Role Mommy 411

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nutrition Corner with Mom RD

Meet new mom and registerd dietitian, Barrie Wolfe, MS RD who is on hand to answer all your questions about staying healthy and losing weight when you're trying to keep up with your kids! Check out some of the great questions Barrie answers from our readers plus she offers a top 10 list of ways you can stay fit even when you're too busy multi-tasking to think about diet and exercise! If you have a question for Barrie, send it to us at

Dear Mom RD,
I am still trying to lose the last few pounds that I gained from my pregnancy. The problem is that I find myself eating my husband’s stash of cookies or ice cream when I get hungry at night after the baby is in for the night. What can I do to make this habit history?
-Late Night Snacker

Dear Late Night Snacker,

Your issue is quite common, especially in families where their nutrition priorities are not in sync. In an ideal world I would tell you to remove all trigger foods (meaning food that tempt you and likely go against your weight loss goals due to their high calorie content) from your kitchen. But alas, in the real world we live with other people (husbands, children, etc) who may demand these foods. Although it is an excellent idea to get your husband and entire family on board with your healthy eating kick, it is reasonable for others to want to have special treats available to them. If your husband wants to continue to have his treats in the kitchen-that is OK. You need to be prepared and make sure you have healthy alternatives that you can reach for when the cravings strike. For example, stock your freezer with low calorie frozen treats. I like Weight Watchers’ Giant Fudge Bars which tastes rich and creamy for a mere 110 calories. Sugar free pudding cups are another great option as well as sugar free hot chocolate. Try slicing an apple and sprinkling cinnamon on it and microwave for 3-4 minutes. This simple apple treats tastes like the inside of an apples pie and will make your kitchen smell delicious too! The bottom line is always make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy snack alternatives just for you.

Dear Mom RD,
I keep hearing how important it is to eat breakfast, but I am having a hard time deciding what to have so I grab a bagel and run. Any easy breakfast ideas for this working mom?

Dear Anne,

You heard right! Breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day as it gives your body the fuel it needs to run well. Studies show that meal skippers often wind up eating more calories than non-skippers. Skippers find themselves so hungry by the time they are confronted with food they overeat. The fact that you already eating breakfast is a great start. The problem with a large bagel is that it is lacking protein and fiber which should be in every meal. The bagel gets broken down fairly quickly in to sugar so you will most likely get a bolt of energy only to crash shortly after breakfast. It also contains quite a bit of calories without much nutritional value. Your ideal breakfast should contain a protein (in the form of dairy for example), whole grains and fruit and a bit of healthy fat.

Great energy boosting breakfast examples are:
Breakfast Sandwich: Whole grain English muffin with egg whites or eggbeaters and an orange.
Healthy Breakfast parfait: Combine 1 cup whole grain cereal (try Kashi brand or Fiber One) mixed into one cup on low fat yogurt (try Dannon Lite and Fit or Fage Greek style yogurt)
Waffles and Berries: Toast 2 whole grain frozen waffles and serve with 1 cup of berries. May serve with 2 tablespoons light syrup and 1 cup berries.
Peanut butter sandwich: 2 slices whole grain bread spread with 1-2 tablespoons of naural peanut butter.

Dear Mom RD:
My 7 year old is such a picky eater. After cooking what I think is a fabulous meal he refuses to eat it and demands noodles and butter. Help!!!

Stressed out!.

Dear Stressed Out,

First of all, please know this is a common problem that almost all families deal with at one point! Your child is starting to develop his own food preferences not to mention testing your control over his eating options. The best thing to do for any child who is a picky eater is to sit down with him at relaxed time during the week and ask him to come up with a grocery shopping list with you. Tell him that you want his help in choosing what meals you will prepare and serve as well as what snack items to have on hand. Try to build recipes around his preferences (within reason). Of course it may help to give him to have options like chicken, fish, turkey or tofu to help narrow down his choices or else you may end up with a meal consisting of chocolate cake and ice cream! Ask him to come food shopping with you too. By including him in the decision making process, you may take the pressure off of you and let him feel like he is playing an important part in the family dinner. He will be more likely to try the meal knowing he had a hand in creating it. While you are at the supermarket or preparing dinner with him try to talk about the importance of trying new foods and how essential it is to eat healthy to help him grow strong. If you still feel that your son is not broadening his food horizons make sure he is taking a daily multivitamin as prescribed by his pediatrician. The fact that he sees his family eat a healthy well balanced diet is going to help also as parents are their natural role models.

Top 10 Nutrition Tips For Moms
Barrie Wolfe MS RD

1. Never skip a meal. Would you every think of letting your child skip breakfast? Certainly not! Always start your day by eating breakfast. No excuses. It gets your metabolism moving and gives you energy to get your day going. Studies show that meal skippers end up eating more calories than non meal skippers. Your body realizes it is missing calories and you wind up very hungry and eating whatever you want!

2. Divide your dish! If you ever are having a hard time deciding what to eat at lunch or dinner simply fill half of your plate with salad and vegetables. The rest of the plate should be ¼ starch (like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, baked potato) and ¼ protein (like fish, chicken or turkey).

3. Create a safe food environment. Remove “junk food” like chips, chocolate, cookies, soda and the like from the places you hang out like your kitchen, desk, bedroom or car. If the food is staring you in the face, you will likely eat it at a moment of weakness. If your kids or husband demand that you have these foods available just make sure you have your stash of healthy snacks on hand when a weak moment strikes. Remember-all foods can fit into your diet- but if these foods are consumed daily, you will likely not reach your health goals. Keep healthy foods and drinks at arms reach when possible.

4. If you “slip up” get back on track immediately. Most people trying to change their eating habits become so upset with themselves for getting off track at a meal or event they decide to make the remainder of the day or week a food “free for all” and sabotage their good efforts. When you feel you ate a bit more that you planned too, please move on! We are not perfect and that is OK! Get back to your healthy eating plan right away and you will still make the progress you desire.

5. Lose the diet mentality. “Diet” connotes a short term change. You want to make changes that will last a lifetime, not for a few weeks or months. You are creating healthy life style changes that will hopefully improve your overall health, wellness and self esteem. If anyone notices your new eating habits-let them know you are trying to get healthier rather than “you are on a diet.” The last thing you want to instill in your kids is that dieting and food deprivation should be emulated. Never forgot that we are children’s role models. Set a good example by choosing healthy foods not but dieting!

6. Choose your calories wisely. Let’s say you love chocolate cake. You are at a party where your friends are enjoying vanilla cake. Most people would simply eat the cake because it is there! This is a mistake. Try to only indulge in the food you love and don’t waste your time (or calories) on foods that really don’t tempt your palate. By simply giving your self permission to eat the foods you really love when they are around-you won’t be as tempted to eat the foods you don’t even love just because they are there. This mentality will ultimately help you save calories and reach your weight loss and maintenance goals.

7. Drink water. Most adults need 6-8 cups of fluid daily. Water is your best bet for hydration as it provides no calories and is void of artificial sweeteners. It can help with weight loss because it is very filling and it helps to flush away the waste as you lose weight. Water also promotes regularity. Some people even confuse thirst with hunger which is yet another reason to drink up! Please don’t waste your calories on juices which pack in about 120 basically empty calories per cup. Eat fruit instead which provided filling fiber too.

8. Get moving. If your doctor permits, get moving! Exercise burns calories, tones, and improves mood in most people. Aim for 1 hour of exercise a day or most days of the week. Start slow if this is new to you. If 1 hour it too much for your schedule, try 20 minutes intervals throughout the day. Every little bit helps! Look for local Stroller Strides group to find walking budding or join a gym with safe babysitting services if possible.

9. Keep food diary. Journaling what you eat, drink and exercise will keep you on track and accountable for your actions. Life is too busy to remember what you are for dinner last Tuesday! People that have lost weight and kept it off for years report food diaries were an important part of their achievements.

10. Ask for help! Consult with a nutritionist if making healthy food choices is npt coming easy to you. Sometimes it helps to talk to a professional who can help arrange meal ideas, snack suggestions and shopping lists that are created especially for your tastes and needs. To find a registered dietitian in your area check out to find a professional in your neighborhood.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Nursery 101 Founder Vera Kessler Offers Tips on Preparing for Baby on a Budget


With the packages of diapers, containers of formula and an array of adorable infant clothes begging to be bought, having a baby can be an expensive endeavor. Remember that you still have years ahead when your kids will need developmental toys, piano lessons and braces, not to mention money for college tuition, so hold on to your purse strings. Now is the time to put your strategic financial skills to the test and prepare for your baby on a budget. Whether you’re pregnant with your first baby or just had number three, here are some smart ways to save:

1. Invest in furniture that grows with your child. Cribs are one of the most exepnsive items that parents purchase for their baby’s nursery. A great way to save money in this department is to invest in a convertible crib. This type of crib starts off as an ideal place for baby to sleep, and then changes into a toddler bed, day bed and full bed as your child grows. Instead of buying multiple beds of various sizes, a convertible crib is one piece of furniture that will accommodate your child as they grow.

2. Make sure that your furniture is multi-functional. With all the clothes and toys your baby accumulates, you are going to need a lot of storage space. The problem is that most moms simply don’t have enough space to store all their baby gear. That’s where multi-functional furniture comes into play. You can hide a host of toy trains, socks, and bibs in storage draws underneath cribs and changing tables. A dust ruffle on a crib does wonders when it comes to hiding tupperware containers filled with outgrown hats and onesies. Make each piece of furniture count by taking advantage of built-in compartments and storage space.

3. Buy your furniture from a reputable source that offers free or low cost delivery and set up. If you do your research, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that there are retail stores that will deliver and set up your nursery furniture for free or at a reasonable price. Note, that some stores may require a minimum purchase or that you live within a certain proximity to their location. If you should happen to be lucky enough to live near such a store, put them on speed dial.

4. Buy frequently used items in bulk. If you haven’t done so already, become a member of a wholesale retail chain like Costco or Sam’s Club. These warehouses allow you to buy the goods you need, like mountains of diapers and formula, at lower rates than you would find in a supermarket. The only downside is that many of these warehouse stores don’t take coupons.

5. Don’t buy everything you see. New and expecting moms often have shopping fever when they walk into a baby store. The adorable plush toy, the cute dress with the flowers, and the precious bouncy seat with the musical fish all seem to be calling out, “Buy me, buy me.” Before you give in to your whim to own everything baby, stop and think, “Do I really need a diaper warmer?” “Can I truly live without another musical toy?” The answer is yes. There is no shortage of companies trying to convince you that you need every product known to man in order to raise the “best” baby. Don’t buy into the commercial hype. Save your money by limiting yourself to essential purchases. Then, if grandma just happens to buy you that expensive new diaper bag, smile and enjoy. Afterall, you didn’t buy it, it was a gift.

Above all, enjoy your experience as a mom. The precious moments are fleeting and before you know it, your little babies will be asking you to borrow your car. And by the way, they’ll ask, “Can I have 10 bucks?” If you follow the smart tips for saving above, you’ll be able to confidently reply, “Sure, I’ve been saving up years for this.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Great Reading Tips from Tessy & Tab Founder Peggy Macdonald

You probably saw a headline or two about a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics by University of Washington researchers who reported that each hour per day of viewing baby DVDs and videos (such as the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby products) by 8- to 16-month-olds reduced their vocabulary by seven words as compared to those who did not watch. One of the primary reasons cited was that those children NOT watching videos were were more likely interacting with an adult and hearing lots more words in those hours not spent in front of a video. Other studies have shown a correlation between the development of a child's vocabulary and how often and what tone their parents use when speaking to them (see more on this trend in our Clever Currents blog).

So, if building vocabulary is an early literacy skill, then we should all take advantage of what we can teach our toddlers by simply talking to them. To enrich your child's vocabulary through the simple action of talking to them, consider these points:

Have "real" conversations with your toddler and use "adult" words and proper grammar. Don't forget to listen too!

Talking with your toddler about their experiences and feelings helps them understand and use the vocabulary that you introduce. And even though kids come up with the cutest words for things -- like basketti instead of spaghetti -- avoid incorporating and repeating those in your vocabulary as it only makes it harder for your child to learn the real word.

Make a point of talking about the specific qualities of particular objects.
Take an ordinary object and ask specific questions. For instance, take a closer look at the sweater your child put on. Talk about what color it is. Talk about what texture it is. Talk about how it helps keep him warm. There are so many new words to introduce when you dig just a little deeper!

Look for connections and talk about the relationships between objects

When you have a conversation about something, look for natural connections to other things. It helps give some point of reference for the meaning of the word and gives you an opportunity to teach a child to look for these connections all around them. For instance, if the sweater is red and there is a red wagon nearby, you might say, "look the wagon is the same red color as your sweater. Do you see any other things that are red?"

So talk away and watch your child's vocabulary grow!