New Tricks to Turn Your Fussy Eater Around

If your children are picky eaters, bribing or pressuring them will probably backfire.

But there are other steps you can take to help them get over their fussiness, researchers report.

Australian scientists reviewed 80 studies to find out more about fussy eaters.

They found that pressuring a child to eat, offering rewards for eating and stricter parenting methods didn’t help. But a relaxed parenting style, eating together as a family and involving children in preparing food can reduce the odds of fussy eating.

“For parents with a fussy eater, mealtimes can be especially stressful — juggling the family meal and a picky eater is no small feat,” said researcher Laine Chilman, a PhD student at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

“Some families have kids who turn their noses up at any vegetable. Others are dealing with kids who dislike certain textures or colors of food. Some of these preferences relate to a child’s characteristics or personality, which are difficult to change, if at all. But others are external factors that could help reduce fussy eating in kids,” she said.

“Eating together as a family, with siblings, and having a single meal at a regular time all helped reduce food fussiness. As did getting the fussy child involved in the meal, either by helping to choose the menu or helping to prepare the meal. Yet if fussy eaters were allowed to eat in front of the TV, or if they were rewarded for eating certain foods, these behaviors negatively influenced picky children,” Chilman added.

Researcher Ann Kennedy-Behr, a senior lecturer at the University of South Australia, said stress can contribute to fussy eating.

“When you have a child who is a picky eater, it’s very stressful for a parent or [caregiver] — they’re forever questioning whether their child is getting enough nutrients, enough food, and often enough weight gain,” she said in a University of South Australia news release.

It’s important to understand that being overly anxious or worried can actually contribute to increased picky eating, Kennedy-Behr added.

“Avoiding getting cross and limiting any negativity around mealtime will benefit everyone. Positive parenting, no matter how difficult it can be in certain situations, is the best step forward for fussy eaters,” she said.

The researchers offered these tips to help a fussy eater:

  • Set a good example: Eat together as a family.
  • Have regular mealtimes. This reduces levels of stress.
  • Get kids involved in making meals. Familiarity and a sense of control can help.
  • Turn the TV off. Focus on food.
  • Keep mealtimes calm and stress-free. It will be a better experience for all.
  • Don’t reward, bribe or punish fussy eaters.

The report was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Source: HealthDay

Afternoon Tea Featuring Variety of Bread at Hilton Tokyo, Japan

A Year of Committed Exercise in Middle Age Reversed Worrisome Heart Stiffness

Karen Schmidt wrote . . . . . . . . .

A year of exercise training helped to preserve or increase the youthful elasticity of the heart muscle among people showing early signs of heart failure, a small study shows.

The new research, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, bolsters the idea that “exercise is medicine,” an important shift in approach, the researchers wrote.

The study focused on a condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which affects about half of the 6 million people in the United States with heart failure. Characterized by increasing stiffness of the heart muscle and high pressures inside the heart during exercise, the condition is largely untreatable once established and causes fatigue, excess fluid in the lungs and legs, and shortness of breath.

“It is considered by some to be one of the most important virtually untreatable diseases in cardiovascular medicine,” said Dr. Benjamin Levine, the study’s senior author. He is a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas. “So, of course, if there are no therapies, then the most important thing to do is to figure out how to prevent it from happening in the first place.”

Previous studies show prolonged exercise training could improve heart elasticity in younger people, but that it had no effect on heart stiffness in people 65 and older. So, the researchers wondered if committed exercise could improve heart stiffness in healthy, sedentary men and women ages 45 to 64.

The study, funded in part by the AHA, included 31 people who showed some thickening of the heart muscle and an increase in blood biomarkers associated with heart failure, even though they had no symptoms such as shortness of breath.

Eleven were randomly assigned to a control group and prescribed a program of yoga, balance and strength training three times a week. The rest were assigned to an individually tailored exercise regimen of walking, cycling or swimming that built gradually until the participants were doing intensive aerobic interval training for at least 30 minutes at least twice a week, plus two to three moderate-intensity training sessions and one to two strength training sessions each week. Everyone had a personal trainer or exercise physiologist to monitor their training.

After a year, the people doing the vigorous exercise training showed a physiologically and statistically significant improvement in measures of cardiac stiffness and cardiorespiratory fitness, compared to no change in the control group.

The results suggest late middle age may be a “sweet spot” for using exercise to prevent heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, before the heart gets too stiff, Levine said. He compared the heart muscle to a rubber band. A new one stretches easily and snaps right back.

“That’s a youthful cardiovascular system,” he said. “Now, stick it in a drawer and come back 30 years later – it doesn’t stretch, and it doesn’t snap back. And that’s one of the things that happens to the circulation, both the heart and the blood vessels as we age, particularly with sedentary aging.”

Researchers can’t determine from the new study whether these people will go on to develop heart failure; larger studies will be needed for that. In addition, it isn’t easy for people to stick to an exercise program, and the intensive intervention studied may be difficult and expensive to replicate on a large scale.

“That may be a challenge, but I think this study is a good first step,” said Dr. Shannon M. Dunlay, an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist who was not involved in the study. She is a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Heart failure is a tough thing to live with, and if we’re able to prevent it with exercise – if additional studies also show that – that’s really useful information.”

Since this type of heart failure can be so hard to treat, the new results could help clinicians in counseling their patients, she said. “This gives us more information to say to a patient, you already have these early findings that you are at risk for heart failure, and exercise could help your heart to become less stiff.”

Levine said physical activity, with its profound health benefits, should be woven into our everyday lives.

“I tell my patients, you brush your teeth every day, take a shower, change your underwear, have dinner,” he said. “These are things you do for your health and your personal hygiene. Exercise needs to be part of that process. And that’s how we can stay as healthy as possible throughout the lifespan.”

Source: American Heart Association

Potato Leek Hash with Eggs and Swiss Chard


2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 1 large leek)
4 cups red potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/4 tsp smoked paprika, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
4 cups thinly sliced trimmed Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (substitute Swiss cheese)


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Add 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and stir to combine. Add Swiss chard and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 4 minutes.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, make 4 wells in potato mixture and crack 1 egg into each well.
  5. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and paprika over eggs.
  6. Sprinkle cheese over potato mixture. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook until eggs are cooked through.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Manitoba Egg Farmers

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