Monthly Archives: April 2016

How to Make ANYONE A Morning Person

Are you a night owl?

Are you a night owl?

Even if you compare yourself to a nocturnal creature who only reveals its true persona in the mask of the night, it is possible to become a morning person. If your response to this was something along the lines of “In your dreams” or “Never in a million years”, take comfort in the fact that this is being spoken from someone who considers herself the morning alarm’s ultimate enemy.


For years I have struggled with mornings.  I would find it hard to speak before 8:00 am, let alone smile to the alarm’s incessant badgering.  As soon as I woke up, my first thought was always when I could go back to sleep.  I plotted the murder of mornings and hoped one day that we would all shift the average time for waking up to 10:00 AM.

Waking up at 10:00 AM? Now you can use the phrase “In your dreams”.  As much as we would sometimes hope for more vacation time, more play time, more sunshine, or more of pretty much any delicacy, any would not be so valued if we were able to do so all of the time.

As much as we may like them to, mornings are not going away.  In fact, mornings will forever exist. They exist for our benefit only if we take advantage of them! “A study published in 2014 found that individuals who consider themselves morning people also perceive themselves as happier and healthier.”

Train yourself to become a morning person.

Train yourself to become a morning person.

Use Classical Conditioning to Train Your Body to Sleep

Along with physical activity and nutrition, sleep is essential for optimal health. Make sleep a priority. Create a list of relaxing hobbies to do to wind down after a long day and stick to them to train your body to sleep. Use Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning to associate the stimulus, such as reading or meditation, with sleep.  It will make it easier to fall asleep at night.

However, these relaxing activities should not include looking at the phone or watching TV. “Light of any kind before going to sleep can disrupt the release of melatonin, a hormone  secreted by the brain’s pineal gland that helps maintain our body’s circadian rhythm. “ Therefore, power down your electronics so you can power down your mind.

Plan for Success

Use the time you’d normally be on your phone, watching TV, or answering emails to prepare for the day ahead! Set out your clothes, pack your gym bag, make your breakfast and lunch.  It is a fool proof way for the least amount of surprises in the AM!

Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.

Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night.

Be Mindful of Caffeine and Alcohol

“Stimulants like caffeine can stay in the body as long as 14 hours. And alcohol, while it may initially relax you, is metabolized and cleared from your system during your sleep cycle.” Both can prevent you from getting the sleep you need to have a fabulous morning.

Act as Though the Snooze Button Does Not Exist

I was once a user of the snooze button.  It tempts you when that first alarm goes off in the morning.  The phrase “Just a few more minutes” was a regular in my vocabulary. However, “Without the snooze button, our bodies start to naturally waken by increasing body temperature and releasing hormones like adrenaline an hour or so before our eyes actually open.” The snooze button does not allow us to wake up the way we are created to, interfering with a better morning. Say good bye to your dear friend, the snooze button.

Exercise is a Remedy to EVERYTHING Related to Health

Physical activity helps mood, self-confidence, weight and blood sugar control, diseases, depression, energy levels, and our quality of sleep. “In the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, participants who participated in 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity for four days a week had improved sleep.” Get moving and get a better night’s rest!

Breakfast Really Is the Most Important Meal of the Day!

Eating breakfast activates your metabolism, keeps you energized, and sets the tone for your day.  Combine a healthy dose of whole wheat carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats in order to begin the day on a good note and help you make better choices throughout the day! Breakfast is ESSENTIAL for weight maintenance and weight loss.

 

Your mornings dictate your day!

Your mornings dictate your day!

Your routine in the morning is the start to your day.  It can dictate your mood, the start to your metabolism, and ultimately, the rest of your day! This is how to make your morning a success.

 

Good Morning!

Good Morning!

Michele Wroblewski, RDN

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501

www.carusoptrd.com

609-738-3143

The Pocket Guide to Picky Eating: What Every Parent MUST Know!

Picky eating. It's natural.

Picky eating. It’s natural.

Picky eating is natural.  Just like you, children have likes and dislikes.  Just like you, children like to be independent.


Between the ages of 1 and 3, this independence shines as children find their voice and learn the art of expression.  Unfortunately, a child’s journey to discovery is sometimes anything BUT a “happy meal”.

Not to fear parents!  There are ways to address this hesitancy towards new foods displayed by your child while preventing the emergence of another gray hair on your head.  Your toddler’s “I can do it myself” attitude can be preserved, while still providing the nutrition that your toddler needs.

Forcing or bribing your child to eat is NOT your job.  “An adult’s job in feeding kids includes buying and preparing a variety of tasty, healthful foods, offering regular meals and snacks, and making the eating environment as pleasant as possible. The rest is up to your children. Whether they eat, how much they eat and what they eat is THEIR responsibility.”

If a child is relaxed, the child will most likely be open to trying new foods. How can we relax a young jumping jellybean of energy?

Never force a child to eat.

Never force a child to eat.

 

  • Use the Toddler Shrink-Ray. Booster seats, cups, plates, utensils, and serving sizes should be provided for the size of your child. A child is small; provide items to fit into their small hands and mouths.
  • Cut out Distractions. This includes TV, toys, music, or anything loud or enticing to your little explorer.
  • Colors and Shapes Captivate. Like adults, toddlers eat with their eyes first. Form the foods into fun shapes, and make use of that puppy cookie cutter that you’ve always wanted to use!
  • Train your Toddler to Become the Next Top Chef. In our eyes, children will always be the star of the show. Have them cook meals with you.   If children are involved in the meal preparation, they will be more interested in eating their creation!

The tips don’t end there.  Be creative! A few other suggestions to curb the resistance of your toddler include:

  1. Prepare and serve vegetables, even if you are the only one that chooses to eat them.Never force your child to eat. Exposure to the food alone will help the child accept the food in time. Prepare only one meal and allow your child to choose from what is provided.  Allow no special orders.
  2. Don’t breathe down your child’s neck.Children self-regulate and have the capability of knowing when to eat, and when they are full. Trust that they are getting the energy they need!
  3. Avoid the 2 B’s: bribing and begging! Would you really want to teach your child that these behaviors are acceptable anyway?
  4. Repetition is key.It can take at least a dozen times (even just on the plate) for an older toddler or child to accept a new food. It can even take up to 20 times for an infant or toddler to like the food.  Basically, it can take a while.  Don’t give up.
  5. Stress less about the veggies.Instead, put your energy into preparing meals and snacks that include delicious vegetables.
  6. Can’t get your kids away from the fast food? Try cooking at home. Limit purchases of fried foods. In fact, break the habit of fast food and avoid the restaurant all together for a few weeks. Worry about your child controlling this decision once they get a driver’s license.

 

Allow your Child the Power to Choose!

Avoid bribing and begging!

7. You hold in your pocket the power of your wallet. Meaning, you control what you buy! Choose products with shorter ingredient lists and less artificial sweeteners. Is your little one hung up on that TV character on the box? Make your own cereal containers using hard plastic, tall cereal containers.

8. BE CREATIVE. There is no set version of rules when it comes to your child’s acceptance of foods. Take your child grocery shopping and have them pick out a vegetable of the week. Make a calendar and shade in color of the vegetable you would like them to pick.  Dress up as dinosaurs and have them eat like the dinosaurs do, herbivore style! The possibilities are endless!

9. You do not own a catering business.Change your response to your child’s preferences, and don’t cater to their every request. Make and serve one meal. I promise: eventually, you will have a kid who enjoys eating all sorts of food!

 

Michele Wroblewski, RDN

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501

www.carusoptrd.com

609-738-3143

Nutrition is Power: Fight Cancer with Food!

Vegetable Heart

Love your body. Choose fruits and vegetables.

April is Cancer Control Month.  Take 60 seconds to reflect upon your daily routine.  What is important to you? Where do you find yourself the most confident? Importance and confidence will forever dictate our behavior.

Is your health important to you? Knowledge is power, nutrition is power; read below to unveil what controls chronic disease, and how YOU can be proactive with your health today!


Risk Factors and Cancer Prevention

Certain risk factors are out of our control when it comes to cancer prevention. These include age, family history, radiation exposure, and chemical and substance exposure. No one likes learning of what you can’t control.  Instead, channel the power of what is in YOUR control!

You control your tobacco use, sunlight exposure, chemical/substance exposure, alcohol consumption, and lack of physical activity.

You control what you eat.  “A diet high in fat, sodium, and processed foods and low in vegetables/fruits is linked with several types of cancer.” Maintaining a healthy weight is significant when it comes to cancer prevention. “Lifestyle changes, along with early detection, can help prevent nearly half of the most common cancers, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.”

ChooseMyPlate for a guide on how to create a nutritious meal!

Choose MyPlate for a guide on how to create a nutritious meal!

So what can you do today to take control of your health?

  1. Eat more fiber. You can find fiber in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.  According to the USDA, half of your plate should be composed of fruits/vegetables at every meal. Choose whole grain as your main grain, including fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
  2. Choose less convenience food. The lower the sodium, the better. The lower the saturated fat, the better.  Choose lean protein sources, such as seafood, poultry, lean meat, legumes, eggs, and nuts.  Don’t you like being able to pronounce the ingredients listed on the nutrition facts label of your food?
  3. Limit alcohol. Saves on calories, and saves room for more nutritious food items. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to no more than one drink daily for women, and two for men. That is around 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Fight Cancer with Food for a Healthy You!

Fight Cancer with Food for a Healthy You!

Life proves to us on a daily basis that it is anything but predictable through a broken umbrella in the torrential downpour, a flat tire on a day that your alarm failed to go off, or a coffee casualty on your brand new white button down shirt.  Although these are speed bumps in your day, you don’t give up.  Keep this fight in every part of your life.  Fight Cancer with Food for a Healthy You!

Michele Wroblewski, RDN

Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC

1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3

Allentown, NJ 08501

www.carusoptrd.com

609-738-3143