SOURCE: Unilever

January 25, 2006 16:11 ET

Jo Frost, TV's "Supernanny," Teams Up With Ragú® Pasta Sauce to Help Families Achieve an Improved, Well-Balanced New Year

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 25, 2006 -- Following the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, many parents struggle to get their families back into the swing of things. However, the New Year brings with it the perfect time for a fresh start -- the opportunity to make changes that could lead to enhanced, fuller lives for the entire household. Jo Frost, star of television's acclaimed show "Supernanny," has partnered with Ragú® Pasta Sauce to help families begin 2006 the right way with her Five New Year "Happy Family" Strategies for Improved Living.

"As a professional nanny for more than 16 years, I've honed my successful child-rearing skills with hands-on, real-life experience," said Jo Frost, TV's 'Supernanny.' "I understand how difficult it can be for busy parents to keep their families on track, but with a few simple and easy-to-follow tips, families can achieve happy, well-balanced lives."

As the favorite pasta sauce brand among mom's(1), Ragú understands the demands that moms/parents face and takes pride in helping to make one facet of everyday life -- mealtime -- that much easier. With more than a full serving of vegetables in every one-half cup serving, moms can feel good about serving Ragú Pasta Sauce.

"Ragú Pasta Sauce is so pleased to collaborate with the 'Supernanny,' Jo Frost, to help deliver to families tips for improved living in the New Year," said Eric Bruder, Director, Ragú. "We feel this is a perfect partnership as both Jo Frost and Ragú Pasta Sauce are committed to making life easier for busy parents, while keeping kids happy."


The "Supernanny," Jo Frost's, Five New Year "Happy Family" Strategies for Improved Living

Communication:

The challenge of gathering everyone around the table at the end of the day is well-known to busy moms; however, dinnertime is a perfect opportunity to share conversation with your family. While hectic schedules sometimes make it difficult for frequent family meals, make it a goal to carve out at least one to two nights a week for a family dinner that includes all members. Perhaps serve a special meal that is everyone's favorite, such as spaghetti and meatballs or tacos. This way the conversation can be focused on each other rather than on arguments about what is on the dinner table.

It's also important to always foster an open dialogue with your kids -- begin conversations that are relevant to your child's learning and development. Encourage each member of the family to share specific details about his/her day, including both challenges and positive things that may have occurred at work, school, with a teacher or friend.

Overall, when communicating with their children parents need to remember to be clear with their expectations -- address situations as they arise and clarify the desired results.

Making Time For Your Kids -- Play Together:

Laughter is the best medicine for happy and healthy families -- make more of an effort to put aside time to play with your kids, laugh and enjoy special moments.

Does your child have a special game they frequently like to play? Go ahead and join them. Look for ways to "play" in the kitchen as well, such as baking cookies or preparing a meal together. There are lots of quick and easy ways to turn everyday tasks into fun learning experiences for your child and enable you to spend quality time together.

By making time to play together, your bond will strengthen and fond memories will be made that will stay with your kids as they grow into adults.

Creating a Positive Lifestyle for Kids with Smart Meal Planning:

According to a recent survey(2) conducted by Ragú, more than half (51 percent) of parents say they sometimes struggle with getting their kids to eat well, and more than 80 percent say their kids are at least sometimes picky eaters. A frequent challenge is getting children to eat much-needed vegetables with nearly 58 percent of parents claiming it is sometimes difficult to get their kids to consume veggies(2). As a result, mealtime can be a real power struggle between parents and kids.

Parents need to be more creative in finding mealtime solutions that not only provide nutritional benefits, but that kids will like to eat and the entire family will enjoy. Ragú Pasta Sauce offers more than a full serving of vegetables in every one-half cup serving of sauce, is 100 percent natural and a source of Lycopene and Vitamin A, and is a great-tasting meal the entire family, especially children, will enjoy. Since almost 86 percent of parents surveyed say that pasta and tomato sauce is one of their child's favorite meals(2) -- Ragú is the perfect answer to the age old question -- "What's for dinner?"

It's interesting to note that with all of the news about the new USDA Food Pyramid that almost six out of 10 parents (55.6 percent) say they don't know how many servings of vegetables per day the guidelines recommend kids eat(2). Ragú Pasta Sauce is an easy way to incorporate a full serving of vegetables into your child's diet and is a great example of a product that can help provide a meal that is the perfect compromise in that kids love it because of its smooth texture and mild taste and moms can always feel good about serving it.

Virtually all parents surveyed (96.9 percent) believe good eating habits are formed during childhood(2). Make a point to involve your child in the meal planning process -- this will help him or her feel as if he/she has a choice, which can lead to healthier attitudes towards food as he/she grows into adulthood. Ragú has many easy and fun recipes -- from after-school snacks to quick weekday meals -- that both parents and kids can enjoy preparing together.

Discipline and Praise:

It's important for parents to find the proper balance between discipline and praise inside and outside the home. Children respond to different forms of discipline. Find what specifically works for your child and stick with it. Consistency is one of the most important factors to achieve success. And during these sometime difficult interactions, always make sure to reinforce to your child that he/she is loved and that it is their action that you are not pleased with.

Praising your child is important and while it is sometimes obvious to compliment things such as a good grade in school, make sure to also praise your child's efforts whether or not he/she succeeds at the task. While they may not become captain of the team, encourage and applaud them for trying their best, sticking with it and being a good teammate.

Striking the proper balance between discipline and praise encourages healthy attitudes within kids and thereby allows them to develop social manners when in the home and when out in public.

Exercise:

Less than half of parents surveyed (46 percent) say their kids get outside for exercise four to five times a week or more(2). Families need to be more active and can do so together. Lead by example -- if you're always on the couch, your kids will follow suit. Get out of the house and get our family moving together -- take a walk, go sleigh riding or bike ride.

Proper balanced nutrition gives kids the fuel they need for mental and psychical development. According to the survey, almost seven out of 10 (67.7 percent) parents feel that "good food" means the right balance of proteins, fats, veggies and carbohydrates within their kids' diets(2).

Ragú Pasta Sauces are available in the pasta sauce aisle at all major grocery stores. For a free 80-page color recipe booklet filled with fun, creative and easy, kid-approved recipes using Ragú Pasta Sauces, consumers are encouraged to visit www.Ragu.com.

About Unilever Bestfoods:

Unilever (NYSE: UN) (NYSE: UL) is one of the world's largest consumer products companies with annual sales of approximately $47 billion in 2002. It produces and markets a wide range of foods and home and personal care products. Unilever operates in around 100 countries around the globe and employs approximately 250,000 people. In the United States, Unilever sales were approximately $12 billion in 2002. It employs approximately 15,225 people and has 59 offices and manufacturing sites in 21 states.

Unilever Bestfoods manufactures and markets Lipton® teas, soups and side dishes; Wish-Bone® salad dressings and marinades; Lawry's® seasonings and specialty sauces; Shedd's Country Crock® and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!®" spreads and sprays; Ragú® pasta and pizza sauces; Knorr® soups, sauces and bouillons; Hellmann's® and Best Foods® mayonnaise; Skippy® peanut butter; Bertolli® olive oil, premium pasta sauces and frozen dinners; Good Humor-Breyers® and Ben & Jerry's Homemade®, Inc. ice cream companies; and Slim-Fast® nutritional and health snack products.

Visit Unilever at www.unilever.com

(1) Based in part on data reported by ACNielsen through an On-line Survey conducted among a sample of Total US Households for the 52 weeks ending 9/17/05. Copyright © 2005 ACNielsen.

(2) The survey of 1,529 parents of children under the age of 13 was conducted online by Impulse Research Corporation in November of 2005. The random sample closely matches the U.S. population demographics. The sampling error is +/- 2.5% at the 95% level of confidence.

Editors' Note: Photos are available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on the Internet at Feature Photo Service's link (http://www.featurephoto.com) through NewsCom.

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