Have a picky eater on your hands? Read the tips below !

Nutrition Notes: What to do when you have a picky eater at home

by Ana de Castro, Dietetic Intern

While having a picky child may be stressful, it is (in most cases) a normal part of development. Disliking a new fruit or vegetable the first time they try it is a very normal reaction. As long as their refusal doesn’t involve all foods, it’s generally not a problem.

In this case, persistence counts. In order to feel comfortable eating something, the child often has to become familiar with it. So make sure the food is visible by having it on the table and available to them. If many attempts have been made to introduce a food to the child and they continually reject it, consider taking it off the table and reintroducing it in about a month’s time.

Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters. Getting your child to try new foods can often feel like a chore, but you can make this challenge easier by using the following strategies:

1. Don’t become a short order cook. If your child is refusing to eat certain foods, you may be tempted to provide a separate meal. However, giving your child too many options for meals might only complicate things. If they know you’ll make them something else they already like, they won’t take the opportunity to try new foods.

2. Make mealtime a sit-down event. When kids are constantly eating on the go, they get used to fast-food items and other foods that can be easily taken on the road. These typically do not include a variety of fruits and vegetables. Plus, getting kids used to eating meals at the table gives them the opportunity to try new foods.

3. Plan your snacks. Allowing kids to graze all day long might cause them to not be hungry when it comes time for dinner and not be willing to try new foods. Separate snacks from meals and make snack time a planned, sit-down event. And there should be at least an hour or two between a snack and a meal to allow time for the child to become hungry again.

4. Don’t make a big issue of it. Besides raising your own stress level, making a big fuss over a picky eater can be pointless. If a child realizes that refusing food gets them a lot of attention, they might keep doing it, especially at a younger age.

5. Make it fun. Consider making it ‘Yellow Day,’ when you and the kids have to wear something yellow and also pick out a yellow fruit or vegetable to eat. Involving the kids in choosing the foods, and maybe even helping to cook them, can also spark their interest and is another way to build familiarity with a new food.

6. Hide the ingredients. You can easily get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables by hiding them in foods they already enjoy. While it’s a great way to get kids to fulfill their daily servings, it’s important to recognize that this should not be your only approach to encouraging healthy eating. Kids need to acquire a taste for fruits and vegetables alone, so that they don’t grow up avoiding them.

The team at the Fallbrook Food Pantry works hard to ensure their community receives the food assistance it needs.

Fallbrook Food Pantry selected as March Nonprofit Partner of the Month!

by Shelly Hahne, Nonprofit Services Manager

In the past year, 381,407 pounds of food (the equivalent of 317,839 meals) were distributed by this dedicated group of staff and volunteers at the Fallbrook Food Pantry. They operate a comprehensive program, utilizing a variety of resources available to them. About 1/3 of the product they distribute is EFAP commodities, 1/3 is fresh produce and another 1/3 is non-perishable food from the San Diego Food Bank’s Food Center. Fallbrook truly has a pulse on the needs of their community and accesses a variety of food sources to meet those needs.

Operations Manager Jennifer Vetch and her team ensure that monthly reports are submitted on time and communicate frequently with Food Bank staff to ensure their community’s needs are met. Because of their impeccable communication, commitment to serve their community and incredible resourcefulness, Fallbrook Food Pantry has been selected a March’s Agency of the Month.

In addition to providing EFAP packages monthly and operating an ongoing food pantry, Fallbrook operates a Neighborhood Distribution on the last Wednesday of each month. Last year, they distributed more than 160,000 pounds of fresh produce to their community. A key focus on nutrition is at the forefront of this program’s services.

Congratulations to the Fallbrook Food Pantry team for the amazing work you do!

Never too late to start composting!

Nutrition Notes: Composting 101

by Courtney Goodwin, Dietetic Intern

With springtime and planting season right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how we can create a healthy growing environment. Composting does just that! It provides much more nutrient-rich growing soil (ensuring bigger and better plants) while providing a sustainable recycling option for consumers and reducing overall waste.

There are quite a few things that we throw away that could be composted and used to benefit the environment. Just about anything that is not man-made can be composted such as egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit rinds/peels, unused pieces of fruit/vegetables, tea bags, lawn trimmings, nut shells, pits of fruits, stale cereal or grain items, most paper products and much more! These items decompose and break down into a nutrient-rich soil, which is used to help plants grow. Wondering where to start? Follow the steps below and you will have plenty of nutrient-rich soil in no time!

Here’s what you need!

- Carbon-rich “brown” materials such as leaves, straw, dead flowers from your garden and shredded newspaper.

- Nitrogen-rich “green” materials such as grass clippings, plant-based kitchen waste (vegetable peelings and fruit rinds, but no meat scraps), or barnyard animal manure (even though its color is usually brown, manure is full of nitrogen like the other “green” stuff). However, do not use manure from carnivores, such as cats or dogs.

- A shovelful or two of garden soil.

- A site that’s at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. Ideally, choose a spot that gets sunlight and shade at different times of the day near a reliable water source.

Here’s what to do!

1. Start by spreading a layer that is several inches thick of dry brown stuff like straw, cornstalks or leaves, where you want to build the pile.

2. Top that with several inches of green stuff.

3. Add a thin layer of soil.

4. Add a layer of brown stuff.

5. Moisten the three layers with water.

Continue layering green stuff and brown stuff with a little soil mixed in until the pile is 3 feet high. Try to add stuff in a ration of three parts brown to one part green. (If it takes a while before you have enough material to build the pile that high, don’t worry. Just keep adding to the pile until it gets to at least3 feet high.) As time goes on, continue adding scraps from the yard/kitchen working to the top of the pile and mist it with water.

You don’t need a compost bin to make compost. You simply need a pile that is at least 3 x 3 x 3 feet. A pile this size will have enough mass to decompose without a bin. Many gardeners buy or build compost bins, because they want to keep the pile neat. Some bins are even designed to make turning the compost easier or protect it from soaking rains. If you choose to not use a bin and have your pile outdoors, consider using a tarp to loosely cover the pile, especially if you live in a very rainy area. This also helps seal in moisture, speeding up the decomposition process.

Starting your own compost pile can be a great activity to get the entire family involved in the growing process. Starting a compost pile is the perfect first step to take in order to create your own backyard garden. Happy growing!

Steps to creating your own compost pile adapted from: Organic Gardening

Other Gardening Resources:
http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/building.cfm
http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/

Nutrition is a reason to smile all month long!

Nutrition Notes: March is National Nutrition Month!

by Nicole Hartig, Dietetic Intern

National Nutrition Month has a long history beginning in 1980 when Congress decided to expand National Nutrition Week to encompass the entire month of March. The purpose of the month is to spread nutrition information and education to the community by promoting sound eating practices and physical activity habits.

National Nutrition Month is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), who works to bring awareness to this health and nutrition-focused campaign. AND is a great resource for healthy eating tips, ways to eat right on a budget and fun worksheets and games for kids to catch the healthy eating bug. You can learn more about National Nutrition Month as a whole by visiting www.nationalnutritionmonth.org. How can you celebrate National Nutrition Month? Check your local hospitals, food banks, community organizations and schools for special programs and educational classes taught by registered dietitians (RDs).

Can’t find any classes in your area? Try these simple ideas to jump start your healthy lifestyle:

- Explore new foods by cooking one new healthy dish for your family every week of March. Visit eatfresh.org for nutritious recipes.

- Visit a farmer’s market and select a fruit or vegetable that is new to you. Find your local farmers market by visiting the San Diego Farm Bureau’s website.

- Learn how to read a food label by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website, and practice your new skills on your next grocery shopping trip.

- Be active! Commit to taking a walk in your neighborhood after dinner each night.

- Reduce your chances of getting sick by practicing proper food safety guidelines. Learn about them here.

Need a little boost to start your new healthy habits? Consult with a local registered dietitian to learn easy-to-follow nutrition advice and reduce your risk of chronic disease. If you know a dietitian, make sure to give them a shout-out on March 11th, because it is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! You can also learn more about dietitians at www.eatright.org/RD.