To the mom I saw this past Sunday...you ROCK!
I was in awe as I passed you pushing your double stroller down my street at 3pm (no doubt the warmest part of the day) towards Lady Bird Lake. Your stroller was complete with two eager boys, their fishing gear (poles and all), and a golden retriever in step. It's obvious that you value the health of your family and friends (canine included). Beyond time and patience, it takes know-how to organize a Texas summer outdoor activity. Assuming the best, here's how I imagine you prepared:
Thanks for setting such a great example for all of us! You've reminded us that all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical activities every day that are developmentally appropriate and varied. Go you!
1. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ActivitiesforKids/The-AHAs-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.V5eQ75MrJE4
While I have many anecdotes of my own that compel me to believe a baby’s food preferences can be developed in the womb, there’s also research that validates this line of thinking.
The Monell Center in Philadelphia, PA focuses on researching the senses of taste and smell. They’ve identified how things like vanilla, carrot, and garlic flavors can permeate amniotic fluid or mother’s milk. Their studies confirm that what women consume during pregnancy and while breastfeeding can shape their babies’ food preferences later in life.
Basically, our like or dislike of certain foods is a byproduct of taste conditioning that occurs from the time we are in the womb on into adulthood. Consuming a variety of nutritious foods during pregnancy is key to giving the unborn baby a healthy head start.
With this said, it is important for parents to facilitate ongoing “taste education” for the whole family. This involves a myriad of factors from creating a non-distracting eating environment to serving a variety of foods from the time your child starts nursing, through the introduction of solids and beyond.
My toddler didn't exactly ask me like this...it was more like, "Mom, I eat this?" So long as the rind is not man made, then it's usually edible. Simply put, you don't want to eat rinds that are made of wax, plastic, paper or cloth. These materials are actually used in replace of a true rind.
Also, if you find that a natural rind is particularly hard you might use it to flavor your dishes rather than eat it as a stand alone item. One example here is using parmesan rinds to flavor soups.
Yoav Perry, an artisan cheesemaker and blogger, provides somewhat of a list of cheese rinds to either avoid or eat.
Overly-tough, dry and hard rinds include:
Summertime bears heaps of delicious produce. Beginning as early as May, fruit options in Texas soar. Peach stands in the Hill Country open, and strawberry picking is a must out towards Marble Falls.
With these options becoming more readily available and at a more affordable price, we naturally consume more. For toddlers, this can mean a few less than desirable side effects such as diarrhea and coinciding diaper rash at which point I get significantly more questions about the actual sugar content of various fruits.
Here's a quick list of fruit with g of sugar per each. Enjoy!
1 large apple 25g
1 medium banana 19g
¼ medium cantelope 11 g
½ medium grapefruit 11g
¾ C grapes 209
2 medium kiwi 13g
1 medium orange 14g
1 medium peach 13g
1 medium pear 16g
2 slices of pineapple rounds 10g
1 medium plum 8 g
8 medium strawberries 8 g
1 C cherries 16g
1 cup diced watermelon 10g
1. USDA. What are added sugars? Retrieved from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-added-sugars.
2. USDA. All about fruit. Retrieved from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/fruit.
3. American Heart Association. Sugar 101. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.V4_EQJMrJE
I've read many stories about "Pinterest stress" including a 7,000 person survey done by TODAY.com highlighting how 42% of U.S. mothers worry they're not crafty or creative enough.
I sometimes feel a similar stress as it pertains to my kitchen skills. I follow many food blogs that showcase beautiful cuisine, and I oftentimes hear myself muttering "as if" under my breath. As a dietitian, though, it is my duty to try some of these (seemingly) more complex things out for you.
Below is a look at my "healthy curly fry" attempt using a spiral vegetable slicer that I received as a gift.
Total prep time: 15 minutes (including unpacking, set up and clean up)
Watch out! This kitchen gadget is sharp!
Two things to note:
Overall, I thought the benefits outweighed the cons. And...the more I've used this particular gadget, the easier it has become. This is a tool that has become something I can realistically use. This is a great way to use any extra veggies you might have (e.g., potatoes, carrots, zucchini).
The entire tasty bakes curly fry recipe can be found at: http://www.thehealthymaven.com/2014/08/crispy-baked-curly-fries.html www.thehealthymaven.com/2014/08/crispy-baked-curly-fries.html
Great article published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics outlines 4 toddler snacking mistakes.
One challenge I hear from fellow moms is that they repeatedly find themselves throwing out produce.
First, acknowledging food preferences is okay. This doesn't mean you don't ask your family to try new things, but if they all hate asparagus there are plenty of equally healthy alternatives.
Second, storage is a big deal! Check out a produce storage guide if you need a refresher. Besides proper storage techniques, there are other preparation tricks that can increase consumption.
If you still find yourself with items that are just about past their prime, below is one example of how I make sure they don't go to waste.
I had leftover asparagus from dinner last night. I also had a ton of tomato, onion and red pepper from a past weekend's BBQ.
Step 1: Spray the bottom of the foil pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2: Dice leftover veggies and throw directly into bottom of pan.
Step 3: I had extra cheese from a HelloFresh box I had received. I topped the veggies with that.
Step 4: I whisked together five eggs and 1/4 cup milk together. I usually keep a carton of organic egg whites on hand for times like these. A 50/50 mixture of regular eggs to egg whites producing an exceptionally great result.
Step 5: I poured the egg right over the top of the veggies and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Step 6: Cover first with cling wrap, then with foil.
Step 7: I add a directions label and freeze as is! You can cook it either frozen or thawed. I like to thaw the day before in the refrigerator.
(Cooking instructions on the label read: 350 degrees for 40 min. covered with foil only.)
I have been dreading this particular post, assuming it won't score me any popularity points. After all, I am going to take on snacks, which include some big kahunas like the one and only goldfish.
Goldfish are one of those products that fall under the convenience (i.e., snack) category. Marketing executives spend billions annually targeting children for this particular food type, aiming for brand loyalty. They understand that children begin requesting specific grocery products around age 2. Yes! At 24 months the most frequent food request is cereal and snacks.
Add a cartoon character to packaging and it can “significantly affect” the product choices kids make.
So what makes snacks like goldfish so bad anyway? Two scenarios come to mind:
Now, this is not to say that goldfish and other tasty treats should be banned. You can bet my kiddo will enjoy a goldfish, cheeze-it, animal cookie and the like. They'll just be treats instead of every day staples.
The snacks above have more protein and vitamins than a pack of goldfish which contains 19g of carbs and a mere 3g protein (and not much else).
1. CSPI. Food Marketing to Children. Nutrition Action Healthletter. Retrieved from https://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/food_marketing_to_children.pdf
2. Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Food Marketing to Kids. Retrieved from http://publichealthlawcenter.org/topics/healthy-eating/food-marketing-kids.
3. Story M, French S. Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 2004;1:3. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-1-3.
Dietitians learn to plan diets that accommodate attitudes, values and cultural beliefs of individuals. Focusing on these aspects allows us to help people make healthy changes through the addition of life enhancing habits. We focus on what the person can do that would provide healthy and appealing outcomes. The outcomes are key, especially when it comes to raising children. Kids learn about food through the direct experience of eating and by observing the eating behavior of others.
Many people I know are enjoying this wonderful 4th of July weekend. Parents are packing swim gear and coolers while their toddlers are down for naps. The best news is that summertime offers us an array of delicious foods that are also nutritious (get the list of summer produce in season here). For once, you can actually get on Pinterest and make one of their "patriotic treats" in minutes with zero guilt. The cost will also be relatively low since you'll be using foods that are in season.
It has long been noted that culture (which encompasses holidays) influences food choices and overall eating patterns. This time, use it as an excuse to be healthy!
1. Savage JS, Fisher JO, Birch LL. Parental Influence on Eating Behavior: Conception to Adolescence. The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. 2007;35(1):22-34. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2007.00111.x.
2. Mahan, K.L., Escott-Stump, S., Raymond, J.L.(2012). Krause’s Food and Nutrition Care Process, 13th Edition. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.
Registered Dietitian, Austinite, Mom with a 2-yr old, Dog lover