For A Better Us

February 24, 2017

An Apple A Day…

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home.

Apple Nachos

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 1-4

Ingredients:

Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving
Sun butter or peanut butter
Coconut Flakes
Raisins

Directions:

Core and slice apples, lay out on plate
Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples
Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top

No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce

Total time: 10-15 mins
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh)
10 strawberries

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Remove strawberry tops
Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender
Serve cold

Cinnamon Applesauce

Total time: 20-30 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith)
1 cup of 100% apple juice or 100% apple cider (may substitute water)
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon (or 1 cinnamon stick)

Directions:

Core and chop apples
Add apples, 100% juice and cinnamon to saucepan on medium heat (cover)
Allow apples to simmer and mash softened apples in saucepan or add to blender
Serve warm or cold

March is National Nutrition Month. With a balanced approach, even the busiest families can discover ways to eat healthier and feel better. Here are some quick and easy recipes to try at home. Apple Nachos Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 1-4 Ingredients: Mix of apples (Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala) – 1 per serving Sun butter or peanut butter Coconut Flakes Raisins Directions: Core and slice apples, lay out on plate Heat nut butter until creamy, drizzle over apples Let each person choose their own toppings to sprinkle on top No-Cook Strawberry Applesauce Total time: 10-15 mins Serves 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested: Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious, McIntosh) 10 strawberries Directions: Core and chop apples Remove strawberry tops Blend apples and strawberries together in food processor or blender Serve cold Cinnamon Applesauce Total time: 20-30 mins Serves: 4-6 Ingredients: 4 apples (suggested mix: Honey Crisp, Granny Smith) 1 cup of 100% apple…


January 4, 2017

Robotics Program Launching at Brooks Family YMCA

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14.

This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed.

Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee.

Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the robotics program.

“We are proud to have Rajiv Gupta lead our engineering and robotics program here at the Brooks Y,” said Brooks Family YMCA Executive Director Carl Simcox. “The Y aims to help all children reach their full potential by supporting their unique youth development journeys and we’re excited to see this new STEM initiative in action.”

Through a grant provided by the University of North Florida, Gupta has volunteered each weekend since 2008 with elementary and middle-age students, teaching the basics and fundamentals of science and engineering through a robotics curriculum. After nearly eight years of volunteering, Gupta will continue to dedicate his time and services as a proud employee of the YMCA.

“I want to inspire kids to become interested in science and technology through robotics,” Gupta said. “My philosophy—make science easy—motivates me to help our youth discover the fun and impact of this subject.”

With 11 years of robotics teaching experience, Gupta earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Jai Narain Vyas University in Rajasthan, India and an MBA from the University of Rajasthan. Gupta currently works for Landstar, a company that specializes in logistics and supply chain solutions.

To enroll your child in the Brooks Family YMCA Robotics program, please visit the Welcome Center or contact Deb Barley at dbarley@firstcoastymca.org. For more information about the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, visit FirstCoastYMCA.org.

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14. This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed. Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee. Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the…


October 3, 2016

Watch this POWERFUL 1-minute look through the eyes of a child

All kids have potential. From one child’s point of view, see the true impact of our words.

The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Click here to learn more about our Before and Afterschool Care and Early Learning programs.

The Y.™ For a better us.™

All kids have potential. From one child’s point of view, see the true impact of our words. The Y nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. From cradle to career, the Y provides all youth with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. Click here to learn more about our Before and Afterschool Care and Early Learning programs. The Y.™ For a better us.™


June 27, 2016

Summer Celebrations: Try This Instead

Planning to host a kid-friendly July 4th bash or summer party? Try these quick fixes for turning high-sugar, low-activity rituals into fresh ideas and healthy fun!

1. Serve a Watermelon Cake
Kids are sweet enough without added sugar. Redefine dessert by showing off fruits and veggies in a fun way! Slice up a thirst-quenching, naturally-sweet melon and invite campers to dig in. Watch these instructions to get started.

2. Jump in!
Kids who burn more, learn more. Rather than celebrating with a movie (passive connection), choose a pool party (active connection) for kids to interact and be stimulated. They will also sleep better after physical activity.

3. Invite the Family
Provide opportunities for families to bond and strengthen their social-emotional and cognitive development. This may work best at the end of the camp day or during pick up. Involving camp staff in play is also a good way to stimulate interpersonal skills and connection.

Summer Celebrations

Planning to host a kid-friendly July 4th bash or summer party? Try these quick fixes for turning high-sugar, low-activity rituals into fresh ideas and healthy fun! 1. Serve a Watermelon Cake Kids are sweet enough without added sugar. Redefine dessert by showing off fruits and veggies in a fun way! Slice up a thirst-quenching, naturally-sweet melon and invite campers to dig in. Watch these instructions to get started. 2. Jump in! Kids who burn more, learn more. Rather than celebrating with a movie (passive connection), choose a pool party (active connection) for kids to interact and be stimulated. They will also sleep better after physical activity. 3. Invite the Family Provide opportunities for families to bond and strengthen their social-emotional and cognitive development. This may work best at the end of the camp day or during pick up. Involving camp staff in play is also a good way to stimulate interpersonal skills and connection.


June 20, 2016

4 Ways to Save Kids’ Lives This Summer

With increased access to beaches, lakes and pools, summer fun can quickly turn to danger for kids across the country. Swim lessons are an important youth development opportunity that ensure young children have self-rescuing skills, but adult supervision is always necessary when it comes to water safety.

Safety Around Water graphic

Four tips that will save kids’ lives this summer:

1. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water

2. Never leave a child unattended in a bath tub

3. Empty kiddie pools immediately after use

4. When visiting a new home, check the premises for potential water hazards

Looking for more tips and support?

The YMCA is committed to nurturing kids’ full potential by keeping them safe during summer camp and every day year-round. Click here to learn more about our Safety Around Water swim programs.

With increased access to beaches, lakes and pools, summer fun can quickly turn to danger for kids across the country. Swim lessons are an important youth development opportunity that ensure young children have self-rescuing skills, but adult supervision is always necessary when it comes to water safety. Four tips that will save kids’ lives this summer: 1. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water 2. Never leave a child unattended in a bath tub 3. Empty kiddie pools immediately after use 4. When visiting a new home, check the premises for potential water hazards Looking for more tips and support? The YMCA is committed to nurturing kids’ full potential by keeping them safe during summer camp and every day year-round. Click here to learn more about our Safety Around Water swim programs.


February 24, 2016

Too Much Sodium in Your Child’s Diet?

Sara Glenn
Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast

If you think heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure are only present in adults, think again. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about one in six children ages 8 to17 years has raised blood pressure.

American Heart Month Kids Sodium Intake Infographic

American Heart Month Kids Sodium Intake Infographic

The Dietary Guideline recommends children eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, studies show that kids in America ages 2 to 19 eat more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium every day. Eating too much sodium can result in high blood pressure in children and teens, and the effect is greater if they’re overweight or obese.

As a mom, I am always looking for new ways to encourage my kids to eat healthy and stay active. Even with a career in health and wellness, I still have to stop my daughter from emptying the saltshaker. As a partner in the health of our community, we are dedicated to supporting families in the overall health of their children. In celebration of American Heart Month, below are some steps you can take to help reduce sodium in your family’s diet.

Enjoy Home-Prepared Meals

Outsourcing family meals to restaurants may be convenient, but preparing you own foods allows you to control the amount of salt in them. The Nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest analyzed a range of processed foods and found, for instance, ready-made roasted carved turkey contains up to 5,410 milligrams of sodium per serving.

When cooking and preparing meals at home, involve your children. Research shows that the more we include our children in food choice and the process of cooking, the more likely they are to eat a healthy diet. From toddlers to teens, there’s a job for everyone when it comes to preparing meals.

American Heart Month Kids and Sodium Infographic

American Heart Month Kids and Sodium Infographic

Adjust Your Kid’s Taste Buds

Cut back on salt little by little—and pay attention to the natural tastes of various foods. Your kid’s taste for salt will lessen over time. Additionally, keep salt off the kitchen counter and the dinner table and substitute spices, herbs, garlic, vinegar or lemon juice to season foods. Lastly, be aware of the “hidden” sodium in your kid’s everyday foods such as pizza, soups and sandwiches.

Model Healthy Eating

Children are great imitators. Just when we think they aren’t watching or listening, they surprise us with what they know. We can use this to their benefit when it comes to eating healthy. If we, as parents, model low-sodium intake using alternatives to add flavor to our food, then our children will follow suit.

 Look at the Label

 Packaged foods and beverages can contain high levels of sodium, whether or not they taste salty. That’s why it’s important to use the Nutrition Facts Label to check the sodium content.

The percent daily value (%DV) tells you how much of a nutrient is in one serving of a food. The %DV is based on 100 percent of the Daily Value for sodium (less than 2,300 milligrams per day). When comparing and choosing foods, pick the ones with a lower %DV of sodium. As a general rule:

  • 5% DV or less of sodium per serving is low
  • 20% DV or more of sodium per serving is high

The First Coast YMCA offers a community of diverse individuals who can help families to meet their health and well-being goals. The new Healthy Living Centers in Mandarin and Ponte Vedra brings medically integrated programs from Baptist Health into the Y and making these programs more accessible to the surrounding community. Whether you want to talk to a doctor about your child’s heart condition or need advice for adopting a healthier lifestyle, the Y is here to help!

About the Author 

Sara Glenn and DaughterSara Glenn, MEd., is the Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast and leads the Y’s nutritional services, including the Y’s vertical garden initiative, SEEDifferently. Sara lives in Jacksonville with her husband and two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Charley, who she is determined to raise as a healthy foodie!

 

Sara Glenn Director of Strategic Development of Healthy Living Innovations: Nutrition & Obesity for the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast If you think heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure are only present in adults, think again. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about one in six children ages 8 to17 years has raised blood pressure. The Dietary Guideline recommends children eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, studies show that kids in America ages 2 to 19 eat more than 3,100 milligrams of sodium every day. Eating too much sodium can result in high blood pressure in children and teens, and the effect is greater if they’re overweight or obese. As a mom, I am always looking for new ways to encourage my kids to eat healthy and stay active. Even with a career in health and wellness, I still have to stop my daughter from emptying the saltshaker….


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.