Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Family Mealtimes - Slow Down Childhood Obesity?

As seen on KMGH-TV 7

Learn more at:

Parents are concerned about all aspects of a child’s development-physical, mental, behavioral, social and educational.
Ø Multitudes of studies show that regular family mealtimes influence children more than time spent at school, studying, church, playing sports or in art activities
Ø Mealtimes at home are the single largest predictor of achievement scores and fewer behavioral problems for children.

Fifteen percent of children and adolescents are too heavy, with teenage obesity rates more than tripling in the past 20 years.
Ø The rise in obesity in the nation's young people may be partly due to fewer home-cooked meals, more calorie-dense foods, and more takeout and prepackaged dinners.
Ø Alarmingly some health care professionals suggest that the 25 million American kids, who are obese, may be the first generation to live sicker and die younger than their parents.
Ø Surge in children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Less than 4 percent of childhood diabetes cases in 1990 were type 2, that number has risen to approximately 20 percent, varying from 8 percent to 45 percent, depending on the age of the group.
Ø Of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, 85 percent are obese.

That is why I am here today promoting family mealtimes. Studies have shown that intervention programs at school can help children make better food selections, and decrease risk of overweight and obesity. You can download a free kit to help your family have great mealtimes:

Ø Studies provided education and intervention with parents as an important component of those programs.
Ø Kit-lots of resources that families can download to produce quality mealtimes

Ø Fun tips for cooking with kids
Ø Making mealtimes enjoyable
Ø Kid-tested, quick and easy family recipes

Children who have regular dinners with family also have better nutrition intake, consuming more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals, and less saturated fat and trans fat.
Ø Recipe-heavy on veggies-Cool Veggie Pizza (below)

Making it fun:
Ø Conversation – Share funny stories and Conversation Starter Cards
o What made you laugh today?
o What is the nicest thing you did for someone today?
o Name the 2-3 of the most important people alive today
Ø Participation
o Recipe – fruit salad –What is the fruit? Take turns picking fruit and everyone eats at the same time. (below)
o Recipe – Beef Pitas (below)

Introduce new foods and traditions
Ø - daybook of celebrations around the world
o National Nutrition month
o National Noodle Month
o Go Nuts over Texas Peanuts Week
o National Chocolate Week
Ø My mother’s recipe for Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Compared to children in the control group, those in the intervention program ate less junk food, more fruits and vegetables, and drank less juice and more 1 percent milk. When they compared the children in the study group to those in the control group, the researchers concluded that the program is an effective obesity prevention strategy.



Cool Veggie Pizza

Crust1 pound frozen whole wheat bread doughAll purpose flour1/4 teaspoon cornmealPreheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 12-inch pizza pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray or coat pan lightly with oil. Sprinkle pan with cornmeal, shaking to coat bottom. Thaw bread dough according to package directions. On a lightly floured board with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 14-15 inch circle. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

8 oz. low-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon dill
1 package ranch dressing mix
Mix filling ingredients until thoroughly blended. Spread on cooled baked bread dough crust.

Top with a combination of raw veggies: grated zucchini, grated carrots, chopped tomatoes and green peeper, broccoli, cauliflower, and scallions. Use your imagination to add what you have on hand.

Star Fruit SaladMakes 4 servings - Each serving equals 1 cup of fruit or vegetables From Produce for Better Health

2 star fruit 2 kiwis 2 bananas 1 cup mango fruit nectar 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
Peel kiwi and banana, cut into medium size pieces. Slice star fruit into ¼-inch thickness. Combine all fruits in bowl. Add nectar over mixture. Refrigerate for 3 hours. Top with vanilla yogurt.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 201, Protein 5g, Fat 2g, Calories From Fat 7%, Cholesterol 3mg, Carbohydrates 46g, Fiber 6g, Sodium 46mg.

Stir-Fried Beef Gyros in Pita Pockets Makes 4 servings.

1 pound beef round tip steaks, cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 pita breads, cut in half
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
½ cup prepared cucumber ranch dressing

Stack beef steaks; cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1-inch wide strips. Toss with garlic and oregano.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes. Remove.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef; stir-fry 1 minute or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove.

Repeat with remaining beef. Return beef and onion to skillet; heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve in pita pockets with tomatoes and dressing.

Nutrition information per serving: 503 calories; 24 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 75 mg cholesterol; 721 mg sodium; 40 g carbohydrate; 2.2 g fiber; 29 g protein; 7.2 mg niacin; 0.4 mg vitamin B6; 1.3 mcg vitamin B12; 3.9 mg iron; 43.2 mcg selenium; 4.6 mg zinc.

Chinese Noodles with Peanut Sauce
(Mary Lee’s mother’s recipe)

12 oz. noodles

Peanut Butter and Pepper Sauce
2 Tablespoons peanut butter diluted with 3 Tablespoons warm water
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped scallion

Mix all ingredients except garlic and scallion into a very smooth sauce. Add garlic and scallion before serving.

Selection of Garnishes:
Chopped scallions
Chopped cilantro
Fresh Chinese bean sprouts
Fresh raw snow peas
Sliced cucumber
Fresh spinach
Shredded cooked chicken

Cook the noodles "al-dente," drain, and allow to cool.
Pour sauce over the noodles and toss to coat. Each person males a selection of garnishes and serve.