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New book by UCLA physician focuses on healthy eating for kids

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
healthy diet, children, mealtime battles, Natalie Muth, Eat Your Vegetables

Many parents try to instill healthy eating habits in their children; however, they are often confronted with stiff opposition. On many occasions, the outspoken little rug rat will state "I don’t like that" without even a taste. Coming to these parents' rescue is a new book by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD. The physician who also holds a master’s degree in public health and is a registered dietician notes that her new book “Eat Your Vegetables' and Other Mistakes Parents Make: Redefining How to Raise Healthy Eaters” (Healthy Learning, May 2012) will assist parents in raising healthy eaters without constant mealtime struggles.

In her book, Dr. Muth, a pediatric resident at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA and mother of two, provides parents with a step-by-step plan to help children 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. Dr. Muth explained, “As parents, we all struggle with how to get our children to actually want to eat a healthy, balanced diet. 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.”

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Dr. Muth notes that her book helps parents assure healthful nutrition for kids of all ages; furthermore, while some of the strategies might be surprising, they work. She noted that parents will not only learn what exactly constitutes a healthy eating plan at various ages and stages but also will 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 developed by Dr. Mary Saph Tanaka, a pediatric resident at UCLA and a talented amateur chef, which help parents turn the information contained within the chapters into action—starting with the next meal or snack. Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician, mother and book author, praised the book. She noted that the book is “a pediatrician- and mom-tested guide to help parents and caregivers raise healthy food eaters for life. 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.”

For more information regarding the book, click on this link.