Helpful Hints To Encourage Your Kids To Eat Well All Year

We’ve all seen the trends in our world lately, all of us are struggling to eat healthy and move more, especially our youth.  In my effort to encourage others to do just that, I am always on the hunt for quality information about nutrition.  Sometimes these articles show up in the strangest of places, this one from Consumer Reports.  I love how this author, Karyn Repinski, “keeps it real” with her helpful hints.  I remind clients that one goal should always be to have a healthy relationship with food.  Some of these ideas may sound familiar, but a few may give you a new perspective on your approach as a parent or even in your own eating all year long.

“Ways to Get Kids to Eat Better in 2018: The healthiest foods for toddlers, teens, and all ages in between”

“It’s the rare kid who resolves to eat healthier foods in the New Year, but helping children consume a more nutritious diet is no doubt a goal you strive for year-round.
And for good reason. “Kids are literally built out of the foods they consume, and making sure they get the right nutrients in their diet helps them grow and develop optimally, both physically and psychologically,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., a CR dietitian. Indeed, new research published in the journal BMC Public Health shows that healthy eating can boost self-esteem and even lessen peer problems, such as being picked on or bullied.
As beneficial as eating right can be for kids, it’s often a struggle for parents. One tip to make it easier—and to help kids develop a healthy relationship with food—is to pick your battles.
“Encourage your children to eat well day-to-day, and don’t worry if they have a cookie now and then,” says Amy Keating, R.D., another CR dietitian.
Here are 11 more tips to try for kids of all ages:

Expose Kids to Healthy Foods
When it comes to getting kids to accept and like a healthy food, repeated exposure is key, according to a December 2017 review of 40 studies on how infants and young children develop food preferences, especially for vegetables and fruits.
“There’s a robust evidence base behind this method, so don’t give up,” advises the lead author, Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of pediatrics behavioral medicine at the University of Buffalo.
Kids’ eating preferences often change, so even if your children initially refuse to take a bite, they may become more receptive after a few months of seeing these foods on the table. Continue exposing them to a variety of healthy foods even when they’re older. To be effective, healthy eating behavior needs to be reinforced throughout childhood and adolescence.

Avoid Being a Pushy Parent
Your job is to provide a balanced meal; half the plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, and another quarter with protein. Your kids’ job is to decide what and how much to eat, says Deborah Salvatore, R.D., a nutritionist at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital in Stony Brook, N.Y.
But parents often push their children to eat all of the food on their plate at a meal, even if they say they’re full. In a University of Minnesota study that investigated the practice, up to 60 percent of parents required their adolescents to clean their plates and restricted eating when they didn’t.
“Force-feeding really messes with a child’s hunger cues, interrupting their ability to listen to their body and know if they’re hungry or full,” Salvatore says.
Plus, studies show that kids react negatively to pressure and often end up disliking the food they feel coerced into eating.

Let Little Kids Play With Their Food
Touching, smelling, and playing with food is a desensitizing technique that allows kids to become comfortable enough to try—and accept—new foods.
“It’s especially effective with picky eaters,” Salvatore says. She also suggests considering a reward jar. Follow the one-bite-and-swallow rule, then provide a nonfood reward when the jar is both halfway and all the way full.

Put Healthy Foods Within Reach
Most kids will reach for the chips if the grapes haven’t been washed or the red peppers need slicing, which is why Keating suggests going the extra mile and preparing fruit and vegetables so they’re ready to be eaten.
“Store them in glass containers that are placed front and center in the refrigerator, so they’re easily accessible,” she says.
Piggyback Vegetables With Other Healthy Foods
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids are eating more fruit but 90 percent still aren’t eating the recommended three daily servings—that’s 2 to 3 cups—of vegetables.
It’s no secret that kids’ preferences for veggies are generally low compared with other foods. So try combining them with healthy fats, protein, and grains—for instance, loading pizza with peppers and broccoli, adding greens to smoothies, and preparing sandwiches with lettuce and tomato. This makes them more palatable and challenges the notion that healthy foods aren’t tasty or satisfying.

Get Kids Busy in the Kitchen
Kids who cook tend to eat more healthfully, according to a University of Alberta study involving fifth-graders. Researchers found that children who helped prepare meals chose fruits and vegetables more often than their noncooking counterparts. (Vegetable preference, specifically, was 10 percent higher among kids who cooked.)
Kids who cooked also showed more confidence in their ability to choose (and eat) healthy foods at home and at school.

Eat Together as a Family
Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times a week are more likely to eat healthier and be in a normal weight range than those who eat with their families fewer than three times a week. That’s what a review of 17 studies published in the journal Pediatrics found.
The benefits of breaking bread together last for years, reports a new Canadian study that followed kids from 5 months old to age 10. Researchers found that those who ate with their families at age 6 were more physically fit and drank less soda when they were 10.

Tune Into Teens’ Ideals
Aligning healthy eating with important and widely shared adolescent values like freedom from adult control and the pursuit of social justice may motivate teenagers to clean up their nutritional act.
Researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business suggested healthy eating as a way to take a stand against manipulative and unfair practices of the food industry—such as engineering junk food to make it addictive, and marketing it to young children. As a result, they saw a 7 percent increase in the rate at which eighth-graders opted to forgo sugary drinks in favor of water, and a 11 percent increase in the rate at which they opted to forgo at least one unhealthy snack in favor of fruit, carrots, or nuts.
From a nutritional perspective, that’s a 7 percent reduction in total carbohydrate consumption and a 9 percent reduction in sugar.

Hold the Soda
A recent review of 30 studies published in December in the journal Obesity Facts found a significant link between drinking sugar-sweetened beverages (soda and juice) and weight gain in children.
That’s not surprising considering that a typical 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of added sugars and upward of 240 calories—and that 30 percent of kids drink two or more sugary beverages a day, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
A better alternative to soda and juice is carbonated water or plain still water with a splash of a favorite juice or a squeeze of lemon or lime to make it more appealing.
Tell Them the Downsides of a Bad Diet
If the health dangers of a poor diet—obesity, diabetes, and heart disease—don’t keep older kids on the nutritional straight and narrow, appeal to their immediate self-interest.
For instance, school is tough enough; kids don’t need to be undermined by a bad diet. A new review from RMIT University in Australia of the impact of junk food on teenagers found that a diet high in fat or sugar could have pronounced and enduring detrimental effects on cognition, behavior, and learning—including the mental skills that help them manage time, pay attention, and generally get things done (like a book report or science project).

Get Kids Off the Couch
Exercise improves the cognitive control that helps initiate and maintain behavior like choosing to pass on junk food, explains Megan Herting, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist at the University of Southern California and an expert on exercise and the teenage brain.
If your kids don’t enjoy exercise, encourage them to buddy up with a friend who does. A study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that when kids palled around with physically active friends, they were nearly twice as likely to be active themselves.”

Karyn Repinski
Karyn Repinski is an award-winning freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on a range of health-related topics. Based in Brooklyn, N.Y., she has covered health, beauty, and nutrition for the past 25 years and has held senior positions at several national magazines.

Clementine Wild Rice Salad



Consistency is what I encourage!  You will not completely undo nor redo your life in one day and the same is true for eating healthier.  Pick the path and make your long term goal and then go for it one day at a time.  New habits take time to develop and stick, so treat every day as a new day to make good choices.  I can certainly create a lot of damage in 15 minutes of eating poorly, but I move on the next day and make good choices to get back on track with healthy eating habits.  Even if it is not the popular or common choice of the people surrounding me, I can only control what goes in MY body.  I won’t let some one else’s choice to indulge become my choice.  I will be in control my choices, even if they are not the same ones my friends or family choose.  This is my body and my choice.  Master the day.

This is on my plate for lunch today.  Clemetines are one of my favorite snacks, but why not in a salad. Easy, make ahead directions too.  Make it for lunches next week!

Clementine-Wild Rice Salad

12 clementines, peeled and sectioned
1 6-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 bunches green onions, sliced thin
2 cups cooked wild rice, chilled
1 cup mint leaves (optional)
1 cup cilantro or Italian parsley leaves (optional)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste (optional)
3 cups shredded Chinese cabbage, chopped romaine lettuce or baby spinach leaves (or a combination)

Combine all ingredients except the greens and mix thoroughly. Toss with the greens and serve.

6-8 servings

Note: To make ahead, combine everything but the greens and chill. Toss in the greens at the last minute.

Week’s Motivation: I will beat her!


I will beat her.

I will train harder.

I will eat cleaner.

I know her weaknesses.

I know her strengths.

I’ve lost to her before,

But not this time.

She is going down.

I have the advantage

because I know her well.

She is the old ME!

-pfitblog motivation

She is tough, but you are tougher.  If you need a quick Valentine’s Day recipe, check out my chocolate truffles as a family dessert.




Weekly Motivation 3: Stress

Despite common beliefs, stress can be a BIG influence on metabolism.   It freezes your body.  Now, who doesn’t have stress in your life?  Nobody, right? THE GOOD NEWS:  Stress can be changed and influenced.  We have to be aware of it and make small changes to reduce it.  Here is a quick, small way to reduce the effects of stress on your body.

Force your body into a state of calm.

Your body already has a built-in stress reliever, it’s just a matter of tapping into it.

“Focus on your breathing, put your feet flat on the floor. Smile even if you don’t feel like smiling,” Humphreys advised. “Tense your muscles then let them go, then tense them again and repeat. Relax your body and a lot of people will find your emotions will follow.*”

No better time than the present to do take a few minutes and do it now.  Even if you are not feeling stressed, knowing that you have a way out of it, is huge!  Get in the habit of doing this several times a day and when stress hits, you will be ready with a remedy.

*source – Humphrey’s 

Back To School Means…BTY Time!

This time of year, as we get fall back into routines of school, work, and life, is the perfect time to make lifestyle changes.  Changes that will get results and are long lasting and focused on you.

Time to bring the focus Back To You (BTY)


 BTY: Small Group Coaching from

As a Certified Nutrition Coach, I will provide online support through weekly conference calls, videos, a private social media group, and motivational texts.  Topics include:

  • Eating real food, limiting additives

  • How to balance the right fats, protein and carbohydrates

  • Keys to avoiding sugar and cravings

  • Helpful hints to make every meal simple and nutrient dense

  • and much more…

Cost: $85 per person for 4 weeks of coaching

Back To School price $69 per person

Interested? Contact me at

or at (707) 408-3359

Sessions beginning soon! September 2016

Learn more about the real you.


Did you read the title and think, what the heck, I already know the “real” me so why do I need to read this article?  Let me tell you.

Time and time again, I can tell you that a struggle with food is less with food and more with YOU.  Being aware of the excuses you spout out for not following a nutrition plan is the first step.  This means listening to the voice inside your head.  Getting it down on paper is huge!  First, because it gets it out of your head.  Second, because you then can put a bit of perspective on it when you re-read it a few days or weeks later.  STOP making excuses for yourself and start becoming self-aware.

Get to know yourself, because you are changing everyday. Not the dark voice in your head, the REAL you.  Pick up a new notebook and a pen and start to peel back the layers of your own story, and get to know you.




If you are staring at a blank page and not sure how to start, here’s a “gimme topic” to get you writing:  Who are 5 people you can call when you want to vent, rather than picking up a bag of chips.  Why do you feel comfortable calling them?  GO!!!

This is what is important

It’s Just Cake people!

Just had to repost this article.  Such a good way to put food in perspective and develop a healthy relationship with it.  Wonderful testimony.  She and I are on the same page, this is what I love to help people do in their own lives!!!  Let me know how I can help you.

It’s Just Cake: How a Fat Loss Foodie Lifestyle Ended my Food Obsession
Leslie Ann Quillen October 27, 2015

I’ve been a foodie for as long as I can remember. Even as a little kid, I was fascinated by food.

When I was very little, I went through a phase where my answer to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was “a pizza maker.”

I remember during Grandparent’s Day in first grade, my teacher Mrs. Robey had us make a book – complete with our own illustrations – about what we would do if we could spend the whole day with our grandparents.

I was not like the rest of the kids, who were planning out trips to zoos and amusement parks with grandma and grandpa.

Instead, my ideal day with my grandparents included a picnic and them taking me for ice cream, and probably a few other food-related activities as well.

My favorite birthday party? I don’t remember the little girl’s name or where I knew her from, but she had her birthday party at a pizza parlor and we got to go in the kitchen and learn how to throw dough and make our own pizzas from scratch. It was the best party I ever went to.

Food has always interested me. Learning where it comes from and how to make it. Spending time talking to the people who grow and raise our food. Preparing it, and then bringing people together to share it. I love it all.


Somewhere along the way, late in high school I think, I became aware that food wasn’t all fun and games. I suddenly learned that food could cause me to gain weight, to go up a clothing size, to not look as cute or feel as confident as the other girls.

By college and the years that followed, I was in a full-on war with food.

During my internship in DC, we had Speaker Nights at the intern house that included home cooked dinners and always – always – some kind of pre-made/frozen dessert the intern parents had picked up from Costco. I considered it a badge of honor that I skipped dessert every week, and I remember the one time I didn’t. I stayed up until 1 a.m. running on the treadmill in the apartment gym to burn off the slice of cake.

Fast forward 15 years later, and thank goodness, my war with food is over and behind me. My unhealthy past relationship with food was one of the driving forces in becoming a nutrition coach: I didn’t want other women (especially young girls) to go through what I had gone through. Having a greater understanding of the impact food has on our hormones helped complete my healing process and put my food issues to rest.

They are still there of course, always lingering in the background.

I was reminded of them one night recently when my husband brought home a slice of cake for dessert as part of our “at-home date night.”

It wasn’t just any cake. It was chocolate cake. German chocolate cake, people…

Here is the aftermath:

One slice of cake. Two people. Two forks. And that is what remained.

You may be thinking:

“HOW DO YOU DO THAT?! How do you just leave perfectly good cake?! Wasn’t it good?! Then why didn’t you keep eating it?!
Here’s my why:

Because it’s just cake and it doesn’t have any power over me.

Since becoming a certified fat loss nutrition coach and personal trainer, I’ve worked with hundreds of women with food histories much like my own.


Because I didn’t see many nutrition coaches and trainers sharing recipes from Nigella Lawson or Bon Appetit magazine, I started to carve out a niche for myself with female foodies who wanted to get and stay lean while still enjoying cooking, eating, and sharing real food.


If you are seeking freedom from food, a Fat Loss Foodie Lifestyle can help you achieve hormonal balance and practice new behaviors around food.

Here are three principles I use in my coaching that help women overcome their food issues:


There are no “good foods” or “clean foods,” because it’s all ultimately just food. No labels, no emotions necessary. There is no school of thought or “team” that is better than any other (for example, Team Paleo vs. Team Vegan vs. Team If It Fits Your Macros) because we can all peacefully coexist AND achieve fat loss using any one of those approaches, as long as we honor our own unique metabolic expression, personality, and preferences.

Focus on eating more of the things that work for you and make you feel and perform your best, and limit the food that doesn’t serve you. For example, if you discover that dairy foods make you feel bloated and cause you to break out, that doesn’t mean you can never eat another bite of ice cream. It just means that on a daily basis, you can find ways to reduce your dairy intake and replace it with other things that work FOR you.

Make no mistake: Treat meals are part of a fat loss lifestyle, too, and we make a big deal out of our weekly pizza night or pasta night or burger night and make it an EVENT. Food should be celebrated and enjoyed, not eaten in secret and shame.


Look around you. Chances are, you could acquire food with very little effort, in very little time, from where you’re sitting right now as you read this. You probably have food in your bag, your desk, or a few steps away in the kitchen or office fridge. There’s probably a restaurant or convenience store or coffee shop just minutes away.

Here in America, food is everywhere we turn. So why do we eat as if it’s our last meal and we’ll never ever have another opportunity to eat a slice of pizza, a piece of cake, or a cookie? Why do we have to EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW?

Last night, when I was indulging in a few bites of that insanely good German Chocolate Cake, I knew I didn’t have to scarf it down or eat it all. The bakery is a few blocks away. It’s not going anywhere. I can have it any time I want if that’s what I choose.

It’s just cake. And just because something tastes good, doesn’t mean you have to eat ALL of it.


There is a law in economics that states the more abundant a product is to consumers, the less they will want it. As supply goes up, demand goes down.

Apply this law the next time you’re face to face with a slice of chocolate cake, or any highly-palatable food that you feel driven to consume in its entirety.

Notice how the first bite, the second bite, the third bite – are sheer HEAVEN, but as you continue eating, it becomes less enjoyable. You keep eating more and more in search of that “pleasure fix” you got from the first bite, but it’s not there. It’s usually around the 4th or 5th bite for me, which is exactly where I stopped last night.

That’s when you put down your fork. Close the container. Walk to the fridge. Put it away for tomorrow when you can enjoy a few bites all over again.
I’m glad my guy brought home that slice of cake. It allowed me to reflect on how far I’ve come and how I can use what I’ve learned to help others. Now I welcome opportunities to practice making choices that serve me well, that give me freedom and make me feel powerful.

Cake doesn’t have ANY power over me, and it shouldn’t have any power over you.

It’s just cake.