Nutrition Expert Weighs in on Healthy Family Eats
I’m not one of those people who, like FBG Jenn, loves to cook. Cooking is, unfortunately, kind of a chore to me, one that involves the grocery store and boring cleanup. Not to mention, I get stuck in ruts and have a hard time getting creative in the kitchen. For all of these reasons, I love having access to experts, like cookbook authors who inspire and chefs who know their nutrition. One of those experts is registered dietitian Michelle Dudash who lends her nutritional expertise to Sargento and the Delicious Life Challenge on SheKnows TV. Today, she shares her tips on dealing with picky eaters and gives great healthy snack ideas for kids and meal ideas for busy moms. Read on!
Q&A with Nutrition Expert Michelle Dudash
- FBM: What are your top tips for coping with picky eaters? What’s the best way to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies?
- MD: When coping with picky eaters, don’t force the issue. The more you push, the more they may resist. Just serve the healthier foods like any other food and act like it’s no big deal.
- FBM: How can kids get involved in cooking meals?
- MD: The more you can get your children involved with the preparation process, the more likely they may be to eat the food. Allow them to help plan one meal each week. Have them pick out their own apron. Try to bring them with you to the grocery store and pick out a new vegetable. Younger children can wash produce in the salad spinner and stir. Older kids can peel, chop and use the oven.
- FBM: What are a few quick, easy after-school snacks that will get kids by until dinnertime?
- MD: A few favorites:
- Banana Snack Wrap: Roll a whole-grain tortilla with banana, almond or peanut butter, a sprinkle of granola, and a drizzle of honey.
- FBM: What’s the biggest mistakes busy moms make when it comes to dinner?
- MD: The all-or-nothing approach is a big mistake commonly made. Dinner doesn’t have to be 100 percent from scratch every night (or any night!) to be nutritious. Knowing how to even assemble healthy ingredients to put dinner on the table can be a good way to go. One example of this: Fill taco shells with rotisserie chicken, pre-shredded reduced-fat cheese, store-bought fresh pico de gallo, sliced avocado and shredded lettuce. Serve lower-sodium canned beans on the side. Visit Sargento.com for hundreds of easy dinner recipe ideas to choose from.
If your child doesn’t go for plain old broccoli or peas, don’t panic. Sprinkle in shredded cheese or low-fat cheese sauce. Sargento reduced fat cheeses, such as the Cheddar Shreds, have at least 33 percent less fat than traditional cheeses and taste just as delicious.
Swirl thawed squash puree into spaghetti sauce. Stir shredded carrots into sloppy Joes and taco meat. Even when you do “hide” vegetables, be sure to still serve vegetables alongside so they get used to having them there.
Studies have shown how children’s taste buds prefer sweeter foods over bitter from birth, so most kids will eat fruit. Think beyond apples and oranges by choosing a variety of seasonal fruit to keep mealtime exciting. Foods tend to be more economical when they’re in season, too, because there is a higher supply. This month, try fresh strawberries and cherries.
Arriba Cracker Melts: Melt shredded cheddar on top of 100 percent whole-grain crackers in the microwave and top with black beans and salsa.
Nutty Kabobs: Skewer chunks of fresh fruit with cheese cubes. Drizzle lightly with honey or chocolate syrup and roll in chopped pecans.
Moms can assume their child won’t like a new food, so will continue to serve the same thing. It takes eight to 10 exposures to a new food before a child will come to accept and enjoy it, so keep trying.
Great ideas, Michelle! I think I may even try those snack ideas myself. Make sure you tune in tomorrow for Michelle’s list of must-haves for the pantry and fridge! —Erin