The pendulum swings: too much healthy food bad for kids?

May 4, 2008

Believe it or not, there is now a research study published in The Times of London that shows that feeding kids under 5 too much “healthy” food may lead to their malnutrition.  How does this happen, you ask?  Well, basically it results from feeding kids too much high fiber food that fills them up before they’ve had the necessary amounts of fat and minerals.  Bizarre, but true.  Bottom line recommendation: keep meals balanced, paying particular attention to the amounts of dairy, meat, eggs, and fish young children are eating.


Target encourages adventurous eating

April 30, 2008

Love the news reported in Brandweek that Target will be providing SuperTarget Meal Adventure Guides in their stores starting this summer.  Although primarily intended to push sales of their 2,000 “Archer Farms” private label items, I’m a fan of any effort to designed to get people out of their food ruts.  Hopefully there will be a section devoted to kids meal adventures!

“Kids” cereal officially less healthy

April 28, 2008

This month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association shares the definitive results of a study on the nutritional quality of children’s cereals.  Of the 74 brands of cereal identified as “for kids” (based on having a kids game or licensed character), the sad news is that 65% failed to meet the national nutrition standards, particularly for sugar.  What disappointing news!  I believe the opportunity in kids food is to take delicious, healthy food … and make it FUN for kids to eat.  Sugar doesn’t need our marketing help!

Healthy diet = better school performance

April 16, 2008

While the statement, “a healthy diet means better school performance” may seem obvious to those of us who grew up hearing, “you are what you eat”, there’s actually been rather little empirical research to prove this correlation; until now, that is.  The authors of the Children’s Lifestyle and School Performance Study just released their findings … Proving that students who ate an adequate amount of fruit, vegetables, protein, fiber and other components of a healthy diet were significantly less likely to fail a literacy test.  Importantly, dietary variety was considered a key component of having a healthy diet.  This research underscores the importance of all the efforts by parents, communities, and businesses to improve children’s eating habits. 

Disney Travels … and Cooks?

March 24, 2008

One my favorite food blogs, Super Chef, shared the announcement that Disney Travel on Demand (a VOD channel that’s on Time Warner & Cablevision cable systems) has launched a new cooking segment with Cat Cora

Disney's 'What's Cooking with Cat Cora?'

I watched some of the segments on the Disney Travel website and I gotta say, I don’t really get it.  Cat Cora is a charming, enthusiastic host … and Disney Travel is clearly a great place for families … but these two things just don’t seem to fit together in the segments they’ve created.  Why would I want to learn about making cornbread or gravy when I’ve tuned in for entertainment or information about family travel?  Maybe these segments would work if there was a tie to Southern travel with your kids?  Or how about creating segments for different areas of the Disney themeparks (the It’s A Small World Cafe, any one?)  I always applaud efforts to encourage families to try new things in the kitchen, but these segments seem like they could have greater impact if they connected to the Disney Travel concept more explicitly.

International animals — no longer lost in translation

March 24, 2008

Ever wonder what a duck sounds like in Dutch? Or a mouse in Korean?  Well, I just discovered a super fun site  from the UK that lets you do just that.  Although slightly off the kids & food topic, I thought readers with kids would find it amusing.  The site,, was created in the UK and presents a collection of “onomatopoeia” animal sounds from around the world.  The sounds are recorded by native speakers in each country.  The result is a fascinating glipse at global communication — Although Tom Friedman may tell us the world is flat, there’s clearly a lot of room for miscommunication, even on Old McDonald’s Farm!

Pickle Sickle Part 3 — Did he lead the witness?

March 17, 2008

Following my last post, I’ve been doing some thinking — did we lead the witness during this afternoon’s Pickle Sickle taste test? My husband was the first to try this new food … and I bet that his reaction had something to do with my nephews’ interest (or lack thereof) in enjoying the Pickle Sickle. I wonder … would the boys have been more open to the pickle juice popsicle if his expression had been less distraught?

This situation brings to mind two pieces of advice I often dole out: First, I talk to parents about the importance of modeling good eating habits for their children. Showing kids how you enjoy (or at least not denigrating) a diverse range of foods is a critical part of getting kids started on the path to eating well. Second, I always teach children that they shouldn’t “yuck someone else’s yum.” Biological diversity (e.g., no two tongues are exactly alike) and cultural context (e.g., what we grow up eating) are just two examples of how taste likes and dislikes vary by individual. Children should be encouraged to develop their own taste preferences based on unbiased eating experiences. Next time, we’ll actually following my own advice!