Free Resource Sheets to Teach Healthy Eating Habits


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DINA ROSE, PhD is a sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert empowering parents to raise kids who eat right.

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Entries in Processed Foods (13)


"Inoculate Kids Against Big Food's Advertising" with The Lunch Tray Movie

One day when my daughter was little she pointed to some fruit strip product in the grocery store.

  • "What's that Mommy?"
  • "That's candy that food manufacturers want you to think is fruit," I replied.

In my opinion, giving my daughter that kind of information was the only way to arm her against the food industry's marketing power.

Now, Bettina Siegel from The Lunch Tray -- You do know about this terrific blog, don't you?-- has produced this amazing video.

Bettina says:

I continue to believe that one of our most promising strategies  is showing kids how they’re quite deliberately manipulated by the food industry — to the tune of almost $2 billion in children’s advertising dollars spent each year — into choosing highly processed food and fast food over more healthful options.

Here's the video:


Read more about why Bettina made this video.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~


"Crunches Like an Apple. Tastes Like a Grape."

Have you heard about Grapple?

Say 'Grape-L'  

My husband and I ran across Grapples in the store yesterday. Imagine an apple crossed with a grape Pixy Stix.  Yum.

Turning a natural food into a processed food.  That's value added!

Are they nuts?

The website touts:

  • The newest thing in apples.
  • Eating healthy has never been this much fun!
  • Apples are a fantastic snack. Grapes are a wonderful snack. Try a Grāpple® brand apple today, and enjoy the best of both of them in one!
  • A relaxing bathing process prepares our apples for you or your kids.

More from their website: Q) Why does it say ‘Natural and Artificial Flavor’ ?

A) Our main flavor ingredient is the same synthesized grape flavoring agent used in 100’s of other retail food items. Because it is not feasible for us to ‘crush all of the flavor’ we would need from grapes themselves, we are forced to say ‘Natural and Artificial Flavor’. The grape flavoring is the same that you would get out of Mother Nature’s grapes themselves.

It's tempting to get outraged.  Believe me, that's where I went first. But when you think about it...

Is this any different than fortifying grape juice with Vitamin C (so manufacturers can say it's more than sugar water)?



Actually, Grapples might even be better than juice.

From a habits perspective, a juice habit is likely to lead to a soda habit.  A Grapple habit would lead to an apple habit.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~


How Much Cheese Should You Eat?

It's such an American, and nutrition-based, solution to a problem. Change the food, not the habits.

Here’s the situation: 

  1. Americans are under pressure to reduce consumption of sodium and saturated fats.
  2. But, Americans like to eat cheese.
  3. And, cheese is loaded with sodium and saturated fat.  In fact, cheese is the single largest source of saturated fat in the American diet. (Read more about sat fat from the  Harvard School of Public Health.)

So, instead of changing our habits, we’re trying to change the cheese.

According to The New York Times, cheese manufacturers are busy looking for ways to make palatable low salt, low fat cheese. 

I guess palatable is the problem.

“When you take a lot of the fat out, essentially cheese will turn into an eraser.”— Gregory D. Miller, president of the Dairy Research Institute.

“If you really want to make bad cheese, make a low-fat, low-sodium one.” — Lloyd Metzger, professor of dairy science at South Dakota State University.

Source: The New York Times

Read The New York Times article.  

How are cheese manufacturers "fixing" their food?

One technique relies upon centrifuges to spin off the fat, turning cheddar cheese into cheddar cheese product.

Yes, this is what America needs: MORE PROCESSED FOOD.

I can understand cheese manufacturers wanting to preserve their product's place in the American diet.

The American cheese industry produces more than 10 billion pounds of cheese each year.

That’s a lot of cheese.

And I understand people wanting a "healthier" cheese. We LOVE cheese.

So it's understandable that we want to have our cheese and eat it too. (Sorry, I know that joke is cheesy. That joke is too!) 

Replacing cheese with an inferior tasting, more highly processed product, just so we can eat as much cheese as we want, is simply the wrong solution. 

The idea that we should be able to eat as much as we want of any food is part of our national problem.

And it's fostered by the nutrition mentality: If it's nutritious we feel free to go wild.  Where are the limits? (Limits seem only to apply to "bad" food. Turn "bad" food into "good" food though...)

This isn't just a portion size problem. It's an entitlement problem. 

Indeed, we are so committed to the idea that we should be able to eat as much as we want that we are willing to remake food into something it's not. Cheese is only the latest example.

Our national dialogue focuses so much on what we eat that people have almost forgotten that we have to think about when, why and how much we eat as well.

That's the beauty of the habits approach. It provide a clear and concise way for people to pack everything they want into their diet, and it does so in a way that works. (Just ask yourself: Is this a habit you want your kids to foster?)

There's nothing wrong with eating cheese, but I highly recommend that you and your kids eat the real deal—Brie, Camembert, actual Cheddar—in the right amounts and in the right frequency. (Don't give your kids cheese every day. Read What's the Problem with Cheese?)

Maybe some people dream of a day when we'll live in a world where all the "bad" foods will be altered to be nutritionally superior, and then we will be able to eat whatever we want, whenever we want, in whatever quantities we want.

I dream of a day, though, when we start thinking more about habits.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~