Posted by: cgourley | March 29, 2010

MAKE a difference….

All people are associated with children.  You might be associated with them through work or in your family. The unique characteristic about children is that they are constantly observing everything and everyone around them. EW Just recently my niece came to stay a couple of days at our house and I had the opportunity to watch her for a few days.  I noticed that she disliked the same vegetables that her father dislikes.  Her favorite dessert was the same as her dads as well.  It was amazing to see how one person in this little 3 year-old life had such a major impact on her life.

Luckily, my brother does not smoke or drink and is just teaching her to avoid a few vegetables and eat chocolate sundaes.  Unfortunately, this is not the case in the United States. Many parents will smoke and drink right in front of their children.  Many parents do not attempt to feed their children healthy foods. If a change isn’t made the rates of obesity will continue to rise. This means more and more adults will be diagnosed with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other health problems.  A need for change is necessary. Change will only be made if everyone commits to make a difference in the children we associate with. Whether it be a brother, sister, cousin, son, daughter or neighbor be that person who educates them on the importance of eating healthy foods. Here is a great site of parents who shared thoughts on how to affect children positivity. Children

Posted by: cgourley | March 23, 2010

Food-Smart Children

Creating a nutritional home is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the health of your child. To start, make smart food      choices, and help your child develop a positive relationship with healthy food. Your children will learn their food smarts from your example.

Here are the top 10 tips for getting children to eat healthy food, offered by Melinda Sothern, PhD, co-author of Trim Kids and director of the childhood obesity prevention laboratory at Louisiana State University:

  1. Do not restrict food. Restricting food increases the risk your child may develop eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia later in life. It can also have a negative effect on growth and development.
  2. Keep healthy food at hand. Children will eat what’s readily available. Keep fruit in a bowl on the counter, not buried in the crisper section of your fridge. And have an apple for your own snack. “Your actions scream louder than anything you will ever tell them,” says Sothern. Remember, your child can only choose foods that you stock in the house.
  3. Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.” Instead, tie foods to the things your child cares about, such as sports or appearance. Let your child know that lean protein such as turkey and calcium in dairy products give strength to their sports performance. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables add luster to skin and hair.
  4. Praise healthy choices. Give your children a proud smile and tell them how smart they are when they choose healthy foods.
  5. Don’t nag about unhealthy choices. When children choose unhealthy food, ignore it. Or if your child always wants fatty, fried food, redirect the choice. You might try roasting potato sticks in the oven (tossed in just a bit of oil) instead of buying french fries. Or, if your child wants candy, you might make fresh strawberries dipped in a little chocolate sauce. Too busy? Then keep naturally sweet dried fruit at home for quick snacks.
  6. Never use food as a reward. This could create weight problems in later life. Instead, reward your children with something physical and fun — perhaps a trip to the park or a quick game of catch.
  7. Sit down to family dinners at night. If this isn’t a tradition in your home, it should be. Research shows that children who eat dinners at the table with their parents have better nutrition and are less likely to get in serious trouble as teenagers. Start with one night a week, and then work up to three or four, to gradually build the habit.
  8. Prepare plates in the kitchen. There you can put healthy portions of each item on everyone’s dinner plate. Your children will learn to recognize correct portion sizes. And you may find your slacks fit better as well!
  9. Give the kids some control. Ask your children to take three bites of all the foods on their plate and give it a grade, such as A, B, C, D, or F. When healthy foods – especially certain vegetables — get high marks, serve them more often. Offer the items your children don’t like less frequently. This lets your children participate in decision making. After all, dining is a family affair.
  10. Consult your pediatrician. Always talk with your child’s doctor before putting your child on a diet, trying to help your child gain weight, or making any significant changes in the type of foods your child eats. Never diagnose your child as too heavy, or too thin, by yourself. FSC

Education will always be the key to success when dealing with children. If they know how to make good choices then they will eventually make good choices. SQ

Posted by: cgourley | March 23, 2010

Maintaining Body Weight….

A child’s weight often times fluctuates up and down.  When a child’s weight goes up and down as a child, then it is bound to increase and decrease as an adult. During colder parts of the year children generally eat unhealthier foods and receive less exercise.  This bad nutrition and low activity causes their weight to go up.  When the sun it out and the weather is nice mothers tend to make better food and there are more opportunities for exercise. EE

The CDC recommended the following, “If your goal is to prevent weight gain, then you’ll want to choose foods that supply you with the appropriate number of calories to maintain your weight. This number varies from person to person. It depends on many factors, including your height, weight, age, sex, and activity level.” This means that certain months during the year cannot but full of high calorie foods and other parts low calorie foods. A healthy diet needs to be maintained throughout an entire year despite the weather.

Posted by: cgourley | March 20, 2010

The Dollar Menu.

Around every corner a new fast food restaurant is being built. The fast food industry is always growing and cauing more and more people to eat unhealthy foods. Most of these restaurants are being built in communities that have a low income. Since fast food is cheaper than healthy foods, poverty stricken families are being forced to eat out. A mother can buy a small fry and double cheeseburger for 2 dollars. This is becoming a frequent option for families around the country. FGF

When looking at fast food and obesity statistics, there are some fascinating conclusions to be drawn. Consumption of fast food by children has increased dramatically since the 1970’s – partly due to the fact that there are now upwards of 4 times as many outlets in existence. Also, massive advertising campaigns, cleverly aimed at children, obviously do a very good job and succeed in their objective. Some startling fast food and obesity statistics suggest that children now get 10% of their total energy intake from fast foods! FFO

Posted by: cgourley | March 20, 2010

Fruits and Veggies…

Fruits and vegetables are critical for a child’s health. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume a diet with only small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers. CDC

Unfortunately, most children are receiving less than one serving of fruits or vegetables per day. This is creating a major lack of important nutrients and vitamins. Almost all children dislike fruits and vegetables. Parents need to be creative when serving fruits in vegetables to their children. For example, mix the fruit in with yogurt or serve vegetables with foods that the child enjoys. Also be sure and remember that a majority of the nutrients come from the peel of the fruit or vegetable so be sure and teach your children to eat the entire thing. FAV

Posted by: cgourley | March 20, 2010

Foods in our Public Schools…..

Decades ago children would be sent to school with a sack lunch.  These lunches included a small sandwich, fruit, vegetables and maybe a small treat.  The lunches provided whole wheat from the bread, a small piece of meat to cover the proteins and fruits and vegetables which contributed vitamins. This balanced diet helped children maintain normal body weights and also created healthy eating habits.

Our current situation is much different from the olden days.  Now elementary children are served unhealthy processed food and pizza a couple times a week.  Junior highs and high schools have turned into food courts similar to what you find at shopping centers.  Teenagers generally eat one big frosted covered cookie, a bag of chips and a soda everyday for lunch. “Today, most schools are dominated by foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt. These items—pizza, burgers, French fries, cakes, snack foods, soda, and candy—are sold in cafeterias, vending machines, and school stores,” said Doctor Timothy D. Lytton. PE

Obviously, a need for change is very necessary. How long will our schools be full of junk food? How long will children across the nation suffer from obesity? To conclude here are a few devastating stats from the CDC regarding this current issue:

  • Less than 40% of children and adolescents in the United States meet the U.S.    dietary guidelines for saturated fat.
  • In 2007, only 21.4% of high school students reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times daily (when fried potatoes and potato chips are excluded) during the past 7 days.12
  • Only 39% of children ages 2-17 meet the USDA’s dietary recommendation for fiber (found primarily in dried beans and peas, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).13
  • Eighty-five percent of adolescent females do not consume enough calcium.3 During the last 25 years, consumption of milk, the largest source of calcium, has decreased 36% among adolescent females.14 Additionally, from 1978 to 1998, average daily soft drink consumption almost doubled among adolescent females, increasing from 6 ounces to 11 ounces, and almost tripled among adolescent males, from 7 ounces to 19 ounces.
  • Overweight and obesity, influenced by poor diet and inactivity, are significantly associated with an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, joint problems, and poor health status.6

A portion this can be prevented by communities uniting to take unhealthy foods out of our public schools.

Posted by: cgourley | March 1, 2010

What’s to eat?

Children come home from school and always ask the question what’s to eat? Some parents will have a snack ready while others will simply direct their children to pantry.  The big question here is what healthy foods should my child be eating? The answer to this question comes from the American Academy of Pediatrics when they said, “Proper nutrition begins at the supermarket with the foods you buy and continues at home as you prepare and serve meals.  Giving your child a healthy start with good eating habits promotes his or her lifelong health.  A variety of foods provides the nutrients that young children need to build strong bodies and stay healthy.” AAP

Here is a list of healthy snacks that children might enjoy:

  • Peanut Butter This versatile childhood favorite’s got plenty of protein and fiber. For a change, try making silly PB&J sandwiches: Instead of bread, use toasted mini waffles or rice cakes.
  • Sweet-Potato Chips Sweet spuds are one of the most nutritious vegetables around: They’re packed with vitamin A and are a good source of B6, C, and folate. These simple, delicious chips are a great alternative to the greasy, store-bought variety.
  • Healthy Baked Treats Your child will never guess you’re sneaking fruits or vegetables into her diet when you bake them into yummy muffins or breads. Banana bread, zucchini muffins, and carrot bars are a few of our favorites for kids. Our tasty Carrot-Cake Bars contain beta-carotene from the carrots and vitamin C from the pineapple.
  • Whole-grain cereal A bowl of enriched whole-grain cereal with milk and fruit is power-packed with vitamins, calcium, and fiber. Cheerios are a classic, but another brand we like is Barbara’s Bakery Multigrain Shredded Spoonfuls.
  • Cheese The protein in this versatile snack keeps energy levels high until dinnertime. We like to stick salt-free pretzel sticks into cubes of low-fat cheese to make “satellite snacks,” but you can also make cheese more interesting to kids by melting some on an English-muffin half, serving it with whole-wheat crackers, or cutting a face in a slice of American cheese.
  • Eggs One egg provides a 4-year-old with almost one third of her protein requirements for the day. Keep a bunch hardboiled in the fridge (they last for seven days), or scramble an egg and roll it up in a flour tortilla. Our fun, hard-cooked creation, decorated with FooDoodler food-coloring markers, makes a jazzy addition to an after-school snack pack.
  • Yogurt Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, and children love it dressed up. To keep sugar content to a minimum, buy plain yogurt and mix it with your child’s favorite fruit preserves, a pinch of colored sprinkles, or a bit of honey and some granola.
  • Quesadillas Cheesy quesadillas are a calcium-rich snack that’s got protein as well. You can mix anything with the cheese: chopped vegetables, leftover cooked chicken, or even shrimp. Try our Quesadilla Twisters, which are easy to make and fun for kids to hold. Between the folate in the corn, the lycopene in the tomato, and the iron in the spinach, this snack really packs a nutritional punch.
  • Hummus Made from pureed chickpeas, hummus is an excellent dip for kids. It’s got an appealing nutty flavor, is thick enough not to be messy, and contains folate, vitamin B6, and iron. Serve our easy-to-make hummus with cut-up vegetables, pita triangles, or salt-free crackers.
  • Pears Rich in fiber and available year-round, pears come in many delicious varieties. Pack one in your child’s lunch box, or try slicing it for an after-school snack. Or serve up equally nutritious canned pears, which is what we used for our fun Pear Pinwheels.
  • Noodles Pasta is a fabulous source of complex carbohydrates. Pick some in your child’s favorite shape, and cook up a batch to keep in the refrigerator. At snacktime, microwave a half-cup serving tossed with veggies or cooked chicken and jarred tomato sauce BS
  • Posted by: cgourley | February 20, 2010

    Lead by Example….

    A helping hand....

    Many studies have been preformed to gain information on the influence of parents on their children. A parents example is directly related to a child’s behavior. Most behaviors are built at a very young age. Therefore if children learn to eat unhealthy foods around the ages of 3-8 then most likely they will continue to eat bad food for their entire life.

    Children are like sponges because they model everything a parent does and incorporate what they see into their own lives. LS Everything from social factors, stress and self esteem are taught by a child’s parents. Parents have a huge responsibility to teach their children at a young age to make wise decisions. WIN

    Posted by: cgourley | February 15, 2010

    Childhood Obesity…

    Nutrition can lead to many health problems. When children create bad eating habits they are bound to suffer from obesity. A good portion of the United States suffers from obesity CDC. Much of the obesity is due to a lack of good nutrition. Children need to develop a good diet at a young age so they will continue this diet as they grow into adults.

    One of the best ways to combat child obesity is a better nutrition. Good nutrition starts in the homes of every family in the United Sates. Children tend to follow their parents habits. Therefore if a child’s parents eat a lot of fast food then most likely the child will also eat a lot of fast food. The best method to reduce your child’s risk of obesity it through healthier foods in the home. SCO

    Posted by: cgourley | February 13, 2010

    Not much said about Child Nutrition Act….

    Not much said about the Child Nutrition Act. Every 5 years law makers come together to create new guide lines for child nutrition. There is a main focus on school breakfast and lunch program. The law makers come together to create new guide lines for healthier foods in school. Are we really seeing healthier foods in school??CNA

    Most elementary schools have a day just for pizza. Where all children can eat two slices of pizza and a cartoon of chocolate milk. That is not healthy especially when the children are eating this type of food once a week. Children also have the option of whether or not to take vegetables. You can probably guess that most children opt not to have vegetables. There is much to be done for healthier foods in schools. NSLP