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Study: Diet of Mother Has Biggest Impact on Children’s Healthy Eating Habits

The results are in! Kids who see their moms eat in a healthy way are more likely to follow her example.
Mother's Diet Affects Her Children

Today we live in a world where we are constantly challenged with the problems of obesity and diabetes. Kids are the quickest-rising demographic group for being overweight or obese. Dealing with this can prove to be a huge challenge, as it requires us to look at the roots of the problem — parental example.

Oftentimes, mothers’ eating habits must be considered first when dealing with childhood nutrition issues. In fact, this latest research confirms that the way a mother views her child’s eating habits (i.e. “a picky eater” or not) has a big impact on whether the child eats enough fruits and vegetables.

The “Picky Eater” Study

A recent study, published in the journal Public Health Nursing and conducted by professor Mildred Horodynski at Michigan State University’s College of Nursing, looked into this very question. The scientific study was done on 400 low-income women (black and non-Hispanic white) who had children one to three years of age.

Information was collected from mothers in 28 Michigan counties. It was found that the children of mothers who ate fruit and vegetables less than four or more times per week were also less likely to consume fruits and vegetables. It may not seem like a stretch for the imagination, as mothers and children often eat the same foods. But it does set a scientific precedence showing that the behavior of mothers is critical for dietary health in the young.

Similarly, it was found that the if the mothers saw their children as picky eaters, these children were also less likely to get enough health fruit and vegetables. This may be connected to a “laid-back” parenting style that does not “force” children into eating fruits and vegetables.

Culture and ethnic background was also considered. It was found that African American mothers and their children did not eat as much fruits and vegetables as non-Hispanic whites. Sadly, it was found that the vast majority of all women studied were eating much less than the current recommended U.S. dietary guidelines.

Previous and similar studies found that children who were exposed to different kinds of foods, overtime, were also more likely to eat fruits and vegetables. This means that kids need to have continual exposure to different healthy foods before they begin to like eating them. In fact, this same study found that kids need up to 15 exposures with a certain food before it can determined if a child indeed likes or dislikes something.

Lead scientist on the study, Mildred Horodynski:
“Health professionals need to consider this when developing strategies to increase a child’s consumption of healthy foods. Diets low in fruit and vegetables even at young ages pose increased risks for chronic diseases later in life.” [1]

She went on to suggest that the study confirms the need for “family-based approaches to incorporating fruits and vegetables into daily eating habits. Mothers need to have the knowledge and confidence to make these healthy decisions for their children.”

In other words, if we can get the mothers’ fruit and vegetable consumption to increase, we are very likely to see positive role modeling for children, and thus a healthier diet for our offspring.

What are your thoughts on this study? Let’s hear them in the comments below.

The Super(Food) Bowl Teaches Your Kids About Superfoods

Superfood Bowl Animation

The Superbowl is this weekend. So, as you gather with family and friends to watch the Packers beat the Steelers, you might be tempted to eat an abundance of delicious, but unhealthy foods. After all, that’s what the Superbowl is about – Family, Food, Fun & Commercials.

But in the video below, you will learn the importance of adding Superfoods to your diet. In fact, according to the description from, this video has been used for the last couple of years to help teach kids the importance of eating healthy foods, and trying to cut-down on junk foods.

The Description of this Video from
This Super Food Bowl animation was created (and narrated) by the Health Ranger in 2008. Featuring superfoods squaring off against junk foods on a football field, the animation has been very popular among parents and educators.

15 of the Best Superfoods:

  • Broccoli
  • Goji Berries
  • Green Tea
  • Cabbage
  • Quinoa
  • Flaxseed Oil
  • Beans & Lentils
  • Raw Nuts & Seeds
  • Hot Peppers
  • Salmon

[Read more…] about The Super(Food) Bowl Teaches Your Kids About Superfoods

7 Tips for Planning Christmas Dinner on a Budget

The holiday season is upon us. Soon, we will be getting together with our family to break bread and exchange gifts. If you’re the lucky one that gets to plan out the large Christmas dinner for your family and friends, then you may want to check out the following tips to help you stay within your budget and save some green this Christmas.

There are several things you need to consider when planning a Christmas dinner menu, while staying within a budget. The following are some of the tips that will be helpful in planning a healthy, but cheap Christmas dinner.

1. Plan & Shop In Advance

Plan the dinner menu in advance, and then buy the necessary items before the holiday season starts. It’s possible that you’ll get the holiday ham or turkey at a cheaper price if you buy it before the holiday season. When you do get it early, store it in the freezer. Not only will it still taste the same, but this will save you a few bucks. Also think about what side dishes you want to have. Buy those in advance also. If you plan ahead, you may also be able to clip coupons for items you’ll be serving at Christmas dinner.

2. Get an Early Head Count

If you know exactly how many people are coming to Christmas dinner, then it will be a lot easier for you to plan out what you need. This will help prevent you from buying too much food, and ultimately spending too much money.

3. Ask Your Guests to Bring a Dish

One of the best options for your budget, is to ask your guests to bring a dish. Not only will this help prevent you from blowing your budget, but it will also help you with preparing the dinner. Whether they bring a side dish, dessert or a bottle of liquor, the less you have to prepare, the easier it will be on you.

4. Avoid Paper Plates & Plastic Utensils

While they may be convenient, using paper plates and plastic utensils at Christmas dinner can be expensive. Not to mention, they are not eco-friendly. Save the money, and just wash the dishes yourself. Or better yet, get that nephew or niece you don’t like to wash the dishes for you. The clean-up may be a pain, but it’s a great way to stay within your budget.

5. Avoid Canned Goods

Eating fresh organic vegetables is always the healthiest options, especially if you grew them yourself. However, this isn’t always a viable option. Instead of buying canned vegetables, try using frozen vegetables instead. Not only are they be the healthier option, but you’ll also prevent your friends and family from being exposed to BPA, a common chemical used in the lining of cans. Frozen veggies also contain a higher amount of nutrients.

6. Don’t Buy Pre-Prepared Meals from Restaurants

Christmas Dinner Fruits

Sometimes, it’s just easier to buy a turkey or ham that is pre-prepared by a restaurant or catering company. While this will undoubtedly make it easier for you, it’s also an easy way for you to blow your budget. It’s still best that you set your alarm to wake you up early and get the turkey in the oven early.

7. Skip the Holiday Décor

Most Christmas dinners have some sort of holiday decorations to go along with the food. Whether it’s a centerpiece, decorative napkins or just stuff around the house, try to avoid buying these types of decorative items. You don’t need a santa clause serving spoon, if you’re only going to use it once a year. The same goes for holiday-themed napkins and plates.

What tips do you have for planning a Christmas dinner on a budget? Surely there are ideas that I’ve missed, so please leave them in the comment section below.

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