Babies, Toddlers & Added Sugars

As we talked about in last week’s blog, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee warns that Americans are consuming too much added sugar. The Committee’s new Scientific Report recommends that children under age two consume no added sugars at all.

Let’s take a closer look at the under 2 age group. Consider these points from the Scientific Report:

  • Intake of added sugars increases significantly between 12 and 24 months of age. (The trend continues through the preschool years, peaking during adolescence and young adulthood.)
  • Toddlers age 12 to 24 months consume about six teaspoons of added sugars per day. That’s almost 10 percent of their recommended daily calories.
  • The main sources of added sugar are sweetened beverages (27 percent), sweet bakery products (15 percent), yogurt (7 percent), ready-to-eat cereals (6 percent), candy (6 percent), and other desserts (5 percent).

Once a baby turns one year old, they’re pretty much transitioning to the standard American diet. In fact, the Committee writes that “during this time between infancy and toddlerhood, large increases in added sugars and solid and saturated fats are observed.”

We need to get the no-sugar message to parents, grandparents, child care providers, and other caregivers. Important conversations to have:

  1. There’s no room in young children’s diets for sugary drinks and sweets. Those empty calories start a sugar habit that will last a lifetime.
  2. Check the Nutrition Facts label for every food and drink you buy. The amount of added sugars is listed on the label.
  3. As adults, your intake of added sugars should be limited as well. This helps you stay healthy while limiting your children’s exposure to high sugar foods.

Remember, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans won’t be published until later this year. The recently released Scientific Report has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These agencies will review the report and develop the next version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Top Nutrition Education Posters

Nothing brightens up a space better than a poster, and the posters at the Nutrition Education Store are the best in the business. With colorful pictures and creative text, these posters make it easy to educate your clients in a way that they’ll actually remember.

In fact, one of our customers outlined the benefits of nutrition education posters far better than we could. Doug Barg of Kitchen Cred wrote “We’ve hung [your posters] all over to help transform what was a fairly dingy basement into a warm and educational environment. The posters have been a great resource pedagogically both as primary teaching tools and as ongoing reinforcement.  And even when we’re not paying attention to the specific content, they are visually pleasing. Thanks!”

Now, which poster is best for your audience?

If you’re teaching a workshop on healthful cooking, food art or recipe posters may be the most helpful, and if you’re doing a seminar on diabetes, a diabetes poster would probably be your best bet, but if you’re just looking to brighten up a space or teach some key health lessons, then you have a lot of options. Check out this list of the top 5 posters that we sell in the store. These 5 posters are the most popular and well-reviewed posters we have.

The question is, which will you get?

Poster #5: MyPlate for Kids

This poster takes the lessons of MyPlate and makes them even easier to understand and remember. With it, you can show kids how they can fill their plates with healthful choices from each food group. This poster is full of phrases and images that will appeal especially to kids. Plus, the illustrations show only healthful foods from each group, coming together to make each plate a winner. It’s also chock-full of tips to help kids get the proper amounts of MyPlate food choices each day. Use this USDA MyPlate poster in your classroom, on a bulletin board, or at wellness fairs.

Debbi Kennedy author of Ditch the Drive-Thru raves, “Just got my posters and they are fantastic!! Can’t wait to hang them up at my classes! So eye catching and very easy to understand… LOVE them! I will definitely be ordering more at the end of the month. Thanx so much!”

Order your copy of the MyPlate for Kids poster today!

Poster #4: Exam Room MyPlate Poster

The lessons of MyPlate aren’t just for kids. In this condensed and simple poster, the keys to healthful eating are clearly outlined, then supported with creative art. Instead of text and drawings, the portions and proportions advocated by MyPlate are represented primarily through photographs. This makes eyeballing balanced portions a snap!

The USDA’s MyPlate is prominently featured on the poster, offering new ways to put a meal together without a complex formula.

This nutrition poster is useful not only because it supports the key message of balancing food groups, but also because it only features heart-healthy, nutrient-rich foods in each category. When creating this poster, we didn’t have to add processed foods and could rely on the latest science-based information, because Food and Health Communications is not supported by big industry advertising.

Get the Exam Room MyPlate Poster now!

Poster #3: 12 Nutrition Posters Value Set

Ha ha, you caught us — this one isn’t a single poster. Nevertheless, this value set outsells all but 2 posters in the store, so we think it has a well-deserved spot on this list.

The 12 posters featured in this set include:

This poster set is so useful that it has already been featured in a previous post on this blog: The Perfect Curriculum for Nutrition Education. Check out that post to discover why each poster was chosen for the set and see what health messages each option communicates.

Own the 12 Nutrition Posters Value Set yourself!

Poster #2: MyPlate Poster

What’s that? MyPlate again? Well, this classic poster is one of the most popular we’ve ever made. It’s perfect for a wide range of occasions, and its attractive design communicates the most important health messages clearly and effectively.

But don’t take our word for it. Check out this rave review from Karen Newton, Program Manager at West Virginia University Cooperative Extension “Thanks! Your MyPlate poster just arrived and it looks great! It is already posted on the hallway for all to see.”

Marla Hill, RD, CD, adds her praise as well, explaining, “many of the posters from Nutrition Education Store are colorful, interesting to the eye, and fun to look at. They are a real draw to a booth, especially in this instance where English skills may be limited for some. Thank you for providing such cost effective and well done posters.”

Purchase a MyPlate Poster today!

Poster #1: Fall in Love with Salad

Here it is — the top selling poster in the Nutrition Education Store. Who would have guessed that salad would be at the front of the line? Well, it turns out that salad, though a healthful nutrition powerhouse, is sometimes a hard sell. Make it easier with this health poster!

Why should people eat salad? Well, eating salad is a great way to get enough veggies, an even better way to consume fewer calories, and a downright amazing way to get more nutrients and fiber! This poster lists 6 salad lover tips, 3 reasons to love salads, and a guide to spicing up your salad.

Of course, if you’d like to offer a more comprehensive look at healthful salads that are both simple and tasty, check out the book Salad Secrets. It comes with multiple photos per recipe, a PowerPoint show about the benefits of salad, and a bonus salad eBook.

Pick up a Fall in Love with Salad poster right now!

So that’s it. The top 5 posters in the Nutrition Education Store. Were you surprised by the results? Which posters will you choose?

Breakfast Out

For many eating breakfast out is a real treat. It’s a great way to start the day and also reconnect with family and friends. But, how can you eat breakfast out and still strive for “healthful”? I asked this question of the participants in my weight loss and healthy eating class. They had some great responses:

• Only eat one egg—you can be satisfied with just one. Many people eat two out of habit.

• One couple liked to share a two egg breakfast at a local restaurant –each got one egg, one slice of whole wheat toast and one slice of bacon. It saves calories and helps the budget, too. I was pleased to hear this response because at an earlier class session they were complaining about what a restaurant charged for two eggs without the bread. They learned that they should keep the bread—make it whole grain– and just cut the portions. Yeah!

• Go for a veggie omelet— one class member really liked spinach omelets. She confessed that she hasn’t gotten the “nerve” to “hold the cheese”, yet. My thoughts…for her…why not go for an egg white vegetable omelet and keep the cheese. It’s a trade-off. Vegetable omelets are a great way to help meet that daily vegetable recommendation.

• There was also a discussion of splitting that veggie omelet breakfast to control portion sizes. That gives each diner ½ an omelet, one piece whole-grain toast, a ½ fruit, a small amount of potatoes. They admitted that they didn’t need that larger meal and weren’t really hungry with just half.

Egg white sandwiches at fast food breakfast places aren’t awful. You can take the Canadian bacon off, or feel comfortable that it has more protein and less fat than “regular” bacon.

Overall we were in agreement that oatmeal at a restaurant can be costly and quite often “instant” and not a good source of fiber. Also eating cold cereal out didn’t usually offer good options for high fiber and low sugar. Restaurants tend not have low-fat or skim milk or yogurts available. It’s also a budget thing—most did not want to spend the money for what they got for these items out.

Overall, eating breakfast at home provides more healthful options. But we all agreed, with some careful selections, a friendly restaurant and perhaps even an agreeable dining companion; eating breakfast at a restaurant does not have to sabotage an otherwise healthful diet.

Here are a few delicious recipes to make breakfast at home

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Check out our breakfast poster:


and our new My Plate Photo Poster in 18X24 (also available as 12X18)

My Plate Poster

Pumpkin all around us

IMGP1508It’s undeniably fall.  No, it’s not the shorter days, turning leaves or cooler nights that let me know. It’s pumpkin.  It seems that pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING have popped out of everywhere.  It was hardly past Labor Day when I started seeing promotions for pumpkin coffee, pumpkin donuts, cookies and cakes, pumpkin coffee creamer and even pumpkin yogurt.

I don’t have anything against pumpkin.  Actually I rather like this iconic fall flavor. But this is ridiculous. It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that most of these items don’t really have pumpkin in them.

I have a friend who owned a bulk food store. She had a pumpkin pudding and  pie filling mix that everyone loved.  At closer look we found that the mix did not contain any pumpkin at all…just the sweet spices of nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon that are frequently used with pumpkin…it gave the “hint” of pumpkin pie to the pudding.  If you really wanted to make a pie  they suggested adding mashed pumpkin to the pudding .  Isn’t it amazing what our taste buds and the sense of smell can make you believe?

But, not all of the pumpkin foods are “smoke and mirrors”…or should I say “spice and herbs”? I did find some yogurt with real pumpkin added as the second ingredient and pancakes that had pumpkin in them, too. Good for them!   IMGP1637

In addition to the flavor, adding real pumpkin to foods could be a super nutrition boost. Pumpkin has Vitamin A and lots of it.  The Produce for Better Health Foundation says that just 3/4 cup of cooked pumpkin contains 130% of your daily value for Vitamin A and only 25 calories.  

You can add this classic fall flavor to your own beverages, baked goods and menu with “real” mashed pumpkin.  If you want to be “authentic” select a from your farm market or grocery.  Be sure it’s a pie pumpkin, not one grown for Jack-O-Lanterns, they are usually smaller,  meatier and less stringy.  IMGP1632

Pumpkin can be simply prepared by placing slices on a cookie sheet and roasting  in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized (varies with thickness of slices). Remember to wash the outside rind before cutting and to save the seeds for roasting. 

You can sprinkle the pumpkin with spices before baking or just let the pumpkin flavor come out.  The cooked pumpkin could be eaten as a vegetable or mashed to be added in other recipes.IMGP1669

Just want some quick mashed pumpkin?  They can also be prepared in the microwave (see the recipe for spaghetti squash.

Canned mashed pumpkin is easy and works well in recipes, too, when real pumpkins are not available.  If you’re wanting to preserve pumpkin, the National Center for Home Food Preservation cautions against canning mashed pumpkin .  They recommend canning cubed pumpkin or freezing the mashed pumpkin.

Create your own fall pumpkin specialties. Here are a few recipes ideas from the Food and Health Communications files to get you started.

 April Fool Chili

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Apple Butter

Easy Pumpkin Pudding

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Heavenly apple…or is it a pear?

People that teach about healthful eating (me included) are always encouraging people to eat more fruit.  I admit that after a while there’s not much excitement in eating another banana or apple—although I like them both.  Asian pear 2

Sometimes I just need a change, so last week I treated myself to a package of Apple Pears.   That first bite had me thinking “wow this tastes wonderful, is it really something I’m encouraged to eat?”

When I say treated myself, I mean it was a splurge, they are not cheap.  A package of five was $6—making them over one dollar a fruit.  I have to tell you, they were worth every penny.

If you haven’t tried them I encourage you to do so.  They are sometimes called Asian Pears or Oriental Pears.  They are round like an apple and have skin like a pear.  Flavor-wise they are a mix of apple and pear— sweet and fragrant.  They are juicer than an apple and crisper than a pear.  Delightful.  Despite these mutual similarities, many people think they are a hybrid of these two fruits, but they are not.  Technically  they are classified as pears.

While they are native to China and Japan, they are also grown in the Pacific Northwest of the US.  Mine were from California.  Asian pear 5

The skin can be golden brown, golden green, orange or brown—depends on the variety.  Select Apple Pears as you would pick apples, they should be firm to the touch, not as soft as a pear.  Take special care as they do bruise easily. Look for pear apples that do not have bruises or marks.

They will keep for several months in a cool environment and can be held at room temperature for a week or so.  Nutritionally, one medium fruit has only 50 calories and it is completely fat-free with 13 grams of carbs and Vitamin C.

They have a beautiful white crisp flesh that doesn’t turn brown as quickly as an apple or pear when exposed to air….so they look great when featured in a salad or fruit bowl. They could be used in recipes designed for pear or apple, but my feelings are:  they as so good just eating out-of-hand why bother? Asian pear 4

Most people say that they should be peeled before eating.  I didn’t.

Looking for an activity to do with kids to teach them about eating more fruit?  How about comparing the apple, pear and Apple Pear?  Give them the chance to look at the similarities and differences in shape, color, texture and flavor. I’d be interested to hear the words they use to describe this fruit.   I’m using the words: delectable, delightful and heavenly.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS
Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Emailing carrots

Emails are at it again, telling me what I shouldn’t eat because of something dreadful.  This time they were warning me not to eat carrots.  What did these cute little baby carrots ever do to someone to be so maligned?

The first premise of this email was that these little carrots are really larger carrots that were misshapen. Duh?  Did they think that carrots grow in these perfect shapes?  I, personally, think this is a great concept: take carrots that previously couldn’t be sold due to their irregular shape and cut them into uniform pieces and package ready-to-eat.  According to the World Carrot Museum ( the overall consumption of carrots in the US has increased by 33% since the introduction of baby carrots in 1989. Anything that gets people to eat more vegetables is a fabulous idea.

Another claim from the email is that these little carrots are soaked in chlorinated water that is similar to a swimming pool. Yes, once peeled the carrots are treated with chlorinated water to reduce possible contamination. This is accepted practice for all fresh-cut ready-to-eat vegetables.  There are strict guidelines on the amount of chlorine  — no it’s not swimming pool water — and how long vegetables can soak in this water.  The carrots are then rinsed with clean fresh water before packaging. 

So what about that white film that the email message claims to be the chlorine leaching out of the carrot?  This is called “white blush” and is the natural dehydration of a cut carrot surface.

My overall thoughts about carrots haven’t changed because of this email. I say eat them. Eat baby carrots. Eat regular carrots. Eat all you want.  They are high in beta carotene and good sources of potassium, fiber and vitamin C. In case you’re counting….each baby carrot has about four calories.

One quick word of caution:  while baby carrots or carrot “coins”  seem like they would be the perfect food for children use caution as they may be a choking hazard.   Cut carrots into small strips or cook before giving to young children.

Another email warning shot down.   DELETE


Cheryle Jones Syracuse

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

Milk Math

IMGP9414I don’t make this stuff up. A friend recently posted this story on Facebook.
Her husband went to convenience store on the corner to get milk. Their family with two young boys usually drinks 2% milk. He reported that the store only had whole milk and 1% milk. This enterprising man (not wanting to drive to a full-service grocery store several miles away) purchased one of each and informed his wife when he got them home that if you’d mix them together you’d get 2%. Her comment on Facebook—“not sure it works that way, but good theory, dear…so be quiet and drink it or leave it!”
Got me thinking about milk. Would his theory work?
Whole milk contains about 3.5% fat. Eight ounces of whole milk has 146 calories with 8 grams of fat.
2% milk is also known as reduced-fat milk. It has 120 calories with 5 grams of fat.
1% milk is low-fat milk and contains 105 calories and 2 grams of fat
Fat-free milk (skim) has 90 calories and no more than 0.2 grams of fat

Reduced-fat, low-fat and fat-free milks contain all of the nutrients found in whole milk but less fat.

So, technically using the husband’s theory of combining the whole with the 1%, they’d get milk that’s slightly more than 2% fat. Not bad.

Despite what many people think about “watery milk” it is not permitted to add water to any of these milks. It’s the lower amount of fat that gives it a thinner “mouth feel”. If you think skim milk tastes “watery” try adding some non-fat milk powder or fat-free half-and-half to help make it taste “thicker” to get the family through the transition to a lower fat milk.

But I like the wife’s comment to the husband to “be quiet and drink it”.  For their health, it would be good for this family to switch to 1% or skim milk.  Kids often mimic their parents.  If the father keeps quiet and drinks the 1% milk, it’s quite likely the kids will, too.

As for buying two gallons of milk and mixing them together?   Families with growing children assure me that this is no problem, but I know I couldn’t drink that much milk before it would spoil.

For more info on “Which Milk Should You Pick?” read Dr. Kenney’s article in the January issue of Communicating Food for Health.

Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS

Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University