Fun Winter Exercise for Kids

For many moms, the holiday hustle and bustle means less time at the gym and possibly extra inches on your waistline. And exercise for kids also plummets come winter due to additional winter breaks from school, chilly temperatures and indulgent holiday treats also make it harder to stay healthy and fit. Try these three simple winter activities to help the whole family get moving and beat winter weight woes.

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 1:  Indoor fun and games

A good old fashioned game of hide and seek -- especially if you can keep everyone heading up and down the stairs -- is a great way to sneak in a little cardio. A vigorous heart-pumping dance off is another active way to work up an indoor-sweat. Clear the furniture, put on some high-energy tunes and get moving. Work-in intervals of different moves, like jumps, squats or toe touches, based on breaks and choruses in the songs playing.  

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 2:  Stretch and Sweat

Have your kids join you for some downward dog -- yoga is a fantastic way to be active and find calm -- you just need a mat and an instructional video or audio. There are tons of online yoga videos to stream and most cable providers’ On-Demand sections offer free workouts. Melt away your stress, stay trim and recharge together.

Invierno Fit-Family Tip No. 3:  Housework-out

Moms know you can easily break a sweat sweeping, mopping, and dusting. Set a list of three tasks the kids need to accomplish within a set amount of time -- the ticking clock will ensure they get their motors running. And while you and the fam may want to stay warm inside, shoveling snow from walkways to build a snowman is another great way for kids to help out and stay fit while having some winter fun.

One-pot Winter Wonders

Want to make an easy meal for your family? Ana Frias, the Latina blogger behind the great website, Fit, Fun & Delish, has created three meals that are sure to keep everyone warm and happy this winter. The best part is that they only require one pot!

Sopa
Perfect for chilly nights, this comfort food recipe is a traditional Mexican soup that Frias often cooks up for her family. 

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or canola oil

  • 7-ounce package of Mexican pasta. Shells, alphabet, or fideo (or vermicelli noodles, broken into 2 inch pieces)
  • 1/4 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • A dash of kosher salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • A dash of black pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Instructions:

  1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the pasta until slightly browned. About 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and sauté for another 1-2 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the broth, tomato sauce, beef bouillon, cilantro, pepper and salt.
  4. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium low; simmer until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes.

Sloppy Joes
Although Frias likes to cook many dishes that honor her Mexican heritage, she serves this delicioso American classic to her family using lean ground beef and low-sugar ketchup. By adding a side of salad, she’s modified this one-pot dish into a healthy meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef, 96% lean
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef.
  2. When the beef is halfway cooked, add the celery, pepper and onion.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well (this is an optional step).
  4. When the beef is cooked all the way through, drain the juices, if any (I usually let it cook until all of the juice is gone. Since the meat is so lean it won’t have much fat juice to drain).
  5. Add the liquid mixture and simmer covered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Cook until the meat has a consistency you like for serving on toasted buns.

Cochinita Pibil
Give the cheese and sour cream a break and head to southern Mexico for inspiration. In the Yucatan, you will find recipes for a savory, slowly roasted pork.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of boneless pork loin roast cubed into beef stew size (fat trimmed off)
  • 3.5 ounces achiote (annato condiment found in the Hispanic section of grocery stores)
  • 1 coke or 1 beer (“I use beer on mine,” says Frias)
  • 1 cube of beef bouillon
  • Add salt and pepper to taste if needed

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients in pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 hours or until the meat is very soft and pulls apart easily with a fork. Make sure to keep stirring so that it doesn’t get stuck at the bottom and the achiote dissolves all the way.
  3. Shred meat. Add it back to the pot and cook for a little while longer. Add a little water if necessary to keep the meat juicy.
  4. Heat the corn tortillas and enjoy!
“I like to add pickled red onions, salsa, and a squirt of lime juice to my tacos,” says Frias.

Healthy Invierno Skin

From icy winter winds to harsh indoor heating, our piel often takes a beating during the colder months. However, there’s no need to suffer through the winter with dry, chapped skin. We’ve rounded up some tips from dermatologists and nutritionists to protect your body’s largest organ and keep it moisturized even in the harshest weather.

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Keep your winter skin dewy and fresh by staying hydrated outside and inside.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Run a humidifier at night to replenish moisture while you sleep.
  • If your skin is especially dry, you may need to switch to a slightly heavier moisturizer. Renee Rouleau recommends taking “the skin cream test”: apply lotion to your entire face and wait five minutes; if you can still feel the cream, go for something lighter.
  • Moisturize before bed with a cream containing hyaluronic acid to help maintain elasticity.
  • Avoid taking long, hot showers or baths -- they may feel fabulous but they can actually dry out your skin.

SPF
While the sun’s rays may not be as bright this time of year, it’s essential to use sunscreen every day, year-round to keep your skin youthful and cancer-free.

EXFOLIATE
Dry flaky skin leaves your complexion dull and makes it harder for your skin to absorb moisture. Skincare expert and best-selling author Paula Begoun recommends exfoliating daily with a product containing AHA, like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel, if your skin is extra dry. For oily or rosacea-prone complexions try a product with BHA, like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 1% BHA Gel.

FEED YOUR SKIN
Eating healthy is good for your whole body and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, flax or soy are especially good for maintaining that youthful glow.

Snack Smarter: Energy Boosters

Running low on energía? Everyone seems to lack extra power in the winter months and in turn spend more hours indoors on the couch and less time exercising. The good news is that a few bites of these delicious energy boosters can instantly give you extra oomph. Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, the founder of Hispanic Nutrition, shares energizing foods that will leave you ready and raring to go.

Fruit for thought

Keeping your immune system strong will help you stay motivated, there’s nothing like a winter cold to keep you on the couch and off the treadmill. Klinger suggests, “Snacks consisting of oranges, grapefruits and strawberries are fabulous choices to keep your body strong for winter with the added bonus of powerful vitamin C.” Since about 90 percent of strawberries come from California, they are available year round and are very high in antioxidants. Bonus: The low-sugar berries are a great choice for diabetics.

Get amped with avocado

Avocados can be a deliciously rich snack that provides energy, fiber and good fat. “Mash up the avocado with low-fat sour cream to use as a spread on crackers or pretzels.” Klinger suggests. “You will get extra energy from the dairy in addition to the delectable fruit of the tree.”

Power up with protein

The best sources of energy are snacks that are high in protein. Your body will be craving carbs and other high fat foods during the holidays, which can make you sluggish. “Instead try yogurt or low-fat cheeses as a snack especially after a workout,” explains Klinger. “Another option is a handful of nuts, a great source of heart healthy protein.”

Remember, just because these quick bites have energy enhancing potential, doesn’t mean you should pack on the helpings. When choosing a snack, portion control is important based on your activity level -- so hit the gym or go for a jog before or after you indulge!

Balancing Act: The Adult-Kids Menu

Do your kids run at the sight of verduras? Do they request grilled cheese sandwiches day after day? Tranquila. According to Chef Anthony Lamas, owner of Seviche restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, there are easy ways to sneak vegetables and “adult” ingredients into kids’ menu for the whole family. “Don’t be afraid to add flavors and textures, layered components are interesting to kids,” says Chef Anthony, father of two boys and winner of Food Network’s Extreme Chef title.

As a dad, Chef Anthony knows first-hand how tricky it can be to prepare healthy meals parents and kids will enjoy. The key is to take tired ingredients such as chicken, arroz and vegetables and add flavor so your palate will be pleased, and the kids will ask for seconds. Try adding these tricks and healthy recipes for kids to the kids’ menu at your house.

·         Start with whole pollo: Plan ahead and flavor with salt, water, sugar, onions, herbs and lemon zest and garlic. Let sit overnight and roast.

·         Experiment with rice: Add interesting and tasty textures such as dried cranberries, macadamia nuts, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds or zucchini.

·         Add appealing sabores: Sautéed onions, celery and carrot will add flavor to any dish, while giving kids their veggies. Kids may say they don’t like bland spinach, but it takes on a new taste flavored with lemon and garlic.

·         Include los niños: Have kids help you create a tasty homemade buttermilk dressing for salads or parsley flavored butter for corn. They’re sure to want to try their concoctions.

 

Soups and stews are a basic -- but healthy -- meal idea, and an easy way to incorporate oodles of meats, vegetables and healthy herbs without the kids catching on. Straight from his kitchen, Lamas shared his recipe for Albóndigas (small meatballs) stew.

Ingredients:

Ground beef chuck/round

3 ears of corn cut off cob

1 cup shredded cabbage

4 carrots cut into 1-inch rounds

4 celery stocks cut into 1-inch pieces

2 zucchinis cut into 1-inch rounds

1/2 onion chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of garlic

3 bay leaves

1 cup cooked rice

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon ground oregano

1 gallon chicken stock

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Mix beef with rice and season with one tablespoon of salt, oregano, and a pinch of pepper. Make meat into three-ounce meatballs.

In a large pot, sauté onions, carrots and celery for two minutes. Then add garlic and remaining vegetables. Continue to sauté for two minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and add meatballs. Simmer for 15 minutes. Finally, garnish with a fresh squeeze of lime and a pinch of fresh cilantro.

Chef Anthony’s recipe calls for oregano and garlic, which both benefit your health. Find out why -- and other health-boosting ingredients -- here.