Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

PinExt Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

Did the Easter bunny come loaded with candy to your house? Or did he have some non-sugar related treats instead, such as

300px Chocolate Easter Bunny Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

A milk chocolate Easter Bunny. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

new socks, new shirts, or fruits and nuts?

If your bunny was like most bunnies I know, he packed a high sugar load. As parents, how to handle the high influx of sugars into young bodies? As well as, how to get back into a schedule of healthy eating?

Studies have shown that high sugar intake not only can add pounds but plays a role in a wide range of health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Long-term sugar addiction can also produce a weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, hormonal problems, and gastrointestinal issues as well as anxiety and depression.

There is conflicting evidence over sugar-producing mood altering swings in children. But many parents have seen the changes in their child from a sweet, fun-loving child to one of a hostile, out-of-control “brat”. Too much sugar causes different reactions in different people.

Some view the never-ending “need” many have for sugar as a powerful addiction not unlike that of alcohol. With sugar addiction, individuals are no longer able to use their body’s natural abilities to control their food intake. Reportedly, some parts of the world still keep sugar under lock and key believing it to be a narcotic.

Just as with any other addiction, sugar craving needs to be controlled. This includes cutting out artificially sweetened foods as well as natural sugar foods. Getting the sugar habit under control is especially important for children for health reasons as well as weight control.

How can parents help their sugar-craving kids?

  • Help make Easter candy less readily available. Perhaps making a game out of choosing one piece and then hiding the rest. Often “out of sight, out of mind” helps. Stock cabinets and refrigerator with fruits and vegetables that are within easy reach.
  • Start your kids off with a good breakfast. This could consist of a vegetable omelet or oatmeal with chopped almonds or quinoa flakes and fresh fruit. It could also include last night’s meal of chicken or roast beef with veggie sticks.
  • If you are the chief meal planner and preparer, eliminate sugars and any sugar derivatives (honey, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose syrup and the like) from the menu. Plan  meals in advance, shop intentionally, based on what you need, and prepare the meals at a set time.
  • Pack the meals with plant-based foods from the vegetable group, the fruit group, and high-quality protein sources from animal or plant protein sources such as seafood, poultry and lean meats.
  • Set a good example by not eating foods with sugar. This means eliminating any “diet” soft drinks and other processed, sugary foods as well.
  • Take your kids shopping and ask them to help you make dinner or prepare their school lunch. Praise them for their good choices.
  • Have pitchers of water handy so your kids can drink this anytime. Kids should drink water rather than any soda or other sweetened drink.
  • One of the biggest helps is to teach kids the value of staying active and exercising. When they are playing baseball, hiking or biking they are not as apt to want a piece of candy. Then, have some healthy snacks when they are through, such as nuts or peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, rice cakes and peanut butter, carrot sticks, apples, bananas, grapes, etc.
  • Your child may be tempted to eat sweets, just as you, perhaps, are tempted. Try to get past the temptation by focusing on another activity. Perhaps on some hobby you have, or a pleasant experience you had.
  • Some like to use visualization when this happens. They imagine and visualize how much healthier they will be without the sugar, or they will see a firm, slender body if they don’t indulge.

Getting past the sugar craving is not easy. Having candy and other sweets out of sight is the first step. Stocking up on healthy foods is the second. What your children eat or don’t eat relates to how they think, act, and feel so it is in everyone’s best interests to help them eat healthy.

To your success,

Lee Jackson

 Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?
PinExt Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

Bunny Salad Idea for Easter

PinExt Bunny Salad Idea for Easter
PearPhoto Bunny Salad Idea for Easter

A pear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an idea for a bunny salad kids will love to create. Children enjoy working with food, especially if provided with encouragement and inspiration. Carrying out the bunny theme with food is not difficult and they will be pleased with their results.

Bunny Salad

1 fresh pear cut in half, remove seeds and stem
or use canned pear halves
Red cherries, candied or maraschino
Shredded cheese

Prepare fresh pear or drain juice from canned pears.
Wash lettuce and put a lettuce leaf on individual plate.

To make bunny:

Place pear halve face down on lettuce leaf.

Put 2 raisins on the pear for the eyes.

Use a red cherry for the nose.

Put several pieces of shredded cheese on each side of face for whiskers.

Cut two marshmallows in half and use for ears of bunny.

Add a marshmallow for the bunny’s tail.

There you have it – one sweet bunny. These salads multiply well for any number of guests. Recipe taken from Amy Houts first book in the Food and Fun series, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. See more at Cooking/Calendar.

To your childrens’ creativity,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition advocate and author

 Bunny Salad Idea for Easter
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Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

PinExt Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

What child doesn’t come home from school starved? Are you prepared with healthy snack choices?

 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

Perhaps you have a shelf in the refrigerator or a place in the pantry or other area where kids have easy access to healthy snacks. An effort needs to be made, though, to have healthy snacks available.

You control what you have in the house for food. You’re the one deciding what your child is eating at home. Is it going to be some quick packaged food with limited food value or a good quality appetizing snack they can prepare themselves?

For help in deciding what to have for healthy snacks, I’ve developed an entire collection of snack ideas for kids, “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas.” These are food ideas children can prepare themselves, or if very young, with adult help.

This guide to after-school snacks includes lots of healthy and nutritious choices. As eating healthy is of such national concern, chances are your kids are being taught at school about making good choices. This ebook guides them in making good snack choices at home.

In this ebook you will find foods that can be prepared quickly so that the snacks are ready after school or anytime kids get hungry. This prevents the usual reaction of reaching for a quick fix of high calorie, high fat and/or carbohydrate foods.

I know that even very young children love to get involved in planning and preparing their own snacks. And they are more apt to eat the food if they have prepared it. Preparing their own healthy snacks gives children responsibility for what they eat. They also know what goes into the food.

Teachers as well as parents will appreciate this collection of snack ideas. There are many ideas for snacks that can be prepared without the stove or microwave. Teachers and parents really appreciate this.

Food is meant to nourish and sustain  – not only to fill up. I invite you to go to and order your copy of “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas” right now right here and start helping children have better and healthier snacks.

Let’s stay healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author

 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers
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Helping Kids Eat Healthy

PinExt Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Fast food and other convenience foods are a big

300px Eat your vegetables Helping Kids Eat Healthy

part of modern life these days. This makes it harder
for families to instill healthy eating into their meal

The cheapest and easiest foods are those that
are normally the least healthy. If you give your child
the choice between healthy food and junk food, you
probably won’t like the results.

Even though it isn’t possible to get a child to like
all healthy foods, there are some ways to get your child to try them.
Hopefully, they will like at least a few of them.Getting kids to eat healthy
can be a daily challenge.

- Call fruits and vegetables by funny names. You
can refer to broccoli as “trees”, making them
more fun to eat. Spinach makes big and strong
muscles, according to Popeye. There are many
different names you can call fruits and vegetables,
even making up your own if you prefer. Most kids
prefer to eat foods that sound fun.

- Enhance the flavor of foods. Ranch dressing is
great for broccoli, while peanut butter is a great
topping for celery. There are several combinations
for vegetables that can make them taste more
acceptable. You can let your young child pick a
topping for a vegetable, even if it’s something
you wouldn’t normally like yourself.

- Dress the vegetables up. Just as much as calling
them names help kids eat healthy foods, making them
look funny also helps.You can do this by making
funny designs on the plate, or setting them up to
look like people, such as a stick person with little
carrots for a body. Although some parents don’t like
their kids playing with their food, sometimes it helps
to get them to eat healthier.

- You might even be able to include foods that
are not their favorites into different dishes. If
soups with ‘not so favorite’ vegetables are being
prepared, by pureeing the soup, who knows what
vegetables are there? Spinach can go on top of
pizza. Apples and bananas can go into muffins,

There are several ways to help your kids eat
healthier, but to make them enjoy it also has to
be fun as well. This isn’t always an easy task.
It can however, be done with a bit of creativity.
Hopefully, doing this will help your child develop
a love of healthy foods for the rest of their lives.

To your health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate, author

 Helping Kids Eat Healthy
PinExt Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Is There a Problem Eater or a Happy Eater in the House?

PinExt Is There a Problem Eater or a Happy Eater in the House?
4799458063 4e5dbfb774 m Is There a Problem Eater or a Happy Eater in the House?

Image by ranahki via Flickr

You may know children who are picky eaters, or who refuse to try new foods, or even those who exhibit bad behavior at mealtime. As food patterns develop early, parents need to guide young children toward having good attitudes about food and mealtimes.

Here are hints for establishing good eating patterns in childhood.

Don’t force children to eat everything on their plates. Sometimes food helpings are larger than needed so don’t expect them to eat everything. Sometimes children do not feel like eating, just as happens to adults. Encourage the sampling of all food but children should not be made to sit at the table until everything is eaten. You can imagine the kind of feelings toward food this action represents.

Don’t scold or nag about poor eating habits. Yes, children need to know what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior. But the constant talk and attention to “eat all your vegetables” or “sit up straight” raises the tension level at the table. Relax and enjoy the food and company.

Don’t reward or punish with food. We all know the dangers of “if you eat all your food you can have ice cream (or add any favorite food)”, or “if you’re good, you can have cake”.  Food, including cake or ice cream, should not be a bargaining tool. If it’s a planned part of the meal, it should be available for all. Those that use treats for good behavior or punishment are using food as a means of gaining control. Food is nourishment and should be considered as such, as well as for enjoyment.

Mealtime is an important part of the day. Sharing food with family and/or friends is one of the pleasures of life.  If children are included in family conversations and are given lots of positive attention at mealtime and other times, they won’t have to resort to undesirable behavior.

What are other ways you have tried to establish good eating habits for children?

Here’s to developing healthy eating habits,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
See our books on cooking with children and others:
Books for cooks and apple lovers, kids,
families and parenting professionals

 Is There a Problem Eater or a Happy Eater in the House?
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What are Mealtime Goals?

PinExt What are Mealtime Goals?

Children vary in their food needs and eating habits. Some children are very picky eaters, others go on various same-food binges. Then there are others who like and eat a little of everything. Everybody is different. That’s a good thing!

Parents often get overwhelmed, though, by the so-called problem eaters. This is a difficult time to get through. However, if they can learn to adjust to the individual differences without making an issue of eating, mealtimes will be much happier.

Here are a number of fundamental mealtime goals most parents want their children to meet.

First, they want them to eat a well-balanced meal. It is up to parents to see that their children have foods available from the different food groups – protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken, or eggs; fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals; milk and milk products for strong teeth and bones; and breads and cereals for energy to run, play, and learn.

To taste a little of everything and eat only from their plate. All the food may not be to their liking, but encourage them to taste a little of everything. By tasting a little and eating other foods they like, they should be well-nourished. Some children like to eat what’s on their parents or other children’s plate, or to dip into the serving bowls. Nibbling on someone else’s food should be discouraged. If they want another serving of the food, they can ask for it.

To enjoy mealtime. Hopefully this is a time when the family can eat together. Many studies show how valuable this is to all members of the family. It should be a time of sharing and “catching up” with the activities of each. If there are unpleasant topics, disagreements or criticisms to discuss, they need to be left for another time.

To stay at the table and use good table manners. This isn’t the time to jump up and down from their chair but to remain seated until excused. Having good table manners makes mealtime much more pleasant for everyone.

Mealtime is a good time to sit together, learn about the foods to eat, about table manners, and how to talk to one another. Mealtimes can be the highlight of the day but everyone needs to work on making this time enjoyable.

Enjoy your mealtimes,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Check out our children’s cookbooks here

 What are Mealtime Goals?
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Junk Foods – the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

PinExt Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories
300px Eq it na pizza margherita sep2005 sml Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

Image via Wikipedia

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly 40% of calories consumed by children ages 2 to 18 are empty calories. These are foods that do not contribute much, if any, to its nutritional value.

Their study indicates that these calories come from just six foods:

  • Soda
  • Sugary fruit drinks
  • Grain desserts, such as cake, cookies, donuts
  • Dairy desserts such as ice cream
  • Pizza
  • Whole milk, which contains high fat content

With the national attention focused on providing children with healthier alternatives, there is now more awareness of the kinds of foods children eat. There are many yet who don’t know the nutritional value of foods or how much food constitutes a healthy diet. Nutrition education is a subject that should begin in preschool and move on through the entire education system.

There are a number of obstacles to changing children’s eating habits. Perhaps the most important is their lack of physical activity. Lives have become much too sedentary.Everybody needs to move more.

Parents play a role in this, too, as children tend to eat what their parents eat. The teen culture also contributes. Teens eat what other teens eat. And they would rather spend money on things they enjoy, such as clothes and the latest tech equipment, than on food.

Food companies are being asked to do their share in the promotion of healthy foods, as well. They have been highly criticized for their role in making less healthy foods look very attractive in their advertisements and commercials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says the obesity epidemic is a “winnable battle.” For parents and their children, it is a matter of making the right choice -  that of a healthy lifestyle.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Specialist in Family and Consumer Studies

 Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories
PinExt Junk Foods   the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

Healthy Eating Habits

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Image by mickmarineau+ barbjensen via Flickr

Chef Crombie here to chime in on healthy eating habits:

There are hundreds of diets and different ways of eating right for good health. I want to tell you about a very simple way to help you meet your food needs. This way will help you eat the right foods in the right amounts for better health.

This method is called the Half-Plate Rule. You take a plate – a regular dinner size plate if you are a grown-up, or a smaller plate if you are younger.
Then you visually divide this plate in half.
You fill half of this plate with vegetables and/or fruit.
You fill 1/4 of this plate with lean meat or other protein food.
You fill the other 1/4 of plate with whole grains.
Young children can add milk.

There you have it. Simple. To the point. Easy.

Actually, I think the size of the plate makes a real difference in how much we eat, so even grown-ups may want to use  smaller plates.

Here’s to your good health.

Chef Crombie

 Healthy Eating Habits
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Eating Healthy Goals

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300px Good Food Display   NCI Visuals Online Eating Healthy Goals

Image via Wikipedia

Top on the list of most person’s goals this year are to eat healthy, lose weight and stay more active. When we look at the whole picture, this is a pretty daunting list. How can we do everything and still have a life?

Today let’s focus on eating healthy. What we eat has magnificent powers. Food can give us health and vigor, protecting us from disease and minor discomforts. Food can also make us sick and miserable. We are in control of what goes into our mouth and stomach. We can’t always control noise factors, pollution, or other detriments to our health. What we eat and how much we eat is totally up to us.

Where to start?

Use food for the mind and the body. Food is not something to quickly gulp down when there is a gnawing feeling in the stomach. It’s to be enjoyed and appreciated. Therefore, take time to sit down and really sense what it is you are eating. Perhaps you can even visualize where the food was grown, who picked it, the landscape of the area. Think: I want to eat foods that will feed my body. Make this a positive mind-set.

Set up  conditions conducive to this mind-set. Is there still a supply of high-sugar holiday goodies around the house? Eliminating these, as well as any junk foods such as chips, crackers and soft drinks will help keep you from hearing them call you. The “cupboard cleaning-out” process may even include cake mixes, chili mixes, and other pre-prepared foods. None of these are necessary for good health. They do not provide any nutrients for keeping the body at its best.

Plan family meals. Look in your kitchen to see what foods are available. Do you have high quality protein foods such chicken, turkey, eggs, fish or lean meat? What vegetables could you prepare? Are there any fruits available? Any legumes, nuts, seeds or whole grains?  Your meals should revolve around these types of foods. It is best to write out possible meal suggestions. Consider your family’s ages, as well as likes and dislikes. Look in your cookbooks for any new and interesting ways to prepare what you have or want to prepare. This will save you time when you do your grocery shopping. Planning nutritious and tasty meals is a skill which is developed through practice. See for more suggestions on meal planning, as well as how children can help you in the planning and preparation.

I’ve included three good practices that will help get the year started with you and your family’s health and well-being in mind. What are some ways you will implement “eating healthy” this year?

To your success,

Lee Jackson
“Healthy Eating for Your Family”

 Eating Healthy Goals
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How To Get Your Children To Eat Better

PinExt How To Get Your Children To Eat Better
300px Healthyfoodforlife logo How To Get Your Children To Eat Better

Image via Wikipedia

Today we have a guest post by a writer from our neighbors and friends to the North, Canada. As surmised, they have some of the same problems we have in the US. Read on…

Childhood obesity is a very real problem throughout North America. Our kids are bombarded a million times a day by ads for every form of unhealthy fast food on the planet so getting them to eat better is no easy task. However it can be done. Here are five ways to get your children to eat better.

The Wallet Diet

They say charity begins at home and, let’s face it, when you’re raising kids you’re running a 24-hour soup kitchen. The good news here is that you’re the manager of this particular soup kitchen so you get to decide what goes on the menu. Your child may covet that Big Mac, but you’ve got the magic beans that produce the burger.

A Steady Diet For The Brain

Teaching your kids about healthy eating early will pay great dividends down the road. Kids have a million questions and they all begin with “Why…” so during meal time explain to them why you’re having fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish and when it is time for that burger and fries make sure they understand why it’s not food for everyday.

Junk Food Is Not A Reward Diet

This is an all too easy mistake to make and sets up a pattern that can be hard to break. Try to avoid instilling in your child the idea that fattening foods can be had as a reward for doing jobs around the house or staying quiet in church and so on. Like Pavlov’s dogs, your junk food craving child will be programmed to embrace life in the fast food lane every time they do a good deed. Keep food interesting but keep it set in your child’s mind for what it is: energy to keep one alive and healthy.

The Availability Diet

Kids have voracious appetites. They’ll eat anything that isn’t nailed down. And as soon as they are old enough to raid the kitchen you’ll think a bomb went off in the cupboards. Well, sorry to say there’s nothing you can do about the size of your grocery bill, but what you can do is make sure the kitchen is stocked with healthy food only. When kids get hungry, they’ll eat whatever is available. If only healthy foods are available, well, you can figure out the rest.

The Occasional Diet

As a parent, one can’t help feeling like a drug pusher the first time you give your kid a piece of candy or that first bite of a cheeseburger. Remember, until that first taste, they have no idea junk food exists. But once they find out… look out! You’ve created a rabid monster! The thing is, once your child has a taste for sugary snacks or fast food, there’s no going back. Total abstinence won’t work because the ‘forbidden fruit’ will only seem all the more tempting. Instead teach your children about moderation by indulging in unhealthy meals or snacks only occasionally, making sure they understand that it is an indulgence and such food is not for every day.

This guest post was written by Andrew Salmon. He writes for the website Life Cover, which provides term life insurance in Canada. Andrew lives in Vancouver, BC.

Hope these comments help you get your children to eat healthy. Thanks for reading!

Lee Jackson
Images Unlimited Books

 How To Get Your Children To Eat Better
PinExt How To Get Your Children To Eat Better