Category Archives: MyPlate Lessons

  1. 5 Tips to Help Young Adults Get Fit

    Many young adults today are struggling with weight loss. They even coined the term “Freshman 15” to refer to the fifteen pounds that incoming freshmen tend to gain during their first year of college. The good news is that with the right eating and exercise habits, you can achieve your weight loss goals.

    Being overweight or obese can lead to a range of health problems. Although many different “fad” diets are available, focus on building healthy eating and exercise habits that will help you keep the weight off long-term. Here are 5 tips to help you lose weight and build healthy habits that will last a lifetime:

    #1: Stay Away From Fad Diets

    Most people that start a fad diet or begin fasting struggle to stick with it for a prolonged period. They don’t work simply because we need to be able to continue the changes we make for the rest of our lives. Fad diets and fasting are also short-term solutions that are dangerous and should be avoided.

    The truth is the side effects to fasting outweigh any of its benefits. Instead, to achieve your fitness goals you should focus on building healthy habits and making your meals balanced and nutritious. You also want to develop a regular exercise routine that includes both strength training and cardio.

    #2: Change Your Environment

    Our habits drive our lives and there are a millions things that we do every day without thinking. From walking to the store to brushing our teeth, our habits are all part of our daily routine. What you do every day ultimately forms the person that you are. Your life is essentially the sum of all your habits.

    Changing your habits and losing weight is a difficult but achievable goal, if you set yourself up for success. However, trying to commit to a drastic change and relying on your willpower alone will not work. The trick to building new healthy habits is to change the environment that is around you.

    #3: Use MyPlate as Your Guide

    What you eat will impact your health and quality of life for many years to come. The amount of food you eat also affects every aspect of your well-being including risk of disease, self-esteem, academic performance, and energy. In 2011, the USDA designed MyPlate not just for kids, but for adults too.

    MyPlate makes eating easy to visualize and apply to everyday life. You can learn to how to use it by focusing on these five simple tips: 1) Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, 2) Drink water instead of soda, 3) Make half of your grains whole, 4) Go lean with protein, and 5) Try more healthy snacks.

    #4: Focus on 3 Pillars of Health

    Habits are actions and behaviors that we perform subconsciously and they are very difficult to break. Studies show that the habits that we develop early and are formed in childhood related to eating and exercise carry over into adulthood. And once poor health habits emerge they tend to be long lasting.

    For example, research has indicated that 97% of people who lose weight regain it again within 5 years. Yes, our habits are really that hard to change! That is why if you want to develop good habits that are associated with a longer and healthier life the key is to focus on the 3 pillars of a healthy lifestyle.

    #5: Join a Free Support Group

    It takes hard work and motivation to lose weight! The good news is that you do not have to do it alone. We are building a community of inspiring and like-minded individuals who genuinely care about you. We specialize in weight loss and created a group designed with YOU in mind to offer our free support.

    Our free support group will answer any questions you have about nutrition, fitness, and health. Most importantly you will get all the support you need to achieve your weight loss goals. We promise to be there for you every step of the way and have over 16 years of experience helping people lose weight.

    We Want to Help Your Family

    Live in Charlotte or surrounding area? Our program combines personalized nutrition, group support, and unlimited exercise classes to give kids and teens (ages 8-18) the tools they need to build healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Let us help your family get fit and schedule your free class today.

    You are also invited to check out our blog for more great articles, stories, and tips on fitness, nutrition, and health.  Also, don’t forget to join our support group so we can give you the guidance you need to achieve your goals. We are always here to help you and your family get fit. Thank you for being here!

  2. Nutrition Tips for Kids and Teens

    What kids and teens eat daily now will impact their health and quality of life for many years to come. The amount of food children eat is also one of the most important parts of building a fit lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight. Since children and adults have different calorie and nutrition needs, how much your child eats will affect their weight and risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

    MyPlate is an easy to follow food guide that was created by the USDA to help parents feed their kids nutritious meals. With its new icon, MyPlate reminds us how to eat better by showing a balanced plate that divides the four food groups into equally sized sections: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, and Protein.

    This is a big change from the food pyramid that made grains the largest food group by placing it at the bottom of the pyramid. As a result, the food pyramid overemphasized grains with 6-11 daily servings and gave less importance to vegetables and fruits with only 5-9 servings from these two food groups.

    The MyPlate icon makes it easier for kids and teens to eat healthy since now every food group has an equal portion on their plate. What your child eats and drinks will impact almost every aspect of their well-being including quality of life, risk of disease, self-esteem, academic performance, and energy. 

    MyPlate is a Great Visual Tool

    The USDA’s MyPlate program was designed to make balanced eating easy to visualize and apply to everyday life. Kids can clearly see that half of their plate should be filled with colorful fruits and veggies, about ¼ with lean protein and the remaining part left for grains, half of them being whole.

    But you might be wondering: Do I have to serve all the food groups at each meal? Do I really have to give my kids veggies for breakfast? If breakfast or lunch doesn’t include a veggie or fruit, give them at snack time or dinner. Use the plate as a guide for planning and serving a variety of healthy foods.

    The goal is to think of the plate as an entire day’s worth of eating: So, throughout the day, try to make half of what your kids eat vegetables and fruits, and the other half grains and protein foods. An occasional treat is fine, but be careful to limit foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

    You can teach your kids how to use MyPlate by focusing on these five simple messages: 1) Half of a healthy plate should always include fruits and vegetables, 2) Drink water instead of soda and sugary juices, 3) Make half of your grains whole, 4) Go lean with protein, and 5) Try more healthy snacks.

    The pictures on the left below show an unhealthy plate. However, by using MyPlate an unbalanced plate can easily become a balanced and healthy plate. It is all a matter of adding more fruits and veggies, cutting back on grains, and eating less carbohydrates, refined carbohydrates in particular.

    By changing the meals below from an unhealthy to a balanced plate, we reduced the total calories from 7,224 to only 2,399 calories. That is almost 5,000 less calories! Keep in mind that it is important to avoid fried foods and instead make grilling and cooking at home a daily habit. Also MyPlate is not just for kids, but for adults too. So get the whole family involved and start today making it a healthy plate!

    Schedule Your Free Class Today

    At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give teens (ages 8-18) the tools they need to transform their lives and build healthy habits that will last a lifetime. By combining nutritional counseling, group support, and exercise classes, our Lean Teen Program empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals. We are driven by a strong belief that every child deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential.

    It all starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to better understand your child’s eating habits. Your health coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives your family the flexibility needed to make permanent lifestyle changes. Register today for a Free Day Pass so we can help your child to build healthy habits and get fit.  We look forward to serving you with excellence. Thank you for visiting us!

  3. Tasty Smoothies for Picky Eaters

    While doing nutrition plans for our kids and teens, we often find that children today don’t get the amount of vegetables that is recommended by MyPlate. We are big fans of healthy smoothies for kids, especially when they are packed full of nutritious ingredients. To help your family eat more veggies,  we want to share with you these four delicious smoothies that are bright, colorful, and healthy too!

    Butternut Squash Smoothie

    Drink your veggies with this tasty yellow smoothie your whole family will love!

    Serves: 1 large smoothie, Total Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk
    3/4 cup steamed butternut squash
    2 large Medjool dates
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and cinnamon

    Directions:
    Toss all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until you reach desired smoothness.
    Optional: Drizzle with nut butter, and sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.

    Strawberry Beet Smoothie

    This tasty pink smoothie is the perfect balance of healthy nutrition and yummy treat!

    Serves: 2 large smoothies, Total Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
    1 cup chopped raw beets (peeled)
    1 cup frozen strawberries
    1 banana
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Directions:
    Toss all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend until you reach desired smoothness.
    Optional: Sprinkle with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and cinnamon on top.

    Pineapple Spinach Smoothie

    This healthy green smoothie is filled with spinach and is both kid friendly and mom-approved!

    Serves: 2 large smoothies, Total Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
    2 cups packed baby spinach
    2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
    1 cup orange juice
    1 banana

    Directions:
    Put the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until mixture is smooth.
    Serve immediately for smoothies, or freeze in reusable popsicle molds.

    Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

    This delicious purple smoothie is filled with blueberries, spinach, strawberries, and banana!

    Serves: 2 large smoothies, Total Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup almond milk or coconut milk
    2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
    1 cup packed baby spinach
    2/3 cup frozen blueberries
    1/2 cup strawberries
    1 banana

    Directions:
    Add all of the ingredients to a blender, cover with the lid, and whirl until smooth.
    Add more milk if needed to reach the desired consistency and taste for sweetness.

    Schedule Your Free Class Today

    At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give kids (ages 8-18) the tools they need to transform their lives and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. By combining nutritional counseling, group support, and exercise classes, our Lean Teen Program empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals. We are driven by a strong belief that every child deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential.

    It all starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to better understand your child’s eating habits. Your health coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives your family the flexibility needed to make permanent lifestyle changes. Register your child today for a Free Day Pass so we can start helping your family use MyPlate.  We look forward to serving you with excellence. Thank you for visiting us!

  4. Teen Weight Loss Tips for Parents

    When it comes to losing weight, teens should never use diet pills or do anything that will harm their metabolism. Unfortunately, diet pills and quick weight loss plans for teens are becoming popular even though they don’t work long-term. In fact one study even found that teen use of diet pills has doubled.

    There is so much pressure to be thin that $40 billion dollars a year are spent on weight loss products that have no proven benefit. The dangers of diet pills far outweigh the benefit of any potential weight loss including: a risk for heart attack and stroke, addiction, multiple side effects, and no guarantees.

    The truth is when it comes to weight loss there is no magic pill. Instead, the focus should always be on being healthy, fit and strong. This is the perfect opportunity for your entire family to build healthy habits together. As experts in teen weight loss, we recommend that you use MyPlate since it is important that your teen makes nutrition and lifestyle changes that can be followed long-term.

    The USDA’s MyPlate program was designed to make balanced eating easy to visualize and apply to everyday life. Kids can clearly see that half of their plate should be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables, about ¼ with lean protein and the remaining part for grains, half of them being whole.

    But you might be wondering: Do I have to serve all the food groups at each meal? Do I really have to give my kids veggies for breakfast? If breakfast or lunch doesn’t include a vegetable or fruit, give them at snack time or dinner. Use the plate as a guide for planning and serving a variety of healthy foods.

    The goal is to think of the plate as an entire day’s worth of eating: So, throughout the day, try to make half of what your kids eat vegetables and fruits, and the other half grains and protein foods. An occasional treat is fine, but be careful to limit foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients.

    How Your Environment Impacts You

    According to studies it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic. In other words to eliminate or create a new habit it will take the average person about 66 days. It is very difficult to develop a new habit since it takes an enormous amount of willpower to do something for 66 days without succumbing to temptation. As a result, most of our daily lives are made up of the same habits.

    Helping your teen to lose weight is a difficult but achievable goal, if you set your family up for success. However, trying to commit to a drastic change and relying on willpower alone will not work. The trick to helping your teen build healthy habits and achieve their goals is to change their environment.

    You simply can not make significant, lasting change without altering your environment. Changing it is the best way to set your whole family up for success! Besides using MyPlate to help your teen lose weight and achieve their fitness goals, we also recommend that you focus on these 6 important tips:

    #1: Set Early Bedtimes

    It is important that kids and teens get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused. They also need more sleep than adults because they are in a time of fast physical, intellectual, and emotional growth. To help your teen stay alert, experts agree that they get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

    #2: Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

    Most experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. It is also a great opportunity to get a healthy dose of essential nutrients. To get your kids ready for breakfast, consider making their bedtimes earlier each night so they have enough time to enjoy it.

    #3: Stock up on Fruits & Veggies

    Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in calories! A healthy snack will also help your teen stay energized and alert during the day. To ensure your family gets plenty of fruits and vegetables each day, we recommend you keep pre-washed produce always available to simply grab and eat.

    #4: Try Not to Skip Any Meals

    Although skipping meals seems like a good way to lose weight, it actually slows down your metabolism and cause you to eat more throughout the day. Studies show that kids who skip meals are more likely to be overweight than those who make eating a balanced meal a priority. During meal times make sure to include one food from each food group – Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, and Protein.

    #5: Exercise at Least Twice a Week

    It is important that your teen exercises regularly not only to stay fit but also to perform better in school. According to experts “exercise boosts academic performance in various ways: allowing kids to focus on their school work; boosting self-esteem and mood; and increasing blood flow to the brain.

    #6: Limit Liquid Calories

    When it comes to building lifelong healthy habits, drinking 8 glasses of water is a must. Water helps us stay hydrated and increases our metabolic rate which is important for weight loss. On the other hand, juices and diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that have empty calories and are devoid of nutrients.

    Maintaining Balance and Consistency

    Being fit is all about learning balance and consistency while having the right guidance and support to be successful. At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give kids (ages 8-18) the tools to transform their lives and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. By combining nutritional counseling, group support, and exercise classes, our Lean Teen Program empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals.

    It all starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to better understand your child’s eating habits. Your health coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives your family the flexibility needed to make permanent lifestyle changes. Register your child today for a Free Day Pass so we can start helping your family use MyPlate. We look forward to serving you with excellence. Thank you for visiting us!

  5. MyPlate Lessons and Tips for Parents

    Hello parents! My name is Kalina and over the past decade I have done over 1,000 nutrition plans for kids and teens. This post is to teach you the basics on how to use MyPlate to help your child build healthy eating habits and lose weight if necessary. My philosophy is to always eat real food! You also want to try your best to choose whole foods grown locally and organic.

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