“The Lost Art Of Feeding Kids” by Jeannie Marshall.

I have been looking for reading some interesting and relaxing book for a while.  I am always interested in nutrition, healthy eating, super foods and so on, so this topic is always on the first place for me. When I am checking the books at the book store or at the library the first section I will look at is Healthy Habits, Eating.

When I saw the title of this book on the shelf the other day, I said to myself: ” This books is for me. I need to read it.” There are so many healthy eating books on the market, but 60% of them are boring, keep writing the same information, and makes you bored after 2 minutes reading it. So I was expecting a lot from ” The lost art of Feeding Kids”, and this book didn’t make me disappointed at all. The thoughts of the author is so close to me, because I was grown up in the same environment, so I could easily understand what she was talking about. My memories from the childhood are visits to farmers market every other day, especially in summer, homemade food and the fresh healthy food on the table. We’ve never had any frozen foods in our stores besides frozen fruits, we ate by season, no strawberries or watermelon in winter and we were much more healthier than the new generation now. I remember myself craving the fresh cucumbers by the end of  winter and my mom didn’t buy them in March or April explaining us they have a lot of pesticides in them and we should wait by summer time to eat the real fresh cucumbers. This was about all the foods: tomatoes, strawberries, watermelons, peaches. You need to wait for the season, when they are real and ripe and ready to eat.

The author takes us to Italy, so it was even more interesting for me to read the book because I like Italy and all about it.

Packaged snacks and junk foods are displacing natural, home-cooked meals throughout the world—even in Italy, a place we tend to associate with a healthy Mediterranean diet. Italian children traditionally sat at the table with the adults and ate everything from anchovies to artichokes. Parents passed a love of seasonal, regional foods down to their children, and this generational appreciation of good food turned Italy into the world culinary capital we’ve come to know today.

When Jeannie Marshall moved from Canada to Rome, she found the healthy food culture she expected. However, she was also amazed to find processed foods aggressively advertised and junk food on every corner. While determined to raise her son on a traditional Italian diet, Marshall sets out to discover how even a food tradition as entrenched as Italy’s can be greatly eroded or even lost in a single generation. She takes readers on a journey through the processed-food and marketing industries that are re-manufacturing our children’s diets, while also celebrating the pleasures of real food as she walks us through Roman street markets, gathering local ingredients from farmers and butchers.

At once an exploration of the US food industry’s global reach and a story of finding the best way to feed her child, The Lost Art of Feeding Kids examines not only the role that big food companies play in forming children’s tastes, and the impact that has on their health, but also how parents and communities can push back to create a culture that puts our kids’ health and happiness ahead of the interests of the food industry.

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The Lost Art of Feeding Kids: What Italy Taught Me about Why Children Need Real Food

5 Super Healthy Foods for Kids.

For many parents, buying and preparing healthy foods is pretty easy. It’s getting your child to actually eat those nutritious foods that’s the hard part! This makes mealtimes frustrating and leaves parents often wondering if their child is getting enough nutrients. If this is the case in your home, then read on because I will tell you about 5 super healthy foods that I guarantee even your pickiest child will eat.

1. Flaxseeds.

This nutty plant food is packed full of Omega-3 fatty acids which are needed for optimal brain development. Flaxseed is sold whole and ground, but research suggests that ground is absorbed by the body better. Try sprinkling ground flaxseed onto cereal or into the batter of sweet treats like Oatmeal Almond Cookies. Replace 1/4 cup of flour with ground flaxseed in your child’s favorite muffin, bread, or pancake recipe to add a healthy boost to baked goods.

2. Sweet Potato.

This spud is one of the most nutritious (and inexpensive) vegetables around. The Vitamin A in sweet potatoes keeps eyes healthy, and acts like an antioxidant in the body. Sweet potatoes are a favorite among babies because of their natural sweetness and bright color, but they are often forgotten once kids get older. Try my sweet potato tots the next time you need a side dish. Apple sauce or a drizzle of maple syrup make good toppings.

3.Hummus.

This heart-healthy dip and spread is one food that most kids will eat – as long as you don’t tell them it’s made from beans! But it’s the fiber, complex carbs, and protein in those garbanzo bean—combined with heart-healthy olive oil—that make hummus such a perfect food. The complex carbs fuel your busy little one, while the protein and fiber help keep him content and meltdown-free until dinner. Serve hummus as a dip with baked pita chips or carrots or use it in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps. My daughter loves it with veggie burgers or baked potatoes.

4.Avocado.

Avocado is full of monounsaturated fats, the “good” fats that kids actually need in their diet every day. In fact, it’s recommended that 25 to 35% of kid’s calories come from fats, primarily the unsaturated ones. So how do you get your child to eat this creamy green fruit? The easiest way for me to spread on a toast, instead of cream cheese. Toast with avocado my daughter’s favorite breakfast. We like to make quacamole also, but to make it even more nutritional I add some chopped kale.  Start kids on avocado early since fat intake is particularly important in the early years. In fact, ripe avocado is a perfect baby food spooned straight out of its peel.

5.Mango.

One cup of this sweet tropical fruit provides almost a whole day’s supply of Vitamin C which helps keep kids’ immune systems running strong and keeps teeth and gums healthy. It also provides 3 grams of fiber for just around 100 calories. Buy fresh to serve cut up or in dessert like my Raw Mango Coconut Lime Tart. Want a fun way to cool your kids off and provide a nutritious snack? Puree peeled cubes of mango in a food processor or blender; pour into popsicle molds or ice cube trays and freeze. In a few hours, you’ve got frozen mango pops!

Here is a comfort kids food recipe that I came with last weekend. I was planning to make zucchini pancakes, but didn’t want to use any oil, so I made zucchini muffins, which I served with hummus. Sophia loved them, even she got sick, and didn’t have any appetite at all.

Baked zucchini muffins:

Ingredients:

2 shredded zucchini

1 shredded carrot

1/2 chopped onion

1 glove of garlic

3 tablespoons chickpeas flour ( or any other kind)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg.

Homemade hummus for serving.

Heat the oven to 350F. Mix all the ingredients in the food processor. Pour the batter into muffin forms. ( I used silicone ones). Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve warm with hummus or any kind of spread.

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How to make your kids eat vegetables.

We know how important is to eat vegetables and fruits and get all the vitamins from there.

Many parents struggle with their kids’ food every day. Kids don’t want to eat vegetables, they refuse any green color on their plate and want to eat anything but no veggies.

There are some ways to make your kids like vegetables and actually eat them.

1. Lead by example.

If you children see you eating pizza while you’re telling them to eat broccoli, they’re going to tune you out. I remember Sophia didn’t want to eat salad at all. She never wanted to try it. We usually have salad for dinner, and our example helped her to like it too. One day, she just asked for salad, and now she loves it. The same thing happened with the guacamole and hummus. Show the right example.

Our plates are identical, except mine doesn’t have pasta on

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2. Books and games with vegetables.

Get some books, coloring books with vegetables and fruits. Read them from time to time. Sophia has a lot of fruits and vegetables in her toy kitchen. She always cooks salad or vegetable soup for her dolls, makes veggies sandwiches for us.

We also have some kids books about the importance of vegetables and fruits in our diet.

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3. Make it fun.

Garden with your children, shop together and include them in preparing meals.

Before we go grocery shopping I always ask my daughter what we are going to buy. In the store she shows me, where to get bananas, tomatoes, avocados etc.

She loves going to the farmers market and picking up the fresh produce.

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Cooking together is important too, she can see what her dish is made of. This makes the happiest girl in the world. Imagine, your kid watches you every night putting the chicken nuggets in the oven, or microwave. Does it sound fun to you?

4. Eat the rainbow.

Hang a color wheel on the fridge and ask your kid: “Did we eat something from nature in each color group today?” This trick sounds fun and will make your kids try at least one piece of vegetable.

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5. Hide the vegetables in the dish.

This works a lot of times for kids who don’t touch vegetables at all. There are a lot different recipes with hiding vegetables in them: turkey meatballs with zucchini, pumpkin muffins with carrots, meatloaf with bell pepper, chocolate dessert with avocado in it, different kids of ice-pops made of veggies and fruit.

This recipe hides avocados in it.

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6. Don’t give up.

Expose your kids to new and different foods over and over again. Continue serving food that’s been rejected, and never remind them that they didn’t like it before. Often the veggie they “hated” last months becomes their new favorite the next months.

Stevia

Stevia is an all-natural sweetener derived from a plant in the sunflower family that is native to North and South America. The plant has been used for decades in some places such as Japan as an alternative to sugar or honey as a sweetener. However, until recently it was banned in the United States unless labeled as a “dietary supplement.”

In 2008, stevia was approved for use as an alternative sweetener in the United States, under the brand names Truvia and PureVia, but neither product contains whole stevia leaves. They are instead made up of a highly purified product derived from stevia. Whole stevia leaves remain banned in the United States, making any stevia product highly controversial.

Many people swear by the non-caloric sweeteners Truvia and PureVia, using them in everything from baking to sweetening their morning cup of coffee. On the other hand, some researchers have advised people to limit their use of stevia due to  potentially dangerous side effects. Before you decide to introduce Stevia into your diet, consider these pros and cons:

Stevia Benefits

  • Stevia is 250-300 times sweeter than regular cane sugar, meaning you can use much less to get the desired level of sweetness.
  • Truvia and PureVia are both low calorie sweeteners and do not affect blood glucose levels.
  • Stevia products can be used in place of white sugar in baking and cooking.
  • Some research suggests that taking a stevia supplement of 750-1500 mg per day can significantly reduce high blood pressure and can be particularly effective for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Stevia Concerns

  • After eating stevia, some people experience unpleasant side effects that include bloating, nausea, dizziness, muscle pain and numbness.
  • Since stevia is derived from a plant close to the ragweed, it may cause an allergic reaction in those sensitive to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.
  • If you have low blood pressure, stevia could be potentially dangerous as it could lower your blood pressure more.
  • While some research suggests stevia could aid in managing diabetes, some research proves the opposite. It is best to consult a doctor if you have diabetes before using stevia.
I personally use pure stevia in my recipes, but it took me a while to pick the right one. I didn’t know before that Stevia can taste different( how can the sugar taste different), anyway my first try was Whole Foods brand and it tasted just terrible. In a few months I made the second try with Trader&Joe’s Brand and it still tasted horrible.
 Finally I found NuStevia, that was the right choice. It tastes just like sugar. I use it sometimes in my salad dressings or desserts.
What about you?
Do you use Stevia? If so what kind?