Tag Archives: food

Control Issues

Like most kids, Katie loves yogurt.  I mean, she really, really loves it.

Since the health benefits of yogurt are endless (here’s a great rundown), I am all too happy to indulge her.

I don’t, however, buy flavored yogurt multipacks.

Why not?

Because these yogurts are typically packaged in unsafe plastic and are loaded with sugar.

Here’s how we do yogurt:

I buy plain organic yogurt and 100% fruit spread and we mix our own, which enables me to control not only the amount of sugar, but also the serving size.

{Though multipacks are convenient, mixing my own truly takes about 30 seconds longer than peeling of the top of an individual-size container.}

I add just enough fruit spread to color the yogurt and give it a hint of flavor.  I then throw in whatever fruit we have handy–typically strawberries, raspberries, bananas, or blueberries.  (My ultimate goal is to cut out the fruit spread entirely, so I’m using less and less over time.)

Mixing our own also saves us money, since larger containers are more cost effective.

Worth a try?

{I use either Brown Cow or Stonyfield Farm yogurt because they are great organic options and Whole Foods Fruit Spread because it has only three ingredients; this blueberry spread contains only white grape juice concentrate, wild blueberries, and fruit pectin.}

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Birthday Crazies

Our baby girl turns three at the end of this month.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her special day and, honestly, my head hurts just thinking about it.  The headline on the May issue of Parents magazine’s reads “Birthday Blowout!”  That’s what I feel my head is going to do if I’m not careful.

When I was little, birthdays looked something like this:

My family would gather together–aunts, uncles, cousins and a very small handful of friends.  There would be cake, ice cream, and perhaps party hats.  And love.  Yeah, love.

Here’s what Katie’s birthday party looked like last year:

We did a tea party theme (I know, right?!  When I was a kid, the theme was IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!).

The menu included shaved roast beef sandwiches with homemade creamy horseradish sauce, a variety of tea sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, sliced strawberries, fruit kabobs, and fresh raspberry lemonade.

The goody bags were filled with necklace kits, bracelets, stickers, and the like.  We had thirty guests, twelve of whom were children.  We had balloons everywhere, we set up craft stations both inside and out, and blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

How did this happen?  Keeping up with the Jones’, that’s how.

Parties these days are different and there is this overwhelming part of me that wants Katie to have the same things that her peers are having.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve been to parties at gymnastics facilities, indoor playgrounds, parties with bounce houses in the backyard, and I even have a friend who hired actresses to dress up as princesses to make the rounds at her child’s party.

Katie has loved attending these parties, and I while I applaud the mothers who put together these elaborate celebrations, there is a part of me that wished they’d knock it off.

Last year, I was so busy making sure thirty people were having a good time, that I barely saw Katie.  I feel as though I robbed myself of memories of my sweet girl turning two.  We’ve decided that we’re just not doing it this year.

So, I’m declaring here that we’re keeping it simple.  Just a small handful of people, lots of love, and a bounce house.  (Yeah, we kinda promised that one.)

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Six Reasons Why I’m a Complete Hypocrite…

Okay, we’ve already established that I’m THAT mom. You know the one.  And, honestly, I am so okay with that.

While our kids are still small, it’s my responsibility to teach them healthy life habits. I do realize that in a few years they’ll be at a friend’s house and on their own to make healthy choices (or not), but for now, they’re mine. My job is to put good practices in place and give them the tools to make good choices.

Here’s the problem–I have double standards and I need to change my ways. These are the six of our guidelines we have for the kids and my main areas of my hypocrisy:

1. Limit refined sugar.

This one is pretty obvious (wired kids being only part of the problem).  Here are a few other reasons.

Two or three nights a week we allow Katie to have a treat after dinner, which is typically three M&M’s.

Craig and I ate two bags of jelly beans just over the week of Easter.

2. Don’t drink fruit juice.

We offer Katie an apple instead of apple juice, an orange instead of orange juice. Fruit offers fiber and far fewer sugary calories. Plus, we encourage her to drink plenty of water and she can only drink so much fluid in a day. Here’s a great article on the subject.

Yeah, I drink juice. How else would I ever have fruity drinks on the patio? Can’t make a Malibu Bay Breeze without pineapple and cranberry juice.

3. Watch Minimal Television

Katie is allowed one hour of television each day.

Yeah, well, I love the TV and certainly watch more than an hour a day. Heaven help you if you get in the way of Parenthood, Modern Family, House, or The Tudors. Seriously, don’t even try it.

4. Eat the rainbow.

With each meal, we offer her several colorful foods, with the ultimate goal of providing as close to a complete rainbow as possible by day’s end. We talk about the reasons why we eat each color and how important eating right is to growing “big and strong.”

And me? Yeah, well, about that, see M&Ms above…red, orange, yellow, green, blue…

5. Avoid high fructose corn syrup.

This is a huge rule in our house and, for the most part, has been relatively easy to adhere to.

But, I love this little thing called a Fluffernutter. For those of you poor things who haven’t heard of this delight, imagine a sandwich filled with peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff. Yeah, the ingredients in Fluff are: corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and vanillin.  There is just no excuse for eating this.

6. Eat no hydrogenated oils.

We all know that we shouldn’t eat these, and for the most part, I do okay.

The problem? One word: Oreos.

So, why am I telling you all of my secrets? Because I’m going to try to change my ways and adhere to the principles that we set for the kids. Katie is getting old enough that I’ve had to dodge some awkward questions and eat my jelly beans in stealth mode. She’s too smart for me to get away with this for much longer.

And how about you? Are there any rules that you inflict upon lovingly set for your kids that you don’t always follow yourself?  How do you explain your double standards?

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