Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits

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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.
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Dinner Together Building Healthy Families One Meal at a Time.

Food Politics Marion Nestle's intelligent take on the politics of food and nutrition.

Fooducate Like Having a Dietician on Speed dial.

Hoboken Family Alliance A terrific resource for people living in the great city of Hoboken, NJ.

The Lunch Tray Everything you need to know about improving school lunches.

Parent Hacks Forehead-Smackingly Smart Tips

Raise Healthy Eaters One of the best blogs (other than my own) for learning to raise healthy eaters.

Real Mom Nutrition Tales from the Trenches. Advice for the Real World. From a mom-nutritionist who knows!

Stay and Play The best indoor playspace on the East Coast. Oh yeah, and it happens to be owned by my brother.

weelicious Great Recipes for Kids 

Monday
Jun202016

5 Different Ways to Teach Toddlers to Try New Foods

Over the years I have shared the secret of successfully introducing toddlers to new foods and it is this: Stop trying to get kids to EAT new foods and encourage FOOD EXPLORATION instead.
  • Eliminate pressure
  • Increase comfort with unfamiliar foods
  • Replace "I don't like it!"
Sensory education is the proven way to give kids more confidence around new foods. Many parents have trouble figuring out how to move beyond, "Do you like it?" Here are 5 different ways to teach toddlers to explore new foods using all their senses. 


5 Sensory Tools

Download a copy here.

~Changing the Conversation from Nutrition to Habits.~
Monday
Jun132016

Study: Fresh Fruit is Better Than Candy. Can You Say, "Duh?"

Yes, we need this kind of research, but really, I don't think anyone would be surprised by the results. Which snack is more filling? 

  • 65 calories of mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • 65 calories of a fruit-flavored candy (made with real fruit juice)

Give people a snack: one day candy, another day fruit. An hour later, let them eat as much pasta as they want. What happened?

A 20% increase in pasta calories after the candy compared to the fruit.

  • The candy snackers consumed 825 calories' worth of pasta
  • The fruit snackers consumed 690 calories' worth of pasta

From a nutrition perspective, fruit is clearly healthier than candy. But it's the habits perspective that matters more.

From a habits perspective, it is important to teach kids that fruit and vegetables are the go-to food. Plus, every bite pays off. The better your kids eat at snack, the less you have to worry about how well they eat at dinner. 

Read Fruit and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack, Every Darned Day and 10 Ways Improving Your Kids' Snacking Will Improve YOUR Life.

This was a small study, only 12 women, but I don't think we need much more to establish that eating fruit holds you over between meals better than candy.

Candy ingredients: Sugar, Glucose Syrup (contains Sulphites), Water, Gelatine, Concentrated Fruit Juices** (1%) (Apple, Strawberry, Blackcurrant, Raspberry), Acid (Citric Acid), Colours (Anthocyanins, Vegetable Carbon), Flavourings, **Equivalent to 5.5% Fruit Juice

Fruit ingredients: Fruit

  • Less sugar
  • More volume
  • More fiber
  • More chewing

And...reinforcing the importance of the mind: researchers speculate that the fruit snack may have produced higher expected satiety. People think they're fuller and more satisfied so afterwards they eat less food.

Enough said!

Thanks to The Center for Science in the Public Interest for writing about this study in their Jan/Feb 2016 Nutrition Action Healthletter.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: James, L. J., M. P. Funnell, and S. Milner. 2015. “An Afternoon Snack of Berries Reduces Subsequent Energy Intake Compared to an Isoenergetic Confectionary Snack.” Appetite 95: 132-37.

Tuesday
May102016

Teaching Toddlers to LIKE Veggies: The Most Important Public Health Challenge of Our Time

The New York Times has published two articles lately that that highlight the importance of preventing obesity before it takes hold.

The first article:

Contestants on "The Biggest Loser" ended up with slower metabolisms after losing weight than they had before losing weight. And, their metabolisms never rebounded. The result? participants regained 70% of their lost weight.

The second article:

The problem is not willpower. It's neuroscience. Your brain figures out your body set point, based on genes and life experience, and then works hard to keep you at that weight.  

Obese people who exercise, eat enough vegetables and don't smoke are no more likely to die young than normal-weight people with the same habits.

Source: kondratya /depositphotos.com

1) There may be no more important public health initative than teaching young children to enjoy vegetables.

Teaching kid to enjoy vegetables is a fundamentally different task then getting them to eat vegetables.

Enjoying vegetables=Habit. The rest=lecture.

Kids who enjoy eating vegetables do so without being reminded or bribed. And they do it when their parents aren't even around! They have the habitude!

2) Nutrition education will NEVER produce a nation of veggie-lovers.

Nutrition education is premised on the idea that when people know what they ought to eat, they eat what they ought to eat.  In other words, "when you know better, you do better." Research shows otherwise.

Read my Post: Even Nutrition Savvy Kids Choose Cookies.

Researchers were surprised that 3-5 year old children who were exposed to nutrition education could readily identify healthy snacks, but they still chose cookies when given the choice. (Yes, the researchers were surprised!)

Here's another study:

Children 7-12 years old could correctly identify healthy/unhealthy snacks using an online grocery store simulation, but they still chose more than twice as many unhealthy items as healthy items. Why? They perceived the unhealthy items as being tastier.

And, it's not that the children didn't think the healthy items were tasty. It's just that they thought the unhealthy items were tastier.

So what's the solution? 10 Steps:

  1. Recognize that people eat for hedonistic reasons and that taste preferences are shaped much more than many parents believe.  8 Steps to More Fruits and Vegetables.
  2. Make veggies taste good. Stop with all the steaming. Vegetable Anxiety.
  3. Stop talking about health. How to Help Your Kids Hate Spinach; Junk Food=Yum, Healthy Food=Yuk.
  4. Consciously vary the taste and texture of the food kids are served. The Variety Masquerade.
  5. Early variety matters. Forget the go-slow-weaning approach. How do I Introduce Baby Food? Think Variety.
  6. Describe new food. Don't just say, "Yum." Look into My Crystal Ball; Introducing New Foods: Growing a Good Taster.
  7. Forget juice. It kills the chances kids will eat their veggies. Water vs. Punch and Soda.
  8. Minimize salty snacks. It also kills the chances kids will eat their veggies. Are You Sweet or Are You Salty?
  9. Settle for a Happy Bite. The Happy BiteSalad Days.
  10. But serve veggies throughout the day...and do it every day. Fruits and Vegetables at Every Meal and Every Snack--Every Darned DayThe Snack as Mini-Meal Mistake

 ~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~