INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or via email. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

 


Eating on a Budget – The 3 P’s


Plan

Plan meals and snacks for the week according to an established budget.
Find quick and easy recipes online .
Include meals that will "stretch" expensive food items (stews, casseroles, stir-fried dishes) .
Make a grocery list.
Check for sales and coupons in the local paper or online and consider discount stores.
Ask about a loyalty card at your grocery store.


Purchase

Buy groceries when you are not hungry and when you are not too rushed.
Stick to the grocery list and stay out of the aisles that don't contain items on your list.
Buy store brands if cheaper.
Find and compare unit prices listed on shelves to get the best price.
Purchase some items in bulk or as family packs which usually cost less.
Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season; buy canned vegetables with less salt.
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables, individual cups of yogurt, and instant rice and hot cereal are convenient, but usually cost more than those that require a bit more prep time.
Good low-cost items available all year include:
Protein-beans (garbanzo,black,cannellini)
Vegetables - carrots, greens, potatoes
Fruit- apples, bananas


Prepare

Some meal items can be prepared in advance; pre-cook on days when you have time.
Double or triple up on recipes and freeze meal-sized containers of soups and casseroles or divide into individual portions.
Try a few meatless meals by substituting with beans and peas or try "no-cook" meals like salads.
Incorporate leftovers into a subsequent meal.
Be creative with a fruit or vegetable and use it in different ways during the week.


Should I Give My Baby Extra Water?


Temperatures outside are heating up, and the fact that we are perspiring tells us we are losing body fluids. Many adults find themselves drinking more water to stay hydrated, but what about our children? In particular, what about babies? Should we all be drinking more water?
We lose body fluids continuously from perspiration, breathing, urine and stool and we must rehydrate to stay energized. We are often encouraged to drink water to stay healthy, and water provides many health benefits. In hot weather, our bodies require extra water to energize muscles and to keep adequate fluids moving things along in our digestive tract. While drinking extra water on a hot day is recommended for adults and children over a year old, it is not helpful to babies.

In fact, extra water for infants younger than 6 months of age could lead to water intoxication, which is a cause of infant seizures in otherwise healthy babies.
It is all about balance-fluid balance.  Extra water dilutes the sodium in a baby's blood and flushes it out of the baby's body. That reduces the amount of electrolytes in the body, altering brain activity, which can cause seizures.

Between 1975 and 1990, James Keating, MD, then a Washington University pediatric gastroenterologist at St Louis Children's Hospital, noticed a total of 34 infants treated in the emergency room with water intoxication. Thirty-one of the babies had too much water given to them by caretakers because they had run out of formula. As a result, Dr. Keating worked to modify the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to provide sufficient formula for growing infants. He also published research to educate mothers about the hazards of excessive water ingestion in order to reduce the incidence of this preventable, life-threatening condition.

Parents should also avoid infant Swimming lessons prior to age 1. "Repeated dunking of infants can cause them to gulp water and has caused seizures in infants at the poolside," Dr. Keating says. The symptoms of drinking too much water are subtle for an infant but may include twitching, irritability that leads to inconsolable crying and difficulty breathing leading to seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

The bottom line is this, breastfeeding is best for your infant. Breast milk offers immunity protection and many neurodevelopment advantages.  On extra hot days breastfeed your baby more frequently. If unable to breastfeed, offer formula more frequently.

References
1 Keating James, Shears Greg, Dodge Philip. Oral Water Intoxication in Infants, An American Epidemic, Am J. Dis Child 1991-sep: 145(9);985-90
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, Pediatrics Vol  115 No  2 February  1. 2005 pp.496-506

This article was written by Sue Griffard. RN. a nurse on The Answer Line at St  Louis Children's Hospital. For more information call The Answer Line at 314.454.KIDS (5437).


 With Protein Foods, Variety is Key


10 tips for choosing protein

Protein foods include both animal (meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs) and plant (beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds) sources.  We all need protein – but most Americans eat enough, and sometimes eat more than they need. How much is enough?  Most people, age 9 and older, should eat 5 to 7 ounces* of protein foods each day.

1. vary your protein food choices
Eat a variety of foods from the Protein Foods Group each week. Experiment with main dishes made with beans or peas, nuts, soy, and seafood.

2. choose seafood twice a week
Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week. Select a variety of seafood-include some that are higher in oils and low in mercury, such as salmon, trout, and herring.

3. make meat and poultry lean or low fat
Choose lean or low-fat cuts of meat like round or sirloin and ground beef that is at least 90% lean. Trim or drain fat from meat and remove poultry skin.

4. have an egg
One egg a day, on average, doesn't increase risk for heart disease, so make eggs part of your weekly choices. Only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.

5. eat plant protein foods more often
Try beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds. They are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

6. nuts and seeds
Choose unsalted nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes to replace meat or poultry. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of calories, so eat small portions to keep calories in check.

7. keep it tasty and healthy
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking-they don't add extra fat. Some lean meats need slow, moist cooking to be tender-try  a slow cooker for them. Avoid breading meat or poultry, which adds calories.

8. make a healthy sandwich
Choose turkey, roast beef, canned tuna or salmon, or peanut butter for sandwiches. Many deli meats, such as regular bologna or salami, are high in fat and sodium-make them occasional treats only.

9. think small when it comes to meat portions
Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion. Make or order a smaller burger or a "petite" size steak.


10. check the sodium
Check the Nutrition Facts label to limit sodium. Salt is added to many canned foods-including beans and meats. Many processed meats-such as ham, sausage, and hot dogs-are high in sodium. Some fresh chicken, turkey, and pork are brined in a salt solution for flavor and tenderness.

*What counts as an ounce of protein foods? 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg; 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas; ½ ounce nuts or seeds; or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.


Salads

Try these recipes for salads

Apple-Hazelnut Salad in A Cup

Layer the ingredients in the order listed above in a large insulated cup with a lid. When ready to eat, shake the cup well and grab a fork!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons non-fat, bottled raspberry vinaigrette
1apple, diced
1/4 cup dried fruit tidbits (available in the dried fruit section, in cranberry-orange and other flavors)
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts (available in small bags in the baking section)
1 cup pre-cut mixed greens, rinsed and drained well (from a bag or by the pound in the produce section)

Sensational Five Star Fruit Salad

Squeeze the juice from the limes. Whisk the lime juice and honey.
Combine all the fruit, or layer in a clear bowl. Pour the dressing on top and serve. Serves 6.
Source: Centersfor Disease Control, 5-a-Day, June 18,2003

Ingredients:
Salad Part
1 sweet pineapple (fresh, frozen or canned), peeled, cored, and diced into small cubes
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips (the pit is almond-shaped and sticks to the fruit, so just cut around it)
3 green anjou pears, cored and diced into small cubes (leave the peel on for color and fiber)
1 large ruby red grapefruit, segmented
Seeds of 1 pomegranate

Dressing:
5 limes
3 tablespoons honey

Kids' Favorite Fruit Salad

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the whipped topping and lettuce; mix lightly. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Serve immediately, or if you want to serve it later, cover the bowl and put it into the refrigerator. To serve, spoon the salad onto lettuce-lined plates. To garnish, add a few more maraschino cherries to add some color and fun!

Ingredients:
1(17-oz.) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup drained maraschino cherries, halved
2 medium bananas, sliced
1 medium apple, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed, or sweetened whipped cream
Lettuce leaves


 

Benefits of Increased Activity

Stress Management
Sleeping better
Feeling better overall
Improved self-esteem
Healthy bones, muscle, and joints
Weight control

Besides being healthy for children, there are also many benefits for parents to increasing activity- in case parents need a bit more motivation to join their kids in getting active.

These benefits apply equally to child care providers.  When you live a healthy lifestyle as a provider, you not only model healthy behaviors for children, but you reap the benefits and rewards of good health!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or via email. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

 


IDHS Announces Increase in WIC Benefits to Purchase More Fruits and Vegetables

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is pleased to announce that children in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) will receive an increase in the amount allocated for fruits and vegetables. Effective June 2, 2014, children one and older will receive an additional $2 per month - from $6 to $8 – to redeem for any WIC eligible fruits and vegetables.

"This increase will allow for more fruits and vegetables to be available to these children," said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler. "Fruits and vegetables provide many nutrients that support a healthy weight and lifestyle.

"WIC is a USDA-funded public health nutrition program created to reduce the nutritional risk of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to the age of five. WIC provides food, nutrition education and access to healthcare. The program serves more than 140,000 children statewide.

The supplemental foods and nutrition education provided in WIC have assisted in reducing fetal deaths, infant mortality, low birth weight rates, iron deficiency anemia in children and increased immunization rates.

To learn more about the WIC program or to see if you may qualify, please visit www.fns.usda.gov/wic or contact your local WIC office.


Delicious Snacks!

Pumpernickel bread and a tangerine
Bran muffin and low-fat milk
Cinnamon rice cake and a peach
Whole-wheat toast with a sliced tomato
Waffle square and strawberries
Graham crackers and a pear
Raisin toast and peanut butter
Pita bread and hummus
Gingersnaps and applesauce
Whole- wheat bread sticks and marinara sauce
Toasted English muffin and low-fat cheese
Whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk
Cinnamon toast and a plum
Toasted bagel and orange slices
Corn tortilla and refried beans
Whole-grain crackers and cheese
Low-fat yogurt and fruit
Cottage cheese with crushed pineapple
Cucumber and carrot slices and cottage cheese dip
Rice cakes with peanut butter
Cut up vegetables with a package of ranch dressing mixed into cottage cheese
String cheese and celery
Broccoli bean quesadilla

REMEMBER:
Check your meal pattern for serving sizes.
Serve water with all snacks.
Adapted from: Health Heart Snack Choices Resource

 


Liven Up Your Meals with Vegetables and Fruits

Discover the many benefits of adding vegetables and fruits to your meals. They are low in fat and calories, while providing fiber and other key nutrients. Most Americans should eat more than 3 cups —and for some,up to 6 cups—of vegetables and fruits each day. Vegetables and fruits don’t just add nutrition to meals. They can also add color, flavor, and texture. Explore these creative ways to bring healthy foods to your table.


fire up the grill
Use the grill to cook vegetables and fruits. Try grilling mushrooms, carrots, peppers, or potatoes on a kabob skewer. Brush with oil to keep them from drying out. Grilled fruits like peaches, pineapple, or mangos add great flavor to a cookout.

expand the flavor of your casseroles
Mix vegetables such as sauted onions, peas, pinto beans, or tomatoes into your favorite dish for that extra flavor.

planning something Italian?
Add extra vegetables to your pasta dish. Slip some peppers, spinach, red beans, onions, or cherry tomatoes into your traditional tomato sauce. Vegetables provide texture and low-calorie bulk that satisfies.

get creative with your salad
Toss in shredded carrots, strawberries, spinach, watercress, orange segments, or sweet peas for a flavorful, fun salad.
salad bars aren't just for salads Try eating sliced fruit from the salad bar as your dessert when dining out. This will help you avoid any baked desserts that are high in calories.

get in on the stir-frying fun
Try something new! Stir-fry your veggies-like broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, or green beans-for a quick-and-easy addition to any meal.

add them to your sandwiches
Whether it is a sandwich or wrap, vegetables make great additions to both. Try sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, or avocado on your everyday sandwich or wrap for extra flavor.

be creative with your baked goods
Add apples, bananas, blueberries, or pears to your favorite muffin recipe for a treat.

make a tasty fruit smoothie
For dessert, blend strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries with frozen bananas and 100% fruit juice for a delicious frozen fruit smoothie.

liven up an omelet
Boost the color and flavor of your morning omelet with vegetables. Simply chop, saute, and add them to the egg as it cooks. Try combining different vegetables, such as mushrooms, spinach,  onions, or bell peppers.

Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.


 

What Foods Are in the Vegetable Group?

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

Vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups, based on their nutrient content.

Dark Green Vegetables

  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collard greens
  • Dark green leafy lettuce
  • Kale
  • Mesclun
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress

 

Red & Orange vegetables

  • Acorn squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Hubbard squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Red peppers
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato juice

 

Starchy vegetables

  • Cassava
  • Corn
  • Fresh cowpeas, field peas, or black-eyed peas (not dry)
  • Green bananas
  • Green peas
  • Green lima beans
  • Plantains
  • Potatoes
  • Taro
  • Water chestnuts

 

Beans and peas*

  • Black beans
  • Black-eyed peas (mature, dry)
  • Garbanzo beans (chichpeas)
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Navy beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Soy beans
  • Split peas
  • White beans

 

Other vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Green peppers
  • Iceberg (head) lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Turnips
  • Wax beans
  • Zucchini

 

Apple-Carrot Muffins

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
1 apple, medium
1 carrot
1 cup flour, whole wheat
1 cup flour, all-purpose
1 cup wheat germ, toasted
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup liquid egg substitute
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 fluid ounces apple juice, unsweetened
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup pecans, chopped


Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 F . Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners or spray lightly with cooking spray. Wash, core, and shred apple (McIntosh, Granny Smith, Rome, and Gala work well). Wash, peel and grate carrot. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg substitute, oil, apple juice, and applesauce with an electric mixer.

Pour the egg mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened, being careful not to over mix.

Fold in the shredded apple and carrot, raisins, and chopped pecans.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filing cups about 2/3 full.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.


 

Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents

Childhood Obesity is on the Rise

The number of overweight children in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. Approximately 10 percent of 4 and 5 year old children are overweight, double that of 20 years ago. Overweight is more prevalent in girls than boys and in older preschoolers (ages 4-5) than younger (ages 2-3).

Obesity increases even more as children get older. For ages 6 to 11, at least one child in five is overweight. Over the last two decades, this number has increased by more than SO percent and the number of obese children has nearly doubled.

For most children, overweight is the result of unhealthy eating patterns (too many calories) and too little physical activity. Since these habits are established in early childhood, efforts to prevent obesity should begin early.

Determining if a Child is Overweight

Parents should not make changes to a child's diet based solely on perceptions of overweight. All preschoolers exhibit their own individual body structure and growth pattern. Assessing obesity in children is difficult because children grow in unpredictable spurts. It should only be done by a health care professional, using the child's height and weight relative to his previous growth history.

Helping Overweight Children

Weight loss is not a good approach for most young children, since their bodies are growing and developing. Overweight children should not be put on a diet unless a physician supervises one for medical reasons. A restrictive diet may not supply the energy and nutrients needed for normal growth and development. 

For most very young children, the focus should be to maintain current weight, while the child grows normally in height.

The most important strategies for preventing obesity are healthy eating behaviors, regular physical activity, and reduced sedentary activity (such as watching television and videotapes, and playing computer games). These preventative strategies are part of a healthy lifestyle that should be developed during early childhood. They can be accomplished by following the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines provide general diet and lifestyle recommendations for healthy Americans ages 2 years and over (not for younger children and infants). The most recent edition of the Dietary Guidelines can be found on www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. Following these guidelines can help promote health and reduce risk for chronic diseases

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Parents and caregivers can help prevent childhood obesity by providing healthy meals and snacks, daily physical activity, and nutrition education. Healthy meals and snacks provide nutrition for growing bodies while modeling healthy eating behavior and attitudes. Increased physical activity reduces health risks and helps weight management. Nutrition education helps young children develop an awareness of good nutrition and healthy eating habits for a lifetime.

Children can be encouraged to adopt healthy eating behaviors and be physically active when parents:

  • Focus on good health, not a certain weight goal. Teach and model healthy and positive attitudes toward food and physical activity without emphasizing body weight.
  • Focus on the family. Do not set overweight children apart. Involve the whole family and work to gradually change the family's physical activity and eating habits.
  • Establish daily meal and snack times, and eating together as frequently as possible. Make a wide variety of healthful foods available based on the Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children. Determine what food is offered and when, and let the child decide whether and how much to eat.
  • Plan sensible portions. Use the Food Guide Pyramid for Young Children as a guide.

 

What Counts as One Serving?

Grain Group
1 slice of bread
1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
1/2 cup of cooked cereal
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal

Vegetable Group
• 1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables
• 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables

Fruit Group
• 1 piece of fruit or melon wedge
• 3/4 cup of juice
• 1/2 cup of canned fruit
• 1/4 cup of dried fruit

Milk Group
• 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt (learn more about choosing low-fat or fat-free milk)
• 2 ounces of cheese

Meat Group
• 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish
• 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of meat.

Fats and Sweets
Limit calories from these.

Four-to-6 year-olds can eat these serving sizes. Offer 2-to-3 year-olds less, except for milk. Two-to-6 year-old children need a total of 2 servings from the milk group each day.

  • Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV. Eating in front of the TV may make it difficult to pay attention to feelings of fullness and may lead to overeating.
  • Buy fewer high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Help children understand that sweets and high-fat treats (such as candy, cookies, or cake) are not everyday foods. Don't deprive children of occasional treats, however. This can make them more likely to overeat.
  • Avoid labeling foods as "good" or "bad." All foods in moderation can be part of a healthy diet.
  • Involve children in planning, shopping, and preparing meals. Use these activities to understand children's food preferences, teach children about nutrition, and encourage them to try a wide variety of foods.
  • Make the most of snacks. Continuous snacking may lead to overeating. Plan healthy snacks at specific times. Include two food groups, for example, apple wedges and whole grain crackers. Focus on maximum nutrition -fruits, vegetables, grains, low-sugar cereals, lowfat dairy products, and lean meats and meat alternatives. Avoid excessive amounts of fruit juices, which contains calories, but fewer nutrients than the fruits they come from. A reasonable amount of juice is 4-8 ounces per day.
  • Encourage physical activity. Participate in family physical activity time on a regular basis, such as walks, bike rides, hikes, and active games. Support your children's organized physical activities. Provide a safe, accessible place outside for play.
  • Limit the amount of time children watch television, play video games, and work on the computer to 1 to 2 hours per day. The average American child spends about 24 hours each week watching television. Reducing sedentary activities helps increase physical activity.


Taken from Mealtime Memo for child care. A fact sheet for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, from the
National Food Service Management Institute, The University of Mississippi.

 

 

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or via email. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

 


Why is it Important to Eat Grains, Especially Whole Grains?

Eating grains, especially whole grains, provides health benefits. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Grains provide many nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies.

Health Benefits

  • Consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Consuming foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, as part of a healthy diet, may reduce constipation.
  • Eating whole grains may help with weight management.
  • Eating grain products fortified with folate before and during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.

 

Nutrients

  • Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium).
  • Dietary fiber from whole grains or other foods, may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulitis. Fiber-containing foods such as whole grains help provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories.
  • The B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin play a key role in metabolism - they help the body release energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system. Many refined grains are enriched with these B vitamins.
  • Folate (folic acid), another B vitamin, helps the body form red blood cells.
  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant should consume adequate folate from foods, and in addition 400 meg of synthetic folic acid from fortified foods or supplements. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects, spina bifida, and anencephaly during fetal development.
  • Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. Many teenage girls and women in their childbearing years have iron-deficiency anemia. They should eat foods high in heme-iron (meats) or eat other iron containing foods along with foods rich in vitamin C, which can improve absorption of non-heme iron. Whole and enriched refined grain products are major sources of non-heme iron in American diets.

 


What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent in the Protein Foods Group?

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, 1/4 cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.

The chart lists specific amounts that count as 1 ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group towards your daily recommended intake:

 

  Amount that counts as 1 ounce equivalent
in the Protein Foods Group
Common portions and ounce equivalents
Meats

1 ounce cooked lean beef

1 ounce cooked lean pork or ham

1 small steak (eye of round, filet) = 3 1/2 to 4 ounces equivalents

1 small lean hamburger = 2 to 3 ounce equivalents

Poultry

1 ounce cooked chicken or turkey, without skin

1 sandwich slice of turkey 

1 small chicken breast half = 3 ounce equivalents

1/2 cornish game hem = 4 ounce equivalents

Seafood 1 ounce cooked fish or shellfish

1 can of tuna, drained = 2 to 4 ounce equivalents

1 salmon steak = 4 to 6 ounce equivalents

1 small trout = 3 ounce equivalents

Eggs 1 egg

3 eggs whites = 2 ounce equivalents

3 egg yolks = 1 ounce equivalents

Nuts and seeds

1/2 ounce of nuts (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, 7 walnut halves)

1/2 of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower or squash seeds, hulled, roasted)

1 Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter

1 ounce of nuts or seeds = 2 ounce equivalents
Beans and peas

1/4 cup of cooked beans (such as black, kidney, pinto or white beans)

1/4 cup cooked peas (such as chickpeas, cowpeas, lentils, or split peas)

1/4 cup of baked beans, refried beans

1/4 cup (about 2 ounces) of tofu

1 oz. tempeh, cooked

1/4 cup roasted soybeans

1 falafel patty

2 Tablespoons hummus

1 cup split pea soup= 2 ounce equivalents

1 cup lentil soup = 2 ounce equivalents

1 cup bean soup = 2 ounce equivalents

 

 

 

1 soy or bean burger patty = 2 ounce equivalents

 

 


The Hidden Vegetable Truth

Vegetables, whether fresh, frozen or canned, are an excellent source of vitamins. Peas are a great source of vitamins A and C, which helps maintain vision health and bone and tooth strength.

Fresh Peas = Serving size 1/2 cup, total fat 0 grams, calories 50, sodium 58 mg

Frozen Peas = Serving size 1/2 cup, total fat 0 grams, calories 60, sodium 125 mg

Canned Peas = Serving size 1/2 cup, total fat 0 grams, calories 60 sodium 300mg

 

If you choose canned vegetables look for those with "no added salt" to reduce sodium content.

 


Enjoy Foods from Many Cultures

10 tips to wisely celebrate healthier foods and customs

As a diverse Nation, we can embrace our cultural traditions for the foods we love and still prepare them in healthier ways. This involves being creative with favorite recipes by substituting foods and ingredients that are less healthy with flavorful and appealing choices that still help remind us of our treasured food ways.

1. cook with others

Learn about cooking different traditional or regional foods from others who use authentic recipes and ingredients and explore ways to improve the nutrition. Cooking dishes at home allows you to add variety to meals. If needed, adapt recipes by cutting back on gravies, creams, and sauces; adding more vegetables; or baking instead of frying.

2. blend cultures

Many popular foods and beverages in America blend the cuisines of many cultures, Celebrate our Nation's diversity and be inspired by dishes that include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seafood, lean meats, and and low-fat dairy.

3. add a touch of spice

Combinations of herbs and spices often remind us of dishes from our won heritage or our favorite ethnic food. Add flavor to meals with herbs and spices, such as chili, garlic, ginger, basil, oregano, curry or cilantro, which can replace salt and saturated fat.

4. use familiar foods to create exotic dishes

Use foods you know and prepare new recipes, such as adding curry to chick peas, cilantro to brown rice, or mango to your salad or smoothie. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables,

5. find the salt and sodium and go with lower numbers 

All packaged foods are labeled to show amounts of sodium Use "low-sodium" soy sauce, or broth or canned beans labeled "no salt added." Check nutrition labels and use products that are lower in sodium or are salt-free.

6. think about beverages

Many cultures offer tasty beverages, such as fruit drinks, alcoholic drinks, rich coffees, and sweet teas. Consider using frozen fruits to create a great tasting smoothie, or adding spices, low-fat dairy, and small amounts of sugar to make beverages. When buying prepared beverages, choose items with less sugar and fat to manage calories, drink water or other unsweetened beverages instead of sugary drinks.

7. delight in cultural gatherings

Celebrate traditions, especially those that help you stay physically active. Have fun with traditional dances, sports, and games that make you move. Balance what you eat with regular physical activity.

8. show children what's important

Children learn to cook from their elders. Show kids how meals and dishes from various traditions are prepared. Let them taste foods they made, as you share related stories and customs from your own heritage or expose them to other cultures, but consider ways to cut back on high-calorie foods and ingredients.

9. make smart choices when dining out

Eating out offers tempting new dishes that make it easy to overeat Choose lower calorie dishes, such as stir fries, kabobs, or whole-wheat pastas with tomato sauce. Split a dish or ask for a take-home container at the start of a meal to save part of what's served on your plate.

10.  remember, all types of foods fit on MyPlate

MyPlate is designed to remind Americans to eat healthfully, using foods from the food groups. The MyPlate website provides practical information, tips, tools, and recipes that will help you build a healthier diet.

 

Go to www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.


 

Learn about Beverages

Offer your preschooler water and fat-free or low-fat milk as beverage choices. You may also offer small amounts of 100% fruit juice.

 

Water

When your preschooler is thirsty, water is a good beverage choice. It provides the fluid your child's body needs.

Be sure to have water available when your child is playing outdoors or doing other physical activity.

Make sure your preschooler drinks fluoridated water. It helps build and maintain strong teeth. Many community tap water supplies contain fluoride. Check with your water supplier to make sure. If your water supply is not fluoridated or is from a well, check with your doctor about a possible need for fluoride supplements.

Bottled water is not better or safer than regular tap water, and is an added expense.

"Flavored" waters or "vitamin" waters may have added sweeteners. Be sure to read the Nutrition Facts label on these beverages.

 

Milk

Milk and milk products provide many vital nutrients that your preschooler needs for growth. Milk is a good choice to offer as a beverage at meals and snacks.

While some children don't drink enough milk, other sometimes prefer to fill up on milk and avoid other important foods. Preschoolers need about 2 to 2 1/2  cups from the dairy group each day. Help your child get enough but not too much milk.

Choose fat-free or low-fat milk. These have the same amounts of calcium, protein, and vitamin D as whole or 2% milk, but less saturated fat and calories. 

All types of fluid milk are typically fortified with vitamin D. Some yogurts are also fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin D fortified products help build and maintain bones.

Make sure you serve only pasteurized (not raw) milk to your preschooler.

 

100% Fruit Juice

Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits provide more fiber than juice. Offer them most often.

Look for beverages that have 100% fruit juice on the label. 100% fruit juice  can be a healthy part of a preschooler's beverage choices in small amounts.

You may offer your preschooler up to 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup (4-6 ounces) of 100% fruit juice per day.

Sweetened beverages such as fruit punch and fruit drinks look like fruit juice, but may contain little or no fruit. These drinks, as well as some flavored waters, sweetened teas, and sports drinks, provide calories, but little or no nutrients.

 

 

 

 

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or via email. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

 


Life together in the kitchen


What begins as cooking with kids becomes much more


When my son unexpectedly brought home a school friend for video games, homework and supper one afternoon years ago, I baked an easy cake recipe, topped it with fresh, sweet whipped cream and served it for dessert. “Where’s the box?” the friend asked. “And the can?” We just smiled at each other.

From his early days, my son and I spent happy hours together in the small kitchen of our 1930s bungalow. As a toddler, he had his own drawer of pots, tubs and long-handled spoons to use for projects and noisemakers. We danced to lively music on the radio. He ran miniature cars and trucks through cornmeal on his high chair tray while I cooked. He made messy mixtures that became snack foods and art projects. And then, as a preschooler, standing on a chair to reach the counter, he began to cook.

We took our time. It was slow cooking meets slow parenting. And it was the start of a love of cooking together that’s still a favorite part of our visits all these years later. Here’s how to step out of the world of boxes, cans and carryout and into a world of kitchen and cooking memories.


• Grocery shop together. From the grocery cart seat, young children can practice colors and counting in the produce section. A little later, they can learn to select fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables. Readers can examine ingredients on packages and use a calculator to total purchases. It takes a little longer, and it’s worth it.

• At home, start with good kitchen hygiene. Clean hands, clean surfaces, clean foods.

• Arrange ingredients and tools before beginning.

• Find parts of the process even youngsters can do alone or side by side with you. Certain cutting activities, mixing and arranging all are within a child’s capability. Let them breathe in the rich fragrances of herbs and spices and add them by the pinch or spoon. Leave the sharp-knife and hot-stove work for the adults.

• Select ingredients that work well together and allow for invention. Quesadillas. Fruity punches. French toast and toppings. Serve and celebrate these new creations. Let your child start his or her own personal cookbook, handwritten, complete with invented spellings. Write dates on the entries. This will be a treasure.

• Cooking is full of teachable math moments. Teach fractions the easy way, even to preschoolers.

• Children's cookbooks can be fun, but aren't nes.

• Children’s cookbooks can be fun, but aren’t necessary. Far too many instructions begin “Ask an adult to …”

• If time is short, make time later.

Rushing takes the fun out of learning and patience runs thin.

• The freedom to be tactile keeps food handling fun, but it takes practice to master mixing speeds and techniques. Create cooking spaces where spills and splashes are easy to clean up.

• Substitute freely. Many meats and meat substitutes are interchangeable without adjustment, as are many starches and much dairy.

• If you’re going to use a can of something, make it count. Homemade cherry pie is economical, festive and easy to make, but it isn’t always time smart to use fresh cherries. Use canned tart cherries (not cherry pie filling!) for the recipe below.

Laugh at the mistakes. Sometimes it’s the recipe, sometimes it’s the cook. They can become some of the best stories.

 


 

Parent Help Line

One-year-old babies have an increased risk for burns and scalds.

The main causes of these burns are hot drinks and hair irons. Kids burn themselves when they reach up and pull down a cup that contains a hot drink. The spill causes burns on the face, arms and torso. Kids who reach up and touch hot hair irons suffer burns on their hands. Keep hot drinks and hair irons and cords away from the edge of tables and counters.

American teens eat too much salt.

They ingest as much as 2 times more than doctors say is healthy. Salt intake puts them at a higher risk for obesity. Set a good example.

  • Buy foods low in salt.
  • Eat fewer processes foods.
  • Use less salt when cooking.
  • Serve more fruits and vegetables.

 

Dad’s Support – Critical to Breastfeeding Success


Breastfeeding is a woman’s decision. However, a husband or partner plays a vital role in her:

  • Decision to breastfeed, and
  • Ability to continue to breastfeed despite early struggles.

Women are more likely to continue to breastfeed when their partner offers support and encourages her. In fact, it may be the single most important factor that predicts breastfeeding success.

How can you support mom?

  • Learn breastfeeding facts and tips. Attend a class with her.
    Search reputable Internet sites:
    • The International Lactation Consultant Association,
    • The La Leche League, and
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Provide care for the older children.
  • Perform chores. Cool and clean. Do laundry.
  • Help her relax and get comfy as she breastfeeds.
    • Place pillows around her for support.
    • Get her something to drink.
    • Help the baby latch on, especially during the first few feedings.
    • Offer to keep her company as she breastfeeds.
  • Be her emotional support.
    • Defend her decision to breastfeed.
  • Help her find answers when she has trouble.
    • Call a lactation specialist.
    • Remind her why she chose to breastfeed.
  • Change the baby’s diaper before breastfeeding.
    • Hold, burp and cuddle the baby after he nurses.
    • Encourage mom to take a rest.
  • Help her pump.
    • Bag the milk for freezing.
    • Label bags and bottles.
    • Wash pump parts.
  • After 3-4 weeks, give an occasional bottle of pumped breast milk.

 


 

Tips to Help You Eat Fruits


In General:

  • Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table, counter, or in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerate cut-up fruit to store for later.
  • Buy fresh fruits in season when they may be less expensive and at their peak flavor.
  • Buy fruits that are dried, frozen, and canned (in water or 100% juice) as well as fresh, so that you always have a supply on hand.
  • Consider convenience when shopping. Try pre-cut packages of fruit (such as melon or pineapple chunks) for a healthy snack in seconds. Choose packaged fruits that do not have added sugars.

For the Best Nutritional Value:

  • Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit rather than juice, for the benefits dietary fiber provides.
  • Select fruits with more potassium often, such as bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, and orange juice.
  • When choosing canned fruits, select fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or water rather than syrup.
  • Vary your fruit choices. Fruits differ in nutrient content.

At Meals:

  • At breakfast, top your cereal with bananas or peaches; add blueberries to pancakes; drink 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Or, mix fresh fruit with plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
  • At lunch, pack a tangerine, banana, or grapes to eat, or choose fruits from a salad bar. Individual containers of fruits like peaches or applesauce are easy and convenient.
  • At dinner, add crushed pineapple to coleslaw, or include orange sections or grapes in a tossed salad.
  • Make a Waldorf salad, with apples, celery, walnuts, and a low-calorie salad dressing.
  • Try meat dishes that incorporate fruit, such as chicken with apricots or mangoes.
  • Add fruit like pineapple or peaches to kabobs as part of a barbecue meal.
  • For dessert, have baked apples, pears, or a fruit salad.

As Snacks:

  • Cut-up fruit makes a great snack. Either cut them yourself, or buy pre-cut packages of fruit pieces like pineapples or melons. Or, try whole fresh berries or grapes.
  • Dried fruits also make a great snack. They are easy to carry and store well. Because they are dried, ¼ cup is equivalent to ½ cup of other fruits.
  • Keep a package of dried fruit in your desk or bag. Some fruits that are available dried include apricots, apples, pineapple, bananas, cherries, figs, dates, cranberries, blueberries, prunes (dried plums), and raisins (dried grapes).
  • As a snack, spread peanut butter on apple slices or top plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt with berries or slices of kiwi fruit.
  • Frozen juice bars (100% juice) make healthy alternatives to high-fat snacks.

Make Fruit More Appealing:

  • Many fruits taste great with a dip or dressing. Try fat-free or low-fat yogurt as a dip for fruits like strawberries or melons.
  • Make a fruit smoothie by blending fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try bananas, peaches, strawberries, or other berries.
  • Try unsweetened applesauce as a lower calorie substitute for some of the oil when baking cakes.
  • Try different textures of fruits. For example, apples are crunchy, bananas are smooth and creamy, and oranges are juicy.
  • For fresh fruit salads, mix apples, bananas, or pears with acidic fruits like oranges, pineapple, or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Fruit Tips for Children:

  • Set a good example for children by eating fruit every day with meals or as snacks.
  • Offer children a choice of fruits for lunch.
  • Depending on their age, children can help shop for, clean, peel, or cut up fruits.
  • While shopping, allow children to pick out a new fruit to try later at home.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with fruit slices.
  • Top off a bowl of cereal with some berries. Or, make a smiley face with sliced bananas for eyes, raisins for a nose, and an orange slice for a mouth.
  • Offer raisins or other dried fruits instead of candy.
  • Make fruit kabobs using pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes, and berries.
  • Pack a juice box (100% juice) in children’s lunches instead of soda or other sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Look for and choose fruit options, such as sliced apples, mixed fruit cup, or 100% fruit juice in fast food restaurants.
  • Offer fruit pieces and 100% fruit juice to children. There is often little fruit in “fruit-flavored” beverages or chewy fruit snacks.

Keep It Safe:

  • Rinse fruits before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub fruits briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry with a clean cloth towel or
    paper towel after rinsing.
  • Keep fruits separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing, or storing.


http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/fruits-tips.html

 


 

Snack Tips for Parents


10 tips for healthy snacking

Snacks can help children get the nutrients needed to grow and maintain a healthy weight. Prepare single-serving snacks for younger children to help them get just enough to satisfy their hunger. Let older kids make their own snacks by keeping healthy foods in the kitchen. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov to help you and your kids select a satisfying snack.

save time by slicing veggies
Store sliced vegetables in the refrigerator and serve with dips like hummus or low-fat dressing. Top half a whole-wheat English muffin with spaghetti sauce, chopped vegetables, and low-fat shredded mozzarella and melt in the microwave.


mix it up
For older school-age kids, mix dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and popcorn in a snack-size
bag for a quick trail mix. Blend plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt with 100% fruit juice and frozen peaches for a tasty smoothie.


grab a glass of milk
A cup of low-fat or fat-free milk or milk alternative (soy milk) is an easy way to drink a healthy snack.


go for great whole grains
Offer whole-wheat breads, popcorn, and whole-oat cereals that are high in fiber
and low in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Limit refined-grain products such as snack bars, cakes, and sweetened cereals.

nibble on lean protein
Choose lean protein foods such as low-sodium deli meats, unsalted nuts, or eggs. Wrap sliced, low-sodium deli turkey or ham around an apple wedge. Store unsalted nuts in the pantry or peeled, hard-cooked (boiled) eggs in the refrigerator for kids to enjoy any time.


keep an eye on the size
Snacks shouldn’t replace a meal, so look for ways to help your kids understand how much is enough. Store snack-size bags in the cupboard and use them to control serving sizes.


fruits are quick and easy
Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruits can be easy “grab-and-go” options that
need little preparation. Offer whole fruit and limit the amount of 100% juice served.


consider convenience
A single-serving container of low-fat or fat-free yogurt or individually wrapped
string cheese can be just enough for an after-school snack.


swap out the sugar
Keep healthier foods handy so kids avoid cookies, pastries, or candies between meals. Add seltzer water to a ½ cup of 100% fruit juice instead of offering soda.


prepare homemade goodies
For homemade sweets, add dried fruits like apricots or raisins and reduce the amount of sugar. Adjust recipes that include fats like butter or shortening by using unsweetened applesauce or prune puree for half the amount of fat.


Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.


 

I am moving I am learning


Move, Play & Learn at Home

Learning Outcomes


1.    Recognize that young children are intermittent movers, and need movement opportunities dispersed throughout their entire day – including their time spent at home.
2.    Recognize that young children learn in an integrated fashion, and identify various strategies for combining movement with other at-home learning tasks.
3.    Recognize that physical activity for young children is not the same as it is for adults; it must be playful, simple, creative and success-oriented.
4.    Identify and experience a variety of developmentally appropriate, simple activities that can be utilized with young children at home.
5.    Identify materials around the home that have potential to enrich movement experiences.


 

 

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or via email. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.

 


Baby's First Foods

What a baby eats in his first year of life may predict his eating habits as he get older. Babies who breastfeed for longer periods of time as an infant are healthier eaters at age 6. Babies fed healthful food between 6 and 12 months of age will also show a tendency to eat healthier at age 6.

Scientists call this pattern of influence of early eating metabolic programming. The first foods a child eats have long-lasting effects on growth and development. Parents make the food decisions for their baby. Healthy food choices and feeding patterns help develop lifelong patterns that lead to good health.

Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for about the first 6 months. At around 4 to 6 months of age, babies are generally ready to start eating solid foods. Parents should introduce nonallergenic foods first. These include foods like rice cereal, oatmeal, and pureed fruits and vegetables.

In addition to solids, babies will continue breastfeeding. If a mother stops breastfeeding, the child will need formula. Milk fat develops healthy brains. It also helps strengthen bones and teeth.

When starting solid foods, offer only 1 food at a time. Introduce a new food every 3–5 days. This allows parents to notice allergic reactions.

Babies can have mild to severe allergic reactions to new foods. They include rashes, hives, eczema and vomiting. Babies may also experience wheezing and a life threatening reaction called anaphylaxis.

Doctors have issued new guidelines concerning allergenic foods like milk, eggs fish and nuts. A baby who tolerates non-allergenic foods may begin taking allergenic foods before age 1. As with non-allergenic foods, parents will offer one food at a time, every 3 – 5 days. A parent should give small amounts of the food at home and observe their baby for an allergic reaction.

Parents should tell the baby’s doctor about any family history of food allergies. Ask the doctor about healthy infant eating practices. Following these guidelines, parents can give their baby a great start to a healthy lifestyle.

Many health conscious parents ban sugar, salt and fat from their child's diet. However, doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics tell parents and schools to concentrate more on the child's whole diet and less on individual ingredients. Small amounts of sugar, salt and oil can make healthy food taste better to children. A child's daily diet should:

  • Include fruits, vegetables, grains, low fat dairy and quality protein.
  • Avoid highly processed foods.
  • Include food portions suited to the child's age.
  • Present a wide variety of food experiences.

 


Build a Healthy Plate with Milk

How can I serve fat-free and low-fat milk?

  • Offer unflavored, fat-free, and low-fat milks most often. They have less added sugar and fewer calories than flavored, whole, or reduced-fat milk.
  • Offer lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk to children who are lactose-intolerant or, upon a parent’s written request, a preapproved nondairy milk (for example, soy) to children who can’t consume cow’s milk. Handle milk substitutions on a case-by-case basis and contact your State agency or sponsoring organization if additional guidance is needed.

 

How can I encourage children to choose fat-free and low-fat milk?

  • Make food fun. Make up a song that is associated with drinking milk, and sing it when milk is being served.
  • Do a milk taste-test. Let kids sample low-fat (1%) milk and fat-free milk and pick their favorite. Low-fat milk and fat-free milk have less calories and saturated fat than reduced-fat (2%) milk and whole milk but do not reduce calcium or other important nutrients.
  • Create your own Milk Mustache Event! Take pictures of children drinking low-fat milk and post them on a bulletin board. Blend together low-fat milk with frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream for  the Milk Mustache activity. For more fun, include adults and parents.

 

Enjoy milk often. The children in your care are looking at the choices you make. Choose fat-free or low-fat milk as your beverage of choice during meal and snack times.

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/dairy-tips.html

 


Picky Eating

Having your preschooler help you in the kitchen is a good way to get your child to try new foods. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.”  Give them small jobs to do.  Praise their efforts. Children are much less likely to reject foods that they helped make.

As preschoolers grow, they are able to help out with different tasks in the kitchen.

While the following suggestions are typical, children may develop these skills at different ages.

At 2 years:

  • Wipe tables
  • Hand items to adult to put away (such as after grocery shopping)
  • Place things in trash
  • Tear lettuce or greens
  • Help “read” a cookbook by turning the pages
  • Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables
  • Rinse vegetables or fruits
  • Snap green beans

 

At 3 years:
All that a 2 year old can do, plus:

  • Add ingredients
  • Talk about cooking
  • Scoop or mash potatoes
  • Squeeze citrus fruits
  • Stir pancake batter
  • Knead and shape dough
  • Name and count foods
  • Help assemble a pizza


At 4 years:
All that a 3 year old can do, plus:

  • Peel eggs and some fruits, such as oranges and bananas
  • Set the table
  • Crack eggs
  • Help measure dry ingredients
  • Help make sandwiches and tossed salads


At 5 years:
All that a 4 year old can do, plus:

  • Measure liquids
  • Cut soft fruits with a dull knife
  • Use an egg beater

 

Make sure that they wash their hands before helping.

 


With Protein Foods, Variety is Key


10 tips for choosing protein

Protein foods include both animal (meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs) and plant (beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds) sources.  We all need protein – but most Americans eat enough, and sometimes eat more than they need. How much is enough?  Most people, age 9 and older, should eat 5 to 7 ounces* of protein foods each day.

1. vary your protein food choices
Eat a variety of foods from the Protein Foods Group each week. Experiment with main dishes made with beans or peas, nuts, soy, and seafood.

2. choose seafood twice a week
Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week. Select a variety of seafood-include some that are higher in oils and low in mercury, such as salmon, trout, and herring.

3. make meat and poultry lean or low fat
Choose lean or low-fat cuts of meat like round or sirloin and ground beef that is at least 90% lean. Trim or drain fat from meat and remove poultry skin.

4. have an egg
One egg a day, on average, doesn't increase risk for heart disease, so make eggs part of your weekly choices. Only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.

5. eat plant protein foods more often
Try beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds. They are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

6. nuts and seeds
Choose unsalted nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes to replace meat or poultry. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of calories, so eat small portions to keep calories in check.

7. keep it tasty and healthy
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking-they don't add extra fat. Some lean meats need slow, moist cooking to be tender-try  a slow cooker for them. Avoid breading meat or poultry, which adds calories.

8. make a healthy sandwich
Choose turkey, roast beef, canned tuna or salmon, or peanut butter for sandwiches. Many deli meats, such as regular bologna or salami, are high in fat and sodium-make them occasional treats only.

9. think small when it comes to meat portions
Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion. Make or order a smaller burger or a "petite" size steak.


10. check the sodium
Check the Nutrition Facts label to limit sodium. Salt is added to many canned foods-including beans and meats. Many processed meats-such as ham, sausage, and hot dogs-are high in sodium. Some fresh chicken, turkey, and pork are brined in a salt solution for flavor and tenderness.

*What counts as an ounce of protein foods? 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg; 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas; ½ ounce nuts or seeds; or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

 


Tasty Healthy Recipes

Banana Blueberry Orange Smoothie

3/4 cup water
1 medium orange, peeled
1 banana, frozen1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

Berry Blast Smoothie

2 cups spinach
1 cup strawberries
1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup blueberries

Green Fever

1 cup spinach
1 banana
1 tomato
1/2 cup water

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 banana
1 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup ice cubes


 

Physical Activity and Screen Time Recommendations for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Physical Activity Recommendations for Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • For children 12 months to 3 years old, at least 60-90 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity is provided per 8-hour day
  • For children 3 to 6 years old, at least 90-120 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity is provided per 8-hour day
  • Activities are varied between structured play and free play
  • Active play is promoted through written policies and practices

 

Screen Time Recommendations for Toddlers and Preschoolers:
(Time spent using the television, videos, computers, or video games)

  • No screen time is provided for children under the age of 2
  • For children age 2 and over, only 30 minutes total screen time per week and no more than
    15-minute increments of computer use is provided while in child care.
  • For all ages, no screen time is provided during meals or snack time.
  • Screen time is only for educational or physical activity programs and has no commercials or advertising.