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Posts Tagged ‘Food & nutrition’

How to Overcome Your Child’s Picky Eating Habits

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You were a picky eater when you were a child. Now your own child is, shall we say, highly discriminating on what he or she eats, too. Coincidence? A recent study says maybe not.

The study, by researchers from the University of Illinois, gathered information from the parents of 153 preschoolers. They found that while many factors can play a role in a child’s choosy eating, genes that are linked to a child’s sensory responses could be one of them.

What does this mean if you’re the parent of a picky eater? Do you simply throw up your hands and say it’s genetic?

Keep trying

Don’t give up on efforts to entice your child to eat a broader range of food, says Jennifer Hyland, RD, CSP, LD of Cleveland Clinic Children’s. It’s important to continue to expose children to new foods over time to get them to try them, she says.

There is a wide spectrum of behavior when it comes to picky eating, Ms. Hyland says. But for most children, picky eating does not go away on its own unless parents really work at it.

Research has shown it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 tries for a child to like a particular food, she says.

But you don’t want to force foods upon your child. Keep meals an enjoyable experience, Ms. Hyland says. One strategy is for parents to ask their children to take no-thank-you bites – which means they can say, “no thank you,” but they have to at least try the food. This leads to continued exposure, and over time, it’s hoped they will learn to develop a taste for these foods.

At meal time, Ms. Hyland says, it’s helpful to have at least one food on the plate that you know your child will eat. Also, but be sure to give everyone at the table the same foods.

“Try your best to cook the same meal for the whole family,” she says. “The child may not eat all of it, but it’s important that you encourage them to at least try, and that you set an example of trying these foods yourself, so that over time, they will learn to eat these foods.”

It begins during toddlerhood

It’s typical for picky eating to start during the toddler years, Ms. Hyland says.

“Normal picky-eating can start anywhere as early as age 2 or 3,” she says. “Usually during infancy, children are adventurous eaters and they’re trying new things. The picky eating really creeps up around the time they become toddlers. Parents will say, ‘My kid ate vegetables and they liked this and they liked that and now they don’t eat anything.’ We see that pretty frequently.” 

Should parents worry about a picky eater? If your child is underweight, you might be worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrition. This results in parents giving their children whatever they want to eat to make sure they’re getting enough calories.

If this is you, it’s a  good time to meet with a registered dietitian or physician, because there are ways to combat that problem, while still improving the picky eating habits, Ms. Hyland says.

The most important thing a parent can do with a choosy eater is be consistent and not give up, Ms. Hyland says.

However, if a child has chewing or swallowing issues, or shows severe anxiety about trying new foods,  talk to a doctor, because you child may need the help of a behavioral specialist or multidisciplinary feeding program.

Complete results of the study can be found in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics.

 

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Pita Nachos

Need to make an after-school snack? Pita nachos make for a quick, satisfying treat.

nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pita
  • Salsa
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Split pita into two rounds, then cut into wedges. Lay the wedges on a cookie sheet, then broil in an oven for a few minutes until golden. Sprinkle wedges with cheese and salsa, then broil again until cheese melts.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

 

POLAR BEAR SNACKS

Whip up some winter fun with these delightful (and easy) polar bear snacks! Click here to see how these recipes are made.

polar-bear-snacks

Polar Bear Yogurt Bowl (Great for breakfast!)

  • 1 cup of vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3 slices of banana
  • 3 fresh blueberries

Scoop one cup of vanilla Greek yogurt into a small round bowl.

1-a

Place two slices of banana at the top of the bowl for ears.

Place one slice of banana in the middle of the bowl for a muzzle.

1

Place one blueberry on the middle banana slice as a nose and the other two blueberries just above the muzzle as eyes.

1-d

Polar Bear Toast (An awesome afternoon snack!)

  • Slice of whole grain bread, toasted
  • 3 slices of banana
  • 5 fresh blueberries
  • Cream cheese

Spread cream cheese on a slice of whole grain toast.

2-a

Place two slices of banana at the top two corners of the toast for ears.

Place one slice of banana towards the bottom center of the toast for a muzzle.

2

Place one blueberry on each banana slice and add the other two blueberries just above the muzzle as eyes.

2-d

Polar Bear Pudding Cup (Dessert, anyone?)

  • 1 vanilla pudding cup
  • 2 slices of banana
  • 2 chocolate chips
  • 1 HERSHEY’S KISS

Open a vanilla pudding cup.

3-a

Place two slices of banana at the top of the cup for ears.

Place two chocolate chips upside down into the pudding below the banana slices as eyes.

3

Place the HERSHEY’S KISS in the center of the pudding below the eyes as a nose.

4-d

Eat up and enjoy!

 

 

Mealtime Makeover!

Sometimes, putting together a tasty and nutritious meal for our families can be difficult. Here are some tips for making dinnertime with our energetic little ones easier. twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0

  1. Gather your children at the table and ask them to draw simple items that you will rate from 1 to 10. Give high numbers to boost their self-confidence. They will enjoy this game before dinner, and you will appreciate the calmness of your lively preschoolers.
  2. Explain what you are cooking and let them participate. Children may be more excited to eat the food if they help prepare it. Some age-appropriate tasks might include washing veggies, measuring ingredients and setting the table.
  3. For a fun activity, have them create artwork to be laminated and used as placemats for the table. Your little ones will enjoy sitting down to eat more when they see their own pictures included in the table setting.
  4. To encourage children to eat new foods, talk to them about the different shapes and colors of the food while they are eating it. This is a great way to converse with your children. For them, dinner may seem more like a game than a meal.

What are some other ways to encourage your little ones to eat at dinnertime?

Fishing for Crackers

Fishing for CrackersSpruce up snack time with this easy, healthy and fun snack!

Ingredients:

  • Carrot sticks
  • A bowl of hummus or veggie dip
  • Goldfish crackers

Dunk the carrots into the hummus or dip. Then put some goldfish crackers on a plate and use the carrot stick to “catch” the crackers.

Baking with Children

  • twenty20 - BakingPut on aprons. The mess is part of the fun;
  • Older children can crack the eggs and measure wet and dry ingredients, while younger children can participate by pouring the pre-measured ingredients into the mixing bowl;
  • Show children that oil and water don’t mix by letting them stir the mix;
  • Create cut-outs with cookies cutters;
  • Be sure to encourage creativity and imagination when decorating your creations. Use festively colored frostings, sparkly sanding sugars, gumdrops, pre-cut fondant or homespun shapes. These are perfect for little fingers and make wonderful cookie decorations;
  • Don’t forget to taste test your creations;
  • Go with your children to deliver a plate of cookies to a neighbor or the local senior center. Giving and sharing can make children feel good.

Superhero Green Smoothie

In a hurry? This sweet green juice has lots of vitamins and makes a good pre-practice dinner or a great breakfast. Use a blender or juicer to combine the ingredients into a quick, healthy meal.

Smoothie

  • 1 handful kale
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 pear, cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into small pieces
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries
  • Juice from 1 lemon (or ½ an unpeeled lemon if you are using a juicer)

If your children have a strong aversion to anything green, you can use more strawberries or raspberries or add some blueberries.

Quick and Healthy Snack Ideas

Spruce up snack time with these fast, easy, healthy and delicious snack ideas!

Lil’ Dippers

Ingredients:

  • An apple
  • Any kind of nut butter
  • Crushed peanuts or sliced almonds

Cut the apple into wedges. Then stick a toothpick in each piece, dip in nut butter and sprinkle with peanuts or almonds.


Top O’ the Graham

Ingredients:

  • Non-fat yogurt (any flavor)
  • Graham crackers
  • Banana slices
  • Dried cranberries

Spread a spoonful of yogurt on a graham cracker. Top with banana slices and dried cranberries.


Fishing for Crackers

Ingredients:

  • Carrot sticks
  • A bowl of hummus or veggie dip
  • Goldfish crackers

Dunk the carrots into the hummus or dip. Then put some goldfish crackers on a plate and use the carrot stick to “catch” the crackers.

Five Ways to Make Family Meal Preparation Easier

Sitting down to dinner with your family is great. You can recap your days, spend some time together and have some laughs. Between work, school and extracurricular activities, though, finding the time to sit down together can be challenging. Here are five ways to make preparing family meals easier.

  1. Prepare meals beforehand. Make a lot of a particular dish over the weekend and serve it throughout the week. For example, make a double batch of a casserole or a big batch of soup or chili and serve it every other day so you don’t have to worry about cooking on those nights.Family 03_jpg
  2. “Cheat” when you cook. Using frozen or pre-cut veggies and other prepared foods is an excellent way to save time when you cook. Also, a slow cooker lets you cook a full meal with less preparation.
  3. Keep meals simple. Plenty of fast, easy meals are also delicious and nutritious. The internet has a treasure trove of recipes to suit your family, your wallet, your schedule and your taste buds.
  4. Have breakfast for dinner. In a pinch, serve scrambled eggs, toast and fruit. Waffles or pancakes are easy, too. Eating mostly healthy foods is important, but sitting down with your family is important, too.
  5. Make dinner as a family. Having help can cut down on meal preparation time. Children can stir and roll out dough, and they can mix the vegetables you chopped into a salad. Cooking together is also a terrific bonding activity.

Easy Halloween S’mores

S’mores are a delicious treat but they usually require a campfire. These simple s’mores can be made without a campfire and are just as yummy!

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • Marshmallow crème
  • Black and orange nonpareils

Spread four graham cracker squares with chocolate-hazelnut spread, and spread fourgraham_crackers graham cracker squares with marshmallow crème. Pair off the marshmallow and chocolate-hazelnut squares and sandwich them together. Place them on a microwave-safe plate and microwave them, uncovered, on high for 30 seconds. Once they’re nice and warm, sprinkle the gooey edges in black and orange nonpareils. Then enjoy!

You can also try a peanut butter variation – just use chocolate graham cracker squares instead of traditional ones, and use peanut butter instead of chocolate-hazelnut spread.