Tips for Healthy Family Eating

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					                        Tips for Healthy Family Eating
                              by Bernadette Frager, RN, MN
                             Nutrition and Wellness Education
                   For more information e-mail:

1. Role Modeling: your kids learn by your example
     it starts with you: assess your own eating habits and make sure your choices are good ones
     be the boss of your own kitchen and at the store, the parent should make the final purchasing
      decisions as well as the ―where to go to eat? ― decisions
     teach healthy eating habits as early as possible, it is so much easier when they are young
     be patient and establish a balance: if food becomes a battleground with children, they may
      acquire bad eating habits
     relax, you do not have to become a nutrition expert, as long as the majority of foods eaten by
      your family are healthy, the occasional order of fries or a cupcake will not cause any harm
     you will not be able to control 100% of what your children eat outside the home, but with
      consistency at home, they will begin to make healthier choices on their own

2. Family Mealtime: happy and relaxed and as often as possible
     introduce your children to a wide variety of foods and consider the ―everyone has to taste it‖ or
      the ―no thank-you helping‖ rule
     don’t force children to eat what they don’t like, like adults, they have certain likes and dislikes
     don’t forget to reintroduce once rejected foods, they may surprise you
     family meals together are necessary to develop good eating habits and associate food with
      pleasure and enjoyment
     encourage meals or snacks eaten while sitting and avoid ―eating on the run‖
     make breakfast a big priority – include healthy sources of complex carbohydrates, fruits and
      protein (like soy milk). Your child’s school performance will be noticeably better if they are not
      usually breakfast eaters. See breakfast smoothie recipe.

3. Media and marketing
     advertising plays a huge role in determining a child’s food preferences
     limiting the amount of television watched is the best way to limit exposure to commercials, try to
      watch ads with young children so you can clarify and correct any misunderstandings
     support school/supermarket programs that encourage healthy choices, not the ones that don’t

4. Shopping
     shop the periphery of the grocery store
     try new stores, new foods, new aisles, top shelves and bottom shelves
     make shopping a learning experience for you and your children
     get savvy at reading labels: look for the presence of food and fiber, and the absence of high
      fructose corn syrup, transfats or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, and chemicals
     also, be aware of the length of the ingredient list on a food: the longer the list, the more likely
      the presence of harmful additives, flavor enhancers, artificial flavorings or food dyes
     buy as close to nature as possible
     increase the amount of plant products you buy and decrease the amount of animal products
     support your local farmer’s market
     buy as much organic produce as possible (see for Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in
      Produce) but keep in mind the exposure to chemicals is higher in foods with a high fat content
      and higher on the food chain. Therefore, buy organic meats and dairy first, and if you can afford
      to, then buy your produce organic
     remember, if you don’t want your family to eat it, don’t buy it
5. Alternatives to Fast Food
      have as many meals as possible prepared at home
      carry healthy snacks with you in the car
      replace the soda habit with a water habit (kids will do as you do, not as you say)
      look for alternatives to the common fast food chains that will offer you speed and convenience
       but with healthier options and less fat, salt and sugar
      consider grocery stores for a quick meal when on the road, many have a deli, salad bar and
       soups, and you can pick up some fruit, and a carton of milk or juice
      encourage restaurants to serve fruits and vegetables with their children’s menu
      do a recipe exchange with other families for meals that are quick and palatable to children

6. Participation
      involve your kids in shopping – have them choose their own fruits and veggies
      involve your kids in food preparation – if they fix it, they will be more likely to eat it! For snacks,
       they can make their own trail mix from dried fruits, nuts, and cereals
      be creative – have them make pictures out of a variety of cut up veggies and then eat them
      for younger children, have cut up fruits and veggies in the frig in ice trays (use baggies or plastic
       containers for older kids)
      plant a garden with them
      have a ―build your own‖ dinner with baked potatoes, pita pockets, burritos, tacos or salads, with
       all the ―add-ons‖ in different containers on the table and let each person build their own
      read picture books about food with very young children like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,
       Gregory the Terrible Eater, Mr. Sugar Came to Town, and The Berenstain Bears and Too Much
       Junk Food or check out some nutrition web sites with activities for the school age child. Many
       high schoolers have read Fast Food Nation, and changed their eating habits because of it
      have your child choose help make a ―healthy dish‖ to send in for class parties, potlucks, etc

7. To Buy or Not to Buy
      the buy MORE of list:
      vine-ripened, organic, fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, as much as possible, vary the color to
       include the different families of plant chemicals represented by a rainbow palette
      whole grains, try short grain brown rice, or breads with 2 gms of fiber per slice, hot cereals
      ―ggod‖ fats (mono- or poly-unsaturated fats like olive oil, avocado, fish, flax seed, nuts, etc)
      ―good‖ proteins: ideally it is best to have a small source of protein with every meal. Include plant
       proteins in your diet such as: legumes, nuts, and soy. Select lean animal proteins when buying
       meat or fish and the portion should be no larger than the palm of your hand.
      Chlorine free water: developing a water habit early is very important. Water is the liquid of choice
       for hydration, liquids with calories are a food and often provide all sugar without any fiber.
       Filtering tap water is the most affordable way to have chlorine free water. Some brands of
       bottled water have higher levels of lead, arsenic or other heavy metals than the tap water. Do
       not purchase or drink the water out of bottles that have been exposed to heat or the sun. The
       chemicals from the plastic leach into the water and those chemicals are known hormone

      the buy LESS of list:
      sodas, candy, most boxed cereals—to calculate how many teaspoons of sugar is in a food, divide
       the number of grams of sugar by 4 and it will give you the total in teaspoons
      highly processed foods that have many chemical additives, artificial colors, and hydrogenated fats
      foods that have been genetically modified or had hormones and antibiotics utilized (note: most
       soy and corn in American food products is from a genetically modified source)
      foods high is saturated, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or trans fats
      highly salted foods, we lose the ability to appreciate the milder flavors of plant foods when they
       are overly salted and develop a craving for salt when too much is eaten daily
      eliminate all aspartame (artificial sweetener) from your children’s diets, it is neurotoxic. Dr.
       Russel Blaylock, a neurosurgeon and researcher in the area of neurotoxins, authored a book
       called ―Excitotoxins, theTaste that Kills‖, which presents a scientific explanation as to why
       aspartame is so harmful. Reading labels is very important. Some foods contain both regular
       sugars and artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is present in many toothpastes, sugarless gum,
       children’s medications, vitamins, and foods labeled as ―Lite‖

8. Substitutions to Try
      use nonfat plain yogurt instead of sour cream for dips and toppings
      decrease the amount of salt in recipes and try herbs and other spices to enhance flavor, lemon
       juice can be a great substitute for certain foods
      replace half of the ground beef for chili or tacos with cooked beans or substitute with turkey
      use soy, rice or almond milk in place of cow’s milk for smoothies and other recipes
      use olive oil and canola oils and heat any oils as little as possible
      substitute applesauce, mashed bananas or prune puree for part or all of the fat in baked goods
      add ground flax seed (omega 3 fats and fiber), wheat germ or oat bran to baked goods or waffle
       and pancake batters to increase their nutritional value and increase the fiber
      use whole grain flour for ½ of the white flour in baking recipes
      sauté with broth instead of fat
      try brown rice instead of white or venture out and try some of the more ―exotic‖ grains, which
       can be very convenient (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, kamut, millet)
      buy reduced salt soups, broths and other canned goods
      veggie burgers instead of hamburgers
      replace sodas with water, sparkling water, or ½ fruit juice ½ water
      replace frosting with powered sugar or fresh fruit and a little whip cream
      try whole wheat bagels instead of donuts or croissants
      pasta made from whole grain flour an/or vegetable powders instead of pasta from ―enriched‖
      oven fries or baked potatoes instead of French firies
      try carrot sticks or other cut up veggies, fresh fruit, crackers with fiber and no trans fat, low fat
       yogurt, low salt organic tortilla chips without hydrogenated fat, dips like hummus, bean dip, or
       yogurt dill dip, cookies with fiber, rice cakes or corn cakes in place of empty clarie and non-
       nutritious snacks
      try sucanat in place of sugar, it is 100% evaporated cane juice. It contains the vitamins, minerals
       and trace elements found in the sugar cane plant. Sucanat can be used as a one-for-one
       replacement for white or brown sugar

9. Activism
      support at least one organization as a family, school or parent-teacher organization that works to
       protect the future of our food supply and the environment (Mothers & Others, Sierra Club,
       Children’s Defense Fund, Pesticide Action Network, Center for Science in the Public Interest, etc)
      stay current with topics influencing our health and well –being by subscribing to newsletters by
       mail or online. Many of the above organizations have newsletters (the Green Guide, Cornell’s
       Food and Fitness Advisor, Nutrition Action Newsletter –CSPI, Tuft’s Health an Nutrition News,
       Mayo Clinic’s Women’s Health Source) My favorite magazine is Eating Well: the Magazine of Food
       and Health. There a many, many online newsletters available through various health related
       organizations…just be sure to know the source.
      there are literally hundreds of free e-news letters online, and thousands of web sites, remember
       that just because it’s on the web, does not make it a reliable source of information

10. Juice Plus+: whole food in capsules, chewables or gummies
      Juice Plus+ is a concentrate of 15 raw, vine ripened fruits and vegetables and 2 grains that are
       juiced, with the water, salt and sugar removed, and the fiber added back
      Juice Plus+ is a safe, convenient, and affordable way to get added daily nutrition from the food
       group we are most deficient in: fruits and vegetables
       despite the growing medical evidence that whole food nutrition from fruits and vegetables hold
        the key to better health and disease prevention, less than 10% of all Americans eat the
        recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day
       Juice Plus+ is not a replacement for good eating but it helps bridge the gap between what we
        are eating and what we know we should be eating
       in the fall of 2004, the USDA changed the guidelines for daily consumption of fruits and
        vegetables from 5-9 a day to 9-13 per day, are you eating 9-13 per day?
       What the health care professional’s are saying:
       Dr. Bill Sears (pediatrician, on the board of the Children’s Research Foundation): ―Our
        grandmothers were right. Eat your fruits and vegetables.‖ ―Good health really is pay now or pay
        later.‖ ―We don’t have a vitamin deficiency. We have a whole food deficiency.‖
       Dr. Hanna, (pediatric intensive care doctor): ―There is no disease process in the world that is not
        improved by better nutrition. Juice Plus+ is what we should eat, but don’t, made simple.‖
       Juice Plus+ is the most scientifically documented supplement on the market today, check out the
        Science Behind Juice Plus+ by following the Science link at

                        Sample Recipes for Healthy Families
Dr. Pamela Popper’s Breakfast Smoothie Recipe (see also Dr. Sear’s Family
nutrition book for his “Schoolade” recipe)

In a blender, combine the following:
        1 cup soy or rice milk
        1 scoop Juice Plus Complete
        1 tsp – 1 TB golden organic flax seed, ground
        1/8 to ¼ cup loose green tea leaves
        ½-1 banana (I prefer frozen for a better smoothie texture)
        ½-1 cup frozen berries, peaches, etc.
        4 ounces water or ice
Smaller portion sizes are for children 8 and under, and larger portions for 9 and older. Adults may
add up to 1 TB brewer’s yeast for more nutritional benefits, but it is definitely an “acquired” taste.

                               ~Deana’s Homemade Soups~
Standard Stock for Healthy Soups:
        4-6 cloves of garlic (minced)                     ½ onion
        ½ cup red, yellow and green peppers (optional)
        4 cups organic vegetable broth or cage free, free range chicken broth (Traders Joe’s or health
food store)
        1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce                                 2 cups water
        4 bay leaves                                      1 tbsp. dried parsley (or fresh)
        1 tbsp. dried basil (or fresh)
(Sauté garlic, onions and peppers in a little bit of butter or in ¼ cup water or broth in large cooking

Lentil Soup:
        Place pre-soaked lentils and beans in broth (above) and simmer for 1 hour
        (Trader Joe’s has a 16 oz bag of 17 different beans and lentils or just create your own mixture
        …about 2 cups dried.
        Make sure to soak lentils and beans overnight before you add to broth.)

        Add 2 cups carrots and 2 cups potatoes (red, yellow or white. More color is more nutrition)
        Cook until potatoes and carrots are done. (About 1 hour) Can also cook in a crock-pot on low
        all day!

Minestrone Soup
        1 package sweet or spicy Italian sausage. Pre-cook (Trader Joe’s has no nitrates)
        (Can substitute firm tofu or Yves for sausage)
        2 cups fresh spinach                    2 medium zucchini
        1 15 oz. can kidney Beans                      1 15 oz can corn or frozen corn (optional)
        2 cups shell noodles (or whatever noodle you have on hand. Whole wheat is best!)

        Add all ingredients except noodles. Bring to boil.
        Add noodles and keep on boiling until noodles are done. Usually 5 to 7 minutes.

Meatball Soup
        1 lb. Ground turkey, ground chicken or ground soy (Trader Joe’s)
        ½ cup breadcrumbs
        1 egg
        1 garlic clove, minced
        ½ onion chopped
        1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
        1 tsp. parsley
        2 cups chopped potatoes
        1 cup chopped carrots
        1 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes

Combine first 7 ingredients in bowl and mix together with hands. Form into balls about the size of a
Cook meatballs in skillet until outside is brown. There should be virtually no fat. Add meatballs
and remaining ingredients to broth (above). Simmer until vegetables are cooked.

We have all the above soups with a nice big salad with lots of greens. Besides all the regular things
on salads like tomatoes and cucumbers try some other topping like the one’s listed below:
        raisins or grapes      shredded carrots                 garbanzo beans
        sunflower seeds        apples                           broccoli sliced very fine
        kidney beans           jicama                           dried cranberries
        avocado                ground flax seeds                shredded red cabbage
        peanuts                pine nuts, almonds, pecans       mandarin oranges

Salad dressing: ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup soy sauce or Braggs Liquid Aminos, ½ cup flax seed oil
or olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic. Whisk all ingredients together! You’ll love it!

Bernadette’s Favorites that Kids will eat:

Apple Berry Salsa with Cinnamon Chips (a Pampered Chef recipe)

2 Granny Smith apples
2 kiwis
2 oranges and zest
1 pint strawberries (or 1.5 c. cranberries with a few spoons of any red jam)

Chop all of the above ingredients finely. Serve with cinnamon chips. I use one of the small food
choppers that kids can pound on to chop.

Cinnamon Chips
Flour tortillas (try whole wheat also)
Cinnamon and sugar (try sucanet)

Spritz or brush the flour tortillas with water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Cut with kitchen
shears into “chips”. Place chips on a baking stone or cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 8 minutes.
Adjust the time and temp. for your oven. They should be crispy when cooked.

Pretend Soup (Pretend Soup and other Real Recipes*, by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson)
2 cups orange juice
½ cup plain yogurt
1 TB honey
2 tsp. Lemon juice
1 small banana
1 cup berries (any kind, fresh or frozen. If frozen, defrost first and use any juice in the soup to add

    1.   Place the orange juice in a bowl. Ad yogurt, honey, and lemon juice.
    2.   Whisk until it is all one color.
    3.   Place 5 banana slices and 2 TB berries in each bowl.
    4.   Ladle the “soup” over the berries and bananas. Eat!

This is a great cookbook for young children. Each recipe is presented first in text for the adults to
read and guide the young cooks and then is followed by very simple illustrations with the basic
ingredients or instructions written in short phrases.

Black Bean Enchiladas (adapted from the Fantastic Foods Box)

6 corn tortillas
2 c. enchilada sauce (1 large can)
4 ¾ c. grated cheddar or jack (I use a lot less)
8 avocado slices (optional)
1 box Fantastic Foods instant black beans
2 green onions (or more), chopped
1/3 c. sliced black olives

    1. At least 2 hours ahead, open package of tortillas and spread on counter or racks and allow to
       air dry.
    2. Prepare the beans according to package directions.
    3. Heat enchilada sauce to a simmer in a frying pan (large enough to dip the tortillas) and
       remove from heat. Dip tortillas in the sauce one by one to soften and coat with sauce. Note:
       I buy Rosarita “Mild Enchilada Sauce”, any others I have tried are too spicy for my
       children’s’ taste.
    4. Lay one sauced tortilla on a plate and fill with ¼ c. of the beans in the center. Sprinkle with
       1/3 c. grated cheese. (I don’t measure the ingredients and I sprinkle some green onions
       inside the enchilada.) Add one avocado slice if desired.
    5. Roll the tortilla around the ingredients and place seam down in a baking dish that has a
       small layer of sauce in the bottom. Repeat process with other tortillas. Pour remaining
       sauce over the tortillas. There should be enough sauce to make a shallow layer in the bottom
       of the pan and to moisten them well so they don’t dry out while baking.
    6. Garnish with the remaining cheese, green onions, and black olives. Bake at 350 for 20
       minutes or until heated through and the sauce and cheese are bubbly.
Note: I usually make a lot more than 8 at a time so I will have plenty of ingredients on hand and
just “eyeball” the amount of beans and cheese. I don’t put all the sauce in the pan for dipping the
tortillas because that sauce thickens quite a bit. I add water to it to thin it again.

Recommended Books:
Books by Dr. William Sears:
        The Family Nutrition Book
        LEAN Kids
        Eat Healthy, Feel Great

Beating Cancer with Nutrition          Patrick Quillin, PhD, RD
The China Study                        Colin T. Campbell
Dr. Atwood’s Low Fat Rx for Kids       Charles Atwood, M.D.
Enzymes, the Missing Link              Humbart ―Smokey‖ Santillo, N.D.
   To Radiant Health
Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills     Russell L. Blaylock, M.D
Fast Food Nation                       Eric Schlosser
Food Politics                          Marion Nestle
The Food Revolution                    John Robbins
Foods that Heal                        Bernard Jensen, DC
From Here to Longevity                 Mitra Ray, PhD
Good Food For Kids                     Dr. Penny Stanway
Helping Your Child Lose Weight         Judith Levine, RD, MS and Linda Bine
         the Healthy Way
Milk A-Z                               Robert Cohen
My Kid’s a Garbologist – Help Me       Pamela A. Popper, PhD
Prescription for Nutritional Healing   James F. Balch, MD, and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
Pretend Soup                           Molly Katzen
Spontaneous Healing                    Andrew Weil, M.D.
Vita-Mix Recipes for Better Living
Whole Foods Companion                  Dianne Onstad
1-2-3 Smoothies                        Rita Bingham

Recommended Web Sites: see Children’s Nutrition Web Sites List

   Please join me on the road to health through sound nutrition and healthy
               lifestyle habits. Our children are depending on us.