Posts for category: Pediatric Nutrition
Why Proper Nutrition is Important
As a parent, it goes without saying that you want what is best for your child. Making sure that your little ones grow up healthy, happy, and prepared for the future is often one of the most difficult, yet rewarding, tasks in all of parenthood. This all-important mission to provide a great life for your child encompasses a number of different factors, including one which is the subject of this article: nutrition.
According to recent reports from the CDC, one in five school children within the United States qualify as obese. This epidemic of unhealthy living inevitably creates a number of ill effects in the children who suffer from the condition. Read on to learn how proper nutrition can keep your child at a healthy weight and avoid the consequences of obesity.
Why Obesity Must Be Avoided
Before we examine the intricacies of proper nutrition, it is important that we look at why being overweight/obese is to be avoided:
- Onset of chronic diseases: Although they are more often diagnosed in adults, conditions such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes have been increasingly seen in younger children, largely because of poor eating habits.
- Childhood habits traverse into adulthood: Humans tend to be creatures of habit, and accordingly, we largely carry childhood tendencies into our adult lives. For this reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the National Institute for Health Research has found that “55% of obese children go on to be obese in adolescence, around 80% of obese adolescents will still be obese in adulthood and around 70% will be obese over age 30.”
- Obesity shortens life: The National Institute of Health has found that obesity has the possibility of shortening life spans by up to fourteen years, and with the established link between childhood and adulthood obesity, it’s essential to promote healthy
Other Benefits of Proper Nutrition
The most obvious benefit of providing proper nutrition for your child is that they are then much more likely to maintain a healthy weight, and thus avoid all of the dangers associated with obesity. In addition to escaping the clutches of type 2 diabetes and a shortened life expectancy, your little one will also feel the immediate advantage of higher physical energy levels and increased brain activity. These boosts to your child’s wellbeing can be attributed to an increased bloodflow throughout the body, allowing them to not only stay healthier, but feel happier as well!
If you need help with getting your child on the path of proper nutrition, contact your local pediatrician today—we’re here to help!
Your child is growing by leaps and bounds, so it should go without saying that the foods they consume can provide ample energy and fuel their mind and body, or they can cause deficiencies, mood swings, sluggishness, and health problems. Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance and establishing healthy eating habits early on can greatly benefit your child for both the short-term and for the future.
With childhood obesity still being a very serious and real problem in our country, it’s never too early to start your child eating a healthy, balanced diet. It’s amazing how what you eat can either help or harm your health. Here are some tips to support good nutrition in your little one.
Don’t Forget Breakfast
While busy parents might forget to eat first thing in the morning (or turn to coffee to get that burst of energy) growing children should not skip out on breakfast. Making sure they have a hearty protein-rich breakfast will help them stay fuller longer. Greek yogurt or eggs can be a great source of protein. Couple that with whole grains and some veggies and you have the ultimate, energized breakfast.
Let Your Child Be an Active Participant
If you just tell your child what to eat all the time it’s can be far more challenging to have them eat what they should and children don’t really understand for themselves why certain foods are good for them. Getting your child actively involved in their own nutrition is a great and invaluable lesson that they will carry with them throughout life. Let them choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Plant a garden together and show them how to tend to herbs and vegetables. Make cooking together a priority and enjoy time with the family while teaching your child how to cook.
Revamp Your Diet
We know that it can be difficult to completely transition your child into a healthier lifestyle, particularly if eating habits haven’t been the best so far; however, a pediatrician can help guide you through the process to help you make simple decisions that could greatly improve your child’s diet. Simply swapping out certain unhealthy options for healthier ones might be all you need. For example, replace soda with flavored water, ice cream with yogurt, and potato chips with mixed nuts.
Sugar in Moderation
Okay, we know it’s impossible to prevent your child from ever consuming sugar (after all, what’s a birthday party without the birthday cake?); however, you should limit how much sugar your child consumes each day. Keep sodas, sports drinks, desserts and the like out of the house to prevent temptation. Sure, these treats aren’t that bad for you when consumed sparingly, but we all know the negative effect sugar has on our physical and mental health.
If you have questions about your child’s nutritional habits or their health, it’s important that you have a pediatrician that you trust to provide you with the comprehensive and understanding care you and your little one need. Turn to a pediatrician today to have all your questions and concerns addressed regarding your child’s nutrition and lifestyle.
Giving your baby his first spoonful of solid foods is an exciting time! Many parents look forward to the day their little one takes their first bite of rice cereal, and in many cases, baby is just as eager! So how do you know if your baby is ready to transition to solids?
Here are a few tips for helping you introduce and successfully navigate feeding your baby solids.
Is my baby ready for solids?
As a general rule, most babies are ready to tackle solids between 4 and 6 months of age.
- Weight gain. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are typically big enough to consume solids when they reach about 13 pounds—or about the time they double their birth weight.
- Head control. Your baby must be able to sit up unsupported and have good head and neck control.
- Heightened curiosity. It may be time to introduce your baby to solids when they begin to take interest in the foods around them. Opening of the mouth, chewing motions and staring at your plate at the dinner table are all good indicators it’s time to give solid foods a try.
To start, give your baby half a spoonful or less of one type of solid food. Generally it doesn’t matter which food is introduced first, but many parents begin with an iron-fortified rice cereal. Once they master one type of food, then you can gradually give them new foods.
Other foods, such as small banana pieces, scrambled eggs and well-done pasta can also be given to the baby as finger foods. This is usually around the time the baby can sit up and bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.
As your baby learns to eat a few different foods, gradually expose them to a wide variety of flavors and textures from all food groups. In addition to continuing breast milk or formula, you can also introduce meats, cereals, fruits and vegetables. It’s important to watch for allergic reactions as new foods are incorporated into your baby’s diet. If you suspect an allergy, stop using that food and contact your pediatrician.
Talk to your pediatrician for recommendations about feeding your baby solid foods. Your pediatrician can answer any questions you have about nutrition, eating habits and changes to expect as your baby embarks on a solid food diet.
As children grow into adolescence, their bodies require more nutrients to grow healthy and strong. But as many parents know, for those teens with busy school schedules, sports practices and jobs, managing a healthy, well-balanced meal plan isn’t always at the top of their priority list. In many cases, a teen’s most important meals are eaten in the car or on the bus as they shuffle from one activity to the next.
Parents can play a very important role in influencing their teen to stay active while maintaining a healthy diet. These tips can help:
- Encourage your teen to not skip meals, especially breakfast. A well-balanced breakfast is essential to keeping your son or daughter nourished throughout the day.
- Educate your teen about healthy snack choices. Stock your refrigerator and cabinets with healthy foods and snacks, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and lean meats and poultry. Avoid buying sodas and other sugary drinks and foods that are low in nutritional value.
- Involve your teen in the selection and preparation of foods to teach them to make healthy choices.
- Teach your teen how to make healthy selections when eating out at restaurants.
How many servings per day your teenager requires will depend on how many calories his or her body needs. This is based on age, sex, size and activity level. You can discuss your teen’s nutritional habits and recommended daily intake with your teen's pediatrician.
Although balancing school, sports and social activities may present challenges to eating healthy, it is possible to guide your teen on a path of nutritional food choices. Educate them now and promote healthy eating at home to help your teen develop a good understanding of proper nutrition into adulthood. The whole family can benefit from improved eating habits starting at home.