Spokane, WA (November 3, 2009) – Zak Designs is well known for making mealtime fun. But now it’s also helping to make meals healthier. Zak Designs has partnered with America’s Pediatrician, Dr. William Sears, to create a line of mealtime products for children designed to "help promote healthy eating." All of the products are BPA-, PVC-, and Phthalate-free, and as an added bonus, they also include value added inserts with healthy eating tips from Dr. Sears.
“Dr. Sears is well-recognized as one of the foremost authorities on healthy eating for children,” said Irv Zakheim, President and CEO of Zak Designs. “Partnering with him was a natural fit for us, and we’re excited to work with him to develop products that help make healthy eating fun.”
“I know how important it is for children to develop healthy eating patterns when they’re toddlers,” Dr. Sears said. “The habits they develop at a young age have a lasting impact on their long-term health.”
Nibble Tray™“Children are born grazers,” Dr. Sears said. “They love to nibble their way through many meals all day long.”
With the Nibble Tray™, and its convenient snap-on lid, having small, healthy snacks at their fingertips is easy. The top of the tray includes three separate sections that are designed to hold healthy dips such as yogurt, applesauce, or guacamole that add a little more flavor and fun to snacking.
My Thoughts: I love it! Not only is the pineapple shape fun, but the detachable green dip part is weighted so it's less likely to spill. My favorite feature is actually the raised images on the bottom of each snack compartment. They're themed to remind you to provide a variety of foods. For instance, grains are shown in one, veggies in another, and so on. LoveBug has really enjoyed it as she loves to have finger foods, and this also provides her with a way to sort her mixed cheerios and raisins into separate containers. We've had no trouble keeping the lid on which is very important since LoveBug goes to Grandma's every day and her food travels in the diaper bag.This would be a perfect product for a picky eater, or a child who likes to keep food separated.
Smoothie Sipper™ and Sippy Cup
Dr. Sears also recommends that parents use smoothies as a tasty way for kids to get vitamins and minerals through fruit and dairy products. With the Smoothie Sipper™ that’s part of the Zak line, kids will have the perfect way to sip on these nutritious drinks with a cup that’s just the right size. For younger kids, Zak’s also included a Sippy Cup with a patent-pending Flo-Control™ valve that lets parents adjust the amount of liquid that flows through the valve and prevent drinking too much, too fast.
My Thoughts: LoveBug isn't consistent in her ability to use a straw yet, so we haven't been able to use the Smoothie Sipper all that much. It has a nice wide straw, though, which helps to develop muscles needed for eating, swallowing, and talking--and is also particularly nice for young children who are just learning to drink from a straw! The material is transluscent enough that you can see through, but colored enough to disguise anything that may look unapetizing to your toddler. :-) I like that the shape is easy to grasp, and it's not a slippery surface so spills should be reduced.
We LOVE the Sippy Cup of Zak's! The only photo I have is up at the top of this post--look for the purple cup with a green top (sorry, didn't realize it's not on Amazon yet). This is the first cup we've used that LoveBug must actually suck from to get the liquid out. In fact, with their patent-pending Flo-Control valve, the parent can actually set the level of sucking needed in order to get the liquid out. If your child needs to suck more than drink, just turn the little rubber "dial" to the smallest number of drops pictured. If your child needs to drink more than suck, turn the dial the other way (and, of course, you can choose anywhere between the two)! I wish we'd had this when we first started transitioning her from nursing to a cup (she does still nurse, though). Babies, especially mine, have a need to suck. If they don't get this met through feedings, they'll generally need a pacifier or a thumb to supplement. I'm thinking that because this cup does require sucking action, it could help meet both the liquid intake and sucking needs of a baby or toddler and thus reduce the need for other sucking.
I have found that since the mouth piece is firm (as opposed to the sillicone pieces we've used before), LoveBug does have to tip her head back almost fully in order to get to the bottom of the cup. I don't really like that since it puts her at higher risk for aspirating, so I would recommend parents to always keep the cup at least 1/2 full so your child won't have to tip his or her head back so far.
Divided BowlMy Thoughts: again, a product I love! This divided bowl is great because it has a lid (transportation, food storage, you get the picture), a non-skid bottom, and is a fun watermelon shape. I've had enough of glass and plastic dishes flying across the floor because they slid off of the high chair or table. Every toddler dish should have a non-skid bottom as far as I'm concerned! The divided shape helps LoveBug to scoop her food onto a spoon better, and also provides a cleaner (more contained) environment for her to pick foods up with her fingers. This is a keeper, for sure.
My Thoughts: this has become LoveBug's favorite flatware to use. It is fun, the right size, and the right shape for little hands. The "face" handle part of the fork and spoon are a grippy surface, providing less mobility once in the hands of a toddler. Something the photo doesn't show you is the finger indentations that are on the back of the flatware. It's such a smart idea to put indents where fingers are! I've noticed that this helps LoveBug grasp the flatware appropriately and to keep in control of it while eating.
Snack ContainerI didn't get the chance to review this, but wanted to share it with you since I think it's a great idea and I've been very pleased with all of the other Zak products we tested. It has three snack compartments, as you can see, with easy-open tabs and no scary chemicals leaching from the plastic. :-)
“Getting kids to eat good foods doesn’t have to be a chore,” Zakheim said. “It just takes the right knowledge and the right tools. With Zak’s Dr. Sears line, we’re helping give parents both.”
After having tried a variety of different mealtime products for babies and toddlers, I can say without a doubt that Zak's Dr. Sears line is my #1 recommendation. They are safe, fun, and functional. They're available to purchase through Amazon.com--just click any of the photo links in this post!