Today, children are exposed to junk food everywhere. They see it on TV, in the hands of their friends, and in vending machines. As a parent, you probably want your child grow up eating right. Nevertheless, finding a good resource to teach good nutritious habits to a child can be challenging. Clearly, there is a need for some good books on this subject. One day, as I was chatting about this problem with one of my co-workers, she recommended this book, Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right. I read it cover-to-cover, and this book made quite an impression on me.
Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right is written by Joanna Dolgoff, MD. She is a pediatrician who runs a pediatric weight-loss practice on Long Island, and she is a mother herself. Because of her concern over the emergence of childhood obesity and its health effects upon young children, she created this practical guide.
Unlike other popular diet guides that emphasize either restricting calories or eliminating known “unhealthy” foods, and flavors, her guide combines “the best of these two approaches” and rather focuses on encouraging children to enjoy almost any food and yet stay healthy. So go ahead and let your child eat their cookies and ice cream. “There are no good or bad foods, but there are good and bad portions”, writes Dr. Dolgoff. Most importantly, she advocates that the whole family can participate in her system, as she puts it, “you’ll be excited about it, and you won’t feel hypocritical.” The way I see it, moms and dads can use this book to teach by example and stay healthy at the same time.
I am sure many of us follow tips on teaching our kids how to eat well, but this method is both more systematic than a tip now and then. With the help of simply dividing foods into red, yellow and green light categories, your child can quickly grasp the idea. On top of that, Dr. Dolgoff methodically walks you through a typical day from breakfast to dinner to show you how easy it is to teach your child.
How about restaurants and parties – you may ask? As eating out and going to parties are a big part of growing up for a child, this book deserves credit for accounting for these activities, it includes the possible pitfalls of eating out and offers solutions to those pitfalls. In fact, the book seems to have a solution to almost any eating-out situation.
This book also earns extra points for the astonishing use of clinical examples. With real stories, Dr. Dolgoff illustrates the many types of health and emotional concerns that a child may endurewhen faced with a weight problem, and how rewarding it is for a child to see results. As a parent, you get to gain an insight to what a child may go through, allowing you to give the right guidance and support.
Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right is also devoted to how to start your child moving. As she points out,”Weight loss boils down to simple mathematics: Expend more calories than you eat.” Again, drawing on her clinical experience, she shows you how to blend activities into your child’s passion, subsequently, building a stronger body that burns calories.
With any book, there are strengths and weaknesses. In the case of Red Light, Green Lights, Eat Right, there seems no exception. In this book, Dr. Dolgoff has provided such a comprehensive color-coded list of everyday foods that it is almost a plug-and-play guidebook. However, from a foodie’s point of view, points are to be taken off because there is a limited number of recipes that provoke real culinary interest. For a busy mom or dad, more recipes would be of bigger help. Perhaps she will cover this in a future book?
Finally, I have two personal take-away tips after reading this book. Have you ever wondered how the grocery stores lure your child into buying those candies? In order to entice your child to eat the right portions of foods while saving money, buy bulk, and then sub-divide them into zipper bags using the food guide in the book. Then display them just like the candy stores in easy-to-find places. On top of that, display “fuel-free” foods around the house such that your child can get to them with little effort.
Ultimately, this book is a valuable reference for parents who are concerned about family nutrition and, in my opinion, it should earn a spot on your bookshelf. It should also make a great gift. (How to order it?). As Dr. Dolgoff puts it, “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right encourages the whole family to eat right and exercise more.” She continues, “in addition to these many benefits, you’ll have fun and become closer as a family. Everyone wins!” That pretty much sums up this book. The new year is almost here. If you are looking for a useful resource to get a healthy start for your whole family, I seriously urge you to get this book and learn about this system.
Have a great new year and have fun with your food!Pin It