Archive for the 'Food' Category

The Endless Eater

Although many parents are concerned about their children eating healthy foods, there are also some who need help with a child who seems to eat endlessly.  These parents have observed that if there is food available, their child will continue to eat.  So if the advice is to let your child decide when they have had enough to eat, what do we do with these children, let them eat endlessly?

That might not be a bad first step.  What would happen if you let the child eat until they decided that they had enough?  How long would they actually continue to eat, especially if you are choosing what foods to offer?  By demonstrating to your child that you are willing to let them make the decision to stop you are proving that you respect their ability to make this decision.  Sometimes allowing them to eat as long as they would like to, assures your child that they are truly in control of their food intake and that there will be enough food if they need it.  This may offer the child enough security to start to eat only what they need at the time.

There are other reasons why a child may seem to eat too much at a snack or meal.  Consider the timing of meals.  If meals are too far apart, then when a child is offered food they may eat as much as they can for as long as they are allowed.  They are protecting themselves from becoming over-hungry and/or because they don’t trust that the next offering of food will happen within a comfortable time for them.  Most children need to be offered a snack or meal every 2.5-3.5 hours.  If this is regularly not happening a child may eat for as long as possible when given the opportunity.

Some children have very high pleasure responses to foods.  These children are eating because it tastes good, eating gives them pleasure.  These children need to be reminded that we stop eating when our bodies feel full, or sated.  After a reasonable amount of food has been eaten ask this child, “Are you felling full, does your belly feel like you have had enough?” Keep helping your child to become sensitive to the feeling that food gives their body, not just their tongue/brain connection.  Guide them to feel a connection between food and reaching a comfortable fullness.  If a child appears to have eaten too much you might ask, “I know that food taste good, but how does your stomach feel?  Is it too full?” Remind them that they need to feel their bellies during eating to know when to stop.

Some children start a meal with gusto.  They can’t seem to get the food in fast enough.  Then you may notice that their pace starts to slow, they are becoming easily distracted, and they are engaging in more conversation or starting to play with others or their food.  As soon as that starts, ask this child if they have had enough food.  Let them know that they can have more later, but maybe now is a time to take a break.  Let them leave the table and find something else to do if the food will be too much of a distraction.

Keep in mind that children offered healthy foods at regular intervals over the course of their week will take in the nutrients and energy that they need.  Once you have done this your job is to only offer suggestions or observations when you feel that eating is becoming inappropriate. Connecting the inappropriate eating with an undesirable effect allows the child to realize that they need to make a change.

http://wizpert.com/beverly

Advertisements

Save Money, Keep Food Cost Down

We all know that food is costing more and more.  But with a little planning and a few simple recipes your food dollars can go farther.  Many foods that we buy are made from a combination of oil, sugar and flour.  Sugar and flour are relatively inexpensive.  Although they are not nutritious foods, unless your flour is whole wheat, they do serve a purpose by providing delicious sources of energy.  Other grains, such as brown rice, oatmeal, corn and quinoa are also inexpensive when purchased in their raw, unprocessed form and supply many valuable nutrients.Learning to cook these grains is easy.  Most require only a pan, water and heat.  For exact measurements of water and grain read package labels or check your favorite cooking web site.  These grains can make great main courses, side dishes or breakfasts.

Many of us eat grain products in the morning.  Why pay $4.00 for a box of breakfast cereal when for the same $4.00 you can buy more than 5 pounds (15 cups) of flour, which will easily make 7 batches of cookies or muffins or 10 loaves of bread?  Top bread, preferably whole wheat, with any nut butter and fruit such as banana, strawberry or thin apple slices.  And bread making is easier than you might think.  The easiest method is with a bread machine.  If you want to get more involved, go to your local library and take out the book “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day”.  It really works.

Many, if not most, breakfast cereals are processed white flour and sugar so devoid of nutrients that vitamins and minerals need to be added in, thus the term “enriched”.  Boxed dry cereal is certainly convenient, but for a change of pace and a boost in nutrition you could try mixing oatmeal, and maybe some nuts and raisins, in the evening with yogurt, refrigerate and then eat it the next morning.  If you want a hot breakfast warm it up, adding milk 2:1 of the oatmeal mixture, simmering until most of the milk has absorbed into the oatmeal.

As for snacks, most are puffed (air) and fried grain products.  They have generally no redeemable nutritional qualities.  Instead try popping some popcorn, at only 6 cents per 1 ounce serving, that’s the most economical snack available.  Popcorn can be prepared on the stove in any lidded pot or in an electric popper (with oil or air popped).  If you are popping in oil, no butter or oil needs to be added.  If you are using an air popper, add just enough oil or butter taste.  Try adding flax seed oil after popping for added omega 3 oils.  To add even more nutrition and flavor use nutritional yeast instead of salt.  Nutritional yeast has great B-vitamins and zinc.

http://wizpert.com/beverly

10 Days or 10 Years

 

I have been advising parents and child care workers that a young child (ages 1-5) may need to see a new food 8-10 times before they may choose to eat it.  This
recommendation is based on peer reviewed studies from the best nutrition based
journals.  I guess none of these studies had enough time or money to study children over ten years.  Well I did. Granted my study population consists only of 1 child, my son.  However I have seen remarkable new food preferences and habits develop over the years, with a crescendo this year when he voluntarily started asking for and eating broccoli, eggs, and mixed green salad that includes raw spinach, carrots, jicama, red peppers and other vegetables.

My son’s case is even more poignant, as for 3 years he had not grown in height and he preferred fun foods to most healthy foods.  Last fall he was diagnosed with
Crohn’s, an autoimmune disease that strikes at the digestive tract.  Many children with Crohn’s have stunted growth.  Then my son started receiving treatment for Crohn’s.  He started to grow (3 inches in 9 months), and started to eat a wider variety of foods.  I believe that now that his body can absorb the nutrients it needed to support growth; it demands that he consume them.

So, keep eating what you want your child to eat.  Offer a variety of foods.  Give no food more or less distinction beyond being a healthy food or a food just for fun.
Then sit back and watch the show.  I have seen my daughter gravitate to dairy foods, which she had previously shunned, as she reached her pre-teen years.  This is a time when the body needs more calcium and without knowing this she asked for cheese, pizza, and yogurt.  My son has gone in and out of wanting raisinsin his lunch.  When he didn’t want them he told me that he hates raisins.  But then some months later he would ask for them.

Keep doing what you know you should do.  It may take 10 days or even 10 years for the message to sink in.  But once a child chooses to eat a food, they will eat it for a lifetime.  This cannot be said for foods a child is forced to eat.

 

Beverly Pressey is a Registered
Dietician with Master’s degrees in Education and Nutrition and
specializes in working with care givers of babies and children.  Beverly
has worked with individuals, presented at conferences, consulted with child
care centers, taught continuing education and college classes, and presented at
numerous parent groups.  As an experienced counselor, cook, teacher,
speaker and a mother of 2, she has a realistic understanding of infant/child
eating patterns plus the perspective of a busy parent.  Beverly lives in
Seattle, Washington, find out more about her and her book at www.creatinghealthyeaters.com

 

 

 

The Exploration of Eating

 Have you already noticed how your child experiences almost everything new by mouthing it?   They will pick up any object, look at it, move it from hand to hand, examine it, and then put it in their mouth.  It is normal and instinctual for your new eater to want to experience the food before it enters his or her mouth.  After all, food presents new colors, smells, and textures.  As self preservation, a little experimentation is natural. 

 Beginning eaters are usually willing to be fed by spoon, but a parent mindful of their child’s cues may quickly notice that their new eater wants more involvement in the eating process.  Let your child touch, smear, spread, lick, tap, pat and finger the food.  If the amount available to them is small, (about a teaspoon, or 2 peas) the mess will be minimal.  Also allow the tiniest tastes and the rejecting of food, via pushing it out with their tongue or just refusing it.  At first babies may want to do this every time they are offered food.  However, allowing this experience creates a child willing to accept and eat a wider variety of foods.  Remember, many babies need to have a food offered 10-12 times before they are willing to accept it and eat it on a regular basis with little muss or fuss.

 If you just cannot allow your baby to physically touch the food, you can offer similar experimenting opportunities.  Put just the littlest amount of a new food on the spoon and bring it to the child’s lips.  Let your child touch the food, or not, with their tongue.  This will also give your child the opportunity to taste and smell the food.  Young children have a much better sense of smell than adults.  Many babies feel a part of the process by trying to feed themselves.  Let your child have their own spoon while you continue to feed with a spoon.  Whatever experiences you can allow them will make feeding time easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

 As always, offer food to your baby, let them eat it or not.  If they reject the foods offered, you have done your job.  It is time to move on, not to other foods, but to another activity.  Keep meals enjoyable by following your baby’s pace and interest.  They will receive the nutrients they need if you offer a variety of healthy foods over the course of the day and allow them to eat to satiety.

 Beverly Pressey is a Registered Dietician with Master’s degrees in Education and Nutrition and specializes in working with care givers of babies and children.  Beverly has worked with individuals, presented at conferences, consulted with child care centers, taught continuing education and college classes, and presented at numerous parent groups.  As an experienced counselor, cook, teacher, speaker and a mother of 2, she has a realistic understanding of infant/child eating patterns plus the perspective of a busy parent.  Beverly lives in Seattle, Washington, find out more about her and her book at www.creatinghealthyeaters.com

Mixed Marriages

There are many mixed marriages out there.  Carnivores are married to vegans, vegetarians are married to omnivores, raw foodists are married to those who only eat locally grown food, fast food junkies are married to those with lactose intolerance.  So how can a person plan for family meals when each adult has specific food rules, and how to raise the children?

I am all for exposing children to the food traditions, likes and preferences of all adults involved in raising a child.   As the children get older they will ask why certain foods are eaten or not eaten by certain individuals.  This is a great time to discuss food choices, values, traditions and preferences.  Let your children know why you are an omnivore, vegetarian, etc.  Then let them experiment with the foods and ideas presented at your table.   If meat is serve for one family member it should be available for the kids.  If a child wants to follow the lead of the raw food parent, for a meal, a day or forever, let them.   Forcing a child to eat only the foods of one parent or caregiver, when the other parent is eating different foods at the meal can be confusing and sometimes upsetting to a child. Don’t have someone the odd person out.  Don’t extend more or less  value to the choices of one person over the other.

As I have advised against making special food for a child, you don’t want to make special food for a spouse or partner because they only eat raw food.  Make meals that are inclusive.  Have two hearty side dishes, each representing a different food path, or make a main dish representing one type food selection with a side dish, salad or soup representing another.  Perhaps a large raw foods salad, grilled fish and local corn on the cob.  Everyone can eat what meets their own needs.

Enjoy the variety we are fortunate enough to have.  Keep an open mind to the choices of others.  For best healthy eat  a variety of whole simple foods.  Your and your children will thrive,  whatever you choose.

New Foods For New Babies

Food introduction for new parents can be daunting.  There are many books, charts and experts to tell you what to do and how to do it.  But by observing your child you will know more than the experts.  To get started, here are several simple reminders:

  • Make sure your child is ready for solids.  You will know when this happens as your child will, all of a sudden, intently focus on you when you eat.
  • Offer any food that is the proper consistency.  (Think applesauce, or a little thinner.)  You don’t have to start with rice cereal, or offer vegetables before fruits.  Meats or fish, if they are moist and the consistency of applesauce are as good as pureed carrots or blended bananas.  The only food NOT to offer is honey, either room temperature or cooked into a food.  Honey may contain a heat-resistant botulism that can be fatal to infants.
  • It is not your job to get your child to eat.  Just offer a small amount of food on a small spoon—if your child opens his or her mouth, put the food in.  If your child pushed is out with their tongue or gag after 2 tries, stop.  Decrease the thickness of the food. 
  • A grimace is not an indication that your child does not want the food again.  Watch what your child does when you offer the next spoonful.  Only top feeding when your child does not open his or her mouth when the spoon approaches, pushes the food away, or keeps looking away. 
  • Offer only one new food every 3rd day.  After each new food look for signs of allergy, including but not limited to vomiting, rash, swelling of lips or tongue, or diarrhea.  If there is any breathing difficulty, call 911 immediately.
  • Mindful parents don’t entertain at mealtimes and don’t distract the eating process with games, video or music.  Let your child set the pace of the feeding.  Let them decide when they have had enough to eat, whether they ate nothing or more than they have ever eaten before.
  • Your child knows best what they need.  Remember that children’s eating patterns are inconsistent.  Eating a certain amount one day does not mean that the child will usually eat this amount.  Eating or rejecting a food one day does not mean they will eat or reject the same food any other day.  Food acceptance and quantity will change day-to-day and meal to meal.