Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What not to feed your kids

I loved this article.{borrowed from fellow internet ceo mom

I am going to try to change our eating habits. Starting with Tracy's lunches. If you have any suggestions or comments let me know.

9 Foods Not to Give Your Kids

By Joe Wilkes
If you've followed the news on childhood obesity lately, you know the state of affairs is pretty grim. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past two decades, and most signs point to the next generation being the first whose life expectancy will be shorter than their parents'. Much of the blame for this trend has deservedly been laid at the feet of the producers and marketers of unhealthy food aimed at our youngest consumers, whose parents face an uphill battle: trying to pit fresh, healthy foods devoid of mascots or sidekicks against superheroes and cartoon animals in a struggle to tempt their children's palates and stomachs.
Boy Eating a Carrot
Since most kids have hummingbird metabolisms that adults can only envy, it's often easy to give them a free pass and let them eat whatever they want. But eventually those metabolisms slow down and the pounds settle in. Also, as physical activity decreases and processed food intake increases annually, kids aren't burning calories the way their parents might have when they were their age. And even if the kids aren't getting fat, they are establishing eating habits they'll take into adulthood. As parents, you can help foster a love for healthy eating and exercise that will last your kids a lifetime—hopefully a long one!
Eating can so often be a classic power struggle where kids try to finally locate their mom and dad's last nerve. (I can remember family dinners with my brother and parents that could teach Hezbollah a thing or two about standoffs.) There are a number of strategies you can use to mitigate this type of deadlock. One is to let your kids help with the selection and preparation of the food. If they picked out the veggies at the farmers' market and helped cook them, they might be less inclined to feed them to the family pet. Another is to frame eating vegetables and healthy food as being its own reward. Otherwise, by offering dessert as a reward for finishing vegetables, you create a system where unhealthy food is a treat and healthy food sucks. With these thoughts in mind, let's take a look at some of the most unhealthy foods being marketed to your kids today, and some healthier alternatives you can offer to replace each of them.
Note: The following recommendations are for school-aged children. Infants and toddlers have different specific nutritional needs, not addressed in this article.
  1. Chicken nuggets/tenders. These popular kids' menu items are little nuggets of compressed fat, sodium, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and in some form chicken. Depending on the restaurant, chicken might not even be the first ingredient. Oftentimes, the nuggets or tenders are made of ground pieces of chicken meat and skin, pressed into a shape, Grilled Chicken and a Saladflavored with HFCS and salt, and batter-fried in hydrogenated oil (the bad, trans-fatty stuff). Then, as if that weren't unhealthy enough, you dunk it in a HFCS- or mayonnaise-based sauce. With all the fat, salt, and sugar, it's easy to understand why they're tasty, but the nutritive value weighed against the huge amount of calories and fat consumed is incredibly lacking. Even healthier-sounding menu items can be deceiving, like McDonald's® Premium Breast Strips (5 pieces), which pack 665 calories and 40 grams of fat—and that's before you factor in the dipping sauce. (By comparison, a Big Mac® with sauce has 540 calories and 29 grams of fat.) Instead: If you're cooking at home, grill a chicken breast and cut it into dipping-size pieces either with a knife or, for extra fun, cookie cutters. Make a healthy dipping sauce from HFCS-free ketchup, marinara sauce, mustard, or yogurt. Let your kids help make the shapes or mix up the sauce. Try and go without breading, but if you must, try dipping the chicken breast in a beaten egg, and then rolling it in cornflake crumbs before you bake it. It'll be crunchy and delicious, but not as fatty.
  2. Sugary cereal. I can remember as a child, after going to friends' houses for overnights and being treated to breakfast cereals with marshmallows that turned the milk fluorescent pink or blue, feeling horribly deprived when faced with the less colorful and sugary options served up in my home kitchen. But now I can appreciate my mom and her unpopular brans and granolas. True, they didn't have any cartoon characters on the box or any toy surprises, but they also didn't have the cups of sugar, grams of fat, and hundreds of empty calories that these Saturday-morning staples are loaded with. Instead: Read the labels and try to find cereal that's low in sugar and high in fiber and whole grains. Remember, "wheat" is not the same as "whole wheat." Also, avoid cereals (including some granolas) that have hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, or chemical preservatives. Add raisins, sliced bananas, berries, or other seasonal fruit to the cereal for extra flavor and nutrition. Again, letting your child help design a healthy bowl of cereal from choices you provide will get you a little more buy-in at the breakfast table.
  3. Lunch meat and hot dogs. Kids love hot dogs, bologna, and other processed meats, but these are all full of potentially carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, saturated fat, and artificial colors and fillers. A study in Los Angeles found that kids who ate 12 hot dogs a month had nine times the risk of developing leukemia.1 And more health risks are being discovered all the time. Leaf through any research about Hot Dogskids' nutrition, and you're bound to read about the bane of the cafeteria—Oscar Mayer's Lunchables®. These and similar prepackaged lunches are loaded with processed meats and crackers made with hydrogenated oils. These innocent-looking meals can boast fat counts of up to 38 grams. That's as much fat as a Burger King® Whopper® and more than half the recommended daily allowance of fat for an adult. Instead: Get unprocessed meats, like lean turkey breast, chicken, tuna, or roast beef. Use whole wheat bread for sandwiches; or if your kid's dying for Lunchables, fill a small plastic container with whole-grain, low-fat crackers, lean, unprocessed meat, and low-fat cheese. This can be another great time to get out the cookie cutters to make healthy sandwiches more fun. For hot dogs, read labels carefully. Turkey dogs are usually a good bet, but some are pumped up with a fair amount of chemicals and extra fat to disguise their fowl origins. Look for low levels of fat, low sodium, and a list of ingredients you recognize. There are some tasty veggie dogs on the market, although a good deal of trial and error may be involved for the choosy child.
  4. Juice and juice-flavored drinks. Juice—what could be wrong with juice? While 100 percent juice is a good source of vitamin C, it doesn't have the fiber of whole fruit, and provides calories mostly from sugar and carbohydrates. Too much juice can lead to obesity and tooth decay, among other problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day for kids under six, and 8 to 12 ounces for older kids. Juice drinks that aren't 100 percent juice are usually laced with artificial colors and that old standby, high fructose corn syrup, and should be avoided. Your best bet is to make your own juice from fresh, seasonal fruit. You won't have to worry about all the additives, and it's another way you can involve your kids in the cooking process. Let them design their own juice "cocktail." (And if you were even considering soda, see "Top 10 Reasons to Give Up Soda" in the Related Articles section below.) Instead: Water is still the best thirst quencher. Explain the importance of good hydration to your kids, and try to set a good example yourself by carrying around a healthy reusable hard plastic or stainless steel water bottle. Get your kids used to carrying a small bottle of water in their backpack or attached to their bike. If they're very water averse, try water with a splash of fruit juice in it. But just a splash. The idea is to get your kids used to not having things be overly sweet, overly salty, or overly fatty. Another great beverage is milk. Growing kids need plenty of milk (or fortified nondairy milks, like soy or almond)—which is filled with nutrients, calcium, and (in the case of dairy and soy) protein—but they don't need too much fat, so choosing low-fat or nonfat options will help ensure that they get their milk without actually beginning to resemble a cow.
  5. VegetablesFrench fries. High in calories, high in fat, and high in sodium—and unsurprisingly the most popular "vegetable" among kids. Fries offer virtually none of the nutrients found in broccoli, carrots, spinach, or other veggies not cooked up in a deep fryer, and the fat they're fried in is often trans fat, the unhealthiest kind for the heart. To top it all off, studies are beginning to show cancer-causing properties from acrylamide, a toxic substance that is created when starchy foods like potatoes are heated to extreme temperatures. In some tests, the amount of acrylamide in French fries was 300 to 600 times higher than the amount the EPA allows in a glass of water.2 Instead: Vegetables like baby carrots, celery sticks, and other crudités are great options, but if potatoes must be had, there are some options that don't involve melting a brick of fat. A scooped-out potato skin with low-fat chili and a little cheese can provide lots of fiber and vitamins, with even higher amounts if the chili has beans. You can also try making baked fries, using slices of potato with a light brushing of olive oil. Or the classic baked potato could be a hit, with plain yogurt or cottage cheese instead of sour cream and butter.
  6. Potato chips, Cheetos®, Doritos®, etc. These are full of fat, oftentimes saturated, and way more sodium than any child or adult should eat. Some chips also have the acrylamide problem discussed in #5, French fries, above. Also, watch out for innocent-seeming baked and low-fat chips that contain olestra or other fake fats and chemicals that could present health issues for kids. Instead: Kids gotta snack, and in fact, since their stomachs are smaller, they aren't usually able to go as long between meals as adults. Cut-up vegetables are the best thing if your kids want to get their crunch on, but air-popped popcorn and some baked chips are okay, too. You can control how much salt goes on the popcorn, or involve your child in experimenting with other toppings like red pepper, Parmesan cheese, or dried herbs. Try making your own trail mix with your kids. They might be more excited to eat their own personal blend, and that way you can avoid certain store-bought trail mixes, which sometimes contain ingredients like chocolate chips and marshmallows that aren't exactly on the healthy snack trail.
  7. Fruit leather. Many of these gelatinous snacks like roll-ups or fruit bites contain just a trace amount of fruit, but lots of sugar or HFCS and bright artificial colors. Don't be misled by all the products that include the word "fruit" on their box. Real fruit is in the produce section, not the candy aisle. Instead: If your child doesn't show interest in fruit in its natural state, there are some ways you can make it more interesting without losing its nutritional value. For a healthy frozen treat, try filling ice-cube or frozen-pop trays with fruit juice or freezing grapes. Or buy unflavored gelatin and mix it with fruit juice and/or pieces of fruit to make gelatin treats without the added sugar and color (let it solidify in big flat casserole dishes or roasting pans—another good time for the cookie cutters!) Try serving some raisins, dried apricots, apples, peaches, or other dried fruits that might give you that chewy, leathery texture without the sugar.
  8. Doughnuts. These little deep-fried gobs of joy are favorites for kids and adults alike, but they are full of fat and trans-fatty acids, and of course, sugar. Toaster pastries, muffins, and cinnamon buns aren't much better. The worst thing about doughnuts and these other pastries, aside from their nutritional content, is that they're often presented to children as acceptable breakfast choices. These delicious deadlies need to be categorized properly—as desserts, to be eaten very sparingly. And you can't have dessert for breakfast. Instead: Honestly, a slice of whole wheat toast spread with sugar-free fruit spread or peanut butter isn't going to get as many fans as a chocolate-filled Krispy Kreme® doughnut, but at some point, you have to stand firm. Be the cop who doesn't like doughnuts. Doughnuts—not for breakfast. Period.
  9. Pizza. In moderation, pizza can be a fairly decent choice. If you order the right toppings, you can get in most of your food groups. The problem comes with processed meats like pepperoni and sausage, which add fat and nitrates/nitrites (see #3, Lunch meat and hot dogs, above); and the overabundance of cheese, which will also provide more calories and fat than a child needs. Instead: Try making your own pizza with your kids. Use premade whole wheat crusts, or whole wheat tortillas, English muffins, or bread as a base. Then brush on HFCS-free sauce, and set up a workstation with healthy ingredients like diced chicken breast, sliced turkey dogs, and vegetables that each child can use to build his or her own pizza. Then sprinkle on a little cheese, bake, and serve. If your child gets used to eating pizza like this, delivery pizzas may seem unbearably greasy after awhile.
Someday your children will come to realize that caped men in tights and sponges who live under the sea might not have their best interests at heart when it comes to food. Until then, however, why not involve them in the process of selecting and preparing healthier alternatives? Some of these cleverly disguised wholesome foods might become their favorites. Who knows, they may even tempt some of the overgrown children among us!
  • 1Peters J, et al. "Processed meats and risk of childhood leukemia (California, USA)" Cancer Causes & Control 5: 195-202, 1994
  • 2Tareke E, Rydberg P, Karlsson P, et al. "Analysis of acrylamide, a carcinogen formed in heated foodstuffs" J. of Agri and Food Chem. 2002;50:4988-5006

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Recipes

I love to cook, not bake, but cook! I HATE to bake! I don't like waiting for it to be baked in the oven and I HATE the process. Like baking cookies for example, you make the cookie dough, which I love to eat raw by the way, but you are not done there. You still have to bake them and depending on the size of the recipe it could take you hours before you are done.

One of the troubles I run into though is coming up with what to cook for dinner. Luckily I follow this awesome cooking blog by 2 ladies from my town. They are mother and daughter and amazing cooks! The blog is www.BetterthanBurgers.net. I made a recipe for the crockpot a couple of nights ago and we loved it! And the best part is it was very simple. It was called Santa Fe Chicken. Check it out and make it for your family, you won't be sorry! 

Friday, October 22, 2010


Some of you may already know that I had an Elk tag for the Anthro area. I have put in for this tag since I was 14. It is a limited entry hunt, which means they only allow so many tags per hunting season. You put in to get your name drawn out. In the 17 years I only missed 2 for putting in to try to draw a tag. This area has a lot of big Bull Elk and is special to me because my dad has drawn out for this area twice while I was in high school and shot nice bulls both times. I went with my dad on his hunts and it was always a fun time, and I always want to be like my dad. In fact when I started to make plans with my family to go hunting I said, I want this hunt to be just like Dad's. I want to be driving along see a big elk on the side of the road, get out shoot over the hood of the truck and have it fall with one shot! Everyone laughed and told me I wasn't as lucky as Dad was.

I LOVED my elk hunt!! It was so fun, not only because I shot a big elk, but because I got to spend a lot of time with my family. I started to think about why I love to hunt and the reason is FAMILY TIME.

On this hunt I spent more time with my dad than I have since I was in high school. I loved it. One day it was just me and my dad. We just spent the whole day together. We walked up one canyon called Wire Fence. (Wire Fence has a funny story with it. When my younger brother Ty and I were in high school we drove my dads new white Ford truck up Wire Fence and scratched the sides of it on the sage brush. Dad wasn't too happy with us. But now the joke is don't let Bonnie and Ty drive your truck they will take it up Wire Fence.)
Anyway as we were walking up the trail Dad found some old elk horn sheds. He picked them up and I said,  "Oh wow I have never found sheds before." Dad said he hadn't either. He put them in the trail so we could get them on our way back to the truck. When we were almost back to the truck Dad said where are the horns at. I told him I didn't see them. So he turned and walked back up the trail. He found them like 15 feet from where we stopped. He said that that was probably why we hadn't found many sheds in our life. We had a laugh over it.

Dad and I rode on the four wheeler up to the top of a mountain and down the other side. The trail got kind of scary and Dad turned around but I knew I was safe as long as I was with my dad!!!

I also got to spend a lot of time with my brother Ty. Ty and I were best friends growing up. But with us both being married and having families of our own it makes it hard to spend as much time together as we would like.  My other brother Dee and my brother in law Cole went with me too.

Tracy only had the first 2 days of the hunt off. I wanted to shoot one on one of those days so he could be with me, but when that didn't happen I was feeling bad that I might shoot one without him being with me.

The day I shot my elk Tracy had gotten off early from work. We went that day when he got home to trade in our truck on a new Ford truck. When we got home from buying our truck we talked about going out hunting. We talked about not going because we thought we would get out there too late, but then decided it was better than sitting around the house. So we got in the new truck and went out. I didn't expect so see anything just like all the other days. But I was looking hard anyway. We went up Gilsonite where we had seen the most elk sign. I was watching the side hills thinking that I would have a good shot if I saw one. We came around a turn and I said to Tracy. STOP, STOP, STOP!!! All I could see was horns!!! I got out and put my gun across the hood of the truck and thought I hope I don't scratch this. I shot the first time and I thought I hit him but he didn't fall, so I shot again and saw dirt fly. Then I shot a third time and I didn't see him fall. I started to reload and Tracy said he just fell you got him you got him. I said What and then I looked and didn't see him. I was so happy. Tracy came out and gave me a hug and my legs were shaking so bad I couldn't stand up he had to hold me up for a few minutes. Then we got Bo out of his seat and walked up to my elk.

I called and texted my family that I had shot one. They all came with in an hour and a half. Ty was the closest and he was there first. We weren't really prepared to get one. So Jessi and Cole went to our house to get our four wheeler so we could get him to the truck. Dee and Lori came and they brought the camera or else I wouldn't have had any pictures.

I was so happy that I got to shoot my elk when Tracy and Bo were with me and that I shot it like my dad shot his!  And for all the family togetherness that we all shared. I believe that we are closer as a family now after my hunt. I am so thankful for my family!!

Bo was so amazed with the whole ordeal. He loves to look at my elk horns in the garage and he tells me all the time good shot mom. Some days we have to go look at the elk meat in the freezer!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chemical Free Products

I have totally converted our home to chemical free products!!

I no longer have to worry if Bo is going to get into my cleaners. That is such a huge relief. If he does I know he won't die or have long term or permanent damage. He will probably throw up or have diarrhea but hey I can handle that!! :) They are also safe for my dogs. I don't have to worry either when I clean if the fumes I am breathing are going to be harmful to me or make me passout.

It's not just cleaning products I have changed but also my Bath and Body products, Over the counter medicines, my make-up and the vitamins I take.

These products are all Eco-friendly- the company is very environmentally conscious and uses less packaging and no water fillers. Each product has a comparable grocery store brand that performs just as well (if not BETTER) than leading brands!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Projects

My sister Jacquie started to paint ceramics and wanted me to paint them with her. I told her no for a while because I am not a crafty person but I gave in and started to paint with her. And I loved it!! This was 2 years ago right after I had Bo.

I love to paint holiday projects the most and Halloween is my favorite holiday to paint because I love the Halloween colors. Here is my latest finished project.
These are the before pictures when I was almost half way done. Notice Bo's toys in the pictures. It is very challenging painting with a 2 year old!!

The finished project!! I think it turned out so cute if I do say so myself :) ! And it was so fun to paint. I went to Jacquie's a couple of times and we painted. This has been a good way to spend time with my sisters!

Here are some pictures of my new project. It is a Thanksgiving set and I am hoping to get it done by Thanksgiving. But I don't know if that will happen or not, I guess we will see.

The kitty food dish is the work of Bo. Good thing you can always paint over it!

   Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I am very excited to paint this. But when I got it out of the box I thought what am I getting myself into!