isn’t that good timing? Right when my daughter and grandkids
are here for a visit, I learn that August is Kids Eat Right
Month (kidseatright.org). And along with this proclamation,
the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) has released a
new position paper on feeding kiddos in the 2 to 11 year-old
goals, of course, are for young ones to achieve their full
physical and mental development. To enjoy food. And to
maintain a healthy weight as they skip into adulthood.
we doing? The good news is that — after two decades of
skyrocketing rates of childhood obesity — the numbers are
beginning to stabilize.
news? Several key nutrients — such as calcium, vitamin D,
potassium and dietary fiber — are being under-consumed by
young children. And with these inadequacies come diet-related
diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and, yes, even
osteoporosis (porous bones) at younger and younger ages, says
some ways we can feed our kids to keep them healthy for a
"nutrient-dense" foods — ones that supply a big
nutritional bang for the calorie buck. A small orange for
example, is loaded with potassium and dietary fiber for a
measly 60 calories. Not so for hot Cheetos, which have few
nutrients except fat, refined starch and salt for 160
child-sized portions on child-sized plates. Studies show that
the larger the plate, the more food we tend to eat. A fourth
to a half sandwich on a salad plate is just fine for my 2
year-old granddaughter. She can always have more if she is
juice. Even 100 percent fruit juice in a cute little container
is a vehicle for concentrated calories. Experts recommend no
more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day, if any. And remember
that juice does not contain the beneficial fiber of whole
fast food. Even though the milk and salad and fruit choices
are there, let’s face it. Frequent fast food sets Junior up
to overload on calories and under-consume key nutrients. Our
kids need less fat and sugar (such as fries and sodas) and
more foods with calcium, vitamin D, potassium and fiber (such
as yogurt parfaits).
little bodies and minds in the morning. Oat cereal and
blueberries, anyone? Peanut butter on whole grain toast?
Little ones who eat a simple morning meal can be expected to
perform better with school tasks than those who do not, say
too many snacks. Kids in 1978 ate meals or snacks about four
times a day. Youngsters now eat more than five times a day.
And unfortunately the top contenders are candy and salty
parent. Kids can regulate their food intake well but only if
they are in an environment that supports that. Mom and Dad and
Grandmom and Granddad, careful that you don’t over-indulge
or over-restrict little ones. Either extreme can backfire into
eating problems later on.
mention that my grandkids are in town?