” store bought options! The Sun Muffins are a favorite to go snack for baby eaters!

Try these! I would love to hear what you think of them or any creative variations! Please leave a comment below.

Morning Glory Muffins:
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2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups carrots, peeled and grated
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard-sized muffin pan or line with papers
Combine almond flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Add carrot, apple, coconut and raisins and combine well.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, honey, mashed banana and vanilla extract together.
Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix very well. The batter will be very thick.
Spoon the batter out into muffin pan and place on upper/middle rack of your oven for 30-40 minutes (based on oven).
When a toothpick inserted into the top of a muffin comes out clean, the muffins are done.


Sunflower Muffins
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1 cup any nut butter (I use sunflower butter)
2-3 ripe banana
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor.
Blend until well mixed: batter will be sticky.
Pour batter into a greased mini muffin tins.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8 minutes or so until cooked through
I am sure you could use regular muffins too, but you will have to increase the cooking time to 12-15 minutes.