Posts Tagged ‘ vegetables ’

Alison Sweeney Takes “One Giant Pledge” to Eat More Veggies

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

On October 2, actress and The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney joined Green Giant in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal to take a pledge for veggies!

Sweeney promised, on behalf of her family, to eat just one more vegetable per day–and encouraged all of the young school students in attendance to do the same.

(Families can also take the pledge on Green Giant’s Facebook page.)

Parents.com had a few moments to chat with Sweeney, mom to Ben, 7, and Megan, 3, about how she helps her kids make healthy food choices.

How do you encourage your kids to eat their vegetables?

We always come up with new, different ways to be healthy, like trying different recipes. There are a lot of ways to be creative and include vegetables. There’s the French fry approach, where I let them eat green beans with their hands and sometimes we dip them in stuff.  Some veggies are great raw. My son doesn’t like bell peppers when they’re cooked, but he loves them raw.

What are some veggie meals you make that are good for kids?

I love to make a veggie stir-fry for my kids because I think it’s a great way to get tons of vegetables in a meal. People always think they need a cup of rice for every stir-fry portion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think people’s proportions get all skewed. You can do a quarter cup of rice, have mostly veggies, and add a protein. Stir-fry is also good because it can be made with whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge, so I pull out what I have in the freezer and my kids love it.

What do you make stir-fry with?

I stick to a healthy oil, like a safflower oil or something light. I do find healthier stir-fry sauces and ingredients, but as long as kids are getting their veggies, keep sauce to a minimum for just enough flavor.  A lot of the time parents end up making bad choices. When you’re tired or the kids are tired, you don’t want arguments about dinner, so kids end up getting used to eating delicious but bad-for-you food. I can’t just let kids eat chicken fingers or Pop tarts every day. My kids do eat mac ‘n’ cheese, but in smaller portions with a lot of veggies.

You mentioned your son loves bell peppers. Are there any other vegetables that are great for kids?

Carrots, snap peas, and peas. Also broccolini and broccoli. (Green Giant has a great vegetable medley that kids love.) My kids love edamame. The veggies that are hard to sell kids on are asparagus and Brussels sprouts.  My son’s teacher told me that it takes 10 tastings for someone to get used to a flavor, to know whether he likes something, so I’m still working on 10 tries for some veggies.

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters?

Picky eaters are a really hard thing, but you can use hunger as your ally. It’s okay to let them get a little hungry so they’re more likely to eat. Then you only offer them veggies. Kids are not going to starve. Also offer veggies as a snack when your kids get home from school, and have them prepared and ready to go in little bags. There are great reusable bags now at Pottery Barn Kids; I stuff them with carrot or bell pepper sticks and sugar snap peas.  You really have to set boundaries on what’s allowed. With my kids, we work with set rules. We have Mac ‘n’ Cheese Monday, so they get mac ‘n’ cheese only on Monday. For Taco Friday we do taco wraps. My kids love using lettuce as wraps. You just have to put the taco mix inside. Often we think kids need basic or bland foods, but it’s really not the case. I put cinnamon in my kids’ oatmeal when they were around 6-8 months old and they loved it. I don’t want them getting used to tasting really starchy, bland food. I want them to expect flavor and texture. I use agave nectar with carrots and a little rosemary, and it’s delicious and sweet. I think there is a world of options out there.

What are other things you do with your kids to promote healthy living?

I think it’s super important to let your kids know that you’re active, too. You have to practice what you preach. I’ve been super successful at explaining why I need to work out. I tell my kids, “Mommy needs to get her exercise and go to the gym.” They see me making exercise a core part of my life, so that’s going to help them down the road. We do a lot of stuff that’s active as a family, like going on hikes with our dog, flying kites, and running into the ocean. I burn a lot of calories swimming with my kids and playing baseball with my son. With my daughter, we run around and dance. We have so much fun. You can find ways to be challenged by your kids and encourage them in the process. You have to commit to it.

What’s the best or worst parenting advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I got when I had my first child was: Imagine if you were holding an 18-month-old child when you hear your other child, an infant, crying. You would have to do something, but you can’t just drop your child and run to the baby. You would have to put your kid down, give him a toy or something to do, and then go tend to your infant.  There’s no need to panic.  Just take a breath instead. So many new parents feel everything is very high-stakes, that they have to run off to the infant, but it’s good to just wonder, what if there was a sibling already? It’s okay to just take a minute, take your time.

What inspires you as a parent?

My kids’ smiles inspire me every day. When you become a parent, all your decision-making changes.  Every decision I make now is based on how it will affect my children. Sometimes it means having to discipline them or to make tough choices that will make them unhappy, but I have to do what is best for them their whole life.

For more about healthy eating and living, check out the following on Parents.com:

Image: Alison Sweeney, center, poses with stilt walker Michael Schruefer, left, and Sprout at the Green Giant event. Courtesy of Green Giant.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Child Care Subsidies Drop When Families Need Them Most
Federal and state subsidies have taken a hit from budget cuts, forcing parents to find other arrangements to stay employed.

Getting Kids to Eat Veggies Can be Sticky Business
Researchers found that when parents gave their 3- and 4-year-olds a sticker each time they took a “tiny taste” of a disliked vegetable, it gradually changed the preschoolers’ attitude.

ADHD Drugs Safe for Adults’ Hearts, Research Finds
Ritalin and other drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder are safe for adults’ hearts, even though they can increase blood pressure and heart rate, according to the largest study of these medicines in adults.

More Women in Combat Means More Mothers with PTSD
With more female troops in combat, there has been an increase in PTSD diagnoses: One in five female veterans suffer from PTSD, according to the VA.

Mom’s Hug Revives Baby that Was Pronounced Dead
After being told her newborn son was dead, mother Kate Ogg was able to cuddle and caress her baby’s limp body back to life, astonishing doctors.

Why Working Mothers Are Happier and Healthier Than Stay-at-Home Moms
Despite the juggling act required to hold down a job and care for children, moms who work report they’re healthier and happier than moms who stay at home when their kids are babies and preschoolers.

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Daily News Roundup

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

“Dirty Dozen” List of Produce
The “dirty dozen” list of the twelve fruits and vegetables with the highest amount of pesticide residue was released Monday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). (Third Age.com)

FDA Bans ‘Waterproof,’ ‘Sweatproof’ Sunscreen Labels
Not all sunscreens are created equal, and indeed, searching for the perfect formulation—waterproof, sweatproof, sunblock or spray—can overwhelm even the most decisive shopper. But a new set of rules regulating sunscreen released by the Food & Drug Administration on Tuesday aims to take the guesswork out of finding effective sun protection for consumers. (Mainstreet.com)

Could Sleeping on Left Side Help Prevent Stillbirth?
For pregnant women, reducing the risk for stillbirth may be as simple as sleeping on their left side, New Zealand researchers suggest. (Health.com)

(more…)

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Two Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat More Veggies

Monday, May 10th, 2010

1. Offer more. That’s the bottom line of a new study from Penn State, which found that as the amount of carrots presented to 3- to 5-year-olds increased, so did the amount the children ate. They did have their limit, though: The researchers were able to double the original amount offered over four weeks; but once they started to triple it, the kids didn’t fall for it.

2. Offer them at the start of a meal. The Penn State researchers always gave the veggies at the start of the meal. This tells us that this is the best time to get your children to eat as many vegetables as you can: when they’re nice and hungry and more willing to eat whatever you put in front of them.

I like this strategy. I’ve been known to give a little cup of Cheerios as a snack in those last minutes when my kids are melting down at warp speed while their food either hasn’t finished cooking, or is piping hot and needs to cool off. I think I’ll reorder my food-prep to-do list so that the veggies are always ready first, and serve them while they wait for the rest of their meal.

Photo via.

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