7 Hacks for Stress-Free School Lunches

7 Hacks for Stress-Free School Lunches

One hundred and sixty-five.

That’s approximately how many school lunches you’ll pack for your kid this year. Got 2, 3 or more kids? You better get started.

I’m not a fan of my daughter buying lunch at school. Although many schools in the U.S. have upgraded their menus in recent years as a result of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act to include more vegetables, less sodium and more whole grains, the lunches at my daughter’s school pales in comparison to what I pack at home.

The only drawback if I’m being perfectly honest is that packing healthy school lunches with real, whole-foods takes planning, prep work and time. But because I don’t want my kid eating deli meat, chicken fingers or pizza, I send her to school with lunch.

It may not be quick, but packing healthy school lunches doesn’t have to be stressful.

7 Hacks to Make School Lunches Easy

1. Pack school lunches the night before

After you finally get your kids to sleep at night, all you want to do is put on Netflix or curl up with a good book—even if you fall asleep a few pages in.

But it’s worth packing school lunches the night before instead of waiting until the morning. I’ve found that no matter how early I wake up, I’m still running around stressed out and pressed for time if I wait until the last minute.

Packing school lunches the night before also gives you an opportunity to cook a batch of vegetables or even a meal for the next day at the same time so it’s one less thing you have to worry about.

2. Double up

Instead of making individual lunches for everyone, try to find ways to stretch each meal. For example, I make a large salad and then divide it up for my kids and myself. The next morning, I’ll add a bit of olive oil and a splash of vinegar so it’s not soggy by the time they open it.

Or consider making a double batch of a meal. One portion can be dinner while the other can be divided up for lunches throughout the week.

3. Transform leftovers

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, turn last night’s leftovers into school lunch. Roast chicken can be made into chicken salad or combine leftover rice with some edamame, vegetables, egg and soy sauce for a quick and easy stir-fry.

4. Batch cook

Set aside a few hours on Sunday or use your Crock-Pot  to make large batches of meals you can pack for school lunches.

Soups, stews and chili work well but you can also make large batches of baked chicken cutlets, beans or vegetables, for example.

5. Use a bento box

Kids like to nosh. They like to eat a little of this and a little of that. A bento box is a great way to pack a variety of foods and plenty of nutrition into a school lunch that your kid will love.

6. Make perfect portions

Set aside individual portions of fruits, vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and nuts and seeds in small containers or Ziplock bags to easily grab for school lunches and snacks. This method works well for making smoothies or green juices for breakfast too.

7. Ask for help

Just because you’re a mom, doesn’t mean it’s your responsibility to pack your kids’ lunches. Last year, my husband took on this task and it made my life a little less stressful.

This year, things are going to change again. Although my kids are young, I think they’re ready to pack their own lunches so this school year, we’re going to try it.

Teaching your kids to pack their own lunches or at least help teaches them responsibility, allows them to take ownership and feel empowered and teaches them what a healthy meal looks like.

How do you make packing healthy school lunches quick and easy? Leave me a comment.
























































































































The process might be slow and messy but it’s well worth

5 Best Foods For Healthy Eyes

5 Best Foods For Healthy Eyes

With back to school season upon us, there’s a lot of planning and shopping to do but what many parents forget is making sure their kids’ eyes are healthy before they step back into the classroom.

An eye exam is a good first start because it will detect vision problems that can affect your kids reading abilities, learning and school performance.

When it comes to what your kids eat, surprisingly there’s a lot you can do to keep your kids’ eyes healthy, their vision sharp and their grades top-notch. Here are 5 foods that are superstars for healthy eyes.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a favorite food in my house—so much so that we eat it every week for meatless Mondays and I often pack it for my kids’ school lunches.

Not only is salmon an excellent source of protein and lower in mercury than other types of fish, but it is one of the best sources of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in the retina of the eye.

Omega-3 fatty acids may also ward off dry eye syndrome as your kids get older and accumulate years of screen time. Although it’s unclear how many kids have dry eye syndrome, experts say it’s possible kids who do have it aren’t being diagnosed or treated.

2. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which helps the eyes see in low light conditions and keeps the cornea healthy and lubricated. Pumpkin is also a great source of lutein, a carotenoid or plant pigment, which recent research suggests could improve learning, memory, focus and concentration.

Try baking cubes of fresh pumpkin with butternut squash, adding canned pumpkin to baked goods or adding a handful of pumpkin seeds to your kid’s salad.

3. Eggs

Eggs contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants which filter the harmful blue light like those emitted from iPads and protect and keep the eyes healthy, according to the American Optometric Association.

Scrambled, hard-boiled or in a frittata, eggs are easy, versatile and usually a kid favorite.

4. Sweet potatoes

Rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can feed your kid, especially when it comes to keeping their eyes healthy.

5. Pork

Since our bodies don’t produce an adequate amount of zinc, a mineral in the retina that protects the eyes, your kids need to get it from food or supplements.

Pork is a great source of zinc and protein and makes for an easy dinner option. Vegetarians can get their dose of zinc from cashews, almonds and chickpeas.

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

5 Real Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with my first child, I didn’t give much thought to whether I would breastfeed or not. Yet amidst all the parenting books and information I read when I was pregnant, I came across a fact sheet and learned about all the amazing benefits of breastfeeding. And right after I read it, I told my husband that I was committed to breastfeed. No. Matter. What.

I’m the type of person that follows through on a committment come hell or high water.

I’m grateful that breastfeeding was smooth sailing for me after I got some support from the lactation consultants at the hospital. My milk supply was more than adequate—I even had a freezer full of pumped milk—and my daughter even slept through the night by 3 months.


Yet I know not all moms are so lucky.

Moms know breastfeeding is one of the best things they can do for their baby’s health and their own. Like childbirth, it’s one of the most natural things a mother’s body is made for but it doesn’t always come naturally or easily. In fact, studies show only about 50 percent of moms are still breastfeeding at 6 months.

So why is that? Here are some of the reasons I think moms stop breastfeeding.


1. Breastfeeding is a part-time job

Don’t get me wrong, pulling out your breast and putting your baby next to you is much easier than having to get up in the middle night to prepare a bottle.

But breastfeeding takes more time and more patience than bottle feeding. When I was breastfeeding, I always felt like I was “on-call,” especially in the beginning when there are 8 to 12 feedings a day. In the first few months, my husband would wake up to feed our daughter a bottle of pumped milk but I often woke up too to pump so my milk supply wouldn’t dwindle.

If you’re away from your baby, you still have to pump. And some moms can’t go far because their babies won’t take a bottle.

2. Breastfeeding changes your breasts and your body

My breasts are so small I’m barely an A cup. But when I was breastfeeding, I couldn’t believe how large my breasts were—porn-star big.

Because I was producing a lot of milk, my breasts would leak when my baby cried, when another baby cried and when I even thought about my baby. My milk would let down and come out so fast my daughter would often let go of the latch to catch a breath.

Since breastfeeding also causes estrogen levels to be low, sex can be challenging, even painful. And when you do have sex and climax, you breasts can leak then too.


3. Moms have to return to work

I was lucky to be able to work from home when I had my kids and have a babysitter at my house. If you work from home, you’ll probably have more flexibility to feed your baby or pump. Although the Affordable Care Act allows women the time and space to pump at work, the rules vary by state and many loopholes exist.


And what about moms who have long commutes or don’t have a place to pump? Like one of my friends who used to work as a pharmaceutical representative. Since she didn’t have an office and was always on the road, she pumped in her car in New York City parking garages in between sales calls!

4. Feeling sexy goes out the door overnight


There are beautiful satin and lace nursing bras that make you feel sexy when you’re not nursing your baby, but let’s be honest: those soft cup nursing bras and disposable nursing pads are what most moms are sporting.

I wore a nursing bra 24/7 for a year (see #2).

5. Breastfeeding can make you sick

When I was breastfeeding, I had a bout of mastitis and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Not only did I have a large lump in my breast, but I felt like someone ran over me with a Mack truck.

I also battled a sneaky condition called D-MER and high levels of anxiety and nausea when my baby started solids and when she finally weaned for good.

These are just some of the reasons moms stop breastfeeding. Health, lifestyle, employment, access to healthcare and support networks are different for each woman.

Instead of shaming women for throwing in the towel early, we need to understand the reasons for doing so and give them the support they need regardless of their decisions.

Did you stop breastfeeding before a year? Why?





7 Worst Foods For School Lunch

7 Worst Foods For School Lunch

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Do you dread packing school lunch? I sure do.

I want to make sure my kids get enough protein, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats every day in their lunch bags but packing whole foods instead of packaged snacks takes time and brainpower—two things I often don’t have after a long day or in the early morning.

Like me, I know you also want your kids to have a healthy school lunch, but there are some foods you might think are perfectly healthy but are actually filled with tons of not-so-good-for-them ingredients.

So the next time you pack school lunch, here are 7 foods you should avoid.

1. White Bread


White bread is delicious no matter how you cut it. Add some peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish or deli meat and your kid’s happy.

Yet white bread is one of the worst foods you can pack for school lunch. White bread is made with refined, white flour which spikes your kid’s blood sugar. Continue to feed it to your kid every day and down the line, he may be at risk for insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. Since white bread is also low in fiber and protein, it’s digested quickly and won’t keep your kid feeling full so he can stay focused and on task all day.

Pack a high-fiber, whole grain bread or tortilla instead. Or nix the bread altogether and choose brown rice or quinoa.

2. Peanut Butter & Jelly


It’s the fastest, easiest sandwich to pack and one that is sure to please but it’s definitely not the healthiest option. For starters, most brands of peanut butter have added sugars, vegetable oils and other nasty ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Likewise, jelly and fruit preserves have loads of added sugar.

To upgrade PB&J, swap white bread for whole grain bread and pick a peanut butter that only contains peanuts and some salt. I like Smucker’s Creamy Natural Peanut Butter. Instead of Jelly, add slices of your kid’s favorite fruit.


3. Fake Fruit


Fruit cups are convenient and portable but they’re not the healthiest option for school lunch. Most are soaked in juice concentrate and some have added sugar—15 grams worth. Not to mention that if you want your kid to eat real, wholesome fruit, then serving fruit drowning in sugar isn’t the way to do it.

Likewise, those gummy-bear-like fruit snacks and fruit leather have too much sugar, lack fiber to keep your kid feeling full and many have artificial colors and flavors.

Instead, just pack a piece of real fruit.


4. Juice

100% fruit juice can take the place of one serving of fruit and it definitely contains nutrients. And although experts have said it can lead to obesity, a study out in March 2017 in the journal Pediatrics shows one serving a day of juice is probably OK.


Yet because you need more servings of fruit to make fruit juice, there’s still more calories, carbohydrates and sugar in juice than in a piece of whole fruit. Juice also lacks fiber to help your kid feel full and prevent constipation. And look at the ingredients of most juice boxes—even those that are organic—and you’ll see they’re made with fruit juice concentrate.


Pack water for school lunch instead and save the juice box as a treat. Or buy a juicer and make your own green vegetable juice at home for breakfast.


5. Granola Bars


They’ve been touted as a healthy on-the-go snack and for good reason. They have oats, fruit, nuts and seeds—all ingredients that are supposed to be good for you. Yet not only are many granola bars low in fiber and protein and high in sugar, they’re all processed. Experts say processed food is at the heart of leaky gut syndrome and a host of health problems.


Instead of store-bought granola bars, make your own or simply swap them for a handful of nuts or seeds.


6. Deli Meat

Processed deli meats are filled with sodium, saturated fat and nitrates and some have added colors.


Instead of packing deli meat in your kids’ lunch box, roast whole chicken or turkey breast on Sunday, slice it thin and have enough for lunches all week long.


7. Yogurt

It’s always been perceived as a health food and although some types may be a good source of protein and probiotics, most kid’s yogurts are sneaky sugar bombs.


If you’re going to pack yogurt for school lunch, choose a plain Greek or regular yogurt without added fruit, candy or granola. Add berries on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or choose a yogurt without a ton of sugar, like Siggi’s yogurt tubes.



7 Superfoods For Breastfeeding Moms

7 Superfoods For Breastfeeding Moms

When I was breastfeeding my babies, I was constantly hungry because I was burning some major calories, much like I would after working out at the gym. In fact, experts say moms who are exclusively breastfeeding need between 300 and 500 extra calories a day.

When you have a new baby, having the time to eat a meal, much less take a shower, is near to impossible.

Yet it’s not only important to make sure you eat enough to keep up your milk supply, give you energy and help you shed the baby weight, but what you eat and the quality of your food are also important.

7 Superfoods for breastfeeding moms


1. Eggs


I eat eggs almost every morning because they’re packed with protein to keep me going all morning. Eggs also contain choline, lutein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin and folate.

Scramble up one egg and two egg whites for a healthy breakfast, make a healthy quiche or frittata for dinner or cook a bunch of hard-boiled eggs for grab and go snacks.


2. Almonds


When you’re busy with your baby or out and about, grabbing a handful of almonds is a healthy way to squelch hunger. Almonds, and other nuts and seeds are great sources of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats.


3. Broccoli


Green leafy vegetables like broccoli at most meals is a great way for you to get the vitamins you need including A, C, E and K as well as calcium and lutein.

In fact, a recent study found that people who higher levels of lutein, found in green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach as well as avocados and eggs, may ward off cognitive decline.

They’re also low in calories but filled with fiber to help you feel satiated. Eat them raw or cooked, they’re delicious in any dish.


4. Salmon


Fresh, frozen or canned, salmon is a healthy option for breastfeeding moms. Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and D and omega-3 fatty acids.


5. Quinoa


Whole grains are an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals and fiber to fill you up. Quinoa is one of the best types of whole grains you can eat because it also has protein—one cup contains 8 grams! I also love quinoa because you can make it for any meal—including breakfast


6. Beef


When you’re breastfeeding, you have an increased need for zinc. Beef is not only rich in zinc but it’s a good source of iron and B vitamins to give you energy. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can get zinc in other foods like pumpkin seeds and chickpeas.


7. Beans


Beans and legumes are excellent sources of minerals, phytochemicals, protein and fiber. I like to soak and cook beans but if you don’t have the time, canned is fine too. Beans are also versatile in any meal—fajitas, chili, as a snack or even with your morning eggs.

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

4 Ways Breastfeeding May Prevent Picky Eating

You already know the benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, but in recent years, researchers have shed light on one more: babies who are breastfed by mothers who eat healthy foods are less likely to be picky eaters and may turn out to be adventurous foodies.

It makes sense. Not only do breastfed babies get all of their nutrients through their moms in those early months, they also get the subtle flavors of the foods they eat. So when it’s time to start solids, they may already have formed their own healthy food preferences.

1. A love of fruits and vegetables

Breastfeeding your baby may help him crave fruits and vegetables. Take a look at a 2007 study out of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, which included 45 babies between 4 and 8-months-old; 20 of whom were breastfed.

Both groups were fed green beans and peaches. The first time they were offered peaches, the breastfed babies ate more peaches and for a longer period of time than the formula-fed infants, which suggests they preferred peaches because their moms ate them.

What’s interesting, however, is that neither group of babies ate more green beans than the author perhaps because both sets of moms ate green beans infrequently, the authors explained.

The key therefore, is that if you’re breastfeeding and you want your kids to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, you also need to eat them.

2. A willingness to try new foods

The foods moms eat during pregnancy and while they’re breastfeeding affect the taste and nutrition of their breast milk, which in turn shapes their babies’ flavor and food preferences, a recent study out of Keen State College found.

“Studies show that toddlers, preschool, and school-aged children who were breastfed as infants are more likely to accept a wider variety of healthy foods and are more accepting of new foods and are less likely to be picky eaters,” Becky Dunn, the co-author of the study stated in this article.

3. Less mealtime battles

According to a 2012 study out of the University of Illinois, babies who were exclusively breasted for the first 6 months were 81 percent less likely to reject food when they became preschoolers, 78 percent less likely to develop a preference for how their food was prepared, and 75 percent less likely to fear trying new foods.

4. A smaller sweet tooth

Breastfeeding infants for longer periods of time is associated with a higher likelihood that kids will eat healthy, eat more fruits and vegetables, drink less sugar-sweetened drinks and more water at age 6 according to a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

So although your kid will probably love sweets, breastfeeding may be one way to keep those sugar cravings at bay.

What Is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

What Is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

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Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is a real condition for some breastfeeding moms, and like postpartum depression they might be suffering in silence.


I breastfeed my daughters, each one for a little more than a year. Although I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and I’m grateful that I was able to breastfeed for as long as I did, I’ll never pretend it was easy.

I got used to my leaky, engorged breasts, the unflattering nursing bras and breast pads, round the clock feedings and pumping.

Yet there was one thing about breastfeeding that I never quite understood or told another mom about: that moment of intense anxiety and feeling of doom right as my milk letdown. It lasted less than 30 seconds but it was alarming nonetheless.

Since I had dealt with anxiety and panic attacks in the past, I chalked it up to hormones but I always wondered: is this normal? Are other moms going through this too?

Over the years as I conducted interviews for the stories I wrote for Fox News, I’d ask lactation consultants about it but no one knew what I was talking about. I started to think maybe it was just me. Maybe my wacky hormones and biological disposition to anxiety ramped up during breastfeeding too.

A few years went by until I finally mentioned it to Diana West, IBCLC, director of media relations for La Leche League and she said there was actually a name for what I had experienced: Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex or D-MER.

What is Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER)?

After talking to Diana and conducting some research, I wrote about D-MER for Fox News (you can read the entire story here). Here are the main points:

  • D-MER is a condition that causes breastfeeding moms to have brief episodes of anxiety, irritability, anger, sadness and even suicidal ideations at milk letdown.
  • D-MER is believed to happen because of a dysfunction of dopamine activity.
  • Since research is limited, it’s not clear how many moms actually experience D-MER but experts say it’s likely a small percentage.
  • The symptoms of D-MER usually subside after a few seconds or a few minutes.
  • D-MER is not a psychological problem or postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety.
  • Acute stress and caffeine might make symptoms of D-MER worse while some interventions like a chocolate ice cream binge (seriously!) may improve symptoms, according to a 2011 study in the International Breastfeeding Journal.
  • Although it can be challenging to deal with, most moms with D-MER say their condition subsides after 3 or 6 months.

Breastfeeding Moms With D-MER Need Support

Since many lactation consultants, doctors and clinicians don’t know about D-MER, it’s possible some moms are being told what they’re experiencing isn’t real or on the flip side, they’re being incorrectly diagnosed with postpartum depression or anxiety.

Much like the stigma associated with postpartum depression, it’s likely moms are apprehensive to talk about it because they fear they’ll be judged.

With more research, hopefully more doctors, lactation consultants and providers will become aware of D-MER, screen for it and assure moms that it’s completely normal.

Regardless of where you find yourself on the breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding debate, all moms need to give each other the freedom to talk about what they’re experiencing—without fear and without judgment because we’re all walking this journey of motherhood together.

For more information about D-MER, visit d-mer.org.

5 Reasons Not To Eat Out With Your Kids

5 Reasons Not To Eat Out With Your Kids

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If there’s one thing Americans love to do, it’s eat out. We watch cooking shows on the Food Network, buy the latest gadgets but cooking? Not so much.

Between 2015 and 2016, we spent more money eating out than on buying groceries—about $3,000 a year. Heading to a nearby pizza joint or grabbing take-out is a lifesaver after a long day at work or when your kids have after-school activities and sports. It’s quick, easy and convenient but eating out on a regular basis isn’t the best idea especially with kids.

Here are 5 reasons why you should cook and eat at home instead.

1. Eating out with kids is stressful

Let’s start with the obvious. Unless the restaurant you’re dining at has childcare (yes, places like this exist) any parent knows that when you have kids in tow, someone is bound to spill a drink, drop food on the floor, misbehave or need a diaper change.

Suffice it to say, eating out with kids isn’t fun so avoid it at all costs.

2. Kids don’t eat healthy

Unless you know how to order, most kids’ meals in restaurants are filled with sodium, sugar and saturated fat not to mention portion sizes are usually too large.

In fact, 97 percent of kids’ meals at 34 top chain restaurants failed to meet expert nutrition standards, a 2013 report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found. Sure, restaurants often have vegetables as sides, but kids usually ask for and get the fries. And if there’s bread on the table, there goes any chance of getting your kid to eat healthy.

3. You don’t know what your kids are eating

When you eat out, you don’t really know how the dish is made. Restaurants want you to enjoy their food so you’ll come back so they often use loads of butter and salt to make the meal taste good. You also won’t really know what’s in a sauce, dressing or a meal unless you’re the one cooking it.

4. Eating out loses its flavor

If you eat out several times a week, it starts to become normal for your kids. If you really want your kids to eat healthy, learn how to cook healthy and know what a healthy plate looks like, then they should eat dinner at home. If you go out to eat regularly, chances are they’ll grow into young adults who only eat out or order in.

5. It’s too expensive

To keep their restaurants in business, establishments mark up their food costs—a lot. According to a survey by Plate IQ, a company that processes invoices for restaurants, meals have a mark-up anywhere between 155% and 636%.

That $14 burger doesn’t look so appetizing does it?

If you need to go grocery shopping or you’re tight on time, eating out is OK, but eat out several times a week and you’ll blow your money on more expensive, less healthy meals you and your kids really don’t need.


What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

What To Do When Grandparents Feed Your Kids Junk

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When your kids go to grandma and grandpa’s house, chances are they’re offered some sort of treat or type of junk food.

Fast food for lunch, baking and eating grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies and indulging in cotton candy and ice cream at the amusement park: isn’t it what childhood memories are made of?

Yes, according to a 2013 study out of the U.K., which found 83-percent of parents say their kids eat plenty of chocolate or cake while they’re with their grandparents.

Getting your kids to eat healthy not only requires you to plan healthy meals but you also need to be patient and consistent. So when grandparents put the kibosh on all your hard work, it can make your job that much harder.

A treat or two is OK, but when grandparents feed the kids junk food 24/7, what’s a parent to do?

When grandparents feed your kids junk: say something or stay mum?

I think it all depends on how much you care about what your kids eat when they’re at their grandparents house and how often they’re actually eating junk.

Since my kids eat a healthy, whole foods diet, I don’t mind if they have some cookies at their grandparent’s houses or they take them out for ice cream. Since we don’t live nearby to either family, they don’t see them every week so it really is a treat.

If getting your kids to eat healthy is already a challenge and letting it be a free-for-all at their grandparents’ house makes it harder, maybe you should talk to them about finding a middle ground. Perhaps your kids can indulge in a piece of cake but when they’re with their grandparents, all of their meals should be healthy.

Another thing to take into consideration is how much time your kids spend at their grandparents’ house. If they care for your kids when you’re working and you don’t pack their meals, what exactly are they eating? If most of their meals are packaged and processed and they’re still allowed to eat treats, then it’s probably a good idea to say something or start packing their meals and snacks.

If you both agree that your child’s health is important, then you can probably find a solution to make sure the kids are eating healthy most of the time. The key is not to criticize or attack, but to explain why it’s important to you that your kids eat healthy and hopefully the grandparents will agree. If you’re up against your in-laws, ask your spouse to be part of the conversation and back you up.

Think: do grandparents eat junk too?

If grandma and grandpa don’t cook and rely on grab-and-go meals or fast food or they eat out frequently, expecting them to feed your kids healthy isn’t realistic. If they make healthy eating a priority for themselves, then they’ll probably make it a priority for your kids too.

Both my mom and my in-laws cook and always serve vegetables with meals so I am confident that my kids are eating healthy even if they do eat some treats.

Good reasons to push back on junk food

If you know your kids will get hyper after eating sugar or something with artificial food dyes or they’ll get a stomachache or become constipated after eating fast food or over-indulging in treats, then you should say something.

I’m not suggesting you ban treats altogether, but ask the grandparents to be aware of how junk food affects your kids so they won’t go overboard next time.

What do you do when your kids’ grandparents feed them junk?

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

10 Foods That Relieve Constipation in Kids

If your kids are picky eaters and you can’t get them to eat fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables or they don’t drink enough water, chances are they’ll become constipated.

Kids who are active and never sit down long enough to poop or those that are afraid to poop at school can also become constipated.

Constipation is common with kids. In fact, nearly 5 percent of pediatrician visits are because of constipation, according to a report in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

One of the best ways to relieve your kids’ constipation is by eating high-fiber foods. Here are 10.

High fiber foods: fruits


Kids love to pick up small pieces of food and raspberries are sweet little gems that taste delicious and are filled with fiber: one cup has 8 grams.

Add raspberries to a parfait, plain Greek Yogurt or serve them with breakfast for a delicious and filling way to start the day.

Asian pears

With 4 grams of fiber in one serving, Asian pears are a great way to relieve constipation.

I love to sprinkle cinnamon on top of pears and roast them but you can also grill them or pop them in the microwave. Since they’re so soft, they also make a great first food for babies.


If your kids eat Fig Newtons, why not see if they’ll eat figs? One large fig contains 2 grams of fiber and they’re delicious.

You can also try dried figs but they contain more sugar so it shouldn’t be a food your kids eat all the time.

High fiber foods: vegetables


Raw or cooked, broccoli is a good source of fiber—2 grams in every cup.

Serve raw broccoli with a bean dip, sauté it with garlic and olive oil or make a broccoli quiche for breakfast.

Sweet potatoes

Swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes because it’s a good way for kids to get fiber. One cup has 7 grams.

Roast sweet potatoes, make sweet potato fries or make a sweet potato hash for breakfast.

Brussels sprouts

A half a cup of Brussels sprouts has 2 grams of fiber and although they might be a hard sell for some kids, the more you offer them, the more likely your kids are to try them.

My kids like roasted Brussels sprouts but you can also blanch them or add a handful of raisins.

High fiber foods: beans and legumes


With 9 grams of fiber in one cup, peas are an excellent way to get fiber into your kid’s diet.

Serve peas as an appetizer, add them to stir fries or pasta dishes or pack them as a snack.

Black beans
My kids love to eat beans and with a whopping 15 grams per cup, they’re one of the best sources of fiber.

Black beans are also quite versatile. Add them to soups, stews and most Mexican dishes.

Like black beans, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have plenty of fiber: 11 grams per cup.

Add chickpeas to salads, make your own hummus or roast them for a healthy snack.

High fiber foods: nuts and seeds

If your kids have food allergies, nuts and seeds might not be an option. But if your kids can eat certain types, it’s a great way to get their fill of fiber.

Add nuts and seeds to oatmeal, smoothies or serve as a snack.

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

5 Ways To Make Ice Cream Healthy

Ice cream is the quintessential summertime treat for kids and on a hot summer day, there’s nothing like it. Our family has a farm nearby that sells the most delicious ice cream I’ve ever had and we frequently go throughout the summer. We also have an ice cream shop that serves “freak shakes,” or enormous sundaes covered in candy, cookies and whipped cream. I’ve never tried them but it’s a favorite spot among the locals.

But with lots of calories, fat and plenty of sugar, ice cream isn’t healthy but there are things you can do to make it healthier for your kids.

1. Watch portion sizes

When ordering ice cream for your kid, pay attention to portion sizes. Whether your kid is 4 or 8-years-old, he shouldn’t have a large waffle cone with 2 or 3 large scoops of ice cream. Did you know a typical waffle cone with chocolate ice cream has nearly 600 calories! Instead, ask for a toddler cup, which is usually large enough for an adult, or one scoop which is enough to satisfy your kid’s sweet tooth.

2. Switch up your toppings

Instead of M&M’s or gummy worms, add fresh fruit as a topping or raw nuts. Avoid fruit that’s been soaking in syrup, however, because the sugar negates any of the health benefits.

3. Serve ice cream on the side

If you’re serving ice cream at home, make fruit the star of the show and add a scoop of ice cream on the side. Slice your kid’s favorite fresh fruit or grill slices of fruit for a delicious summer treat.

4. Make parfaits

Let your kids make their own parfaits with ice cream, fresh fruit—berries work well—and a low sugar granola or nuts. A parfait is a great way to control portions and add extra fiber and nutrition.

5. Make fake ice cream

When bananas start to get brown spots on them, cut them up and freeze them. Then place the frozen bananas in the food processor, blend them for a minute or so and you’ve got a delicious treat that tastes just like ice cream.

6 Tips To Help Moms Stop Emotional Eating

6 Tips To Help Moms Stop Emotional Eating

I eat healthy and exercise but I’ll admit it: I’m an emotional eater.

When my kids have a meltdown, ask “mommy…can I….fill in the blank?” for the hundredth time that day, or when I’m worried about something else in my life, my cortisol ramps up and I head into the kitchen and use food to cope with my feelings.

Eating makes me feel better, but of course it’s only temporary so I often get more food to get that “high.” It’s a dangerous downward spiral and when I’ve eaten too much, I gain weight and beat myself up.

You would think I would be able to cope with emotional eating. As a journalist, I’ve had access to some of the best experts in the field like Cleveland Clinic clinical psychologist Dr. Susan Albers author of “50 More Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food,” and I’ve written about emotional eating for Fox News.

I’ve tried to drink water, make a cup of soothing tea, or take deep breaths. In recent months, I’ve been able to take control of my bad habits but I’ve been an emotional eater my whole life so it’s still something I deal with.

Moms Eat To Cope With Stress

Being a mom is the hardest job you’ll ever have and our generation of moms has a lot on their plates.

Even if you don’t work full-time, 62 percent of you work for about 4 hours a day from home and contribute to the household income in some way, a survey by Redbook magazine found.

Add to that wiping tears and giving hugs, teaching life lessons, kindness, manners and responsibility, shuttling kids to after-school activities, cooking, cleaning and the long list of to-do’s you do on any given day and you’re stressed out. That stress can quickly take its toll on you and lead you right to the kitchen too.

In fact, 31 percent of women eat to manage stress, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.

Stop Emotional Eating Today
Although you may not always be able to change your stress level right away, you can change how to cope with stress and choose to take eating as a coping mechanism off the table. Curbing emotional eating will help you lose weight, feel more in control of your feelings and show your kids how to cope with their emotions without food as well.

1. Follow your hunger cues
When you want to grab something to eat, first think about whether you’re actually hungry or not. If you’re not having hunger pains and your stomach isn’t growling, you’re not hungry. If you can’t decide, drink a large bottle of water since dehydration can often feel like hunger.

2. Get more sleep
If you’re up with your kids at night or your partner snores, it can be hard to get a good night’s rest. Without enough sleep however, ghrelin and leptin—two hormones that affect appetite—can become unbalanced and cause you to eat more. Sleep can be hard to come by, but do your best to turn in earlier or nap if you can.

3. Close the kitchen
I’m not suggesting you put a padlock on your refrigerator, but something that has worked for me is telling myself “the kitchen is now closed” or making a decision not to eat after a certain time. After dinner, I allow myself to return to set the coffee maker for the next day but I do my best not to eat anything else afterwards.

4. Distract yourself
To avoid stress eating, have a list of things you can do before your emotions feel overwhelming. Try going for a walk or to the gym, paint your nails, doodle in a notebook listen to music or have sex with your partner.

5. Identify your feelings
If you’re not hungry, but you want to eat, think about what you’re hungry for. If you’re lonely for example, invite your friends and their kids over for a play date or call a friend to chat. If you’re worried about something, quickly jot down your thoughts in a notebook.

6. Take a bite
When all else fails, instead of telling yourself you can’t eat, which will only make you want to, give yourself permission to take a bite. The key however, is to eat mindfully so you won’t overeat. Sit down at the table, use a plate, take small bites, eat slowly and savor each one. Chances are, a few bites will be all you’ll need to curb the craving.

How do you cope with emotional eating?