Ofra Duchin – Nutritionist
By: Hagit Galatzer
If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding! Sang Pink Floyd. Back in the olden days, or when we were kids, we ate most of our meals at home, we had to finish our plate or else… Snacks and candy were not as common and eating out was a rare treat. Today’s environment offers rich and easy temptations everywhere you look with take-out, junk-food, and processed snacks that are designed to make us crave more. It is hard enough to make smart and healthy choices as adults, but how do we convince our kids to try new and healthy foods and not just the standard fried kids’ meal?
Meet Ofra Duchin, a certified nutritionist, PhD. In Environmental Health Studies and a pharmacist. Ofra recommends starting educating kids about healthy food choices at an early age. She offers activities to ages 3 and up. By using books and games, kids learn about the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and get familiar with the different food groups.
Older kids participate in multi-sessions workshops where they make and try new foods, do arts and crafts and learn about making healthy choices as part of their daily routine. In fact, DailyChoices is actually Ofra’s moto and business name.
“I talk with the kids about the food nutritional components. What is healthier for our body and what is less healthy. We talk about quantities and balance using positive terms which are very effective. In this day and age, it is very important to talk with kids about “what is good and healthy for our body” instead of “what makes us fat”. Negative body image is common even in kids as young as 4-5 years old”.
For adults, Ofra offers talks about a variety of health and nutrition topics and consultation sessions in her private clinic in Bellevue. A new and exciting initiative she is cooking right now, is a group session for those interested in improving their dietary habits, maintain a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. Group meetings are a proven successful way to achieve commitment and accountability to the weight watching process. The group, partly sponsored by Seattle’s Israeli-American Council (IAC), is planned to begin in January 2017 and would be conducted in Hebrew.
Help, my kids are picky eaters and only like plain rice and pasta, what can I do?
Start with being a role model. Serve colorful veggies and salads in every meal and enjoy them yourself. As a mother of three, Ofra knows flexibility is the key for success “Family dinner is one of the most important things parents can do for their kids, but it’s OK to also eat out and have snacks from time to time, my family does that too…”
Engage the kids in shopping and cooking. When the child helps, and has some control over the process there is a better chance they will also want to eat their culinary creation later.
Check your pantry and fridge. Do you have a stash of candy and cookies? Try to buy only snacks you will be happy to see your kids consume and are willing to eat yourself. Maybe natural yogurts and cut fruits?
Most importantly, don’t give up. Keep offering healthy food and a variety of fresh options even if your child refuses and makes a face. “The impact of a child seeing the parents enjoying vegetables, a variety of proteins, whole wheat pasta and drinking water over juice, may come into play only later, but it will come, be patience.”
I don’t like to cook, what to do?
According to research, homemade meals are the healthiest option you could choose. Whatever dish you made, it will be less processed and better for you than any restaurant dish. But what if cooking is not our favorite activity and we are very busy? Ofra suggests some helpful tips:
Find simple and easy recipes with healthy, familiar, ingredients like vegetables, chicken etc. (see a warm fall recipe later)
Cook large quantities once a week, yes, it’s ok to eat the same thing over a few days, we all grew up like that and ended just fine. You can also freeze a portion and have it waiting in the freezer for the right opportunity.
Try BBQ, grilling meat and veggies is fun and tasty, just be sure to avoid over searing your food.
Things you may not know about Ofra:
She used to live in L.A., where she worked in Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust Foundation, coding and tagging fascinating holocaust survivors testimonials videos. One day, Steven himself popped in and brought his friend Tom Cruise and his wife at the time, Katie Holmes, to say Hi.
Ofra moved to Seattle for the good weather, believe it or not. After graduating from the University of Michigan and experiencing the Midwest 6-months winter, Ofra and her family searched for a milder weather, and a place where they can hike and enjoy the outdoors. They found that place here, in the green Washington state.
Contact Ofra today and you too can make healthy daily choices!
And check out DailyChoices Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dailychoicesllc
Orange (the color not the fruit) Soup
This seasonal soup is warm and comforting and yet very light. It contains only vegetables and fruits and is both vegan and vegetarian.
1 butternut squash
1 white onion
1 small apple
Seasonings: 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley (dry or fresh), ground nutmeg to taste, salt and pepper to taste.
Peel and cut the fruit and veggies to large cubes. Place in a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and season to taste. Cover the pot and gently simmer until the vegetables are tender (30-45 minutes).
Let cool a little and puree in the pot using a hand-held blender.
Server hot and enjoy!