All Posts tagged child

Food Allergies Anxiety And Loneliness

Children who are allergic to food are found to be suffering from anxiety and are increasingly more lonely; One allergic child out of five never attends peers’ parties, while one in four always brings along “safe” food. The burden of food allergies and the risk they can escalate to life-threatening diseases is particularly heavy on children, whose normally active and sociable lifestyle can be severely limited and frustrated by the effort to keep them away from potentially dangerous food.

According to a study presented at the 2011 Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Meeting by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), held Feb 17-19 in Venice, Italy, 23 percent of allergic children are no longer curious to try new food to vary their diet, considered too monotonous by most of them. A child out of ten also gives up crucial physical activity for fear of anaphylactic shock triggered by exercise.

“About 17 percent of allergic children, regardless of their age, never go to a party or a picnic with friends, while 24 percent are forced to bring along something to eat,” says Prof. Maria Antonella Muraro, Chair of the EAACI Meeting. The study, headed by Prof. Muraro, was carried out by the Center for the study and treatment of allergies and food intolerances at the hospital of the University of Padua, Italy on 107 young patients and their mothers.

“Also, 5 to 15 per cent of cases of anaphylactic shock can be triggered by physical activity following the consumption of small amounts of allergenic food that would otherwise be harmless, so one allergic child out of ten also stops every kind of exercise,” Prof. Muraro added. “Allergies are often downplayed as a minor problem, but the life of an allergic person can be hell. Allergic children show to be more afraid of being sick and a higher level of anxiety about food than children with diabetes. The constant alarm surrounding them is taking a toll on their development and well-being.”

Another worrisome problem adding to the poor quality of life of allergic patients, especially the younger ones, is the need to carry life-saving devices at all times, such as epinephrine auto-injectors, “loaded” with enough drug to prevent death in case of severe anaphylactic shock. They are easy to use, light to carry and discreet, but one out of three patients still leaves home without them.

“Within 8 or 10 minutes the shot reverses the symptoms, ranging from urticaria to respiratory distress, cardiovascular collapse and gastrointestinal problems including vomiting and diarrhoea,” explains Prof. Muraro. “It can cause minor side effects, such as irritability or tremors that end as soon as the adrenaline is processed by the body, generally within a couple of hours. Patients should not be scared, even those who have a heart disease: the possible side effects are negligible in comparison to the opportunity to save your life.”

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Food allergies and ADHD

A controversial new Dutch study may have found a link between food allergies and ADHD. However, many experts are dismissing the findings. The study found that in children with ADHD, putting them on a restrictive diet to eliminate possible, previously unknown food allergies or sensitivities decreased hyperactivity for 64% of them. “There is a longstanding, somewhat inconsistent story about diet and ADHD,” said Jan Buitelaar, the lead author of the Dutch study and a psychiatrist at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre. “On the one hand, people think it’s sugar that’s the trigger, others think that food coloring could be causing ADHD. Our approach was quite different. We went [with] the idea that food may give some kind of allergic or hyperactivity reaction to the brain.”

There have been previous studies in this field, but they were limited. “This has long been viewed as a kind of a controversial approach,” Buitelaar said. “When we started the research, I was skeptical, but the results convinced me.”

In the study, of the 41 kids who completed the elimination diet, 32 saw decreased symptoms. When certain foods thought to be “triggers” for each child were reintroduced, most of the children relapsed. Among 50 kids given a “control” diet that was just a standard, healthy diet for children, no significant changes were noted. Given these findings, Buitelaar recommended that the elimination diet become part of standard of care for children with ADHD. However, while pediatricians acknowledge some effectiveness, they were against the elimination diet as part of the care for children with ADHD.

“People seem to think that dietary modification is essentially ‘free,’ but it is difficult, socially disruptive, and presents the risk for nutritional deficiency,” said Dr. Michael Daines, a pediatric allergist-immunologist at the University of Arizona. Though Daines is willing to work with families who want to try an elimination diet for treating ADHD, he feels it will only have an effect if the child is having a true food allergy or intolerance.

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Pesticides linked to ADHD

Organophosphate pesticides act by disrupting neurotransmitters, particularly acetylcholine, which plays an important role in sustaining attention and short-term memory.

“Given that these compounds are designed to attack the nervous system of organisms, there is reason to be cautious, especially in situations where exposure may coincide with critical periods of fetal and child development,” said he study's lead author Amy Marks.

Earlier this year, a different study by researchers at Harvard University associated greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides in school aged children with higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children. We were especially interested in prenatal exposure because that is the period when a baby's nervous system is developing the most,” said Eskenazi.

More than 300 children were tested and the researchers were continuing to follow the children as they get older and expect to present more results in the years to come. The current findings were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Source: New York Post

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School Lunch

What should a parent do when a child only wants to buy school lunch and it isn't healthy, or a child is bored with the lunches you pack from home? And really, does one meal a day make a difference? Yes. When kids get used to eating high fat food, this can form a long-term habit (fat does taste good). The time to set permanent healthy behavior is early and reinforcing during school is no exception.

Depending on the age of your child, have her help plan lunch or even prepare part of it. This can be done just once or twice a week to get your child involved.

Remember that children love to get out and play and sometimes will eat very little so they can have more time on the school playground. Packing a snack for early or late recess may be a good idea (peanuts and cashews are full of fiber and protein). Don't be upset with them if their lunch is only half consumed. She is just a social butterfly. Offer sliced peaches and plain yogurt when she gets home. Make a fruit smoothie with your son using frozen fruit, vanilla yogurt, and milk.

Talk to your child about the lunch program and help him choose a healthy option. Although it is quite convenient not to pack a lunch, try a bag lunch at least two times a week. For older kids this can help your budget as kids who can go off campus can spend a lot on lunch (of questionable nutritional value).

Healthy things to pack:

  • Edamame (soybean) or sugar snap peas (good source of protein)
  • Cube cheese and offer it on a toothpick
  • Trail mix (nuts, dried cranberries stick pretzels)
  • Sliced mango, kiwi, or apples (use orange juice to help prevent browning)
  • Vanilla yogurt with raspberries and granola or nuts on top (place it in a small plastic container (use an ice pack to keep it cold)
  • Use leftover chicken from dinner last night and make a sandwich vs. processed sandwich meat which is high in sodium (salt)
  • Use a cookie cutter to shape sandwiches into hearts, flowers, etc (young kids love to eat fun-shaped sandwiches)
  • Open faced bagel with cream cheese and a face (use raisin for the eyes, a cashew for the nose etc.)
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich – apples will work too.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese in a tortilla
  • Use a thermos in the cold months and fill it up with soup or pasta with a little bit of chicken broth for added taste
  • Cereal. Just make sure it is high in fiber (5 grams) and low in sugar (under 10 grams). Provide a container with a top and a spoon; your child can add the milk provided at school.

This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children's healthy games, and tools. Available in English and Spanish.

Copyright ©2009 Nourish Interactive – All Rights Reserved.

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Eating fast foods the healthy way

There are some tricks that can help make any fast food meal better for you and your family. Follow these tips to cut down on fat, sodium, sugar, overall calories and make your meal healthier:

  • If you are ordering á la Carte items on the menu, find out if there is a child’s size available. Another option is to order the regular size and split the order and share it. Avoid ordering extra large portions just because they are a deal! These deals usually have the words jumbo, giant, super sized or deluxe in the name.
  • Don’t be shy about making substitutions! Children love kid’s meals because it comes with a toy and it is usually in a cool looking box. Let them order it but ask to make substitutions for the fries and soda if possible. Many restaurants will offer milk or water as a beverage and apple slices instead of fries.
  • Talk to your child before ordering a meal and give them a choice of milk, juice or water (make sure it is low fat milk or 100% fruit juice.) Explain to them that soda is high in empty calories that will just fill up their tummies.
  • Let your child know that they can ask for items prepared a specific way. For example, salad dressing on the side, baked or grilled instead of fried, brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Finally, set a good example by ordering a healthy meal for yourself.

What Can Parents Do?

By learning how the food is prepared, you will be able to make healthier choices ordering from a menu:

  • Order foods that are not breaded or fried because they are higher in fat and calories. Foods that are breaded and deep fried include: chicken nuggets, fried chicken, fried fish sandwiches, onion rings and french fries.
  • Order foods that are prepared by being steamed, broiled, grilled, poached, or roasted.
  • Have gravy, sauces and dressings served on the side so you can control the amount you eat.
  • Use salsa and mustard instead of mayonnaise.
  • Use non-fat milk or low fat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream.
  • Order a salad with ‘lite’ or non-fat dressing instead of regular dressing.
  • Choose a regular, single patty hamburger without mayonnaise and cheese.

Over the last few years, many chain restaurants have been adding healthier menu options. They also started providing nutrition information for all the foods on the menu, but you usually need to ask for it. Try checking their website as well for additional information.

Hamburger fast food restaurants are the most popular with children. However, other options are available such as Asian food, sandwiches, or Mexican grills. Keep in mind that every fast food restaurant has both healthy and less-healthy choices. Here are some pointers to remember that can help you make better choices when eating out at various fast food places:

Mexican food:

  • Choose grilled soft tacos or burritos instead of a crispy shell or gordita-type burritos.
  • Black beans are a better choice because they have less fat than refried beans.
  • Ahhh, the Mexican condiments! Salsa is low in calories and fat and it makes a great substitute for sour cream, guacamole and cheese.

 Deli sandwiches:

  • Choose lean meats such as chicken breast, lean ham or roast beef, instead of salami or bacon.
  • Ask for 100% whole wheat bread for sandwiches. Skip the croissants and biscuits because they are high in fat.
  • Add low fat salad dressings instead of special sauces or mayonnaise.
  • Choose baked chips or pretzels instead of regular potato chips.

 Asian food:

  • Steamed brown rice has more nutrients and less calories than fried rice.
  • Stir fried, steamed, roasted or broiled dishes are healthier choices than battered or deep fried.
  • Sauces such as low sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, wasabi, or ginger are better choices than sweet and sour sauce or coconut milk.

It’s OK to enjoy fast food once in a while, but try to limit the visits to no more than twice a month. An average meal at a fast food restaurant has around 1000 calories and does not have the vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients that your child needs to grow healthy and strong. While fast food consumption has greatly increased over the years there are several contributing factors why childhood obesity is becoming more and more prevalent. While all the above information is important, we need to keep things in perspective by understanding that the weight epidemic in this country is because of how much food children eat, rather than what food children eat.

If your family is going to have fast food for one meal, just make sure the other meals that day contain healthier foods like fruits and vegetables. Perhaps you could take an afternoon with your child and prepare a few homemade meals in advance that can be served quickly to avoid the temptation of getting fast food too often while at the same time teaching them some simple food preparation steps. Either way, just remember, it is not that difficult to eat healthy even when you don’t have much time.

 

This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children's healthy games, and tools.  Available in English and Spanish.

Copyright ©2009 Nourish Interactive – All Rights Reserved.

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Serving Size vs. Portion Size : What’s the difference

Let’s look at some examples:

You eat 2 waffles for breakfast

  • One serving from the Food Guide Pyramid is equal to 1 waffle.
  • So that means if you ate 2 waffles, you also ate 2 servings from the grains group.

Here are some other common portions and their respective Food Guide Pyramid serving sizes:

Common portions that people eat Food Guide Pyramid Serving Size Total servings per Food Guide Pyramid
1 bagel ½ bagel = 2 servings
1 English Muffin ½ English muffin = 2 servings
1 Hamburger bun ½ bun = 2 servings
1 cup cooked rice ½ cup cooked rice = 2 servings
1 cups cooked pasta ½ cup cooked pasta = 2 servings

In each food group, look at these different Food Guide Pyramid examples indicating 1 serving each. How do these compare with what your portions look like?

  • Grains
  • 1 slice bread, waffle or pancake
  • ½ bagel, hamburger bun, or English muffin
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal
  • 1 cup ready to eat cereal
  • Vegetables
  • ¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) 100% vegetable juice
  • 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables or salad
  • ½ cup cooked or canned vegetables
  • Fruits
  • 1 medium apple, orange or banana
  • ½ cup fruit (canned, cooked or raw)
  • ½ cup (4 fluid ounces) 100% fruit juice
  • ¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, apricots or prunes)
  • Milk
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 2 ounces processed cheese (American)
  • 1 ½ ounces natural cheese (cheddar)
  • Meat and Beans
  • 1 tablespoons of peanut butter counts as 1 ounce
  • ¼ cup nuts or 20-24 almonds
  • 1 medium size egg
  • 2-3 ounces of poultry, meat or fish (2-3 servings)
  • ¼ cup of beans

Tips on how to visually estimate 1 serving size

 

Grains Group
1 oz. bread or 1 slice of bread CD case
10 French fries Deck of cards
½ cup cooked rice or pasta Computer mouse
Vegetables Group
1 cup raw leafy vegetables Baseball
½ cup vegetables Computer mouse
Fruit Group
1 medium fruit such as an apple or an orange Tennis ball or the size of your fist
¾ cup juice 6 ounce juice can (1 ½ servings)
½ cup chopped or canned fruit Computer mouse
Milk and Milk Products Group
1 ounce cheese Pair of dice or the size of your thumb
1 ½ ounces cheddar cheese 2 (9-volt) batteries
1 cup of milk 8 ounce carton of milk
8 ounces yogurt Baseball or tennis ball
Meat & Beans Group
3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry Deck of cards (3 servings)
2 tablespoons of peanut butter Ping–pong ball (2 servings)
½ cup cooked beans Baseball (2 servings)

Try these ideas to help control portions at home:

  •  When your child is hungry and looking for a snack take the amount of food that is equal to one serving (refer to the Nutrition Facts label) and have your child eat it off a plate instead of eating it out of the box or bag.
  • Don’t be tempted to finish off leftover dinner the next day. Freeze leftovers as single servings so that you can pull it out of the freezer when you need a quick, healthy meal for your family.
  • Be prepared and have emergency snacks on hand if your family is running late and needs a quick snack. Make your own snack bags for traveling by reading the Nutrition Facts label and placing a single serving size into plastic bags.
  • Have your child measure out a single serving of food before sitting in front of the television or doing other activities that can distract him/her from realizing how much food is being consumed. This way your child will know exactly how much he or she is eating!

Serving sizes on food labels are sometimes different from the Food Guide Pyramid servings. For example, the serving size for beverages is measured in cups or fluid ounces. Whether it is milk, juice, or soda the nutrition facts labeling guidelines is 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces, which equals 1 serving size. However, the Food Guide Pyramid serving size for milk is 1 cup, but for juice it is ¾ cup.

So, even though the amount of 1 serving on nutrition facts labels and the Food Guide Pyramid may be slightly different it is still a great tool to help you and your child decide if you are getting enough or too much food each day. Encourage your child to get familiar with the serving sizes because smart eating is an essential part of growing and staying healthy!

Source: Nourish Interactive.

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Rise and Shine: It’s breakfast time

By Michelle Mirizzi MS Registered Dietitian

Most of us already know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Beginning your day without breakfast is like trying to fly a kite without any wind. It's hard to get started and even harder to keep going. Breakfast is the first chance your child's developing body and brain has to refuel its glucose levels, (that's the brains basic fuel), after several hours of sleep.

Why is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Here are just a few reasons why your child should eat breakfast:

Studies show that eating breakfast everyday is important in maintaining a healthy body weight. Starting your child's day with a healthy breakfast will also make them less likely to eat high-calorie snacks during the morning. Eating a well balanced breakfast improves their intake of fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially iron and vitamin C; these nutrients are essential in a balanced diet. In fact, a good breakfast provides one-fourth to one-third of the day's energy and nutrient needs. Children who eat a healthy breakfast tend to show improved academic performance, longer attention span, better attendance and decreased hyperactivity in school. Skipping breakfast will often make your child feel tired, restless or irritable by mid-morning. By eating breakfast, your child will have energy throughout the morning and help him/her concentrate better in class. This also means fewer trips to the school nurse's office.

Breakfast can be served hot or cold, sitting down or eaten on-the-run. Breakfast can be a typical breakfast food, or left-overs from dinner the night before. The main point to remember is to include it in your morning routine for both you and your child. A good breakfast is easier than you think. By choosing the right foods, you can feed your child quickly at home or create a brown bag to go.

A nutritious breakfast includes foods from at least three of the five food groups:

Fruit group; fresh whole fruit such as bananas, apples, oranges. Sliced fruit which can be added to cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.Vegetables group; 100% vegetable juice, or mushrooms, asparagus, or green peppers in an omelet.Grains group; whole-grain breads, dry cereal, bagels, english muffins, flour tortillas, rice.Milk group; low fat or fat free milk, yogurt or cheese. If your child is lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free products that still have the calcium and other nutrients needed.Meat and beans group; eggs, lean meat, peanut butter, beans.

Traditional and non-traditional breakfast ideas:

Whole grain cereal with fruit and low fat milkOatmeal with raisins and low fat milkWaffles, turkey bacon and fruit juiceBagel with cheese or peanut butterBreakfast burrito: scrambled eggs, cheese and veggies wrapped in a flour tortillaGrilled cheese sandwich and juiceTurkey sandwich and a cup of low fat milkRice bowl with chicken and vegetables on top

Follow these easy tips to make time for breakfast in the morning:

Do some of your morning chores the night before, such as selecting clothes to wear and getting backpacks ready for school. Set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier to allow more time to prepare and eat breakfast as a family.Skip the audio-video temptation: make breakfast time about eating rather than watching TV, playing a video game or using the computer. You may find it easier to get out of the house on time as well.Offer something non-traditional like leftovers from the night before. Eating nutritious food for breakfast is better than eating no breakfast at all.Have items available in your kitchen that can be quickly and easily assembled in the morning such as whole grain cereals with milk, fresh fruit, yogurt or bagels.Pick one morning a week where you make a special breakfast such as pancakes and eggs. You can set up the mix the night before or even make the pancakes and freeze them to reheat when needed.

Creating healthy habits

Children are “copycats”; They like to do what someone else is doing. Parents and older siblings can act as role models by setting a good example and taking the time to eat breakfast every morning. Rise and shine with breakfast and help your child develop a healthy habit that will benefit them throughout their life.

This family wellness article is provided by Nourish Interactive, visitwww.nourishinteractive.com for nutrition articles, family wellness tips, free children's healthy games, and tools. Available in English and Spanish.

Copyright ©2009 Nourish Interactive – All Rights Reserved.

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Cows’ Milk Allergy in Infants Causes Considerable Distress to Entire Family

In the survey, commissioned by Act Against Allergy, further impact on family life was revealed. As a direct result of having a child with CMA, half (49%) the respondents have missed work, over a third (38%) have argued with their partner and 39% said the lives of other children in the family have also been disrupted.1

These findings were no surprise to Natalie Hammond, from Hertfordshire, UK, whose son Joe was diagnosed with CMA when he was six months old. Joe was initially misdiagnosed and even underwent surgery for a twisted bowel before doctors finally discovered that CMA was the cause of his illness. Mrs. Hammond said: “It was heartbreaking and frightening seeing Joe so sick – he would vomit and had blood in his stools. We felt utterly powerless, and couldn't believe a simple food like milk could do this. It took a long time to get over this terrifying and stressful experience.”

Cows' milk is one of the European Union's 'big eight' allergy-inducing foods alongside gluten, eggs, fish, peanuts, soya, treenuts and shellfish. More serious than lactose intolerance, a true milk allergy presents in one or more of three organ systems:
– Gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, bloating) – affecting 50-60% of those with CMA
– Skin (rashes, including eczema and atopic dermatitis) – 50-70%
– Respiratory (wheeze, cough, runny nose) – 20-30%3

For further information on cows' milk allergy, see: www.actagainstallergy.com

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Probiotics Reduce Childhood Infections

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which was funded by The Dannon Company, Inc., involved 638 healthy children aged three to six, all of whom attended school five days a week. Parents were asked to give their child a strawberry yogurt-like drink every day. Some of the drinks contained the probiotic strain Lactobacillus casei (L. casei) and the others did not. Parents were also asked to record how many yogurt drinks their child consumed and to keep notes on their child's health.

At the end of the study, there was a 19 percent decrease in the number of common infections—e.g., ear infections, flu, diarrhea, sinusitis–among children who had consumed the yogurt drink with the probiotics than those who had the drink without the beneficial bacteria. When the researchers broke out the individual types of illness, they found that children who had the probiotic beverage had 24 percent fewer gastrointestinal infections (e.g., diarrhea, nausea, vomiting), and 18 percent fewer upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., ear, sinusitis, strep).

The reduction in infections did not, however, result in fewer days lost from school. Merenstein commented that “It is my hope that safe and tolerable ways to reduce illnesses could eventually result in fewer missed school days which means fewer work days missed by parents.”

The finding that the probiotic yogurt drink reduced infections in children, however, is significant. This joins results from other studies demonstrating benefits of probiotics in children, including one published in Pediatrics in which they reduced cold and flu symptoms, another in which they eased diarrhea, and one showing they helped prevent eczema in infants. Generally, probiotics have also been shown to benefit people who have celiac disease, irritable bowel, colitis, and possibly autism.

SOURCE:
Georgetown University Medical Center

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Lunches that kids will like

Ever wonder what happens to that nice, balanced lunch you packed for your child to take to school? Does it get eaten or traded or even tossed in the bin? Parents want kids to eat nutritious lunches, while kids want lunches that are fun and great-tasting. Never fear— you can improve the odds that your kids will eat what you pack and like it, too! Try these lunch-packing strategies:

Think variety. Try to include something from most of the Food Pyramid food groups in every lunch. Rotate choices to promote variety and prevent boredom. This also helps to ensure that lunch will provide about one-third of a child's daily nutrient needs.

Send what kids like. Ask your child to make a list of his/her favorite lunch ingredients from each Food Pyramid food group. Then use this list to create his/her lunch menus. Better yet, get him/her involved in the shopping and packing.

Break out of the peanut butter rut. Experiment with some new fillings for sandwiches, like low-fat lunchmeats, cheeses, grilled veggies or chicken, tuna and egg salad (see “Keep lunches safe” section below). And try using different types of breads, such as bagels, rolls, pita pockets, English muffins, raisin bread or waffles (use whole-grain varieties whenever you can). If your child is devoted to peanut butter, jazz it up with sliced bananas or apples, raisins, shredded carrots or granola.

Go beyond sandwiches. The options are endless. Send pasta salad made with fun-shaped, colored pastas. Make a pizza or quesadilla on a tortilla or pita round. Or roll meat and cheese slices in a flour tortilla to make a pinwheel sandwich. Leftovers are great too—like spaghetti, a chicken leg or a hearty soup, to name a few.

Got milk? Look for individual milk boxes at the grocery store. Milk tastes best when it is ice cold, so freeze the milk the night before, and by lunchtime it will be thawed, but chilled. Mini-cheese wedges, cheese cubes and cheese sticks are kid favorites, too. Yogurt and pudding cups make a nutritious dessert.

Play up the produce. Baby carrots, celery sticks, sweet pepper slices, cherry tomatoes and other crunchy veggies are great for dipping in low-fat ranch dressing, salsa or hummus (chickpea dip). Slice apples, pears or other fruits for dipping in low-fat vanilla or lemon yogurt. Make fruit kebabs with fresh fruit chunks on straws. Or send single-serve cups of fruit, apple sauce or dried fruits.

Pack some pizzazz. Kids love fun and surprises in their lunch. Be creative with shapes, colors, and themes. For example, pack a round meal—a bagel with veggie cream cheese, an orange, carrot rounds and jelly beans. Or cut sandwiches into puzzle pieces. Have a “red lunch” day with spaghetti, red grapes, strawberry milk and red fruit leather. Make a backward lunch with a sandwich made with the meat and cheese on the outside and a note written in reverse telling the child to eat dessert first. Throw in an extra touch with a love note, joke or comic strip.

Keep lunches safe. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Use an insulated lunch box or small cooler. Include an ice pack or frozen bottle of water, juice or yogurt to help keep things cold. Use a Thermos™ to keep soups, casseroles or chili hot.

For more kid-friendly meal ideas speak to Nastaran.

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