Calories In. Calories Out. Lets Play!

As parents, Clay and I are always trying to find ways to get our kids to disconnect from technology a little and spend more time being physically active either indoors or outdoors. He and I also need to get up and get moving. I sit here all day working and rarely get up and move around and that is something I need to work on. Clay works hard all day doing manual labor but neither of us, or our kids, get the exercise we need when we are at home. It is just too easy to sit down to relax for a few minutes, get on our phone, tv, tablet, etc and then lose a couple hours instead of minutes.

I attended a sponsored briefing courtesy of Dr. Pepper Snapple and The Motherhood to learn more about the Dr. Pepper Snapple Groups’s “Let’s Play” campaign. Facts are being shared from the briefing. All opinions are strictly my own.

So, knowing that I need to find new ways to play and get active with my own kids led me to attend a virtual briefing with the Dr. Pepper Snapple group so I could learn new ways to get active as well as learn some facts about soft drinks and the commercial beverages we may consume. We are soda drinkers but we do so in moderation. In fact, I gave up soda for about 2 years and have only recently added some back into my diet. I feel that an occasional soft drink is ok if your diet tolerates it. So on movie night we enjoy one with our pizza and popcorn.

I’ve also decided that the day after movie night needs to be a “day of play”. No sitting on the couch watching tv or playing on tablets, laptops or phones. Instead, we are going to get up and get moving. 2016 is going to be a year of activity for our family! has given me tons of activity ideas that are filtered by age so there’s something fun for each of us to do as a family. I’ll get to that more in a minute.

First, here are some things that I learned while chatting with Chris Barnes – Director, Corporate Affairs, DPS, Claudia Riedt, Ph.D. – Director, Nutrition and Regulatory, DPS Diane Malunowicz – Sr. Regulatory Analyst, DPS along with The Motherhood and fellow bloggers.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Dr. Pepper Snapple, aka DPS, is the third largest beverage manufacturer in the U.S., but the LEADER in flavors. DPS sells more than 50 brands of carbonated soft drinks, teas, juices, mixers and other premium beverages. I learned that MANY of our favorite beverages are part of the DPS group including:

  • Dr. Pepper
  • Snapple
  • 7Up
  • Hawaiian Punch
  • Yoo Hoo
  • A&W and Stewart’s Root Beers
  • Motts
  • ReaLemon & ReaLime
  • Squirt
  • Vernors
  • Sunkist
  • Margaritaville Margarita Mix
  • Canada Dry and more!

Those are just a few of the brands in the DPS group. So, even if you aren’t drinking a cola, there’s still a pretty good chance you’re drinking one of DPS’s products!

DPS believes that soft drinks can be consumed with a healthy balance. What I mean by that is that they believe that healthy lives depend on balancing the amount of calories we take in with the amount of calories we burn off, Calories in. Calories out. Dr Pepper Snapple Group has the Let’s Play campaign to help give parents and kids new ideas on how to get active. Along with activities and tasks to help us burn off those calories, they are working to bring us smaller portion sizes and improved nutrition.

DPS realizes that “taste is king”. It doesn’t matter how many vitamins, minerals, fruit or vegetables they throw our way, if a product tastes bad, no one is going to want to purchase and consume it. So the products need to offer good nutrition but they also need to taste great. As a mom, I also want a product that I can take with me when we are out and about. We also want products that aren’t going to negatively impact the Earth and our surroundings, so, environmentally friendly, right? I also want great value for my money spent. If I’m getting a smaller portion size, which helps control the calories we’re taking in, I want that product to be outstanding or else I’ve wasted my money. I also want it to come from a company that cares about my kids and their health. All that from one company in an existing product? That’s a hard thing to come by, but they’re working on it! DPS is strict about what it takes to make their products. In fact, just to contribute to new flavors requires a 7-10 year apprenticeship to become a certified flavorist. 7 – 10 years people! That’s commitment!

Ok so we also went over some facts and myths. This photo I’m going to show you blew our minds. We all know that each and everything in existence is made up of chemical compounds. A blueberry isn’t just a blueberry. It takes many chemicals in nature to make a blueberry what it is. So we were first shown the chemical makeup without knowing what it was. I didn’t think it was anything I’d want to consume. Then I realized it was a blueberry. A simple, natural blueberry! Crazy. So now we know that some of the ingredients we see on a product may not be that bad for us. It’s always up to us to deicde if we want to research it and consume it.

Chemical makeup of a blueberry

SPLOOSH! Mine blown.

Here’s some myths we learned about followed by some facts about them:

Myths Covered:

  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks are unique contributors to obesity.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is worse for you than sugar.
  • Aspartame is dangerous and doesn’t help consumers lose weight.

The Facts:

  • Soft drinks accounts for ~7% of the average daily caloric intake. Sales have been in decline for more than a decade while obesity levels continue to rise.
  • HFCS is composed of the same components of table sugar and is processed by the body the same way.
  • Aspartame is the most studied ingredient in FDA history, and has been repeatedly shown by health authorities worldwide to be safe.
  • Sales of full calorie soft drinks have declined since 2000 and sugar-sweetened beverages account for only 6% of calories in the average American’s diet, according to government data.

I’ll let you make up your own mine about these ingredients. Personally, I can’t take aspartame in quantities other than a piece of chewing gum. Anything more triggers severe migraines. That is my personal reaction. HFCS on the other hand… I haven’t noticed any difference in how my family’s bodys process it over sugar. Each person is different though so I’m just giving you the facts, not starting a debate. 😀

Ok, I talked about getting more active and the Let’s Play initiative.

Are we obese because of the products we consume or because of the lack of physical activity? Well, in some cases a little of both. But in other cases, lack of a place to play or a chance to get up and move regularly really impacts our bodies.

We have a Play Deficit in our Nation!

  • We’re faced with the reality that kids and young people aren’t given the same opportunities to burn the calories they consume through daily physical activity.
    • Only 20% of children live near a park
    • Two-thirds of kids get less than an hour of play a day
    • Kids are increasingly time-crunched, with 12 fewer hours of free time per week
    • Disadvantaged inner city youth participate 40% less in sports and fitness
    • Recreational time is increasingly spent on devices
      • Kids 8-18 spend an average of 7.5 hours per day on media
    • The consequences of these realities, along with poor eating and drinking habits, is that obesity rates have tripled in 6- to 11-year-olds

See? Ok, so instead of rewriting all this, I’m going to do a little copy and paste here. DPS saw an important role the company could play to provide solutions for communities struggling to tackle that play deficit, so it launched the Let’s Play initiative in 2011 to provide kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group

DPS has committed more than $28 million through Let’s Play since the program launched, impacting millions of youth serving organizations across the U.S., as well as Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, working with two great nonprofit organizations – KaBOOM! and Good Sports:

  • KaBOOM!: In partnership with KaBOOM!, DPS is providing the PLACES for younger kids to play with grants to fund playground improvements and funds and volunteer muscle to build new playgrounds from the ground up in communities across the country.
  • Good Sports: In partnership with Good Sports, DPS is providing the TOOLS through sports equipment grants that benefit underfunded youth serving organizations that help provide opportunities for structured team sports. DPS partnered with Good Sports to expand efforts to include older children who lack the opportunity to participate in organized sports due to the cost of equipment, uniforms and entry fees.
  • And DPS is providing the INSPIRATION through com, which provides:

Let’s Play Results

  • Since DPS began the Let’s Play Program, it has worked with KaBOOM! to build or fix up about 2,200 playgrounds across the country and with Good Sports to donate approximately $2 million in grants for new sports equipment, impacting more than 7.5 million kids.
  • By 2017, DPS’s Let’s Play initiative will provide nearly 10 million kids with more opportunities to play with either new or improved playgrounds and sports equipment, helping kids achieve healthier lifestyles.
  • More than 2,300 DPS employees have participated in KaBOOM! playground builds, racking up more than 18,000 volunteer hours.

Let’s Play Resources  

Regardless of how you feel about soft drinks in the diet, you can see that anything and everything that gets us up and moving is a great benefit, right? That’s a lot of money going to help kids!

Be sure to check out the Lets Play site for fun activities to do with your family!

We are not doctors and this is in no way intended to be used as medical advice and we cannot be held responsible for your results. As with any product, service or supplement, use at your own risk. Always do your own research before using.

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