News & Views on Child Nutrition
For Parents, Educators, and Health Professionals
Editor: Connie Liakos Evers, MS, RD
Issue 77,December 2010
society, when exactly did we decide that there are “adult” foods and
the Reset Button on Family Health Habits
There's no denying that Americans
have been impacted by major social, cultural, and lifestyle changes
over the past 30-40 years. Many of these lifestyle trends have contributed
to the growing problem of both adult and child obesity and related health
Don't you wish you could press
a reset button and return to some of the family traditions
of your youth that promoted better health? Did you play outside for
hours on end? Walk to school? Eat family meals without fail? Drink the
occasional soft drink out of an 8 oz. bottle (as opposed to daily gulps
of 20, 44, or gasp, 64 oz.?)
As a society, when exactly did
we decide that there are adult foods and kid
foods? I guess my mom never got that memo. When I was growing up, we
all ate the same food at the same time (and I don't recall chicken nuggets
as part of the menu).
Below are eight ways to reset
for better health. I'm sure you can think of more. Email
me with your suggestions and I will share them on my facebook
- Rethink the American concept of
eating at every occasion and every location and instead, return to innate
eating. In other words, learn to listen to your body's hunger/fullness
signals and encourage your children to do the same. After all, infants
are born knowing when they are hungry and precisely how much to eat
at each feeding. We gradually lose this ability to respond to body cues
as we are exposed to environmental and cultural influences.
- Reset to family meals as the default
meal each day. Drive through dining, eating on the run, or grabbing
mall or ballpark food should be reserved for rare occasions. Ask your
child to help you with the planning, shopping and cooking. You will
be amazed at how this impacts his/her attitude about food.
- Think retro in regards
to plates, bowls and glasses. It's no coincidence that the size of our
dinnerware has increased in sync with our waistlines. Bigger dishes
= bigger portions. Try using salad plates as dinner plates and bowls
designed for dip or salsa for breakfast cereal.
- Choose restaurants that care about
kids' health. Instead of soda pop, French fries, and chicken nuggets,
ask for meals that automatically default to healthy sides such as salad,
apple slices, milk, or baby carrots.
- When kids are bored and out of
ideas, make active play the default choice for what to do.
Set time limits on all electronic-based toys, computers, movies and
- Teach children this equation:
THIRST = WATER! Serve 1% or nonfat milk as the default beverage at meals,
and limit 100% fruit juice to 4-6 ounces each day.
- Reset snack time as the occasion
to refuel active, growing bodies with mostly healthy choices, not just
sweets and treats. Provide easy choices such as cut-up fruits and vegetables,
low-fat yogurt and cheese, whole grain crackers or bread, lean protein
sources, and nuts.
- While public health policy and
legislation are useful tools (think: nutrition on menu boards, healthy
school meals, incentives for healthy behaviors), it will always ultimately
be our choice to practice healthy habits. As you head into a new year,
consider real personal change that will impact you, your family, and
your community. After all, habits both good and bad are
A mantra of public health
professionals is to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Try this same philosophy in your home!
"Nutrition & Fitness for your Child: Ten Steps to Healthy Habits"
image below for a PDF copy of this recipe:
Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup
Rich in calcium, vitamin A,
vitamin C and potassium, this soup is a welcome addition to a winter
day. Serve with fresh fruit and whole grain sandwiches for an easy complete
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups Vegetable broth
¼ cup Flour
¼ cup Smart Balance® Spread (or other trans-fat free spread)
½ cup Onion, finely chopped
3 cups 1% milk
2 cups Fresh broccoli florets, cut into small pieces
¼ tsp Red pepper flakes (optional)
½ tsp pepper, black
1 cup Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Peel and dice potatoes and cook
in vegetable broth until tender. In a separate large saucepan, melt
the Smart Balance® over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook
for 1 minute. Add flour and cook roux, whisking, for 3 minutes. Add
milk gradually, whisking and bring to a boil. Add the black pepper and
red pepper flakes, if desired. Gradually add the potatoes with broth
and whisk until smooth. Add chopped broccoli and cook until tender.
Remove from heat. Add the grated sharp cheddar cheese and whisk until
melted. Serve immediately.
Nutrition (per 1 cup serving):
Calories: 211, Total Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 417mg, Potassium:
547mg, Carbohydrates: 21g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 9g
Updates from Connie
Healthy Holiday Tips
from FK Readers
From Stephanie Levick:
It can be as simple as taking a walk in your neighborhood with your
family after a Holiday dinner or lunch. Depends on where you live
and the weather but it will get everyone up and moving and not parked
in front of the TV!!! Hope you have a wonderful season.
From Christine Cliff:
low-fat or fat-free yogurt for sour cream in your recipes for
own spritzer (as a substitute for alcoholic drink) using soda
water and cranberry juice. Garnish with a lime twist or wedge.
are in your baking recipes, use one full egg (white and yolk)
and egg whites for the balance. Remember, two egg whites for every
one egg needed in a recipe. This will help bring down the fat
content in your baked item.
From Georgia Orcutt, Program
Oldways - Changing the Way People Eat
Mediterranean Diet for the Holidays
meals as often as you can. Keep your pantry, refrigerator, and
freezer stocked with Med Diet basics so you can come home from
a busy day and put an affordable, healthy meal on the table quickly,
avoiding last minute trips for groceries or fast food. Stock up
on extra-virgin olive oil, canned tuna and sardines, canned tomatoes,
frozen vegetables and shrimp, whole grains (including pasta),
eggs, hard cheese for grating, Greek yogurt, olives, and nuts,
plus an assortment of herbs and spices. Keep apples, celery, and
carrots in the refrigerator along with hummus and tzatziki. And
don't skip breakfast or lunch!
- Be smart about buffet party
tables. Enjoy the feast with your eyes first. Survey the table and
think about ways to fill half your plate with vegetables. Once you
have served yourself, move away from the table and stay away so you
won?t be tempted to overeat.
- Eat lots of vegetables. Include
a variety of vegetables in your holiday meals, and try new ways of
preparing them. Shred winter squash and sweet potatoes in the food
processor and sauté them in olive oil and garlic. Roast beets, carrots,
potatoes, and onions in the oven. Sauté fresh spinach with garlic
and add a squeeze of lemon. Create pretty and tasty salads, using
different colors of lettuce, watercress, and fresh herbs, and serve
them with a simple vinaigrette.
- Find alternatives to sweets.
Save sweet treats and desserts for truly special occasions during
the season, rather than making them daily fare. Reach for a handful
of nuts, an apple or orange, or some homemade trail mix, or make a
small amount of popcorn when you need a snack. Going to a party? Take
spiced nuts, fruit baskets, assorted olives, fresh veggies with healthy
dips, special cheeses, or wine.
Let's Move Salad Bars
Move Salad Bars to Schools, sponsored by the Food Family Farming
Foundation, National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance and United Fresh Produce
Association Foundation, supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move
January 1, 2011, schools participating in the National School Lunch
Program (NSLP) can apply for grants that will allow them to place salad
bars in schools. Let's
Move is a nationwide initiative to promote making healthy choices,
improving food quality in schools, increasing access to healthy, affordable
food, and increasing physical activity for a healthier generation of
Fast Food F.A.C.T.S. Releases
Children as young as age 2 are seeing more
fast food ads than ever before, and restaurants rarely offer parents
the healthy kids meal choices, according to a new study from Yales
Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The reports authors
studied marketing efforts of 12 of the nations largest fast food
chains, and examined the calories, fat, sugar and sodium in more than
3,000 kids meal combinations and 2,781 menu items. Their evaluation
of marketing practices revealed that the fast food industry spent more
than $4.2 billion on marketing and advertising in 2009, focusing extensively
on television, the Internet, social media sites and mobile applications.
Read the full report here
and visit http://www.fastfoodmarketing.org/
for additional info and resources.
Recent Studies of Interest:
- Study out of Iceland shows that
nutrition education in the classroom results in positive behavior change
(How to Teach Nutrition to Kids was one of the resources used
in this study) Link
- Schoolchildren's Consumption
of Competitive Foods and Beverages, Excluding à la Carte Link
- Children's Screen Viewing is Related
to Psychological Difficulties Irrespective of Physical Activity Link
Recommended: Garden ABCs
is a school garden share site for parents, teachers and community members
seeking guidance, resources, fundraising, networking and teaching support
to start and maintain school and community gardens. The founder of GardenABCs,
Anne Nagro is a master gardener and author of Our
Super Garden. (Connie was a nutrition advisor for this exciting
new children's book).
information contained in this newsletter is not intended as a substitute
for medical and/or nutrition advice. See your physician and/or registered
dietitian for individual health and/or dietary concerns.
by Connie Liakos Evers, All Rights Reserved.
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