Archive for the ‘Parenting tips’ Category
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat Better, Eat Together Balancing Act blog carnival hosted by MealsMatter and Dairy Council of California to share ways families everywhere can make time for family meals that include foods from all the food groups. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the Balancing Act blog carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found at MealsMatter.
It’s time parents toughened up! I have met many parents who have unwittingly and gradually become ‘short-order cooks’. Some parents make up to four different meals each night to keep the kids happy and have mealtime peace.
Whilst I understand how and why it happens, I can’t comprehend why you would want to do this. Surely the time spent making different meals would be better spent reading a story, helping with homework or playing with the children. Actually, most parents don’t want to do it; they just don’t realize that there is an option.
The ultimate aim is for the family to eat the same food. We all need to make good food choices, and that means a variety of food from each of the four food group. If a child’s palate becomes too narrow they simply will not get all the nutrients their body needs. By allowing a child to totally dictate what they eat parents can unknowingly be limiting their children’s growth and development – not to mention their sociabilty. Some kids left to their own choice would settle for about a dozen foods and that is not good! Be kind to yourself by not excessively pampering to likes and dislikes. Imagine how much easier it would be to make only one meal. It’s okay for you to set the rules! This is a win:win – it’s easier for parents to fix one meal, and the kids get better nutrition.
A word from my daughter Claire… (Claire’s website is www.ItsMyTurnToCookTonight.com)
In our family we always eat the same food, unless if we really really don’t like something. It’s just what we do and it’s always been like that. We clean our teeth, we look both ways before we cross the road, we wear seatbelts, we eat our vegetables and we eat the same food. It’s one of those things that has never come up for debate.
And while we are on the ‘toughen up’ theme, I totally recommend that at least once a week you over-ride any child objections and use the off button on the television set. The benefits are immediate.
I love family dinners and I am never happier than when I have my husband and children around the family table. We turn the TV off and it’s the time when as a family, we regroup. Often the food seems insignificant, it is the process of sharing time together without distraction that is important.
There is banter between the kids as we catch up with each other about what we are all doing. We are not all home every night because of school, sport or work commitments, but we make a point of whoever is at home eats together.
By comparison, if the TV is on, it kills the conversation and we miss the luxury of quality time.
So my key tips for Eat Better, Eat Together might seem a bit draconian but I assure you, eating the same food (giving two choices!!) and turning off the TV at mealtime will make more impact than you think.
PS: I know the other bloggers in the carnival will focus in more detail on the actual food, it goes without saying that we need to focus on that. I just think it is so important the scene is set right as well!!
Don’t stop here! Other bloggers share their stories and tips on how they juggle the balancing act of getting a well-balanced meal on the table!
10 Commandments for Guilt-Free Feeding – Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD
Beating the Lunch Box Blues – Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Dinner Time – Michelle Rowe, RN and Health Educator
Eat Better, Eat Together– Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Family Dinners Fuel Healthier Kids – Susan Weiner, RD, MS, CDE, CDN
Families that Cook Together Eat Together – Kia Robertson
Making Time for Family Meals: How I’ve Earned My “RDH” – Trina Robertson, MS, RD
Meal Planning: Taking the Stress Out of the ‘What’s for Dinner’– Laura Everage
Pressed for Time? Moms Know Best: Tips for Getting Food on the Table – FAST! – Samantha Lewandowski, MS, RD, LDN
Roasted Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal – Cheri Liefeld
Sunday Night Family Dinner, In the Dining Room – Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
The Balancing Act – Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
The Power of Family Meal Time & How to Squeeze It In! – Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
The Truth About Family Dinner – Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Toughen up: Give Two Choices for Dinner – Take it or Leave it! – Glenda Gourley BHSc, Dip Tchg
It’s a bit scary every time we read a paper there are more frightening stats about how many of us aren’t making good food choices and the consequences of that. Claire’s latest blog shares a couple of excellent tools to encourage kids to remember ‘what you eat is your choice’. The first is to hold an image in their mind and the second is the classic little trick of 20/20 - which is good for all of us!!!
A word from Claire….
I am a dreamer so it sort of follows that I dream, or visualize, about food too.
When I think about my meals I sort if hold an image in my mind about what to eat. I ‘see’ my plate as being half fruit and vegetables or salad, quarter protein (meat, fish, eggs or poultry ) and quarter carbohydrates or grains (rice, pasta or breads – here’s the good part - I love potatoes and depending on who you listen to they can fit in two categories – veg or carbs!?)
When I put this image in mind I find it easy to help me choose how much of what to eat… it’s kind of fun trying to ‘untangle’ foods like fried rice too. It’s easy to fix if your plate gets distorted – sometimes the quarters look more like thirds – ’cos lets face it, it is usually the fruit and veg half that gets the nudge – just eat a carrot, tomato, orange, apple or a handful of grapes and your picture gets ‘right’. (According to the health guys, about 2/3′s of us don’t get the half bit right – so that is why they are always going on about it!?!)
The other day I learnt another cool trick – it’s 20/20. As you are taking your food stop and and consciously take 20% more fruit and vegetables and 20% less of everything else. I gotta say 20% more and 20% less isn’t hard at all – doesn’t make much difference to your meal but does to your skin and jean size!
So there you go - see a picture of a plate and play 20/20 – both easy…
No matter what country you live in, there is unilateral agreement that kids need to eat more fruit and vegetables – whether your local message is mix it up, 5 to 10 a day, go for 2 & 5, more matters or 5+ A Day - whatever it is, these two little tricks that Claire shares will help your kids reach the goals…
If you want to see more of Claire’s Blogs – nutrition and cooking tips in ‘teen-speak’ – written by a teen in a tone they relate too… check out her blog.
5 Steps to a Healthy Lunchbox
You may pack a healthy lunch, but there’s no guarantee that your daughter or son will try to trade their apple slices for a cookie. Even before your kids are old enough to start cooking, you can help them take an active role in deciding what to eat for lunch each day by teaching them the importance of healthy eating habits. Here are 5 steps to get you started.
1. Be a Role Model – How can you expect your kids to eat healthy if you don’t do so yourself? Make sure that meals at home follow a balanced diet. You can also help them develop good eating habits, like keeping healthy snacks around the house like nuts and fruit instead of junk food. Also, it’s best not to reward good behavior with sweets and punish bad behavior by taking them away – sweets and desserts should be enjoyed in moderation, independent of behavior.
2. Get them Food Savvy – Rather than telling your kids what they can and can’t eat, educate them about the benefits of healthy food from a young age. This will help them to understand that eating healthy food isn’t a punishment, but something they can enjoy their whole lives. When they’re a little older, teaching them to cook healthy meals will help them to think even more about the food they eat.
3. Do it Together – Don’t just take your kids along to the grocery store – get them involved in the shopping and meal planning. Looking for a certain food on the shelves can be a fun game for young ones, while older kids can get involved in actively choosing what they’d like to have to eat that week. If they have trouble making healthy choices, you can always give them a list of options to choose from. When it comes to packing lunches for school, this is something you can get them involved with as well. Asking them what they’d like each day and assigning them simple tasks, like putting snack food in mini plastic bags, is a good way to start. Someday they might even want to make their lunches all by themselves!
4. Use Foods they Like – Kids simply aren’t going to eat food they don’t like, especially when you aren’t at school to encourage them to eat their Brussels sprouts at lunchtime. Instead, take advantage of the healthy foods they don’t like. Kids tend to like fruits and sweeter vegetables such as carrots, celery, or cucumber. If they don’t like a wide variety of healthy foods, you could try to add variety in the way you prepare the food. For example, you could give them different dips for their vegetables, like hummus, cheese, or peanut butter. In the meantime, you can encourage them to gradually try new foods at home.
5. Have Fun – There are plenty of things you can do to add fun to your child’s lunchbox. Use cookie cutters to cut fruits, vegetables, cheese, and even sandwiches into fun shapes. Come up with fun names for foods – you could call an egg salad sandwich a Sunny Sandwich for example – or even let your kids make up the names themselves. Since kids love desserts, you could find healthy recipes for sweets you can make together, such as oatmeal cookies or banana bread.
Andrea Erins has been a college professor for 13 years and likes to write about various topics related to education. She is the owner of the site href=http://www.mastersineducation.com
Jamie Oliver on the Fight for Healthier Food
The British chef of ‘Food Revolution’ fame is out to change the way we cook, eat, and feed our kids. He tells Jillian Michaels about his efforts to get Americans thinking fresh.
Jamie Oliver — charming, witty, hyper, personable, emotional, talented are all words that come to mind at the mention of his name. I am a fan and have been for some time, so when tossing around names for my next celeb interview he was on the top of my list. I respect his dedication to health and his heartfelt attempts to improve the quality of our children’s lives. So, I reached out to his “people” and requested an interview. Here’s the conversation that transpired:
Jillian Michaels: First, I want you to know that I am a huge fan and have been for years! Literally since I discovered you while Bob and I were living in Australia — a mad fan.
Jamie Oliver: Thanks so much, it’s still funny to think that I’ve been doing this now for 12 years. The Aussies have always been very good to me. I try and get there every other year.
JM: I really appreciate your taking the time out of your schedule to answer these questions. I wish it was over cocktails. Not so sure what this is about, but I imagine you’d be a fun guy to grab a beer with — make that a light beer. All in moderation, right?
JO: I’m English, so we don’t drink light beer — lagers, ales, stouts — and usually in moderation. It’s a funny thing now that Americans put me with healthy food. I’m not the food police or a diet guy. I am trying to teach people about cooking skills and choosing fresh food over processed. Eat a wide variety of things, in reasonable portions. As a chef, it’s the only way that makes sense.
JM: I appreciate your perspective as one of not only health, but common sense. So that said, let’s get down to business. I loved Food Revolution. How did you originally come up with this concept, and why are you so passionate about fighting childhood obesity? Is there a personal connection to this cause of any kind?
JO: Food is personal. What we choose to eat or feed our families every day is the most personal choice we can make. Next to the mortgage, the food bill is going to be a large investment. When I started looking at school lunches (what we call dinners in England) I was disgusted by what I saw: Turkey Twizzlers, no real food or cooking, just processed crap and reheating. And the more people I talked to — teachers, school cooks, students — I realized how much they wanted to change the system and return to cooking and eating real food. I also saw many studies that showed the correlation between the rise of obesity and type 2 diabetes with the increase in processed food. So I wanted to try and figure it all out, and the best way I know how to do that is film it and give people watching TV more knowledge so they can make different choices. It’s sort of grown from England to America and around the world.
WHILE I WAS LOOKING THROUGH WWW. EVERYDAYHEALTH.COM I SAW A FASCINATING ARTICLE …
Should Parents of Obese Children Lose Custody?
When it comes to overweight children, who’s to blame? One doctor says that the parents should be held accountable – and the state should be allowed to help by taking custody of the child. The provocative commentary appeared Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association – one of the most prestigious medical journal in the country – and has struck a nerve with some parents and health officials.
Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
If you look at the bigger picture, you will see it for what it really is – nurturing and loving your family. A crucial building block in your child’s development – this will empower you will elevate your focus and commitment. Teaching your children to cook and giving them food skills can be a pathway to confident, happy, children who ooze self-confidence and self-esteem. A happy child contributes to a happy family.
I can’t think of anything else more important - SO I WROTE A NEW BOOK ABOUT IT.
Love life food kids is full of tips and strategies to help parents inspire their children to eat a wide range of foods, make good food choices and have enough skills to be able to prepare good food. Love your children, inspire them to cook! The benefits of cooking are lifelong and too numerous to list here!
Watch this space i will have it loaded to my site really soon!!
It is my pleasure to share a wonderful guest post by Dan Gilbert from the Primrose Day Care Institutes in USA.
Some great advice for those of you with young children. Thanks Dan!
Making time to play with your child can be difficult enough, so imagine trying to find time to teach them as well. By combining the two tasks, you may be able to disguise the learning aspect and spend quality time with your child. Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of education for Primrose Day Care Institutes, says kitchen time can be a great way for families to gain extra time together.
For children the kitchen may seem like a fascinating place to be with the bubbling pots, sizzling skillets and delicious smells, yet it can be a very dangerous place for them to play. However, the potential hazards don’t have to keep children out of the kitchen. Dr. Zurn states, “the kitchen is often the most popular place in the house for families to gather. It’s a place for learning and sharing, where the family can enjoy quality time.” Dr. Zurn also emphasizes that “children can develop a sense of responsibility by participating in these simple tasks.”
By following this simple recipe you will be able to teach your child while keeping them safe and having fun:
1.) Set some ground rules. Before you start, make sure you establish a list of safety rules with your children before you begin cooking. Children need supervision when they’re in the kitchen, so always keep them within sight. Teach children to wash their hands before and after handling food to avoid spreading germs. Remind them on a regular basis what’s safe to touch and what’s not. Make sure the handles of pots and pans are turned inward on the stovetop so you and older children don’t accidentally bump them and spill hot liquids or food.
2.) Build up skills step-by-step. Children can practice essential skills in the kitchen, such as counting and adding, measuring, following instructions etc. For more advanced skills, start slowly and have your child master easy tasks before attempting harder ones. Older children can gradually be taught to use a knife. Start them off with a dull spreader, cutting softer items first such as cheese or dough. As your child’s coordination develops, they can move on to slicing or sawing vegetables and fruit with a plastic knife.
3.) Engage your child meaningfully. Keeping your child engaged my seem difficult, but there are many tasks your child can help with. For example, younger children can help pour water or stir batter. The older children can help measure ingredients or crack eggs. Even the littlest children can feel like they are involved, just grab some pots and pans for them to bang on! Anyway to keep your child engaged will make them feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.
4.) Keep it fun. Most important, make sure you and your child are having fun together. There are going to be accidents and oopsies, but that’s ok! Spills are easy to clean up. Instead of stressing over the little things, wipe them up and ask your child to try again!
After your meal is complete, let your little chef try the first bite! While sitting and enjoying what you have just made, discuss what you might want to try making next time. Congratulate your child on a job well done and bon appétit!
A total bonus of being able to cook is that you are able to save money by cooking at home. Children pick up budgeting and shopping skills. It is almost always cheaper to cook at home, and if it isn’t, you usually find that the quality isn’t as good as if you had made it yourself.
While Claire was making bacon and egg pie – I was in the kitchen and we were just chatting away when I commented I thought it might be interesting to see how much it cost to make. Not being at all interested in the cost of anything that I paid for, I was surprised when she agreed. Together we chatted away and divided the cost of the pastry by two, halved the egg carton cost, worked out the proportion of the pack of bacon she had used, and made a calculated guess of how much the potatoes and tomatoes cost. She mentally added it all up and divided it by how many hungry teens she thought it would feed. She came to the conclusion that it was a pretty fair price and when she is living in a flat that would be an economical meal to make for dinner. We left it at that.
A few days later she burst through the front door hardly able to contain herself… “Mum I was in a café in town and I saw a scungy piece of bacon and egg pie for sale. It cost MORE for one piece than it cost for me to make it for six people – and it looked all dry like it had been made a few days ago”.
She got it – by herself… sow the seed and they will work it out.
If you read Claire’s latest newsletter Kids just wanna have fun you will see she finds it entertaining but gets turned off by high pressure, high stress cooking. Whilst not having done any formal research, I suggest this is a typical response from many kids.
In the UK they call it ‘food porn’ – Brits love to watch it, but few take action. Undoubtedly all these food programs bring a heightened awareness of food – and that is a good thing – but the subliminal messages to kids is ‘cooking is scary’. We need a reassuring approach for 99% of kids who don’t aspire to be chefs but need encouraged to whip up a meal.
How can we help your teen?
Claire’s teen-to-teen newsletter and her blog builds trust with teens to inspire and engage. We are not just about recipes and cooking. We offer the whole package – an ordinary teen role model (not a chef) to inspire, encourage and kids to take responsibility for what they eat. Who’s Cooking Tonight? is a key resource.
How can we help you?
Check out the work we did with groups of teens to discover what parents could do to make kids want to cook. It’s advice you can’t afford to ignore.
WeCan! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), is a science-based national education program from the American National Institutes of Health (NIH), which aims to help children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. Most western countries face very similar issues – it appears to me that lack of food skills knows no international barriers!!?
WeCan! have some great tips which are all along the Eat Well and Move More concept – they have a tip sheet that I think is pretty cool – alternatively scan through these ideas and share with your kids – (and yourself?? – we all benefit from this!!)…
• Drink water before a meal.
• Avoid food portions larger than your fist.
• Eat off smaller plates.
• Eat before grocery shopping.
• Choose a checkout line without a candy display.
Moving More Tips:
• Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV.
• Take the stairs instead of the escalator.
• Acknowledge your efforts with non-food related rewards, such as a family day at the park, lake, or zoo.
For the full tip sheet from WeCan!
Claire, my teenage daughter who hosts www.itsmyturntocooktonight.com, has put her comments next to these tips in her blog – the succinct nature of these tips really appealed to her and she felt they were things she could do without much effort – she did however have to put the qualifying comment regarding the TV watching – as long as it wasn’t her fave program she would buy into it! See Claires blog.
I wrote this post as a participant in the Eat, Play, Love blog carnival hosted by Meals Matter and Dairy Council of California to share ideas on positive and fun ways to teach children healthy eating habits. A list of other registered dietitians and moms who are participating in the carnival will be listed at the bottom of this post or can be found on Meals Matter.
As parents, we intuitively want to do the best for our kids - and often we start off with great gusto only to run out of steam if what we are doing isn’t getting great results. I ran a couple of focus groups with teens to find out the sort of things we could do to make them want want to cook. What we found out was seriously enlightening, somewhat amusing and really helpful!
We discovered eight key points… (I still struggle to keep a straight face when I recall how deadly serious they were!?!) These points could verge on being precocious – but it certainly helps us as parents if we know what they are thinking!
In their words, this is what parents should do…
1. Let me choose what I cook – “Simple – if I don’t like it, I’m not going to want to cook it”.
2. Get me a recipe that works – “If I go to the effort of cooking I want it to work… I don’t want have to have to keep running to you to ask what to do next”.
3. Have all the ingredients - “Don’t expect me to be able to substitute ingredients when I am just starting off on this cooking lark!”
4. Stay out of the kitchen – “Don’t be a helicopter hovering around. Give me some space to work things out – but stick around the house in case I need to ask”.
5. Resist ‘you should have’ comments’ – “If I want to know I’ll ask”.
6. Be impressed – “If you expect me to do this again you need to be impressed , so you might have to ‘fake it ‘til I make it’. And don’t go telling all your friends if I burn something or do something stupid”.
7. Don’t nag – “If I take a bit longer than you do or I don’t clean up exactly like you do, cut me some slack – I have just cooked you a meal!”
8. Cut me a deal! – “If you expect me to buy into this ‘cook a meal once a week idea’ there has to be something in it for me . This ‘skills for a lifetime’ doesn’t really flick my switch – but money for the movies or that new dress does. You are probably going to buy me new shoes at some stage anyway, you may as well make me think I have earned them.”
I am totally convinced of the benefits of kids being able to cook.Your child doesn’t need to be a budding chef, even a repertoire of half a dozen meals sets them well ahead of many kids.
Being able to cook will help to set your child up to take responsibility for what they eat. The fantastic bonus is that every time they cook, you can get a night off cooking and they get skills to last a lifetime - a win:win for everyone!!
Don't stop here! Join the carnival and read other Eat, Play, Love blogs from dietitians and moms offering the best advice on raising healthy eaters. And if you don't get enough today, for more positive, realistic and actionable advice from registered dietitian moms, register for the free, live webinar Eat, Play, Love: Raising Healthy Eaters on Wednesday, May 18.
The Best-Kept Secret for Raising Healthy Eaters, Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD
Feeding is Love, Jill Castle, MS, RD, LDN
5 Quick Ways to Prepare Veggies with Maximum Flavor, Dayle Hayes, MS, RD
The Art of Dinnertime, Elana Natker, MS, RD
Children Don’t Need a Short Order Cook, Christy Slaughter
Cut to the Point – My Foodie Rules, Glenda Gourley
Eat, Play, Love – A Challenge for Families, Alysa Bajenaru, RD
Eat, Play, Love ~ Raising Healthy Eaters, Kia Robertson
Get Kids Cooking, Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Kid-Friendly Kitchen Gear Gets Them Cooking, Katie Sullivan Morford, MS, RD
Kids that Can Cook Make Better Food Choices, Glenda Gourley
Making Mealtime Fun, Nicole Guierin, RD
My No Junk Food Journey – Want to Come Along? , Kristine Lockwood
My Recipe for Raising Healthy Eaters: Eat Like the French, Bridget Swinney MS, RD, LD
Playing with Dough and the Edible Gift of Thyme, Robin Plotkin, RD, LD
Picky Eaters Will Eat Vegetables, Theresa Grisanti, MA
Raising a Healthy Eater, Danielle Omar, MS, RD
Putting the Ease in Healthy Family Eating, Connie Evers, MS, RD, LD
Raising Healthy Eaters Blog Carnival & Chat Roundup, Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RD, LD
Soccer Mom Soapbox, Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD
Teenagers Can Be Trying But Don’t Give UpDiane Welland MS, RD
What My Kids Taught Me About Eating Mindfully, Michelle May, MD
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