Tag Archives: tips

Tips for dealing with BMI screening

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I was recently asked by a physician if it is bad for a kid that is really tall to be at the 90th percentile for BMI.  Loaded question, right?  In this situation the school nurse had mentioned concern about the child’s BMI to the family and the family was not sure how to take that information.  I am sure many people experience something similar so I wanted to share my perspective as a dietitian that has worked with lots of families with overweight kiddos.  Here are some things to keep in mind when someone mentions one of the “o” words:

  1. Don’t panic. This is easier said than done. If someone uses one of the “o” words (overweight or obese) it stings. Some people are great at talking about weight in a nonjudgmental and helpful way. Others are lousy at it and make ya feel terrible. Try not to panic if you hear these words. The growth charts are tools that help identify disease risk. Your child will likely be at different percentiles each time they are weighed and measured. One measurement is not as important as trends, but every measurement is an opportunity to become a little bit healthier.

2.  School nurses and health care providers, in general, are nice people. A school nurse or pediatrician that addresses your child’s weight is trying to do the right thing. Sometimes messages can come across in a way that will make you wanna go hide in a cave. This is not what is intended, I would almost guarantee it. If your pediatrician heard a heart murmur you would want to know, right? They are focusing on your child’s growth and health, not really their weight.

Going for a walk at a nearby castle as a family was a great way to make a memory and burn some energy!

Going for a walk at a nearby castle as a family was a great way to make a memory and burn some energy!

3.  Kids are not adults. The goals for a kiddo that is overweight are much different than those for an overweight adult. The first step for kids is to slow weight gain which does not mean that a kiddo needs to “hit the treadmill” or go on a “diet”.

4.  There is no “u” in team. Lifestyle changes are the best way to help all kids lean in the direction of better health. Whether a kiddo is overweight or normal weight all kids like to have fun and no one likes to feel singled out. Playing a game together as a family will be something you can get your kiddo to do again and again and will help you, too. Multitasking win!

5.  Growing taller and staying the same weight will lower BMI. The BMI is the body mass index and is a proportion of weight to height (squared). If a kiddo keeps growing taller and gains weight slower than they were previously gaining then their BMI will drop. This will allow your kiddo to trend into a healthier weight range without losing weight.

Carrots as a snack? Yes, please!

Carrots as a snack? Yes, please!

6.  Everyone could eat a little better. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to eat some extra fruits and veggies. Focusing on the things everyone in your family should eat more of will make everyone a little healthier. Pickles are a vegetable. ‘Nuff said.

7.  When in doubt, just count. Backwards. And leave out some numbers. Ever heard of “5-2-1-0”? If not, you will. It is pure genius. This is the catchy phrase of the Let’s Go! program that was implemented in Maine and has taken the rest of the states by storm. It is a simple way to remember to focus on taking in five fruits and veggies daily, limiting screen time to two or fewer hours (more time to be active!) per day, being active for an hour every day and eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages. For more info visit http://www.letsgo.org/.

What are some things that you do to help increase your activity and fruit and veggie intake? What do you think about the “o” words? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

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7 Tips to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

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Handy hubby bubby helped with the demo.

Handy hubby bubby helped with the demo.

When we decided to remodel our kitchen in 2013 the dreaminess of dark cherry cabinets and granite counter tops overshadowed any whispers in my mind about the logistics of this kitchen overhaul.  It wasn’t until days before the demolition of our old kitchen that I wondered what we would do for food while our kitchen was torn apart.

At first we were planning to have our entire counter torn apart and our sink removed…until I realized that would mean about a week with no running water (no dishwasher!) in our kitchen.  There was no way we could have survived that with all of the baby bottles we were sanitizing.  Instead we opted to pay a little extra to have the cabinets removed, old counter tops removed, new cabinets installed and our old sink (with a few inches of old counter top on each side) reconnected to the water supply and “resting gently” on our new cabinets.  Our contractors were awesome and made sure that we didn’t go without running water until the granite was installed.  So we had a sink…but no counters!  A few days later the granite was installed and this had to cure before the new sink could be reconnected.  Dun, dun, dun…three days with no running water in the kitchen.  We recently had to have a minor repair to our kitchen sink (gotta get the house ready to sell!). Here are my seven tips to help you the next time you remodel your kitchen.

Old kitchen...wasn't in terrible shape but was 30 years old!

Old kitchen…wasn’t in terrible shape but was 30 years old!  The boxes of new cabinets took up a whole room!  Yowza!

1.) Know the schedule for the remodel.  What day are they redoing the cabinets? The counters? Will they re-connect the sink in the meantime? Knowing what repairs will be done when can help you push timelines if needed. The contractors generally have to do things in a certain order, but if they are waiting for cabinets to come in or the electrician to do something could they be working on something else to move things along?

2.) Prep ahead. This is crucial! There are many different ways to do this. If you have a long lead time you could start by making double of one recipe each week and freezing them to use during your remodel. Another option is to prep a month of meals in one long day and then freeze these. There are tons of freezer meal ideas on Pinterest these days! You can always plug your slow cooker in to an outlet in the dining room during the repair. Or, do what I did and have dueling crockpots on your counter-free lazy Susan. 🙂

Bye, bye, old cabinets!

Bye, bye, old cabinets!

3.) Use plastic bags for food storage. This hurts the hippie inside of me, but during a kitchen overhaul it is pretty necessary. Store everything you can in plastic bags so that you can just throw them away and not need to wash all those big dishes.

4.) Don’t use any dishes or cookware that you can’t wash in your bathroom sink. I learned this the hard way. I used a roasting pan. Bad idea. How did I think I was going to wash that?! I wiped it out with a bunch of paper towels and then just set it aside to really wash it when the sink was reconnected. Oops.

5.) Plan a meal that uses a rotisserie chicken. For me the go-to meal when I don’t want a lot of dishes is a rotisserie chicken with some Ready Rice and a bag of steamable frozen veggies with some fruit on the side. When we were remodeling the kitchen we had this on paper plates (sorry planet Earth!) and used plastic silverware. So easy!

Built in wine rack?  Yes, please!

Built in wine rack? Yes, please!

6.) Sandwiches count as dinner. Bust out a blanket and a picnic basket and have a picnic for dinner. It makes it feel more like a real dinner if you don’t eat at your kitchen table…even better if you can get to a park!

7.) Remodel the kitchen during grilling season. The grill always cuts down on dishes and if you use a plastic baggie for marinating you can have a great meal without even using your kitchen. Maybe some grilled short ribs or shrimp skewers? MmmMMMMmmm.

Our amazing new kitchen with under cabinet lights!  This can be yours...just buy our house! :)

Our amazing new kitchen with under cabinet lights! This can be yours…just buy our house! 🙂

Have you remodeled your kitchen?  What helped you survive? I’d love to hear; just leave a comment below!  Thanks for reading!

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Tips for surviving a grocery trip with kids

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Kids sure are cute, but taking them to the grocery store can be a challenge.  I love grocery shopping by myself or with just one of the kids.  When I have to bring both kids (soon to be three, eek!) I really have to strategize to make it out with everything we need and minimal tears.  Here is what works for me:sibling

1.) Always park near the cart corral, preferably one with a kid-friendly cart.  My strategizing usually starts before we even hit the store.  I don’t look for the spot closest to the store entrance.  Instead I will drive around to find a spot that is right next to the cart corral.  I am sure this makes car lovers cringe…parking so dangerously close to runaway carts and all.  So far I have been lucky.  We snag a kid friendly cart (with a car, airplane, etc) and I can often convince Ryan to “drive” into the store (AKA get strapped in)…which means no more chasing him!  Success!

2.) Hit the potty.  If your kids are older (or you don’t have kids) this may not be a necessity for you so you can skip this one.  Hannah has been potty trained for a long time but for some reason always has to potty when we are in the middle of the store so we head this one off at the pass.  Ryan is a whole different story.  He is newly potty trained and once announced, “I PEED!” while sitting in the cart when we were waiting at the deli.  The puddle running down the paper towels below him to the floor confirmed his decree.  Naturally I just opened the pack of paper towels, cleaned up the mess, used some hand sanitizer and finished shopping in a jiffy.

3.) Go to produce first.  This is usually the longest part of my list so getting this out of the way early is a must.  If we don’t get to every section of the store we can survive a few more days as long as we have our needed produce.

4.) Next visit the grocery section.  This is usually the shortest part of my list (some pickles, reduced sodium cans of beans, whole grain pasta, etc) so is usually pretty easy to get in after the marathon of produce.  If they start fading I grab a pouch of parcooked brown rice (the kind you heat in the microwave for 90 seconds) and give one to each kiddo.  These are virtually indestructible and last us until we get to the deli.

5.) Skip most of the middle of the store.  If I can help it I save buying paper products and other household items for days when I can take just one kiddo or head to the store alone.  I also avoid any aisle that has products that are marketed to kids (juice, snacks, etc).  In a pinch we will go quickly to the cereal aisle to get more Cheerios.  The kids always notice their favorite characters on the other cereal boxes…they can just wave and blow kisses as we walk by.  It won’t hurt Dora’s feelings.Hannah big smile

6.) Then head to the bread/bakery aisle.   This is also a pretty short part of our list usually so we can get in and out of there quickly.  This is also the point (about halfway) that if Hannah has been behaving nicely I will let her get out and walk the rest of the way.  No chance of Ryan getting out, though.


7.) On to the deli.  A free slice of cheese or turkey usually keeps the kids motivated for the rest of the trip.

8.) Then get all of the really perishable items.  I usually go to the frozen section (not usually a long list for this section), then dairy, seafood and meat.  Then off to check out and we’ve survived!

What do you do to make shopping trips with your kids more manageable? 

Thanks for stopping by!

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