Parent Education

Raising Picky Eaters

Here are some tips and suggestions to help when you have a picky eater on your hands!

1. Start EARLY

When children are exposed to and served a variety of fruits and vegetables starting from an early age, they are going to be more familiar and therefore more likely to be okay with seeing these foods on their plate.

2. Use Your SENSES

It can be easy to dismiss foods that look funny, smell different, or aren’t coming from fun packaging with superheroes or magic stars all over the box. Even if your child does not like a new food the first time they try it, they may need exposure to that same food around five to ten times, maybe even prepared in different ways, in order to actually decide if it’s one they enjoy. Encourage using all five senses: touch the food, smell the food, examine the food, hear if the food makes any noises when being cut or scooped, and lastly taste the food. Talking about the new food’s color, shape, smell, and texture can help them decide WHY they do or do not enjoy it. It can also be helpful to put this new food along with a favorite meal.

3. Learn how to find BALANCE

Help children to understand the importance of healthy staples in their meals, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Encourage the idea that treats or desserts are for special occasions and learning to say “no” to treats that aren’t their absolute favorites. If you limit junk food altogether, it can often trigger the desire to over consume it. Instead, find balance by eating mostly healthy foods. Eliminate the feeling of being deprived that children get when they are restricted from their favorite desserts or snacks altogether by focusing on overall balance.

4. Show them how to SUCCEED

Stay aware of the vocabulary used when addressing new foods, or foods that you personally have tried and don’t love. The actions, faces, and words surrounding these foods may influence the way your child looks at them, maybe before ever tasting it for themselves.

5. Have FUN

By allowing the incorporation of new foods to be fun, children may be more likely to enjoy the process. If new foods are introduced in a strict or stern way, the child may instead make their mind up right away that they do not like it. Try using a cookie cutter, cool straws, or their favorite dips along with the new food to encourage them to try it and have fun along the way.

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Summer is a Danger Zone for Weight Gain

Summertime is the best when you’re a kid. Think back to those good old days and you may recall spending your time running around outside, playing sports or heading to the pool. Maybe you munched on sunflower seeds in the dugout during your ball game, or inhaled slices of watermelon at the beach.

All that activity must mean summer is the healthiest time of year, right?

The research may surprise you. Recent studies show you are more likely to become overweight or obese during summer. This is especially true for kids. A 3-year study published in 2016 followed 18,170 U.S. children from kindergarten through second grade, periodically measuring their body mass index (BMI).¹ The researchers found that all of the weight gains occurred over summer vacation. There was no increase in BMI over the three school years.

The summer danger zone doesn’t just apply to kids; adults can fall into the trap too. Summer parties, family vacations and longer days all offer their own temptations and can contribute to summer weight gain.

The causes of summer weight gain are less researched, but here are some factors that may contribute to the trend:

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How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

The idea that we have to spend more money at the grocery store to eat healthier is a common misconception. Ingrained in our head is the idea that buying the most expensive organic produce or high-end food brands is the only way to ensure we are cooking a clean and nutritious meal. However, contrary to popular belief, eating healthy does not have to break the budget!  If we simply think of a meal consisting of a central protein supported by sides, such as lean steak with a side of broccoli and potatoes, we can keep it healthy and inexpensive. The key to both saving money and being healthy is to eat in and keep it simple by following these tips:

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How To: Pick Healthy Meals At Restaurants

You may have discovered that it’s easier to stick to your health goals, like choosing yellow and green light foods, when you eat at home. When you’re in control of the ingredients you choose and how the meal is prepared, you can be more sure of what you’re actually getting (as in, not too many red lights!) But, let’s face it, eating out at restaurants is part of everyday life. Plus, it’s fun to do once in a while, right?

So, how do you pick healthy meals at restaurants, so you don’t get too off track? Here are a few tips to picking healthy meals for your next restaurant order:

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Weight Watchers for Teen Boys?

Weight Watchers for teen boys, is this a good idea? There are numerous weight solutions out there, all of which using different strategies, so it’s important to critically analyze which programs will improve a teen boy’s health instead of potentially damaging it. Is it Weight Watchers for teen boys, MyFitness Pal, or Jenny Craig? We first have to note that teens are not mini-adults. The challenges to weight loss that teens face are not the same as those faced by adults, so we should not provide them with adult weight-loss solutions. When addressing a topic as important as weight, finding a solution designed for teens is crucial to their overall health and development.

Teen boys who are turning to food to feel comforted typically find themselves in a negative feedback loop: they eat to feel better, then they look in the mirror or compare themselves to their peers or men in magazines, they feel bad, then eat again to distract themselves from their pain or to feel instant gratification. This cycle can persist into adulthood, but it can be avoided with a straight forward solution: health coaching with coaches trained specifically to work with teens.

Kurbo uses a behavior modification and an accountability program much like Weight Watchers; the difference is that Kurbo’s coaches are experienced to work with teens and the evidence based curriculum is suited for adolescents with an 88% success rate.

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Recipe for a Balanced School Lunch

Packing a lunch for school can sometimes feel like more of a chore than a fun task. By planning ahead, organizing a grocery list, and working together, your school lunch can go from dull to delicious! We often think a packed lunch has to automatically be a PB&J sandwich, or a hot lunch from the school cafeteria. Here are some incredibly easy additions to prepare for your lunch away from home!

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How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without Candy

It feels like the holidays were only yesterday, and we are just now getting past all the celebrating, food and treats.  Maybe you have taken the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start to your health and fitness goals.  And, just like that, another candy and sugar-filled holiday is upon us – Valentine’s Day!  Another day that tempts us with heart-shaped candies that we get with every Valentine at school and chocolate, cookies and cupcakes that we get from our family and friends.

And, while it’s hard to tell from everything we see in the stores and on TV, Valentine’s Day is not really about candy and sugar.  It’s about showing love to the special people in our lives.  This can be done in many, many ways that don’t involve added sugar at all!  Consider these ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day without candy:

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What to do if your child is a picky eater

Childhood is an important period in the development of our food preferences. Though our preferences can change into adulthood, it’s important to expose kids to new foods so that they get comfortable expanding their palates.  Taste buds are always changing so a fun fact to remember is that your child needs to try a new food 8 to 12 times before being able to decide whether they truly dislike the food.  Here are our tips on how to get your picky eaters to explore new foods.

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