Healthy Diets for Picky Eaters

By Sava Tang Alcantara

Perhaps the number one reason for abandoning a diet is that it was too boring to sustain. To accommodate picky eaters, whether these include your spouse, small children gradually expanding their palate or yourself, there are ways to eat a sensible diet that can help you maintain a healthy weight long-term. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a diet based on 40 percent from carbohydrates, 30 percent from lean proteins and 30 percent from fats.

Prepare a Hot Breakfast Daily

Encourage everyone in your family to eat a hot breakfast daily. Instant oatmeal with a sliced banana or other fruit and cow’s, almond, soy or rice milk. For very busy days, whip up fruit smoothies with protein powder made from pea and brown rice protein, chocolate cow’s, almond or soy milk and fruits. Drink from plastic cups secured with a tight-fitting top and straws or save for the office or school.

Retool Favorite Recipes

Make nutrient-dense, low-fat, high-fiber versions of favorites dishes by replacing refined sugar and flour with fruit-sweetened or whole-grain recipes. Replace white sugar with molasses, maple syrup, agave or make a fruit juice reduction by reducing two cups each of orange, pear or other fruit juice to half its quantity and use in any cookie, quickbread, pancake or cake recipe. Instead of fast food pizza, toast split whole wheat chapattis, slather with low-salt pasta sauce and layer pre-washed spinach leaves, chopped bell peppers and other vegetables. Add low-fat mozzarella and drizzle with heart-healthy olive oil.

Favor Heart-Healthy Fats

Replace saturated fats with heart-healthy options such as olive, canola, flax and hemp seed oils. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends consuming no more than 10 percent of the total 30 percent of fat calories per day from saturated fats. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature: butter, cow’s milk, beef, pork and poultry fat are all examples of saturated fat. Instead, consume low or nonfat milk, yogurt and cheeses, trim all visible fat from animal protein and swap out butter with olive oil or another unsaturated fat. You can prepare brownies, chocolate cakes and cookies with olive oil. And instead of potato chips or French fries, roughly chop sweet potatoes and bake with olive oil or do the same with new or Idaho potatoes with the skin intact for “home fries.” Even picky eaters can be cajoled to trying these versions of favorite foods if they have flavor and provide satiety.

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