March is National Nutrition Month (don’t you just love the image above? I do!) and last week I had the privilege of interviewing Katherine Brooking, a registered dietician, who has appeared on national morning shows including the TODAY show, Live with Regis & Kelly, The Early Show on CBS, and Good Morning America Health. You can access her full bio here:
Moms are busy, what kinds of tips can you offer to help us take care of ourselves while taking care of our families?
Yes, we moms tend to put ourselves last, but we need to put ourselves first because our health is critical to our family’s well-being.
Double meals. Doubling them does not take that much more effort and will give you a meal for another day.
Buy frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. Cut up fresh veggies while on the phone or the night before so they are readily available the next day without much thought or effort.
Munch on veggies while talking on the phone.
Carry healthy snacks in your purse. Apples, pears, bananas, baby carrots will all transport easily, if you are a mom on the run.
Get enough calcium/vitamin D. Did you know that 1/2 of all women over 50 will break a bone. Bone health is very important. Yoplait is still offering their Free cup giveaway of 1 Yoplait Original, which contains 2x calcium of other brands. This is an easy way to get the DRA of calcium our bodies need. They are also easy to carry and take with you.
Maintain an healthy weight. Do something active every day.
What are some nutritional myths we may believe?
There are so much weird info about sugar out there. Be mindful of added sugar in products because added sugar has no nutritional value. For example: A diabetic may not be able to eat a ripe banana because it has its highest sugar content at that stage. However, they may be able to eat a banana has lower sugar content when it is less ripe, plus it has potassium and vitamin C that everyone needs. It will depend on how they are maintaining their sugar levels. (if this question seems a bit “off” it is because I kind of interrupted with a blurb about how my mil, a diabetic, could not eat bananas or at least a whole one)
Carbohydrates. There is a lot of confusion surrounding carbohydrates even though we are out of the Atkins fad diet. Carbohydrates are important in a healthy diet. The USDA is now recommending more whole grains, but choose wisely. Things like barley, quinoa, oats rather than cakes and cookies.
Don’t eat after 7-8pm. So often TV watching triggers eating or a stressful day or you may just be a night time eater. If you eat after 7 o’clock, again make wise choices. It is the quality and quantity of food that matters. Choose low caloric foods and know that the body treats calories the same no matter what time of day it is.
What can we do to teach our children to eat a healthy balanced diet?
Many children have a relunctancy to eat new foods. Be a role model. Our example is important. They are more than likely to to follow our example. Therefore, if we are eating right, they will most likely eat well too.
Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to serve 3-4 meals. As parents, we control the shopping, we choose the foods our families eat. Not in an ogre way; we don’t have to be short order cooks.
Be patient while introducing new foods. It takes 15-20x of exposure to a new food for it to grow on a child/person. This is not in a force way but a gentle way. Give options to pickier eaters, at least a couple of times in case one fails. This also gives a child the option to choose.
Talk to children about healthy eating, not just about the food choices. Relate to them that if they want to be healthy and strong then eating healthy foods will help them grow, help them run faster. Children relate better to that official health terminology.(Not that we are advocating you eliminate health terminology from your vocabulary but often quick words of encouragement are more readily accepted.)
What does “Eat Right With Color” mean and what is the easiest way to do this?
It means a variety. Different colors offer different nutritional value. Seasonality is important too, if possible. Frozen veggies can play a huge role in this. Availability affects eating seasonally. Research shows there are more health benefits to eating more fruits and veggies.
Finally, what kinds of things can you suggest we do to celebrate National Nutrition Month to make it fun for our families?
Of course it will depend upon the ages of your children, but here are a couple to get you started:
~ Visit a local farm, it’s fun, shows children where our food comes from and shows support for local food.
~ Start a strawberry patch. Grow your own food.
Thank you, Katherine, for sharing your expertise.
Free Cup of Yoplait Original
Remember, you can still get a free cup of Yoplait Original yogurt as part of the “Million Cup Giveaway” by going to www.facebook.com/yoplait or the direct link is http://www.facebook.com/Yoplait?sk=app_168462209855664
Feel free to visit Katherine’s website too at