Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits


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Entries in Ice Cream (5)


Spirituality & Health: Health Halo Foods Can Ruin Your Habits

I am thrilled to appear in this month's edition of Spirituality & Health.

My article, Why Some Health Foods Aren't So Healthy After All, makes two points:

  • The nutrition on many popular items isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  • You have to consider habits before slurping up too many smoothies, or nose-diving into a bowl of kale chips.

Perhaps you've heard me say these things before?

Did you know: One-half cup of Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice cream has 14 grams of sugar?

Measuring by volume, a comparable serving of Dannon All Natural Vanilla Yogurt has around 17 grams of sugar. 

Did you know: One 12-ounce Odwalla Mango Tango Fruit Smoothie has more sugar than a 12-ounce serving of Coca-Cola (44 g versus 39 g), and as much sugar as nine Oreo cookies.

Here’s a radical thought: it’s not whether you choose the smoothie or the Oreos that matters. What matters is how you fit smoothies (and the Oreos if you like) into your overall diet.  What’s more, the presence (or absence) of a single nutrient shouldn’t sway your decision, because it’s the total food experience that shapes your habits.

You know I believe there's a place in your kids' diets for everything.

And maybe you're surprised that I would advocate Oreos over Odwalla. Read the rest of the article and tell me what you think.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~ 


Use Ice Cream to Teach Your Kids to Eat Right

It's Memorial Day weekend and that means summer.  And summer means Ice Cream!!!

Hurray.  I love ice cream.  Most kids I know love it too.

And most parents I know go back and forth between trying to regulate their kids' consumption of ice cream over the summer and, well, just letting it go.

I'm going to suggest something radical: This summer use ice cream to teach your kids to eat right.

Half the battle of eating right is knowing how to fit sweets and treats into your diet in a way that works.

That's why I was disappointed when I picked up the current issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and read their tips for choosing the best ice cream.

I love this newsletter. I really do.  But, come on!

This article advocates eating a rational amount of ice cream—as opposed to digging into a bowl that's bigger than your body— a proposition I support.

But it also advocates...

1) Substituting the dessert of your dreams with a lower fat (and sometimes totally fake) version of the real deal. Artic Zero? Really?

I say, let your kids eat the ice cream they love.

2) Trying to reduce (or eliminate) the sugar rush you receive by choosing ice creams with the least amount of added sugar.

I say, let your kids eat the ice cream they love.

3) Maximizing the protein and calcium content of your cone.  Most premium ice creams contain 4-5 grams of protein per half cup, but Ciao Bella Adonia Greek Frozen Yogurt packs a 9 gram protein punch.

I say, let your kids eat the ice cream they love.  Ice cream shouldn't be your good nutrition "go-to." 

Lesson 1: It's better to fit REAL ice cream into your diet in a way that works than to look for the "healthiest" ice cream out there.

Yes, I know that the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest would advocate both—moderating your intake of the most nutritious ice cream out there—but that's not the way most people work.  Especially people who are kids.

Lesson 2: Let treats be treats.

The idea that we can expect things to be what they are not—ice cream that's packed with protein, cookies with as much fiber as a bowl of oatmeal—is a byproduct of the nutrition mentality (mixed with a healthy dose of manufacturing magic).

But here's the irony: It's harder to teach kids to treat ice cream as a treat if you "health-ify" it.

When you blur the boundaries between healthy food and treats, it's hard to:

  • Convince your kids to limit their intake of treats.  
  • Teach your kids the importance of eating healthy foods.

Lesson 3: Eat foods in proportion to their healthful benefits.

That means eating green beans more frequently than gelato and spinach more often than sorbet.

And then, teach your kids to indulge in ice cream as an occasional indulgence.

These are the lessons they will need for a lifetime of healthy (ice cream) eating.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Source: Hurley, J. & B. Liebman. 2012. "Ice Cream: What's Hot in the Deep Freeze?" Nutrition Action Healthletter Center for Science in the Public Interest. June. pp. 13-15. 


Kid Eats Q&A: What do you think of Fruit Pearls?

Have you heard of Fruit Pearls?

I hadn't.  But Linnea, a reader in Austin, Texas, wrote to me about them. This is what she had to say. 

Why I like Fruit Pearls:

  • My toddler asked for "pink ice cream" at 7pm, after a very long day and was satisfied with this choice. (Of course, I took him to Sprouts to go "out for ice-cream."  I was stacking the deck in favor of nutrition.)
  • Portion controlled 
  • Sugar content was 9g
  • Has frozen "beads" of fruit juice mixed with flash frozen citrus. - freaky, but the innovation was interesting to my toddler and a lot less messy!

Why I won't be buying them a lot:

  • Not cheap
  • The "beads" probably need to be kept at a constant temperature - which my home freezer probably cannot provide.

I did not try any of the yogurt or chocolate versions yet.. but I am feeling victorious tonight.  There has to be a catch, right?  So, what do you say?

1) It’s practically heretical to suggest this, but I don’t think the most important question to consider when assessing a new food is how nutritious or healthy it is.

I wouldn't worry about stacking the deck in the favor of nutrition when it comes to sweets and treats.

I really believe that there is a time and a place in everyone's diet for everything.  Read Why I feed my daughter inferior food

What's more, sometimes, when you "healthify" junk food, it can be more difficult to teach kids how to put junk food into their diets in an appropriate way.  ("Why can't I eat this as often as I want if it's healthy?)   Read Cookies and the Cycle of Guilty Eating.

2) The question I always ask is: What lessons or habits will this food teach my child?

Linnea, "didn't try to pass this off as fruit or ice cream." That's good news. I agree with the idea that Fruit Pearls aren't fruit—even though they're made with fruit. 

In fact, oranges and/or tangerines are the first ingredient in every flavor....even the Chocolate Fruit Pearls.  Strange, but true.

Still, eating Fruit Pearls won't teach your kids a thing about eating fruit. Fruit Pearls don't look, taste, feel, or in any way, resemble read fruit.

But Linnea: Why not call Fruit Pearls ice cream?  Fruit Pearls are eaten like ice cream, popsicles, and sorbet. That is what I would call them.

You can "nutrition-up" foods, but you cannot reclassify them.  Ice cream-like foods teach kids an ice cream habit. Read When is a cookie NOT a cookie? and Donuts vs. Muffins.

That's why I was glad to hear, Linnea, that you told your toddler this was a sometimes treat...just like ice cream.

 3) If you think of Fruit Pearls as an ice cream alternative, it doesn’t matter which flavor you buy.  

Some of the flavors have relatively few ingredients. Others? Well, not so much.

  • Lemon has 6 ingredients.
  • Banana Berry has 29 ingredients (even more if you count the ingredients that go into some of the ingredients such as go into the yogurt).

All the flavors have added sugar.  

  • Banana Berry contains sugar, liquid sugar, corn syrup, and dextrose.
  • Other flavors are made with sugar and fruit juice concentrate...a euphamism for added sugar. 

Read about what the FDA has to say about added sugars.

One caveat: If you have a child who won’t go near a fruit no matter what, you CAN use Fruit Pearls as an introduction to fruits. 

I know it’s unconventional but sometimes you’ve got to meet your child where he’s at.   

  • Have your child explore the different fruit flavors. 
  • Then move on to other fruit-flavored items. 
  • Next do taste comparisons with these different "fruit" items. 
  • Do taste comparisons with the real deal.   Small tastes.
  • Finally, shift to serving fruit regularly, and "fruit" items occasionally.

Read The Road Less Traveled.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~