HEALTH: Transition Foods

By: Dr. Shmuel Shields

Of course, transitioning to new foods and beverages is not easy. It’s natural to want to stick with the more familiar foods that we’re used to eating. It may require a lot of experimentation and creativity until you and your family acquire tastes for different foods and adjust to healthier eating habits. This is where the tactic of transition foods comes into play.

You may be familiar with the concept of a transitional object—something that helps ease the discomfort of a major developmental change. For example, during the process of venturing toward independence from his parents, a toddler might carry around a teddy bear that serves as his “companion” until he feels more secure. Similarly, transition foods that simulate the tastes and textures of our favorite foods can help us feel more comfortable as we develop new eating habits.

Consider replacing less healthy items with some of these more nutritious substitutes: meatless burgers or veggie cutlets instead of hamburgers; soy dogs or low-fat, low sodium chicken or turkey franks instead of hot dogs; baked fries instead of french fries; brown or wild rice instead of white rice; whole-wheat, multigrain, or spelt pasta instead of white pasta; and whole-grain, high-fiber cereals instead of frosted cereals.

Here are some additional tips to help ease the transition process:

  • Use small amounts of new foods over time to help you acquire a taste for them.
  • Mix unfamiliar foods with familiar ones (such as brown rice with white rice).
  • Cut a new food into small bite-size pieces to make it seem less daunting.
  • Introduce one new fruit or vegetable each week.
  • Use favorite sauces and spreads on new foods, such as tomato sauce on steamed broccoli, chumus or techina on sliced vegetables, and mustard on baked salmon.
  • Chop, dice, shred, or puree new vegetables and add to familiar dishes or soups.
  • Use favorite foods as dips and spreads for raw vegetables and fruit—dip carrot or celery sticks into melted cheese or spread natural peanut butter onto sliced apples or bananas.

Excerpted from L’Chaim: 18 Chapters to Live By, which is now available online and at Jewish bookstores near you.  In this unique book, Dr. Shields gives clear, user-friendly guidelines for becoming healthier, stronger, and more energized while fulfilling the mitzvah to “guard your health” – based on the latest findings, Torah wisdom, and true stories. To order online, and click on Books. For more information, to schedule a book signing, or to order directly from the author, contact him at or call (718) 544-4036.  To schedule an office visit or a phone consultation, call 718-544-4036 or e-mail  Child Health Plus and most other insurance plans are accepted.  Comprehensive protocols, including supplements and meal plans, are provided for children with ADHD, ASD, and other developmental issues.  

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