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BYU alumna creates kids products to encourage healthy eating – Universe.byu.edu

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Ann Earl uses the Healthy Kiddos flashcards and plates to educate her kids on how to eat healthily. (Ann Earl)

Ann Earl was feeding her three children fresh pears one day when she noticed they weren’t eating the peels. She started describing antioxidants to her 4-year-old daughter as the “good guys” that go after the “bad guys” in her body.

“It was like a light went on in her head,” Ann said. “She ate every last bite of the peel. I realized I might be onto something here. At the next meal, I explained the benefits of carrots, and she happily ate some proclaiming, ‘Look, I can see better!’”

As a graduate of the BYU exercise science undergraduate and master’s program, Earl discovered her passion for teaching her young children to eat healthily. Earl took a leap into the entrepreneurial world to start her business, Healthy Kiddos, even with three young kids begging for her attention.

Earl is married to Adam Earl, and they have three young children: Ellie, Jensen and Alice, with twins on the way. Ann said her family is the highest priority in her life and nothing could change that.

“(Ann) values her family,” said the Earls’ neighbor Cindy Smith. “She is sincere in her faith and lives it to the fullest every day. I admire her for her drive to always do more.”

According to her husband, Adam, Ann Earl has always had a passion for healthy living.

“She will take recipes and sometimes — I call it — ‘healthify’ them,” Adam Earl said. “She’ll take out the butter and put in applesauce. She is definitely passionate about that sort of thing.”

Ann Earl with her husband, Adam, and her three kids: Ellie, Jensen and Alice. (Ann Earl)

After Ann Earl’s experience with the fruit peels, her kids kept asking about the nutrients in the fruits and vegetables they were eating. Ann Earl said it was difficult for her to remember everything and bringing out her phone to do a quick Google search wasn’t always the most practical option.

Ann Earl searched for a product she could buy to have around at dinner to educate her kids about healthy foods, but she quickly discovered such a product did not exist.

“My husband suggested I come up with a product that would provide information for moms and caretakers to help even picky eaters improve their eating habits,” Ann Earl said.

Adam Earl remembers thinking, “If there’s a market, why not create a product ourselves?”

The Healthy Kiddos Plates created by Ann and Adam Earl are found on walmart.com and amazon.com. (Ann Earl)

Shortly after this experience, the Earls did everything they could to bring their product to the table. After many late nights of brainstorming, the Earls decided to create two different products: reusable plates and flashcards.

The Earls had barely finished their product when they had some new neighbors over for dinner. Ann Earl brought up the plates at the end of the meal. As it turned out, their neighbors, the Smiths, happened to be meeting with a former senior vice president of Walmart the next day and asked if they could take the plates to show him.

“My husband and I have been in the retail business going on 40 years,” Cindy Smith said. “When we saw the plates for the first time, we knew we could take them to Walmart’s new manufacturers’ show and they would be well received — and they were.”

The Healthy Kiddos flashcards created by Ann and Adam Earl are found on walmart.com and amazon.com. (Ann Earl)

As Smith predicted, the product was a hit with Walmart, which launched the Earls’ entrepreneurial journey with Healthy Kiddos.

The mission of Healthy Kiddos, according to Ann Earl, is to give kids a reason to eat healthily. Each one of their products is built around that mission and details the vitamins and health benefits of particular fruits or vegetables.

There are six different fruit plates and six different vegetable plates. The plastic plates are dishwasher safe and BPA-free. The flashcards come in a pack of 24, with 12 vegetables and 12 fruits. Healthy Kiddos products can be found online at Walmart and Amazon.

Ann Earl faced the feat of starting her own business without any business background, but her husband is a graduate of the BYU MBA program. Ann Earl has expertise in the product’s subject, and Adam Earl is more entrepreneurial minded.

Despite the demands she faces, Ann Earl said she continues to keep her priorities aligned with her values.

“Family is my first priority,” Ann Earl said. “If something comes up with my kids, that is always going to take precedence. We try to keep things as normal as possible.”

BYU alumna Ann Earl plays with her children outside of Walmart, which sells her healthy eating products. (Ann Earl)

Adam Earl said he thought they would be much further along in the process than they currently are.

“With all those setbacks, you can see why people throw in the towel,” Adam said. “But Ann has the tenacity to stick it to it. Things get tough, and she is not afraid of doing tough things and sticking to it, even when we got knocked down a time or two.”

Ann Earl said she felt joy after hearing from customers that her product is helping their kids finally eat fruits and vegetables.

“That’s really rewarding for me,” Ann said. “I really believe in the power of good nutrition and overall health. I don’t believe in forcing kids to eat something, but when they are choosing it, that’s when it is really exciting.”

Ann Earl said Healthy Kiddos’ success didn’t come overnight, and it took longer than expected to get where they are now with their company and sales.

“Now we are able to appreciate really consistent sales on Amazon, but it took a lot longer to get here than we anticipated,” Ann Earl said. “Be patient through the process, and don’t give up, even when you make a big failure. If you believe in what you’re doing, keep pressing on.”

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Healthy Eating

Don't Let These Problems Get in the Way of Healthy Eating – ConsumerReports.org

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A slight drop in appetite is typical with age. And because your sense of smell and sense of taste decline over the years, food can seem less appetizing, notes Ronan Factora, M.D., a geriatrician at the Cleveland Clinic. Chronic conditions such as dementia and kidney failure can reduce appetite, too.

Smart solutions: You don’t need to be overly concerned unless you’re unintentionally losing weight. But to ward off problems, stay as physically active as possible. Exercise, including resistance training, helps you retain muscle mass, which keeps your metab­o­lism humming and potentially ramps up appetite.

And consider tai chi: A study in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine last April found that older adults who practiced this regularly reported increased appetite.

If you get full quickly, consider eating five smaller daily meals instead of three larger ones (with protein in at least three meals). Add healthy nutrients and extra calories, if needed, by including milk powder, egg whites, olive oil, and drinks such as fruit smoothies in your diet.

To stimulate your appetite, suck on hard candy before meals, says Lauri Wright, Ph.D., R.D.N., a nutrition professor at the University of North Florida. Prescription appetite stimulants such as megestrol acetate (Megace and generic) improve appetite only slightly but boost the risk of blood clots and fluid retention.

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14 Simple Ways to Stick to a Healthy Diet – EcoWatch

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By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.


It can also improve your mood and reduce your risk of disease.

Yet despite these benefits, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can be challenging.

Here are 14 ways to stick to a healthy diet.

1. Start With Realistic Expectations

Eating a nutritious diet has many benefits, including potential weight loss.

However, it’s important to set realistic expectations.

For example, if you pressure yourself to lose weight too quickly, your plan to achieve better health may backfire.

Researchers found that obese people who expected to lose a lot of weight were more likely to drop out of a weight loss program within 6–12 months (1).

Setting a more realistic and achievable goal can keep you from getting discouraged and may even lead to greater weight loss.

Summary

Having realistic expectations increases your chances of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviors.

2. Think About What Really Motivates You

Remembering why you’re making healthy choices can help you stay on course.

Making a list of specific reasons why you want to get healthier can be helpful.

Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you need a reminder.

Summary

When you’re tempted to indulge in unhealthy behaviors, remembering what motivates you can help you stay on track.

3. Keep Unhealthy Foods Out of the House

It’s difficult to eat healthy if you’re surrounded by junk foods.

If other family members want to have these foods around, try keeping them hidden rather than on countertops.

The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely applies here.

Having food on display in various areas of the house has been linked to obesity and increased consumption of unhealthy foods (2, 3).

Summary

Keeping unhealthy foods out of the house, or at least out of sight, can increase your chances of staying on track.

4. Don’t Have an “All or Nothing” Approach

A major roadblock to achieving a healthy diet and lifestyle is black-and-white thinking.

One common scenario is that you have a few unhealthy appetizers at a party, decide that your diet is ruined for the day, and proceed to overindulge in unhealthy foods.

Instead of considering the day ruined, try putting the past behind you and choosing healthy, unprocessed foods that contain protein for the remainder of the party.

This will help you feel full and satisfied rather than stuffed and frustrated.

A few off-plan choices make very little difference in the long run, as long as you balance them with healthy foods.

Summary

Rejecting the urge to judge your day as “good” or “bad” can prevent you from overeating and making poor choices.

5. Carry Healthy Snacks

Sticking to a healthy diet can be tough when you’re away from home for extended periods.

When you get too hungry on the go, you may end up grabbing whatever is available.

This is often processed food that doesn’t really satisfy hunger and isn’t good for you in the long run.

Having healthy high-protein snacks on hand can help keep your appetite in check until you’re able to have a full meal (4).

Some examples of good, portable snacks are almonds, peanuts and jerky. Also consider filling a small cooler with hard-boiled eggs, cheese or Greek yogurt.

Summary

Take healthy, high-protein snacks when you’re on the road or traveling in case you’re unable to eat a meal for several hours.

6. Exercise and Change Diet at the Same Time

You may have heard you shouldn’t change too many things at once when trying to improve your health. In general, this is good advice.

Still, research shows that when you make both dietary and physical activity changes at the same time, the results tend to reinforce each other.

In a study in 200 people, those who began eating a healthy diet and exercising at the same time found it easier to maintain these behaviors than those who started with either diet or exercise alone, then added the other later (5).

Summary

Simultaneously beginning to exercise and changing the way you eat increases your chances of healthy lifestyle success.

7. Have a Game Plan Before Eating Out

Trying to maintain a healthy diet while eating out can be very challenging.

Still, there are ways to make it easier, such as checking out the menu before you go or drinking water before and during the meal.

It’s best to have a strategy in place before you get to the restaurant rather than being overwhelmed once you get there.

Here are 20 clever tips to eat healthy when eating out.

Summary

Having a plan before eating out can help you make healthier food choices.

8. Don’t Let Traveling Derail You

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being outside of your familiar territory can make it difficult to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips:

  • Research the restaurants and supermarkets ahead of time.
  • Challenge yourself to stay on track for most of the trip.

Summary

You can stick to a healthy eating plan while traveling. All it takes is a bit of research, planning, and commitment.

9. Practice Mindful Eating

Eating mindfully can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Take time to enjoy your food and appreciate its ability to nourish you. This increases your chances of making successful, lasting behavioral changes.

In a four-month study, overweight and obese women who practiced mindful eating significantly improved their relationship with food (6).

Another 6-week study in women with binge eating disorder found that binge episodes decreased from 4 to 1.5 per week when the women practiced mindful eating. Plus, the severity of each binge decreased (7).

Summary

Adopting a mindful eating approach can help you achieve a better relationship with food and may reduce binge eating.

10. Track and Monitor Your Progress

Logging the foods you eat into a diary, online food tracker or app can help you stick to a healthy diet and lose weight (8, 9, 10).

Measuring your exercise progress is also beneficial and provides you with motivation that can help you keep going.

In a three-month study, overweight women who were given pedometers walked farther and lost six times more weight than those who didn’t use them (11).

Summary

Tracking your food intake and exercise progress can provide motivation and accountability. Studies show that it helps you stick to a healthy diet and leads to greater weight loss.

11. Get a Partner to Join You

Sticking with a healthy eating and exercise plan can be tough to do on your own.

Having a diet or exercise buddy may be helpful, especially if that person is your partner or spouse (12, 13).

Researchers studying data from more than 3,000 couples found that when one person made a positive lifestyle change, such as increasing physical activity, the other was more likely to follow their lead (13).

Summary

Having a partner join you in making healthy lifestyle changes can increase your chances of success.

12. Start the Day With a High-Protein Breakfast

If your first meal is well balanced and contains adequate protein, you’re more likely to maintain stable blood sugar levels and not overeat for the rest of the day (14, 15).

In one study, overweight women who consumed at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories at lunch than those who ate a lower-protein breakfast (15).

Summary

Eating a high-protein breakfast helps you stay full and can prevent overeating later in the day.

13. Realize That It Takes Time to Change Your Habits

Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect to adapt to your new, healthy way of living.

Researchers have found that it takes an average of 66 days to make a new behavior a habit (16).

Eventually, eating healthy and exercising regularly will become automatic.

Summary

Do your best to stay motivated and focused while you adapt to a healthy lifestyle. It takes 66 days to make a new habit, on average.

14. Figure Out What Works Best for You

There is no perfect way that works for everyone.

It’s important to find a way of eating and exercising that you enjoy, find sustainable and can stick to for the rest of your life.

The best diet for you is the one you can stick to in the long run.

Summary

Weight loss methods that work for some people are not guaranteed to work for you. To lose weight and keep it off, find effective strategies that you can stick to in the long term.

The Bottom Line

Breaking your habits and improving your diet is not easy.

However, several strategies can help you stick to your diet plans and lose weight.

These include mindful eating, keeping unhealthy snacks out of sight, carrying healthy snacks and managing your expectations. Still, one of the keys to a successful diet is finding out what works for you in the long term.

If you’re trying to lose weight, some of the strategies above may give you a significant advantage.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.

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Students should prioritize healthy eating – The Crimson While

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Olivia Moody, Staff Columnist

So many people claim it is impossible to live a healthy lifestyle in college. Students complain healthy food is expensive or that they don’t have the space to cook meals. They complain they don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership and the Rec Center is always too crowded. Those are a bunch of excuses, quite honestly.

To begin, healthy food does not cost any more than unhealthy food. It’s probably easier to run through McDonalds for breakfast than to run to the store and grab some eggs. But hey, eggs will last a lot longer. You can get a good four meals out of that, and they’re what, $2 or $3? Grab some chicken and vegetables and meal prep for the week. It’ll end up saving plenty of time.

I know it can be a little difficult to cook in the dorms, but that pertains to freshmen only; the rest of you have no excuse. And freshmen, there are kitchens in the dorms. Use them. It may be a little inconvenient to lug food and dishes to the first floor just to cook, but isn’t it worth it in the long run? Make a dinner out of it get the roommates together and prepare a nice little meal for yourselves.

And for those of you who are in a fraternity or a sorority, you have three meals made for you every day. I know those meals aren’t always the healthiest, but nearly all of the houses have a salad bar. For example, the Alpha Gamma Delta house has a salad bar with grilled chicken on it. Every day I make a salad with grilled chicken for both lunch and dinner. I choose to ignore the unhealthy choices and go straight for the protein and veggies. You are more than capable of making these same decisions, no matter the house you are a part of.

I know the Rec Center stays crowded, but that’s just an excuse. It might be a little intimidating at first, but I promise nobody is really paying attention to you; they’re too busy focusing on their own workout. Put your headphones in, zone everyone else out and do your thing. If you don’t feel comfortable using the machines, try one of the group classes. The Rec offer class after class, day in and day out. And if the free Rec Center isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of inexpensive places around town to join, like Planet Fitness and Crunch Fitness.

We all sit here and complain about how the “freshman 15” is a very real thing, but we don’t do a darn thing about it. We go out, splurge on late night snacks and refuse to go to the gym.

So here I am, encouraging you to stop making excuses. Get your butt off of the couch and turn off the Netflix. Stop going through the drive-thru, walk into the store and grab some fruit and vegetables. Buy the frozen ones if you need to – it’s a little cheaper. Go get a gym membership, or walk yourself into the Rec Center that is free for full-time undergraduate students. Make it a lifestyle. Make it a routine. Once you start, I promise you won’t want to stop. Living healthy is a choice, and one you need to be willing to make.

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