TOP 5 TIPS FOR LESS SUGAR ON HALLOWEENOct. 22nd

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Here are 5 Tips for saving our kids from Scary Sugar Stories on Halloween, without being a bad “Witch”. Truthfully, I’m dreading bringing this up, talking about SUGAR on Halloween? The most poorly received public presentation I ever made was talking to a corporate group about office culture and nutrition, bringing up how sugar creates health problems and how the office should not allow employees and solicitors to populate the break room with sugary delights. Not only were there crickets in the room but the glares I got for the rest of the week drove home how sugary rituals are part of the joy people took in their workdays. So, please allow me to spare you the details of why we want to limit the sugar in our diets for another day (or by special request) and merely provide a small pitch and resources to help make Halloween time a less sugary event, should that be on YOUR list of priorities.

Events

EVENTS – Many community centers, churches, and organizations have events designed to be fun alternatives to trick or treating. Having the kids wear themselves out in bounce houses, bobbing for apples, playing games for prizes, etc… may just wear them out enough to make Trick or Treating a smaller part of Halloween rather than the main event, or eliminate it altogether. To find events in your area, google Halloween events in your city or county, or contact a local news provider.

Switch WitchSWITCH WITCH –  If “trick or treating” is the absolute favorite activity and does produce prodigious amounts of candy, consider using a “Switch Witch” approach Just remember to set up the story some days before Halloween. You can also call it the “Candy Fairy” if your children are scared of witches and don’t like the thought of her creeping into their houses while they sleep. You can either dump all the candy or let your child keep a few of their favorites and get rid of the rest.

Candy Trading

 

 

CANDY TRADING   some dentists offices accept candy trade-ins for little prizes and send the sweets as little gifts to our troops overseas. My 5 year old did ask the question “if sweets are bad for us, why are they good for the troops?” I think my answer mentioned that they’d only be getting a few pieces each so it wouldn’t send them to the dentist’s office straight away with a cavity, but it would nicely remind them of being a kid again.

Sugar Substitues

 

SUGAR SUBSTITUTES – If you are motivated to bake, there are many sugar substitutes that taste great hidden in cookies and other treats, and are far less harmful than refined white sugar. Also, if you are supplying treats for your community party or for trick or treaters, consider giving out glow sticks or other party favor toys instead, most small children will like them even better than edible treats and you and your kids won’t be tempted to sample the goods.

Learn MoreLEARN MORE about the effects of refined sugar on children’s bodies and why too much candy can be harmful to their health. Do it together and make a game of learning more, and let them teach you, too, so everyone will respect the decision to limit sugar in the family diet. For small children short and sweet explanations work best, like “it gives us tummy aches or gives us tooth aches”, and as children get older, invite them to watch a documentary like one that we recommend: Katie Couric’s “Fed Up”. 

Guest Post: 5 ideas to get us out of a lunchbox rutOct. 12th

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When we think of school lunches normally food items such as a sandwich, mini pizza, cookies, a pack of juice come to mind. These are what usually form the lunch box of a child. Why is that so? Mainly because they are convenient and children like them too. No preparation time is required, saving you time and effort, and all you have to do is pop them in your child’s bag. Children also love you for that. But are parents really doing a favor to their kids by giving them such items for school lunch? Not really. Not only are these highly processed but they also contain high levels of sodium, preservatives and sugar, making them unhealthy. School canteens also do not always have a variety of healthy options available. Besides, it is better for you to pack homemade lunch for your children rather than giving them money to buy something from school. Not only will that ensure that the food is hygienic and nutritious but it will also save loads of money over time. Since most kids are unaware of the health hazards of unhealthy food, it is up to you to provide them with nutritious meals and help them eat healthy.

Last night’s leftovers

No, there is no hard and fast rule that school lunches can only include chips and cookies. Last night’s leftovers will work just fine. Did your child love the meatballs from last night? You could make some extra and maybe add some rice with it. There you have a healthy lunch ready and something that your child would be eager to have. You could prepare chicken chunks, make chicken and egg spread for a sandwich, fry or bake boneless fish. There are plenty of options for you to consider. Just make sure to pack everything properly to ensure freshness and safety. You could use a thermos for warm food. Include reusable utensils and cloth napkin for ease.

Fruits and vegetables

Pack them such that they can be eaten easily. A child would prefer sliced apples and oranges rather than a whole one. The downside is that they would turn brown by lunch time and your child would rather skip them. Use lemon juice on them to avoid that. Bananas could be given as they are. A bag of grapes is also a good idea. Rather than buying jams and jellies from the stores, you could prepare these at home. The ones available in the supermarket contain very high sugar levels plus preservatives. Some children tend to prefer smoothies over eating fruits. If your child is one of them, you could skip on whole fruits and instead prepare a fruit smoothie, with maybe just a small portion of some vegetable, like spinach. Believe me they would not be able to spot the difference. The best part is that this could be prepared the night before and frozen.

Dairy products

Smoothies are a good way for your child to consume dairy. If not, you could give them the small tetra packs of milk available in the market. Another option is yogurt that you could freeze at night and it would be ready to be eaten by lunchtime. You could add fruits to the yogurt to make it more appealing to a child’s palate. But while you are working on adding dairy to your kids’ diet, think about choosing organic dairy products. You will be doing a favor not only to your children but also to the environment. Factory farms are still injecting artificially produced hormones into cows that make them give more milk. This is not natural and definitely not healthy for you, your children, or the cows. Opt for organic milk even if it costs slightly more.

Grains

How can you incorporate grains in your child’s lunch? Whole grain or whole wheat bread should be preferred over white bread. Prepare rice cakes at home and sprinkle them with fruit syrup or maybe peanut butter to make them more appealing. Whole grain crackers are also a good idea and you could also include cheese in the lunch box to go with them. Making cookies at home of whole grains, such as oatmeal raisin cookies instead of the usual chocolate chip, will add nutritional value to their desserts. 

Proteins

Meat does not necessarily have to be a part of your child’s diet to get them to take in protein. If they do not like it, do not fret. There are alternatives. Egg is a great source of protein, and packaged perfectly for on the go. Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare and eat. Nuts are also good for lunch or snack time. You could prepare chicken salad or a tuna sandwich if they are into these.

Final thoughts

Children who have healthy, well balanced lunches are better able to concentrate in their class than those who go for the less variations. So there is another reason you should ensure that your children are being supplied with a healthy lunch box. There is also the issue of food allergy to consider. If a certain kind of food does not suit your child, it is best to have their lunch packed from home. Kids may not be as careful about their food choices even if you have instructed them about it beforehand. It is better to be safe.

Author Bio:

Batool Ali is an international blogger who loves to write on different disciplines such as Health, lifestyle, fashion, finance and education.

Question of the MonthOct. 2nd

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How do you pack a more healthy, sustainable lunch for your kids?

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With everyone caught in the Back to School frenzy, our October topic is all about our desire to explore how to pack our kid’s lunches in a way that aligns with our values regarding keeping our planet and our bodies clean and sustainable. With many modern parenting issues, there are often more questions than answers that come up, and we are all about taking ideas and putting them into action. For some, sustainable may be about organic, for others, about going vegan, or even dabbling in urban permaculture. In the end, we all have to make it work within our family’s budget and time constraints. It isn’t a contest to see who is the greenest parent, but comes from a desire to put good things in our children’s bodies so that they can feel healthy, happy, and energetic. We want to show our kids how to be stewards of the earth and make good choices for themselves and their future families. The resources that come out of making these inquiries will hopefully help you come to terms with the lunchbox struggle in a way that fits your values.

This month we will be sharing ideas, recipes, and yes, PLAYING around on Youtube! Stay tuned!

Grateful Monday: The Science of GratitudeMay. 18th

This isn’t breaking news, but it’s a great reminder. We’ve learned that gratitude is key to a peaceful life. We have heard that happier people are more grateful people. They beam with light because of joy and maybe that joy is buried deep because they see the good in their lives and appreciate it.

Just some food for grateful thought on Gratitude Monday…and a video, because it is just so fun to watch.

Our favorite links of Earth Day 2015:Apr. 22nd

Happy Earth Day!

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photo credit to HuffPo

Can we just call it Playful Planet Day?!  (cheesy grin here)

There are so many mentions of Earth Day across Twitter and Facebook and All The Places on Earth Day. We thought we’d share just a few favorite links for FUN:

This guy (and his tiny Winnie the Pooh) is something else. Check out what he did.

Environmental Books for Kids from CommonSense Media

Here are some Instagrammers to follow via HuffPo GREEN – the beautiful photos!

and speaking of beautiful photos, you don’t want to be missing our very own Pinterest board called Glimpses of Beauty – Our Playful Planet in Photos

Enjoy Earth Day (every day), make a difference.

 

 

Earth Day 2015Apr. 15th

Earth Day is next Wednesday, April 22nd, but what does that really mean?

Aside from being a day to remind us to care for our beloved planet, there are a lot of ways that Earth Day Network makes it possible to get involved.

Like A Billion Acts of Green, which at the time of this writing has reached

1,123, 950, 223 and is moving to reach a new goal of 2 billion!

This call to action provides people with simple ways to help and make a difference by signing a climate petition, supporting environmental education, or make a mark on reducing energy consumption…

and the Earth Day Canopy Project, “which plants trees that help communities – especially the world’s impoverished communities – sustain themselves and their local economies. Trees reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income, helping communities to achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability.” (quote from the Earth Day Network website)

For every dollar that is donated, a tree is planted, through the Earth Day Canopy Project.

These are just two ways to do something to make a difference on Earth Day, and there are plenty of Earth Day celebrations, events, and activities happening across the globe. A google search for your area is a great way to find an event near you.

Peace.

5 TED talks on caring for the planet and sustainabilityJan. 20th

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Sustainability. What does it really mean? How do we look at it? Where do we go from here?

We’ve rounded up some of the best TED talks on sustainability for you, all in one place! 

 

THEN, TED has 12 talks in one place that focus on green architecture, called Sustainability by Design. If you or someone you know has a building project on the horizon, you don’t want to miss these talks, rich with resources, inspiration and ideas. 

 

and lastly, here is another excellent series of talks called Earth, appreciated. Any of the above would be great for a classroom or workshop, or simply to educate ourselves. Enjoy! 

Do you know where to find us?Jan. 12th

We have such exciting things coming up in 2015. Are you following us on Twitter and seeing our Facebook updates so you can stay in the Playful Planet Loop?

We’re on Pinterest as well, pinning all kinds of positivity into the worldwide web. Come join us there, too!

We’d love to follow you back, so let us know where you are if you’d like!

links for your New Year!Jan. 8th

Happy New Year, Playful Planet friends! It’s that time again, when many of us think to begin again, to reach our highest potential, fast! Our goals and resolve to make positive changes in the new year are good things. Until they are not. Just like anything else, putting our minds to improvements can take on a negative life. We can fall victim to putting so much pressure on ourselves that we inevitably fail.

At Playful Planet, we believe in making positive changes, and we also believe in keeping our expectations realistic, so we have more personal sustainable energy for the long haul.

Life is full of trials and joys, we must go easy on ourselves so we can feel more free to live the beliefs we have.

So, in starting the new year, we simply want to share some good reads with you. Maybe for today, a small step we can take is to fill our minds and hearts with little doses of education and empowerment. Happy reading!  

Why yoga and kids go together on PBS Parents

Is Yoga Religion by Mary Rountree on YogaKids

“If I had a dime for the number of times someone in Alabama asked me if yoga were a religion, I would be a very wealthy woman. This question is one that arises a lot in all regions of the country, but especially in the Bible Belt where religion is a very important component of daily living. As a practicing yogini in the south, how does one address this question with a “yoga-like” answer? Well, its simple…”

 

Are Goals Setting You Up for Failure? on Karma Spot

“What a compelling reason to come to our mats! The more we get comfortable with the feelings of uncertainty, the more likely we can make sound choices for ourselves. The more we sit in discomfort, the more we find our voice of reason.”

 

May 2015 be filled with fun and a few more healthy choices! 

 

The Storyland Yoga book–Condor Trek– FREE!Nov. 28th

With all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming your way, we wouldn’t want you to miss this one!! Right now, on Amazon, you can get Condor Trek, the Playful Planet book based on our award-winning Storyland Yoga DVD for kids, FOR FREE! 

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Amazon has created an amazing service, at a low cost of $9.99 a month. It’s called KindleUnlimited, and it allows you to upload however many titles you can devour in a month, for yes, just $9.99! 

Even better, the trial period of 30 days is FREE. (You can find your way to YOUR free trial by visiting the Condor Trek page and clicking on “Learn more” next to the blurb about KindleUnlimited, on the right side of the picture of the book!)

So sign up for KindleUnlimited and upload Condor Trek and any other of the 700,000 titles that strike your fancy! 

Sidenotes:
-Condor Trek is priced at just $6.99 without signing up for KindleUnlimited
We would absolutely fully appreciate it if you would take a moment to write a review on Amazon after you upload! Spread the love? *head bow* Thank you!