How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

One of the simplest ways you can begin to eat healthier is to pack your own lunches. Restaurant food and (unfortunately) school lunches are often loaded with preservatives, food coloring, and excess fat and sugar. By packing your own meal, you can choose healthier foods and save a lot of money! Here’s how to pack a healthy lunch!  healthylunch 300x200 How to Pack a Healthy Lunch

  • Nutty-fruit burrito. This one is a kid favorite! Spread peanut butter or better yet almond butter on a whole grain tortilla and add sliced apples or banana. Sprinkle with cinnamon and roll it up! Pack it with a side of carrot sticks and hummus or a handful of raw almonds.
  • Fresh salad with homemade honey mustard dressing. Toss romaine lettuce, tomato wedges, red onions, and carrots with cooked chicken breast and homemade honey mustard dressing made from equal parts of honey, mustard, and olive oil.
  • Perfect pita. Stuff a whole-grain pita will all of your favorite sandwich fillings! Try refried beans and salsa, turkey breast, mozarella and spinach, or steak strips + red pepper slices.
  • Leftovers! The easiest healthy lunch of all is to simply pack up some leftovers from last night’s healthy dinner and enjoy it again for lunch.

The most important thing to remember about packing a healthy lunch is to make it something you really enjoy. Keep these guidelines in mind for a lunch that energizes and keeps you full through the afternoon:

  • Include a veggie. It’s really easy to skimp on vegetables throughout the day, so get at least a serving or two in during lunch, whether it’s a salad, a side, or part of your main meal.
  • Pack in the protein! Protein is the key to staying full and energized through the afternoon. Build your sandwich around lean meats like chicken or turkey and include sides like greek yogurt or rice and beans.
  • Keep the fat and sugar to a minimum. While fat isn’t necessarily unhealthy if you eat the right kind, too much at lunch time might make you sluggish. Too much sugar is never good and will cause an energy crash shortly afterward!

Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to take a lot of time. With a little planning, these tips will help your whole family avoid processed foods and eat much healthier.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Drop Processed Foods!

In the documentary, Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock shares what happened when he ate nothing but fast food for a month. If you saw the movie, you know the results he found: a month of junk food had a profoundly harmful effect on his body, mind and spirit. He felt and looked awful because of his poor food choices. 

eatrealfood Drop Processed Foods!

Replace processed foods with natural, healthy alternatives!

While Super Size Me shows an extreme example, the reality is that many of us are cultivating the exact same results in our own life by making poor food choices far too often!

Are you considering making big changes in your health by eating healthier? If you are ready to make that jump from junk food and quick meals to unprocessed, wholesome food, start with 1-3 replacements and notice just how great you feel.

The United States population has an obsession with junk food; that’s certainly not news. We’re a fat, unhealthy nation, with quick, processed foods far too easily obtainable. All the junk food that you have been feeding your body will have eroded your body; and once you start living a healthier lifestyle, your body is in for a battle of change.

Some ideas for getting started:

  • Replace sodas and sports drinks (which are loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients) with tea, or better yet, water!
  • Replace refined white bread with whole grain or sprouted grain bread.
  • Replace vegetable oil, which is often genetically modified and heavily processed, with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Replace white sugar with honey, stevia, or maple syrup.
  • Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of chips, crackers, and other processed snacks.
  • Enjoy oatmeal for breakfast instead of sugary cereals.
  • Replace the high sugar yogurt containing 26g per serving with low sugar Greek yogurt, 8g per serving.

Switching to unprocessed food offers loads of benefits! You’ll enjoy a lower risk of the diseases related to preservatives, pesticides, and artificial ingredients. You’ll likely be eating much less refined sugar, giving more stable blood sugar and more energy. You’ll probably reach a healthier weight, if you have some to lose.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Keeping School Kids Healthy

Getting the kids back in school is usually a welcome change for parents. Not quite as welcome are the cold and flu viruses that start to circulate this season as fall arrives and students spend more time in close quarters.

While viral illnesses are sometimes unavoidable, there are many things you can do to protect your

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Hand washing is one of several ways to avoid getting sick.

family – keeping them healthier and less prone to infections.

  • One survey showed that the top recommendation from school nurses to avoid getting sick was to practice routine hand washing. Kids need to be taught how and when to wash their hands and to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth without washing hands first.
  • Keep nutrition a priority. Eating a variety of healthy, unprocessed foods each day ensures that kids get the nutrients needed for a healthy immune system
  • Get adequate rest. Sleep is also necessary for the immune system to work at its best. Practice good sleep hygiene so everyone recharges.

On the other hand, it’s also important to know what to do to avoid spreading illness if someone in your family becomes ill. Keep sick kids at home and practice good hygiene in public places like the grocery store. Also, teach kids to always cover their nose and mouth with their elbow when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of airborne germs and to keep the hands clean.

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Dr. Doormat – 24″x36″ & 18″x24″

 

Don’t forget – placing Dr. Doormat at the entrance of your home keeps germs out. By zapping the nasty grime on contact, it adds the extra point of protection for your home.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Why Wait Until the New Year? Setting Fall Resolutions

It’s hard to believe, but another school year is here. It’s the time of year when we settle into a fresh routine, full of beginnings.

It’s obvious that the new school year is a fresh start for kids as they settle into a new classroom and make new friends. But it’s actually a great time for reinvention and goal-setting for moms, too!

fallresolutions 224x300 Why Wait Until the New Year? Setting Fall Resolutions

Now is a great time to go after what you want.

Don’t wait until the New Year to go after what you want – now is a great time to start.

Setting Effective Goals

There are a few tried-and-true steps you can take to set effective goals.

  1. Write them down! Studies repeatedly show that writing down goals vastly increases the odds of success.
  2. Get clear on where you want to be. Want to be healthier? Define what that means to you, whether it’s a weight loss goal or having more energy.
  3. Break your goal into actionable steps and build habits that will get you there. Leading off of the same example, if your goal is to have more energy, build habits into your daily routine like exercise, drinking fresh juice, and getting to bed on time each night.
  4. Remind yourself of your goals daily. Often, life gets in the way of the things we want to accomplish and we let our goals fizzle out. To avoid this, place reminders to yourself where you will see them each day. Notes on your bathroom mirror, or in your car are a great idea.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Using the power of momentum to achieve your goals is so helpful. An example of this is taking the first step toward doing what it takes to meet your goals. For example, if you want to work out every day, commit to dressing in your workout gear and driving to the gym. Tell yourself that if you get there, and still don’t feel like a workout, you can leave. Chances are that you will already be invested by the time you show up and follow through with what you set out to do.

What goals are you setting this fall? Are you getting up earlier? Taking more time for yourself? Being more involved at school? I want to know!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

You’ve probably heard plenty about how important it is to get enough sleep. For many of us, it’s easier to make sure our kids get the rest they need than to take the time to recharge ourselves.

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How’s your sleep hygiene?

Not sure if you and your family are getting enough sleep? These questions will help you determine whether or not you’re getting the rest your body really needs.

  1. Are you thinking clearly? Sleep deprivation is a major cause in lack of focus, memory, and decision making skills. So, if you’re cramming extra work into the wee hours of the night, know that you’re actually harming your productivity in the long run. It’s not worth it!
  2. Are you depressed? Depression often manifests as a result of poor sleep habits and other negative lifestyle factors. Get plenty of sleep, eat right, and exercise – and see how your mood improves.
  3. Are you gaining weight? Sleep loss leads to weight gain for a couple of reasons: one is that the hormones which regulate our metabolism don’t function right if we don’t recharge. Another is that people who stay up late simply tend to eat more calories over the course of the day (but unfortunately, on average, don’t burn more!).
  4. Are you a loose cannon? Sleep deprivation causes anxiety, poor stress reaction, and other mood issues. Again – make the choice to take care of your body and watch your mood improve drastically.
  5. Are you addicted to caffeine? A cup of coffee in the morning won’t hurt you – and in fact is a healthy source of antioxidants – but if you find yourself chugging it down all day long, it might be time to look at your sleep habits.
  6. Are you dragging yourself out of bed in the morning? You might not jump out of bed in the morning, but it shouldn’t be a huge challenge just to start your day.
  7. Do you doze off during the day? A quick cat-nap during the day is actually not a bad thing – as long as it’s intentional. If, however, you find yourself dozing off at your desk or other places, you probably need to be getting more sleep at night.

The same concepts apply to kids: when it comes to behavioral issues, take into account how sleep habits, diet, and exercise might help improve the situation. If you notice a child breathing heavily while napping or even snoring, check with your Dr. and ask to have the adenoids or tonsils checked. For adults it’s recommended to contact a sleep center and have sleep patterns observed professionally. Sleep apnea is a common condition that can be addressed with help.

Each person needs an average of 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone’s different – the exact amount Last May (which is Better Sleep Month), we shared tips on how to get a great night’s sleep. See how you can implement some of those into your family’s lifestyle as you settle into the new back-to-school routine.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Protecting Kids and Pets from Toxic Algae in Lakes

toxicalgaeinlakes 300x224 Protecting Kids and Pets from Toxic Algae in Lakes

Keep your family and pets safe from toxic algae in lakes.

Algal bloom is a normal, naturally occurring event in marine environments. While some algae is completely harmless, harmful algal blooms (HABs) are becoming increasingly common. Some experts speculate that the rise in HAB events is linked to climate change and pollution.

HABs are linked to large-scale marine mortality events and shellfish poisoning in humans. They can damage water sources and cause health problems in humans and animals who come in contact with the water. According to Wikipedia, there are a number of serious harmful effects:

Examples of common harmful effects of HABs include:

1. the production of neurotoxins which cause mass mortalities in fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals
2. human illness or death via consumption of seafood contaminated by toxic algae
3. mechanical damage to other organisms, such as disruption of epithelial gill tissues in fish, resulting in asphyxiation
4. oxygen depletion of the water column (hypoxia or anoxia) from cellular respiration and bacterial degradation

Freshwater events are the main threat to animals. Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) is poisonous to cats, dogs, horses, and humans. Contamination is possible not only by drinking the water, but through skin absorption as well. Children and toddlers are especially at risk, thanks to their lower body weight.

To avoid algae poisoning, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln recommends:

1. Be aware of areas with thick clumps of algae and keep animals and children away from the water.
2. Do not wade or swim in water containing visible algae. Avoid direct contact with algae.
3. Make sure children are supervised at all times when they are near water. Drowning, not exposure to toxic algae, remains the greatest hazard of water recreation.
4. If you do come in contact with the algae, rinse off with fresh water as soon as possible.
5. Do not boat or water ski through algae blooms.
6. Do not drink the water, and avoid any situation that could lead to swallowing the water.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Impetigo: What You Need to Know

Impetigo is a bacterial skin infection more common in children than adults. It’s highly contagious and is more common during the warm, humid months of the year. While impetigo isn’t serious, it is unpleasant to deal with. Here’s what you need to know.

Recognizing Impetigo

Impetigo occurs in two forms: Bullous and Non-bullous. Non-bullous impetigo is more common and is caused by the Staphylococcus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep) strains of bacteria.

MedicineNet offers a comparison and photos of both types of Impetigo.

Impetigo can often look like other types of skin rashes, including poison ivy, chicken pox, and eczema. A culture test can determine whether or not a rash is impetigo if visual observation doesn’t suffice.

Causes and Prevention

Insect bites and flesh wounds can lead to impetigo, especially if they are not kept clean or “left alone.” For example, scratching mosquito bites (especially with dirty nails!) is one way a lot of people become infected. Animal bites can also lead to impetigo quite easily without proper wound care. And of course, impetigo is very contagious between humans.

It can be difficult to keep impetigo from spreading, as it’s highly contagious – especially among family members or anyone else in close quarters. Skin to skin contact, or even contact with the same towels or bedding can spread the infection. Children can also easily spread the infection to other families in day care centers, schools, and swimming pools. It’s good to stay home if you have this rash to avoid infecting others.

Routine hand washing is an important preventative measure, as with most types of infections!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Camping with Kids

Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and make lasting family memories. Whether you’re pitching a tent or cruising the countryside in an RV, here are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe and be well on your trip. camping 300x225 Camping with Kids

  1. Bring plenty of water. Having enough water for drinking and cooking is crucial. Since it’s not always possible to verify a safe, clean source of water at your campsite, bringing water with you rules out any problems.
  2. Pack sunscreen, DEET-free bug repellant (if you must use DEET to protect against ticks make sure you only apply to clothing and not directly to skin), first aid supplies and any important medications. Try a natural, all-in-one product that soothes burns, stings, and wounds. Before you leave, get an unscented soap and shampoo. Use them before leaving and bring them with on extended trips. Often, bugs are attracted to the fragrances in our personal care products.
  3. Cover basic fire safety guidelines for the wilderness. Learn to start a fire for warmth and cooking and how to keep it under control.
  4. Implement a buddy system so that no one goes anywhere alone. Give kids a whistle to wear around their neck and teach them to blow it if they get lost.
  5. Inform kids about common camping dangers and how to deal with them.
  6. Avoid poison ivy and check for ticks often, especially after hikes or being in wooded areas.

Sending your kids off to summer camp? I’ve got some tips for you, too!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Summer Safety at the Swimming Pool

Nothing says “Summer Fun” like a trip to the local swimming pool, but your fun can quickly be spoiled by an injury or worse if you don’t follow some basic safety guidelines. Keep these in mind as you head off to the pool!

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Keep your trip to the pool safe and fun with these pool safety guidelines.

Supervision

Children should always be supervised when swimming in the pool. Small children should be within an arm’s reach of an adult at all times. And of course, the supervising adult should be able to swim well!

Off Limits at The Pool

Some things should not be poolside for safety reasons, including:

  • Electrical appliances – radios and other appliances can cause electric shock at the pool
  • Tricycles, bikes, and walkers – poolside is not the place to play with these particular items
  • Use only plasticware for drinking or eating to prevent broken glass near a pool.
  • Running – it’s all too easy to slip and fall

Swimming Lessons

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swimming lessons for children aged 4 years and older. Learning to swim well is the most empowering thing families can do to stay safe at the pool! Personally I started my kids at age 2 because we were surrounded by water in the summer and it proved to be a good idea.

Pool Hygiene

Shower before and after using the swimming pool. Not only is this the most hygienic practice, it helps protect hair and skin from chlorine. Pull long hair back away from the face and tie it back. Use of swimming goggles helps to protect the eyes from strong chemicals.

Swim diapers should be changed immediately upon soiling. While swim diapers do help contain waste, they are not leak proof.

Prevent swimmer’s ear by keeping your ears as dry as possible. Dry them with a towel after diving, and wear a swimming cap if your ears are especially sensitive. For kids that have a propensity to ear infections I don’t recommend diving, jumping in, cannon balls or handstands. These activities can cause the water to shoot up inside the ear and get stuck. Try the silicone putty earplugs and a variety of ear drying aids are available at your local pharmacy.

Safe Diving

Find out how deep the water is first. Never dive in the shallow side of a pool and only those who can swim well should attempt diving. Learning to dive from a professional swimming instructor is the safest way to learn.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Bicycle Safety Tips

Riding a bicycle is a great way to stay fit, encourage independence in kids, and have fun! There are some bicycle safety concerns to be aware of, though. According to the CDC, bicyclists face a higher risk of injury than motor vehicle occupants do. Bicycles are even legally considered vehicles in many states.

Avoid injury by observing these basic bicycle safety tips.

bikesafety 300x175 Bicycle Safety Tips

Follow these bicycle safety tips to avoid injury!

Wear a Helmet

Protect your brain from injury by wearing a properly fitted helmet. Check kids’ helmets for proper fit.

Maintain Your Bicycle

Is your bicycle well-maintained? Check the following regularly:

  • Proper fit.
  • Tire air pressure.
  • Brakes.

Be Seen (and Heard)

The most common type of collision between cyclists and motor vehicles is a “right cross,” which is when I car is pulling out of a parked position on the cyclists’ right. This and other collisions usually occur because the driver of the motor vehicle doesn’t see the bicyclist approaching. Be seen and heard more easily by:

  • Wearing bright and/or reflective clothing.
  • Using a headlamp at night.
  • Waving when approaching a car ready to pull out.
  • Shouting, ringing a bell, or honking a horn when approaching cars.

Of course, always ride defensively and slow to a possible stop if you don’t make eye contact with a driver pulling out.

Ride Smart

Don’t forget the rules of the road. Learn your community’s local laws on bicycling on the road amidst motor traffic.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.