Posts Tagged ‘Diet’

Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

June 2, 2014

 

 

 

fruit

A well compiled list on a very real challenge courtesy of The Times:

 

1. Serve children the fruits they like, even if it is at the expense of variety. There is no reason why kids who love bananas shouldn’t have one every day. Eventually, parents can add variety by combining a favorite fruit with new ones.

2. Fruit can be eaten at any time of day as a snack, and not just as a dessert. Consider serving fruit to kids with breakfast, as an after-school snack, or even in a salad with dinner.

3. Set a good example. It is well established that children tend to imitate their parents’ behavior, particularly at mealtimes. So parents should set the example by eating plenty of fruit themselves.

4. Prepare fruit in front of children or involve them in the process. Whether it’s scooping out melon balls for fruit salad, washing berries, or coring apples, giving children a task in preparing fruit will make them more likely to enjoy eating the result.

5. Provide easy access to fruit. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table and allow kids to help themselves. For children who enjoy eating fruit, sometimes the best way to boost their intake is simply to remind them to eat it when they’re hungry.

 

Click on the link to read 6 Year Old Suspended for 4 Days Because of Cheese in his Lunchbox

Click on the link to read Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Is “Bubble Wrapping” Your Child Really Worthwhile?

May 25, 2014

 

bubble

We all do it. Too afraid to risk a serious injury to your precious child we say, “Steer clear of that” or “Get off that ledge”. Nobody wants to see their child break a bone or scream in pain.

As a stay-at-home father I take my son to a park almost ever single day. The idea is to let him run around and enjoy the fresh air. But let’s face it, the average park is a great disappointment.  The equipment is designed to seem fun, but when tested is severely underwhelming. The slides are slow, the climbing apparatus is hardly off the ground and the greatest element of danger is being accidentally bumped into by another eager child. Park designers are simply afraid of potential lawsuits, so they design a layout high on colour and style and low on substance.

I read the following opinion piece in an online Canadian newspaper. I couldn’t agree with it more:

 

Imagine spending childhood outdoors, running, playing and even, heaven forbid, getting dirty.

Not only does it sound like a lot more fun than a play date booked three weeks in advance at an indoor gym under the protective watch of parents, but it’s also healthier.

And, unfortunately, it’s something that fewer and fewer Canadian children get to do, putting them at risk of growing overweight or just out of shape and, frankly, unadventurous.

As the Star’s Diana Zlomislic reported this past week, the first global report card to measure childhood physical activity gives Canadian youngsters an embarrassing D-minus score, behind top-rated countries like New Zealand, Mexico and even benighted Mozambique.

Leave aside the pointless comparison with a desperately poor country where kids do physical domestic chores like collecting water and walk to school as a matter of course. Ranked beside comparable countries, Canada still looks bad. Parents here may spend significant sums on structured activities but only 4 per cent of young people aged 12 to 17 get an hour of high cardio activity each day, according to a report by Active Healthy Kids Canada.

While it’s long been known that children are devoted to video games and parents stuck in gridlock run out of time to go outside with their kids and play, it’s fair to suggest that a little extra effort is needed.

Release those youngsters from the parental “bubblewrap,” as Healthy Kids’ researchers rightly suggest, and give them the freedom to play. Outdoor, unstructured play can provide kids with better exercise than the expensive programming.

As Healthy Kids’ chief scientific officer Dr. Mark Tremblay says, “We need to stop treating physical activity like a vitamin, something you take once a day.”

 

Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

January 9, 2014

 

tony

Courtesy of Charity Curley Mathews:

 

1. Everyone (over the age of 2) eats the same meal. No special requests, no substitutes for anyone who has all of her teeth. I do try to be fair (and stack the deck in favor of success) by adding a couple of choices and also paying attention to each person’s favorite ingredients so there’s always something for everyone in each meal.

2. Add spinach to everything. Eggs, brownies, I’ll make anything “Florentine.” It’s not sneaky, because I tell the kids it’s going in. I’m just looking for new angles for getting more of the good stuff into those tiny bodies. Ditto for wheat germ, flaxseed and chia seeds. Also, we eat whole wheat everything: pasta, bread, pitas. The kids don’t know any different and it’s so much better for them.

3. Make it fun. Inspired by French Kids Eat Everything, we have tons of pretty little plates and bowls, special spoons and sometimes splurge on fancy paper napkins. There are parfaits and tea parties regularly. My goal is to make mealtimes enjoyable so the kids associate eating real food with pleasure. It’s working.

4. Start with small portions. I give the kids only a bite or two of each thing and whoever wants more, gets more. This helps kids figure out when they’re actually full rather than me coaxing them into “just one more bite” or worse, eating until their plates are empty from here on out.

5. Serve new foods with flair. We often use the fancy little bowls for new foods: I give the kids one bite in a special dish. Then I use an idea from the brilliant new book, It’s Not About the Broccoli. The kids become critics and give a thumbs up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down. And if they give a thumbs down verdict, I’ll say, “That’s OK. You can try it again another time and maybe you’ll like it better then.” Planting the seed…

6. We cook all the time. Since I only work part-time, this works for us but any family could create a cooking culture by doing weekly dinners, big weekend breakfasts and so on. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day; the kids see me doing it and right there they’re learning a lesson that real food is a priority for our family. Plus, it’s fun to let them help and that’s another lesson. My goal is for each person to have a dozen dishes they can make before they leave this house. We’ve got a while, which we’ll probably need…

7. The table is a stress-free zone. Toddlers dumping their plates notwithstanding, the dinner table isn’t stressful because we’re not battling the kids over who eats what. The food is there and manners are encouraged but no one is yelling, or prodding. We’re either sitting, eating or talking. Sometimes singing. If this isn’t possible, whoever is having a hard time will be excused along with mom or dad and welcome to return when he or she is feeling more cooperative.

8. Homemade is better than processed. Especially when it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to either give the kids real food — sliced cucumbers, dried cranberries, chunks of cheese — or make our own versions of crackers, fruit leather, DIY “Nutrigrain” bars and so on. Every time you can make something in your own kitchen, it’ll be fresher, purer and almost always healthier.

9. Two snacks, maximum. Because little bodies burn through their calories in the day, I like to give a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack to avoid meltdowns. But constant eating is a big problem these days and I don’t want the kids to learn that habit. In fact, for the afternoon snack I like to stick to fruit and it can be as simple as apple slices or as sweet as bananas and strawberries on a skewer.

10. The kids drink water and milk, period. Once juice and soda are off the table (literally and figuratively), it’s not even something to fight about. Our kids have two choices for drinks, they like both of them and best of all — they’re both healthy options.

Food is such a huge part of our lives that I can’t help thinking about it, learning about it, and yep, writing about it. It’s bigger than just our family, though. Food has huge implications for health, happiness, even our country’s financial well being. With obesity declared an “epidemic,” diabetes affecting more Americans than ever and the first ever generation of Americans to have shorter lifespans than their parents, Michael Pollan said “cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health.” I would add it’s one of the most important things that we can teach our kids.

 

 

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

 

6 Tips for Kids Who Worry Too Much

January 8, 2014

 

worry

 

Courtesy of psychologist Daniel B. Peters, Ph.D.:

1. Make a worry list.
Have your child make a list of all his or her worries and fears, both small and large. Just the act of recognizing and writing down worries can sometimes make the scary emotions seem less intimidating for your child. This allows you to identify which worries and fears you want to work on with your child, tackling one by one together.

2. Practice thinking strategies.
Help your children convert their worries into reassurances by teaching them new thinking strategies. For example, if their consistent worry is “I am afraid my mom won’t pick me up from school,” have them replace it with “I know my mom is coming for me because she ALWAYS does.” Together, you can say each worry and fear and come up with new sentences to combat the old. Practice these with your kids until they become habitual replacements for the old, incessant worries. This is a key skill for building resilience.

3. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep on a regular basis. Well-rested equals well-equipped mentally and physically to deal with minor daily stresses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that 3- to 5-year-olds get 11-13 hours a night, 5- to 12-year-olds get 10-11 hours per night, and teens get 9.25 hours per night (although some do fine with 8.5 hours).

4. Make good nutrition a priority.
Make sure your child gets a steady dose of protein throughout the day. Many kids experience low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar usually occurs a few hours after breakfast and it looks and feels a lot like anxiety: they feel dizzy, start sweating, feel weak, and their heart beats really fast. Staying away from caffeine and energy drinks is also recommended as they mimic the effects of adrenaline and cause people to feel anxious.

5. Get some exercise.
Exercise burns adrenaline. If it’s not already a part of your child’s daily routine, add daily exercise to your child’s plan, and let him know that not only is it good for his body, but it will help keep the Worry Monster away. Exercise can include any activities that your child enjoys such as swimming, shooting baskets, hiking, soccer, dodge ball, tennis, martial arts, jumping rope, rock climbing, bicycling, dancing, gymnastics or yoga. Anything that increases your child’s heart rate will help fight the Worry Monster.

6. Don’t underestimate distraction.
Arm your children with a little healthy distraction. Let them pick a favorite activity such as ten minutes on the computer playing a brain game, time out for reading a favorite book, watching a half hour television show or bike riding around the block — and allow them to do that activity whenever a worry attack comes on. This allows them to combat worry with pleasure and takes their mind off the often paralyzing thoughts and feelings brought on by the Worry Monster. Before you and they know it, they have been distracted from their worries.

 

Click on the link to read Since When is Trying to Sell Your Baby a “Joke”?

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Click on the link to read Schools Pick and Choose What They Implement

Click on the link to read 8 Year Old Indian Girl Divorces her 14 Year Old Husband

10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

July 2, 2013

drink

Courtesy of livescience.com:

Don’t Ban Junk Food Outright

Once kids get their first taste of crunchy, sweet or salty foods, it’s hard to get them unhooked, according to pediatric psychologist Eileen Kennedy, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Still, she recommended that parents limit the number of treats that kids are allowed to eat each day, rather than ban these foods completely. That way, kids won’t be as tempted to want what they can’t have.

Banning a specific food is also a bad idea because if the food becomes available to your child outside your home, he or she might eat it despite feeling full, Kennedy said. This can lead to a habit of overeating.

Parents should also avoid restricting desserts or other treats as punishment for bad behavior, because this can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, she said.

Encourage Them to Eat Smart at School

Look over your child’s school lunch options many schools provide a printout of each month’s lunch menu, Kennedy said. Go over each day’s meal choices with your child, and challenge him or her to identify the healthiest option.

That way, your child will be aware of all the selections they have to choose from, and will gain experience in making nutritious food decisions.

As for snacks, rather than giving your kids money for the vending machines at school , make it clear to them that they can instead save their soda or candy money and spend it on nonfood items. To encourage them to not blow their pocket change on sugary or salty treats, give them plenty of healthy snacks, such as apples, to bring to school, Kennedy recommended.

 

Avoid Buying Unhealthy Foods in Bulk

If you want to buy a treat, buy the smallest possible package of that food, instead of the economy bulk-sized packages, Kennedy said.

For example, buying a bulk pack of small, single-serving bags of cheesy popcorn is better than buying one massive, bulk-size bag of the popcorn.

And store any bulk-size snack foods out of kids’ sight and reach , Kennedy said, so that they will be less tempted to mindlessly graze on it throughout the day.

(more…)

Exercising Wont Help Overweight Children: Study

September 30, 2012

 

A recent study suggests that we forget about getting overweight children to engage in physical activity and instead focus on healthier eating.

Eating less, not forcing children to do more exercise is the key to combating the childhood obesity crisis, experts have said, as a study shows youngsters compensate by becoming more idle at other times.

A major review of research into childhood exercise programmes has found that enforcing extra activity on children does not affect how active they are overall, as they simply do less at other times of the day.

This means that extra exercise programmes will not reduce the childhood obesity crisis and policies should focus on what children eat instead, experts said.

There are no quick fixes to losing weight. Enrolling your children into an extra-curricular sporting activity may be a good start, but it is unlikely to be sufficient. Physical activity doesn’t just involve football practice, it also involves spending less time in front of a screen and more time in the fresh air. It encourage children to walk to the local shops or library instead of depending on a lift.

The key to any life changing decision is balance and common sense. A change of diet might be paramount to weight loss but other factors should not be ignored.

Click on the link to read my post School Weigh-ins Are an Insult Rather Than a Solution

Click here to read my post ‘Considered Too Obese to Keep His Kids‘.

Click on the link to read Charity Pays for Teen’s Plastic Surgery to Help Stop Bullying

Click on the link to read my post, ‘Sparing Young Children the Affliction of Body Image‘.

Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

September 18, 2012

Amber Dusick uses cartoon illustrations to provide us with a strategy that uses reverse psychology to get kids to eat healthy foods.

Click on the link to read my post on A Long School Day With No Time to Eat

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

Kids Deserve Some Credit for their Dietry Choices

September 5, 2012

 

There is a misnomer that children today eat worse today than than ever before. This is not my experience.

For starters, in my day it was unheard of for children to be drinking water of their own volition. It was always juice or soft drink. Water was for post sport hydration only. Children today happily drink water. My students are forever filling up their drink bottles. In my day drink bottles were for fitting on your bicycles for long rides in the summer time.

I only seldomly ate vegetables on their own. My vegies needed to be cooked, flavoured and magically reinvented before I would eat them. The thought of opening my lunch box and finding a container full of celery sticks was not something I wished to contemplate. Children today are only too happy to snack on carrot sticks and apple pieces. If you put a fruit and vegetable tray in front of 10-years-olds, you’d better have another tray in reserve. They would finish the contents in no time.

The key difference between then and know is exercise. I played on the street with my neighbours after school. My parents didn’t need to supervise. In those days kids were allowed to play outside without it being seen as dangerous or an example of poor parenting.

School cafeteria regulations and lunch policies can be extremely inflexible on our children. Sometimes I look at the example of our generation and wonder if we are not a bunch of hypocrites. Whilst teachers and office workers leave the premises to get a fast food option for lunch, children are left to eat food our generation would of refused to eat.

Whilst our kids are making the progress, many of us continue to indulge. Take this silly article for example:

Could you consume a giant burger comprising three beef patties, six bacon rashers, six slices of cheese and pulled pork in just 10 minutes?

This is exactly what one restaurant in London is challenging its diners to do.

At eight inches high, this gigantic burger is a real contender for the title of the UK’s tallest burger.

Weighing in with a gut-busting 3,000 calories – more than an entire daily intake of calories for a man – the burger is being sold as part of an eating challenge at the at the Red Dog Saloon in Hoxton.

To take part in the challenge, contestants in the Devastator Burge Challenge must eat the entire burger, with accompanying fries and milkshake in under ten minutes.

Those who manage to defeat the burger earn their photo on the wall of fame behind the restaurant’s bar area.

Not surprisingly, the challenge has taken down many of those who dare to take it on – just 5 per cent of people who attempted it have succeeded. Incredibly, one challenger managed to complete the entire meal in just six minutes.

There is no doubt that our children could improve their diet choices and become a lot more active. But considering the role-models we have out there, our kids are doing far better than the media has us believe.

Click on the link to read my post on A Long School Day With No Time to Eat

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

 

ADHD Diagnosis a “Convenient Out For Lazy Teachers”: Dunham

May 1, 2012

I commend for her courageous piece on the rising rates of ADD and ADHD diagnosis. Ms, Durham refuses to pull punches, raising a view I have been quite vocal about – the dubious role of teachers in the diagnosis process. Deborah suggests that teachers may be taking the lazy approach instead of the responsible one. She also raises strong arguments about the lack of research about the long-term ramifications of taking Ritalin, the contribution of diet to a child’s mental state and the lack of engagement and stimulation in school.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s possible for doctors, teachers and parents to diagnose kids with anything other than  Attention Deficit Disorder? According to a new study, the rate that kids are diagnosed continues to increase by 5.5% each year, but are there really that many more kids with ADD and ADHD? It seems like this has become a convenient “out” for many lazy teachers, doctors and parents who don’t know what to do with kids who don’t fit the “mold”.

The rates of ADHD diagnosis in the developed world increased annually by an average of 3% from 1997 to 2006 and 5.5% from 2003 to 2007 in the U.S. But researchers wanted to know–as did we–how accurate these diagnoses really are.

Led by a team of researchers at the University of Basel’s Katrin Bruchmueller, 473 child and adolescent psychotherapists and psychiatrists across Germany were surveyed on how they diagnose people with ADD or ADHD. In three out of the four cases, the described symptoms and circumstances did not fulfill ADHD diagnostic criteria. In fact, many mental health practitioners were found to base their decisions on unclear standards.

For example, male patients were more readily diagnosed when they displayed symptoms such as impulsiveness, motoric restlessness and lack of concentration–all things that can be perfectly normal when growing up. Boys were more likely to be diagnosed than girls, and on the same note, male doctors tended to diagnose ADHD more frequently than their female counterparts.

In short, what the researchers found what that ADHD is over-diagnosed because doctors rely too much on their intuition and not on a defined set of criteria.

All of this is troubling because it means that kids are the ones who are suffering as a result. Instead of taking the time to accurately diagnose them (if there is even anything at all wrong besides just being a “kid”), they are put on brain-altering drugs which is risky for anyone, especially someone who is still young and developing.

More than three million kids in the U.S. take drugs for their supposed difficulty focusing. In 30 years there has been a twentyfold increase in the consumption of these. And while medications like Ritalin may help increase concentration in the short term, not enough is known about the long-term health consequences–although some say drugs like this can stunt a child’s growth, other speculate that they can cause heart problems and even sudden death.

But is it really possible that three million kids in our country really suffer from ADD or ADHD, or has this just become a catch-all diagnosis by lazy doctors, parents and teachers?

We know that an unhealthy diet, sugar, processed foods, stress and a lack of sleep and exercise can all contribute to someone’s mental state. So, it’s entirely possible that our society has become so unhealthy that we are the ones creating these problems in our kids. And it’s not always synthetic drugs that are the answer.

The other issue that could be a major factor here is that kids are not engaged and stimulated in school enough. Taking millions of kids who all have different learning styles and trying to force them to comply and fit into one method of learning does not work. No one can possibly be expected to sit at a tiny, uncomfortable desk for eight hours a day in a classroom with florescent lights and the blinds drawn on the windows. Yet, when a child doesn’t conform, they are thought to have ADD.

Perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions and forcing our kids to swallow mind-altering drugs in order to fit our ideals of how they should behave, all of us–parents, teachers and doctors–should take more time to fully evaluate the unique learning style and personality that each child has and then alter how we interact with them accordingly. That’s not to say that everyone is lazy (because they aren’t) and there aren’t some legitimate cases of ADD (because there certainly are), but research like this points to the fact that we need to take more time and better understand how to consistently diagnose this disorder.

6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids

April 19, 2012

 

It is very difficult task to ensure that your child is eating the right foods and is not overdosing on unhealthy, preservative ridden rubbish. It can make me feel quite despondent when my daughter’s lunchbox comes back with the chopped up vegetables and apple untouched.

I appreciated reading Casey Seidenberg’s tips for helping kids have a heathy relationship with food:

1 Food, especially unhealthful food, shouldn’t be used as a reward. The common incentive used by parents “Eat your vegetables so you can have dessert” clearly communicates to children that vegetables are to be avoided and desserts are to be desired.

2 Food should not be used as a punishment either. Taking away dessert as discipline teaches kids that dessert is the prize.

3 Labeling a food as “bad” can cause children to feel guilty or bad themselves when they eat it. Instead label unhealthful foods “sometimes foods,” as they really are the foods we should eat only sometimes.

4 Unhealthful foods shouldn’t be labeled “treats” either. Wouldn’t it be great if our kids perceived a delicious ripe peach or a slice of summer watermelon as a treat?

5 A child forced to eat may not learn what it feels like to be hungry or full, or how to listen to his body. Sometimes kids are not hungry. That’s okay. Don’t then force them to eat five more bites.

6 Teaching children that a holiday or celebration is about spending time with friends, participating in a fun activity or being active together, instead of simply consuming a lot of food and drink, is an important message. When our kids are teenagers and win a sports championship, or when they are adults and receive a promotion, we hope they will understand that celebrating does not need to be focused on excessive consumption of food and drink.

So as much as I’d love to tell my children that they should never eat at McDonald’s and always refuse soda and fluorescent food products, that’s not a healthy message. And knowing most kids, it might make them more determined to get their paws on those forbidden fruits!

So what is the right message to our kids?

The right message is that certain foods nourish our bodies, make us strong and help us feel good. We should fill our bodies with those foods when we are hungry at a meal. Other foods don’t do those wonderful things for us, so we should eat them on occasion. All food should be enjoyed.

Then, if you are like me, hide your grimaced face and keep your mouth shut when they dive into those Spider-Man snacks because “sometimes foods” are absolutely okay sometimes.

Seidenberg is the co-founder of Nourish Schools, a D.C.-based nutrition education company.


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