Coronavirus Chronicles — Possible Life Hacks for Parents

A disclaimer has to be right up front in the title because nothing ever works for everybody, one-hundred percent, all the time. Claims of certainty should inspire scrutiny. On the other hand, it is always worth mentioning tips that have worked for somebody, especially if they happen to be backed by studies.

These days, a lot of people feel like they are going crazy. Looking back to when everything was less complicated, there were some basic, timeless ideas about the prevention of childhood obesity. How do they hold up?

Parents are urged to provide a nutritionally balanced diet, and to demonstrate and facilitate non-harmful snackage. In the setting of the pandemic, making choices is a luxury for most people. For many, their ability to access food of any kind has become limited and/or undependable. When families must depend on food bank donations, they wind up with a lot of highly-processed non-perishable items that are greatly appreciated, but not always nutritionally optimal.

The same limitations affect the time-honored advice to actually prepare meals from scratch, hopefully with help from various family members, as a unifying experience in cooperation. But if fresh ingredients are not obtainable, it is hard to make an omelet, or soup, or spaghetti sauce.

Two things

First, there can be obvious psychological advantages to family meal preparation. Second, having everybody all together at once is not always the best idea.

If community cooking is resisted, if it isn’t the envisioned “one big happy family” event, no parent should give in to resentment or discouragement The ideal scenario for passing along food lore might be the one parent, one child scenario. Also, bear in mind that the true “teachable moment” cannot be planned. It happens spontaneously and when least expected. A grownup needs to be open to it, and ready for it.

There is a practical reason not to include another family member in the cooking process, if you want to emulate Dr. Preeya Alexander, who “revealed she grates vegetables to add into certain meals and sauces,” as reported by Carina Stathis. The cook might not want any witnesses to that.

Dr. Alexander has developed other techniques that make nutrients palatable to children. As vegetable snacks, whose success seems to depend on delicious, low-cal condiments, she recommends…

[…] cherry tomatoes, capsicum strips, snow peas, small corn cob or baby corn spears. Carrot, celery and cucumber sticks. Salad vegetables or coleslaw in a sandwich.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Childhood Obesity Prevention: 5 Tips For Parents To Inculcate Healthy Eating Habits In Children,” NDTV.dom, 06/25/20
Source: “5 Healthy Habits That Help Prevent Childhood Obesity,”, 06/24/20
Source: “Doctor reveals her go-to trick for making sure her fussy kids eat their vegetables EVERY time,”, 02/02/21
Image by ironypoisoning/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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