Pediatrician Challenges Parents to Incorporate Vegetables into Every Lunch and Dinner and Provides Helpful Tips That Will Encourage Kids to Eat Them

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Austin pediatrician and author of The Step Up Diet, Dr. Marta Katalenas, shares her monthly resolution challenge to encourage parents to serve more vegetables at family meals.

Most vegetables are low in calorie and are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C, but many moms find it difficult to incorporate the daily recommended servings of vegetables into their family’s diet.

Dr. Marta Katalenas of the Pediatric Center of Round Rock tackles this dilemma with parents each and every day in her clinic. Through the years she has developed helpful tips and advice, which she shares in her book The Step Up Diet, for parents who want to help their family eat healthier.

Each month Dr. Katalenas encourages parents to do one thing to help their family become healthier, and in her monthly resolution for October, she challenges parents to commit to serving kid-friendly vegetables with each meal at lunch and dinner time for one month to help establish a routine that will make it easier to shop, cook, and serve vegetables.

According to the new USDA campaign "Choose My Plate", the actual amount of vegetables a person needs depends on their age, sex, and physical activity. For instance children 2-8 should have 1 - 1 ½ cups of vegetables each day, while pre-teens and teenagers need 2- 3 cups per day.

Dr. Katalenas tells parents “The single most important thing you can do to encourage your kids to eat vegetables is by being a good example and eating them yourself!”. Katalenas maintains that if your kids see you eating vegetables they will be much more likely to accept eating vegetables as a normal part of every meal.

She also advises parents to get the kids involved in food preparation by asking each child to choose one vegetable to cook for dinner and use that time to create a family memories and teach important life skills.

Additionally, parents should never make mealtime a negative experience. It’s important to establish a “one bite” rule, but new flavors and textures are naturally hard for kids to accept. Dr. Katalenas offers tips in her article to make it easier to introduce new vegetables into the family meals.

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
since: 10/2009
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