About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Dinner doesn’t have to be mac-and-cheese, says Doctor Yum

Dr. Nimali Fernando spoke to the students at Courtland Elementary School last week.

Dr. Nimali Fernando believes that with persistence, parents can get their kids to eat good food. It also helps to have a good blender, she said.

Fernando is a Fredericksburg pediatrician, the mother of two young sons and the creator of a new website called Doctor Yum. Kids and nutrition have been a longtime concern, she said. The website is an outgrowth of that interest.

On the site, she’s got recipes that are kid-tested by her Tiny Tasters, the children of friends and neighbors. By involving the children, she said, she hopes to show parents that there’s more to life than macaroni-and-cheese and chicken tenders, that kids will eat good food, even though it may take several tries.

“Taste evolves,” she said.  “You have to just repeat, repeat, repeat.”

It also helps to hide nutritious ingredients in some other creation. Usually Fernando does this with a good blender, which she describes as her “favorite kitchen tool.”

For example, on her website, she offers recipes for eggs and cupcakes, both of which have spinach in them.  Her chocolate cake has pureed beets. Her smoothies have kale and carrots. Her pancakes, pumpkin muffins, strawberry cake, barbecue chicken and fish sticks feature flax and wheat germ.

“We have over the years talked about sneaking in goodness, trying to figure out where we can slide some  stuff in here and there,” said Kara Palladino, a friend and neighbor. “She took off with it.”

(For more on Dr. Fernando and her Doctor Yum website, see the story in tomorrow‘s paper. Her site is here. She works with Dr. Pamela Mancini at PL Pediatrics. Their website is here.)