Your new toddler healthy eating strategy: Make it fun, not sneaky

When kids get involved with their food choices, healthy eating seems a lot more exciting. ?

Your new toddler healthy eating strategy: Make it fun, not sneaky

What happens when a foodie with a background in software has a baby? She becomes the Vice President of Marketing/ Deputy to the President of a global, health savvy food brand, of course!

Crystal Black-Davis’ path to where she is hasn’t always been straight. In fact, even her journey to motherhood was downright unconventional: Convinced that having a baby wasn't for her, Crystal wrote an article in 2010 called, “Balancing Act: I’m Not Ready For Kids”, published by Essence Magazine. One month later, she found out she was pregnant.

“I knew at that point that God saw it fit for this to happen. I never would have done it on my own. [My son] Elijah has been the biggest blessing to me.”


At the end of the day, she wouldn’t have it any other way—and having her bouncing baby boy didn’t slow Crystal’s career down for long.

Now the driving force behind Loacker, a global snack brand, Crystal works hard to balance motherhood and leading a huge corporation. As she says, it’s not always easy, but it is always rewarding.

As a food lover-turned-mother, Crystal is passionate about providing healthy options for families on the go. Because as so many of us know, the healthy toddler and kid friendly snack—one that they actually enjoy—is an elusive creature.

She’s here to help! Here are Crystal’s six steps to a killer snacking game plan.

1. It starts at the store

Crystal: Try including healthier snack items on the grocery list. Failing to plan is planning to fail! Having and sticking to your list prevents less healthier impulse purchases while shopping and is the first step towards healthy home snacking.

2. Prep and portion control ahead of time for quick grab and go snacking

Crystal: Bust out those Tupperware containers and Ziplock bags. Preparing your snacks every couple of days will not only help your kids access easy-to-grab snacks, but will keep you on track as well.

3. Involve your child in snack preparation

Crystal: Kids love to feel helpful. Give them a “responsibility,” like peeling oranges and bananas, and make snack preparation into quality family time.

Then, when it comes to snack time, let them arrange items on their own snack platter which gives them a sense of independence.

4. Make healthy fun

Crystal: Kids love building things, so snacks like fruit kabobs on pretzel sticks work really well! Little ones also love bright colors so try creating a rainbow out of fruit.

5. Balance the sweet with savory

Crystal: Give them the best of both worlds. Providing both taste sensations at once seems to satisfy hungry after-school stomachs. For example, the classic peanut butter on celery is a great, protein packed snack that offers both sweet and savory flavors.

6. Provide better-for-you options

Crystal: Offering packaged snacks, (like our Loacker wafers) that have natural ingredients and no additives, allow kids to indulge in snack favorites like cookies. Then, try to include those quick and easy ingredients into fun recipes that incorporate fruits, such as parfaits and “fruit sandwiches” are fun, interactive and satisfying.

Want more from the incredible-ness that is Crystal? Read on for more Motherly insights.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Crystal: I thrive on routine. I could not function if I didn't set the alarm clock on my iPhone to go off every 15-20 minutes. It keeps me on time and lets me know exactly what should be happening at every chime.

A typical morning in my life looks like this:

4:45 Alarm (snooze)

4:55 Wake

5:00-5:10 Stretch and Tibetans

5:10-5:30 Morning workout at home

5:30-6:30 My "get ready" rime

6:30-7:00 Elijah "get ready" time

7:00-7:30 Breakfast

7:30 Out the door to take Elijah to school

The life hack or tip that changed my life...

Crystal: My life hack is to loosen the grip and allow Elijah to become more independent. As a five-year-old, he now showers himself (with minimal assistance), gets his own water and snacks from the fridge, picks out his clothes and dresses himself. It makes my life easier and makes him feel like a big boy which makes both of us proud.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Crystal: I have a hidden stamina reserve that seems to kick in exactly when I need it the most. The demands of my career are great and when I come home, I also have the important demands of managing my household.

Some nights I lie in bed and I'm literally in awe because I have no clue how I was able to accomplish all that I did that day/week/month. I hold dual roles at my company serving as Executive Vice President and Vice President of Marketing, I travel for work roughly two weeks out of every month, including frequent trips to our HQ in Italy at minimum every quarter.

Despite my busy schedule and corporate responsibility (and desire to collapse in the bed), I still make it a priority to exercise regularly (my Wednesday night Zumba class is like therapy), cook dinner throughout the week, read bedtime stories with my son every night, maintain best friend status with my husband, write content for my upcoming blog—and the list goes on and on.

This quote inspires me...

Crystal: “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” —Oprah Winfrey

To me, Motherly means...

Crystal: Being the best mother that only you can be. Tailoring your approach to motherhood to what works best for you and your reality, i.e., the temperament of your child, career demands, parenting support. Being confident at all times, but never afraid to ask for assistance when needed. Simply being there for your child at every turn: the wins, losses, happiness, heartbreaks, stomach flus, spelling bees, teen mood swings and toddler kisses. Consistently showing your child that if there is no one else, they can count on Mom to be in their corner.

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Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

Chrissy Teigen is speaking out about her high-risk pregnancy, addressing fans from her hospital bed this week.

Teigen, who is expecting her third child with husband John Legend, says she's been dealing with non-stop bleeding during this pregnancy due to her "really weak" placenta. She's about halfway through her pregnancy but she's bleeding significantly.

"It's just hard because there's not much you can do," she explained in an Instagram story, suggesting that her baby boy is a strong little dude living in a damaged house. Right now though, there's not a lot her medical team can do to fix her baby's "house."


She explained: "We're in that weird in-between time where you can't really do anything...I'm taking my progesterone, my iron—trust me, we're on it."

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