4 Tips to Boost Kids Veggie Intake

Vegetables are arguably the most important food group, the key to any healthy diet. They are one of the most nutrient dense food groups and serve the foundation to healthy meals and snacks. A frequent comment from people enjoying the Cureality way of eating is, “I am eating more vegetables than I ever have in my life!”

This is great because plentiful consumption is associated with decreased heart disease, reduced weight, lower blood pressure, glowing skin and decreased risk of some cancers. However, perhaps you’re reading this and feeling great that you eat your veggies but struggle to get your kids to do the same. If you are a parent, who is simply trying to provide nutritious options to your kids, give these tips a try.

1. Add cheese or butter to enhance flavor and increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Younger kids like to dip foods, so often pairing with a dip, such as hummus, can increase intake.

2. Try the “rule of 15” — putting a food on the table at least 15 times to see if a child will accept it. Don’t give up after a few attempts. This can indeed be frustrating, but have patience and continue to offer a small portion to expose children to veggies without forcing intake. Often parents feel like it’s their job to just make their children eat something. I suspect most children will always select apple pie over an apple. It is important to set the stage, at an early age, with what is offered. In addition, being a good food model is important. You can’t expect your child to try broccoli, if you make negative comments about its taste, texture or smell.

3. Once a food is accepted, parents should use “food bridges,” finding similarly colored or flavored foods to expand the variety of foods a child will eat. If a child likes pumpkin pie, for instance, try mashed sweet potatoes and then mashed carrots. If a child loves corn, try mixing in a few peas or carrots. Even if a child picks them out, the exposure to the new food is what counts.

4. Allow children to engage, as able. When grocery shopping or offering a snack, ask your child which option they would like to eat (e.g. ask which healthy foods they would prefer, blueberries or strawberries, cucumbers or carrots, etc.). When children are included in more food decisions it can decrease resistance. Include children in age appropriate preparation, as well, for example cutting produce, making a vegetable soup, or selecting produce at the grocery store.

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Nutrition Coach

How Can I Lose Weight Eating Fat?

For new comers to the Cureality nutrition approach, this question may invariably pop up. For many years, fats and oils, whether classified as good or bad, were demonized because they contain 9 calories per gram. Meaning, they contain more than twice the 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate or protein.

So this familiar logic stated, if you eat less fat, which by default meant more carbohydrate, you would eat fewer calories and lose weight. This misguided logic was based on the assumption that caloric density was the primary reason people either gained or lost weight. The result - obesity rates have climbed and low-fat diet recommendations have proven unsuccessful in thwarting the battle of the bulge.

Why? There are a multitude of reasons, as discussed in the Cureality Diet Track. The following two explanations are important to to avoid needlessly suffering on a low-fat diet.

1) Appetite satiation is drive by insulin response, not calorie density.

Meals that trigger a substantial insulin response trigger increased appetite and fat storage. Carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, whole wheat waffles, and fruit juice trigger insulin release. Continuous insulin provocation equates to one heck of a time trying to lose weight, as insulin is a fat-storage hormone. In comparison, oils and fats are the least insulin provoking with protein a close second. Consuming adequate fat intake is essential to quench appetite and avoid the insulin surges and crashes that are the result of eating plenty of “healthy whole grains”.

2) Modern wheat increases appetite thereby increasing intake.

Portion control becomes a major challenge because the gliadin protein in modern wheat stimulates appetite to the tune of 400 calories more per day, 365 days per year. That’s a recipe for weight gain, not loss.

The Cureality nutrition approach encourages the generous use of healthy fats and oils to support healthy weight loss and cardiovascular health. These topics are discussed in much more detail in the Cureality Member Forum.

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Nutrition Coach

Condition Afflicts Millions: Do you have “YBS”?

After one of the harshest winters, spring has finally arrived.  The welcomed warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours infuse us with a sense of renewal and new beginnings.   Low and behold we begin to come out of hibernation and start the mad dash to engage in positive lifestyle changes such as eating better, exercising, proper sleep and taking appropriate nutritional supplements.  But invariably, life happens.  

Yep, just when you were about to get started, it happens.  YBS sets in.   I see this “condition” all too often with clients attempting to enter or re-enter into any number of behavior changes.  I will go so far as to say we all have been afflicted at one point or another in our lives.  I call this condition Yeah But Syndrome, or “YBS”.    It is often paralyzing and prevents those afflicted from moving into action, instead remaining in a state of inertia.  

There are many symptoms of YBS but the following are some of the most common.  

Yeah I planned to go to the gym today BUT, the kids needed a ride to practice.  
Yeah I really want to eat better BUT I don’t have the time.   
Yeah I didn’t plan to eat the cake BUT my husband wanted too, so I did also.   
Yeah I really meant to go to the grocery shopping BUT I was too tired, so I hit the drive- thru.  
Or this is a good one. Yeah I meant to start today BUT, I’ll start tomorrow.  

But tomorrow never comes.  You get the drift.  We can all come up with a million yeah buts, in other words, excuses.    The good news is the treatment for YBS is simple--just do it!  Take action.  The reality of today’s 24-7 planet is there will always be something.  The kids, work commitments, family obligations and various projects that need your attention will perpetually be present in some shape or form.  The difference to make the difference is to learn to dance in the rain, not wait for the rain to pass.  When will all the stars align so that your world will be “just right” to start?  If not NOW, WHEN will you begin?  

The key word here is begin.   Far too frequently, I coach clients that shoot themselves in the foot before they start.   Instead of consuming yourself with all the barriers to entry, select reasonable, low-hanging fruit that is “doable.”    The art of lifestyle change is to avoid all-or-nothing thinking and begin to appreciate what you CAN do, versus focusing energy on what you can’t do.  What is one action you can do TODAY to move toward your wellness goal(s)?  Start to focus on what you can do in the mist of your existing life demands. This mantra is a friendly reminder: BE-DO-HAVE.  Be committed.  Do what it takes.  And you will have results.  

Lastly, if you think removing cereal from your morning routine it is too difficult and you can’t do it. Guess what-- you’re likely right.   What you think is what you get!   But what if you think instead, “I can do this.  There are many truly healthy options for breakfast to replace cereal such as eggs and veggies that will help me look and feel my best.”  Then guess what--you will!  This simple change in mind-set can start a tidal wave of change and prevent you from abandoning ship when life tosses you into rough waters.  Ongoing support is hugely important to sustain lifestyle changes.  Join the conversations in the Cureality Forum to engage the support of health coaches and Cureality Members to stay on track.