September 1, 2012

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Right

Want to know how do you get a picky eater to eat better? 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 popsicles, 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.

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 one 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.

Besides portions, there are ways to get kids to eat foods they usually turn their noses up at.

  • Children usually turn their noses up at anything new. So, 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.
  • Hide nutritious foods or add them to familiar foods. Grate carrots or zucchini into spaghetti sauce. You can do the same thing with chili, muffins, even homemade cookies. Another strategy is soup. 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 chicken or vegetables to canned or homemade soups.
  • If your child won’t eat vegetables, 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. And, do kids ever eat that?! A strawberry or orange slice is more tempting than a green bean.
  • 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.

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 you kids to eat what you won’t eat. Also, 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.

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Just Do This Today

1. Have a family, sit-down dinner.

2. Keep meals relaxed and happy.

3. Avoid power struggles over food with your kids.

4. Remember you are the gate-keeper for what foods come into the house. Stock and serve only healthy foods and your child automatically will eat better and be less prone to excessive weight gain.

5. Involve your child in food preparation. A reluctant eater is much more likely to eat something he prepared himself.

Hot Off the Diet Press

1. Bye Bye Hot Flash
Menopausal women who eat healthy and lose weight reduce or even eliminate hot flashes, according to a study from Stanford University. More than 17,000 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Dietary Modification trial were instructed to consume low-fat diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other real foods. Women who followed the diet advice and lost 10 pounds or more had a significantly lower risk for hot flashes compared to those women who maintained their original weights. Women who lost more than 22 pounds eliminated moderate to severe hot flashes.

2. Muffins and Breast Cancer
Women who eat lots of refined grains and sweets, like doughnuts, potatoes, muffins, crackers, bread, cookies, and more, are at high risk of a deadly form of breast cancer, says researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon. Specifically, the study found that diets with a high glycemic load increased the risk for a type of cancer where breast tissue lacks receptors for the female sex hormone, estrogen. In this study, women who consumed diets with a high glycemic load had a 36% higher risk of ER-negative breast cancer compared with women whose diets had the lowest glycemic load.

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3. DMAA: Beware the Hype
A sports supplement called DMAA (stands for 1,3-dimethylamylamine) is not a natural substance as some manufacturers claim, state researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington. The claim that DMAA comes from an extract of geraniums is unfounded. In fact, DMAA consists of four synthetic stereoisomers. The researchers analyzed eight different geranium extracts from plants grown in a variety of regions and found no traces of DMAA. In addition, the chemical makeup of this supposedly “natural” compound is identical to that of admittedly synthetic DMAA. “The FDA should regulate and/or ban products in which significant amounts of synthetic pharmacological compounds are added,” stated Dr. Daniel Armstrong, researcher on the study.

Food & Mood Tip

It’s really true – “You are what you eat.”  Most people recognize that what they eat affects physical health. If they live on a high-fat diet, they’re likely to develop heart disease. Avoiding calcium-rich milk will increase the risk for osteoporosis. But it takes years of eating poorly before these diseases rear their ugly heads. Long before your bones crumble or your arteries clog, your thinking is blurred by the wrong food choices. In fact, the link is so immediate that literally what you eat or don’t eat for breakfast can affect how clearly you think or how well you recall information by mid-afternoon. Some foods also will help you side step memory loss and even Alzheimer’s down the road!  In short, a good diet protects your mind because it supplies nutrients that

1) are the basic fuel for brain cells to run on, such as carbs.

2) are building blocks for nerve and brain cells, such as the omega-3s

3) serve as assembly line workers to maintain optimal brain function, such as B vitamins

4) act as warriors and ammunition to protect delicate brain tissue from damage, such as antioxidants and phytonutrients.

5) discourage inflammation associated with dementia.

The sooner you start to eat right, the better, but it’s never to late to reap the rewards of a beautiful mind. As Lily Tomlin once said, “I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.”
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Eat Your Way to Sexy This Week

Trouble in the bedroom is more common than ever. Half of men over 40-years-old experience at least an occasional problem getting it up, keeping it up, or ejaculating too soon, while a third say they don’t even have intercourse anymore. Women’s love lives are not much better, with most (almost 70%)  reporting reduced desire, pain during intercourse, or problems reaching orgasm. The vast majority of those folks aren’t uptight or sexually suppressed. Up to 90% of reported sexual problems in both men and women do not stem from emotional issues, but are a direct result of medical disorders largely related to diet and lifestyle. That means nine out of ten people can turn a sluggish love life back into a whoop-dee-do affair that would make Casanova envious by changing what they eat and how much they move.

Mood-Boosting Recipe of the Week

Smokey Sweet Potato n’ Corn Chowder (from The Food & Mood Cookbook by Elizabeth Somer and Jeanette Williams)

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup If you like a spicy bite to your soup, add an additional chipotle pepper. You never use an entire can of these smokey and fiery-hot chilies, so freeze individual chilies in freezer bags for future use.



2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 pound turkey ham, skinned and diced
2/3 cup red pepper, diced
1 /2 green pepper, diced
2 cups yellow onions, diced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
26-ounce can chicken broth
2 teaspoons “Better Than Bouillon” Chicken Base (optional)
1 canned chipotle chili, diced
1 16-ounce bag of frozen corn
1 cup nonfat milk or 1 /2 cup nonfat milk and 1 /2 cup fat-free half & half
Cilantro, chopped (optional)


1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook turkey ham until heated through. Add peppers and onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, approximately 10 minutes.

2) Add sweet potatoes, chicken broth, bouillon, and chipotle chili to pot, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is cooked, but still firm.

3) Add corn and heat through, Just before serving, add milk. Serve and garnish with cilantro if desired. Makes 6 two-cup servings.

Nutritional Analysis per serving: 259 Calories; 17 percent fat (5 grams); 1 gram saturated fat; 26 percent protein; 57 percent carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber.

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Answers to “Do You Know?” from Last Issue:

1. How much added sugar does the average American consume in a year?
Are you ready for this? According toSugar Rush USDA data, Americans average about 150 pounds of added sugar a year. That is almost 47 teaspoons a day of a nutrient typically added to junk or processed foods and that supplies nothing but calories. We aren’t talking natural sugars in fresh fruit or plain milk. This is the sugars often added for you by industry in most packaged foods, from fruited yogurts, soft drinks, crackers, and cookies to frozen entrees, bottled pasta sauces, and candy. At the turn of the last century, the average added sugar intake for an American was only 4 teaspoons per day, so it’s no surprise that Americans are getting fatter with excessive intakes like this of junk foods and no increase in activity to compensate for the calories.

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2. The recommended serving size for pasta? Is it the size of a ping pong ball? A baseball? A tennis ball? A softball? A soccer ball?
A half cup serving of pasta is the size of a tennis ball, or about 4 fork twirls. That’s pretty small. But a cup serving, or 2 portions, is a reasonable size. Most restaurant portions are well above this, or up to 6 cups (12 servings) of pasta.

1. The basic guidelines for packing a healthy brown bag lunch?

2. The 3 basic rules for planning healthy snacks?

Check the next issue for the answers….

Label Lingo

What’s up with the label lingo on egg cartons?

  • Free Range Eggs: There is no legal definition or standard for this term. The color of the yolk is affected more by the addition of marigold petals or alfalfa to the hen’s diet, not whether or not the hen saw sunlight. (Also called “free-roaming”)
  • Organic Eggs: These eggs are from hens fed organic feed, allowed access to the outdoors, and that live in a cage-free environment. No antibiotics were used, except during an infectious outbreak in the flock.  There is no conclusive evidence that organic eggs are more nutritious.
  • Certified Humane and Cage-Free: The laying hens are uncaged indoors, and are allowed to perform natural behaviors, such as nesting and perching. With Certified Humane, there also are loose requirements for stocking density and number of perches and nesting boxes.
  • United Egg Producers Certified: Each laying hen is allowed 67 square inches of cage space (less area than a sheet of paper). The hens are confined and cannot perform most of their natural behaviors.

The Daily Menu

Put know how into practice with this simple, nutritious meal plan. Eliminate the afternoon snack  if you want to cut an additional 250 calories. And, with all the menus in my newsletter, feel free to tweak to your food preferences and choices.

1 /2 of a 5-ounce whole wheat bagel, toasted and topped with 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter and
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned in juice)
1 cup 1% low-fat milk

Take-Out Lunch:
Inside-out California RollsFrom your local supermarket, pick up the following:
Sushi: 9 piece package of California Roll
2 cups precut fruit salad
Sparkling water



1 /2 cup hummus (prepare according to directions on box, without oil)
1 whole wheat pita bread
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 cup 1% low-fat milk

1 serving of Smokey Sweet Potato ‘n Corn Chowder
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 ounce cheddar cheese
1 cup cole slaw made from 2 cups preshredded cabbage, 2 tablespoons low-fat cole slaw dressing, and 1/2 chopped apple

1 cup fresh strawberries or other fruit
1/4 cup fat-free dark chocolate syrup

Nutrition Score: 1,933 calories, 20% fat (43 g; 13 g saturated), 66% carbs (319 g), 14% protein (68 g), 1,143 mg calcium, 43 g fiber.



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