Hivita green smoothie recipe for kids

Transitioning from feeding can be a stressful and emotional time.  Add in the complexity of toddlers, who can be difficult to feed at the best of times, and it is little wonder that parents worry about whether their children are meeting their nutritional needs.  Toddler meal time can easily become the time of the day you dread as a parent.

Even for those blessed with toddlers who don’t throw half of their meal onto the floor, it can still be challenging to know whether they are getting everything they need in any given day for their growth and development.

As a mum, and a health-conscious one at that, it is normal to worry about whether your children are getting the nutrients that they need to help them grow. This is especially the case when transitioning from feeding.  You know that often the food you serve is healthy, nutrient-dense and nourishing, but as parents you also know all too well that sometimes the food served to toddlers isn’t always the food they eat.

Knowing that there is an option of a safety net to ensure your children’s nutritional needs are met, even on the fussiest of days, means you are able to enjoy the transition without stress.  You can feel confident knowing there is a safety net in place regardless of whether your children eat their perfectly balanced meal or graciously throw it onto the floor.

Hivita Liquivita for Kids, a carefully formulated toddler-friendly multivitamin with 30 nutritional vitamins, herbs and minerals that our little ones need to thrive, gives peace of mind regardless of your child’s food-mood that day. You can also feel confident knowing that with Hivita Liquivita you aren’t suppressing their appetite for solid food.

Most children love the natural pineapple and mango flavour and on days when they aren’t so keen to take the Hivita Liquivita alone they can enjoy it alongside their water or even in a “Green Hulk Smoothie”.  As a health-conscious mum it is comforting to know that you can add a nutrient-dense multivitamin to liquid such as smoothies without adding additional glucose, sucrose or artificial flavours.

Hivita Green Smoothie recipe for kids

 

“Green Hulk” Green Smoothie recipe for Kids:

Serves 1

  • 1 ripe banana OR 1/2 cup mango
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup water or milk of choice
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut yogurt OR 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1 measure of Hivita Liquivita for Kids

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Ensure the spinach leaves have been blended well as no toddler likes chunks of spinach in smoothies.

Pour into a cup and serve immediately.

If you are worried about your child’s nutritional intake or eating habits please see a medical professional, dietician or nutritionist for guidance. All information provided is for inspirational purposes only and is based on personal experience.

Krissy Ropiha is a Certified Nutrition and Health Coach, passionate about supporting, inspiring and empowering busy mums to take back control of their health, get nourishing meals on the table in less than 30 minutes and feel confident in their own unique body. You can read more from Krissy on Her Nourished.

 

Starting solids – Is my toddler getting everything they need?

Has your toddler started solids and reduced their breast or bottled milk consumption? This is always a tricky time for mums and we’re always constantly concerned about what they’re eating, if they’re eating enough and if they’re eating enough of the ‘right’ foods. When your 18 month old decides he’s going to live on plain pasta and strawberries for a week (it will happen!) it’s hard to not be worried about the nutritional value of what they are (and aren’t) eating.

Firstly, don’t stress! Even if you’ve brought your toddler up on fresh, organic food they WILL go through a stage where they will only eat one or two foods and it probably won’t be what you picked up from the farmer’s market that weekend. Toddlers are picky and they go through phases – all of them!

During the transitional period between weaning and starting a diet of primarily solid food, there are a few ways to ensure that your child is getting the nutrients they need.

  1. Keep offering a healthy balanced diet
    They might only choose the plain pasta but keep presenting them with lots of options. Toddler’s tastes are fickle and they will change their preferences frequently. Once they get bored of one food they will likely turn to one of the others on offer, so make sure they’re healthy.
    toddler vitamin
  2. Continue breast or bottle feeding

If you’re concerned about the amount of food your toddler is consuming, continue offering breast milk or formula to ‘top up’ their feeds. By offering solids first, you are encouraging them to try new foods and develop new tastes, and then ensuring that they are full with the top up of milk.

  1. Try to include iron rich foods

From 6 months onwards, toddlers will get all of their iron from their food so try to ensure that their diet consists of a range of iron rich foods. Foods like beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish are good. You can find a comprehensive list of iron rich foods here.

  1. Supplement with a toddler friendly multivitamin

A toddler-friendly multivitamin can help with any gaps in nutrition that were previously filled with breast milk or formula. Hivita Liquivita for Kids is the toddler friendly multivitamin that provides a reassuring ‘safety net’ while children transition to a balanced diet. It has been carefully formulated with 30 vitamins, herbs and minerals that growing bodies need to thrive. The liquid is easy to digest and swallow, comes in a naturally delicious pineapple and mango flavour, and can be taken on its own or blended with other foods or liquids. With no added sucrose or glucose and no artificial flavours, it is a great way to ease your mind and know that your toddler’s nutritional needs are being met.

Remember that when it comes to food and toddlers they can be fussy and picky and that’s OK! It’s not your fault, and they will grow out of it.

If you have any specific concerns about your toddler’s diet we recommend that you consult your GP or a medical professional.

toddler vitamin

Tips to keep fit when you travel a lot

Are you someone who travels all of the time? It’s easy to get into a nice fitness routine when you’re at home, but so easy to let it all slide when your life consists of living out of a suitcase and eating hotel food. Travelling frequently does not mean that you need to let your exercise go by the wayside. By keeping these simple tips in mind you can enjoy your time away and stay fit as well.

  1. Skip the taxi and walk

Let’s face it, the chances are that your hotel you’re staying in is close to where you’ll be spending most of your time – that’s the reason you booked it. If it’s within walking distance then walk! If you’re staying somewhere nice, take the scenic route for some extra steps. While you’re at it, skip the lift and walk up to your room. Your thighs will thank you for it!

  1. Book a hotel with a gym

This sounds so obvious, but it’s as simple as ticking ‘gym’ in your hotel search criteria (and actually making an effort to USE the gym). Some hotels have more elaborate gyms than others but they will all generally have a treadmill and a few weights to work with. If your hotel doesn’t have a gym, it’s worth enquiring at reception about any arrangements they may have with local gyms.
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  1. Join a gym that has locations Australia wide.

There is a surging popularity in gyms, particularly the 24 hour kind, where your membership is valid at any of their franchises. If you are a gym junkie, it’s worth enquiring about their other locations before you sign up and seeking out the local one at your destination.

  1. Swim

Resort swimming pools are for more than just the pool bar (although that’s worth a visit too). If you’re in a hotel with a pool make an effort to swim some laps. You’ll still feel like you’re on a holiday and you’re getting in some great exercise too.

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  1. Explore the local parks and attractions

Most cities in Australia have great facilities in their public parks.  Make the most of the location you’re in by exercising outside. Most places have free outdoor exercise equipment, great bush and park walks and you’ll always see outdoor exercise classes around. Most of these classes will offer a casual rate and a quick search of the local council website should let you know what’s on.

  1. Youtube a workout

If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your hotel room, put on an exercise video from Youtube. There are so many to choose from – yoga, boxing, Pilates or weights, just to name a few. I guarantee you’ll be able to find something to suit your usual routine.

Don’t let travel be the reason you’re not getting fit – make it the reason you are!

5 tips for healthy eating on a tight budget

Are you trying to eat healthy on a tight budget? For some reason healthy eating seems to have an expensive reputation. There’s a big misconception that in order to eat healthy you have to have a rather healthy budget to match and that is absolutely not true. While you could easily rack up a rather hefty bill eating organic acai bowls and the latest trendy super foods, eating a balanced, healthy diet is easy to manage on a budget. As with all shopping, it depends on where you shop, what you buy, and what you do with it!

Our 5 best tips for healthy eating on a tight budget

5 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget

1. Buy what’s in season

Fruit and vegetables that are in season are cheap! With the exception of people living in remote areas, there are always at least 2 or 3 fruits and vegetables for under $2 a kilo. Fruit and vegetable markets are generally cheaper than grocery stores, but even if you are limited to the big stores they always have some on special. Plan your meals around the cheapest fresh produce and you’ll be amazed at what you can make. By making an effort to eat only cheap, seasonal produce you will find yourself getting a lot of value (and nutrition) for your money.

2. Eat more vegetarian meals

You don’t need to become a vegetarian, but aiming for one or two meat free meals a week will certainly save your money. Beans and lentils are unbelievably cheap as well as being extremely nutritious. They also easily fill you up, so a little goes a long way. Popular recipe sites have plenty of simple vegetarian recipes to get you started and if you can’t commit to a full vegetarian meal try adding beans or lentils to traditional meat dishes like bolognaise or chilli to bulk them out.

3. Buy in bulk

Most items are cheaper when you buy more. Think about the healthy foods you like to eat and buy larger portions of them. Buy bulk meat, fish and chicken when it’s on special. Separate them into smaller portion sizes and freeze them. Think about the other items you eat lots of like brown rice, beans or lentils and buy them in bulk too.

5 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Tight Budget 4. Make it from scratch

Cooking from scratch will save you a significant amount of money. Even the fanciest meal is cheaper made at home, but if you keep it simple you can easily keep your costs per serve low. Casseroles and stir fries are always cheap and you if you cook extra you can have the leftovers for lunch as well. Use your in season vegetables in as many main meals as possible and also as healthy side dishes.

5. Organize a co-op

If bulk buying and cooking doesn’t fit in your budget, organise a co-op with friends or family. Shop in bulk together and split the costs of the items (this works great for bulk buying meat or fruit and vegetables). You can even organise a co-op for cooking. Cook bulk healthy meals and share them with each other. This way you all get a fridge or freezer full of different healthy meals without having to spend a fortune on different ingredients.

Remember healthy eating on a budget is easier than you think. With a little bit of planning and organising you can eat a balanced, healthy diet on a very limited budget.

Are your children tired at the end of a school day? Multivitamins for kids can help

As the weather cools down, so too does the ability to venture outdoors after school. The days are shorter and children are less able to engage in outdoor play after school. Furthermore, they might not be getting outside during the day at school due to rain. You would think if your children are inside most of the day and not moving around that they should be less tired and able to focus, but it’s simply not the case. Children may be obtaining less vitamin D from the sun as they spend more time indoors and becoming restless and anxious due to lack of exercise.

Here are a few things that might make you consider multivitamins for kids:

  • Not eating well during school hours
  • Exceptionally tired or having outbursts at home
  • Not getting outside much during the day
  • Inability to focus on instructions

Vitamins may assist with all of these problems above, as they give your child what he or she needs to get through a busy school day.

Here’s how multivitamins for kids can potentially help:

1. Increase Concentration:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids can assist in a child’s ability to focus. Fish or flaxseed oil is rich in omega-3 to help your child stay on task, for longer. Children with attention deficit disorder are more likely to be deficient in omega-3s according to some health experts.

2. Increase Energy Levels:

Lack of certain vitamins and minerals such as iron or vitamin D can leave your child feeling depleted of their energy. This can make them sluggish, less likely to respond or irritable. Some children are genetically more prone to being deficient in iron or vitamin D over others.

3. Assist in Behaviour:

Some vitamins and minerals are said to have a calming effect on children and adults alike and may even lessen stress and anxiety. Magnesium has been linked to alleviating things like panic attacks and behaviour problems and can also promote a better night’s sleep.

Hivita Liquivita For Kids

multivitamins for kidsIf you’re looking for a multivitamin to fill nutritional gaps for your school aged child, then Hivita Liquivita for Kids is a great choice. With 30 essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs, it helps fill nutritional gaps and support healthy growth and development.

The liquid format is easy to swallow and Hivita Liquivita for Kids has a natural pineapple and mango flavour, a taste kids love, without any artificial colours or flavours. The delicious multivitamin also has no added glucose or sucrose which helps parents manage their child’s daily sugar intake and ultimately make a better choice for their health and vitality.

The complete multivitamin can also help keep school sicknesses as bay. Liquivita for Kids contains essential nutrients to boost immunity – vitamins A, C, D, with minerals iron and zinc. It also contains a selection of decongestant herbs to keep the chest clear, support digestion and immunity. The extra folic acid and amino acids in Liquivita help children’s growth and development, so that you can feel assured that you are filling the gaps adequately in their diet for their best protection.

Please note: Supplement vitamins can only be of assistance if dietary vitamin intake is inadequate

5 reasons you need to switch off on weekends

Do you ever switch off on the weekend? We mean really switch off. We’re guessing the answer is probably no. It seems that the days of Saturday and Sunday being ‘family time’ and work free days have long gone, and to be honest most of us wouldn’t remember a time when working weekends wasn’t the norm for many career paths.

Regardless of your job, it is generally recognised that employees are entitled to two full days off a week, whether that be the actual ‘weekend’ or other designated days. Sadly, the work/life balance is often leaning too far towards the work side and we are finding ourselves blurring the lines and working on our days off. Even if you work for yourself, you’re not immune from this – in fact you’re probably one of the worst offenders!

If you’re guilty of this, there are some great reasons to start switching off on weekends:

5 reasons to switch off on weekends

You will be MORE productive if you work less

A Harvard study (and many other similar studies) has found that working more hours does not make you more productive in the long run. You are more likely to make mistakes, have accidents and spend time on tasks which are unimportant. In fact the study confirmed that having predictable time off (like weekends and holidays) actually made people MORE productive.

Family time is important too

There’s no doubt that family time is one of the main sacrifices that we make when working longer hours, and even if we are at home we are still contactable via so many methods. We lead such busy lifestyles, our children too, that the little time we do get for quality family time should be cherished. Emails will wait, phone calls can be returned and that report will still be there on Monday. Switch off your devices and head out to the park with the kids!

5 reasons to switch off on weekends

We need to distance ourselves from work

Traditionally work ended as we left the building, but now we carry work with us everywhere we go. It’s so easy to check in to see how a project is going, quickly reply to that email or have a scan of that report that you were just sent. Think about how much time you spend on your devices when you are away from work, and then think about how many of those tasks were urgent. Challenge yourself to go a whole weekend without doing any work related tasks (yes email counts!) and see how much better you feel by Monday.

Your mental and physical health will improve

Always being ‘connected’ and ‘switched on’ isn’t good for your mental health. Anxiety and stress generally increase when we are switched on all of the time. Schedule family and leisure activities into your weekend and treat them as you would any other appointment – do them! You’ll return to work feeling much more refreshed and relaxed.

You might enjoy it!

Once you get into the habit of switching off on weekends, you’ll have the challenge of finding other ways to spend your free time. Imagine the possibilities, and think of all the fun things you could be doing instead!

We challenge you to switch off for a whole weekend! What have you got to lose?

reduce stress

5 simple tips for better sleep

Everyone needs to sleep but not everyone can just sleep when they want to. The Australian Sleep Health Foundation survey says “Australians are suffering from a fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis due to inadequate or ineffective sleep”. The statistics are shocking.

Professor David Hillman, president of the Sleep Health Foundation, says at least nine per cent of all serious road crashes in the country are due to fatigue – a total of 25,920 injuries per year with associated costs of $277,912 per accident.

“It is time for people to make sleep a priority: 18 per cent of adults regularly sleep less than six hours per night and 20 per cent suffer chronically from poor sleep, half of these from a sleep disorder and the remainder from poor sleep habits,” Hillman said.

So try out these five tips to find that elusive good night’s sleep.

Keep bed time sacred

Go to bed the same time each night and wake up the same time each morning. We do the same thing for kids but we somehow forget to do it for ourselves as adults. Your body will figure out your sleeping rhythm and it’ll help you get a better sleep each night.

Avoid certain foods at night

Don’t be hungry or full closer to your bedtime, but most of all avoid anything with caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes or sugar. Stimulants will keep you awake and although alcohol can kick you unconscious, it won’t be a peaceful night’s sleep.

No screen time

We all know that kids should not have any screen time before bed because it affects their sleep. But we forget that the same rules apply to grown ups. There are several studies already conducted about how exposure to smart phone screens is related with lower sleep quality. Screens are becoming a regular part of everyone’s life. But the study showed that longer average screen time was connected with poor sleep quality and less sleep overall.

Read instead

If you can’t scroll through Facebook or Instagram before bed then what are you supposed to do? Reading, apparently. People who read have greater memory and mental abilities, and are better thinkers and speakers. But apart from that, reading also helps fight insomnia. A study showed that a mere six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68 per cent. This activity clears the mind and prepares the body for sleep. It doesn’t even matter what book you’re reading so you can read whatever you want.

Exercise is key

Doing any physical activity during the day actually helps with sleep. You don’t need to go on a 10K marathon or an F25 training. Even walking for over 30 minutes helps. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a study showed that people sleep a lot better and feel more active during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. So get walking!

Try out these tips and write down what difference you feel after each night. This way, you have a good idea of what is working and what is not.

Sleep well!

8 habits you should be doing NOW to avoid the flu this season

This summer has been exceptionally hot and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to some cooler weather. With autumn underway and winter around the corner, it’s inevitable that flu season is almost here. While there is no sure fire way to avoid the flu, there are some steps you can be taking now to give yourself the best chance of avoiding it.

Get the flu vaccine

The Australian government recommends that the yearly flu vaccine is the best way of preventing the flu. While the vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age, free vaccines are available for some at risk demographics, including people over 65, pregnant women and people with some pre-existing health conditions. More information on the vaccine can be found by contacting your local GP.

Wash your hands

While this sounds obvious, one of the best ways to prevent contracting contagious illness is to wash your hands thoroughly, especially when you are around areas with lots of people or around other people who are unwell. If you work in a busy location, hand sanitizer can also help.

avoid the flu

Stay active

Studies have found that people who regularly engage in exercise are less likely to contract the cold or flu virus. This is not a ‘quick fix’ and needs to be something that is part of your regular lifestyle in order to be effective. Try to aim for moderate exercise at least three times a week.

Maintain a healthy diet

A healthy and nutritious diet can increase your chances of avoiding illnesses like colds and the flu, and will help you bounce back quicker if you do get sick. There are no magic tricks, just a well-balanced diet full of lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember, the healthier you are, the more chance you have of giving your body to tools to fight off a virus.

Minimise stress

Researchers have found that people who are under extreme stress are almost 50% more likely to get sick than those that aren’t. By maintaining your stress levels, you are giving yourself a fighting chance to avoid catching the flu. Try walking, yoga or simply a few hours of ‘me time’ each day. There’s a lot to be gained for reducing stress levels.

avoid the flu

Get a good night’s sleep
Lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system making you more vulnerable to catching the illnesses going around. By maintaining regular, quality sleep, you are giving yourself a much better chance of being able to fight off a virus.

Vitamin C MultivitaminStay Hydrated

By drinking plenty of water each day, you are helping to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle and adequate hydration has been found to help boost your immune system. Experts recommend around 8 glasses of water each day.

They always say that prevention is better than a cure, and no one likes to be sick. By following these simple guidelines, you’ll be giving yourself the best shot at avoiding catching a cold or the flu this season.

Take a good quality vitamin C + zinc supplement

Hivita Daily C + Zinc is a high potency supplement formulated to strengthen your immunity and protect against colds .and flu. It contains a high dose of vitamin C (100mg) buffered with Calcium ascorbate so it is gentle on the stomach.

5 reasons why your family should start taking vitamin D this autumn

As the leaves begin to change colour and fall, you might find yourself hearing the crunchy sound underneath your boots as you make your way inside to cosy up in front of the heater with a good dose of Netflix. Autumn weather can give glorious sunny days at times, or dreary dark ones. It slowly gives you a taste of the next season when the real chill sets in and you begin to spend minimal time outdoors.

Most people know that Vitamin D is important, and that your body can produce it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight, but often that’s where their education ends. Vitamin D is vital for your body, and if you want to get a head start in winter, then you really should start taking it now! Here’s why your whole family should get onto taking Vitamin D immediately:

1. Vitamin D in your body needs to be replenished

Vitamin D stores in our bodies deplete over autumn and into winter. As our beautiful sun hides behind the clouds and the days are colder and shorter, our exposure to the sun decreases. As you opt for the treadmill over the pavement, your Vitamin D levels will continue to decrease. Vitamin D is only stored in our bodies for a few months and needs continual topping up to stay at an optimum level.

2. Vitamin D helps strengthen bones

Low vitamin D can have serious consequences in bone strength for children and adults alike. Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium. Vitamin D lowers the risk of fractures, childhood rickets and so much more. Your child might be having plenty of dairy on a daily basis, but without Vitamin D, the calcium won’t be absorbed efficiently by their body.

3. Vitamin D can help maintain a healthy immune function

Everyone knows how quickly the common cold can wipe out the whole family in one swoop. Those with higher Vitamin D levels are less likely to experience respiratory illnesses and if they do, the recovery is easier and shorter. It goes without saying that babies and children, who are at higher risk of serious respiratory tract infections need their vitamin D levels maintained.

4. Vitamin D may decrease fatigue

It can be hard to get motivated when the skies are grey and there’s an outside chill. You may be feeling less energetic and tired as winter approaches. Research shows that vitamin D can effectively decrease fatigue by improving muscle strength and energy levels, giving you and your family the energy needed to get through winter

5. Not many foods contain Vitamin Dvitamin D

You might be thinking, if you can’t get vitamin D from the sun, you’ll get it from foods instead. Some foods do contain vitamin D such as fatty fish and some dairy products may be fortified with vitamin D. However there’s not many other alternatives, so it’s particularly important you take a vitamin D supplement.

If you’re feeling weary as autumn sets in and winder approaches, take the proactive approach. Keep on top of your Vitamin D levels by using Hivita’s Daily Vitamin D + Iodine supplement to ensure your family stays happy, healthy and focused during the colder months.

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Kids Active

It’s always alarming to read about the high levels of inactivity amongst children. Research from the NSW Government recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity EVERY day, and goes as far as to recommend that up to 3 hours a day is beneficial. As a teacher this doesn’t surprise me at all, as I constantly see children who can’t wait to get up and run around, and who hate sitting down for too long. What does surprise me is how low we rate in this area. A 2014 study gave Australian children a D- for physical activity, with only around 25% of children reaching this guideline.

We live in a country so suited for outdoor activity, and we really should be making more of an effort to encourage our children to be active. While the rise in technology is no doubt having an impact, there are definitely ways that you can keep your kids active and sneak some extra physical activity into your child’s day without it being a chore.

Walk or ride to school

So many of us (myself included) are guilty of driving everywhere when there is often an option to walk. Why not walk or ride with them each day to school. A 15 minute trip each way would equate to half of the minimum guidelines. If you live too far away try parking a decent distance away (if your school is like mine that won’t be too hard!) so that you’re still getting in that walking time.

Encourage them to join a team sport

Team sports are about more than just the actual game. Most clubs require members to train at least once a week, sometimes twice, and the commitment to the team means that there is a high likelihood of your child participating in these consistently.

keep your kids active

Go to the Park

This is another activity that can be completed on the way home from school. Instead of going straight home, pack an after school snack and head to the park. Most children will happily kick around a soccer ball or play in the playground for an hour after school without even realising it’s exercise. Grab yourself a coffee and sit back and watch (or join in!).

 

Go swimming!

For at least half of the year Australia is the perfect weather for swimming. If you have a backyard pool, great. If not, visit a friend, go to the beach or check out your local swimming pool. Most children love swimming, especially in summer, and it is a great source of physical activity.

keep your kids active

Organise active weekend activities.

Be active as a family. Plan weekend hiking trips, go surfing or go on a family bike ride.  By making the focus of your family time a physical activity you will easily exceed the 60 minute minimum guidelines, and have a great time too!

If you know that your children aren’t getting enough exercise, don’t force them. Slowly start integrating physical activity into your family’s lifestyle so that it becomes a natural part of life, rather than a chore. We promise you that you’ll all benefit from it!

5 lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Making lifestyle changes is not something you can do overnight. Making rash ‘resolutions’ often leads to a committed week or two before going back to your old habits. That’s why many psychologists recommend making gradual switches to your lifestyle rather than simply quitting your bad habits cold turkey.

Here are 5 habits that can easily be switched, resulting in a healthier you

Switch late nights for more sleep

If you’re a night owl there’s a good chance you’re getting less sleep than you need. It will come as no surprise that sleep is important, but often the reasons people stay up late (to work, study etc.) are working against them. Studies constantly show that lack of sleep actually makes you less productive, less efficient and can be a factor in reduced health. Try to switch your late nights for a consistent 7-8 hours sleep and you should soon find yourself more energetic and more productive! The odd powernap can’t hurt either!

lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Switch processed food for ‘real’ food

This one simple switch will make such a big difference to your health and diet. By avoiding highly processed foods and eating food made from real, fresh ingredients you will instantly reduce your intake of salt, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and unhealthy fats. You don’t need to make everything from scratch, and you can still eat out, just read the labels and check the ingredients. There are fresh, healthy versions of almost all meals and I guarantee they’ll taste better, and make you feel better than something processed from a packet.

lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Switch soft drink for water

Soft drinks contain empty calories and a LOT of sugar. Even the ‘diet’ versions are full of sweeteners that have questionable health benefits.  Empty calories are just that – food or drink that add nothing essential to your diet. Water contains zero calories and is an essential part of a healthy diet. By switching your soft drinks for water (add some lemon or lime for flavour, or try sparkling water instead) you’ll be reducing calories, increasing your hydration and enjoying the numerous health benefits that water provides.

lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Switch driving for walking or riding

I’m sure we’re all guilty of taking the car when we really could walk. Driving to the corner store, or taking the car to get lunch when we could have walked instead. We have become so reliant on our cars that we often forget that the option to walk is still there. Not only are you increasing your exercise, you’re getting all of the other benefits of walking – fresh air, sunshine and a chance to de-stress. If you own a bike, try scheduling a bike ride into your day, or at least on a weekend. If you have kids, take them with you – they’ll love the opportunity to ride their bikes with you. Challenge yourself to see how many times you can leave the car at home!

lifestyle changes for a healthier you

Switch your bad habits for something fun!

We all have our bad habits. For some of us it’s drinking or smoking, for others it’s chocolate cake or ice cream. It’s easy to say ‘give it up’, but often it’s not as easy as that. Why not save the money you would spend on your ‘bad habit’ and use it for something you enjoy. A new book, a trip to the movies or coffee with a friend. By rewarding yourself, you’ll find that it’s easier to make the transition and you’ll be more motivated to continue.

Don’t be too tough on yourself.  Making lifestyle changes isn’t easy and it’s something that can be done gradually. If you slip you, simply make the right choice next time. Each time you choose the better option, you’re a step closer to a healthier lifestyle. What are you going to switch today?

5 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

We now live in such a connected environment that it is so easy to always be ‘on’. With email and social media at our fingertips it’s so difficult to actually switch off and this is one of the many reasons that people are experiencing more and more stress. Reducing stress isn’t difficult, it’s just an issue that is often overlooked.

This year we’re encouraging you to take a quick time out each day to take time for YOU and here are 5 easy ways that you can reduce your stress levels:

Walking

Sometimes the simplest strategies are the best. When you feel your stress levels rising, go for a walk. Leave your phone behind or use it to listen to your favourite music (no checking emails!) and just walk. Even the experts at Harvard agree that walking is a great stress buster.

reduce stress

Say no

It’s no joke that we are a society that is getting busier and busier. Often our days start with breakfast catch ups and end with after work drinks and down time is becoming rare.  If your life feels like a never ending round-a-bout then it’s time to start saying no. No one will think less of you for declining events and choosing to stay at home instead.

Unplug

Often we are so connected to the world, especially with our phones and social media that we never actually have the change to switch off. Gone are the days of leaving work and not thinking about it till you get there tomorrow, or going home and reading a good book. We are always checking Facebook, comparing our lives to those on Instagram and receiving emails and messages till all hours. To really relax try to un-plug. Switch off your phone (yes really – it will turn back on I promise!), turn off the TV and laptop and enjoy some tech free time. You’ll be amazed at how good you will feel.

Exercise

It really is true that you’ll feel better after some exercise. It also combines a few of the strategies above. Add your exercise time to your calendar, say no to conflicting appointments and unplug while you’re exercising. I promise you it will make you feel better when you’re done, no matter how much you try to talk yourself out of it to start with!

Read a book

Reading seems to be a lost art these days, but escaping into a good fiction novel is a great way to forget about the worries of the world. Studies show that reading really does release stress. In fact this article shows that reading for only 6 minutes will start to reduce your stress levels significantly. Go on, grab a great book and start reading!

I encourage you to put aside the time to do at least one of these things each day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of day to day life, however taking 30 minutes to an hour a day to focus on stress reduction will be worth it. What are you waiting for?

reduce stress

You can also take a quality supplement to help reduce stress. Hivita Stress is a complete multivitamin formula that helps relieve stress, nervous tension and mild anxiety. It may also reduce tiredness, elevate mood and boost energy levels

10 foods you should be eating more of

So many diet related articles are out there telling you what NOT to eat, but we’re taking a different approach. If you’re looking to improve your health and diet then here are ten foods that you should be adding to your grocery list and aiming to eat more of. The best news is that they taste great, are budget friendly and provide some great health benefits.

Greek Yoghurt

With so many yoghurt varieties on the market, simple Greek yoghurt is the one you want to be eating. Look for the full cream version (it has double the protein) and avoid ones with any added sugar. Greek yoghurt is jam packed with probiotics (good bacteria) and tastes great with fruit or muesli. It’s also a great substitute for sour cream, so throw a big dollop on your favourite Mexican or chilli dishes too.

Salmon

Oily fish is an essential part of a healthy diet, and the high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon makes them a food you should be eating more of. They are also high in Vitamin B, full of protein and great for your cardiovascular health. Look for wild caught salmon for added health benefits. Here’s a few salmon-based recipes to choose from.

Black beans

You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy eating black beans. As well as being a great standalone food, they can easily be added to many traditional ‘meat’ meals for an added protein and fibre boost. Black beans are also high in iron, a good source of calcium and are full of antioxidants. They can also be added to your diet to help fight stress.

10 foods you should be eating more of

Black rice

We all know that brown rice is better than white rice, but have you tried black rice? While black rice isn’t new, it is certainly becoming more common on Australian menus. High in protein and minerals, black rice provides the same benefits as brown rice but with the addition of more antioxidants. It is also a low GI food, making you feel full for longer.

Avocado

There’s a reason that smashed avocado is on every breakfast menu and that’s because as well as tasting great, avocado is one of nature’s great superfoods. They are high in fibre, full of healthy monounsaturated fat (the good kind!), and contain lots of folate, potassium, magnesium and vitamins.

Sweet Potatoes

Simply switching from normal potatoes to sweet potatoes is a positive healthy step. They are a rich source of vitamin B6 (even more than spinach!), as well as being a great source of vitamin A and a low glycaemic food. Sweet potatoes taste great roasted or grilled on the barbeque. We love this healthy sweet potato salad recipe which is perfect for lunch.

10 food you should be eating more ofChia

Chia seeds are a nutrient dense whole grain food that have long been known for their high energy content. Chia is a great natural way to boost your energy and metabolism and can be enjoyed on their own, sprinkled over your breakfast, or added to a healthy smoothie.

Kale

Kale is a member of the cabbage family that is enjoying a surge of popularity lately. There are almost too many benefits of kale to name, but the takeaway message is to start eating more! It’s full of all the good stuff that you would expect and is a cheap way to up your nutrient and vitamin intake. You can buy kale fresh or frozen and I challenge you to give it a go!

Lychees

Lychees are one of the forgotten fruits. They rarely get a mention and are often hidden away at the stores, but this sweet fragrant fruit is high in vitamin C and antioxidants. Lychees are seasonal with a short shelf life, so grab some when you see them!

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds can be purchased from most health food stores and are an inexpensive way to add vitamins, minerals and essential oils to your diet. Sunflower seeds are linked to improved cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol levels. They make a great snack on their own, but can also be added to salads, yoghurt and breakfast bowls.

We challenge you to eat more of these foods this year, even if you only choose one or two to add to your diet. Most of these are inexpensive and widely available and they all will help you improve your diet.

How to Maintain Your Energy Levels Over the Busy Season

We’ve almost reached the end of the year. And its a super busy time… The traffic, the long lines, the cooking, the parties, the kid’s school functions and tying up loose ends at work are all things that make you yawn just to think about. Not because they are boring (well, some of them can be) but because they are truly exhausting. You can forgive yourself for needing the urge to crawl into a fetal position in the middle of the day and take a much-deserved nap.

Naps are great and sleep is really important, but sleep alone is simply not enough to keep your energy levels boosted and your mood high as you get through the busy season.

Thankfully, there’s other ways to maintain your energy levels over Christmas that doesn’t involve reaching for another biscuit with your cup of tea…

Reduce Your Sugar and Caffeine Intake

You’re probably crying on the inside as this goes against what your body so desperately craves when you’re tired, but reducing your sugar and caffeine intake over Christmas will actually have a massive effect on boosting you up off the couch where you’ve been laying lethargically eating a block of chocolate and watching Netflix. This is because caffeine and high sugar foods, particularly processed ones give you that huge sugar rush that might give you energy for a little while, but then result in a sugar crash down which will put you back on the couch. It’s an endless cycle, so avoid that by reaching for naturally sweet foods that release energy slowly – bananas, dates, or a couple of squares of dark chocolate are a good option.

Take time out for yourself

The Christmas season is usually a time where we become so consumed with everything we need for everybody else and social obligations, that we forget we might need time to chill out on our own. If you just know you’ll never get to go for that walk or run like you intended, then book appointments in so that you don’t skip out on time for yourself – get your hair and nails done before Christmas day or squeeze in time for a massage!

 Avoid screens at night and before bed

Sounds simple, but it’s not as we often reach for our screens in that moment when we can finally have some downtime. Phones and tablets can affect your sleep quality so try reach for a book instead, or use that time for something low key like a board game night with your family before bed.

Take Your Vitamins

Hivita Energy 60sVitamins can have a huge effect on your energy levels. Vitamin B+ in particular, supported by a high dose of antioxidants, can support your own natural energy production. Magnesium is also useful for minor aches and cramps as well as relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety that also come at this time of year. Hivita Daily B is a powerful energy-boosting B complex with CoQ10 and pomegranate for strong antioxidant support. It helps maintain vitality and stamina throughout the day and also supports energy production and the body’s response to stress. It also packs a whole lot more punch than a Berrocca.

If you’re feeling run down during the festive season, step away from the sugar and make a mental note to stay healthy using the above tips. Keep on top of your physical and mental health and you’ll find yourself full of energy.

Look no further than Hivita to find the best vitamin range to suit you and your family during the festive season and any other time of the year.

 

Thanks to Angela from School of Mum for talking the time in this crazy busy time of year to share her tips with us. 

What its like living with a thyroid problem

This week we have invited Kris from The Mummy K a mother, blogger and published author, to share her experience living with a thyroid problem. All opinions and advice are her own.

I have an under active thyroid. I finally figured that one out.

For years I have suspected there was something wrong with my system but I couldn’t really tell what it was. I thought it was just normal for a mother to be sluggish, to be tired all the time, to have a hard time losing weight, to feel down.

I thought it was normal because I was getting old, because I had a child, because of this and that. Then one day I bought a copy of a magazine that I don’t normally buy all because Chris Hemsworth was on the cover. There was a full page ad about symptoms of people with a thyroid problem. It said that if I ticked three of the symptoms I could have thyroid issues.

I ticked seven.

The symptoms included things like weight gain around the middle, poor memory, feeling cold in the feet and hands, hair loss, 3pm slump, irritability, craving sugar and carbs, depression, insomnia and more.

The ad said that although I was previously checked by a GP and dismissed as ‘all good’ (which was what happened to me) I still needed a more thorough check up to figure out the real issue.

Testing for thyroid problems

I went to the clinic and got instructions on how to test to really know what was wrong with me. It was a long process, there were lots of tests, blood tests included, but I did them all. I was warned though that because of the difference in standards for thyroid problems in Australia and worldwide I may have a hard time getting doctors to take me seriously.

She was right, too. I had to insist on the types of blood tests I needed to get, some of them were not covered by Medicare. They looked at my TSH levels, my T3 and T4 levels, my muscle tissue reflex among others. One of the results showed that I may have an autoimmune problem related to thyroid but my GP wasn’t that bothered by it because my other tests showed I was okay.

Like this article from Her Collective said, globally the medical industry can’t decide where the reference range should be in these thyroid problem tests. “Depending on which country you’re in, you may be told your thyroid is fine but in another country you have a problem.”

So was it worth all the hassle and money? Definitely. I came out of the clinic with real answers. I was able to figure out why I am how I am. My resting metabolic rate is totally in the red. This means no matter how hard I exercise, it won’t help with weight loss. Instead, it will put pressure on my adrenal glands. This makes a lot of sense to me.

When I was doing a calorie counting weight loss program, I was losing weight but not the amount I was expecting. Although I cut back my food intake and exercised for an hour a day, my weekly weight loss was less than half a kilo. It made me wonder but I thought maybe my body was just like that.

Eventually, of course, it frustrated me when I hit a plateau that extended for over a year. The kilos piled back on and I had no energy to shift it.

Knowing what I know now is a very big help. Now I understand what I need to do to get back on track. The specialist immediately noticed my puffy face and thyroid problemneck, my irritated nasal passages, and my constant snorting because of hay fever. I kept thinking, well that’s just me. It turns out, not necessarily.

Addressing a thyroid problem

There are a lot of things I can do to help myself aside from the treatment I’m doing to fix my thyroid problem. They mentioned stuff like no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no soy and immediately I wanted to shut down. Because, like that song in The Sound of Music, these are a few of my favourite things!

Having said that, I had to reassess my eating habits. I may not totally exclude those from my diet but I have drastically decreased them. That’s how I work. If I deprived myself of everything I’m going to end up bingeing it.

I know it’s a long process. Results aren’t expected until maybe over a year from now. Aside from what I eat I also have to be careful of the activities I do – exercises that are not too boot camp crazy. I take a supplement that is thyroid specific which has helped with my iodine levels (the tests showed it too).

After a couple of weeks on the treatment and supplement, I am seeing the changes everyday. I don’t wake up totally exhausted anymore. The 3pm slump is gone. I used to sit down in the afternoon and fall asleep but now it’s not happening anymore. My insomnia isn’t that often anymore and my muscles don’t hurt as much when I exercise.

Are you tired? Gaining weight when you used to be slim? Depressed? It might just be a thyroid problem.

6 Tricks To Boost Your Metabolism

Have you tried every diet trend, superfood and gym class you can find in the hopes of looking and feeling healthier, only to end up nowhere? It can be hard to achieve or sustain your wellness and weight loss goals, but it could just be a matter of restarting your metabolism.

Here are 6 easy tips to boost your metabolism:

1. Stay on a schedule.
Get your body into a consistent routine during the busy work week. Our bodies love to know exactly what time we’ll be able to rest, get active, eat, work and play. It’s all about creating a routine that works well for your unique body type, lifestyle and personal preferences.

2. Rise with the sun.
If you rise with the sun after a good night’s sleep, your body shouldn’t need a caffeine hit in the morning as the sun is a natural energizer and stimulant. The best way to soak it up is by taking your breakfast, cup of tea or meditation practice out into a sunny spot and enjoying some quality time alone before the rush of the day takes place. The morning sun causes your body to release the feel good hormone serotonin, setting you up for a positive day.

3. Drink water.
We wake up dehydrated and with very acidic bodies after a solid night’s sleep where the body has been busy repairing and rejuvenating. It’s important to flush out any excess toxins and re-alkalize the body first thing in the morning for optimum functioning throughout the day. The best way to do this is to drink a tall glass of room temperature or warm water when you wake up. Optionally, add the juice of half a lemon to aid the cleansing and balancing process, plus get the added bonus of a super vitamin C hit for enhanced immunity.

4. Move your body.
Mornings are a great time for energising the body with stretching, strength or cardio work. It doesn’t have to be intense. A simple walk around the block or a yoga sequence can have a huge impact on your vitality both physically and mentally. It’s a great way to keep the metabolism revved and shed excess weight.

5. Eat your meals at the same time each day.
It’s important to listen to your body when it comes to when and what to eat. Some people work well on three set meals a day and others work better with three smaller meals plus a mid-morning and afternoon snack in between. Your body will keep its metabolism revved and utilise the fuel you are putting into it if you eat at set times during the day, and make healthy choices based on your energy and nutritional requirements. Meals, such as an organic leafy green salad with pastured chicken and a ripe avocado on top, or wild salmon with fresh vegetables, will support a balanced, healthy, slim and energised body.

6. Make sure you get some down time (and some sleep).
Rest and sleep are extremely important to keep your metabolism fired up and to support sustainable weight loss. Set a time in your household where you have a technology-free zone, for example after 7pm, and enjoy a wind down ritual that relaxes you, encouraging effortless and sound sleep. It is hard to do, but your body will thank you and keep you revved up the entire next day.

How to live longer

The people of Okinawa, an island southwest of Japan’s main landmass, are known for living longer than other people. No, they haven’t discovered the fountain of youth, but here are 9 things which characterise their way of life and have helped them live longer:

1. Embrace an ikigai.

An ikigai is one’s reason for being, or one’s purpose in life. Older Okinawans can readily articulate the reason they get up in the morning. Their purpose-imbued lives gives them clear roles of responsibility and feelings of being needed well into their 100s.

2. Rely on a plant-based diet.

Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives. Their meals of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, and tofu are high in nutrients and low in calories. Goya, with its antioxidants and compounds that lower blood sugar, is of particular interest. While centenarian Okinawans do eat some pork, it’s traditionally reserved only for infrequent ceremonial occasions and taken only in small amounts.

3. Get gardening.

Almost all Okinawan centenarians grow or once grew a garden. It’s a source of daily physical activity that exercises the body with a wide range of motion and helps reduce stress. It’s also a near-constant source of fresh vegetables.

4. Eat more soy.

The Okinawan diet is rich foods made with soy, like tofu and miso soup. Flavonoids in tofu may help protect the heart and guard against breast cancer. Fermented soy foods contribute to a healthy intestinal ecology and offer even better nutritional benefits.

5. Maintain a moai.

The Okinawan tradition of forming amoai, or a gathering of people, provides secure social networks. These safety nets lend financial and emotional support in times of need and give all of their members the stress-shedding security of knowing that there is always someone there for them.

6. Enjoy the sunshine.

Vitamin D, produced by the body when it’s exposed on a regular basis to sunlight, promotes stronger bones and healthier bodies. Spending time outside each day allows even senior Okinawans to have optimal vitamin D levels year-round.

7. Stay active.

Older Okinawans are active walkers and gardeners. The Okinawan household has very little furniture; residents take meals and relax sitting on tatami mats on the floor. The fact that old people get up and down off the floor several dozen times daily builds lower body strength and balance, which help protect against dangerous falls.

8. Plant a medical garden.

Mugwort, ginger, and turmeric are all staples of an Okinawan garden, and all have proven medicinal qualities. By consuming these every day, Okinawans may be protecting themselves against illness.

9. Have an attitude.

A hardship-tempered attitude has endowed Okinawans with an affable smugness. They’re able to let difficult early years remain in the past while they enjoy today’s simple pleasures. They’ve learned to be likable and to keep younger people in their company well into their old age.