Healthy snack ideas for kids


Artist: Ginger Slonaker. Used by permission

Choose snacks that are free of artificial food colorings, dyes, sweeteners, ones that are not genetically modified, and are low in sugar. The best snacks are tasty, balanced, and accessible. Balanced snacks are ones that combine fruit and or vegetables with proteins, fiber and fats. Such as apples and cheese, nuts and fruit, veggies and hummus. Choose whole fruit over fruit juice. Soda is not an acceptable snack for kids, ever. 

  • Fruit kebabs. Buy some kebab skewers and create colorful strawberry, pineapple, grape, kiwi, and apple kebabs which kids can grab and go.  Kids have fun making them, as well.
  • Frozen grapes. They have the consistency of mini-popsicles, yet no added sugar and plenty of flavonoids.
  • Ants on a log. Take celery sticks and smear them with almond butter and sprinkle with a line of raisins or dried cranberries.
  • Raw nuts & dried fruit: almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews with unsweetened dried apricots, peaches, mangos, dates, or apples. Nuts, especially walnuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Seeds. Seeds are a rich source of vitamin E and some, like pumpkin seeds, have omega-3 fatty acids. Roast seeds yourself for extra crunch and less refined salt. 200F for approx. 7 minutes.
  • Veggies and dip. There is no excuse for not having fresh vegetables on hand.  Buy pre-chopped, pre-washed, bagged veggies if necessary.  Any trans-fat free dip is fine. Children need high quality fat for neurological development, and fat helps you absorb many nutrients from vegetables. Carrots and hummus are a delicious combination. Hummus is available in most grocery stores and is rich in protein, or try carrots dipped in nut butter or a tablespoon of fresh avocado.
  • Rainbow melons. Slice honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon to make a candy-colored natural treat.
  • Nut butter (almond & hazelnut butters) on pears or apples.
  • Apple or pear slices with cheese.
  • Root fries.  Slice yams, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, beets, parsnips into wedges, place them in a glass baking dish, mix with extra virgin olive or a few dollops of coconut oil, spice with salt, pepper, rosemary, dill, etc. and bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or until crisp but not burnt.
  • Mix a bowlful of seasonal berries, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  Whip up some heavy whipping cream, add a splash of vanilla and 100% maple syrup.  Serve a bowl of berries with a scoop of the homemade whip cream for a delightful treat.
  • Roll ups. Layer thinly sliced turkey breast (ideally nitrate free), spinach leaves, mayonnaise (ideally soybean oil free) on a sprouted grain or whole grain tortilla.  Roll up and slice into tasty disks.  Roll ups also work with tuna salad, refried beans, and spreads such as hummus.
  • Fruit leathers. A much wiser choice than the exceedingly popular fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups without the added sugar.  Available in bulk quantities at Costco. Beware the “fruit juice” sweetened fruit snacks, if you read the label you will see that there is still a lot of sugar in these—another misleading marketing tool.
  • A spoonful of avocado, goat cheese, or cottage cheese with salt & pepper or just plain.
  • Brown rice cakes with nut butter and banana slices onto.
  • Whole plain greek yogurt with fresh squeezed lime. Even makes a good substitute for sour cream.
  • Raw energy balls
  • Leftovers.

For more healthy recipe ideas see The Whole Life Nutrition website. 

5 things you can do to survive the cold & flu season


Cold and flu season is approaching, but don’t fret, there are lots of natural ways to stay healthy this year. The sooner you nip that sniffle in the butt the better. Here are 5 simple things you an the family can do to prevent the cold and flu season getting the best of you!

1. Sleep! Ever notice how after a long weekend of debauchery with your friends you get sick. The reason for this is we use sleep to for repair.  When we deprive ourselves of that vital restorative time, our immune system can get tired and we fall sick easily.  If you feel yourself starting to get sick the best thing you can do is go to bed early and get a good 8-10hrs of sleep.  

2.  Garlic. Garlic is nature’s anti-biotic, anti-fungal, and immune booster! But make note: to get the most of garlic’s natural healing properties you need to prepare it properly.  Chop up about 2 cloves of garlic, let sit for 5 minutes, this activates the allicin or medicinal constituent in garlic, then enjoy it raw or mostly raw. I like to sprinkle the raw garlic on a piece of toast with olive oil and salt.  Enjoy this immune boosting garlic bread, when you first feel a cold or flu coming on to prevent it from taking hold. Or once you are sick have up to 4-5 cloves per day, but don’t over do it if you are on blood thinners like warfarin.  

3.  Vitamin C.  Vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.  It has also been shown to boost the immune system to so you have a fighting chance! It’s good to take a maintenance dose of vitamin C throughout the cold and flu season, about 500-1000mg per day for an adult. Or 1000-2000mg if you need a boost while you’re sick.  Chose a vitamin C derived from a whole food source, with an equal amount of citrus bioflavonoids to citric acid, and one without a bunch of fillers and binders.    

4. Echinacea. Echinacea is an immune booster and has been shown to be especially helpful in prevention of upper respiratory tract infections (ie. Bronchitis).  You will benefit most from echinacea if you use it as soon as you feel that tickle in your throat or upon the first sign of impending flu doom!  Echinacea comes in three popular forms: E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida.  When choosing your liquid tincture of echinacea chose one with a mix of E. purpura whole plant, and E. angustifolia and E. pallida root for the best immune boosting effects. Echinacea is best taken short term (12 days or less) and at the onset symptoms.  

5. Avoid sugar. Sugar suppresses the immune system and will not serve you if you are trying to fight off the cold and flu.  This includes ingredients in many cold and flu medications on the market. Read ingredients and be picky about what you choose to nourish your body with.  

Good health to you and your family this season! 

Is Your Thyroid Slowing you Down?

Your thyroid is one of the largest glands in your body, and is located just over your windpipe at the base of your throat. The thyroid produces thyroid hormone T3 and T4, these hormones increase the metabolic activity of your cells. The function of your thyroid includes:

  • Boosts metabolic activity of cells causing fat and carbohydrates to be burned for energy.
  • Decreases body weight.
  • Decreases cholesterol and triglycerides preventing atherosclerosis.
  • Increases basal body temperature and blood flow so you feel warm.
  • Helps secrete digestive enzymes so you can break down your food and assimilate nutrients properly.
  • Helps your muscles to contract and relax normally.

As you can see having a healthy balanced thyroid is an important part of good health and managing a healthy weight.  Subclinical hypothyroid is chronically under diagnosed in the traditional medical system. The best way to find out if your thyroid is healthy, is to to have a full thyroid workup: Total T3 and T4, free T3 and T4, TSH, reverse T3, iodine, Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies and Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies all checked by your healthcare provider.  The challenge is most doctors will only check your TSH, which doesn’t give us a complete picture of your thyroid health.  

Signs your thyroid is slowing you down if you are experiencing:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Difficulty losing weight despite healthy diet and being active
  3. Low mood or depression
  4. Dry skin and hair, nail break easily and hair falls out
  5. Constipation


You can also try this home test:

Take your oral temperature at 11am three days in a row. Menstruating women take your temperature on day 3,4, and 5 of your menstrual cycle.  Men and postmenopausal women can take your body temperature anytime of the month. A basal temperature between below 98.6F is a good indicator of low thyroid function. 

Healthy foods for your thyroid:

  • Red meat, spinach, mushrooms, and sea vegetables provides the body with iron which is needed to convert the amino acid phenylalanine to tyrosine a building block for thyroid hormones.  Sea vegetables, organic yogurt, grass fed cow’s milk, and eggs are an excellent source of iodine, the thyroid uses iodine to build thyroid hormone.
  • A targeted supplement protocol designed by your Naturopathic Doctor can significantly improve your thyroid and help maintain a healthy metabolism.