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Posts Tagged ‘Food & nutrition’

Kids Are Eating More Fast Food Than Ever Before — Here’s Why

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Fast food has changed quite a bit in recent years. In addition to the usual burgers and fries on the menu, most restaurants now also offer healthier options like wraps, salads, fruit and yogurt. But that doesn’t mean everyone is eating well or as well they should. In fact, a new study out of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that American children are eating more fast food now than ever before.

The study polled roughly 800 parents — in 2010, 2013 and 2016 — regarding their children’s eating habits, particularly those at the nation’s four largest fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway. According to the results, 91 percent of those surveyed bought at least one meal for their child from a fast-food eatery each week, which is up from 79 percent in 2010. 

What’s more, 74 percent of the kids ordered an unhealthy drink and/or side items with their meal.

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center and the lead author of the report said in a statement, “We know that fast food offers parents a convenient, affordable option for feeding their families. But restaurants have a responsibility to make these affordable, convenient foods healthier. Most fast-food meals — even kids’ meals — have more fat, sugar and sodium than children need, and eating this kind of unhealthy food can have negative health consequences over time, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.”

That said, Harris acknowledged that fast-food restaurants have made great strides in recent years. However, they need to do more to educate parents about the options they have.

“While most fast-food restaurants do have healthier kids’ meal drinks and sides available, many do little to make parents aware of the healthier options or to encourage parents to choose the healthier options instead of unhealthy ones,” Harris said. “If restaurants are serious about children’s health, they will make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for parents and the most appealing choice for children.”

As such, the best thing parents can do is to research each chain’s menu and keep an eye out for healthy items and encourage kids to opt for those over the deep-fried offerings.

 

This article was written by Kimberly Zapata from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat (That Aren’t PB&J)

Truth: Your kids are just as sick of eating the same old turkey-and-cucumber sandwich as you are of making it. Win the Best Mom Ever award and pack some of these exciting but totally practical (read: neat, portable and edible at room temp) lunch-box goodies instead. BLT pasta salad FTW.

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Finally, a sandwich you can make ahead (because it won’t get soggy).

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

BLT Pasta Salad

It’s impossible to resist this crunchy-and-creamy combo.

Get the recipe

 

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

Anything but a sad lunch wrap.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Stuffed Peppers

Your kiddo will devour these healthy, colorful boats.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Mini Chicken Shawarma

Tip: Wrap these guys up in waxed paper to keep them extra fresh.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Lunch Kebabs with Mortadella, Artichoke and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Psst: Your little ones can totally help assemble these the night before.

Get the recipe

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Vegetarian Sushi Cups

Finger food is the best food.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 Super Quick, Super Healthy Kid-Friendly Dinners

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Easy recipes to get your whole family eating well.

Eating well should not be an unattainable fantasy for you and your family. These recipes from the Trim Healthy Table cookbook take the traditional meals you and your family already love, and make them healthier. They will help you reach your goal of staying fit as well as improve the overall well-being of your family. Never assume you are too busy to make health a priority. The tips and tricks in these meals make it simple, and help you take baby steps to living a healthier lifestyle.

Deconstructed Fajitas

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

This is such a quick no-brainer for busy nights when you need dinner on the table in ten minutes. We enjoy this on dinner plates over a bunch of cut lettuce, but if you prefer you can stuff into low-carb tortillas.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter 1 large onion and 2 to 3 green or red peppers, sliced
4 to 6 cups sliced precooked chicken breast
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat lovers)

1 teaspoon Mineral Salt
1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced, or 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced, re-roasted tomatoes, drained Lots of cut lettuce (e.g., a couple hearts of romaine at least) 
Greek yogurt Sour cream
 Sliced avocado Grated cheese Brown rice or quinoa

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Add the peppers and onions, tossing frequently for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chicken, sprinkle on the chili powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne (if using), salt, and paprika, and toss with the veggies for a couple more minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

  2. Serve on generous beds of lettuce and add toppings according to which fuel you decide on.

Black Pepper Chicken

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Who wouldn’t love healthy Chinese takeout?

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

Think Chinese takeout, but ultra-healthy and made in a jiffy! Here’s a time-saving tip—the night before, or the morning of, you can put the chicken in the marinade in a gallon-size baggie and refrigerate so it is all ready to go right before dinnertime. While you are at it, you may want to make double the amount of chicken and marinade. Put one of the bags in the freezer for a no-think, no-fuss dinner another night.

Ingredients

2 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thawed if frozen, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (easily done with kitchen scissors)
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons soy sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder
21⁄2 teaspoons black pepper, or
 3 teaspoons if you like more heat
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, sliced
 6 celery stalks, finely sliced

1⁄2 large head cabbage, finely sliced, or 1 (16-ounce) bag pre-sliced cabbage or coleslaw

Directions

  1. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add 1⁄4 cup of the soy sauce, the ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and vinegar. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes or so while you chop the vegetables (or do as described above and start marinating the night before or in the morning).

  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken. Allow the chicken to cook for a couple minutes on one side, then toss periodically in the hot oil for 3 to 4 more minutes or until just done. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and all the veggies to the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and toss the veggies for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly wilted but still a bit crispy. Return the chicken to the pan, toss through and serve.

World’s Laziest Lasagna Skillet

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Any recipe with ‘lazy’ in the title is bound to be perfect for busy weeknights.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half)

We gave you Lazy Lasagna, one of the most popular recipes in Trim Healthy Mama cookbook, but now we have an even lazier version. No baking time—just throw it all in your skillet, then scoop into your mouth. Kids love this, too, and it makes sure they get a good dose of healthy greens in their dinner!

Ingredients

2 pounds ground beef, turkey, or venison, thawed if frozen
20 ounces no-sugar-added pizza or spaghetti sauce
11⁄2 tablespoons dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon Mineral Salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 to 2 doonks Pure Stevia Extract Powder
16 ounces fresh spinach

1 (8-ounce) package 1⁄3 less fat cream cheese

1 (14-ounce) container 1% cottage cheese

8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Brown the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, then drain off any excess fat.

  2. Add the pizza sauce, oregano, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, and stevia powder (if using). Add the spinach (you may need to add half the spinach, stir until it wilts a little, then add the rest). Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer.

  3. Place the cream cheese and cottage cheese in a food processor and process until smooth. Add to the skillet. Allow all the ingredients to simmer a few more minutes, then you’re done.

  4. Top each plate with grated mozzarella.

Sesame Lo Mein

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Carbs you can feel good about.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, but do not freeze, as Konjac noodles don’t freeze well.)

Load your plate high with scrumptious noodles and slim down! Bet nobody has told you that before. Before you even have time to make a phone call for Chinese takeout, you can have this deliciousness ready for your table within 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll save time and you’ll save your waistline! We use two kinds of noodles in this dish for double the slimming power. It has konjac-based noodles, which are so fat-blasting and wonderful, and zucchini or yellow squash noodles, which we call “Troodles.” If you are not yet a fan of konjac-based noodles, you can use all Troodles, just double up on the zucchini.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter or coconut oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups of any chopped veggies you have lying around such as onion, red bell peppers, zucchini, radishes, and carrots; you can also include a few tablespoons frozen peas
3 single-serve bags konjac noodles, such as our Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles, well rinsed and drained
1 to 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)
1⁄4 cup soy sauce, or a few good squirts Bragg liquid aminos or coconut aminos
Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste
2 to 4 medium zucchini or yellow squash, spiralized into Troodles (zucchini noodles)
4 large eggs
2 to 3 cups precooked or canned meat, such as diced chicken breast, salmon, or ground meat
3 to 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 to 4 green onions (optional), diced

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and toss in the butter for about a minute. Add the seasoning blend or chopped veggies and toss for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. If using frozen veggies, toss on high.

  2. Add the Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles to the pan, increase the heat to high, and stir with a fork as they cook. While they are cooking, add the nutritional yeast (if using), soy sauce, and red pepper flakes. Toss them over high heat for a couple minutes, then add the Troodles and allow to cook for few minutes, tossing well. At first you think there are too many Troodles … have faith, they will wilt.

  3. Push the noodles and veggies to one side of your skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and crack the eggs into the skillet. Stir and cut the eggs with your spatula, flip a few times while they cook, then toss them with all the other ingredients in the skillet. Add your precooked protein, continuing to heat the ingredients until the meat is warmed through. Top with the sesame oil and green onions (if using). Stir and lift the noodles so that they get coated with the sesame oil. Taste, then add more soy sauce, pepper, or other favorite Asian seasoning until it makes you say “Yeah Baby!”

Chicken, Broccoli, Mushroom Stir-Fry

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Make your life easier by preparing the sauce in advance.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

Your house will smell as wondrous as a Japanese restaurant when you make this. Watch your family wolf it down, never knowing there is a healthy secret ingredient in the sauce (so long as you don’t tell!).

Ingredients

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup frozen diced okra

1⁄3 cup soy sauce, or several generous squirts Bragg liquid aminos

21⁄2 teaspoons Pure Stevia Extract Powder
1⁄2 teaspoon Gluccie
2 tablespoons coconut oil or sesame oil

21⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed if frozen), cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces (quickest with kitchen scissors)
Mineral Salt and black pepper

3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 generous teaspoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger

2 (12-ounce) bags frozen broccoli, or fresh broccoli florets from a large head

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Prepare the sauce in advance. Put the chicken broth, okra, soy sauce, sweetener, and Gluccie in a blender and blend on high until completely broken down … we mean blend the daylights out of it so no bits of okra are left.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet, and cook for 4 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the pan and set aside.

  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and ginger. Toss in the oil for about 30 seconds, then stir in the frozen broccoli. Increase the heat to medium-high, cover, and cook for about 2 1⁄2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, cover, and cook for another 21⁄2 minutes (if using fresh broccoli, add later with the mushrooms and cook without covering for several minutes, tossing often).

  4. Uncover, pour in the sauce, and cook on high for 5 to 6 more minutes, returning the chicken for the last 3 minutes and adding the pepper flakes (if using).

Save My Sanity Chili

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

It’s all in the title of the recipe.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

When life gets chaotic, this meal can come to your rescue. Throw it in the crockpot in the morning and you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that supper is taken care of (or make it in a jiffy in your pressure cooker). This tasty chili is a no-brainer since it saves you a whole prep step. Most chili recipes that call for ground meat ask you to brown the meat and onions first, but we know life can be crazy busy and sometimes that just might be the 10 to 15 minutes you don’t have! We don’t want you giving in and considering picking up drive-thru food because you don’t have time to cook. So no more excuses—extra steps are outta here! Throw all the ingredients in your trusty crockpot and come back in the evening to deliciousness! Now, let’s say your life is extra crazy and you forget to prepare your crockpot meal in the morning but you don’t have an electric pressure cooker. No worries—this can be made in a pot on the stove in about 30 minutes—just brown your meat and onions, add all the other ingredients, and let it bubble away.

Ingredients

2 pounds ultra-lean (96%) ground turkey or venison, thawed if frozen
2 (10- to 12-ounce) bags frozen small-cut vegetables, such as green and red bell peppers
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel-style diced tomatoes and green chilies (hot, medium, or mild)

2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, rinsed and drained

1 quart chicken broth

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, depending on your heat preference)

Directions

  1. Place the meat in the bottom of a crockpot and break up with a fork to spread around the bottom of the crock. Add all the other ingredients and mix well.

  2. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. Once the chili is ready, break up any larger chunks of meat.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Cook the meat on sauté mode, then add all the other ingredients. Seal and cook at low pressure for 10 minutes. Use the quick pressure release.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Original Frank’s hot sauce tastes delicious on anything and everything.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

This is flavorful, hearty and so versatile! Please don’t be scared if you are not a spice lover. Just be sure to buy the original Frank’s hot sauce, not the “hot” kind. And if you’re still timid, pull back the amount of sauce to 1 or even 1⁄2 cup. That will give you a very mild heat level but still lots of flavor.

Ingredients

21⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter

11⁄4 cups Frank’s original hot sauce (reduce if you don’t like heat)
1 (10- to 12-ounce) bag frozen small-cut veggies
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon Mineral Salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1⁄2 cup sour cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the seasoning blend at the bottom of a slow cooker. Add all the other ingredients except for the sour cream. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred the chicken with 2 forks (it will fall apart easily). If using sour cream, stir it in well.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Add all the ingredients except the sour cream to a pressure cooker. Seal and cook at high pressure for 12 minutes. Use natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes, followed by quick pressure release. Stir in the sour cream and shred the chicken.

NOTE: When wrapping or stuffing this into lettuce or tortillas, use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and try not to get too much of the broth so it won’t be too messy.

Succulent Barbacoa Beef

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Bring Chipotle-style bowls to your kitchen table.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, or make full and freeze half.)

We love Chipotle restaurants—so easy to stay on plan there using their bowl option. We love ordering their barbacoa beef or chicken, including the sautéed veggies, and putting it all over lettuce and salsa, then topping with lots of guac and a sprinkle of cheese. Mmmm … Amazing! Or sometimes we add some brown rice and beans. You can make something similar to their succulent beef (our very favorite menu item there) at home. Here is our version.

Ingredients

2 1⁄2 to 3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into thirds
1 onion, cut into chunks

1 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from a can (using 3 is lovely and spicy, but if you don’t like a whole lot of spice, pull back to 1 or 2 and rinse the sauce off a little)
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice (fresh or bottled)

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3⁄4 cup water or beef broth

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Place the beef in the bottom of a slow cooker. Put all the other ingredients in a blender and blend well. Pour the contents of the blender over the beef. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Break the beef apart once cooked … you don’t have to completely shred, but pulling most of it apart allows it to drink up all the delicious juices.

ELECTRIC PRESSURE COOKER DIRECTIONS: Coat the pressure cooker pot with coconut oil spray and place all the ingredients in the pot, including the blended sauce. Seal and cook at high pressure for 50 minutes. Use natural pressure release.

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

Cheesy noodles without the fat.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 to 8 (Halve if your family is smaller, but do not freeze, as Konjac noodles don’t freeze well.)

This is ooey-gooey, noodley, cheesy goodness. Regular white noodles when mixed with cheese are one of the most fattening and health-destroying foods on this planet. Konjac noodles, such as our Trim Healthy or Not Naughty noodles, allow you to enjoy that oh-so-magnificent combination of cheese and noodles without widening your waistline.

Ingredients

4 single-serve bags of konjac noddles, such as out Trim Healthy Noodles or Not Naughty Noodles, well rinsed and drained
5 cups diced cooked chicken breast, or diced rotisserie chicken
1 (10-ounce can) Rotel-style diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
11⁄2 (8-ounce) packages 1⁄3 less fat cream cheese
1⁄2 cup chicken broth

11⁄2 teaspoons Mineral Salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄2 teaspoon onion powder

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 cups (12 ounces) grated cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. Snip the noodles a bit smaller with kitchen scissors so they are not too terribly long. Put the diced chicken, noodles, and diced tomatoes and chilies in a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.

  3. Put the cream cheese, broth, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder in a blender and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the baking dish using a spatula. Mix in 2 cups of the cheddar. Top with the remaining cheddar and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Broil for just a couple minutes at the end to make sure all the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, but watch it doesn’t burn.

Flaky Parmesan Tilapia

 

Quick, Healthy, Kid-friendly Dinners

 

An inexpensive way to try something new with your family.

Trim Healthy Table

Feeds 6 To 8 (Halve if your family is smaller)

This is a quick and easy way to include more fish in your life. There is only so much chicken and red meat you can eat, so please make room for fish! It is a wonderful, slimming part of a balanced-protein approach. This recipe is incredibly flaky and full of flavor, and it’s a great way to get your children to start liking fish. It need not be expensive, either. You can buy 2 pounds of frozen tilapia fillets from any landlocked grocery store inexpensively and thaw them before cooking. If you don’t like the idea of using tilapia, use any other thin white fish of your liking.

Ingredients

2 pounds tilapia or other thin white fish fillets, thawed if frozen
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter, melted
Black pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional)

3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

2 heaping tablespoons Greek yogurt

3⁄4 teaspoon dried dill

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to a high broil.

  2. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Place it in a single layer (no overlap) in an extra-large baking dish or 2 medium baking dishes. Pour the melted butter over the top and turn each fillet in the butter to coat well on both sides. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper and pepper flakes (if using).

  3. Combine the Parmesan, mayo, yogurt, and dill in a bowl and stir until a paste forms. Set aside.

  4. Put the fish on the second rack from the top of the oven and broil for 3 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven, turn each piece over, and smear with some Parmesan paste to cover the top of the fish (easily done with a fork). Broil for another 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s bubbling and golden brown on the top and flaky in the middle.

 

This article was written by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Overcome Your Child’s Picky Eating Habits

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You were a picky eater when you were a child. Now your own child is, shall we say, highly discriminating on what he or she eats, too. Coincidence? A recent study says maybe not.

The study, by researchers from the University of Illinois, gathered information from the parents of 153 preschoolers. They found that while many factors can play a role in a child’s choosy eating, genes that are linked to a child’s sensory responses could be one of them.

What does this mean if you’re the parent of a picky eater? Do you simply throw up your hands and say it’s genetic?

Keep trying

Don’t give up on efforts to entice your child to eat a broader range of food, says Jennifer Hyland, RD, CSP, LD of Cleveland Clinic Children’s. It’s important to continue to expose children to new foods over time to get them to try them, she says.

There is a wide spectrum of behavior when it comes to picky eating, Ms. Hyland says. But for most children, picky eating does not go away on its own unless parents really work at it.

Research has shown it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 tries for a child to like a particular food, she says.

But you don’t want to force foods upon your child. Keep meals an enjoyable experience, Ms. Hyland says. One strategy is for parents to ask their children to take no-thank-you bites – which means they can say, “no thank you,” but they have to at least try the food. This leads to continued exposure, and over time, it’s hoped they will learn to develop a taste for these foods.

At meal time, Ms. Hyland says, it’s helpful to have at least one food on the plate that you know your child will eat. Also, but be sure to give everyone at the table the same foods.

“Try your best to cook the same meal for the whole family,” she says. “The child may not eat all of it, but it’s important that you encourage them to at least try, and that you set an example of trying these foods yourself, so that over time, they will learn to eat these foods.”

It begins during toddlerhood

It’s typical for picky eating to start during the toddler years, Ms. Hyland says.

“Normal picky-eating can start anywhere as early as age 2 or 3,” she says. “Usually during infancy, children are adventurous eaters and they’re trying new things. The picky eating really creeps up around the time they become toddlers. Parents will say, ‘My kid ate vegetables and they liked this and they liked that and now they don’t eat anything.’ We see that pretty frequently.” 

Should parents worry about a picky eater? If your child is underweight, you might be worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrition. This results in parents giving their children whatever they want to eat to make sure they’re getting enough calories.

If this is you, it’s a  good time to meet with a registered dietitian or physician, because there are ways to combat that problem, while still improving the picky eating habits, Ms. Hyland says.

The most important thing a parent can do with a choosy eater is be consistent and not give up, Ms. Hyland says.

However, if a child has chewing or swallowing issues, or shows severe anxiety about trying new foods,  talk to a doctor, because you child may need the help of a behavioral specialist or multidisciplinary feeding program.

Complete results of the study can be found in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics.

 

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Pita Nachos

Need to make an after-school snack? Pita nachos make for a quick, satisfying treat.

nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • Salsa
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Split pita into two rounds, then cut into wedges. Lay the wedges on a cookie sheet, then broil in an oven for a few minutes until golden. Sprinkle wedges with cheese and salsa, then broil again until cheese melts.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

POLAR BEAR SNACKS

Whip up some winter fun with these delightful (and easy) polar bear snacks! Click here to see how these recipes are made.

polar-bear-snacks

Polar Bear Yogurt Bowl (Great for breakfast!)

  • 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3 slices of banana
  • 3 fresh blueberries

Scoop one cup of vanilla Greek yogurt into a small round bowl.

1-a

Place two slices of banana at the top of the bowl for ears.

Place one slice of banana in the middle of the bowl for a muzzle.

1

Place one blueberry on the middle banana slice as a nose and the other two blueberries just above the muzzle as eyes.

1-d

Polar Bear Toast (An awesome afternoon snack!)

  • Slice of whole grain bread, toasted
  • 3 slices of banana
  • 5 fresh blueberries
  • Cream cheese

Spread cream cheese on a slice of whole grain toast.

2-a

Place two slices of banana at the top two corners of the toast for ears.

Place one slice of banana towards the bottom center of the toast for a muzzle.

2

Place one blueberry on each banana slice and add the other two blueberries just above the muzzle as eyes.

2-d

Polar Bear Pudding Cup (Dessert, anyone?)

  • 1 vanilla pudding cup
  • 2 slices of banana
  • 2 chocolate chips
  • 1 HERSHEY’S KISS

Open a vanilla pudding cup.

3-a

Place two slices of banana at the top of the cup for ears.

Place two chocolate chips upside down into the pudding below the banana slices as eyes.

3

Place the HERSHEY’S KISS in the center of the pudding below the eyes as a nose.

4-d

Eat up and enjoy!

 

 

Mealtime Makeover!

Sometimes, putting together a tasty and nutritious meal for our families can be difficult. Here are some tips for making dinnertime with our energetic little ones easier. twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0

  1. Gather your children at the table and ask them to draw simple items that you will rate from 1 to 10. Give high numbers to boost their self-confidence. They will enjoy this game before dinner, and you will appreciate the calmness of your lively preschoolers.
  2. Explain what you are cooking and let them participate. Children may be more excited to eat the food if they help prepare it. Some age-appropriate tasks might include washing veggies, measuring ingredients and setting the table.
  3. For a fun activity, have them create artwork to be laminated and used as placemats for the table. Your little ones will enjoy sitting down to eat more when they see their own pictures included in the table setting.
  4. To encourage children to eat new foods, talk to them about the different shapes and colors of the food while they are eating it. This is a great way to converse with your children. For them, dinner may seem more like a game than a meal.

What are some other ways to encourage your little ones to eat at dinnertime?

Fishing for Crackers

Fishing for CrackersSpruce up snack time with this easy, healthy and fun snack!

Ingredients:

  • Carrot sticks
  • A bowl of hummus or veggie dip
  • Goldfish crackers

Dunk the carrots into the hummus or dip. Then put some goldfish crackers on a plate and use the carrot stick to “catch” the crackers.

Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Superhero Green Smoothie

In a hurry? This sweet green juice has lots of vitamins and makes a good pre-practice dinner or a great breakfast. Use a blender or juicer to combine the ingredients into a quick, healthy meal.

Smoothie

  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or ½ an unpeeled lemon if you are using a juicer)

If your children have a strong aversion to anything green, you can use more strawberries or raspberries or add some blueberries.