An interview with Dr. Susan Mitchell, Target’s Nutrition Expert
Posted Aug 24 2009 12:00am
Dr. Susan Mitchell is an advocate of nutrition education and believes in integrating nutrition and exercise into busy lifestyles to achieve better health, increased energy and creativity. As a self-proclaimed chocoholic, she believes that realistic amounts of almost any food can be part of a healthy diet, too. She also has a fantastic blog where she writes about everything from weight loss to gluten free diets to greening your kitchen.
She’s now bringing her industry expertise and fun, informative philosophy to Target in her role as their health and nutrition expert, which is how I got the opportunity to interview her.
How to get your family to eat healthy both at home. at school and on the go
This Mama Cooks!: A lot of people complain that healthy food is expensive and that it’s cheaper to buy a burger off the dollar menu than to make your kids a healthy sandwich with whole grain bread and lean meat. What’s do you say to that?
Dr. Mitchell: It’s a little more than simply comparing apples to apples. It’s a trade of time and low cost for a refined white bun, higher fat (and more saturated fat) meat, fillers and additives plus a higher salt/sodium content. On extremely stressful days, this option can be the easier route and an occasional treat for kids. On a regular basis, it makes for a nutritionally bankrupt diet. The good news is that most fast food restaurants now have apple slices to substitute for French fries, chocolate or white low fat milk for sodas.
This Mama Cooks!: Getting kids to eat a healthy but quick breakfast each morning is a struggle. I can barely get them to brush their hair? Do you have any tips on quick meals (to prepare and to eat) that pack a nutritional wallop?
Dr. Mitchell: Breakfast can be a challenge to get children to eat, healthy or not, so the younger you begin the breakfast routine, the better. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a huge production. It can be as simple as yogurt or soy yogurt with added chopped fresh fruit and/or granola such as Archer Farms blueberry granola. Lower sugar, higher fiber cereal with fruit and fat free/low fat milk or soy milk. Whole grain English muffins with peanut butter or low fat cream cheese topped with raisins, microwave scrambled eggs rolled in a whole grain tortilla (with salsa if desired), or an under-5-minute-smoothie are all easy yet very healthful ideas. Even grapes and cereal tossed in a plastic bag or container work…to eat as you go.
My publicist, Terri, says she leads by example. Her young daughter likes hard boiled eggs because she sees Terri eat them. She also doesn’t buy foods high in sugar so her kids have never been used to them.
Simple PB&J Smoothie Recipe
1 cup apple juice
2 T. peanut butter
½ cup strawberries (frozen are fine)
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
Blend all together and serve.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be traditional foods either. Left over cold veggie pizza is often a kid favorite. Add cut up fruit and it’s very simple. Pre-sliced fruit is also available if time is really an issue. A fun idea is to buy fresh pizza dough and have kids make their own pizza…you provide the sauce, cheese, and the healthy toppings. The leftovers are great for breakfast.