Posts for category: Pediatric Nutrition
Your child is growing by leaps and bounds, so it should go without saying that the foods they consume can provide ample energy and fuel their mind and body, or they can cause deficiencies, mood swings, sluggishness, and health problems. Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance and establishing healthy eating habits early on can greatly benefit your child for both the short-term and for the future.
With childhood obesity still being a very serious and real problem in our country, it’s never too early to start your child eating a healthy, balanced diet. It’s amazing how what you eat can either help or harm your health. Here are some tips to support good nutrition in your little one.
Don’t Forget Breakfast
While busy parents might forget to eat first thing in the morning (or turn to coffee to get that burst of energy) growing children should not skip out on breakfast. Making sure they have a hearty protein-rich breakfast will help them stay fuller longer. Greek yogurt or eggs can be a great source of protein. Couple that with whole grains and some veggies and you have the ultimate, energized breakfast.
Let Your Child Be an Active Participant
If you just tell your child what to eat all the time it’s can be far more challenging to have them eat what they should and children don’t really understand for themselves why certain foods are good for them. Getting your child actively involved in their own nutrition is a great and invaluable lesson that they will carry with them throughout life. Let them choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Plant a garden together and show them how to tend to herbs and vegetables. Make cooking together a priority and enjoy time with the family while teaching your child how to cook.
Revamp Your Diet
We know that it can be difficult to completely transition your child into a healthier lifestyle, particularly if eating habits haven’t been the best so far; however, a pediatrician can help guide you through the process to help you make simple decisions that could greatly improve your child’s diet. Simply swapping out certain unhealthy options for healthier ones might be all you need. For example, replace soda with flavored water, ice cream with yogurt, and potato chips with mixed nuts.
Sugar in Moderation
Okay, we know it’s impossible to prevent your child from ever consuming sugar (after all, what’s a birthday party without the birthday cake?); however, you should limit how much sugar your child consumes each day. Keep sodas, sports drinks, desserts and the like out of the house to prevent temptation. Sure, these treats aren’t that bad for you when consumed sparingly, but we all know the negative effect sugar has on our physical and mental health.
If you have questions about your child’s nutritional habits or their health, it’s important that you have a pediatrician that you trust to provide you with the comprehensive and understanding care you and your little one need. Turn to a pediatrician today to have all your questions and concerns addressed regarding your child’s nutrition and lifestyle.
Sometimes a sit-down meal seems impossible at times for busy families and making sure that a meal is healthy feels like an even bigger challenge. With a little organization, you can have the chance to serve healthy meals and sit down as a family once again. However, other nights you might find yourself on the go throughout the dinner hour. With help from your pediatrician, you can establish proper eating habits throughout the day.
Studies suggest that children who skip the morning meal run a greater risk of being overweight, which is why experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. By skipping breakfast, it is next to impossible for children, and adults, to make up for the nutrients lost. Healthy breakfast foods, such as milk and whole grains, provide an array of nutrients necessary for proper growth and good health. Additionally, breakfast provides a positive effect on academic performance because after about 10 hours or so without food, eating in the morning fuels the brain and body for the day ahead.
Throughout the day, it is important to snack smart. Make sure you buy healthy snacks and portion them into individual servings so that you always have a grab-and-go snack for each member of the family. A snack between meals is important to keep hunger at bay and prevent binge eating. Students also need snacks to help them concentrate and learn at school, and working adults who keep healthy snacks on hand are less likely to hit the vending machine in the afternoon.
Make Smart Restaurant Choices
Yes, there will be times when a busy family has to eat out, but doing so does not have to derail your healthy eating goals. Choose the restaurant you will go to ahead of time and use its website to look at the nutritional information for the menu items offered. This allows you to make a choice that is healthy ahead of time so you are prepared when you get there. Avoid looking at the menu again, if possible, so that you are not tempted to choose something unhealthy.
Talk to your pediatrician for more information on how you can properly plan meals for your busy family. Remember, proper eating habits help your family throughout the day.
Giving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?
Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.
Is my baby ready for solids?
As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.
- Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
- Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.
- Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.
To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.
Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.
As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.
As children grow into adolescence, their bodies require more nutrients to grow healthy and strong. But as many parents know, for those teens with busy school schedules, sports practices and jobs, managing a healthy, well-balanced meal plan isn’t always at the top of their priority list. In many cases, a teen’s most important meals are eaten in the car or on the bus as they shuffle from one activity to the next.
Parents can play a very important role in influencing their teen to stay active while maintaining a healthy diet. These tips can help:
- Encourage your teen to not skip meals, especially breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast is essential to keeping your son or daughter nourished throughout the day.
- Educate your teen about healthy snack choices. Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy foods and snacks, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and lean meats and poultry. Avoid buying sodas and other sugary drinks and foods that are low in nutritional value.
- Involve your teen in the selection and preparation of foods to teach them to make healthy choices.
- Teach your teen how to make healthy selections when eating out at restaurants.
How many servings per day your teenager requires will depend on how many calories his or her body needs. This is based on age, sex, size and activity level. You can discuss your teen’s nutritional habits and recommended daily intake with your teen's pediatrician.
Although balancing school, sports and social activities may present challenges to eating healthy, it is possible to guide your teen on a path of nutritional food choices. Educate them now and promote healthy eating at home to help your teen develop a good understanding of proper nutrition into adulthood. The whole family can benefit from improved eating habits starting at home.