By Allen Foster

The best way to introduce Audrey Fleck is to say that she’s a dietitian/nutritionist. However, it is important to note that she is by no means your typical dietitian. Her specialty is functional and integrative nutrition. In layman’s terms, she looks at the person as a whole and uses food to heal them. Being the best whole and healthy you that you can be is not about “dieting,” it’s about catalyzing a lifestyle shift because, as Audrey likes to point out, “health is a life long journey and not a destination!”

Audrey Fleck, MS, RDN, LDN, CFSP
Functional Origins
101 N. 5th Street
Perkasie, PA. 18944
(215) 257-5301
www.functionalorigins.com

In theory, giving someone a supplemental shake sounds like a great nutritional quick fix, but in practice, Audrey found approaches such as this didn’t have a lasting impact. “People want to make changes in their life, and as soon as they feel great, they forget what they did to feel great. Health and nutrition has to be something that you’re constantly working towards, you can’t just do a few quick things and then think you don’t have to worry about your diet. It’s always a journey and people have slip-ups because nobody’s perfect. When you do, sometimes you have to reset or restart with the changes you’ve made. That’s why it’s a journey and there is no destination.”

Audrey has found great success in her approach. In some instances, she’s been able to cure patients who have experienced chronic stomach distress. In others, she’s been able to get people completely off of their prescribed medications. Following, Audrey provides a number of nutrition tips (along with a recipe) that will help get your kids off to a strong, yet effortless, start to their day.

Tip 1: Promote Healthy Foods

Kids don’t know anything about cookies and they don’t know what soda is until they have been introduced to it. If sugar is one of the first things introduced, it makes it very difficult to develop a palette where vegetables and other healthy foods can be enjoyed. Make sure healthy foods are always promoted.

Tip 2: Parents Are The Key

Parents are the key players in kids’ nutritional choices because they are the ones who buy the food, they are the ones who make the food, and they are the ones who provide it. If you want your kid to be eating healthier, you need to at least start with what you’re putting in front of them.

Tip 3: Don’t Force It

Kids have their own opinions. Toddlers may like healthy foods one day and the next day they won’t. The most important thing that a parent can do is not push food. Make healthy items available so the child has the opportunity to try something new, but do not force it because that’s when the resistance will build up. Just by having the food on the plate and seeing it multiple times, some kids will surprise you and actually try it. It’s definitely a slower process, but don’t make it a stressful situation.

Tip 4: The No-Nos

Items that are marketed towards children are typically not healthy. Avoid pop tarts, sugary cereals and gummies.

Tip 5: Protein Is A Must

Making sure that there is actually protein at breakfast is one of the most important things for kids. Most breakfast foods that are convenience type foods will be refined and processed carbohydrates, which are higher in sugar and lower in protein. Kids will process that kind of food in about an hour and shortly after that they are hungry again or they are tired, so it doesn’t help for performance in school… or even their mood.

Tip 6: Plan Ahead

If everybody’s running out the door every morning, prep some things ahead of time so you do not have to be making breakfast during the week. One item that’s really easy is an egg muffin — it’s almost like making a mini omelette, but in a little muffin tin. [See recipe below.] You can throw some vegetables in there or you can throw in some ham and those muffins will just need to be reheated in the morning.

Tip 7: Cut-Ups

Pre-cut up fruit is great for a quick morning grab.

Tip 8: Smoothies Rule

I work with a lot of teenagers who kind of shy away from breakfast in general. They just want to run out the door. If you make a smoothie the night before, they can just grab that for breakfast on the way out the door. Use protein powder… and maybe you can sneak some vegetables in there, too.

Tip 9: Use Those Leftovers

There is no reason why leftovers from dinner or something else that’s not typically thought of as a breakfast item can’t be served at breakfast. It is really important to start the day off with a balanced meal. Reheating a bowl of chili might sound unconventional, but it’s healthier than starting the day off with a bowl of cereal — cereal is not a balanced meal… and it’s not enough food.

Tip 10: Overnight Oatmeal

Put some oats and almond milk in either the refrigerator or a crock pot overnight. The next day, add some nuts to it for your protein. You could even add sausage links on top or some hard boiled eggs on the side. The next day, it will be available for your family the minute they wake up.

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Gluten-free, Nut-free, Dairy-free Blender Spinach-Banana Muffins (Adapted from JoyFoodSunshine.com)
Prepare in advanced for a quick, easy, and healthy breakfast.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed (healthiest to buy whole seeds, and grind them yourself)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 extra-ripe large bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or line a muffin tin.
2. Put 2 cups of old-fashioned oats in your blender.
3. Blend until the oats achieve the texture of flour. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
4. Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the oat flour (ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon). Set aside.
5. Add almond milk and maple syrup to the blender followed by 2 cups of spinach. Blend together until completely smooth and homogeneous.
6. Add bananas and coconut oil and blend until smooth.
7. Add vanilla and eggs and blend until just combined.
8. Pour wet ingredients to dry mixture and stir to combine (making sure there are no lumps)!
9. Fill each well in your muffin tin with ¼ cup of batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back when touched
10. Serve 1-2 muffins with 1-2 hard boiled eggs or a breakfast meat!

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