By Sari HarrarWant your kids to eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy it? Here's how parents in
Somerville, MA, turned the kid-obesity epidemic around.
Five-year-old Ben Tull pulled a big, ripe apple out of his Bob the Builder
backpack one afternoon three years ago — and launched a health revolution at
"The school cafeteria had given kids — even kindergartners — whole fruit
at lunch, and Ben was so excited he brought his home to share with his brother,
his dad, and me. He called it 'The Family...
Mail Order: For food lovers of every stripe there's a cornucopia of clubs that let you give the gift of healthy, exotic noshes -- for just the holidays, or all year. A brief dip in this vast sea offered up monthly clubs featuring: honey, herbs, salsa, mustard, olives, pickles, dried fruit, soup, nuts, oil and vinegar, hot sauce, vegetables, dark chocolates, and even organic cheeses and garlic.
Coffee Grinder: Have a chef in the family? This device not only grinds java beans, it will also mill dried herbs and spices, nuts, seeds, grains, and bread for breadcrumbs -- perfect for preparing holiday feasts.
Hot-Air Popcorn Popper: Have a friend who loves munching during movies? This gadget lets them enjoy fresh-popped popcorn without added oil or butter. One cup of popped corn has only 31 calories and even a bit of fiber, so your pal can munch merrily until the last credit rolls.
Pedometer: From sleek and simple, to nearly bulging with a brass band, pedometers help wearers keep movement on their mind. All of them count the steps you take, while some can also estimate calorie burn, distance traveled, speed, and even take your pulse.
Healthy Holiday Gifts for Kids
December is Safe Toys and Gifts month, so before you buy check out these toy safety tips from the nonprofit group Safe Kids Worldwide:
Choose toys appropriate for a child's age
Avoid toys with small removable parts, a possible choking hazard
Look for high-quality design and construction
Keep kids' hearing safe: Avoid toys that produce loud noises.
For kids under 8, skip toys with heating elements or sharp points and edges
Avoid toys with strings and straps longer than 7 inches -- they pose a strangulation risk.
With these tips in mind, check out our toy and gift ideas for your favorite kids:
Books and Blocks: These toys suit the 1 to 3 set, as do fit-together toys, push-and-pull toys, and pounding toys.