Tricks for handling Halloween treats

This year, enjoy all the fun and frights of Halloween without fretting about the consequences of gobs of candy and other sweet treats. Excessive candy consumption can be bad for kid’s teeth and provide them with unneeded calories. As parents, it can be a challenge to make Halloween fun while restricting access to treats. Here are some ideas …Continue reading this post

Heart-healthy diet: Tips for parents

Following a heart-healthy diet not only helps the heart, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight. Use these tips to jumpstart your diet:

  • Choose leaner meats.
  • Increase fruits and vegetables.
  • Increase whole grains.

High-fat meats are among the most significant sources of saturated fat and cholesterol. Limit beef, sausages, hot dogs and fried or battered foods. Choose lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish. Try baking, grilling and broiling meats instead of …Continue reading this post

Help get your portions under control

Sometimes a child can eat all of the right foods but still gain weight. This is when parents should examine portion control. From a young age, kids can become conditioned to eat all of the food in front of them, whether they’re hungry or not. Serving appropriate portions to children helps them eat only what they need. Here is a general guideline about how much kids should be eating:

  • Toddlers should eat approximately one quarter of an adult-sized portion.
  • Children age 4 to 8 should eat one-third of an adult-sized portion.

Even when portion sizes are in check, the ratio of food groups offered can lead to weight gain. According to the “plate method,” one-half of a child’s plate should be vegetables, one-quarter should be starchy sides (including corn, potatoes and peas), and one-quarter should be lean protein. Fruit and low-fat dairy servings may be added. If a child asks for seconds, offer more vegetables.

~ Jennifer Crouse, RD, CD, CDE, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Five snack tips to keep kids healthy

Snacking can lead to unhealthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Keep these tips in mind when making decisions about the snacks you and your children eat.

  1. Snacks are optional. 
Kids don’t always need to eat a snack between meals – and neither do you. Teach your kids to listen to hunger signals and snack between meals only if they feel hungry.
  2. Snacks are not meals.
 Keep snacks small. A snack should consist of just one serving each of one or two food groups. Snacks should be eaten about 90 minutes to two hours before the next mealtime. When kids are allowed to snack endlessly, they may not eat many of the healthy foods served at mealtimes. To help control portions, you can use a small snack bowl or snack bags.
  3. Snacks don’t have to be snack foods.
While crackers, cookies and other prepackaged items often are marketed as snack foods, they are not always the healthiest choices for kids. Use the opportunity when kids are hungry between meals to encourage healthy foods – fruits, veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
  4. Snacks should be limited.
 Kids often get hungry again quickly when they eat the wrong kinds of snacks. In order to make snacks filling, include one food that contains fiber (fruit, veggie or whole grain) and one food that contains lean protein (nuts, peanut butter, low-fat cheese, yogurt, low-fat milk or lean meat). Some great combinations of these foods can be found at 25 Healthy Snacks for Kids.
  5. Snacks should be served at the table.
Kids often overeat when they are sitting in front of the TV or playing video games. Like meals, snacks should be served at the table with the TV off. This helps kids avoid distractions and concentrate on eating.

Learn more about healthy snacks at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

~Jennifer Crouse, RD, CD, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin