Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One Step Closer to Teaching Our Children about the Important Role of Nutrition

I found this article (Home Away From Home: to be most helpful to new moms that might be researching child care programs or already have their child in a program. The article discusses child care programs as a "home away from home" and "where our children adopt early nutrition-related behaviors". With today's economy and both parents working, child care is utilized by more families in the US, therefore they have a huge influence in our child's food choices and future health.

It is already a known fact that child obesity is becoming an epidemic and that 1/3 of our nations children are carrying too much weight. Our children our watching us eat!! I appreciated the statement..."Young children appear more likely than older children to be influenced by adults in an eating environment".

As a registered dietitian and health care professional, it is my role to educate the community on the importance of nutrition and especially the role we plays as adults in our children's future health. If you or anyone would like for me to come speak (for free) at your child care program, school, or after school care please contact me at

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fun Breakfast Ideas for the Whole Family

Believe it or not, there is more to breakfast than cereal! Here are just a few fun and balanced breakfast ideas your kids will love!

1. Whole grain waffles: Make some home made whole grain waffles, wrap them individually in freezer bags, and store them in the freezer for the week! When you are ready to eat them, Stick 1 in the toaster, jazz it up with some berries, and top it off with some low fat vanilla yogurt (Greek is my favorite and loaded with protein!). Check out this yummy whole grain waffle recipe at

2. Power up with oatmeal: Does your oatmeal taste like cardboard? Well it doesn't have to! There are endless possibilities- change it up with a tsp of honey or peanut butter, or a dollop of greek yogurt, handful of walnuts or almonds, dried fruit, bananas, chopped apples. I never get bored with oatmeal!

3. Egg white breakfast sandwich/burrito: This is one of my favorites!
Take 1 egg white OR 3 tbsp all natural eggs whites (found at local grocery store). Grease a ramekin or custard cup with non-stick cooking spray. Poor in egg whites. Cook on high in microwave for 1 minute-times may very depending on microwave. Cut a whole grain english muffin in half and toast. Place cooked egg whites and 1 slice of low fat cheddar cheese. Pair it up with a 1/2 cup or small piece of fruit and some low fat yogurt-YUM! And if you hit snooze one too many times, wrap in foil and brown bag it up with some low fat yogurt and 1/2 a banana. Change it up with a whole grain tortilla wrap and some salsa to make a breakfast burrito!

4. Smoothies: My nephews and I love making smoothies together! Smoothies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and a great start to the day!! Give your blender some love!
Try this recipe:

Makes 2 servings.

1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup low-fat milk OR 1 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
2 tsp honey OR agave nectar
2 cups ice
Mix in blender and ENJOY!
You can also use frozen fruit or seasonal fruit to save money!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Supplement Review: Juice Plus®

Recently I was asked about the supplement Juice Plus®. Juice Plus® number one claim is that it is "the next best thing to fruits and vegetables", leading the consumer to believe that these pills are "closer to real fruits and vegetables than is likely to be the case"-says Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). CSPI also explained that the labels indicate that the capsules contain high levels of vitamins A and C and folate naturally, and do not disclose that these vitamins and minerals are added to the capsules during processing.”(1) Very deceiving! Recently Airborne made false claims that the supplement cures and prevents colds. Airborne is now under a 23 million class action law suit and the CSPI would like to do the same with Juice Plus®.

The fact is that supplements in the US are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and there is little to no viable research. It is a great money making industry and often can be very deceptive. Then how do we know? A few great websites to find more information on supplements are and While it is true that people who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers (2), the research completed never considered or used juice sweetened cookies, crackers , or gummy chews made from dehydrated fruit and vegetables (2). JuicePlus® claims that one pill contains your daily intake of fruits and vegetables in compact form. Is this sound? We would like to believe that we can shrink 3-5 servings of all the amazing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals that are found in whole fruits and vegetables into 2 little capsules! There is nothing natural about this process! No pun intended!

Another benefit from eating whole fruits and vegetables is fiber! Juice and pill form supplements contain little to no fiber. Research conducted at the Institute of Medicine shows our bodies need 20-30 gms of fiber daily. Our main source of fiber comes from whole fruits and vegetables consumed in our diet. A high fiber diet has been proven to prevent cardiovascular disease, and possibly other forms of cancer (2).

Conclusion and lesson for the day: A vitamin/mineral supplement should never replace eating whole fruits and vegetables!

A side note on fruits and vegetables with children:
As parents we want our children to eat fruits and vegetables and some of us are looking for ways to “sneak” fruits and vegetables into meals in order for them to get their servings of fruits and vegetables. And not to mention some of us are supplementing our child’s diet with dehydrated fruit/vegetable crackers, cookies, or supplement chews that looks like candy teddy bears replacing or counting these as fruits and vegetable servings. We have underestimated the benefits of whole fruits and vegetables! We have put such a negative spin on fruits and vegetables! Why not teach our children the truth about all the benefits that whole fruits and vegetables can provide! Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable at the grocery store or farmers market next time, find a recipe, get in the kitchen, and COOK with your kids!