Helping Children Develop Healthy Eating Habits

This post is sponsored by CHOC Children’s

.Helping Children Develop Healthy Eating HabitsFeeding my family healthy meals has become increasingly important to me as a parent. As our lives have become busier and time is scarce, it’s been my goal to crack the code on getting my family to eat healthy. I was able to chat with Dr. Eric Ball, a pediatrician at Southern Orange County Pediatrics Associates, and President of the American Association of Pediatrics of OC, and we had a great discussion on how to help children develop patterns of healthy eating. I am so excited to share some of the knowledge he passed on to me!

It’s okay if kids don’t eat during every meal

If you’re a parent like me, then most likely you have worried that your child doesn’t eat enough during meal time. There are times when I’ve had a kid eat nothing from their plate during dinnertime. It’s not only frustrating, but also worrisome that my child is not getting enough nutrients or sustenance to fill their tummies.

Dr. Ball has assured me that you don’t have to worry. It is okay for kids not to eat during mealtimes. They eventually will eat when they are hungry. It’s perfectly normal to have times when kids will only eat one meal a day. Do not make them their own special meal just to get them to eat something. Simply present them with the food you’ve prepared at every meal, and at some point they will eat. Don’t give in. Kids need to learn how to eat a variety of foods, not just the few foods they demand.

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Obesity in kids is one of the biggest problems seen in kids.

Obesity is a huge problem for children here in the United States. Video games, non-planned activities, processed foods and empty calories – such as soda and juice can be to blame for part of this problem. Dr. Ball explained that many parents come to him not knowing that their children are overweight. When your kids are babies, they may have baby rolls and baby fat, but as they pass the toddler stage, they should thin out. Most kids between the ages of 5 – 6 years look a bit skinny when they are a healthy normal weight. Around 9-10 years kids get a little pudgy before they thin out in their teens.

As parents, our responsibility is to provide healthy food. Our kid’s responsibility is to eat it…or not. If you are providing all healthy food, it’s okay if your child eats a lot. Kids can only eat so many carrots! It is the junk that causes obesity. It is important to not let your child become overweight in the first place as it is hard for our bodies to go backwards. Once we become overweight, our bodies become comfortable at that weight, our metabolisms slow down, and losing weight can become harder and harder. This is why healthy eating starting from infancy is so important.

How to Feed Kids a Healthy Diet

Dr. Ball suggests that the best way to stick to a healthy family diet is to meal plan for the week. By planning weekly meals and shopping at the beginning of the week, you will not only save money by avoiding last minute stops at drive thru restaurants, but it also saves money and helps you to avoid buying things you don’t need.

Whether you win or lose will be determined at the grocery store, so be careful what you buy. If there are things that you don’t want your child to eat, then don’t bring it home with you (this is a good reminder for yourself too!) Only buy food that you don’t mind your kids eating. The biggest thing Dr. Ball suggests, is to avoid processed food. Foods that don’t need a nutrition label are what are best to buy – fruits, veggies and meat. These are the “real foods” you should focus on buying. Also, don’t worry too much about buying everything organic. The United States has very strict laws on making sure our food is healthy. And just because something says “organic,” doesn’t mean it is healthy. Even junk food can be organic. If you want to buy organic, that is fine. If you have to choose one thing to buy organic, Dr. Ball suggests fruits where you eat the peels.

To make mealtime better, Dr. Ball gave me some ideas. For breakfast, cut-up fruit for the kids to graze on throughout the morning. Many kids skip out on breakfast, so this is an easy way to get kids to grab some healthy calories to start off the day. Let kids pack their own lunches and put whatever they want in it. Since you have done the shopping, they will only have access to healthy food, so it doesn’t matter what they pack. Planned snacks are great, set out fruit, cheese, peanut butter, veggies, and/or nuts. For dinner, make sure 50% of your meal is fruits and veggies.

What Foods Kids Should Avoid

There are some foods that kids should never eat. It is best to try to avoid these foods whenever possible or simply savor during special occasions. Soda, juice, sweetened sports drinks, cereal, and sugary foods shouldn’t be a regular part of any child’s diet. Treat anything in a package as a treat and eat sparingly. A lot of junk foods are very appealing to kids with their cartoon wrappers and bright fun colors. It can be hard to keep these foods away from our kids, but try hard to stick to a healthy diet as your kids will eventually develop healthy habits. Did you know that kids almost never need sports drinks during or after practice? It would take running in a marathon to actually become deficient in electrolytes. Water is a much better choice, and if you are looking for something to replenish a workout, eating orange slices is a much better idea.

Healthy Eating, Healthy Lives

So much of our lives revolve around food, and if we can promote a healthy eating lifestyle, our children’s lives will be greatly improved. There are many little things we can do when it comes to food. Things like – prioritizing family dinners can improve communication with the entire family, getting in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you can increase water intake, and resisting bringing in “bad” foods into the home in the first place can reduce temptations. Eating healthy can increase our energy, make us feel happier and create good eating habits.

I am really glad that I got to speak with Dr. Ball and learn more about healthy eating patterns for children. Many of his tips are also relevant to adults, so they are great reminders on how all of us should live. By instilling healthy eating habits in our kids from a young age, they will grow up with these same habits. Something that they will one day thank you for!

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Check out another post presented by CHOC Children’s
The Importance of Play in Children

Why You Should Buy Girl Scout Cookies plus a giveaway!

Girl Scout Cookie season is in full swing here in Orange County, and you probably have seen a cute Girl Scout or two selling them either door to door, or now at your local grocery store. And…you’ve probably have had a Girl Scout cookie or two in your lifetime. I even remember selling them when I was in elementary school. My mom would stock up on them and store them in the freezer to enjoy for months after Girl Scout Cookie season had ended.

Girl Scouts all over the Unites States are busy selling Girl Scout cookies to raise money for their troops to do fun learning and enrichment activities! Girl Scouts of Orange County builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. I think that the Girl Scout program is awesome, so I really wanted to help support these girls during cookie season.

(Make sure to read to the end to enter to win some Girl Scout Cookies!!!)

This year, all cookies packages are $5.00. Many of your favorite varieties are being offered including  vegan cookie flavors – Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties & S’mores. There is also a BRAND NEW Gluten-Free: Caramel Chocolate Chip cookies (limited availability).

5 Reasons to Buy Girl Scout Cookies

1) Girl Scouts Cookies are YUMMY! Girl Scout Cookies are favorites of so many people, plus you can only get them once a year. Don’t miss out on your favorites. You won’t be able to get them until next year after March 10th.

2) Girl Scouts are super cute! How can you say no to those cute, hard working Girl Scouts?

3) Sales Support OC Girl Scouts. All the revenue earned from the Cookie Program by OC Girl Scouts stays within Orange County.

4) Cookie Share option. If you don’t eat them, treat them! Customers can buy and donate cookies that are then distributed to our nation’s military and local food banks. They also make great gifts for teachers and friends!

5) The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps girls to develop essential life skills. This is probably the most import reason to buy Girl Scout Cookies. When a Girl Scout is out selling cookies, they are learning skills such as – Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, and Business Ethics. Girl Scouts set personal goals, and troops work together to decide how their troop’s proceeds will be spent.

We have really been enjoying our Girl Scout Cookies. Our favorites are the Caramel Delights and Thin Mints.


You need to hurry and get your Girl Scout cookies soon!  Sales end March 10th and you won’t be able to buy anymore Girl Scout Cookies until next year. If you are having trouble locating cookies, use the Cookie locator to locate a Girl Scout selling cookies near you. You can also have a chance to win a Girl Scout Cookie Prize Package below…

Girl Scout Cookie GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!!

here is your chance to win a Girl Scout Cookie Prize Package!!! Just enter via Rafflecopter below or on Facebook. contest ends February 24th at 11:59pm. Winner will be chosen randomly and must be 18 years or older and a resident of the United States. Good luck!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Silva’s Fresh Eatery and Brazilian Churrascaria in Santa Ana

Orange County Brazilian Food

Looking for a new eating experience? Then I recommend Silva’s Fresh Eatery + Churrascaria in Santa Ana! This new Brazillian steakhouse is located just around the corner from South Coast Plaza in South Coast Metro – an international bistro serving Churrasco and modern Brazilian favorites buffet style.

Orange County Brazilian FoodOrange County Brazilian Food

Silva’s is open for lunch and dinner daily.  A buffet experience where you can enjoy all their amazing Brazillian foods for just $22.95 for all-you-can-eat at lunchtime. This includes includes a customized meal from their Chef’s Table as well as other ordering options depending on how hungry the guest is. Or you can stop in for a power lunch for only $15 that includes one time through the buffet, a visit to the Churrascaria and a drink. Dinner starts at just $30 and reservations are available.

Silva’s freshly prepared, serve yourself Chef’s Table is full of made to order items from the kitchen. It includes daily chef’s specials such as Feijoada, fresh broccoli and cauliflower, butternut squash, Brazilian fried rice known as Biro-Biro and even vegetarian plate options. You will also find delicious Brazilian appetizers – Coxinha de Frango, prosciutto & cheese rolls and Kibbeh. Silva’s only uses locally sourced meats and vegetables, and work closely with local vendors, creating incredible Brazilian flavors using modern cooking techniques. I am pleased to share that Silva’s only uses sustainable greens, a variety of heirloom beans and farm fresh organic vegetables to accompany their churrascaria.

 Orange County Brazilian Food

One of the favorite parts of Silva’s is the Churrascaria. Here you can choose from fresh roasted Brazillian style meats and sausage. The Picanha…similar to top sirloin and the Skirt Steak are some of the favorite’s of foodies who visit Silva’s. The chef carves it fresh for you!

With their kitchen led by respected Chef John Vega, formerly of Roy’s Newport Beach, Silva’s serves up eclectic Brazilian dishes, appetizers as well as decadent desserts. Rooted in New York and Brazilian Clubs of the 60’s, Silva’s gives local foodies and diehard churrasco purists an exciting, authentic Brazilian dining experience that locals have been raving about.

Silva’s not only serves amazing food, it’s restaurant brings together beautiful elements of polished casual decor, comfortable seating, a sleek bar, and an elevated environment. It’s a great spot for the perfect for date night, large groups or even taking food to go. They also host happy hour offerings at the bar, which includes fine wine, beer and signature Brazilian influenced and mixologist created cocktails.

Silva’s prides itself on it’s freshness and authenticity.  “Our recipes are authentic, fresh and put together using the best organic, locally grown vegetables and highest quality proteins” says GM Alex Ferreira. “This is a family operated business and the care we put into every detail of the restaurant can be seen and tasted by our customers.”


Silva’s Fresh Eatery + Churrascaria Scratch cooking and the freshest organic and
locally sourced ingredients in a casual yet upscale setting that’s perfect for a quick meal,
hand-crafted bar favorite or a stylish dinner. Experience one of Orange County’s favorite hidden
gems.

The Importance of Play in Children

This is a sponsored post from CHOC Children’s.

Have you ever thought about how important “play” is for children? We have all heard the word PLAY…but what does it exactly entail? I knew that letting my children have playtime was important…I did not really know why. I was able to chat with Dr. Harpreet Kaur, a psychologist at CHOC Children’s, and we discussed all about the importance of play and the benefits play brings to kids.

Get more parenting advice from CHOC experts

What is “Play”

Dr. Harpreet Kaur shared that there are many different kinds of “PLAY” and we encourage children’s play to be self-directed, imaginative, and un-structured…meaning not lead by adults. Play can include playing with friends, toys, games or free time at the park, pool or beach. There are so many ways that children can play.

Play is an important part of the childhood development and can include social play, constructive play, imaginative play, and games with rules. Through play, children learn about their environment, cause and effect, and self-concept, according to Dr. Kaur. She adds that play helps kids learn social, motor, communication, and conflict resolution skills.

Many things can interfere with unstructured playtime for children including electronics and screen time, busy schedules and increased attention to academics and extracurricular activities. The importance of play time has diminished for our children and doctors have observed that children have fewer opportunities to just play and be kids. Schools have less recess, hurried lifestyles leave less time for free child-centered play, and there is less focus on imaginative and unstructured activities. It’s not like when we were kids and ran all over the neighborhood until the street lights went on. Playdates are scheduled, sports have become more competitive, and more families have two parents working which can mean less family time.

The Benefits of Play

Play is important for healthy brain development in our children. Play allows children to develop their imaginations, fine motor skills, and their physical, cognitive, and emotional capabilities. It teaches children to engage and interact in the world around them. Through play, Dr. Kaur says, children are able to make independent decisions without fear of failure or consequences, and that helps them learn to manage their own thoughts, feelings and actions.

There are many benefits of play and it is important that our children can get as much playtime as possible. Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups and to share with others. Did you know when they play with friends, they learn negotiation skills, decision-making skills, leadership skills, resolve conflict and gain confidence in themselves?

Many times, people tend to think that only outdoor activities are considered “good playtime.” While it’s fun to play outside, especially here in beautiful Orange County, you can also find things to do inside when the weather isn’t as nice. Kids can get great benefits of playing inside as well as outside. The main thing is to turn off the electronics, let children lead in the activities, and not to get over-scheduled about it.

Lastly, play not only has a lot of cognitive benefits, but it also has physical benefits. Play helps build healthy bodies and decreases the chances of obesity ― one of the biggest epidemics seen in kids today.

Ways to Fit Play in Your Busy Lifestyle

First of all, there is no set amount of time that should be required for play. Our lives don’t need more stress trying to schedule play. In fact, that is the opposite of what we are hoping to achieve. Just try to fit it in whenever possible…the more the better! When children play, it’s important to make sure they move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and become fully immersed in the passions they wish to pursue.

Everyone in the family can benefit from unstructured downtime, so it’s a good idea to leave parts of your schedule open when possible. If you don’t have any down time, you can even play games in the car. Storytelling and made-up games to play whenever there is a free moment can help you find ways to fit more play into busy schedules. You can even make chores such as setting the table and picking up toys into games. Toddlers and young children learn a lot from imaginative play. As they become older, the imaginative play decreases, but they can still get great unstructured social and physical play time with leisure sports, games, or free-time that doesn’t involve a screen, says Dr. Kaur.

My Family’s Favorite Places to Play in Orange County

Orange County has a goldmine of places that give our children the opportunity of healthy play. Our weather is beautiful all year round, so our children can enjoy lots of outdoor play. Beach play is my family’s favorite location for  outdoor play. Kids can build sandcastles, hunt for beach treasures, play in the water and make up all sorts of make believe games. We also have some great hiking trails and nature centers that allow kids the chance to explore and learn in their own ways.

Some of my family’s favorites are Oak Canyon Nature Center, Oso Creek Nature Trail, Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, and the Ocean Institute. Museums such as Discovery Cube, Pretend City and the La Habra Children’s Museum are favorites of mine for learning in an unstructured environment, along with lots of chances for imaginative play. Finally, we have some amazing parks such as Bluebird Park in Laguna Beach, Atlantis Park in Garden Grove, the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, and even some super cool unique ones such as Adventure Playground in Irvine, and Adventure playground in Huntington Beach.

Time to Play

I hope that this post inspires you to get out and play with your children. Dr. Kaur has given us a good reminder that not every part of our lives need to be structured and that we should allow our kids to lead in some of the activities we do. It is okay to let them get dirty, feel, touch, and explore their surroundings, imagine, run around, dance, and put their imaginations into action. Not only will they enjoy themselves, they will also greatly benefit from it. Something that I am sure all of us parents want for our children. Time to play!

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Yummy Dole Recipes to Celebrate Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversary

This is a sponsored post.

Mickey Mouse's 90th Anniversary

This month we are celebrating MICKEY! It’s Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversary, which means that Mickey has been a part of mine and my kid’s entire lives. And since we love all things Disney, you don’t have to ask us twice to celebrate our favorite character.

Do you know who else is celebrating Mickey?

DOLE!!! DOLE and Disney have come to gather to Celebrate Disney Mickey Mouse’s 90th Anniversaryin a fun way…and yes, food is involved. It’s a great thing when two of your favorite brands have partnered together as part of a healthy-living alliance and a lot of fun!

There’s no question why Dole has partnered with Disney for Mickey’s 90th Anniversary, as they have been partners for decades, working together toward healthier, happier families and encouraging kids to eat better and be more active. The Mickey’s 90th Anniversary program presents Mickey Mouse as a True Original, which is perfect since they’ve had a long collaborative friendship.

Dole first teamed up with Disney in 1976 when they became the sponsor of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. Have you ever had a Dole Whip?

I would say…most people would agree that we are super happy that Disney and Dole came together to create this swirl of yumminess. And their partnership has continued to this day….

 

How You Can Celebrate Mickey’s 90th Anniversary with DOLE

Make one of Dole’s new Mickey’s inspired recipes. 
Dole and Disney are celebrating Mickey’s 90th anniversary by bringing a healthy twist to classic vintage recipes. Dole’s culinary team has created 19 original recipes inspired by Mickey and his history throughout the past 90 years. All recipes are made with DOLE® fresh fruits and vegetables and themed to one of three Mickey Mouse eras –Classic, OId School, or Modern. Here are just a few of the recipes to come…

Classic Recipes from the 1920s such as Dole Mushroom Rockefeller.

Old School Recipes from the 1940s-1960s such as the Dole Pineapple Downside-Up Cake.

And Modern Era Recipes from the 1980s- 2000s like two flavors of Gosh-Golly-Gee Clubhouse SmoothiesRemixPB & J and Pineapple Carrot.

The kids and I can’t wait to make them all. From entrées, salads, and side dishes, to smoothies and dessert recipes…they all look so yummy. If you would like to try out some more Mickey inspired dishes, head over to Dole’s Pinterest page.

Dole Pinterest Page Recipes

Get Mickey themed DOLE produce at your grocery store. 
Don’t have time to make all these recipes? Well you can still enjoy Mickey-themed produce. Right now you can find Mickey Mouse on tens of millions of DOLE® Bananas, Pineapples, packaged salads, and vegetables in U.S and Canadian supermarkets continent wide.

DOLE’s Mickey’s 90th Anniversary products include – Bananas, Pineapple, Salads (American Blend, Garden Salad, Classic Coleslaw, Shredded Lettuce, Very Veggie),  Premium Celery Hearts, Celery, & Iceberg Lettuce. I can bet the kiddies will be more excited to eat their veggies with Mickey on the packaging.

 

Make You Own Mickey Inspired Snacks. 
Kids are more likely to eat healthy when they are offered a chance to help prepare their own foods, or if they look fun to eat. You can easily create fun and healthy snacks using DOLE fresh fruits and veggies. Simply use a cookie cutter to make Mickey shapes, or cut circles and create your own Mickey’s.

I have also found that my kids will eat the veggies better if I make a dip for them. Lowfat yogurt, marinara, savoring seasonings, and salad dressings are great choices. Give it a Disney name, and let the kids imaginations soar.

I don’t know about you, but when I see my kids eating their fruits and veggies, it makes me so happy, and that I have succeeded as a parent. It doesn’t always come easy, so tricks like this are super helpful to make mealtimes successful.

Why We Love Dole

DOLE’s worldwide team of growers, packers, processors, shippers and employees are committed to consistently providing safe, high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables, and food products. All while protecting the environment in which they are grown and processed. Thank you DOLE, for providing high quality foods to our community – helping to make it easier to bring quality produce to my table.

Love this Disney collaboration with Dole as much as we do? Then keep looking out for even more Mickey inspired recipes coming from DOLE from now through January 2019. There is lots of fun to come.  Head over to www.dole.com/disneymickeymouse for Dole products, seasonal recipes, serving suggestions, the latest nutrition information, and healthy-living tips.