Nearly 35 percent of kids in Ohio are overweight or obese. The number rises to 38 percent in the Mahoning County and 43 percent in Trumbull County.
In addition to physical activity, eating right is key to reducing those numbers. But that’s easier said than done so we sat down with pediatric dietitian Michelle Borovitcky to get her tips to help your entire family eat right.
Q: What is the biggest mistake you see when it comes to eating habits?
A: The biggest mistake I typically see is portion size. When you’re used to a plate of food looking one way – perhaps half starch, half protein and no vegetables – you don’t realize what a healthy plate should look like. MyPlate outlines the portions each of the five food groups should take – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy.
Q: What should we eat on a given day?
A: Having a good balance and variety of foods throughout the day is the most important thing. Ideally, you should eat three meals a day and 1-2 snacks.
- Breakfast: Consider a lean protein like low-fat milk, cottage cheese or low fat peanut butter, plus a whole grain carbohydrate such as an English muffin or whole grain toast, or a piece of fresh fruit. This will give your body the energy it needs and you’ll feel full.
- Lunch and Dinner: Make sure you see all the food groups on your plate. Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa or starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn or peas the size of a CD disk (1 c.); a lean meat/protein approximately the size of a deck of cards (3-4 oz.); fruits size of tennis ball (1/2 c.) and vegetables size of a baseball (1 c.); and a low-fat dairy option such as yogurt, milk or string cheese.
- Snacks: It’s best to snack on fresh produce with a lean protein – something like fruits and vegetables with a healthy dip like hummus or Greek yogurt. However, I know sometimes you have to grab ready-to-eat snacks on a busy day. Try portioning out options like pretzels, low-fat popcorn, baked chips or even fruits and vegetables in snack size bags for an easy to grab healthy option.
Q: If you could eliminate one type of food, what would it be?
A: Deep-fried foods! There are so many other delicious options that don’t have all that unhealthy fat. The next time you think about ordering something deep fried, try it charbroiled, grilled or roasted instead.
Q: Speaking of trying new ways to eat a familiar food, do you have a favorite ingredient swap?
A: Try fat-free Greek yogurt – which is a great source of protein, by the way – instead of sour cream.
Q: Do you have a favorite healthy, kid-friendly recipe to share?
A: I have many, but here’s one of my favorites.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
1 large head fresh cauliflower cut into small chunks
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fat-free Parmesan cheese
Season to taste with garlic powder, parsley, white pepper and oregano
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Put cut up cauliflower in a bowl, add olive oil and mix to coat.
3. Add cheese and seasonings to taste. Toss again to coat.
4. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and place seasoned cauliflower on top.
5. Cook for 15 minutes or until desired tenderness.
Serve warm. For another option, try this: Use the cooked cauliflower and blend to make mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes.
Q: Any final tips?
A: Eating healthy doesn’t need to be a chore. If you even make one small change, that’s a step in the right direction. Your diet doesn’t need to be perfect for you to be healthy. Make one healthy change today and snowball it from there.