Expert Tips for Raising Healthy Eaters

Recently, I attended a Live Well 2013 conference, hosted by the Beef Checkoff. Besides learning lots of ways to cook healthfully with beef, I also learned some excellent tips about feeding the family that really spoke to me and to the mission of the E.A.T. blog. Afterall, E.A.T. stands for Everyone Around the Table. Here are just some of the tips from two of the speakers.

From Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, PhD, RD, professor, Rutgers University and Dayle Hayes, MS, RD (www.SchoolMealsThatRock.org)

The Importance of Breakfast:Silverware in Need of Polishing

Byrd-Bredbenner explained that the reason breakfast is so important is because it sets the stage for kids getting more nutrients throughout the day, it helps them focus better in school (which means doing better in school) and helps them to maintain healthier weights. Skipping breakfast leads to eating too much of the wrong foods later on in the day.

Hayes added an interesting point: It’s important that EVERY child have the opportunity to eat breakfast. Because, even if your child eats breakfast and is therefore able to focus in school, the kids who didn’t eat will be distracting your child.

Family Mealtime:

Eat together as a family as often as possible. Family meals lead to:

  • Better family communication
  • Stronger family bonds
  • Happier kids with fewer depression symptoms
  • Teens who are less likely to use alcohol, drugs or smoke
  • Eating healthier meals
  • Maintaining healthier weights

Don’t let the TV join you at mealtime. Turn it off. It’s a distraction to all of the positives of eating together. And when you are distracted, you are more likely to eat mindlessly and too much.

Try to keep family meal time calm. This is not the time to bring up big issues or get into fights. Kids will associate family time and healthy eating choices with meal time. So make the association positive.

There was a rule in Dayle Hayes’ home that the kids had to be home for dinner but they could bring a friend. The friend’s parents would later tell her their child ate spinach for the first time at her house. Great idea.

Fussy Eaters:

  • Offer only healthy foods
  • Be patient with new foods – it takes offering a food at least 15 times, on average, before a child will even try it. Keep trying.
  • Let kids decide how much to eat – they have an inborn ability to regulate how much they need to eat. Help them listen to their bodies.
  • Skip bribes! If you dangle dessert as a reward for eating a vegetable, then the vegetable becomes the hurdle to the reward, which you don’t want it to be.
  • Instead, reward with praise or a special activity, but NOT food. Keep food in the context it needs to be in.
  • Keep your cool! (Harder said than done, but important)

Grow Healthy Eaters:

  • Have healthy foods easily accessible – a fruit bowl, a bowl of baby carrots with hummus to dip in. The idea is to make it easy for kids to get the healthy foods.
  • Make it fun and interesting – grow a vegetable garden, cut veggies into cute shapes
  • Let babies play with their food – it helps them build familiarity with the smells and tastes of healthy food.
  • Let kids assemble their lunch, grow food, pick from the garden for dinner. Dayle Hayes told us she would give her children a bowl and send them out to the garden to pick peas for dinner. They’d end up eating them before they even reached the kitchen. Smiling, she would send them back out for tomatoes. She knew this would happen and let it be a way to encourage them to eat veggies.

It’s a new year. What better time to put some of these ideas into practice in your home! I know I’ll be doing so in my home while Everyone is Around the Table.

Come! E.A.T. with us! 

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/COParentEATblog

Email: ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com

Back-to-School Food Ideas By Edan Goode

In our last post, we asked you to send in your ideas for back-to-school breakfast, lunch and snacks that satisfy the kids, are healthy and keep them going. We’re still gathering ideas from readers and invite you to keep sending them in. Either reply to this blog in the Comment section or email us at ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, here are some great ideas and recipes from our friends at LiveWell Colorado who are all about feeding kids right, in school and at home.

Breakfast:
Each of these breakfast ideas can be made ahead and reheated. The last two can even be frozen in individual serving sizes for a quick breakfast.

Creamy Harvest Oatmeal. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Creamy Harvest Oatmeal. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Creamy Harvest Oatmeal – Quick morning tip: Soak the oats overnight. Toss in healthy toppings, even if you don’t have everything the recipe calls for, such as nuts, fruits and spices. Each of these breakfast ideas could be made ahead and the following two can even be frozen in individual serving sizes.

Apple-icious Oatmeal Bake – With the idea of a coffee cake, this recipe is filling and healthy and could even be served as an after school snack.

Frittata – This is another make-ahead/freezer option for egg lovers. Get creative throwing in bits of veggies.

Lunch:

Fruity Kabobs. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Fruity Kabobs. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Chicken Panini Wrap – This recipe is kid-created and kid-approved.

Fruity Chicken Kabobs – It’s purely psychological, but it works – kids are more likely to try things (including fresh fruits and veggies) if they are on a pick or skewer.

Snack (or lunch accompaniment):

Beet Chips – Toss these chips in your child’s lunch for a healthier crunch than the standard chip fare.

Beet Chips. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Beet Chips. Photo courtesy LiveWell Colorado.

Roasted Chickpeas – A make-ahead, protein-packed lunch addition that will help keep kids full for the rest of their school day.

Please continue to send us your ideas and be sure to look at the LiveWell Colorado website for additional ideas for healthy meals all day long and many other helpful resources.

Come! E.A.T. with us! 

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/COParentEATblog

A Different Kind of Snack

If you’d told me that my children would be asking to eat seaweed, I’d have said you were insane! There’s no way I can get them to SS-CLASS-GO_728028023183_hireseat spinach. And I can barely get them to eat lettuce. But they love seaweed snacks!

Maybe it’s because they are like eating paper, which seems like something kids would want to do. Or, because it’s crispy kind of like a chip. Or maybe it’s because when you hold the sheets up to the light, they are like emerald stained glass. Or maybe it’s because it tastes really good. Add some flavorings to the sea weed and it’s almost addictive.

SeaSnax ® were created by Korean American mom Jin Jun who was inspired by her daughter to create a snack she could feel good about feeding her everyday. She was ahead of her time in doing this in 2010 because two years later, the National Confectioners Association touted seaweed as a hot snacking trend.

Seaweed is said to be healthy for you because it is nutrient-dense with essential amino acids and vitamins A and C with potassium, iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium and it’s a good source of protein.

SeaSnax® are Non-GMO Project verified and come in varieties such as original, chipotle, wasabi and onion. All of the flavors are subtle and delicious. They have been known to get me through the Arsenic Hour when life is getting crazy and dinner’s not ready yet.

They also have a new product that is really clever, SeaSnax® SeaSprinkles. These are roasted seaweed clusters that can be eaten out of the bag or sprinkled on soups, salads or rice. I sprinkled some of the Vegan Cheese ones in our salad and no one even noticed the additional, nutritional boost. What I haven’t had the guts to SP-SPRINKLES_609722798334try yet are the Toasty Coconut sprinkles as they suggest them over vanilla ice cream. It could work because they are really good just on their own and are kind of sweet.

The seaweed snacks are already available nationwide. The SeaSprinkles will be available sometime in June. It’s a new way to get your kids to eat their “greens.”

 

Come! E.A.T. with us! 

Twitter: @CoParentEATblog

Facebook: www.facebook.com/COParentEATblog

Email: ingoodtastedenver@gmail.com