iVillage.com RSS http://www.ivillage.com/rss How to Have Sex at Your Parents' During Vacation (Hey, It's Your Time Off, Too) 2014-08-27T17:17:21Z http://www.ivillage.com/how-have-sex-your-parents-during-vacation/6-b-287760 Heidi Raykeil Parenting slide_shows http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/man-woman-bed-facing-636_0.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/man-woman-bed-facing-636_0.jpg 0 Married Sex The Worst Pickup Lines Ever...and Why Guys Use Them When it comes to breaking the ice, would these guys get your number? 2014-08-27T17:12:47Z http://www.ivillage.com/20-worst-funny-pickup-lines-and-why-guys-use-them/4-b-521872 Kimberly Dawn Neumann Health slide_shows http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/157307951_0.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/157307951_0.jpg 0 Slideshow Are You Ready? What to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Dog Together <p><strong>Who is going to be responsible for taking care of it?</strong><br /><br />While both of you may be excited at the prospect of a getting a puppy, taking care of it will be no small task.<br /><br />&ldquo;Caring for a puppy means time and financial commitment and takes more than plopping food in a bowl and cuddle sessions,&rdquo; says <a href="http://amyshojai.com/" target="_blank">Amy Shojai</a>, certified animal behavior consultant, author of 26 best-selling pet books and <a href="http://puppies.about.com/" target="_blank">About.com's</a>&nbsp;Puppie Guide.<br /><br />&ldquo;Potty training, socialization, grooming and rules of the house require consistency and routine on a set schedule, or everyone ends up frustrated by the poor result.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do we both realize it is a cute puppy for a short time but a dog for the rest of its life?</strong></p><p>Your pup won&rsquo;t be so cute and little for long! Make sure you&rsquo;re committing to the dog days, too.</p><p>&ldquo;Technically a puppy isn&rsquo;t fully mature until 12-18 months, and small breeds mature more quickly,&rdquo; says Shojai. &ldquo;Pups quickly grow beyond the cute stage and often become juvenile delinquent dogs and can be tough to manage. You can expect a healthy, well-cared-for dog to live 9-12 years (for big dogs) or even into their late teens for some small dogs.&rdquo;</p><p>That's a long commitment.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What would happen to the dog if we broke up?</strong><br /><br />You don&rsquo;t want to think about it, but for the sake of the puppy, consider what would happen if the two of you split.<br /><br />&ldquo;Dogs are social creatures and form strong bonds with their family group -- and that&rsquo;s whoever spends time and attention with the new puppy,&rdquo; says Shojai. &ldquo;Set up guidelines to be sure everyone -- both the humans involved and the puppy -- suffer the least amount of potential hurt if the worst happens. If you both love the puppy, perhaps a time-share could work out, or allow for visitation.&rdquo;<br /><br /><br /><strong><br />Are we doing this to see what it&rsquo;s like to be parents? Am I expecting this will lead to us having a baby?<br /></strong> <br />A puppy can be lovable but if it&rsquo;s a bambino you really want, then take pause. <br /><br />&ldquo;Puppies can be a good test to see if you can put up with cleaning poopy puppy messes, and figure out how to communicate with nonverbal creatures, but they&rsquo;re more like perpetual toddlers than infants,&rdquo; says Shojai. &ldquo;Choose to have a puppy because you want the dog for him/herself, not as a surrogate test -- because that little furry creature isn&rsquo;t a trial run for love and affection to be traded in.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Do we both want this equally? </strong><br /><br /><span>&ldquo;Couples who adopt pets together can share the joy of caring for and loving the new pup, but an unequal commitment can lead to resentment or even jealousy,&rdquo; says Shojai. &ldquo;Asking and answering these questions honestly before adopting the puppy can head off potential problems.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p><p><span>Both of you will be affected by the addition of an animal so make sure you&rsquo;re both really on board!</span><span>&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Are we ready to have a living thing that binds us together? </strong><br /><br />A puppy isn&rsquo;t like a piece of furniture you might fight over -- it&rsquo;s a living thing that forms fierce attachments.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Are we ready to slow down our nightlife in order to come home and walk a dog? </strong><br /><br />If you&rsquo;re not ready to leave a dinner party to take care of your dog, reconsider whether adding a puppy to your life really makes sense. <br /><br />&ldquo;It is not a crime to secure a pet-sitter,&rdquo; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.drpiasalk.com/" target="_blank">Pia Salk</a>,&nbsp;PSY.D., a psychologist and spokesperson for <a href="http://www.adoptapet.com/" target="_blank">Adopt-A-Pet.com</a>. &ldquo;But never test your pup&rsquo;s fear of abandonment and bladder control. Then you are unfairly asking Fido to take the hit for demands you knowingly agreed to accommodate.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Are we getting the dog to compensate for something that&rsquo;s missing in the relationship? </strong><br /><br />&ldquo;Enrolling a third player, as a means of compensating for deficits in a relationship is not only unhealthy for a couple but it is unfair to the animal who is now saddled with this burden,&rdquo; says Salk. &ldquo;For the couple, it is a very maladaptive means of addressing relationship issues.&rdquo;</p><p><span>A puppy might momentarily mend rifts in your relationship, but ultimately his cuteness can&rsquo;t be the only thing that keeps you together.</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>What is the usual dynamic between us as a couple when we are problem-solving? </strong><br /><br />Do you and your partner work well together under pressure? Having a puppy will require you to tackle some pretty stressful situations. <br /><br />&ldquo;It is critical that the history of problem-solving, and any deficits in this arena, be allowed to exist <em>apart</em> from the impact they have on the puppy&rsquo;s welfare,&rdquo; says Salk. &ldquo;It is imperative that the animal&rsquo;s life is secure apart from any degree of health that these dynamics ultimately represent.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Can our work/travel schedules really accommodate an animal? <br /></strong><br />You're going to have to scale back on your jet-set lives -- or find ways to accommodate your pup when you must travel or work late. <br /><br />And if you are getting the dog from a breeder, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to note that the needs of a puppy are drastically different from those of an adult dog, kitten, cat or other kind of pet,&rdquo; says Salk.</p><p><strong>Do we agree on discipline vs. treating the puppy like a baby? <br /></strong><br />Puppies need boundaries. And disciplining your pet is really the kind thing to do. <br /><br />&ldquo;One of the biggest mistakes new pet parents make is treating their puppy like a child,&rdquo; says Steven May, pet expert and co-author of <em><a href="http://www.petloverzguide.com/" target="_blank">What About Wally: Co-Parenting a Pet with Your Ex</a></em>. &ldquo;When they do, the result is usually a puppy that grows in to a dog with no boundaries or discipline. I&rsquo;m a big proponent of puppy classes after all shots have been completed. What&rsquo;s important to remember is training isn&rsquo;t as much for the puppy as it is for the owner.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Are we looking for an accessory or a loyal companion?<br /></strong> <br />Don&rsquo;t get a puppy because you think she&rsquo;ll look adorable/ridiculous in your Louis Vuitton handbag. Make sure you&rsquo;re in it for the long haul. <br /><br />&ldquo;Dogs aren&rsquo;t consumer products,&rdquo; says May. &ldquo;If it doesn&rsquo;t work you can&rsquo;t just take it back to where you bought it. Our shelters are filled with animals that have been discarded by people who don&rsquo;t understand the 24-hour responsibility that comes with pet ownership. But for those who do their research, match the breed with their lifestyle, commit to training and fulfill their pet&rsquo;s needs, they&rsquo;ll enjoy the kind of companionship, love and unbreakable bond that is specific to being a pet parent.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Is the pet his, mine or ours? <br /></strong><br />Decide in advance who the primary pet parent will be and make sure you and your partner discuss who will handle specific responsibilities. <br /><br />&ldquo;When a couple brings a pet in to the relationship it is theirs together and co-pet parenting is a must,&rdquo; says May. &ldquo;If he doesn&rsquo;t have a problem with Fido jumping on the couch but she does, the result will be a dog that is confused about what&rsquo;s right and wrong which can lead to other behavioral problems.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;It is critical to designate one primary caretaker willing to commit to the needs of the puppy, apart from any other competing demands,&rdquo; says Dr. Salk. &ldquo;While both can be &lsquo;parents&rsquo; for the pet -- it is essential that the animal&rsquo;s fate not hang in the balance.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Can our home accommodate a pup?&nbsp;<br /></strong><br />Shoes and rugs can and most likely will be ruined or soiled by your puppy at some point, so make sure you&rsquo;re ok with that first. <br /><br />&ldquo;Most all homes can accommodate a puppy,&rdquo; says May. &ldquo;Just like it is prior to the arrival of a baby, future pet parents must make sure to puppy-proof their home. Puppies are curious by nature and if they can put their mouths on something they will. This means tying back all electrical cords, removing any potentially toxic plants, keeping lids secured on trash cans and making sure all cleaning supplies are locked away. This is also where training comes into play. A puppy needs to learn that Daddy&rsquo;s new leather jacket isn&rsquo;t the right toy to play with.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Can we handle the living expenses (hello, vet bills) for a puppy? </strong><br /><br /><span>&ldquo;Owning a pet comes with expenses beyond just food and toys,&rdquo; says May. &ldquo;Boarding and particularly medical care can become costly. I suggest a written agreement between both parties prior to bringing a new pet in to their lives that addresses the financial, medical and any potential shared situation that may occur.&rdquo;</span><br /><br />&ldquo;Couples bringing a pet in to their lives need to understand that it is a team effort and it can either bring couples closer together or, sometimes, create tension that drives them apart. But what can&rsquo;t be forgotten is that the pet loves both its parents. And by working together as a team everyone will benefit.&rdquo;</p> 2014-08-27T17:07:52Z http://www.ivillage.com/are-you-ready-what-ask-getting-dog-together/4-a-518616 Ronnie Koenig Health blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/ready-for-a-dog-636.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/ready-for-a-dog-636.jpg 0 Article 32 Emotional Signs That He's Cheating <p><em>An excerpt from </em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/088282225X/ivillagerelation" target="new"><em>180 Telltale Signs Mates Are Cheating and How to Catch Them</em></a>. <br /><br />Think your mate might be <a href="http://www.ivillage.com/cheating-0/6-t-124297">cheating</a>? Find out if he is displaying any of the warning signals described by Raymond B. Green, a private investigator and former police officer, and Marcella Bakur, a psychology professor at Marymount Manhattan College. Here, the 32 emotional signs that he is having an affair:<br /><br /><strong>1.</strong> Your mate is more attentive to your needs than usual. This is due to the guilt feelings experienced by the cheater in the early stages of his or her affair. The attention will diminish as the affair continues.<br /><br /><strong>2.</strong> Your mate begins buying you gifts -- lots of gifts. These are &quot;guilt gifts&quot; purchased because your partner feels guilty about betraying you and showering you with presents makes him or her feel better.<br /><br /><strong>3.</strong> Your mate's behavior is causing a gut feeling in you that something isn't right. If this happens, pay attention to your instincts. Ignoring them means you want to blind yourself to the truth. You know your mate's habits, routines and attitudes better than anybody, so be suspicious when these things change.<br /><br /><strong>4.</strong> Your mate frequently picks fights with you. Doing this gives him reason to get mad and storm out of the house and thus the opportunity to meet a lover. A cheater may also do this because of mixed emotions he is feeling about betraying you.<br /><br /><strong>5.</strong> Your mate constantly talks about your relationship ending when you fight or argue. She says things like, &quot;What would you do if our relationship ended?&quot; or &quot;If anything ever happened to us, I would always love you like a friend.&quot; In general, she seems very negative about your relationship. Your mate makes these statements because she has a lover to fall back on if your relationship ends. If your partner repeats these kinds of statements often, be suspicious.<br /><br /><strong>6.</strong> Your mate becomes very <em>moody</em>. He or she seems very upbeat and excited when leaving you but acts somber and depressed when around you. If your mate is in a long-term affair, he/she will try to keep both relationships running smoothly. Any problems the cheater has in one relationship will spill over into the other relationship as well. This is inevitable.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>Your mate never talks to you. You live together but don't interact. He has become cold and inconsiderate of your feelings.<br /><br /><strong>8. </strong>Your mate's taste in music suddenly changes. For instance, she always listened to pop music but suddenly starts listening to country music. Your partner might be listening to and growing fond of this new type of music because her lover listens to it.</p><!--pagebreak--><p><strong>9. </strong>Your mate lacks self-esteem. This doesn't necessarily mean he will go out and have an affair, but an insecure individual often looks to others for guidance. If an insecure person's needs aren't being met, he might find the desired feelings of security and positive feedback in an affair with someone else.<br /><br /><strong>10. </strong>Your mate continually criticizes another person. She is trying to make you think that type of individual would never be of interest to her, although there actually exists a secret attraction.<br /><br /><strong>11. </strong>Your mate criticizes things about you that he or she once found attractive and appealing.<br /><br /><strong>12.</strong> Your mate easily becomes offended at the comments, however harmless, that you make.<br /><br /><strong>13. </strong>Your mate stops paying attention to you, your children and home-life in general.</p><p><strong>14. </strong>Your mate begins closing doors when you are around, when before he or she would leave them open. For instance, the Bathroom-Door Rule: Couples in long-term relationships often leave their bathroom doors open while attending to necessities even if their partners are nearby. As affairs develop, the cheating mates will close bathroom doors, distancing themselves physically and psychologically from their partners.</p><p><strong>15. </strong>Your mate stops complimenting you on your looks.<br /><br /><strong>16. </strong>Your mate stops saying, &quot;I love you.&quot;</p><!--pagebreak--><p><strong>17. </strong>You mate acts guilty when you do something nice for him or her. You are supposed to be the person who is making life miserable and the relationship untenable. By doing something nice, you force the cheater to think about what he or she is doing.<br /><br /><strong>18. </strong>Your mate turns the table and accuses you of cheating but has no evidence.<br /><br /><strong>19. </strong>Your mate would rather spend time with friends than be with you.<br /><br /><strong>20. </strong>Your mate shows no interest in your relationship's future.<br /><br /><strong>21. </strong>Your mate stops being affectionate.</p><p><strong>22. </strong>Your mate is more interested in reading a book or watching television than talking with you or making love to you.<br /><br /><strong>23.</strong> Your mate frequently talks about the problems a friend, neighbor, coworker, course instructor or classmate of the opposite sex is having.<br /><br /><strong>24. </strong>Your mate begins using new catch phrases or starts to tell types of jokes or express opinions that are unusual for him or her.</p><!--pagebreak--><p><strong>25. </strong>Your mate pays less and less attention to your children. They seem to sense something is wrong and don't seem to be as emotionally healthy or secure as they once were.<br /><br /><strong>26. </strong>Your mate has been acting emotionally distant and withdrawn but when you ask about it, he doesn't want to discuss it and becomes very protective of his privacy.<br /><br /><strong>27. </strong>Your mate seems disinterested and distracted during sex.</p><p><strong>28.</strong> Your mate talks in her sleep and mentions the name of a particular person on more than one occasion.<br /><br /><strong>29.</strong> Your mate seems startled or confused when awakened. This uncertainty may be caused by not being sure which bedroom and which lover's bed he or she is in.<br /><br /><strong>30.</strong> Your mate's behavior is such that your friends begin asking you what's wrong. Close friends and family members often will notice tension or discord between the two of you before you are fully aware of it.<br /><br /><strong>31.</strong> Your mate easily becomes offended when you make normal and natural inquiries and may demand to know why you are checking up on him or her.<br /><br /><strong>32. </strong>Your mate's sleeping pattern changes considerably from the norm and may include unexplainable exhaustion, restlessness, frequent nightmares and sleep-talking.</p><p><strong>More from iVillage Canada: <br /></strong><a href="http://www.ivillage.ca/relationships/where-look-love-when-you-can%E2%80%99t-seem-find-it" target="_blank">Where Are the (Normal) Single Men Hiding?</a> <br /><a href="http://www.ivillage.ca/relationships/making-time-date-why-its-so-essential-0 " target="_blank">Are you Making Enough Time for Love? </a><br /><a href="http://www.ivillage.ca/relationships/love-and-sex/contemplating-threesome-10-dos-and-donts-consider" target="_blank">Contemplating a Threesome? 10 Dos and Don'ts to Consider</a></p><p><strong>WATCH: Why Do People Cheat On Their Partner?</strong></p><center><object width="500" height="281" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" classid="D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="flashObj"><param value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" name="movie" /><param value="#FFFFFF" name="bgcolor" /><param value="videoId=2405080615001&amp;playerID=1418446683001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAA-0SHTMk~,-wEchEh36Hp6r5NL-JmFB67Stiu30Hbe&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" name="flashVars" /><param value="http://admin.brightcove.com" name="base" /><param value="false" name="seamlesstabbing" /><param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /><param value="true" name="swLiveConnect" /><param value="always" name="allowScriptAccess" /><embed width="500" height="281" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" swliveconnect="true" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" seamlesstabbing="false" name="flashObj" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" flashvars="videoId=2405080615001&amp;playerID=1418446683001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAA-0SHTMk~,-wEchEh36Hp6r5NL-JmFB67Stiu30Hbe&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"></embed></object></center><p>&nbsp;</p> 2014-08-27T16:47:57Z http://www.ivillage.com/32-emotional-signs-hes-cheating-0/4-a-283634 Ed.D. Health blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/emotional-cheating-636.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/emotional-cheating-636.jpg 0 News Feature Whoa! Scientists Just Figured Out How to 'Replace' Bad Memories in Mice <p>Someone who has been mugged in a dark alley will likely never want to return there, having associated that location with a fear of being attacked.</p><p>But neuroscientists working with mice say they've discovered the brain circuit that controls how memories are linked with positive and negative emotions. And in rodent tests, they've manipulated brain cells to reverse the emotions attached to a memory.</p><p>In essence, they made once-reluctant mice want to return to that dark alley, by replacing their negative emotions with positive ones through stimulation of a key memory region in the brain.</p><p>The findings explain what happens inside the brain when psychotherapy helps lift a person out of depression, said senior author Susumu Tonegawa, director of the RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.</p><p>&quot;The psychiatrist will talk with a patient suffering depression and try to make them recall positive memories they have had in the past,&quot; Tonegawa said. &quot;Apparently, this will reduce the effect of the bad memories they have had or the very strong stress they have had. But unless you look into the inside of the brain, you can't tell what's going on underneath the behavior.&quot;</p><p>When people create memories, they store a great deal of context along with the memory itself, he explained. &quot;The memory information stored is not only about what happened, but also about the context in which the event occurred,&quot; Tonegawa said. Part of that context includes how a person felt about the event.</p><p>Showing that the context of negative memories can be changed is promising, said Dr. Paul Sanberg, professor of neuroscience at the University of South Florida in Tampa. &quot;If we can harness that information and carry it further, we may be able to come up with new clinical insights,&quot; he said.</p><p>The brain region that creates these emotional links could prove a useful target for new medications and therapies intended to treat disorders such as depression or anxiety, Sanberg said.</p><p>But the findings, published in the Aug. 28 issue of <i>Nature</i>, would have to be replicated in humans before they could influence clinical practice.</p><p>The investigators set out to discover which brain structures are responsible for linking memories to emotions, using laboratory mice with fiber-optic brain implants. Through a technique called optogenetics, researchers used laser light to stimulate parts of a mouse's brain.</p><p>They focused on two parts of the brain -- the amygdala, which processes emotion, and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, where much of a memory's context and detail are stored. Context includes information about where an event took place.</p><p>Male mice first were conditioned with either fearful memories through small electric shocks or rewarding memories through interaction with a female mouse. The neurons associated with this emotional context were located in the dentate gyrus, researchers found.</p><p>Two days later, the mice were placed into a large arena. The researchers recorded which half of the arena the mice naturally preferred, and then began stimulating the dentate gyrus cells with light as the mice wandered around the arena.</p><p>Mice conditioned with fear received memory stimulation whenever they were on the side they naturally preferred, and they soon began avoiding that area. On the other hand, mice with happy memories received stimulation when they wandered into the area they preferred less, and they ended up feeling better about that location and spent more time there, the study found.</p><p>Researchers then tried to reverse the emotional responses stored in the rodents' brains. For male mice with fear conditioning, the researchers light-activated the memory cells involved in the fear memory while the mice spent pleasant time with female mice. For mice that had initially received the reward conditioning, memory cells were activated while they received mild electric shocks.</p><p>The reversal worked, and the mice ended up switching the side of the arena they preferred when their memories were stimulated by light.</p><p>Subsequent attempts to alter emotional memories through manipulation of the amygdala didn't work, suggesting that emotions are hard-wired into individual cells inside the amygdala, the study authors noted.</p><p>Dr. Scott Turner, a professor of neurology at Georgetown University, said understanding how memory and emotion intersect could be key to treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).</p><p>&quot;If you could find ways to reverse the [emotion] associated with a particular memory so it isn't so negative, you could help these people suffering from stressful memories,&quot; Turner said. &quot;Obviously, we're a long way from that, since this study was performed in mice.&quot;</p><p><b>More information</b></p><p>For more on optogenetics, visit the <a href="http://video.mit.edu/watch/optogenetics-controlling-the-brain-with-light-7659/" target="_new"> Massachusetts Institute of Technology</a>.</p> 2014-08-27T14:00:00Z http://www.ivillage.com/scientists-rewrite-bad-memories-mice/4-a-573202 HealthDay Health blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/mice.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/mice.jpg 0 News Article 20 of Our Favorite Lunchboxes and Water Bottles for the New School Year <div class="gif-article">Whether your kid will be packing bologna sandwiches or quinoa and bean sloppy joes, what makes the food the most fun to eat is the lunch box it is packed in. &nbsp;Here we go way beyond the brown bag lunch options to include some of this season's hottest characters and coolest colors.</div><div class="gif-article"><b><h2>Game On!</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Dabbawalla_Soccer.jpg " /><p class="credit">Dabba Walla</p>Now that the summer&rsquo;s World Cup fever has subsided, it's time to dust off the cleats for fall soccer. This lunch bag is a real score for both boys and girls who love the game. ($30 at <a target="_blank" href="http://dabbawallabags.com/our-bags/lunch-bags">Dabba Walla</a>)</b></div><p><b> </b></p><div class="gif-article"><b><h2>Cafeteria Warriors</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Amazon_Ninja_Bento.jpg " /><p class="credit">Amazon</p>This stylish, ninja bento box is as cool as it is practical. No matter how much your sweet shinobi jumps, darts, rolls and jostles en-route to school, the clever compartments keep food in-tact during travel. The top compartment doubles as a soup bowl for a wintertime lunch treat. ($29.97 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Kotobuki-Ninja-Boy-Bento-Black/dp/B00CBTUCJ2/?ref=pd_sim_k_6&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;refRID=023NK7Q0F2CFM58TYNFN">Amazon</a>)</b></div><p><b><div class="gif-article"><h2>Owl Do It Myself</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Owl_Built_NY_.jpg " /><p class="credit">Built New York</p>Your littlest school kids can help themselves at lunch time with these adorable lunch boxes. This insulated sack from Built New York. The Velcro closure makes it simple for kids to open and close. While we love this sweet owl, the sack is also available in panda, dog, raccoon, and ladybug designs. ($16.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.builtny.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-BuiltNY-Site/default/Search-Show?cgid=lunch-kids">Built New York</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Cool Camo</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Yubo_Camo_Lunchbox.jpg " /><p class="credit">Yubo</p>Label not required on this versatile lunchbox. Camo for kids is still a big trend this year and your little ones will love the personalization. You&rsquo;ll love the removable faceplate, ice pack and dishwasher safe bento containers. ($39.90 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.getyubo.com/all-new-orange-lunchbox-with-personalized-camo-faceplate-set/">Yubo</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>All a Flutter</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Butterfly_Purse_Dabba_Walla.jpg" /><p class="credit">Dabba Walla</p>This lunch bag is the perfect school day accessory for the girliest of girlie girls. Made from insulated and machine washable material, the purse-like tote will be a style stand out in the cubbies. ($25 at <a target="_blank" href="http://dabbawallabags.com/our-bags/lunch-purses#!/~/product/category=4109083&amp;id=18136893">Dabba Walla</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>The Great Outdoors</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Camping_Rock_Paper_Scissors.jpg " /><p class="credit">Rock Paper Scissors</p>Adorable for the outdoorsy kid, this campfire lunch box has a chalkboard on the inside for you to write love notes to you little one or for him to create lunchtime doodles. ($29.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.rockpaperscissorsinvitations.com/store/WsDefault.asp?One=4460">Rock Paper Scissors</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Messenger Bag</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Message_Bag_Melissa_and_Doug.jpg " /><p class="credit">Melissa and Doug</p>The popular Melissa and Doug brand designed this purple and pink print to send your sweetie to school everyday with messages of love, luck and peace. ($9.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.melissaanddoug.com/lunch-bags-lunchboxes-for-kids-beeposh-ricky">Melissa and Doug</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Snack Safari</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Snack_Safari_Zebra_Wildkin.jpg" /><p class="credit">Wildkin</p>Animal prints are big in kids fashion this fall and this lunch box let&rsquo;s your junior fashionista express her wild side. ($17.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wildkin.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&amp;Store_Code=WS&amp;Product_Code=33405&amp;Category_Code=B_NEW">Wildkin</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Zoo-licious</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/zoo_lunch.jpg " /><p class="credit">Skip Hop</p>Skip Hop makes lunchtime fun with this 4-piece Zoo Lunch Kit, coming in five colorful animal patterns. Easy-to-use clips make opening and closing this pack a cinch, while the rubber seal locks the lid to prevent leaks. ($9 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.skiphop.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&amp;Product_code=zoolunchkits">Skip Hop</a>) Check out the adorable matching <a href="http://www.skiphop.com/product/zoolunchies.html">lunchbox</a>&nbsp;($14)&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.skiphop.com/product/zoopacks.html">backpack</a>&nbsp;($20), too.&nbsp;</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Among the Minions</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Minion_Target.jpg " /><p class="credit">Target</p>In 2015, <em>Despicable Me</em> will be back with a third installment. Head off the trend by picking up this adorable lights and sound lunch box. Modeled after the minion Jerry, this tote makes the minions&rsquo; sound and has flashing LED lights for cool factor, but is made of insulated material and has a zip closure for practicality. ($13.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.target.com/p/despicable-me-lights-sound-insulated-lunch-bag/-/A-15137164">Target</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Monstrous Appetites</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Monster_Target.jpg " /><p class="credit">Target</p>The cute monster design and easy access to the matching water bottle are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. ($10.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.target.com/p/circo-pet-pals-monster-lunch-kit-blue/-/A-14406255#prodSlot=medium_2_28">Target</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Spidey Sense of Style</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Spiderman_Lunchbox.com_.jpg" /><p class="credit">lunchboxes.com</p>After this summer&rsquo;s <em>The Amazing Spiderman 2</em>, Peter Parker is all the rage&hellip;again. The mask design stands out among all the square spidey-themed lunch boxes. ($12.95 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lunchboxes.com/Spider-Man-Mask-Insulated-Lunchbox-p/t-mos%20k43013006.htm">LunchBoxes.com</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>A Sassy CIY</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Color_Cat_Alex_Toys.jpg " /><p class="credit">Alex Toys</p>Not only will your little one love carrying her CIY (Color It Yourself) lunchbox to school, but it also makes for a fantastic rainy day project this summer. Alex Toys also makes color-your-own lunch bags in dog and owl designs. ($19.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.alextoys.com/product/color-a-lunch-bag-kitty-cat/?pcat_id=1416">Alex Toys</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>A Bug Picnic</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Bug_Picnic_Lunchbox.com_.jpg " /><p class="credit">lunchboxes.com</p>Kids love creepy crawlers and the modern design of this lunch bag is friendly, not frightful. The sack is insulated, made of durable cotton canvas and has a mesh compartment for an ice pack or flatware. ($19.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.lunchboxes.com/bugs-insects-lunch-box.html">LunchBoxes.com</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Fit for a Princess</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Princess_Castle_Personal_Creations.jpg" /><p class="credit">Personalcreations.com</p>Pinked out and looking for a way to put a new spin on your daughter&rsquo;s beloved princess theme? With this bright, graphic lunchbox, your girl will get the royal treatment with a personalized castle. Add an adorable &ndash; and ecofriendly &ndash; <a target="_blank" href="http://gifts.personalcreations.com/gifts/fun-graphic-snack-bags--girl-30141158">snack bag</a> to make a sweet set. ($29.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://gifts.personalcreations.com/gifts/fun-graphic-lunchbox--boys-30140202">PersonalCreations.com</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Fun in the Fast Lane</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Fast_Lane_Personal_Creations.jpg " /><p class="credit">PersonalCreations.com</p>Blow the dust off end of summer blues and get his engines started with this racecar lunch box. It is designed to fit hot and cold containers and has both inner and outer zip pockets for utensils, napkins or &ldquo;countdown to next summer&rdquo; notes from you. Reduce waste and save money on &ldquo;snack size&rdquo; bags of treats buy picking up the matching racecar <a target="_blank" href="http://gifts.personalcreations.com/gifts/fun-graphic-snack-bags--boy-30141140">snack bag</a>. ($29.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://gifts.personalcreations.com/gifts/fun-graphic-lunchbox--boys-30140202">PersonalCreations.com</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Sippy Cup Senior</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Sippy_Cup_Senior_Contigo.jpg" /><p class="credit">Contigo</p>If your child has outgrown sippy cups, but hasn&rsquo;t quite outgrown spilling, these drink bottles are a perfect fit. These kid-friendly water bottles are dishwasher safe and leak-proof, making them ideal for packing them up for school. ($8.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gocontigo.com/contigo-kids/autoseal-kids-gracie-water-bottle.html">Contigo</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Everyday is Earth Day</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Eco_Lunchbox.jpg " /><p class="credit">Abe's Market</p>Packing lunches made from organic ingredients and sending locally grown snacks to school isn&rsquo;t the only opportunity to stress the importance of being eco-conscious at mealtime with your kids. These stainless steel lunchboxes made by ECOlunchbox not only look cool, these three-in-one stainless steel bento boxes eliminate the need for plastic baggies and other plastic food containers. The boxes are BPA-free and recyclable. ($27.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.abesmarket.com/natural-products/home-and-garden/housewares/lunch-kits/eco-lunch-box-three-in-one-set-4-cups.html">Abe&rsquo;s Market</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Eco Kitty</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Hello_Kitty_Zak.jpg " /><p class="credit">Zak.com</p>Hello Kitty goes green. GoPak lunch set includes a divided sandwich and snack container that reduces the need to use baggies and wrap, and a space saving collapsible water bottle. It also includes a matching flatware set in a snap-tight case that not only eliminates the need for plastic flatware, but also helps keep both the utensils, and lunch bag clean. ($21.97 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zak.com/hello_kitty_gopak_lunch_set_K089">Zak.com</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Chill Out, Dude</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Teenage_Mutant_Ninja_Turtles_Zak.jpg" /><p class="credit">Zak.com</p>Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aren&rsquo;t just an 80s throwback any more. Zak! Designs has incorporated these hot characters into their back to school lunch collection. These freezer packs fit right into the lids of Zak&rsquo;s water bottles and sandwich containers keeping you child&rsquo;s lunch fresh and cool. ($16.98 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zak.com/ninja_turtle_chillpack_lunch_set_K230">Zak.com</a>)</div><p><style type="text/css">.gif-article {margin-bottom: 80px;}.gif-article img{max-width: 636px;}.gif-article h2 {margin-bottom: 12px; font-size:18px}.gif-article p { margin-bottom: 20px;}.gif-article .credit {text-transform: uppercase; margin-bottom: 12px; font-size: 10px; color: #888; padding-top: 0px;}.gif-article .lists li {list-style: none;padding-bottom: 10px;}.featured-media .thumb {display: none;}.article .featured-media {margin-bottom: 32px;width: 636px;} .featured-media .credit {display: none;}</style></p></b></p><p>&nbsp;</p> 2014-08-21T16:48:18Z http://www.ivillage.com/back-school-lunch-boxes/6-a-572929 Daria Meoli Parenting blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/Amazon_Ninja_Bento.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/Amazon_Ninja_Bento.jpg 0 Back to School Ninja Turtles, Colorblock and 18 More Stylish Backpacks <div class="gif-article"><p>Oh, the pressure of picking the perfect backpack. While back-to-school sneakers run out of rubber by January and the ankle length jeans purchased in September look like capris by March, the backpack is expected to last until June. That is quite a style commitment for a kid. Here, we've rounded up 20 of our favorite hardworking backpacks for the new school year.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2>Ninja Grillz</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/1-TMNT1.jpg " /><p class="credit">Sprayground</p>This limited edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack features a unique design, with the TMNT character wearing a bright bandana and flashing a shiny, gold tooth. Made of a super durable, water-resistant fabric, the pack has a laptop sleeve and extra compartments for supplies and sunglasses. ($60 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sprayground.com/backpacks/teenage-mutant-ninja-grillz-donatello.html">Sprayground</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Prepped for Class</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Unicorn_Garnet_Hill.jpg " /><p class="credit">Garnet Hill</p>This pack balances preppy pink and green stripes with the youthful whimsy of the unicorn print. Available in two sizes, these backpacks have built in organizers, iPod pockets, and an attachment for matching lunch box, which comes free when you order before September 9th. ($44.95 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.garnethill.com/backpack/girls-clothing/kids-backpacks/302683">Garnet Hill</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Crayons with Conscience</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Crayon_Dabba_Walla.jpg " /><p class="credit">Dabba Walla</p>The modern, graphic crayon design is sure to make your preschooler smile. These packs are sized for kids between the ages of three and seven and are machine washable. In addition to the adorable factor, these backpacks are 100% toxic-free, zero lead, BPA-free and no Phthalates or PVC. Each bag is individually sewn in Taiwan by a family-owned facility that supports fair labor practices and environmental stewardship. Plus, this design can be personalized with your child&rsquo;s name. ($40 at <a target="_blank" href="http://dabbawallabags.com/our-bags/backpacks#!/~/product/category=4109081&amp;id=18136897">Dabba Walla</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Star Struck</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Owl_Beatrix_NYC.jpg " /><p class="credit">Beatrix New York</p>This brand is a celebrity favorite. Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Meg Ryan and Maggie Gyllenhaal all have Beatrix New York packs for their kids. They are big enough to hold textbooks, lunch, and a laptop and have a smaller interior pocket for supplies. ($52.00 at <a target="_blank" href="https://www.beatrixny.com/big-kid-backpacks">Beatrix New York</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Best on the Block</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Color_Block_Gap.jpg" /><p class="credit">Gap</p>Color blocking is still a huge trend for fall and Gap&rsquo;s bags give the trend a child-friendly twist with bold, fun colors. Backpacks are available in color combos that will appeal to both boys and girls. ($39.95 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=982996052&amp;vid=1&amp;locale=en_US&amp;kwid=1&amp;sem=false&amp;sdReferer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gap.com%2Fproducts%2Fgap-kids.jsp">Gap</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Pixel Pack</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/1-GORED1.jpg" /><p class="credit">Sprayground</p>Perfect for diehard video gamers, this durable backpack is sure to be a classroom favorite. The new design features a font that will take you back to the days of Gameboy. ($55 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sprayground.com/backpacks/pixel-game-over-backpack-red.html">Sprayground</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>What a Croc!</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Croc_D_and_N.jpg " /><p class="credit">D &amp; N Kids</p>This backpack is guaranteed to be the only one like it at the bus stop this fall. Kids with a sense of humor or love of reptiles will want to snap up this unique bag. ($34.00 at <a target="_blank" href="http://dandnstore.com/testproduct1-2.aspx">D &amp; N Kids</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Freestylin&rsquo;</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Freestylin_Burton.jpg " /><p class="credit">Burton</p>Made by Burton, the snowboard and outdoor supply company, this backpack is as durable as it is cool. This pack has a laptop sleeve, insulated drink pocket, and external fleeced-lined pocket for sunglasses or electronics. It is sized specifically for kids and comes in a variety of edgy patterns. ($39.95 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.burton.com/default/youth-metalhead-backpack/F15-136591.html?start=3&amp;cgid=bags-luggage-youth-bags">Burton</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Fairytale Fun</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Fairytale_Modcloth.jpg " /><p class="credit">Modcloth</p>Truly adorable, this toadstool backpack will be a hit for little fairies and pixies alike. It is made from vegan leather and is perfect accessory for school or a garden party. ($69.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.modcloth.com/shop/totes-backpacks/fungi-house-backpack">Modcloth</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Ahoy Classmatey!</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Ahoy_Stephen_Joseph.jpg " /><p class="credit">Stephen Joseph</p>This sweet pirate ship graphic will be a hit with your little captain (sized for three to eight year olds) and the easy-to-keep-clean vinyl fabric will make you happy, too. The Stephen Joseph brand is a go-to for celebrity parents like Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Jessica Alba, Gwen Stefani, Amy Adams, and Matt Damon. ($23.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.stephenjosephgifts.com/ProductDetail/SJ120129B_Go-Go-Bag--Pirate-s14">Stephen Joseph</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Kicking it Old School</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Kickin_It_Little_Miss_Matched.jpg" /><p class="credit">Little Miss Matched</p>The Chuck Taylor-like design is super sporty, but the glittery accents and bright colors make this fun backpack quite girly. It&rsquo;s white rubber &quot;sole&quot; bottom keeps the bag&rsquo;s shape no matter what your student is carrying. ($39.00 at <a target="_blank" href="http://littlemissmatched.com/products/turquoise-sneaker-backpack">Little Miss Matched</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Vi-King of the Playground</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Viking_Hannah_Andersson.jpg" /><p class="credit">Hannah Andersson</p>The awesome applique on contrasting color stripes makes these packs real standouts. Hannah Andersson designed the bags to be easy for your littlest guys and gals to carry themselves. Monograming is available to make this bag it extra special. ($38 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hannaandersson.com/pdp.aspx?from=SC&amp;pcid=461&amp;styleid=41490&amp;simg=41490_52Q">Hannah Andersson</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>A Flutter of Fun</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/pnk_bag.jpg " /><p class="credit">Bixbee</p>This fantastical backpack will transport you to a garden where butterflies float and flowers bloom. Perfectly sized for a child&rsquo;s every need, this dreamy sack is bursting with feminine charm. ($49.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bixbee.com/bixbee-butterfly-garden-kids-backpack-pink/">Bixbee</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Tiny Dancer</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Tutu_JCrew.jpg " /><p class="credit">J.Crew</p>Tutus are not just for dance class. Little ballerinas will love another excuse to get decked in tulle. ($59.50 at <a target="_blank" href="https://www.jcrew.com/girls_category/bags/PRDOVR~42030/42030.jsp?color_name=bright-berry">J.Crew</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Dig It</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Dinosaur_Pottery_Barn.png " /><p class="credit">Pottery Barn Kids</p>For the pint-sized paleontologist, this dinosaur print backpack is sized for preschool, kindergarten and early elementary age kids. It doesn&rsquo;t, however, skip the big-kid features like an MP3 player pocket cutout for headphone cords. Kids can fit a lunch bag, two small notebooks, two books and a water bottle in this size, but, if your dino fan needs more space, the print is available in larger size packs. Like most of Pottery Barn Kid&rsquo;s products, this bag can be personalized. ($39.50 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.potterybarnkids.com/products/mackenzie-blue-dino-backpacks/?pkey=e%7Cdinosaur%2Bbackpacks%2Bfor%2Bkids%7C503%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&amp;cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH%7C%7CNoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules">Pottery Barn Kids</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>We Heart Hedgehogs</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/hedgehog_skiphop.jpg" /><p class="credit">Skip Hop</p>This season, the popular Skip Hop Zoo line welcomes hedgehog and butterfly designs to their lines of backpacks. The bag has mesh side pockets for a juice box, sippy cup, or water bottle. A front pouch and inside pockets for pencils and other necessities help preschoolers stay organized. ($20 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.skiphop.com/product/zoopacks.html">Skip Hop</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Geometry 101</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Geometry_101_MadPax.jpg " /><p class="credit">Zappos</p>Making geometry fun, this unique, 3D design block design is available in four colors. This backpack from MadPax has a padded laptop compartment with hook and eye closure and the size works best for kids ages five and up. ($60 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.zappos.com/madpax-blok-full-pack-going-green">Zappos</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Awesome Adventures Await</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Bird_Deuter.jpg " /><p class="credit">Deuter</p>For the little outdoor adventurer, this hiking-inspired pack has a chest strap and reflective details. The material is both sturdy and eco-friendly. The lovable bird design is as cuddly as a stuffed animal. ($45 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.deuter.com/US/us/kids-packs/kikki-36093-124.html">Deuter</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Rocking and Rolling</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Rock_n_Roll_Personal_Creations.jpg" /><p class="credit">Personal Creations</p>With all the textbooks, notebooks, laptops, projects and other supplies kids are carrying back and forth from school, rolling backpacks are a great option. These packs don&rsquo;t sacrifice style for function. ($69.99 at <a target="_blank" href="http://gifts.personalcreations.com/gifts/playful-print-girls-rolling-backpack-30141275">Personal Creations</a>)</div><div class="gif-article"><h2>Trend Blend</h2><img alt="" src="http://ivillage.com/files/et/downloads/Camo_Vineyard_Vines_0.jpg " /><p class="credit">Vineyard Vines</p>What do you get when you mix cool camo with trendy oceanic themes in chic pastel colors? An ideal bag for a little fashionista whose style is both a little salty and a little sweet. This backpack is super durable and helps keep kids organized with pockets for phones, drink bottles, keys, pencils and more. ($89 at <a target="_blank" href="http://www.vineyardvines.com/accessories/camo-backpack/1A0629,default,pd.html?dwvar_1A0629_color=461&amp;start=15&amp;cgid=kids-girls-accessories">Vineyard Vines</a>)</div><p><style type="text/css">.gif-article {margin-bottom: 80px;}.gif-article img{max-width: 636px;}.gif-article h2 {margin-bottom: 12px; font-size:18px}.gif-article p { margin-bottom: 20px;}.gif-article .credit {text-transform: uppercase; margin-bottom: 12px; font-size: 10px; color: #888; padding-top: 0px;}.gif-article .lists li {list-style: none;padding-bottom: 10px;}.featured-media .thumb {display: none;}.article .featured-media {margin-bottom: 32px;width: 636px;} .featured-media .credit {display: none;}</style></p> 2014-08-21T16:46:02Z http://www.ivillage.com/back-school-backpacks/6-a-572926 Daria Meoli Parenting blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/Color_Block_Gap.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/Color_Block_Gap.jpg 0 Back to School So That's How European Women Stay so Slim! <p>For over 20 years, <a target="_blank" href="http://worldrd.com/ ">Layne Lieberman, MS, RD, CDN</a> has worked as a nutritionist and dietitian, yet she found that trying to break the grip of America&rsquo;s love for fattening fast food was not an easy task. However, Lieberman found the answers to the health and obesity crisis during the two years she and her husband moved to Switzerland. &ldquo;Looking at it from a cultural standpoint, I said, &lsquo;Wow, it&rsquo;s not that complex.&rsquo; When I learned about the cultures of the three healthiest countries in Europe&mdash;Switzerland, Italy and France&mdash;it became very clear to me how someone can stay healthy and slim and live a long life, and still enjoy decadent foods without feeling deprived.&rdquo;</p><p>Lieberman&rsquo;s new book, <em>Beyond the Mediterranean Diet</em>, offers her lessons learned oversees, along with 50 recipes. Here, she offers 10 lifestyle tips that will add more delicious food on your plate, as well as years to your life:</p><p><strong>Start Cooking</strong> &ldquo;These three countries eat home way more often than we do,&rdquo; says Lieberman. &ldquo;From an economical standpoint, it makes sense , but it&rsquo;s also much healthier. When you cook for yourself, you have control over your meal, over how much salt, fat and sugar will go into your food.&rdquo; She adds that we&rsquo;re also more tempted to overeat when dining out because the portions are bigger&mdash;and most people want to clean their plate in order to get their money&rsquo;s worth.</p><p><strong>Get a Juicer</strong> Europeans, especially Italians, never drink juice from a container, and that&rsquo;s because they juice their own beverages. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a big deal for them since they keep a juicer on their counter and it takes about one minute to juice two oranges,&rdquo; says Lieberman. &ldquo;This will produce about four ounces of fresh juice, which is exactly the right amount. And the result is so much more satisfying because you&rsquo;re getting nourishment and enjoyment&mdash;those two things together are very important in your diet. It&rsquo;s what a diet should be!&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Eat This Kind of Meat</strong> No ifs, ands or buts&mdash;eat grass-fed, organic meats. &ldquo;Grass-fed animals are leaner and produce meat higher in omega-3 fatty acids, compared to corn-fed animals that produce meat high in omega-6 fatty acids,&rdquo; explains Lieberman. Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body while omega-6s cause inflammation. Grass-fed animals also produce more CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which reduces inflammation and strengthens immunity. &ldquo;And grass-fed meat is much more flavorful, so if you only eat three ounces, you&rsquo;ll feel much more satisfied with a smaller quantity.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Substitute &ldquo;Bad&rdquo; Fats for Good Fats</strong> Europeans get their fats from whole foods and not from refined oils and processed fats, states Lieberman. So how does that translate into our everyday diet? &ldquo;For example, instead of putting cream cheese or butter on your bread, smear some avocado on it instead. Coming from a whole food, it&rsquo;s good in monounsaturated fat, it&rsquo;s good for your heart and has vitamin E, along with a number of minerals and nutrients.&rdquo; A couple of more examples include sprinkling walnuts on your salad instead of croutons and using almond butter in place of butter or margarine.</p><p><strong>Eat Authentic Pizza</strong> Lieberman states that Italy ranks number two among European countries boasting the longest life spans. So one way to eat like a real Italian is to eat pizza. &ldquo;But that does not include the typical American thick-crusted, doughy pizza oozing with salty and highly processed mozzarella cheese,&rdquo; she states. &ldquo;Instead, find a pizzeria that specializes in authentic Neapolitan pizza. It should be made with a thin crust and the freshest ingredients, including basil, tomato and buffalo mozzarella cheese, and baked in a wood-burning oven.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Know Your Sources</strong> Lieberman says the Swiss, French and Italians shop at their local farmer&rsquo;s markets about three times a week&mdash;sometimes each day&mdash;and they decide their meals around what&rsquo;s available and what&rsquo;s in season based on what looks and smells delicious. &ldquo;If the food is local, it&rsquo;s going to be fresher and taste better,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;The Europeans also talk to their purveyors and the people who are growing and producing their food,&rdquo; she says, adding that we should be chatting with the employees at our local farmer&rsquo;s markets. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re buying a fresh chicken, you should ask if it&rsquo;s been fed organically its whole life, or has it just been caged. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to ask questions&mdash;the farmers want to share their stories!&rdquo; Start from the Bottom After cooking, talking and spending time with French chefs, Lieberman learned that this culture loves their sauces. &ldquo;However, they don&rsquo;t pour their sauces on the food&mdash;they pour sauces on the bottom of the plate so that they can control how much sauce they want to eat.&rdquo; But it&rsquo;s the opposite in our country, since everything from a salad to a finished dish tends to be doused or dripping with sauce. &ldquo;Remember that chefs and line cooks are usually heavy-handed when it comes to salt, sugar and fat,&rdquo; she adds. So when you&rsquo;re dining out, ask for sauces on the side. &ldquo;Even fast-food chains will let you hold the sauces and even the bun.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Dine Off the Right Plates</strong> Lieberman gives you permission to buy new dinnerware! She says that the size of the typical American plate, 12 inches, has increased by 23 percent since our grandparents&rsquo; time. And many studies have shown that we eat with our eyes. &ldquo;A Cornell University researcher found that those who use small dishes serve themselves 12 percent less than they intended, and those who use large dishes serve themselves 13 percent more than they intended!&rdquo; Another recent study says that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ivillage.com/plate-size-and-color-can-serve-weight-loss/4-a-550255">the rim size and color also matter</a>. Europeans typically eat on 9-inch plates and use smaller utensils (the size of our salad forks and teaspoons). &ldquo;With this size plate, you can regulate your portions without having to weigh and measure your food. And when you eat with a smaller fork or spoon, it&rsquo;s harder to gobble down your food. Therefore, you&rsquo;ll linger over your meal long enough for your brain to register that your stomach is actually &lsquo;full&rsquo; about 20 minutes after eating.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Pound the Pavement</strong> Healthy Europeans leave the car keys home far more often than we do. &ldquo;The lifestyle activity in these countries is simply amazing,&rdquo; she states. &ldquo;They mostly walk and bike, even in freezing temperatures. They bundle up and walk to the local market instead of getting into their cars.&rdquo; She says they organize friend and family weekend plans around outdoor activities, as well. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re also getting natural vitamin D, where our culture depends on pills. Again, it&rsquo;s about going for the natural source.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Eat Together </strong>One of the most important elements of the European way of living is that they share and enjoy their experiences with food. &ldquo;They eat slowly, they share the cooking of their meals with friends and family&mdash;so they&rsquo;re certainly not eating dinner in front of a computer while paying bills online!&rdquo; And even when they don&rsquo;t have time for lengthy meals, Lieberman says the Swiss, Italians and French still make it a point to eat dinner around the table with their family. &ldquo;Sharing their food is one way of sharing their love, and the social aspect of the meal fills you with companionship. It&rsquo;s not about feeling the fullness from food, but feeling the fullness from sharing and engaging.&rdquo;</p> 2014-08-18T10:48:40Z http://www.ivillage.com/slim-european-weight-loss-secrets-revealed/4-a-572686 Amy Capetta Health blog_articles http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/files/blog_articles/mediterranean-diet.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/files/blog_articles/mediterranean-diet.jpg 0 Diet & Fitness 11 Ways to Prevent Diabetes Type 2 diabetes is not inevitable even if you're at high risk for it. Keep it at bay with these prevention strategies 2014-08-13T17:36:21Z http://www.ivillage.com/11-ways-prevent-diabetes/4-b-404956 Jennifer Abbasi Health slide_shows http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/1-change-your-future-636.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/1-change-your-future-636.jpg 0 Slideshow Family-Friendly Picnic Food 2014-08-12T16:54:07Z http://www.ivillage.com/family-friendly-picnic-food/3-b-51902 _ Food slide_shows http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/FP-pasta-salad.jpg http://www.ivstatic.com/files/et/imagecache/120/FP-pasta-salad.jpg 0 Food