The Debut of Doctor Yum’s Cooking Club

This week I was pleased to attend the first gathering of “Doctor Yum Cooking Club.” The Lake of the Woods Chapter of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) agreed months ago to pilot our spring debut of “Doctor Yum’s Cooking Club” To back track, I teach a free shopping class to help families to shop for healthy food and feed families better while saving money. Some of the moms that have attended my classed asked if we could put out a cooking assignment with some of my kid-tested recipes that they could cook with their friends on the weekends. They could then use the food they cook to feed their families during the week, and use the experience to expand their cooking experience- all while spending quality time with friends.  We have made this idea come to life-Doctor Yum’s Cooking Club! It’s a chance for friends to get together and learn to cook new healthy, family friendly, kid-tested seasonal recipes on a quarterly basis. I met this MOPS group when they invited me to talk about feeding preschoolers months agao. When they heard about the cooking club we were planning they agreed to be our pilot group for our Spring Cooking Club debut.  Tabitha, one of the members agreed to be the point person and organizer of the cooking day. Our assignment included several entrees, a few snacks and lunch ideas. The women were all responsible for bringing part of the shopping list and they picked 5 recipes to try that day. When I arrived at the kitchen at the church where they cooked it smelled heavenly and sounded much like...

Doctor Yum Meets the Queen of “YUM”, Rachael Ray

Today I had the honor of interviewing Rachael Ray, the popular cooking personality first made famous by her TV show “30 Minute Meals.” She also is a host of her own Daytime Emmy winning television show, author of almost two dozen cookbooks and her popular magazine “Every Day with Rachael Ray.” Her business empire is impressive, but more impressive is her list of charity work including one project close to my heart, Yum-O. This nonprofit organization was started by Rachael Ray with a mission of empowering kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food. Furthermore, I believe that she has helped families accross America deliver healthy, home-cooked meals to the table by making cooking seem easy and approachable. As a pediatrician now beginning the challenge of starting a nonprofit which hopes to battle the Childhood Obesity epidemic by teaching families to cook and eat healthier, I was excited to hear Rachael Ray’s thoughts about her nonprofit work. I was also excited to hear her thoughts about cooking with kids.  Rachael Ray was in town to promote her book My Year in Meals, a unique cookbook which reads like a journal of the food and cocktails that she and her husband personally prepared and ate over the course of a year. However, when I showed up with  her kids cookbook “Yum-O!” to autograph, she was exited to see that I had purchased it. Rachael Ray: Thanks for purchasing my book Yum-O! You know, all the proceeds go to my charity, Yum-O! Dr. Yum: Yes, I know! I would like to talk to you about your nonprofit and what you are...

What are you Paying for at the Grocery Store?

  Today was doing my Sunday morning grocery shopping run for the week. Often when I am waiting in line, I like to observe what other people have in their shopping carts, particularly those people shopping with kids. This morning there was a mother with three school-aged kids in front of me. It appeared that they were doing the same as me, stocking up for the week. On the conveyer belt, I spotted a lot of “kid food.” There was sugary cereals seen advertised on TV. I saw single servings of flavored yogurts with candy bits displayed in a clear compartments on top. There were A LOT of drinks, particularly sodas and fruit juices. A large box of individually packed potato chips in different flavors was stashed under the grocery cart. There were crackers, beef broth, frozen foods, and ground meat. What was curiously missing was plants. I’m a physician so I noticed both the mother and her youngest child were clearly obese, and the other two children appeared pale and sluggish. After they checked out, I moved up to the cashier and looked at the computer screen. The total of their bill was still up on the screen. I was shocked….277 dollars! In contrast I looked at my weekly selections. There were proteins like eggs, tofu, tempeh, beans, Greek yogurt and almond milk. I had grains like whole wheat wraps and bread. And there were TONS of plant foods-apples, avocados, bananas, peppers, greens, mushrooms, pomegranates and more. Many of the foods were organic. One might hear this list and think, “That sounds like a lot of expensive food!”...

Five Tips for Feeding Snacks to Kids

  In a quest for constant improvement of our family’s diet, I recently decided I would tackle one issue that constantly plagues us: SNACKING! Let me first backtrack. I read a fascinating book recently called French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon.  In the book this mother describes the year she spent in her husband’s native France trying to get her two small children in touch with the French way of life.  She soon discovers that the typical North American way that kids eat just won’t do in France. The French seem to have a cultural sensibility about how to get their children eating healthy delicious food from a VERY young age.  Leek soup, beet salad, fresh bread and French cheese -no problem!  This is typical kindergarten fare at the school cafeteria.  She spends the next year trying to get her kids accustomed to the French way of eating by exposing them in a very matter-of-fact fashion to all sorts of local foods. What I have done with my own kids is very similar to how the French teach kids about food-and my kids do eat EVERTHING!  However, our family faux-pas  is how much my kids snack.  I don’t think I’m much different from most American moms.  I carry snacks for “just in case.”  What if someone has a meltdown? What if we are stuck somewhere without food? I have a compulsion to be prepared for all of these “what if’s.”  We also have a big “Snack Basket” in our kitchen, and the kids always seem to be hitting it right before dinner (which drives me a bit nutty!)...

Enjoy A Few Girl Scout Cookies with Balance

It’s that time of the year. The Girl Scouts are out selling cookies!  The Girl Scouts have an eighty year-old cookie tradition that has blossomed into a seven hundred million dollar business.  In fact, the Girl Scout cookie business is the largest girl-run business in America! How do we let our kids (and ourselves) enjoy these special treats at this time of year without going overboard?  The reality right now is that one-third of the population of children I see in my practice (and around the nation) is overweight or obese.  Given these staggering statistics, I try to counsel parents to make sure that special indulgences do not become regular dietary habits.  Buying and enjoying Girl Scout cookies can be a fun occasion that doesn’t have to take away from good overall eating habits. When counseling about nutrition I always think about BALANCE.  I often refer to the USDA’s Choose MyPlate Icon which shows a plate filled with a balance of grains, protein, vegetables, and fruits. This is especially helpful when planning meals like dinner and lunch.  I think that there should also be a similar balance when planning snacks.  Many of the most common snacks kids eat are high in complex carbohydrates, fats, and simple sugars (cookies, chips, pretzels, crackers, etc). A healthy change that parents can make is offering snacks that include more fruits, vegetables and protein.  One of the common afterschool snacks that we prepare at my house is called the “Super Snack Plate.”  I arrange an assortment of different fresh or dried fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers, and cheese for the kids to enjoy while...

Showing kids that whole foods taste great

Doctoryum.com is now one year old! It was this time last year that I started rounding up the Tiny Tasters in hopes that they could show other kids how to love good food. Week after week, these kiddos tried my recipes, both good and bad, and gave me their honest feedback. They started out like most kids with lots of strong food preferences. Over the course of the year (and over 100 recipes!) I have seen them grow so much, and seen them accept foods they none of us believed they would. It’s been a very exciting year. To celebrate our one year anniversary, I invited a few of my most regular tasters over to shoot a video and enjoy some lunch with me. The tasters arrived and helped pick a fresh greens, carrots, broccoli and radishes for a big salad. I made homemade wheat bread, salad, different types of cheeses, and a fresh fruit platter. They reminisced about the foods they used to not like and now love. They talked about why they like being Tiny Tasters. And I told them about the important work they are doing, showing families that kids can love REAL FOOD....

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