Kids & the Pasta Relationship


Use the “power of pasta” to introduce more variety in meals and see your child learning to enjoy a more balanced diet without mealtime drama.

Imagine this scenario. You found time in your busy day to schedule and prepare a family dinner. You included protein and vegetables to make it balanced, only to see your child piling pasta on his plate… then more pasta… and eating nothing else but pasta!

Sound familiar? You are not alone. I have met many parents who were concerned about their child’s love for plain starchy foods like noodles, bread, rice, or mashed potatoes.

A seemingly logical step would be to implement portion control and encourage the child to eat in a more balanced way. But limiting food does not work for children (or grown ups) who tend to react to dietary restrictions with intense cravings and usually find a way to get what they want. I remember counseling a family in which a five year-old girl was sneaking bagels into her bedroom after her health-conscious parents started “watching” her portion sizes.

But the question is, are starchy foods bad for your child?

Far from it. Starchy foods are rich in carbohydrates. This makes them a great option for kids. Here’s why:

* Kids have a innate penchant for sweet and starchy foods, which is logical from an evolutionary stand point. These foods make an efficient source of fuel for developing bodies and rapidly growing brains.

* Although many adults choose to limit carbohydrates or eat only whole grains for weight and health reasons, I typically do not recommend doing the same for children unless directed by a health professional for medical reasons. First of all, carbohydrates are a great way to meet high energy needs since they are easy for even the pickiest eaters to like. Secondly, too many fiber-rich foods may fill kids’ small stomachs before children get enough calories or nutrition. Aiming for a 50/50 ratio of refined to whole grains is a good goal for most kids.

* Although many starchy options like pasta and potatoes get a bad rep as “empty carbs”, they are far from being nutritionally void. Potatoes, for example, are a good source of fiber (if you do not peel them before cooking) and vitamin C. And did you know that just one serving of pasta contains around 1/3 of a toddler’s daily protein needs? And if you take into account that many starchy foods like pasta and cereals are fortified, it’s clear that these foods are quite nutritious.

But it’s easy to fall into the trap of preparing the same starchy foods, even nutritious ones, over and over again. For example, my kids went to three playdates last week and were served some kind of pasta at every single of them. And guess who made noodles and mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner the same week?

Here are a few ideas to increase variety without making your child feel carb-deprived:

* Experiment with other grains and vegetables. Explore the grain and starchy vegetable aisles in your grocery store. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with wheat unless one has a gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy, it is very easy to over rely on it, mainly because it is so ubiquitous in our food supply. Toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, crackers for snack, and pizza for dinner make up a fairly typical menu. What about granola, cooked oatmeal, or buckwheat pancakes for breakfast? Corn tortillas with guacamole or veggie chips with hummus for a snack? Potato fritters, roasted sweet potato wedges, grilled corn on the cob, polenta, boiled potatoes, rice, or quinoa for a dinner side?

* Think of veggie and protein “safe food” options. Do you always include a familiar and liked option in family meals for your child? If so, great! I am a big proponent of the Division of Responsibility in feeding, where parents carefully and lovingly plan meals while kids choose what and how much to eat. To make it work for your family, make a list of your child’s preferred or safe foods, divide them into foods groups, and include one or two in every meal you plan for the whole family. Remember, the safe food you include does not always have to be starchy. Try serving a familiar veggie or protein instead and combine them with a new or less liked starch. Example: breaded chicken and peas (both safe foods, perhaps) served with quinoa (a less familiar food).

* Mix it up. It is absolutely fine if your child eats only white pasta or rice, but, for the sake of variety, why not introduce their whole grain cousins? To start, mix a small amount of whole grains into the refined option and increase the ratio of whole grains gradually over time.

* Set up a “bar”. Instead of offering plain noodles or a naked baked potato, set up an exciting mix-and-match toppings bar. Make sure to include some conventional options like cheese, butter, or tomato sauce as well as more interesting toppings like olives, canned tuna, avocado, corn, herbs, fresh tomatoes, cooked chicken or ham, crumbled bacon, wilted or fresh spinach, sautéed or fresh onions, and even jalapeño peppers.

Starchy foods are most kids’ all-time favorites. Instead of limiting them in the hope to get children to explore other dinnertime offerings, use the “power of pasta” to introduce more variety in meals. Chances are you’ll see your child learn to enjoy a more balanced diet without mealtime drama.

I hope you identify with article and found it informative about Your kids’ eating habits that sometimes is a challenge for many parents.

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A simple trick to gets kids to eat more vegetables

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A simple trick could influence your kids to eat more veggies. My experience trying to force my son is even worst. Sometimes this method or approach is a failure. Psychologists propose using your child’s appetite to your benefit serving vegetables first in isolation.

There are no rules telling children what foods they should eat first, they’ll eat what tastes better to them. But what if vegetables were severed first, like an entrée, to a hungry child, probably they will eat them to satisfy their hunger.

For the vegetables, the better presentation in a multi-food context may not do any motivation because people choose instead to consume more of the other “better” items.

Researchers attended a school cafeteria and observed the eating habits of more than 800 students and many of them chose to take a cup of carrots when displayed between other foods.

Later they returned and they located the carrots at the tables with no other food options where students could reach them, the result was a 430 per cent increase in carrot consumption.

I would like to do this experiment with broccoli to have similar results.

8 Super Brain Food For Children 


We always are concern on how to feed our kids for a better development and brain growth in conjunction to establish a healthy style. Here is some Super Brain Food for Kids that we can start providing to them if you have not already.

1. Brain Food: Salmon

Fish like salmon is an excellent source of the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA essential for brain growth and function.

Recent research has also shown that people who get more of these fatty acids in their diet have better at mental skills tests. While tuna is also a source of omega 3s, it’s not a rich source like salmon. Albacore “white” tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna, so the EPA advises eating no more than 6 ounces of albacore tuna weekly.

Eat more salmon: Instead of tuna sandwiches, make salmon salad for sandwiches mixed with palin yogurt, raisin and salmon mixed with plain yogurt, raisins, and serve on whole-grain bread which is also a brain food.

2. Brain Food: Eggs

Eggs are well-known as a great protein source but the egg yolks are also packed with choline, which helps memory development.

3. Brain Food: Whole Grains

The brain needs a constant supply of glucose and whole grains provide that in spades. The fiber helps regulate the release of glucose into the body. Eat more whole grains: It’s easy to find more whole grain cereals these days (make sure a whole grain is the first ingredient listed) 

Whole grain bread is a must for sandwiches. Switch to whole-grain tortillas and chips for quesadillas, wraps, and snacks.

4. Brain Food: Oats/Oatmeal

Oats are one of the most familiar hot cereals for kids and a very nutritious grain for the brain.

Loaded with fiber, oats keep a child’s brain fed all morning at school. Oats also are good sources of vitamin E, B and zinc which make our bodies and brains function at full capacity

5. Brain Food: Berries

Some berries as strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries. Berries boast high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin C which may help prevent cancer.

Eat more berries: Add berries to veggies that may need a flavor boost like sliced sweet cherries with broccoli or strawberries with green beans. Toss berries into a green salad. Add chopped berries to a jar of salsa for an excellent flavor surprise.

Add berries to yogurt, hot or cold cereal, or dips. For a light dessert, top a mound of berries with nonfat whipped topping.

6. Brain Food: Beans

Beans are special because they have energy from protein and complex carbs and fiber plus lots of vitamins and minerals.

Sprinkle beans over salad and top with salsa. Mash vegetarian beans and spread on a tortilla. Mash or fill a pita pocket with beans and add shredded lettuce and cheese. Add beans to spaghetti sauce and salsa. Infants love mashed beans with applesauce.

7. Brain Food: Colorful Veggies

Tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach are vegetables with rich, deep color are the best sources of antioxidants that keep brain cells strong and healthy.

Try sweet potato fries, make pumpkin muffins. Baby carrots and tiny tomatoes fit nicely into lunch bags. Kids love spinach salads with lots of stuff in them like strawberries, mandarin oranges, sliced almonds. A trick: Sneak all sorts of chopped veggies into spaghetti sauce, soups, and stews.

8. Brain Food: Milk & Yogurt

Dairy foods are packed with protein and vitamin B essential for growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes.