Nutritional advice for healthy families


holiday eating

Holiday Eating – in Moderation

Holidays mean a lot of love and, often, a lot of high-fat, sugary, delicious treats. To keep things in perspective, Sean Hashmi, M.D., regional director of clinical nutrition and weight management at Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Permanente Medical Group, touts what he calls the SELF principle – Sleep, Exercise, Love and Food. “Sleep seven to nine hours. Exercise is just simply move more. Love is expressing gratitude, having close relationships,...

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snack food subscription

Share, Care and Give With Food

Aihui Ong knows the universal power of food to show that we care. Years ago, reeling from a divorce and burned out from a 12-year career as a financial software engineer, Ong embarked on a backpacking trip that took her to 20 countries over 12 months. One of her biggest takeaways from her adventures was that “food is the common denominator in terms of showing our love, regardless of the...

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new lunchbox

EasyLunchboxes: Packing Meals is now a Breeze for Families

With her company, EasyLunchboxes (, L.A. mompreneur Kelly Lester helps take the headache out of school-lunch prep. Created out of Lester’s own need to prepare lunches quickly, these containers were designed to hold healthy, portion-controlled meals for kids on the go.   “I love to eat and feed my family healthy food, but I don’t like spending time in the kitchen,” Lester says. Her sentiment rings true for busy people and...

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gardeners in los angeles

Make Your Summer Garden Grow in Los Angeles

Planting season in Southern California is not in summer. Gardeners here will tell you it’s best to dream and plan now and plant in fall, when temperatures are kinder to tender young plants. Still, summer is when kids are out of school and families have more time, so I checked in with Rachel Young, director of horticulture, and Rachel Lewellen, harvest garden coordinator, at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge...

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medical myths

Doc Talk: Steering Clear of Health Hype

As director of pediatric otolaryngology and a professor of head and neck surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Nina Shapiro, M.D., has met plenty of misguided parents. They want the best for their families but have trouble sorting what’s healthy from what’s not. A case involving a 16-month-old baby with a persistent cough inspired Shapiro to write her new book, “Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical...

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eat healthier in 2018

Four Ways to Eat Healthier in 2018

Fill your family up with healthier food by using these tips from pediatric clinical dietitian Amanda Haney, MS, RD, CNSC, of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.   Get halfway there. If you’re not confident cooking at home (generally healthier than eating out), consider services such as Blue Apron that deliver pre-prepped ingredients that you can just put together. “I was at Ralphs last week and they also had...

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Doc Talk: Screening for Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates, which climbed for decades, seem finally to have leveled off among most groups of kids. Still, about a third of kids are overweight and nearly 20 percent are obese, leading a government panel of experts to recommend in June that all children ages 6 and up be screened for obesity by their pediatrician. Steven Jensen, M.D., medical director of general pediatrics at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital...

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Looking Beyond The Supermarket Aisle For Your Baby’s First Foods

Next time you walk around your favorite supermarket, take a moment to study the food on the shelves. For the most part, it will reflect the tastes and preferences of the people who buy there. Dominating will be the most popular brands and the most popular types of food, the best sellers for that particular chain and that particular location. But if you shift your gaze to the people walking...

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Boost Your Kids’ Nutrition By Putting On a Fruity Face

In May, the American Academy of Pediatrics – which has long advocated fresh fruit over fruit juice for kids – recommended that children under age 1 drink no fruit juice at all, the Academy’s first updating of advice about juice since 2001. The Academy also recommended limiting fruit juice to four ounces a day for ages 1-3, four to six ounces for ages 4-6 and eight ounces for older children....

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Lending a Hand at L.A. Kitchen = Cooking and Family Fun

Here are four reasons to bring your kids to Family Friendly Kitchen Prep at L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit just north of Downtown that reclaims local food and provides healthy meals to those in need. 1. They’ll have fun (yes, fun) with fruits and vegetables. 2. They’ll learn about food waste. 3. They’ll help families in need. 4. They’ll get to cook without making a mess in your kitchen. The kids –...

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peanut allergy

Understanding New Peanut Allergy Guidelines

In January, the U.S. National Institutes of Health issued new guidelines about babies and peanuts. Parents were previously advised to avoid giving children foods containing peanuts until age 3 to keep them from developing peanut allergy, but are now encouraged in some cases to give peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months. Dr. Maria Garcia-Lloret, a pediatric allergist at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, helps us unpack the new guidelines....

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Cooking Tips for Special Kids

Chef Darrell “DAS” Smith has been a dad for less than a year, but he already knows a thing or two about picky eaters. That’s because in October, he became director of food services at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. The organization serves nearly 400 children with special needs related to learning differences, autism spectrum disorders and other cognitive, behavior and social challenges. Smith and his team in...

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Parenting & Eating Disorders in Kids: When Healthy Goes Too Far

You’ve heard medical experts extol the virtues of healthy eating. You’ve been told to keep your children away from sugar, salt and processed foods, and have started to focus on healthy eating and nutrition for yourself and your child. With all this attention to healthy eating, you’ve certainly helped safeguard your child’s health. Or have you? Is it possible you’ve put them at risk? Unfortunately, when the focus on healthy...

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5 Steps To a Balanced Breakfast Smoothie

It’s time to create a new breakfast staple with fun ideas for kids. Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a typical kid’s breakfast includes foods such as cereal, pancakes, bagels or waffles, which are high in processed grains. These breakfasts are easy to make, but don’t include the ideal nutrient balance your kids need to start their day. A balanced breakfast contains a protein, a carbohydrate and healthy fat. Here are five steps to help you create a balanced...

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fun ideas for kids

5 Tips for Healthy Summer Camp Lunches

Camp time is here. You want your kids to be well nourished and enjoy their lunch, but kids often get bored with the food parents pack, and parents have a challenging time coming up with new lunch ideas. Kids enjoy camp lunches that have balance, variety and include surprise treats. The treats are small, but are delicious and hit the spot.   Here are five tips to help you build...

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summer activities

Ready For Summer With Pie

When strawberries come into season in the spring, at my house we start out by just bingeing on them plain – or with maybe a touch of whipped cream. Eventually, we get around to some shortcake. Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections – with locations in L.A., Echo Park and at Grand Central Market downtown – offers a recipe for another strawberry classic, strawberry-rhubarb pie. “Kids love pies,” says the mom...

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family fun magazine

Picnic Perfection: Tips for Healthy, Safe and Delicious Meals On-The-Go

Whether you are headed to the zoo, a park, an amusement park or the beach, day trips provide excellent opportunities to spend time together, create memories and explore the areas surrounding Los Angeles.  These tips from our family fun magazine will keep you fed and maximize the fun. Bringing meals and snacks along for the ride will give you better control over food choices while helping to save money and...

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Ace Your Next Well-child Checkup

Before they turn 3, kids are supposed to have 10 well-child visits with a pediatrician (apart from those inevitable visits for childhood illnesses). These should offer a chance to address the many questions parents of young children face, but time with the pediatrician is often less than 15 minutes – hardly enough time to cover even the basics. To make the most of that time, be prepared. Before your child’s...

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Healthy Food Tips from Thyme Café & Market

Chef Maire Byrne, founder of Thyme Café & Market in Santa Monica (, grew up in L.A. in a home with five brothers and sisters, so she’s no stranger to mixing food and family. Now the mom of two daughters, she was happy to share her favorite tips about healthy family fare. What is your approach to healthy eating for your family? At home, we eat pretty clean. We have...

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30 Real-Food Snack Ideas for Kids

Snack. The word itself sounds fun and delicious, right? We all perk up when imagining our own personal-sized package of chips, crackers or cookies. Sadly, these so-called “snacks” are just treats with a convenient name change. Most Americans are not eating quality meals or snacks, but instead are eating packages of sugary, salty, empty carbs with minimal nutrition. We have been conditioned to crave these snacks in bright, colorful boxes,...

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Health - dehydration

Strike a Balance To Keep Kids Hydrated

When Alan Nager, MD, Director of Emergency Medicine and Transport at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, commutes to work, he passes at least eight Starbucks and various other purveyors of caffeine along the way. “In summer, half the people there are adolescents,” he says. Nager, like many experts, says that drinks with caffeine, energy drinks, alcohol, sodas and drinks with lots of sugar in them aren’t great for kids. They can...

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Healthy Eating For Family Travelers

Travel season is upon us, and a lot of Angelino families will escape the commotion of our city by driving up the coast, down to San Diego or east to the desert – or fly even farther afield. While traveling is no easy feat, having a solid eating plan for your trip can help you and your family maintain a balanced lifestyle and protect your children's health while saving money...

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5 Tips for Relaxed Real-Food Mornings and Evenings

It’s dark and a bit chilly in your bedroom, which gives your warm and cozy covers more power to pull you in. Then you feel a small finger tapping your shoulder and you hear, “Mommy?” With your eyes half open, you stumble into the kitchen to take breakfast orders. The frantic routine of preparing breakfast, unloading dishes, packing lunches and attempting to feed yourself begins. Oh, and forget about drinking...

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children's health packaged foods

Tips For Skipping Packaged Foods

If we are what we eat, then most of the packaged foods on grocery store shelves will turn your family into a salt shaker. A government report published in April found that more than half of these foods – including more than 70 percent of pizza, pasta and meat dishes and 50 to 70 percent of cold cuts, soups and sandwiches – contain more salt than U.S. dietary guidelines consider...

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Health Kurbo Bice Family

Unique Health Program Appeals to Digital Kids

Milena Bice’s 5-year-old son Diego was at an L.A.-area grocery store with his grandmother recently, and she wasn’t sure whether the breakfast cereal he wanted was a healthy choice. “Read me the first three ingredients,” Diego said. When one of them was sugar, he told his grandma, “Oh, that’s a red-light food. You can put it back.” The Bice family has been learning healthy-eating and exercise strategies using Kurbo, an...

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Ashleigh Parsons: Making Kale Connections for Kids

If there’s one person who can get your kids to eat kale, it’s Ashleigh Parsons. Had she put her Harvard master’s to work in the classroom, the sweet 29-year-old would be everyone’s favorite teacher. But before getting that degree, she spent time juggling a job at an Oakland farm-to-table restaurant with volunteer work at an after-school program in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Taking the low-income kids from the food desert...

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Rethinking Pizza for Children’s Health

Move over sugary drinks, there is a new enemy in the war against childhood obesity. Pizza. Pizza is the second-largest contributor of calories to the diets of U.S. kids ages 2-19, according to a study in the February issue of Pediatrics, and study authors recommend making it a target in obesity-prevention and children's health counseling. Here are some findings based on dietary information from more than 12,000 kids across the...

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Eat, Sleep, Move: Parenting For Good Health

Health is complicated, but simple basics can make a big difference. How and what we eat, how well we sleep and how much we move are important. Use these healthy parenting tips to help your family be well in 2015. Eat Forget gluten free, paleo and cutting carbs. Eating right means slowing down. “I would like to see families take more time to prepare meals at home,” says Amy Childress,...

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Healthy Holiday: Santa’s Cookie Pops

Here in sunny SoCal, hot cocoa is still a favorite, but it’s also ice pop weather almost all year. Health-conscious families can get the skinny on a real treat with this recipe from Mom and Pop Shop, a local, family-owned business that brings all-natural popsicles to events of all sorts. Learn more about them at Santa’s Cookie Pops Yield 6-8 pops INGREDIENTS 1 can (13-14oz) Unsweetened Coconut Milk (if...

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The Kid-Friendly Foods of Summer

Believe it or not, summer might be the perfect time to give your picky toddler a nutritional makeover. At least, that’s what Scott Cohen thinks. Cohen is a Beverly Hills-based pediatrician whose daughters are 4 and 6, and he admits that toddlers can be tricky. “There is always a struggle between wanting to be in control and having that control,” he says. Toddlers crave independence, but thrive on structure. He...

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How to Manage Your Child’s Peanut Allergy

Did you know that peanut allergy is the third most common food allergy for children in America? To learn more, I partnered with Ronald Ferdman, MD, physician in theDivision of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I’ll explain how you can help manage your child’s peanut-free lifestyle during grocery shopping and at school. Peanut Allergy Facts A peanut allergy is a rapid reaction to the ingestion of...

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Ways to help your child lose weight safely

How many fast-food restaurants have you driven through at 6 p.m. on a work night, with a hungry child screaming at you? Many of us have, and as parents we likely feel guilty. Childhood obesity is rapidly on the rise in this country. A recent study published in the Wall Street Journal sites the obesity epidemic as global: 2.1 billion people, or about 29 percent of the world's population, were...

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Unplug For Successful Family Dinners

By Randi Goodman, LMFT When I was a child, I remember family dinners as a time to be with the family without interruptions. When the phone rang, my mother would scream, “Nobody answer that.” As a mother myself, I find it difficult to hold a conversation with my children without them being attached to their cell phones and other electronic devices. They are Tweeting, Facebooking, and looking at Instagram instead...

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Navigate Your Child’s Soy Allergy

By Robert Giesler, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC, RRT, CPST, RN Remedies nurse blogger at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Allergies come from different sources such as dust, cats, soy, peanuts, etc. They are a major cause of illness in the U.S. Up to 50 million Americans, including millions of kids, have some type of allergy. Since allergies affect many families, I wanted to learn more and share information about soy allergy. Soy...

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Gluten Free Food

Is Gluten-Free Good?

You’ve Seen the Labels, Now Get the Facts By Christina Elston Once upon a time, people who wanted to follow gluten-free diets (and there weren’t many of them) didn’t have many options. That’s not to say that they couldn’t find much to eat. There are many, many foods that don’t contain a trace of gluten and never have. But back then, the words “gluten-free” weren’t screaming at folks from every...

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