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E-Bulletin: April 2013

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Healthy, Happy Kids

Keep it positive. 

Enduring a harsh, snowy winter can make it tough to keep a sunny outlook. When the days are long and everyone’s tired of being cooped up, staying positive may take effort. Focus on savouring the small moments that brighten your day. Scientists have discovered that if we linger for 10-20 seconds on positive moments, we can actually rewire our brains to be happier. Warning: happiness is contagious! As you boost your own attitude, you just might affect everyone in your house! Hang in there, spring is just around the corner.

Nourished Kids | Active Kids | Happy Kids



2 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup buttermilk (or mix 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar with enough milk to add up to ½ cup of liquid and let sit for 5 minutes)
2 eggs
1½ cups whole wheat flour
3½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)


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  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash the bananas. Mix in sugar, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Add eggs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add flour mixture to the banana mixture; mix until just combined. Gently fold in walnuts.
  5. Grease loaf pan. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  6. Bake until bread is golden brown and a small knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack. Invert bread to unmold and let cool on rack.

Recipe from the Adventures in Cooking manual. Check it out for more great ideas for cooking with kids.



  • Relinquish the power. If your dinner table becomes a battle of the wills, stand down. Realize that you can’t control what your child eats. Your job is to put a meal on the table (ideally one with foods from the food groups) and then sit back and let your kids eat (or not). If we stop commenting on, pressuring and nudging kids to eat certain foods or at all, we show them that we trust them to make good choices.

  • Keep the tabletalk light. Nobody wants to sit down to fight about who is eating what or how much. Try not to take children’s negative comments about food personally – in fact, you might try ignoring them (the comments, not the kids). Keep the dinner conversation positive to help kids want to be at the table. It’s a place to connect with your kids about all kinds of things: each other’s day, current events, or plans for the future

  • Peel off the "picky eater" label. A child that eats only mashed potatoes and macaroni can leave a parent feeling bewildered. But, be cautious about labelling children as “picky eaters.” Talking about kids’ eating habits sets expectations in our minds and theirs too that later becomes even more true just because of the idea (think self-fulfilling prophecy). Instead, shift the focus away from what they don’t eat, to what they do. A new name, like the “pasta pro” might encourage them to try different variations of their favourites and give you just enough wiggle room to expand their food repertoire.

  • Keep at it. For some children, it takes seeing a new food 10 or more times before they’ll even try it, let alone like it. So, don’t give up on green beans just yet. Keep introducing new foods with familiar ones and let your kids decide when they’re ready to be adventurous. It might also help to look at your child’s food intake over the course of a week, rather than each day. You might be surprised to find that they eat better than you realize

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  • Rethink "snooze, you lose." Actually, when you get enough z’s, you win! Sleep refreshes your mind and your body. Turn off the screen gadgets early each night to help you and your children get a good sleep and enough energy for the next day. A good night’s sleep can make all the difference! 

  • Assess your attitude about activity. While we all know by now that it’s important to be active every day, everyone has their own feelings about it. You may not be sports-minded, but you don’t have to be to encourage your family to be active. Having the right attitude is the first step. When you are positive about an active lifestyle, your children will literally follow in your footsteps. Find activities you enjoy doing together and feel good about yourselves just for trying. That kind of optimism will motivate you to take the next step, to walk, run, skate and move

  • Take it outside. Now that the temperatures are inching towards the plus-side, it’s much nicer to be outdoors. Whenever you feel like your mood (or your child’s) needs a boost, step into the fresh air. Go for a stroll, stare at the sky, listen for the birds –just being close to nature is a great way to restore your spirit.

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  • Be cool and confident in yourself. It’s easy to be hard on ourselves as parents, but being negative or overly critical in your own abilities teaches kids to be harsh on themselves. Instead, watch what you say about yourself, stay positive, focus on the things you do right, be proud of your own accomplishments and be willing to learn new things.

  • Catch your child doing something right. The best approach to building cooperation is to give your child positive attention when they do something good. When you praise good behaviour, you’ll see more of it. Be specific about what your child did right each time. For example, “you did a great job making your bed today.” When they mess up, stay calm and apply the house rules in a caring and supportive way. Try to make this a chance for them to learn from their mistakes.

  • Swap "get" with "have." One way to immediately alter your perspective on a dull situation is to shift your thinking from “I have to…” to “I get to…”. For example, translate “I have to spend my evening helping Julie with her homework” to “I get to spend time with Julie doing homework because she’s getting an education and she looks to me to help her.” When you think about what you “have” to do in a way that makes it seem a privilege, then all of a sudden, things don’t seem so bad.

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For more great tips and links visit:

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Last Updated: 3/27/2014

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