It's been almost two months since The Scoop on Food--my new Magazine blog--debuted. I've really enjoyed writing it, getting feedback, and hearing ideas for future topics from parents and those who work with children. Please keep the comments coming!

In case you missed any of my posts, I've provided links below. I invite you to subscribe to the feed and to continue to send me your thoughts and ideas for future posts. Because when it comes to feeding kids and helping them live a more healthful lifestyle, we're all in this together!

Empty Calories and Kids

Obesity and Children: Can We Reverse the Trend?

Sports Drinks and Active Kids

The Right to Know About GMOs

Is Fast Food OK for Kids?

Kids an Sodium: Should Parents Be Concerned?

Should Kids Not Eat Meat?

The Benefits of Family Meals

Should We Screen Kids' Screen Time?

Health Campaign Says No to Soda

Saying No to Artificially Sweetened Milk

Flower Fathead

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The Scoop on Food--my new blog for parents and their children on arrived! I'm thrilled to share my thoughts (and plenty of resources) about the food, nutrition and health topics that are at top-of-mind for many parents. My hope is that the blog will spark conversation about these topics and help us all raise our kids to be more mindful and nutritious eaters.

Here are my first two posts: The Real Food and Nutrition Scoop and Should Kids Eat a Vegetarian School Lunch?

Thanks for checking out and subscribing to the blog, and sharing your questions and ideas. Don't forget to also take a look at the many terrific blogs featured on

Flower Fathead


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When my first son was born, one of my goals as a doting mother, and as a registered dietitian/nutritionist, was to raise him to be a healthy eater. From the get-go, I tried my best to instill in him a love of nutritious food and balanced eating habits. I still try to teach him, at age 15, and his 11 year-old brother, healthful habits--sometimes I do so by verbalizing something interesting I learned about diet, but most often (and most successfully) I model habits I encourage them to develop.

Like so many other parents, I have undoubtedly made some feeding (and other) mistakes along the way in raising my children. Did I really need to introduce them to fast food? Should I have ever allowed so-called 'junk food' in the house? And, what was I thinking when I introduced my children to their first kid's menu (to which they've become accustomed) when dining out? Even parents like me who should know better sometimes make questionable feeding decisions.

But, does being a mother of a teen or tween mean it's too late to empower our children and instill in them better habits when it comes to choosing and eating food? Is there anything we can say and do now to help our older children not only make better food choices and eat more mindfully as they grow, but make better decisions as they increasingly eat away from home?

To the rescue comes a brand new book called Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters From High Chair to High School. Written by registered dietitians Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen, the book is an extensive and comprehensive resource all parents can use as a toolbox to empower their children--even those in or entering the temperamental teen years--to become healthy eaters.

Below you'll find Castle's helpful responses to a few questions about feeding teens, folllowed by a delicious Turkey Slider recipe you and your teens are sure to love.

1) What's the biggest challenge you think parents of teens face when it comes to helping their kids eat well?

Parents face several challenges, including keeping up with a bigger appetite and staying on track with healthy eating. But one of the biggest challenges is communicating about nutrition in a manner which doesn’t turn off the teen (or cause more problems), is developmentally on target, and compassionate. I’ve been told by many parents that they don’t know what to say, or are afraid they will damage their child. Listening to teens, rather than lecturing, and guiding them to figure out nutrition, with factual information, and an empathetic perspective can go a long way toward keeping the lines of communication open. Teens may do some experimenting with food and nutrition, and this is normal, but it can be concerning for many parents. Finding ways to keep the lines of communication open and productive is important, but a challenge! We’ve included some information for doing this in the book.

2) If parents of teens feel like they have made feeding mistakes while raising their kids, is it too ate for them to help their teen eat a more nutritious diet and reduce their risk of not only becoming overweight but of developing an eating disorder or poor body image?

It’s never too late! Today’s parents are still in the mode of role-modeling lifestyle behaviors for their teen, as well as setting up a nutrition environment at home that reflects nutritious foods and regular meals. Parents really cannot control what their teens eat outside of the home, but can certainly guide them to make healthy choices. Communication is a key to helping the teen eat well and identifying behaviors that may be dangerous or unhealthy in the long run. A healthy self-esteem and body image is in development from early on in childhood, but parents can help their teen by being a good listener, supportive and empathetic to their concerns, while keeping the home front a model of nutritious, tasty food. We give sample dialogue in the book as well as how to communicate with teens in a productive manner.

3) What's your bottom line advice for a parents of teens to empower them to eat well and nurture themselves to grow into healthy adults?

I find teens to be incredibly observant of their parents’ behaviors—noting whether they smoke, drink, eat well or exercise. If parents can show their teens that they care for and appreciate their own bodies, eat well, and have a positive outlook on living well (without being too controlling, obsessive or strict about nutrition or exercise), this will go a long way to cementing an image of health and wellness that the teen (hopefully) will mimic, if not now, then later in young adulthood, after the developmental phase of adolescence passes. Families have a great opportunity to showcase this at family meals—so I advise getting teens around the dinner table as often as possible!

Asian Turkey Sliders

Make a meal! Pair these sliders with homemade French fired or sweet potato fries and Greek chopped salad.

Makes 10 to 12 sliders.


1 pound ground turkey

¼ cup panko (bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon ginger paste

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, thinly sliced

12 bakery-style dinner rolls


1. If using an oven, preheat to 400F.

2. Mix the ground turkey, panko, soy sauce, ginger paste, sesame oil, and scallions together in a large mixing bowl.

3. Roll the mixture into 10 to 12 small balls and press each into a 2-inch circle.

4. Bake the sliders on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes, or grill until done.

5. Serve the patties on dinner rolls.
Nutrient info: Each slider is an excellent source selenium and manganese and a good source of niacin, thiamin, iron and phosphorus.

Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Fearless Feeding by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen  Copyright © 2013 by Jill Castle and Maryann Jacobsen.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Fearless Feeding by the publisher.

How do you fearlessly feed your children?

Flower Fathead

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Check out this month's ZIED GUIDE free monthly e-newsletter. This month's issue includes links to some of my recent blog posts for US News and World Report's Eat + Run blog and, some great tuna and lasagna recipes, the answer to a Parents magazine reader question and so much more.

Flower Fathead


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What's not to love about this delicious, nutritious twist on lasagna? Yum!

Makes 6 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large zucchinis, sliced about ¼‑inch thick

4 large tomatoes, sliced about ¼‑inch thick

2 medium onions, sliced very thin

1 sprig fresh basil, 6–8 leaves, chopped or thinly sliced Italian seasonings
ground black pepper

8 ounces shredded 2% mozzarella

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2) In a 2½- quart oval bakeware dish (such as Corningware), pour the olive oil (or spray with olive oil cooking spray). Cover the bottom of the dish with sliced zucchini. Then, spread a layer of tomatoes and a layer of onions. Top with half of the sliced basil, Italian seasonings (or other herbs from your garden), and ground pepper.

3) Then add a layer of about half the shredded cheese.

4) Repeat (except for the olive oil).

5) Bake about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Hint: This recipe is especially great for using up end‑of‑summer veggies. An easy way to slice the basil is to roll up several leaves (stem edges inside), and then make thin slices. You end up with very thin strips, called a chiffonade.
Note: This recipe is adapted from Liz Manaster’s From A to Zucchini.

What are your favorite lasagna ingredients?

SOURCE: The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution by Marla Heller, MS, RD.

Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.

Flower Fathead

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Here are three delicious twists on tuna* you and your family are sure to enjoy.

Change of Pace Tuna Casserole from Don't Break Your Heart Cookbook.








1 (10-ounce) can condensed 98 percent fat-free, reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup light sour cream

1/2 pound whole wheat rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions

2 tablespoons chopped pimiento

2 tablespoons trans-free margarine

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

2 (6-ounce) cans of tuna, drained

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, blend soup with sour cream until smooth. Add pasta and pimiento; set aside.

3. Melt margarine in a sauté pan and sauté mushrooms, onions, and celery until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Mix vegetables into soup mixture; fold in tuna.

5. Pour tuna mixture into a lightly-greased 11/2-quart baking dish. Top with almonds. Bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Cooking Tip: To make this meal more nutritious, add a 10-ounce (283.5-g) package of thawed, frozen vegetables, such as chopped broccoli or mixed stir-fry vegetables, when you add the pasta to the soup in step 2.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 335 Total Fat: 11 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 31 mg Sodium: 416 mg Total Carbohydrates: 37 g Dietary Fiber: 7 g Sugars: 5 g Protein: 22 g Iron: 3 mg


Provencal Grilled Tuna Salad from Don't Break Your Heart Cookbook.

4 servings


4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks, each about 1-inch (2-cm) thick

3 tablespoons white wine or broth

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) dried

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

6 cups salad greens

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup each thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers

Nonstick cooking spray


1.    Place fish in a glass dish.

2.    To make vinaigrette, combine wine or broth and next 5 ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well.

3.    Pour 2 tablespoons (30 ml) over fish, add garlic, and turn to coat. Marinate for 15 to 30 minutes, turning once. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for salad dressing.

4.    Coat grill rack with cooking spray and place on grill to heat 1 minute. Place tuna on grill 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) over heat source. Cover with lid or tent with foil. Cook, turning once, until tuna begins to flake easily when tested with a fork, about 7 minutes. Discard marinade.

5.    Meanwhile, arrange salad greens on 4 plates. Place hot tuna on greens and add cherry tomatoes and peppers.

6.    Shake remaining vinaigrette and drizzle over salads.

Nutrients Per Serving: Calories: 273 Total Fats: 11 g Saturated Fat: 2 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 55 mg Sodium: 158 mg Total Carbohydrates: 8 g Dietary Fiber: 2 g Sugars: 2 g Protein: 36 g Iron: 2 mg


Acapulco Tuna Salad from The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution.

Makes 4 servings


2 6‑ounces cans tuna, very low sodium

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise made with olive oil

1 medium tomato, diced

½ small sweet onion, diced very finely

1 jalapeño, diced, seeds and spines removed

1 tablespoon lime juice


Drain the water from the tuna and mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 112 Total Fat: 3 g (with EVOO regular mayo) Cholesterol: 40 mg Sodium: 115 mg Total Carbohydrates: 3 g Dietary Fiber: 1 g Protein: 18 g

*According to the FDA, women who are planning to get pregnant, pregnant or nursing and young children can safely eat up to 12 ounces of light tuna or up to 6 ounces of albacore tuna each week.


Change of Pace Tuna Salad and Provencal Grilled Tuna Salad reposted with permission from Don’t Break Your Heart Cookbook by Shara Aaron, MS, RD and Monica Beardon, RD, LD.

Acapulco Tuna Salad reposted with permission from The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution by Marla Heller, MS, RD.

Full disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of The DASH Diet Weight Loss Solution from the publisher.

How do you like to eat tuna?

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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I'm thrilled to share the story of an inspiring woman who has set a goal to #moveitorloseit for all the right reasons. Check out our interview below to see why my RD colleague and Twitter friend, 37 year-old Alexandra Lautenschlaeger (@alexikscott) from Spartanberg, South Carolina and Frankfurt, Germany is the #moveitorloseit Model of the Month for February: 








What is your fitness goal and why did you decide to tackle it at this point in your life?

My goal was to finally relieve myself of grief from losing my fiancé four years ago from complications with diabetes. I did not treat my body well and gained weight and went on blood pressure medication. As a dietitian, I felt like a failure. In 2011, I started keeping track of my exercise, but that only helped me maintain my weight. Finally I decided that I wanted to take up running to get my body back in shape and shed some weight. I chose a training program on the RunKeeper app to do a sub 65 minute 10K.

Are you planning to run the 10K solo or with others?

I have a “team” on my RunKeeper App, but I found a friend and dietitian who also wanted to do achieve the same goal. We decided our goal this year was to join a running training program. The partnership and the program help me stay accountable. I run solo, but it is nice to know that the App and my friend are great reminders to keep at it and stay focused.

What does your weekly workout routine look like?

According to the App program, I run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sunday with a long run. Eventually I will do intervals to increase the length of time and speed at which I run.

Have you experienced or do you anticipate any obstacles that will challenge you while training (and how have you/what will you do to overcome them)?

I was laid off from my previous job, which was an hour commute each way. Now that I am in a new job, and while it’s a 45-minute commute, I now have 30 minutes extra to get to the things I need to do and fit fitness into my plan. My new year’s resolution was to be happy and good to myself, so no matter what, I will make this work. There may be times I run slow, but I think, “at least I am doing it no matter how much it hurts.”

How does exercise/fitness/physical activity make you feel? What's in it for you?

Besides the fact that my training will help me stop gaining weight (and may even help me lose some), it gives me instant gratification and it helps relieves some of the stress under which I have lived for far too long. I have noticed small results already and most of all, am so happy that I am sleeping so much better.

What would you say to inspire others to set a fitness goal or simply become a regular exerciser?

Fitness can become a way of life, but you have to start small. So many people join the gym at the beginning of the New Year and overdo it in the beginning and then fall off the wagon soon after. I am very impatient, so it was a challenge for me to pace myself. We all want results yesterday, so it is important to set a good pace that will allow you to continue. It is not always pretty, but exercising and having a great goal, whatever that is, really does make you feel so much better.

If you'd like to be my #moveitorloseit Model of the Month (or would like to nominate someone who inspires you), email me at

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Do you want to eat more fish but don't know where to begin when it comes to cooking it? Here are four tips from The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook to help you gain fish-cooking confidence:

Grill it. While you can get a special fish basket for the grill, you don’t need one as long as you use the proper technique. First, preheat your grill and make sure the grate is clean and dry. Then oil the grate and your fish. When the fish is done cooking, it will release when gingerly nudged by your spatula. If it does not release from a clean well-oiled grill, then it’s simply not ready! Give it a little more time; the fish will release easily when done.

Saute it. A nonstick skillet will allow you to get a crispy, golden brown sear on your fish. Yes, you’ll still need a spritz of oil, but nothing beats a nonstick skillet when it comes to cooking fish on the stovetop.

Broil it. All you need to do is coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray, place your fish on top, season, and broil. It’s quick easy, and leaves no scent behind. The rule of thumb for cooking fish is 8-10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

Get the right tools. Let’s face it, fish has a different texture from other proteins, which is part of its appeal, but that’s why it may be a bit challenging in the kitchen. I’m not one for unnecessary gadgets, but a fish spatula is a good investment. It’s extra flexible, which means you can really get under

Here's a delicious recipe to help you put your fish-cooking skills to the test:

Arctic Char with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 (6-ounce) Arctic char fillets

3⁄4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

4 garlic cloves, halved

3 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes

1⁄4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

2 shallots, thinly sliced


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fillets with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Add fillets, flesh sides down, to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Place pan in oven; cook at 400° for 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes or until skins blister, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle tomato mixture with remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper, basil, and shallots; toss to combine. Serve with fish. Serves 4 (serving size: 1 fillet and about 3⁄4 cup tomato mixture).

Sustainable Choice: If Arctic char is not available, substitute frozen wild Alaskan salmon.

Nutrition info:

CALORIES 380; FAT 20.4g (sat 3.8g, mono 11.7g, poly 3.6g);  PROTEIN 31.4g; CARBOHYDRATE 20g; FIBER 2.9g; CHOLESTEROL 65mg; IRON 2mg; SODIUM 514mg; CALCIUM 49mg

Source: The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook (Oxmoor House, December, 2012) by Janet Helm, MS, RD and the Editors of Cooking Light Magazine.

What's your favorite fish? How do you like to prepare/eat it?


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The Food Lover's Healthy Habits Cookbook: Great Food & Expert Advice That Will Change Your Life (Oxmoor House, 2012) by the Editors of Cooking Light and Janet Helm, RD--my colleague and friend (and the popular creator of and co-creator of, is a real gem. It can be a great asset to anyone who has set New Year's resolutions to improve the way they cook, shop, eat, and live. Here are three of the many reasons I love it so:

1) It's gorgeous to look at. The photos of the recipes show you how healthful foods can be appealing. Images of real people, including those who are in need of new habits (eg the "time-pressed professional" and the mom of a "snack-happy family" plus the many experts (including several colleagues and friends) add a lot of warmth and character--and relatability--to the book.

2) It's a positive, can-do type of food and nutrition cookbook. Unlike books that tell you what not to eat, this book takes a cup half full approach to convey science-based but practical, useable food and nutrition information and cooking advice. It's broken down into 12 healthy habits--be portion-aware, eat mindfully, and veggie up and more--which makes it easy for readers to use. They can pick and choose the sections they read (and act on!) based on their unique dietary and lifestyle challenges and food preferences. The book incorporates hundreds of practical tips to help you make better food choices when food shopping, improve your cooking techniques, and incorporate more healthful foods into your diet and that of your family. It's the kind of book that is likely to stay on your kitchen counter rather than collect dust on your bookshelf.

3) Diet? What diet! Unlike many of the food/nutrition/health books you'll no doubt see stacked up at bookstores and hyped online at this time of year, this one doesn't have the word "diet" in it--so there's no risk of insulting anyone when you give them a copy as as a gift!

I give this book two enthusiastic thumbs up--way up--for you, your family, and anyone you love who loves food but wants to enjoy it without sabotaging their health.

What habits do you want to improve this new year?


Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher.


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