Summer is slowly slipping away, the crisp fall air is in clear sight, and the kids are back in school, which means this is the perfect time to focus on keeping your children properly nourished and healthy.

The fall harvest brings with it a myriad of yummy fruits and vegetables, many of which kids love. The cooler weather and interaction with many more people also make some little ones more susceptible to the common cold and other ailments.

As parents you want to do all that you can to make sure that this transition back to school and into the cooler weather goes as smoothly as possible. The following tips and tricks can help you keep your children’s bellies happy while keeping their health and energy soaring during this exciting time.

Healthy CookingRiding on the Healthy Bus

Contrary to what some believe, many children will eat more than pizza, fries and chicken nuggets. There are so many different fruits and vegetables to choose from, especially during the autumn season, that limiting food options is such a shame. Back to school season is a great time to introduce new and healthy foods to kids.

If your kids aren’t enthusiastic about a particular food the first time they try it, don’t be discouraged. For many children, especially young children, it can take 10 or more attempts of introducing the food before they will actually try a new food or like the food. Patience and perseverance are key when trying to get children to eat healthier.

If your child is older and seems pretty set in his or her ways, invite them to cook or prepare food with you. In one research study[i], it was shown that children who took part in cooking workshops and were involved in cooking their own foods, were more likely to eat those foods, and even ask for seconds, compared with children who did not participate in the class.

Handling food and preparing it themselves allows children to build a personal relationship with food and this relationship can greatly affect the amount of healthy food children accept in their diets.

Healthy Child

Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas

Planning and prepping meal and snack ideas for children can seem overwhelming. Something that often gets overlooked is the simplicity of food in its whole and natural form. Whether you’re crunched on time or can’t seem to find your way around the kitchen, you can never wrong a simple apple. Given the variety of apples available in the fall, provide your child with a different kind each week. Make it fun by asking your child to describe the taste of each kind and how they differ from one another.

There’s a reason why the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is so popular. Apples are full of antioxidants, they are high in fiber, and contain a decent amount of vitamin C and potassium. Apples have also been shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Fun and easy apple snacks include apple chips[ii], apple slices with peanut butter, and apple cinnamon cookie energy bites[iii]. In addition to apples, another fun and delicious fall fruit is the persimmon.

Persimmons originated in Asia, but when in season can now be found in almost every local grocery store. The tomato looking fruit is high in vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, potassium and a number of other vitamins and minerals. Persimmons also contain a good amount of antioxidants.

Like apples, persimmons can be peeled and eaten fresh. Including the fruit in a smoothie or salad will provide you with refreshing new and unique flavors. If you’re feeling very adventurous, this maple cinnamon chia bowl[iv], which features persimmon and pomegranate (another fall fruit), looks amazingly delicious.

If you need heartier meal ideas, cooking with squash of all varieties can help in keeping little bellies warm and full. You can’t go wrong with roasted butternut soup[v]. Additionally, the next time you’re thinking of making pasta skip the wheat or rice noodles and use spaghetti squash instead[vi].


Natural Remedies for Common Ailments

Keeping the body properly nourished by providing it with healthy and wholesome food should assist with preventing your child from getting ill. However, sometimes the common cold and other ailments are simply unavoidable.

If your child becomes ill and it is beyond your comfort level, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can assist with uncovering the cause of the illness and restoring your child back to health. At Balanced Care we use natural remedies to address the root cause of the ailments and can run testing to determine what the cause is.

Fall is an exciting time for the entire family and we want to do all that we can to ensure that illnesses don’t get in the way of that for your family.


Drs. Katie and Rachel are Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Edina, MN and Woodbury, MN. They treat chronic issues using natural medicines and nutrition to address the root cause. They offer complimentary 15 minute consultations – call now to schedule 612-564-2218.







holistic, skin care, vitamin D, depression, MN, naturopathic doctor, edina, woodburyThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. Most of us will be spending many hours outdoors this summer, which means we will probably be using plenty of sunscreen. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, sunscreen should actually be used as a last resort. Things like dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. The brands are chosen after extensive study of their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

Because sunscreen is applied liberally onto the skin and is often reapplied, it is a good idea to educate ourselves on what we are actually putting onto our skin.  In addition, not only can toxins and chemicals from sunscreen be absorbed through the skin, but they can also be absorbed through other means such as inhalation.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

Vitamin D, sun care, depression

Sources of Vitamin D

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here and here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are so many factors associated with obtaining vitamin D from the sun it is often hard to measure whether you are receiving enough of this essential vitamin this way.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include tiredness, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, often leading to the inability to move around as desired. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. If you are not receiving your vitamin D in either of these forms, or if you suspect that you may be vitamin D deficient, it is a good idea to get tested. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Naturopathic DoctorWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel specialize in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.


Edina, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, exercise medicine, nutrition exercise

Dr. Rachel Alioto

I am thrilled to announce that Dr. Rachel Alioto will be joining Balanced Care beginning June 7th! She is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor who is excited to begin seeing patients at Balanced Care. I have known Dr. Rachel for the past 4 years and know she is going to be a perfect fit for the patients in Edina.

You can find Dr. Rachel at the Edina office on Wednesdays from 9:30am-6pm and Friday afternoons from 1:30pm-5pm. She holds special interests in sports medicine, gastrointestinal disorders, endocrine/hormone disorders, women’s health, naturopathic oncology, pediatrics, homeopathy, botanical medicine, and clinical nutrition. To schedule an appointment you can call 612-564-2218 or schedule online here.

Taking the time to listen and understand each patient’s unique condition in order to create a personalized treatment plan is something you can expect from Dr. Rachel. Her goal is to heal, teach and inspire each patient to be an advocate for his or her own health. Time test treatments will address the whole body, stimulating the body’s self-healing processes.

Dr. Rachel has always loved athletics and healthy living. Because of Dr. Rachel’s love for swimming and working with kids, she also coaches the swim team at Life Time Fitness. She moved to Minnesota from California to attend the University of Minnesota and has since returned to the Minneapolis – St. Paul area to practice her passion for natural medicine.

Rachel loves swimming, weight lifting, cooking, doing jigsaw puzzles, reading, traveling, being in nature and spending time with her family. Although she is a California native, she has come to appreciate and love Minnesota for all it has to offer. Dr. Rachel is very excited for the opportunity to work with Dr. Katie at Balanced Care.

To read more about Dr. Rachel, you can visit her bio here