Monthly Archives: October 2013

New Awesome AMBASSADORS for Fruits & Vegetables

muppetsThe White House and the Let’s Move campaign made a SUPER awesome announcement today:  The Sesame Workshop is teaming up with the Produce Marketing Association and the Partnership for a Healthier America to use the Sesame Street characters to encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables!

This couldn’t be more exciting or important for the health of our children!

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, between July 2009 and June 2010 McDonald’s and Burger King placed over 25,000 ads aimed specifically at children.  Yup, that’s 25 THOUSAND!  Over 20,000 of those were on just FOUR channels: Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Disney XD, and NickToons.

Kids pay attention to these ads!  A study published in the October 2012 issue of the Archives of Adolescent Medicine looked at how branding affected food choices in 8 to 11 year olds.  The researchers offered kids a choice of a cookie, an apple, or both.  Initially, the vast majority of children chose the cookie, however when researchers placed a sticker of Elmo on the apples, the number of children who chose the apple nearly doubled!

Despicable Me Minion Kids Bento School Lunch - Healthy Ideas From

Try using this strategy at home.  Find stickers of your child’s favorite characters and place them on apples, oranges, pears.  Arrange fresh vegetables in the shapes of characters of objects your child loves.  This adorable Minion lunch is courtesy of Creative Bentos by Glory over at Glory’s Mischief.  It’s a fantastic resource for creative and FUN ideas to get your kids to eat healthier and get closer to achieving the 5 in the 5210+10!  What’s worked for getting your family to eat more fruits and vegetables?  Share your tips and ideas in the comments secction.

5 fruits and vegetables

In the meantime check out Elmo and Rosita’s appearance at the White House.  They share some great information about fruits and vegetables and tell us their favorite ways to enjoy them.

Happy HEALTHY Halloween!

halloweenHalloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays!  No gifts, no giant meals to stress over, and lots of costumed fun make it my kind of holiday.

Since Halloween is all about fear and being scared (in a good, fun way!), I decided to make this year’s Halloween Season all about CONQUERING fears.

I always tell people to start with small attainable goals.  I decided to follow my own advice!  This years fear conquering GOAL was to attend a haunted house.  It was something that I’d only done once, years ago, and swore I would never do again.  How can I hope to conquer the big fears in life, or more importantly, ask other people to conquer their fears if I can’t even walk through a room filled with costumed adults!

Now, I’m not advocating haunted houses or even Halloween.  What I am advocating is not letting your fears hold you back from doing the things that you really want to do.  Set small, ATTAINABLE goals, make a plan, and follow through.  So Thursday night I did it.  I gathered a group of friends and family for moral support, headed down to the 13th Gate and ACCOMPLISHED my goal.  And guess what?  I had a blast!  I was startled quite a few times but I never felt overwhelmed or terrified.  I can also report that I didn’t even end up with nightmares that night!

In the spirit of a healthy Halloween, here’s the link to last years post TRICK-or-TREAT for a CAUSE not a Curse!  It’s got some great information on ways to use all that sugary candy to support a cause.  My favorite is Operation GRATITUDE, an organization aims to lift MORALE and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm’s way, to their children left behind, and to Veterans,  Wounded Warriors and First Responders.

If you are the one handing out the treats this year, consider giving out non-food PRIZES.  Some great alternatives are Halloween themed pencils, erasers, stickers, or other toys and trinkets.  Oriental Trading has some great Halloween treasure chests filled with handouts for a very reasonable price.

How are you going to conquer your fears this Halloween season?  Tell us all about it in the comments section.  While you’re there, tell us how your family works to make Halloween a HEALTHIER holiday.

The TROUBLE With Technology

Today’s Post is a guest post from Dr. Denise Sellers, a child psychologist and childhood obesity expert from Baton Rouge.  Enjoy!

Ah, technology! Where would we be without our computers and cell phones, video games and instant messaging? We would probably be playing outside or interacting with real people in real life! We can all agree that technology is great. It saves us time and is entertaining-but, it can also mean TROUBLE, especially for our children.

Most children love to play games, text, and watch television. Spending time doing these things can be OK, as long as it is done with limits. Too much “screen time” can lead to problems. The more “screen time” a child spends, the more likely he/she is to be overweight. More time spent playing video games or watching television is also related to learning problems and falling grades. Children are often exposed to more violence and sexual content, which can lead to fear, aggressive behavior, and acting out. When the child is engaged in screen time, less time is spent on physical activity- just playing outside- which we know helps build both a healthy body and mind.

So, what can we do as parents? The answer is- a lot! First, set rules. Limit the amount of time per day your child can spend on all “screens.” This includes television, computer, phone, and all video game systems. It is recommended that children spend NO MORE THAN TWO HOURS PER DAY on screen time. Monitor what your child is doing and who they are “talking” to on-line and on the phone. Require that they give you all passwords- and check at least once a week. Watch your child play- and watch to make sure he/she is not sneaking to play or turning off the screen when you walk into the room. Make sure your child understands he/she is NEVER allowed to give out personal information such as real name, age, school, or phone number. Help you child make up screen names that don’t include this information. Teach your child about cyber bullying, and what to do if someone says something mean or that makes him/her feel uncomfortable. Teach your child how to use technology the “right” way, so you can both enjoy the benefits!

less than 2 hours of screen time