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Tips of the Week for March, 2016

Making Healthy Food Choices
03-28-2016

​​How can you ensure that your child is well nourished? Here are some guiding principles to keep in mind when planning and preparing meals for the family, based on recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Variety

Your child should consume a variety of foods from the five major food. Each food group supplies im­portant nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.

These five groups and typ­ical minimum servings are: 

  • Vegetables: 3-5 servings per day. A serving may consist of 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, 3/4 cup of vegetable juice, or 1/2 cup of other vegetables, chopped raw or cooked.
  • Fruits: 2-4 servings per day. A serving may consist of 1/2 cup of sliced fruit, 3/4 cup of fruit juice, or a medium-size whole fruit, like an apple, banana, or pear.
  • Bread, cereal, or pasta: 6-11 servings per day. Each serving should equal 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice or pasta, or 1 ounce of cereal.
  • Protein foods: 2-3 servings of 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day. A serving in this group may also consist of 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, one egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter for each ounce of lean meat.
  • Dairy products: 2-3 servings per day of 1 cup of low-fat milk or yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese.

Fiber

Fiber is a carbohydrate component of plant foods that is usually un-digestible. It is found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, cereals, brown rice, beans, seeds, and nuts.

  • In adults: Increased fiber has been linked with a reduction of chronic gastrointestinal problems, including colon cancer, irrita­ble bowel syndrome, and diverticulitis.
  • In children: Fiber's only proven benefit is its ability to ease constipation—providing bulk that can pro­mote regular frequency of bowel movements, soften the stools, and decrease the time it takes food to travel through the intestines. However, since food preferences and eating habits may be established early in life, and since high-fiber foods contain other nutrients, parents should include these foods in chil­dren's daily diets. See Kids Need Fiber: Here's Why and How.

Protein

Your child requires protein for the proper growth and functioning of his body, including building new tissues and producing antibodies that help battle in­fections. Without essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein), chil­dren would be much more susceptible to serious diseases.

Protein-rich plants—such as dried beans and peas (legumes), grains, seeds, and nuts—can be used as valuable sources of protein. Other protein-rich foods include meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. These animal prod­ucts contain high-quality protein and a full array of amino acids.

Bear in mind, however, that red meat and shellfish are not only rich in pro­tein and an important source of iron but are high in fat and cholesterol as well. Thus, your child should consume them only in moderate amounts. Select lean cuts of meat and trim the fat before cooking. Likewise, remove skin from poul­try before serving.

Fat

Humans cannot live without fats. They are a concentrated source of energy, providing essential fatty acids that are necessary for a variety of bodily processes (metabolism, blood clotting, and vitamin absorption).

However, high fat intake—particularly a diet high in saturated fats—can cause problems. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperatures and are found in fatty meats (such as beef, pork, ham, veal, and lamb) and many dairy products (whole milk, cheese, and ice cream). They can contribute to the buildup of atherosclerotic plaques and lead to coronary artery disease later in life. A diet rich in saturated fats also can increase blood cholesterol, particu­larly in people who have inherited a tendency toward high cholesterol levels

  • After age two: Children should be served foods that are lower in fat and saturated fats. Chances are that your child's favorite foods are higher in fat than is desirable. Prudent eating means relying more on low-fat, low-cholesterol foods like poultry, fish, and lean meat (broiled, baked, or roasted; not fried), soft margarine (instead of butter), low-fat dairy products, and low-saturated-fat oils from vegetables, while limiting egg consumption.

As a general guideline, fats should make up less than 30% of the calo­ries in your child's diet, with no more than about 1/3 or less of those fat calories coming from saturated fat, and the remainder from unsaturated (that is, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated) fats, which are liquid at room tem­perature and include vegetable oils like corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and olive.

Some parents find the information about various types of fat con­fusing. In general, oils and fats derived from animal origin are saturated. The simplest place to start is merely to reduce the amount of fatty foods of all types in your family's diet. See How to Reduce Fat and Cholesterol in Your Child's Diet.

Sugar

Keep your child's sugar consumption at moderate levels. Sugar has plenty of calories, but dietitians often call them empty calories because they have very little additional nutritional value. Even so, many children consume sugar in great quantities, usually at the expense of healthier foods—that is, when children drink sodas, they are usually leaving the milk in the refrigerator; when they eat a brownie, they may be overlooking the bowl of fruit, a good source of complex carbohydrates, on the kitchen table.

Salt

Table salt, or sodium chloride, may improve the taste of certain foods. How­ever, researchers have found a relationship between dietary salt and high blood pressure in some individuals and population groups.

  • High blood pres­sure afflicts about 25% of adult Americans and contributes to heart at­tacks and strokes.

The habit of using extra salt is an acquired one. Thus, as much as possible, serve your child foods low in salt. In the kitchen, minimize the amount of salt you add to food during its preparation, using herbs, spices, or lemon juice in­stead. Take the salt shaker off the dinner table, or at least limit its use by your family.

Because of the preservative properties of salt, processed foods often con­tain large amounts of it. Salt-rich foods may include processed cheese, instant puddings, canned vegetables, canned soups, hot dogs, cottage cheese, salad dressings, pickles, and potato chips and other snacks. 

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

 Last Updated

3/3/2016

Source

Committee on Nutrition (Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/nutrition/Pages/Making-Healthy-Food-Choices.aspx

 

Poison Prevention & Treatment Tips
03-22-2016

Each year, approximately 3 million people—more under the age of 5—swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some important tips to prevent and to treat exposures to poison.

How to Poison Proof Your Home:

Most poisonings occur when parents or caregivers are home but not paying attention. The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, liquid nicotine, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil. Be especially vigilant when there is a change in routine. Holidays, visits to and from grandparents’ homes, and other special events may bring greater risk of poisoning if the usual safeguards are defeated or not in place.

  • Store medicine, cleaning and laundry products, (including detergent packets) paints/varnishes and pesticides in their original packaging in locked cabinets or containers, out of sight and reach of children.
  • Safety latches that automatically lock when you close a cabinet door can help to keep children away from dangerous products, but there is always a chance the device will malfunction. The safest place to store poisonous products is somewhere a child can't reach.
  • Purchase and keep all medicines in containers with safety caps. Discard unused medication. Note that safety caps are designed to be child resistant but are not fully child proof.
  • Never refer to medicine as “candy” or another appealing name.
  • Check the label each time you give a child medicine to ensure proper dosage. For liquid medicines, use the dosing device that came with the medicine. Never use a kitchen spoon. Watch The Healthy Children Show: Giving Liquid Medicine Safely (Video)
  • If you use an e-cigarette, keep the liquid nicotine refills locked up out of children's reach and only buy refills that use child resistant packaging. Ingestion or skin exposure with just a small amount of the liquid can be fatal to a child. See.Liquid Nicotine Used in E-Cigarettes Can Kill Children
  • Never place poisonous products in food or drink containers.
  • Keep coal, wood or kerosene stoves in safe working order.
  • Maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Secure remote controls, key fobs, greeting cards, and musical children’s books. These and other devices may contain small button-cell batteries that can cause injury if ingested.

Treatment:

If your child is unconscious, not breathing, or having convulsions or seizures due to poison contact or ingestion, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If your child has come in contact with poison, and has mild or no symptoms, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222

Different types and methods of poisoning require different, immediate treatment:

  • Swallowed poison: Take the item away from the child, and have the child spit out any remaining substance. Do not make your child vomit. Do not use syrup of ipecac.
  • Swallowed battery: If your child has swallowed a button-cell battery, seek treatment in a hospital emergency department immediately.
  • Skin poison: Remove the child’s clothes and rinse the skin with lukewarm water for at least 15 minutes.
  • Eye poison: Flush the child’s eye by holding the eyelid open and pouring a steady stream of room temperature water into the inner corner for 15 minutes.
  • Poisonous fumes: Take the child outside or into fresh air immediately. If the child has stopped breathing, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and do not stop until the child breathes on his or her own, or until someone can take over.

Additional Information:

Published

3/8/2016 12:00 AM

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Tips-for-Poison-Prevention-and-Treatment.aspx

 

Choosing the Right Size Bicycle: Tips for Parents
03-16-2016

​ A bicycle of the wrong size may cause your child to lose control and be injured. Any bike must be the correct size for the child for whom it is bought. To keep your child safe, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following tips:

  • Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5.
  • Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out. The value of a properly fitting bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new bike.
  • Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to "grow into." Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
  • How to test any style of bike for proper fit:
    • Sitting on the seat with hands on the handlebar, your child must be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.
    • Straddling the center bar, your child should be able to stand with both feet flat on the ground with about a 1-inch clearance between the crotch and the bar.
    • When buying a bike with hand brakes for an older child, make sure that the child can comfortably grasp the brakes and apply sufficient pressure to stop the bike.
  • A helmet should be standard equipment. Whenever buying a bike, be sure you have a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)-approved helmet for your child. See Bicycle Helmets: What Every Parent Should Know for more information. 
  • Consider the child's coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster brakes until your child is older and more experienced.​

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org: 

Last Updated

9/1/2005

Source

TIPP: The Injury Prevention Program (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/2005)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional links including audio, please go to the following address:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx

 

Breakfast for Learning
03-07-2016

Nearly half of all American families regularly skip breakfast. Is your family one of them? When it comes to getting your children to school, a healthy breakfast is just as important as gym shoes and sharp pencils.

How Breakfast Betters Your Child

Breakfast has been associated with everything from:

  • Better memory
  • Better test scores
  • Better attention span to decreased irritability
  • Healthier body weights
  • Improved overall nutrition

Rise & Dine

It’s easy to see how breakfast has come to qualify as one of the nutritional challenges of parenthood. Whether it’s your own parental time constraints or your child’s busy schedule, getting the whole family ready to set off to child care and/or school in the morning, play dates, or any of a whole host of other common early-in-the-day commitments, breakfast is often neglected.

If the words “slow” and “leisurely” don’t exactly describe your morning routine, we’d like to suggest that you commit a little extra time and effort to protecting the nutritional integrity of your child’s morning meal.

Breakfast-Made-Easier Tips for Parents

Whether you opt for a simple breakfast or a more elaborate one, any effort to make it nutritious is better than no breakfast at all. Whether that means a glass of low-fat milk and a piece of wheat toast or an all-out feast, the following breakfast-made-easier tips will hopefully help you rise to the occasion and overcome some of the most common barriers to a healthy breakfast.

  • Schedule accordingly. While we’d like to remind you that sitting down and sharing family meals is beneficial, we’re willing to bet that sitting down to a leisurely breakfast with your kids each morning simply isn’t realistic for most of you. What is realistic, however, is making sure you carve out enough time to allow your child to eat without pressure. Especially for infants and toddlers, this includes factoring in enough time in the morning’s schedule to allow for both assisted- and self-feeding.
  • Fix breakfast before bedtime. In other words, plan ahead. As with just about all other aspects of feeding your child, a little advance planning can go a long way toward having a wider range of healthy foods on hand. Simple examples such as hard-boiling eggs ahead of time or having your child’s favorite cold cereal dished out the night before to pair with some presliced fresh fruit can mean the difference between time for a balanced breakfast and running out the door without it (or, as is often the case, with some commercially packaged and far less nutritious alternative in hand).
  • Grab-and-go breakfasts. If the reality of your schedule is such that you and your kids routinely run out the door with no time to spare in the morning, then try stocking up on a variety of nutritious foods that you can prepare and prepackage for healthier grab-and-go convenience. In addition to hard-boiled eggs, consider other fast favorites like sliced apples, homemade muffins, or a bagel with low-fat cream cheese.
  • Make sure sleep is on the menu. Applying the age-old adage, make sure your child is early enough to bed that she rises early enough to allow time for breakfast. No matter what their age, tired kids tend to be cranky, and cranky kids are far less likely to sit down for a well-balanced breakfast. Not only that, but sleep has proven itself to be a crucial ingredient in children’s overall health.
  • Broaden your horizons. You’ll certainly want to keep safety in mind when figuring out what’s age-appropriate to offer your child for breakfast, but don’t let yourself be constrained by artificially imposed labels to determine what is good to serve for a morning meal. Think protein, think fruits and vegetables, and think outside the box when it comes to expanding your breakfast horizons beyond just breakfast cereals and milk.
  • Look for child care and school support. Be sure to check out what breakfast options your child’s school or child care provider offers. With much-deserved attention now being paid to the food our children eat in out-of-home settings, you’re more likely to find balanced breakfast options on the menu, and your child may well be more receptive to eating them if all of his friends are eating alongside him.

Additional Information:

Last Updated

3/31/2014

Source

Healthy Children E-Magazine, Back to School 2012

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information including links and audio, please go to the following website:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Breakfast-for-Learning.aspx

 

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