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Archive for Opinion

07 Nov 2013

Marketing Healthy Foods to Children

No Comments #fitkids, Childhood Obesity, Fit Kids, Healthy Eating, Opinion, Tips

Marketing products to children using familiar characters is a way to get kids attracted to certain items. Banking on familiarity, kids are naturally drawn to items that their “heroes” are touting. “If it is good enough for Superman, it is good enough for me,” are what kids are thinking. Also, products know that the moment they begin to use licensed characters (which you must have rights to do) they know their product will see, what I refer to as the “Oprah Effect.” (I am sure there are sales reports to show a spike in sales once the product has been associated with a familiar children’s character-take your pick on which one.)

But now, it is time to use this marketing power for good. Hearing today that Sesame Workshop will allow the Produce Marketing Association to use their muppet characters to help market fruits and vegetables comes at no surprise. Although, I am thrilled to hear that they will be waiving licensing fees for PMA’s growers to use the familiar characters. This is great news. And with the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative behind this new partnership, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

I welcome the opportunity to teach my preschooler about healthy eating at every meal we have together. Each time I eat with my children, is another chance I get to talk about food: why we eat, why what we eat should be healthy, why we should eat healthy food, and so on. Fit Kids Playground is a supporter of Sesame Workshop and their Healthy Habits for Life initiative. Integrating messages through everyday life is how it’s done. I hope that my kids are soon begging me to buy fruits and vegetables, and if it because there is an Elmo sticker on the apple, then so be it. At least they are eating an apple. At least they are showing an interest. It’s a start to healthy habits.

At Fit Kids Playground, we fully believe that the younger generation holds the key through preschool education pertaining to healthy eating. The exposure alone at an early age will teach kids to learn about where their food comes from, that it is important to eat a rainbow and that they should be eating a fruit or vegetable with EVERY meal. There are simple ways to start to introduce these concepts early on, but “early on” are the key words.

So I will be on the look out in early 2014 for Big Bird Bananas or Red Delicious Elmo Apples…because that is what some of us already do, right? I’ve made my own Abby’s Amazing Apples with “magic sprinkles” on peanut butter on apples. (Try it for yourself! It worked! My daughter LOVED her apple snack!) You don’t need a license to get creative. You just need a little creative magic to get you thinking about a way to disguise asparagus. If you make it fun, 9 times out of 10, kids will respond. So it’s worth a try.

Do you have fun names for healthy food you cook that you market to your kids at your house? Tell us how you get them to eat healthy food! We are always looking for new ideas.

Insider Mom Tip: Eat a Rainbow of fruits and veggies everyday! We love the Today I Ate a Rainbow Chart that goes on your fridge and acts as a game! Hope on over and meet Kia, a Mom in action and on a mission to help kids eat healthier!

02 Sep 2013

What Does Childhood Obesity Month REALLY Mean?

No Comments #fitkids, Childhood Obesity, Fit Kids, National, Opinion, Play

September is Childhood Obesity month. So what big deal. Right? I don’t have a child who is obese. My kids are active. This is not a big deal. Wrong.

I launched the Fit Kids Playground project almost 5 years ago. I never realized that 5 years later I would be able to say that I really feel like I have made a difference in my community to help others, parents and children alike, to become more aware of what is going on around them in order to help them better the lives of their children or even themselves.

The Fit Kids Playground project is meant to help parents realize that they are not alone. We all have kids and we all want the best for them. We are all not registered dietitians, personal trainers or chefs creating meal plans and personal workout routines for our family. We are real. We have kids. And sometimes we need help. We want change. But how?

The mission of Fit Kids Playground is “Real Kids. Real Change. Really Simple.” Because that is what sums us up. It takes small changes to make a long term difference. Doing one thing a week. One thing a month. But make them realistic goals if you want change. It should not be stressful trying to get your kids to eat fruits and veggies. But some parents we converse with, just can’t figure out how to make this happen. But through conversations and tips of small things that have worked for other REAL PARENTS, we as parents DO learn and now are ready to tackle something bigger than ourselves.

We invite you to be a part of the movement. The “fit kids” movement. There is no pledge to sign. Nothing to sign up for. No monthly meetings to attend.

Just the idea that you get it.

You get that this is not a fad. That you will make an effort to drive BY the drive thru instead of stopping. You might get up a little earlier to make a lunch instead of buying it.

Yes, it is work, but won’t it be gratifying to see the change in your kids and know that YOU did that?

We hope that we can be part of your journey. Please sign up for our e-blasts, buy a shirt that will support our programs (for you or your child) and be proud that you will help your child live longer and healthier and happier. And you just might learn something too along the way.

And don’t forget to join the conversation with us on our social networks using the hashtag #fitkids.

19 Jul 2013

Lee Roy Selmon’s Celebrates Family Dinners

No Comments Deal, Free, Healthy Eating, Opinion, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tampa Bay

The one thing I really have made a priority in our house are family dinners. We always sat and ate dinner as a family as I was growing up and I have tried to do it with my family too.

But of course, it is not always easy to make this happen. With four kids, baseball games, gymnastics, nap schedules or homework, finding the time to cook and sit down can be a challenge. But, tired or not, I will always try to make it work.

We were invited to Lee Roy Selmon’s to have a family dinner and check out their new “Kids Eat Free” Monday’s. I was looking forward to this meal all week! Not only was it amazing food, I often welcome a break where I can enjoy my meal, my kids, the conversation and the fact that I don’t have to clean up the dishes for once.

We visited the Boy Scout Road location, by International Plaza. They have 7 other Tampa Bay area locations too. Our service was perfect and the staff could not have been more friendly to us and any family that visited their store.

The Southern style BBQ that everyone raves about completely lived up to its reputation. Jake and Mia enjoyed the kids ribs and licked eveyone clean! I also loved that they had healthy side options, like broccoli, for my kids to pair with their meal too! Plenty of food for everyone and the most enjoyable dinner time we have had in a while!

I also learned about a few other specials they were offering as well! They have a Victory Hour (or Happy Hour) Mondays- Fridays from 4-7pm, where they have drink and appetizer specials for $3. And all summer long, they have some amazine “Summer Bowl” specials that come with crisp veggies, Selmon’s signature rice and amazing smoked meat.

And of course the sports atmosphere with all the Lee Roy Selmon memoribilia had us conversing at dinner about sports and who Lee Roy Selmon was! It was so much fun to walk around the restaurant and talk sports history with the kids.

I hope that you visit Lee Roy Selmon’s sometime this summer and relax with your family, while saving a few dollars that we all work so hard to make. Family dinners are meant to be enjoyed and sharing good food with the people you love will always make for a memorable dining experience.

To find a Lee Roy Selmon location near you click here.
*I was invited to come and dine at Lee Roy Selmon’s in retun for my honest opinion about my experience. All opinions are my own.

04 Jul 2012

Push Away The Screen And READ! {Super Why Live Review}

No Comments Deal, Opinion, Push Away The Screen, Review, Tampa, Tampa Bay

In my house, my motto has always been everything in moderation. I think that this is just is just good for most things in life. Kids need downtime/ rest time, just as they need active play time too!

When it comes to kids—parents and caregivers should not only set a good example, they need to set rules that limit kids’ computer time, TV watching, and video game playing to reduce how much time is spent in front of a screen, according to the We Can! (We Can! stands for Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition) is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight.) Research by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation has shown that setting rules about media use is a challenge for many parents/caregivers.

I recently found out that the LIVE version of the PBS show Super Why will be coming to town at the Straz Center in Tampa on July 27th! Because this is one show that my kids LOVE to watch (we like the “power if reading”) I decided to do a reading challenge in our house with the prize being tickets to the live show! The my kids are super excited to get reading so they can go to the first ever Super Why Live Show! With summer upon us, one of the ways we are pushing away the screen is by going to the library! We agreed to read at least 1 book a day, us to them or them to us) and we would track the days until the show on a chart! For my 2 year old, we are always reading books and she likes the stickers on her chart too!

In addition to us reading we are also using the shows and the Super Why Reading Camp curriculum ideas that can be found here! Each day at Reading Camp, children transform into one of the SUPER WHY characters and take part in reading-based, branded SUPER WHY crafts, games, and songs that practice the targeted early literacy skill of the day: Monday–letter identification, Tuesday—rhyming with word families, Wednesday—letter sounds and spelling, and Thursday—vocabulary and comprehension. On Friday, families are invited to join the campers in celebrating the accomplishments of the week. WOW! I was so impressed and had no idea that the Super Why program came with such great added value to really extend the “power of reading” beyond the show!

I am also so impressed with the printables that they have available for parents too!

I can’t wait to take my kids to see the Super Why Live Tour with the kids! I will be going with all 3 kids (ages 7,6 and 2) and they are SUPER excited too! We will be sure to tell you how it was!

Take a peak at their behind the scenes videos too!

You can purchase tickets here and also receive $5 off tickets (select seats) when using the code WHYATT in the Ticketmaster promo box.

Hope you enjoy the show! I can’t wait!

Disclaimer: I wrote this post while participating in blogger program and received complimentary tickets to Super Why Live at the Straz Center in Tampa, FL to facilitate my future review and for participating. All opinions are my own as always.


If the Super Why Live tour is coming to your city, you shouldn’t miss it! Because we had been working on reading over the past few weeks, my 3 year old COULD NOT WAIT so see the live show! She was so excited to see the characters and I couldna’t wait to see her reaction!

The show had so many great elements to keep kids engaged throughout the entire show. The set was half digital and half live. I loved this element as it was a gat backdrop for the kids to follow along with th storyline.

The characters were so identical to the shows characters and all my daughter wanted do was wave and say, “Hi.”

I loved the confetti that came out into the audience too! They did “surprise” Shelby, but she LOVED seeing thm fall!

The music was AWESOME! Created new for the show, the music really did set the tone for a fun and up beat show! The kids loved the music!

The “you’ve got the power” and “you can make any dreams come true” themes, I love. I love empowering children and teaching them about what they can do if they believe in themselves. The “power to read” theme really related well to my 6 year old daughter. She is still learning to read and for her, installing confidence in what is doing is so important!

I am really enjoying working on reading with my daughters using the online tools that PBS has for the Super Why series.

If you are a parent and are looking for a way to get your kids excited about racing, I would highly recommend integrating the Super Why ideas into your plan. And… If Super Why Live is coming to your town, don’t miss it!

23 Jun 2012

Are youth sports making kids healthier or teaching bad habits?

No Comments Active Kids, Childhood Obesity, Fit Kids, Healthy Eating, Opinion, Sports

As I walked through the baseball park where my 7 year old plays Little League, I stopped in my tracks when I saw a little girl, probably age 6, with an Icee and French fries. This might not have seemed so “out of the ordinary”, but it was 9 AM. 9 AM! Wow! This was breakfast! I am sure there might have been a good answer, but I would have loved to know WHY this child was eating THESE foods at 9 AM!

Kids’ sports, in general, are supposed to get kids moving and up off the couch. They teach new athletic skills, teamwork, and hopefully might instill the love for a sport they might just play through to adulthood! I loved playing volleyball and softball in my younger years and still do. Practices, tournaments and games make for a busy schedule, not only for the child but for parents and siblings, too. Is this the reason we choose to feed our children “these” kinds of foods at 9 AM? Busy schedules, over-involved, no time to cook at home, are all reasons to grab something on the go or eat what they have available once there. Unfortunately, these habits of on the go eating are not the best to showcase with your kids. Soon they might associate all the benefits of youth sports with what they receive as a treat for participating! Moreover, it could lead to some serious health issues in the future. Teeth will probably be effected first. Check out AlaskaDentalAssociates.com to schedule an appointment for possible treatment or just guide towards good oral hygiene.
What I have found interesting is that it is the concession stands that are run by the parents, the park or the organization hosting the teams, which have full control of what they sell to their customers. And yes, the customers are the parents and kids who frequent their establishment very often with practices, tournaments and games. There are little, if any, regulations or rules, regarding what they can or cannot sell. So bring on the candy, the ICEES, the French fries, the hot dogs, the chips, the soda and anything else we can buy in bulk to sell and help our organization raise money to fund youth sports and healthy kids!

If it is the parents and the organization making decisions as to what to sell and not law makers (like in school districts for school lunches), why is it that the menus are still filled primarily with processed and prepackaged foods containing ingredients that no one can pronounce?

I am all for moderation. I get the “GO” “SLOW” and “WHOA” food concept. But when many parents with kids in sports start to “live” at the ball field, or the gym, or the dance studio, what they serve from the concession stands starts to become a regular dinner or snack for these kids. They come to expect the ICEE each night after practice or the reward after the game. They come to expect the hot dog and treat for a snack before practice because “they need something in their belly”, as they came straight from school.

New research from University of Minnesota School of Public Health* researchers has found nearly half of overweight adolescents ages 12 to 17 also participate in organized physical activities.

“Youth sport is encouraged as a way to help curb the obesity epidemic among young people, but the results of our review show that the activity alone might not be enough to prevent extra weight gain,” said School of Public Health researcher Toben F. Nelson, Sc.D., assistant professor within the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health. “The fact that many studies show that sport participants are as likely as non-participants to be overweight is interesting because studies consistently show that participants are more likely to be physically active.”

The culprit, according to researchers, appears to be the high-calorie culture pervading youth sports.

My kids are going to be playing youth sports for a long time and I see the road ahead when ordering choices are made without me standing behind him. I hope that youth sports won’t instill bad eating habits in my kids. But that’s my job as a parent. I will take responsibility for what my children are fed. But healthy choices from the concession stand owners would be appreciated when we, as parents, see youth sports as a way to get kids active and make them healthy.

For more on the “GO SLOW & WHOA” food chart, visit We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition), a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight.

For more on the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s “Healthy Youth Sports Study”, visit them here.