By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
Are you ready for positive change? Stay alert! By the end of this week, Mom Dishes It Out will merge with Laura’s new site www.lauracipullo.com.
All current website URLs (ie. momdishesitout.com) will lead you to this new website platform. Things will look fresh and clean for easy navigation and one stop shopping.
Live a fabulous life while eating kale and cupcakes!! MDIO content will be found under blogs! Scheduling appointments will become easier. Plus, I will send you one weekly email with links to blogs, recipes, press and special offers! Look forward to free group calls with Laura, free education and the 21 Pillars to Positive Nutrition when you subscribe or schedule an appointment.
Life can be simply delicious! You will soon be connected to our updated Facebook page, Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services. Click here to start following. Subscribe at the top of our current homepage, here to receive weekly emails.
Looking forward to living the L’ifestyle with you!
The comedian Nicole Arbour has it wrong—as do many people. Fat shaming is not helpful. It makes people feel worse about themselves, not better! Smart people recognize that putting people down is counterproductive to self-care, which ultimately leads to wellness. Our culture needs to refocus and promote positives specifically around food and body. Moms, dads, and friends—we need to get it right. As adults who influence children and their health, it is in our hands to prevent fat shaming and, just as important, to redefine the word “FAT” and the word “DIET.”
Using the Word “FAT”
When my children were born, I avoided the word “fat,” making a rule—it was not to be used in my house and guests could not call my kids fat. I even skipped the “fat caterpillar” part in Eric Carle’s book The Hungry Caterpillar. Fat was and is demonized in the public. Most who are/were called fat internalize the word, leading to poor body image, eating disorders, and low self-esteem.
Neutralize the Word
Things are changing. I have learned with my clients that focusing on wellness instead of weight loss are without a doubt a better way to achieve health—and even weight loss if needed. The Health at Every Size (HAES) movement has introduced the concept of neutralizing the word “fat.” This means, as parents and especially as health professionals, we should be redefining “fat.” The word should connate neither a good nor bad vibe. HAES recognizes that people may be overweight but that it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Rather, size acceptance and body acceptance is most important when trying to pursue health.
With this, I have in my practice and even at home begun to change the use of this word. I use the word “fat,” and along with the HAES’s influence, I encourage others to do so as well. Let’s face it, we all eat foods with fat, all have fat on our bodies, and all need both dietary and body fat.
The Science on FAT
Body size and fat are different. Body size and body fat are partly determined by genetics—actually about 50 percent. Body fat, stress, and even the way in which we eat affect how we gain, lose, and maintain weight. Excessive body fat is part of the cause and the result of metabolic snafus. Basically, think of it like this: your car is filled with gas, but your gas tank erroneously reads it as empty. You continue to pump gas into the tank and it spills out causing a mess. This can happen to expensive cars and used cars. There is no discrimination. Rather, miscommunication between bodily systems can happen in both thin people with a high fat mass as well as larger people with a high fat mass. That’s right, even thin people can have a high fat ratio and put themselves at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and more. (1) In other words, thinner as well as larger people can hold greater amounts of fat. It is not an appearance thing, so please stop judging the book by its cover. It can be quite deceiving.
Recognize that health is not determined by the number on the scale, the size of your pants, or someone calling you fat. Health is much more complex. Fat is not bad or good. Fat is fat. Like anything else, too much of one thing can become unhealthy. And while we are on the topic of redefining “fat,” let’s also redefine the word “diet” and practice the All Foods Fit philosophy!
To support this message, start using the hashtags #HAES, #AllFoodsFit, #AllBodiesFit, #redefinediet #BodyLove…
To help create awareness, I have also created tanks and totes that voice this message:
for totes with the All Foods Fit and All Bodies Fit, click HERE
for tanks with the All Foods Fit message, “Eat Kale and Cupcakes,” and more, click HERE
10 percent of all proceeds will be donated to Project Heal NYC!
My girls are confident self-feeders by now, and it’s a lot of fun to watch them eat. When I put a new food on their trays, they curiously examine it, poking and prodding with great interest, and finally cramming it into their little mouths. By the time they are done, their noses, ears, eyebrows, and hair have all had a share in the meal, and naturally, the floor is a disaster, but it’s great fun for them, and for me! The babies are fascinated by new colors, textures, and tastes. While they recognize their favorites and will grin and gurgle at each other in appreciation when I serve something that they think is fabulous, they’re still very open-minded, and I take full advantage. It’s so entertaining to see their expressions after I shock them with an entirely new texture or flavor. I love that they are so curious and will always try at least a bite or two, no matter how different a new food looks, smells, or feels. I don’t know how long this will last, but I hope it always will! I’m certainly appreciating it for the moment.
Eating with my girls is showing me how enjoyable a meal can be when you involve all your senses and approach it with a sense of discovery and adventure. Watching their active participation in their meals reinforces how valuable it is to eat mindfully. Mealtime is about more than simply filling your stomach and moving on to your next activity. Eating is a much more satisfying experience if it involves noticing and appreciating the color, texture, and flavor of your food. Is it as good as you expected? If you were brave enough to try something new, how much did you enjoy it? Is it worth going back for another bite? Not everything you eat is always going to taste super-amazing, but once you’re eating, your food should taste good to you! My girls aren’t finicky, but they don’t compromise, either. They enjoy a variety of textures and flavors, but if they aren’t impressed with a particular food, they’ll abandon it after a few bites. They listen to their stomachs and will leave over food when they are full.
I try to vary their menu to keep them curious and so that we don’t get into a Cheerio rut. It’s important to me that their meals are stimulating and fun, as well as nourishing and tasty. But I’ll admit that my own meals don’t always receive the same level of attention. As moms, even dietitian moms, it can be easy to put ourselves last and eat the same thing day after day just because it’s easy, and, well…mindless. How different might our eating look if we ensured our meals included a variety of colors and flavors? When did you last try a new ingredient or a unique recipe? How much time do you take for your meals, and how much do you enjoy them? Are your meals enjoyable? Satisfying?
Eating mindfully is something we were born knowing how to do. Noticing how food makes us feel while we’re eating it and how satisfied we are afterwards is not a special talent. We all started out with this ability. Somewhere along the way, though, most of us were socialized to focus more on external signals as opposed to what’s going on internally. We eat in a hurry. We eat past the point of fullness. Sometimes we might finish a meal barely noticing what it was we just consumed. None of this is a crime; sometimes, when life is busy, it’s a necessity. But there’s no question that it’s a less-than-ideal way to eat. The good news is that mindful eating is something that can be relearned. You’ve done it before, and you can do it again. If there’s an opportunity in your day (or even a day in your week), when you can slow down enough to enjoy a meal that’s appealing to your senses and satisfying to your body, you’ll be eating the way it’s meant to be done. So as I amusedly watch my babies’ gleeful faces as they squish and smash their way through their gloriously messy mealtime, I can’t help but think, “Hey…they’ve got a point!”
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, Mom and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
As summer comes to a close, that doesn’t mean extra family time has to come to an end! Last week, my boys and I made these fun and tasty lavender shortbread cookies! A great way to get us all in the kitchen and to learn about and try a new food. An added bonus, your kitchen will smell wonderful!
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
extra sugar for sprinkling on top
1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt together. Set aside.
2. In a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind 1 tbsp lavender and 1 tbsp sugar.
3. In another bowl, that can be used with electric mixer with paddle attachment, add butter, ground lavender mixture, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Cream ingredients on medium speed until slightly more pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It’s okay if there are still some sugar bits at this point. Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. The dough will have a crumbly texture, but will come together as you continue mixing.
4. Dump dough mixture out onto a clean surface and form into a ball with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
5. Line cookies sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
6. Divide refrigerated dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut cookies, or a pizza cutter to slice into squares. Use a fork to prick the cookies.
7. Brush the cookies very lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Make sure your oven is preheated to 350 degrees F and refrigerate cookies while oven preheats.
8. Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven. When oven is preheated, bake cookies for 8-11 minutes, until just browned on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
By Laura Cipullo, Mom, RD, CDE and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team
I received this email last week, that sparked a conversation between me and my colleagues and ultimately a petitioning a new FED UP campaign that I want to share with you.
“Hi Laura ,
Hope you are well! I’m reaching out on behalf of FED UP, the film that explores the truth about the food industry in an effort to get people eating healthier. Executive Produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David, the film has been a resource and tool for parents, teachers, and student to learn the truth about real food.
I know you are very busy but I’m reaching out to you today, because I thought you and the Eating and Living Moderately community might be interested in joining our mission to bring Food Education to Schools. We’re 10 days into our 30 day campaign to raise the funds to be able to provide a Fed Up Education Kit to every school in America, at no cost to schools and teachers this fall.
It’s been shown that once children learn the truth about the food they’re eating, where it comes from, and how it affects their bodies, they’re likely to make better food choices. But kids and teachers need the facts first! Did you know there are over 56 names for sugar? And over 80% of products in the grocery store have added sugar!
Our campaign is working to give teachers and schools the resources to empower our students. Check out the Fed Up Campaign here and social press kit with social media graphics and language.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need any additional information.
Thanks so much for your time. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
I immediately forwarded the email to some of my colleagues, with this message:
“I am sharing what was delivered to my email box. I think this is really a shame as this movie categorizes foods as good and bad and has children go in sugar free diets. The kids lose weight and end up gaining it back. So sad!”
My feelings and concern were widely shared and Jessica Kilbride, LMSW soon wrote back with this message:
“I drew up a petition, and would be happy to edit it in any way that anyone sees fit. I’m not sure how much of a difference these change.org petitions make, but hopefully it’ll do something. There are enough unhealthy attitudes about food and body in the entertainment world. It’s not necessary to bring this black-and-white thinking, however well-intentioned, into the classroom and I know I wouldn’t want my (hypothetical) children learning about nutrition through this approach.
And we’re off! The start of the school year has descended upon us in full force. Busy school days, and just-as-busy afterschool activities, practices, rehearsals (not to mention homework!), can quickly put even the most calm and organized mom in a bit of a time-crunch tizzy. And though as I mom I aspire to be both calm and organized, keeping up with my kids’ lives, trying to manage my professional one and juggling normal day to day stuff quickly interfere with the ideal. I usually employ the philosophy of quick-to-assemble meals that can make it to the table in 20 minutes. Yet there are plenty of days that I really want to walk into my house and have food magically appear on the table. In fact, there are vivid and wonderful childhood memories I recall, coming home to the amazing smells of dinner. Mom had it covered and all was well with the world.
So the invention of the slow-cooker is nothing short of genius, bringing me back to the reality that my home really can smell nourishing and food really can be table-ready when we all roll in the door. And it’s not even a new concept, though some of the digital features on them are quite 20th century. How easy it is to forget the small kitchen appliance tucked away in my top cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. I’ve recently resolved to more regularly reacquaint with this 6-quart beauty, and though you may associate it with only a few dishes, the possibilities really are quite vast.
And while this has obviously now saved dinner, one of my favorite slow-cooker benefits is the meals that follow. Lunch for your child’s thermos the next day, a meal you can re-purpose for tomorrow’s dinner or extra servings that can be divided and frozen for a future time crunch. Not to mention that you can confidently answer the kids’ eternal question, posed the second they see you after school: “What’s for dinner?
One of our latest favorites is slow-cooker lasagna, and while I’ll include a recipe below, don’t be afraid to play with it. Throw in some layers of diced veggies, swap out lasagna noodles with spaghetti or macaroni, mix in some fresh herbs or throw in all the little bits of cheese you have hanging out in your fridge drawer. Something magical happens when you let all these individual ingredients slowly work together over a string of calm, uninterrupted hours. They come together and by dinner, these solo players have created an orchestra of nourishment. In fact, slow cooker meals really allow you to play in your kitchen in a different, less structured way. It’s such a fun way for your children to cook with you, and see how being in the kitchen doesn’t need to be intimidating in the least.
A couple of pointers for you to consider:
Read reviews online to compare features, sizes and find the best prices.
If you’d like to brown or sauté before switching to slow-cooker mode, seek out versions that can accommodate.
Make sure it has a “warm” feature, which the cooker will automatically switch to once the programmed cooking time has ended. This ensures you won’t come home to an over-cooked meal, if you’ve had an extra long day.
Include enough liquid to prevent drying or burning.
Look for a cookbook and/or search for recipes online specifically designed for slow-cookers.
Consider “building” the meal the night before. Prep all the ingredients in the crock, put a lid on it, then store in your fridge until you’re ready to turn that baby on and leave the house.
Make certain the area around your slow cooker is free from “stuff” – nowhere that your pet can disturb and knock to the floor, and away from stray papers or plastic that may not do well around heat.
Now sit down, taste every steamy bite and relish the fact that your clean up will be minimal, you’ve saved electricity, and have warmed the hearts, souls and tummies of your whole family!
Slow Cooker Lasagna
1 pound uncooked whole grain lasagna noodles
1.5 pounds ground beef or pork
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 ½ tsp salt
1 24-oz jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato pasta
1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
6 cups fresh spinach
2 zucchini, shredded or sliced
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
3 Tbsp water
In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until brown. Add the spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt, and Italian seasoning and stir until well incorporated. Cook until heated through.
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
Spray the crock with nonstick spray. Spoon a layer of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles. Break to fit noodles into slow cooker. Top noodles with a portion of the cheese mixture. Next layer 2 cups spinach and 1/3 of the zucchini. Repeat the layering of sauce, noodles, cheese and veggies until all the ingredients are used. Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. Drizzle water around the edges of the crock.
Cover, and cook on LOW setting for 5 to 6 hours.
Let sit for 30 minutes or more and then slice and serve.
We’ve all been there. Just when we think we have our children figured out or on a good schedule, they change it up on us! This applies to so many things in our kiddos lives, from sleep to behavior and beyond, but a big area this can impact is eating. Even the best eaters can go astray at times.
As a mom and dietitian, I’ve been fortunate that my first son has been a pretty good eater. Some of that is due to work I’ve put in with him, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that he was open to trying lots of new foods before he hit about 18 months. As long as he was accepting, we kept throwing new flavors and textures his way. For his second birthday he requested Salmon with a Puttanesca sauce (olives, capers and tomatoes for those who are unfamiliar), spinach and roasted potatoes.
You can imagine my dismay when my child who previously ate all things decided that he wanted more control over what he ate and all but gave up on trying new foods and even started to shun some foods that he had previously enjoyed, like sweet potatoes.
For anyone out there struggling with this or even just dealing with a child who is less willing to try new things, the good news is that this is normal and the solution is relatively simple. It just may take some time to actually work. It’s frustrating in the short term when all you want is for your child to be eating well-rounded meals, but it’s more important to look at the big picture and help your child to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
Here are my top 5 tips for dealing with a good eater gone astray:
Model good eating behavior. If they see you eating it, it will just be normal. You can’t expect your child to eat peas if you won’t touch them, how fair is that? I find that the older my son gets, the more likely he is to try foods from my plate when the pressure is off and he is the one doing the asking. He wouldn’t get that opportunity if I weren’t striving to eat a variety of foods.
Eat dinner as a family. Eating together is a key way to model eating behaviors and to talk about food. Family dinners end up becoming so much more than just a time to eat and with everyone eating together, some of the pressure is removed from a child who would otherwise be eating under the watchful eye of his or her parents. The more you chat together at the table, the more relaxed the atmosphere is. That inviting atmosphere helps kids to feel more comfortable to experiment with their eating. Plus, who wants to eat alone?
Talk about food in a positive way. Studies show that children are more likely to try and eat new foods when caregivers talk about the benefits of foods instead of the negative consequences of “bad” foods. Think talking up the benefits of broccoli over the harm in eating cookies all day. Choose something that motivates your child. Our oldest was desperate to ride a roller coaster at a local amusement park. We talked about the types of foods that would help him to grow big and tall in order to do that and guess what he started asking for more of? It totally works!
The food choices that children make will only be as good as the foods that are offered to them. Enough said.
Don’t force your child to eat. Kids will eat when they are hungry. As a parent, it is your job to provide a variety of foods to your child. Your child should be deciding which of those foods he or she will eat and how much. Battles over finishing food at the table only result in frustration on both ends and can ultimately disrupt your child’s ability to sense when he or she is full. Trust that ultimately, your child’s body knows what it needs and in turn, your child will become more adventurous as he or she begins to trust that you won’t be forcing food at mealtimes.
Disclaimer:These suggestions are for children who are otherwise growing and developing at a rate deemed appropriate by your child’s physician. If you are struggling with eating habits in a child who is having growth failure, it is important to seek out individualized advice from a professional, such as pediatric dietitian.
Banana bread is a favorite to bake, eat and share with friends; zucchini is also a favorite that has been abundant in farmer’s markets this summer. So, with some extra zucchini and slightly browning bananas on hand, I decided to combine these two for one hopefully yummy experiment, and it worked! This is an easy (and tasty) way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your little one’s or your own day. Mashing a ripe banana, measuring dry ingredients and mixing are all tasks perfect for getting kids involved in the kitchen!
Yields ~15 muffins
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup milk
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup shredded (or made into noodles and then chopped*) zucchini
½ cup dark chocolate chips
¾ medium ripe banana, mashed
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F, and grease or line muffin tin.
In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients of flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate large bowl, mix beaten egg, oil, milk, mashed banana, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry until incorporated and moistened.
Prepare zucchini using a shredder or by spiralizing into thin noodles and then chopping into ¼ inch pieces, for similar effect. Measure your 1 cup of zucchini now. Wrap measured zucchini into paper towel and squeeze out excess water–there will be a lot of it.
Fold zucchini and chocolate chips into rest of mixture. Pour to fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way.
Bake until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Did you know that your dinner plates can actually affect the amount of food you and your children consume?
As a mom and dietitian, I understand the need for parents to feed their kids well while fostering a positive relationship with food.
This relationship is more complicated than the nutritional value of what you serve, however; in fact, it actually begins with your servingware.
If you haven’t thought about it before, then consider it now. Beyond ingredients alone, parents need to think about the ways in which the environment impacts children’s associations with food. Eating off of dishes that we find aesthetically pleasing or comforting can set us up for a sense of satisfaction before even taking a bite off our plate – and the same goes for our children.
When it comes to finding the perfect plates that suit your parenting philosophies and personal styles, consider yourselves covered. These five picks won’t just help to foster healthy attitudes in the kitchen; they’ll also eliminate unnecessary stress by prompting your ever-picky eaters to finish what’s in front of them.
1. The No Fuss Mom: Corelle White Dish
I’ve eaten off of these plates for years! Dishwasher safe and practically unbreakable, there is nothing better than these crisp, white dishes – except, that is, the price!
For a mere $50 dollars, you can purchase a set of eight of these family-friendly plates. Eating off of white dishes creates a colorful contrast with your meal which, based on studies by Dr. Brain Wainsink, lends to eating smaller portions and over time, an easy way to lose weight without consciously dieting.
2. The Eco-chic Mom: Bambooware Santa Barbara Dinnerware
For the environmentally sound mother with a love of anything green, these eco-chic plates fromBambooware are made of bamboo and are decidedly awesome.
Not only are they melamine-free, but these low-impact plates are both reusable and dishwasher safe, making them perfect for every occasion, from family meals to birthday parties and more.
3. The New Mom: Green Eats BPA-Free Kids Dishes
Babies and tots are known for touching, tantrums and throwing, so we’re not exactly serving our little bundles of joy baby food or even finger food off of our finest china. Yet with all the talk and rising concerns about BPA, many parents are hesitant to use plastic servingware, bottles and plates – even if many states, including New York and California, have put BPA-free laws in place.
TheseBPA-free platesfrom Green Eats gives new moms everywhere one thing less to worry about, and are ideal for serving wholesome, sustainable foods to our little ones.
4. The Mom Gone Crazy: Waechtersbach Warehouse Funfactory II Dinnerware
Having a selective, or “picky,” eater can give any mom grey hairs. While eating off of white plates helps to decrease portions consumed, go ahead and apply the opposite logic with these funky, brightly hued dishes. Purchase an entire set of these vibrant plates, one in every color of the rainbow, for variety, fun and for the picky eater, a low contrast combination.
In Dr. Brian Wainsink’s study, people ate more when they were served pasta with red sauce on a red dish and greens on green plates. These low contrast combinations may unconsciously convince your picky eater to nosh on just a few bites more of their meal.
5. The Party Planning Mom: Harvest Table Setting
What can be better than sitting down to a tasty fall meal at a beautifully decorated table? This year, embrace the changing seasons with an aesthetically pleasing dinner table, set for the harvest theme. Choose pumpkin bowls, candles and a fall hued centerpiece to go a step further in creating an environment that fosters an appreciation of feeding and eating.
I personally love the idea of entertaining family and friends, but fall short when it comes to patience and getting the look I want. Use Pottery Barn’s party planning website to learn how to create this warm and inviting Harvest Table Setting.
With your table set and your confidence high, all that’s left now is to decide on what to feed the kids. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, be sure to refer to my personal blog, Mom Dishes It Out, where I “dish” on delicious, kid-centric meals and answer real questions posed by real moms everywhere.