Tag Archive for snacks

Tips for Back to School Success: Start This Year Off Right

It’s that time of year again, back to school and back to schedules, homework and often stress. Before the first bell rings, there are some very important things to be in place to insure a successful transition back to class. Preparing for these things in advance can contribute to a positive and productive school experience for most children. » Read more..

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Why Snacks Are Good For You and Your Family

Snacks Your Family NEEDS

Many people go hours without eating which compromises your focus and metabolism. It’s often unconscious, until your stomach is an empty pit or your mind is mush. The same is true for many children and teens, especially during the school day. Four hours or more without food is far too long, in fact it depletes their focus and impacts their mood. In order to keep your child sharp and feeling successful during the school day, snacking is super important. » Read more..

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Foods That Fight Stress and Fatigue

Everyone experiences some stress in their life and know very little about the ramifications. A little stress is good for you—it’s necessary keep you alert and alive. Unrelenting crisis, chronic stress and the never-ending sagas that keep you up at night and your stomach in knots, damage your brain and body. Stress makes you tired, fatigued and foggy. Your brain doesn’t work like it should and your body is in a chronic state of exhaustion. The effects are nothing short of deadly. Effects of chronic stress are linked to heart disease, depression, cancer and other mental and physical ailments. There are natural ways to reduce stress in your life and the lives of your family.  » Read more..

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4 Snack Ideas to Fuel Your Brain and Body

When you go too long without eating you get hangry.  You get moody, lack focus, and make poor decisions.  Your blood sugar waxes and wanes making it hard to -have a stable mood or thought. Which means that the drive-through looks mighty tempting.  The best way to keep your brain fueled, stomach happy, is to keep some on-the-go snacks with you at all times. These four snack ideas are gluten-free and filled with protein.  Protein is an essential part of developing healthy brain chemistry. Grab them and go on with your day!  » Read more..

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Backpack Snacks That Boost Brain Power


By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Snacks can help to save your kids mood and attention span during the long days back in school. Having healthy snacks on hand that can enhance focus and prevent meltdowns is easier than you think. Making sure that the snack contains a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat ratio is imperative for cognitive functioning and keeping moods stable. Many prepackaged and portable foods contain additives, dyes and more sugar than a can of soda. Try these for simple and effective alternatives for boosting brain power.

No Cold Pack Needed!

justins-natural-almond-butter-153218Rice Chips and Nut Butter. Gluten and dairy-free rice crackers, chips, or NutThins and a side of almond or sunflower butter keeps protein and fat contents proportional, while also adding some complex carbohydrates. Justin’s almond butter is a product that has individual packs, or you can simply separate the chips and the nut butter into different containers to keep the chips from getting soggy. Many schools are anti-peanuts these days, so alternative nutbutters are an added bonus.

Trail Mix. Make your own (link) by adding in nuts and cereals that your child likes, as well as some dried fruit or dye-free chocolate bites and you now have a portable healthy snack that is great for any time of the day. Have your kids make their own too, with this reindeer mix. My favorite gluten free and protein filled option; lentil chips, pistachios (without the shell), and dried cranberries (sugar-free). Good fats, protein, and complex carbs.

Edamame. This soy bean can be steamed and stored in any container, add some sea salt and it’s a protein powerhouse. There are roasted versions too, that are easy to snack on and nonperishable.

Jerky. Salmon jerky, soy jerky, and even turkey jerky can all be found with organic labels these days, and they are a great snack to tide hunger over in any kid. The protein content is high, and so is the sodium so watch out, but jerky has a great chewiness factor to keep kids occupied.

Keep it Cool

Cheese to-go. Babybel cheese and crackers or string cheese, grapes and corn chips or crackers.

Roll Ups.  Whole wheat or spelt tortillas (gluten free tortillas if needed), Swiss cheese, and turkey slices, and add some avocado if your kiddo is an adventurous eater or mustard. Vegetarian kiddo’s, can try hummus and extra vegetables.  Or the old-school PB&J can  be jazzed up with almond butter, banana, coconut flakes and honey in a tortilla. Cut into pinwheels and they become more fun to eat.bluediamond-nutthins

Dippers. Hummus and rice chips or baby carrots. You can actually freeze the hummus and 4 hours later its in its dipable form. Use it as an icepack and snack all at once.

Weelicous has amazing recipes for fruit and seedbars that you can make into gluten-free combos and creative fun snacks.


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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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Quick Protein-Filled Snacks

By Emily Roberts

The importance of rotating protein is often under-minded when we are dieting or attempting to get kids to eat whats on their plates.  We often go for whatever is easy and quick rather than whats really beneficial for our brains and bodies.  In our past post The Power of Protein, we talk about the importance of protein and briefly on rotating proteins:

Why Rotate?: If we eat the same thing everyday our body is going to get used to the amino acids in that food, making it difficult to create new strains of amino acids, thus less neurotransmitter availability.  Therefore, making changes in protein increases your availability to create new strains.  Simple fixes are, chose fish instead of chicken on your salad.  Add protein powder to your morning oatmeal instead of just milk, or try adding in a mid morning snack of yogurt and nuts.

Below are some great ideas to get new proteins into your old routine, as well as easy snack ideas for children and adults alike:

Edamame: Instead of chips reach for this heart-healthy, protein filled snack.  With 11 grams for a 1/2 cup, you are doing yourself a favor.  Sprinkle some sea-salt on them, put them in a Tupperware and take them along to the office or in your child’s lunchbox.

Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese: Instead of boring fruit on the bottom yogurt (still a good source of protein) try something exciting like Fage 2% Greek Yogurt, it has 17 grams of protein.  Add a little Agave Nectar and a handful of nuts and you have yourself a perfect snack!  Kids love it with fruit and granola.

Hummus or Baked Chickpeas: Instead of your usual dip or spread try hummus with veggies or baked chips, its a great alternative to or usual spreads.  Kids eat it up, and by adding this in we are getting in protein from a legume, something most of us don’t get unless we are eating beans or lentils.  The snack packs are a great, portable, snack idea or for throwing in a lunch pale. Baked Chickpeas are a fantastic way to appease your crunch and salty cravings and helps to fill you up.

Beef Jerky: Instead of salty chips or rice cakes.  It can be high in sodium, however 1 serving shells out 70 calories and 11 grams of protein, with only 1 gram of fat.  Try a few pieces instead of your usual afternoon snack.  Kids love the chewy texture and its super portable. There are some organic brand out there that are pretty healthy.

Let us know what protien snacks you and your kids like, we’d love to hear them!

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Great Gluten Free Snacks: Kid and Adult Tested

Many of the children and adults we have worked with are on specific diet. Whether they are allergic to dairy or wheat, sugar free or casein free, we know tasty snacks are sometimes hard to come by.  We are seeing more kids on gluten free diets, and parents who have a difficult time finding convenient and tasty snacks for them. Here are some of our favorites that have been kid (and adult) taste tested with scores of “Yum” across the board.

 Nut Thins.  With seven different flavors there is one to please even the pickiest palate.  Add hummus, peanut butter, or cheese for a complete protein snack.  Or just eat them straight out of the box, with 3 grams of protein per serving.  My personal favorite is Country Ranch, but the kids go crazy for Cheddar Cheese.


 LesserEvil Krinkle Sticks. Many potato chip brands have seasonings that contain gluten (take a look at your ingredients). This brand is completely gluten free. This was the perfect alternative to a potato chip with only 2.5 grams of fat, no trans or saturated fat. They are available in four fantastic flavors: Classic Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion, Old School Bar-B-Que, and Cajun Kaboom!


 Amy’s Kitchen Frozen Meals. If you have ever looked for a healthy alternative to microwave meals then you have seen Amy’s amazing products in your grocers freezer.  They are kid and adult friendly with a variety of products.  Kids I’ve talked to love the gluten-free baked ziti. 


Envirokidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars.  These bars come in 5 delicious flavors.  My favorite is the lemur Peanut Choco Drizzle.  They also have a variety of other tasty cereals and snacks that are nut, dairy, and gluten free


Lara Bars. Great on-the-go snack.  These bars are 100 percent gluten free and have over 20 flavors.  I love the Apple Pie, and kids go crazy for the Peanut Butter Cookie flavor.


Chex:  The classic cereal you grew up with has gone Gluten-free!  They have a wide variety of flavors and recipes on their site. 


Applegate Farms Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets.  Most breading on chicken nuggets contains gluten, MSG, and other flavor additives.  Not Applegate’s, these are by far the best chicken nuggets I have ever tasted.  Kids (and adults) prefer these over McDonlads!  They are delicious and protein packed.


Cherrybrook Kitchen All Natural Cookies.  This brand is amazing! The cookies are peanut free, dairy free, nut free, egg free, and vegan; best of all they taste great.  They have baking mixes for any occasion along with frosting and breakfast mixes. 



Ians French Bread Pizza. The gluten and casein free French bread pizza is “awesome” a very picky 11 year old told me.  Put them in the toaster oven for added crunch, and for you adults out there with gluten and dairy sensitivities, add some chili flakes, it’s a healthy alternative to your favorite slice of pizza.


Add your favorites below.  We look forward to hearing from you.

In Good Health,

Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

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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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