General Information: (434) 654-7000 OR 1-800-633-6353
I guess that most everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But many kids head to school without anything in their tummies.
Why is breakfast so important? Nutrition-wise it provides
Eating breakfast helps
Kids are less likely to eat breakfast when the parents also don’t eat breakfast – or when they get up at the last minute to dash to school. You CAN make breakfast happen:
A healthy breakfast is as simple as 1-2-3:
And breakfast is the perfect time to connect with your kids about what they have going on today at school.
Nontraditional breakfast ideas:
Back to school already!! Where did summer go? And now lunches are being packed. What you pack is important, because your child needs a nutritious lunch to refuel for the afternoon activities, as well as to give them nutrients for growth and gaining height.
Lunch box protein ideas:
Lunch box starch ideas:
Lunch box essentials:
Lunch box foods are important to meet nutritional needs. But also keep food safe.
People in this country looooooove their white bread, white rice, refined cereals and white pasta – but lots of the good stuff (vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber) are stripped away during the refining process, so there’s less nutritional benefit to these foods. A new study reports on the various health benefits from eating lots of unprocessed whole grains.
In a 9-year nutrition study of 388,000+ men and women, those who had the most dietary fiber (25-30 grams/day) were 22% less likely to die than those who ate the least fiber (11-13 grams/day). Now remember, dietary fiber comes from fruits, vegetables and whole-grains – the pulp, peel, leaves, stems, etc. of plant foods.
Whole grains seemed to offer the most protection. They include: brown & wild rice, barley, quinoa… plus, whole oats, whole wheat and whole rye found in cereals, bread products, flours and pasta.
This study also found that the risk for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases was cut by as much as 59% in some folks with the highest fiber intake. Whole grains seemed to be the most important fiber source to offer protection.
Enjoy a whole-grain day! The USDA recommends 3 servings of whole grains each day. For example:
Breakfast – oatmeal or whole-grain cold cereal
Lunch- sandwich made with multi-grainbread, tortilla, bun or pita pocket
Dinner – stir fry served over wild rice-quinoa mixture.
Whole-grains! It’s as easy as 1-2-3 servings per day.
This first week of August marks World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months provides tremendous health benefits for your baby, because breast milk contains everything your baby needs – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water – in just the right proportions.
Breast milk is the perfect nutritionally-complete food for babies and it’s chock-full of antibodies that protect the baby from infections. Nursing babies are at decreased risk
Nursing moms need to eat well to produce a sufficient supply of healthy breast milk, and protein is especially important. Nursing moms should drink/eat…
Nursing moms need 500 additional calories and more than 10 cups of fluids each day to produce adequate milk for their babies. And don’t forget to keep taking those prenatal vitamins!
How many times did you eat out last week? Or pick up take-out pizza or Chinese food? Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time to prepare meals at home. Let me offer tips to make cooking at home easier. You’ll be able to save both money and calories, fat and sodium!!
Try planning your leftovers…
Think of convenience items to get your meal started…
Think breakfast for dinner…
Preparing more meals at home gives you control of the ingredients – so you consume less sodium, saturated fat and sugar. And it provides the opportunity for your children to lend a hand during meal preparation and to learn cooking techniques.
Memorial Day weekend is coming right up. Dust off the ole barbecue. Get ready to grill and cook outside. The USDA reminds us that at this time of year, foodborne illnesses are on the rise. Heat and moisture equal bacterial growth!
Food Safety – Even Outdoors! Clean hands with disposable washcloths. Wash surfaces. Wrap raw meats well so juices don’t leak. Separate raw meat from cooked – no cross-contamination wanted. Use a new set of tongs and clean serving platter for cooked meat.
Cook meats to safe temps: red meat to internal temp of 160 F; poultry to internal temp of 165 F. Don’t pre-cook meats earlier in the day.
Chill Out! Use insulated coolers with ice packs/ice. Have food chilled before storing in coolers. Keep drinks in separate cooler for frequent opening. Coolers stay in the shade or under the picnic table- out of the sun!
Picnic leftovers? They can’t be left in the warm outdoor temps for more than 1 hour. Further information at www.usda.gov.
Losing weight can be challenging – but keeping the weight off can be even more difficult, especially when it comes to children. Researchers have found that educating the parents of obese children is critical to their child’s weight loss, and then maintaining a healthy weight.
In a recent study on childhood obesity (February issue of Pediatrics), the parents were encouraged to be good role models for their children. They learned healthy lifestyle habits, including reading nutrition labels to select healthy foods and understand portion sizes. They were also taught how to set limits with TV time and computer/video game use.
Obese children whose parents attended lifestyle education classes for six months experienced a 10% drop in BMI, as well as a reduction in waist circumference. AND they kept the weight off for the entire length of the study (18 months).
EXERCISE: The parents of obese children were taught how to plan more active family activities such as going for hikes or riding bikes together.
DIET: At mealtimes, the parents served more fruits, vegetables and reduced-fat dairy products – and FEWER sweetened beverages, such as soda.
This recent study confirms that the most successful way to fight childhood obesity is by taking the family approach. Raising healthy children begins in the home with parents serving as good role models.
What are you doing to share healthy habits with your children?
The Super Bowl is next Sunday, and although my favorite team will not be playing, I still plan to watch what will hopefully be a great game… Perhaps this week you and your family can decide on your Super Bowl menu, and then look over the recipes to see if they can be a bit healthier. It is very easy to make substitute a few ingredients for a lighter version – saving calories, sodium and fat!
For your favorite Super Bowl dip, start with fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream, cream cheese or Greek yogurt rather than the higher-fat versions. Add texture with chopped green or red onions and roasted peppers. Add flavor with fresh parsley, cilantro or basil.
Along side your favorite Super Bowl dip, make sure you have plenty of healthy dippers. Raw veggies are a favorite in my family: cherry tomatoes, green beans, zucchini strips, cucumber slices, bell pepper chunks and mushrooms. You could also use baked corn or potato chips, whole-grain crackers (such as Triscuits) or pieces of whole wheat pita bread.
Looking for something a bit more substantial on your Super Bowl menu? Try steamed spicy shrimp, mini turkey meatballs or mini whole-grain subs stuffed with marinated veggies or chicken salad. End the night with a colorful fresh fruit platter with cinnamon-yogurt dip.
Recipe substitutions can save you calories – and they add up quickly after a nighttime of munching! For example:
Thinking of a sweet ending to the Super Bowl evening? Try some delicious, chocolate cookies with a hint of mint frosting. The ingredients include no-trans-fat margarine, egg substitutes, elimination of salt, brown-sugar-substitute blend… full recipe at www.marthajefferson.org; click on Healthy Bites with Rita Smith.
Sugar… hmm, we all would probably say that we like sugar and sugar-containing foods. But USDA research of dietary habits of Americans indicates that added sugar intake is on the rise. It is estimated that 15% of calories come from added sugar – or about 21 teaspoons ( 360 calories/day). The primary source of added sugar is sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages and energy or sorts drinks.
High added sugar intake may be associated with:
Nutrition label and ingredient lookout:
The new 2010 American Heart Association Added Sugar Guidelines:
It will be pretty much impossible to completely eliminate added sugars – you will have to be very vigilant with looking at the nutrition and ingredients labels on food products.
Check out the sugar content – it will be listed in grams. Try to keep foods to 5 grams of added sugar or less per serving. For example, a serving of Raisin Bran has 17 grams of sugar but a serving of Cheerios has only 1 grams of sugar. What a difference!!
Do not worry about the natural sugars in fruits, milk, plain yogurt and certain vegetables (carrots and beets). These are very healthy foods that contain loads of good nutrition.
Tough health news to receive as we head closer to 2011: The results of the Virginia Childhood Obesity Survey of 2,500 youth, commissioned by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, have found that 1 out of every 5 kids between the ages of 10 and 17 are either obese or overweight. This should be a wake-up call to all parents about their own health habits and those that they are helping to develop in their children.
Stats about childhood obesity in Virginia:
These results should shake us all into action, but especially Virginia parents. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., behind smoking. And here in Virginia more than 60% of the adults are either overweight and obese.
We cannot take childhood obesity lightly. More young people are developing what traditionally were adult problems: type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. All reversible with a leaner weight.
Be sure to focus on veggies when serving family meals. Toss any fresh veggies with olive oil and herbs. Bake in hot 425-degree oven for just 6-10 minutes or until crisp tender. This dish includes fresh cauliflower.