NKT Faves: Preschooler Must-Haves

It’s been quite the hectic start to 2015. With all the snow, a stint in the hospital, a pair of birthdays AND a major transition to preschool, we had our plates pretty full with family obligations.  I have quite a few posts devoted to Littles turning 3, but in the meantime, I wanted to share just some of our preschooler must-haves.  

Since it’s been a few years since the older guy went to preschool, and ultimately because each kids’ needs are different, I found myself packing a much different backpack with a whole different set of supplies. Finding a backpack small enough for a wee preschooler, yet big enough to hold a folder is quite the ordeal. Since most guys this age are so small, I’ve found that the backpacks are smaller than 12 inches, which is the size of a regular school folder. I’m currently on the hunt for a backpack that we love, but until then, check out the things we do love!

So, without further ado, here’s what was in Little J’s backpack this week:

 

NKTPreschoolerMustHaves

 
1. Contigo Autospout Kids’ Striker Water Bottle

We’ve been longtime fans of Contigo products, so it was a welcomed surprise when Santa gifted this fun water leakproof bottle. I like the design of the bottles and how the spout pops up with the touch of a button. The detachable straw makes for easy cleaning, which is a plus. This BPA-free bottle that has a lifetime guarantee, is a perfect size for preschoolers to tote to school.  I’ve read online that this design has been getting poor reviews, but honestly, it works well for us.

2. Lunchbot trio stainless steel bento box

Lunchbots are our bento box of choice around here. This box which features three compartments is small, yet spacious enough for the littler guys. Plus, I don’t have to hunt for a ton of foods to fill the compartments, considering Littles is such a finicky eater. I love that this box is just stainless steel; there’s less paint and designs to deal with, which make it easy to share between the two boys.

3. Munchkin Lunch Bag

Even though he’s off to school like a big boy, my little guy is very much still a tot. I know he’ll be into superheroes and other characters in years to come, so I try to keep things age-appropriate. Animals and things that have wheels take top billing on his favorites list. I personally love this Munchkin owl lunch bag that we’ve been using for the past year. It’s cute, but extremely functional. It fits his full lunch, snack, and two small boxed drinks. In the mesh pocket, I like to stuff an extra straw and paper towels.

4. New Balance 750v3

New Balance running shoes have been some of my favorite athletic shoes for my little guy. With the firm soles and easy fit, even though he’s not running super fast quite yet, I know his feet are well supported. What makes these shoes a top pick is that my guy is quite uncoordinated because of low tone, but the firm fit and higher soles give him a much more secure step. The colors and design in shoes such as the 750v3 tend to complete his cute little outfits.

5. Name Bubbles Preschool Pack

Name Bubbles are, hands down, one of my most favorite labels for my kids’ things. From the designs to the cool fonts, Name Bubbles has a look tailored for every family member.  The labels are waterproof and durable, making them perfect for every day use for the kids’ gear. The preschool pack is an ideal pack that offers different-sized labels for the 3-5 year old set. My guy is obsessed with trains, so the labels from the preschool pack happily adorn his lunch box, winter gear, folders and even his little toy he brings every day!

6. Stonyfield Organic Smoothie

Like many toddler/preschoolers that I know, Littles is quite the finicky eater. So far, he’s come home with an almost untouched lunchbox every day. Nevertheless, I’m always looking for a drink or smoothie to satisfy his hunger and nutritional needs. J loves yogurt and smoothies, and Stonyfield happens to be his favorite. While we love the YoKids line, he loves this Strawberry smoothies the most.  It’s organic and has the nutrition elements that he needs. The sugar content is high, like many yogurts, but when this is sometimes the only thing he’ll eat all day, I’m grateful that it’s so accessible and easy to pack. 

7. Huggies Pull Ups

It’s a bit daunting to send your child to school every day, especially when they’re not potty trained yet. Pull Ups were a big part of our lives when my older one was 3, so, as Littles turns the corner, we’re starting to transition to Pull Ups and potty training. Every kid has their own way of learning, but I’m totally expecting this potty training phase to be quite the adventure. The cool designs and easy side tabs make these our favorite training pants. They’re absorbent and light, too, which makes for easy packing in that backpack.

Now, to find the ideal backpack for my newly-minted preschooler…

Peapod Celebrates 25 Years of Online Grocery Shopping + Review

Twenty-five years ago, the internet was hardly a blip on the radar, yet innovative websites were starting to bloom. In fact, in 1989, the era of floppy disk and dial up, brothers Thomas and Andrew Parkinson developed Peapod, the first online grocery store.  64 million bananas ordered and twenty five years later, Peapod has changed the way we think about grocery shopping, and quite simply, has made life easier.

Peapod logo

 

I’ve tried my hand at all the online grocery stores, but Peapod is one I don’t get to use all that often.  So, in honor of Peapod’s 25th anniversary, I was thrilled to be able to take the service for a spin once again.

The online site features a user friendly interface. It’s easy to navigate, has clear instructions and a functional search tool. When you first log in to Peapod, it asks you to pick a delivery or pick up option and time.  Keep in mind: if you logout or end your session, you’ll have to reconfigure the delivery or pickup.  This is my main grievance with online grocery shopping. I’m one of those people who always forgets things so I need to go back to the grocery store on the fly. I appreciate the way the specials and sales are highlighted; this is something I look for since I try to buy things on sale to match them up with coupons.

 

NKTPEAPODSCREENSHOT

I bought mostly produce, deli meat and fresh meat, so I didn’t have a chance to use many coupons, other than what was offered on the site.  The site is organized by categories and the photos of each product is clear with the information and price posted concisely. Some of my recipe sites have the option of creating a grocery list, which is helpful if you’re organized.

NKTPeapod2

That said, Peapod has a tab that features lists that you can create. Peapod allows you to configure your lists in three different categories: it has a Past Purchases, My Specials and Personal Lists. Past Purchases is especially helpful if you buy the same sort of food every week. If you’re in a big hurry, be sure to check out the Express Shop tab which allows you to enter your list and Peapod then finds the items for you. Easy peasy!

NKTPeapod3

As always, the actual shopping part is a lengthy process for me. After I was able to narrow down my grocery list, I found it extremely easy to enter my shopper rewards information and then my payment information. It was fast, secure and straight forward.

Since I opted for the pick up method, it was helpful to arrive at the store and be able to park at the front at the designated Peapod pick up spots. I waited just two-three minutes and called the number listed on the sign.

IMG 9405

The delivery person saw me since I was the only person waiting for groceries. She quickly loaded my groceries from the outside storage unit and then promptly placed my groceries in my trunk. I loved not having to get out of the car, but I did step out to say thank you. This was my only verbal exchange with the Peapod worker.

IMG 9409IMG 9417

Though it was quick and efficient transaction, it was also impersonal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was just something I noticed since I’m so used to speaking to people at the grocery store. Above all, on that cold and rainy day that I chose to pick up groceries, I loved not having to disturb a sleeping toddler to go grocery shop. This, in itself, was worth the pick up fee.

IMG 9425

Speaking of fees, prices vary for Peapod.com depending on delivery or pick up. For deliveries over $60, it’s $9.95. For deliveries over $100, it’s $6.95. The Pick Up Fee runs you about $2.95 I live on a hill so we have a lot of stairs. On these freezing winter days, the delivery fee is worth every penny. You just have to reserve your delivery slot early!

 

IMG 9431

As for food prices at Stop and Shop, I felt they were on the more expensive side. I hit Costco every two weeks for our most-used items, so it was a bit difficult for me to pay almost twice the amount of certain items just to have them delivered. I paid about $75 for several bags of essential items; and quite frankly, these items barely made it to the end of the week. So, if you’re a frugal grocery shopper, shopping online and having it delivered might not be an every-week scenario for you.  Most of the stuff I bought was pre-packed which attributed to the higher price, including the fresh meat and produce. I know someone commented on my Instagram photo, worried about the produce selection when someone else picks it for you. I was pleased with everything I bought, and even more impressed with the packaging of certain items that aren’t typically packaged when I shop elsewhere.

IMG 2321

The convenience and accessibility that Peapod.com allows you is worth the investment and time and sanity saved scouring the store with kids who may have not be cooperative or downright tantrum-y.  For parents who work outside of the home, having this convenience is yet another way to simplify the day to day rituals, giving you more time at home.

IMG 2324

Above all, Peapod is a revolutionary online grocery shopping portal that takes the brainwork out of an otherwise tedious task. Peapod allows you to save time and effort, while bringing your groceries to your doorstep or trunk! Here’s to 25+ more years, Peapod!

Full disclosure: I was provided with a promo code to facilitate this review. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

 

 

 

 

Fun and Easy Halloween Lunchbox Ideas

Happy Halloween! We get all into this spooky day by tricking out almost anything and everything…and, not surprisingly, that includes school lunch!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know that I’ve been a longtime lunchbox fan. I play with my kid’s food, all in the name of smiles.  For Halloween, I thought of spooky characters and incorporated them into lunch.

IMG 8152

 An easy go-to for Halloween-themed lunches include pumpkin-shaped sandwiches. I usually make a turkey or ham sandwich, but something not too thick. I then cut the sandwich with my pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter which has the lines in the formation. For the fruit and dessert, I cut 2 slices and pop some mini-marshmallows in for the teeth. For some containers you can just place the slices and marshmallows without any help. Since my apple wasn’t that big, I had to use tooth picks to secure the apple-lip formation, but then the marshmallows stayed in place. I just put mixed berries on the side, or rather, Boo-berries.  And finally, to give the lunch a super fun look, I threw in one of our Halloween rings I saved from our local ice cream shop. Spiders or other tiny trinkets work well for decor. Easy peasy.

IMG 8228

For this lunch, instead of bread, I used a pita and cut it into fourths. I stuffed the pita with ham and mustard for an easy sandwich. For the veggie, I roasted sweet potatoes the night before, like you would sweet potato fries. But before roasting cut out a jack o’lantern face to give it a fun effect.  For the fruit, I threw in more berries!

IMG 8326
 

And today’s Halloween lunch includes an easy, kid friendly salad.  Salad? Why salad? Because my kid will be consume candy by the fistful later, I thought I’d throw in some nutrition for lunch. In a Konserve stainless steel container, I mixed some greens, goat cheese, tiny apple chunks and cranberries. I included some honey balsamic on the side and will cross fingers at least some of it gets eaten! For extra measure, I made a quick pumpkin-shaped sandwich and berries. The candy eyeballs were totally for effect. I wonder if those will get eaten first?!

 

For me, making lunch isn’t supposed to cumbersome, but rather, fun and delicious. If it takes more than 10 minutes to make, that’s just not fun for me. If my 7 year old can’t do it himself, again, that’s not fun. So, rule of thumb, make lunch fun and keep it simple.   So, with that said, here are just a few Halloween-inspired lunches.

So, if you’re not into bento boxes or fun lunches for kids, before you say “somebody’s got too much time on their hands,” consider this: bento boxes have been around for centuries in Japan, and they incorporate healthier eating by limiting portion size and encouraging more wholesome foods.

Happy Halloween!

 

Westin Introduces SuperChefs Program and Eat Well Menu for Kids

This summer, we’ve had quite a few travel adventures so far.  Just as awesome though, we’ve had some cool kid-centric culinary experiences.  I’m still working on my reviews on my travel pieces, but I wanted to share some information on a recent event we attended.

 

Kids 620x330

Westin Hotels & Resorts announced the next stage of its year-long Westin Well-Being Movement and we were on hand to experience it ourselves.  As part of their ongoing initiative to harness wellness within their properties, Westin unveiled two new nutrition-focused partnerships with SuperChefs and The Juicery and the newest member of their Well-Being Council, dietician Ashley Koff RD.

 

In a time where childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years per the CDC, educating and engaging kids with food and healthier habits is so integral.  With programs like the SuperChefs that emphasize the educating kids on eating smart, I truly believe our paradigm is shifting in the right directions.  

 

IMG 4986

Westin’s partnership with SuperChefs underscores the brand’s dedication to well being.  They now offer a menu fully dedicated to healthy options for kids at hotels globally.  The Westin Eat Well Menu for Kids engages children through a playful menu placemat filled with dishes like Build Your Own Fruit Crepes.  Kids get to play with their food, which gives them a chance to discover what they’re eating but still offers the value of healthy eating.  Among some other dishes on the new kids’ menu includes Build Your Own Salmon Nicoise Salad and Baby Spinach & Omelet.

 

A few weeks ago, we had the chance to experience the SuperChefs program firsthand, and super was quite the understatement.  My six year old learned not just what a crepe is, but also how to flip it!  I absolutely loved his surprised look when he learned to snap his wrist and flip! 

IMG 4959IMG 4963

IMG 4966

 

 

As if smearing Nutella on his very own crepe wasn’t delicious enough, Biggie also learned how to make his own pasta.  I’m not talking opening a box and boiling, we’re talking creating our own dough and cranking out our own noodles with love.  J loved learning how to use the pasta machine and cranking out his very own noodles—so much so, he begged to make noodles at home so we’d have enough for everyone.  You know an event is that good when your kid wants to continue the activity at home and further in life.

IMG 4939IMG 4947

 

SuperChefs is a wonderful, engaging way for kids to learn about the food they eat.  I appreciate how Westin’s Well-Being Movement continues to make strides to offer their guests with an overall well-rounded approach and includes kids with their recent collaboration with SuperChefs.

 

 

 

 

Best Baby and Kid Foods: All about Avocados

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In a different lifetime, I spent many years working in a Mexican restaurant slinging margaritas and chips and salsa! These days, we enjoy a kid-friendly Mexican dishes close to home.

In the name of Mexican pride and heritage, I thought I’d share some information we learned about one of our favorite fruits, the avocado. Native to Mexico and Central America, the avocado is often called one of nature’s perfect foods.

Naturally, this fruit makes one of the best first foods for babies because of its creamy texture and good fats. According to Avocado.org, avocados have 3.5 grams of unsaturated fats, which are known to be important for normal growth and development of the central nervous system and brain.

Since we’re on the topic of avocados, I learned a lot about avocados recently. I had the chance to ask Chef Pati Jinich, host of Pati’s Mexican Table, about avocados and here are just some questions I asked. She kindly answered my questions in a video, so be sure to check it out. Btw, that’s not my voice asking the questions but you already knew that.

1.  What are your tips on choosing avocados at the grocery store?  

2.  How do you suggest on properly cutting and storing avocados?  

3.  What are your favorite avocado recipes for babies and kids?

4.  How do you serve avocados to your family for breakfast or brunch?

5.  Do you have any thoughts on the recent news that avocados crops may be affected by the west coast droughts?  

6.  Can you tell us about the different types of avocados and which is your favorite kind for certain recipes?

7.  Can you share your favorite recipe for guacamole, which is one of my family’s most-consumed food.

And here’s a fun recipe from of Pati’s Mexican Table for you fellow guac-loving families. 

Mango Guacamole with Grilled Tortilla Wedges Guacamole de Mango

Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 ripe Hass avocados, halved, pitted, meat scooped out and roughly mashed or diced
1 cup diced, fresh, ripe, peeled mango
3 tablespoons chopped white onion
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño or serrano chile, seeded optional, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
Corn or flour tortillas, cut into wedges and grilled

To Prepare
Gently mix the avocado, mango, onion, cilantro, chile, lime juice and salt in a bowl, or mash in a molcajete. Serve with grilled tortilla wedges.

Brain food: Recipes and Coconut Oil for Kids

Lately, coconut oil has been touted as quite the wonder food.  Though it’s been around for a long time, it’s now making the rounds as a natural beauty aid, as well as a healthier option for cooking with oils.  Beyond that, research on coconut oil has revealed that it works wonders for the brain, something that’s gotten my attention considering our ongoing trials and tribulations with pediatric epilepsy.  

Brain full copy 2

According to Food for the Brain: 

Virgin-pressed coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which convert directly into ketones. Recent evidence suggests ketones may lessen symptoms in those with Alzheimer’s, as well as children with epilepsy.

Ketones are also made directly from coconut oil (virgin-pressed is best to avoid any hydrogenated fats) which contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs for short. These convert directly in ketones which the body can burn for energy rather than store as fat.

669653b

 

The Wall Street Journal backs the positive effects of coconut oil:  Early research on coconut oil and Alzheimer’s disease shows a possible protective effect on neurons. In a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Canadian researchers found mouse brain cells treated with coconut oil were somewhat protected from the toxic effects of amyloid proteins, which build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

 

 Coconut oil and Kids

With all the good news about coconut oil, how can you introduce it into the kids’ diets and routines in such a way that works for everyone.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  The easiest way to include coconut oil is to just add a teaspoon here and there to foods that you would eat with a spoon.  I’ve been known to add coconut oil to meals and snacks such as:

oatmeal

cereal

yogurt

ice cream

 

I picked up a Costco-sized tub of Carrington Farms coconut oil and we’ve had fun experimenting with meals and other daily uses. Coincidentally, after I bought my own coconut oil, Carrington Farms contacted me to participate in their April campaign.  As such, in addition to sharing how we use coconut oil, I thought I’d share some tried and true recipes that the kids love.

 Kid-Friendly recipes

I especially love adding, or rather, substituting coconut oil in baking. Because it tolerates high temperatures, coconut oil is a great substitute for shortening, butter, margarine, or vegetable oil. Here’s a delicious waffle recipe where I’ve incorporated coconut oil instead of butter.  These waffles are so crisp and delish, I’ll never go back to the boxed versions again.

 

Whole Wheat Waffles

 Recipe source: 100 Days of Real Food

•2 large eggs

•1 ¾ cups milk 

•¼ cup melted coconut oil 

•1 tablespoon honey

•½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

•¼ teaspoon baking soda

•1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour 

•2 teaspoons baking powder

•? teaspoon salt

 

800px Waffles with Strawberries

1.Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, honey, cinnamon and baking soda until combined.

3. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together until lumps disappear.

4.  When waffle iron is hot, put butter or spray and ladle batter onto center of iron.

5. cook until golden and crisp.  

6. Top with syrup and enjoy! 

 

And finally, here’s one more delicious recipe that includes coconut oil:

Banana Bread and Chocolate Chip Muffins

 Adapted from the banana bread recipe as seen in Feeding Your Baby Day by Day by Fiona Wilcock

Ingredients

1/4 cup of melted coconut oil

2 large bananas

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

handful of chocolate chips

 1. Prehead the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare pan; I made mini muffins

2. Mash bananas until smooth and place in mixing bowl.  Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla.

3. Sift flours and baking powder, adding back any that stays in sifter.

4 Stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and beat together until smooth.  Pour or spoon into prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

5. Cool on wire rack and enjoy

 

Other uses for coconut oil

Aside from adding to food, coconut oil is an amazing natural moisturizer.  We’ve used it for dry hands, burns, conditioner, diaper cream and one of my faves, as the oil in my DIY wipe solution.

 

IMG 8829

St. Patrick’s Day Treats from Family Fun Magazine

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Not sure if any of you caught any leprechauns, but we sure didn’t.  We did, however, enjoy creating some fun food goodies.  St. Patrick’s Day and food go hand in hand in our house.  

I got a kick out of Family Fun’s Leprechaun-inspired treats.  How cute are these tiny hats and donuts?!  We’ll be doing some fun after school creations after school today!  

 Leprechaun Hats

Hats

 

Ingredients

English cucumber
Sliced cheese
Hummus

 Directions

Celebrate Saint Pat’s with a crunchy cucumber treat. Cut 1-inch sections of an English cucumber. Halve them lengthwise and lay the pieces flat on a plate, as shown. Trim a cucumber brim for each hat and set it in place. Finish with a sliced cheese band and buckle, attached with dots of hummus or dip.

 

 

Leprechaun Doughnuts

 

Donuts

 

Ingredients

Chocolate sprinkle:

O-shaped cereal
Dark or white chocolate
Colored sprinkles

 Cinnamon sugar:
O-shaped cereal
Sugar
Cinnamon sugar

 Directions

Lure wee visitors this Saint Patrick’s Day with O-shaped cereal disguised as tiny doughnuts. Prepare each variety following the steps at right and let dry on waxed paper. Add to the fun by placing them in a miniature box (get our template at familyfunmag.com/printables).

Chocolate sprinkle:

Dip the tops of O-shaped cereal into melted dark or white chocolate (the tines of a fork work well for this) and cover with sprinkles.

Cinnamon sugar:

Over medium-high heat, dissolve ½ cup sugar in ½ cup water. Let it cool. Dip the O’s, a few at a time, in the syrup, then toss them in a small bowl of cinnamon sugar.

Oogaa Feeding Products Put the Fun in Function

Plastics in baby bottles and feeding products has been a topic of discussion for some time now. The research has been done, and BPA and phthalates are chemicals we should try to avoid.  Even though there’s been some conflicting info floating around, it’s safe to say, these are chemicals we don’t want in our baby products.  

image

On that note, we’ve seen an increase in baby products made of different materials such as silicone, stainless steel and glass.  One of my absolute favorites has been silicone, because of its versatility, durability and convenience.  The rubbery texture of silicone often doubles as a teether AND it’s virtual kid-proof.  

Healthy Child Healthy World recently shared an article on silicones in our baby products, but the consensus on its safety seems to be: more research needs to be done, but it’s safe to use for our babes.

We recently received a line of Oogaa feeding products to review.  These products, made of silicone, are, hands down, some of my favorite feeding products to date.  To start, they’re bright and fun, something that’s welcomed after such a cold and gray winter.  

image

The spoons have cool airplanes, boats and other designs in the middle that make them not only fun tools, but also more weighted.  Like many who already do this, mom and dad use the fun airplane or train spoons together with those sound effects to make baby eat that baby food.  

image

We’ve been using the placemat on top of the high chair tray for easier clean up when eating yogurt or other messy foods that the toddler insists on feeding himself.  The portioned plates, though, are perhaps my favorite. I can cut up fruit and cheese and put in each compartment so that the tot can pick and choose bite-sized pieces himself, but to also control portion sizes.  With the two boys eating such different amounts of food, I often forget that the toddler has a much smaller appetite and pickier palate, and food often gets wasted because of this.

image

Best of all, after eating, clean up of these Oogaa products is super simple.  Because of the products are made of silicone, it’s easy to just throw them into the dishwasher.  

There’s a variety of awesome Oogaa feeding products ranging from the spoons to plates to placemats.  The plate and spoon set would make an ideal baby shower gift—talk about functional!

Here’s a little vlog we did when reviewing these fun feeding tools from Ooga:

)

 

Full disclosure:  I received these products to facilitate this review.  As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Parent Advocate: Stealth Sugars Shakedown and the Sometimes Treat

I have a classic penny candy jar sitting on my kitchen counter. It’s where I collect and store most of Biggie’s candy from parties, school, holidays, etc. Many days go by and the candy is left untouched, but then there are other days when a piece of candy is a reward or dessert or just because. This, for us, allows us to moderate that slippery slope of candy possession and have frequent conversations on “sometimes treats.”


Treats, for me, have always been associated with sugar. When I was a kid, I would hoard and hide candy because that’s what I did. I’d hide it because I knew it was bad and I’d indulge when no one was looking. And by indulge, I mean, OVERindulge.

This relationship with sugar is how I see stealth sugarin our food today, especially the food that’s marketed to our children. Just because it’s hidden or disguised doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The food that’s marketed to our kids is big business—to the tune of $10 billion a year. I see the trends in marketing to food to kids, I talk about said trends, and hey, I even fall for said tactics, often because it’s convenient or it’s on sale, or my friend recommended it.

What we need to see are food companies more accountable and transparent about the stuff they’re putting on our shelves and advertising to our kids.

I bring this up because I am attending a media event discussing a popular smoothie marketed to kids. They’ll be sharing a “secret” that they say moms will want to know, and believe me, I do want to know…but what I want to know may be a little different than what they’re telling me.

I’ll be up front: I’ve bought these “sometime treats” for my kid before. I took advantage of coupons and was duped by the clever placement (eye level for my 5 year old) in the dairy aisle. I haven’t bought these smoothies in awhile because, quite frankly, I haven’t had to: I won a year’s supply of our favorite organic yogurt at BlogHer last year.

Untitled

This is a photo of some of the sugary treats and yogurts from my fridge right now. While some may be good, the sugar content of most of these items are through the roof, hence sometimes treat.

While researching for today’s event, I had to refer to this AHA abstract to read up on the suggested sugar intake for kids.

Like most kids his age, Biggie gets sucked into the commercials that are geared to him and his peers. If C.C. and Rocky from Shake it Up are selling pickled herring, I’m sure he’ll spot it in Target the next time we go. It’s a well proven fact that marketing foods to kids with well known characters works. Hello? The partnership with Shrek and onions was awesome, but seriously, I need to see the Disney juggernaut market more wholesome food to our kids. Throw Mickey and Minnie on some apples and oranges, put Goofy on a banana and give Donald some broccoli to peddle: I hope to see a bigger shift in the food marketing paradigm to embrace produce and more unprocessed goods. See: Kids love Cuties.

Most food being marketed to kids have crazy sugar content, or dyes, or artificial everything. You and I know that, but does everyone else? According to AHA, sugar content in yogurt and dairy products hasn’t shown much adverse effects, but it’s the amount of sugar intake. Too much of anything is never any good.
b8a37bf0-959b-4d21-b9bd-55c5ad575261

I researched a bit about yogurt and added sugars, but will save my opinions on this after I learn more today. In the meantime, here are two important articles that I will be using as references for today’s media event this one from Marion Nestleand this one from Fooducate. Btw, I just downloaded Fooducate’s app—it’s brilliant!

Thought provoking quote from Marion Nestle’s post:

As I wrote of the competition between Dannon and Yoplait (owned by General Mills) in the yogurt chapter of What to Eat,

The chief weapon in the yogurt battles is sugar. Both brands are desserts. Sugars constitute 55 percent of the 80 calories in Go-GURT, 67 percent of the 90 calories in Danimals Drinkable, and 68 of the 170 calories in Danimals XL. Even in Stonyfield’s YoBaby organic yogurts…53% of the 120 calories come from added sugars. Some of Stonyfield’s yogurts for older kids appear berry-flavored, but they have no fruit at all….

Back to the issue at hand: I have a list of questions I am hoping to ask the executives at today’s media event. I am attending this event as an advocate for my children and someone who has a voice in the parenting space. I’m not shilling or here for coupons, but instead, seeking answers. I will be sure to share the takeaways and everything in between.

Labels of the above yogurts from my fridge:


I report about “sometime treats” here on NKT as I learn about them, hoping that you take that information and make decisions that work best for your family. Reminder: I’m upfront when posts are sponsored and today, I’m being hosted, but am not being compensated.

Here are just a few more articles I was up late reading:

http://business.highbeam.com/435361/article-1G1-172907906/youth-analysts-gaze-into-their-magic-eight-balls-predict

www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/food_marketing_to_children.pdf

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ftc-reports-food-marketing-children-down-195-146169

The Uses of Yogurt

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

http://business.highbeam.com/435361/article-1G1-172907906/youth-analysts-gaze-into-their-magic-eight-balls-predict

www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/food_marketing_to_children.pdf

The total amount spent on food marketing to children is about $10 billion a year.1

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ftc-reports-food-marketing-children-down-195-146169

The Uses of Yogurt

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/Sugars-and-Carbohydrates_UCM_303296_Article.jsp

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf

Last Minute Easter Basket Gift Ideas

Easter may be tomorrow, but in case you’re still looking for basket-filling ideas, we have some fun suggestions. Since we’ve been busy checking out Spring toys and new releases, we haven’t had a chance to fully complete our reviews. I thought we’d highlight just a few cool things that would be a perfect addition to your baskets.

While Easter remains a religious holiday for many families, those with young kids know it’s fun to indulge in Bunny stuff. To me, beyond jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, Easter basket stuffers are meant to be small trinkets that fit in the basket, as opposed to another excuse to go toy-crazy. So, lucky us, there are tons of non-candy goodies that will make every ‘bunny’ happy.

Games
Card games, travel games, video games and apps are a given when thinking of gift ideas for older kids. A few games that we’re currently loving: Skylanders Giants, Brave Digital Book app, Super Animal Genius for LeapPad and Twister Rave Ringz.
Skylanders Giants continues to dominate our house. I’ll have more details on these guys soon, but Crusher and Stump Smash are my guys’ favorites right now.
Brave Storybook Deluxe app from Disney Digital is one of our favorite apps at the moment. This app lets Merida fans read or play along with a variety of Brave-inspired games. I love Merida’s Challenge which give us a chance to sharpen archery skills in between practicing our reading skills. The option that allows you to record your own voice reading, makes this app a must for new readers and Merida fans alike.
Super Animal Genius for LeapPad is another fun game appropriate for grade schoolers. This game challenges kids to learn fun facts about animals while keeping it light. This game from Scholastic allows kids to explore different regions and the animals that live there. I love the way this game engages kids through playing eye-catching games as it educates.
Twister Rave Ringz is a new take on movement and clapping games. With these light up rings, players can change colors of the rings by clapping, moving and twisting. You can play solo or with friends, at home or on the go. We actually brought these along for our nighttime roadtrip, which made things quite interesting. Perfect for tweens, but also for grade schoolers with coordination, Twister Rave Ringz is a fun and almost addictive!

Baby
For baby, I books, especially the ones found in the Target Dollar Spot, are my favorite stuffers. Baby can never have enough board books, especially for the most voracious, slobbery reader.
Annie’s Bunnies always find their way into our
Buycostumes.com has a slew of fun costumes that are available all year, but we actually had the chance to check out this fun bunny costume for baby. I’ll be sure to share pictures of our baby bunny, but in case you need ideas for spring baby photos, be sure to check out Buycostumes.com. Baby bunny will be in our guy’s Easter basket tomorrow! He has no idea what’s coming.