Eat Right: Healthy Halloween Swaps!

For healthy-minded parents, Halloween can be extra scary. Many of our favorite traditions–like trick-or-treating, costume parties, and school spirit events–can be overstocked with sugary, over-processed foods and drinks. Here’s where we face a dilemma: we want our kids to be healthy, but how do we celebrate the holiday spirit without all the extra calories?

Luckily, there are ways to get in on the treats without the unhealthy tricks. We’ve collected some of our favorite healthy swaps to kick-start your imagination. 

(P.S. Have you heard about our 2019 Halloween costume contest? Post your family’s costume photos on Instagram or Facebook by October 31 for your chance to win a $100 New Jammies gift card! Click here to see the full rules for entry.)

Trick-Or-Treat AND Something Good To Eat

Trick-or-treating is a celebrated part of Halloween. Plus, it’s so fun to see the whole family in costume! If you’re looking to cut some candy out of the festivities, consider some of these healthier ideas:

 

  • Pick a Pumpkin. Pumpkin is a delicious and nutritious food that doesn’t get enough year-round attention. Halloween can be a perfect time to get otherwise picky eaters to try something new! Instead of buying candy, buy extra pumpkins for the family. When the jack o’lanterns are carved, roast the seeds to make healthy, delicious pepitas and use any leftovers in recipes that call for roast, diced, baked, or mashed squash. 
  • Start with Full Bellies. Heading out to haunt the town? Before trick-or-treating, fill up on a healthy dinner (maybe add some of that delicious pumpkin!). Full bellies are less likely to dig right into the candy. It’s a good idea to set some rules as well, and establish healthy eating habits before the night begins. 
  • Hand Out Your Own Candy. We all remember that house that handed out toothbrushes on All Hallows Eve. Instead of sugary candy, try fun, packageable treats like ants on a log, veggie skeleton bones, or clementines decorated to look like skulls. If you’re worried about allergies or calories, skip the edible route entirely and hand out small toys or useful gadgets, like fake teeth, bubble wands, or temporary tattoos. 
  • Call In The Switch Witch  The Switch Witch is a fun holiday character who replaces kids’ excess candy with a toy, game, or other non-sugary swap. This tradition started in sugar-conscious families and is gaining popularity every year! If your kids still make it home with far too much candy, let them know to expect a visit from The Switch Witch once they’re tucked in bed with their favorite pair of jammies.

 

Frightfully Fun Festivities

Planning a party? Prepping for a school event? Looking to avoid the whole Halloween “thing” altogether? These ideas keep Halloween fun, festive, and healthy for the whole family. 

 

  • Dress Up Healthy Food, Too! Kids tend to eat with their eyes. A witch who would turn down a green apple might be more interested if it’s dressed up like monster teeth. Bring a platter of boo-nana popsspider sandwiches, or pumpkin quesadillas to your next Halloween party. Your imagination is your only limit! 
  • Stay Active. Fun games and activities keep ghosts and ghouls on their feet. Traditional activities like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” bobbing for apples, and flashlight tag can be a frightfully good time! If you want to mix it up, try a string maze, a zombie dance contest (bust out those Thriller moves!), or “Ghost in the Graveyard.” 
  • Brew A Health Potion. Halloween punch doesn’t have to be made from sherbert and soda. Make a healthy alternative (like this carrot-based recipe from Happy Healthy Mama). If you’re making your own, start with all-natural cider or juice, then add cinnamon sticks, fall spices, and clever decorations. For bonus points, invest in a spooky ice mold to add bobbing skulls and bones, and add a few cubes of dry ice to turn your health potion into a misty witches’ brew. 
  • Plan A Family Adventure. Halloween isn’t your family’s thing? Pack your jammies and fly off o
    n the family brooms to a costumed movie night, a laser tag arena, or a night spent stargazing and telling spooky stories around the fire at a nearby National Park. The memories will last a lot longer than the candy! 

 

The 2019 New Jammies Halloween Costume Contest!

 

 Calling all ghosts and ghouls! Is your family prepping for Halloween? We’d love to see your costumes! Send us your best Halloween costume photos for your chance to WIN a $100 e-gift card to New Jammies! 

At New Jammies, we love the spooky season! It’s a perfect time to get cozy in a new costume, cape, or PJ set. For cold nights spent trick-or-treating or late bedtimes when your kids are ready to fall asleep in full costume, the right set of jammies is the perfect addition to every Halloween wardrobe. 

Send us your photos of your favorite family Halloween costumes for your chance to WIN! One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to NewJammies.com. 

Rules for entry:

  • Post a picture of your family’s Halloween costumes on Facebook or Instagram, and make sure to tag New Jammies! We love seeing the DIY creations parents and kids make together using our pajamas as a base or accessory. 
    • For Facebook

  1. Drop your photo in the comments on our contest announcement post.
  2. Tag a friend you’d love to go trick-or-treating with! 
  3. Like our page and share the post! https://www.facebook.com/NewJammies/
    • For Instagram

  1. Post your photo on your Instagram account. 
  2. Tag our account (@new.jammies) and add the hashtag #NewJammiesHalloween19 so we can track your entry!
  3. Don’t forget to follow our account, and tag a friend you’d love to trick-or-treat with in the comments! 
  • We’re accepting entries today through midnight on Halloween. Limit one entry per social channel (that means you get TWO entries if you share on Facebook and Instagram!). 
  • We’ll randomly select a lucky winner in early November! The winner receives a FREE $100 gift card to NewJammies.com! 

Are you feeling lucky? No tricks, only treats here at New Jammies! We can’t wait to see your creativity! 

 

Play Right: Active Babies, Healthy Adults!

7 ways to get active with your newborn

 

For the first six months of a newborn’s life, the world is full of exciting sights, sounds, and smells they’ve never experienced before! Kids spend their first few months learning to interact with the world, their bodies, and the people around them. 

Activity is critical to a newborn’s development. Obviously, you won’t start out with chess games and fencing lessons, but the simplest — and most enjoyable — of activities can become educational, skill-building moments for your baby. 

When parents do these activities with their babies, they discover wonderful bonding moments as Baby begins to recognize the faces, voices, and touch of their parents. Plus, you get the added benefit of all those baby giggles! 

Here are 7 simple ways to get active with your newborn:

1. Dance it out!  Music is a great way to connect with your baby. Put on some gentle tunes, hold your baby close to your chest (or use a secure wrap-style carrier), and dance slowly to the music. The gentle movements encourage your newborn’s spatial awareness, and the closeness to Mom and Dad boosts emotional bonding. Plus, it’s a low-energy way for new parents to get moving!

2. Magellan Junior, world explorer. Visual tracking, tactile stimulation, and hand-eye coordination are some of the earliest things your newborn will learn to recognize and respond to. You can help your baby explore the world by introducing tactile toys, sound stimulation, and more. One of the easiest ways to do this is by practicing visual tracking: lay your baby down on his back and hold a brightly-colored toy or stuffed animal in front of his face. Move the toy back and forth and side to side, gently shaking the toy or touching your baby’s face to draw his attention. By following along with his eyes, your baby develops better vision skills!

3. Baby see, baby do. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Newborns learn by example and by exploring the world around them. You can play simple imitation games with your baby to help her explore the basics of interaction and conversation. Start small, with activities you’ve already seen your baby doing on her own. Practice things like waving, opening and closing your fists, touching your nose, and clapping. Celebrate anytime your baby follows along, and be sure to dial back the difficulty level if she starts to get frustrated or confused. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Sit-ups for newborns, too! Who said exercise was only for adults? You can practice “baby sit-ups” by laying your baby flat on his back, then gently leveraging him up to a sitting position with full support on the backs of his arms. As your baby gains strength and starts to spend more time sitting up, you can switch to “sit-ups” where you pull your baby up slowly by his hands. The sense of touch will help build your baby’s body awareness, while the sit-up motion helps boost motor control and basic muscle strength. 

5. Houston, we’ve got a baby.  Are you raising a little astronaut? One of the simplest (and sometimes hilarious) activities you can practice with your newborn is by pretending your baby is piloting a rocket ship or airplane. With your baby belly-down on your lap, wrap your hands around her midsection to provide full support, and gently lift her up in the air. Complete the effect with up-and-down and side-to-side motions, like your baby is flying. (Sound effects optional, although they usually add some major laughs for Mom and baby alike.) This fun activity has the dual benefit of building body awareness and spatial awareness, and gives your baby opportunities to respond to stimuli like movement, sound, and laughter. 

 

 

 

6. Kung fu (baby) shuffle.  Your baby may be a long way from that black belt, but you can boost body awareness and range of motion with fun, tactile kicking exercises. One way to do this is by hanging pieces of tissue paper, toilet paper, or ribbon off a low, baby-safe edge (like the bottom of a couch or play table). With your baby on his back, guide his toes so his feet kick the hangings. After a while, your baby will realize he can make the paper move on his own! This teaches your baby things like cause-and-effect and sensory integration (and makes for some really adorable home videos, too). 

 

7. Who’s that baby in the mirror? This final activity is a great way to involve older siblings or visiting relatives. Facing a baby-safe mirror, point out your newborn’s reflection and ask “Who is that?” in varying tones and volume levels. (You can even sing it, too!) As your baby starts to recognize reflections, add in favorite stuffed animals, siblings, or relatives, asking “Who is that?” whenever a new person enters the mirror frame. This game boosts visual, social, and emotional development — and we won’t lie, it’s pretty darn cute. 

Staying active with your baby is a critical part of your newborn’s development. By trying a few simple, fun activities, you can boost your baby’s understanding of the world, her body, and her family to the tune of those wonderful baby giggles. 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton pajamas and baby clothing. Learn more at newjammies.com.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Families, Healthy Living, and Getting Cozy

An Interview with Nicole Ludlow, the Founder of New Jammies

From organic chemistry to organic cotton, a basket full of sunflowers to boxes full of pajamas, Nicole Ludlow’s journey from child artist and scientist to business owner has been full of surprises. Today, Nicole is the owner and founder of New Jammies, producing organic cotton pajamas for children and infants. She is well-known for her fun designs, her focus on healthy living, and her oh-so-comfortable pajamas. But did you know that her interest in PJs began as an interest in organic chemistry? 

“As a child I was always interested in natural science,” she says. “Things like bugs, rocks, flowers, seashells, stars. I played outdoors for hours with my brothers and had a microscope that I thought was the coolest.” 

In middle school, Nicole’s science fair projects focused on things like red algae’s growth in saltwater, analyzing its absorption of carbon dioxide as a possible solution to the Greenhouse Effect. Later on, chemistry became Nicole’s main passion and the start of an exciting career. Before starting New Jammies, Nicole worked as an organic chemist in the agriculture industry.  

“I found chemistry to be interesting as it involved solving puzzles and building on an atomic level,” she explains. “Chemistry is behind so much of what we know in our world today and it is how we create many of the products in our daily lives, including more natural ones.”

Natural living formed the basis of Nicole’s childhood. She spent most of her time outdoors, running and playing with her brothers. Her background in clean eating and green living sparked the first ideas that would later turn into New Jammies’ first product lines. 

“When I started New Jammies in 2007, there seemed to be a need to teach children about enjoying fruits and vegetables,” she explains. “The obesity problem was continuing to grow in America’s youth with the combined lack of exercise and poor eating habits. It wasn’t an issue I had as a youth because we mostly ate fresh whole foods and ran around outside dawn until dusk.”

The question became: how could parents get their kids more interested in healthy eating and healthy living? What if there was a way to integrate healthy living with our lives, a way to make “green” such an integral part of our routines that kids learned healthy habits from birth? 

“I didn’t question that fruits and veggies were good, it’s all I knew,” Nicole says. “So, I came up with the idea of six fruit and vegetable pajama designs and bedtime stories using the same imagery. The books and pajamas were designed to make children excited about fruits and veggies. I believe we were one of the first children’s clothing lines on the market to utilize apparel design for teaching and as a tool to create healthy habits. At the time we were also ahead of the curve with gender neutral colors and images. You wouldn’t believe how many people asked if Bananas or Apples were a boy or girl design. I said, “It’s a fruit, it can be either!”

Along with the healthy eating habits Nicole learned from her childhood, her interest in the chemical processes behind product creation helped inform her decision to rely on organic cotton for all her new products.  “As I began looking at fabrics for our product line, I really wanted cotton as it is such a soft, breathable fabric,” she says. “I discovered that cotton is one of the most heavily treated crops in the world, resulting in pollution and poor working conditions and disease in farmers. How could I make a product that was designed to teach children healthy habits if the processing for that product was not healthy?”

At the time, researchers also began to draw connections between agricultural chemistry and the negative impacts many production techniques have on people and the environment. Agricultural chemistry has led to some amazing advancements–larger, disease-resistant, more reliable crops, for example–but it has also had some major negative drawbacks. 

“What are the long term consequences of dousing all of our food and land with chemicals?” Nicole asked herself. “How has this contributed to new disease on our planet? So, from day one I decided to choose organic cotton over conventional, hoping every step we take results in a better future for our children, families, and our environment. We go above and beyond for you to have a great experience with our pajamas,” she adds. “We design them with the highest quality organic cotton for a super, soft, durable, and comfy fit. I’d also like people to think colorful and playful. Organic doesn’t have to be mute colors. The brilliant colors of nature surround us everyday and we make sure we use the best eco-friendly dyes in our processing.”” 

Healthy living is part of the brand’s identity — and it shows in every stitch. The original designs focused on nutritious (and delicious) foods, like apples and bananas. Today, the brand has expanded to feature a wide range of fruits and veggies, along with familiar character themes like cowboys and pirates. 

“I’ve had so much fun with the design process over the years, sketching and drawing images, to developing a pattern, to pulling it together in a colorful pair of pajamas,” Nicole says. “One of my favorites is probably my Sunflower design. I was inspired by a planter of sunflowers my mother had in her living room. I loved the idea of a rich blue, contrasting the big, bold, yellow sunflowers. Some of my other favorites designs have included bringing whimsical characters to life, like our Ranching Cowboys, Mermaid Bubbles, and Christmas Elves. Of course I still love the simplicity and classic style of prints like our Lobsters, Whales and Anchors Aweigh. Sometimes simple is best!” 

“Our two piece snuggly pajamas are probably my favorite at this point,” she adds, “because I still get to see my boys in them every day as they grow. And a lot of days I have to convince them to get out of their New Jammies!”

Today, New Jammies products bring families together to celebrate traditions like a comfy bedtime routine. 

“I really would love for bedtime to be a fun, enjoyable experience,” Nicole says. “It is a special, quiet time of day we get to spend with our children. In our modern lifestyle, we have such busy schedules. It’s critical we take some time before bed to relax and just enjoy each other’s company. I believe this comes together with a routine, bedtime stories, and getting cozy in your favorite pajamas.”

 

Getting cozy is exactly what New Jammies is all about. 

“We’ve always focused on pajamas and probably always will, but I think there is room for more styles, bigger sizes, and maybe some family Jammies in the future,” Nicole says. “I also feel that reading is an integral part of bedtime, so I am hoping for some more opportunities to create some PJ and story book combinations. We’ve also started to bring back more infant styles with bibs, beanies, bloomers, and wearable blankets which I’d like to expand. The fun thing about design is that the sky is the limit, so who knows where the stars will take us!”

Nicole’s work has taken her across industries and careers to make a longtime dream come true. Today, New Jammies is an established brand that epitomizes the best parts of healthy living, amplifies the time that families get to spend together, and celebrates everything about getting cozy. 

“There was this moment five or six years ago when I realized my dream of making pajamas for children actually came true,” Nicole says. “I love hearing when a child’s favorite pair of pajamas are New Jammies and they request to wear them every night. It’s amazing to know that our pajamas are so important to a child’s comfort and happiness. Little boys and girls around the world are snuggling up for bedtime in their favorite pajamas with colors, images, and comfort that came from our designs.”

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton pajamas and baby clothing. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Bedtime Routines Help Children Get Their Rest

Creating A Relaxing, Pampering Bedtime Routine for Kids

If your child’s bedtime routine was perfect as a baby, but you now find that your 6-year-old is suddenly challenging her normal snooze time and battling to stay up later, a little pampering action may just do the trick. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly one third of all 6 to 11-year-olds gets eight or fewer hours of sleep a night, and the result can be everything from daytime drowsiness to a greater likelihood of obesity. Sleeping well at night is vital for human heart and brain health, regardless of age. If your child needs a little help getting to bed, make it a fun experience by turning up the pampering and self-care focus.

Letting Kids Pick their Favorite Jammies

Fashion forward kids will be delighted if you let them choose their own pajama prints and styles. Whether stripes, plain colors, or polka dots are their thing, allow them to express themselves so that they cannot wait to get into their jammies at night. To boost the softness factor, make sure these are organic. Because the production of organic cotton does not involve the use of chemicals, organic PJs are ideal for kids with allergies. Of course, going organic also means you and your child can be more environmentally aware; no chemicals in the land means less contamination and greater diversity of animal species.

Making Bath Time a Diva/Divo Moment

The idea that only girls love a pampering bath time experience is a myth. Encouraging both girls and boys to love and pamper themselves with a soothing bath is an important lesson indeed, since love for the world begins with love and care of the self. Let your kids pick their own organic soaps and shampoos, and have a fun sugar scrub making session using coconut oil, granulated white sugar, food coloring, and therapeutic grade lemon essential oils. Opt for an essential oil like lavender, which has proven calming properties, to instill a deep sense of relaxation before bed time.

Meditation Time!

An important skill to teach kids is that of calming themselves down when they are stressed. A perfect time for relaxation session is when kids are ready for bed. There are many ways to encourage kids to take the reins when it comes to stress. One is through meditation. Use an app like Calm or Breathe, which has short (five-minute) yet powerful guided meditation and/or breathing exercises that teach kids and adults how to keep the mind ‘in the here and now’. This will enable kids to escape negative thought cycles. An even simpler exercise is progressive muscle relaxation. For this exercise, instruct your child to tense up their muscles for several seconds, then relax these muscles. Start with the toes, then the feet, then the calves etc., all the way up to the face and head. You can then guide children in to a more relaxed state by asking them to imagine their body is heavy, that their eyelids are heavy, and that they are falling slowly upon a soft cloud. They may just find it hard to keep their eyes open. 

To encourage kids to sleep at the same time every day, following a strict timetable is key. However, kids, like all human beings, enjoy rituals as well, particularly when these are pampering. Allow kids to choose their favorite relaxation methods and make sure to encourage them by helping them make or (if necessary and affordable) buy the tools they need to ensure that bed time is as fun as it is relaxing.

~Jennifer Dawson

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

February: Plant the Seeds of Greatness

January always seem to be the month of new beginnings, making goals, and looking ahead to creating better and healthier habits.   The changes start internally, but hopefully have a lasting effect on our well beings and that of our family, friends, and world around us.   Not surprisingly, by February many of us have moved back into our normal routines and our goals have gone by the wayside.   Or perhaps we were so overwhelmed from the holidays, we never had a chance to focus on ourselves, but were simply in recovery mode.   So I was surprised to find that February is known as the “Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month” and I’m excited I am given another chance to look at the future and perhaps plant my seeds this month.

 

“Awake, arise, and assert yourself, you dreamers of the world. Your star is now in ascendancy.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

At New Jammies our motto is Eat Right, Play Right, Sleep Tight.   These are three areas of our lives that are essential to good health and overall well being.    I’d like to take a look at a few steps we could take to improve these areas and help plant your seeds of greatness.

Eat Right

  1. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  Our basket should be filled with less packaged/processed goods and more whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, and fish.
  2. Add a new organic or local product to your list.   It can be hard to buy all organic and/or all local due to numerous factors including availability and budget.  Pick one of your regularly purchased items and commit to making sure it is organic, GMO free, or locally produced in a sustainable manner.
  3. Eat your veggies.   Try a new vegetarian or vegan recipe to add to your rotation of regular meals.  There are so many resources now for inspiring vegetarian meals, the world is your oyster. (mushroom, that is..)

Play Right

  1.  Keep it fresh. Get out and try a new activity you’ve never done before.   It seems like there are never ending new options for exercise these days.   Maybe if your a road runner, hit the trail.   You’re a downhill skier: skin uphill.   You’re a yogi, try pilates.    You’re a mountain biker: try road biking.   You love the gym: try a new class, an outdoor group sport (frisbee), golf, or a hike in the woods.   You’ll work your mind and your muscles in a different way and probably feel like a kid again.
  2.  Get outside.   The days are getting longer.   Take your routine outside, even if it means bundling up.
  3.  Just do it. Period!  As parents we often put our children, partners, work, and just sustaining our day to day life before taking time for ourselves.   Commit to one, two, or more days a week to just do an activity for yourselves.   This might mean getting up earlier or asking a spouse, friend, or relative for help, but a healthy body is a healthy mind for us to be the best we can be.

Sleep Tight

  1.  Value Sleep.   This is the time our body and mind needs to heal and be re-energized for a new day.  ” Research shows that poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function.” (Healthline-17 Tips to Better Sleep)    Don’t take it for granted and set yourself up for the best sleep possible with a few tips highlighted here.

A. Reduce screen time before bed.

B. Don’t drink caffeine late in the day

C. Think before you drink that relaxing glass of vino or beer.

D. Don’t eat right before bedtime.

I’m sure a lot of these ideas are not completely new to you, but repetition creates good or bad habits.  Sometimes we need a reminder of the good to stay on the right track.    As a parent I constantly think, “Am I doing the right thing for my children” but sometimes we have to step back and do the right thing for ourselves.  If we plant the seeds of greatness for our future, I am certain our children, family, and community will feel the long term effects of our flourishing garden.

 

 

Eat Right: Healthy foods for a Spring in Your Step

Spring brings the opportunity for New Jammies families to welcome the new season feeling refreshed. We say goodbye to the stuffy head colds, high fevers and sore throats of winter, taking an holistic approach to health with immune-boosting foods. Whether it’s a natural immune-supporting power bowl or an energy ball with chia seeds, these recipes harken back Spring’s fresh take at a healthy life.

Spring Power Bowl

Courtesy  Two Peas and Their Pod

For the Quinoa Bowl:

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 asparagus spears, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 2 radishes, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 hard boiled egg, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Blue Diamond Whole Natural Almonds
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Lemon Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons golden or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Swap proteins, grains, veggies to your liking.

 

Kid Friendly Energy Balls
Courtesy The Lean Green Bean

These little morsels pack a healthy energizing punch.    Not only are the freezable, but they travel well and hey their something you can feel good about giving your child.   The lean green bean shares and assortments of recipes but this one caught my eye.  Citrus is always a great immune boosting food to enjoy in warmer weather and longer days.

Bursting with citrus flavor, these Lemon Energy balls make the perfect snack. Made with just 5 ingredients, they’re gluten-free, paleo-friendly and perfect for stashing in the fridge or freezer!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • zest and juice from a medium lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put dates, nuts and seeds in a food processor and pulse several times to chop.
  2. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla and process until mixture comes together.
  3. Form into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. (I made 14 balls).

 

Veggie Spring Rolls20-Minute Rainbow Vegetable Spring Rolls
Makes 6 spring rolls
Courtesy chefsavvy.com

This fresh recipe for vegetable spring rolls are perfect for a light lunch, healthy snack or easy-to-make appetizer. Colorful and full of flavor, these naturally vegan spring rolls include mango, high in Vitamins C & A. “The large amounts of Vitamin C act as a great immune booster. Carrots are loaded with antioxidants and a great source of Vitamin A. Bell peppers are packed with vitamins and fiber. Also a great source of antioxidants. The scallions’ Vitamin K and fiber make this a good choice for the spring rolls. Red cabbage is rich in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants,” says the recipe on chefsavvy.com.

Ingredients
6 spring rolls wrappers
½ cup bell peppers (I used yellow, red and orange bell peppers)
½ cup red cabbage, shredded
½ cup scallions
½ cup mango, sliced
½ cup carrots, julienne

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sweet chili garlic sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
¼ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
1. Place 1 spring roll wrapper at a time in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 seconds until it softens up a bit. Place it on your work surface and add a handful of each veggie in the top center of the wrapper leaving enough space at the top to roll. (Do not over stuff)
2. Fold the edge closest to you over the toppings and tuck the sides in and over the portion you just rolled. Roll away from you making sure to keep the spring roll tight. Repeat until you have used up all of the filling. Should make about 6 rolls.
3. Serve immediately with the Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce. Cover with a damp cloth so they do not stick together if you won’t be serving them right away.

Sweet and Spicy Chili Sauce
1. Add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, sriracha and honey to a small bowl.
2. Slowly whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.
3. Serve immediately with the spring rolls. If the sauce separates give it a quick whisk.

Instapot Lemon Veggie Risotto
Courtesy Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

It seems like every other day a parent is telling me how they are obsessed with their Instapot and it’s time saving ability to create homemade meals for the family.   When time is of the essence, but we still want to put a healthy dinner on the table, Instapot to the rescue.   If you too are in the Instapot fan club you may enjoy this veggie loaded risotto.   For all you classic risotto cooks, here are some new flavors to add to your slow cooked love.

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced thin
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh peas, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup leek, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 bunch chives, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, more to taste

Directions

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add asparagus, broccoli, and peas to the baking sheet. Coat with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oilsalt and pepper, toss well. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is fork tender. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.
2. In an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, press SAUTÉ. Add remaining extra-virgin olive oil and let the pot heat up. Once hot, add in onions, leeks and garlic. Let cook for 2-3 minutes or until onions start to turn translucent.
3. Add rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to toast.
4. Add vegetable stock, butter and thyme. Stir well.
5. Turn the pressure cooker or instant pot off. Secure lid in place, turn valve to sealing, press manual, and modify time to 7 minutes.
6. Once the time has lapsed, and the pressure cooker is done, turn the valve to venting to quickly release the pressure. Open the lid and stir well.
7. Turn the setting to SAUTE. Add spinach, chives, roasted veggies, and spices to the rice. Stir for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning. Top with lemon zest and additional chives.

Bon Appetit!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Sleep Tight: Naps and Why Kids Need Them

Ask some New Jammies parents about naps, and you may see a longing in their eyes. They might be wishing for one themselves. Or daydreaming about the days when their children’s naps were as common as a diaper change. Often, as a child grows older, naps can become a distant memory. That doesn’t always mean parents should give up on them.

According to KidsHealth, the importance of naps is vital, as “sleep is a major requirement for good health, and for young kids to get enough of it, some daytime sleep is usually needed.”

“Crucial physical and mental development occurs in early childhood, and naps provide much-needed downtime for growth and rejuvenation,” KidsHealth says. “Naps also help keep kids from becoming overtired, which not only takes a toll on their moods but may also make it harder for them to fall asleep at night. And naptime gives parents a brief oasis during the day and time to tackle household chores or just unwind.”

Sleep Needs by Age

KidsHealth reminds parents that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much daytime sleep kids need.

“It all depends on the age, the child, and the sleep total during a 24-hour period,” KidsHealth says. “For example, one toddler may sleep 13 hours at night with only some daytime catnapping, while another gets 9 hours at night but takes a solid 2-hour nap each afternoon.”

Though sleep needs are highly individual, these age-by-age guidelines give an idea of average daily sleep requirements:

Birth to 6 months: Infants require about 14 to 18 total hours of sleep per day. Younger infants tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they approach 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more established. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

6 to 12 months: Babies this age usually sleep about 14 hours total for the day. This usually includes two naps a day, which may last 20 minutes for some babies, for others a few hours. At this age, infants may not need to wake at night to feed, but may begin to experience separation anxiety, which can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): Toddlers generally require 12 to 14 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours. Young toddlers might still be taking two naps, but naps should not occur too close to bedtime, as they may make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep at night.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): Preschoolers average about 11 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap. Most give up this nap by 5 years of age.

School-age (5 to 12 years): School-age kids need about 10 to 11 hours at night. Some 5-year-olds might still need a nap, and if a regular nap isn’t possible, they might need an earlier bedtime.

To Nap Or Not to Nap?

The National Sleep Foundation reminds parents not to become discouraged, as naps, or the lack thereof, are a phase all kids go through.

“About half of all children stop napping by age four, and 70 percent are done with daytime sleep by age five,” the NSF reports.

What are some signs little ones are ready to drop the nap habit?

“Consistently taking 45 minutes or more to fall asleep for a daytime snooze or getting 11 to 12 hours of sleep overnight are two big ones,” the Foundation says. “If you think it’s time to give nap-less living a try, follow these steps to ease the transition.”

Nap as Needed

The National Sleep Foundation agrees that napping doesn’t have to be an “all-or-nothing proposition.”

“While some children might be fine quitting cold turkey, others may do better with a gradual approach. For instance, consider skipping naps for three days, then napping again on the fourth,” the NSF says.

“Alternately, you could shorten the naps by waking your child within the hour to keep daytime sleep from interfering with bedtime. Even a 20-minute nap can have benefits for a small child. There is no one-size-fits-all formula, so follow your child’s cues to figure out the right sleep strategy.”

Turn Naps into Quiet Time

“Skipping an afternoon nap doesn’t mean your child is ready for constant action from morning to night. An hour of quiet time in the afternoon can offer an important opportunity for a non-napping child to re-group (not to mention restoring the caregiver’s energy, too),” says the Fiundation. “Reading books, coloring quietly, and listening to calming music are all good ways to rest up for the evening ahead.”

Also, the National Sleep Foundation suggests moving bedtime to an earlier time.

“If your child is no longer napping, bedtime hours may need to be adjusted to be sure you still provide enough time for sleep,” the NSF says. “Preschoolers should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day, with or without naps, which could mean going to sleep as early as 6:30 PM depending on what time your child wakes up in the morning.”

For more information on naps, sleep and additional topics involving kids’ health, visit these helpful online resources:

American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org
This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.

National Sleep Foundation (NSF)
http://www.sleepfoundation.org
NSF is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders, and by supporting education, sleep-related research, and advocacy.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
http://www.aap.org
The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
http://www.aasmnet.org
AASM strives to increase awareness of sleep disorders in public and professional communities.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Eat Right: Heart-healthy Family Dinners

February is American Heart Month, and New Jammies joins the American Heart Association in reminding families this is an ideal time to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their loved ones, friends and communities involved.

“The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices,” says the AHA. “While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

In its Heart-healthy Recipes section of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women website, the AHA provides meal planning ideas that can save your heart by improving your diet.

“There’s a common misconception that anything described as healthy is lacking in flavor and satisfaction. To add insult to injury, there’s also an automatic assumption that healthy foods are unaffordable,” the American Heart Association says.

“The truth is, there are plenty of creative ways to make a tasty, heart-healthy dish. And you don’t have to be a master chef to whip one up, and do it well … Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn’t start sooner. And before you know it, you’ll be coming up with your own inspired creations.”

Try these heart-healthy dishes from the American Heart Association and encourage your New Jammies kids and to eat right today:

Healthy greens and beans add a flavorful punch to this easy soup recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup.

Ingredients

6 Servings (Serving size 1 cup)
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
1/2 small red onion (chopped)
1 medium celery (chopped)
1 medium garlic clove (minced)
2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.

2. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.

3. Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

4. Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.

This protein-packed vegetarian Edamame Salad with Orange-Balsamic Dressing can be a main course or a side dish.

Ingredients

Serving size 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, lowest sodium available
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar PLUS
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided use
1 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
1/4 tsp. pepper
15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added navy beans, rinsed, drained
1/4 tsp. salt
2 oz. mixed salad greens, torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
1/4 medium cucumber, sliced crosswise
1 medium Italian plum (Roma) tomato, diced
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced radishes

Directions

1. Prepare the edamame using the package directions, omitting the salt. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, mustard, 2 tablespoons vinegar, oil, and pepper. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the edamame, navy beans, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to five days.

3. At serving time, put the salad greens on plates. Top, in order, with the cucumber, tomato, carrot, radishes, and bean mixture. Pour the dressing over all.

Benefit from heart-healthy omega-3 fats with this vegetable and seafood Spinach-Stuffed Baked Salmon dish.

Ingredients
4 Servings (Serving size 3 ounces fish and 1/2 cup vegetables)

1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
2 oz. spinach
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, rinsed and drained if bottled
1/4 cup fresh basil (coarsely chopped)
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
Cooking spray
4 salmon fillets (about 4 ounces each), rinsed, patted dry
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (lowest sodium available)
2 Tbsp. plain dry bread crumbs, lowest sodium available
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the spinach and lemon zest for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted, stirring constantly. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the roasted peppers, basil, and walnuts. Let cool for 5 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

3. Cut a lengthwise slit in the side of each fillet to make a pocket for the stuffing. Be careful to not cut through to the other side. With a spoon or your fingers, carefully stuff a scant 1/2 cup spinach mixture into each fillet. Transfer to the baking sheet. With a pastry brush or spoon, spread the mustard over the fish.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle over the fish. Lightly spray the top with cooking spray.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the fish is the desired doneness and the filling is heated through.

This Blackberry Cobbler dessert recipe features nutrient-dense blackberries and is great for family meals, especially as the weather warms. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories, and contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.

Cooking Tip: On the blackberries, this sweet-tart fruit is nutrient dense. Look for plump berries with a dark, rich color.

Ingredients
8 Servings

Cooking spray
4 cups blackberries
1/4 cup sugar substitute and 1/2 cup sugar substitute, divided use
1/4 cup water
Juice from 1 medium lime
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup canola or corn oil
1/4 cup fat-free, plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the berries, 1/4 cup sugar substitute, the water, lime juice, and ginger. Let the berry mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so the juices can accumulate.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar substitute.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, yogurt, and vanilla.

5. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture, stirring just until no flour is visible. Don’t overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Using a spatula, spread the batter in the pan. (The batter doesn’t have to touch the edge of the pan; it will spread while baking.) Top with the berry mixture.

7. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For information on women and heart disease, visit Go Red for Women.

 

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.

Play Right: Plan a Family Vacation to Remember

At New Jammies, we know the benefits of traveling with the kids to new, and familiar, places. We see the wonder in their eyes of seeing special landmarks. In the diverse cultures they experience. And in the memories made together as a family.

“Vacation is essential to strengthen personal relationships, inspire creative thinking, improve professional performance, and promote better heath,” says Project: Time Off, a leading national movement to transform American attitudes and change behavior about taking vacation time.

“We aim to shift culture so that taking time off is understood as essential to personal well-being, professional success, business performance, and economic expansion.​“

Although Project: Time Off sees the value of vacation time for close relationships and work growth, the movement says Americans still fail to use 662 million vacation days annually.

“The stockpile of unused vacation is creating a spike in worker burnout and even larger balance sheet liabilities that directly affect a company’s bottom line,” the movement reports. “What’s worse—employees forfeited 206 million vacation days in 2016.”

And Project: Time Off says 51% of Americans still skip the one step that could help them vacation: planning.

”Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off, take more vacation days at once, and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured,” Project: Time Off reminds us. “A majority of parents believe that family vacations are worth the time and money because they ‘give my child experiences that they will remember years down the road.’”

To encourage parents and caregiving family members to do so, the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off initiative established the last Tuesday of January as National Plan for Vacation Day in 2017.

This day is ideal to start planning ahead and declare vacation days at the start of the year. Project: Time Off says the first-ever National Plan for Vacation Day saw organizations implement creative activations for Americans to take time off to reunite with family and friends and rejuvenate.

“In its inaugural year, more than 600 organizations, representing all 50 states, came together to encourage Americans to plan for vacation,” Project: Time Off says.

This year’s National Plan for Vacation Day, on Jan. 30, 2018, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year. The registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed National Plan for Vacation Day to be observed annually in 2018 as an opportunity to come together at a single moment to rally around the importance of planning for a vacation.

Learn more at ProjectTimeOff.com/Plan and join the conversation online with #PlanForVacation on social media. Project: Time Off is making it easy for Americans to plan their vacations with the new Vacation Planning Tool.

And take this advice from Nationwide on planning a family vacation with kids.

“It makes sense to go for one that’s stress-free and age appropriate. (For tips on the stress-free part, check out their page on packing light.)” says the Nationwide Learning Center. “While ‘less is more’ applies to any kind of travel, The Family Travel Files has specific family travel tips for different age groups, including the young ones:

Children six weeks to five years
It’s never too early to start traveling with young children, as long as parents are prepared for the slow pace and frequent naps. Before you begin your trip:

• Get a well-baby checkup (especially if you’re traveling to another country)
• Pack first aid items including water, sunscreen & insect repellent
• Pack baby-proofing items like socket plugs, corner tabs & nightlights

Children ages 6-12
Family vacations can create life-long memories for kids in this age range. Even better, children in these primary-school years are still very dependent on their parents and haven’t yet reached the rebellious teenage years.

• Pack light, because children often lose personal items
• Pack a surprise to keep your child occupied in transit, during delays and long lines

Read more tips here.

Bon voyage!

New Jammies was born as an environmentally responsible company offering 100% certified organic cotton and flame retardant-free children’s pajamas. Learn more at newjammies.com.