Posts Tagged ‘food’

Replacing the Destructive Diet Culture With Healthy Living

January 9, 2020


Those familiar with my novel, My Favourite Comedian, are aware that body image is a very prevalent theme throughout the book. Below are some brilliant rules from writer Megan Glosson that seeks to replace the terrible diet culture affecting our children with something far more effective and beneficial:

For starters, avoid characterizing food as “good” or “bad.” While we think this may encourage healthy eating habits, dieticians caution that it actually creates feelings of shame and anxiety for children instead. Furthermore, as an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Rahaf Al Bochi, told The Washington Post, when we believe certain foods are “forbidden,” we ultimately crave them even more.

Also, remember that children eat based on their personal preferences, not based on what others consider healthy or what adults pressure them to eat. Instead of pushing certain items or banning others, consider finding healthy ways to help your child explore foods by simply making a wider variety of foods available to them.

Make family dinner a priority, too. Studies show that frequent family dinners, where the entire family sits and eats together, positively impacts a child’s relationship with food. Not only does watching parents’ eating habits help children make smart choices themselves, but it also provides a safe space for families to discuss food and body image in a meaningful, nurturing way. Even if your family is constantly running places, there are many ways to simplify family dinner time so that it still happens.

Most importantly, celebrate body diversity and take a non-judgemental stance on physical appearance. Experts recommend that parents pay close attention to how they talk about their own bodies and the bodies of others, especially when around their children. Also, talk about the body in terms of functionality and stress the importance of eating anything, not harping on specific “healthy foods.” These messages will stick with children for their entire life, so it’s best to start early and build positive experiences for your child, not negative ones.


Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.


Adults Try Public School Meals (Video)

December 24, 2014


Is it just me or does badly cooked, horrible tasting school cafeteria food give the impression that the school doesn’t care all that much about its students?


Click on the link to read Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

Click on the link to read 6 Year Old Suspended for 4 Days Because of Cheese in his Lunchbox

Click on the link to read Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Why Healthy Eating Laws in Schools Don’t Work

February 10, 2014



The late great Dale Carnegie wrote:

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything … Yes, just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it.

It’s a shame that policy makers and school administrators don’t seem to have read any of Carnegie’s work because had they absorbed the quote above, perhaps they may have come up with something better to offer students.

People think that school represents the perfect place to undo parenting errors. They think that by bringing in a new school rule or program, that children will be set for life. Some of the rules and regulations in a school near you include:

– Anti-bullying programs

– Sex Ed programs

– Junk Food policies

– Playground no hugging rules

– Toilet rules

– Drug programs

– Anti-gambling programs.


And it goes on and on ….


Is this really a bad thing? What’s wrong with scrapping junk food from school?

Of course nothing is wrong with instilling healthy eating habits, teaching children about what constitutes bullying and how important it is to avoid drugs.  But to be successful you’re going to need more than a worthy cause.

The problem with schools taking on these issues is that schools already have a stigma for most children. Whether we like to admit it or not, most kids hate school and they hate what they are taught at school. So whether it’s a math or science lesson or its a discussion about the dangers or excess sugar consumption, the chances of breaking through are difficult. It requires a positive and creative approach.

And let’s face it, the programs eluded to above often look and feel like schoolwork. They often consist of worksheets and paired activities and feature mini-quizzes. Why do the people who put together these programs think that if they put an animal mascot on the front of the pack and crossword on page five that kids will warm to the content? No child has ever been fooled by such a gimmick.

And inflexible rules are worse. Sure, it’s not ideal for kids to be eating chips or popcorn at school, but taking away their treats is yet another way of reinforcing the stigma that schools are overbearing, ruthless and prison like. I just read that Brussels want to ban yogurts and cheese from school lunches. If I was a school kid in Brussels I would want to go home and douse myself in cheese just out of spite!

It is such a breath of fresh air when a great anti-bullying initiative or healthy eating idea surfaces. One that captures the students’ imagination and encourages rather than bans, nurtures rather than smothers.

If you want children to listen they must want to listen. Don’t shove draconian rules and anti-bullying packs down their throats. Give them something that doesn’t look or feel like school work.


Click on the link to read You Can’t Have Your Lunch and Eat it Too

Click on the link to read How Many Teachers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb? (Part 1)

Click on the link to read Girl Faces Expulsion for Being a Victim of Bullying

Click on the link to read Cancer Sufferer Claims she was Banned from Daughter’s School Because of her “Smell”

Click on the link to read Top 10 Most Unusual School Bans

Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

January 9, 2014



Courtesy of Charity Curley Mathews:


1. Everyone (over the age of 2) eats the same meal. No special requests, no substitutes for anyone who has all of her teeth. I do try to be fair (and stack the deck in favor of success) by adding a couple of choices and also paying attention to each person’s favorite ingredients so there’s always something for everyone in each meal.

2. Add spinach to everything. Eggs, brownies, I’ll make anything “Florentine.” It’s not sneaky, because I tell the kids it’s going in. I’m just looking for new angles for getting more of the good stuff into those tiny bodies. Ditto for wheat germ, flaxseed and chia seeds. Also, we eat whole wheat everything: pasta, bread, pitas. The kids don’t know any different and it’s so much better for them.

3. Make it fun. Inspired by French Kids Eat Everything, we have tons of pretty little plates and bowls, special spoons and sometimes splurge on fancy paper napkins. There are parfaits and tea parties regularly. My goal is to make mealtimes enjoyable so the kids associate eating real food with pleasure. It’s working.

4. Start with small portions. I give the kids only a bite or two of each thing and whoever wants more, gets more. This helps kids figure out when they’re actually full rather than me coaxing them into “just one more bite” or worse, eating until their plates are empty from here on out.

5. Serve new foods with flair. We often use the fancy little bowls for new foods: I give the kids one bite in a special dish. Then I use an idea from the brilliant new book, It’s Not About the Broccoli. The kids become critics and give a thumbs up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down. And if they give a thumbs down verdict, I’ll say, “That’s OK. You can try it again another time and maybe you’ll like it better then.” Planting the seed…

6. We cook all the time. Since I only work part-time, this works for us but any family could create a cooking culture by doing weekly dinners, big weekend breakfasts and so on. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day; the kids see me doing it and right there they’re learning a lesson that real food is a priority for our family. Plus, it’s fun to let them help and that’s another lesson. My goal is for each person to have a dozen dishes they can make before they leave this house. We’ve got a while, which we’ll probably need…

7. The table is a stress-free zone. Toddlers dumping their plates notwithstanding, the dinner table isn’t stressful because we’re not battling the kids over who eats what. The food is there and manners are encouraged but no one is yelling, or prodding. We’re either sitting, eating or talking. Sometimes singing. If this isn’t possible, whoever is having a hard time will be excused along with mom or dad and welcome to return when he or she is feeling more cooperative.

8. Homemade is better than processed. Especially when it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to either give the kids real food — sliced cucumbers, dried cranberries, chunks of cheese — or make our own versions of crackers, fruit leather, DIY “Nutrigrain” bars and so on. Every time you can make something in your own kitchen, it’ll be fresher, purer and almost always healthier.

9. Two snacks, maximum. Because little bodies burn through their calories in the day, I like to give a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack to avoid meltdowns. But constant eating is a big problem these days and I don’t want the kids to learn that habit. In fact, for the afternoon snack I like to stick to fruit and it can be as simple as apple slices or as sweet as bananas and strawberries on a skewer.

10. The kids drink water and milk, period. Once juice and soda are off the table (literally and figuratively), it’s not even something to fight about. Our kids have two choices for drinks, they like both of them and best of all — they’re both healthy options.

Food is such a huge part of our lives that I can’t help thinking about it, learning about it, and yep, writing about it. It’s bigger than just our family, though. Food has huge implications for health, happiness, even our country’s financial well being. With obesity declared an “epidemic,” diabetes affecting more Americans than ever and the first ever generation of Americans to have shorter lifespans than their parents, Michael Pollan said “cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health.” I would add it’s one of the most important things that we can teach our kids.



Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.


We Must Allow Parents to Parent

July 8, 2013


The proposal to ban parents from packing a lunch for their children is sheer lunacy. Whilst some packed lunches clearly contain too much sugar and fat, this is none of our business.

What’s next? The Government providing consequences for children just in case parents spoil their children by not setting parameters? The Government recruits personal trainers to switch off family television sets and take the children for a run?

And anyway, the lunchbox ban will be limited to lunch. What about breakfast? What about dinner? What about snacks and weekend restaurant visits and holidays?

Why can’t we just allow parents to parent without them being restricted, judged or lectured? Surely, a much better approach is to educate and work with parents rather than taking away their ability to do what they think is right for their own children:

Parents who make packed lunches for their children should stop, as it is making them fat, government food advisers warn.

Restaurateurs Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent argue school dinners are healthier than packed sandwiches, crisps and fizzy drinks, in a report to be published next week.

The report will also suggest that take-up must rise to at least 50 per cent to improve nutrition in meals and to save school dinners.

The pair’s school lunch plan, which will be launched this week alongside education secretary Michael Gove, also puts it down to head teachers to improve quality and take-up of school lunches.

‘A lot of heads will feel exasperated by this,’ Ian Bauckham, head of Bennett Memorial Diocesan school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent told The Sunday Times.

‘Many focus on a limited number of high priorities and we already have a big agenda to raise academic standards.’

As reported earlier this year, cooking lessons at school will become compulsory for children ages seven to 14 from September as the Government aims to ensure they can make up to 20 dishes before taking their GCSE exams.

And don’t get me started with compulsory cooking lessons at school. Remember when teachers were charged with the responsibility of helping students to read, write and become numerate? Boy, times have changed!


Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post Exercising Wont Help Overweight Children: Study

Click on the link to read my post School Weigh-ins Are an Insult Rather Than a Solution

Click here to read my post ‘Considered Too Obese to Keep His Kids‘.

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

Click on the link to read my post, ‘Sparing Young Children the Affliction of Body Image‘.

10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

July 2, 2013


Courtesy of

Don’t Ban Junk Food Outright

Once kids get their first taste of crunchy, sweet or salty foods, it’s hard to get them unhooked, according to pediatric psychologist Eileen Kennedy, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Still, she recommended that parents limit the number of treats that kids are allowed to eat each day, rather than ban these foods completely. That way, kids won’t be as tempted to want what they can’t have.

Banning a specific food is also a bad idea because if the food becomes available to your child outside your home, he or she might eat it despite feeling full, Kennedy said. This can lead to a habit of overeating.

Parents should also avoid restricting desserts or other treats as punishment for bad behavior, because this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, she said.

Encourage Them to Eat Smart at School

Look over your child’s school lunch options many schools provide a printout of each month’s lunch menu, Kennedy said. Go over each day’s meal choices with your child, and challenge him or her to identify the healthiest option.

That way, your child will be aware of all the selections they have to choose from, and will gain experience in making nutritious food decisions.

As for snacks, rather than giving your kids money for the vending machines at school , make it clear to them that they can instead save their soda or candy money and spend it on nonfood items. To encourage them to not blow their pocket change on sugary or salty treats, give them plenty of healthy snacks, such as apples, to bring to school, Kennedy recommended.


Avoid Buying Unhealthy Foods in Bulk

If you want to buy a treat, buy the smallest possible package of that food, instead of the economy bulk-sized packages, Kennedy said.

For example, buying a bulk pack of small, single-serving bags of cheesy popcorn is better than buying one massive, bulk-size bag of the popcorn.

And store any bulk-size snack foods out of kids’ sight and reach , Kennedy said, so that they will be less tempted to mindlessly graze on it throughout the day.


Hilarious Video of Kids Tasting Foods for the First Time

May 12, 2013


This great video reminded me of some of the classic expressions my children have when trying a new dinner recipe:

A heartwarming and hilarious video has captured the brutal honesty of children’s first encounters with new foods, showing their reactions in slow motion. 

Made by Saatchi & Saatchi, the two and a half minute homage entitled The First Taste was inspired when a creative director at the company’s Australian branch watched his own daughter try a gherkin.

The video focuses on seven toddlers and infants as they try sophisticated foods such as pickled onions, olives, anchovies and Vegemite.

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

April 9, 2013


The following tips are courtesy of Remember that a healthy lunch can do wonders in helping children concentrate in class:

1. Avoid processed foods

Avoid packing processed snack foods such as chips, sweet biscuits, chocolates, commercially-made muffins and breakfast bars. These contain high amounts of sugar, salt and fat, and are best left as a “sometimes” treat to be eaten at home. They shouldn’t make a regular addition to your kid’s school lunch box. If eaten too often, these types of foods can increase the risk of your kids putting on weight and developing type-2 diabetes and heart problems later on in life.


2. Healthy snacks

A healthier and cost-effective alternative is to buy your own fresh, natural ingredients and prepare your own snacks for the kids. Some great healthy snack ideas include wholegrain crackers, rice cakes or vegie sticks with hummus or cubes of low-fat cheese, small tubs of yoghurt, dried fruit and mixed raw nuts (avoid nuts if there is a ‘no nut policy’ at your kids’ school). Or if you’re prepared to get cooking, homemade fruit muffins, banana bread, oat cookies or muesli slices, are other great healthy treats to give kids.


3. Add fresh fruit

Always pack a piece of fruit for your child. Fruit is rich in vitamins A and C and antioxidants needed for strong immune systems. If you have trouble getting your kids to eat fruit, try these tips: pack a container of grapes, berries or cherries; give them a kiwi fruit to eat with a spoon; or mix diced fruit through a small tub of yoghurt. Tip: if you are cutting apples squeeze a little lemon juice over it so it won’t go brown.


4. No white bread

I recommend staying well away from white bread and make kids’ sandwiches with wholegrain bread. This is higher in fibre (to look after their bowel health) and also gives their tummy that feeling of fullness after their meal. Wholegrains are made up of slow-releasing carbohydrates which provides kids with energy to fuel their bodies and brains through the day, and helps support concentration at school too.


5. Pack in the protein

Be sure to include some type of protein with your child’s lunch. Protein is needed for kids’ healthy growth and development. It helps stabalise blood sugar levels, so your kids won’t have a dip in energy and craving sugary junk foods. Some good protein-rich sandwich fillings include low-fat cheese, hummus, tinned tuna or salmon, lean meat slices, chicken, turkey or a boiled egg. You could also include a protein-rich snack like a mix of raw nuts and seeds, yoghurt or cheese with crackers.


6. Add some veg

To get kids to eat their veggies through the day, give them chopped-up carrot or celery sticks packed with a small tub of hummus or cottage cheese. Or add some grated carrot, cucumber, capsicum or lettuce to sandwiches. Leftover roast vegies also make great sandwich fillers too.


7. Fruit juice warning

Avoid giving kids popper juices as too much fruit juice (and added sugars) can cause tooth erosion. If you need to give them fruit juice make sure you dilute it in a drink bottle, or buy one without added sugars.


8. Drink water

Always pack a bottle of water with your child’s lunch. It is important that kids drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, especially if they are running around outside in the hot weather. Put water bottles cool in a cold pack to keep them cool.

9. Nutritious sandwich fillings

Leftovers make for nutritious (and handy) sandwich fillers too. For something different try mixing left-over frittata, pasta, rissoles, fish cakes, roast chicken or lamb on your kids’ sandwiches.


10. Other than Vegemite

If they insist on having the traditional Vegemite, peanut butter or honey sandwiches each day, here are a few tips to make their favourites more nutritious. For Vegemite lovers (there’s now one available with low soidium too), a healthy combo is to mix it with either lettuce, avocado, crushed walnuts or cheese. If your child is going through a peanut butter stage, buy an all-natural one made from pure peanuts (without all the added salt, fat and sugar). Almond butter is also delicious and a great source of good fats, protein and calcium. Sliced banana or ricotta taste great with nut butters too. And since honey is high in sugar, you don’t want to be giving it to them all the time. However buying a raw honey and adding it to some sliced banana, ricotta or nut butter makes a more nutritious sandwich filling.



Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on A Long School Day With No Time to Eat

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

Banning of Sugary Cereals is Ludicrous

January 7, 2013


Governments need to realise that they are not our parents. It is essential that they understand that the choice to ban something from a child should almost exclusively be the responsibility of the parent:

Labour will today propose new legal limits on levels of fat, sugar and salt in children’s food.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham will say urgent action must be considered to tackle spiralling levels of obesity.

One option to be considered in the party’s public policy health review is to outlaw products with more than a maximum level of fat, sugar and salt which are targeted at children to try to reverse the trend.

A consultation paper identifies a number of breakfast cereals containing more than 30 per cent sugar according to research by Which?, including Kellogg’s Frosties, with 37.0g of sugar per 100g and Tesco Choco Snaps with 36.1g per 100g.

The latest research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows that in the UK, 26.6 per cent of girls and 22.7 per cent of boys are now considered ‘obese’.

Meanwhile, the National Child Measurement Programme last month reported that one-third of children in England are either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Overweight children are at a greater risk of developing diabetes and cancer.

Mr Burnham said: ‘The findings of the OECD should shock us out of our complacency. It is clear that the current voluntary approach is not working. We need to open our minds to new approaches in tackling child obesity.

Click on the link to read my post School Weigh-ins Are an Insult Rather Than a Solution

Click on the link to read my post Exercising Wont Help Overweight Children: Study

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

Click on the link to read my post, ‘Sparing Young Children the Affliction of Body Image‘.

Hilarious Menu Items Lost in Translation

December 25, 2012


Believe it or not, these menus are very real!

Below are 15 hilarious menu items, mostly from East Asian countries, that got lost in translation.

The photos of the funny food items are courtesy of

Laugh as you scroll down and try not to lose your lunch thinking about them too hard.


Click on the link to read Who Corrects Our Spelling Mistakes?

Click on the link to read This is What Happens When You Rely on Spell Check

Click on the link to read The 15 Most Commonly Misspelled Words in the English Language

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important

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