Posts Tagged ‘ healthy eating ’

Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Mobile Apps Make Reading Fun for Children With Dyslexia, Occupational Therapist Says
Mobile apps and daily visual activities can encourage children with dyslexia to participate in reading exercises, says Lenin Grajo Ed.M., instructor of occupational science and occupational therapy at Saint Louis University. (via ScienceDaily)

Acetaminophen in Infancy Again Tied to Asthma, Study Suggests
Babies given acetaminophen for fevers and aches may have a heightened risk of asthma symptoms in their preschool years, according to a Danish study. (via Fox News)

Dance Intervention Improves Self-Rated Health of Girls With Internalizing Problems
A dance intervention program improved the self-rated health of Swedish girls with internalizing problems, such as stress and psychosomatic symptoms, according to a new study. (via ScienceDaily)

CPS ‘Healthy Snack And Beverage’ Proposal Could Ban Gatorade, Whole Milk, Sugary Drinks
Chicago Public Schools this week could move to ban the sale of a swath of snacks and drinks deemed unhealthy as part of its broader “Healthy CPS” initiative. (via Huffington Post)

Kansas Board Of Education To Discuss Role Of Cursive Writing In School Curricula At Tuesday Meeting
The Kansas State Board of Education will discuss the role of cursive handwriting in school curricula during its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Wichita Eagle reports. (via Huffington Post)

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Fewer U.S. Kids Dying of Diabetes
According to federal health officials, the 61% decrease of kids dying of diabetes is due to better treatment and increased awareness. (via HealthDay)

Study Finds Healthy Snacks Still Limited in Some U.S. Schools
U.S. school children searching for a healthy snack at school may find a bag of potato chips is much easier to come by, a new report says. (via Reuters)

A Little Exercise May Help Kids with ADHD Focus
Twenty minutes of exercise may help kids with ADHD settle in to read or solve a math problem, new research suggests. (via Fox News)

Parents’ Anxiety Can Trickle Down to Kids
A new study suggests children are at a higher risk of developing anxiety if a parent has a social anxiety disorder. (via PsychCentral)

Church-Going Teens Go Further With School
Sociologists have found that religiously-affiliated youth are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school than their unaffiliated peers, and 70 percent more likely to enroll in college. (via ScienceDaily)

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How To Get Kids To Eat Veggies

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Jamie DeenI recently was lucky enough to eat lunch with Jamie Deen of The Food Network. The event was sponsored by Hidden Valley Original Ranch, and was promoting healthy eating for children. Deen’s mom is Paula Deen, whose recipes are certainly known for being delicious—but not necessarily for being healthy. Jamie, however, is the father of two boys, ages 6 and 17 months, so he has made it his mission to make sure they eat nutritious foods every day.

Here are some of his tips for parents on getting kids to eat those veggies and other healthy foods:

1. Get them eating healthy foods right away. “I think it’s important that you start them off when they’re young,” Deen says. “That’s really the key.” He and his wife bought a baby food maker and use it with fresh fruit and vegetables like butternut squash. Then, they’ll put some of the mix into an ice cube tray and freeze them, so they can pop them out later and feed to Matthew, his youngest son. “He’s eating different tastes and different textures at 17 months and that opens up his palate,” Deen explains.

2. Lead by example. “Kids emulate what they see,” he says. “If you’re eating healthy, it’s part of their life and that’s just what they eat. That’s what I cook, that’s what’s at the table, and that’s what we eat.”

3. Let kids get involved with meal preparation. “If my older son touches the food in the production stage, the more he’s likely to eat it and take ownership of it,” Deen explains. “He’s like, ‘Oh, I made this and this is mine.’” Deen and his wife encourage him to decorate his fish with zest or help his mom make fruit smoothies.

4. Pack a lunch. Deen makes sure to include a simple sandwich like peanut butter and banana or peanut butter and jelly, along with a fruit cup and pretzels.

5. Find new options, if necessary. If your child really cannot stand one particular food, look around and see if you can find a substitute. “Or, use a little low fat ranch dip and that helps mask some of the bitterness for the kids,” Deen suggests. “If that’s the trick you use to get your kids to eat more fresh vegetables, then that’s a good option too.”

Photo courtesy of Hidden Valley

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Alison Sweeney Takes “One Giant Pledge” to Eat More Veggies

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

On October 2, actress and The Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney joined Green Giant in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal to take a pledge for veggies!

Sweeney promised, on behalf of her family, to eat just one more vegetable per day–and encouraged all of the young school students in attendance to do the same.

(Families can also take the pledge on Green Giant’s Facebook page.)

Parents.com had a few moments to chat with Sweeney, mom to Ben, 7, and Megan, 3, about how she helps her kids make healthy food choices.

How do you encourage your kids to eat their vegetables?

We always come up with new, different ways to be healthy, like trying different recipes. There are a lot of ways to be creative and include vegetables. There’s the French fry approach, where I let them eat green beans with their hands and sometimes we dip them in stuff.  Some veggies are great raw. My son doesn’t like bell peppers when they’re cooked, but he loves them raw.

What are some veggie meals you make that are good for kids?

I love to make a veggie stir-fry for my kids because I think it’s a great way to get tons of vegetables in a meal. People always think they need a cup of rice for every stir-fry portion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think people’s proportions get all skewed. You can do a quarter cup of rice, have mostly veggies, and add a protein. Stir-fry is also good because it can be made with whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge, so I pull out what I have in the freezer and my kids love it.

What do you make stir-fry with?

I stick to a healthy oil, like a safflower oil or something light. I do find healthier stir-fry sauces and ingredients, but as long as kids are getting their veggies, keep sauce to a minimum for just enough flavor.  A lot of the time parents end up making bad choices. When you’re tired or the kids are tired, you don’t want arguments about dinner, so kids end up getting used to eating delicious but bad-for-you food. I can’t just let kids eat chicken fingers or Pop tarts every day. My kids do eat mac ‘n’ cheese, but in smaller portions with a lot of veggies.

You mentioned your son loves bell peppers. Are there any other vegetables that are great for kids?

Carrots, snap peas, and peas. Also broccolini and broccoli. (Green Giant has a great vegetable medley that kids love.) My kids love edamame. The veggies that are hard to sell kids on are asparagus and Brussels sprouts.  My son’s teacher told me that it takes 10 tastings for someone to get used to a flavor, to know whether he likes something, so I’m still working on 10 tries for some veggies.

Do you have any tips for parents of picky eaters?

Picky eaters are a really hard thing, but you can use hunger as your ally. It’s okay to let them get a little hungry so they’re more likely to eat. Then you only offer them veggies. Kids are not going to starve. Also offer veggies as a snack when your kids get home from school, and have them prepared and ready to go in little bags. There are great reusable bags now at Pottery Barn Kids; I stuff them with carrot or bell pepper sticks and sugar snap peas.  You really have to set boundaries on what’s allowed. With my kids, we work with set rules. We have Mac ‘n’ Cheese Monday, so they get mac ‘n’ cheese only on Monday. For Taco Friday we do taco wraps. My kids love using lettuce as wraps. You just have to put the taco mix inside. Often we think kids need basic or bland foods, but it’s really not the case. I put cinnamon in my kids’ oatmeal when they were around 6-8 months old and they loved it. I don’t want them getting used to tasting really starchy, bland food. I want them to expect flavor and texture. I use agave nectar with carrots and a little rosemary, and it’s delicious and sweet. I think there is a world of options out there.

What are other things you do with your kids to promote healthy living?

I think it’s super important to let your kids know that you’re active, too. You have to practice what you preach. I’ve been super successful at explaining why I need to work out. I tell my kids, “Mommy needs to get her exercise and go to the gym.” They see me making exercise a core part of my life, so that’s going to help them down the road. We do a lot of stuff that’s active as a family, like going on hikes with our dog, flying kites, and running into the ocean. I burn a lot of calories swimming with my kids and playing baseball with my son. With my daughter, we run around and dance. We have so much fun. You can find ways to be challenged by your kids and encourage them in the process. You have to commit to it.

What’s the best or worst parenting advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I got when I had my first child was: Imagine if you were holding an 18-month-old child when you hear your other child, an infant, crying. You would have to do something, but you can’t just drop your child and run to the baby. You would have to put your kid down, give him a toy or something to do, and then go tend to your infant.  There’s no need to panic.  Just take a breath instead. So many new parents feel everything is very high-stakes, that they have to run off to the infant, but it’s good to just wonder, what if there was a sibling already? It’s okay to just take a minute, take your time.

What inspires you as a parent?

My kids’ smiles inspire me every day. When you become a parent, all your decision-making changes.  Every decision I make now is based on how it will affect my children. Sometimes it means having to discipline them or to make tough choices that will make them unhappy, but I have to do what is best for them their whole life.

For more about healthy eating and living, check out the following on Parents.com:

Image: Alison Sweeney, center, poses with stilt walker Michael Schruefer, left, and Sprout at the Green Giant event. Courtesy of Green Giant.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

IUDs, Implants Best for Birth Control, Docs Say
New guidelines from the nation’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists advice that all women, including teenagers, should look to IUDs and implants first. (via Today)

More Kids Get Nonmedical Exemptions From Vaccines
In 2011, just over 2 percent of school children were exempt from getting their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, up from about 1 percent in 2006, a new report finds. (via My Health News Daily)

Race Doesn’t Affect Injury Outcomes in Kids
White, black and Hispanic children who got seriously injured were equally likely to survive their hospital stay in a new study – despite past evidence of racial disparities. (via Fox News)

Second-hand Smoke Tied to Memory Problems
Smokers and people who regularly breath others’ cigarette fumes are worse at remembering things on their to-do lists than people with no tobacco exposure, a small study says. (via Reuters)

Wal-Mart, Humana to Offer Healthy Food Discount
Health care giant Humana, Inc. is partnering with Wal-Mart to give shoppers deals on fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy and other health products starting next month. (via ABC News)

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Fast Food Chains To Post Nutrition Info

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

America is one of the fattest nations in the world, and our kids are tipping the scales, too: one-third of American children are overweight or obese. We’ve talked about preparing nutritious meals and fun ways to get moving, but making smart choices becomes tricky when you’re on the road or crunched for time. Good news: restaurant chains are making it easier for consumers to know exactly what we’re stuffing in our mouths.

Earlier this summer, the Supreme Court voted to uphold President Obama’s health care plan, which requires all food chains with more than 20 locations to post nutrition information. Starting Monday, McDonald’s will post calorie counts at locations nationwide. Chains such as Subway and Panera are already on board, too. McDonald’s is also testing new, healthier menu items including an egg-white McMuffin on a whole grain roll. The chain now includes apple slices in Happy Meals and recently rolled out a “Favorites Under 400” campaign that spotlighted lower-calorie choices.

But will it make a difference? We asked Parents’ adviser David Ludwig, MD/PhD, Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Knowing the calorie content of a fast food meal is certainly a step in the right direction,” he says. “However, when it comes to obesity prevention and overall health, quality matters. A 100-calorie pack of junk food isn’t healthy simply because it contains only 100 calories. In addition to calorie count, consider also what’s actually in that fast food meal before placing the order.” When possible, eat fresh ingredients prepared without added fat from deep-frying. But when you do reach for fast food, use this info to make smart choices.

Share your thoughts: will knowing the nutrition information change what you order at fast-food joints?

Image: Boy with fast food via Shutterstock

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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Starts September 1

Friday, August 31st, 2012

This September marks the third annual Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, first proclaimed by the Obama administration in 2010 to highlight the alarming epidemic in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity nearly tripled in the past three decades. That means more than 23 million children and teenagers are currently affected, putting them at higher risk for such conditions as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

To kick off the month, the United States Tennis Association (USTA), in collaboration with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Let’s Move! (the program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama), will announce its youth tennis initiative at the U.S. Open this weekend. On hand to launch the initiative will be actress and tennis mom Christine Taylor, as well as fitness expert Bob Harper and Olympic gold medalists Dara Torres and Cullen Jones.

Read more about childhood obesity and healthy living on Parents.com:

Image: Stop sign reading “Stop Childhood Obesity,” via Shutterstock

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Fun, Healthy Meal Planning with LaLa Lunchbox

Monday, August 6th, 2012

LaLa Lunchbox can be just what your picky eater needs to develop a healthy lifestyle. The app, developed by mom and health-care professional Gillian Fein, is a fun way to guarantee your child’s lunch will end up in their tummy.

“As a mom of two young kids, I know that getting children to eat balanced meals is invariably a struggle for all of us at some point,” Fein says. “But when kids have a say in their meals, they feel empowered and less food is wasted and unwanted.”

LaLa Lunchbox comes with an easy-to-use functionality. The app lets each child create a lunchbox that is personalized by a cute monster avatar; he or she then drags the icon of their preferred food item in each of four categories—fruits, veggies, proteins, and snacks—into their avatar’s mouth. While the app comes with a predetermined set of food options, families can add or remove their own choices to and from the appropriate categories. Each lunchbox, or list, is complete once it contains a variety of four to six items.

Additionally, a calendar function allows the parent to designate each lunchbox to specific weeks, as there’s no doubt your kid will want to switch it up often. A task list feature even lets you check off each item after you drop it into the cart at the grocery store.

Make eating fun for your family today—the app is available for $1.99 on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

For more information, visit www.lalalunchbox.com or follow @LaLaLunchbox on Twitter.

Image: Young girl holding packed lunch in living room smiling, via Shutterstock

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