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Fight childhood obesity

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September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Pediatrician at the Pediatric Center of Round Rock and author of Step Up Diet, Marta Katalenas spoke with YNN’s Jennifer Borget about keys to keeping kids healthy.

Studies have shown an increase in childhood and adolescent obesity from 5 to 7 percent in the 80s to 20 percent today.

You can help your kids eat healthier by feeding them home cooked meals, keeping smaller portion sizes and making sure they exercise or play outside for about at least an hour a day.

The Round Rock ISD PTA is teaming up with the Pediatric Center of Round Rock for the first Kids Fitness Fun Day on Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Cat Hallow Park at Brushy Creek.

Learn more at: KidsFitnessFunDay.org.

If you have a picky eater, here are some tips and delicious recipes to get you started on meals for all:

Dealing With The Picky Eater

When dealing with the picky eater it is best to prepare food and present it to him/her without expecting immediate approval. You may not get approval at all! It takes time and persistence to teach a child, and a family, to eat right. These recipes can be a first step towards that goal.

BEANS AND VEGETABLES

Learning to eat right starts in childhood. It is also up to the parents to expose the child to a variety of healthy food; they are not going to discover it a school or front their friends. It starts and ends at the house, and there is a narrow window confined to those years the child spends at home.

This recipe provides a complete meal; there is no need for side dishes or any further meal preparation. A piece of fruit and some bread should be the perfect and only additions you need to worry about.

Beans provide protein, fiber and antioxidants that help the immune system to grow strong and aid in the prevention of infections. The ingredients are simple and the end results ads up to about 50 cents per serving, an important consideration when budgeting for family meals.

Ingredients:
- ½ lb of white dried beans. HEB calls them Northern Beans, and you can find them in the “rice and beans” section.
- 1 carrot.
- 1 leek.
- ½ onion.
- 1 garlic clove.
- 1 sausage (Italian, or any other kind your family likes)
- 2 tsps of Paprika.
- Olive oil
- Salt.

Soak the beans the night before. Soaking eliminates a big part of the component that creates gas when we eat legumes.

Cut the carrot, leek, onion and garlic in small pieces and place them in a pot with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook them in medium heat, covered, for about 8 minutes, until the onions are transparent and they give out their water. Add the dried beans, after soaking them, and add cold water to cover the beans. Cook in low heat for about 1-½ hours, until the beans are soft. You can use a pressure cook for 20 minutes, or a crock-pot and allow cooking for the day. Add cold water in small amounts if they look dry during the cooking process.
In a saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the sausage in small pieces and cook it in hot oil for about 3 minutes, add the paprika to the sausage and stir. Now you add the cooked sausage and paprika mixture to the cooked beans and stir well. Allow cooking for another 10-15 minutes and it will be ready to serve.

Toddlers don’t like to identify what they are eating. You can use a blender or a hand mixer, or just crush them with a fork before serving this dish to a small child.

This recipe provides dinner for 4 people. You can double the ingredients and cook the entire bag of beans (1 lb), keeping the left over in the freezer for another day.

The Spanish Touch

I used Spanish chorizo instead of sausage. It can be found at Specks store. I also add Spanish paprika, called Pimenton, instead of the regular one. It is made with just ground, dried red peppers and has no other preservatives or chemicals added. It can be purchased at Latienda.com they call it Pimenton de la Vera.


PASTA AND TUNA

Learning to eat right starts in childhood. It is also up to the parents to expose the child to a variety of healthy food; they are not going to discover it a school or front their friends. It starts and ends at the house, and there is a narrow window confined to those years the child spends at home.

This recipe provides a complete meal; there is no need for side dishes or any further meal preparation. A piece of fruit and some bread should be the perfect and only additions you need to worry about.

The homemade tomato sauce can be added to any other recipes that require sauce. The hidden ingredients add nutrition and variety without even alerting the picky eater of their presence. The sauce can also be made in larger amounts and kept in the freezer for further use. When there is no time to cook, just defrost the sauce and mix it with any kind of cooked pasta.
Tuna fish contains protein, calcium, Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Together with the carbohydrates in pasta, and the added extra protein in the hard-boiled egg, this recipe provides a balanced meal for kids and adults.

Ingredients for the Sauce:

- 4 large tomatoes, soft.
- 1 leek.
- 1 carrot.
- 1 onion.
- 2 garlic cloves.
- Fresh parsley.
- Olive oil.
- Italian seasoning.
- Salt and pepper.

Cut the tomatoes, leek, carrot, onion and garlic in small pieces. Place them in a pot and add ¼ cup of olive oil. Cook slowly, in low heat for about 1 hour. About 45 minutes into cooking, separate from heat and use a hand mixer to blend in all ingredients. Add the fresh parsley, minced, and the Italian seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Other ingredients:

- 1 lb of Penne pasta.
- 1 can (5 ounces) of white tuna.
- 1 hard-boiled egg.
- Grated Parmesan cheese.

Preparation:

Cook and drain the pasta as indicated in the box. Add the tuna to the tomato sauce and mix it well. Pour over the pasta. Serve after sprinkling with the hard-boiled egg, cut in tiny pieces, and the Parmesan cheese.


VEGETABLE PUREE

Learning to eat right starts in childhood. It is also up to the parents to expose the child to a variety of healthy food; they are not going to discover it a school or front their friends. It starts and ends at the house, and there is a narrow window confined to those years the child spends at home.

This recipe provides a complete meal; there is no need for side dishes or any further meal preparation. A piece of fruit and some bread should be the perfect and only additions you need to worry about. Because of its texture, it can be enjoyed by all ages without any further processing. It is preservative-free and it combines proteins, carbohydrates and fat in the right proportion, with a good dose of vitamins and antioxidants. This puree can be served for lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

- 2 medium size zucchini
- 1 onion
- 2 medium size potatoes
- 1 carrot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 8 ounces of cream cheese
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper.

Preparation:

Cut the zucchini, onion, potatoes, carrot and garlic in small pieces. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and pour in water to barely cover all ingredients. Bring to boil. Cook, partially covered, in medium heat until all the ingredients are soft, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and, using a hand blender, mix all ingredients together to form a puree without removing the cooking water. Add the cream cheese and cook again for a few minutes, until the cheese melts completely. You may have to use the hand blender again to obtain a more uniform consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For more information, check our website at Pediatriccenterofroundrock.com or drkatalenas.com

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