Healthy Tips

Small Steps Towards a Healthier Life

Springtime. It's a great time to think about how you can make small improvements in your family's health. A few small changes can make a huge impact!

  1. Drink up:
    • Drink water before each meal.
    • Reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit drinks, punches, flavored milks, sports drinks and flavored coffees. These beverages are liquid candy and should rarely be served.
    • One hundred percent pure fruit juice does not contain added sugar, but may well contribute to excess calories. Portions should be limited.
    • Pack water or milk in your child’s school lunch instead of a juice box.
    • Add berries or cucumber to your water to give it a little flavor. The kids will love the berry treat when they finish their water!
  2. Pack in the produce:
    • High fruit and vegetable consumption decreases risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Ensure that your child eats fruits and vegetables at every meal and as a snack.
    • Try "Meatless Mondays."
    • Some great vegetarian proteins are also a good source of iron, such as beans, lentils, spinach, dried fruit, almonds, and iron-fortified cereal.
    • Vitamin C helps aid in iron absorption, so if you’re taking an iron supplement or eating a plant source of iron such as beans, take it with a cup of orange juice or some strawberries.
  3. Food labeling:
    • Look for the USDA organic label. Organic not only means the food was grown without pesticides or fertilizers, but it also guarantees there is nothing artificial in it, such as artificial coloring, preservatives, etc. None of our bodies need artificial anything!
    • Words like "bran," "wheat germ" and "fiber" do not mean a product is whole grain. Check the ingredients – if the first ingredient contains the word "whole," then it's likely (though not guaranteed) that the product is mostly whole grain.  If a product has a 100% stamp, then all the grain ingredients are whole grains and it contains at least a full serving (16 grams) of whole grains per serving.
    • If a food label, like Mom Made's turkey meatballs, says it is "low sodium," then it has 140mg or less per serving. If the label says "reduced" or "less sodium," then it has 25% less sodium than the referenced amounts customarily consumed compared to reference foods ("RACC" in food label world). Be careful though as the reference foods may not be "low sodium" to begin with! To keep track of how much salt you're actually eating, check out the amount of sodium on the label and try to stay under 2,300mg per day.
  4. Rain or shine, go outside:
    • Replace Sunday drive with a Sunday family walk. 
    • After dinner, turn on the tunes and dance or go for a family walk.
    • Play hide-n-seek or tag with your kids. Not only will you find yourself cracking up and out of breath, you will earn the coolest parent award!

Do you have other ideas to add to this list? Please share!

Ask The Nutritionist: How Much Protein?

How much dairy do toddlers really need? And is meat protein really more efficient than vegetarian protein?

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese provide essential nutrients that a growing child needs, including bone-building calcium and high-quality protein. Fluid milk is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium - not to mention a bunch of other health benefits that are still being discovered! (Yogurt and cheese typically don't provide much if any vitamin D, FYI). Toddlers need about 2 cups (16 fl oz) of milk/dairy per day. Now, that doesn't mean 16 ounces of cheese! For USDA recommended "cup equivalents" of dairy products, click here. Between ages 1-2, dairy should be full-fat (or whole milk), since the milkfat is needed for growth and brain development. After the child's second birthday, it's a generally a good idea to switch to lowfat (1%) or nonfat milk.

Regarding protein, meat (or animal-sourced) protein is a more "complete" protein compared to proteins found in vegetables. However, with the right mix of plant proteins, you can still get the "complete" package that you might get from an animal product. For example, eating beans and rice together gives you all the essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein) for a "complete" protein. Also, don't forget that milk comes from an animal - a cow - so it, too, is a "complete" protein.

Our pediatrician said our daughter needed vegetarian protein in every meal to match meat protein given 3xs/wk. Is that right?

Let me start with the caveat that my comments here are not meant to be medical advice nor displace recommendations or treatments from your personal health care provider. With that aside, I guess I'm not quite understanding the issue. Yes, protein should comprise a portion (about one-quarter) of each meal, but there's no nutritional reason to limit meat as a protein source to 3x/week. In fact, lean meats are a great source not only of protein but of heme iron, or the type of iron that's best absorbed by the body. That said, there are some great vegetarian proteins that are also a good source of iron, such as beans, lentils, spinach, dried fruit, almonds, and iron-fortified cereal. For non-vegan vegetarians, egg yolks are also a great source of iron. Tip: vitamin C helps aid in iron absorption, so if you're taking an iron supplement or eating a plant source of iron such as beans, take it with a cup of orange juice or some strawberries.

If you have a question for our nutritionist, please contact us.

5 Reasons to Make the Effort for Family Dinners

The busy schedules of both parents and kids make it difficult to have "family dinners" regularly. The benefits that come with regularly eating together at the table are a good reminder why the effort is so important. These are our top 5 reasons why you should make family dinners a priority!

1. Children who routinely have family dinners are less likely to start smoking and drinking, or have an eating disorder.

2. It takes 8-10 times of trying something new before kids develop a taste for it.

3. Studies show that setting time aside to have a family dinner can reduce stress.

4. Use dinner-time to get to know what's going on with your family members and stay close to them. Ask about the best part of their day and anything they might need help with.

5. Gratitude is strongly associated with happiness, and family meals are a great time to practice it. Have everyone at the table name one reason they're thankful today.

Dinner Table Entertainment

We’re a big believer in the power of family mealtimes. These games are sure to get the conversation going and your creative juices flowing to make dinner-time fun! 1. Categories

Have one of the categories be “fruits” or “vegetables.” Go around the table naming all the fruits or vegetables you can think of.

Another category you can use is “sports.” Go around the table naming all the sports you can think of.

Have the youngest person at the table pick a color. Go around the table naming all the foods you can think of that are that color.

2. Finish the Story

This game is loosely based off the classic “telephone” game. One person will begin a story by saying the first sentence (i.e. Once upon a time there was a family of monkeys.) The next person will say one more sentence. Continue this around the table until your family runs out of ideas and you start the game over. We’re sure your family will come up with some truly bizarre and funny stories.

3. ABC’s of Gratitude

There are some days where nothing seems to go our way. This time at the dinner table, take turns expressing one thing you’re grateful for in alphabetical order. For example, maybe you’re thankful for your Adidas so you can go running, and then your son is thankful for his basketball. Continue around the table until you complete the alphabet.

4. What I Like About You…

Take turns going around the dinner table saying one thing you like about the person to your left. After a couple of reasons, switch directions and say something that person likes about the person to their right. This game is sure to put you in a good mood after a long day.

5. Guess Who

Create a stack of index cards with a list of some of your family’s favorite famous people or characters (i.e. Superman, Big Bird, Harry Potter) on them. Each person will pick a random index card (without looking at the name) and will tape it to their forehead. That person must try to figure out what character or person they have by asking questions to the other people at the table.

Why Antibiotic-Free Meats?

Using antibiotics in livestock has been practiced by ranchers and farmers for decades. According to the Antibiotic Resistance Project, 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were used in food animals in the United States during 2011. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 80% of all the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in farm animals—not humans. Surprisingly, these antibiotics are the same antibiotics that are used in humans to treat illnesses such as food poisoning. But these antibiotics aren’t being used to cure sick animals. Ranchers and farmers use antibiotics to accelerate the animal’s growth.

So if these are the same antibiotics that we ingest when we’re sick, what’s the big deal about consuming them in our foods? Researchers believe that, over time, bacteria living in antibiotic-fed animals will become resistant to the drugs, creating superbugs. According to the Environmental Working Group, these superbugs can trigger food borne illness and infections that are hard to treat.

Countries in the European Union and Canada have made feeding livestock antibiotics illegal. However, the United States has not banned such practices. American consumers nevertheless have been dissatisfied with these methods. A study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council reported that 86% of consumers polled said that meat and poultry raised without antibiotics should be available in their local supermarket. Unfortunately though, antibiotic-free meat is likely still less than 5% of the market.

Mom Made cares about feeding our families the highest quality food and we know you do too. We’re proud that all of our Mom Made Meatball Bites are made with antibiotic-free meat.

Five Fun Facts about Turkey

Like many of you I’m sure, we at Mom Made Foods were surprised to find out that November is in fact NOT the national month for turkeys. Say what? June is, in fact, National Turkey Lovers Month. In honor of such a nutritious and delicious food holiday, we’ve hunted down the some fun facts about turkeys. 

Fact 1: Not All Turkeys Gobble

Male turkeys “gobble” while females purr, yelp and make “kee-kee” noises.

Fact 2: Turkey is a Powerhouse Food

Turkey is a great source of protein, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and niacin. Compared to chicken breast, turkey breast is lower in calories and saturated fat. By choosing antibiotic free turkey, you and your family are less likely to become antibiotic resistant.

Fact 3: Turkeys Are Excellent Flyers

Wild turkeys can run up to speeds of 25 mph and fly as fast as 40 mph. They can even glide for roughly an hour.

Fact 4: The Turkey Was Never Going to be the National Bird

Contrary to popular belief, Benjamin Franklin did not propose that the turkey be the United States’ national bird. He did however tell his daughter in a letter that the turkey was a more “respectable bird” than the bald eagle.

Fact 5: Don’t Mess with a Red Headed Turkey

The area of bare skin on a turkey’s head and neck vary depending on the turkey’s mood at the time. A blue head means the turkey is excited, while a red head means it’s ready to fight.

Tips for a Lean, Clean 2015!

It’s the New Year, and what better time to make 2015 a healthier time for you and your family! The key to success is to make small changes and for your resolutions to be attainable and meaningful. Before long, this year’s goals will become lifelong, healthy habits! Below are my top five food and health resolutions for a lean, clean 2015!

  1. Choose organic more often. There’s no doubt that organic farming is good for the environment, which helps secure a better future for our children and our planet. The USDA Organic label on a food is also your guarantee that the food is free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), was made without the use of synthetic pesticides and that animals were raised without antibiotics. All Mom Made Foods adhere to organic standards and carry the USDA Organic seal.

    via ams.usda.gov

  2. Eat your veggies! Let’s face it, fruits are easy to like – they’re so portable and sweet. Vegetables can be a little harder to love, especially at first and in particular the more bitter ones like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. While fruits and vegetables should make up half of every meal and snack, most people aren’t eating enough – especially vegetables, which are loaded with fiber and vitamins and low in calories. Make veggies the prominent part of your dinner, and don’t be afraid to experiment. To a child, a cooked, coin-shaped carrot is a completely different food than a raw baby carrot. Don’t be afraid to pair veggies with a favorite food or condiment to help kids eat them. I’d rather a child eat cauliflower with cheese or ranch dressing versus no cauliflower at all!

    via valeotraining.com

  3. Pack a healthier lunch. School food may get a bad reputation, but recent studies show what’s served in school can often be healthier than what’s brought from home. When you think about it, pre-packaged “lunch” foods for kids with ready-to-assemble “pizza”, cookies and gummy “fruit” is hardly what I’d consider health food! When packing your children’s lunches, use MyPlate as your guide: make sure half of what’s packed is fruits and vegetables, one-quarter of the meal should be protein, and one-quarter grains (preferably whole-grains). Add a carton of lowfat or fat-free milk, and your kid is fueled up for the afternoon ahead.

    via choosemyplate.gov

  4. Eat a meal together. It may seem impossible with competing activities and work schedules, but setting aside even just one night a week to eat dinner together as a family has immeasurable benefits. Some studies suggest that children of families who eat together do better in school and are less likely to abuse drugs. If dinnertime is too hectic, then set aside a day for breakfast or weekend brunch.

    via becuo.com

  5. Give yourself a break. The goal should be eating dinner together, preferably something prepared at home. But that doesn't mean everything needs to be made from scratch! Frozen and canned foods can be the perfect shortcut while supplying essential nutrients. Just look at the ingredients list to make sure the label is clean, without added preservatives, salt or sugars. I love the Mom Made meatballs for this very reason (and they’re better than anything I could make myself!)

The best way to make resolutions stick is to make your resolution public and not to do it alone. Support from family and friends can go a long way to keeping you on track – and to getting you back on track if you’ve had a slip-up. To help keep your resolutions, sign up for the Mom Made Foods Healthy Pledge 2015 and tweet or post your intentions to your social media community. By making a commitment to make 2015 more nutritious and delicious for your family, Mom Made Foods will send you some coupons to get you on your way. And be sure to join the Mom Made Community on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Post your nutrition questions in the comments below and we’ll look to address them in future blogs. In the meantime, here’s to a healthy, happy new year!

Winter Bucket List: 5 Things to Stave off the Doldrums

The holidays are behind you and the freestyling summer months barely a speck in your memory. [sigh] Looking down the long road of winter might seem daunting—long days spent inside means the natives get restless. You need an action plan! We’ve been thinking it over and came up with a few creative, active and educational ideas that will keep your family moving and shaking until the crocuses pop up their pointy heads. (It’s also possible you could be busy through Memorial Day. You’re welcome.) Make a Winter 2015 Photo Book

Tell the story of this winter. Take the family out for a 30-minute walk with the camera and have everyone take pics of things they find inspiring. Animals, trees, cityscapes, yourselves. Shoot what you see, and make it fun! Have a snowball fight, make snow angels (or sand angels if you’re near the beach) and don’t forget to get a shot of the whole family. Once you have the pics you want, create a custom photo album online. You can even add text to tell the story of your day—or make it a fictional tale if you’re feeling super creative. We love the photo books at shutterfly.com, picaboo.com and snapfish.com.

via driverlayer.com

Host a Living Room Picnic

It might be chilly outside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t break out the picnic basket and some cozy blankets for an indoor picnic. Move the furniture aside, thrown down a couple blankets and invite the neighbors over. Opt for easy-to-eat, healthy snacks like veggies and hummus, whole grain bread and peanut butter, and Mom Made Apple Munchies. Make sure everyone knows the dress code (pajamas, naturally). Bonus idea: When you’re done eating, use the blankets to make forts!

via sg.theasianparent.com

Plan a Spring Garden

There’s nothing quite as magical as placing seedlings in the ground and watching them grow into food you will eat in the coming months. It’s also a great lesson for kids to understand where food comes from and how delicious it can be plucked straight from the vine or ground. Brainstorm what you want to plant and order seeds online or get them from your local home store. You can start germinating indoors soon after. Put the kids in charge of checking in and watering sprouts. For a step-by-step guide on all the things you need to know when planning and prepping a garden, check out this great article at garden.org.

kids.lovetoknow.com

Learn a New Language

Hola! Ciao! Zdravstvuyte! Whether you decide to tackle Spanish, Italian or Russian, winter is a great time for starting new and concentrated projects. Learning a language is something the whole family can do together, and it’s a great way to expand your horizons and understand another culture. While you’re practicing basic conversation and conjugation, be sure to also research the traditions of your chosen country—especially the cuisine! For free online language learning, try Duolingo.com and Livemocha.com. For those interested in an investment, check out Rosetta Stone.

via outsideonline.com

Perform a Secret Act of Service

This is our favorite. An anonymous act of service is an exciting way to make someone’s day, week or even year—especially in the middle of the winter season. When you get your kids involved, it’s also a fun lesson in paying it forward. Some ideas to get the creative juices flowing: Leave a gift basket of goodies on your neighbor’s doorstep when they’re at work, shovel the snow from a friend’s driveway before they wake up in the morning, or leave a kind note in a friend’s mailbox telling her how awesome she is. Dream up the ideas with your kids and let them lead the charge.

via 247moms.com

We love hearing about what you’ve been up to and other ideas you have. Like us on Facebook and share your pictures and stories!

Mom Made

Healthy New Year's Resolutions

One of our New Year's resolutions this year is to "be healthy"--whether that means exercising more, eating better, or fostering healthy relationships with our families.  Our Founder, Heather, recently went on the WPTA Morning Show with Bob Waters to share some tips about how to make (and keep) your New Year's resolutions.  Click to listen! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0plvE_TG8bw

Did you find these healthy tips helpful? If you have any other suggestions please share with us on Facebook! We would love to hear from you!

Nine tips for an easier back-to-school

After long hours playing in the summer sun, the transition back to regimented school schedules and studying can be stressful on kids. Here are a few tips (and some fun ideas, too) to ease everyone back into the academic year from Mom Made Foods:

  1. It’s back-to-school time! To motivate your children, we’re fans of rewarding kids when they meet their goals. Have your kids set their own goals with your guidance and base them on what’s realistic for each child. Some ideas: eat healthy snacks, save part of their allowance, read a book a week/month or learn to play an instrument. Back to school tips with Mom Made
  2. Ever thought about getting your kids writing in a daily journal? We love this idea because it cultivates the writing and language skills vital to success in school and in life. Favorite topics to start young writers off: favorite school lunch, happiest summer moment, what I learned today.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame3
  3. Create a month-long lunch plan for your family. Bring your kids in on the planning! It’s a great way to make sure they finish their lunch and get the nutrition they need to be successful in the classroom.back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame4
  4. Many kids are always on the hunt for a snack, especially right after school. Hide the cookie jar and counter unhealthy choices with easy-to-grab pre-cut veggies and fruit in the fridge.

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  1. Spend quality time eating together as a family! This “together” time is so essential to maintaining a bond for the whole clan. Another great way to squeeze in some QT: Sit down together on the weekend and plan ahead for dinners.

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6. Kids love notes—especially surprise notes from you stowed away in their lunchbox. Simply jot down an inspirational quote or a quick message on a napkin and slip it under their sandwich. THEY WILL LOVE IT.

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame77. How many plastic sandwich bags do you toss every week? We’re betting a lot. Switch to the reusable variety for packed lunches—you’ll reduce waste and save money. Our favorites are from our friends at LunchSkins and…Mom Made Munchies fit perfectly in them!

back-to-school -FB-YellowFrame88. It can be next to impossible to find convenient foods that are actually healthy within the packed shelves at grocery stores. You have to commit to reading food labels to differentiate the “real food” from the rest. Simplicity is your best friend here. Focus on products with short, pronounceable ingredients and look for these labels: organic, antibiotic-free, non-GMO! Need more simple guidelines, then peak into our 2 min video "5 Tips for reading food labels."

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9. You don’t have to break into a sweat for exercise to “count.” But you do                   want to be regularly active with your kids—even walking or biking with them to school can make a huge difference. Combining this with balanced nutrition will keep your family on a healthy track and you’ll feel better!

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Fore more healthy insights and advice from our own Heather herself, please watch this 2 min video "5 Steps to hop on a healthy track."

It's never too late to start healthy!

From moms for moms; Katrina from Vosges Haut-Chocolat

Tell us about yourself: An Indiana native with Macedonian roots, Katrina Markoff went on to study katrinaheadshot_065chemistry and psychology at Vanderbilt University, and three days following her graduation, she realized her true passion was cooking and committed to following her heart wherever it led her. She boarded the next plane for Paris to pursue her dream of culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu (L’Ecole de Cuisine et Patisserie), where she garnered the Le Grande Diplome in Cuisine and Patisserie as well as a degree in Oeneology. From Paris she moved to Spain, and apprenticed alongside Ferran and Albert Adria at the famed El Bulli restaurant. Continuing her travels, she began a nine-month sojourn around the world studying food. Markoff perused local street offerings, exploring the open-air spice stalls of Vietnam and the floating markets of Bangkok. Upon her return to the States in 1998, she founded Vosges Haut-Chocolat with the concept of Travel the World through Chocolate - using chocolate as a medium to tell stories of her travels, and the people, artists, movements, religions, music, and culture she encountered along the way.

Tell us about the company: 

Fifteen years ago, Vosges Haut-Chocolat began in Founder Katrina Markoff’s VosgesChocolateLogoChicago kitchen and has since grown to nine Purple House boutiques in New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills and Las Vegas with a strong presence nationwide in esteemed gourmet and specialty grocers and luxury department stores like Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and more. As the innovator in the luxury chocolate category, Vosges was first to combine exotic indigenous spices, herbs, flowers, roots, and liqueurs with premium, ethically sourced chocolate. Built on a foundational mission and core values, the company creates a transformational, sensory chocolate experience that nurtures awareness of and appreciation for the world’s diverse cultures. Vosges Haut-Chocolat is a certified organic manufacturing facility that operates on 100% renewable energy. Under its Green Purchasing Oath, the chocolatier selects ingredients with sustainable merit like Rainforest Alliance organic chocolate and uses packaging made of 100% post-consumer recycled material for all its chocolate bars and purple boxes. The company’s latest endeavor is the construction of a Platinum LEED-certified green manufacturing and chocolate lifestyle house in Chicago, another step in expanding its mission of bringing peace to the world through chocolate.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Start making your own food from the beginning. It is really quite easy and a big cost savings. Your children will love all the fresh veggies and fruits from the start

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

A Nature Scavenger walk on our property with my two little boys and dogs. We are in the moment.

What’s your favorite vegetable and your favorite way to cook it?

Nothing compares to a roasted cauliflower with Lemon, Garlic and Parmagianno.

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat? CHOCOLATE...

Tell us about your favorite recipe to make for your family? Anything with Lamb. Right now I am into Morrocan Lamb Kepabs with Pine Nuts, Tomato and Eggplant.

To learn more about the company please visit:

Website: www.vosgeschocolate.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VosgesChocolate

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vosges

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms for moms; Laurie Hyman from Green Toys shares her story

Tell us about your family I am so lucky. I have three fantastic kids, two dogs and an amazing husband.  GreenToysFamily

I co-founded Green Toys at my dining room table when my girls were 5 and 4, and became pregnant with my son three months after that. Needless to say, my family has always been very involved in all things Green Toys.  My kids love being part of what Green Toys is about. They explain to their friends the benefits of recycling, have given us wonderful product ideas, and are the best toy testers on earth. Now ages 12, 11 and 6, my kids inspire me in every way.  As a parent, I dream about who they’ll become and what I need to do to help them get there.  It makes me consider the actions I take, the words I choose, how I approach things, and what I want to contribute to the world to make it the best place possible for my kiddies. They inspire me to be creative, think on my toes, question the obvious, find simplicity, stay strong, live healthy, be patient, be empathetic, respect others, make a difference, and so much more.  However, I could not do what I do with my fantastic husband. To say that he is supportive would be an understatement.  While having his own career, he’s the most hands-on dad I know.

Tell us about your company.

Everything we do at Green Toys – from our eco-friendly raw materials to our California-greentoysproduct  webbased manufacturing processes – is geared toward one purpose: making products that are good for the earth and safe for kids.  Green Toys Inc. lives and breathes sustainability in many ways, but is most evident in its authentically “green” materials and supply chain.  Green Toys’ products are made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs -- a super-safe, FDA-food safe material. In material choice alone, this recycled material saves significant energy and greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, just one pound of recycled milk jugs saves enough energy to power 3,000 AAA batteries.    Additionally, a key focus for Green Toys operations is energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions. The company locates all of its manufacturing, packaging, assembly and distribution in a very tight local supply chain. Green Toys has invested heavily in developing its supply chain in an effort to deliver the highest quality products that are the safest for children and our planet.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

We are all about games at our house.  When I get home from work, I try and find a fun game to play with one or all of my kids. From board games to more active games, we always have a healthy competition going on at the Hyman house. We try to find games that everyone can play.  Our current family favorite is Telestrations.  Tetherball is another fantastic blast from the past.  Who knew you could break a sweat playing tether ball with a 6 year old?  My kids and I also love sports and outdoor activities. Some of our favorites include hiking, going to the beach, playing tennis, tag, swimming, baseball, and so much more.  We are a family of adventure and travel and love to try new things, see new places, and experience different cultures. But, above all, the best activities are the simple ones where we sit down for dinner and talk about our day, read a story, cuddle, and doze off to sleep. Then, I can truly unwind.

What’s your favorite vegetable and your favorite way to cook it?

I love my vegetables, but I’m not the true chef in our family. My husband gets all the credit.  Roasted root vegetables are my current favorite.

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

A massage for sure!

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

Hey, mom...guess if I am wearing any underwear?

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

Don’t do everything, otherwise you will!

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

I would love to get up and go for a long run and then come home and spend the day with my cute family.  Maybe a hike, some tennis or just a picnic at the park.

To learn more about the company please visit:

Website: www.greentoys.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenToys

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greentoysinc

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/greentoys/

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms for moms; Jeannette Levenstein from MD MOMS shares her story

Tell us about your family: I married my husband Bruce almost 26 years ago.  He saw me through medical MDMoms-JJapplications and I made the choice to stay in LA to go to school and be with him.  Our son Max was born my senior year at USC Medical School and was 9 months old when I graduated.  Bruce stayed home to raise Max, and I started my career.  After Max graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012, Bruce and I both retired to enjoy our empty nest.  We are lucky to have his family here in southern California, and the majority of my friends from San Francisco have relocated here- forming the perfect support network for us.

Tell us about your company:

MD MOMS was started by my business partner, colleague and friend Diane Truong, and I,MD_Moms_logo 8 years ago after we couldn’t find appropriate solutions for skin care issues in the baby section.  We set about to create a brand that was supported by our clinical knowledge, our respect for science, and our experience as mothers.  MD MOMS Baby Silk was born, and alive and well.  We have received several parent and press awards, but most importantly, have received the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association for our core products.  A big part of our mission is to raise awareness and dollars for Children’s Charities - and currently we are doing that for United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles - helping fund the UCPlay program that brings art services and floor time to children with autism, developmental and psychological disabilities in our local school systems.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Give your child real food as soon as possible, and don’t be afraid to add herbs and seasonings to make it tasty.  Stay flexible when your child turns 2-3, and rejects a previously wonderful diet - they will eventually circle back.  Eat at the table, not on the go, and if you can grow a little of your food, with your children’s help, you’ll be surprised how invested they are in what they water!

What’s your favorite vegetable and your favorite way to cook it?

Broccolini - steamed until bright green, add a little lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper - delicious!

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

Doritos

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

Always believe you can do ANYTHING, and then do it.

For more information about MD Moms please visit:

Website: https://www.mdmoms.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMDMoms

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mdmoms

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms for moms; Dr. Lucy Gibney from Lucy's shares her story

Tell us about your family: I live in a two story tan shingled house with three wonderful beings!  My husband,lucyheadshot my 10 year old son, and our very sweet dog.  Each of us, including the dog, likes being together as a family.  Of course, we also spend lots of time apart -- at school, work, travel, and doggie daycare!  We like being out in the world, learning and doing things.  We love our friends and extended family.  And then, we love being home again -- together.

Tell us about your company:

My company is "Lucy's".  I make delicious, high quality, gluten free, non-GMO, food allergy friendly cookies.  You'll find them in stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Also, look for them in the U.K. and Mexico!

My husband and I started the company because our son has food allergies and we wanted to make delicious, safe treats that he could eat.  Turns out, Lucy's are favorites among the whole world of cookie eaters.  We use the very best ingredients, and make healthier versions of cookie classics.  I hope you'll try them.   They taste great!  Here’s a link to new_lucy logo_Patchworkmore about Lucy’s http://drlucys.com/

Heather, the fabulous founder of Mom Made, is a true comrade.  We’ve been friends since around the time that we both founded our companies. I'm so thankful to have her as a friend, to share ideas and advice, to laugh (or not laugh) about the crazy things that have happened along the way.  We understand the challenges of balancing our passion and commitment for work, with our greatest love -- our family.  It's nice to have a friend whose situation is so similar -- same industry, same timeline, same passions. Happy Mother’s Day, friend!

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Eat well yourself!!

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

I share a wholesome meal with my family!  We talk about the events of our day, and wind down for a good night’s sleep.

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

I already have it!  I’m a Mother!

 For more information visit:

Website: http://www.drlucys.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrLucys

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucys_tweets

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/drlucys/

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

From moms for moms; Heather Stouffer from Mom Made Foods shares her story

Tell us about your family:

I married Craig in 1999 – we’re coming up on our 15th anniversary this month! He’s a fabulous friend, father and life partner. Everyone always asks me if Craig works for Mom Made. He doesn’t – he’s in the sports industry, but, I like to say he’s Mom Made's Chief of Moral Support, an extremely important role.

Audrey and EmoryWe have two amazing kids, Emory and Audrey. Audrey is in preschool. She loves playing with dolls, helping in the kitchen, playing with friends, dancing and keeping the whole family entertained. Emory is your typical third grade boy except when it comes to food. He loves sports, Legos, reading, and playing with his friends. When he requested Pakistani food for his 7th birthday dinner, we thought, our work is done here!

Tell us about your company: 

mom_made_logoThe company was launched in 2006, when as a new mother, I saw a huge need for healthy, convenient, organic and all natural options for kids. There were no existing options in the grocery for feeding kids in a pinch that were healthy. Mom Made Foods was created from my belief that convenient meals do not need to sacrifice quality or nutrition, and that kids should be able to eat delicious foods without added junk.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Here are few tricks that I have found to work well...Focus on colors and flavors. Rather than saying, “Do you like your broccoli?” ask if it was crunchy, sweet, bitter or sour. Ask what other foods are the same color. This often helps children focus beyond yummy or yucky. Also, bring the your "helpers" to the grocery store and let them pick the ingredients for the meals to be made that week. Parents can also introduce veggies in a new way. For example, many children like veggies better as part of a soup. Sprout a seed or even grow a tomato plant to help your child get interested in fruits and vegetables.

Bottom line is for us parents to offer a variety of healthy foods, then take a chill pill. Ellyn Satter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist and internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding, is one of my heroes. I've learned so much from her philosophy about the division of responsibility when it comes to feeding kids. If feeding your kids is stressful for you or your children, I highly recommend her books.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

I have only about a 10-15 minute commute home. Usually my husband picks up the kids from their schools so they're already home by the time I arrive. I walk through our door, drop my bags and the kids come running up with arms wide open ready for a big hug. I instantaneously unwind. Cooking, sitting down together for dinner and talking about our days are all therapeutic for me. After dinner, we will go for a family walk, turn on some music and dance or just play together. Our couple hours together before the kids go to bed are my favorite part of the day (before I typically plug in and do a few more hours of work...).

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

I can hear it as though she's standing right next to me, "Heather, dear, you have to remember to take care of yourself."

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

The other day my son who's 8 was playing on the iPad, sitting on the couch right next to me as I was reading a book. I asked him for the iPad for a minute so I could look something up quickly. I opened google and saw that he had just looked up "prettiest lady alive" in google and he'd clicked on images. Yes, just google that quickly, folks. It was one of those moments when I not only found myself laughing but also taking a big gulp because it was time for us to realize he's growing up much too fast and we need to get a handle on internet security, among other things. Oh the joys of parenting...just when you think you've got it figured out.

For more information about Mom Made Foods please visit:

Website:  www.MomMadeFoods.com

Facebook:  www.Facebook.com/MomMadeFoods

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MomMadeFoods

Pinterst:  www.Pinterest.com/mommadefoods/

 Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

From moms for moms; Mary Schulman from Snikiddy shares her story

Tell us about your family: We are a family that is very busy and we also have a lot of fun.  For sure the “boss” of the MarySchulmanFamilypicfamily our 9 year old daughter, Sunny. She is a fantastic big sister to her sister, Sadie (7), and brother, Luke (2).  There’s no shortage of fun activities in the family. Most recently, Sunny and I started to take tennis lessons together, which is a lot of fun mainly because she is much better than I am. While I work hard to grow the Snikiddy business, my husband Brett spends his work days as the CEO of Cava Grill.  We all enjoy cooking, baking and of course eating!

Tell us about your company:sn_brandmark_hires

Snikiddy® is a line of delicious snacks made from simple, wholesome, real-food ingredients.  The line includes Cheese Puffs, Baked Fries, and Eat Your Vegetables®, a first-of-its kind veggie chip snack that provides a full serving of vegetables in every ounce.  All Snikiddy snacks are made with non-GMO ingredients, are certified gluten and wheat free, and do not contain any artificial colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils or MSG.  Snikiddy pairs nutrition with great taste to deliver real, delicious foods the whole family can enjoy and feel good about.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

Exercise! And, I love to take walks outside with the family. Sometimes we don’t get far when we run into a gorgeous flower or a pile of stones in the road that clearly should be moved, but it’s so fun to be outside getting fresh air with the whole family.

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

I recently asked my 2 year old as we approached the grocery store, “Do you want to walk or ride in the cart?”  His response, “Run!”  I’ve been chasing him ever since.

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

A new toilet… No seriously we are renovating our master bath and have been sharing a bathroom with the kids for almost 9 months!

For more information please visit:

Website: http://www.snikiddy.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Snikiddy?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/snikiddy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/snikiddy/

Advice and insights from moms for moms and fabulous prizes from mom-founded companies. Check our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms to moms; Amie Garcia from Livie and Luca shares her story

Tell us about your family For me, family is top of my list. When I’m not pouring my energy and heart into my businessLivie&LucaFamilyPic, I am with my three young children and husband.  Co-owner of Livie & Luca, Mitzi Rivas, also has young children and we’ve established a family- friendly and flexible company ethic. When I’m not in the office, I’m with my kids - cooking, hiking, playing on the beach and spending time with friends and family. That to me is the solid foundation from which I work.

Tell us about your companyLivie&LucaLogo

Livie & Luca is a children’s shoe company and our primary purpose is to spread joy!

We spread joy by creating beautiful, whimsical, one-of-a-kind shoes that are both lightweight and durable, prioritizing healthy foot development and overall comfort in each design.

Being a sustainable and socially responsible business is a top priority. We source non-toxic and recycled materials and use environmentally-sound methods, we recycle and re-distribute shoes to families in need and we donate 10% of our online sales to charity. And tied to this is that broader definition of sustainability - creating a company that is healthy and well, and focused on long-term maintenance. When I say health I’m talking about all aspects of the company, from the well being of our factory workers, our customer service reps, our office workers and, of course, the children we make shoes for.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters? 

It's so important to provide kids with opportunities to try a variety of foods, not just once but multiple times. It grows on them! Also, we limit snacks to healthy ones so that they have a big appetite for dinner. It's amazing how good food tastes when you're actually hungry.

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

Oh, I must confess, my favorite treat is a spoonful of peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips. Actually, my Livie & Luca staff knows about this secret treat. Last December, we had a gift exchange and were instructed to bring one of our favorite things under $10.00. When my gift of PB & Chocolate Chips was opened, I discovered I was not the only one who loves this secret snack!

Tell us about your favorite recipe to make for your family?

Since it's hard to get kids to eat their veggies sometimes, my favorite easy meal is spaghetti with homemade sauce. I caramelize onion, brown some ground turkey, add any and all form of veggie from my fridge, either chopped or grated (usually spinach, carrot, zucchini, yellow pepper). And voila! A chock-full-of-veggies all-in-one meal.

For more info about Live & Luca please visit the following:

Website: http://www.livieandluca.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/livieandluca?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/livieandluca

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/livieandluca/

Advice and insights from moms for moms and fabulous prizes from mom-founded companies. Check our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

10 Favorite Valentine Ideas from Pinterest

We want to share our top 10 favorite ideas from Pinterest you can make with your family. 1. Who doesn't have 100's of crayons around their house? Our Founder's kids are making these crayon cards. We'll post pictures once they finish...promise! (via bloglovin.com)

Melted crayon valentines

2. Take a different approach. Show you kids you love them with humor and creativity in a Valentine Fortunate Teller! (via Modern Parents Messy Kids)

FortuneTellers

3. An adorable way to greet your children in the morning and surprise them with a heart-shaped Egg-In-The-Hole. (via Incredible Edible Egg)

toast-heart

4. Peak-a-boo! On the front of your card, cut out eye holes. Write "Peek-a-Boo" on the front of the heart, and "i" (or "we") love you on the inside with a photo of you and your kids! (via Spoonful)

Cardwithphoto

5. Use a cookie cutter to create fruit in a shape of a heart. You can also create a  fruit skewer!  Fun, healthy and festive! (via Amber Perry)

watermelonheart

6. Great classroom idea. These pencils will inspire your children's writing! (via Spoonful)

pencil

7. Use a celery stick to create a bouquet of flowers! Fun kids craft idea to use up the celery in the fridge! (via Parentella)

Celery-flowers

8. Wonderful card idea for younger kids. And a good re-use idea for an old sponge. ( via Homemmade Mamas)

Valentinecraft

9. Valentine format for creative writing. (via Teachers Pay Teachers)

cube

10. Make an animal card with hearts. Meeeeeee-ow! (via Sassy Dealz)

catcard

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

Start 2014 by Making a Healthy Pledge

healthyPLEDGE_2014_logo Happy New Year, friends!

Have you made your resolutions yet?  In the spirit of new beginnings, we are excited to launch the Mom Made Healthy Pledge for 2014! Commit to simple and easy changes that will benefit you and your whole family now and in the future and receive a FREE COUPON from us!

"I pledge to nourish myself and my family with foods that are good for them; read nutrition labels; cut out artificial junk; and help my family learn about the importance of good healthy eating."

notepad5

Whether this pledge is a reaffirmation of your commitment, or a radical shift in how you approach food for your family, Mom Made vows to be here to support you and bring you on a healthy path!

Mom Made will send a FREE COUPON to families committing to take the Healthy Pledge while supplies last. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1:  Click here,  select "HEALTHY PLEDGE" and fully complete this form, including your mailing address as we are mailing these coupons. Limited while supplies last. One per family household. Must have a valid US mailing address.

Step 2: It takes a village and we'd love to hear your tips and ideas. Please join in the healthy conversation on FacebookPinterest and Twitter!

Step 3: In a few weeks, check your mailbox for your FREE COUPON good for any Mom Made Munchie. Mom Made is in freezer aisles nationally. Click here find a store near you. 

Mom Made cares deeply about children's health and nutrition, and we pledge to do our part to make positive changes.  It's not a New Year's resolution; it's what motivates us every day at Mom Made!

Wishing you a healthy, delicious and fun 2014!

-Your friends at Mom Made

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Childhood Obesity CDC

At Mom Made, we're all about making kids healthier. It's what brings us to work everyday excited! Given September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, for the rest of the month, we'll be sharing tips, ideas and facts with you. It is truly going to take a village to turn this problem around so all of us need to be in the know. 

The facts:

  • 17% (12.5 million) of children and adolescents  aged 2 to 19 years are obese.
  • 1 of 3 children are obese or overweight before they even reach their 5th birthday.
  • Planning and providing nutritious and balanced meals for your children is key to prevention.
  • Increasing your child's physical activity and limiting screen time helps to prevent childhood obesity.

*According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention

It's all about making the right decisions, changing habits and living a healthier lifestyle. Mom Made is here to provide healthier options for your children and families.

For more info we would like to share with you the article " Statement on National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" by the  US Department of Health & Humane Services  and "Getting Started: What is Obesity" by the Let's Move Campaign.

Is it important to take action and improve the quality of lives.

Like Mom Made on facebookimage and follow us on twitterimage to stay tuned about upcoming ideas, health facts and tips for the rest of the month.