Dear HealthStart Supporter,
We build community well-being when community members become actively involved. One way to get involved is to volunteer. When we help others it turns out we also help ourselves.
Harvard Medical School suggests volunteering improves mental health. Their study found that people who donate their time keep loneliness and depression at bay. In addition, recent research suggests that people who give their time to others may be rewarded with better mental and physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
The British Medical Journal found that even minimal volunteering can yield positive mental health benefits. So, what are you waiting for? Get involved. Do good.
Check out the volunteer opportunities HealthStart has listed in our Newsletter and Check our Facebook/Instagram regularly to find out how you may do some good for your community and yourself.
Robin Herskowitz, Founder
Serve this fiber, antioxidant, and omega 3 rich version of hummus alongside your favorite vegetables for a yummy mid-afternoon / after-school snack.
Source: Bon Appetit
Fiber, Antioxidants, Calcium, Oh MY! These Zucchini Pizza Boats offer a vegetable and fruit (tomato is a fruit, remember) variation on the traditional pizza crust. Serve one to two boats per person and enjoy feeding your whole body tonight.
Source: Cooking Classy
Try this delicious, Vitamin C and antioxidant rich pineapple salsa. It features a balance of sweet, salty, sour and fiery flavors. Pair it with pork and with grilled fish, on tacos, whole grain pita chips or as an accompaniment to breakfast eggs.
New York Times Recipe
Playing outdoors is a form of exercise that promotes well-being and wholesome physical and social emotional development. We are naturally drawn to active play outdoors: it allows exploration of the environment, development of muscle strength and coordination, and gains in self-confidence. Playing actively outdoors also increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills and is related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills, including those involved in sports.
Early childhood provides a great need for physical exercise and activity and a chance to use their muscles to run, swing, jump, skate and ride a bike, and to be out in the fresh air and sunshine (appropriately protected from the sun's rays, of course). They like to use their whole body when they play outdoors, and find such physical activities interesting and challenging.
When children are pushed in a swing, or when they propel a swing themselves, they engage all of their muscles to hold on, balance and coordinate their body to the rhythm of moving back and forth. Swinging provides children with first-hand knowledge and experience of cause and effect and of understanding spatial learning, such as up and down and back and forth. Also, while swinging, children get a chance to see the world from a new perspective. To provide comfort and security, use a swing with a back support and a child restraint. For the littlest ones, start out slowly and push from the front, so your face is in full view. Play a peek-a-boo game for even more fun!
Toys that require balance and coordination, such as skates, scooters and bikes, teach children new skills, encourage the development of self-confidence and satisfy their interest in exploration. Choose sports equipment that has a grow-with-me feature, going from beginner to advanced, so children have the opportunity to master skills at their own pace. The beginner mode will give children that extra boost of confidence they need when learning a new skill. As children progress to the advanced mode, they can practice their newly acquired skills and try new and exciting challenges when they're ready.
So, take the children outside to play. It's a wonderful way to spend the day!
P.h.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price
It’s April in Austin. This is the time to be outside. In a few months it will blistering hot, but now, the weather is perfect.
Central Texas offers almost endless opportunities for outdoor activities for you and your children to do in nature. We have lakes, an amazing selection of public parks, and hike and bike trails. Zilker Park alone offers Barton Springs Pool , the Austin Nature & Science Center, the Zilker Botanical Gardens, and the Prehistoric Park – where you can find actual dinosaur footprints.
We often talk about the value of eating well in this space, but physical activity is as important as what we eat for building a healthy body. The key to building a child with a lifelong love for the outdoors is to introduce your child to the joys of being physically active in nature while she is young.
So get on a lake, dig a garden, find an outdoor kids or family yoga class or simply take a walk. If you do go outside please send us a picture – tell us what you’re doing to enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having and we’ll post your picture to HealthStart’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
Whatever you do, go get your hands dirty.
Robin Herskowitz, Founder
Soup is perfect for all times of year, but since this Spring has decided to cool off once more our featured recipe for today is a nutrient powerhouse to warm your being. Featuring Fiber, Protein and Iron rich Cannellini white beans alongside antioxidant, vitamin c, and calcium rich Spinach this yummy soup will feed the whole family and their bodies!
Check out Delish.com, one of our favorite recipe sites for a variety of yummy, Spring approved soups!
Celebrate the fresh tastes of spring with this delicious and nutritious salad. It combines the invigorating tastes of strawberry, rhubarb, lemon and mint with hazelnut for a antioxidant, fiber and protein packed side-dish the whole family is sure to love!
Make a night of creating these fun, nutritious "instant" oatmeal breakfast jars with the whole family. Allow the kids to make their own flavor combinations and fill the jars themselves.
Instant Oats provide protein, iron, and fiber to feed your whole body. Add in your favorite fruits, nuts, and / or treats to add in vitamin c and antioxidants. And the easy / short prep time mixed with no refrigeration required ensures the whole family starts the day off right with a healthy, filling breakfast.
Flavor Combination Ideas
You can use fresh or freeze dried fruit (no sugar added). It’s crunchy and sweet.
Freeze-dried fruit maintains all of it’s vital nutrients and vibrant flavor, making it a convenient shelf-stable healthy option. There is no refrigeration needed for storage.
Apples & Cinnamon: ¼ cup freeze Dried Apples, 1/4 tsp Cinnamon, pinch of granulated stevia, or granulated sweetener of choice
Raspberries & Dark Chocolate or Cacao Nibs: ¼ cup freeze dried Raspberries & 2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips or nibs
Monkey Mix: ¼ cup freeze dried banana chips, 1 Tbsp coconut flakes, 1 Tbsp dark chocolate chips or nibs
Triple Berry: ¼ cup freeze dried triple berry mix & a pinch of granulated stevia, or granulated sweetener of choice
Blueberries & Cream: ¼ cup freeze dried blueberries, a pinch of powdered vanilla (huge health benefits in powdered compared to liquid extract), & a pinch of granulated stevia or granulated sweetener of choice)
Peaches & Cream: ¼ cup freeze dried peaches, pinch of powdered vanilla (huge health benefits in powdered compared to liquid extract), & a pinch of granulated stevia, or granulated sweetener of choice)
Strawberry & Banana: 2 Tbsp freeze dried strawberries, 2 Tbsp freeze dried banana & a pinch of granulated stevia, or granulated sweetener of choice
OR Get Creative and Build Your Own!
Source: Clean FoodTM Crush
Packed with Vitamin C / Antioxidants, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Protein, these Healthy Avocado Brownies make a wonderful dessert or snack for the whole family. Let the kids help you make them and teach them that there are several healthy alternatives to traditional sugar and grain flour.