Picky Eaters / Healthy Grains / Cooking at Home
By Mark Daniel
Welcome to the July newsletter for 45Pounds.com. It is our goal to provide you with helpful tips and advice in your efforts to help your child attain or maintain a healthy weight.
Is there a picky eater in your house? This can be a real challenge when trying to look out for your child's health. Check out the article below for some helpful tips.
We also have two great guest writers this month. Carol Fenster, Ph.D., President and Founder of Savory Palate, Inc. has written an article with helpful tips on getting healthy grains into your child’s diet, and some advice for gluten free eating.
Chef Gayle “Gigi” Gaggero from Kids Culinery Adventures has written an article with healthy tips for eating at home.
Members - be sure to review the member benefits section below to be sure you are getting all of the member benefits that are included with your program.
We hope you find some helpful tips in this month's newsletter. Time to get to the good stuff -
The Picky Eater
By Lisa Daniel
Certified Kid’s Nutrition Specialist
One of the most common comments we see in our meal plan requests is, ''my child is a picky eater.'' Sometimes this means limited interest in vegetables, sometimes fruits, sometimes it means all they will eat is macaroni and cheese. As a parent, working with a picky eater can be quite a challenge, especially if acceptable foods are only the kind that are full of calories and fat or which contain few of the nutrients needed for a growing body.
In short, you simply can't let your child eat whatever or whenever he or she wants. As a parent it is your responsibility to guide your child and help them understand the importance of healthy eating, and the damage that poor eating habits can do to their bodies over time. This doesn't have to mean telling them that there will be no dessert if they don't clean their plate, or telling them that they will eat what you are serving or go to bed (these aren't necessarily bad tactics, but this article is not about parenting).
So, what can be done short of drastic disciplinary action?
In the past three years we have interviewed and corresponded with many parents of picky eaters. In that time we have discovered that there are ways to help your child eat healthy and actually enjoy the process. Often this involves a little work up front, but the rewards to your child and his or her health make it well worth the effort.
For the child who seems to hate all vegetables, focus on selection and preparation. This does not mean hiding the broccoli under a bed of fat-filled cheese. This might mean steaming the broccoli until soft, adding spices your child prefers (like Mrs. Dash). Cooking in butter is not a good solution, but coating with a zero calorie spray butter afterwards could make the difference. But the fact remains that there may be absolutely nothing you can do to broccoli to make it appealing to your child. In this case you should sit down with your child and lay out a complete list of vegetables. You need to exclude potatoes and corn as these are starchy. (Members can get a listing of vegetables, fruits, meats, and starches in the member center using this link: http://45pounds.com/Members/linkschild.html and review the documents under ''More information on serving sizes.'' The first one is the best.) Lay out the full listing of vegetables and have your child select two that he or she would be willing to try using a different preparation method. Next, give it a try. We have found that kids are much more receptive to vegetables that have been prepared using the method above for broccoli (steamed carrots with spray butter are a favorite). Let them be involved in selecting the spices you will use. Also, include these vegetables in a dish where they are not eaten by themselves. One example from the 45Pounds Healthy Eating Cookbook is the steamed broccoli and chicken on rice with our low calorie cream sauce, this one has been a big hit for our members (and in our own household).
This process should help you find a few vegetables your child will eat. Concentrate on these few and include a serving at lunch and dinner. Again, avoid high calorie toppings as this really defeats the purpose of the exercise. As a substitute, there are some low calorie dressings (like a low calorie Zesty Italian) which do add to the flavor of raw vegetables and may do the trick.
- involve your child
- have them choose two vegetables from a list (no corn or potatoes)
- try different methods of preparation (steaming is popular)
- include them in tasty dishes (we have several ideas in our cookbook)
- try new spices and low calorie toppings
- avoid high calorie toppings
This may seem like a lot of work, but once you have been through the process it will become much easier over time, and you may find your child willing to add a few more vegetables to the list.
In this article I have focused on vegetables. That is just an example (because it is the most common challenge), but the same process will work for fruits (again, preparation and toppings, like ''Cool Whip Lite''), and meats.
While this won't work for every child, it will work for most and can be key in helping your child live a healthier life.
Getting Healthy Grains into Reluctant Children
By Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
President/Founder, Savory Palate, Inc. www.savorypalate.com
Author of Gluten-Free Quick and Easy: From Prep to Plate without the Fuss (Avery/Penguin, 2007)
Getting kids to eat healthy foods is a challenge that most parents encounter at one time or another. There are no easy answers, but one place to start is by getting more healthy grains into their diets.
The USDA guidelines recommend that we eat whole grains every day, but the amount varies with the child’s age and gender, as shown in the chart below.
Recommendations for Whole Grain Servings Per Day
Age 2 - 3
1.5 - 3
1.5 - 3
Age 4 - 8
2 - 4
2.5 - 5
Age 9 - 13
3 - 5
3 - 6
Age 14 - 18
3 - 6
3.5 - 7
Scratch-Cooked Rolled Oats for a Healthy Breakfast
Everyone agrees that oatmeal is a healthy grain, but most people don’t realize that it’s healthiest to eat oatmeal as close to its natural state as possible. Today’s individually-packaged, sweetened varieties pack a lot of calories and sodium. Instead, start with plain, unsweetened, unsalted old-fashioned rolled oats––the kind that Mom made.
If you’re short on time in the morning, try soaking the rolled oats overnight in just enough lightly salted hot water to cover them. This softens the oats so they cook more quickly. The next morning, drain and cook the oats following package directions. Add fresh fruit, cinnamon, and a drizzle of your child’s favorite sweetener such as honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup.
If this simplified procedure still takes too much time for your busy schedule, try cooking the rolled oats overnight in a slow-cooker using 3 to 4 times as much lightly salted water as rolled oats. Sweeten to taste the next morning and you’ll have a porridge-like cereal that’s ready whenever the kids are.
For people with gluten intolerance, there are now pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats on the market. They are available in some health food stores or at www.giftsofnature.net, www.creamhillestates.com, and www.glutenfreeoats.com, but check with your physician first to make sure these oats are right for you.
Air-Popped Popcorn for Fewer Calories, Healthier Oils, and Reduced Salt
Many people don’t
realize that popcorn is a whole grain. This means that one of
For variety, toss the freshly popped corn with a little grated Parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar, or butter-flavored salt. Popped corn can also be added to many dishes such as homemade trail mix or homemade crispy marshmallow-rice bars to increase their fiber and wholesomeness.
Popcorn is naturally gluten-free, so it is safe for gluten-intolerant children.
“Souped-Up” Soup with Whole Grains
Soups are a marvelous way to add healthy grains to your child’s diet. Try adding a small amount of cooked whole grains (perhaps ½ cup to the whole pot of soup to start with) such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, wheat berries, or wild rice to your child’s favorite soup. You can add more later as your family grows accustomed to it. The added whole grains bring a nice “chew” to soups, plus they increase the fiber and nutrient content. If the soup contains pasta, try using one of the whole wheat pastas to additionally increase the fiber and nutrients.
Children with gluten intolerance can enjoy brown rice and wild rice, but they can also use cooked amaranth, quinoa, or sorghum to pump up the nutrients in soups. There are some brands of gluten-free pastas that have rice bran added for more nutrients (e.g., Tinkyada).
Of course, with any change of diet it’s best to start slowly by giving your child small amounts of these whole grains and gradually working up to the level specified by the USDA. And, if you’re making a radical change in your child’s diet, it’s best to do so under the guidance of a health care professional. But any small change in a right step toward improving the quality of your child’s diet.
Savory Palate, Inc.
Publishes cookbooks for people with food allergies.
Healthy Habit Help
By Chef Gayle “Gigi” Gaggero
Kids Culinary Adventures
Teaching your children that fueling their bodies can be fun is one of the most important things you can do for them. We are at risk of losing an entire generation of people to health related issues due to their food intake, and as a parent you need to take responsibility for changing that!
One of the most dramatic things you can do to help your children is to eat at home. Take the time to learn with your children how to identify, shop for, clean, prepare, and cook healthy foods. Not only will this change be better for your family’s health, but it’s more economical as well!
Parents need to look at empty calorie foods like they view cigarettes. You wouldn’t put a pack of cigarettes in your child’s lunchbox, so don’t put food that risk their long term health there either! These silent killers work at about the same speed. So take control - plan for your child’s future through establishing health eating habits just like you’re planning for college, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Making these changes is all about becoming aware and learning to be prepared! Get organized and stock the fridge one day a week. Portion out fruits and veggies in baggies for school lunches, buy a case of bottled water, serve foods that will sustain your child throughout the day, and never skip breakfast! Incorporate healthy foods wherever you can - dessert for example, who says it needs to be cake? Make it creamy yogurt over fresh fruit. Yummm!
The changes you’re making are lifestyle changes. You will need to teach yourself and your family what your body needs to work - it’s a really neat science project! At KCA we offer an Eat Your Own Biosphere class that talks about what your body needs, and how to get it through sustainable living and organic foods.
If your family is packing on a few extra pounds this is even more important, and chance are if one or more of your children is overweight you are too! So what if you’re not though, start making changes now to prevent your family from becoming overweight and suffering the associated long term health effects. Just take on a healthier attitude and lifestyle, and never say “diet” again! Make sure if you are trying to help one of your children reach a healthy weight that you never use food as a system of punishment / reward, only as the nutritional sustenance it is!
Once you begin to have more control over your food and activities you will begin to find a feeling of freedom! Then you will feel good enough to want to continue. They say it takes 28 days to break a habit, so start today and by this time next month you’ll be enjoying your new lifestyle! I did it - I know you can too!
Chef Gayle “Gigi” Gaggero
P.S. Don’t forget to drink lots of water and get plenty of fun exercise for full body health!!
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