Tag: healthy eating for children

The 6 Cs of Awesome School Lunches

Posted on Oct 28, 2013 by 1 Comment

Packing lunches is one of those parenting chores that even the most dedicated mom starts to dread after awhile. If your kids take a packed lunch to school, here are six simple tips to help you pack healthy and delicious lunches they are guaranteed to actually want to eat.

  1. Cooperative: Be respectful of your child’s food preferences when packing a lunch. It’s fine to want to entice your child to try new foods, but try to pack at least one time-tested favorite each day. Encourage older kids to help you pack lunches, since they are more likely to eat meals they’ve helped to pick out.
  2. Convenient: You’ll be more likely to stick with the plan of sending your child’s lunch to school if you keep convenient yet healthy options on hand. String cheese slices and small boxes of raisins are popular with most kids. Apples, oranges, and bananas are also really easy to toss in a lunchbox on a busy morning. Shelf safe milk boxes are a good beverage choice, if your family consumes dairy products. Juice can be high in sugar, but milk is a good source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Visit Milk Unleashed for details.
  3. Cute: Making cute lunches doesn’t mean you have to start following Bento blogs and master the fine art of turning hard boiled eggs into sculpted cartoon characters. Even small touches like fun printed napkins or sandwiches shaped with cookie cutters can go a long way towards making lunch more enticing for your child.
  4. Colorful: Kids, like adults, are enticed by food that is bright and colorful. But, instead of throwing a bag of brightly colored gummy snacks in your child’s lunchbox, you should try to sneak in colorful fruits and veggies like grapes, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or celery sticks.
  5. Cut Up: We cut up food for toddlers to reduce the risk of choking, but older kids like cut up food just because it’s fun to eat. Cut sandwiches into strips or wedges or try making mini kabobs with toothpicks.
  6. Cheerful: Consider tucking a funny joke or a note of encouragement in your child’s lunchbox to brighten his day. Lunchbox Love notes have jokes, trivia, quotes, and room for your own personal messages.

Photo credit: Lunchbox Love

Navigating Food Labels

Posted on Aug 19, 2013 by 1 Comment

If you are like most women, moms especially, you are very health conscious and you probably do a lot of legwork to make sure that you are feeding your family the best possible healthy meals. I know if I see a label that says baked instead of fried, I am sold.

And forget about organic fruits, meats and milks, I always opt for organic for my girls because I want to keep them healthy. I’ve heard too many hormone/pesticide horror stories not to, but is it always necessary and more importantly, are those labels being written for suckers like me?

This kind of packaging is called health halos; it makes claims that something is healthy and good for you but sometimes they are just playing on your fear of being unhealthy to get you to buy their, usually more expensive, product. Don’t feel bad; we have all fallen for them. They told us not to believe the hype, but we did.

For instance, if you saw a bag of baked chips and a bag of fried chips, which would you opt to buy for your kids? Chances are, like me, you raised your hand and proudly screamed, “Baked!” even though in your heart you secretly whispered, “Fried.”

Actually, baked might not even be the best option. When potato chips are fried, the only ingredients used are usually potatoes, salt and oil but when you buy baked chips, chances are there is some sugar, cornstarch and lecithin added for flavor. Baked chips do have less fat and calories but they have hidden ingredients that you probably don’t want to make up for the flavor lost from removing the fat. Not exactly the healthiest option.

Sneaky, right?

My favorite is organic versus conventional. I told you. I select organic every time out of sheer fear and panic. I am afraid of all the horror stories of precocious puberty that run rampant amongst the playground moms. Seems like every mom knows of at least one friend’s cousin’s daughter who drank regular milk and grew size double D’s by the time she was 8, was menstruating by 10 and got bushels of pubic hair at the ripe old age of 7.

Now, I don’t know about you but there is something definitely wrong if I am still wiping your butt and you have pubic hair. So, we just say no to conventional milk.

There are some things that you should know about organic.  Just because a food is labeled organic doesn’t mean it is more nutritious or less fattening or contains less sugar. It only means that the ingredients were grown and harvested in an organic way, it does not effect how many calories, sugars or fat are in it.

Also, anything with a peel-able skin does not need to be organic, but anything where you will eat the skin i.e. berries, peaches, etc., then yes go organic and by all means. When it comes to meat and milk, go organic and spare your family the hormones and antibiotics.

So what is the number one label fake out that you have fallen prey to?

Photo Source: USDA Gov

Your Kid’s Fat and It’s Probably Your Fault

Posted on Apr 19, 2013 by 1 Comment

We all know that there is an increase in childhood obesity. It’s at an all time high. We have some idea where this is coming from; an over abundance of unhealthy fast food options in supersizes, and a high tech society that no longer moves but sits sedentary, all the while expanding its ever growing girth.

A new study found that there is a culprit in the child obesity crime that rears its ugly head even previous to happy meals, before a child is even a year old.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should not start their babies on solids until they are at least 6-months-old. I thought this was common knowledge. Read more…

Drinking Too Much Tea Can Have Serious Health Implications

Posted on Apr 8, 2013 by 3 Comments

A very interesting case made its way into the New England Medical Journal. Did you know that by consuming too much tea, you could be damaging your health?

First we are told that Diet Coke is bad for our health and now the tea. What’s next? Wine?

It was recently reported that a 47-year-old Detroit, Michigan woman developed a rare bone disease after she drank a pitcher of tea made from at least 100 tea bags daily, for 17 years. Wait. What? 100 teabags used in one pitcher of tea? Does that seem excessive to anyone else? Read more…

Bébé Day by Day

Posted on Feb 27, 2013 by 1 Comment

Journalist and mom, Pamela Druckerman who shared the story of her own young family’s life in France in her book Bringing up Bébé has written a new book,  Bébé Day by Day. In Bringing up Bébé she investigated a society of good sleepers, gourmet eaters, well-mannered children and mostly calm parents.

Sounds like heaven, n’est-ce pas?

She then set out to find out the secret to the French Mommy’s success and along the way tell us the story of raising her own family in Paris. Bringing Up Bébé was the catalyst for an international conversation about the wisdom of French parenting by offering a view from the inside. Read more…

Do You Make Your Kid Clean His Plate?

Posted on Oct 4, 2012 by 2 Comments

There has been an ongoing controversy for years about whether or not you should make you child clean his plate. Some parents feel that it is a matter of principle – it’s not good to waste food. Others feel that the rule means that children learn to overeat.

I can understand why parents used to require plate cleaning. It was common in the 1950s and 60s simply because many of the parents had lived through the Depression and World War II. Wasting food was a horrific sin. Read more…

Cartoon Characters Influence Kids’ Food Choices – They Needed a Study for This?

Posted on Sep 26, 2012 by No Comments

I have to laugh and shake my head at some of the “new” information researchers are releasing. The irritating thing is that information, which is sometimes common sense, is heavily funded by the government. Let’s not go there right now, ok?

One of the biggest head-shakers lately has been the release of a study that finds that cartoon characters have an influence on the food choices our kids make. Ad companies have known that since the birth of the first cartoon character. Popeye encouraged kids to eat their spinach while Tony the Tiger was a sugar coated cereal pusher.

I can still sing the Frito Bandito song in its entirety. Read more…

How to Keep Your Kid from Trading His School Lunch for a Twinkie

Posted on Sep 10, 2012 by 1 Comment

If you take the time to create a healthy lunch for your child, you want them to be the ones to eat it – you sure don’t want them trading all of that nutritious food for a God-knows-how-old snack cake in cellophane. The thing is that our kids sometimes don’t share our opinions on what constitutes a good lunch.

Here are some tips for encouraging your kids to eat the lunches that you lovingly prepare, no matter how interesting the contents of his best friend’s lunch box looks. Read more…

Leave These Out of Your Kids’ Lunch Bags

Posted on Sep 6, 2012 by 2 Comments

There are some things that you just need to leave out of the lunchbox. They may be unhealthy, they may be expensive, or they may be both. Here are some things you may want to omit:

The small, packaged snack lunches that are made up of crackers, processed meat, and cheese are high in sodium – almost 50% of the recommended daily amount. Rather than sending those, convenient though they are, send a container of crackers and cheese and save money and unnecessary additives. Read more…