What to Eat and How Much?

Who is the decision-maker when it comes to food choices? Is it the school? government? family? children?

English: A picture of a collection of healthy ...

Ground rules for this go something like this:

Parents should have the final word about what foods are bought and used for meals and snacks. It’s the parents who need to make healthy choices about foods for themselves and their family. This is for foods eaten at home or outside the home. It’s important to choose nutritious foods so that the goal for healthy food is met each day.

Buying crispy vegetables and fruits instead of cookies, chips and dips is a better trade-off. You can find already cleaned carrots, green beans, and grape tomatoes ready-to-eat. Add some raw broccoli and there is enough goodness for a salad or snacks for awhile.

The same can be done for fruits. Some require a little more preparation. For example, cutting up apples and oranges and putting them in little plastic bags or glass dishes in the refrigerator takes more time but is worth it.

Within reason, children should decide on the amount of food they want to eat at meals and snacks. Some guidance may be necessary, depending on the age of the children. Some families are concerned about children eating too much, while others worry about children not eating enough.

Always talk with your child about why they are choosing not to eat. Try to keep the communication open about food.

Eating should be a pleasant experience. Food should not be used as a reward or punishment. Make mealtimes an important and essential part of the day.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Good nutrition advocate
http://www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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A Food and Health Connection

Dr. Terry Wahls, a professor of medicine and clinical research, survived progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) through therapeutic use of a nutrient rich food plan, outlined here http://youtu.be/KLjgBLwH3Wc

After traditional medicine failed to help her, Dr. Wahls researched everything she could get her hands on about the disease, and was led to this diet plan. She attributes her remarkable progress to this way of eating and neuromuscular electrical stimulation, which uses an electrical current to promote muscle growth.

Dr. Wahls is now educating others about food as medicine and is studying whether this treatment could work for others with MS or Parkinson’s disease.

I think you will find much association here between food and health.

As stated by others, “Yes, we’d like to have a donut and coffee for breakfast and pop a vitamin pill“, but she’s advocating going back to our hunter-gatherer days. How does this resonate with you?

To your health,

Lee Jackson
Nutrition Advocate

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What Will People Look Like in 2020?

If you watched the film Hungry for Change, you saw the negative consequences of a bad diet and the many benefits of a

Diet and Nutrition

Diet and Nutrition (Photo credit: fantasyhealthball)

good diet. What do you think people will look like in eight years because of what they eat? Do you think people will take all this talk about poor eating habits in our country and make changes in their diets or will they continue on as before?

I will make a prediction. I feel people still are not realizing the power of food and therefore will not pay attention UNLESS they are affected by sickness and disease. Then it may be too late.

We need to make better-informed decisions about what to eat. But what is a good diet, you ask? You probably know, but here are some main points:

  • Includes pesticide free fruits and vegetables eaten as close to their fresh, natural state as possible.
  • Minimizes meat or animal products, including milk.
  • Includes beans and legumes in moderation.
  • Includes nuts and seeds in moderation.
  • Eliminates or greatly reduces foods that have been processed, manufactured, or microwaved.
  • Eliminates fried foods or those cooked at a high temperature.
  • Eliminates genetically modified food such as corn, soy, or sugar from GM sugar beets.
  • Eliminates all sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Eliminates aspartame or other chemical food additives.
  • Eliminates modified, unnatural ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.
  • Eliminates soda pop – adds more water.

Think what changes a healthy diet would make for our country. Health care cost would go down. Many of current diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. would be eliminated or greatly reduced. Less sick leave and a more productive work force. Children better able to learn in school. Lack of good diets and proper nutrition may even be a reason for losing world leadership ability.

There are many health-conscious individuals who are concerned about what goes into their food and into their body. However, we need to continue to spread the word to more people and take action ourselves.

I challenge you to see what others are putting in their grocery carts at the store. I’m often mind-boggled by all the pop and chips going out the door.

Do you think we will make healthy changes by 2020?

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate – author
http://healthykidseatingtips.com

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Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids, Parents, and Teachers

What child doesn’t come home from school starved? Are you prepared with healthy snack choices?

photo : Utilisateur:Wilrondeau

Perhaps you have a shelf in the refrigerator or a place in the pantry or other area where kids have easy access to healthy snacks. An effort needs to be made, though, to have healthy snacks available.

You control what you have in the house for food. You’re the one deciding what your child is eating at home. Is it going to be some quick packaged food with limited food value or a good quality appetizing snack they can prepare themselves?

For help in deciding what to have for healthy snacks, I’ve developed an entire collection of snack ideas for kids, “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas.” These are food ideas children can prepare themselves, or if very young, with adult help.

This guide to after-school snacks includes lots of healthy and nutritious choices. As eating healthy is of such national concern, chances are your kids are being taught at school about making good choices. This ebook guides them in making good snack choices at home.

In this ebook you will find foods that can be prepared quickly so that the snacks are ready after school or anytime kids get hungry. This prevents the usual reaction of reaching for a quick fix of high calorie, high fat and/or carbohydrate foods.

I know that even very young children love to get involved in planning and preparing their own snacks. And they are more apt to eat the food if they have prepared it. Preparing their own healthy snacks gives children responsibility for what they eat. They also know what goes into the food.

Teachers as well as parents will appreciate this collection of snack ideas. There are many ideas for snacks that can be prepared without the stove or microwave. Teachers and parents really appreciate this.

Food is meant to nourish and sustain  – not only to fill up. I invite you to go to healthykidseatingtips.com and order your copy of “How to Solve Your Child’s Munchie Time the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas” right now right here and start helping children have better and healthier snacks.

Let’s stay healthy,

Lee Jackson
Child nutrition advocate, author
www.healthykidseatingtips.com

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Disturbing News about School Lunches and Bureaucracy

Here is a disturbing article about a preschool child having to buy a lunch consisting of chicken nuggets because government officials didn’t think her lunch from home was healthy enough. You can read the article here at  http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/homemade-lunch-replaced-with-cafeteria-nuggets.html

We know schools need overall guidelines for lunch programs, but how much regulation is over-regulation? Do government officials really need to inspect lunch box food from home? How much government interference, or meddling, is necessary before parents and school officials decide that enough is enough. If children were bringing candy and pop, certainly a chat with the parents would be in order. But if they are sending adequate food, then which is worse, making the child feel her food from home is not good enough, or she eating only 3 chicken nuggets, of questionable value, I might add, for her meal?

If parents didn’t send any food for the child, then it would be a different matter. But if parents are trying to send healthy lunches and they don’t get quite all the requirements in as issued by school standards, this is not enough to warrant a trip down the chicken nugget trail. Plus, having parents pay for the food when they send a lunch may be too much to bear.

You know from my previous posts that nutrition is an important subject with me, but this is absolutely ridiculous. We should not hand our power as parents in what we believe is the best for our children over to others, including the government.

How do you feel about this? How does your school handle this?

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate, author

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What Parents Feed Kids at Home Makes a HUGE Difference

The school lunch cooks will have a really hard time getting kids to eat healthy if all they get at home are chicken nuggets and fast food. Many of the lunch room crowd work really hard in getting food that is required on plates, looking appetizing, and tasting good. Yet, if they don’t get the support from home, it’s an uphill battle for them.

Many parents, too, are so used to eating out and having the usual fast food fare that eating otherwise is just too much trouble. Yes, it does take time to plan, shop, and cook, but it is worth it. Someone has to step up and do it if kids are going to be accepting of healthier foods.

Then too, more schools (elementary and secondary) need to focus on classes that include nutrition and healthy eating. Too many classes that taught these subjects have been eliminated. And what could be more important than learning about food and how important it is for healthy living?

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson
child nutrition advocate
www.HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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School Lunches Work to Reduce the Salt, Sugar, Fat-Conditioning

Here is a new announcement about an important topic:  kids’ school lunch programs. See the article at Putting Real Food in School Lunches.

ALEXANDRIA, VA - JANUARY 25:  U.S. first lady ...
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There is still some industry-sponsored congressional meddling, but the plan is much improved from previous years.

It has been found that nearly 40 percent of the calories American children eat come from empty calories – cookies, sodas, pizza and the rest. This has resulted in paving the way for “picky eaters” with dull palates.

One of the big problems will be getting the kids to eat the healthier food unless it is reinforced on the home front. If children eat healthier at home then the changes in the school lunch program will go much smoother.

To healthy kids,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate

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What Affects Your Food Choices?

Food in a restaurant

Image via Wikipedia

Do you eat only because you need food to stay alive? Or only for good health? Of course not! There are so many reasons why you choose to eat the food you do.

Food choices are based on cultural, religious, social, or psychological reasons. Even your own personal values enter into choosing foods. Sometimes, too, you eat what you eat because it’s the only food available when you need it.

Different cultures tend to center their foods around certain types. When one refers to Italian, Mexican, American foods, a certain kind of food comes to mind. Usually this is because of climate or geography that a particular food is grown there and becomes popular. Perhaps it is the custom or tradition to serve certain foods at festivals or special occasions and now becomes a food associated with a particular culture.

Religious influences such as not eating pork or not eating meat on certain days are special food customs of certain religions. Some are discouraged from drinking coffee and tea and alcoholic drinks. Fasting from foods is practiced by some religious groups.

Wouldn’t you think something was wrong with a get-together if there wasn’t something to eat or drink? Eating is very much a social activity. Most people don’t like to eat alone. Mealtimes with families are some of the first experiences of a social setting for children – a time of sharing the day’s events. Hopefully, with our fast-paced living, this social interaction will not become a lost art, but that families will continue to eat meals together.

Have you been a part of the “clean your plate” syndrome? Or, perhaps as a child you were given certain foods like candy or ice cream for good behavior. These are all part of the different ways you now look at food by what was encountered through associations with others. Maybe, too, you eat because you are unhappy or sad and lonely. These are all psychological reasons why you may choose to eat certain foods.

Then there are other, personal reasons why certain foods are eaten. It may have to do with a food allergy or condition, or because of a weight problem. Maybe it is because it smells so good and past experience lets you know it tastes good. Is it avoided because it is too expensive, or is it eaten because it is expensive and this is what the “rich people” eat? Here status comes into play.

So, you see, there are many influences that shape your eating habits and food choices: some are cultural, others are religious, social, or psychological. Hopefully, too, there is consideration of whether the food is healthy and good for you.

Why do YOU choose the foods you do when you are:

at the mall or fast food restaurant?
at a fancy restaurant?
at a cafeteria (school, business, or restaurant)?
in the grocery store?

I invite you to comment on why you eat the foods you eat.

Best to you and your family,
Lee Jackson, CFCS
Author: From the Apple Orchard – Recipes for Apple Lovers
Apples, Apples Everywhere – Favorite Recipes From America’s Orchards
The Littlest Christmas Kitten, a children’s story book

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Choose Wisely When Food Shopping on a Budget

Grocery Shopping

Image by Bruce A Stockwell via Flickr

With a little planning and effort, choosing foods at the grocery store can be simplified while still saving money and keeping nutritional values up.

Food for the week (or more) depends on how wisely you choose at the grocery store. The first step is planning nutritious menus before you go to the store. Make sure you keep in mind store specials and any coupons you use. Decide on the amount of money to spend based on your budget or food plan.

Then the next step is shopping carefully to assure that what you will have at home is nutritious, tasty, and stays within your allowance – this is no small task.

  • Try to shop only once a week or less frequently. The more you go to the store the more you will likely spend on food and other products.
  • Don’t go to the store hungry. You will probably buy much more than you need. Try to leave young children in the care of others while you shop.
  • Compare the cost of small and large containers of the same product. In most cases the larger size will be more economical. However, it will be more expensive if you won’t use it or don’t have room for it.
  • Consider the cost of convenience foods, that is, foods that are already prepared versus those you have to prepare yourself. For example, can you season the rice at home rather than buying packaged herb rice?  On the other hand, some foods such as cake mixes may be cheaper when found on special than making a cake from scratch. However, look at the ingredients and see whether any food coloring or additives are included, which are less desirable.
  • You gain a great deal of information by reading labels. The ingredient list will give you information about a product’s sugar, sodium, and fat content. Ingredients on labels are listed in descending order according to weight. Therefore, if sugar is the first item on the list, you know it is high in sugar.
  • Choose whole-grain bread and cereal products over white bleached flour products.
  • If you are buying canned fruits, buy those in their own juice rather than those with sweetened juice.
  • Make sure fruit juices are 100 per cent juice. Fruit drink and punches have too much sugar added.
  • Many canned soups, sauce mixes and packaged entrees have high sodium. Do you really need them?
  • Nobody needs pop or soda or cola, or whatever the regional dialect calls it – too much sugar!
  • Encourage the drinking of water. Flavor it, if necessary, with lemon or other fruits.
  • Choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are usually less expensive in season and are higher in quality. If you can’t choose these fresh, then buy them canned or frozen. If possible, compare the cost of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms of the same food.
  • Many snack foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.  See whether you can find lighter versions that contain less of these components. Or, just eliminate them from your shopping. If they are not in the house, they won’t be a temptation.
  • Try the “Meatless Monday” schedule for awhile. This promotes healthier eating by emphasizing fruits, vegetables and alternative sources of protein such as beans and lentils that are free from saturated fats. Reducing meat consumption has been shown to provide many benefits, including limiting cancer risk, reducing risk of heart disease, as well as helping to fight obesity and curb diabetes. Chances are, you will not miss having meat at your meals for one day. Besides, meats are usually the most costly foods in a meal and make a huge ecological imprint on our planet.

When you shop for food you have lots of important decisions to make. Wise shopping is not just a matter of spending as little as you can. It means getting the most value for your money while keeping the health benefits of foods at  center stage.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Nutrition Specialist
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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Eating “Real Food” and Making Healthier Choices for Kids

Percent of people per state with a BMI greater...

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More than one in six children and teenagers are obese according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  All we need do is look around and see the re-sizing of America.

There was to have been a voluntary ban on fast food ads on TV as these were said to be helping super-size young children. Has this happened? And if it did happen, would it help matters?

According to a group of physicians, voluntary guidelines have not made a difference in reducing ads placed on TV. They say it’s time to get tougher with the food industry about not advertising junk food to young children. The assumption here is that young children often can’t tell the difference between ads and programming. If fast food ads were banned, they say, this could decrease obesity and overweight by 17 percent.

Looking at the bigger picture, we can see it is not only the food industry’s problem. It is one for all families. Studies show that one in five children (ages 2 to 5) is overweight or obese before entering kindergarten. These children aren’t even in school yet so the school lunch program can’t be at fault. So obesity isn’t only the school lunch problem.

That places much of the responsibility on parents and caregivers of young children. They are the ones in charge of the food that goes on the table. And for families with small children, they are in charge of what their children eat. They need to know about healthy eating and portion size for themselves as well as their children.

With all the media talk and writing about good nutrition, you would believe everyone would be well aware of what constitutes healthy eating. But I still find it hard when I go to the grocery store to see all the processed food, soda pop, and other less-than-desirable food going into grocery carts, often, too, of those who need it the least. I often wonder whether anyone is eating “real food”.

Parents – do you know what your children are eating?

To the good health of you and your family

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and nutrition advocate and author

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