General Info

I was recently asked to be part of a FREE online event designed to empower parents to raise healthy, successful kids. The event is called “Relationship Based Parenting: The Simple Truths about Raising Healthy, Successful Kids,” and it takes place  between August 12th and 23rd,.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist, freelance writer, and author, I’m humbled be one of 21 speakers from around the world who was asked to participate. Created and organized by Abby Bordner, the event brings together top speakers in the fields of child psychology, child development, writing/publishing, and authors of bestselling parenting books to answer two key questions:

  • What does it take to raise healthy, successful kids?
  • How can I become a better person while doing it?

While you can listen to my interview on August 14, 2013 at 8 PM EST/5 PM PST, all of the interviews done with the speakers between the 12th and 23rd of August will be available to you.

I truly hope you’ll join this community of parents and professionals in what is sure to be a valuable exploration of the most important things we can do to raise healthy, successful children.

Click here if you’d like to join this FREE event.

Full disclosure: I received no compensation for granting or promoting an interview, nor will I receive any compensation when or after you join the event. It just seemed like a terrific event that I could contribute to!

Flower Fathead

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In the clever, information-packed new book, The Clean Separation, Kara Landau (The Traveling Dietitian) helps readers who have endured a life-changing event–a break-up or end of a relationship, the loss of a job, or the death of someone close to them–use the power of nutrition to lift their spirits and move them towards the next chapter of their lives. With warmth and positivity, Landau lays out a ‘business plan’ that readers can personalize to help them structure their lives while minimizing stress as they move towards their ‘new normal’. She also utilizes her insights about the eating habits and lifestyle practices of people from around the globe to make real-world recommendations readers can use to optimize their health and well being. Delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts by Susan Irby (The Bikini Chef) round out The Clean Separation to help readers follow the book’s food and nutrient recommendations.

Even if you haven’t recently endured a break up of any kind, you’ll no doubt find this delicious Thai Tasty Chicken Wrap from The Clean Separation a delicious addition to your menu. Enjoy!









2 cups chicken breast, roughly chopped

Pinch sea salt

Pinch black pepper

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup diced green onion

1/4 cup chopped toasted peanuts

2 Tablespoons chopped
 fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon thai red curry paste

4 8-inch high fiber flour tortillas

4 leaf lettuce leaves


1.  Season chopped chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, adding the water, as needed, to prevent drying.

3. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cooked chicken, green onion, peanuts, coriander, and ginger root.

4. In a small mixing bowl, stir together yogurt, mustard, honey, lime juice, and curry paste. Mix well and then add to chicken mixture.

5. Place wrap onto a flat working surface. Top each with 1 lettuce leaf, spread with 1 1/2 Tablespoons yogurt mixture and top with 1/2 cup chicken mixture. Fold one edge of wrap in towards the center slightly. Fold both side edges over filling.

6. Spray non-stick saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add wraps and heat until lightly golden. Serve warm or cold as an on-the-go snack.

Tasty Tip:

Make chicken mixture ahead of time for the ultimate go-to snack for mid-week. These wraps are delicious served hot or cold.

Nutritional Analysis:

Serving size: 1 wrap

Calories: 292.5

Fat: 10.4g

Saturated fat: 2.4g

Carbohydrates: 23.7g

Protein: 31.5g

Fiber: 9.7g

Sodium: 355mg

Is there a nutritious, delicious meal you like to cook or eat after a break-up or loss?

Source: The Clean Separation by Australian dietitian Kara Landau (The Traveling Dietitian) with recipe contributions by Susan Irby (The Bikini Chef).

Full disclosure: The publisher sent me a complimentary copy of the book.

Flower Fathead

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When they’re born, you hold them so tight
When anything’s wrong, you make everything right

They can make no mistakes, they’re just learning their way
And you hold their hands and guide their day

As they learn to do more things  on their own,
They trip, they fall, and you throw them a bone.

They push and pull but at the end of the day
They just want you close to them as they lay

They go off to school and camp on their own
And there’s more and more proof, over time, how they’ve grown

They speak of their challenges, their highs and their lows
And how they thrived despite some blows

Your pride overwhelms you,
You know you played a part
In showing them the way
To live with heart

To be kind and polite and have respect for others
To work hard and play hard and treat friends like brothers

They may hate you or love you intensely at times
Roll their eyes at you sometimes but always end with a smile

Your journey is long but you know it’s just a phase
For soon they’ll be gone and you’ll all part ways

They’ll start their own lives and have families of their own
But you know that’s what must be done when they’re truly grown

You’ll laugh and you’ll cry and think back to the days
When all they did was love you with their innocent gaze

You know you’ll survive and accept what will be
Because you too have done to your mom what you will soon have to see

So enjoy the moments, they go much too fast
And savor each day as if it’s your last

Being a mother is the greatest gift ever
And their love is yours for now and forever

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Try this delicious recipe, excerpted from Today Show nutritionist Joy Bauer’s new book, The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan and Inspiration (Wiley, 2012).

MAKES 4 servings

Serving Size: about 1 cup wilted spinach mixture with 3 scallops and 1/4 of the avocado

Prep Time (start to finish): 25 minutes

1 lime
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
12 fresh or frozen sea scallops, thawed if frozen (about 11/4 pounds total)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Oil spray
1 tablespoon honey
8 cups fresh baby spinach (about 8 ounces)
1 medium avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and thinly sliced

1. Finely shred enough of the lime peel to make 2 teaspoons zest. Cut the lime in half and juice enough to make 2 tablespoons. Set juice and zest aside.
2. In a large nonstick skillet cook the shallots in the olive oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until shallots are just tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, rinse the scallops with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the scallops evenly with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Lightly coat scallops on both sides with oil spray. Coat an indoor grill pan or another large nonstick skillet with oil spray. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Add scallops to grill pan or skillet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until scallops are opaque and cooked through, turning once halfway through cook time.
4. Add the lime juice, honey, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the shallots in the skillet. Just before serving, add the spinach in two batches to the shallot mixture. Cook, tossing gently with tongs, for 30 to 60 seconds or until spinach is just wilted. Immediately divide spinach mixture among four serving plates. Top each serving with 3 of the scallops. Top each serving with one-fourth of the avocado slices and sprinkle with reserved lime zest.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Calories: 262, Protein: 28 g, Total Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 49 mg, Sodium: 536 mg, Carbohydrate: 17 g, Fiber: 4 g

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According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylactic Networkas many as 15 million people have food allergies  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 300,000 ambulatory-care visits a year among children under the age of 18 are caused by food allergies.

It’s likely someone you know is allergic to food. Milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, or pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish account for about 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions. Being allergic to one or more foods can certainly affect everything from how and where a person eats to how they socialize.

And if parenting wasn’t tough enough, raising a child with one or more food allergies can be an even bigger challenge—but it can be an enlightening one. Just ask Susan Weissman, author of the poignant new book Feeding Eden: The Trials and Triumphs of a Food Allergy Family. Read on learn more about Susan’s heartfelt and courageous journey to help her son manage his food allergies and find her strength (and herself) along the way.

Q: Your son Eden was first diagnosed as allergic to dairy when he was nine months old, so why did he have an anaphylactic attack just after he turned one year old?

A: After Eden had his first life-threatening allergic reaction we realized that he must have been allergic to more than dairy foods. Sure enough, he tested as allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, a variety of legumes, seeds, fish and shellfish. Basically, he was allergic to seven of the top eight most common allergens.

Q. Did Eden’s allergies diminish naturally as Eden grew older? Or do you think there were other factors involved?

A. That would depend on whether you want to view Eden’s allergies as a cup half full or half empty. I’ll describe the half full cup: Eden has fully outgrown his allergy to some foods within certain categories (i.e. he can eat sunflower and pumpkin seeds but not sesame seeds. He can eat shrimp but not all shellfish.) He was diagnosed eight years ago, so no, outgrowth hasn’t happened quickly. And it most likely will not happen, given the scope of all of his forbidden foods.

Q. Do you think having the experience of having a child with life-threatening food allergies has made you a “better” mother?

A: Eden’s food allergies forced me to confront the simple truth Eden is physically vulnerable around food. My job is to teach him emotional awareness: how to protect himself so he can live in the world. But that’s what good parents do.

Q. Can you share strategies parents can use to make sure their kids are safe when they’re at school?

A. Parents are responsible for creating a partnership with teachers and administrators in order to prevent food reactions in schools. Teachers are not gatekeepers. An easy to remember checklist for parents to provide is: Information, Documentation, Medication and Communication. When parents model a partnership, children learn to self-advocate for their needs.

Q. Any advice for parents who have children with food allergies to help them better cope with situations they may experience?

A. I believe that all parents need to teach their children to live in the world, and to be happy despite the natural limits of themselves and their environments. But when your child has a chronic medical condition, you don’t have to accept diminished experiences. Once, when Eden was at a party, someone put a piece of pizza on his plate even after Eden has spoken up and clearly stated, “No thank you. I have food allergies.” Eden’s feelings were hurt when the server ignored him. I used that incident as an opportunity to teach him that very likely there will be people in the world who won’t acknowledge him in a variety of situations outside of his allergies. That kind of behavior hurts everyone’s feelings. And when that happens, Eden needs to learn to focus on enjoying himself with the people he cares about. The same can be applied to any childhood condition affecting the mind or body: Enact solutions and focus on them.

Q. So what are some methods for teaching children how to “live in the world they are given?”

A. Try to create an even playing field at home. Examples might be if a child has ADHD parents can offer physical outlets, if a child has dietary restrictions parents can offer alternatives like safe treats and if your child has learning disabilities they may have a creative outlet at home that requires their special skills. Eden knows that on days that he can’t have dessert in the cafeteria, he will have an extra one at home after school.

Q. Is there anything particular you worry about when Eden is at school?

A. It’s safe to say that all allergy parents fear for that one slip-up, the accidental exposure or ingestion to a deadly food for their child. But far more important, we fear that that the adults charged with our child’s safety would not recognize the warning signs of anaphylaxis and ensure that epinephrine is administered. That is why food allergy education and communication between parents and teachers is so crucial

Q. Do you believe that classrooms and even whole schools should be made “free-of” particular foods?

A. Not necessarily. Institutional food restrictions may be helpful under certain circumstances. For example, younger populations of student tend may need external precautions about foods and cross-contamination. But there are eight top allergens so it’s impossible to limit them all and feed children nutritiously. It might make more sense to cherry-pick the most dangerous and likely of food allergens, like peanuts and nuts, and offer alternatives like safe zones. But decisions like that are dependent on community need and ability.

You can learn more about Susan Weissman and Feeding Eden here.

Full disclosure: Susan is a friend and sent me a review copy of her book.

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This recipe for EZ guacamole comes from registered dietitian Susan Piergeorge, author of Boomer Be Well!

Guacamole is a great dip, salad dressing, or topping for meats, poultry, seafood, or as a topper on potatoes.


1 avocado, washed, peeled, pitted and mashed

Lemon juice (enough to coat avocado to prevent browning—about 1-2 tsp.)

1/4 cup salsa, drained

1/4 tsp. ground cumin, optional


1. Mix avocado and lemon juice.

2. Stir in salsa to taste.

3. Add cumin if desired.

4. Store in covered container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 65 Calories, 1gm PRO, 4 gm CHO, 5.5 gm FAT, 3 gm Fiber, 100 mg Sodium, 232 mg Potassium

This guacamole works great with these awesome baked Chili Lime Chips (see number 1 in a previous ZIED GUIDE blog post, 7 Light Bites & Tasty Treats). Enjoy!

What’s your favorite chip and dip combo this time of year?

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Who says side dishes have to be boring! These two heart-healthy recipes are infused with plenty of vegetables, tons of color and amazing flavor, courtesy of registered dietitian Susan Piergeorge’s book Boomer Be Well.

Mediterranean Vegetable Mix

This tasty and hearty vegetable mix goes well with seafood, poultry and tofu.


1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp. olive, canola, or Enova oil

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) ginger

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) oregano

1 Tbsp. fresh minced (or 2 tsp. dried) basil

3/4 pound fresh broccoli, broken into pieces

1 eight-ounce can black pitted whole olives, drained

2 cups fresh sliced button mushrooms or 1 8 ounce can sliced mushrooms (drained and rinsed)

1 pound fresh chopped tomatoes or one 14.5 ounce can chopped tomatoes with liquid

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 grated parmesan or romano cheese


1. In a large sauté pan, place oil, garlic and onion.

2. Heat over medium until onion and garlic are mildly cooked.

3. Add ginger, oregano, and basil. Mix in broccoli, olives, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

4. Cover and simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, but not overdone (about 5 to 10 minutes).

5. Add vinegar and toss into vegetables.  Place into serving dish. Top with grated cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 130 Calories, 7 gm PRO, 15 gm CHO, 6 gm FAT, 4 mg Chol, 5 gm Fiber, 416 mg Sodium, 594 mg Potassium.

Brussels, Beets & Sweets

This colorful hearty side dish goes well with beef, pork, game, tofu, turkey or chicken. It’s easy to make, full of flavor, and loaded with nutrition. Enjoy!


3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

1 medium onion, rinsed, peeled and chopped

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, rinsed, scrubbed and cut into bite size chunks

1 lb. beets, rinsed, peeled, and cut into bite size chunks

1/2 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, rinsed and cut into halves (or 12 ounce frozen)

2 Tbsp. canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. dried rosemary


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. On large cookie sheet or baking pan assemble all vegetables including onion.

Drizzle canola oil over vegetables and mix together with tongs (or clean hands).

3. Sprinkle garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and rosemary on top of vegetable mixture and stir to coat well.

4. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

5. Take out of oven and stir vegetables.

6. Place back into oven and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until cooked.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 200 calories, 4 gm PRO, 35 gm CHO, 5 gm FAT, 7 gm Fiber, 0 mg Chol, 227 mg sodium, 789 mg potassium, 16203 IU vitamin A, 39 mg vitamin C, 595 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin, 80 mg omega-3 fatty acids, 0.8 mg zinc

What are your favorite vegetable side dishes?

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On October 6, 2011, the Prevention Institute–a national non-profit organization committed to preventing illness, fostering health and building momentum for community prevention–launched a new video called We’re Not Buying It. It sheds light on the many negative health effects food marketing has on vulnerable children, and serves as a call to action for parents, families and health advocates to ask President Obama to support strong voluntary guidelines for food marketing that are currently be considered by the government. And just a few days ago I reviewed a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics for The study suggested food commercials had more of an impact on young kids’ food choices than parental input.

As stated on the Prevention Institute’s web site,

“From soda companies using school marketing campaigns disguised as charities, to food package labeling that misleads parents, We’re Not Buying It takes just two minutes to debunk industry claims that they’re trying to be part of the solution in the fight for kids’ health. Parents alone simply can’t compete with the $2 billion a year the food and beverage industry spends selling kids foods that are laden in sugar, salt and fat, the video reveals.”

The voluntary federal guidelines that are currently being considered were developed by the Interagency Working Group, a coalition of nutrition and media experts from federal agencies, ask companies not to advertise their most unhealthy foods to kids. And only time will tell if the voluntary guidelines will take hold or instead, be trumped by those opposed to such guidelines including Congressman Lee Terry. Stay tuned for results from congressional testimony on this topic set to take place on Wednesday, October 12th.

You can read more about the push to have government support voluntary marketing guidelines by the Centers for Science in the Public Interest and by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

What say you? Should food companies need to follow certain guidelines when marketing foods and beverages, or is it simply up to parents to help their kids ignore the ads, resist temptation, and make more healthful food decisions? Please Share your thoughts below.

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The following review is written by the wonderful Erika Breitfeller who interned for me in late June, 2011.

The Slender Trap: A Food and Body Workbook is an interactive manual that addresses both eating disorders and body-image issues. Written by author Lauren Lazar Stern, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, a board-certified art therapist and a licensed professional counselor, the book is interactive and extremely well written. The format of the book and its layout are easy to follow and convey a strong sense of support for readers throughout each section.

The book is broken down into an introduction followed by chapters on different topics with titles such as “Why I think I’m Fat,” and “The Diet and Exercise Traps.” The introduction is informative and factual and gives the reader an idea of the purpose of the workbook, and the workings and defining elements of expressive arts used to help readers who suffer from an eating disorder. I appreciate the sequence of chapters and how they’re broken down; they start with some basics and slowly upgrade to more difficult topics readers can reflect on. Each chapter includes clever exercises that appropriately pertain to the topic being discussed. The author also includes a section after each exercise titled ‘Process with Me,’ which enables readers to reflect on how she feels while doing the exercise. The only criticism I have about this processing section was categorizing feelings using a thermometer analogy.  The author utilized a temperature scale to process readers’ moods after doing the exercise that to me could be misleading or confusing to some. I really enjoyed the personal testimonials from real women who were willing to share their experiences with eating disorders and body image issues. These testimonials make it that much more apparent that readers are not alone.

The author suggests The Slender Trap to those who are overwhelmed by what to eat or not to eat, or by how they look. I whole-heartedly agree with Ms. Stern that this book is a great read for any woman at any age who suffers from an eating disorder or some form of disordered eating or who has a distorted self-image. Reading this workbook can surely be an eye-opening experience, especially for those who may not have seen their eating habits and obsessions as a concern. The book reassures readers that many women feel the same way they do, and guides them towards confronting issues appropriately. At the very least, reading The Slender Trap can open doors for women and hopefully help them begin to tackle their issues and start the healing process.

Are you stuck in the slender trap? Or what has helped you get out of one?

About the author: Erika Breitfeller earned a Bachelors in Health Science –Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware. She’s also a recent  graduate of the North Shore Long Island Jewish Dietetic Internship Program. Her email is

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Did you know that, according to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids aged 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on ‘entertainment media’—watching tv or movies, listening to music, and playing video games. They also were found to spend another 2 hours texting or talking on the phone.

Unfortunately, more sedentary behavior (and less active play) usually means a higher risk of being overweight or obese. Screen-Free Week is an initiative that kicks off today, April 18, to promote more healthful lifestyle behaviors for busy parents, teachers, and those who work with and/or care for kids to find active alternatives to screen time.

Here are some screen-free gems–tips and resources to help you help the next generation move more and sit less. Even if you don’t completely turn off the screens in your home or workplace, you can replace some of the time you’d otherwise spend in front of a screen to be more active and reap the many benefits physical activity can provide.

*WeCan! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), a science-based national education program from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), helps children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. WeCan! offers several materials to help caregivers and families encourage children to become more active. Some tips to get active include:

*Walk your children to school –I do this as much as possible and find it a wonderful way to connect with my kids);

*Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV –you can walk home from school or take a half hour walk with your family right before or after dinner);

*Play with your kids at least 30 minutes per day –you can do this all at once, or divide it into 2 15 minute periods if that works with your schedules—some is better than none, and taking this time to simply play is a great way to take a break during an otherwise hectic day);

*Dance to music with your kids –one of my favorites—AND we often laugh a lot when we dance because my husband and I look so ridiculous when we shake our booties.)

For more GET ACTIVE tips, go here.

To reduce screen time:

*Set screen time limits. Create a house rule that limits screen time to two hours every day.

*Talk to your family. Explain to your kids that it’s important to sit less and move more.

Find more tips to REDUCE SCREEN TIME, go here.

How do you and your family spend your active time? Share your tips for cutting screen time and moving more.

Want to receive my free weekly newsletter, The ZIED GUIDE? It highlights new blogs, articles, segments and videos and those from the past week mentioned on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up here or email me at and write “newsletter” in the subject line.

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