Healthy snacks: an oxymoron? Of course not! And knowledge of healthy snacks is important information for our kids to have. Recently, I took my own kids to Snack Wars, held at the Downtown YMCA & featuring Marshall Reid and his family. Marshall is known for writing the recent book Portion Size Me, which was inspired by his own experiences of being an overweight, bullied child.
After watching the Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me, Marshall was inspired to take on his own challenge; instead of super-sizing his portions (or continuing to eat the way he had been eating), Marshall and his family would eat proper portion sizes of food, strive to meet each day's nutritional goals, read ingredients and exercise (or just move) more.
Portion Size Me features the story of the Reid family and includes a 30-day breakdown of what the family did to reach their goals. The book is interactive–it includes blank pages throughout the book for you to track your own journey, plus additional resources on the website (www.portionsize.me) including recipe videos and information about the summer tour the family is taking, to spread the word about Portion Size Me and their message of health.
And that's what brought them to Oklahoma. Snack Wars featured a variety of foods and a Food Network "Chopped"-style challenge (which totally got my kids excited) to come up with healthy snack ideas. The food included crackers, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products–and high sugar, high-fat pitfalls to challenge the kids. In 3 age groups (8-9, 10-11, 12-13) up to 6 kids were asked to prepare snacks. My son participated in the second group and though he didn't win the challenge, he came up with an interesting snack of apples, strawberries, pears, crumbled granola bar, strawberry yogurt and … herbed goat cheese. Surprisingly, it was pretty good.
During the competitions, Marshall's family (which includes mom Alexandra, dad Dan and sister Jordan) helped out by presenting nutrition information along with other local experts. Among the information that we learned was about hidden sugar–did you know that 4g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon (a paper packet) of sugar? A can of soda has about 40g of sugar–10 teaspoons!
The next day when we were grocery shopping, that information hit home for us when my kids were checking the nutrition labels on the things we normally buy–condiments, packaged fruit, even yogurt. Their awareness was raised, and the information made an impact.
Marshall was also joined by Mason Harvey, a local boy of the same age who has been (independently) on the same type of nutritional journey with his family. These kids provided a lot of inspiration to participants of all ages!
Do you want to start your family on a road to better health? The Portion Size Me goals are as follows:
- Eat as many “REAL” foods as possible
- Pause before you eat something and make an active decision as to whether or not you want or need it.
- Take a moment to read the ingredients of packaged foods you choose. Choose items with the fewest ingredients and make sure you can pronounce all the words.
- Get moving.
- Help out in the kitchen and ask to plan some of your own meals.
Adopt these five simple steps to make a positive impact in your family!