5 Foods You Should Stop Feeding Your Kids Now

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By Leanne Thompson

healthychoiceIf you’re reading this then you must be a responsible parent—or at least, trying to be one.
You deserve a pat on the back.

But you’ve got to admit, you’re a much better parent before you had kids. Back then, you were pretty sure of what you will and will not become. You’ll be a “cool” parent. You promised yourself you will not become the kind of parent who forces her kids to eat their broccoli or drink their milk.

They want fries? They get fries.

While fulfilling your dream of becoming a cool parent sounds fun, you may want to play the “responsible parent” while you’re at it. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased at an alarming rate. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and are more likely to develop serious health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at a younger age.

Bottom line: playing the “cool” parent all the time may cause your kids to fall into the trap of a high calorie diet with low nutritional value—one of the factors that contribute to childhood obesity.

If you’re guilty of helping yourself to some of your kid’s favorite “bad” foods then it’s time for your diet to grow up!

Here is a list of foods you should never let your kids eat:

1. Breakfast cereals

Put down that box!

No matter how adorable their colors and shapes are, breakfast cereals are no-nos. They may be “breakfast champions” for people who are always on the run, but not for your kids. Breakfast cereals are often laden with sugar—hello, calories and tooth decay! You may see some cereal boxes that boast whole grain goodness but the amount of added sugar that comes with the package is a serious deal breaker.

2. Fruit Juice Drinks (In a Box)

Fresh fruit juice—the liquid that comes from a real fruit, can be healthy when consumed in moderation. Fruits are chock-full of nutrients and as an added bonus they are “naturally” sweet. Fruit juice drinks, on the other hand, contain juice, water, sweeteners and perhaps other flavorings to make it taste natural. Here’s the thing: they are not natural.

But it says “No added sugar”

Did you check the list of ingredients? Most bottled beverages that promise calorie-free sweetness contain artificial sweeteners—some of the FDA-approved ones include aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), and saccharin. According to The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, while these artificial sweeteners got FDA’s thumbs up, they might still be a problem because they may encourage bad eating habits (especially among children) by promoting a craving for sweetness.

pizza3. Pizza

Why is pizza not good for you again?

Oh, right! Because it’s high in saturated fat and sodium.

However, the love for this food is so intense that the Department of Agriculture released a report on its consumption. According to the report, pizza contributes about 6% of the total energy intake of children, 2 to 19 years old, and 4% for adults.

Experts would argue that pizza is not as bad for your health as you think it is. If fact, according to the report, it represents more than half of the total daily intake of lycopene, a potent antioxidant. The problem lies on when and how you eat it—hello, pizza abuse. According to Guiseppe Russolillo, president of the Spanish Association of Nutritionists, pizza is an artisanal product in majority of Italy. In US it’s more related to ‘junk food’ as it is often bought from a fast food chain or frozen at supermarkets.

Russolillo pointed that pizza shouldn’t be consumed more than 2 or 3 times a month and shouldn’t be part of your daily diet, even less for children. A healthy diet, one that contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, is needed to support the nutrient demands during the period of growing development in children. No, adding extra vegetable toppings won’t do. Stop drooling over that pizza and set a good example!

4. French Fries

You knew this was coming.

Stop feeding your kids French fries, now.

Forget the “cool” parent act and know this: the deep-fried potato strips we all love are by nature high in calories and fat. Of course you already know that! But you’re still in a state of denial. Well, it has to stop. We all know that nutritionists and other health experts are not exactly fond of fries because they are high in sodium and oozing with artery-clogging fat. Here’s another shocker: it can cause cancer.

When a starchy food such as potato is cooked at a temperature above 248 degrees, it produces a chemical called acrylamide. According to National Cancer Institute, studies in rodent models have found that exposure to this chemical poses a risk for several types of cancer. Although evidence from human studies is incomplete, the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, considers acrylamide to be a “probable human carcinogen”.

girldonut5. Doughnuts

Fluffy doughnuts that taste a little like heaven have to go too—yep, even the ones that come in fun size.

It’s hardly news that doughnuts are not really the best candidates for a healthy breakfast. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating a healthy breakfast versus one that includes soda or doughnuts can help your child get more nutrients and perform better at school.

Doughnuts are most often than not laden with sugar and trans fat. We all know that sugar is not really BFFs with your kid’s teeth or weight. And sugar combined with trans fat? The worst!

Trans fats raise levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of the heart-healthy one (HDL). High-fat intake has been linked to coronary heart disease, in which plaques build up in the arteries, sometimes leading to a heart attack. Store-bought doughnuts contain up to 40% trans fat and about 200 to 300 calories mostly coming from sugar—yikes!

Sources:

Childhood overweight and obesity
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood/en/

Added sweeteners
http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Added-sweeteners.shtml

The people who eat pizza every day
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26255931

Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/acrylamide-in-food

5 reasons for your teen to eat breakfast
http://www.eatright.org/kids/article.aspx?id=6442477998

– Leanne Thompson is a writer and a blogger who has contributed to some of the most well-known Health, Fitness and Nutrition blogs. After struggling with her weight in her teenage years, Leanna was driven to undertake a Bachelors of Nutrition degree with the renowned Iowa State University to study the needs of a human body. Ever since, she has made it her life goal to spread awareness about the importance of healthy weight loss and the wellbeing of the people she meets – Find out more at: leanneknows.com

Overcoming Feeding Aversions and Problem Feeding in Children – Part 2

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By Christie Korth, CHC AADP

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

fruitsaladHere are some kid friendly tips to help with making meal times both fun and informative:

* Become more hands on with foods. Show your child how fun it can be to squish the food, stir, smell it, pour it into different containers, and dump it out again. If your child has trouble having direct contact with foods, you can always cover their hands in latex gloves, plastic wrap, or even use paint brushes to explore the food.

* Paint with pudding, applesauce, baby food, condiments or any other spreadable food.

* Allow the child to sit down and play with the food, squish it, finger paint, poke it, even allows your child to make a huge mess with it! This is the best way to allow your child to see food is fun and is “safe” to touch and eat. Any interaction with food is excellent!

* Play with toy foods. If you have a toy kitchen, have the child mimic what you are cooking. Getting the child involved is an excellent way to help them become excited about food.

* Create a food chart categorizing foods into textures, shapes and colors, such as: crunchy, soft, smooth, slimy, tough, rough, bumpy, tart, squishy, tart and sweet.

* Take different foods and make a picture of a person, like M&M’s for eyes, jelly bean for a nose, pretzel sticks for eye brows, licorice strings for a mouth, etc.

healthyeatingboy* Allow your child to help you shop at the store! If you really want to get creative, have the child past pictures from the store circular on the grocery list. For example, if you are purchasing broccoli, have them paste a picture of broccoli for their shopping list. Then they can follow along with you in the grocery store.

* Start a garden in your back yard to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables. Have your child get involved. You will find most children are very excited to get involved in this process and become excited about trying new foods.

* Have tea party. Play restaurant or picnic. Any games involving food will be helpful to allow the child to become more comfortable with it.

* Play “store”. Using play foods and a toy cash register, you can play pretend store with your child.

* Bring the child to a farm and inquire if they have tours of the farm to go on. Most times, these tours are excellent and can help the children to learn different food groups, etc.

* Make a video or commercial about your child’s favorite fruits or vegetables and discuss the healthy properties of each food.

* Purchase a food coloring book and have child color in the foods.

* Use cookie cutter to cut food into different shapes.

* Use foods as a coloring modality. For example, make a chart of all of the red fruits and vegetables, orange fruits and veggies and so on.

* Cook with your child. This is such a great milestone to get the children involved in. Most times children are very excited to eat whatever they have cooked for you.

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.

Overcoming Feeding Aversions and Problem Feeding in Children – Part 1

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By Christie Korth, CHC AADP

kidseatinghealthyVirtually all parent surveyed have concerns about their child possessing a healthy relationship with food. This generally starts early on when mom and dad decide between breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Parents ponder the various choices: “What kind of formula is best?“ or “How long should I breastfeed?” Some parents and children breeze right through this stage, and then graduate on to new, more complex questions. Take solid foods, for instance: When should you introduce them? Which type? At what age: 4 to 6 months? After 6 months? Once the child has graduated from solids, its onto the daunting task of getting rid of sippy cups, planning meals to include all of the food groups. Trying to meet the nutritional needs of any child can be a challenge. There can be so many important questions.

The most priceless gift you can give to your child is the tools to eating healthy. Thankfully, there are dozens of ways you can teach your child to have a healthy relationship with foods. These tools will allow your children to make the absolute best choices, even without your guidance at some point.

Healthy Eating Habits Start Early

Any nutrition savvy pediatrician will tell you, introducing sugar in a diet is simply unnecessary in the form of simple carbohydrates. Sugar is addictive, therefore small amounts of it, cause you to crave more. Think about babies, if they grow up as babies eating jarred fruits and vegetables, where is the need to add in unhealthy foods? Babies in Japan don’t balk at raw fish, people of Indian descent don’t balk at curry, and children who start off eating fruits and vegetables will continue to eat them. So, if you refrain from introducing foods like hot dogs and sugary fruit snacks early on, chances are, your child will avoid them and not be too excited to include these foods in their repertoire. Enjoying these foods on occasion is one thing. Eating them all of the time, is another.

Not Too Late for Older Children to Learn Healthy Eating

Multiple studies have shown that a child may need to try a food five to ten times before they develop a taste for it. A variety of vegetables should always be included in both lunch and dinner, and readily available for snacks. You can explain to your child, Johnny, if you try this ten times and you still don’t like it, you will never have to try it again.” This usually validates a child’s feelings while giving them the free reign to try the food at their own pace.

Pack Healthy Lunches and Snacks

Switching from chips and cheese doodles doesn’t take extra time, it takes a shift in mindset. Raw veggies make great replacements for junk food snacks. It takes about three minutes to remove a pepper from the fridge, wash it, slice it, stuff it in a baggie and wipe down the counter. Add sugar snap peas or snow peas to the mix and it gets even easier. No slicing needed. Add baby carrots with dressing to lunch, yet another great way to incorporate more veggies and takes next to zero effort!

Remember, whenever kids try something new, they may like it, they may not. The point is to make healthy foods more readily available than junk food, and establish a mindset that fruits and vegetables should be a part of everyday life.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

Christie Korth is a Crohn’s disease survivor, author, certified health coach and holistic nutritionist who found her way to health and wellness after nearly succumbing to a severe case of Crohn’s disease. After harnessing the power of nutrition and gaining her health back, she then went on to be the founder and director of Happy & Healthy Wellness Counseling based just outside of NYC. She studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Columbia University and the Clayton College of Natural Health and is a certified holistic health practitioner with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Christie is the Corporate Nutritionist for Brain Balance Achievement Centers, where she designs the nutrition protocol for franchises across the country. Christie is a nutrition expert for Dr. Oz’s Sharecare.com and frequently contributes nutrition articles to Long Island Parent Magazine. Christie is he author of The IBD Healing Plan and Recipe Book: A Guide to Releive Crohn’s and Colitis with Whole Foods. Christie lives in New York with her son, her husband, and her cat.