Tips from Dr. Christine Wood, USANA Scientific Advisory Council Member.
- Avoid or limit eating out at typical fast food restaurants. Find healthier choices. For example, order the roasted chicken (instead of chicken nuggets at McDonalds) with fresh steamed vegetables.
- Share meals between family members to cut down on portion sizes for both child and parent. You will also save money this way. Add a side of vegetables or salad and take home leftovers to pack the children’s lunches for the next day.
- Watch soda intake. Negotiate with your kids to make water or milk their choice. Many restaurants offer unlimited soda, so if they choose soda, set the limit to one. Sodas should be an occasional treat.
Dr. Christine Wood, practicing pediatrician, author, instructor on healthy lifestyles for parents and children and member of USANA’s Scientific Advisory Council. She can offer her tips for eating out without compromising a child’s waistline and suggest healthy, but tasty alternatives that kids will love, thus avoiding the outbreak of a tantrum at any restaurant.
Two interesting things have happened on the East Coast. One, winter came early in the form of a pre-Halloween snowstorm and two, LTD has discovered hot chocolate. As traditionalists, The Mommy and I believe hot cocoa should be served with a marshmallow. I know what you are thinking, we let our toddler drink scalding hot chocolate and are monsters, but you would be wrong as The Mommy just warms up some chocolate milk and since he doesn’t know what actual cocoa is everyone wins. I’m not one for fancy things, but I am one for sweets and I have recently become addicted to Plush Puffs Caramel Swirl Marshmallows. The Mommy has taken to the Peppermint as we both allow them to melt in out cocoa.
As an aside, I have been drinking Swiss Miss instant cocoa for over thirty years now and it wasn’t until five years ago I have been drinking it correctly. It turns out that the directions call for non-boiling water and ever since I found that out and discovered what the beverage was suppose to taste like I have been drinking a lot of it. The marshmallows come in other flavors like Gingerbread, but I remain loyal to caramel. We shall see what happens in the summer when we use Plush Puffs to make smores.
Many words come to mind when one hears the word toddler. Today, we will focus on the word messy. Now that LTD is feeding himself (and by feeding I mean throwing food everywhere) and he is using crayons, The Mommy and I have turned to the Bibbitec all purpose bib. Of course, a mom invented it to fill a seen void in baby protection gear. The Bibbitec is “a soft, non-toxic burp cloth – changing pad – breast-feeding shield – full body bib – placemat – breathable stroller blanket – art smock – ‘lapkin’ and apron.” We primarily use it as an art project cover up and for when the little guy eats spaghetti. One of the coolest features of the bib is that it looks like it is from the future. It is made out of “stain-resistant, fast-drying, soft, lightweight material” and with the movie Tron: Legacy coming out LTD looks like he is cutting edge when he sports the Bibbitec. In conclusion, bring on the Play dough.
I won’t bury the lead, LTD has become an eating machine. He just doesn’t stop, ever. I usually give him something simple right when he goes in the highchair to hold him while I prepare the full meal. Well, the other day I gave him a banana or nana as he calls them and I turned back to the kitchen to make his lunch. I know I am prone to hyperbole but it is no exaggeration to write that he devoured a whole banana in 45 seconds. The experience is like offering food to a god king that is never satisfied, bangs his fists on the table and cries ‘more.’
Not only is the little guy eating me out of house and home, but LTD is committing a sin worse than emptying my wallet. He is stealing my food. I can’t eat anything in front of him without demands for me to share. Except he doesn’t know about sharing, he only knows about taking. Of course he recognizes sweets pretty fast and it is particularly hard to enjoy a donut around the little guy. It’s getting to the point where I have to count my fingers when he is done his feeding frenzy. Thankfully, he isn’t getting too fat with his massive meals because he still throws a ton on the floor.
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know thanks to the challenges that result from frequently taking LTD in and out of the car seat I always am happy to find a drive thru. Unfortunately, most of the places that have such a window are limited to fast food chains and the bank. I have seen drive up dry-cleaning but let’s face it with the baby throwing food everywhere I’m not wearing a lot of nice clothes that need to be dry cleaned. However, I have found a special place that has become like an oasis in the desert, ladies and gentlemen I give you Mr. Bagel Express. About once a week I treat myself to a Everything bagel toasted with veggie cream cheese. The people there recognize me and LTD and often throw in a free bagel or donut.
Recently, The Mommy approached me with a suggestion that we all go there to eat in on a Sunday morning. I had never been inside before and figured it would be a place that would tolerate LTD embarrass the parents routine. Something amazing happened at our visit. No, it wasn’t LTD was well behaved cause it was not, but it was the discover of a magic baked good. Mr. Bagel Express makes something accurately named the Rainbow Bagel. This round thing was awesome, we are talking about a bagel that is swirled with color and even though it looks like it is made out of every color of play dough, tastes delicious. There was only one problem with the Rainbow bagel that turned out not to really be a problem. LTD refused to eat it and so The Mommy and me had to polish it off. When LTD is a little older and finds out that he used to spit out the magic bagel he is going to be awfully upset with himself, but for now more for me.
We are talking yogurt. We are talking applesauce. We are talking about anything that requires a spoon. Why are we talking about it? Because LTD has picked this one area to exercise his extreme right as an American to hold his own spoon. As you can imagine he is very vocal and physical when it comes to those who don’t let him use his own spoon, but he cares less about the mess he makes. If you feed him very quickly sometimes he doesn’t have time to think about and therefore grab the spoon. However, when he sets his mind to feeding himself with the spoon nothing on Earth can stop him. Does he get any in his mouth, you ask? Nope. He is able to scoop up things but then he has a messy habit of turning the spoon upside down before it gets to his gaping maw. I consulted the oracle and have come up with the only known remedy for spoon theft. I give you the decoy spoon. When I’m feeding his yogurt I give him his own spoon and then feed him with another. It’s a win-win for everyone. Everyone except me since I still need to clean up the huge mess.
LTD aka the human wrecking ball is at his happiest when he is making a total and complete mess. Armed with this knowledge I can only try and stay one step ahead of him. The ORE Splat Mat is a worthy ally in my ongoing battle to keep the house clean from the little guys mission. The Retro Robot Tabletop version features robots and robot parts from a by gone era. Hopefully, when he is older LTD will ask me if that is really what robots used to look like. And will tell him that unlike the robot nanny that is raising him, robots from the Happy Days era did indeed look boxy. While the mat is non-toxic and lead-free coated cotton it doesn’t have a way to secure itself to the table allowing the little guy to whip it from any surface. For now we use the mat when he is supervised during crayon coloring time. I remain optimistic that when LTD is old enough to sit at the table and eat a meal without feeling the need to throw everything off the top, he will enjoy looking the cool robot mat.
Normally, I have to inhale my lunch over the sink while LTD takes his nap. I never know how long he will be asleep for and have to plan accordingly. However, occasionally, I will eat in front of him. When that happens all hell breaks loose. When eating in front of friends, co- workers or family; you may say, this is good, try a taste or they may say, that looks yummy can I have a bite? Well, LTD has no use for such polite manners. He demands a bite. He lets his desire for your food be known through physical and verbal actions. He points and waves his hand in the direction of the delicious pizza you are about to eat. He screams ‘uh’ over and over and over again until you simply break. Don’t even get me started on what happens if you try and eat Dairy Queen in front of him. The whole scene turns into Lord of the Flies and I get to be that Piggy kid with the glasses. Time for me to go back to eating quickly over the sink.
As long time readers of Beyond the Car Seat know I spend a lot of time in grocery stores as they are one of the few places open early in the morning. One of these trips yielded a boon of sorts. It turns out blueberries are in season and so the store was having an insane sale. Four pints for five bucks. The amazing thing about the sale was that it also applied to the organic blueberries. I thought to myself, that can’t be right, so I also thought it out loud to the clerk and made him double check. Organic blueberries are important because according to The Mommy blueberries suck up pesticides big time. Long story short we had now had a ton of blueberries in the house.
Well I’m here to tell you that LTD only had one thing to say on the subject and that was, bring it on. The little guy ate a little less than a pint by himself at one sitting. As fast as I could pour them out he sucked them down. The only thing standing in his way of perpetual eating was the fact that he would occasionally smush them with his finger before eating them. You can guess what the only problem with eating that many blueberries is, yup, that’s right folks we had some amazing diapers to the loan the diaper museum in Parsippany.
Long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know that the best products are either ones I can use with LTD or ones that I want for myself. Constructive Eating has developed something that is so cool that I want them to make an adult version, so I don’t look silly when I use the little guys. In fact, this thing is so cool LTD can’t even really use it yet, but I get it out just to watch the carnage. Constructive Eating was designed to get kids to have fun while feeding themselves, which is code for getting them to eat their vegetables. The set comes with a bulldozer pusher, a forklift fork, and a front loader spoon. You can also get the construction plate to better use the utensils in a proper work zone environment. The great thing about the set is that unlike many construction sites you don’t need to worry about organized crime or kickbacks while your kid is eating. However, you should note that using Constructive Eating will not get your kid in the union and will not count as job experience on the resume.
Sadly, LTD can’t really use the utensil very well and like many construction sites I too need a dumpster for the waste when he is done working. Still, it is fun to watch. In fact right now all he builds is a mess, but I’m hoping, as he gets older he will be able to construct a pea pyramid or mashed potato condo. I’m also hoping he will start us them more so I can stop. The Mommy is getting embarrassed.