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One Woman’s Struggle with Weight Loss & Her Success

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Tanya PhotoIf you’ve ever struggled to exercise or lose weight and given up over and over again you’re not alone. Many people struggle with low self esteem and a belief that weight loss is too hard. Tanya thought the same thing. Then her sister challenged her to get her body back and a special sister’s only trip to the Steve Harvey Awards in Atlanta if she lost 50 pounds. Tanya’s determination kicked in and she’s lost 67 POUNDS and is still going! Listen to her story!

Now how will Tanya continue her journey? Find out in this video!

We would love to hear about your weight loss journey! Please stop by our Facebook page and share your success or post in your comments below! You can also see more pictures from the 2015 Neighborhood Awards hosted by Steve Harvey on our Music and Media page.

What’s The Best Way To Refresh Post-workout? Coconut Water or Sports Drinks?

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What’s the Best Way To Refresh Post-Workout- Coconut Water vs. Gatorade vs. Powerade?

This is a guest post by Shannon White, the choreographer of the MECKids Dream Team.

The “New” Kid in Town                                   

Before you divorce your favorite sports drink for nature’s alternative, ask yourself if you’ve tried to work it out. Let’s take a moment to make sure this is the right decision. Rehydration after a strenuous activity (like playing with your kids) is essential to ensure that your body replenishes its nutrients. In the last few years, coconut water has splashed on the scene in the U.S., with celebrity endorsements and big names like Pepsi and Coca-Cola getting in on the action too. Coconut water is far from new, however. Americans are “tardy for the party”; tropical countries (Caribbean, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia) where the young, green coconuts are found have been getting the “super water” straight from the source for many years.

MECKids Mission: To find out whether or not coconut water is an adequate, healthy substitute for popular sports drinks of today.

Water WIth Lemon

Why all the Fuss?

What is so great about coconut water anyway? If the liquid from this tropical fruit isn’t manipulated too much, coconut water is a natural, low calorie source of electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium) with a slight nutty and refreshing taste. In fact, the Molecules scientific journal boasts that it can also help to prevent heart attacks and treat kidney stones. Its other benefits include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Fights free radicals to help fight cancer
  • Can have anti-aging affects
  • Has trans-zeatin that is used to prevent and/or treat Alzheimer’s and dementia

So far so good, right? Let’s continue.

Potassium is the key electrolyte that contributes to coconut water’s star power— if electrolytes were famous, potassium would be an A-list celebrity. It helps not only control the amount of water in your body, but it also helps maintain a healthy pH level in the blood. Because there aren’t as many sources that are rich in potassium as say, sodium, potassium deficiency is very common, especially in African American women. If severe, it can be fatal (eek!).

Raw coconut water has about 20 times the potassium of Gatorade, which equals about four bananas. For all the banana haters out there, talk about a win!

Does it measure up?

e5aacdb5-c77f-4654-b0be-7179bf747b32Even though potassium is a salt (which we now know is important), it’s not the primary salt we lose while sweating it out. That prize goes to sodium. Here are the cold (and refreshing) facts: Powerade and Gatorade both have more than double the amount of sodium of coconut water per ounce. Normally, less sodium means it’s better for you. But in this case, sodium is the most essential electrolyte to the rehydration process (after a strenuous workout). The Scientific Committee on Food suggests 460-1150 milligrams of sodium per liter in order to rehydrate properly. Sodium helps the small intestine absorb water and carbohydrates, helping to replenish fluids and energy. In other words, coconut water does not have enough sodium content to roll with the rehydration “big dogs” Gatorade and Powerade. Stick with these engineered performance drinks for optimal rehydration after your workout.

Don’t Say it’s Over

cut coconutDon’t fret though, albeit coconut water isn’t your go-to after a workout, it can still be your go-to for a potassium supplement, along with the other benefits mentioned above. Just make sure you pick the right brand. Because of the mass marketing of coconut water, a lot of companies are cutting corners to get (and keep) their products on the shelves. Coconut water is incredibly perishable once it’s taken from the coconut, meaning that its nutrients are literally a ticking time bomb. Most companies use concentrates or heat to pasteurize the nutrients right out of the water or use a mature (and less nutritious) coconut as a substitute, masking the acidic taste with sweetener and fruit flavors.

Vani Hari of Foodbabe.com suggests keeping it simple. Pay attention to the labels and avoid:

  • Concentrates
  • Heat Pasteurization
  • Added “fruit” flavors
  • Added sweeteners

Try an organic or raw brand from your local organic store. If there isn’t one nearby, Amazon has a few organic brands that ship within a few days (Harmless Harvest is at the top of our list!) And if you happen to visit any tropical areas this summer, make sure you try the best way— straight from the source!

Do you drink coconut water or sports drinks after you workout and what has been your experience? Please share in the comments below!

So now it is time to decide if Gatorade or Powerade is better for you. Click here to take a look at our article for a comparison of the two.

 

 

roasted chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

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Roasted Chickpeas

roasted chickpeas

Toddler and Dad approved, Bookofyum.com‘s crunchy twist on a usually soft favorite is low in carbs, gluten free and high in protein, too. It’s also Vegan! Translation: Roasted chickpeas? Yes, Please!

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • herb blend, herbamare or other mild herbal salt blend (salt-free
  • is ok)
  • smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. nutritional yeast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Drain chickpeas in a strainer. If you desire a lower sodium batch, rinse with water.
  4. Place in a bowl lined with a cloth towel.
  5. Pat the chickpeas dry and rub off any translucent skins. Turn the towel wrapped chickpeas upside down into the bowl, removing the towel.
  6. Drizzle the oil over the chickpeas, distributing evenly.
  7. Pour the chickpeas onto the baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with your herb blend, herbamare, smoked paprika, and then nutritional yeast.
  8. Roast for 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

You can receive more healthy recipes right in your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter! Click here to sign-up today! Be sure to come back and let us know how your chickpeas turned out!

The Nutrients You’re Not Getting

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The Nutrients You’re Not Getting

This is a guest post by Shannon White, the choreographer of the MECKids Dream Team.

Every once in a while, the government comes out with a study letting us know that we are not getting one (or many) of the key nutrients we need in our diets. Then comes the subsequent panic: What are they? Who can remember all of those, and better yet, what foods can you get them from?! Never fear… the most AWESOMEST healthy snack list is here!

Photo From: www.hsph.harvard.edu/

Here is what you’re not getting— And how to get it!

  • Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones (dairy products, leafy green veggies, fish with bones)
  • Fiber keeps us regular, helps you lose weight, stay full longer and improves your health (fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains)
  • Magnesium helps keep your blood pressure normal, keeps your bones strong and keeps the heart beating rhythmically (nuts, seeds, bran, halibut and other fish)
  • Potassium acts as an electrolyte that maintains your body’s fluid balance and keeps many of the body’s organs in good condition (potatoes, tomato paste/puree, white beans, yogurt, soybeans, bananas)
  • Vitamin A plays a major role in bone growth, reproduction and a healthy immune system (orange veggies, leafy green veggies, organ meats)
  • Vitamin C protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and skin wrinkling (fruits and veggies, red/green peppers, kiwis and guavas)
  • Vitamin E helps fight the signs of aging, protects the skin from sun damage and lowers skin cancer risks (some cereals, some oils, almonds, peanut butter)

Now it’s time to get your (healthy) snack on! Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter to receive healthy recipes and snack ideas right in your inbox! Click here to join our list today!

What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Please share in your comments!

bite size veggies

Why Cooking With Kids is Beneficial

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bite size veggiesThis is a guest post by Stephanie Lomax, a personal chef in the Washington Metropolitan area.

In today’s hectic world planning out healthy meals for your kids on top of all your other responsibilities may seem like a daunting task. On top of that getting kids to eat healthy food may seem impossible. Cooking alongside your children can actually prove to be a rewarding and practical solution for both you and your children!!!

You’re a busy parent working on a high stress, fully packed schedule! Taking care of your children is a job in itself but if you work outside of the home you may find yourself exhausted at the end of the day!After a long, tiring day your children run to you and frantically ask “What’s for dinner?! I’m HUNGRY!” As a parent you are left with a challenging decision. You ask yourself: “How can I find the time to cook a delicious and nutritious meal on top of everything else?” or “Should I pick up some quick easy fast food?”. Neither option seems like the best choice. Well don’t worry, there is a better choice!

Cooking meals with your children may seem like it only adds challenges to a tough dilemma. However, with simple meals and a little bit of prep ahead of time the benefits can outweigh the challenges! Here are 5 benefits to cooking with your children and some simple ways to plan meals to cook with your kids.

Benefits:

  1. Teach kids the importance of healthy eating and give them tips to implement even into adulthood. With the right cooking coach they can learn to avoid prepared foods, fast food and see the importance of healthy eating from a young age. Kids are also most likely to appreciate foods they typically wouldn’t eat if they were a part of the preparation process.
  2. Keeps kids busy. If you’ve ever tried to multi-task watching children and keeping them from mischief while try to prepare a meal then you understand the importance of this! Instead of hearing “He hit me!” or “I didn’t do it!” keep your children right by your side and give them productive work to accomplish.
  3. Turns kids into successful adults. The skills learned while preparing meals can be used in all aspects of life even outside the kitchen! Cooking instills skills like teamwork, attention to detail, responsibility, time management, and motor skill development.
  4. Works out better for you in the long run. Imagine coming home to a nice, delicious, meal already prepared and waiting for you. Imagine it being prepared by your own children! If children are trained from a young age by the time they reach their pre-teen years they can become quite independent in the kitchen!
  5. Quality time! This is a phrase that may sound cliche but there really is something to it. Cooking with your kids allows you to get to know your children in a non-threatening, peaceful environment. Observe their work habits, exceptional skills and guide them into success! When you’re cooking talk to your children and really listen as they tell you about the things that excite, worry, or frustrate them.

Tips:

  • Cut vegetables and fruits in bulk and store them in the refrigerator ahead of time so they can be easily assembled when dinner time rolls around.
  • Incorporate a variety of fun colors, shapes, and flavors. If food looks fun, bright and fresh kids will be more likely to get excited about eating healthy.
  • Reinvent healthy alternatives to your child’s favorite meals! Examples: “Wheat-zza’s” (wheat pizzas) using wheat pitas or fresh noodle stir-fry chock full of vegetables instead of prepared noodle soup.
  • Give kids age appropriate tasks to complete. Ages 2-5 can stir, pour, and count food items placed in a dish. As they develop give kids more challenging responsibilities such as measurement, sifting, and proper knife and stove use (with supervision).

Try the kid friendly recipe below!!!


Wheat-zzas (Pita Pizzas)

A healthier alternative to a kid favorite. This recipe uses wheat pita bread and a semi-homemade veggie marinara sauce.

Ingrediants

  • 6 pita rounds
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegetables (try zucchini, carrots, or mushrooms)
  • A handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella
  • Toppings of your choice ( try incorporating your kids favorite veggies or use traditional toppings like pepperoni and sausage)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile in a small saucepan combine the tomato sauce and shredded vegetables of your choice and bring to a boil. Turn the stove down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Warm pitas in the preheated oven or in a microwave for 1 minute, or until soft. Place them on a baking sheet. Spread lightly with tomato sauce, pressing to flatten while spreading.
  4. Layer pitas with first with fresh baby spinach, then with cheese, and last the toppings of your choice.
  5. Place pitas in the preheated oven 8 minutes, or until the pita bread has reached desired crispness. Serve whole, or cut into slices.

What the kids can do:

Kids 6 and under can help mash the warm pita, spread sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Older kids can mix the shredded vegetables with the tomato sauce, shred the vegetables (with supervision) and assemble their own pizzas with less supervision.


Stephanie is a freelance personal chef located in the DC metropolitan area and she specializes in meal prep. If you are a busy working professional, a parent, or a fitness enthusiast then you can benefit from her. She will meet with you to discuss your needs and food preferences and then she will prepare meals fresh for you in the comfort of your own home! Contact Stephanie at stephlomax0392@gmail.com for more information on her services.

Salty Snacks!

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I snack a lot. Working from 9-5 is quite similar to being in school. I am not a fan of energy or sugary drinks to keep me alert so I turn to snacking to keep me energized. When I snack, I like to snack on salty things. I grew up never having a sweet tooth but I can’t get enough of salt.

When I first started college, I did a lot of snacking. Chips were my thing. I ate sooo many chips. Doritos, cheetos, fritos. I also ingested so much beef jerky. I told myself that beef jerky was so good for me because it was protein (I didn’t take into account how much salt I was putting into my body).

Then there were meals. Quick, cheap meals to get me through the day. My go to meal? Ramen. $10 bag of Ramen got me through salt cravings at lunch. I ate so much Ramen, until my body started not functioning properly. I had headaches all the time and I had no energy. Not to mention, I was always grouchy. One day I decided to ‘Google’ everything that was in my diet on a normal basis. Ramen being one of them was by far the scariest foods I was digesting. “Along with other instant noodle products, boost the risk for cardiometabolic syndrome, a risk factor for serious cardiovascular illness and stroke, particularly in women.” I am a woman and I had all the symptoms that kick start these terrible Ramen symptoms. (click here to read article)

I had to change my diet ASAP! But I did not want to get rid of my love for salty snacks! So I made swaps.

Here are of the best salty snacks to eat:

 

1.Edamame – 1 cup unshelled edamame 120 caloriesedanome

2. Tuna Jerky-One 1-oz. package tuna jerky. 90 calories

tuna jerky

3. Pickle and Turkey Wrap: 2 oz. Applegate Honey and Maple Turkey Breast wrapped around 2 bread-and-butter pickles. 80 calories

pickles

4. Cheese and Crackers: 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thins. 85 calories

cheese

4. Cheese and Crackers: 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thins. 85 calories

cheese and tomato

5. Mozzarella and Tomatos: 1 oz. buffalo mozzarella, 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes. 94 calories carrots

6. Hummus and Carrots: 1/4 cup hummus, 3 carrot sticks. 80 calories baked cheetos

7. Cheetos: 1 bag Baked! Cheetos 100 Calorie Mini Bites. 100 calories almonds

8. Almonds: One 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds. 130 calories

To see the rest of the article click here!

Spaghetti for breakfast?! DO we dare?! WE DO!

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Waking up to a bowl of WHOLE GRAIN pasta for breakfast may be a deviation from usual your bowl of cereal, but it turns out that you can eat this Italian staple for your morning meal. Just make sure it’s whole grain.

Typically, pasta is not associated with breakfast, but why not? Pasta is filled with tons of carbohydrates which convert to energy and what better way to start your day. Whole grain pasta is a way better way to start your day rather than a bowl of sugary cereal.

With this said, I am saying a “healthy” pasta breakfast is great for the body. Avoid fettuccine alfredo and other sauces made with high-fat cream.

Liz Pearson, leading Canadian dietitian and best-selling author, says that “eating whole grain pasta provides essential nutrients, such as fiber, calcium, selenium, potassium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins K and E.” She points to a Cornell University study which found that more than 80 percent of disease-fighting antioxidants are found in the bran or germ part of the whole grain, which is removed in refined grains. “Whole grains have an antioxidant content that rivals or exceeds that of fruits and vegetables, and contain as much as double the calcium and selenium, four times more fiber, potassium and zinc, six times more magnesium and vitamin K, and 14 times more vitamin E than refined grains,” she explains.

Scientific studies link eating more whole grains to a reduced waistline, she adds, pointing to a recent Penn State study of 50 obese adults on a calorie-reduced diet, half of whom ate only whole grains while the other half ate only refined grains over a 12-week period.

Research also suggests that the regular consumption of whole grains translates into lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.

One of the recipes I love for morning spaghetti is the ‘Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached egg’ found on joybaker.com.

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Breakfast Pasta with Bacon and Poached Eggs

serves 2 and is easily doubled
8 ounces dried spaghetti
4 slices thick-sliced bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice of 1 lemon
small handful coarsely chopped parsley
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
salt and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
2 large eggs, poached

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place uncooked bacon on a single layer atop the foil.  Place in the oven and allow to cook until  bacon is crisp, 8 to 12 minutes depending on how crisp you like your bacon.  Remove from the oven and placed the bacon on two paper towel atop a dinner plate.  Allow to rest until cool enough to handle.  When cool, chop coarsely.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add a large pinch of salt to the boiling water and add dry spaghetti.  Cook until al-dente then drain.

While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the sliced garlic and cook over low heat until the oil is fragrant and the garlic is just slightly golden.  Remove from the heat and add butter.  Stir to melt.

In a large bowl, toss together warm drained pasta, garlic oil with butter, lemon juice, parsley, bacon, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Poach eggs, according to your own genius.

Divide between bowls and top with egg.  Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and crushed red pepper flakes.  This breakfast is best served the day it is made.

 

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Can’t get enough of spaghetti for breakfast! Try it with your family and share your thoughts on the comment feed found below!

 

 

Whole Grain Pasta Facts Found here: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/816050/pasta-for-breakfast-is-good-for-your-health-1

Breakfast pasta with bacon and poached eggs recipe found here: http://joythebaker.com/2013/09/breakfast-pasta-with-bacon-and-poached-eggs/

A Family that Walks Together..

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Simplicity is key. Starting family traditions at an early age, allows for healthy routines later on in life for children. Taking walks around the neighborhood is the perfect activity that gets the whole family moving. My husband has bad knees and a three year old with short legs, so they cannot always keep up with bike rides or running. Walks are something everyone can do together at a slow or fast pace. We have a puppy too so it gets her out of the back yard. Fitness is for the whole family.
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It is recommended that people get between 30-60 minutes a day of moderate physical activity. Start small. Start with your neighborhood, around the block. If your family is not ready for a major hike, visit a local park. Practice walking the easier routes and conquer those paths and hills until everyone feels comfortable enough to try something more adventurous.

Incorporate walking into your daily routine. Park and walk at a distance when shopping, walk if you can instead of drive. This will help reinforce walking as part of your lifestyle. Children pick up on routines like this fast. Teach them that the shortest route is not always best.

Make it fun. Find an upcoming local walk that the family can do. Find a local place where you can have a picnic or visit an aquarium, a zoo, a park or a museum as part of the walk.
Bring enough snacks and water. Ensuring everyone stays hydrated and energized throughout the walk makes the walk more enjoyable. Dropping sugar levels and getting dehydrated can make people tired, cranky and irritable.

According to Dr. Oz, regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, have lower blood pressure, and have higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol than couch sitters do. In one study of women, a regular walking program did just as much in the heart-protection department as more vigorous exercise did. Thirty minutes of walking a day makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin. That allows glucose to do its duty inside your cells rather than pile up in your bloodstream (that’s what happens when you have diabetes). It also helps give you good energy. Not only can a walk perk you up when you need it, but also it helps improve the quality of your sleep, so you’re more energetic all day long. I know as a mother of 2, I could use all the energy I can get.

Get the family together, talk and walk. Enjoy each one another company. Let the kids explore nature. Make a game out of it. Who can find the most pine cones, acorns, etc? There are adventures around every corner. Help your kids explore.

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An Apple day …

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An apple is one of my favorite easy on the run snacks. They don’t need prep or even a plate. I always have apples in my house. They can be super sweet to super tart. I personally like sour green apples, my boys like sweet red. That no problem, I don’t mind having them both in stock.

One apple has about 100 calories. They don’t have saturated fats or cholesterol. They are very low in sodium and high in Vitamin B6 and C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body. The skin itself is high in antioxidants which are thought to help protect us from heart disease.

Apples also contain a small amount of minerals like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus, counters the bad influences of sodium.

One should eat apples or most fruit as they are, along with their peel in order to get maximum health-benefits. Sometimes we need to play with our food! I have a few fun ways to eat apples up my sleeve.

Apple Chips

Wash, core, and thinly slice 2 apples. The apples can be sliced in any manner desired but the thinner the better. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the apple slices in a single layer on the sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon on the top of the apples. Bake the apples in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours (turn after the hour mark). The apple chips not only make a delicious snack, but they make the entire house smell good while they are baking!

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Apple and Cheddar Quesadilla

Ingredients:
2 Tortillas
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ diced apple

Apples and cheese? They’re a match made in heaven. Place them both between two tortillas and that is perfection. Thinly slice up your favorite apple. Take your cheddar cheese and spread over one tortilla. Top with apples and then add second tortilla. Place on a hot skillet. After a minute or so, flip. Cook other side. Slice and serve. Warm melted cheese, with a still crisp taste of sweet apple is so comforting and fun.

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There is nothing wrong with adding fruits to your breakfast, lunch and dinner. The more the merrier. Have fun with your food. Make it exciting. Make it healthy.

Carrots

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We are bunny parents. We always have at least 3lbs of carrots in our refrigerator at any time. Even though I buy them for our little bun bun, he doesn’t always get them all. Shh don’t tell him! We are a carrot loving family. In any shape or form, we love can’t get enough. My boys, Travis and Justin love their baby carrots, while my husband and I like the big natural raw looking ones. Makes us feel rustic. Dipping them in lite ranch, hummus, or a veggie dip you can’t go wrong. If the myth that eating too many carrots could turn you orange, we would be in trouble.

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We take them with us to the park and on walks. I like that they seem to stay cool for a long time when placed in a tight sealed container. So they are very refreshing, unlike taking something like crackers which make you thirsty. Veggies should always be you’re first option. My husband likes taking them to work. He keeps them right in the truck and eats them between jobs. He said they were like little energy boosters.

Naturally sugary, delicious and crunchy, carrots are healthy additions that should by on the vegetable list in your diet. Sweet and crunchy carrots are notably rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber. They only have 41 calories per serving, a negligible amount of fat and no cholesterol. They are exceptionally rich source of carotene and vitamin-A.

Carrots are in my opinion, are kept raw more than they should be. Now there is nothing wrong with chomping down on a crispy cold carrot. I love carrots shredded and in my salads. One can’t have Coleslaw without carrots mixed with the cabbage. But they are also delicious steamed served up as a side with some grilled chicken.

Easy Coleslaw
3 cups of Shredded Cabbage
1 cup Grated Carrots
1 jar lite Coleslaw dressing

Mix cabbage and carrots. Add jar of dressing to the mixture and stir until all of vegetable mixture is fully coated. Chill and serve.

How easy is that? I am a coleslaw lover. I never knew that they sold the dressing. It is healthier than mayonnaise. And it is using fresh veggies than already made coleslaw that could have been frozen for so long that the nutrients are lost.

 

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Kids in the Kitchen

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Anything a parent can make a child that they actually will eat is a win. Making something that they want to eat and as a bonus, can make themselves, that makes it a winner. Snacks that involve no hot pans, no ovens, and no knives are really easy to find. My oldest son is very into helping me in the kitchen. That makes me so happy. I am teaching him independence and how to make healthy decisions. He is no top chef but he makes peanut and jelly sandwiches for him and his brother. He knows how crack eggs and mix the right amount of milk and seasoning for his morning eggs. Teaching our kids basics in the kitchen will allow for them to not rely on fast food or premade anything. Here are a couple cute, fun, easy recipes that are kid friendly.

Peanut Butter Banana Wrap

Ingredients:
1 Tortilla or Wrap
Peanut Butter
1 Banana

Evenly spread peanut butter on a tortilla or wrap. I have taught my son how to be safe with a butter knife, if you don’t feel your little one is ready then they can spread it on with a spoon.

Peel a banana and roll it up in the wrap.

If you have them handy, you can add raisins, nuts or seeds. Let your kids make decisions like this. See if they know the difference between healthy and not.

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Cinnamon Cream Cheese Dip
Ingredients:
1 8oz block of low fat Cream Cheese
½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
2 tsp Cinnamon
2-4 tsp honey
Apples to dip with

Let cream cheese soften so it is easy to work with. Mix with yogurt until smooth. Add the cinnamon. Slowly add honey until it is the sweetness you want it. Stir well again.
Serve with sliced apples.

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In my opinion food should be fun. Everything you eat should be an adventure. Include your kids in that adventure and let them explore the pantry and refrigerator. They might just surprise you. When eating stops being a chore for them, they will learn how to make healthy choices because it is now their decision. Let’s make sure that the next generation grows up strong and healthy and able to know the difference between good and bad, in the kitchen and in the real world.

 

Stick to the basics!

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More is not always better. Simple can be just as delicious as something that took all day to prepare. And let’s face it, sometimes just sitting down with a bag or grapes or crackers and cheese is nice. Giving kids a variety of easy snacks to choose from is a way to teach them how to recognize healthy options. Serving food how it comes, plain and raw promotes a simplistic type of diet. Protein and vitamin packed with no effort.

Hard boiled eggs are so easy, back to basics protein. This is an example of food that needs nothing. It is delicious on its own. No need to season or add a sauce. Boil the eggs for about 9 minutes. Crack and eat. My son loves peeling the eggs. We even have contests to see who can peel the fastest. At 70 calories and more than 6g of protein, it is the perfect energy boost. Another thing I like about boiling the eggs is that we enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or just a snack. You can’t go wrong with them.

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I recently purchased a 3lb bag of pretzels. I thought it would last a year. The bag is ¾ gone. My youngest son is obsessed. He loves them. Per every 100 pretzels, they are about 100 calories and 3g of protein. They are very low in fat, only about a gram per serving. I use them as an alternative instead of chips. They are so good dipped in hummus.

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Another straight out of the bag snack we like are baby carrots. That is a no brain-er isn’t it? They are so delicious and refreshing. Especially on a hot day, carrots hydrate you.

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Raisins are one of the other things my kids are obsessed with. I use them in a lot of my recipes. Adding them to rice pudding gives a natural sweetness to the dish. .That is something that I think attracts my kids to them. The natural sweetness in raisins almost makes it into a candy. Maybe because they look like chocolate chips too? Raisins are nutritious and may provide you with a boost of energy, but they’re also high in calories and sugar. A 1/4-cup serving of raisins contains 130 calories, no fat, 10 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 29 g sugar and 1 g protein. Raisins contain small amounts of iron and calcium and are also a source of antioxidants that may be linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.

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So remember, you don’t have to be fancy to be healthy. Stay simple, stay healthy.

 

 

 

 

Farmers Markets

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We all know eating healthy is the smart way to go. But do we know where to get the healthiest foods we can? Sadly, so many of our local grocery store fruits and veggies are covered in chemicals. Chemicals do not equal healthy. I love my local farmers markets and farms. Not only am I able to get beautiful fresh produce, but most that I go to are all organic and pesticide free. Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food halfway around the world. You are eating food in your own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels. By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great  way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of winter.

 

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Many vegetables start to lose their vibrancy and some of their nutrients during storage and transfer. One example is spinach. It loses half of its folic acid content after eight days when stored at 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh produce, in other words, could give you double the nutrients.While I wouldn’t trust just anyone with a stand in a farmers market, the vast majority of produce sold at farmers markets was picked shortly before the market. Crisp, darkest-of-dark greens, bright radishes, sweet strawberries and more are what greet us today. This lovely offering is sure to contain many nutrients. Farmers markets can also be a great place to find pastured chicken eggs, 10 percent grass-fed beef, artisan cheese, and heritage pork. These high-quality products have a higher nutrient content in general (One example: Grass-fed beef contains up to four times the amount of vitamin E when compared to grain-fed cows) and are also better treated.

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We have a few different local farms that are “pick your own”. My favorite is the blueberry farm! Blueberries are something that I treat myself with as often as I can. Sadly most of the time, I can only find them frozen at my local grocer. What better way to get them then picked fresh by my own two hands? The other farm we have is a much bigger one. They offer everything from corn, to watermelons, to habanero peppers. I like taking my boys here especially. When they are the ones picking out their own fruits and veggies, they are more likely to want to eat them. A perfect example is eggplant. My son picked out some very beautiful ones. He cannot wait to help me come up with a recipe for them. Famers Markets also may offer things that you may not always find at big name grocers. Ever heard of a Sweet Asian Melon? They are crazy looking but so good.

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Shop and eat local. Not only are you helping yourself, but you are helping your community grow.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Fast Lunch for the Busy Professional

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I work 40 hours per week as the marketing team lead for MECKids. I love my job, with that said; it is not uncommon for me to work overtime. To add to the equation, once a week I work part-time closing hours at my favorite store, Anthropologie. That’s a 17 hour day! By the time I get home its midnight and I am exhausted.

As a young professional in my early 20’s, I still do not have the luxury of eating out for lunch and dinner every day.  Truth be told, I really do not enjoy eating outside. It’s too pricey, you can never customize your meal the way you really want and all those extra calories do not make shelling out my hard earn money worth it.

My solution is quick lunches. I do not enjoy prepping for the week. I like the feeling of fresh made food, so I make things that I can prep, cook and clean up in less than 20 minutes.

My top 5 lunch meals

(images taken from here)

 

#5:  Burrito Salad
1
Ingredients:

1 ½ cups lettuce
½ cup brown rice cooked
1/3 cup black beans, cooked
1 cup tomatoes, onions, red peppers)
2 tablespoons avocado or guacamole
2 tablespoons salsa

Directions:
1. Place lettuce in large Tupperware container
2. Add rice and beans
3. Top with vegetables, plus salsa
2. Eat cold

 

#4 Southwest Chicken Quinoa
2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ green pepper, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 pound chicken, cooked and diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups quinoa, cooked
1 cup low fat  plain Greek yogurt
½ cup cilantro
Salsa

Directions:
1. Sauté vegetables in olive oil until tender
2. Add the spices and chicken to the vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes
3. Combine quinoa and the vegetable mixture, and then stir in Greek yogurt
4. Last, stir in cilantro and top with salsa

 

 

#3 Cheesy Chicken Wrap
3

Ingredients:

1 spinach tortilla
1 laughing cow sun dried tomato cheese wedge
Sliced deli meat
Tomato Slices
Fresh spinach leaves
Any vegetables you may want to add

Directions:
1. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese wedge all over the tortilla
2. Layer fresh spinach leaves on tortilla
3. On one end, layer the deli meat, along with fresh vegetables
4. Slice in half and serve
#2 Turkey Chili Taco Soup
4

Ingredients:

1 1/3 pounds of 99 percent lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
10 ounces RO*TEL Tomatoes and Green Chilies
15 ounces canned or frozen corn, thawed and drained
15 ounces Kidney beans drained
8 ounces fat-free refried beans
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
2 ½ cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

1. In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, add onions and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes

2. Add tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes

3. Optional: Serve with a few baked tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as low-fat sour cream, jalapenos, reduced fat-cheese, chopped scallions, and onions or chopped fresh cilantro. Freeze leftovers for individual portions for future meals.
 #1 – 5-minute Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap

5

Ingredients:

1 Whole wheat tortilla
2-3 tablespoons red pepper hummus
3 slices low-sodium deli turkey
¼ Avocado, sliced
Pickle Slices

Directions
Spread tortilla with hummus, then layer on turkey, avocado, and pickle slices. Roll, and then slice.

 

 

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I work 40 hours per week as the marketing team lead for MECKids. I love my job, with that said; it is not uncommon for me to work overtime. To add to the equation, once a week I work part-time closing hours at my favorite store, Anthropologie. That’s a 17 hour day! By the time I get home its midnight and I am exhausted.

As a young professional in my early 20’s, I still do not have the luxury of eating out for lunch and dinner every day.  Truth be told, I really do not enjoy eating outside. It’s too pricey, you can never customize your meal the way you really want and all those extra calories do not make shelling out my hard earn money worth it.

My solution is quick lunches. I do not enjoy prepping for the week. I like the feeling of fresh made food, so I make things that I can prep, cook and clean up in less than 20 minutes.

My top 5 lunch meals

(images taken from here)

 

#5:  Burrito Salad
1
Ingredients:

1 ½ cups lettuce
½ cup brown rice cooked
1/3 cup black beans, cooked
1 cup tomatoes, onions, red peppers)
2 tablespoons avocado or guacamole
2 tablespoons salsa

Directions:
1. Place lettuce in large Tupperware container
2. Add rice and beans
3. Top with vegetables, plus salsa
2. Eat cold

 

#4 Southwest Chicken Quinoa
2

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ green pepper, chopped
½ onion, chopped
1 pound chicken, cooked and diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups quinoa, cooked
1 cup low fat  plain Greek yogurt
½ cup cilantro
Salsa

Directions:
1. Sauté vegetables in olive oil until tender
2. Add the spices and chicken to the vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes
3. Combine quinoa and the vegetable mixture, and then stir in Greek yogurt
4. Last, stir in cilantro and top with salsa

 

 

#3 Cheesy Chicken Wrap
3

Ingredients:

1 spinach tortilla
1 laughing cow sun dried tomato cheese wedge
Sliced deli meat
Tomato Slices
Fresh spinach leaves
Any vegetables you may want to add

Directions:
1. Spread the Laughing Cow cheese wedge all over the tortilla
2. Layer fresh spinach leaves on tortilla
3. On one end, layer the deli meat, along with fresh vegetables
4. Slice in half and serve
 

#2 Turkey Chili Taco Soup
4

Ingredients:

1 1/3 pounds of 99 percent lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
10 ounces RO*TEL Tomatoes and Green Chilies
15 ounces canned or frozen corn, thawed and drained
15 ounces Kidney beans drained
8 ounces fat-free refried beans
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
2 ½ cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

1. In a large pot, brown turkey on medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, add onions and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes

2. Add tomatoes, corn, kidney beans, tomato sauce, refried beans, taco seasoning, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes

3. Optional: Serve with a few baked tortilla chips and your favorite toppings such as low-fat sour cream, jalapenos, reduced fat-cheese, chopped scallions, and onions or chopped fresh cilantro. Freeze leftovers for individual portions for future meals.
 

 #1 – 5-minute Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap

5

Ingredients:

1 Whole wheat tortilla
2-3 tablespoons red pepper hummus
3 slices low-sodium deli turkey
¼ Avocado, sliced
Pickle Slices

Directions
Spread tortilla with hummus, then layer on turkey, avocado, and pickle slices. Roll, and then slice.

 

 

 

 

How to be a MECKid: 5 Fitness Tips for Healthy Happy Kids!

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What does it mean to be a MECKid? We’re here to Motivate, Educate, and Connect kids across the nation to becoming health and fitness champions, and we want to see you reach your optimal health! Here is our recipe for health and fitness success that we encourage children and families to practice daily in building healthy, happy lifestyles!

Being fit involves a well-rounded balance of nutrition, physical activity/exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. When you’re fit, your body works at it’s best, feels good, and can do all the things you want to do, like run around with your friends and family!

Some steps parents will make, such as serving healthy meals or taking the family on a nature hike. There are also many ways kids can take charge in enhancing their health and fitness, too! Here are five rules to live by, if you’re a kid who wants to be fit!

Eat a Variety of Super Foods

You may have a favorite food, but the best choice is to eat a variety of super foods, such as fruits and vegetables daily. Maintaining well-balanced nutrition is essential to receiving your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, so shoot for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — two fruits and three vegetables.

Here’s winning combination that is sure to add great fun and flavor to every meal:

  • breakfast: ½ cup (about 4 large) strawberries on your cereal
  • lunch: 6 baby carrots
  • snack: an apple
  • dinner: ½ cup broccoli (about 2 big spears) and 1 cup of salad

Drink Water & Milk

When you’re really thirsty, cold water is the best thirst-quencher. And there’s a reason your school cafeteria offers cartons of milk. Kids need calcium to build strong bones, and milk is a great source of this mineral. How much do kids need? If you are younger than 9 years old, drink 2 cups of milk a day, or its equivalent. If you’re older than 9 years old, aim for 3 cups of milk per day, or its equivalent. You can mix it up by having milk and some other calcium-rich dairy foods. Here’s one combination:

  • 2 cups (about half a liter) of low-fat or nonfat milk
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup (small container) of yogurt

If you would like to drink something other than milk or water once in a while,  it’s OK to have 100% juice, as well. But try to limit sugary drinks, like sodas, or fruit punches because they contain a lot of added sugar and empty calories.

Listen to Your Body

What does it feel like to be full? When you’re eating, notice how your body feels and when your stomach feels comfortably full. Sometimes, people eat too much because they don’t notice when they need to stop eating. Eating too much can make you feel uncomfortable and, over a period of time, can lead to unhealthy weight gain.

Limit Screen Time

Studies have shown that excessive screen time spent watching TV or DVDs, and playing video games,  increases childhood obesity rates and less active lifestyles. Try to spend no more than 1 hour a day on screen time, not counting computer use related to school.

Get Moving, Exercise and Be Active!

You Gotta MOVE! Whether your passion is karate, kickball, basketball, football or running, you can enhance your fitness goals by moving everyday in your very own favorite way! Ask your parents to help you do your favorite activities regularly. Find ways to be active daily. We encourage you to enroll in your favorite school sports team or write down a list of recreational activities to schedule for after-school fun. You can even track your daily exercises and calories burned with us at www.meckids.com to enhance your health, fitness and nutrition everyday! Tracking your fitness activities daily is important to measuring your progress and success. When you register with MECKids online and track your fitness activities,  you can score cool prizes that keep you healthy, happy and moving!

This is how you can become a healthy, happy MECKid! Be sure to share these these five fitness tips with your family and friends and get ready start moving towards reaching your very best health! GO MECKids!

Happy National Nutrition Month!

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PrintHappy National Nutrition Month MECKids! This month marks an annual celebration of nutrition education sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In recognition of this delicious and nutritious campaign, we will be featuring weekly blogs and healthy recipes that highlight this year’s theme of what “Enjoy the Taste Eating Right” means to us and the importance of making  informed food choices and developing sound nutritional habits!

As the largest health and fitness community designed just for youth and families, MECKids believes that practicing healthy eating habits and daily nutrition at a young age is the key to shaping a healthy, balanced, fruitful lifestyle throughout a lifetime.  Eating clean  and green also fortifies our bodies and helps to combat health issues such as childhood obesity. We “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” by nourishing our minds and bodies with the tasty treats found in nature’s very own garden- fruits and vegetables! Rich with vitamins and minerals, these super foods deliver great flavor, bountiful benefits and are amazingly fun to eat, as well!

Today’s healthy, fun and flavorful recipe is for Apple Sandwiches! Apples are a great source of vitamin C, A and fiber and these wonderful nutrients promote great heart health.  It’s true what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so it green and enjoy this delicious fruit snack!

Ingredients:

* 1-2 apples cut into rings970199af107f462d69d24f6e983ff9ec

* almond  or seed butter

* raisins

* granola

Directions:

* Spread almond or seed butter on one apple ring and place chocolate chips on top of butter.

* Sprinkle raisins with granola and top with a second apple ring to make a “sandwich.”

Yummy! Eat clean and Enjoy!

MECKids Spring Into March With 30 Day Fitness Challenge!

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Calling all fit kids and families! March is here and what better way to jump-start Spring than with a new fitness program that will keep you healthy, happy and moving this year! We’re kick-starting the month with an exciting 30-Day Fitness Challenge that will keep you MOVING with great fun and fitness! Studies have shown it takes 30 days to form a new habit, and our fitness program is designed to help shape healthy habits that will form a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyles. So gather your friends and family, and let’s get MOVING!

How to Win:

1.  “Like” our Facebook page, and “Follow” our Twitter page, where a new exercise challenge will be posted daily.

2. Post your fitness photos and videos to our pages everyday with hashtag #MECKidsChallenge to automatically enter to win!

3. Once you finish each daily exercise and post your photos/videos, log your results and calories burned onto our website at www.meckids.com to track your progress.

4. Keep moving,  tune in and WIN! We will be reposting all fitness photos/video submissions onto our Facebook page to spotlight all participants, and the top three winners of our 30 Day Fitness Challenge will be featured on our website!

There will be TONS of awesome prizes in store for all of our winners! We applaud all of our fit kids and families for joining us on this fun fitness journey to reaching your very best health! We can’t wait to see you MOVE!

Ready, set GO MECKids! #YouGottaMOVE!

 

Meckids at the Mystics Game!

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Lets GO Mystics!

 

MECKIDS mystics

MECKids Goes to the Mystics Game!

The Washington Mystics versus San Antonio Silver Stars game was incredible. From the National Anthem all the way to the last buzzer. Special thanks to Capital One for the tickets, we had amazing seats and cool cups. In the first quarter you could tell the game was going to be good. The team was pumped up throughout the entire game. The Mystics took no time to start scoring and take the lead. By halftime they were still in the lead. During halftime there was a kids basketball team that played a quick game, and the Mystics Mayhem performed a dance for us. Since we had such great seats I could feel the energy from the kids which got our MECKids team pumped up. Going into the 3rd quarter the Silver Stars were trying to make a comeback, but our wonderful lady Mystics were not letting that happen. The 4th quarter was exciting but we knew who the winners were going to be. You could hear people in the crowd excited about the score because the Mystics had such a lead over the Silver Stars. They stopped shooting in the last 15 seconds of the game since the Mystics were the clear winners. It was a great game and the crowd was pumped up for the entire time. Thanks again to Capital one for the tickets, and we look forward to many more great games like this one.

Student Ambassador: Kelly M.

MECKids Goes Green at The White House Gardens!

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Lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli and more… these are just some of the greens that MECKids adores! These and many more delectable legumes can all be found on the South Lawn of the White House,  beautifully arranged in it’s ornate gardens with a host of delicious and nutritious vegetable varieties. MECKids had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the White House Gardens this month, and experiencing a grand tour that walked us through colorful landscapes that told a beautiful story of our nation’s Presidential history.

We were truly inspired by the walking tour which featured many illustrious landmarks, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House. We were especially thrilled to observe the many crops found in the vegetable garden, that inspires healthy eating and living for youth and families across our local and global communities. Mrs. Obama planted the vegetable garden in 2009 to help launch the Let’s Move! campaign, an initiative to end childhood obesity, encourage healthier lifestyles and more physical activity for children. The 1,100-square-foot garden is the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. It features 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including garden Swiss chard, arugula, potatoes, wheat, radishes, cilantro, garlic, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and herbs, along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and even an apple tree!

This year, the First Lady planted lettuce and other crops in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with assistance from students from Washington Metropolitan Area school districts and around the country, as well. To date, the garden has produced over 3,000 pounds of food, a large amount of which The White House donates to local area soup kitchens and The Food Bank Organization. Mrs.Obama  has placed great emphasis on the vegetable garden movement to encourage children to increase healthy food choices in effort to prevent childhood obesity and diet related health issues affecting the nation. The Obama’s vegetable garden is a wonderful example of community-orientated sustainable gardening and it’s positive effects on the betterment of the health of our nation, as a whole.  MECKids applauds the Obama’s efforts towards childhood obesity prevention and healthy living. We are truly honored to observe the White House Gardens and inspired to advance Mrs.Obama’s Vegetable Garden initiative by encouraging children to nourish and enrich their lives, every healthy meal at a time!

In the spirit of going GREEN, MECKids wishes youth and families around the world a very Happy Earth Day and recognizes the Obama’s sustainable vegetable garden model as a resource for healthy eating and living. In recognition of Earth Day, we encourage families to Spring into action with your very own community garden, and begin planting fresh fruits and veggies that will contribute to the overall health of our local and global communities.

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Click Here to View More Photos of the Beautiful White House Gardens in our Photo Gallery!

MECKids Goes Green at the White House Gardens!

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MECKids Goes Green at the White House Gardens!

By Tatiana Noboa, MECKids Team Captain

Lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli and more… these are just some of the greens that MECKids adores! These and many more delectable legumes can all be found on the South Lawn of the White House,  beautifully arranged in it’s ornate gardens with a host of delicious and nutritious vegetable varieties. MECKids had the wonderful pleasure of visiting the White House Gardens this month, and experiencing a grand tour that walked us through colorful landscapes that told a beautiful story of our nation’s Presidential history.

We were truly inspired by the walking tour which featured many illustrious landmarks, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden and South Lawn of the White House. We were especially thrilled to observe the many crops found in the vegetable garden, that inspires healthy eating and living for youth and families across our local and global communities. Mrs. Obama planted the vegetable garden in 2009 to help launch the Let’s Move! campaign, an initiative to end childhood obesity, encourage healthier lifestyles and more physical activity for children. The 1,100-square-foot garden is the largest and most expansive vegetable garden to date on the White House lawn. It features 55 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including garden Swiss chard, arugula, potatoes, wheat, radishes, cilantro, garlic, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and herbs, along with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and even an apple tree!

This year, the First Lady planted lettuce and other crops in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House, with assistance from students from Washington Metropolitan Area school districts and around the country, as well. To date, the garden has produced over 3,000 pounds of food, a large amount of which The White House donates to local area soup kitchens and The Food Bank Organization. Mrs.Obama  has placed great emphasis on the vegetable garden movement to encourage children to increase healthy food choices in effort to prevent childhood obesity and diet related health issues affecting the nation. The Obama’s vegetable garden is a wonderful example of community-orientated sustainable gardening and it’s positive effects on the betterment of the health of our nation, as a whole.  MECKids applauds the Obama’s efforts towards childhood obesity prevention and healthy living. We are truly honored to observe the White House Gardens and inspired to advance Mrs.Obama’s Vegetable Garden initiative by encouraging children to nourish and enrich their lives, every healthy meal at a time!

In the spirit of going GREEN, MECKids wishes youth and families around the world a very Happy Earth Day and recognizes the Obama’s sustainable vegetable garden model as a resource for healthy eating and living. In recognition of Earth Day, we encourage families to Spring into action with your very own community garden, and begin planting fresh fruits and veggies that will contribute to the overall health of our local and global communities.

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Click Here to View More Photos of the Beautiful White House Gardens in our Photo Gallery!

MECKids Get’s Kids Movin!

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The MECKids team had an amazing time at the Get Kids Movin! Event, this past weekend. We jumped; hula hooped and stretched our muscles with our student participants. The Boulevard at the Capital Centre will never be the same again! Our interactive hula hoop activity was a BIG HIT, even parents were excited to move along with our MECKids team. A host of dynamic talent and organizations showcased a fun-filled production to raise awareness about childhood obesity prevention, including ten year old singing sensation Chi Chi Monet, The Think Brown Ink Agency, Nike trainer Deanna Jefferson, Sports Zone,  BET Born to Dance winner LaTanya Swann and many more, who joined MECKids in bringing fun and fitness to hundreds of Washington Metro area families!

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Check out our Photo Gallery to view more pictures of  MECKids getting kids movin!

After such a great event in Maryland, Meckids heads home to Virgina for our next event at Urban Evolution. Check out our Meet Up group and click here to RSVP! MECKids is on the move with our health technology and new after school program. If you know any schools looking to add an afterschool fitness and health technology program that includes a six week fitness program with our online tracking system contact us today contact@meckids.com

Impacts of Disaster on Health

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The nature and extent of climatic changes not only hinders human development and environmental conservation, but also forms a major threat to human health. Globally, approximately 2 billion people were affected by natural or technological disasters in the period of 1990–1999, with almost 600 000 fatalities. More than 86% of people killed by disasters during this period succumbed to natural events. Windstorms claimed the largest proportion of lives (35%) while floods accounted for the largest proportion of people affected (75%). Women comprise 70% of those living below the poverty line. As a result, they are most likely to bear the heaviest burdens when natural disasters strike. At the same time, women are more often overlooked as potential contributors to climate change solutions, and thus to the security of all human beings.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PRSD) and major depression were also common in the affected area. Sleep disturbance and other reactions to severe stress are more common among the children. Psychosocial and mental health problems are particularly important for low income countries, which face a high burden of illness due to infectious disease, greater socio-economic disparities, and have limited resources for mental health care.  The psychosocial and mental health impacts of these disasters have been exacerbated by the multiple losses due to disaster and subsequent stressful life events and consequent uncertainty of the future. Inadequate number of mental health professionals in the country and their unavailability of data-base of their place of residence also realized as a major hindrance in providing mental health service provisions recognizing the importance of mental health problems in the affected area the following aspects should be taken into account. A clear set of strategies and line of command for management of psychosocial care and mental health programs in the disaster situations are urgently needed.

Do Your Kids Know Chi Chi Monet? Because They Should…

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As soon as I walk into Bell Multicultural High School I can hear screaming of cheers and singing along with Miss Chi Chi Monet. I rush to the auditorium to find everyone from the age of 6 to 56 up on their feet dancing and moving to Chi Chi’s new single, ‘Move’. The audience loves the 10 year old rapper who is just too cute and boy does she have a voice! I see another little girl who looks just like her that is running through the aisles dancing and singing along. Later, I find out its Chi Chi’s younger sister Zoe who is clearly just as adorable and talented as Chi Chi.

After their performance they run off stage as everyone is still dancing and cheering for these two young girls who just rocked the show for the last few minutes. Excited to meet them, I eventually catch up to them and ask for a few minutes of their time. I cannot wait to hear their story and what they have to say about their music and inspiration! They even gave us another preview of ‘Move’ again!

Check    it    out…

3…

2…

1…

ACTION!