Modern Mom sat down with New York Times bestselling author of “The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals,” Missy Chase Lapine. The Sneaky Chef discussed some great ways to keep your kids happy, healthy and fit with Modern Mom.
The Sneaky Chef Conquers Food
The Sneaky Chef’s goal is to make children healthy. We want our children to eat less caloric, less fattening foods. “But food” she said, “is only half the battle.” A new study shows that kids are spending upwards of seven hours each day texting, playing video games, or sitting behind the computer. Children are “spending every waking moment that they aren’t in school on some sort of electronic device,” Lapine said. “This has major implications for obesity.” If you couple this with other research that shows sitting for long periods can be deadly, “it is really scary.” There is a “critical need for sneaky fitness.” Sneaky fitness, Lapine says, is the other half of the battle.
What Does “Sneaky” Mean?
Just as the Sneaky Chef slips spinach into spaghetti and meatballs, Sneaky Fitness sneaks movement into fun. Lapine explains, “making small modifications to our lifestyle can add up to big benefits.” We have become a sedentary society. “We don’t even have to open our own car door anymore” she says in an exasperated tone, “we just press a button!” Children do not have to be vigorous athletes, she says. Kids just need to move more every day.
Sneaky Fitness: Fun, foolproof ways to slip fitness into your child’s everyday life
The Sneaky Chef’s new book contains toddler to tween strategies to get kids moving in a fun way. Addressing tweens’ health is critical, she said. She shared some great tips with us!
“One of the rules in my home for my texting tween, is that she has to be pacing the floor.” If she is going to “talk the talk” she must also “walk the walk.” “I do it too; when I’m on the phone for business, I’ve got to be up pacing.” You should not be idle on the couch. You cannot fight your tween’s texting, but you can set guidelines. If your tween is moving while talking, they will burn triple the calories. Also, the Sneaky Chef has created a new alternative if your tween likes to watch television (and what tween doesn’t?). So you want to be a rock star?! This tip entails your children putting on their own rock video. They are up singing, dancing and moving. “You do not make a rock video on the couch,” she says.
“An activity I love for my 9 year old,” Lapine states, “is Slip ‘n Slide.” Have your children put on slippers and dust the floor. Join them if you like. “Dance, skate and twist to get the slippers or socks as dirty as possible!” Another of her personal favorites is to stage a pillow fight. “Guess what?” she asks. “It is totally fun, and it’s actually good exercise. You become your children’s cheerleader, not their nag.”
“For the little guys, dig to china.” This tip works whether you are in the backyard or on the beach. Give them a pail and tell them to dig a tunnel to China. “There is a lot of activity that goes into this, and it keeps them busy for a long time.”
A Sneaky Fitness Rainy Day Idea
On a rainy day, “use puddles as a Sneaky Fitness tool.” Go jumping. Get wet. “Just have fun,” she says. If you want to stay inside, “I like to set up shop.” Have kids go through your pantry, pack heavy cans in a bag and set them up as on the table as if they were a store. “Then,” she says, “Buy back food from your kids. Make them pack it in the bag and put it back into pantry.” The money you use to pay for the food can be donated to charity, she suggests. “They can organize the food alphabetically if you want.” Setting up shop “takes some muscle” and it is “entertaining and educational.”
Sneaky Fitness for Moms
“When I am sitting at my desk all day writing, I get up at least once an hour for one minute.” Each day is focused on a different body part. “Today is push-up day.” If you cannot do them on your floor, lean against your office door. Be active every hour.
Keeping a Balance
“I am a momtrepreneur,” Lapine says. “I work from home.” She explained that it is very hard to seperate being a business woman and mother. Her advice to other Moms in her same plight is to, “give your kids some eyeball to eyeball time when you get home. Give them 15 minutes when you aren’t trying to multitask. It’s so empowering.”
What Does the Sneaky Chef Do For Herself?
“My 9 year-old started Taekwondo.” It turned out to be a Mommy and Me class. The Sneaky Chef originally brushed it off, but the Master was very convincing. “A year and a half later,” she said proudly, “we are both purple belts.” It is like “yoga with a purpose. I absolutely adore it.”