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It’s back to school for kids across the country. Packing lunches is budget-friendly, and gives you total control of the nutrition that your child gets in the middle of the day. Be creative, too, so that lunch is enjoyed week after week.
Nutrition FIRST. Lunch should provide protein for growth, fluids for hydration, starch for energy, fruits & veggies for vitamins & minerals.
PROTEIN: nuts & nut butter, tofu cubes, reduced-fat cheese cubes or slices, cottage or ricotta cheese with fruit or veggies, tuna or salmon salad, hummus, black & kidney bean salad, leftover meatloaf or grilled chicken in a sandwich, hard cooked eggs, and leftover stew or chili.
FLUIDS: skim or 1% milk, water, vegetable or 100% fruit juice. The 2010 American Heart Association guidelines suggest no more than ½ -1 cup of 100% fruit juice per day for kids.
STARCHES: whole-grain bread, roll, tortilla, pita pocket or crackers; homemade muffins such as banana or carrot; potato or pasta salad, couscous or leftover rice stir fry.
FRUITS & VEGGIES: assorted raw veggies (peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots & celery sticks, broccoli florets), avocado slices, coleslaw, 3-bean salad, veggie soup, fresh fruit in season, no- sugar-added fruit cups or fruit salad.
Pediatric overweight and obesity is a huge problem in the U.S. This excess weight puts kids at increased risk for chronic diseases at young ages. A 10-year National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of >4,300 children and >5,300 adolescents showed that that breakfast skippers had more weight problems. (Source: Jl Amer Dietetic Assoc., June 2010)
Breakfast Skippers took in less of vitamins (Vitamins A, E, C, and B-6), minerals (iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium), and fiber.
Breakfast Skippers ate fewer fruits & veggies, and more sugar and fat!
Breakfast skippers were often adolescent girls or kids who were rushed in the morning – they didn’t fit in breakfast.
This survey leaves us with some good lessons.
Make breakfast happen:
On the weekend make fruit or veggie quick breads or muffins for an easy reheat on a school day. Add a glass of reduced-fat milk and a piece of fruit, and you have a balanced breakfast. Here is a picture of banana bread made with oats, nonfat buttermilk, egg whites and LOTS of mashed bananas. Delicious!!!
A large study, looking at the medical records of over 690,000 children between the ages of 2 and 19, found yet another health consequence of obesity. Carrying this extra weight in the mid-section increased risk of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux.
GERD causes stomach acid to go back UP the esophagus. This can irritate and inflame the delicate lining of the esophagus. There can be a burning feeling in the chest.
Untreated GERD is not good! With the stomach acid constantly irritating the esophagus, over time the cells react and change. They may become cancerous. This condition is called Barrett’s esophagus.
Pediatric researchers are concerned about GERD starting in young obese children because this means they potentially have a longer time that their esophagus is exposed to the destructive stomach acid and bile. Will we see esophageal cancer at younger ages – we don’t know.
The bottom line: we need to help our young people get to and maintain a lean weight with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
GERD Treatment Tips:
These baked stuffed potatoes are low in fat, high in protein with the addition of Greek yogurt to the potato filling. Top with grated veggies for added fiber. Make extras to keep in the refrig for an easy-to-warm-up snack.
Have you been trying to save some money in the grocery store? Join the crowd. Consider having several vegetarian meals each week. The meats that you buy eat up a big part of your food dollars.
Inexpensive animal-based protein: eggs & egg whites and reduced-fat dairy (milk, cheeses & yogurt).
Non-animal protein replacements: combine two together to have the essential amino acids: soy (milk, cheese, tofu, veggie burgers), nuts & nut butters, seeds, quinoa, rice, barley, pasta and dried beans & peas.
Yummy vegetarian examples that provide the essential amino acids:
Quinoa is a rice-like grain from South America that provides ALL essential amino acids. It is versatile and can be cooked in water or other flavorful liquids like vegetable broth. All supermarkets carry quinoa in either the rice section or the health-food section.
Bring your kitchen to the out-of-doors this summer. You will have the opportunity to lighten up most of your dishes and save hundreds of calories: Read the rest of this entry…
June is Dairy Month. That makes me think of milk, yogurt and cheeses; all of these beverages and foods belong in the Dairy Group of the Food Pyramid. And they are jam-packed with good nutrition. Recommended serving: 3 or more from the Dairy Group per day: Read the rest of this entry…
Memorial Day Weekend is this weekend and that’s unofficially the kick-off for the grilling and picnic season. But the summertime months bring us hotter days. The number of food borne illnesses increases in June, July and August. Read the rest of this entry…
The American Academy of Pediatrics is concerned about unhealthy kids and overweight kids and kids with adult diseases, like type 2 diabetes. New healthy living guidelines have been issued from this organization. Here are their tips to parents: Read the rest of this entry…
The rates are staggering! One in 5 teens have abnormal cholesterol levels – either low HDL-cholesterol, high LDL-cholesterol and/or high triglycerides. And some levels are high enough to warrant a medication discussion! Why so high? Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who reported these stats, feel the obesity problem is a major factor. Read the rest of this entry…
Vitamin D is where it’s at in the nutrition world. It seems to offer protection from just about every chronic disease. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have discovered that teens with low blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood glucose levels. Read the rest of this entry…