Tag Archive for Emily Roberts MA

What’s in Your Popsicle?

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

We love being a part oft the #StressLessSummer Series with Dr .Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young authors of Bloom! Brain Based Parenting. This week we are focusing the effects of summer foods on the brain, and it’s contribution to behaviors. Here are some tips to make your frozen treats better for your brain.

The summer heat can tempt us to reach for a cool treat, but beware of what lies beneath the wrapper. Even bars that are all natural and 100% fruit can cause tremendous changes to the brain and your child’s behavior.  stresslessssummer pic

The brain responds to the sugar overhaul by spiking blood sugar and excitatory neurotransmitters temporarily, leading to a behavioral “crash and burn.” Scientifically speaking, even after the first bite, our brain releases a surge of insulin. Often  the pancreas is tired of doing this and it will ask the adrenals to help because a “load” of sugar has hit the body and it needs to be handled. This does cause an excitatory response in children, leading to behavioral bursts. If it is matched with a protein, the effect will be lessened Plain fruit without some protein to keep the sugar spikes at bay, can feel a pound of sugar to your little ones brain.

Store bought brands may be all fruit but lack the protein. Homemade, brain-friendly, bars are simple and so much better for you. Get creative and enlist your little one to help  test out new recipes. Ziplock now makes Zipzicles, bags to that make homemade popsicles portable!

  • Freeze your favorite Greek yogurt and fresh fruit or preserves, yogurt not only contains a ton of protein but probiotics for maintain a healthy gut.
  • Want to go dairy-free, no problem, make a almond or rice milk-based smoothie and for some extra protein put in a few spoonfuls of nut butter, or protein powder in, along with frozen or fresh fruits (most kids can’t taste the protein powder if its blended well).
  • Craving the islands? Coconut water, pineapple, a bit of protein powder and bananas (with a touch of agave nectar) is my favorite.

Share your family’s frozen favorites below!


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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Gluten-Free Products I’m Loving!

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Grocery shopping can be an overwhelming task when you or loved one has a dietary restriction.  As a gluten free shopper, on most occasions, I am constantly finding new products that promise to be “tasty”, but are often tasteless.  It’s wonderful that more and more companies more open to making gluten free products; and now almost every grocery store carries aisle that can meet any dietary needs, from sugar-free to soy-free there is something for everyone. The only problem is trying to decipher between them all, do they really taste as good as they look? Have no fear!  I have tried them out, asked my expert friends and foodies, and found some of my new favorite gluten-free, and some casein-free foods.  Check out the ones I just can’t get enough of right now.

Glow Gluten Free Cookies.  Love at first bite!  I tried these at a party and had no idea they were gluten-free until after I ate the entire cookie.  It is so difficult to find a gluten-free cookie that tastes good, and with a texture that is identical to your regular cookie, you will be doing a double take at the box.   They are trans-fat, preservative, and casein- free.  The cookies are baked in a GFCO certified gluten free kitchen, so you don’t have to worry about additives. Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray are fans, and they know good deserts!  Check out all of Glow’s flavors at http://www.glowglutenfree.com/

Daiya Cheese: A few months ago, a friend introduced me to this amazing product.   At a local pizzeria, I tried a gluten free pie; little did I know it was also dairy-free, made from Daiya cheese!  I couldn’t even tell the difference! The texture was spot on- it melted perfectly, and I couldn’t stop myself from having an extra slice. One of the best pieces of pizza I have had in NYC and it was dairy-free and gluten-free, can you believe it?  They also have a variety of other delicious flavors that please even the pickiest of pallets.

Popchips. These certified gluten free chips that are really amazing.  They are just like potato chips but honestly- they are better!  You won’t be able to resist their crunchy charm, all the while knowing that they are actually healthy!  With 100 calories and about 3 grams of fat per serving, you will feel much better about munching on these then calorie laden potato or corn chips.

Trader Joe’s Garlic Hummus Dip.  By far my favorite hummus on the planet!   It is so delicious and zesty, perking up a normal cracker or bell pepper into a delicious treat. It has a very light and airy, almost whipped, texture, which is very pleasing to my pallet.  Eat it as a snack; add to your favorite sandwich, or salad.  A great source of protein and its only $3.99 for 16 ounces, quite a deal!

Soy & Almond Dream Milk or Creamer.  On accident, I stumbled upon this amazing alternative to lactose.  Buying creamer at the store, I grabbed this one without thinking, and I am happy I did.  It is gluten and dairy- free and tastes amazing.  I actually prefer it to cream, it is much healthier with 130 calories per serving (Original flavor) and 7g of protein, I use it in my oatmeal and anything that calls for milk.  My friend who is vegan and gluten-free, uses it in her Mac and Cheese and swears it cooks as well as cow’s milk, it was just as creamy as the original.  Great for kiddos who can’t tolerate casein or lactose (and goes really well with those Glow Gluten Free Cookies).  If you cant have soy or dairy, this is a great alternative. It’s made from almonds and has a texture that is similar to milk.  I have it in my coffee, smoothies, or over cereal.  The chocolate is my favorite!  It’s actually lower in calories that cow’s milk and has a variety of nutrients.

If you are trying to make a dietary change for you or your family, research the products before you stock your fridge. Buying products that look great in the box, but taste like cardboard will only make you more inclined to go back to your old patterns.  Make sure to check with us, your friends who have dietary restrictions or blogs that are honest about their experiences with these foods.  Happy eating!

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Great Gluten Free Resources

 By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Karina Allrich's Gluten Free Pumpkin Stuesuel Muffins, creater of Gluten Free Goddess

“What can I eat? “ I find myself frequently thinking of what I am not allowed to eat rather then the wealth of foods I am able to enjoy these days.  Myself, and others who have sensitiveness to gluten,  often find themselves in this tiny corner of the grocery store, that can seem daunting and scarce.  It’s important to note that any food with wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats in the ingredients list, or that indicates it has been manufactured in the presence of wheat, gluten, or gluten-containing ingredients can affect you if you have these sensitivities. I didn’t know this until recently when I had some oatmeal, which was a bothersome experience. Upset, I decided to start looking at what I can enjoy instead of focusing on what I have to live without.

 For many parents and clients we talk with, the change to any diet appears very difficult at first, but after they look at all the possibilities of foods they can eat, try out recipes with success, and eat at their favorite restaurants with ease they often tell us, it’s much easier than they expected.

Here are some sites that I found extremely useful in making my transition to gluten-free and understanding what I CAN eat.  Please add your favorite sites and blogs as well! The more information we can get and share with others, the easier it will be for all of us who have food sensitivities or family members who are living without.

Gluten Free Girl: I Really like this blog, great recipes, stories, and coupons for GF foods (so simple to print and I have already saved $5.00 on my next trip to Whole Foods).  She makes living gluten free look very easy.  Love her easy-to-read style and simple, yet tasty, recipes.

Celaic. com:  When I ask myself, “So…What can I eat?” I turn to the experts on this site.  There are lists of foods to avoid and those that are tolerable.  Great information for a newbie like me.

Gluten Free Goddess: This is a fantastic blog.  She makes cooking without look better than with gluten.  I was inspired by her site and beautiful pictures.  Who knew you could have scones and muffins that actually taste delicious!

Gluten Free Cooking: For holiday recipes that seem daunting without gluten Teri Gruss has made it look simple; with anything from pie to stuffing, to creative alternatives that look and taste like the real thing follow her guide and it will be just like Thanksgiving or Christmas, but without the stomach aches.

Gluten Free Mommy: is a fantastic site for parents; she has easy recopies for gluten free and casein free kiddos (and parents too!).

Please add your favorite blogs or sites below.  Start a discussion about how living without ____(insert you or your child’s sensitivity here) has been for you and share resources.

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Having Fun on Vacation with the Kids? It’s Possible…

Tips for Summer Trips with the Kids

Many parents are taking about upcoming trips and most are worried; worried because last year’s vacation was a disaster.  Meltdowns, long car rides, tantrum throwing in public, un-restful night’s sleep…..

Here are a few tips for preparing for a successful summer getaway:

Before you go: 

Develop ground rules so there are no surprises.  Sit down as a family and make a contract (no matter how young the child is) and bring it with you, encourage them to discuss what they want to do while you are visiting, and what rules should be in place, along with consequences if these rules are broken.  This can include by is not limited to:

  • If we are in public and you are having a difficult time, tell us, so we don’t have a meltdown in public.
  • You may get ONE souvenir when we get there, under $10.00( up to parents). Letting them know ahead of time, will decrease the chance of them asking for everything in sight. 
  • If you­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________ (insert behaviors here, hit, bite, kick, scream) at us or your siblings you will have ______________(consequences).  Immediate consequences work best. Make sure there are more than one behavior and consequence listed.
  • Follow through with these rules, if you don’t children will keep doing it.  It’s up to you to set the standard and the boundaries.

What to Pack:

  • In long car rides or on planes, pack activities that your child can easily access; their DS, coloring book, reading material, travel-sized games.  *While in the car or on the plane surprise them with a new toy.  This will be exciting for the kids and a new activity to focus their energy on.
  • Snacks.  Making sure kiddos have a snack every few hours is a key for happy travels.  Keeping a cooler of healthy, protein rich snacks with you is ideal for keeping their brain chemistry optimal and reducing meltdowns.  If your child is on a special diet, bring those items as well, just because their on vacation, does not mean that their bodies can handle foods that can be damaging to their system.  Fruit, nuts, cheese, yogurt (keep it frozen overnight and it will stay cold for hours), peanut butter sandwiches, veggies and hummus. 
  • Pack vitamins and supplements (yours too).  This is imperative for a stress-free vacation.  If we forget for a few days, that is understandable, but for most kids, vacations are exciting, and along with exciting, bad behaviors can emerge.  Individually bag and label their supplements for each day and time of dosage; carry them with you; this will insure they are getting the fuel they need.
  • Let them help you pack.  As frustrating as it may be, when they know what’s in their suitcase, and they picked it out, your kids will most likely be apt to wear it, not fuss over it, and feel a sense of pride for helping.  Many kids who have a difficult time adjusting to new surroundings find that bringing their blanket and pillow from home (some even sheets) help them sleep better and feel more comfortable in new surroundings.

I like Michele Borba’s tips (Today Show Contributor and Parenting Expert) http://www.micheleborba.com/blog/2010/07/22/back-seat-sanity-savers-for-road-trips/

Please add your own success tips.  We hope you have a wonderful summer and a stress-free vacation!

In Good Health,

Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

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