20 Healthy Eating Tips for 2020

image: Valeria Boltneva, Pexels

1. Eat breakfast. Start your morning with a healthy breakfast that includes lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try making a breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, low-fat cheese, salsa and a whole wheat tortilla or a parfait with low-fat plain yogurt, fruit and whole grain cereal.

2. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture, plus vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber to your plate. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal. Experiment with different types, including fresh, frozen and canned.

3. Watch portion sizes. Get out the measuring cups and see how close your portions are to the recommended serving size. Use half your plate for fruits and vegetables and the other half for grains and lean protein foods. To complete the meal, add a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt.

4. Be active. Regular physical activity has many health benefits. Start by doing what exercise you can. Children and teens should get 60 or more minutes of physical activity per day, and adults at least two hours and 30 minutes per week. You don’t have to hit the gym—take a walk after dinner or play a game of catch or basketball.

5. Get to know food labels. Reading the Nutrition Facts panel can help you shop and eat or drink smarter.

6. Fix healthy snacks. Healthy snacks can sustain your energy levels between meals, especially when they include a combination of foods. Choose from two or more of the MyPlate food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein. Try raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese, or a tablespoon of peanut butter with an apple or banana.

7. Consult an RDN. Whether you want to lose weight, lower your health-risks or manage a chronic disease, consult the experts. Registered dietitian nutritionists can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice.

8. Follow food safety guidelines. Reduce your chances of getting sick with proper food safety. This includes regular hand washing, separating raw foods from ready-to-eat foods, cooking foods to the appropriate internal temperature, and refrigerating food promptly. Learn more about home food safety at homefoodsafety.org.

9. Drink more water. Quench your thirst with water instead of drinks with added sugars. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, especially if you are active, an older adult or live or work in hot conditions.

10. Get cooking. Preparing foods at home can be healthy, rewarding and cost-effective. Master some kitchen basics, like dicing onions or cooking dried beans.

11. Dine out without ditching goals. You can eat out and stick to your healthy eating plan! The key is to plan ahead, ask questions and choose foods carefully. Compare nutrition information (if available) and look for healthier options that are grilled, baked, broiled or steamed.

12. Enact family mealtime. Plan to eat as a family at least a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime. Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices to encourage mealtime talk. Get kids involved in meal planning and cooking and use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

13. Banish brown bag boredom. Whether it’s for work or school, prevent brown bag boredom with easy-to-make, healthy lunch ideas. Try a whole-wheat pita pocket with veggies and hummus or a low sodium vegetable soup with whole grain crackers or a salad of mixed greens with low-fat dressing and a hard-boiled egg.

14. Reduce added sugars. Foods and drinks with added sugars can contribute empty calories and little or no nutrition. Review the new and improved Nutrition Facts labels or ingredients list to identify sources of added sugars.

15. Eat seafood twice a week. Seafood—fish and shellfish—contains a range of nutrients including healthy omega-3 fats. Salmon, trout, oysters and sardines are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury.

16. Explore new foods and flavors. Add more nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, make a point of selecting a fruit, vegetable or whole grain that’s new to you or your family.

17. Experiment with plant-based meals. Expand variety in your menus with budget-friendly meatless meals. Many recipes that use meat and poultry can be made without. Eating a variety of plant foods can help. Vegetables, beans, and lentils are all great substitutes. Try including one meatless meal per week to start.

18. Make an effort to reduce food waste. Check out what foods you have on hand before stocking up at the grocery store. Plan meals based on leftovers and only buy what you will use or freeze within a couple of days. Managing these food resources at home can help save nutrients and money.

19. Slow down at mealtime. Instead of eating on the run, try sitting down and focusing on the food you’re about to eat. Dedicating time to enjoy the taste and textures of foods can have a positive effect on your food intake.

20. Supplement with caution. Choose foods first for your nutrition needs. A dietary supplement may be necessary when nutrient requirements can’t be met or there is a confirmed deficiency. If you’re considering a vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement, be sure to discuss safe and appropriate options with an RDN or another healthcare provider before taking.

Provided by Mary Ligotti-Hitch, R.D., a registered dietitian with the Beaumont Health Center’s Weight Control Center. Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.

Attachment and Bonding with Adopted Toddlers and Preschoolers

When many people think of adoption, the story that comes to mind is that of a waiting hopeful adoptive couple who get “the call” from their agency that an expectant mother has chosen them to parent her newborn child. The couple rushes to the hospital to pick up their brand-new-to-the-world infant son or daughter. The baby is placed in their arms and the family is bonded almost instantaneously.

While this stereotypical scenario does happen for some adoptive families, other adoptive families might instead experience “the call” from a social worker about a foster child needing placement, an international adoption agency letting a family know they will be flying to another country soon to pick up their child, or a domestic agency letting a family know there is a toddler or preschooler (or older child) available for adoption. When the child arrives—whether they are 16 months, 2 years old, or 3 ½ years old—they are old enough to have memories of other families or other living circumstances. The adults they lived with may not have been safe or may have behaved unpredictably. Multiple changes in where they have known “home” to be and who their caregiver has been can cause a fair amount of stress and confusion when they come home to the adoptive family.

Given these possibilities, attachment and bonding strategies (particularly early on) are essential for supporting kids in helping them feel safe and connected to their new parents, and in turn the parents connected to their new child. When kids feel safe and have certainty that their needs are important and will be met, their feelings of connection to their parent(s) grows.

Here are some ideas to get started with bonding and attachment:

  • Establish a family routine. The more predictable the environment, the more likely your child will feel comfortable in it. Some families will use calendars or laminated flip cards with pictures showing what is coming up each day (e.g., preschool, pediatrician visit, play date, spending time with other family members, holidays, etc.) to guide conversations about what will be happening as they get ready in the morning. As adults, we appreciate knowing what is happening for the day; kids are no different.
  • Touch and smell are important first steps to bonding. Find a lightly scented lotion (e.g., vanilla, citrus, lavender, etc.). While kiddo is sitting on your lap or next to you, gently massage the lotion into both your hands and allow them to rub it on your hands, too, as they feel comfortable. Comment about how good the lotion smells, and how you both smell the same. This activity gives the opportunity for close proximity, eye-to-eye and skin-to-skin contact, and gentle loving touch.
  • Soft blankets or loveys. Find the softest blanket or lovey possible then buy at least two that are exactly alike. These soft special items can be part of snuggling as kiddo and parent get ready for nap or bedtime, can provide comfort when little one is upset, and can also be a familiar security item when the child is away from Mom and Dad for short periods of time. Buying at least two that are identical is both a parental sanity saver and gives you a backup in case one gets lost, wet, left at Grandma’s house, or otherwise. Rotate and wash them both with similar regularity so they both look and feel the same.
  • Put up family pictures around your home. Many children who come to their families through adoption were where there were not pictures of the child displayed. Pictures of your family together is another visible sign that we belong together.
  • Baby wearing. Even with toddlers and preschoolers, you ask? Yes! There are a few companies that make baby carriers designed to carry kids up to 45 lbs. if you are so inclined. The ergonomic styling makes it comfortable to wear with your little one, and allows for lots of face-to-face time. It can also make it much easier for airline travel: kiddo in the carrier in the front, carry-on backpack on the back, and away you go.
  • Play! It doesn’t always come naturally to adults to get down on the floor to play with toys, but wow does it do a lot for connection! Our kids love knowing their parents see what they are interested in is important, too. If it’s a difficult transition for you (you won’t be the first grown up to feel this way), try doing it for a few minutes at a time, increasing the amount of time with each interaction. Before you know it, you might just find that you love building Thomas the Train tracks, too (or at least loving being a part of the process with your child).
  • Include your child in family activities. Kids in the toddler and preschool years are often very enthusiastic about being helpers. It’s great training for them continuing the habit as they grow and provides an excellent opportunity for saving video of your child demanding to do thing like washing the dishes. 😊
  • Provide front-loading for transitions. In the history of our children who were adopted as toddlers or preschoolers, change often came without warning and, in many cases, wasn’t positive. This can make sudden transitions between activities or locations very fear producing for you kiddo, even months or years after they have come to live in the safety of your family. One way to reduce this response is by doing what I call “front-loading”: giving kids advance notice before the change happens. For instance, if you are getting ready to leave in the morning and your little one is happily playing with their toys, you might let them know at 20 minutes prior that they have some time to keep playing but that you will be leaving for preschool in a little while. Another reminder comes at 10 minutes, and at 5 minutes you help them start picking up their things. The more they can feel a part of and understanding what is happening, the more their perceived safety increases and the more they can feel connected to you.

Further information on bonding and attachment, check out these resources:

– Gretchyn Edwards is a student intern with the Parenting Program while she is completing her master’s in social work at Michigan State University. She and her husband are proud parents by way of adoption to their son, Julian.

Pizza Love

Scott Bauer, Wikimedia Commons

What is usually round, cut into triangles and served in a square box?


This extremely popular food has been defined as: “The perfect meal. An open-faced pie using tomato sauce, cheese and any manner of toppings. Tastes like heaven and is sometimes stated to be better than a relationship.”

But pizza is more than sauce, cheese and toppings. For crust options alone we see hand-tossed, crispy crust, New York thin crust, Chicago deep dish, Detroit-style square, and more. Add in a wide range of sauce options and toppings and the possibilities are seemingly endless!

While the Parenting Program staff has our individual favorites, we all agree that we love pizza! Our staff also made note that there is a difference between sit-down places and take-out. Here is our take on our favorite pizzas in metro Detroit.


  • Emily Swan: Jet’s Pizza is our family’s favorite carryout pizza, hands down. The Detroit-style square pizza with the crispy crust is sooooo good! We love their breadsticks and their buttermilk ranch dressing is top-notch. I recently learned that you can buy a bottle of their ranch to keep at home! My kids know when we’re trying to pull a fast one and give them Hidden Valley Ranch instead of Jet’s, my then-two-year-old once insisted on “pizza ranch”!
  • Deanna Robb: My kids love Jet’s but my husband and I prefer Green Lantern.
  • Lori Polakowski: We make pizza at home. My favorite is white pizza with caramelized onions, pine nuts, arugula, mushrooms and mozzarella.
  • Lucy Hill: Our favorite take-out is Green Lantern.
  • Karen Duffy:Our favorite is Jet’s.
  • Nicole Capozello: My favorite place for pizza is home, straight out of my own oven, using the deep dish pan my mom bought me in Chicago. However if it’s from someone else is oven, we like carryout from Holiday Pizza in Sterling Heights.
  • Becky Bibbs: My family loves Marco’s Pizza for carry-out. The sauce is delicious and the hand-tossed crust is always baked perfectly. Bonus: When you pick up your pizza, they open it and check it over with you to make sure it’s what you ordered. (They make great subs, too!)
  • Stephanie Babcock: Our favorite order-out pizza is Hungry Howie’s. My boys like trying different flavor crusts every time we order.


  • Emily Swan: Our favorite sit-down place is Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park.  This place is not fancy and they don’t take reservations.  Be prepared to stand in line on the weekends!  Their Detroit-style pizza is delicious, but our favorite thing on the menu is their antipasto salad!  You can buy their Italian dressing to take home.  It’s delicious – I think I could drink it!
  • Deanna Robb: We rotate between Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina, Crispelli’s, and of course, Alibi of Troy. But my go-to pizza is the Pesto Genovese pizza and crispy Brussels sprouts (small plates side) at Bigalora. Yum!!!
  • Lucy Hill: We do not eat pizza out much but if we do, Loui’s Pizza is the one!
  • Nicole Capozello: For dine-in, it’s got to be UNO Pizzeria & Grill’s Chicago-style pizza (chunky sauce, please!). 
  • Becky Bibbs: MOD Pizza is amazing! We love that we can each order own individual, thin-crust pizza just the way we want. Whether you put on one topping or all of the 30+ options, the price doesn’t change. Still hungry? Order a crème-filled, chocolate “no-name cake” for dessert.
  • Stephanie Babcock: Our favorite sit-down pizza is California Pizza Kitchen. My family likes the BBQ chicken pizza and a good old-fashioned pepperoni pizza. I think they enjoy the different tastes of having BBQ sauce as the base. The latest hit for the boys is enjoying ranch dressing as a dipping sauce for pizza. What is that about?!

Are any of these your top pizza places? Do you have a favorite place you think we should try? Let us know in the comments.

How to Not be a Helicopter Parent (But Still Stay in the Airport)

Children these days live in worlds that are highly structured and overscheduled. Whether it is playdates, schoolwork, clubs, sports, or volunteer work, life gets busy very quickly and parents become full-time administrative assistants to make sure everything gets done. Well-meaning parents can take over many aspects of their children’s lives because the intent is to keep their children “on course”. This makes sense in theory, but in the long run, it does not help children learn the skills they need to be successful as adults. These skills include organization, delayed gratification, autonomy/responsibility, initiative, accepting disappointment, and reformulating a plan.

So what does it mean to be a “helicopter parent”? In short, it means that the parent is overly involved in the child’s life; the parent does not let the child learn from their mistakes or from normal childhood experiences. For example, they may take on their child’s school projects, argues with teachers/professors about grades, and choose their child’s college.

There are certainly times when it makes sense for parents to take control of situations and monitor them closely, especially in cases of safety or age-appropriateness. Obviously, the first time you let your child drive a car by himself, you would have some rules and limits around that activity. Or when children have a cell phone for the first time, you would have some boundaries regarding when or where they can use their phones. For younger children, you would monitor them getting used to doing chores around the house. 

For situations that don’t necessarily fall in those categories, here are some specific examples of ways to not be a helicopter parent, but “stay in the airport”:

  • Fostering self-esteem. Make it clear that you love and value your child, even when he/she has misbehaved (“I’m very disappointed in what you’ve done, but I still love you very much.” “That homework looks challenging, but I am proud of you for doing your best.”). Model good self-esteem and healthy habits for your child.
  • Self-regulation. It can be tempting to jump in and fix situations, but children find it most helpful when parents listen, validate their concerns, and offer assistance only when needed and in a way that the child will find helpful (“Those kids were really mean. It’s natural you would feel embarrassed about what they said. Is there something that I can do?”)
  • Delayed gratification. Teach your children the value of time and money, the satisfaction of achieving something through hard work, and the importance of planning ahead. Some practical examples include:
    • When you child wants to meet friends at the mall, don’t drop everything to be the chauffeur. Ask your child to schedule things in advance with you.
    • For activities (sports or otherwise), ask your child to choose carefully and stick with the activity for the duration to keep their word.
    • When buying clothes or toys, consider asking your child to “pay” a portion of the item from his allowance, time doing chores, or from their salary if they are old enough to work.
  • Social skills. The transition from elementary school to middle school (and from middle to high school) can be challenging when it comes to making sure that your child is socializing with positive individuals and making positive choices. To give your child the opportunity to make their own choices, parents and children benefit from having regular conversations about their friend group. Parents also get great clues about concerns this way.
    • Know the names of your child’s friends.
    • Listen to the stories that they tell you about their friends (even when you would rather listen to anything else).
    • Ask your child what they enjoy about their individual friends (“You talk about Kaitlin every day, what do you like about her? What do you dislike about her?”).

      If your child is socializing with someone who isn’t making good choices, it’s important to find out what is drawing your child closer to that person. Sometimes kids start hanging out with someone because that person seems to get attention, even when it is negative. Sometimes kids start hanging out with someone because they feel like they belong and fit in with a group, even when it is negative. In these cases – as tempting as it may be to forbid your child from associating with someone – let your child make the decision so they can learn from the consequences. When parents make the decision, children don’t learn the skill of decision-making. It is also important for children to understand the definition of “friend,” which is another great conversation for parents to have with kids. One way of doing this (without it being too much like a counseling session) is to watch one of your child’s favorite TV shows together then ask them which relationships are positive and why, and which ones are negative and why. Remember, you’ve been teaching your child positive values since they were young. As they get older, this is the time you get to see if they were listening or if they need some refresher courses on what they have learned.

It is important to remember that changes may not be immediately apparent, so be patient. Changes take time. Negative behavior may escalate in the short term as your child may try to see if they can persuade you to give in. Stay firm and consistent and before you know it, you will see responsible and independent young individuals right before your eyes. And maybe you will get to go on a beach vacation with that helicopter that you won’t have to use anymore.

– Tobi Russell LPC, CAADC, CCS-M, BCETS, is director of a counseling service in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Beaumont’s Certified Sitter Class

image credit: Lina Kivaka, Pexels

Beaumont’s Certified Sitter course is designed for boys and girls 10 years of age and older who are interested in babysitting or responsible for younger siblings at home.

This fun-filled course is taught by emergency room staff/American Heart Association instructors.

Over the course of two afternoons, students learn the basics of babysitting, how to advertise safely, and appropriate fees to charge clients. They will also receive five of their own business cards!

We discuss topics include babysitting as a business, growth and development, what to do in case of an emergency, and tips for playtime. 

Students learn that every child is different, and we talk about the needs and likes/dislikes of children from birth to six years of age. Topics include bottle feeding, diaper changing, common illnesses, and basic injuries. Calm and quick reactions to these situations are emphasized and tools to achieve them are discussed.

Playtime is a fun time and we discuss and demonstrate age appropriate toys for all age groups.  Meals and snacks ideas are discussed as well.

This course includes snacks for the students on both days, a starter survival bag, a certificate of completion, and the confidence to get started.

Enroll your child in a Certified Sitter class today.

– Cindy Miller, American Heart Association instructor, is the Training Center secretary with Beaumont Health Royal Oak.