Understanding portions and servings is often perplexing for folks of all ages and it may be difficult to make sense of all of the recommendations and various terminology. First, let’s define the following:
A “serving” is the amount of food recommended in consumer education materials and by professionals for dietary guidance.
A “portion” is the amount of a food you choose to eat at any one time — which may be more or less than a serving.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommendations for children aged 1-10. Of course, proper nutrition is very much individualized, so a child may need more or less food based on activity levels, health status, or other reasons.
In general, recommendations are categorized among the 5 food groups: fruit, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy.
For all children 1-10 years old, the serving suggestions are the same:
Adolescents who play sports are often interested in protein powder and shakes to help “improve their performance.”
Is this appropriate, let alone helpful? Essentially, no. Sports dietitians generally agree that if a balanced diet is consumed, protein supplements are not necessary for adults.
Furthermore, there is a lack of definitive research on these types of supplements, particularly in children. What might be appropriate for adults in specific athletic situations does not translate to kids in the wide age range of 12-18. Teen growth and development is unique.
Young athletes do need to watch energy and fluid intake. As activity levels increase, so must energy intake and careful attention should be paid to meeting daily requirements of certain micronutrients like calcium, iron and B vitamins. While additional protein is important, making quality protein choices is key.
It is important to note that over-consumption of protein fr...
Whenever I meet with parent groups, I often get questions not only about WHAT kids should eat (or not eat), but also about HOW to get them to eat healthfully; that is, instill healthy eating habits.
Experts agree that in general, consistently following the 5 suggestions below are often associated with healthier eating habits and overall better diet quality among children in their younger years and over the long-term.
1. Have regular family meals. Everyone is busy but trying to have family dinners is important and is associated with a multitude of healthy behaviors in children. The weekends are a great time to use breakfast or brunch as family time. Try to have a variety of foods available, particularly different vegetables, even if ordering take-out. Keep conversation light and communication open. Talk about food!
2. Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Keep healthy food on hand for prepped and ready-to-eat snacking. Limit offerings of sugary beve...
We all know that sleep is important for people of all ages, but sleep patterns in childhood may set the stage for energy balance and overall maintenance of healthy weights.
A recent study indicates that children who sleep less may end up consuming more calories. 37 children ages 8-11 were randomly divided into two groups. In one group, normal sleep times were increased by 1.5 hours. In the other group, normal sleep times were decreased by 1.5 hours. The authors concluded that the increased sleep group had lower reported food intake, lower fasting leptin levels (a hormone that regulates appetite) and lower weight.
This finding is is only a piece of the puzzle as far as the enormous benefits of sufficient sleep, particularly as children grow and develop. Sleep supports this rapid growth and development of bodies and brains—and ultimately better concentration and performance, both mentally and physically.
It’s been a rough winter for much of the country thus far and a number of us have been plagued with bugs, whether a cold, cough, or perhaps even the flu.
Kids can be especially sniffly this time of year and many parents often seek home remedies for ailments. Honey may be one such remedy.
Honey has been touted as being able to suppress coughs, fight infections, heal burns and even cure eye problems.
In terms of its application as a natural cough suppressant in children, recent research from the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America shows that the benefits of using honey are the same as using an over-the-counter medication with DM (dextromethorphan), the cough suppressant found in cold medications.
Darker varieties of honey were correlated with effectiveness. The suggested dose for children ages 1-6 is 1/2 teaspoon, given 30 minutes before bedtime. For children ages 6-11, 1 teaspoon is recommended.
Celebrating a birthday is a big milestone in a child’s life and having a party is a great way to acknowledge accomplishments from the previous year as well as look forward to what lies ahead. While birthday parties are often synonymous with junk food galore, the sugar rush doesn’t necessarily have to be the main focus. Some tips to avoid less healthy foods:
Make your own pizza using whole wheat English muffins or pitas
Make your own fruit kabobs with dark chocolate dipping sauce
Serve a homemade sandwich platter or small fruit smoothies
Offer mini-cupcakes instead of a traditional sheet cake
Goodie bags can be filled with non-food items like little toys, stickers, pencils/crayons/markers and healthy snacks like no-salt popcorn and dried fruit
Another tip: Keep the attention on the fun activities planned for the kids and get the adults involved to get the whole group up and moving or engaged in the particular activity.
February is American Heart Health Month! As a society, we tend to think of heart health as more of an “adult” health issue, but the foundations for cardiovascular health are often set early in life, especially when it comes to eating and exercise behaviors.In the private school world, team sports are a big deal. Teams are extremely competitive and have proud histories. Because of this, students not involved in team sports can become marginalized as far as encouragement of and engagement with exercise. This can be dangerous.
A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine examined the availability of competitive beverages in U.S. public schools and discovered that schools are increasingly removing less healthy options and sticking with water, low-fat milk and 100% juice.
At FISD, we have long sought to not only meet the beverage guidelines as recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for all age groups, but to exceed them whenever possible. What is interesting for us, however, is that independent schools are not subject to USDA standards and may have other relationships with various groups (including student groups) or vendors that provide outlets or purchasing opportunities for sugary beverages or competitive beverages. School preference and philosophy is also a factor. While all of this tends to be more relevant with older age groups, the importance of an ongoing dialogue with our scho...