Simple Snacks For Every Day

Whether you are busy in the office or out and on the go, hunger strikes all the time. In those cases, it is pretty easy to run down to the local fast food chain and grab something quick, or even grab some food at the convenient store. Yet, when we are hungry, we do not always make the healthiest choices. At that point in time, it is all about what you can eat and fast to settle your hungry belly. Yet, here are some healthy and simple snacks that you should keep close by you in the office or at home (or even to stash in your car) so that you always have a good snack close by.

 Snack Tray

  • Almonds. Almonds are full of nutrients as they are especially full of vitamin B, Vitamin E, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and many more. If you are on the go, almonds are a quick snack that does not require a spoon or two hands, you can just grab a handful and eat these on the go.
  • Multigrain waffle with fresh berries. If you are at home or at work, sometimes you want something a little more filling than just a quick snack, right? Try a waffle with some fresh strawberries or blueberries. If you are looking to take this snack on the go, you can always just smear on some fruit preserves, fold the waffle in half and head out the door!
  • Dried apricots. Dried fruits are a great way to get a sweet snack, while giving your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs. Also, as fruits have natural sugar, they will give you a bit of an energy boost too!
  • Wheat Chex. While we tend to give our children cereals as snacks, they are good for adults too. Just put one cup of wheat Chex or plain cheerios into a zip block bag and keep them near you in the car or at the office.
  • Celery sticks filled with part skim ricotta cheese. Celery sticks are always a great snack, as they are mostly water and make you feel full. Yet, many people complain that they do not have flavor. To make these a little bit tastier, add some ricotta cheese. Yum!
  • Sliced cucumbers with laughing cow cheese. Cucumbers are a great snack to have as they are crunchy and delicious. Pair these with some of those laughing cow cheeses and you have a quick and easy snack in a few minutes.
  • Simple Bar. There are a variety of granola bars on the market right now. Currently, the simple bars and the cliff bars are always my go to. Yet, simple bars have less sugar than cliff bars, so I like to stick to those when I can—but they are a little pricier.
  • Apples with peanut butter. Apples on their own are a good go-to as they offer so many benefits, including fiber. Add a little peanut butter and cut your apple in to “boats” and enjoy!
  • Popcorn sprinkled with cinnamon. Popcorn with cinnamon beats buttery popcorn any day. Yet, this snack will leave some cinnamon on your fingers so make sure that you are not writing, driving, or doing something that will require you to use your hands until you are finished eating.



Dealing With Hematomas in Infants

hematoma - child birth

Hematomas are common on newborn infants as they happen during direct handling during the birth, to include forceps or a vacuum extraction. Cephalohematomas are the most common form of hematomas found on infants, yet these can be confused with subdural hematomas also. However, subdural hematomas are less common. The cephalohematomas can happen if the infant’s head bangs against the mother’s pelvic bone during labor.

What is a Hematoma?

A hematoma is mostly a collection of blood that is located outside of the blood vessels. In most cases, hematomas come after an injury to the wall of the blood vessel and then blood seeps out of the vessel and into the tissue around the vessels. Hematomas are very common occurrences for people in all stages of their lives and are mostly found under the skin or under the fingernails. Yet, hematomas can also occur internally where they cannot be seen by the visible eye. In these cases, the hematomas can be felt as they will feel like a mass or lump.

Have Your Child Seen By A Doctor

If your baby has a hematoma, the first thing you want to do is have your baby looked at by a doctor. The doctor will be able to tell how severe the hematoma is and if there is any other damage affiliated with the hematoma. Your doctor will take tests such as a CT scan. Your doctor may also recommend an MRI to clearly see how deep the hematoma is. From here, your doctor may prescribe other treatments. This could be anything from therapy to a surgery. In other cases, your doctor may prescribe you a medication that will help to treat the hematoma area.

The Hematoma May Go Away On Its Own

In many cases, the hematomas on infants will just heal on their own. It may take a few months for it to heal, so if your baby still has a hematoma at two weeks old, this is completely normal. However, you should still be checking in with your doctor regularly so that he can keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t get any worse.

Your Doctor May Drain the Hematoma

If you infant has a large hematoma that is resulting in pressure being put on other areas, your doctor may try to drain the blood in the hematoma. However, this method is very rare because it will increase your infant’s risk of infection or abscesses.

Is Your Baby At Risk?

If your baby has a cephalohematoma, he or she may be at risk to develop jaundice. This is because your baby’s blood breaks down and the level of bilirubin increase. In these instances, your doctor may recommend that your baby gets phototherapy.

Overall, hematomas are common after child birth. If your baby’s head hits the pelvic bone, chances are high that your baby will have a hematoma. You should make sure to have your doctor inspect your child and make sure that you keep an eye on the hematoma. However, in most cases these hematomas will go away on their own within 3 months or so.



4 Signs Your Child May be Autistic

Autism is a disorder that can be hard to diagnose, and even harder to treat.  With early intervention, however, much of Autism’s noticeable outward symptoms can be greatly decreased or even eradicated. Coping skills can be introduced at the right time, and Therapy for a variety of sensory issues can be started early enough to help a child learn coping abilities. Therefore, it is imperative to diagnose Autism as early as possible.  The signs can be hard to recognize if you don’t know what you are looking for, however.  Here are a few signs to help you know when to talk to your doctor.

  1. Lack of expression.

The first thing many parents recognize in hindsight is their child’s lack of expression.  If you aren’t seeing any big smiles or major signs of emotion (especially related to happiness and curiosity), this could be something to bring up with your doctor.  One of the most universal and noticeable aspects of Autism, this is a sign that you can easily look out for. If you are attempting to play with your child and have fun, and they are not responding to your attempts to play and create an enjoyable atmosphere, it may be time to start keeping an eye on things.  There are some children that simply aren’t very prone to laughing – my son is like this.  He rarely laughs, but often shows curiosity and will crack a smile.  That is perfectly OK – not smiling or reacting is not.


  1. Lack of conversing.

Another early sign of Autism can be the lack of verbal skills.  By a time a baby is 9 months old, they should be starting to vocalize in a conversational style.  If your child is not conversing with you by this point, it will become something to watch for carefully.  Some babies are late bloomers, but you should be seeing something around this time.  It doesn’t have to be complete babbling – for example, my son with make sigh noises at me, blow bubbles, growl, etc. – if they are clearly in response to something you do or say, this is fine. If they have no reaction whatsoever, it’s time to start paying attention and address the issue.

  1. Lack of vocabulary.

If your baby is not actively babbling as a conversation tool by 12 months, this is something to address. In addition, if your baby has no vocabulary by 16 months, it is time to address the issue.  Sometimes, this can be attributed to a child not being exposed to speech often enough.  When you are home, make sure you are consistently talking to your child and interacting with them. If you are actively interacting, they should start to develop language skills between 12 – 16 months.  If this is simply not happening, address the issue with you doctor.  They may just be a late bloomer – My uncle didn’t speak a word until he was 3 – but if you notice this, bring it up with your doctor for them to evaluate.



Understanding Behavioral Symptoms in Tourette Syndrome

Tourette’s Syndrome is a difficult disorder, that can leave one feeling vulnerable and embarrassed.  Symptoms of Tourette’s often involve involuntary muscle movements, involuntary, vocalizations, or a mixture of multiple ‘tics’.  These tics are not something that is done with any control of the affected, and often can lead to isolation and a feeling of disconnect with others.  However, Tourette’s can also lead to a variety of invisible symptoms as well.

Behavioral symptoms related to Tourette’s are not always classified as part of Tourette’s, but what is termed ‘co-morbid’. This means that the symptoms are part of a disorder either often occurring with Tourette’s or triggered by the effects of Tourette’s. While some neurobehavioral effects can occur, they are often diagnosed separately.


Anxiety is a common co-morbid disorder.   Due to the sometimes embarrassing tics of Tourette’s Syndrome, those suffering from the disorder can also develop a great deal of Anxiety about experiencing a tic. This can grow into an independent disorder, with tics being the focus of anxiety.  In truth, many tics of Tourette’s are not as noticeable as many think, but the anxiety can occur with even the simplest of tics.  This disorder is a common partner of Tourette’s, and can be particularly severe with those who do have noticeable tics, such as involuntary speech, complex muscle tics, and others.



Sometimes the neurobiological effects of Tourette’s can make things like concentrating more difficult.  People with Tourette’s may suffer from inability to concentrate, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.  All classic symptoms of ADHD, these symptoms are often treated as separate from Tourette’s.  Many times, Symptoms of ADHD can be aided with medication, allowing those suffering (especially children), to be able to function properly in school and work settings.


Due to the repetitive nature of Tourette’s, those suffering can also start to suffer from intrusive/repetitive thoughts.  These thoughts can be fairly harmless, like checking the stove is turned off 3 times before you leave the house, or it can be fairly severe, like needing to wash your hands every time you touch something new. Commonly referred to as OCD, these symptoms can be controlled with therapy, but may occasionally need medication to help take the edge off.


Though not completely related to Tourette’s, many who suffer from this syndrome report having issues with Depression.  While Tourette’s doesn’t cause Depression, it is certainly worth mentioning.  If someone feels isolated, ostracized, embarrassed, or otherwise inferior or left out, depression can develop.  Whether this becomes episodic or life long, seems to depend on the person.  However, this is a neurobehavioral symptom to be aware of and look out for. The feeling of being alone can be an overwhelming power that can be very difficult to handle.  Support and a strong circle of social contacts can help to minimize symptoms of depression, allow depression to lift, or stop it from presenting before it even starts.  In fact, all of these symptoms are easier to manage with a strong support system – just like the Tourette’s itself.



Four Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Exercise

Exercising is key to living a healthy life. Being sedentary or exercising rarely will get you no where fast with health goals, and a lifetime of it will present you with potentially serious health problems. Good exercising habits start early, and many times takes a little gentle prodding or encouraging by parents. Some parents speak in ultimatums, “You can't watch TV until you play outside”, although that can build resentment in the heart of a child more than it does excitement in regards to exercise. So, although ultimatums and commands may work for a period of time, we find that there are better ways to encourage your kids to exercise.

exercising kids

Have a Family Competition

Turning things like exercise into a friendly family competition will make your kids see their progress and to have something physically to strive for, other than the daily monotony of walking or running because they have to. If little Johnny is in a summertime competition with his big brother to see who can run the furthest, he might view the daily task of exercising in a different light. Raise the stakes if they get really involved to offer prizes for first, second and third place. Be careful though that, no matter the outcome, you reward everyone for their hard work. The goal is to have fun with healthy competitive motivation, so if things get too serious or too competitive, you'll want to adjust the situation.

Make It Fun with Games

Most kids don't really view playing sports as their allotted time to exercise. They're with their friends, they're laughing, they're showing their ball skills, they're running around – not exercising. Parents know, though, that this is a great way for them to get some exercise. Recreational sports leagues are great for implementing fun, game-like exercise and provide many benefits, social and physical. If you can't do a recreational league, try this: the next time you ask your kids to go play outside, give them a game to play that involves some exercise; they might just be a little more excited to do it.

Be Honest About the Future

Talk to your kids. Sometimes parents forget to mention the “why” behind their requests or demands. Being honest about their future if they're active versus if they're not is a great way to encourage them to be healthy. Show them people they admire, like professional athletes, fit celebrities or older people who are really in great shape, and let them know that their success was largely determined by their actions when they were children. Be careful not to scare them, but let them know the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, and that no great physical feat is ever really accomplished without a life of exercise leading up to it.

Do It With Them

Many times your kids will do what they see you do; this is why, at the very least, it's important that they see you exercising happily on a regular basis. If you gripe and complain about it, they will too. They'll be even happier to do it, though, if you offer to do it with them. Train your 9 year old to run a 5k. Walk the neighborhood and have some “daddy-daughter time” every evening before dinner. If you make it about quality time, your child will look forward to doing it with you.

Kids only dread exercise when they feel that it takes them from something more fun. Doing it with them, making it a game or a competition, and talking to them about the benefits of exercise are all great ways to encourage them to do it and to keep them happy.




Four Antibiotic Myths Still Common Among Parents

When it comes to a child being sick, you want to have the most correct and up to date information regarding treatment at your fingertips. As with most other issues that change and develop with time and technology, medicine tends to leave some folks behind; these folks remain confused about what works and what doesn't. In order to stay up to date, you'll want to be clear about the following myths that have been debunked but remain to be commonly believed by parents today.

An Antibiotic is Needed for Everything

Many parents assume that an antibiotic is needed for all different ailments, serious or not, bacterial or viral. Though in fact, the vast majority of children's illnesses are viral. Antibiotics are actually solely used for bacterial infections, such as sinus infections, where you need to give your body the antibodies to fight off the infection that your body isn't doing a great job fighting off itself. In the case of some infections, if you just give the body a minute to adapt before throwing it on the first antibiotic you're given, the body will fight the infection off on its own.

Antibiotic Myths Still Common Among Parents

Yellow Snot Requires an Antibiotic

We all heard it growing up: our mothers would tell us to blow our noses in her tissue, she'd look at the gunk and diagnose you on the spot, “It's an infection” if it's yellow or green; “It's just a virus” if it's clear. We're not quite sure when mother's were given the ability to bypass years of medical school to diagnose and treat based on snot color, but they sure do it. Believe it or not, this is myth. A doctor will diagnose all symptoms combined to determine whether or not an antibiotic is needed.

It's OK to Implement an Antibiotic “Just in Case”

Sometimes parents like to use antibiotic medication as a “just in case” method. In other words, they're not really sure that the kid needs it, but just in case they'd like to get one for him; as if a strong antibiotic will do the trick if it's a virus. Giving an antibiotic before you actually know you need one can cause more problems- side effects, not to mention the loss of good bacteria that your body actually needs.

Using the Same Antibiotic Over and Over Again is Best

Stick with what works, right? Not so much. With antibiotics, doctors hear your recommendation to stick with what worked before, but don't be alarmed if they do just the opposite. In fact, doctors intentionally will rotate antibiotics because our bodies will become immune to repeats after a few trial runs with no interruption. The doctor may keep in mind that it works great, but trust him when he shockingly treats the infection with something else.

Truth be told, these myths continue to stick around because they all stem from the same general idea that “mom and dad know best”. While it's true that you may know your child better than the pediatrician, use that knowledge to inform him only and then allow him to diagnose and treat as he sees fit.



The Nutritional Pyramid Every Parent Must Follow

Having a balanced diet is essential to your child’s development and success. Research shows that healthy eating maintains your child’s energy levels, relates to higher academic achievement, and helps regulates moods. Developing healthy eating habits at a young age will also help your child maintain healthy eating throughout their adult lives. Here is the nutritional pyramid every parent must follow:

Fats, Oils, And Sweets

Avoiding saturated fats is essential, as they have been associated with high cholesterol, and heart disease. While fats are essential to your child’s diet, limiting the amount of saturated fats is ideal. Sugars are naturally found in many foods, yet you want to avoid foods that have added sugars, like soft drinks and candy. All in all, you want to use foods like salad dressings, mayonnaise, butter, and lard, and other “empty calorie” foods sparingly.

Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese

Milk, yogurt, and cheese provide your child with calcium, vitamin A, and phosphorus. Also, milk that is fortified also contains vitamin D. These nutrients help to create strong and healthy bones. To reduce fat levels in these milk based products, you can choose to use the low fat- or skim products. For those of you with children that are lactose intolerant, make sure to check out lactose free milks and products so that your child gets all of the calcium and minerals found in milk. Try incorporate about 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese, into your child’s daily diet.


Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, & Nuts

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts are main sources of protein, as well as iron, zinc, and B vitamins. To avoid a high fat diet, avoid processed meats like sausages and hot dogs, and trim fat off meat before cooking. Also, deli meat is known to be high in fat and sodium, so eating deli meat is small amounts and on few occasions is idea. Eggs are also a great source of protein, and most of the fat in eggs is found in the yolk. To avoid a high fat diet, try using egg whites in your child’s diet. Try to incorporate about 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts into your child’s daily diet.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits are full of vitamins, fiber, and natural sugar. As different fruits contain different vitamins, it is important to eat a variety of fruits. Along with fruits, veggies are also a great source of vitamins and nutrients. Cabbage and broccoli, turnips , and other members of the cabbage family, are great as they help to prevent cancers. Try to incorporate 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit in your child’s daily diet.

Bread, Cereal, Rice, & Pasta

Contrary to popular belief, grain products like bread, rice, and pasta, is good for you. Whole grains contain more fiber than white grains, so choose whole grain over white. Your child should have between 6-11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta in their daily diet.



When is a child old enough to cross the street alone?

When is a child old enough to cross the street alone

The first time that you drop that little hand and allow your precious offspring to cross the street alone you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest, but Junior has to grow up so if you don’t want to be holding the hand of an 18-year old while crossing, there has to come a point you decide he is old enough to let go.  But just what is this magical age?


In most situations, there are some factors to consider beyond the child’s age because not all children of the same age are ready to tackle a challenge like crossing the street alone.  Every child is a unique human being with different levels of maturity, training, and experience, so each case must be examined individually.

As a parent, you are in the best position to determine the answer to the question of when is a child old enough to cross the street alone.  You alone have the knowledge of your child’s maturity and whether he or she is capable of being cautious enough to cross the street safely.  Trial runs are a good way to teach and give experience with you as a safety net.


Does your child understand the dangers?  You can teach safety without making your child excessively fearful.  Set some rules and make sure your child understands the rules and agrees to follow your direction. Spend some time learning the safety rules while out walking with your child.

As the two of you walk discuss safety rules, teach children the proper use of crosswalks if your neighborhood has these, and take time to point out what you observe regarding the cars and people on the street.  If you see drivers behaving unsafely, point this out to your child and explain the dangers.

Ask your child to observe the traffic and point out safe and unsafe drivers and situations.  Explore crosswalks with your child explaining how to use the crosswalk and other safety measures, such as not being distracted with a cell phone or earplugs while crossing and to be aware that caution is needed even when the walk signal is displayed.  Distracted drivers can easily run a red light.

Cutting the Apron Strings

There will come a time, whether we are ready or not, that our children will begin to venture out on their own a little farther each time until they fly away for good.  As sad as that might make you feel, you know it’s your job to make them self-reliant and ready to take on the world.  The only question is when will that be?

Experts say that the age to start allowing kids out alone is 11; however, as a parent, being allowed to go it alone at 11 has some specific limitations and conditions.  In a neighborhood with no through traffic, only neighbors and visitors passing through, and equipped with sidewalks, 11, or even slightly younger, is a fairly safe proposition.  However, if we are dealing with busy highways and heavy traffic, I would say 13 might be a better age.

In the end, no matter how much we try and want to protect our children from harm, we know that some day we will have to allow them to strike out on their own, even if it is just across the street.



When Should I Bring my Child to the Dentist?

First time parents are new at everything. Changing diapers, nighttime feedings, baths and everything else is challenging for new parents. However, as time passes new parents begin to feel they are getting the hang of things, and they may sit back and give a sigh of relief. Then teething starts and little teeth start to erupt from those sore, drooling gums. Now your little one has teeth, and you will be asking the next big parenting question. When should I bring my child to the dentist? Let’s look at some information on baby teeth and going to the dentist.

When Should I Bring my Child to the Dentist?

Baby Teeth

Baby teeth are important to babies and toddlers because they help children learn to eat and talk properly. They also hold the space in the mouth and the jaw for the permanent teeth that will show up around six or seven years old. As parents you must learn to take care of those little teeth. This starts your child off with good oral hygiene habits that will follow him all his life. Even before teeth become apparent, it is a good idea to gently clean the gums with a soft, damp cloth a couple of times per day. After the first tooth comes in, purchase a small children’s toothbrush and some “practice toothpaste.” This is toothpaste without fluoride. Do not use fluoride toothpaste until the child can spit out unused paste. Brush your baby or toddler’s teeth at least once a day before bed. One benefit of early oral practices is that your child will be used to cleaning his teeth as he gets older, and it won’t be such a terrifying experience when they do visit a dentist.

Visiting the Dentist

Visiting the dentist can be fun for your young toddler or baby. They have no preconceived notions about the dentist. If you are nervous at dental appointment time, try your best not to convey this to your child. Babies should have their first dental visit around one year of age. Some experts recommend setting up the first appointment as soon as that first tooth arrives. Regardless, by one they should visit the dentist. However, if you notice any discoloration or other problems before the age of one go ahead and set up an appointment immediately. For the first few visits, the dentist will just look at your baby’s teeth and discuss with you proper techniques and expectation for oral health care. They may examine the mouth to assure everything is growing properly. This is really a time for you and your child to build a relationship with the dentist for long term oral health care.

Setting up a relationship with a dentist and learning to care for your baby’s teeth is an important step in assuring a lifetime of good teeth and a winning smile for your child! When I should bring my child to the dentist is the first question to ask after your baby gets teeth.



Children’s Vaccines Overview

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? That is the all consuming question for new parents these days. With positives and negatives for both arguments, it all really comes down to education. Doing the research is half the battle, but is a vital part to making the right decision for your family. At the very least, familiarize yourself with the most common vaccines so you can learn what, exactly, you're protecting your child from, and what all it entails.

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis

You may have heard of the Dtap Vaccine, which helps children younger than 7 develop immunity to three deadly bacterial diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Before this vaccine was ever given, these diseases ran rampant amongst children in communities all over. Like any immunization, there are possible side effects. When compared to the risk of experiencing a serious problem due to not having the vaccine, the side effects are extremely small.

Children's Vaccines Overview

Polio (IPV)

What once was the leading cause of disability has now become a fairly rare occurrence thanks to the Polio Vaccine. Polio is a disease caused by a virus that lives in the throat and intestines that causes disability. This vaccine has been around since 1955 and is required for children to start school. With polio still on the rise in other countries, parents are strongly urged to vaccinate their children even though the threat is smaller here in the States.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

This two part vaccination protects against three serious viral diseases and is strongly urged by medical professionals. The first vaccine should be given just after a child is a year old, and the second should be given around 4-6 years of age.


A relatively mild viral disease, chickenpox can be prevented with the Varicella vaccine. Although the disease is mostly mild, there are rare cases where it causes major health issues, usually for babies or the elderly.

Hepatitis A and B

Hepatitis is a viral infection marked by liver inflammation, and though the same disease, A and B have different causes and different modes of transmission. The vaccination for both diseases is said to be safe and effective, and any side effect outweigh the risk of not getting the vaccine at all.

Meningococcal Vaccine

Bacterial meningitis is a serious issue for children who have not had this vaccine. An infection caused by a strain of bacteria, this is a serious, potentially life threatening inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. Although not very contagious, the disease is spread by contact and can be mostly prevented with the vaccine.

Other vaccines to consider are not quite as common, but should be researched as well. They are the H.Influenzae vaccine, Pneumococcal vaccine, rotavirus vaccine, flu vaccine and HPV Vaccine.