Pediatrician Urges Parents to Cook More Meals at Home in Order to Ensure a Healthy Diet for Families

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Austin area pediatrician, Dr. Marta Katalenas, asks parents to commit to cooking at home for the month of May.

Preparing meals at home with quality ingredients is part of Dr. Katalenas’ message in her book, “The Step Up Diet: Quality, Quantity and Timing” and her resolution for May.

In May, Dr. Katalenas urges parents to eat more meals at home instead of eating at restaurants. It is the only way to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet, free from added sugars and saturated fats, says Dr. Katalenas.

1.5 million Texas children between the ages of 10 and 17 years are obese, which means 20% of the children in Texas are more likely to develop obesity related diseases such as diabetes, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Asthma, and have have a higher incidence of learning disabilities, according to a recent study published by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.

Along with combating obesity, eating at home can be beneficial in other ways. A survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens whose families ate together frequently were less likely to use alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

As stated in the “Step Up Diet”, parents should ask three questions when thinking about nutrition for their family.

Quality: Parents can reduce their child’s intake of sugar, salt and chemical additives in our food supply by creating homemade meals, made from scratch with natural ingredients.

Quantity: Parents should only allow four meals per day, consisting of quality food for breakfast, lunch, one afternoon snack for children, and dinner.

Timing: Children should eat only 4 times a day, with meals 3-4 hours a part. Allowing for only one afternoon snack and eliminating all other snacking in between meals.

Dr. Katalenas’ list of monthly resolutions that the whole family can adopt is on her website at and she includes a printable flyer for download that she encourages parents to post on their refrigerator, helping families keep on track in the new year.

About Dr. Katalenas
Dr. Marta Katalenas is a board certified pediatrician and owner of the Pediatric Center of Round Rock. She is a public speaker and author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity," a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.

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Melissa Shea
Pediatric Center of Round Rock
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