April 2015

How To Get Your Picky Eater To Eat Better

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy Until your child can drive, you are the gate-keeper for food coming into the home. Stop buying the potato chips, soda pop, and sugar-coated cereals, and start stocking the kitchen with nutritious foods.

Then, make these nutritious foods readily available and easy to reach. Place dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, and other snacks in apothecary jars on the kitchen counter. Stock the refrigerator with baby carrots, low-fat yogurts and cheese, and cut-up fruit. Instead of soda pop and sugary drinks, have milk and fruit juice. In the freezer, instead of ice cream and popsicle, have frozen 100% juice bars, frozen blueberries, all-fruit sorbet, and whole wheat waffles. Rather than cookies, have graham crackers, fresh fruit, and whole grain crackers.  Left with only nutritious foods, your child will choose a nutritious diet.

If your battles are getting a finicky eater to sit at the table for a major meal, throw out the 3-square plan and offer your child nutritious mini-meals and snacks throughout the day that include fresh fruit, cheese cubes, fat-free crackers, low-fat yogurt, or low-sugar cereals. You can even put some of these snacks in a baggie, so the child can eat it on the go.

How do you know if your child is eating enough? Kids don’t need as much as parents sometimes think they do. A rule of thumb for serving size is: a tablespoon for every year of a child’s age until they reach adult servings. That means, for a young child a few bites of green peas is a serving of vegetable or a half-slice of bread is a serving of grain.

If your child refuses to eat veggies, try fruit. Fruit is packed full of the same vitamins and minerals as vegetables. For example, a handful of dried apricots has the same or more vitamin A and iron as a half cup of cooked mustard greens. Often a strawberry or orange slice is more tempting than a green bean.

What if your child won’t drink milk? Cook rice, oatmeal, and instant mashed potatoes in milk instead of water. Offer string cheese as a snack. You also can try flavored low-fat milks, like chocolate or strawberry. They have the same vitamins, minerals, and protein. Finally, mix chocolate milk with regular milk to cut back on the sugar.

Some kids get stuck with just one food, like peanut butter sandwiches, and you’re concerned they are not getting enough. Be creative. Serve the peanut butter sandwich with baby carrots, apple slices, banana hunks, yogurt, or raisins. Instead of jam, try slicing the banana or the apple into the sandwich.

Keep in mind that you are the number one role model for your child. If you want your child to love vegetables, you must serve, eat and enjoy them every day.  Don’t expect your kids to eat what you won’t eat. Also, keep in mind that your child doesn’t need to eat perfectly at every meal. It’s the overall quality of the diet that is most important and, in that case, even finicky eaters usually come out alright. That is, as long as they are choosing from nutritious foods.
Photo credit: f1uffster (Jeanie) via Compfight

Just Do This Today

kiwi 1. Children usually turn their noses up at anything new. Keep offering the food, but don’t force the child to eat it. Just because your daughter says she doesn’t like green beans today doesn’t mean she won’t like them next week, next month, or next year, especially if she sees you eating them regularly.

2. Hide nutritious foods or add them to familiar foods. Add grated carrots or zucchini to spaghetti sauce or corn and apples to muffins.  Many kids will eat veggies in soup when they won’t eat them otherwise. Add peas and carrots to chicken noodle soup or add extra vegetables to canned or homemade soups.

3. Serve one new food at each meal this week, such as adding kiwi to a fruit salad or jicama slices dunked in peanut butter.
Photo credit: areta ekarafi via Compfight

Hot Off the Diet Press

1. Healthy Lifestyle Eliminates Heart Disease: A woman can reduce her risk for heart disease by 90% if she adopts six healthy lifestyle habits, according to a study from Indiana University and Harvard School of Public Health. For 20 years, researchers followed 88,940 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who ranged in age from 27 to 44 years old at the study’s start. Heart disease risk was compared to six dietary habits: 1) not smoking, 2) exercising at least 2.5 hours a week, 3) having a normal weight, 4) watching seven or fewer hours of television a week, 5) eating a healthy diet, and 6) drinking some, but no more than one, alcoholic beverage a day. Results showed that 45% of the women developed one or more risk factors for heart disease during the study, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. While only 5% followed all six of the healthy habits, those women were 90% less likely to develop heart disease.  Even in women who had diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol, those who adhered to a healthy lifestyle had a much lower risk of subsequently developing heart disease. Unhealthy lifestyle habits were responsible for almost 75% of heart disease cases in younger and middle-aged women.
Chomistek A, Chiuve S, Eliassen A, et al: Healthy lifestyle in the primordial prevention of cardiovascular disease among young women. Journal of the College of Cardiology 2015;65(1):43-51.

2. Supplements Lower Alzheimer’s Risk: While you still are thinking clearly, it might be a good idea to start supplementing to protect your brain in the future. Researchers at  the University of Tsukuba in Japan asked 171 cognitively normal seniors to supplement for three years with a combination of omega-3 fats, Ginkgo biloba leaf dry extracts, and lycopene. Another 241 healthy seniors joined a two-year exercise intervention that included both a community center-based and a home-based exercise program. A third group, composed of 148 healthy seniors, supplemented and exercised. Cognitive function was measured before and at the end of the study. Results showed that 76 of the seniors were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease during the follow-up period. Those who most closely followed the supplement requirements showed significantly lower risks for developing Alzheimer’s. Daily exercise also showed benefits in lowering dementia risk. While this study did not specify which omega-3s were used, a wealth of previous research shows that it is the omega-3s in fatty fish, and of those most importantly DHA, that show promise in lowering dementia risk.
Bun S, Ikejima C, Kida J, et al: A combination of supplements may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly Japanese with normal cognition. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2014;December 16th.

3. Vision-Boosting Nutrients: Supplements of lutein and zeaxanthin significantly improved vision in patients with macular degeneration, in a study from Xi’an Jiaotong University Health Science Center in China. In this meta-analysis of eight well-designed studies, the researchers found that for each 1 milligram/day increase in both lutein and zeaxanthin there was an improvement in visual acuity, as tested by the level a person with macular degeneration could read on the visual chart (called the logMAR). As supplementation levels increased so did macular pigment optical density and improvements in visual acuity. The researchers conclude that “lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation is a safe strategy for improving visual performance in patients [with macular degeneration]…”  Researchers at Tufts University report that the typical American diet high in red and processed meats, fatty dairy products, French fries, refined grains, and eggs, raises risk for macular degeneration by 56% compared to diets with more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seafood.
Liu R, Wang T, Zhang B, et al: Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation and association with visual function in age-related macular degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2014;December 16th.
Chiu C, Chang M, Zhang F, et al: The relationship of major American dietary patterns to age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Ophthalmology 2014;158:118-127.

Food & Mood Tip 

dinner 1/21/08Comfort Foods
We often reach for favorite comfort foods when we need a little emotional “pick me up.” They taste best on dreary, damp days and are what we yearn for when lonely. Comfort foods make us feel better, a little safer, and loved. They warm our tummies and calm our hearts.

Comfort foods are an individual matter. Each of us has our own personal stash of favorites, often stemming from warm childhood memories.  There usually is a little of “mom’s home cooking” in the equation. For me, my mom often served hot tea sweetened with milk and sugar along with cinnamon toast when I was sick as a child. Today, the smell of cinnamon is comforting and there is nothing better than a cup of tea on a winter’s day. For many Americans, comfort food is synonymous with meat loaf and mashed potatoes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ice cream, a special cake or batch of cookies, beef stew, macaroni and cheese, apple pie, or chicken and noodles.

Soup is almost always on people’s list of comfort foods. A study from the University of Illinois found that 40 percent of comfort foods were old-time favorites, such as soup  If you are in need of a comfort fest, there is nothing better than a hot cup of soup or bowl of stew.  These foods are most likely to satisfy your mood and your tastebuds, while filling you up, not out. That’s because they are “calorie-dilute.”

Caloric density ranks foods by calories per gram. Calorie-dense foods, such as refined grains, processed snack foods, or greasy fast foods, supply a hefty dose of calories for every gram, while calorie-dilute foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain pasta, and legumes, supply few calories for the same weight.

So what does this have to do with feeling full? People stop eating when they have consumed a given weight or volume of food, regardless of its calories. In short, you will fill up on a certain volume of food, but a pound of potato chips will add 2,427 calories to your diet, while a pound of blueberries supplies only 254 calories. Put another way, three bite-size chocolate chip cookies weigh only an ounce, contain 144 calories, and do little to fill you up. But, you can eat bags of baby carrots or several apples for no fat and few calories.
Photo credit:  Frances via Compfight

Mood-Boosting Recipe of the month-

Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Chutney & Roasted Pecans (From The Food & Mood Cookbook by Elizabeth Somer and Jeanette Williams)

It’s time to get out those favorite soup bowls, light the candles, and prepare a simple mixed green salad. This soup is as pretty to look at as it is to taste.

Ingredients:Butternut squash
cooking spray
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
1 medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded,      cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1/2 cup fat-free half & half
6 tablespoons commercial cranberry chutney (finely chopped)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle pecans evenly over surface. Bake for 3 to 5      minutes or until pecans are toasted. Remove and set aside.
2) In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt margarine or butter over medium heat, add onions, apples, and nutmeg.  Cook and stir 3      minutes.
3) Add chicken broth and squash.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes, until squash is      very tender.
4) Process squash mixture (in 2 batches) in a food processor until smooth.
5) Return squash mixture to pot.  Add coconut milk, fat-free half & half.  Stir well (you can add additional chicken broth if the soup is      too thick). Heat until hot.
6) Ladle into soup bowls and dollop with 1 tablespoon cranberry chutney, sprinkle with toasted pecans, and serve hot. Makes 6      servings.
Nutritional Analysis per servings: 190 Calories; 39 percent fat (8.2 grams); 4.5 grams saturated fat; 10 percent protein; 51 percent carbohydrate; 4.3 grams fiber.
Photo credit:Julian Fong via Compfight

Answers to “Do you know?” from last issue:

1. Do raw foods contain enzymes that aid in digestion?
In short, no. Enzymes are proteins. Any enzymes naturally found in food will be digested (a process called denaturing, where they are broken down into their component parts, including di-peptides and amino acids) in the stomach like any other protein in food. Once broken down, they are available to be absorbed by the body, are no longer functioning enzymes, and will have no effect on digestion.

2. Can some diets help you lose 10 pounds or more in just 2 weeks?
Yes, but it most likely won’t be the weight you are hoping for. There are roughly 3,500 calories stored in every one pound of body fat. To lose five pounds of fat in a week would require reducing your food intake by 17,500 calories or 2,500 calories a day. Unless you typically consume 5,000 calories or more a day and cut that in half, it is unlikely you can reduce food intake that drastically to see a significant drop in body fat. However, cutting calories will cause both a loss of body fat and water weight. Any more than two to three pounds lost every week reflects more water weight loss, than fat weight. Also, extreme dieting causes protein loss from the body, resulting in muscle deterioration. To ensure you lose the right type of weight, focus on losing about one to two pounds a week, which helps to ensure you are losing fat, not water or muscle.

Do You Know?

1. Will taking a zinc tablet help you fight off a cold?

2.  Does canned food go bad?

Check next week for the answers….

Label Lingo Non GMO Chicken

If you see the term “Non GMO Project Verified” on a chicken label in the meat department it is a term you can trust. Verification is required for this claim and it means the feed contained less than 0.9% of GMO crops.

Food Finds/Food Fails:

Food Finds:

1. Bush’s Best Reduced Sodium Kidney Beans:
Americans would do well to switch from meat to beans at least four times a week. That switch alone could lower weight and heart disease risk. Just don’t overdose on sodium while you’re doing it. These beans have all the protein, fiber, potassium, and calories of regular canned beans, but have half the sodium. Rinse before using and you’ll lower that sodium level even more.

2. Don Pancho Ancient Grains Wraps: Made with 100% whole grains, these tortillas are high in fiber, low in sodium, a good source of protein, and cholesterol-free. They also come packed with tasty ingredients like quinoa, amaranth, poppy seeds, and spelt. Oh, and did I mention that they taste great?!


Food Fails:
1. Premier Protein: Double Chocolate Crunch bar: With protein the latest diet fad, it would seem this bar with 30 grams of protein would be the best snack option. But, think again. You also get more than a teaspoon of artery-clogging saturated fat, 360 milligrams of sodium, plus ingredients like palm oil. Besides, that’s more than half of your total day’s need for protein. Considering most people’s diet already supply more than they need for protein, the phony health halo protein provides in this bar is a cover for what would otherwise be just a chocolate candy bar. You’d be better off snacking on half a whole wheat bagel with some peanut butter and an orange.

2. Sunsweet Plum Sweets Greek Style: While regular dried plums (aka, prunes) have no fat and no added sugar, these Greek-style plums have 80% more calories. All of the extra calories come from the teaspoon and a half of artery-clogging fat and almost 4 teaspoons of added sugar. Don’t think you’re getting any yogurt either. The first ingredient is sugar followed by palm kernel oil. There isn’t anything close to probiotics. In fact, these sweets are more like candy than health food.

The Daily Menu

Put know-how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the snacks  if you want to cut additional calories. And, with all the menus in my newsletter, feel free to tweak to your food preferences and choices.

1 toaster whole wheat waffle topped with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 teaspoon chopped pecans
1 cup fortified vanilla soy milk
1/2 honeydew melon or cantaloupe

Mid-Morning Snack:
1 12-ounce nonfat latte (optional: sweeten with aspartame ) with 1 almond biscotti

1 big bowl of  Butternut Squash Soup with Cranberry Chutney & Roasted Pecans
1 slice sourdough French bread
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

Mid-Afternoon Snack:
Fruit Parfait: Layer 1 peeled and sliced kiwi, 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, and 1 6-ounce tub nonfat fruited yogurt. Top with 1      tablespoon light whipped cream.

1 3-ounce pork loin chop, trimmed and broiled
Mashed green potatoes: Whip together 1 large baker peeled and boiled, 1/2 cup steamed and chopped chard, 1/4 cup nonfat milk, 1      tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
2 carrots, peeled, sliced into diagonals and steamed until heated through, but still crunchy. Sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon chopped      chives, salt, and pepper.
Mandarin Spinach Salad: Blend 4 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, and salt and      freshly-ground pepper to taste. Pour over salad made with 2 cups baby spinach, 1 can mandarin oranges drained, and 1      tablespoon chopped walnuts.
Nutrition Score: 1,809 calories, 29% fat (58 g; 15 g saturated), 49% carbs (223 g), 22% protein (101 g), 1,483 mg calcium, 24 g fiber.

What has Elizabeth been up to?

February 19th, AMNorthWest, KATU, Channel 2, Portland, Oregon. Topic: 5 Diet Do’s and Don’ts for Heart Health.  http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/5-Habits-to-Maintain-Heart-Health-292703541.html

March 16th, 2015, San Diego Living, CW, Channel 6. Topic: Warning Signs of a Bad Diet. http://www.sandiego6.com/san-diego-living

March 23rd, 2015: AMNorthWest, KATU, Channel 2, Portland, Oregon. Topic: Warning Signs of a Bad Diet. http://www.katu.com/amnw

April 20th, AMNorthWest, KATU, Portland, Oregon. Topic: 8 Health Foods You Should Do Without