When it comes to eating healthy, it’s never to early to start. Although nutrition can seem like a difficult topic to discuss with a young child, keeping it simple can set them up for a lifetime of healthy choices.
With the recent unveiling of the new USDA food icon MyPlate, starting up nutrition conversations with individuals of any age has become much more simple. In fact, the new icon is so recognizable that even young children can begin to identify what a healthy plate should look like. Educators and parents alike should use this symbol to not only help their children build healthy plates, but to start conversations with them about what eating healthy is and the importance behind it.
To help educators and parents out, many lesson plans exist to incorporate the MyPlate icon into the classroom and the home. To add to this ever-growing list of fabulous resources, please find two additional lesson plans ready for use below. The idea behind these is to make talking about nutrition fun and help children identify how their food choices fit into a well-balanced meal plan.
My son has a severe, life threatening allergy to peanuts and tree nuts. We discovered this food allergy when he was two years old and we just could not figure out why he had severe asthma, requiring multiple emergency room visits, steroids and the like. He also randomly developed enormous hives all over his body and had difficulty breathing when the hives occurred. We took him to an allergist who tested him with both a skin test and a blood test, and we learned of the severity and breadth of the allergies.
Food allergies are different from food intolerances. A food intolerance can cause stomach upset, gastric distress, and possibly digestive issues in the form of diarrhea and constipation. Many people claim that they have a food allergy when a food does not agree with them, and this diminishes the severity for those with a true, life threatening allergy. A food allergy is defined as an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system, and is most often triggered by the so called “Big 8”. These eight foods account for 90% of all food reactions and are milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, shellfish, sesame, wheat and soy.
You may hear of a person outgrowing their food allergies, but peanut and shellfish most often remain as lifelong allergies. A food allergy affects the breathing and heart and can, if not stopped in time, lead to death. People who have been diagnosed with a food allergy are often prescribed an epi-pen, an auto-injector of epinephrine that must be injected into the upper thigh to stop the reaction.
As children succumb to the obesity epidemic, schools are turning to all teachers— not just physical education teachers—to instruct and encourage students to develop healthier lifestyles.
Although obesity amongst children has become a national concern, more and more schools are being forced to scale back or cut physical education classes to focus on academia. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, currently 16% of our nation’s children are overweight; this is a result of poor nutritional habits and lack of physical activity.
Below are five activities that combine academics with health, fitness and a nutritious curriculum that you can begin using in the classroom. Say that five times fast!
It’s a scene that plays out in many houses each afternoon: The kids come home from school and they are starving. Not just merely hungry, but absolutely famished and they want something to eat this very instant.
While it is tempting to reach for cookies, chips or ice cream to satisfy their munchies, with just five minutes of preparation you can give your kids a snack that you can feel good about serving.
Here are five quick and healthy ideas that you, and more importantly, your hungry kids, will love:
If you do, then Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD and Liz Weiss, MS, RD, of the award-winning website Meal Makeover Moms, have the perfect solution with their latest cookbook, No Whine with Dinner (M3 Press, 2011).
The book contains 150 recipes that were tested by their own families and offers advice on choosing “healthy basics” from the grocery store – from fresh fruits and vegetables to convenience foods like jarred pasta sauce and salsa.
“We don’t believe in ‘kid food,'” said Bissex and Weiss in the book’s forward. “All of our recipes are made with color and flavor in mind and incorporate nutritious ingredients into their essence.