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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category


Soda in a sippy cup? NOPE! But researchers say that when a baby’s bottle or cup is filled with juice — even the 100 percent, all-natural, no-sugar-added stuff — parents might as well be pouring Pepsi. Last night I was filling my nieces sippy bottles with “fresh cold” water as they like to call it (a.k.a. bottled cold water fresh out of the refrigerator)….was it a little over the top to pour super cold water in a bottle? Not really when I thought more about it.

Many people mistakenly believe that as long as you are drinking fruit juice, it’s healthy even though it’s sweet, but this is a dangerous misconception that is fueling the rising rates of weight gain, obesity, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes in the United States and other developed nations.

Consumption of sweetened beverages has been associated with the rise in childhood obesity. The USDA’s publication “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010” estimates that obesity rate in children age 6 to 11 increased from 4 percent in the early 1970s to 20 percent in 2007 to 2008. Many factors have contributed to this disturbing statistic, including beverage intake. This reminds me of many children who drink juice over soda because parents might think its healthier, but isn’t it a lot of sugar? What happen to water? What’s really better – soda or juice?

Though healthy in moderation, juice essentially is water and sugar. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of grape soda has 159 calories. The same amount of unsweetened grape juice packs 228 calories.

Quick Tips: Fruit Juice is NOT a Healthy Beverage

  • First off, most fruit drinks on the market should be more aptly named flavored sugar-water, because many contain next to no real juice.
  • If your fruit juice is actually labeled a “fruit drink,” “fruit beverage,” or “fruit cocktail,” it’s because it does not contain 100% juice.
  • In fact, according to the Discovery graphic, on average fruit drinks contain just 10% fruit juice!

Make Your Children Aware
As a parent, it’s important to talk to your kids not only about the health implications of drinking soda, but also those from drinking all sugary beverages such as fruit juice and fruit drinks.

  • Children’s exposure to TV ads for sugary drinks from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group nearly doubled from 2008 to 2010.
  • MyCokeRewards.com was the most-visited sugary drink company website with 170,000 unique youth visitors per month (42,000 of whom were young children and 129,000 were teens); Capri Sun’s website was the second-most viewed site, attracting 35,000 young children and 35,000 teens per month.
  • Twenty-one sugary drink brands had YouTube channels in 2010 with more than 229 million views by June 2011, including 158 million views for the Red Bull channel alone.
  • Coca-Cola was the most popular of all brands on Facebook, with more than 30 million fans; Red Bull and Monster ranked 5th and 15th, with more than 20 million and 11 million fans, respectively.

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So What Should Your Child Drink? Kicking your kid’s soda habit starts at home.
Instead of soda or juice, offer your children water or low-fat or non-fat milk. As children age, their calcium requirements go up, not down, so your growing child should be drinking plenty of milk, too. To help your children cut back on sugary drinks, don’t stock them at home. This will help them understand that sodas are for special occasions, not a daily treat.

4 IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT JUICE VS. SODA 

Caloric Intake
In terms of calories, soda and juice contain similar amounts. A 1-cup serving of cola contains 91 calories, whereas the same size serving of orange juice contains 122 calories. In terms of fighting childhood obesity, neither beverage offers a clear advantage. Combined with reduced physical activity, consumption of either beverage sets up the scenario for weight gain.

Nutrient Intake
Juice offers a clear nutritional advantage over soda. A 1-cup serving of cola contains virtually no vitamins and only trace amounts of calcium, iron or phosphorus. A 1-cup serving of orange juice, on the other hand, provides over 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. It is also a good dietary source of potassium and vitamin A. Cola has 22 g of total sugar to orange juice’s 20 g. By consuming juice rather than soda, you have the satisfaction that you have chosen the healthier beverage.

Caffeine Content
One concern you may have with soda is its caffeine content. The actual amount varies with the type of soda. A cup of cola contains about 64 mg of caffeine. By contrast, coffee contains 60 to 150 mg. Consumption of caffeine can cause headaches and dizziness in some individuals. The risk also exists for caffeine toxicity. A study from University of Miami researchers, published in the March 2011 issue of “Pediatrics,” explains that high consumption of caffeine in children with existing health conditions such as diabetes or behavioral disorders can lead to adverse effects.

Obesity
Soft drink consumption has increased 300 percent from 1988 to 2008. A study from Wayne State University School of Nursing in Michigan, published in the February 2008 issue of the “Journal of the School of Nursing,” reports that between 56 to 85 percent of school-aged children consume at least one soft drink daily. The study also points out that for every soft drink consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times. Juice doesn’t fare much better. A study from the University of California, Davis, published in the November 2002 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” found that fructose consumption was also associated with weight gain and insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. These findings suggest that consumption of all sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited in children.

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With the holidays here – your kids are probably eating cake, sugar cookies, cupcakes, and tons of candy (as we all like to do as kids)…and it can be tough as a parent to get your children to actually want to eat healthy when they eat more junk food during the holidays. Letting kids eat unhealthy food increases the chances they will become overweight and eat a poor diet as adults. Kids who eat a healthy diet are more likely to get enough nutrients, have more energy, build strong bones and muscles and maintain a healthy weight. Parents can encourage their children to make healthy eating choices by providing lots of healthy options, being patient and setting a good example.

Here are some tips on how to get your kiddo to eat healthy and persuade your little one not be such a picky eater!

1.  Make a schedule. Children need to eat every three to four hours: three meals, two snacks, and lots of fluids. If you plan for these, your child’s diet will be much more balanced and he’ll be less cranky, because he won’t be famished. Put a cooler in the car when you are out with your kids and keep it stocked with carrots, pretzels, yogurt, and water so we don’t have to rely on fast food.

2.  Plan dinners. If thinking about a weekly menu is too daunting, start with two or three days at a time. A good dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be balanced: whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta; a fruit or a vegetable; and a protein source like lean meat, cheese, or beans.

3.  Don’t become a short-order cook. Don’t get into the bad habit of preparing a meal for your kids and one for you and your partner. It can be exhausting. Prepare one meal for everybody and serve it family-style so the kids can pick and choose what they want. Children often mimic their parents’ behavior, so one of these days, they’ll eat most of the food you serve them.

4.  Introduce new foods slowly. Children are new-food-phobic by nature.

5.  Dip it. If your kids won’t eat vegetables, experiment with dips. One example is when your child tries your first veggie such as a carrot, dip it in ranch dressing or even hummus, salsa or some sort of yogurt-based dressing.

6.  Make mornings count. Most families don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis, and breakfast is an easy place to sneak it in. Make up batches of whole-grain pancake and waffle batter that last all week. For a batch that serves five, sift together 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tbs. sugar. When you’re ready to cook, mix in 2 Tbs. ground flax meal, 2 cups water, 3 Tbs. canola oil, 1/4 tsp. vanilla, and 2 Tbs. applesauce.

7.  Get kids cooking. If your children become involved in choosing or preparing meals, they’ll be more interested in eating what they’ve created. Take them to the store, and let them choose produce for you. If they’re old enough, allow them to cut up vegetables and mix them into a salad.

8.  Cut back on junk. Remember, you — not your kids — are in charge of the foods that enter the house. By having fewer junk foods around, you’ll force your children to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products.

9.  Allow treats. Having less healthy foods occasionally keeps them from becoming forbidden — and thus even more appealing. Even treat them to McDonald’s for lunch every so often.

10.  Have fun. The more creative the meal is, the greater the variety of foods my kids eat. We make smiley-face pancakes and give foods silly names. (Broccoli florets are “baby trees” or “dinosaur food.”) Anything mini is always a hit too. I often use cookie cutters to turn toast into hearts and stars, which the children love.

11.  Be a role model. If you’re constantly on a diet or have erratic eating habits, your children will grow up thinking that this sort of behavior is normal. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of food messages you’re sending. Trust your body to tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full, and your kids will learn to do the same.

12.  Adjust your attitude. Realize that what your kids eat over time is what matters. Having popcorn at the movies or eating an ice-cream sundae are some of life’s real pleasures. As long as you balance these times with smart food choices and physical activity, your children will be fine.

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It’s winter time, its hard to get up and you are rushed to get your family ready and have a good breakfast on the table. Sound familiar? Chances are your preschooler has eaten powder doughnuts, Lucky Charms, or even popcorn for breakfast. Getting your kiddo to eat oatmeal or scrambled eggs isn’t always easy, especially when you’re in a hurry to get your child to school. But your child does want to eat — and whatever he or she puts in his or her mouth depends on the options you give your kid. By the time they start their day, most preschoolers have gone at least 12 hours without food. Here, quick and easy ideas aplenty that make eating a nutritious and power-packed breakfast fun.

Fruity Oatmeal
Good news, moms! Instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain and has all the health benefits of steel-cut and old-fashioned varieties — it’s high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and also lowers the risk of heart disease. Make this in a jiffy: mix 1/4 cup one-minute oats or one packet instant oatmeal with bananas, raisins, or coconut flakes. Let your preschooler choose the fruits so she feels like she has control over her breakfast.

Protein-Rich Burritos
Lots of fiber combined with lots of protein is filling and can provide energy for up to four hours.  Make your kid a burrito with a whole wheat tortilla rich in fiber (at least 5 grams), organic cheese, and a soy sausage link.

Yogurt Dippers
Kids who love carrots and dip might like to dip apples or strawberries into yogurt. Cut fruit into small chunks and have your child dip them into 1/4 cup plain yogurt. Serve with a side of protein, like a small handful of nuts or a couple of slices of turkey bacon.

Jazzed-Up Pizza
There are endless spin-offs of traditional pizza. Spread 2 tablespoons fruit jam or nut butter on a small whole wheat pita (leaving a “crust” at the edges), and top with sliced bananas or strawberries. Or use a base of half a whole-grain English muffin, and add cream cheese and almond slices. Another idea: top a pancake with scrambled eggs and slices of chicken sausage.


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Veggie Burger

I was speaking with my friend Dani last night and she used to love meat and especially hearty dishes like ribs. I asked her why she became a vegetarian, she did so for health purposes – many families these days are vegetarian families and there are many great ways to make sure your kiddos get the nutrients they need.

“I can’t eat that, I’m a vegetarian!”

You may have heard kids in the cafeteria or at a birthday party say this as they passed on a burger and grabbed a slice of cheese pizza instead. Did you wonder what a vegetarian is exactly? A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t eat meat, and mostly eats foods that come from plants, like grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Did you know…there are many types of vegetarians?
Here are some of them:

  • semi-vegetarian: eats meat, but only fish and chicken
  • pesci-vegetarian: eats only fish
  • lacto-ovo vegetarian: eats no meat, but will eat dairy products (milk, butter, cheese) and eggs
  • ovo-vegetarian: eats eggs, but no meat or dairy products
  • vegan (say: vee-gun): eats no meat or animal products

Can Kids Be Vegetarians?
Kids can be vegetarians, but they can’t do it alone. They need grown-ups to help them make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need. Eating a nutritious diet helps kids develop and grow as they should. Meat is a good source of protein, iron, and other important nutrients. So someone who’s a vegetarian needs to take care to replace those nutrients with non-meat foods.


CLASSIC VEGGIE BURGER RECIPE

These easy meatless burgers are prepared with bulgur wheat, canned pinto beans, grated carrots, and Swiss cheese. Cook the patties in a skillet!

Serving: 4 ppl

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrots (from 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 buns
  • Sprouts, for serving
  • Avocado slices, for serving

DIRECTIONS:
1.  In a large bowl, combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water. Cover tightly and let sit until bulgur is tender, 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid, then return bulgur to bowl. In a food processor, pulse pinto beans until coarsely chopped. Add beans to bulgur, along with Swiss cheese, carrots, scallion, and egg. Season with salt and pepper; mix well.

2.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add 1/2 cup bean mixture and press lightly with a spatula to flatten. Make 3 more patties, working in batches if necessary (add more oil for second batch), and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Serve burgers on buns with sprouts and avocado slices.

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I am a personal fan of hot dogs, but I know how unhealthy they can be. I see parents every day feeding their children hot dogs because they don’t have time to cook or their child tends to be a picky eater. Each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs (that’s 818 every second!), according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. One-third of all U.S. children are overweight or obese, according to the TeensHealth web page. The main cause is overeating, with little regard to the actual nutrition offered by the food. Changing eating habits is not easily done, but minor changes in the type of food consumed can quickly reduce the amount of calorie intake each day. Eliminating the worst foods is one way to improve kids’ nutrition.

A hot dog slathered with ketchup may be your idea of a tasty meal for your kiddo, but there are very few benefits to eating this food on a regular basis. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service reports that hot dogs can be made from beef, pork, turkey, chicken or a combination of these types of meat. The meat on its own supplies some vitamins and minerals, but the other ingredients put into hot dogs cause this food to be mostly detrimental to your health and to your diet.

One of the only redeeming qualities of any type of hot dog is that they supply protein. MayoClinic.com reports that protein is important for growth and development, and also supplies energy. Between 10 and 35 percent of your daily calories should come from protein foods, and a hot dog can help you reach that recommendation. According to Livestrong.com, “A beef hot dog contains 6 g of protein, a turkey dog has 5.5 grams, a chicken hot dog supplies almost 7 grams. A pork hot dog has the most protein with 9.74 grams.”

Other positives of hot dogs? IRON

Another positive effect of eating hot dogs is that you will consume a small amount of iron. Including iron in your diet helps boost your immunity, and also enables your body to circulate sufficient amounts of oxygen.

Fat content
When thinking about feeding your children hot dogs often because it can be easy after a busy day or even just a “picky-eater child” – keep in mind that the amount of fat in most hot dogs works to cancel out the positive benefits of the protein and iron by making your meal too high in saturated fat. MayoClinic.com reports that eating large amounts of saturated fat may cause you to be at an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. According to Livestrong.com, “A pork hot dog has the most saturated fat with 6.6 g per dog. A beef hot dog has 5.9 g and a low-fat hot dog still contains 2.1 grams. Turkey dogs have 1.8 g of saturated fat and chicken hot dogs contain 1.7 grams.”

Hot dogs are high in fat and sodium and loaded with preservatives such as nitrates. The average dog has 464 calories with 32 percent of the daily fat, 15 percent of the cholesterol and 44 percent of the recommended daily sodium. This is balanced against the positive nutritional facts of 16 grams of protein and 8 percent of the daily dietary fiber. There are better alternatives for protein and fiber.

Crazy fact?
A hot dog can contain between one-quarter and one-third of the 2,300 mg of sodium you need for an entire day.

Scary fact?
Most hot dogs contain nitrates and nitrites, which are additives that help preserve the shelf life and achieve their pink color. According to Livestrong.com, “If your favorite dog contains either nitrates or nitrites you should know that they have been linked to cancer, particularly childhood cancer.” The Cancer Prevention Coalition notes that children who eat 12 or more hot dogs a month have a nine times higher risk of developing leukemia. Some brands of hot dogs do not contain nitrates and nitrites and they are better options for your health.

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I started eating sushi when I was a toddler – yes, I am half Chinese, so perhaps the concept of rice that I was accustomed to made sushi more appealing, but I do remember LOVING tuna!! Especially dousing it in soy sauce (not so healthy – ha!). Many parents are skeptical about sushi because of the mercury content in tuna and other fish, but as long as it is in moderation and from a safe/clean restaurant or from a clean grocery store that sells “sushi grade” tuna, I think you and your children are fine. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that fish and shellfish under 12 oz. per week are an important part of a healthy diet for children and pregnant or nursing women. I see sushi as a great way to incorporate a more international diet palate for your child, and also can be quite healthy!

19% of all children are classified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems as though children are always hungry, but turn their noses up at healthier food and opt for greasy (French fries / burgers / chicken tenders) or sugary foods instead. Not quite ready to give your kids raw fish? You can always use cooked food such as shrimp tempura or even making sandwiches look like sushi!

Disguising healthy foods by using fun ways of making nutritious snacks for children can take the focus on the ingredients and make healthy snacking an interesting part of your child’s day.

Sandwich Sushi
Sandwiches can be made nutritious with whole wheat bread and lean meat ingredients, but they might not always be attractive to children who’d rather have a peanut butter and jelly on white. Making sandwiches into sushi shapes and allowing kids to eat with chopsticks make it more fun. Make your sandwiches with ingredients that can be easily rolled, including meat and cheese. Then, flatten the sandwich and roll tightly. Slice the roll into half-inch thick pieces and offer with chopsticks.

Snack Art
Cut up a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, cheese and lean meat, into bite-sized squares, triangles and circles. Have your child wash her hands, and then set out a clean plate for her to make nutritious snack art using the shapes available. She’ll be enjoying making faces and pictures so much that she’ll hardly even notice as she pops a few pieces into her mouth for sampling. Once the picture is done, challenge her to eat everything on her plate.

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The USDA just released a week ago a document outlining new eating guidelines for Americans, including our kiddos. But just what do these guidelines mean and how can we incorporate them in our everyday eating habits? The main changes since the last update five years ago include: Reducing daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams, eating more fish (especially pregnant and breastfeeding women), and increasing physical activity.

In my opinion, the basic advice is the same. The new edge on these ideas is that the USDA is recognizing the fact that it’s very hard for people to follow that advice.

Candidly acknowledging the lack of progress, the USDA Guidelines Advisory Committee said they were aimed at, “an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet undernourished in several key nutrients.”

Lower Your Sodium
Lowering your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon) is one of the key recommendations. For people who already have hypertension, diabetes, and other illnesses, this number drops to less than 1500 mg a day.

Increase physical activity
Children ages 6-17 should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Adults ages 18-64 should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

 

Make the Switch to Fat-Free or 1% Milk
Only babies and children under 2 should be drinking whole milk. Everyone else should switch to low-fat or fat-free milk products.

Kids overwhelmingly choose flavored milk over plain, making it one of the few bright spots in the milk sales landscape, despite the otherwise seen milk sales plummet over the years as kids embraced sugary soda and sports drinks. Dairy interests are vigorously promoting flavored milk in schools through their “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk!” campaign, endorsed also by the School Nutrition Association, representing some 53,000 of the nations school food service workers.

An eight-ounce carton of strawberry milk contains nearly as much sugar, ounce-for-ounce, as Mountain Dew. Very scary right?

 

Eat More Seafood
Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat seafood at least twice a week for nutrients that play an important role in babies’ brain and eye development.

 

 

Consume More Whole Grains
At least half the grains you consume should be whole grains. Do this by replacing refined grains with whole grains.

 

Cut Down on Saturated Fats
Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. This means that we need to cut down consumption of animal products, dairy, eggs and also of processed foods (trans fats hide under the guise of hydrogenated oil in processed foods). We need to replace these with good fats like monounsaturated fatty acids (found in walnuts, pistachios, avocados and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in salmon, fish oil, safflower oil etc).

Lower Your Dietary Cholesterol Consumption
Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal and dairy products but not from fruits and vegetables. So basically this means less meat and more plants!

 

 

Reduce Added Sugars
Read nutrition labels to look for added sugars. Beware! Added sugars often “hide” behind less common monikers. Look for these varieties in your ingredient list: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.

Fight Fat
Use oils to replace solid fats like butter, tallow, shortening and margarine.

Eat More Fruit
Nearly everyone can stand to increase their fruit intake. The USDA recommends about four 1/2-cup servings of fruit a day.

Eat Your Vegetables!
Increase your intake of vegetables including leafy greens, peas, and other brightly colored veggies.

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