Author Archives: Ashley Honeycutt

Dinner Table Drama

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

Baby's eating habitsDo you have kids? If so, you’ve probably experienced the dreaded dinner table drama. You might have a baby that eats everything now, but things could change as they enter the toddler years. Or, you might be knee-deep in the food fight now and just need some advice. It’s a good idea to understand why kids can be picky and learn how to help your kids develop into good eaters:

  1. Kids want control. (If you haven’t already figured that out). Toddlers are notorious for being picky eaters because they are learning how to test the limits with their parents, even at the dinner table. Although frustrating to parents, this is a normal part of development.
  2. Kids can be scared of new foods and textures. This fear is very common between ages 2 and 4. Kids are biologically driven to be skeptical of new foods, a behavior which is thought to have come from the hunter/gatherer times. This fear kept kids away from harmful or toxic foods. Did you know that kids may need to be introduced to a food as many as 12 times before they’ll try it or develop a taste for it? Keep trying….
  3. Your kid might be a “supertaster”. Taste is largely genetic and some kids are very sensitive to certain tastes and textures, most often found in vegetables. Flavors that most adults find appealing are actually very intense for kids. For instance, broccoli can be bitter for a supertaster. It’s estimated that ¼ of all kids are supertasters. The good news is that most kids grow out of this sensitivity.
  4. Don’t use food as a reward. They will start to develop a preference for the “reward” food (like ice cream) and will continue to lose interest in the food that they are being told they must eat (vegetables).
  5. Don’t push vegetables. Just make them available. They’ll see you enjoying the veggies and will eventually want to try them. Remember what I said about supertasting? If they’re sensitive to the taste AND you’re pushing them to eat, they’ll develop a negative attitude toward that food.
  6. Don’t cater to them. Who likes making 3-4 separate meals at dinner? No one. Allowing the kids to choose their dinner every night can exacerbate the issue of picky eating. Instead, know their food preferences and include at least one of those foods with the meal that you serve to everyone. Include other “new” foods you’d like them to try.
  7. Get them involved. Research shows that allowing your child to help with the shopping and cooking gives them a sense of ownership and they are more likely to try the food.
  8. Give them variety and expose them to new foods as much as you can. Research also shows that exposing them to different types of foods at a young age makes them more willing to try new things. And, like I said earlier, if they watch the rest of the family eat and enjoy these foods, they’ll be more likely to develop these healthy eating behaviors. Kids model behavior. They’re always watching you.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re experiencing the dinner drama. Most adults were picky eaters as kids and most of us have grown out of it. I vividly remember gagging my way through dinners that contained broccoli or peas. I remember feeding my vegetables to the dog whenever I had the chance, or trying to hide the peas in my tea (thinking no one would notice). I only really liked three vegetables until I graduated from high school. But, my mom served them. I may not have eaten (or liked) them, but I was exposed to them. We always kept sweets in the house but they were not used as a bribe for eating our vegetables. Dessert was never part of our dinner, unless it was a special occasion. She never cooked separate meals for my sister and me. We ate what was served to us, or we didn’t eat. And we didn’t starve. And today, I have a very positive relationship with food and am willing to try most anything.

Always remember that every kid is different. Every family is different. If these tips haven’t done the trick, take some time to meet with a registered dietitian and figure out the best ways to make dinnertime work in YOUR family.

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10 Ways to Maintain, Not Gain, This Holiday Season

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

The holiday eating season is upon us. Don’t panic. Here are 10 easy ways to enjoy the holiday season without gaining weight:

  1. Spend your time talking and socializing to avoid overeating and drinking. It’s easy to unconsciously nibble or pick at foods at the holidays. Step away from the food table. Even better, move the party out of the kitchen! Read more…
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8 Ways to Stay Fit at the Fair

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

Forget the smell of fireplaces and crisp autumn air. For a few more days, it’s all about the deep fried smells of the North Carolina State Fair.

As you plan your trip to the fairgrounds, be wary of the fattening fair fare. Did you know that a giant turkey leg has close to 1200 calories? That’s a day’s worth of calories for most people! And those deep-fried treats can range anywhere from 400-800 calories a piece.

These two weeks are full of temptation, so make sure you plan your eating strategy before you hit the fairgrounds. Read more…

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Biggest Loser Casting: Behind the Scenes

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

In case you missed the news, auditions for the Biggest Loser TV show were held at the Rex Wellness Center of Knightdale on July 14 – the same day as our facility’s Grand Opening celebration. I knew we had a busy day in store. Eager to get started, I arrived before 7am, ready to face the chaos. I knew that contestants would arrive early, but I didn’t expect there to be at least 200 people already in line as the sun was rising. Read more…

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Stop These Crazy Diets Already!

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

Seriously? That was the first word that came to mind when I heard about the Ketogenic Diet craze. Aka: Rapid weight loss through placement of a nasogastric feeding tube. As dietitians, we’re often asked to rate the latest and greatest fad diet. We usually try to present the pros and cons to our clients and help them make informed decisions about their weight loss plan. There have been some interesting diets over the years, but when I heard that people were having feeding tubes placed for the sole purpose of losing weight, it made me crazy. Read more…

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Are You Ready to Make a Change?

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

It’s spring! And I bet you’ve already forgotten all about those New Year’s Resolutions. We’ve all tried and failed. Remember that failure is inevitable if you’re not ready to change. Make sure you understand the 5 stages of change before embarking on a new routine…

1. Pre-contemplation Stage: “I’m not ready”

During the pre-contemplation stage, we do not even consider changing. Smokers who are “in denial” may not see that the advice applies to them personally. Patients with high cholesterol levels may feel immune to the health problems that strike others. Obese patients may have tried unsuccessfully so many times to lose weight that they have simply given up. If you’ve determined that you’re NOT ready, that’s ok. Take this time to make changes in your environment and remove the barriers so that you can be successful when you ARE ready. Read more…

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Fresh, Frozen or Canned. What About Boxed?

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

The Produce BoxAs a dietitian, you would think that I buy new and different fruits and vegetables every time I go grocery shopping. Nope. Like everyone else, I am comfortable with my routine. I have the same handful of favorites on our weekly menu. Most of the time, these favorites are planned around what’s on sale. Don’t get me wrong, we eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But, we usually eat them the same five ways, over and over again. Thanks to my husband, we are out of our produce rut. Last fall, he signed up for The Produce Box, and I am the first to admit that it’s the greatest thing we’ve done in a while (although it would have been better if I had signed up for it, right?) Read more…

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For the Love of Donuts

Ashley HoneycuttAshley Honeycutt, RD, LDN is the Manager of Corporate and Community Services for Rex Wellness Centers. She blogs about nutrition, wellness & healthy living.

There’s only one good reason to eat a dozen donuts at one time – to raise money for the NC Children’s Hospital (and maybe to watch your forty-something husband and brother-in-law dress in ridiculous outfits).

The Krispy Kreme Challenge. Over 7,500 runners (most in some sort of costume) dashing 2.5 miles through Raleigh to down a dozen COLD stale glazed donuts, only to turn around and run another 2.5 miles – all in under one hour – hopefully without getting sick. After years of hearing about it, I finally had the opportunity to participate (as a supportive spectator, of course). Read more…

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