The Four A's of Fiber: "Remember the four A’s of fiber: apples, artichokes, apricots, and avocados. "

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm Hungry!

I’m Hungry!

“I’m hungry.”
“But you just ate.”
“I’m still hungry. Can I have more? Please?”

It is against a parent’s nature to deny a child anything they really need, especially food. After all, food is essential to our survival. The food we serve our children is more than a biological necessity. It is an expression of love. So saying no to an extra helping is doubly hard: not only do we feel that we are depriving our children of something that they need to live, but we also feel that we are withholding love.

Where do we start? By eating foods that digest slowly, provide steady energy for our metabolism and satisfy our hunger for hours. Some examples are natural fruits and vegetables and whole foods, such as beans, nuts and fish. Hunger and the energy to run our metabolism are closely linked. When energy begins to fall, hunger rises so that we’ll eat and refuel. When energy is plentiful, hunger falls.

When kids eat high sugar, low nutrient foods, such as candy bars or chips, they get hungry again quicker. Satisfy your child’s hunger with nutrient dense foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber, such as apples and whole grain crackers. Keep fresh fruits and veggies cut up and ready to grab and go. If it is there they will eat it!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007

Variety for Health

The best way to get brain boosting nutrients in your diet is to eat a wide variety of foods. Look for color in your food choices to balance your plate with the variety you need to succeed. Eating the same thing everyday and limiting complete food groups will leave you ‘missing’ important brain building nutrients. Both the child who eats only carrots for lunch and then one who eats a tuna sandwich everyday are both lacking in some essential nutrients.

The Color of Foods

The red color means high in beta-carotene.
The yellow comes from anthoxanthins which protect against cell damage.
The purples have anthocyanidins which protect brain cell membranes.
The greens are high in a mix or anti-oxidants which protect all cells and their functions.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Meals to Improve IQ

This menu will help you get the brain boosting nutrients you need to learn and live well:

A scrambled egg with whole grain wheat toast
A glass of unsweetened orange juice
Red pepper or carrot soup
Cucumber sticks
Figs and sliced low fat cheese
Or apple with natural peanut butter
Water whenever possible
Brown rice with tomato sauce
Mixed salad greens with Almonds and mangos
Natural fruit juice

Friday, August 10, 2007

Flax Seed and Fish Oil

As more people become aware of the importance of fat in their diet, there has been a growing interest in the benefits of flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is high in omega-3 fat. However, the omega-3 fatty acids in flax are not the same as those in fish. Fish oil contains EPA and DHA. Flax on the other hand, contains alpha-linolenic acid, which is the ‘parent’ fatty acid to EPA and DHA. Although similar, their benefits are not the same.

Our bodies naturally convert alpha-linolenic acid quickly into EPA, and slowly into DHA. About 11g of alpha-linolenic acid is needed to produce 1 gram of DHA and EPA. However, some foods in our diet can stop this conversion process.

A diet high in trans-fatty acids can interrupt the conversion process of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA. Trans fats are found in foods such as cookies, chips, cakes, and most foods with hydrogenated oil listed on label.

The balance between omega-3(found in flax, walnuts, canola oil, wheat germ and dark green leafy vegetables) and omega-6(found in sunflower seeds, corn oil, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts) is optimal for all conversion factors and brain function.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Consistency with Caregivers Support

In the modern family, there is a strong likelihood that others will help care for our kids. A large number of children live with just one parent. Many have two working parents. About 2/3 of all mothers work outside the home. Most families with young children depend on caregivers, grandparents, or other adults for childcare. Caregivers have a big influence on a child’s eating and activity. What your caregiver believes about weight-related habits can help or hinder your child directly. During the time a caregiver is responsible for a child, (sometimes up to 10 hours a day) they have the power to influence the eating and activity behaviors in your child.

How can I approach my caregiver about what I want for my child?
The best way is to be direct and give specific instructions. “I don’t want the kids to watch too much television” is a vague statement. It is better to say, “The kids are allowed 1 hour of television during the day.” Likewise, expecting the caregiver to create and provide wholesome meals and snacks without direction generally does not work. A better approach is to provide directions about what is to be eaten and when it is to be eaten. For example, “Please give the kids a fruit snack with cheese at 3pm and make sure they always eat their food at the table.” Reinforce what you want, by writing it down.

Consistency is the key. When all work together towards the same goal, everyone benefits.
Keep open and honest dialogue with your caregiver and give direct help whenever possible.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Teens and Screens

Older children have different motivations for being active than younger ones. They have already mastered the basic physical skills, such as jumping, running, throwing and climbing. Older kids are keenly aware of competition and accomplishments. They know which kids are the fastest, strongest and best athletes. Friends more than parents, are the big motivation for older kids.

What works for older children is lots of support for their chosen activities. Driving your kids to practices, attending games or events, providing them with they need to perform are ways that show the importance you place on physical activity. Encouragement and positive reinforcement from you also motivates teens. If children feel supported in what they do, they are more likely to continue doing it.

Now, what if your older child chooses inactivity? Between TV shows, email, instant messaging, research homework, and video games, kids have too many opportunities for screen time. Several studies show that children who spend the most time in front of a screen are more likely to face weight challenges: over ½ the excess weight gain in older children is linked to too much screen time. Balance screen time with other activities. Put a limit on total daily screen time and add an hour of physical activity each day. If you child does not like sports; try enrolling him in a local recreation center or gym. Look into other group activities, like scouting. Get him a few sessions with a personal trainer, so he can learn the best way to workout on his own.