Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No peanut butter please...

With all of the craze due to the peanut butter recall, I wanted to provide a link to the FDA's website where you can find a wealth of information related to the recent recall. You can even search for individually recalled products!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Snack Time

After school is a really important time for a nutritious snack for many reasons. Many kids have not had anything to eat for 3-4 hours and need to refuel; many kids participate in sports after school and this snack helps many kids control their level of hunger at dinner time.

Giving kids a little more control often helps them make better choices. Remember you still choose what to buy!

For young children, offer them a choice of 2 things to help keep choices healthful (for example: do you want crackers and string cheese or yogurt and fruit?)

For older children and teens, make a list of possible snacks and post. When it is snack time, choose one together.

Try pizza! English muffin or mini-bagel pizzas, that is!

Use half of a whole grain English muffin (or one mini whole grain bagel), top with marinara sauce, low fat mozzarella cheese and veggies. Place in and oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly!

This snack is well balanced, contains protein and has 3 food groups- whole grains, dairy, veggies.

Enjoy :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Food Allergies with Style

Managing your child’s food allergies involves not only food but a list of other things including medical ID bracelets, medication carriers and emergency plans/phone numbers. We try to do everything that we can to make our kids feel included by bringing foods that are like their friends but then, what about that bracelet or bag they have to carry? Are they wearing it when we aren’t with them? Do they have emergency phone numbers or information in case something happens?

Never fear… there are several online resources, like, that offer a wide variety of very fashionable medical ID bracelets (think leather, watches and beaded bracelets) or (glow in the dark and mood straps). With all of the cool styles offered, your child will actually WANT to wear it (and their friends will probably want one too). My son has his eye on the camo wristband... I think it will be my next purchase!

In all seriousness, medical ID bracelets and portable self-injectable epinephrine and other medications are essential and can save your child’s life. Always remember to educate others about your child’s allergies, teach them how to avoid exposures and what to due in the event of an accidental exposure/ingestion.

Additional resources:

The next Food Allergy Support Group Meeting will be on Saturday February 21st at 10am... it's free! Email for more details

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Food Art: Art You Can Eat

The "eyes" have it, when motivating us to eat. Artfully constructed layer cakes. Shiny, shaped chocolates. Rainbow sprinkle cookies. We are invited to consume.

A dish of pale green, limp broccoli may not be too inspiring, but an "Enchanted Broccoli Forest" constructed by you and your child will surely be a hit at dinner time. (From the Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen).

Looking for more inspiration, seek out any books by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freyman such as How are you Peeling, Food Play, Food for Thought or Fast Food. Find instructions such as making a race car out of a small cucumber; hollow out a seat for the driver and attach some zucchini or carrot circles for wheels (little toothpicks to attach). Find some drivers- animal cookies, Kashi Mini-bite cereal pieces or make your own- a cherry tomato, a funny shaped carrot or piece of string cheese with CRAZY hair. It will be pretty exciting when those cars speed through some marinara sauce or get washed in a balsamic dressing car wash. These will surely be a hit for a preschool snack.

Seek out more inspiration by looking at the art of Carl Warner. Your dinners will never be the same.

You can find any of these books at You can request the book and have it delivered to your local Los Angeles library free of cost. Look for some of Mollie Katzen's other cookbooks specifically for kids such as Pretend Soup, Honest Pretzels or Salad People. Visit her website for more kid friendly ideas,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Each week this blog will highlight a different area of food, nutrition and health. The first week look for research highlights. The second week look for kid-friendly food and food play ideas. The third week of the month, find new information regarding food allergies. The fourth week will have some healthy nutrition tips for the whole family.

Nuts? or Nuts!
Many pediatricians recommend that infants avoid peanuts and peanut products for the first year, some pediatricians recommend no peanuts until age 3 or 4. But a study in the November 2008 issue of Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests that perhaps by avoiding early exposure to common allergens, we are actually encouraging more allergies. These researchers compared the prevalence of peanut allergy in two similar groups of children who lived in different environments-5,171 Jewish children in the United Kingdom and 5,615 Jewish children in Israel. They found that peanut allergy was 10 times higher in the children in the UK, 1.85 % compared to .17%.

What was the difference between these groups? According to the authors, the only difference seemed to be the timing of exposure to peanuts. In Israel, 69 percent of children consumed peanut products by 9 months of age compared to 10 percent in the UK. Israeli mothers also consumed more peanut products during pregnancy then did mothers in the UK. The researchers suggested that the recommendation to limit early exposure to peanuts may actually be contributing to the growing incidence of peanut allergy in the US, UK and Australia.

Remember that this is just one study and more studies will be necessary to determine the best way to introduce foods. The timing of food introduction may be one piece of the puzzle of food allergies but it is not the only piece. This is definitely food for thought.
If your child has food allergies, especially peanut allergies, speak with your doctor before making any dietary changes.