Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

PinExt Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

Did the Easter bunny come loaded with candy to your house? Or did he have some non-sugar related treats instead, such as

300px Chocolate Easter Bunny Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

A milk chocolate Easter Bunny. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

new socks, new shirts, or fruits and nuts?

If your bunny was like most bunnies I know, he packed a high sugar load. As parents, how to handle the high influx of sugars into young bodies? As well as, how to get back into a schedule of healthy eating?

Studies have shown that high sugar intake not only can add pounds but plays a role in a wide range of health problems such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Long-term sugar addiction can also produce a weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, hormonal problems, and gastrointestinal issues as well as anxiety and depression.

There is conflicting evidence over sugar-producing mood altering swings in children. But many parents have seen the changes in their child from a sweet, fun-loving child to one of a hostile, out-of-control “brat”. Too much sugar causes different reactions in different people.

Some view the never-ending “need” many have for sugar as a powerful addiction not unlike that of alcohol. With sugar addiction, individuals are no longer able to use their body’s natural abilities to control their food intake. Reportedly, some parts of the world still keep sugar under lock and key believing it to be a narcotic.

Just as with any other addiction, sugar craving needs to be controlled. This includes cutting out artificially sweetened foods as well as natural sugar foods. Getting the sugar habit under control is especially important for children for health reasons as well as weight control.

How can parents help their sugar-craving kids?

  • Help make Easter candy less readily available. Perhaps making a game out of choosing one piece and then hiding the rest. Often “out of sight, out of mind” helps. Stock cabinets and refrigerator with fruits and vegetables that are within easy reach.
  • Start your kids off with a good breakfast. This could consist of a vegetable omelet or oatmeal with chopped almonds or quinoa flakes and fresh fruit. It could also include last night’s meal of chicken or roast beef with veggie sticks.
  • If you are the chief meal planner and preparer, eliminate sugars and any sugar derivatives (honey, molasses, corn syrup, high fructose syrup and the like) from the menu. PlanĀ  meals in advance, shop intentionally, based on what you need, and prepare the meals at a set time.
  • Pack the meals with plant-based foods from the vegetable group, the fruit group, and high-quality protein sources from animal or plant protein sources such as seafood, poultry and lean meats.
  • Set a good example by not eating foods with sugar. This means eliminating any “diet” soft drinks and other processed, sugary foods as well.
  • Take your kids shopping and ask them to help you make dinner or prepare their school lunch. Praise them for their good choices.
  • Have pitchers of water handy so your kids can drink this anytime. Kids should drink water rather than any soda or other sweetened drink.
  • One of the biggest helps is to teach kids the value of staying active and exercising. When they are playing baseball, hiking or biking they are not as apt to want a piece of candy. Then, have some healthy snacks when they are through, such as nuts or peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat bread, rice cakes and peanut butter, carrot sticks, apples, bananas, grapes, etc.
  • Your child may be tempted to eat sweets, just as you, perhaps, are tempted. Try to get past the temptation by focusing on another activity. Perhaps on some hobby you have, or a pleasant experience you had.
  • Some like to use visualization when this happens. They imagine and visualize how much healthier they will be without the sugar, or they will see a firm, slender body if they don’t indulge.

Getting past the sugar craving is not easy. Having candy and other sweets out of sight is the first step. Stocking up on healthy foods is the second. What your children eat or don’t eat relates to how they think, act, and feel so it is in everyone’s best interests to help them eat healthy.

To your success,

Lee Jackson
http://healthykidseatingtips.com

 Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?
PinExt Too Many Chocolate Bunnies?

Bunny Salad Idea for Easter

PinExt Bunny Salad Idea for Easter
PearPhoto Bunny Salad Idea for Easter

A pear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an idea for a bunny salad kids will love to create. Children enjoy working with food, especially if provided with encouragement and inspiration. Carrying out the bunny theme with food is not difficult and they will be pleased with their results.

Bunny Salad

1 fresh pear cut in half, remove seeds and stem
or use canned pear halves
Raisins
Red cherries, candied or maraschino
Shredded cheese
Marshmallows
Lettuce

Prepare fresh pear or drain juice from canned pears.
Wash lettuce and put a lettuce leaf on individual plate.

To make bunny:

Place pear halve face down on lettuce leaf.

Put 2 raisins on the pear for the eyes.

Use a red cherry for the nose.

Put several pieces of shredded cheese on each side of face for whiskers.

Cut two marshmallows in half and use for ears of bunny.

Add a marshmallow for the bunny’s tail.

There you have it – one sweet bunny. These salads multiply well for any number of guests. Recipe taken from Amy Houts first book in the Food and Fun series, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. See more at Cooking/Calendar.

To your childrens’ creativity,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition advocate and author

http://healthykidseatingtips.com

 Bunny Salad Idea for Easter
PinExt Bunny Salad Idea for Easter

Do Food Dyes Link to Health Problems?

PinExt Do Food Dyes Link to Health Problems?
3483174139 98d278217c m Do Food Dyes Link to Health Problems?

Image by marispacifica via Flickr

Colored Easter candy is flooding store shelves, ready to fill children’s baskets. Other colored foods are in most every aisle of the store – breakfast cereals with their rainbow of colored pops and grains, yogurts with their multicolor blends, even Fido the dog has colored treats available. And, are there really strawberries in strawberry milk, or is it Red 40 and Blue 1 food dye?

We are seeing an increase in the amount of artificial dyes in our foods. They are used mainly to trigger that part of our brain that says “this is good, buy me”.

Making food more appealing to the eye through dyes has been used by foodmakers since early times. Whether it was healthy, is very questionable. For example, pigments made from lead and copper were used on food in the early 1800′s. Then there were artificial dyes made from coal tar. The advent of margarine had consumers mixing in the supplied dye to give the yellow color of it’s pretender, butter.

The connection between artifical dyes and health problems has been controversial for many years. Now federal regulators from the Food and Drug Admninistration are meeting this week to discuss whether there is a link between synthetic color additives in food and adverse effects on behavior.

In the past, the FDA has been quite clear in stating that studies do not substantiate a link between the color additives that were tested and behavioral effects. Congress passed several major acts concerning artificial dyes and their relationship to the health of consumers. In early 1960, about 200 color additives were placed on a “provisional list” when Congress called for a ban on foods that cause cancer in laboratory animals.

In 1990, the Food and Drug Administration banned some uses of the color additive Red 3 saying studies have shown that in very high doses it causes cancer in laboratory animals. The use of this additive was not allowed in cosmetics such as lipsticks, shampoos, powders, skin care products, puddings, processed fruits and juices and some other products. It was still approved for candy, breakfast cereals, juices, meat products, chewing gum, maraschino cherries, icings, cakes and other products. Often pressure from industry groups and members of Congress causes the reluctance to impose a ban on various products.

Some studies have found that children given foods that were artificially dyed showed signs of hyperactivity. Studies found that even children with no known behavior problems became hyperactive and inattentive. Others have indicated it is very difficult to say with certainty that food color dyes change behavior.

Another big concern about the use of food coloring and dyes, in addition to the fear of being possibly toxic and detrimental for proper health and development, is the entire concept of how food is perceived. Will children be drawn to the brightly colored processed food instead of eating wholesome, more nutritious food?

Whole foods are brightly colored by nature and do not need any artificial coloring. Many of the dyed processed foods are high in calories and low in nutrition. This continues to add to the obesity problem in children and adults, with over 2/3 of our population overweight.

Some companies are starting to cut down on the use of artificial dyes, partly because of consumer demand. They are using other more natural products to help give color and flavor to the foods, such as different fruit juices and vegetables.

No matter what happens at the FDA meeting, consumers need to read labels and recognize the potential dangers in artificial food colors such as Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green, etc. Teach children to read labels and help them make good decisions about their health. Another suggestion is to stick with whole foods, which do not require any food coloring as they are beautifully colored by nature.

To you and your family’s health,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food Writer, Author

 Do Food Dyes Link to Health Problems?
PinExt Do Food Dyes Link to Health Problems?

Easy Easter Bunny Salad for Kids

PinExt Easy Easter Bunny Salad for Kids

Make a bunny salad with your kids this Easter. They will love making it and the way it looks and tastes.

Bunny Salad

1 can pear halves
Raisins
Red cherries, candied or maraschino
Shredded cheese
Marshmallows
Lettuce

Drain juice from pears. Wash lettuce and put a lettuce leaf on individual plate.

To make bunny:
Place pear halve face down on lettuce leaf.
Put 2 raisins on the pear for the eyes.
Use a red cherry for the nose.
Put several pieces of shredded cheese on each side of face for whiskers.
Cut two marshmallows in half and use for ears of bunny.
Add a marshmallow for the bunny’s tail.

There you have it – one sweet bunny. These salads multiply well for any number of guests. Recipe taken from Amy Houts first book in the Food and Fun series, Cooking Around the Calendar With Kids: Holiday and Seasonal Food and Fun. See more at Cooking/Calendar.

 Easy Easter Bunny Salad for Kids
PinExt Easy Easter Bunny Salad for Kids