If you're a parent, you've probably been a bit overwhelmed and confused on how to get your child — at whatever age — to eat healthy.
MaryAnn Jacobsen of San Diego, Calif., and Jill Castle of New Canaan, Conn., both registered dietitians, have some answers. The two have written a new book, "Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters From High Chair to High School." It's not a cookbook, but a research-based book offering help to parents whether they're trying to get a picky eater to try something new or feeding a vegetarian teenager.
The book explains how eating relates to a child's overall development, how to help children make good food choices and how to end feeding struggles.
"For picky eaters, parents have to realize it's not a battle," says Jacobsen. "It's a division of responsibility — parents provide good, healthy food and let the kids be in control of how much to eat. It's a stage. Our job as parents is to keep offering a variety of healthy foods — along with the foods they like."
She recommends getting kids of all ages in the kitchen working with food.
"Let them help prepare veggies with a tasty dip or help roast the veggies to bring out their sweet flavor. Let them play with food," Jacobsen adds. "In time, they will warm up to new foods."
For teens, the nutrients of concern include calcium, vitamin D and iron, says Castle. "And we know teens don't eat a lot of whole grains," she adds. "Teens are at a very critical, sensitive development time. We need to help them establish food habits that will help them in athletics and academics."
To increase calcium, they two recommend milk, yogurt, calcium-fortified orange juice, calcium fortified breads and other grains, tofu, dairy desserts such as pudding and ice cream and low-fat cheeses in sandwiches, snacks and casseroles.
The book, published by Jossey-Bass and available at Amazon and bookstores now, has a chapter with easy recipes that teens can prepare at home or in college — guacamole, white bean dip, Mexican lasagna, Asian turkey sliders, homemade sweet potato fries and more.
Q and A
Q: Do those elastic tubes and bands really work for strength training?
A: Yes, elastic tubes and bands are now available for virtually all levels of strength training, and they're inexpensive and easily stored. You need to use the right band or tube to match your strength level and the particular muscle group being exercised (chest presses, for example, need more resistance than the arm curls that exercise your upper arms). When working with an elastic tube or band, you secure it under your feet or around a heavy piece of furniture or a pole. Focus on squeezing the muscle in use when you encounter resistance as you pull on the tube/band. Stop and pause, keeping the muscle tight when you've completed the pulling motion, and then keep the muscle working as you release the weight slowly, rather than letting it spring back as you return to starting position. Just as when strength training with free weights or stationary machines, good posture and proper technique is important to work the muscle appropriately and to avoid injury. You can use many of the same exercises from other forms of strength training, but if you haven't received instruction, it's best to learn good technique by meeting with a certified fitness trainer at a local facility. If this isn't possible, check out a recognized fitness organization's DVD or website. For example, the American Council on Exercise offers a free suggested routine with elastic tubing.
Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
If the house is full of holiday guests, here's a good recipe for a hearty breakfast in the slow cooker. It's from Cooking Light magazine's December 2013 issue.
Hearty Oats and Grains
—3 cups water
—2 cups apple cider
—1 cup steel-cut oats
—1 cup 7-grain blend
—1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
—1/2 teaspoon salt
—1 cup 2 percent milk, warmed
—1/3 cup maple syrup
—1 1/2 cup sliced apple
—1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Coat the inside of a 6-quart electric slow cooker with cooking spray. Place 3 cups water and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in cooker, stirring well. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours. Spoon 2/3 cup oat mixture into each of 8 bowls; top each with 2 tablespoons milk, 2 teaspoon syrup, 3 tablespoons apple and 1 tablespoon nuts. Serves eight.
Per serving: 292 calories, 8 g protein, 53.8 g carbohydrate, 7.3 g fat, 2 mg cholesterol, 5.8 g fiber, 162 mg sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian from Springfield, Ill. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.