Consuming a wholesome breakfast not only helps to maintain a healthy weight but also helps to improve children’s behavior and school performance. Despite all this, surveys reveal that breakfast is not consumed by more than quarter of the Indian population. Research also reveals shocking facts that children’s brain and bodies suffer throughout the day when they skip breakfast.
Though you might feel it a pain to prepare and eat breakfast during busy hours in the morning, a healthy breakfast can be made simply within the proposed time.
We never find kids bouncing off the walls right after a birthday party of cakes and sodas. Though many parents believe that sugar causes their children to become hyperactive, significant research proves that there is no link between the two.
The Falsely Upheld Myth
Pediatricians proclaim that the sugar-hyperactivity myth started due to a single study from the mid-1970’s where a doctor purposely removed sugary foods from one child’s diet and that child’s behavior improved. Though substantial studies have been conducted since then, none of them have actually proved that sugar causes hyperactivity. Researchers also state that parents assume hyperactivity after their children eat sugar and blindly tell so once they think their children have consumed sugary foods. Just to contradict this belief of theirs, a study asked parents to rate their child’s hyperactivity after drinking a beverage with sugar. Thought the drink was actually sugar free, parents still rated their kids to be more hyperactive.
Guilty By Association?
You may assume your child to be acting out during his/her birthday party in response to the sweet snacks consumed, but the reality is that your kid is all excited and pumped up with energy after playing games and being around with friends. Always get a good understanding of your child’s environment before blaming sweets for hyperactivity or bad behavior. On the contradictory, consuming sugar can actually have a calming effect because of a chemical called serotonin produced by sugar which contributes to a feeling of well-being.
Promised weight loss continues to be a common attraction among people, including preteens and adolescents, to follow a low-carbohydrate diet plan. With no formal definition of a “low-carb diet”, individuals generally cut down or eliminate their grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables consumption. An adult in the family following a new diet might make one wonder if the same diet chart can be given to the kids as well. But let’s get to know the actual facts on low-carb eating for kids.
Carbohydrates are Energy Powerhouses
Carbohydrates found in grains, fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt are the perfect sources of energy for the body contributing to about half of the calorific needs of both adults and children.
Simply Don’t Pile Up your Empty Calories
Carbohydrates present in foods such as sugary beverages, candy and baked goods contain empty calories and must be totally avoided or atleast limited. Nutritionists/dietitians suggest that kids these days indulge in eating too much of these foods which are not necessary to stay healthy. These extra calories could result in overweight or obesity if the individual is not involved in any physical activity. In order to consume healthy diet foods that are nutritious and also to know about various interesting physical activities in which you can engage your child, you can contact a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com.
Missing Carbohydrates Lead to Missing Nutrients and Energy Levels
Preteens or high schoolers having adult-like appearance may require more nutrients than adults. Cutting down on carbs intake such as whole grains, fruits and veggies can end up in several nutrient deficiencies, including fiber and a long list of B vitamins.
Curbing down on high-carb foods leaves you with nothing much to eat than stuffing your plate with protein and fat to compensate for the missing carbohydrates. This is much more dangerous in the case of athletes as carbohydrates are the primary fuel for exercises and reduced intake of this nutrient can lower your energy levels.
Freekeh, an ancient grain, has been used widely in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt till date. This grain, pronounced as “free-kah”, is gaining popularity for its nutritional punch. Dietitians claim that freekeh is higher in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and lower in glycemic index compared to other grains.
Freekeh-What is It?
Freekeh is made from young wheat (typically durum) that is harvested while still green and put through a roasting and rubbing process during production. It is similar to bulgur with a smoky, nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. Freekeh is versatile and it is easy to fix a meal with this grain as it cooks in 20 minutes and can be easily substituted for rice or couscous in a meal. Freekeh can also be enjoyed as a cereal, in the form of puddings, in soups, casseroles or even enjoyed as a pilaf/side dish.
The Free Health Benefits that come with Freekeh
Interchanging the use of rice with freekeh has its own health benefits. For instance:
It helps to lose weight. The very simple fact that freekeh is packed with protein and fiber gives you a satisfactory feeling while consuming it. This, in turn, leads to lesser calories consumed and is a staple diet food for weight loss. A fiber-rich diet is associated with lower body weight and freekeh is supposed to contain three times the amount of fiber as brown rice.
It might promote your eyesight. The grain is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin which are supposed to prevent age-related macular degeneration and promote eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin fall under the category of carotenoids (a type of antioxidant).
While freekeh is easily procurable at ethnic stores, it is becoming available in health food stores and supermarkets as well.
Next to character, food, nutrition and eating skills are the most essential things you must teach your children — food to fuel our busy lives, nutrition to nourish strong bodies and eating skills to make it a pleasant meal with family and friends.
None of us, not even nutrition professionals/dietitians play a perfect job with nutrition when they raise children. Parents, grandparents and caretakers can help to raise healthy eaters during these critical years by doing their best to:
Make it Mandatory to Eat Meals Together as a Family
According to parenting and health experts, having meals together as a family though simple may have powerful benefits. Spending time together helps:
This modern world has a solution for every problem, right from solving complicated diseases to simple alternatives to foods. Gluten-free products are one such alternative to some foods which have occupied a significant place in specialty grocery stores or can be purchased online. Even eat out joints and restaurants offer quite a lot many options in gluten-free dishes. It is always recommended that you call up the restaurant or browse its website for a menu list before you visit one to avoid any disappointment.
Scan Your Menu for Gluten-Free Foods
Look out for gluten-free alternatives in the menu card. You can simply opt for foods without breads, sauces, marinades, seasonings or gravies which would fit your diet to the dot. You can choose something like a grilled salmon with lemon, baked potato with butter, healthy steamed vegetables or eggplant and spicy nuts with rice.
Be quick to notify your waiter that you need a gluten-free meal and that you have zero tolerance to wheat products. Never feel shy or hesitate to ask questions, otherwise you would end up in trouble. Be aware that there are many others just like you with gluten sensitivity.
Be careful when going out to a friend’s party or to your relative’s house. Tell about your needs well before time or you can also offer to bring your own food when the need demands.
In the Aisles
The main six words to look out for in the ingredient list when a product is not labeled gluten-free are wheat, rye, barley, oats, malt (unless a gluten-free source is listed, such as corn malt) and brewer’s yeast. These products must be avoided completely. Also read the food panels for foods marked “contains wheat” in the ingredient list. Do not buy these food stuffs. If you want further idea about reading product labels or balancing your nutrient needs through gluten-free options, you can check with a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com.
You may think of buying foods such as rice-mix which seem to be gluten-free but these might have a speck of gluten here and there if the manufacturer prepares other products containing gluten in the same facility. Though you might keep purchasing the same product every now and then never fail to read all the product labels each time you buy something as the manufacturer may change any of the ingredients at any point of time.
Know the ‘20’ Rule
According to the FDA rule, any food having less than 20 parts per million of gluten can be tagged as gluten-free. Wheat starch-containing foods when not marked as gluten-free should not be eaten.
To have a continuous supply of gluten-free products, request your grocer to stock grains and other foods required at the grocery store.
Self-motivated people are a rare scenario while most of us fall into the category of people who need motivation to fulfill our health goals and start eating right. Relax this summer season with a holistic backyard barbecue while serving delicious and healthy foods to your family and friend.
Let fruits and vegetables take the center stage of your barbecue as they are low in calories, high in fibre and laden with nutrients needed for a healthy living. Buy your produce from the local grocery store or farmers’ market for fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies. For someone in doubt about presenting fruits and veggies in style at a barbecue, here are a few creative ideas to help you out:
As the name goes, summer squashes like zucchini, patty pans or yellow crooknecks are a fabulous summer treat. You can stuff them, steam them, bake them or grill them.
Potato chips and potato salad are an all-time favorite for most of us. Instead of serving these popular dishes loaded with high amounts of fats and sodium during midsummer season, try to choose sweet potato instead. A medium-sized sweet potato contains 3 grams of fiber and just 130 calories, making them a nutritionally great choice.
Speak to a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com for any more information on healthy and nutritious ways to enjoy your summertime.
Fats are essential nutrients for health. While some fats have different effects on health, others have health-protective benefits. The following fats, in moderate quantities, must be a part of your meal intake.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids, help lower cholesterol levels and support heart health.
Omega-3 Pick List
Fatty Fish: Nutritionists suggest including fish in your diet at least twice a week. Salmon, albacore tuna (fresh and canned), sardines, lake trout and mackerel are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nutritionists and dietitians recommend pregnant women to avoid certain fish varieties and this list is available at the website www.firsteatright.com.
Monounsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels thereby decreasing your risk of heart disease.
Monounsaturated Fats Pick List
Our present lifestyle includes minimal physical exercise, poor eating habits and busy, stressed daily schedules that act as compounding factors to decrease our energy levels. Eating right is the first big step to solve these problems. Nutritious food can boost your stamina. Given below are five simple methods to maximize your energy.
Eating light meals every three to four hours helps to fuel a healthy metabolism, maintain muscle mass and prevent between-meal hunger that may result in snacking. For people taking a meal only once or twice daily, this idea would be quite difficult to start off with. But keep in mind that you will feel all pumped up and more focused when you eat periodically as you have more energy supplied to your body on a regular basis.
Overeating happens if one is too hungry or the food kept before them is their all-time favorite. Eating just enough to fill your needs and not your taste buds reduces overeating. Carrying your work without food for five to six hours after a meal indicates that your last meal was overfull. On a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is starving and 10 is painfully full), try eating to about a 5 or 6 level, where you are comfortably full but not overstuffed. Get to know the meaning of each of the levels (0 to 10) at the website www.firsteatright.com where emotional hunger and physical hunger are discussed in detail.
Eat a Balanced Diet
To get a balanced diet and eat good healthy food, it is important to choose foods from all food groups (cereals, pulses, poultry and meat, milk and milk products, fruits and vegetables). Load yourself with such foods for sustained energy and to lose weight in the healthy way.
“Be done with your food before leaving the table.”
“Fill your belly before filling your taste buds.”
This is not your inner voice alone speaking out, but the voice of thousands of parents like you. Such remarks are sure signals of putting your kids onto the Clean Plate Club. Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN’s) are completely against this policy of force feeding children. What seems to be like nurturing and caring to you is nothing but an invitation to an eventual weight problem. Parents and other caregivers feel happy and satisfied when the child consumes a large meal, presuming this to be the appropriate way to good health and growth.
Reasons to Avoid the Clean Plate Club
Dietitians and nutritionists feel that feeding the child forcefully may make the child incapable of reading hunger cues and ignore their bodies’ signal that he/she has had enough. This consequently results in a disorganized eating pattern throughout the lifetime of the child where the kid resorts to eating even when not hungry.
Don’t be the negative factor on your child’s eating pattern. When you insist your kid to consume fruits and vegetables, you are creating a negative impact on the very food you want your child to have. Instead of turning your dinner table into a boxing ring and ruining family time, try to have a relaxed approach. This gives you better results and brings success in regulating your child’s food habits.
We are almost halfway through the year and how many of us are still sticking on to our new year resolutions of following a healthy lifestyle? If you feel that you have already lost interest in maintaining your resolution, read the article below. You, being the greatest role model for your child, can make and should make 2017 the year of healthy food choices, healthy lifestyle and eating habits for your entire family.
Having started the year 2017 with a resolution to maintain a healthy diet/ lifestyle, the tips given below can be of enormous motivation to your health modifications. These changes add up in due course paving way for big, positive health results:
· Make it a habit to eat regular, timely and balanced meals and snacks with a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
· Habituate the entire family to start the day with a nutrient-rich breakfast.
· Target on health and not weight. Never put yourself down or talk low about yourself regarding your weight in front of your kids. Don’t give them the false impression that a healthy lifestyle is all about how much they weight.
· Eat together as a family every night or at least whenever feasible.
· During every meal, fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
· Make at least half of the grains you eat whole grains.
· Stay active. Involve yourself in physical activity during any part of the day and in any form, be it taking a family walk after dinner or a rigorous workout at the gym. The standing instruction is that kids and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.
· Follow simple food safety rules, such as washing hands before and after each meal.
· Be positive and never complain about the pain of exercising or your dislike towards eating healthy food. Remember that your child is listening to each and everything you utter out of your mouth, even if you think they’re ignoring you.
· Consult a qualified health professional for better result. A registered dietitian nutritionist is the best person to seek reliable and up-to- date food and nutrition information. Get in touch with reputed dietitians & nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
Small steps are the stepping stones to big results leading to a healthier lifestyle.
Hunger can be classified into two types namely emotional and physical. Physical hunger is the body’s way of indicating that it needs nutrients. Eating to deal with feelings is called as emotional hunger. It is normal to let your child experience either of these hunger once in a while.
Hunger scale can be used to know the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Once you get the hang of it, hunger scale can help you manage even your weight. Stay on a healthy weight by seeking the help of a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com who can guide you with the right foods to eat, the right time to eat and the right quantity of foods to eat.
Getting to Use the Hunger Scale
Every time before choosing something to munch upon, decide on your hunger quotient on a scale of 1 to 10:
· 1 means you are very, very hungry
· 5 means you are neither hungry nor full
· 10 means you feel completely satisfied
Once you start using the hunger scale, the numbers will start to mean something more after sometime. It usually takes a while to know what a 2 or 7 feels like. Ask your child to rate his/her hunger. Basically, the idea of this scale is to start eating when hunger is at level 2 or 3. These levels indicate that the child is eating because of physical hunger. Guide them to stop eating when he/she reaches level 7. At this point, hunger is satisfied and the person can get up and go for a walk.
Never let your child’s hunger level drop to 1. This may lead to overeating by your child as he/she is very hungry.
If someone succumbs to eat when their score is above 5, they are eating for emotional reasons. It is better to discover the feelings that are behind this desire to eat.
Our bodies are battlegrounds that fight against infections and diseases. Day-to-day functions such as breathing or physical activity and other lifestyle habits (such as smoking) form substances called free radicals that attack healthy cells. Once attacked, these cells weaken and become vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein) help to safeguard healthy cells against the damage of free radicals.
There are around 600 or more carotenoids in foods amongst which beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein lead the fight against the damage from free radicals. Foods rich in these substances guard the body against certain cancers and also help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Carotenoid-rich foods include red, orange, deep-yellow and some dark-green leafy vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, spinach, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, winter squash and broccoli.
Research studies prove the vital role of vitamin E in promoting health. The primary role of vitamin E is that of an antioxidant protecting the body from cell damage which can otherwise result in cancer, heart disease and cataracts as we age. It also works with other antioxidants such as vitamin C to safeguard against chronic diseases. Vegetable oils, salad dressings, margarine, wheat germ, whole-grain products, seeds, nuts and peanut butter are good sources of vitamin E.
Vitamin C, the best antioxidant known to mankind, renders multiple health benefits. Vitamin C protects our body against infection and damage to body cells, helps in producing collagen (the connective tissue that holds bones and muscles together) and also aids in the absorption of iron and folate.
Add a dash of vitamin C to your body by consuming citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits and tangerines), strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes.
Hurdles against Healthy Eating
Following a healthy eating plan includes consuming well-balanced meals and snacks every day and to relish a wide array of foods. Start living healthily by eating at least 2 cups of fruits and 2 ½ cups of vegetables daily.
Healthy specialists/Nutritionists and dietitians recommend getting antioxidants to your body via food rather than a dose of supplements as research has not yet proved antioxidant supplements to be beneficial in preventing diseases. Sometimes healthful eating becomes a challenge and the best solution to this problem is to consult a registered dietitian who can check your eating habits and determine the requirement of a supplement. You can speak to a nutritionist/dietitian by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
After decades of monopolizing the poultry industry, the boneless skinless chicken breast has competition. Eminent journal reports suggest that dark meat thighs and legs have become major competitors to chicken breasts. The meaty thigh, once available at low cost and ignored by the public has increased tremendously in market price. When the reason behind this was investigated, there were several factors including the drumbeat of celebrity chefs’ endorsing dark meat’s superior flavor and increased sales of chicken sausages which are often made with rich dark meat.
More the Taste, Less the Nutritious Value
Though customers are making a conscious switch from white to dark meat because of taste, the price they pay for it is huge: higher calories, fat and saturated fat. For example, 85 grams of chicken breast without the skin contains 142 calories, 3 grams of fat and .9 grams of saturated fat. Whereas, a skinless chicken thigh of the same size contains 170 calories, 9 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat.
Just because the example here is for an 85-gram serving, the vast difference between a meal of white meat and a meal of dark meat is often underestimated. Portion size occupies dominant role when we talk about meat and so does the total quantity of fat, saturated fat and calories consumed.
Bring the Bone ‘In’ and Throw the Boneless ‘Out’
Registered dietitian nutritionists suggest people to opt for bone-in options instead of boneless ones. Though the bone does not add any nutritious value to the cooked meat, it helps to reduce food consumption. The bone remains as a constant reminder of how much one has eaten. For valuable nutrition recommendations based on your body type, log on to www.firsteatright.com.
In an authentic study, two groups of people were promised “all-you-can-eat” chicken wings. One group of people were served chicken after removing the bones while the other group of participants were made to remove the bones while consuming chicken. The second group of people consumed less as they could visualize the amount of food eaten as the bones kept piling up on their plates.
Go for dark turkey meat instead of dark chicken meat. This is a better choice as turkey meat fares well as a lower-fat protein food like chicken breasts. Roasted skinless dark turkey meat weighing 85 grams contains 135 calories. 3 grams of fat and 1 gram of saturated fat.
When teens become vegetarians for different reasons, it is the duty of the parents to ensure that all the required vitamins, minerals and nutrients are present in their daily dietary routine for proper growth and good health.
The first step is to find out which foods your child has stopped eating. Vegetarianism can mean avoiding all meats, dairy products and eggs or eating dairy and/or eggs but no meat. Some vegetarians even eat small amounts of fish occasionally. Coordinate with your teen so that you can plan family meals accordingly.
Spice Up Vegan Food with Innovative Recipes
Involve your Teen in Formulating New Meals
Choosing vegetarian meals can benefit the whole family. Take your teen for grocery shopping and insist him/her to create and help you in preparing an entire meal at least once a week.
A vegetarian teen amongst family members who are used to eating animal-based foods provides the family with ample opportunity to give a shot at vegetarian cuisines from around the globe. Recipes from books and the internet are the best options to try new vegetarian dishes. Also you can seek the help of registered dietitians/nutritionists at the website www.firsteatright.com for further guidance and nutrition advice.
If you indulge in fast food every now and then, remember the points given below before choosing something to eat:
Eating the right kind of diet gears your body for pregnancy while affecting fertility in ways that are not yet clear. Body weight and physical activity are also contributing factors for pregnancy.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight for Conception
Researchers unanimously agree that body weight plays a key role in affecting fertility and health. Extreme body weight conditions, like being too lean or too bulky, can make it harder to get pregnant. For an ideal body weight:
Initiatives are taken every day to create awareness among people, especially children, to eat healthy and clean food. These campaigns inspire parents to dedicate more time in planning their kids’ meals and this should be done from preschool as it is never too early to train your child on the path to eating right.
Carry your Own Food
It has been observed that in America more than 57 percent of 3- to 6-year-old children spend time at childcare centres while in India the rate is slowly increasing due to the growing number of working mothers. Most of these centres provide lunch and snacks for kids while few of them request parents to pack some or all of the meals. Be happy if the child is asked to carry his/her food from home as you can prepare and send the most healthy lunch box.
You can do a Lot!
Be smart to mix fruits and vegetables together in a single container to help your little one empty the contents. This is sure to happen as the veggies have a sweet tinge because of the fruits present. Nicely cooked carrots with a few raisins or dried cranberries are a great attraction to your little one. Mini whole grain pitas, English muffins and tortilla sandwiches can be added options to your regular whole grain breads. Any whole grain is healthy. Whole grain cereals and whole grain crackers are also healthy lunch options.
Be the Change you want to see!
Parents are the best role model for their children. When parents eat healthy foods kids automatically are inspired to eat nutritious meals. Try to follow day care centres to create healthy lunch recipes: one protein, one whole grain, one fruit, one vegetable and one milk. On weekends or special days, allow your kids to indulge in a pudding cup or a slice of homemade quick bread with banana, zucchini or carrot.
Visit the website firsteatright.com for healthy lunch ideas and recipes.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.