Parent Education

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without Candy

It feels like the holidays were only yesterday, and we are just now getting past all the celebrating, food and treats.  Maybe you have taken the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start to your health and fitness goals.  And, just like that, another candy and sugar-filled holiday is upon us – Valentine’s Day!  Another day that tempts us with heart-shaped candies that we get with every Valentine at school and chocolate, cookies and cupcakes that we get from our family and friends.

And, while it’s hard to tell from everything we see in the stores and on TV, Valentine’s Day is not really about candy and sugar.  It’s about showing love to the special people in our lives.  This can be done in many, many ways that don’t involve added sugar at all!  Consider these ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day without candy:


What to do if your child is a picky eater

Childhood is an important period in the development of our food preferences. Though our preferences can change into adulthood, it’s important to expose kids to new foods so that they get comfortable expanding their palates.  Taste buds are always changing so a fun fact to remember is that your child needs to try a new food 8 to 12 times before being able to decide whether they truly dislike the food.  Here are our tips on how to get your picky eaters to explore new foods.


Weight Watchers for Kids, Oprah’s Weight Loss, and Your Child

If you are reading this article it is likely you already know all about Weight Watchers and love your child so dearly that you can’t stand the thought of him or her continuing down the challenging road of being overweight into adulthood. You have come to the realization that your child or teen (and maybe you, too) could stand to adopt new habits, beliefs, and tools to manage weight. Weight Watchers may have benefited you, or someone you know, and they helped Oprah lose 40-pounds, which is great, right?

Not exactly. At Kurbo, our goal is to make it so kids don’t grow into adults that need Weight Watchers.  Oprah has a well-documented path of weight control programs.  If you google “diets” and “Oprah”, you will see repeated patterns of 30 pounds lost, and regained.  Over and over again.  We really hope that this time she is able to maintain her weight loss and believe that Weight Watchers did a great job in enabling this.

But what if she had not become overweight in the first place?  What if she had learned good habits as a child, from what to eat, to how to manage stress without binging, to how to work exercise into her daily life? What if her parents had learned healthy recipes that delighted and emotionally sustained her?  What if she and her mom had learned not to fight about her eating habits and to have a healthier food dynamic?

This is our goal at Kurbo.  We want our kids not to need diets because they are so ingrained with healthy lifelong habits that they intuitively know how to take care of themselves and make the right choices.

So what sets successful Kurbo kids apart from other weight loss attempts?

  1. Kurbo is NOT a diet. Kurbo is a program that empowers kids and teens to modify their own behavior.   They learn how to manage a balanced week that includes some indulgences.
  2. There is NO calorie or point counting. Kids and teens learn how to make healthy decisions by using the traffic light food classification system–which divides foods into red (unhealthy), yellow (neutral) and green (healthy). Using this simple and intuitive system based on 30 years of research at Stanford University, it is easy to go to a restaurant, a party or the grocery store and choose the foods that will support healthy bodies or,  knowingly, indulge in the richer foods.
  3.  Kids and teens are met where they are at.  Going to an in-person meeting can not only be humiliating for kids, it is often unrealistic with their (and your) crazy schedules.  Kurbo meets them on their smartphones through an app with digital food and exercise tracking, text messages, and video chat.
  4. Top-notch personal health coaches trained to coach kids and teens work with them to set goals and stay on track. Every person who decides to do Kurbo gets their own coach that co-creates a plan specific for the child each week. Kids report that coaching is fun and they look forward to it because their coach is a role model and source of inspiration to keep them on track with their health goals. Parents tell us that they no longer need to act as food police and report that tension around food and meal time is dramatically reduced once starting with a coach.

Adult weight loss is a $60 billion industry.  Our goal is to help children avoid this cycle by enabling them to grow up healthy before they need programs like Weight Watchers and have to go through the pain and frustration of repeatedly getting back on track.


How to take the focus off of food during the holidays

When families ask me how to stay healthy during the holidays I often recycle some sage advice a mentor once shared with me: “being healthy during the holidays should be very similar to being healthy during the rest of the year.” The holidays are a great time to keep up with the healthy habits that you refined all year. Remember, you excel at these habits and they are here to support you now and forever.  Let your healthy lifestyle guide your decisions, not dictate your whole mind.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to make your holiday meals healthier, smaller, lighter, and leaner and your workouts harder, longer, stronger, and meaner. However, what’s more important (and easier!) than learning to make sugar-free dessert from ingredients you can’t pronounce the name of is shifting some of the focus away from food during the holiday! If you’re think “How?? I tried that last year and it backfired…” please read on.


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl

One way I like to enjoy the taste of pumpkin pie while minimizing my red lights is to experiment with pumpkin myself.  Pumpkin, after all, is a green light.  So why not combine it with even more yummy green lights and turn a pumpkin pie into a real health treat?

One of my favorite recipes is for a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl.  It’s like having a bowl full of pumpkin pie filling!  It’s great for a snack, sweet treat, or even breakfast.


How To Stay Healthy This Thanksgiving

Even though I am a foodie to the core, the best way I’ve found to stay healthy through the holidays is to focus less on food and more on creative new family traditions. This time of year is full of heavy red lights and tons of food. Being mindful with portions sizes, chewing and slowing down is key. When you do that, you have enough energy to play with these three fun ideas to stay healthy this Thanksgiving: