Yesterday, Sip & Savor applauded moms for their hard work in making changes happen in their schools because we know that schools can be petri dishes of learning opportunities for our kids. Today, we want to thank moms for their hard work at home to encourage healthy eating and exercise. After all, good eating and exercise habits have always started at home. That's why our industry developed national School Beverage Guidelines to help parents at schools - a time when their kids are out of sight and beyond their watch.

But "calories in" is just part of the equation necessary for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Kids (and all of us for that matter) also need to balance the calories we consume with the calories we burn - the “calories out” part of the equation. According to the Partnership for Play Every Day, "Experts say that kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day to feel good about themselves, have fun together and adopt lifelong habits for healthy living." We also encourage kids to get healthy doses of exercise - whether through organized sports or simply by playing outside with their friends.

And we know that providing those balanced meals can be a bit more of a challenge with our busy lives - but there are places for help if you need it. In fact, a number of those resources are readily available online. Check out PepsiCo's Smart Spot Web site. It provides a lot of information on little things you can do to help your child eat right and be active. Another is PE4Life. Along with a wealth of information, PE4Life offers a Community Action Kit that can help give you the tools to ensure that quality physical education is available in your local schools. Or visit Kidnetic - it’s supported in part by members of our industry and focuses on helping parents become better role models in the areas of healthful eating and physical activity. And Kidnetic's real-life guide for parents can be downloaded in English or Spanish.

And while parents can teach the skills needed to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle at home, they can also have an impact in the arrangements they make for their kids outside of their homes - such as with after-school programs that promote and encourage physical activity. In fact, research published in 2007 in the International Journal of Obesity and supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) found that "less physically active children and those who watched the more television after school were more likely to become overweight." The authors suggest that, when selecting after-school arrangements, parents "select those that emphasize active play and exercise rather than sedentary activity" and that educators and recreation specialists "might take note of these results in selecting activities."

But beyond that, just a good old talk - peppered with those constant parental reminders that stick between the ears even though it seems like they're going right through them - with your kids about how to make balanced eating choices. You know, all foods can fit into their diet, including treats, if they properly manage what they eat with how active they are.

So this Mother's Day, have fun. Enjoy your day. A great way to do this is to get outside and play with your kids.