Bad Mommy—the Spring Break Edition: Getting the Kids On a Health Track With Vicks Nature’s Kitchen

Yes, the picture accompanying this post, of my daughter downing a sprinkle donut and a can of soda for breakfast, is proof positive that I have Crap Mom Moments. I don’t specialize in them, mind you. But I have them, for sure.

This was a particularly crappy Crap Mom Moment, when I caved to the demands of my daughters and, on the first day of Spring Break and the first few minutes of our ride to visit their grandfather in Virginia, I let them load up our car with a bunch of junk—soda, gummy bears, donuts, a half bag of chips and at least four electronic toys between them—and go whole hog at eating stuff that is the absolute antithesis of the healthy eating Chef Curtis Stone has been teaching me as part of the Vicks Nature Fusion Nature’s Kitchen cooking video series.

And then I had the nerve to take a picture of it.

By the time we got back from our quickie vacay at Daddy’s house—where there was more snack debauchery at the hands of my dad, who I’m convinced thinks he can get through the gates by spoiling my kids rotten and plying them with every morsel of junk food their little hearts desire—all of us were in serious need of a food detox. The bacon-heavy breakfasts, the chinese food, the cake baking, the midnight popcorn and Oreo cookies with milk runs—let’s just say we felt it and saw it in and on our stomachs by the time we made it back to Georgia. Poor little Lila suffered the worst of it; she’s already got a pretty sensitive stomach, but pile on the snack madness and her stomach yells at her like an angry Army sergeant on the first day of basic training.

It. Is. Not. Pretty.

So my babies and I made a vow to spend the rest of Spring getting our bodies back on course in time for Summer. To up the ante on caring for our bodies, we’ve:

  • Cut out mindless trips to get fast food for dinner. I’ve always been really good about cooking a reasonably healthy dinner every night for my family, but a crazy schedule full of soccer practice, academic enrichment and a hectic writing schedule made it easy for me to zone out around dinner time and, rather than whip up something to eat, run to the nearest fast food restaurant. Now, I’m planning dinners for at least three days in advance and coordinating cooking difficulty with our evening schedule so I’m not stuck trying to figure out what to cook and rushing to make a super-involved meal with only a half hour to get it done between homework and practice.
  • Increased our water intake. My Mari loves water and will drink it all day long without complaint, and Nick downs it when he exercises, but Lila and I have a serious aversion to it. It’s completely irrational, I know, but we just don’t like it all that much and are quick to pour juice in our cups when we’re thirsty. So together, we’ve committed to drinking more water by sprucing it up with vegetables, fruit and herbs that pack a serious vitamin and natural flavor punch. Our obsession: muddling strawberries and fresh mint at the bottom of our cups then mixing in ice cold water and a splash of fresh lemon juice. This water? We can drink all day long.
  • Upped the number of healthy snacks in the house and stopped buying crap food. Chocolate chip cookies, microwave popcorn and chips are out; cucumber slices, grapes, blackberries, mangoes, almonds, naked popcorn and the occasional granola bar are all the way in, not just for when the kids come home from school, but for when they snack at school. My girls are pretty down with eating the healthy stuff but I do recognize that they’re kids and they need some kind of indulgence so once a week, we’ll allow a dessert—fresh chocolate chip cookies, or a small bowl of ice cream, so that they’re not tempted to go overboard when they do get around some sugar.

I’ve really enjoyed making the home made salsa in this Curtis’s Stone video full of Healthy Snacks recipes, which also includes Curtis’s step-by-step video instructions for Tzatziki dip and pita and tortilla chips. And this week, I’m totally going to try whipping up his recipes for home made granola and tropical smoothies, as demonstrated in Nature’s Kitchen video below.

Will I have more Crap Mom Moments when I’m caving to my kids’ demands for junk? Um, does the sun rise in the morning? Is rain wet? Is Idris Elba fine? Ahem… yes, the babies will have plenty of days when they’ll be challenged to bypass the cookies for healthier options. But my prayer is that with the changes we’re incorporating into our food choices and  our constant talking about making good decisions about what we put into our body, our daughters will be on a good and righteous path toward eating habits that do not include our caving to sprinkle donuts and soda. Send good (healthy) juju our way, would you please?

So you know: I’ve partnered with Vicks Nature Fusion to write about ways I keep my family healthy, happy and eating right. Yes, I’m getting a check for this. No, they’re not paying me to say nice things about their products. As always, my experiences and opinions are my own.


1. Curtis Stone’s Secret To Getting Kids To Eat Veggies: A Great Chili Recipe
2. Curtis Stone’s Secret To Healthy Families: Great Recipes & Vicks Nature Fusion
3. Curtis Stone Whips Up A Healthy One-Pot Meal For MyBrownBaby and Vick’s Nature Fusion
4. Down With Pink Slime Meat: Healthy Recipes I’m Cooking Up With Curtis Stone & Vicks Nature Fusion 

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Dang, again with the Idris Elba? Leave that man alone. Next thing you know, the prosecutors will be on our front stoop after they done with the Alec Baldwin case. And don’t be looking at me to bail you out.

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