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The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to kick-start your health! Along with keeping your own health on track, packing your child’s lunch is an important part of keeping everyone in the family eating right. While tossing a Lunchable into their lunchbox may seem like the easiest route, packing a healthy assortment of fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins will keep your kids fueled throughout the day.

Below are some nutritious ideas so you can easily pack your child’s lunch. Choose one item from each category to mix and match delicious and healthy meals:

Monday

  • Protein & Starch: Turkey on a Whole Grain Wrap
  • Fruit: Apple Slices
  • Veggie: Carrots
  • Snack: Yogurt

Tuesday

  • Protein & Starch: Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread
  • Fruit: Clementine
  • Veggie: Snap Peas
  • Snack: String Cheese

Wednesday

  • Protein & Starch: Cheese Quesadilla
  • Fruit: Grapes
  • Veggie: Celery
  • Snack: Larabar

Thursday

  • Protein & Starch: Hummus and Crackers
  • Fruit: Blueberries
  • Veggie: Cucumber Slices
  • Snack: Raisins

Friday

  • Protein & Starch: Tuna on Whole Grain Bread
  • Fruit: Strawberries
  • Veggie: Bell pepper slices
  • Snack: Pretzels

The beauty of this cheat sheet is that the foods in each category can be mixed. Now, making lunch is a breeze and your kids won’t get bored with the same old stuff every week!

Don’t forget about liquid fuel! Never mind those sugary drinks, water is the best thing you can put in your child’s lunch box.  This will also help to keep them focused throughout the day. Staying hydrated is important both in the gym and the classroom, fueled students make strong and focused athletes!

Five Fun Family Activities

Posted by Gym-Nest on Apr-28-2017

family fun

Did you know that family time has proven benefits for both parent and child? According to The Child Development Institute interactive time spent together in activity creates a strong bond and aids in learning a few valuable lessons. Children feel important and loved. Children have the opportunity to model their parent’s behavior. Parents can observe their child’s strengths and weaknesses to better guide them. Children have a chance to voice their thoughts and feelings. Parents and children develop a stronger bond. Not only is family time beneficial but it can also be really FUN. We put together Five Fun Family Activities to try around Long Island.

 

Adventure Park Long Island

https://longislandadventurepark.org

There’s nothing like a day at The Adventure Park! Within seven beautiful acres of woodland you will find an amazing “aerial forest park.” With 10 Trails, 15 zip lines, 5 difficulty levels, and over 140 challenge bridges, The Adventure Forest is the largest forest-climbing park in New York.  At the heart of the park is the main platform with 10 separate trails heading off and up into the treetops.  Each is color-coded indicating the difficulty of the trail. Challenging both your mental and physical abilities, special bonding will take place as you cheer each other on throughout the obstacles.

 

Best Bike Trails

Jones Beach, Wantagh

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale

Cathedral Pines State Park, Middle Island

Heckscher State Park, East Islip

Hither Woods State Park, Montauk

 

Avalon Park and Nature Preserve

http://avalonparkandpreserve.org/

Nature lovers if you haven’t been to Avalon you are truly missing out! It’s hard to believe this little slice of heaven is right on the north shore of Long Island. Walking up to the park doesn’t seem like much but the farther you follow the trail the better the scenery gets. Trails are lined with wild flowers in the summer; soft lush greens are designated for meditation, wooden benches are the perfect spot to relax with the family. If you visit make sure you head to the nature preserve where you’ll find acres of hiking trails.

 

The Gravity Vault

http://www.gravityvault.com/

The Gravity Vault Indoor Rock Gyms’ mission is to make everyone’s rock climbing experience a positive and memorable one! They strive to provide a welcoming environment for everyone young and old, big and small, novice and expert, to challenge them each day. The Gravity Vault wants each person who walks through our doors to believe that new heights can always be reached, in all aspects of life.

 

 

LI Children’s Museum

https://www.licm.org/

The Long Island Children’s Museum offers 14 interactive exhibits plus live theater, art spaces and daily activities to provide hours of discovery for children of all ages. The museum values creativity, the importance of play, diversity, community, cooperation, and kindness. I think we can all agree these are things we want to teach our kids!

 

With the beginning of a new school year comes the test of how well parents, coaches, teachers, students and athletes can balance their work, extracurricular activities and/or school schedules. While some have no problem with the ultimate “juggling act,” others struggle to manage their time in order to fit everything into the day.

At a young age, students who participate in after school activities have already begun to exercise their time management skills. As a student-athlete, you are often bombarded with commitments from various facets in your life including school, clubs, sports, friends, family and extracurricular activities. You feel the pressure and stress rising with the more you add to your daily schedule. You don’t want to say “no” but you also know by saying “yes” that you are “stretching yourself too thin.” Although we all would like have Superman powers, the way he can rescue the helpless victims, while fighting bad guys and still be home for dinner, we can’t do it all.

Learning to demonstrate time management can help you be more productive and improve your performance on the field or court as well as in the classroom. You will be able to alleviate the anxiety and feel ready to face the day.  Here are a few strategies you can use to help manage your time and ensure a stress free, productive day.

  • Set goals: Identify what it is that you want to accomplish for the day. Be sure to set realistic goals. Don’t try to over commit or take on more than you can handle.
  • Plan and prepare head (to-do lists): Think of it as if you are going away on a trip, most people like to plan or make an itinerary of what they want to do while away. With this in mind, create a to-do list. This will help you keep track of the things you have done and what you still need to do.
  • Learn to make sacrifices: As mentioned earlier, without the same type of powers Superman possesses, we can’t do it all. You need to learn to make sacrifices. Your teammates are counting on you to be there for practice and the game. Although your social life and other personal things are important, you must try to stay true to your commitment, while also making sure you complete your school work.
  • Get into a routine: If you establish a routine, you will feel more at ease during the day.
  • Have someone to hold you accountable: If you are concerned that you will divert from the schedule or routine, ask a parent or friend to help hold you accountable so that you stay on task and remain on time.
  • Don’t procrastinate: We have all had that panic moment where we waited until the last minute to do homework or study for a test. Cramming and staying up late after a long day could result in poor performance during practice or in class. Make sure to pace yourself as you try to complete your school work and attend your after school activities/ sports practices.
  • Prioritize: Identify the important tasks and rationalize what you need to get done and what can be done at a later date.
  • Avoid Distractions: Put the phone away! It is easy to get distracted with cell phones, video games and all the social media outlets. You will increase your efficiency if you are focused on the task at hand.
  • Use your free time wisely: Be sure to use any free periods you have at school or down time between school and practice to do homework or study.
  • Set time aside for yourself: With all the running around from place to place, make sure to set aside time for you to do something relaxing that you enjoy such as reading a book, listening to music or watching television.

In closing, by becoming more organized and intentionally structuring your day, you can experience a new sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. You have control over your time and the way you spend it. Sometimes you have to press the pause button to regroup and evaluate your top priorities. Your friends and family are there to support you. You can do it. Stay focused and work hard!

 

Fresh Ideas for Spring Fun

Posted by Gym-Nest on May-5-2015

Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of upcoming Mother’s Day, we have complied a list of fun activities for you and your family to take advantage of this spring!

Outdoor recreation is enjoyable for the whole family. Outdoor recreation has psychological benefits, including the prevention or reduction of stress, improved self-esteem, confidence and creativity, spiritual growth and adventure.  So grab your family and get outside!

  1. Grow a vegetable garden: All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants! Having your children assist you in the garden can increase the chance that they will eat more of the fruits and vegetables they have helped to grow. Visit http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/vegetable-gardening/5069.html to get started!
  2. Take an evening walk: Gather the family and the dog because research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help your reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels, maintain body weight and enhance mental well-being.
  3. Check out local farmers markets: Not only will you be supporting local farm stands and business owners, but you will also be eating healthier produce! Check out http://www.lifb.com/BUYLOCAL/FindaFarmersMarket/tabid/69/Default.aspx for your nearest farmers market.
  4. Make a bird feeder: Over 1800 species of birds migrate each year! As the weather warms up and they fly back for the spring, welcome the birds home with some fresh food! Check out these adorable and easy ones from Good Housekeeping: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g678/bird-feeders/?
  5. Nature walks and hiking: The spring is the best time for this activity since the temperature is warm and not too hot. Hike through a 200-year old Sunken Forest in Fire Island’s ocean dunes or find a trail leading up to the highest point on Long Island at Jayne’s Hill.  Visit http://www.discoverlongisland.com/visitors/ThingsResult.aspx/minor/WEBHIKE to find a place that best suits your family.

For more information about Gym-Nest, please visit our website at http://www.gym-nest.com/ and for any questions please call us at 631-205-KIDS.

We wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and a Wonderful Spring!

Healthy Eating Tips

Posted by Gym-Nest on Mar-5-2015

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to eat healthy. With our busy lives and little picky eaters, we have complied a list of some healthy tips and snacks. March is National Nutrition Month (http://www.nationalnutritionmonth.org/nnm/), so now is the best time to start eating healthy! National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign is designed to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

One of our favorite tips is to start each morning off by drinking a glass of lemon water. It’s important to make sure the water is room temperature, because cold water can shock your system and prevent all of the many health benefits from starting to work. Lemon water benefits include, constipation Help, hydration, weight loss, boosts your immune system (vitamin C), supports brain healthy (potassium) and cleanses the liver, the liver can make more enzymes out of lemon juice than any other food.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it give you energy to start a new day, but eating breakfast offers many health benefits, including weight control, improved performance and lower cholesterol levels. One of our favorites is oatmeal which offers many nutrients and fills you up.

Amazing healthy snacks for you and for your children:
Cheese & crackers: The protein in this kid-friendly snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime. Use cookie cutters and make shapes to make it more appealing to children!

Smoothies: Use nonfat vanilla yogurt, 100 percent juice such as orange or pineapple, and a banana, then experiment with cut-up fresh or frozen fruit. It’s a great way to sneak in servings of fruit and fiber into your child’s diet. Plus you will love them as well! Added bonus, throw in a few leaves of spinach, nobody will ever know!

Vegetables with hummus: Cut up some of your favorite veggies such as cucumber or carrots and dip into hummus. Children love to dip! Chickpeas, hummus’s main ingredient, give you protein, good-for-you carbs, and fiber.

Apples are one of the healthiest fruits. Slice them and top with yogurt or peanut butter for an extra protein boost.

Check out http://www.superhealthykids.com/recipe-category/snacks/ for more yummy, fun and healthy snacks.
As part of a healthy lifestyle we always recommend daily exercise as well! So stop in at Gym-Nest (http://www.gym-nest.com/) and see what we have to offer!

Daylight Savings, You Can Do It!

Posted by Gym-Nest on Mar-6-2014

Daylight Savings! Quick, how did you just feel? If you’re like most people, you felt a mix of emotion. Happy at the prospect of enjoying more hours of daylight, but dreading the “lost” hour of sleep that accompanies it. And it’s not just you, but everyone around you that is trying to adjust at the same time. Yikes!

Did you know that for children, the one hour time change is harder to adjust to than flying across country into a whole new time zone? It’s true. A child’s body clock is set by light and dark patterns. So, when you arrive in a different time zone, it is still light and dark at same points of the day. With daylight savings, the light and dark patterns change. It can take 7 – 10 days for a child’s internal body clock to reset .

We all know how difficult it can be when we are off our normal schedule, especially our kids. So the Gym-Nest offers a few simple tips to help make the transition smoother:

  • Be proactive. Don’t wait for the clocks to spring forward to begin the adjustment. Slowly begin adjusting your, and your child’s, schedule a few days before daylight savings time. Small, gradual changes should allow the body to adjust to the change more easily.
  • Stick to your routine. Have snacks, meals, naps, etc at the same time you did before the time change. If snack time is 3:00, have it at the “new” 3:00.
  • Be bright! Exposure to bright light first thing in the morning can help reset the body clock faster.

We want your kids, and you, to have the energy to enjoy their time at the Gym-Nest! We hope these tips help! Daylight Savings is Sunday March, 9th year. Happy Spring!

Fresh Ideas for the Fresh Snow Fall!

Posted by Gym-Nest on Feb-12-2014

Getting a little tired of all that white stuff floating to the ground? How about your kids? Snow days are fun because they are a change in the routine, but this winter, snow days have become the routine! Well, you know we love routines here at The Gym-Nest so we thought if snowfalls are keeping your kids from the routine of their gymnastics instruction, then we will offer some fun ways to enjoy the snow and be active!

  • Toys do not have to be seasonal! Hula hoops can be great fun in the snow. Just try to keep them going when all bundled up. What a challenge! Or, lay them flat in the snow and jump from hoop to hoop. Try increasing the distance between hoops and see who can make the longest jump!
  • Inner tubes can be used in the snow too. Have a seat and use your feet to move along and race some friends.
  • Be creative and use snow to sculpt all kinds of different snow critters and use bits of nature as eyes, antennae, etc.
  • Fill some spray bottles with water tinted with different colors of food dye and use the snow as a large canvas for the kids to “paint” on.
  • Tic Tac Toe takes on new excitement when the board is drawn in the snow and sticks are used to make  the “x’s” and pine cones or rocks are used to make the “o’s”.
  • Tinted water can also be frozen into cubes, then hidden in the yard for a scavenger hunt.
  • Fore! Pack down a section of snow and then push small sand buckets or plastic cups down into the snow. Mark the “holes” with sticks and now you have a golf course!

Let’s make the most of the snow! Before we know it, we will be hot and wishing for cooler weather! Do you have some good snow time activities to share? Head over to the Gym-Nest’s facebook page and share!

Help Your Kids Handle Holiday Stress

Posted by Gym-Nest on Dec-19-2013

The picture perfect holiday has everyone smiling, laughing, and enjoying themselves. It is what we look forward to all year long. Along with the happiness, often comes stress and exhaustion. It doesn’t just affect adults, but kids can feel it too. Coming to the Gym-Nest, being physical, and connecting with friends is one way to combat the feelings of stress. Here are some other tips to help keep the kids happy and calm during the holiday season:

  • Most importantly … manage your own stress! Children will pick up on your feelings of stress and become agitated or worried themselves.
  • Make the time to plan ahead, but leave room in schedules to handle slight detours.
  • It may be difficult, but try to stick to routines as much as possible.
  • Rules shouldn’t change just because it is holiday time. Consequences/rewards should be used as usual.
  • Schedule your activities around the children’s usual sleep routines.
  • Watch your child(ren) for signs of nervousness or anxiety. Traveling, having guests stay in your home, or holiday performances are just some examples of things which might make the kids feel on edge.
  • Be sure the kids are getting plenty of healthy food and drinks in addition to all of the holiday treats.
  • Schedule time to relax and enjoy one another away from the hustle and bustle.

Anticipation builds as the school break approaches while activities seem to multiply. There is often a crash after the holiday and the return to the typical routine draws near. Make some plans for the kids to look forward to. It can be as simple as a parent/child date at their favorite park or going out for special ice cream. Ease back into the pace of the school week and of course, get excited to return to the Gym-Nest!

Tell Us Your Family Traditions!

Posted by Gym-Nest on Dec-9-2013

Tis the season to celebrate and one thing we enjoy celebrating here at The Gym-Nest is family and friends! We thought it would be fun to share some special family traditions with you and hope that you will share some of yours back!

Do you know Hermie the Elf? You know, the one that wanted to be a dentist and somehow always managed to mess up the toys he made? Well, send a little one a gift from Hermie! Of course, it shouldn’t be too perfect but it can be original and great. One year a mirror decorated with small pieces of smoothed out glass was given (it was made from pieces of toys that Hermie had broken!)

Slow down the gift opening frenzy and create a scavenger hunt to find the gifts.

Take a picture in the same spot of the house each year. It’s fun to look back and see who joined the family, how people dressed and wore their hair, how much they’ve grown, etc.

Create a holiday food exchange with friends, family, or neighbors. Cookies, cakes, latkes, and more to share!

Have each family member make a list of their happiest memories from the year that is ending and a list of hopes for the year to come. Share with one another or keep as a private memento.

Make some popcorn, gather the family and watch home movies and look at family pictures.

Create clay handprints of the kids each holiday season and watch their growth. You can even paint them and use as holiday decorations!

We have so many wonderful families with us here at The Gym-Nest we are sure there are many more traditions to share! Please tell us your favorite family traditions in the comments below or on our facebook page!

Giving to Others Makes You Healthy!

Posted by Gym-Nest on Nov-25-2013

‘Tis a busy time of year and it can be overwhelming trying to fit everything into your busy days.  At the Gym-Nest, we always try to support the whole child, not just the athlete in each child. With that in mind, we would like to offer some thoughts to support our athletes and their families in keeping the holiday season joyful.

Did you know that there is scientific proof that giving makes a person healthy? How great is that!  Here are some interesting facts we found on Oprah.com:

1- Just thinking about giving produces positive effects on the body!

2-  Listening to others can reduce a persons risk of having a heart attack. Keep the “I’s”, “Me’s”, and “My’s” out of the conversation and truly listen to others.

3- When suffering from pain, the simple act of helping others in pain may release endorphins which will reduce a person’s pain.

4- Being socially connected results in less colds.

5- Love actually can speed healing!

6- Giving a massage will stop the adrenal gland from producing cortisol which in turn will make the massage GIVER feel better!

Here is scientific proof that it is better to give than to receive! Not only does the Gym-Nest offer ways to become physically healthy through exercise, but we offer many ways to get healthy by giving. Listen to your fellow students and offer help. Take time to be social with one another and if you are nursing an injury, seek out others who may be hurt and offer support. Not only will these acts help you stay feeling great during the hectic holiday season, but they are easy, and fun, to do all year long! Thank you to all who gave to our thanksgiving food drive which sponsored Riverhead foundation for marine research and preservation through atlantis marine world! If you are looking for a place to give, we currently have a Toys for Tots collection set up and we will be starting a Stony Brook Children’s Hospital fundraiser shortly! Thank you for your support and here’s to feeling good!