All Posts tagged yogurt

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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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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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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Clearing Up Confusion

People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to break down lactose (the form of sugar naturally found in milk). Instead, when people with lactose intolerance ingest large amounts of dairy products, or foods or medicines containing lactose, lactose stays in the intestinal tract until it reaches the colon where it can cause gas, bloating, stomach cramps or diarrhea.

Last February, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a statement on lactose intolerance and health to provide health care providers, patients and the general public with the latest information on the topic.

“What many people fail to understand is that lactose intolerance is not an all-or-nothing situation,” says Susan Nitzke, professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and nutrition specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Nitzke points out that many people with lactose intolerance can consume small amounts of lactose–for example, a half cup of milk or yogurt–without experiencing any symptoms. “This is especially true if the milk or other lactose-containing food is consumed with a meal,” she says.

Nitzke urges people to consult their doctor or a dietitian (like Nastaran) before making drastic dietary changes for suspected lactose intolerance. Your doctor may do a blood, breath or stool test to find out if lactose intolerance is the true cause of your digestive problems.

Milk and dairy foods provide many important nutrients. Milk is a well-known source of calcium and vitamin D. “Dairy products are also excellent sources of protein, potassium and many other vitamins and minerals,” says Mallory Koenings, a graduate student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UW-Madison.

Because dairy products contain so many important nutrients, even people who are lactose-intolerant are urged to consider alternatives within the milk food group, such as yogurt or lactose-free milk.

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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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