Introducing the Feed to Succeed Podcast

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Funny, down-to-earth, engaging talk show about kids’ food and nutrition; hosted by dietitian and pediatric nutrition expert, Betsy Hjelmgren and her co-host, culinary arts teacher and foodie expert, Jen Karakosta.

This first episode in a 12-part series about kids, food, and parenting in difficult feeding situations, introduces our hosts and explores their different backgrounds as food and nutrition experts, and parents themselves.

How Are Kids’ Nutrition Needs Different?

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Join Betsy and Jen as they delve into kids’ nutrition needs, and how the heck are they different from adults?!?

This lighthearted discussion addresses concerns from milk consumption, to protein needs; and other confusing issues related to how we feed our kids.

Download the General Nutrition Handout from the episode here.

Download the Teen Nutrition Handout here.

You’re Not a Short Order Cook

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Have you ever found yourself feeling like a short order cook in your own kitchen? We all have. Betsy and Jen discuss this approach to feeding kids, and provide their own insight and experience as a dietitian and a culinary expert to encourage you to take a stand against the temptation of short order cooking.

New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy Family Make this year the healthiest year yet

There is no better time than the New Year to consider adopting some healthy habits for the whole family.

Wait. Strike that. There is NO TIME when you’re a parent.

That’s why we’ve done the work for you and came up with a few suggestions for making 2017 your family’s healthiest year yet.

Families–especially those with young children–have to constantly take stock and reassess what’s working and what’s not. And while big changes in diet are always hard, small changes that are achievable can still have a big impact. read more

How Your Child Sleeps Affects Diet By Gia Diakakis, RD

As dietitians, during our patient appointments, you can assume we will ask about the foods your child eats, foods they dislike, stooling patterns, and medications/supplements (amongst many other things!). One question that might catch you off guard is “How is your child sleeping?” After all, what does sleep have to do with nutrition?

Sleep habits have been shown to impact obesity among adolescents (and adults!). Specifically, inadequate sleep has been shown to correlate with high BMI, high body fat percentages and increased waist and hip circumferences. In the HELENA study, inadequate sleep for adolescents was defined as less than eight hours per night (as defined by the National Sleep Foundation).  In contrast, adolescents that slept longer were found to have significantly lower BMI’s. read more

We Moved!

We are so excited to share the news that Feed to Succeed is moving into a beautiful new space this September; just a mile down the street and closer to the Glen. Those of you coming to meet with us, please bear with the dust during this big transition. We can’t wait to have better resources to serve our wonderful community!

One Trick to Make Healthy Lunches

If there’s any mom out there who enjoys making lunches, I’d like to meet her.

And then I won’t believe her.

Here’s how lunch making goes down in most houses:

  1. Bleary eyed after a long day of work or household chores, we parents head to the kitchen to spend 20 minutes preparing lunches before bed.
  2. We have the best intentions of packing healthy food that our kids might eat, only to come up with… nothing.
  3. The next day our kids take one look at the lunches we managed to pack and either trade them or trash them.
  4. We open the boxes again that night to find mashed fruit, barely nibbled sandwiches and empty chips packages scored from trading.

And here’s the one simple trick to make lunches this school year better:

1. Buy bento boxes. If you don’t know what these are, you must find out. You can make one yourself out of tupperware or buy a big fancy one. They are all over stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or World Market for about $5.
2. Buy silicon baking cups to store goodies inside the bento boxes. Six for $2.49.
3. Pack REAL FOOD (read no more packaged, expensive junk), out of a bento box (aka a dish) so that your kids will eat lunch from plates and not mushy baggies.
4. If all goes well, your kids will actually eat the foods that they normally like at home from their lunch boxes. read more

Meet Betsy

Homemade Mac n’ Cheese

With so many gorgeous Chicago summer days, homemade macaroni and cheese is perfect for a quick, kid-friendly dinner. This recipe isn’t as easy as the one from the box, but it’s pretty close. And it tastes a whole lot better.

Now you see it, soon you won't.

Now you see it, soon you won’t.

1 package cooked whole wheat elbow noodles
2T butter
1.25 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2t salt
1/2t mustard powder
freshly ground pepper to taste

Once you prepare the noodles, melt butter over medium heat. Add milk, sour cream, spice, salt, pepper and cheese and stir until cheese melts. If your cheese clumps and doesn’t melt, try a different brand next time. Leave flame on while you mix the noodles into the cheese sauce. Serve immediately. read more

The Best Advice You Never Considered for Picky Eating 10 Tips for Picky Eaters

Before specializing in pediatrics, I could have never imagined how much stress picky eating could cause parents and caregivers.

At first parents may feel their child just likes certain foods more than others. Then maybe they don’t like fruits and vegetables. Then parents may begin to watch what other kids eat, how much they eat, how often they eat, how easy meal time may be for other parents, etc. They then begin “noticing” their kid may only eat processed foods, beige foods, warm foods, or food not prepared at home! The worrisome thoughts begin to creep in. Is my child’s diet negatively impacting their brain development?! What about their growth potential?! Is it making them groggy and unable to absorb what their learning in school? Will they begin to fall behind in school? What if there is something medically wrong with them now because their will not eat meat or vegetables! Are they dehydrating themselves?! I can continue to list the scary thoughts I have heard, but it’s beginning to make me anxious, and I definitely don’t want to make you anxious! read more