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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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Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

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Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

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The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

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The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

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best baby sound machine

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$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

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Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

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Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

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Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

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