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"Eat Your Vegetables"

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By Amy Albin

Published Jun 5, 2012 12:00 PM


A new book by pediatric residents offers advice on how to get picky kids to enjoy healthy foods.

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Registered dietitian Dr. Natalie Digate Muth, a pediatric resident at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and mother of two, teaches parents how to get their kids to embrace veggies in her new book. Photos courtesy of UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations.

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Dr. Natalie Digath Muth, author of "Eat Your Vegetable" and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters

How do you get a picky young eater who refuses everything to like fruits and vegetables? How do you get children to try nutritious foods when all they want is something sweet or salty? How do you raise healthy eaters without constant mealtime struggles?

In her new book, "Eat Your Vegetable" and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters (Healthy Learning, May 2012), registered dietitian Dr. Natalie Digate Muth, a pediatric resident at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and mother of two, provides parents with a step-by-step plan to help kids embrace fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods without battles, bribes and coercion.

The strategies, tailored to a child's age and development level, are based on scientifically proven research and are accompanied by real-life anecdotes and expert advice.

"As parents, we all struggle with how to get our children to actually want to eat a healthy, balanced diet," Muth says. "As a formerly obese child, a mother of a once-picky eater and a pediatrician acutely aware of the epidemics of obesity and inactivity in our children, I am highly motivated to help children and parents work together — free of mealtime battles — to adopt healthy eating and activity habits."

The book helps parents assure healthful nutrition for kids of all ages. And while some of the strategies might be surprising, they work, Muth says. Parents will not only learn what exactly constitutes a healthy eating plan at various ages and stages, but they'll also discover tips and tricks to get kids to actually want to eat healthy. Among the topics:

  • Learning the (reverse) psychology of getting kids to eat healthy
  • Why the "clean plate club" contributes to childhood and adult obesity
  • How using food as a reward causes more long-term damage than short-term parental sanity
  • How subtle marketing and packaging tactics are designed to sabotage healthy eating habits
  • Learning effective strategies to get the young "couch potato" up and moving

Each chapter is followed by simple, kid-friendly recipes that help parents turn the information contained within the chapters into action — starting with the next meal or snack. The recipes were developed by Dr. Mary Saph Tanaka, a pediatric resident at UCLA and a talented amateur chef.

"Eat Your Vegetables" is a pediatrician- and mom-tested guide to help parents and caregivers raise healthy food eaters for life," says Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician, mother and book author. "With many of today's children being raised on fast-food nutrition and couch-potato fitness, Dr. Muth gives parents direction in this step-by-step guide for shaping a child's psyche to help them embrace and enjoy fruits and vegetables."

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