Are Your Words the Cause of Your Child’s Eating Disorder?

What Do Your Children Hear When You Say…?
By Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Mom

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As I surf the net, I read so many blogs that also say all foods fit. Yet they go on to say certain foods are treats, certain foods are bad, and certain foods should only be allowed if the child doesn’t have a weight problem. So how do parents handle this delicate issue?

 

First we must address our own food issues. If we have them—and we probably do (as I don’t know too many people without food confusion)—we need not verbalize them as black and white statements to our children.

For example:

You can eat ice cream because you are young and thin, but Mommy needs to be good because Mommy’s belly is too big.

That is clearly a mother’s issue being verbalized to the child. Mom is implying ice cream is bad, but the child can have bad food because they are thin—and Mom cannot.

 

Next, we must be careful not to place a moral or value judgment on foods. This means avoiding good and bad food labeling. This backfires because a child typically feels bad when he/she eats something bad. This can even be true of using words such as “healthy” versus “unhealthy,” but perhaps that takes it to extremes. Some children’s programs use the colors of a stoplight to signify how much of something to eat. I’ve always found myself telling clients to listen to their bodies. However, I also know I would tell them to focus on the nutrient-dense foods the majority of the time and that the remainder of the time it doesn’t matter. We began calling these foods “everyday foods” versus “some of the time” foods. This is a perfect solution, no? It really categorizes foods with higher nutrition versus lower nutrition.  This is the way I typically explain foods to my children. The sure thing we know is that the good and bad connotations lead to negative relationships with food. So steer clear of using words implying judgment and move towards words that are science-based, such as “high in vitamin C” and “low in vitamins.”

 

Another catch-22 is saying that our children need to lose weight and thus should only eat healthy food. This is quite far from the truth. If you, a child, or me needs to lose weight, we must explore the why. Moms and Dads, especially dietitian moms/dads or parents working in health and wellness, need to be so careful of this. Instead, explore behaviors and emotions surrounding the foods.

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Questions to ask are:

  1. Is the individual eating beyond his/her physical cues?
  2. Are you or your child stressed and eating to numb yourself?
  3. Is your child not in tune with his/her internal regulation because you have restricted him/her and forbade all processed foods?
  4. Is your child skipping meals at school or is unable to feel full off of the school lunch?
  5. Is this weight healthy for me even though the doctor says differently?

 

Again, this is not about eating nutrient-dense foods. That is merely just one piece in the food puzzle.

 

The “beware of’s” can go on and on, but the most important concept to truly be cautioned against is that of “perfect eating.” There is no perfect eating. If you eat too healthy, it can be significant of anorexia or orthorexia. If you eat chaotically with no boundaries whatsoever, this too can be very unhealthy. Instead promote balance, listening to your internal physical needs, eating for fuel and for pleasure and health too! Eat real food when you can, but don’t go crazy over avoiding processed foods. Enjoy apples just as much as your cookies.

 

Below is a handout from the book Healthy Habits, which you can download.

The Tricks about Treats

This post was originally published on The Feed Blog, to see the entire article please click here.

By Justine Roth, MS, RD, CDN

Photo Credit: Dave Malkoff via Compfight cc

Children require guidance in all areas of their lives— how to tie their shoes, when to speak in a quiet voice, and, of course, when, what and how to eat. As a parent, I know it is my job to think carefully about the messages I send to my child regarding food to start her on the path towards healthy self-regulation. But even as a dietitian who counsels others on developing a balanced relationship with food, I struggle to navigate this with my toddler.

My daughter loves food. Meal times are not stressful, and in fact are usually very enjoyable.  She usually finishes everything I give her (and that she often picks out) without an issue. If she doesn’t finish a meal, I just assume she wasn’t that hungry to start. But, it is a different story when we are around others. She often asks for food just because she sees friends or family eating it and, unlike most kids who do this but lose interest in the food once they get it, she will usually finish whatever she is given. Sometimes this results in her not feeling well. This is where it gets tricky. Do I give her food every time she asks, so as not to “restrict her,” or do I try to limit excess snacks and food outside of meal times to help her learn to identify her hunger and fullness cues?

Some parents may think I am too strict with my daughter.  The parent of a picky eater, for example, is likely to have different struggles than me – and to arrive at different solutions. Parenting is hard enough without us judging one another. Instead, perhaps we can learn from one another. Because although young, our children are certainly capable of starting to learn about their body and to establish healthy habits, and we must lead the way.

To continue reading, please click here.

A Mom & RD's View on Halloween Candy

How Much Halloween Candy Do You Let Your Children Eat?
By Elyse Falk, MS, RD, CDN

My kids, like all of yours, will be trick-or-treating soon.  The age-old questions always arise amongst my friends, “How much candy do you let your kids eat?”  “Do you throw it all out?”  “Do you donate it?” “Do you let them have a little bit of candy all week long?”  “Do you let them have the candy all at once?”

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I think my kids are like any other kids and love to eat their treats the night of Halloween.  Heck, I love to eat the candy we are giving out and the candy my kids collect too!   As a family, we know that too much candy in one night will make us feel sick (evidenced by real-life events).  So, I have the kids pick a few pieces to eat on Halloween night, put the rest in zip-lock bags labeled with their names for safe keeping, and place the bags in the pantry closet.  I find that if it’s not spread out on the kitchen counter all day, every day, it’s less likely that they will mindlessly snack on it.  I guess my sons would say that I let them enjoy their Halloween candy but put a limit on it only when the other food groups are being left out.  I may tell them to pair some pieces of candy with a nutrient-rich meal or snack.  Pairing some candy like this is always an option … it gives less value to the candy.

 

Interestingly enough, as the week progresses, their desire for the candy diminishes.  My truth is that the more I limit it, the more my kids want it.  It’s a great opportunity for them to learn moderation and to always know the candy is there when they want it and that I am not going to make a big deal about it.  If on any one Halloween night they do overeat the candy, it is certain that they will not feel good.  I chalk that up to a teachable moment.  If you treat the topic of the candy more neutrally, with less emotion or judgment, the Halloween candy won’t be a “thing” between you and your children.

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Lastly, I believe that eating some candy with your kids is a must!  They need to know that eating a few pieces of candy on Halloween is okay and normal.  This is especially true when you have a child who may have heard sugar and candy is a “bad” food from a friend.  Remember, we as parents are role models.  I hope that we can teach them that there is no “bad” or “forbidden” food and that sometimes, on occasions such as Halloween, it is okay to enjoy some candy.  Happy Halloween!

Disclaimer:

We only call it treats due to Halloween but they are really candy, food, or food with lower nutrition.

Division of Responsibility: Guidelines for Family Nutrition

Division of Responsibility:  The What, Where, Whether, and When versus How Much—Guidelines for Family Nutrition
By Elyse Falk, MS, RD

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Ponder the “division of responsibility” between a parent and a child when it comes to meal time.  I love it. I live it. I recommend it. Taking the power struggle away from the food sounds like a fabulous idea, doesn’t it? No more fighting at the dinner table when trying to get your kids to eat or even stop your kids from eating too much. Ellyn Satter, a registered dietitian nutritionist, family therapist, and internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding, pioneered the Satter Feeding Dynamics Model and the Satter Eating Competence Model. She is the author of the Division of Responsibility in Feeding, the gold standard for feeding children. She educates parents on the line between what their job is and what the child’s job is when it comes to the food. The parent is in charge of WHAT food is brought into the house and served, as well as WHEN the food is given (meal and snack times; hopefully three meals and three snacks) and WHERE. The child is in charge of the HOW MUCH he/she will eat and WHETHER he/she eats what is served. When this line is crossed, usually by the parent, or the “feeder,” there begins the fighting and frustration.

 

I have stuck with the division of responsibility rule ever since I went to hear Ellyn Satter speak many years ago. Looking back, I feel lucky that I had the privilege of hearing her speak to professionals when my kids were learning the art of eating. I started to implement her model and still use it to this day with my seven-, eleven-, and thirteen-year-old. I can honestly say that by following the division of responsibility, there has never been any real issue around food at the table, other than the “I don’t like what you made” or the recipe I made tasted awful. Following this model, we can all enjoy a somewhat calm environment (hopefully not getting up from their seats to play with our new dog) and talk about our days or what the day might hold.

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As a parent who does the shopping, I know WHAT I want my kids to have more of and WHAT I want them to have some of the time  (Laura’s foods lower in nutrient density known as “sometimes” foods, such as their ice cream, cookies, brownies, and other foods that fall into this category in her book, Healthy Habits) throughout the week, so that helps my food shopping experience. I am also constantly figuring out the different parts of a complete meal.  Think “MyPlate” sources of protein, grain, healthy fat, vegetable and/or fruit, and possibly a milk/yogurt for snacks or with the meal. I also think about what they can eat that is more or less a complete meal yet is easy to make by themselves (especially for my eleven- and thirteen-year-old).

 

The WHEN aspect of the division of responsibility, for me and my family, is making sure they get their meals and snacks throughout the day to ensure energy during school and after school activities.. For example, I know that my boys have activities starting at 6:00 p.m. on some nights, so I will have a dinner for them WHEN they get home from school (they are always hungry when then get home from school) before their activity and usually WHEN they get home afterwards because they are usually hungry again,. This second feeding time is typically something on the lighter side.  The WHEN aspect for me is not a strict routine but arises when they are hungry; I would never make them eat if they weren’t hungry at the WHEN time, but I find that usually they are ready to eat at pretty consistent times of the day.  The WHERE is usually at home, not so much in the car; however, I know that on some nights the car will be WHERE a snack needs to be given.

 

The HOW MUCH and WHETHER are the hardest parts of the division. Sometimes my boys have voracious appetites and eat huge quantities, and other times they consume smaller amounts. I never comment on HOW MUCH they are eating because I never want to mess up their hunger and fullness cues and force them to stop/continue eating just because I would say “That is enough” or “You need to eat more.” I would rather use that language on homework. I have learned that even then I am overstepping my boundaries and it causes a power play.

 

The WHETHER is another difficult aspect to manage, but if you make something that you know your children will always eat, along with something new for them to try, at least you know they will be eating something. But there are those nights when nothing appeals to your child; when that happens, I settle on what’s easiest to warm up or prepare in a pinch.

 

When helping a parent out with issues surrounding food, I most often recommend Ellyn Satter’s books and methods. Sometimes parents look at me like I’m crazy for even suggesting that they keep quiet about HOW MUCH their child/children eat.  I always recommend trying Ellyn’s way for one week just to experiment with it!  I truly believe that it will make a happier child and a happier home when it comes to the food at the table!

Dessert as a Reward?

By Stacey Antine, MS, RD

 

If most of my child’s diet is well rounded, does it matter that he has a rewarding dessert here and there? After all, he’s a kid!

Dessert is A-OK, but rewarding kids with food is not. For something sweet, try fresh summer berries!

I’m all about dessert, especially homemade sweets, but not with the “reward” word attached to it. Rewards for good behavior, school grades, etc. should not be linked to food, but rather to a new book or a privilege at home, like extra playtime. There is a growing body of evidence that links food rewards to obesity because the type of foods given as rewards are usually high sugar, high fat, low nutritional value items. I’ve never seen a child receive an apple as a food reward. So, we are associating unhealthy foods with great behavior that we want to see more of… a recipe for disaster down the road.

After dinner, for a little something sweet, a square of dark chocolate and fresh fruit or berries or frozen yogurt with fruit toppings get thumbs up from kids and parents at HealthBarn USA!

 

– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.

How We Do Dessert

“What’s For Dessert?”
By Adina Pearson, RDN of Healthy Little Eaters

Photo Credit: Alexis Fam Photography via Compfight cc

Why I Serve Dessert With The Meal

In most households, dessert is served at the end of the meal.  When everyone has gotten their fill of the main course and sides and is patting their full tummy in satisfaction, the hostess clears the table, vanishes into the kitchen, and then reappears flashing a proud smile as she presents…DESSERT:  The decadent reward for getting full on nutrition!  The hard work is done, you may now enjoy a moment of pleasure.

^Not teaching that lesson is one reason why we now serve dessert with the meal in our house.  I don’t want to teach the unintended lesson that dessert is for full bellies.  I want my children to stay tuned in to their signals of fullness and satisfaction.  Sweets are desirable enough to children that they can learn to override their fullness if they have to do it to get cookies–especially if cookies are scarce.  A small study in Appetite demonstrated that kids will eat more calories in order to squeeze in dessert if it was served at the end of the meal.   The study authors interpreted the results as a way to help kids eat fewer calories.  But that’s not really what I take from this.  I’m not into micromanaging calories because I think kids do an adequate job of regulating themselves when they get reliable meals and snacks.  What I take from this is that the way we feed our kids can either support their natural self-regulation and ability to respect their fullness or it can teach them to overeat to get what they really want.  My personal experience is that if they know it’s coming, they’ll just get antsy at the table or become preoccupied enough with the-sweet-thing-to-come that they won’t stop to eat the main meal.  It certainly was the case with my 4 year old before we made the switch.  But each child is different and older kids may be more willing to do the required ‘eat your veggies first’ work in order to win pie at the end.

That’s something else I don’t want to teach.  I don’t want the meal to be considered ‘work’ while the dessert is elevated to a higher status.  When it comes to picky eaters it is all too easy to slip into the dessert-for-broccoli power struggle: Okay, darling, eat another bite of your chicken and two more bites of your broccoli and then you can have dessert.  I see this happen in the families who come to me for nutrition counseling.  I see it happen with picky eaters whose parents are worried because of their low weight and with picky eaters whose parents are concerned because of their higher weight.  It’s not working for either group.  Broccoli is wonderful!  Chicken is wonderful!  Dessert is wonderful!  Yet we certainly make a big deal out of sweets.  When dessert is a reward it takes on more power.  Kids are already naturally drawn to strong sweet flavors, we don’t need to make those sweet flavors into a bigger deal.  Plus bribery & coercion as well as other types of pressuring kids to eat typically makes them eat worse, not better.

What If That’s All They Eat?

You might now be wondering, what if that’s all they eat?  How can it be okay for kids to survive off of cake and cookies until their tastes mature?  Well, for one thing, I don’t serve dessert at every meal or every day.  How often you serve dessert is entirely up to you.  And portion size matters because, it’s true, dessert may very well interfere with the nutrition of the meal if it is served ad libitum.

It’s Okay to Limit Dessert Served with a Meal

At meals we only serve one portion to each person at the table.  And kids get a ‘child-size’ portion rather than a full adult portion (translate that to suit your preferences).  It’s treated very much like a scarce food item (filet mignon, $9-a-pint raspberries, etc) and there are no seconds.

Some examples of portions I’ve served: 1 square of chocolate, a lollipop, small slice of pie/cake, 1 coconut macaroon, small brownie, 2-3 tiny candy pieces, teacup full of pudding, teacup full of yogurt mixed with fruit, 1/2 to 1 cupcake (depending on size).

If my kids want to start with their cookie, fine.  I know it’s not all they will eat.  And even if my kids gobble up their dessert and consequently decide they are done eating for the meal, they  probably weren’t terribly hungry to begin with.  If that is the case, without that dessert at the table, they would not have eaten much of anything anyway.  The dessert didn’t ruin any appetites, it just masked their lack of appetite.

With my kids, it seems the presence of dessert actually warms them up to the idea of coming to the table and relaxes them immediately, improving their attitude about the meal overall.  They don’t eat any worse, and possibly better with such a sweet ‘appetizer’ on the table.  I love when I catch my oldest going back and forth between bites of dessert and bites of the meal.

Unlimited Portions as Snack

Any food that is scarce, especially one as desirable as sweets, can create a strong preoccupation in a child.  For some kids with a strong sweet tooth, that desire or preoccupation can lead them to overeat the desired food when they get the chance.   Serving only a small child-size portion of dessert creates a kind of scarcity.  To mitigate this scarcity and to allow my kids a chance to regulate their own portion size of dessert, I will, occasionally, serve an unlimited portion of sweets at snack time.  If snack time is appropriately timed (so it’s not too close to the next meal) it won’t interfere with meal food.  Serve the dessert with a glass of milk (for example) and you’ve got a balanced snack.

I have to admit, the first candy experiment left me practically biting my fingernails as I waited for my daughter to complete her snack.  But with each ‘ad lib sweet snack’ I’ve served, I’ve never ever been disappointed in my kids’ ability to stop.  They have never eaten a whole cake, half a cake, or even a quarter of a cake.  And I’m confident that my trusting them teaches them to trust themselves around sweets.  After all we have serious structure in place.  Eating happens seated at the table, not running around.  Eating happens at set meal and snack times, there’s no all-day grazing.   And I get to choose how often I serve various foods.  But within that structure, the freedom of the Division of Responsibility, teaches some important lessons that I don’t think I could teach if I micromanaged every bite.

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How Often Should Dessert Be Served?
Honestly, I think only you can answer this question for yourself and your family.  I love desserts and baked goods.  I love chocolate.  I could live without them, but I sure prefer not to.   For me I serve dessert often enough for us.  I know I’ve gone perhaps too long when my kids start begging for dessert–or if I’m longing for it.  And if I serve something sweet just to keep them from feeling too deprived, it doesn’t take much to accomplish my task.

 

Adina Pearson, RDN has been a registered dietitian for 12 years. Before having children of her own, she had no interest in pediatric nutrition. Kids change things! She’s now most thrilled when she sees a child patient on her schedule. Her new passion for helping parents feed their kids well inspired her to start a facebook page and blog. More recently, she has started an online toddler feeding course in collaboration with another dietitian.  Adina lives in southeastern Washington with her husband, two kids, and two labradoodles. To read more on Adina head to her website: www.HealthyLittleEaters.com

Kids Eat Right

On Teaching Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Families
Erica Leon, MS, RDN, CEDRD, CDN
Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian
Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor

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Hardly a day goes by without a headline warning of the dire consequences of our kids’ increasing weights and BMIs (body mass indices). Yes, we know that obesity leads to many chronic health conditions, from diabetes and heart disease to joint and breathing problems. All too often, however, I have seen the negative consequences of focusing exclusively on a child or adolescent’s weight and body mass index. I am seeing an increase in the number of kids and teens on diets, and I am also seeing an increase in eating disorders and disordered eating as a result. I believe there must be a middle ground—and a different way of reacting to expanding waistlines.

 

I believe this middle ground is a philosophy called Health at Every Size (HAES) and a way of eating called “Intuitive Eating.” Simply put, we change the focus from the number on the scale to healthy behaviors from the inside out. We must educate families to take an active role in preventing weight issues in kids. Embracing a healthy lifestyle means honoring and respecting our genetic body types, fueling them with health-promoting, satisfying foods, learning to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger, and moving our bodies because it just feels good!

 

Having taught weight management programs for overweight children in the past, I have seen the stress levels caused by frequent weight checks on a scale. I am excited to implement a wonderful program called Healthy Habits, written by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, into my practice to teach families how to eat in this healthy, balanced way using a system of “everyday” and “sometimes” foods. This eight-week curriculum is grounded in the health at every size philosophy, teaches parents and kids how to make healthy but non-depriving food choices, and promotes movement and exercise for pleasure. There are no good foods or bad foods. Parents learn limit-setting skills while kids learn portion control, honoring hunger and fullness and coping with challenging situations around food. I believe our best hope at preventing health problems associated with overweight and obesity is involving and educating the entire family about a healthy lifestyle.

 

I would like to share part of an essay that my nineteen-year-old daughter, Rebecca Leon, wrote:

I have what my family calls the “round genes,” which basically means that due to good old-fashioned genetics, I’m destined to have curvier hips and a slightly fuller figure than most. Throughout my 19 years, I’ve struggled with accepting this fact and have fallen in and out of love with my body more times than Justin Bieber has gotten into trouble with the law! Although I’ve never had an eating disorder myself, admittedly, I’ve grappled with some dangerous dieting habits. Last year I auditioned for very competitive musical theater college programs where looks are as important as skill.

“My solution was to eat less (way less) and exercise a lot more, even though I was already dancing 3 hours a day. I won’t go into any more detail, but to make a long story short, for a few months, I wasn’t eating nearly enough food for the amount of calories I was burning. Although happy with my looks and feedback I was getting, to put it mildly, I felt like crap. I felt cranky all the time, had no energy, wasn’t satisfied with the way I was performing, and I would freak out at any sign of bloating. Luckily I have a supportive, nutritionist mother who has been teaching me about healthy eating since the day I was born. The truth is, your body needs fuel in order to perform at its best. I soon realized that by depriving my body of its needs, I was, in turn, putting myself at a disadvantage. When it came time for my auditions, I went back to eating more regularly. Thankfully, I was accepted into many programs, which would have been impossible had I not given my body the energy it needed to perform well.

 “The best way to feel good is to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Living in this manner is the key to honoring and accepting your body. Let’s face it…human beings are lazy. Most of the time we look for shortcuts and the easy way out. Well, unfortunately there is no shortcut or easy way out when it comes to health. Depriving your body of food may seem like the quickest way to lose weight, but in reality, it’s not at all worth the emotional or physical stress, not to mention putting yourself in danger. Even though maintaining a healthy lifestyle is difficult, the hard work pays off. Personally, I feel the happiest when I have a daily exercise routine planned out and stick to a balanced, healthy diet that allows me to indulge in a yummy dessert every other night.”

 

August is “Kids Eat Right Month,” an initiative from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to educate and empower our children towards a healthier lifestyle. I believe Healthy Habits enables families to do just that.

 

For more information on Healthy Habits, click here.

For additional free resources on “Kids Eat Right,” click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fancy Fish Sticks

It was over a year ago that I wrote a blog on my sons’ eating habits and their preferences for frozen fish sticks. While their food preferences continue to develop and change, I have this recipe at the ready for a night when the boys want to join me in the kitchen and make homemade fish sticks.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise with olive or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • Cooking spray (I like to use canola oil spray)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons creamy mustard blend (such as Dijonnaise)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1 pound halibut or other lean white fish fillets (such as cod or pollack), cut into 4 x 1-inch pieces (about 12 pieces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 lime wedges

Preparation

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cover and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and spread evenly with oil; heat in oven 12 minutes.
  4. Combine flour and black pepper in a shallow dish. Combine 1/2 cup chicken stock, mustard blend, lime juice, egg whites, and egg in a shallow dish; stir with a whisk until foamy. Place panko, cumin, and chipotle pepper in a food processor; pulse 20 times or until coarse crumbs form. Place panko mixture in a shallow dish.
  5. Sprinkle fish evenly with salt. Working with one piece at a time, dredge fish in flour mixture. Dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture until completely covered.
  6. Remove preheated baking sheet from oven; place fish on pan, and return to oven. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork, turning once. Serve immediately with sauce and lime wedges.
  7. Sustainable Choice: If Pacific halibut is not available, you can use Alaskan pollack and U.S. Pacific cod as alternatives.

 

 

This recipe was adapted from Cooking Light, the original can be found here.

Healthy Habits is coming to a school near you!

Healthy Habits is coming to a school near you!
By Lauren Cohen and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Starting in early March, members of the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team have been heading out to share our nutrition education program, Healthy Habits, with New York City students.  It has already proved to be an incredibly rewarding experience for both the students and teachers.

 

Over the past few weeks, we have been heading out to Schools and Day Cares around NYC and it’s boroughs to spend some time with students. With ages ranging from 5-9, we really have our hands full! It was thrilling to see the amount of nutrition knowledge students in this age range already had. The younger students were full of great information and even better questions while the older students were explaining the benefits of protein and exercise and asking questions about metabolism!

 

Here are some of the highlights:

1.  Meeting the students and finding out what they know.

The students at our first two locations have a nutrition program already and we quickly learned that all their hard work paid off. The students were able to name all of the food groups from MyPlate and were even able to categorize their lunch foods. They told us all about the lunch they had that day—there was something from every food group! They were eager to display their knowledge and learn more. Needless to say, we were very impressed!

 

2.  Learning about Sometimes and Everyday foods.

After we learned what the students had that day, we asked them what they liked to eat. They named a ton of healthy foods but also a lot of snacks and treats. Sometimes and Everyday foods are a big and exciting philosophy that Healthy Habits teaches. The students seemed happy to learn that chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes fit in the sometimes category. This is an important part of Healthy Habits’ lesson plan and the students were very taken to this concept.

 

3.  Learning about the Hunger and Fullness scale.

How hungry are you now? How hungry are you after you eat? Before you eat? Sometimes these questions are hard to answer. It’s a precious skill to be able to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness needs. We asked the students how to identify what hunger and fullness felt like and if that was how they felt now. It can be a big challenge to tune into your body that way and it was exciting to see the students pick up on this quickly. Some of them were hungry and some of them were not but their ability to gage their hunger/ fullness needs worked out well for the next part of our lesson!

 

4.  Learning how to eat mindfully.

Have you ever thought about your senses while you eat? What does your food look like, sound like, and feel like? How does it smell? How about the taste? Have you ever thought about the food you’re eating while you’re eating it, or taken three slow breathes to enjoy your meal before chowing down? All of these factors have a huge impact on how we feel about our food and eating. It’s a valuable skill to incorporate into your daily habits. This was the student’s favorite part! Maybe it was the snacks or perhaps because we were playing with food—either way, it was a blast!

 

We wanted to say a very big thank you to the students and faculty at the various locations we have been working with for welcoming us into your school and allowing us to have such a wonderfully positive experience learning with you.

 

If you are interested in having members of the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team come teach Healthy Habits at your school, please contact us at newyork@lauracipullollc.com.

 

For more information on the Healthy Habits curriculum or to purchase it, please visit http://momdishesitout.wpengine.com/resources/healthy-habits-for-children/.

 For a FREE download of one of our Healthy Habits worksheets click the photo below!

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