Monday, October 28, 2013

Video Games to Keep Your Kids Active

It's that time again! Temperatures are falling, street lights are turning on earlier, and kids are indoors more often. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, here are some video games that will keep your kids' brain and bodies active.


Exergaming is a term used for video games that are also a form of exercise. Almost every video game system on the market today provides technology that tracks movements and reactions. Here are some games that we enjoy for the Wii and Xbox 360 consoles.
  • Wii- The Wii console, which is popular with younger children ages 3-8, focuses on games that kid friendly and contain minimal to no violence. A lot of the games on this console are designed after popular children's movies and cartoons. Here is our top exergaming picks for this console:
    • Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus - The Wii Fit and balance board comes with some standard fitness games that will help keep track of your children's indoor training. The exercises included are: yoga which is great for toning muscles,  aerobics which is great for increasing heart strength, and finally strength training. These exercises are pretty generic and can get boring quick, especially for children. We suggest purchasing the Wii Fit Plus package. The Wii Fit Plus package adds 20 more games that are much more fun to play. 

  • XBOX 360 with Kinect
    • Dance Central - We really like this game because it doesn't really seem like exercise. It's fun and has several songs to choose from. Your kids will be dancing for hours.
    • Kinect Sports - Are you ever worried about you child playing soccer indoors? Well now you don't have too. Games such as football. soccer, boxing, and bowling will keep your child active for many hours of the day.
Brain Games
  • Lumosity - We have all seen the commercials on TV but will this really help your child's brain? According to their site "In a recent study from the University of California, Berkeley, children aged 7 to 9 who played a set of challenging games that involved critical reasoning skills improved by over 30% on standardized measures of nonverbal intelligence". We have tried games on the site the site and its actually really fun. Lumosity focuses on five areas to improve you brain; memory, problem solving, attention, speed, and flexibility. The site is free to sign up but you are limited to only a couple of games and features. In order to access the full line of games you have to pay $14.95 a month. Don't let the price deter you. Give it a try
  • Brain Age - This Nintendo DS game is a classic. It has been around for some time and you can buy it used at GameStop or online through any of the popular retailers. Brain Age is similar to Lumosity in which it has games that stimulate memory cognition but do not really seem like homework. The feature we really like most is that you can see how old your brain is after you play every game. This way you can see how well your child's brain is developing. 

There are several other games on the market that can help your children stay active both mentally and physically. What games do you and your children play at home? Please leave a comment letting us know.

Hidden Menaces Part 2: Genetically Modified Organisms

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been a topic of controversy for some time now. Almost all foods today contain GMOs and it is difficult to determine whether a product contains these organisms or not. States across the nation have proposed legislation that requires manufacturers to label products containing GMO's; but most of these pieces of legislation have failed. Proponents believe that as consumers we should know everything that is in the food that we consume. They also believe that labels are a crucial part of the evaluation process when choosing a food product. Opponents argue that if food manufacturers are required to put labels on their products; they may face decreased sales. Ultimately, some manufacturers may see increased costs because they would have purchase or use more costly ingredients that are GMO free. 

The big question is: Are GMOs safe and if not what can you do to avoid them?

What are GMOs?

GMOs are organisms (plants or animals) that have had their DNA injected with the DNA of another organism. The purpose of modifying the organism is to give it enhancing characteristics such as: resistance to disease or spoilage, increased growth or yield, and/or tolerance of pesticides. The info-graph the to the right breaks down the GMO process.

Are GMOs safe?

Very little research has been performed on the side effects of GMOs (on humans) because they are relatively new. Lab research on field mice indicates that GMOs can cause problems with the gut, immune system, liver, kidneys, heart, and adrenal glands. Some researchers say this could cause problems such as obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, accelerated aging and infertility. Much of this research, about the negative effects of GMOs, has been suppressed by agriculture companies and major corporations.

The bigger problem is what GMOs are doing to the soil and the environment. GMO crops have a higher tolerance to herbicides which allows farmers to increase the amounts used to protect crops from insects. These herbicides are harmful to birds, insects, soil organisms, and the marine ecosystem. Once GMOs have been introduced to seeds, cross pollination can contaminate the gene pool of other crops. If there are problems with GMOs discovered in the future, it would be difficult to remove this cross contamination.

GMOs have been used in food production for centuries and many scientists believe that the good outweighs the bad. Because there is no significant evidence that the GMOs cause problems in humans, it is difficult to say that GMOs have negative consequences. But we think is better to be safe than sorry and to insure that our children have healthy futures, we suggest avoiding GMOs. 

How can you avoid GMO's?

Although GMO's are difficult to avoid, you can:
  • Eat Organic –USDA standards will not allow the use of GMOs in any product listed as organic
  • Buy Fresh –Experts suggest that 60% - 70% of processed foods in the US have GMOs. Pre-made, pre-packaged or boxed foods typically contain GMOs. Eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Stay away from products that contain sugar beets, soy, canola, crook neck squash, cottonseed, or non-cane sugar. Do not buy them unless they are listed as organic. Products that typically contain these ingredients are cereals, soft drinks, and crackers.
  • Search for verified food products using the "Find Non-GMO" tab located on the Non-GMO Project website Their database is extensive and you can browse by category, brand or search by name. Another nice feature of their website is you can search for restaurants and retailers located in your state that are verified NON-GMO.
  • Shop at specialty food stores such as:
  • Eat At Home – this will increase the likelihood that what you consume is GMO free.
Extra Halloween Tip!

Since Halloween is right around the corner, we thought we would share some popular Halloween candies that contain GMOs.

For more detailed information check out the Non GMO Project at:
And for more reasons to avoid GMOs check out:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Healthy Recipes for Kids

Lets face it, getting kids to eat right is harder than it looks. Sometimes to ensure your child gets all their needed nutrients, you have to sneak it into their favorite foods. Here we have a couple simple recipes that sneak nutrition into your kids favorite snacks with the clever use of baby food.

Serves 2
  • 1 (8 to 10-inch) flour tortilla, ideally whole wheat
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp pizza sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sweet potato or carrot baby food
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp shredded low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together pizza sauce and baby food.
2. Spread the sauce mixture onto the tortilla (stay 1/2 inch away from the edge).
3. Sprinkle on the cheese, and roll up into a log.
4. Slice and toast immediately, or wrap (unsliced) in plastic and freeze. When ready to eat, remove from freezer, slice into 4-6 pieces, and toast for a few minutes until golden brown.

French Toast Rollers
Serves: 4

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sweet potato baby food
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp carrot baby food
  • 4 slices of bread (ideally whole wheat)
Optional fillings:
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter + 1 Tbsp sweet potato or carrot or blueberry baby food (or other fruit spread)
  • 1 mashed banana + 1 Tbsp sweet potato or carrot or blueberry baby food (or other fruit spread)
  • 1 Tbsp light cream cheese + 1 Tbsp fruit spread
1. In a large, shallow baking dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, salt, vanilla, honey, and baby food or fruit puree. Set aside.
2. Use a rolling pin to roll out each slice of bread on a cutting board until flattened.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the optional fillings. Spread about 2 Tbsp of the filling mixture on each flattened slice of bread, keeping about 1?4 inch away from the edges. Roll up each slice of bread, pressing to seal the edges.
4. Dip each log roll in the egg mixture until saturated on all sides, then cook in a well-greased skillet over moderate heat, turning to brown each side. Remove from heat and lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Free recipes courtesy of Missy Chase Lapine, aka "The Sneaky Chef."
More recipes just like these available here.

Individual vs. Team Sports

Sports are a fun way to keep children active without them even realizing it. Sports reduce obesity risks, increase cardiovascular fitness, and help grow healthy muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. 

Playing sports not only present its obvious physical benefits but also social and academic benefits. A study by the Center for Disease Control shows that those in sports tend to have higher grade point averages as well as a better chance of going to college. Young athletes also are less likely to do drugs and stay out of trouble. 

Playing sports create a lot of different benefits but what kind of sport is best for your child? Below are some key benefits to playing an individual sport versus a team sport. 

Individual Sports
  • Self reliability- In individual sports, your child will be solely responsible for their own successes as well as failures. 
  • Be in the spotlight- Without a team, all eyes are on the individual athlete. There is no team to blend in to on a football field. This later helps children overcome stage fright and have more confidence when in front of a crowd.
  • Individually a team- In many individual sports like gymnastics or swimming, individual competitors add their scores up to compete with a team score, still giving your child an opportunity to socialize. 

Team sports
  • Social skills- Working in a team requires children to learn to work with others towards a common goal. Teamwork encourages cooperation and friendships. 
  • Communication skills- Teamwork also helps develop communication skills. Letting your teammates know what is needed from them and they let you know what is needed of you helps the team reach their common goal.
  • Humbleness- Group successes and failures keeps egos in check. A success belongs to the group effort, no one person is responsible. As the saying goes, "There is no I in team."
All children are different, let us know what worked best for your child at

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hidden Menaces Part 1: Trans-Fats

Scores of people in the nation buy heaps of packaged foods every day.  Whether it is from a wholesaler like Costco or a basic grocery store such as Alberston's, it is important that parents keep their guards up against these hidden menaces in some of their children's favorite foods.

Hydrogenated Oils oils contain the notorious trans-fats, and are most commonly found in peanut butter, margarine, and other frozen packaged foods.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, trans-fats raise "bad" cholesterol levels, and lowers "good cholesterol" levels.  They also state that it causes inflammation, which is an "interactivity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions." In animals, it was found that trans fats increased risk of obesity and caused resistance to insulin.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils are the result of processing a once healthy oil in intense heat under heavy pressure.  The result is that the oils will last longer for manufacturers.  The down-side is, trans-fats run rampant.  Trans-fats are commonly accepted in the medical community as being one of the top causes of Coronary Heart Disease, the most leading cause of death in men and women.  Heart Disease can start decades before it is fully progressed.  Your children's dieting habits now can heavily affect their outcome in the future.

The Solution?  Read labels!  It is often a misconception that all peanut butters or all frozen food have this ingredient.

Warning: Labels claiming to be "trans-fat free" are often deceptive.  The FDA regulations state that a product containing less than 0.5g of trans fats can actually be labeled as having no trans-fats!  Be on the look-out for the terms "partially hydrogenated" and "shortening" in the ingredient list.

More information:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Product Pick : Amazing Grass 4 Kidz

Struggling to get your kids to eat their greens or their fruits?  You're not alone.

Parents everywhere know how difficult it can be to ensure kids get their daily dosage of fruits & vegetables. One of the best-tasting and most popular options out there for parents is Kidz SuperFood by Amazing Grass.

Kids Love the Taste

With two flavors, Berry and Chocolate, kids won't know what they are drinking! Little do they know, one scoop is packed with vegetables, fruits, and even probiotics. Children as young as 2 can enjoy the great flavor that Kidz SuperFood provides.

Reap The Benefits!
Each serving of Amazing Grass helps boost immunity, protects cells against cancer, cleanses the system, supports weight loss, and eases digestion.*  Kidz SuperFood can help place your child on the path towards health and wellness.

No Added Sugar

One of our favorite parts about this product it that there is absolutely no added sugar! Kidz Superfood is sweetened with Stevia. Whether you mix it into water, their favorite juice, or your own custom smoothie, kids will be sure to look forward to their daily dosage of packed nutrition.  We think you and our kids will like Kidz SuperFood, and that's why it's our current Product Pick!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Fitness Activities

The days are getting shorter and the summer temperatures are fading away, but don’t let that keep your kids from enjoying playtime outside. Fall time is the best time to take advantage of moderate temperatures and find new ways to enjoy the outdoors without the worry of overheating. Regardless of the time of year, keep your family active and healthy by spending time outside trying these fun and simple fitness activities.

Easy Hiking
Hiking can be a great way to simply see new areas around your neighborhood or take in a little time away from suburbia. By looking up easy to moderate trails in your area you can give your kids some adventure by showing them how hiking trails, hills and small mountains can be a great way to instill a sense of accomplishment.

Family Biking
A family biking trip can be a rewarding and fulfilling activity on the weekends. Be sure to choose a desired route to avoid nasty neighborhoods and start early to take advantage of the cool morning air. Also a short ride around the neighborhood or community park after school can be a great way to get everyone ready for dinner.

Park Exploration
Take the kids to the local park or drive a little further to find a regional park. A park can offer an unlimited amount of activities for kids from team games, educational games and all sorts of other things. Create a science scavenger hunt to keep them interested in local wildlife and other natural elements of the park. Also try putting together a fun rewarding game of soccer with other kids for team building.

The History of Childhood Obesity in the United States

Childhood obesity is not an uncommon thing anywhere in the world, regardless of race or ethnicity. A child that doesn’t get the proper amount of vegetables and vitamins, or misses out on outdoor activities has a high chance of being obese. In the United States, 18 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 19 are considered to be obese. But what does childhood obesity actually mean in comparison to the national average in regard to weight.

What is Obesity?
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the rate of childhood obesity has climbed ever since they began their survey in the 1960’s. From 1960 to 1970, 4.2 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 4.6 of 12 to 19 year olds were obese. In the 1980’s, 11.3 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 10.5 of 12 to 19 year olds were obese. In 2001, over 16 percent of 6 to 11 year olds were obese. In 2011 nothing changed and saw another increase of 19.6 and 18.1 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 12 to 19 year olds were obese.

What Causes Obesity?
There isn’t exactly a proven reason that some children are overweight. Scientists don’t have to study on the subject matter too much, because the direct result comes from a poor diet and lack of exercise. In an effort to discover a “fat gene”, it is far more likely that a child will be obese due to habits passed down from parents. While childhood obesity has been on the rise since the 1960’s, so has adult obesity. The statistics are almost exactly the same between children and adults.

Who’s to Blame?
Sometimes it’s easier to blame the fast food industry for allowing our kids to eat their high fat foods ultimately we must blame the parents.  Child who grows up in a household that doesn’t eat fast food is far more likely to carry the habit of eating properly into his/her adult life. Another cause can be directed at the video game industry, which has children indoors instead of playing sports or being active with other kids. Nintendo Wii has made efforts to intertwine fitness and video games by offering fun and enjoyable sports games to get the family moving.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Work with Diseases in Your Child's Life?

Diseases that appear at an early time in a child's life can take toll on their daily activities and how they go about everything. Two of the most known diseases are Diabetes and Asthma. This diseases can really change how a child can play with their friends, eat at meals, and go through their day. Their are some ways to help though so children with diabetes and asthma can have fun with their friends and live a happy and healthy life.

Diabetes for Children 

According to The Children's Diabetes Foundation, "diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that afflicts over 18 million people in the U.S.". Type 1 Diabetes is when the pancreas is producing little or none insulin causing a loss of energy production from the food that is eaten. This can be counterproductive for anyone's life, whether it be an adult or a child. It can be costly for the family and cause symptoms such as frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

Ways to Work With the Disease

Take a look at this video from with Josh, who was found to be Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 6. His family takes steps to empower Josh so he can live his life easily and still have fun, as a kid should! They use an App that helps monitor Josh's eating and helps him grow his independence.

Children with Asthma

KidsHealth.Org defines asthma as "a condition that affects a person's airways, which are also called breathing tubes or bronchial." A flare up or "asthma attack", can change a child's fun day out at the park to a scary and frustrating situation. To treat this disease, inhaler's are used as a way to receive medication.

Ways to Work With the Disease 

Watch Alexis' Story and learn how she goes through her day. She has had asthma since she was three years old and takes enjoyment in swimming. As a child of divorced parents, she takes steps to make sure she has her inhaler at all times.

With the right information and creative thinking a child can live a normal life just like the other kids at recess. 

10 Easy Everyday Activities To Do With Your Kids

Here at Training 4 Recess, we are focused on making children's health easy and convenient. Our blogs will focus on different topics that relate to children's overall health, fitness, and nutrition. But let's start with something simple - everyday activities that you can do with your kids to them active and healthy.

Our list of 10 Easy Everyday Activities To Do With Your Kids:

1.  Play Simple Games in your Front Yard
Some ideas could be kick the can, doing a treasure hunt, and playing with sidewalk chalk! All easy games that do not take too much to prep for.

2. Do Yard Work
 Maybe start a garden where you can use the vegetables to cook with. This will help you conquer the weeds but also could be fun for your children who don't mind getting a little dirty.

3. Have a Car Wash
Children love bubbles...Try bringing the car(s) out and sudz'n it up! 

4. Make Food Together
Get in the kitchen and make some homemade granola bars, blend up some fruit smoothies, or use a Yonanas Machine to make healthy ice cream out of fruit! 

5. Go on a Hike
Find a local trail and go on an adventure and maybe collect some rocks and other cool trinkets on the way.

6. Walk the Dog
Rover needs some fitness in his life too, so grab the leash and enjoy your neighborhood with the whole family (including the 4 legged members).

7. Go for a Swim
Get out the swimsuits and find some time to play games in the pool and could be a good time to work on your children's swimming skills. 

8.  Visit the Park
This could be easy as using the playground, or kite flying, and with a little preparation - having a picnic!

9. Take the Bikes Out
Decide on a location with your children and ride out! Maybe visit a local pet store or museum.

10. Most importantly, Enjoy a Good Night's Sleep
All of us, especially the little ones, need to get their zzz's in. Read stories at night and try to get your young'ns in for bed to get their 8 hours of sleep so they can be rested for another healthy day.

Good Luck and let us know if you like our ideas or if you have more at