Ellen's tips to start your family
out the Food Pyramid
to make your meals square
Mom was right
when she wanted you home for dinner. Children's eating patterns
are formed by the time they are 12, and as they grow older, these
patterns become harder and harder to change. Now, a new study
from Harvard University shows that kids who eat regularly with
their parents may have healthier eating habits than those who
surveyed over 16,000 children ages nine to 14 and divided them
into three groups: those who ate dinner with their family every
day, most days, or barely at all. The kids who ate with their
families all or most days were one and a half times more likely
to have at least five servings of fruits and veggies daily, consume
less fried food and soda, and less artery-clogging saturated and
trans fats. In addition, they got more fiber, calcium, folate,
iron and several other nutrients.
highlight the benefits of making family dinners a daily event.
Time is no excuse. More than 88% of the mothers of the children
in the study were working moms. But the clock is ticking. The
study found the older the kids were, the less often they ate dinner
with their parents.
some helpful tips from to jump-start your family dinner tradition
from Great Adventures In Food by FoodFit founder and CEO Ellen
food an adventure.
Get the kids involved in the process at every step
of the way; making decisions about food, shopping,
cooking, even setting the table. Sometimes it can
take coaxing to get children to move beyond old favorites
like plain pasta. That's when games are great. Highlight
the favorite foods of family members.
around the world with bread.
Try pita bread from the Middle East, chapatis from
India and East Africa, rye bread from Sweden, bread
sticks from Italy and baguettes from France. Tack
up a map and mark the countries whose bread your family
Try a food pyramid countdown.
See how many different foods in each food group everyone
in your family eats each day. Have your kids make
a poster of the pyramid. Hang it in the kitchen. Give
everyone paper and a pencil and start counting. Keep
a running list for a week. When everyone adds variety
and balance to their diet, celebrate with a family
hike or a picnic.
Have a family tasting party
to introduce new foods to everyone. Use
the five senses to explore new flavors, colors, textures,
and smells. For instance, buy five or six different
types of fruit, such as strawberries, plums, papayas,
nectarines and raspberries. Gather round the table
and answer these questions:
it. Is it wrinkled or smooth?
Touch it. Is it soft or hard?
Smell it. Is it sweet-smelling?
Taste it. Is it sweet, sour or something else?
Hear it. When you chew is it crunchy or mushy?