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Tips of the Week for December, 2017

How to Plan a Balanced Thanksgiving Meal for Picky Eaters
12-20-2017

​​Thanksgiving—a holiday full of elaborate food traditions—can be extra challenging for parents of picky eaters. Who wants a holiday dinner turned into a battle zone filled with whispered bargaining? Fortunately, with a little planning, you can create a balanced Thanksgiving meal the whole family will enjoy!

Here are some tips to appease picky eaters without sacrificing nutrition, straying from Thanksgiving traditions, or creating a lot of extra work.

  • Choose at least one food you know your child will like. Whether Thanksgiving will be served at your house or if you will be going to someone else's home to celebrate, make sure to offer or bring at least one food that you know your child will like. This way, your child is guaranteed to eat something during the meal; it also shows your child you care about his or her preferences when planning meals.

  • Engage your child in meal planning. Ask your child if he or she would be interested in helping you plan the Thanksgiving feast. Let him or her know you plan to offer at least one protein, a grain, a vegetable, and fruit. You can tell your child about any foods you are definitely planning to include (i.e., turkey as a protein and stuffing as a grain), but ask if he or she has ideas for the other food groups. For example, "What kind of vegetable do you think we should include? How about a fruit?"  Then, together find recipes that use those foods as ingredients. A child who helps choose a food that will be offered is much more likely to actually eat it. 

  • Engage your child in meal prep. Invite your children in the kitchen to help prepare your Thanksgiving meal. For example, ask your toddler to help clean the vegetables, or your school-aged child to help mash the potatoes, or your teenager to boil the cranberries. When kids help cook food, they often sample what they are preparing, and are more likely to eat their masterpieces later.

  • Use food bridges. Once a food is accepted, find similarly colored, flavored, or textured "food bridges" to expand the variety of foods your child will eat. For example, if your child likes pumpkin pie, try including mashed sweet potatoes on his or her Thanksgiving plate.

  • Make it look, smell, and taste delicious. Many times kids think that they won't like a food before they actually try it. By making a Thanksgiving dish look, smell, and taste delicious you up the odds that your child will try it out, like it, and come back for more. Do this by adding fragrant ingredients such a nutmeg and cinnamon to cooked apples—for example—or preparing a veggie tray with the vegetables arranged in the shape of a turkey.

  • Keep the mealtime relaxing and enjoyable. Focus on enjoying your time together celebrating this day of gratitude. Know you have prepared a balanced meal and taken many efforts to engage your children in the process—increasing the chances of there being at least one food they will like. You have done your job. Try not to worry if and what your child is eating.

Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org:

 
Last Updated
11/9/2016
Source
Section on Obesity (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, please go to the following website:  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/How-to-Plan-a-Balanced-Thanksgiving-Meal-for-Picky-Eaters.aspx



Holiday Mental Health Tips
12-12-2017

​The holidays can be a happy time of year for many people, as they gather with family and friends, exchange gifts and celebrate traditions. But the changes in family routines and extra demands on time can also cause some stress, especially for children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some tips to help your family enjoy the best of the holiday season:

  • During the busy holiday time, try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child's usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays.

  • Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parents and caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn how to handle stress better, too.

  • Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas to balance the hustle and bustle of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the holidays: Stop and pay attention to what is happening at the moment, focus your attention on one thing about it, and notice how you are feeling at the time. Withhold immediate judgment, and instead be curious about the experience.

  • Give to others by making it an annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough, encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal at your local food bank or shelter, or sing at a local nursing home. Help your child write a letter to members of the armed forces stationed abroad who can't be home with their own family during the holidays.

  • Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays. It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed.

  • Don't feel pressured to over-spend on gifts. Consider making one or two gifts. Help your child make a gift for a parent, grandparent, or other important adults and friends. Chances are, those gifts will be the most treasured ones and will teach your child many important lessons.  

  • Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are -- time to enjoy with your family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors and friends.

 

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Addtitional Information:


 

Published
11/20/2017 12:00 AM

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information please go to the following link.  https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Holiday-Mental-Health-Tips.aspx

10 Things for Parents to Know About the 2017-2018 Flu Vaccine
12-04-2017

 

 

​​By: Kathleen Berchelmann MD, FAAP

It's time to get flu shots for your family before your house is full of fevers and dripping noses. 

Here are 10 things you need to know about the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine:

1.  The flu vaccine is essential for children.

The flu virus is common and unpredictable, and it can cause serious complications and death, even in healthy children. The influenza immunization each year is the best way to protect children. 

Each year, on average, 5% to 20% of the U.S. population gets the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from complications. At least 101 children died from the flu in the 2016-2017 season, If you choose not to vaccinate your child, you not only miss the opportunnity to protect your own child but also can put others at risk.

Although influenza can be treated with antiviral medications, these drugs are less effective if not started early, can be expensive, and may have bothersome side effects. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  recommends annual influenza immunization for all people ages 6 months and older, including children and adolescents. In addition, household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children with high risk conditions and all children under the age of 5 especially should be vaccinated.

Young children, people with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, weakened immune systems, and pregnant women are at high risk for complications of influenza, such as pneumonia

About half of all Americans get vaccinated against the flu each year, including 50% of pregnant women. This number needs to get better. Ask your child's school, child care center, or sports coach, "How are we promoting the flu vaccine for these children?"

2.  Now is the time to get vaccinated.

Influenza vaccine shipments have already begun, and will continue through the fall and winter. Call your pediatrician to ask when the vaccine will be available. 

Infants and children up to 8 years of age receiving the flu shot for the first time may need two doses of the vaccine, administered four weeks apart. It is important that these children get their first dose as soon as possible to be sure they can complete both doses before the flu season begins. 

3.  This year's flu vaccine is only available as a shot. 

The inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) is given by intramuscular injection and is approved for children 6 months of age and older. Depending on the number of flu strains it contains, it is available in both trivalent (IIV3 – two A and one B virus) and quadrivalent (IIV4 – two A and two B viruses) forms. The intranasal influenza vaccine is not recommended in any setting in the US.

4.  It doesn't matter which form of the vaccine you get.

The quadrivalent influenza vaccines for the 2017-2018 season contain the same three strains as the trivalent vaccine, plus an additional B strain. Although this may offer improved protection, the AAP does not give preference for one type of flu vaccine over another. 

Please don't delay vaccination in order to wait for a specific vaccine. Influenza virus is unpredictable. What's most important is that people receive the vaccine as soon as possible. 

5.  You can't get the flu from the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are made from killed viruses. Mild symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and chills, can occur.

The side effects of the flu vaccine are mild (and nothing compared to having the flu). The most common side effects are pain and tenderness at the site of injection. Fever is also seen within 24 hours after immunization in approximately 10% to 35% of children younger than 2 years of age but rarely in older children and adults. These symptoms are usually mild and resolve on their own in a couple of days.

6.  If you catch the flu and are vaccinated, you will get a milder form of the disease.

We know that flu vaccines are about 60% effective--yes, we all wish that number were higher. The good news is that vaccinated people who get the flu usually get a mild form of the disease, according to a study. People who are not vaccinated will likely be in bed with fever and miserable and even could develop a complication. 

7.  There should be plenty of vaccine for everyone this year.

For the 2017-2018 season, manufacturers have projected that they will produce between up to 166 million doses of flu vaccine. 

8.  The influenza vaccine doesn't cause autism.

A robust body of research continues to show that the influenza vaccine is safe and is not associated with autism.

9.  The flu vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

The flu vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, but at a different place on the body. It is also important to note that children 6 months through 8 years of age may need two doses spaced one month apart to be fully protected. These children should receive their first dose as soon as the vaccine is available in their community. Live vaccines (like the MMR and chickenpox vaccines) may be given together or at least 4 weeks apart.

10.  Children with egg allergy can get the flu vaccine.

Children with an egg allergy can safely get the flu shot from their pediatrician without going to an allergy specialist. Even those with a history of severe egg allergy don't have to treat getting the flu vaccine differently than getting any other vaccine, because these people are not likely to have a reaction to the flu vaccine. 

​Additional Information & Resources:

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​About Dr. Berchelmann:

Kathleen Berchelmann, MD, FAAP, is a pediatrician at Mercy Children's Hospital, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Missouri School of Medicine, and an official spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Kathleen and her husband are raising six children.​

All information provided by HealthyChildren.org.  For additional information, please go to their website and www.HealthyChildren.org.

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