Building A Healthy Family

There was a time not too long ago when the word “mother or grandmother” brought to mind someone baking cookies in the kitchen. Today’s parent has an entirely different world to deal with than the parents of those generations. Keeping our family healthy and happy is a challenge that we gladly address, but there are few guidelines to help us. We are trying to protect and teach our kids how to live smart.

We live in a fast food, pre-packaged society. Our education system is massive and the workload on our kids is sometimes staggering. We struggle to get food in their stomachs between school, football practice, and dance class. At the end of the day we are exhausted and still, have daily chores to contend with.

But, it is possible to teach our families healthy eating. We have to look beyond the obvious and determine the reasons behind what we do. Let us explain.

#1 Understand food – then use that knowledge

By learning simple concepts you need to learn in order to make your family diet work for you, First, everything you eat has an effect on your body and its chemicals and functions. If you do not eat what you need, you will have cravings. Cravings are the body’s way of telling you something is off. For example you may begin craving orange juice. You are probably low in vitamin C. It is the same for other vitamins and minerals. We have to listen to our bodies.

Any form of exercise uses protein to rebuild muscles after activities. Carbohydrates are instant fuel for when the kids are playing in sports or when a person is using their resources. Fats cannot be replaced with anything else, and you need small amounts in your diet.

#2 Sugar is not the enemy

You and the kids are safe if you follow the 90-10 rule. 90% of your diet should be healthy and 10% indulgences. But, understand what they do. Eating sugar (and refined carbs) gives you an immediate serotonin boost. It makes you feel good. That boost last from 20-60 minutes and then it drops. Then the body hits you a craving because it wants the serotonin. Make a “wait 1-hour rule”. Have your treats. Keep candy and treats on hand for your 10% bonus time. Make them a candy buffet for their birthday party. Simply fill it options that are sugar-free.  Mix it up a little if you want and make half sugar-free and half with sugar. No one will even notice.

#3 Make a rule

The bedroom is a no electronic zone. Your brain will respond to the stimulation from electronics. If your child goes to bed with a handheld video game, a tablet or a smartphone to watch movies or play games until they sleep, you are allowing them to stimulate too much mental activity. It will train their minds to have sleep patterns that are unhealthy. Make a rule that the bedroom is a no electronic zone. If you have limited space, then set a firm time when electronics are to be removed from the room.

#4 Use common sense with rewards

People will tell you to never use food as a reward. But the fact is, we do. We use food for celebrations and holidays. Instead, incorporate the reward into their normal routine. If the reward is ice cream, have it after a meal and use it in their 10% normal treat allowance. You are not being dishonest, you are parenting!

#5 Don’t sweat the small stuff

The good thing about the body is it allows you to recover and begin again. If you or they mess up, don’t make it a big deal. Just turn the page and do better tomorrow. Just figure out where you went wrong and support each other through it.

 

Bike Picnics: 5 Steps to Reviving the Outdoor Family Dinner Tradition

Living in LA, it is second nature, for most, to just jump in the car and be on your merry way, but sometimes shaking up old family traditions make way for new perspectives and awesome adventures. This past summer our five year old took off her training wheels and sped into the world of cycling, so we thought, what better way to honor her new-found freedom than by starting a new family tradition; bike picnicking.

It’s a fairly simple concept. Pack up dinner. Secure it on your bike. Head to your favorite neighborhood park. Eat and be merry. But, we discovered very quickly there are many details that needed to be worked out in order for the whole family to enjoy, so here, in a nutshell are the lessons we’ve learned to get the most out of our new family tradition.

bike-picnic-burley
Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

1. Respect Your Child’s Ability

Don’t choose a park clear across town if your little one’s legs generally only make it once around the block. Take into consideration the entire family’s endurance level and map your course accordingly.

2. Know the Code of the Road

Study up and then impart that adult-sized wisdom to your kids, empowering them with the knowledge to stay safe. Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as the vehicles. Stay alert at all times, and remember, a bicycle is a vehicle which should obey all traffic signals and signs.

bike-picnic-burley-2
Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

3. Securely Stow Your Food

The last thing you want, after thoughtfully and carefully preparing and packing a lovely family dinner, is for it all to end up like roadkill, spilled out across the asphalt. Use a big front-wheel basket, or even better, a cool and convenient cargo trailer, like this Burley Nomad. Guaranteed to hold everyone’s eats, with room left over for mom and dad’s beer. I got my hands on one of these sweet Nomads when Burley invited me to be one of their #MothersOfNature Ambassadors and I can’t wait to find more cool uses for this cargo trailer!

4. Be Prepared for Mishaps

Being prepared is rule #1 of parenthood and biking is no exception. Invest in a small bike repair kit and a first aid kit, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged. Of course, chances are your ride will be smooth sailing, but you never know when it may come in handy.

Biking kids
Photo Courtesy Kerem Hanci

5. Feast Like Royalty

If there’s one thing I know for sure, any outdoor activity is better with a delicious reward. I am known for going a bit overboard, sometimes when it comes to make-ahead meals to enjoy in nature, but here are a few super simple ideas the whole family will devour.

Caprese
1 Heirloom Tomato
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil
Red Onion
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Thinly slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and red onions then lay them on a plate, alternating tomato, mozzarella, basil leaf. Once you have used up all of the sliced ingredients, sprinkle red onions on top, lightly salt and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

Roasted Broccoli & Fennel
2 heads of Broccoli
1 Fennel Bulb
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Cut the heads of broccoli into florets and slice the fennel. Toss everything lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Fruit Salad
2 Large Apples
1 small container of Blueberries
3 Persian Cucumbers
1/4 pound of Grapes

Core and slice 2 apples. Remove grapes from stem. Peel and chop cucumbers. Toss everything into a bowl and serve!

Mommy Hiker’s Guide to North America’s Best Waterside Campgrounds

Summer is officially here and there’s no better way to beat the heat and commune with nature than a waterside campground. Here’s our guide to some of the best family-friendly campgrounds in North America situated right on the water. Now get outside and chill out!

El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara, California

Family Camping at El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara, California

Nestled between the picturesque Santa Barbara mountains and the vast Pacific Ocean, El Capitan Canyon offers families 300 acres of camping, cabineering and luxurious yurts perfect for adventure and relaxation. Read more about this campground at Examiner.com!

Twin Lakes Campground, Mammoth Lakes, California

Family Camping at Twin Lakes Campground, Mammoth Lakes, California

Twin Lakes Campground in Mammoth Lakes, California offers family tent camping at its best. Boating, biking, hiking, fishing; it has everything an active family could ask for and is also perfect for just sitting around and doing absolutely nothing. Read more about this campground right here on MommyHiker.com!

Leo Carrillo State Park and Campground, Malibu, California

Family Camping at Leo Carrillo State Park and Campground, Malibu, California

Located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica, Leo Carrillo State Beach is unique with a protected cove toward the north and rocky tide pools that can be explored at almost any time of day (low tide obviously allows for more wildlife). It’s a great family beach and with the Leo Carillo State Beach Campground just a stroll away, it can also be a great place to stay. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Carpinteria State Beach Campground, Carpinteria, California

Family Camping at Carpinteria State Beach Campground, Carpinteria, California

With 200 sites, Carpinteria State Beach Campground is busy place. Reservations are snatched up the moment they become available (six months in advance) so make sure you’re on the ReserveAmerica website early if you want a spot. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Highland Lakes Campground, Arnold, California

Family Camping at Highland Lakes Campground, Arnold, California

Escape to the California Sierras, to Highland Lakes for a more rustic car-camping experience with the beauty of lakes and lovely mountain peaks. Read more about this campground at Chasqui Mom!

Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah

Family Camping at Sand Hollow State Park, Hurricane, Utah

Camping with close access to National and State parks, slot canyons, plus crystal blue water and cliff jumping out your tent door! Check out Sand Harbor State Park in Utah. Read more about this campground at Kid Project!

Payson Lakes Campground, Salem, Utah

Family Camping at Payson Lakes Campground, Salem, Utah

Payson Lakes Campground is situated on the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway near Payson, Utah. Payson Lakes is known as a fisherman’s getaway since the series of three alpine lakes are a great place to paddle, fish or swim. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Preston Valley Campground, Logan, Utah

Family camping at Preston Valley Campground, Logan, Utah

All the campgrounds in Logan Canyon are right off the main road which leads to a lot of road noise at night. The benefit is that it’s also right by the river which allowed us some short fun kayaking runs. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Primrose Landing Campground, Seward, Alaska

Family Camping at Primrose Landing Campground, Seward, Alaska

Primrose Campground is located the shores of Primrose Creek and Kenai Lake – a great base for a fishing adventure. The campground has 8 sites, no hookups and is within a short drive of Seward. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Exit Glacier Campground, Seward, Alaska

Family Camping at Exit Glacier Campground, Seward, Alaska

Exit Glacier Campground is unlike any other campground. Being a tent only, walk in campsite there are no reservations, no individual parking spaces and no picnic tables for each site. A communal cooking and storage area has three picnic tables and space to put food overnight. Read more about this campground at Mountain Mom and Tots!

Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville, BC, Canada

Family Camping at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville, BC, Canada

For gentle waters to wade and paddle, head to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, Parksville. This family-friendly park is conveniently located near Parksville and is a short drive from the Departure Bay ferry terminal. At low tide, the beach is about a kilometre long! Read more about this campground Play Outside Guide!

Green Point Campground, Pacific Rim National Park, Ucluelet, Canada

Family Camping at Green Point Campground, Pacific Rim National Park, Ucluelet, Canada

Enjoy epic beach walks along Long Beach, learn to surf, or hike in the coastal rainforest while camped at Green Point Campground, Pacific Rim National Park. Recent upgrades have made the campground better than ever – there are showers (finally!) and walk-in sites now have fire rings, so you can stay longer and more comfortably. Read more about this campground Play Outside Guide!

Wya Point Walk-In Campground, Ucluelet, Canada

Family Camping at Wya Point Walk-In Campground, Ucluelet, Canada

If you like getting away from it all, you will love the private, secluded beach at Wya Point Walk-In Campground, Ucluelet. Although this is a walk-in campground, it has the amenities of a front country campground (showers, dishwashing sinks, flush toilets). Not prepared to walk-in camp? Stay at the lodge or seaside yurts! Read more about this campground at Play Outside Guide!

Two Jack Lakeside Campground, Banff, Canada

Family Camping at Two Jack Lakeside Campground, Banff, Canada

This extremely popular campground in Banff has no power sites for RVs so expect a natural camping experience. Reservations can be made early in the season and are absolutely necessary if you want to camp here during the summer season. Read more about this campground at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!

Interlakes Campground, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

Family Camping at Interlakes Campground, Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada

This beautiful campground is located right on the Lower Kananaskis Lake with approximately half of the 48 sites situated right next to the lakeshore. To get a site here in summer you’ll have to come mid-week because reservations are not accepted in advance. Read more about this campground at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!

Crimson Lake Campground, Alhambra, Alberta Canada

Family Camping at Crimson Lake Campground, Alhambra, Alberta Canada

This campground has 173 sites with power for RVs and all are reservable in advance which really helps families planning ahead. There are bike trails, hiking options, and other fun things to do in the Rocky Mountain House area. Read more about this campground at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!

Writing-on-Stone Campground, Aden, Alberta, Canada

Family Camping at Writing-on-Stone Campground, Aden, Alberta, Canada

There are 19 unserviced sites and 45 sites with power for RVs. There are also two group campgrounds and several comfort camping units. All sites accept reservations in advance. There is a great beach with sand and families can float the river in tubes from one end of the campground to the other on a hot day. Read more about this campground at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!

Surveyors Lake Campground, Wasa, BC, Canada

Family Camping at Surveyors Lake Campground, Wasa, BC, Canada

The campground has approximately 100 sites but note that there are no power sites here for RVs. It is located just outside the mountain town of Fernie in British Columbia and is extremely popular! Plan to make a reservation well in advance if you want to get a site here in the summer. Read more about this campground at Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies!