4 Ways You Can Be A Snacktivist + The Snacktivist’s Handbook {Podcast #295}

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, we chat with Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD from Real Mom Nutrition about healthy snacking for kids and her new e-book, The Snacktivist’s Handbook. Read on for Sally’s guest post and a giveaway of the new book.

The Snacktivist's Handbook via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #kids #snacks #nutrition

Click the Play button below to listen to our Healthy Snacking interview with Sally.

I’ve got nothing against snacks. Kids love them. MY kids love them. And frankly, I wouldn’t be able to get through the day without a snack or two either! They’re an excellent way to get more good nutrition between meals.

But the reality is that kids today are snacking more than ever before—and on the wrong stuff. Research tells us that chips, cookies, crackers, sugary drinks, and other highly-processed foods are among the most common snacks for children. And no wonder: These kinds of munchies are regularly doled out in youth sports, in school, at camp, at church, and so many other places where kids gather. Seems like kids can’t do anything these days without getting a packaged snack to go along with it.

Several years ago, I started a campaign on my blog Real Mom Nutrition called Snacktivism. It’s a grassroots effort to improve the culture of snacking for kids. It’s about rethinking snacks, about finding a choice that’s good for our kids’ health and habits. It’s not about banishing cupcakes and cookies—it’s about putting them back to where they belong as special occasion foods. I created resources for parents to work in their own communities, so they could have conversations with teachers, coaches, and preschool directors and come up with solutions together. I just compiled those resources, plus a whole bunch more, in a new e-book called The Snacktivist’s Handbook.

I wanted to give you a sneak peek into the e-book with some concrete tips so YOU can be a Snacktivist too:

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Healthy Teriyaki Tofu & Veggie Protein Bowl – {Recipe Redux October Challenge}

Plant-based protein bowls are a food trend that makes me very happy. They’re easy to make, nutritious, versatile, and filled with big flavors and lots of crunch. This Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl is no exception.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian

{Picky Eater Advice}

If your family tends to shy away from vegetables, set up a build-your-own  bowl bar filled with an array of ingredients so everyone can decide what to take … or what not to take. Giving finicky eaters control over their individual food choices (especially when they’re all healthy choices) is often a big motivator for trying new foods.

Healthy Teriyaki Tofu and Veggie Protein Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #vegetarian

The bowls I like to make include some sort of whole grain including brown rice, farro, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta, crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and one or two protein-rich foods — beans, tofu, grilled chicken, salmon, nuts, seeds, or eggs.

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25 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet {Podcast #287}

Struggling with picky eaters? Looking for new ways to add variety, more nutrition, and kid-friendly flavors to every-day meals? Stuck in a snack rut? Curious how much added sugar is lurking in your family’s favorite foods? Wondering out how much fiber your family needs for optimal health?

25 ways to improve your family's diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #picky #kids #nutrition

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio podcast, we share highlights from our 5-part blog series on 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet TODAY. We gathered all 25 of our doable, practical, and realistic strategies below and dish about them on the podcast. There’s something for everyone here, and we hope our tips get you closer to boosting the nutritonal GPA of your family’s diet.

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Click the PLAY button above to tune in!

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Chobani Kids® Greek Yogurt Pouches and Tubes. We were compensated for our work, and as always all opinions are our own.

How to market good nutrition to kids via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #nutrition

 HOW TO MARKET GOOD NUTRITION TO KIDS

1. Make healthy foods highly accessible and attractive: Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re cut into fun shapes and presented in playful ways. From fresh berries used as a “decoration” for a smoothie bowl topping to a Halloween Skeleton made with vegetables, a dash of creativity can really spark a child’s interest. And if you serve fruits and veggies at the start of the meal when kids are hungry, they’ll be more willing to take a few bites too.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet Today! – PART #4: Slash Added Sugar

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we all limit added sugar to no more than 10% of our daily calories. But right now, on average, Americans consume 13% of their daily calories from added sugar, and soft drinks, sweetened beverages, and desserts are the biggest culprits. Kids and teens tend to have the biggest sweet tooth.

In Part 4 of our 5-part blog series on easy ways to improve your family’s diet, we’ll show you what all that sugar looks like and serve up 5 tips for slashing the added sugar in your family’s diet.

Slash Added Sugar from Your Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

So what does 10% of daily calories mean? Well, let’s say you’re consuming a 2,000-calorie diet. Ten percent of 2,000 is 200, and when you do the math, it turns out that 200 calories equals about 50 grams, or 12 teaspoons of sugar. The photo below, illustrates that amount. {For a young child who only consumes 1,000 calories a day, the upper limit for added sugar would be 6 teaspoons.}

Slash Added Sugar from Your Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen
According to the Dietary Guidelines, naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit or milk, are not added sugars. Specific examples of added sugars that can be listed as an ingredient include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose, and turbinado sugar.

Slash Added Sugar from Your Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Sugar-laden foods add calories to the diet, often without contributing nutrients. And since things like soft drinks and sugar-sweetened treats are frequently filling, they displace other more nutrient-rich foods from the diet.

PART 4: Slash Added Sugar from the Diet

Slash Added Sugar from Your Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #yogurt

1. Be a Label Sleuth: Read labels and comparison shop. Chobani Tots® Pouches, for example, are sweetened with only natural ingredients—apple, mango, spinach, banana, and cane juice. The Tots also contain 12 milligrams of DHA omega-3 fat and probiotics, which are thought to be helpful in promoting digestive health. Chobani Kids® Greek Yogurt Pouches and Tubes are also sweetened naturally with ingredients like banana puree, so they have 25% less sugar and twice the amount of protein of other kids’ brands.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet Today! – PART #3: Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover

On average, kids consume snacks three times a day with 27% of their daily calories coming from all those between-meal nibbles. When children are offered things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and calcium-rich yogurt, snack time provides the perfect opportunity for exposing them to new tastes, textures, and the nutrients that may be missing from their diets.

Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #nutrition #yogurt

Swap salty chips, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages for foods that bring good nutrition to a child’s day.

Think of snacks as nutritious mini meals that stave off hunger without ruining appetites.

Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #nutrition #yogurt

PART 3: Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover

We can’t recall a day when our kids came home from school and announced, “I’m not hungry.” Quite the contrary! Kids are usually famished when they get off the school bus or the soccer field, which is actually a win-win for parents, since hungry kids are more likely to gobble up whatever is placed in front of them.

The 5 simple snack makeover strategies below should get you well on your way to giving your family a healthy snack makeover. Now is the time to establish good eating habits, and the right kinds of snacks can help you achieve that goal.

Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover via Mealmakeovermoms.com/kitchen #nutrition #yogurt

1. Choose Convenience Snacks Wisely: Get away from heavily processed snack foods made with ingredients that bring sodium, saturated fat, and little to no nutrition to the diet, and instead, look for grab-and-go snacks brimming with good nutrition. Some of our go-to recommendations include unsweetened mini applesauce and fruit cups, whole grain popcorn (for kids 5 years or older), baby carrots and celery sticks with dip, mini hummus cups, sweet potato chips, and mini yogurts like Chobani Kids® Greek Yogurt Pouches and Tubes. They’re made with only natural ingredients blended with low-fat milk, and they have 25% less sugar and twice the amount of protein compared to the leading kids’ yogurt.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet Today! – PART #2: Weave One (or more!) Nutrient-Rich Ingredient Into Everything You Make

The typical U.S. diet is too low in fruits and vegetables, too low in whole grains, and too high in sodium.

Weave nutrient-rich ingredients into recipes via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Don’t despair, because boosting the number of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other good-for-you ingredients in your family’s diet, is just a recipe away. In Part #2 of our 5-part series on Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet, we have five tips for Weaving One (or more!) Nutrient-Rich Ingredient into Everything You Make.

Weave nutrient-rich ingredients into recipes via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

PART 2: Weave One (or more) Nutrient-Rich Ingredient Into Everything You Make

What’s missing from your family’s diet? Fruits? Vegetables? Calcium-rich dairy? Beans and legumes? Whole grains?

Once you know what’s missing, you can begin to weave (AKA incorporate) what’s missing into your everyday recipes. By the way, you DON’T have to sneak stuff in 🙂

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Gut Health: How to Nurture Your ‘Good’ Bacteria with Diet and Lifestyle {Podcast #286}

There may be no such thing as the Fountain of Youth, but a growing body of cool science shows that taking care of the 100 trillion bacteria that reside inside your gut can have a profound and positive impact on your family’s health.

 On this week’s Cooking with the Moms radio show, we welcome Stanford University scientist, Erica Sonnenburg, PhD to the show to talk about her book, The Good Gut, why our microbial community or “microbiome” is critical for promoting health and warding off disease, and how a few simple and surprising things in our everyday lives can grow and nurture the good bugs that live within you and your kiddos.

  The Good Gut via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #guthealth

Erica and Justin Sonnenburg, PhDs co-wrote The Good Gut. They live in California with their two daughters, ages 7 and 9, and their dog, Louis, who’s named after Louis Pasteur. They grow vegetables in their garden, and they eat a lot of fiber. Why the dog and the garden? Well, it turns out that good bacteria live in soil, so exposure to dirt from hands and paws can boost the beneficial bacteria that take up residence in your gut. And why the fiber? Well, that’s what the 1,200 or so bacterial species that live in your gut like to eat.

The Good Gut via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #guthealth

{We’re giving away a copy of The Good Gut, so read on for the details on how you can enter to win.}

 

 If you lined up all of your gut microbes side by side, they would reach the moon.

That’s a lot of bacteria, and it’s no coincidence that the diverse community of bugs that inhabit our gut also plays a significant role in our health. Our collection of microbes helps us digest food and stay regular, and controls our metabolism, immune system, mood and behavior, and even our body weight. They’re wired into our biology.

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Family’s Diet Today! – PART #1: Market Good Nutrition to Kids

Struggling with picky eaters? Looking for new ways to add variety, more nutrition, and kid-friendly flavors to every-day meals? Stuck in a snack rut? Curious how much added sugar is lurking in your family’s favorite foods? Figuring out how much fiber your family needs for optimal health?

We have the answers!

5 Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Starting today, we’ll be featuring a 5-part blog series on easy ways to improve your family’s diet with the goal of taking it from ho hum to delicious and nutritious.

Here’s how your family can achieve BETTER EATING HABITS today:

  • PART 1: Market Good Nutrition to Kids

  • PART 2: Weave One (or more!) Nutrient-Rich Ingredient into Everything you Make

  • PART 3: Give Snacks a Healthy Makeover

  • PART 4: Slash the Hidden Sugar in Beverages, Snacks and Desserts

  • PART 5: Add 5 Extra Grams of Fiber to your Diet Every Day

5 Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

PART 1: Market Good Nutrition to Kids

Most U.S. kids don’t eat the recommended 2½ to 6½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. They don’t eat enough whole grains and they consume more than the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium. As a result, according to national nutrition surveys, children 2 years and older fall short on vitamins A, D, E, and C as well as folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

Would kids’ health benefit from eating better? Heck yes! And that’s where clever marketing on the part of parents and caregivers fits in.

5 Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

Some children are also picky, which makes eating right an even bigger challenge. And when kids are picky, parents and caregivers often fall into the trap of short-order cooking, pushing vegetables to the point where kids get turned off, labeling kids as “picky,” or asking the kids what they want to eat. (See the “Division of Responsibility” below for tips on the what, when, and where of family mealtime.)

5 Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

By marketing good nutrition to kids, you can overcome the nutrient shortfalls in a child’s diet and turn your picky eater into a power eater. Let’s tackle five ways you can do that.

5 Ways to Improve Your Family's Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

HOW TO MARKET GOOD NUTRITION TO KIDS

1. Make healthy foods highly accessible and attractive: Kids are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables when they’re cut into fun shapes and presented in playful ways. From fresh berries used as a “decoration” for a smoothie bowl topping to a Halloween Skeleton made with vegetables, a dash of creativity can really spark a child’s interest. And if you serve fruits and veggies at the start of the meal when kids are hungry, they’ll be more willing to take a few bites too.

2. Pair new items with old standbys to take the intimidation factor out of trying something new: For example, top a new soup recipe with whole grain Goldfish® crackers or crushed whole grain tortilla chips; offer hummus or another favorite dip with a crunchy new vegetable; or create a sandwich with one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat.

3. Eat together as a family and role model good eating habits: Children who eat meals with their family eat more fruits and vegetables than kids who eat alone. Eating together provides an opportunity for the adults at the table to role model good eating habits. Interestingly, peers can also have a positive impact on eating behaviors. In a new study, toddlers who watched a video of their tiny peers eating bell peppers were more likely to try and then eat the peppers themselves. (That’s the kind of screen time we appreciate.)

4. Self-serve meals versus pre-plating: When the dinner bell rings at your house, do you plate up everyone’s meal or do you serve dinner on platters and in bowls for everyone to serve themselves? Doing the latter gives kids more control over what and how much their tummies want to eat. And it offers an opportunity for role modeling too. When little Johnny sees his big sister serving herself spoonfuls of broccoli, he’s more likely to follow her lead.

5. Have kids help with meal planning and preparation: Every time we ask the moms and dads in our online community for their best tip for getting their kids to try new foods, “getting kids involved in meal prep” comes out on top. Children take more interest in mealtime when they’re part of the process, so enlist them to help with everything from picking out a recipe and grocery shopping to chopping veggies and adding herbs and spices to the recipe.
{Download our free 7-Day Meal Planner.}

Tips for Improving the Family Diet via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

You’re in the the Driver’s Seat!

Try this “division of responsibility” strategy, established by Ellyn Satter, RDN, to take control of your kitchen while still empowering young children to make wise food choices:

Job #1: Parents get to decide what the family will eat, when they will eat, and where they will eat and the children get to decide how much to eat.

Job #2: Give children ample opportunity and time to like new foods.

Job #3: Don’t pressure kids to try new foods (they’ll eat less when pressured), and never withhold foods (kids may eat more when they feel food is scarce).

Stop by later this week for Part #2 of our series: Weave One (or more!) Nutrient-Rich Ingredient into Everything you Make.

Looking for more information on picky eaters? Check out these helpful Resources from Meal Makeover Moms:

Picky Eater Makeover web page featuring practical advice from parents and caregivers like you!

The science of picky eating: On Podcast #133, we dish about why kids are picky and offer delicious solutions with the help of Maryann Jacobsen, RD from Raise Healthy Eaters.

Recipe Reviewer Chart: “Pay” your kids to become your recipe reviewers, and use our cute smiley-face chart to help you with this fun activity.

Frozen Raspberry & Mango Smoothie Bowl for a Healthy, Fiber-Rich Breakfast or Snack

Combine frozen raspberries and fresh mango with Greek yogurt and chia seeds for this colorful, healthy, and perfect-for-breakfast-or-snack smoothie bowl.

Frozen Raspberry & Mango Smoothie Bowl via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen

The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage everyone to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, limit calories from added sugar and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake, and this Frozen Raspberry & Mango Smoothie Bowl fits right into those recommendations.

This Frozen Raspberry & Mango Smoothie Bowl is from our newly-released book, The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook. It’s low in sodium, contains no added sugar, and it has just 1 gram of saturated fat. Each serving provides a much-needed 9 grams of dietary fiber, which can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of diabetes and heart disease, and keep our digestive systems running smoothly.

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