Main Nutritious Intent Website

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Bring Back Family Dinner

September is National Family Meal Month and if you don’t have a solid family meal routine set, here are a few benefits that may help motivate you to get a regular family meal routine in place.  

family eating at the table

For younger families, family mealtime means new parents feel more satisfaction with their marriages. Young children develop larger vocabularies and that helps with reading performance.  Also starting young kids out with family dinner means better eating patterns lower risk of weight problems later in life.


people sitting on chairs in front of tableFor families with school-age kids, there is a strong link between academic performance and family dinner. Family dinner means that kids feel a stronger connection to parents and siblings and stronger self-esteem. Plus, they have higher intakes of fruits and veggies and better nutrient balance.

group of person eating indoors 

For families with teens, benefits include higher grades, lower incidence of high-risk behaviors like substance abuse, eating disorders, and teen pregnancy.  Teens that regulary eat family dinner have lower risk depression and anxiety and better cardiovascular health. Plus, family dinner is a great chance to check in with kids and have some valuable face-to-face communication.


But family dinner isn’t just a benefit for kiddos, adults benefit as well.  Better nutrition with more fruits and veggies and less fast food, less dieting, lower risk of depression and increased self-esteem make family dinner a personal priority.  Even if you are an empty nester or live alone, making sit-down meals and inviting friends over regularly can provide similar benefits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Diet Dangers

 Scary symptoms:

Want loss of muscle strength, endurance and coordination?  How about thinning hair, electrolyte imbalances, fainting and weakness?  And let’s add in slower reaction times, reduced ability to concentrate, stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, poor body image and higher risk of eating disorders. Oh, and on top of that don’t forget slower metabolism, weight gain and a damaged relationship with food.   Millions of Americans are spending $71 billion dollars each year for exactly that.  Dieting is becoming a major national pastime for women, men and distressingly, children. Buying into a new weight-loss or diet scheme is so much more than the temporary weight loss.  It is the most consistent predictor of weight gain and brings a whole host of nasty side effects that impair your physical, mental and emotional health.


Scarier numbers:

95% of diets fail long term.  Wow.  $71 billion dollars a year for ultimate failure 95 times out of 100.  

Around 50% of American women are trying to lose weight at any given time.

40-60% of Adolescent girls are engaging in serious diet behaviors.

And close to 25% of elementary students diet regularly.


What you can do:

Eat family meals together as much as possible and focus more on enjoying mealtime together than what is on their plate.

Respect the feeding relationship. A parent’s job is to choose the what, when and where of food.  Your child’s job is to decide if and how much they will eat. 

Model balanced, enjoyable eating.

Don’t use the “just one more bite” approach.

Don’t categorize foods as good or bad.

Focus on positive self-care habits that create happiness and health.

Don’t link food choice with body size.

Don’t speak about your own or other’s bodies in a negative way.

Ask your pediatrician to never discuss your child’s weight in front of them.


Take home message – don’t diet ever.



Thursday, March 11, 2021

Personalize your plate or your charcuterie

 March is National Nutrition Month and this year the theme is Personalize Your Plate. With a year of staying at home, mealtimes – especially lunch – has looked different and had its own set of challenges. A new study of 2,000 Americans working from home found that 7/10 people say they find themselves stumped on what to make for lunch.  64% admit that their nutrition takes a backseat when they work from home.  3/10 employees don’t take a lunch break when working from home and 6/10 feel guilty for taking any kind of break during work hours.

However, I’ve got a few ideas to help you and your family members personalize their plate without the added stress of making multiple entrees for the same meal.   March is also National Deli Meat Month and today I’m sponsored by Beef check-off and the National Pork Board to help not only simplify family mealtime but diversify it as well.  Deli meats are a very diverse category that offers choices to meet a variety of nutritional, budget and taste preferences.  Because deli meats are pre-cooked, they make an easy, on-the-go nutrient dense source of protein, and the iron and zinc found in meats are more bioavailable than vegetarian protein sources. Plus, you can always find low sodium, low-fat options in the deli case to build your own lunch.


Charcuterie boards, boxes and even “jar-cuteries” have been on our radar for a while, and as a parent, I love their convenience and the flexibility for everyone to choose their own lunch combo.  However, to keep from feeling boxed in by the charcuterie board, here are some tips to conveniently personalize your plate while keeping your options open.  


If you’re craving a hot meal, simply load up a couple slices of whole grain bread with your deli meats, cheeses and veggies and either place it under the broiler, toaster oven or counter-top grill and you’ve got a delicious charcuterie-built panini.  


If you’re looking to add more greens and veggies into your lunch, simply grab a generous handful of greens or shredded cabbage, coarsely chop or tear by hand the charcuterie board items and you’ve got a great satisfying main dish salad.  


Charcuterie boards lend themselves to wraps and even creative tossed pasta dishes so that you can continue to enjoy the charcuterie board all sorts of different ways without ever resorting to the idea of less-appetizing leftovers.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tune Up Your Nutrition Routine

 Keeping nutrition simple and balanced is a much more sustainable and effective approach this time of year rather than jumping on diet that is bound to fail long-term. Three realistic areas to consider when tuning up your nutrition routine include: what you drink, where you eat, and what you say.

 Ball mason jar on table

What you drink – work on making plain water your go-to beverage.  There is a definite place for sport hydration drinks and other flavored beverages, but the ability to drink plain, unflavored water goes well beyond hydration.  Most of us walk around partially dehydrated and so working on drinking more water is a worthy endeavor.  More and more we are drinking exclusively flavored beverages and that constant flow of sweetness or flavor serves to grow our sweet tooth and shrink our attention span for simple, unflavored water which is the best, most inexpensive, readily available source of hydration.  

 white wooden dining table set during daytime

Where you eat – instead of going into the nitty-gritty details of what to eat, I chose “where” as a more effective change in eating behavior.  Swapping a brown-bag lunch for an eat-out or order-in lunch once a week saves hundreds of dollars per year and thousands of empty calories.  Cooking dinner family dinner at home leads to greater intake of fruits and vegetable higher intake of folate, iron, calcium, vitamins A & C and fiber.  Plus, you get loads of psychological benefits as well as physical benefits.  Even planning one extra “at-home” meal improves physical, mental and emotional health.  

 everything has Beauty wall graffiti

What you say - clean up your vocabulary when it comes to speaking about yours and others bodies and speaking about food.  Speaking positively about your body as well as your relationship with food isn’t just about improving your own body image and all of the subsequent health benefits that follow, but it models appropriate, positive health patterns for others around you.  We don’t need to just watch what we say around our teenagers.  Body image problems, chronic dieting and disordered eating is beginning at younger ages – creeping into younger elementary school-aged kids.  So watch what you say.  Health has a feel not a look, size or shape.  Here is a great video to teach this to the whole family.