What’s Lacking in Snacking?

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The following excerpt is taken from the new edition of Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup (American Academy of Pediatrics, March 2012) by Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP. For more information about Food Fights, please visit www.HealthyChildren.org, the official American Academy of Pediatrics web site for parents.

What’s Not Lacking in Snacking

One of the biggest problems with snacks is, quite simply, that they typically consist of high-calorie, unhealthy foods rather than nutrient-dense, healthy foods. With fresh fruit all too frequently replaced by juice and other sugary drinks, more candy, less milk, and the prize for the largest increase in snack foods over the past 30 years going to chips and crackers, what’s clearly not lacking in snacking is salt, sugar, and fat.

Smart Snacking

So now that you know what not to serve for snacks, we wanted to make sure to impress on you the fact that snacking can and still should play an important role in your child’s daily diet. Simply put, the right approach to snacking can help keep kids from getting hungry and cranky while also giving them added energy and (if you plan it right) added nutrients.

By following simple, smart snacking advice like the tips below, you can ultimately help your child grow better, think better, and stay active throughout the day and throughout childhood.

Snacks should not be the exception to the rule that food, in general, should have nutritional value. Make sure you commit to applying the same noble goals in choosing your snacks as you (hopefully) do for your child’s meals.

Keep finger foods on hand. Finding foods that are quick and easy to grab and serve is actually quite easy. Simply cut up some fresh fruits or veggies; keep whole grain crackers, pretzels, or ready-to-eat (and preferably low-sugar/high-fiber) cereals on hand; and then let your toddler or older child handle the feeding part independently.

Don’t be fooled by packaging. Labels on snack foods for kids, along with sugary children’s cereals, seem to be the most commonly misleading when it comes to nutrition. Don’t let creative labeling such as “fruit snacks” or “low-fat” lead you to believe that sugary treats are necessarily healthy.

Figure out some “free foods” that your child can eat at any time. It’s entirely appropriate to agree on some healthy “free foods” (such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs, for example) that your child can sit down and eat whenever he’s hungry. Remembering that your ultimate goal is to help your child learn to eat when he’s hungry and refrain when he’s not, your role is to simply make very sure that the criteria you use for creating this list is based squarely on the food’s nutritional value.

Keep junk food out of sight and out of mind. This means not only limiting the amount of junk food you buy and allow into your pantry, but also the amount of television your child is allowed to watch. With literally thousands of television ads designed specifically to make your child’s mouth water over unhealthy snacks and cereals, turning off the television—not just when you’re eating but keeping it turned off throughout the day—can go a long way toward preventing unhealthy eating habits.

Food-Fights

Be sure to check back soon for a review & giveaway of this great book!


Susie’s Note: I was compensated for my work on this campaign. Excerpt above was provided.

{Photo source: Raymond Kasprzak via Dreamstime}

Five Rainy Day Activities & Our Indoor Picnic!

It’s Spring, which means April Showers are inevitable! We’ve been lucky so far & have only been hit with some pretty bad wind, but I’m ready for when the storms come with a list of rainy-day activities to do with a toddler!

1. Color: Shane is in a major coloring stage, and I actually love coloring with him. He colors on every single page of his coloring books, so I have some brand-new ones tucked away for a rainy day!

2. Play Flashlight Hide & Seek: I set up some of your Shane’s favorite toys in his room & grab a couple of flashlights. We turn off the lights & he has to “seek” the toys I name with his flashlight! I also shine the flashlight on objects & we name them to increase his vocabulary.

3. Have A Dance Party: Sometimes it’s fun to play some music & just dance like no one’s watching! This is a fun way that both Shane & I get some exercise!

4. Build a Fort: Shane loves forts- especially since I usually make S’mores to enjoy in our “camping tent”. Those are obviously optional, and there are so many things you can do in a fort!

5. Have An Indoor picnic: Who says you can’t have a picnic when it’s raining? We have a picnic blanket that we can set up inside and eat lunch on! {&It actually gets Shane to eat more since it’s fun & different, so double points!}

The last one on that list, an Indoor Picnic, is something we do even on Sunny days sometimes! This last weekend, as you know, was Easter- and we wanted to do something fun & special. We thought about going to the park for a bit, but every park we drove by on our way home that day was beyond packed. So we decided to do an indoor picnic!

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“Mommy, can we pwease have ice cream?”

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He wanted to pick out his own- so he grabbed two of the Chocolate Fudge Bars!

Shane was the only one who ate dinner on Easter {Justin & I had both had a really big lunch} so we waited until dessert to set up our picnic. We recently went to Walmart & bought a few varieties of the new #TCBYGrocery line of frozen yogurts & novelties and so we had a little ice cream buffet of sorts on our picnic blanket! {You can view more photos & learn more about our trip to Walmart in my Google+ story!}

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Shane went straight for the Chocolate Fudge Bars, while Justin sampled the English Toffee Crunch & ultimately went with a Frozen Yogurt Sandwich. I was tempted by the Supreme Cookies & Cream, but went with a Chocolate Fudge Bar also since a whole bar is only 80 calories &my lunch had been, well, more than 80 calories.

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It was actually nice to have the dessert on a picnic blanket because when Shane made a giant mess with his Fudge Bar I just threw the blanket in the wash & didn’t have a big mess to clean up! It was also really fun because we got to spend a little bit having fun & being together before the busy week started up again.

tcby varieties

The TCBY Grocery line of products are completely yummy, by the way. I’m completely in love with the Fudge Bars & I’ve tried the English Toffee Crunch as well & it’s delicious. I can’t wait to try the rest of the flavors- especially Cookie Dough & Mint Chocolate Chunk! Products are available in Quarts & Pints and there are the novelty items as well. You can learn about the full line-up at TCBY’s website! {&Be sure to check out TCBY Grocery on Facebook & Twitter as well!}

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What’s your favorite rainy day activity?

Susie’s Note: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All experiences are authentic & all opinions are my own.

Creating #EasterSmiles with Colgate!

This year, since Shane is finally old enough to get excited about the Easter Bunny’s visit, we’re going all-out for Easter. So when I got the chance to set up a BONUS egg hunt? I “hopped” {sorry, couldn’t help myself} on that for sure!

Our “trial” egg hunt included lots of toy dinosaurs & a few other cute items, but the main event items were the Colgate Dora the Explorer toothbrushes & toothpaste! Shane used to love brushing his teeth, but lately it’s become a bit of a battle. I know that incorporating characters he loves helps him get more excited about it, so I thought it was worth a shot!

We headed to Walmart & picked up a set of Dora items for him. As a bonus, the toothbrush was even green- his favorite color!

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I also picked up some “fun” items to put in the eggs.

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The eggs I got ended up being too small though so I just hid the items behind the eggs. He’s 2 & a half- he didn’t mind.

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Shane loved finding the eggs & once he found his toothbrush, he didn’t waste a second before using it!

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I’m proud to say that so far, we haven’t had any toothbrush battles since we did our egg hunt. He actually lets me sit him on the counter and help him brush his teeth without any fussing, which has been a huge relief! I think the combination of using Dora to get him excited and also him having to find it in an egg hunt made him really excited to be able to use it. So, if you’re struggling to get your toddler to let you brush their teeth I’d recommend a similar approach!

You can see the rest of my shopping trip by reading my G+ album, and you can find out more about Colgate on their website, on Twitter or on Facebook!


Susie’s Note: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All experiences are authentic & all opinions are my own.

Interview with Parenting Expert Dr. Michele Borba

Shane is at that really annoying creative & explorative stage where he has realized he can say “No” to foods- and he does. Frequently. So frequently, that I’m often afraid my kid is going to starve to death. I know, I know: “He won’t let himself starve”, “He’ll eat when he’s hungry”, “Blahblahblah”… I’ve heard it all. &I know, it’s probably true. But when I spend forty-five minutes at the dinner table with Shane & all he’s eaten is a bite of pears, it’s frustrating. Ridiculously frustrating.

So when I got an email asking me if I wanted to interview Dr. Michele Borba* about a new community where other moms can find information & vent their frustrations about their childrens’ weird & annoying eating habits, it was like they KNEW. So I totally had to do it.

Unfortunately, I was out of town on the one day that Dr. Borba was available, but instead I emailed in my questions. Below, watch the exclusive interview with Dr. Borba that answers the following questions:

1) I have a toddler who gets very curious when I make meals and tries to help. Is 19 months too young to include him in meal prep? If not, what kinds of things can I let him try?

2) Said toddler is a picky eater… kind of. There are a handful of foods that he loves but for some reason he only loves them sometimes.  What can I do to avoid the guessing game of “which food does he like today?”

3) What are some ways to sneak nutrition into otherwise “empty” foods?

4) What are some favorite toddler -friendly foods or recipes?

5) Where can we go for more information about our picky eater?

So check out the video below for the answers to those questions & some extra tips from Dr. Borba!

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Warning: The Ragu thing? Totally worked. Why the warning, then? Even though he gets a bath immediately after eating it, he’s been orange for two days. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;) {BTW, the peace of mind in knowing he actually consumed some semblance of food? SO worth him being orange.}

*A little bit about Dr. Borba: Dr. Michele Borba is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, parenting, child and adolescent expert. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s behavior, character, and social development and build strong families. She offers realistic, research-based advice culled from a career of working with over one million parents and educators worldwide.

Dr. Borba is an contributor for the TODAY show and also serves on national boards for Parents magazine, Character Education Partnerships, Boys & Girls Club of America, McDonald’s Global Mom’s Panel and is the Parenting Expert for Dr. Oz’s website, powered by Sharecare.  She is also the award-winning author of 22 books including her latest book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries (Jossey-Bass).

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