Posts Tagged ‘ healthy eating ’

Mayim Bialik: “I Love Raising my Kids Vegan”

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Mayim Bialik-Mayim's Vegan TableStar of The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik is a mom of two, a trained neuroscientist (!), and the author of the new cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table. Recently Mayim spoke with us about the challenges and rewards of avoiding meat and dairy and how she gets her kids to eat Brussels sprouts.

What inspired you to write this cookbook?

I write for a website called Kveller.com where I talk about mom things like what I cooked and how I made things vegan…and there was interest in me publishing a book. I am not a fancy celebrity cook; I’m a regular mom with no chef or nanny or anything. These are the recipes I most often make for the non-vegans in my life as well as for my own family. Dr. Jay Gordon is pediatric nutritionist and pediatrician and he helped with all of the nutrition stuff in the book.

How long have you been vegan? What were your reasons for giving up meat products entirely?

I was always an animal lover and became vegetarian at 19. I still ate dairy and eggs, but after cutting out most dairy in college, my health improved significantly. I didn’t get seasonal allergies, I have not been on antibiotics or had a sinus infection since. When my first son was born, he got gassy, fussy and really miserable if I ate any dairy so I cut it out completely and that solved the problem! I read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer about six years ago and after that, I cut out all trace eggs and dairy. I am vegan for environmental reasons, nutritional and health reasons, and ethical reasons. I love the lifestyle and I love raising my kids vegan.

How old are your children now? Did you ever consider not raising them vegan?

My boys are 5 1/2 and 8. Their dad and I assumed we would raise them vegan unless it wasn’t working. But it is working! They are thriving and everyone is happy with how they eat.

What are the biggest challenges of cooking for a vegan family?

Talking to them about “growing foods” – meaning the foods that make you grow – and letting them know that it’s our job as parents to feed them well makes all conversations about food easier in my house. My kids know I expect them to eat food that is good for them, and they also know I want them to eat fun foods, too. I never bargain with them or bribe them to eat. I also don’t have a lot of the rules many of us grew up with such as “No dessert unless you finish everything on your plate” and stuff like that. I have found those things don’t work for my kids, and we have other ways to make meals enjoyable and a success for all!

Mayim Bialik Vegan PizzaDo your children ever ask you for non-vegan foods? How do you respond to them?

Once they hit about age 3 1/2, they understood we eat differently and they could understand why we couldn’t eat everything everywhere we go. I simply tell them that everyone eats differently, and this is how we eat to grow our bodies best without allergies and the problems many people have from eating animal products. Now that they are older, they like not eating animals (which they think are so cute), and they eat a ton of fun, exciting food. They sometimes get bummed out if they can’t eat cake at a kid’s party, but they get plenty of opportunities to eat cake so they are very reasonable about it.

What gifts do you feel being vegan has given your family?

A sense of consciousness in our eating, which is in line with our values. And for our bodies and with the support of our pediatrician, I believe this is the best way to raise my sons for their health and optimal growth.

Which of the recipes in the book are your kids’ favorites?

They like salads, like the green salad with agave (honey!)-mustard dressing. They love brussels sprouts and kale chips, and they of course love anything with Daiya cheese like pizza and quesadillas. They like any burrito I make which is good because I get to pack lots of healthy stuff in a burrito, and everyone is happy. And of course, they like any cookie I make. And my mom’s banana bread recipe!

You’re a busy lady! How do you find time to cook for your family? 

I cook ahead a lot. I generally don’t make super-elaborate stuff during the week since I barely have time! So, simple stuff on weekdays and a special thing or two on weekends or for holidays.

Are your kids choosy? What are your strategies for dealing with that?

My older son is choosier than my younger one. I try not to make a big deal of any food preferences since they invariably lead to struggles around food, which I really try and avoid. I try and have a few reasonable choices for everyone at each meal, and my rule is that if you don’t like the choices, you can eat anything raw in the house: I will cut up any fruit or vegetable and they can have any nuts in the cupboard. It seems to work fine for us.

Mayim Bialik Vegan CookiesWhat are some surprising foods that your kids like?

Well, they love brussels sprouts chips. They don’t taste bitter when you bake them with olive oil like I suggest in my book. It’s better than potato chips we think!

What are your thoughts on organic foods, especially for families on a budget?

If you want to pick and choose, there is a list of which fruits and veggies are most susceptible to holding pesticides, and which “Dirty Dozen” to avoid. We all do the best we can with our budget and lifestyle and I think any produce is better than none. I also hope the day comes when we don’t have to choose between budgeting and having healthy, organic foods available to all of us.

Some people may not be ready to be 100% vegan, but still interested in eating a more plant-based diet. What are some baby steps you recommend? 

I know being vegan isn’t for everyone and that’s fine! My book isn’t designed to make you vegan; it’s simply providing plant-based recipes that are yummy. I think it’s good to think about what foods you already enjoy that happen to be vegan, and eat more of that kind of thing. Bean-based chills, Asian food (which requires almost no dairy and rarely needs meat for a variety of dishes), and pastas are a good place to start. You don’t need to eat processed vegan foods if you don’t want to. There are plenty of plant-based options and recipes that you probably already can enjoy, and every meal counts!

Interview has been edited and condensed.

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Eating in Color: Helping Kids Love Fruits and Vegetables

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


Frances Largeman-Roth is a registered dietician, author of four cookbooks, and a mom of two—with a third on the way. A health expert who has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Today Show, she has helped thousands of women find the best foods during pregnancy, lose weight the right way, and incorporate healthier meals into their lives. Her latest book, Eating in Color, hits bookstores this month so we asked her how to add pops of color to our dinner plates and why it’s so important.

This book is entirely about fruits and vegetables—when they’re in season, how to choose them, how to store them, and, of course, how to use them. I have to ask: which is your favorite?

Mangos! When I spent a semester abroad in Australia, I learned how to cut them properly and incorporate them into many dishes. There are two seasons there: fall/winter and spring/summer, so you get different varieties.

You write about a study that found only 30 percent of Americans are getting the recommended 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit each day. Why is improving this statistic important to you?

My father passed away when I was 12. He had all the things that we now understand as warning signs for heart disease and diabetes. We just didn’t know it at the time. Growing up we ate fruits and vegetables, but with my mom’s German background there was also a lot of cured meats and pastries. Now that I’m a parent I understand that moms and dads are super busy, aren’t getting enough sleep, and are more stressed than ever. Because of that, convenience often outweighs nutrition. But this book is about eating better in a fun and visual way.

Tell us more about the five rules you created: eat color often, don’t be monochrome, go outside your comfort zone, make dates with your kitchen, and exercise.

I wanted to explain to readers how they can actually attain this lifestyle and not just admire beautiful images of fruits and veggies. I wanted to connect the message and explain the execution. Sure, everyone is crazy about kale right now, but you can’t just rely on that one super-healthy thing. Plus, trying new things is essential to your health. We all get stuck in ruts with the same go-to recipes or takeout dishes. Pushing out of your comfort zone, though it may take more time and planning, is worth it! And eventually a new recipe will become part of your repertoire. And getting active just has to be part of it.

You describe nutrition not just as a career choice but a life path. How can families make this a priority in their life while balancing their often-crazy schedules?

When you’re rushing home from work to pick up your kids to then rush home to cook something up for them, it’s easy to rely on processed food. But if you can spend time in the morning or on Sunday, you can make so much happen! Simply put it into your calendar to “chop veggies.”

A trip to a farmers market is a great way to get inspired and it’s really fun for your kids. It exposes them to new sights and tastes. You can do something similar at the grocery store because there’s always something new in season. Just the other day I saw a beautiful dragon fruit that turned into an entire lesson: I asked my daughter where it came from, what color it would be inside, how the rough and scaly texture looked and felt. The bottom line: What kid wouldn’t want to try a super-bright pink fruit? This is such an easy way to dive in.

When your daughter Willa was learning colors in school, you offered her “reds, oranges, and greens” instead of “beets, sweet potatoes, and broccoli.” How did changing your food vocabulary help?

It sounds like such a small idea, but it made everything much less frustrating at the dinner table. I completely understand that from the parents’ perspective, trying to get your child to try one item 15 to 20 times is just too many. By the tenth try, you’ve wasted too much food and energy. Instead, go into it with a no-stress mentality. Just put a new food on the table and see what happens. Remember: sometimes kids are simply exerting independence when they are picky about dinner. If you take the pressure off both them and yourself, much of it can be resolved. This doesn’t mean your kids will eat and love everything, but it helps them try new things.

I like to display fruits and veggies in little bowls and in compartmental kids’ plates. I often ask them, “How many colors we can get on our plates tonight?” My two can get a bit competitive with each other, which can help on the dinner-table front.


Some families have super-picky eaters. What else can they do to make the introduction of new foods easier or more appealing?

Let your child have some control. During a trip to the farmers market or grocery store, ask him or her to pick out produce by color—one yellow and one red. Depending on your child’s age, have him or her pick out a recipe and then make it with them. I can guarantee that because they had a hand in it, your children will be more willing to try it.

Just remember that it takes patience. Kids can love something one time and hate it the next. (And vice versa.) But don’t ever stop offering! Their tastes are constantly changing. Or, like in my daughter’s case, their siblings can be influential. When she saw her brother eating avocado, she wanted some.

Don’t cater to “kid food.” The more you offer tater tots and chicken nuggets, the less your children will try the other things. I’m a big advocate of the family meal. Sure, you can have back-ups on hand, but you are not a short-order cook.

Your recipes run the gamut from meals, sides, and snacks to drinks and desserts. Why so much variety?

I wanted to show that fruits and vegetables have a place in everything. When I first started working on the book, I made a list of my chapters. I always knew it would be organized by color. So I started asking myself tough questions like “Besides a pie or crumble, what else can I do with rhubarb?” I approached recipes from outside the box.

You also added a black and tan chapter—including grains, seeds, nuts, and oats. (And my favorite: chocolate!) Why are these are just as important?

I think of the black and tan chapter as the items you pair with all of the other colors. It’s your base layer. To me, these items are a great way to bring in a lot of texture to your dishes.

Okay, we want the scoop. What’s your go-to when you’re in a pinch?

We have pasta often because it’s very versatile. I personally like to make roasted veggies on the side. I use whatever’s in season—butternut squash, sugar snap peas, purple onion, baby carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes. Creating a mix is best! We always have grated Parmesan in the fridge so a spaghetti dish can be done in 15 minutes.


Interview has been edited and condensed.

Author photo by Quentin Bacon.

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Bethenny Frankel: “What you put into your kid you get out.”

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Have you seen Bethenny Frankel’s new talk show? The SkinnyGirl entrepreneur tackles some serious issues on Bethenny, her new daytime show. Parents attended a taping that covered everything from fashion advice to a discipline debate to a discussion on body image. After the taping, Parents sat in on a blogger Q&A with Bethenny as she talked about spanking, healthy eating, and spending quality time with her 3-year-old daughter, Bryn.

What’s your best advice for single moms?

BF: Prioritize. You don’t really have a lot of free time so, you have to be organized and efficient. Quality time is the most important thing with your child. You have to sleep. I don’t have a nanny, so the minute I get up it’s game time until 8 o’clock when it’s bedtime. I try to get sleep so I feel good all day and we can do great things together. I work really intensely and hard and do two shows a day, which is really difficult, but I cram it all in so that the other time is free time, but there’s no manicures, there’s no me time. I just go right to pick her up from school to make it great for the both of us.

During the discipline debate segment during this morning’s taping there was a lot of discussion about spanking and about the new trend of shaming. What are your thoughts on disciplining this way?

BF: Just to be clear, I didn’t have that much of a problem with the woman telling her daughter to hold the sign [on her Facebook saying she had used the site inappropriately], but I would never do that. It’s not even in the realm of possibility, nor is hitting. [The Facebook photo] just didn’t create such a visceral reaction in me, but hitting does. Although, I remember when a teacher told me I looked like I’d gone through an egg-beater because my hair was messy and I do remember that being traumatizing. I still remember that and it was third grade. I think you can reason with children. They feel your energy. You have to be calm and direct. My daughter is young, until you get older you don’t know, but I just wouldn’t lay my hands on anyone.

So what is your tactic for disciplining, since you’re not a spanker or a shamer?

BF: Just consequences. If I say “no” and my daughter disobeys me or she cries [because I say “no”], it’s okay, you can cry. People cry when they get sad. You can cry. Let her go through it, but I think you can’t take the path of least resistance. A lot of times when a kid is crying a parent just wants it to stop so they give them a toy or a treat. I’m willing to sit through it, even at a restaurant, even if there are other people there. Not a crazy tantrum because I’m not going to ruin someone else’s meal, but I’ll let it go for a second. It does end. You have to be patient about it.

With a daughter and the show, how do you still prioritize healthy eating for yourself and Bryn with such little time?

BF: It’s just ingrained in you, but it’s not always perfect. Yesterday I was with her in the morning and I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I had half of one of those big sprinkle cookies because it was her snack time. I had part of that for breakfast which isn’t the ideal breakfast, but I don’t really get overly caught up in it. Then for lunch I had sushi and then at dinner I had a veggie burger. It’s kind of all balanced out. I’m not always healthy, I had French fries last night, but I had French fries with a veggie burger. It’s all in moderation. You want to be the person who’s here and drinking green juices every day or like Ellen [DeGeneres] where it’s all raw and organic and vegan, but that’s not going to happen.

As the face of the SkinnyGirl empire, and after the discussion of body image duing the taping today, how do you plan to teach your daughter to have a positive body image amidst all the noise?

BF: I don’t think it’s a teaching thing, I think it’s a living breathing thing. I hear moms saying “I look fat in these jeans” or “I was bad” or “I’m going on a diet” and all of those are cues that children hear from a young age. There is none of that in my house at all. There is no noise about exercise or working out. She just eats what she wants. I do see other kids that are very focused on food and they want to eat it all and they want more and vice versa, kids that won’t eat at all, but she’s pretty balanced. I happen to be lucky that my daughter isn’t someone who is obsessed with food. It’s about not having all of that stuff in your house. If you have chicken nuggets and processed food and they get used to that, that’s the slippery slope. I’m proud of the fact that she likes healthy food. And then I don’t mind, have ice cream, or pizza, or chips, but there’s a base that’s healthy. She just likes brown rice, or pea soup, and greens, but of course she can have ice cream. There are no “no’s.” I think that’s another problem is that parents are big on restricting. I was the house with cut up fruit and sliced turkey and other people had Cap’n Crunch and you were so excited. Or Twinkies! I don’t have that stuff in my house, but if you’re somewhere and you want to: have it.

When you do have down time, what do you like to do for you time and what do you like to do with your daughter?

BF: Oh my G-d when am I by myself? When I’m by myself, yoga or talk a walk with my dog, just go somewhere in the city. I’ll take a walk along the river or get a coffee somewhere. Sometimes it just feels free to be alone. I’m a person that likes to be alone and I’m not alone that much. … Just walk and wander. Do nothing, mindless nothing. When I’m with my daughter anything. The playground, biking, the park. Just fun things that I think are an adventure. It’s so nice, it’s so fun together.

Do you have any plans of how you two will spend the holidays?

BF: The traditional traditions. I love doing the Christmas tree with her and taking her to see the windows and to Central Park and Rockefeller Center. I’m very big on activities, whether it’s pumpkin-picking or carving pumpkins or apple-picking and making apple pie out of it, cooking, we’ll definitely do Christmas cookies, we’ll definitely do the tree-decorating and the house-decorating. That’s the best thing about kids, they make you young again. You have somebody to do all these great activities with that as an adult we sleep, we workout, when you’re single you didn’t do all these fun interesting activities. Life’s pretty active with her. There’s not really a moment that’s not filled.

A lot of times I’m exhausted, but I’m not a sit-in-front-of-the-TV mom. I want to do great, interesting things with her. It doesn’t mean we have to go to Europe to the Eiffel Tower, it just means sit on the playground or have a picnic. You feel good about yourself. What you put into your kid you get out.

To watch the discipline debate on Bethenny, tune in Monday, November 18. Check your local listings.

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Andre Agassi’s Box Budd!es Shake Up The Lunchbox

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Parents caught up with tennis star, humanitarian, father (and now snack-creator) Andre Agassi upon the launch of his new snack line for kids, Box Budd!es. Agassi teamed up with V20 Foods to create snacks from milk boxes to granola bars.We particularly enjoyed the fun new Peachy Apple Fruit Pouch as a twist on traditional applesauce. The chocolate granola bars win the Parents vote since they’re the perfect size for a lunchbox treat, with only 100 calories and 5 grams of sugar each. Not to mention, all of the proceeds from these foods benefit the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. But aside from this endeavor, as dad to Jaden, 11, and Jaz, 9, this pro has plenty to say about healthy eating, kids and sports, and teaching your child kindness.

P: What got you started on the nutritional front for kids?

AA: The impetus was about education and it morphed into educating on two fronts. All the money goes to my Foundation for Education, so we can educate our future, and we also educate parents on how to make better choices for their kids.

P: The snacks are a bit healthier and the proceeds support education, but I have to imagine taste was a factor. Were Jaden and Jaz your taste-testers?

AA: They were two of them, let me put it that way. Their cousins were four more and their friends. As we got closer to the end product it became a fun thing in the house. We would line up all these blind taste tests and cut them into little tiny squares so you could compare them and then they would all do their little notes about them. It was actually a pretty fun process.

P: So are applesauce and chocolate milk some of their favorite foods?

AA: We have the same dilemma every parent has in that you keep your kids living a well-balanced health lifestyle and it starts with educating them on their choices and forcing them to eat something healthy before they eat something that’s not as healthy.

P: What are you tricks of the trade in getting them to choose that healthier option?

AA: Well, it’s a mandate. If you want something that’s unhealthy for a snack, you first have to eat an apple. You want to go to dessert, you have to finish this on your plate. It’s filling them up on the good stuff before they choose the bad stuff. If they ask for snacks, as long as they eat something healthy they can have the snack. We don’t discriminate against the snack as long as they start with the healthy option.

P: I know that you are involved with the Boys and Girls club, an organization that mixes education and athletics. Do Jaden and Jaz play sports to keep active and healthy?

AA: Yeah. My son plays baseball, full stop, and my daughter’s on two hip hop dance competition teams. She is rock hard now and she’s nine. I didn’t even know bodies could do those movements. It’s crazy to watch her do it.We’re there at competitions and games cheering all the time.

P: In your autobiography, Open, you talk a lot about how tennis felt pressurized for you. How do you keep athletics, or dance, or physical activity in general fun for your kids? 

AA: Well, we’re not the kind of parents who expect them to do this for a lifetime. We try to nurture what they gravitate towards and they both found their niche pretty quickly. We just support it. There’s nothing to push them at. They just have to see through their responsibility. It’s really smiple: You’re going to fulfill your responsibility. Jaz is part of two dance competitions. She doesn’t have to do it next year, but this year I say, “You’re going to every practice, you’re going to go to every competition.” Same with Jaden—he can make his choices year to year if that’s what he chooses, but I harp on being responsible.

P: Through your Foundation and all of the wonderful causes that you’ve been a supporter of, giving back is clearly an important value to you. How do you go about instilling that value in your children?

AA: All of those things I did that led me  to education. I got tired of sticking band-aids on issues and I wanted to give the tools for real systemic change. But I will tell you this, and one thing I’ve learned most profoundly as a parent: children will learn from what they see way more than what you tell them. So the fact that I’m in New York right now for two days and I’m not home with them, they want to know where I am and why I’m going. I walk them through what I’m doing, as an example, with Box Budd!es. They all of a sudden realize that I’m not really doing something I want to do—I don’t want to travel, I don’t want to leave them—but I have to because it is the right thing to do. So they see that more than telling them. Next thing you know on the weekend they’re having a lemonade drive for the ASPCA to save pets and animals. It’s remarkable how that correlates.

P: I know that Jaden has a birthday coming up, he’s about to turn 12. Do you have birthday plans?

AA: Both of them actually. Jaz wants to take her entire dance team to the Jabberwockies. So that would be the third year in a row she wants to do that. They’re better athletes than anyone I’ve ever seen on a tennis court. They’re remarkable what they can do. Jaden, his birthday is late October so he’s still sort of morphing back and forth between a very understated barbeque with just a few friends or a big movie night with his entire team.

P: Will you serve Box Budd!es at the birthday party?

I’m gonna push this as much as possible. I hope this brand builds. I hope that when people see that seal, that logo, that this is really going towards our future, that they trust the source, and that 100 percent of all my proceeds are going directly to our future.

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Parents Pinterest Board Takeover

Friday, September 27th, 2013

If you’re like many busy parents across the country (including us), it can be tough to come up with quick meal ideas to keep your family healthy and happy. Enter food blog superstar Stacie Billis. The author of “One Hungry Mama,” a family-friendly food blog with tips, tricks and recipes to encourage healthy eating, is also a child development specialist who produced her own organic family food brand. She believes that keeping an eye on what kids eat is just as important as monitoring what they play with and watch on TV. For the month of October, Billis will be joining the fun over on our Pinterest page and pinning her favorite recipes, parenting tricks and other One Hungry Mama-approved picks.

In addition to being our guest pinner, Billis also lends her voice to the Huffington Post and Cool Mom Picks, where she is a regular contributor. Her work has also been featured in publications including Parents magazine and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine to name just a few.

Happy pinning!

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

New Early Warning System for the Brain Development of Babies
A new research technique, pioneered by Dr. Maria Angela Franceschini, will be published in JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) on March 14th. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have developed a non-invasive optical measurement system to monitor neonatal brain activity via cerebral metabolism and blood flow. (via Science Daily)

Celebrity Endorsements May Spur Kids’ Unhealthy Eating
Kids eat more of a food product that has been endorsed by a celebrity, researchers report in a new study. (via Fox News)

Lawsuit Says 2-year-old Ate Used Condom at Chicago McDonald’s
McDonald’s Corp has been sued by a woman who said her 2-year-old son ate a used condom he found in the play area of one of its restaurants in Chicago. (via Fox News)

Bill Clinton Delivers Keynote Address At Global Education And Skills Forum
Bill Clinton is delivering the keynote address at the inaugural Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. (via Huffington Post)

California Teacher Layoffs Decline Because Of Prop 30
After years of threatening to lay off tens of thousands of teachers due to budget shortfalls, California has some relatively good news: less than one-eighth of the number of teachers who got pink-slipped last year will be out of work next year. (via Huffington Post)

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Rosie to the Rescue: How I’m Getting My Kids to Eat More Healthfully

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

So I’m not exactly Betty Crocker. In fact I’m probably one of the worst cooks I know.

But I always cook with a lot of love and I like to think, what I do know how to cook, I do a pretty dandy job at it.  It seems as though my cooking ability grows with my children’s palettes, and as I drive myself to get better in order to provide them with tastier, more diverse dishes, chock-full of nutrients, I keep picking up little tips and tricks to make my meals far more nutritionally advanced than perhaps the recipe implies.

Over the years of pasta dishes (I have just about every shape imaginable), a gazillion different versions of eggs and a hundred versions of breakfast-style dishes (they are my forte and often make an appearance at meals other than breakfast), I have made sure my kids didn’t fall short of nutrients and new flavors even if my skill set did. Whether you are a culinary genius or, while you, like I, work on your cooking skills and encourage your wee ones to eat the foods they so stubbornly resist (ahem, fish and Brussels sprouts anyone?), I have developed a little list of things to make sure your chef learning curve doesn’t affect the amount of goodness your little ones are getting:

  • Flax seeds are your friend: Grind up flax seeds rich in Omega fatty acids and throw them in anything you can. I’m talking oatmeal, yogurt, pasta, everything!
  • Make fruit fun. Chop it up and make a flower, a happy face, or whatever puts a smile on your kids’ faces. Even if your wee ones won’t eat as many veggies as you’d like, don’t underestimate the goodness of a variety of fruit and being able to put a few veggies into the fruit platter, especially when it gets billed as “dessert.” Presentation is everything.
  • Smoothies make me smile. You’d be amazed how much green stuff (kale, anyone?) can be disguised when mushed with fruit, ice, and yogurt. I’ve never had much success with “hiding” veggies in other recipes but in smoothies, they’re an instant hit. Freeze them in lollipop molds, and you have one happy household.
  • Try and serve a rainbow of colors in food (and I’m not talking jellybeans). If you see a sea of yellow on their plate, you need to throw in some red and some green and orange.
  • Make friends with your oven. If veggies aren’t your wee one’s thing and you aren’t having much success using them in recipes, raw or roasted always seem to go down easier.
  • Don’t be ashamed of squeezy pouches.  Try and squeeze those tasty veggie combos into whatever you are cooking.  There’s no shame as long as they are eating the goodness, however you get it to them.  Too many times have I tried to steam, mash, puree, and mix veggies, taking up hours of my time away from playing with the kids and, with my skills set, all that comes of it is a colossal mess and nothing but squash stuck to my ceiling.
  • Encourage your kids to cook with you.  The more mine are involved in the process, the more they are willing to try what’s on their plates.
  • Give them a little choice and control, but not too much.  For example: the shape of pasta (farfalle or penne?), but not the cheese or pasta sauce they must eat with it.
  • Most of all, don’t be afraid to try and fail–and laugh about it later–with  your kids.  They are your greatest fans and most honest critics, and together you can make nutritious and delicious food, even if it doesn’t involve hand-rolling your own sushi!
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7 Delicious Foods for Your Kid’s Heart

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

You may have read the news yesterday that blueberries and strawberries can lower your risk of heart disease by about a third. I thought the study—a joint effort between Harvard University and East Anglia University in England—was totally cool for two reasons: Researchers started tracking the women when they were young moms—25 to 42—while most other work of this kind has been done in older women, and blueberries and strawberries are my daughter’s two favorite foods. Seriously, Katie said to me a couple of weeks ago, “I like strawberries better than candy.” And knowing how much she loves candy, that’s a bold statement!

Last night, I sent a note to one of the study’s authors, Aedin Cassidy, Ph.D., from East Anglia University, asking whether she thought her results applied to kids as well as moms. She responded right away: “This is a very interesting question,” she wrote. “We don’t have data on kids but if you extrapolate from our study, it’s likely that a healthy diet in childhood will also play out to a reduced risk of heart disease later in life.” That’s good enough for me. High cholesterol and high blood pressure, two big-time risk factors for heart disease, are becoming increasingly common in kids. One study published last year found that 24,000 children received treatment for elevated BP in 2006—double that compared to a decade before.

Dr. Cassidy also added that besides the strawberries and blueberries that got all the attention on the news yesterday, eggplant, plums, red cabbage, and other berries (like cranberries and raspberries) are also rich in pigments called anthocyanins that help lower the risk of heart disease and keep blood pressure in check. I’ve found some great recipes for each of them. Dig in!

* Strawberries: Puree berries in the blender for strawberry milk or make this strawberry soup for a Valentine’s treat.

* Blueberries: For baby, consider this blueberry puree while older kids will love these blueberry yogurt pops.

* Eggplant: Watch Disney’s Ratatouille, then make this pasta and eggplant dish.

* Plums: This plum pizza with feta cheese is a great way to work fruit into dinner.

* Red cabbage: Try this recipe for apple and cabbage baby food. For older kids, slip shredded cabbage into sandwiches—they’ll probably like it better than lettuce.

* Cranberries: Both fresh and dried are packed with the healthy pigments. Try these cranberry granola bars and this homemade cranberry sauce (it’s not just for Thanksgiving!)

* Raspberries: Whip up a healthy raspberry sauce to top whole-grain pancakes and waffles.

 

 

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