3 Nutrition Tips to Help Fight Childhood Obesity

by Martha Rather on August 3, 2009 · 2 comments

By Martha Rather

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” 

 – James Baldwin

Fight Childhood Obesity by Successfully Hiding Fruits and Vegetables in Comfort Food

Many children today seem to live on junk food in our fast paced world. This is causing an unusual epidemic of childhood obesity. How do we get children to eat fruits and vegetables along with their favorite foods?

My suggestion is to learn a new way of cooking.

With a little education and forethought, anyone can learn to cook this way. I am talking about hiding carrots, and other fruits and vegetables in cookies or muffins, assorted vegetables in pizza or spaghetti, and many other surprising combinations. The important end result is to get your children to actually eat real fruits and vegetables.

I use something called the Basic Holistic Conversion Factor. It involves using a higher protein white flour called Vita-Spelt . We use half the amount of sugar and half the amount of butter. Then we load it with ground vegetables or fruit, whatever is appropriate to the end product. This gives a cookie or muffin, etc. that looks just like store bought, but is much higher in nutrition and fiber, and low in fat, sugar and salt.

Tip 1 – Choose the fruits and vegetables to match the Taste of the end product. For example: carrots are naturally sweet, especially organic carrots. When they are ground (steaming first is optional) they can easily disappear into cookies, muffins, cakes or breads. Carrot fiber gives a great sense of fullness and satisfaction.

Tip 2 – Choose fruits and vegetables to match the Texture of the end product. For example: zucchini and yellow summer squash cook quickly into a soft mashed “mess” that can blend easily and efficiently into any pasta or cheese sauce. The topping works well on spaghetti, pizza, and other favorite pasta dishes.

Tip 3 – Choose fruits and vegetables that match the expected Color of the end product. For example: children love yellow mac and cheese. Next time mash up some cooked yellow squash like butternut and mix it into the sauce well before pouring over the macaroni. The color of the squash matches the color of the cheese hiding the squash and looking like added cheese.

Bonus Technique – The next time you purchase pasta, look at the nutritional label on the side. Not all pastas are created equal. The pastas with the highest protein value are either durum wheat or vita-spelt. Choose the higher protein product.

About the Author: Martha Rather, the co-owner of Mother Nature and Son restaurant, in Albuquerque, NM, has been researching how to improve the nutritional quality of cookies and cakes for 35 years and counting.  Her new e-cookbook is entitled The Holistic Cookie — Enjoy Nutritious Time-tested Recipes, and also includes recipes for casseroles and other comfort food.  Click here to visit Martha’s website and get a FREE copy of her famous Chocolate Chip Holistic Cookie Recipe.

[Editor’s Comments:  My wife and I were out grocery shopping with our two youngest children yesterday, and I had an “interesting” conversation with the cashier while we were checking out.

After ringing up about 90% of our groceries, she says “Wow! I can’t believe you bought all that stuff and none of it was junk food.” We had spent about $200 on fruits, vegetables, cheese, yogurt, etc., and we didn’t buy any “processed” foods.

I asked her if that was “unusual,” and she said “Oh, yes…especially for families with young kids.” She went on to explain that she couldn’t remember EVER checking out a family with children and not having to ring up some sort of sugary processed junk food.

I smiled as she came to the end of our order.

Earlier, my son had asked if they could have a “special treat” for being good in the store. We agreed, and he grabbed two packages of peanut M&Ms and put them on the conveyer.

She asked me with amazement in her voice “Are these yours?” I smiled, nodded, shrugged my shoulders and said “Well, I guess your streak is still alive.”

What did you buy the last time you went grocery shopping? Did you notice how many whole foods vs. processed foods you purchased? Leave a Comment and let us know.]

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dianne August 3, 2009 at 9:17 am

Due to my soy allergy, I can’t buy any processed foods. Lucky me!

Yesterday I saw Food, Inc. and it blew me away! Now I know more about the big Agri-Business than I did before.

I highly recommend everyone go see it.

My thoughts on another issue, you can’t have health reform until you reform the food industry. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen because politcians take money from the big boys.

2 Kevin August 3, 2009 at 10:51 am

Good article, awesome Editor’s note.

This very same thing has happened to me, and VERY recently happened to my parents. My mom was the one who told me the story. Almost the same story – the M&M’s. Oh, and my parents don’t have small children anymore.

I have also heard cashiers compliment others about healthy food choices, but it’s usually for individual items (not the whole purchase) and for having combinations like Leanpockets and Diet Coke w/ carrot stick and ranch dip. You get the idea.

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