Does Ballet Beget Bulimics?

I was quoted on talking about how some parents pave the way for their children’s body image issues…

Debating Where Eating Disorders Originate

More than ever before, the focus in today’s pop culture is on body image. Who’s the skinniest? Who’s the heaviest? Who has the most shapely legs? The buffest arms? The best toned abs? Teens read, see, and hear these stories — and many of them are influenced in negative ways. But is it only pop culture, or a hobby like ballet, that can create an eating disorder? Experts offer theories about what makes a teen at risk for developing an eating disorder, and what parents can do about it.

Children, starting when they are very young, are subjected to “ideal” beauty through television, magazines, the internet and Hollywood. And those who are engaged in sports or other activities, such as dance, can also pick up messages about what makes the perfect body. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are serious problems that can be fatal — and they can stem from body image issues. Is the media to blame, is it physical activities, or is there more to the story?

Mom and Dad
Sometimes, we as parents pave the way for our children’s body image issues. “If you think that your own preoccupation with diets and appearance has not contributed to the problem, I urge you to think again,” Carol Cottrill, certified nutritional consultant and author of The French Twist, shared with us. “Children learn most everything from their parents. The little they don’t learn from you, they pick up from the media or their friends who have been influenced ahead of them. These prevailing influences combined with the pressures of youth serve [...]

Is Food a Power Issue with Your Children?

Are you sure you need that second cupcake? You’re better off steering clear of any talk that might foster a negative body image, says McCready. Incidentally, the same goes for telling your child that he’s a “great” eater. Try to avoid labels (like “he’s my picky child”), because “you never want to turn food into a power issue,” says McCready. Instead, keep food related comments specific and positive: “Wow, I see you tried the squash soup!”

For tips on parenting solutions check out more from Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions:



By |July 2nd, 2012|Blog|1 Comment|

Picky Eaters Need Color!

Read my recent article in Playground Magazine

Parents of picky eaters: There is hope!

A new study by Cornell University concluded that parents of picky eaters can encourage their children to eat more nutritionally diverse diets by introducing more color to their meals. The study finds that food plates with seven different items and six different colors are particularly appealing to children.

“What kids find visually appealing is very different than what appeals to their parents,” said Brian Wansink, professor of Marketing in Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. “Our study shows how to make the changes so the broccoli and fish look tastier than they otherwise would to little Casey or little Audrey.”

The study is published in the January issue of Acta Paediatrica (101:1). For more information about adding color and variety to children’s plates, visit:

Need more help? Here are 10 nutritional tips for parents from a local Certified Nutritional Consultant:

  1. Set a positive example — your children learn from you. Shop together, try new foods and recipes together, and above all else, eat together.
  2. Offer a variety of foods, and allow your children to develop a taste for new and different foods.
  3. Start with small portions. A proper child’s portion is ¼ to ½ of the size of an adult portion.
  4. Don’t insist that children finish all the food on their plate. Let your child develop internal cues in determining fullness—to eat when hungry and to stop when full. Don’t praise a clean plate.
  5. Limit starchy snacks in-between meals that lead to calorie overload and disinterest in real food. Aim for 1-2 wholesome snacks per day, spaced out 2 hours or more before a meal.
  6. Balance snacks to include a protein and a [...]

Eat Like The French, Just Not the Fries

Read my recent article for

Are chicken nuggets keeping your kids alive? Do they turn up their nose when they see a green vegetable on their plate? In my upcoming book, “The French Twist: Twelve Secrets of Decadent Dining and Natural Weight Management,” I devote special attention to the underlying food culture of the French- the reverence, respect and value associated with educating children in the formation of taste and nutritional education—and what we can learn from their traditions.


The primary belief is that food and dining deserve respect. People express this respect by taking the time to eat and enjoy eating, apart from any other activity. Mealtime is an opportunity for children to relax, to enjoy, and simply to be. They are not distracted by anything other than themselves and a nurturing environment. When dining out in France don’t look for the kiddie menu- it doesn’t exist. Children as young as five years of age place napkins on their laps, eat in courses, properly maneuver their utensils, and behave quite like the adults who accompany them. Chicken nuggets are nowhere to be found.


Parent’s in France value and respect food, nutrition, and manners and the school system delivers by taking pride in school cuisine.

  • A French chef prepares the meals for every school, shops daily and checks in with the kids about their preferences.
  • Children eat in real, quality food in courses, on warm plates with real cutlery and glassware.
  • The lunch room is decorated with bright colors, acoustic tiles to create a soothing, and quiet environment.
  • Two hours is devoted to lunch and recess.

The mayor’s office will kick in where children cannot afford the lunch meals. In France school meals are [...]