All posts in Teenagers & Children

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

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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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Skin Conditions

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Everyone gets the odd spot, but longer-term skin conditions can affect your level of self-confidence, especially if they are on your face. If you are suffering from acne or dry skin, don't worry. There are lots of easy treatments around that can help. Seeing a dietitian like Nastaran to improve your diet may also help with Skin Conditions.

Spots

Most people get spots, and they do always seem to break out when you really don't want them to. They're caused by your glands producing too much sebum – a substance that your body produces naturally to stop your hair drying out. Too much sebum makes your skin oily and causes spots.

Spots usually go away, but there are some things you can do to make them disappear a bit quicker:

  • wash with an anti-bacterial face wash, instead of soap or shower gel, until the spots have gone
  • don't squeeze them, as this can spread the infection and cause more spot outbreaks
  • drinking a couple of pints of water a day can help

If your spots don't seem to be clearing up, you may be suffering from acne. Acne can be a more serious condition, so you should make an appointment with your doctor who can give you a check-up.

Acne

Acne is different from getting a few spots. It can appear on your back, shoulders and chest as well as your face and can sometimes be painful. Whether or not you suffer from acne doesn't depend on your level of personal hygiene; it can sometimes run in the family or it can be caused by high levels of stress.

Some people can get relatively mild forms of acne, where outbreaks are months apart. Others can get quite serious forms of the condition that can lead to scars. Although some sufferers get rid of acne by their early 20s, some people with very sensitive skin can still have the condition a number of years later.

Acne can also affect you emotionally. Sufferers of the condition can often get teased or bullied in school or college. It can also affect someone's self-confidence or body image and can cause stress – which in turn can make acne outbreaks even more severe.

Although special face washes and creams can help some people, serious acne usually needs to be treated with specialist medical treatments. These treatments are only available with a prescription. Make an appointment to see your doctor who can diagnose how serious the acne is decide the best course of action. Your doctor will also be able to talk to you about how to deal with any emotional distress you've suffered.

Dry skin

Patches of dry skin can affect anyone, especially when the weather turns colder and the wind starts to gust. Dry skin can form anywhere, but it's most common on your face, as that's the area that exposed to the cold air.

Using a moisturiser can help, as can using a lip balm if your lips are chapped. If your dry skin lasts for a long time and is itchy or feels hot when you touch it, go and see your doctor. They may be able to prescribe special creams that help more serious forms of dry skin like eczema or dermatitis.

Shaving rash

Teenage boys who shave may find that they get a rash on their chin or neck after shaving. Although it's not painful, you may find it becomes itchy and irritating.

Using moisturiser after you've finished shaving stops your skin from drying out. Using an aftershave that doesn't contain any alcohol can also help if you've got particularly sensitive skin.

Source: Directgov. Reproduced with permission.

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Taking exams: revision tips

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By making a plan and organising your time, you can divide your revision into manageable chunks. This will increase your chances of remembering the important facts, and help you avoid last-minute stress.

Find out what you need to know

Make your revision plan as early as possible. This will allow you to work out how much time to spend revising each day and, just as importantly, when to take breaks.

The first step is to get organised: find out when your exam is, and work out how much time you have until then.

Write a revision checklist

Start by dividing the number of days you have until the exam by the number of topics you need to revise. Ask your teacher for a list of topics, or make your own by going through your notes.

Think about any topics that will need more revision time – perhaps you covered them in more detail, or you found them more difficult.

Make a revision plan

When you know how many days you need to spend revising each topic, you'll be able to make revision part of your daily routine. However, you need to be realistic:

  • set aside time on your plan for things you need to do, like going to school and mealtimes
  • split the remaining time into half-hour slots
  • break each topic on your revision checklist down into chunks that you can cover in 30 minutes, and fill your slots with these chunks

Reading your revision notes

When going over your notes, keep in mind what you're looking for:

  • read for detail when you need to a good understanding of the text – take it slowly and ask yourself questions while you're reading
  • 'skim' to get the general idea of a large piece of text – read each paragraph quickly, and identify the main ideas in each one
  • 'scan' to look for a specific piece of information – move quickly through the text, homing in on sub-headings, names, numbers, dates and quotes

Look after yourself

Regular breaks are important if you're going to stay alert while revising. A five-minute break every half-hour is better than a 30-minute break after five hours. Get up, make a drink, tidy your room, check your email – you'll come back refreshed and ready to carry on. Breaks will also help you absorb the information and avoid overload.

Make sure you include a leisure activity in your revision plan twice or three times a week. It's important to set aside time to take your mind off exams.

A healthy mind needs a healthy body, so look after yourself. Lots of sleep and regular exercise will help you stay alert. Your body needs fuel, so eat plenty of easily digestible foods – fresh vegetables and fruit will help keep your energy levels up.

Getting support

If you have any personal problems – for example, with relationships or bullying – there's help available. Try to get support before your revision suffers.

Source: Directgov. Reproduced with permission.

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Teen Nutrition, Health and Exercise

Teen Nutrition, Health and Exercise
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Dietitians and other health professionals have long recognized the importance of establishing healthful nutrition practices during teenage years. Diet and exercise patterns adopted during these prime developmental years set the stage for life-long habits that can mean the difference between vitality and infirmity in later years.

Your calorie needs vary depending on your growth rate, degree of physical maturation, body composition, and activity level. However, you do need extra nutrients to support the adolescent growth spurt, which, for girls, begins at ages 10 or 11, reaches its peak at age 12, and is completed by about age 15. In boys, it begins at 12 or 13 years of age, peaks at age 14, and ends by about age 19.

In addition to other nutrients, adequate amounts of iron and calcium are particularly important as your body undergoes this intensive growth period. From ages nine to 18 years, both males and females are encouraged to consume a calcium-rich diet (1,300 milligrams daily) in order to ensure adequate calcium deposits in the bones. This may help reduce the incidence of osteoporosis in later years. The recommended calcium intake can be achieved by getting at least three cups of fat-free or low-fat milk daily or the equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese. For those who don’t wish to consume dairy products, a variety of other calcium sources are available such as green, leafy vegetables, calcium-fortified soy products, and other calcium-fortified foods and beverages.

Meal Patterns

To meet energy needs, teenagers should eat at least three meals a day, beginning with breakfast. Studies show eating breakfast affects both cognitive and physical performance; that is, if you eat breakfast, you may be more alert in school and better able to learn and to perform sports or other physical activities.

Snacks also form an integral part of meal patterns for teenagers. You often cannot eat large quantities of food at one sitting and often feel hungry before the next regular mealtime.Healthy mid-morning and midafternoon snacks may be appropriate for you you.

Fast-growing, active teenagers may have tremendous energy needs. Although your regular meals can be substantial, you may need snacks to supply energy between meals and to meet your daily nutrient needs. If you are less active or who have already gone through the growth spurt, you may need to cut out the snacking.

Eating Disorders

Teenager’s food choices are often influenced by social pressure to achieve cultural ideals of thinness, gain peer acceptance, or assert independence from parental authority. These factors may increase your risk for developing eating disorders. An eating disorder is an emotional and physical problem that is associated with an obsession with food, body weight, or body shape. A teenager with an eating disorder diets, exercises, and/or eats excessively as a way of coping with the physical and emotional changes of adolescence. The three most common types of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Each type has its own symptoms and diagnosis.

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, as many as 10 million girls and women and one million boys and men are struggling with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (a disorder causing people to severely limit their food intake) or bulimia (a disorder in which people binge and purge by vomiting or using laxatives). Both anorexia and bulimia can lead to convulsions, kidney failure, irregular heartbeats, osteoporosis, and dental erosion. Those suffering from compulsive overeating or binge-eating disorder are at risk for heart attack, developing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, kidney disease and/or failure, arthritis, bone deterioration, and stroke.

Seeing a dietitian like Nastaran for medical nutrition therapy as well as seeing a medical specialist for psychotherapy are two integral components in the treatment of eating disorders. These are such complex illnesses that the expertise of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals is required.

Overweight and Obesity

Adults are not alone in the concern about weight management. In addition to the increase in the prevalence of adults who are obese or overweight, adolescent and childhood obesity and overweight are also on the rise.

Data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-2004), indicate that 14 percent of two to five year olds and 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 12-19 years in the United States are overweight. The prevalence of overweight children and adolescents has quadrupled and tripled, respectively, in the last 30 years. Only a small percentage of overweight children may attribute their problem to endocrine disorder or other underlying physical problems. Overweight and obesity can be determined by Body Mass Index (BMI).

If you are overweight, you need to reduce the rate of weight gain while still allowing for growth and development. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Therefore, health professionals emphasize healthful eating and the importance of physical activity as a life-long approach to weight management and to overall good health and quality of life. Before going on a diet, a healthcare provider and/or dietitian like Nastaran should always be consulted.

Physical Activity

Strong bones, good muscle tone, and lower risk of developing chronic diseases are some of the key benefits derived from regular physical activity. Furthermore, being physically active promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Division of Adolescent and School Health, 77 percent of children aged nine to 13 years participate in free-time physical activity and only 39 percent engage in organized physical activity. Among high school students, 63 percent participate in vigorous physical activity and just 25 percent engage in sufficient moderate physical activity. Twelve percent engage in little or no physical activity at all.

Participation in physical activity tends to decline as you get older. The long-term consequences of physical inactivity include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and premature death. To maintain good health status you should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week

Source: International Food Information Council

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Food Advertising Promotes Imbalanced Diets

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Researchers analyzed 84 hours of primetime and 12 hours of Saturday morning broadcast television over a 28-day period in 2004. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC were sampled on a rotating basis to develop a complete profile of each network. The Saturday-morning cartoon segment (from 8:00 am to 11:00 am) was included to capture food advertisements marketed primarily to children.

All 96 hours of observations were videotaped and reviewed later to identify food advertisements and specific food items being promoted. Only food items that were clearly promoted for sale during an advertisement were recorded. Each food item was then analyzed for nutritional content. Observed portion sizes were converted to the number of servings.

The article indicates that the observed food items fail to comply with Food Guide Pyramid recommendations in every food group except grains. The average observed food item contained excessive servings of sugars, fat, and meat and inadequate servings of dairy, fruit and vegetables. The situation was similar for essential nutrients, with the observed foods oversupplying eight nutrients: protein, selenium, sodium, niacin, total fat, saturated fat, thiamin and cholesterol. These same foods undersupplied 12 nutrients: iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, carbohydrates, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, copper, potassium, pantothenic acid, fiber, and vitamin D.

The authors advocate nutritional warnings for imbalanced foods similar to those mandated on direct-to-consumer drug advertisements. They recommend investigating health promotion strategies that target consumers, the food industry, public media, and regulation focusing on a three-pronged approach.

“First, the public should be informed about the nature and extent of the bias in televised food advertisements. Educational efforts should identify the specific nutrients that tend to be oversupplied and undersupplied in advertised foods and should specify the single food items that surpass an entire day's worth of sugar and fat servings. Second, educational efforts should also provide consumers with skills for distinguishing balanced food selections from imbalanced food selections. For example, interactive websites could be developed that test a participant's ability to identify imbalanced food selections from a list of options. This type of game-based approach would likely appeal to youth and adults. Third, the public should be directed to established nutritional guidelines and other credible resources for making healthful food choices.”

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Four steps for helping an overweight child

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For many parents, dealing with an overweight child is a delicate issue. These four steps can put you and your child on the right path to a healthier lifestyle.

Be Supportive.

An important first step is to let your overweight child know she's OK, whatever her weight. A child's feelings about herself often reflect her parents' feelings about her. For example, if your child gets the message that you are unhappy with the way she looks, that impacts how she feels about herself. If you accept your child at any weight, and emphasize her strengths (e.g., good grades, musical talent, leadership skills), she learns how to feel good about herself. Let your child know she can talk openly with you and share her concerns about her weight. This issue may come up when she is shopping for clothes, participating in an athletic event or donning a bathing suit when it's time to hit the beach or pool. Your child probably knows better than anyone else that her weight is an issue. For that reason, she needs your support, acceptance and encouragement.

Focus On the Family.

Don't set your overweight child apart because of his weight or make a special issue out of it. Instead, make gradual, healthful changes in the whole family's physical activity and eating habits. Family involvement helps to teach everyone healthful habits and does not single out the overweight child as “being on a diet.” Changing the family environment provides your overweight child with the support he needs.

Increase Your Family's Physical Activity.

Regular physical activity, combined with good eating habits, is a must for promoting a healthy weight–and good health–among the whole family. Below are some simple ways to get the whole family moving:

  • Be a role model for your children. If your children see you enjoying regular physical activity, they're more likely to get active and stay active for life.
  • Plan family activities that are fun for everyone such as walking, dancing, biking or swimming. For example, schedule a walk with your family after dinner instead of watching TV. Make sure the activities you plan are done in a safe environment.
  • Be sensitive to your child's needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. Help your child find physical activities he enjoys and that aren't embarrassing or too difficult.
  • Reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities such as watching TV or playing video games.
  • Find ways for you and your family to be more active throughout the day. For example, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, do some stretching during a work or school break, or encourage your child to walk to and from school, if possible.
  • If your child likes structured sports activities or classes, sign him up and support his regular participation.

Teach Your Family Healthy Eating Habits Right from the Start.

Teaching good eating habits early and by example will help children develop a healthy attitude about food–that it's enjoyable, and required for energy to keep the body running right and to grow properly. Parents should provide children with the structure of regular meals and snacks, and choose the foods offered. Parents should allow children to choose what to eat from among the foods offered and how much.

To learn more about nutrition for children, make an appointment with Nastaran. See your doctor if you think your child has a serious weight problem.

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