Holly Robinson Peete: Tips on Enjoying an Allergy-Friendly Super Bowl Party

For thousands of families, food allergies are a reality that involves carefully reading labels before consumption, as well as educating and communicating with family, friends and schools.

Food allergy awareness requires even more diligence when it comes to parties, such as Super Bowl Sunday.  Pot lucks and buffet-type spreads could be a trip to the ER just waiting to happen if food allergies aren’t communicated.  Raising awareness, even if the allergy isn’t in your own family, is the first line of defense for avoiding adverse reactions.

Holly Robinson Peete, one of the co-hosts of CBS’ The Talk and wife of former NFL player Rodney Peete, is well versed in food allergies.  Mom of four, Holly hopes to help raise awareness and educate other parents about food allergies; each of her kids has some form of allergy, and she’s had her fair share of scary moments.

On Super Bowl Sunday, an occasion that boasts the most food consumption behind Thanksgiving, the reality of food allergies is heightened. Because of her experience with food allergies, Holly spoke with some fellow bloggers and me, on how to enjoy an allergy-friendly Super Bowl party.

Families can enjoy a fun Super Bowl party even if allergies are a concern.  Some of Holly’s tips for having an allergy-friendly Super Bowl party include:

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Holly Robinson Peete to Host Webinar on Food Allergies

Because allergies run rampant in our family, this topic has been on my radar well before I became a parent.  Once I became a mom, introducing food to the kid with the possibility of food allergies became an even bigger reality.  Aside from real-life experience by helping my younger brother cope with being “allergic to the world,” my husband and I researched to educate ourselves for the uncertainty of having a child with food sensitivities.

Amidst all the gatherings this time of year, it’s the parties and family events that can be a cause of concern for allergic reactions.  After being so cautious with anything new that the three year old has eaten, over Christmas, he had an allergic reaction after having some cashews.  Of course, the reaction happened the evening of the post-Christmas blizzard and weather conditions would have complicated everything.  Thankfully, the kid is at an age where he can verbally communicate with us now, and immediately told us that his tongue was itchy—a telltale sign of an allergic reaction, and something that I always remember my brother describing after eating various things he was allergic to, when we were kids.

Always reluctant to let the kid have nuts in anything, for some reason, I thought he would have been ok trying cashews for the first time that night.  I thought he was in the clear with any nut allergies, but I was wrong.

The kid’s hives, swollen lips and an itchy tongue was enough to remind us that not all foods are safe for our allergy-prone kid.  Thankfully, we had Children’s Benadryl onhand to remedy the situation and that it didn’t require a trip to the ER.  We learned from this terrifying situation and are grateful it didn’t transpire differently.

Because of our family’s allergies and my interest in sharing this sort of information to other parents, I will be logging into a video webinar on the topic tomorrow.

Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving. Since severe allergic reactions to food send 90,000 people to the emergency room annually, TV personality Holly Robinson Peete of CBS’s The Talk (who is married to former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete) will be hosting an online video webinar about handling food allergy dangers at gatherings like Super Bowl parties. Nine out of 10 people say they will be attending one this year, according to a recent Nielsen survey.  Since Holly’s four children all have some kind of food allergy, she has plenty of expertise in this topic.

After the webinar, I’ll be one of a few bloggers who will ask Holly questions pertaining to allergies and her experience.  It’s always interesting to hear other parents shed light on issues that hit so close to home.  I’ll of course share Holly’s insight after the interview, but I’d also like to invite you to watch the online webinar.

Allergy Friendly Superbowl Webinar with Holly Robinson Peete

When: Tuesday, Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT)

Where: Click this link
to get to the webinar, where you will be able to watch Holly via live video feed: http://agencyroad.na4.acrobat.com/allergyfriendlysuperbowl/

Full disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in this webinar and Q&A via TheMotherhood. The webinar is being sponsored by Dey Pharma L.P.  As always all opinions on NKT are my own.

KidFresh Frozen Meals: Convenient Deliciousness

An advocate for helping kids make healthier choices, as you know, I’m always on the hunt for good eats.  I’m not the biggest fan of “sneaking” veggies, making exclusive meals for kids, nor am I really a fan of overly processed food for kids.  But in reality, if it works, it works—especially if you’ve got a picky eater.

Time is of the essence for all families, which is why it’s always great to have easy meal options or frozen food onhand.  When you’re not feeling well, running late for that playdate or just don’t have the inspiration to cook, it’s nice to simplify life with a meal that takes little or no brainwork.  The problem with many of those frozen foods, however, are the sodium and preservative levels.

And then, there’s KidFresh.


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Snack Nation: Package Your Own Healthy Snacks

In case you haven’t heard, apparently, we’re raising a generation of constant snackers.

As Wendy Sachs recently wrote in the Huffington Post, “From cleverly packaged organic cookies to crisp 100 Calorie chips, we offer snacks as distraction and entertainment.”

Those prepackaged snacks are so easy to grab and just throw in a bag when you’re on the go…or to alleviate meltdowns. I’m guilty of it, too.  No judgments here!  But on a different note,  just because it’s organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s that great of a snack for the kid, especially if they’re having tons of it, all day long.

A lot of kids are devouring those prepackaged snack foods, which are high in calories and low in nutrients, as pointed out in a MayoClinic.com article.

So, why don’t we nip these bad habits in the bud, and go for a healthier, old-fashioned route: snacks that we package ourselves?

Grapes, cheese and crackers

Instead of grabbing for cutesy prepackaged and highly processed “fruit” snacks, why not put together fresh fruit and add a little protein like low-fat cheddar cheese?

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Good Eating: High Plains Bison

Like many of you, I’m a bargainista—or at least I try.  I have always said that the driving force for me nowadays to shop for discounts and clip coupons is so that I could use the money I save and put it towards buying “better” meat for my family.  After reading so much about food recalls and watching Food Inc., it’s a fact that, as parents, we have to be cognizant of what’s going on with our food and how we feed our families.  And for me, it’s one of my priorities to overhaul how I shop for groceries all together.

On that end, I recently had the chance to taste a sampler of Bison meat from High Plains Bison.  If you’ve ever had bison, then you know that its taste is distinctively different from beef and has less fat.  (You can see the marbling in the bison ribeyes below.)

Doing some research for this post, according to Bison Basics, grass-fed bison has less calories and more protein than lean beef, turkey and pork.  And according to High Plains Bison, while bison may not be considered health food, it is healthier.  Bison is low in cholesterol, low in sodium, a good source of iron and also contains a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids too.

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Bento Boxing it

With the kids back in school and the ongoing concern for childhood obesity, healthy eating habits, naturally, is a hot topic for many parents.  One trend for packing lunches that’s flourishing in not only kids, but also adults, is the Bento Box.  Japanese-style bento boxes have nesting compartments which is perfect for fresh fruits, veggies, pasta, last night’s leftovers—you name it.  The compartments also serve as a built-in portion control system!  Genius.  As the popularity of Bento Boxes grows, as do the different varieties.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

The Goodbyn

The Goodbyn is an awesome Bento Box that Brandy, a friend and NKT reader, first told me about a few months ago.  And after hearing about it, it’s no surprise that I read about it in various places—it’s just that cool. 

Snapshot 2009-09-24 10-46-23Snapshot 2009-09-24 10-46-55

This Bento Box, designed by a mom, has six compartments, a lid and an 8.5 oz. drink cup.  The animal-ish shaped boxes come in kid-friendly colors and even come with stickers that kids can use to personalize.  The beauty of Bento Boxes is because of its compartments or nesting containers, it eliminates the usage of plastic baggies, and in this case, juice boxes.  The Goodbyn, an eco-friendly and pretty sweet alternative to traditional lunchboxes, not only promotes healthier eating by controlling portions, but it’s also safer since it’s said to be  Phthalate and BPA-free.  It’s no wonder The Goodbyn is creating all that well-deserved buzz.

Zojirushi Mini Bento Box
I recently had the chance to check out the Zojirushi Mini Bento Box and I love it; it’s so cute and functional!  This is one company that gets it right.

41IGc1oW65L._SS500_We received an amazing Zojirushi electric skillet as a wedding/shower gift, and we love it.  And so when I received this one at an event, I knew it would be just as great.  The Mini Bento Box comes with 3 containers:  2 smaller plastic containers and 1 larger container with a twist off lid.  The smaller containers would be ideal to hold leftovers, fruit, veggies and the like.  The larger container looks like it’s meant to hold rice; I love that it also has a removable outer metal cup to keep it warm.  The fabric bag is cute and very portable; it certainly wouldn’t take up much space in a bookbag.  This set comes with a chopsticks and handy matching case, too.  Like many Americans, I have no discipline when it comes to portion control, and so I will say that this mini bento box lives up to the “mini” part.  It would be ideal for kids, especially since you can tuck things into the pockets in the fabric bag.  For mamas who make their own baby food, this mini bento box would be perfect to store those cubes in!  This Bento Box can be found at Amazon.

Bento Set in Black Sushiil_fullxfull.83560673

This Etsy find from Spacestitch was too cute not to mention.  It encompasses elements of both of the above Bento Boxes, all rolled up into one.

I love the sushi print combined with the black contrasting fabric and pink ribbon, which gives it a modern and whimsical look.  This set comes with a two-tiered plastic bento box, utensils, napkin, drawstring bag and elastic bands.  This set looks like it would carry a lot more, making it perfect for moms and older kids.  This Bento Box cannot be microwaved or put in the dishwasher, but its convenience and cute factor make up for that!

If you already do Bento Boxes, what are some of your meal ideas?  I love how creative people get with lunches, so let’s hear ’em!  For some great ideas check out: The Goodbyn blog; Hippomum’s photos; and  Kideats Flickr Pool

Seriously, these people inspire me to get more creative and diverse with the kid’s meals.  Hey, if it gets kids of all ages interested in eating/trying healthy foods, I’m all for it!

Michelle Obama visits Sesame Street

Michelle Obama Sesame StreetIn between meeting with diplomats and helping to promote the President’s new foreign policies, the First Lady took some time out last week to visit Elmo and the gang at Sesame Street. Michelle Obama visited Sesame Street to tape a Public Service Announcement with Elmo as part of Sesame Workshop’s Healthy Habits For Life initiative. Mrs. Obama and Elmo discussed eating right, exercising regularly and being a healthy and positive role model for children.

“If you want your child to have healthy habits, practice healthy habits, because you’re your child’s role model,” The First Lady suggests in the PSA.

I thought the news about planting an organic garden at the White House was pretty cool, but Mrs. Obama’s visit to Sesame Street is just as much a highlight for her, as it is for her fans!

(photo credit: Richard Termine)

Got Milk? Toys “R” Us Might

Toys “R” Us announced that they’re adding some new inventory. In addition to Barbies and Thomas the Train, the retailer will now sell snacks, beverages, paper goods, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. Just a few weeks after announcing their discount shop concept, Toys “R” Us will be adding the “R” Market to the front of 260 stores. While the new concept may not offer the same variety as a grocery store, the “R” Market aims to accommodate shoppers with the convenience of one-stop shopping.
According to an article in Time, the prices at “R” market weren’t as competitive as other big box stores. Convenience is the keyword here, so expect to pay more for the accessibility to your Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies while shopping for Polly Pockets. Ok, so they won’t have a full blown dairy aisle, but it seems like they will have a lot of good stuff to offer.
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Sweet new treat: Goldfish Grahams

sweetgoldfishPepperidge Farm Goldfish, the go-to snack loved by tots and moms alike, is introducing a sweet new snack, quite literally. The new Goldfish Grahams are made with whole grains and contain no artificial preservatives and are available in three  flavors: Honey, Chocolate and Cinnamon. In addition to the various cheese, whole wheat and pretzel Goldfish flavors, your sweeties will now have Graham Goldfish treats to choose from, too. Decisions, decisions.

Sweet, more treats to fish out of the diaper bag.