Registered dietitian, author and media personality, Robyn Flipse joined me recently to share nutritious menu ideas for the entire family!
Candace Rose: With families hectic schedules these days it can be extremely hard to plan a meal everyone will enjoy. Do you have any easy nutritious menu ideas?
Robyn Flipse: "I do. I really do and it starts of course with planning. When kids are getting ready to go back to school (if they're not already in school) I think their parents have to be of the mindset that the house has to be stocked with the food that make it easy to start off with a good breakfast; pack a healthy lunch and get everybody around the table for dinner at night. And what you have in your pantry, freezer and refrigerator is really going to determine whether that's possible, so some planning will go a long way in making good meals available throughout the day and all week long. But I've worked with Nestle for a long time and I think it's important to know about the bargain values in the freezer case because they have really wholesome hassle free frozen entrees that are called Stouffer's Farmers Harvest and these are entrees that are complete for a family of four in varieties like a meat lasagne, a vegetable lasagne, macaroni and cheese and more. They cook up quickly, they taste delicious, they smell delicious which is what gets everyone into the kitchen. But most importantly they're made with these high quality ingredients we must serve our families like real cheese, freshly made pasta with whole grains and no preservatives, and no trans fats. So this is a meal that certainly makes it possible to as I said, get everyone around the table and fed with something that's going to taste great."
CR: How about when it comes to snacks?
RF: Snacks are a part of the day and I think it's important to note you can snack smart and still have something sweet and that's why I like to turn to the classic Raisinets that we all know and love. They're available now in dark chocolate as well as milk chocolate, and they come in a cranberry variety. But you get a half serving of fruit in every quarter cup of Raisinets and you get all of those natural fruit antioxidants in every serving which is important and 30% less fat than other leading chocolate brands. So it's a wonderful combination of good nutrition and great taste, and the Raisinets can be used in a number of other recipes like in an oatmeal cookie recipe or in a granola; so that it can make a good thing even better. And again by having the right snack on hand and on the table when kids come home, you can get them into the kitchen to sit down and do their homework."
CR: Do you have any tips on getting kids to eat healthier?
RF: "Well, one of the ways to make sure your children are getting the nutrients they need is to be sure they're drinking the recommended number of glasses of milk each day and if they aren't; I think for all of the children who aren't drinking milk or need to drink more milk, the best way to improve their intake is with the new, new and improved Ovaltine and that's because it is now without artificial flavors and it uses all natural coloring. In every two tablespoons of Ovaltine that are added to an 8 oz. glass of milk, you boost the calcium to 40% of the daily value, you get 35% of the daily value of vitamin D. These two key nutrients kids need and 20% or more of 12 other vitamins and minerals that are important in children's diets; so you start with the milk, make it taste even better and more nutritious with Ovaltine and you're going to help close the gaps in many children's diets, that they need to close."
CR: Do you suggest picky eaters take a daily multivitamin or a supplement to make up for what they're lacking?
RF: "I think when it comes to using supplements it really has to be determined on an individual basis, and this is something that parents can raise with their pediatrician or a registered dietitian to have a proper evaluation of what it is their child does eat and how much in order to know if a supplement is required. But of course the first goal would always be to help improve their diets and get them to eat a more well rounded and balanced diet to meet their needs. And when we think about the way children eat, they're kind of eating all day long and after school is one of those times where they may have activities that need to be fueled with a snack. I like to recommend Nature Valley granola bars because they're not only wholesome and made with 100% natural ingredients; but they are individually wrapped so they're portable. They can go in a lunch box or your work bag and be taken wherever you go or wherever the kids go, and eaten when they're hungry which is a great way to get them to finish. And an added bonus from now until the end of October, you can help support National Parks by buying the specially marked packages of Nature Valley granola bars that information about the Park Program can be found at PreserveTheParks.com."
CR: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
RF: "Well, the tips are always the same- to be sure kids start the day with a good breakfast and then make sure that they have choices available for healthy meals like lunch and dinner; and the snacks that are in between that are going to keep them growing and doing their best because without the right food they're certainly not going to be well nourished. But all of the other information I've discussed here as well as links to the websites can be found on one website called News2Know.com."