Posts Tagged ‘ Alison Sweeney ’

Alison Sweeney: “My best course of action is to model the behavior that I hope to see in them.”

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Like most moms, Alison Sweeney is super busy. But the Days of Our Lives actress, Biggest Loser host, author of the upcoming novel Scared Scriptless , and our cover girl along with her cute kids back in 2011 still makes living healthfully a top priority for herself, her husband, and Benjamin, now 9, and Megan, now 5. She’s recently teamed up with Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant to promote healthy smiles. Parents caught up with Sweeney to talk about good nutrition, keeping active, setting a good example, and maintaining a balance amidst the chaos.

P: How do you approach the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle?

AS: There are so many great tips from The Biggest Loser that I have incorporated into my daily life, but certainly I have tried to make it a lifestyle for my kids, too. Just that idea of healthy eating at home. Not making food or dessert a reward in any way. Trying not to put too much emphasis on food, trying to keep it in a healthy realm. I wish Popeye were on TV again eating his spinach to get big muscles, because that’s exactly what I’m going for: Your body needs fuel, but there’s good kinds and there’s bad kinds.

P: Are your kids healthy eaters naturally or do you get creative with your recipes?

AS: Maybe there are kids who are healthy eaters “naturally,” but I have yet to meet one. Our preschool taught us that kids’ palettes change over time so even if they don’t like something right away you should try it again. I just keep reintroducing foods, especially vegetables. I try different ways to prepare them. Brussesl sprouts are more a grownup thing, but I’m absolutely obsessed with them. They’re my favorite vegetable right now. I made a raw brussel sprout and kale salad the other day that I literally chopped up like a chopped salad and my kids devoured it. I had this olive oil and lemon juice dressing and roasted almonds on it and I’m not kidding, my son had third helpings. I couldn’t believe it. I do keep trying. I’m an old school parent; I’m pretty strict. “You don’t always get to eat your favorite thing. This is what I made for dinner tonight and you have to eat your vegetables.” That’s the rule.

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

P: Is there a go-to healthy snack that you like to give them after school or before an activity?

AS: I love greek yogurt. So I have tons in the house. It’s a 2% greek yogurt with blueberries, a little bit of agave and cinnamon and spiced almonds. My kids love it and so do I and it’s really good for you.

P: How do you like to get active with your kids?

AS: My kids are involved in lots of sports and different activities after school. I like to get involved with my son. He plays baseball and I love to go out and play catch with him and run the bases. I worked with him on his running technique because I am a runner. It was really fun to practice his breathing technique with him and his posture and his form. I was thinking to myself, “Wow. It’s pretty cool, a 9-year-old learning to run legitimately.”

P: With all of this encouragement of a healthy lifestyle, how do you still promote a healthy body image so that it doesn’t become a pressurized situation, especially because you have a young daughter?

AS: I think in today’s society it really is starting to become across the sexes. It’s something that I’m extremely aware of and concerned about. I know that my best course of action is to model the behavior that I hope to see in them. I don’t criticize my own body. I don’t cover up or shy away from wearing a bathing suit when we’re at the beach or when I’m with them. I work hard not to use dieting-type words in front of them.

P: How else do you set an example?

AS: It starts from the moment you wake up in the morning. We brush our teeth together. Your kids should see you work out and taking time for yourself. You would want your daughter to take time for herself to work out. You play with your phone in the family dynamic, that’s the choice they’re going to be making. I know lots of people with teenage kids who are like, “Why are they on the phone the whole time?” And I’m like, Aren’t you texting me right now to ask me that question?

P: It seems that women are always trying to achieve a perfect balance. How do you manage expectations and how do you hope to guide your daughter?

AS: I don’t expect everything to balance out at the end of one day or two days or even a week. I feel like it is a pendulum: We’re getting a little bit heavy on the work this week, so next week we’re gonna get a little heavy on the family life. If you’re looking at the scale over the course of my life, it will balance out in the end. It’s a conversation my husband and I work on together when we see how the family dynamic is shaping up.

P: Was the quest for that balance part of your choice to leave Days of Our Lives?

AS: I turned 16 at Days and I’ve loved being part of the show. That said, my son is now 9, my daughter is 5, and I’m wanting to spend more time with them and to explore new opportunities directing, acting, writing, and developing shows.

P: How do you hope to spend the time that this will free up?

AS: I’m still planning to be busy but I’m hoping the new schedule will enable me to take my kids to school more often, help them with their homework, go with them for a hike, and take vacations when they’re on break.

P: What is your favorite thing to do with your kids? 

AS: I love when my husband, kids, and I have an impromptu dance party at our house. It’s so much fun, and hearing their laughter is the best.

Photograph: Alison Sweeney with her kids Benjamin and Megan/ S. Buckley for Shutterstock

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10 Celebrity Parents Who Do (and Don’t) Want Their Kids In Showbiz

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.

If you were in show business, would you want your children to follow in your footsteps? Or would you discourage your children from the limelight of Hollywood with every ounce of your being?

Celebrity Baby Scoop checks out which celeb parents have encouraged their children to enter the wild world of fame and fortune, those that forbid it with all their might, and the ones that sit on the fence.

1. John Travolta

John Travolta has kept us entertained since the 70s in the huge hits Saturday Night Fever and Grease. And not to mention his triumphant career comeback in the 90s cult classic, Pulp Fiction. Prior to the tragic death of his son Jett, John appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and announced his daughter Ella’s debut in the big screen comedy, Old Dogs.

“Jett was young when he saw Look Who’s Talking, but he didn’t like it when I was kissing Kirstie Alley. But Ella took right to it right away. That’s why last year she said, ‘When am I going to do a movie with you?’ Little did she know, dad had a trick up his sleeve. She’s a natural performer,” John said. “She’s just like I was. I didn’t push it at all, because I knew that worked. My mother didn’t push me, either. We were just given our space to be whatever we wanted to be, and I decided that works better than any kind of pressure.” John added, “Unless they’re afraid they’re going to be rejected and they want to protect them. And I can imagine parents would fear that, but you can be rejected in any profession.”

2. Tom Cruise

Fellow Scientologist, Tom Cruise, agrees that show business is a great place for kids. Tom’s son Connor entered the family business (mom is Tom’s ex, Nicole Kidman) when he was 14 years old in Will Smith’s flick Seven Pounds. Perhaps one day Tom and Katie Holmes’ 6-year-old daughter Suri will follow in her big brother – and her divorced parents’ – footsteps.

When asked if he’d like Suri to enter showbiz, Tom said:

“I’d love it. Acting is work I love. I love to create life and give energy, create characters, and create stories.”

3. Will Smith

Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith are all-for their kids entering the family business. Both of their children – son Jaden, 14, and daughter Willow, 11 – have graced the big screen. Jaden costarred with his father in The Pursuit of Happyness, appeared alongside Keanu Reeves in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and in the remake of the Karate Kid. Willow made her acting debut alongside her papa in I Am Legend and later lit up the big screen in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl.

So what does Will think of his kids entering the family business?

“She has a drive. She has an energy and she just connects to human emotion,” Will said of daughter Willow. “I think a big part was probably [seeing] Jaden after The Pursuit of Happyness. She saw what Jaden did, and she was like, ‘I want that,’” Will added. “Jaden is [like] Johnny Depp. He just wants to do good work . . . He loves acting, he just wants to make good movies,” Will said and joked, “and Willow is Paris Hilton. Willow wants to be on TV.”

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Alison Sweeney Takes “One Giant Pledge” to Eat More Veggies

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

On October 2, actress and The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney joined Green Giant in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal to take a pledge for veggies!

Sweeney promised, on behalf of her family, to eat just one more vegetable per day–and encouraged all of the young school students in attendance to do the same.

(Families can also take the pledge on Green Giant’s Facebook page.)

Parents.com had a few moments to chat with Sweeney, mom to Ben, 7, and Megan, 3, about how she helps her kids make healthy food choices.

How do you encourage your kids to eat their vegetables?

We always come up with new, different ways to be healthy, like trying different recipes. There are a lot of ways to be creative and include vegetables. There’s the French fry approach, where I let them eat green beans with their hands and sometimes we dip them in stuff.  Some veggies are great raw. My son doesn’t like bell peppers when they’re cooked, but he loves them raw.

What are some veggie meals you make that are good for kids?

I love to make a veggie stir-fry for my kids because I think it’s a great way to get tons of vegetables in a meal. People always think they need a cup of rice for every stir-fry portion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think people’s proportions get all skewed. You can do a quarter cup of rice, have mostly veggies, and add a protein. Stir-fry is also good because it can be made with whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge, so I pull out what I have in the freezer and my kids love it.

What do you make stir-fry with?

I stick to a healthy oil, like a safflower oil or something light. I do find healthier stir-fry sauces and ingredients, but as long as kids are getting their veggies, keep sauce to a minimum for just enough flavor.  A lot of the time parents end up making bad choices. When you’re tired or the kids are tired, you don’t want arguments about dinner, so kids end up getting used to eating delicious but bad-for-you food. I can’t just let kids eat chicken fingers or Pop tarts every day. My kids do eat mac ‘n’ cheese, but in smaller portions with a lot of veggies.

You mentioned your son loves bell peppers. Are there any other vegetables that are great for kids?

Carrots, snap peas, and peas. Also broccolini and broccoli. (Green Giant has a great vegetable medley that kids love.) My kids love edamame. The veggies that are hard to sell kids on are asparagus and Brussels sprouts.  My son’s teacher told me that it takes 10 tastings for someone to get used to a flavor, to know whether he likes something, so I’m still working on 10 tries for some veggies.

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters?

Picky eaters are a really hard thing, but you can use hunger as your ally. It’s okay to let them get a little hungry so they’re more likely to eat. Then you only offer them veggies. Kids are not going to starve. Also offer veggies as a snack when your kids get home from school, and have them prepared and ready to go in little bags. There are great reusable bags now at Pottery Barn Kids; I stuff them with carrot or bell pepper sticks and sugar snap peas.  You really have to set boundaries on what’s allowed. With my kids, we work with set rules. We have Mac ‘n’ Cheese Monday, so they get mac ‘n’ cheese only on Monday. For Taco Friday we do taco wraps. My kids love using lettuce as wraps. You just have to put the taco mix inside. Often we think kids need basic or bland foods, but it’s really not the case. I put cinnamon in my kids’ oatmeal when they were around 6-8 months old and they loved it. I don’t want them getting used to tasting really starchy, bland food. I want them to expect flavor and texture. I use agave nectar with carrots and a little rosemary, and it’s delicious and sweet. I think there is a world of options out there.

What are other things you do with your kids to promote healthy living?

I think it’s super important to let your kids know that you’re active, too. You have to practice what you preach. I’ve been super successful at explaining why I need to work out. I tell my kids, “Mommy needs to get her exercise and go to the gym.” They see me making exercise a core part of my life, so that’s going to help them down the road. We do a lot of stuff that’s active as a family, like going on hikes with our dog, flying kites, and running into the ocean. I burn a lot of calories swimming with my kids and playing baseball with my son. With my daughter, we run around and dance. We have so much fun. You can find ways to be challenged by your kids and encourage them in the process. You have to commit to it.

What’s the best or worst parenting advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I got when I had my first child was: Imagine if you were holding an 18-month-old child when you hear your other child, an infant, crying. You would have to do something, but you can’t just drop your child and run to the baby. You would have to put your kid down, give him a toy or something to do, and then go tend to your infant.  There’s no need to panic.  Just take a breath instead. So many new parents feel everything is very high-stakes, that they have to run off to the infant, but it’s good to just wonder, what if there was a sibling already? It’s okay to just take a minute, take your time.

What inspires you as a parent?

My kids’ smiles inspire me every day. When you become a parent, all your decision-making changes.  Every decision I make now is based on how it will affect my children. Sometimes it means having to discipline them or to make tough choices that will make them unhappy, but I have to do what is best for them their whole life.

For more about healthy eating and living, check out the following on Parents.com:

Image: Alison Sweeney, center, poses with stilt walker Michael Schruefer, left, and Sprout at the Green Giant event. Courtesy of Green Giant.

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5 Celebrity Moms Share Back-to-School Advice

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.

For many families, the back-to-school rush can be overwhelming and chaotic. Some of our favorite celebrity moms are helping to alleviate some of that stress and anxiety by sharing their best advice. From Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s G-Free snacks, to Bethenny Frankel’s best bargains, to Brooke Burke-Charvet’s must-haves, read some great back-to-school tips from Hollywood’s moms.

Brooke Burke-Charvet
Dancing With the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet and husband David Charvet are parents to four kids: Neriah, 12, Sierra, 10, Rain, 5, and Shaya, 4. The mom-of-four wrote on her blog about preparing for the new school year:

“Back to school starts now in my house even though all four of my kids are returning at different times. This year will be my most challenging school year yet. Four kids in three different schools with four different drop-off and pick-up times.

Thankfully my youngest, Shaya, will still enjoy our beloved homeschool for two days a week. We decided to put him in a “regular” program three days a week so he’ll be with more kids as his sister is moving up to kindergarten.

I hate online paperwork and envy the parents with only one child. I literally have folders, separate file cabinets for each kid, their rosters, forms, sports and miscellaneous important documents. It’s a LOT to organize. Does anyone else feel that there are way too many orientations, meet-and-greets, pot lucks and social activities this month? Multiply it by four and you can imagine my schedule. Plus during BTS nights, I am divided in numerous classrooms and for SURE missing something.

I spent the day labeling backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and clothes.

Here are some of my BTS MUST-HAVES. My kids love them all and it truly helps to have some go-to items to help you keep it together.”

Continue reading at Burke-Charvet’s blog ModernMom.

Alison Sweeney
Days of our Lives star Alison Sweeney is mom to son Ben, 7, and daughter Megan, 3. The Biggest Loser host is also a blogger and shared some of her best back-to-school fashion tips for the “stylin’ mom” on AlisonSweeney.com:

“School is starting again, and that means meeting lots of new people, for your kids and you. I love attending back-to-school nights and open houses and other evening events at Ben’s school and Megan’s preschool because it’s a chance to learn more about their teachers and interact with their classmates’ parents.

When I get ready for something like that, I keep my outfit simple and comfortable, but I definitely get more dressed up than I would for school pickup or running around at the playground.”

Continue reading Alison Sweeney’s back-to-school fashion tips at AlisonSweeney.com.

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