With the holidays in motion, it’s no secret that losing weight will be easy; in fact, it can be downright frustrating. Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is not just about exercising furiously or eating a diet of solely fruits and vegetables. Whether it’s because they speed up your metabolism or because they keep you […]
Who’d have thought? One of the best ways to lower your children’s obesity risk is to go back to school. No them, you! Poorly educated parents tend to eat—and feed their children—fewer fruits and veggies and more high-fat, high-sugar foods and drinks. Better educated parents do just the opposite, emphasizing healthy eating habits and providing more nutritious, lower-fat, lower-sugar, better-rounded foods, including fruits, whole grains, and vegetables.
As parents, we all want our kids to eat right. But with most of us running ourselves ragged at work or with the kids, it’s easy to slip into pre-packaged-meal mode. In this guest post, Tom White shows us that cooking can be a lot easier–and a lot more fun–that we think.
Fall is the time of year when the nights become longer and you wake up to cool, crisp mornings followed by warm sunny days. It’s also the time of year when our bodies naturally tell us the winter months are coming and it’s time to pack on a few pounds to keep warm with through the cold season.
Dear Mr. Dad: My toddler used to eat pretty much everything. But recently she’s become incredibly. It’s gotten so bad that I can’t get her to eat anything but mac and cheese, noodles, and rice. Is there anything I can do to get her back to a healthier diet?
A: What you’re describing is a completely normal phase for kids. And every parent has had plenty of experience with toddlers’ dramatic pronouncements about what they will or won’t eat. Let’s face it, ice cream and cake taste better than broccoli and if you didn’t know that you needed a more balanced diet, you’d probably eat nothing but dessert.
The good news is that somehow or other, most kids end up getting enough of whatever it is they need to run around like maniacs all day long. But that doesn’t mean you should let her eat nothing but the white food group. Your daughter is old enough to understand that we all need a variety of foods—fruits, veggies, protein, and yes, an occasional cookie. At the very least, she needs to develop healthy eating habits now so she can carry them with her as she grows.
Here are some ways to help her get a more balanced diet:
- Give her plenty of choices, but no Yes or No possibilities. Offering beans or peas is better than asking whether or not she wants beans.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, next time you’re at the grocery store, have her pick a fruit or veggie no one in the family has had before.
- If there’s a food she despises, like broccoli, don’t push it. Instead, choose a nutritious replacement, like creamed spinach (but you’ll probably have to call it something else than spinach).
- Kids love to dunk, so include ranch dressing for carrots, melted cheese for green beans, yogurt or peanut butter for fruit. But make sure she isn’t just licking off the dip.
- Juice contains a lot of sugar so stick with mostly water or milk. When you do serve juice, (and we all do), make sure it’s 100 percent and dilute it by adding half water.
- Insist that she tries two bites of everything—even new foods. This could be a battle at first, but if she learns it’s a firm rule, she’ll eventually get used to the idea.
- Little kids tend to prefer crunchy things. Most of the time when they reject a food it’s because of the texture, not the taste.
- If possible, visit a farm so your daughter can see where produce comes from. That might make it more interesting, especially if she can pick her own.
- It’s easy to blend healthy ingredients into a smoothie—plus it’s something your daughter can help with. Throw in fruit (fresh or frozen), yogurt, ice and perhaps a little tufu or protein powder.
- Get her involved in other food prep tasks. Baking muffins is great fun. And it gives you a chance to demonstrate that something can be delicious even if it contains carrots or zucchini.
- Swap your regular pasta and noodles for whole wheat. The cheese and tomato sauces will cover up the difference in taste. You can slip all sorts of other nutritious things into tomato sauce and most kids will down plenty of fruit if it’s in their oatmeal or cereal.
- Your daughter is watching and will eat what you do, so set a good example. And take some comfort in the fact that kids get more adventurous with age.
Guest 1: Joe Kita, author of The Father’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.
Topic: What being a dad teaches about hope, love, patience, pride, and everyday wonder.
Issues: The life lessons parents learn—that would remain secrets if they didn’t have children; essential reading for fathers; the importance of play (and not just for the kids); what our children teach us about ourselves and how they make us better people.
Guest 2: William Sears, author of The NDD Book.
Topic: Nutritional Deficit Disorder.
Issues: Identifying NDD; understanding how NDD affects children’s learning, behavior, and health—and what we can do about it; overcoming NDD without drugs; how to fit a healthy, fresh-food diet into today’s busy lifestyle.