My Food Diary

‘On the Field’ Articles

Sweet 16 Season!!

  1. Never say Die(t)!! This is just an ugly negative word that makes grown-ups and kids feel bad. Do whatever you can to avoid it and you’ll all feel better about the healthy habits you’re adopting!
  2. There is no ‘I’ (or ‘U’!) in TEAM!! Never single out any one player on your team. Eating well and exercising are things EVERYONE can benefit from. Make sure you’re working as a team!
  3. Let team members dish up their own plates. Set your meals out family style on the counter and let kids dish up their own servings. You’ll be amazed at how much more likely they are to eat what they put on their own plate. Encourage them to try at least a little of everything. This nifty little trick is also a great way to control portion size- kids seem to naturally know just how much they need. Just be sure to set the bowls on the counter instead of the table to avoid grazing and picking!
  4. Eating well is just a bowl of cherries (or grapes, or carrots, or cauliflower)! Make sure to set out a bowl of fresh fruit or cut veggies at every meal- and even between meals. They’ll gobble ‘em right up without you having to say a word (and DON’T say a word- we’re being sneaky, here!)
  5. Get in the game & play with your team! You need to get in the game! You set a good example by DOING, not just SAYING! Plus, you’ll all have more fun and be more likely to stick with your plan.
  6. Put in Your Subs! Substitute unsweetened applesauce or pureed fruit for eggs & oil, or ground turkey breast for ground beef…..but PLLLEAZE do not tell anyone!!!! And while you’re at it, make up a really decadent name for your healthier treats. Think ‘SUPER CHOCOLATE BROWNIES’ not ‘REDUCED FAT CARDBOARD CHEWS’, only you have to know that the SUPER stands for Super healthy!!
  7. Eat a Rainbow (and I’m NOT talking Skittles)! Challenge your team to eat as many natural colors as they can in a day. Keep track and reward colorful eating habits.
  8. Go Green & Get Fit! Taking care of the Earth also means taking better care of you! Picking up litter is great exercise and eating locally means fresher, healthier foods with less processing.

  9. Walk, Run or Bike for Charity! Find a fun event that is raising money for a good cause and train for it together. Collecting pledges and raising money will give you a common goal & a reason to stick to your walking plan. Check out to find events in your area.

  10. Laugh at yourself! By all means, try new things and have fun! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or look a little silly. The only way kids will find a lifelong activity they love is by trying them all out. Maybe you’ll even find a new passion for yourself!

  11. Keep your team involved in designing the gameplan! Let all family members take turns planning healthy meals. Makes everyone feel like they have a say in what’s being served and they will be much more likely to eat what’s on the menu.

  12. Revamp your refrigerator! Make sure the healthy snacks are washed, ready to go and stored at eye level so they are the first things your family spots when they open the fridge. Keep sweet treats and snacks in harder to reach and see spots.

  13. QUIETLY use new exercise equipment in front of your kids. When the whole family is parked in front of the TV, walk in with your stability ball or balance disk and start using it. DON’T say a word! Then, when they ask to try it (believe me they will!) reluctantly let them. That should keep them busy for awhile!!

  14. Grow some of your own food, or buy fresh at farm stands. I don’t know what it is about eating foods they’ve grown themselves, but kids love this! If you’re like me and gardeningly-challenged, at least get them to a farm stand or farmer’s market to pick out fresh veggies.

  15. Teach kids about portion size. Matter of factly, point out how many chips or crackers are in a serving size of a snack they’re eating. Keep it neutral, just giving some interesting information here so they know what is considered a reasonable portion size. You won’t believe how much interesting little people find this!

  16. 60 Minutes a Day is the way to play! Kids (and adults!) need to be active at least 60 minutes per day to stay healthy. The main way kids stay active is to play. Make sure your team has plenty of opportunities to get moving each and every day. It may help to keep track on a simple activity log- like the one you can print out at in the gameplans section.


Write It Down!

A great way to keep kids moving is to show them how to set goals and take responsibility for the amount of activity they get.  Of course, we’re not going to explain TO THEM that way!!!!  Tell the troops you’ve got a fun new challenge for the family.  Explain the upsides of keeping active and by all means, make sure to focus on the positives- things like feeling happier, having more energy, being stronger & healthier, able to keep up with other kids, not getting sick, etc.  Kids need to be active at least ONE HOUR every day.  If you’re not even close, you can start with a smaller goal but remember that activity does not have to equal sports.  Swimming, dancing, walking the dog, playing active games, gardening and cleaning are all examples of activity that can be non-competitive.  Be creative and HAVE FUN!!  We’ve even created a Get Moving Log in our gameplans section for you to print out & hang on the fridge.  No thanks necessary- we love this stuff!!  Print one for each family member (YES- this means YOU, too!) and give a small reward for the family members who meet their goals for the week.  You might also want to do a little team building by setting a family goal as well.  Just have fun & keep on movin’!

Tis the Season to Stay in the Game!!

Days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder and finding ways to squeeze in sixty minutes of activity for the kids (and us!) is getting tougher and tougher.  When 5 o’clock feels like 8, it can be way too easy to spend prime time vegging in front of your family’s favorite shows!  But, never fear, there are plenty of easy and fun ways to stay active this winter!


Play active games- try Hyperdash, Wii Fit, Wii Active, or other games that keep your crew off their posteriors!


Give back and get fit!  Tis the season to give back!  Volunteer to box items at a food pantry or pick up canned goods from local collection sites and you’ll all stay active while giving back to the greater good!


Commercial Break Boot Camp- instead of speeding through the commercials of your family’s favorite programs, why stay active by using those two or three minute intervals to create a mini boot camp?  Have each family member do as many push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks or squats as you can during each break.  The winner gets to name the exercise you do at the next break!


Embrace the season by trying something new together!  Go cross-country or downhill skiing, rent ice skates, snow shoe or spring for a new sled.  The weather may be cold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find ways to stay active and enjoy the great outdoors.


Take a hike!  Trails take on a whole new look as the seasons change.  Bundle up, put on your boots and check out the views.  Load the kids AND Fido in the car for a trip to your local dog park.  Walk through your neighborhood to check out holiday decorations.  There’s a lot to see out there!  Get moving already!


Fresh air is great any time of year but let’s face it, sometimes the weather is just down right ugly!  When Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, you’ve got to find fun things to keep your team moving.  Try an indoor rock climbing gym; join the Y (and remember to GO!); check out open swim at your local high school; lace up your skates and head to an indoor skating rink; or visit an inflatable playground and bounce around. 


Take advantage of all the season has to offer!  Get involved, stay active and have fun with your family being a part of the action!


Now, Go Get in the Game!

The Off Season is OVER, people!

Spring is in the air and everybody’s ready to head outdoors!  Take advantage of the enthusiasm and get your team MOVING!!  Set a family goal for the summer and you’ll all reap the benefits!  Here are a few fun suggestions:

Walk (or Run!) 100 miles- keep a chart of your progress, only dedicated walking or running time counts!

Bike Across Your State! (ours is 260 miles wide)  Not all in one day, of course!  But print out a map of your state and mark off the miles you ride together as a family throughout the summer! Hint; you can find this info easily on the internet through a quick Google search!

Let every team member pick a new veggie to plant & care for!  Discover new recipes to use them in!

Take up geocaching!  I haven’t tried this, but looks like a FUN family ACTIVE-ity!!!

Or, come up with your own fun and active goals!!  Just be sure to share them with the coach ; )! Make sure to establish a healthy reward for achieving your goals, too!



They have Christmas in July so….

why not enjoy a day at the beach in January???  or at least a day pretending  you’re at the beach!  Dig out those bathing suits and head to your local high school, YMCA or indoor water park for some warmth, fun and movement!!  Kids love splashing around in the water, and all those stairs to the popular water slides make for a great workout.  So instead of hunkering down for another night of movies or video-games, warm up the car and head for some wet, wild fun and fitness!  If you’re on a budget (and who isn’t?!) check out the open swim hours at a local high school pool, aquatic center or recreation department.  Most have a few hours every weekend dedicated to family fun and splashing!  Now, go get in the pool!

More active gift ideas….

Earlier this week, we announced our first-EVer Sweet 16 list!  YAY!  Hope you found our active gift suggestions helpful!  We have a few more gft-giving pearls of wisdom we’d like to share with you too…

instead of rushing out to buy the latest fad toy your little rookie is begging for (but will forget about come Superbowl weekend!) why not consider giving one of the following to create some lasting memories and enjoy some quality active time together?  The kids will love having something to look forward to, and you’ll all enjoy the benefits of being active.  Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

A trip to a local skating rink (roller or ice- indoor or out!)

A day of sledding

Gift Certificates or Season Passes to Ski or Tubing Hills or Ice Rinks

A day of Indoor Swimming at a local Aquatic Center or Hotel

A day of bouncing around at an inflatable playground

Now….go get in the game!


Make it a Date!

If you’re looking for ways to keep your favorite team active during the upcoming winter months, why not set a family activity night (or day- I don’t carjust keep movng!)?  You could make it the same activity every week such as a Saturday morning walk, or make it a more general date and switch to a new activity each week.  Get your team involved by taking turns selecting the activity for the week.  For example, you could designate Sunday afternoon as ‘Fun Family Active Time’ and let a different family member select what ACTIVE-ity you’ll do together each week.  The first week, your son chooses a trip to dog park.  The next week, your daughter chooses sledding (sorry! it’s coming!).  The only rule is it has to be something that gets you all moving and having fun together.  Cuz by now we all know that the only way to keep our kids active is to teach them how to make it fun. 


Take a Frighteningly Fun Field Trip!

Tis the season for pumpkin patch frivolities!  So, take advantage by getting your young monsters out for a fun and active time!  Climb over hay bale mountains, wind your way through a cornfield maze, dance to live music, jump in moon walks or just walk (and walk and walk!) out to the pumpkin patch and spend TONS of time walking around to pick just the perfect gourd!  These fun and seasonal farms can be the ideal autumn way to sneak in some extra activity and fresh air for your team.  Just be sure to steer clear of the sugary snacks and soda sometimes offered at these festivities.  Pick a patch that doesn’t sell snacks, or opt for something a little less ‘scary’ like a fresh apple with caramel dip.  Now go get in the game!!

Fall for Color!

If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the leaves turn magnificient colors of orange, red, purple and yellow get your team out to take a closer look!  The awesome beauty of this season is truly inspring and it’s a great way to spend some quality team-time!  Check out your local state parks or hiking websites for a cool trail near you.  Make it an adventure by collecting fallen leaves for framing or a collage, or find a tower to climb to see the most amazing views!  Church steeples, lookout towers and lighthouses all provide excellent (and often FREE!) opportunities for climbing and viewing. So, go take a hike!

Try Something New….TOGETHER!!

Find a new active hobby that sounds interesting and….GET CARRIED AWAY!  Buy some new (or used!)equipment, read up online, subscribe to a magazine, check out books at the library, become a complete (you-fill-in- the blank) nut!  Nothing makes kids (and adults!) feel more comfortable trying something new than trying it out with someone they trust.  Have fun!  Show your loyal teammates that everyone has to learn a new activity before they can get good at it.  Really ham it up and show your not-so-coordinated side.  Your team will feel like superstars showing the coach (you!) up and you’ll all come out winners!