Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices. Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options
(Family Features) Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh as children may also need to focus on healthier food choices.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed children consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day. Researchers found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of 7 teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which care for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar. When children consume lots of sugar, their palates get used to overly sweet flavors. They may not accept other, less sugary flavors or learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fresh fruit.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2-18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.
For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages.
Consider these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times to help control the amount of added sugar you and your family consume.
Swap Out Syrup
For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
The school year should be filled with playing, learning and growing, but for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk are missing. From the kitchen to the classroom, kids in your own community may be missing out on essential nutrients they need to be set up for success this fall.
Help Kids Falling Short on Nutrients They Need this School Year
Milk is one of the most requested, but least donated items at food banks, meaning children in need may be missing out on essential nutrients
(Family Features) The school year should be filled with playing, learning and growing, but for many children who face hunger, even basic staples like milk are missing. According to experts, one out of two kids ages 9 and up fall short on calcium, vitamin D and potassium – essential nutrients they need to grow strong. Milk is the top food source for these nutrients, and the likelihood of kids missing out is even greater when they don’t have access to fresh, nutritious foods like milk.
More than 46 million Americans – including 12 million children – are served by Feeding America® food banks each year. From the kitchen to the classroom, kids in your own community may be missing out on essential nutrients they need to be set up for success this fall.
Here are a few ways you can help kids facing hunger:
Since it began in 2014, The Great American Milk Drive has delivered more than 1.8 million gallons of milk – more than 28 million servings – to food banks across the country. Learn more about milk’s nutrition and the need for milk in food banks at milklife.com/give.
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(BPT) - The MythBusters on TV’s Discovery channel tackled hundreds — if not thousands — of myths in their 19 seasons on the air, but many questions still surround one topic never covered: infant feeding. Baby feeding has many pervasive myths, especially about infant formula. Here are five of those myths debunked by Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, family physician and co-author of The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year:
Myth 1: Breast is best.
Fact: It depends on the mother and her baby. Baby formulas are a completely acceptable, doctor-approved and time-tested option when feeding baby. Breastfeeding is hard. It seems like it should be natural and easy, but so often it isn’t. A recent study conducted by Perrigo Nutritionals found more than half of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby with low breast milk supply being the top concern. Additionally, while only 18 percent of new moms expect to introduce infant formula to baby during the first three days of life, in reality 45 percent relied on infant formula during those first days. If you experience breastfeeding challenges, look to formula as an ally — it can be used as a supplement while breastfeeding to provide some relief or used exclusively depending on mom and baby’s needs. Also, know that you can find help and support. Consider talking with a friend who has nursed her babies, your pediatrician, a lactation consultant or a local La Leche League.
Myth 2: You have to sterilize your baby’s bottles.
Fact: You do not need to sterilize your baby's bottles. This is another time saver for you! You should sterilize new bottles and nipples before you use them for the first time. Simply put them in boiling water for five minutes. After that first time, however, you probably don’t need to sterilize them again.
Instead, you can run bottles and nipples through the dishwasher. Or if you’re “old school,” wash them in hot, soapy water. Rinse them carefully to remove any soap residue.
Myth 3: Babies prefer warm formula.
Fact: Not necessarily. It’s perfectly fine to feed your baby formula at room temperature (as long as it’s freshly prepared), or even a little cool from the refrigerator. Your baby is most likely to prefer his or her formula at a consistent temperature. In other words, if you start warming it you’ll probably have to continue warming it.
Here’s an easy way to warm your baby’s bottle: Set the filled bottle in a container of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes. Check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to your baby. It should feel lukewarm, not hot.
Myth 4: Measuring formula isn’t a big deal — just “eyeball it.”
Fact: The instructions for preparing your baby’s formula are important. Follow the directions on the label carefully. If you put too little water in your baby’s formula, it can give baby dehydration or diarrhea. If you put too much water in the formula, you’re watering it down and your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It’s critical to measure carefully each and every time.
Myth 5: Brand-name formula is best.
Fact: Nationally advertised, brand-name formula and store-brand formula are practically identical but have different effects on your family budget! Did you know all infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition for baby? That means store-brand formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands. In fact, store-brand formula is clinically proven to support baby’s growth and development and proven to be just as well tolerated by your baby as those other brands.
So, what’s the main difference? Store-brand formulas cost less because they don’t spend millions of dollars on marketing. Think about all the ads you see on TV and all the samples that get handed out in doctors’ offices. In the case of those big brands, those marketing costs are passed on to you in the form of a higher price tag on each container of formula.
Once you get into the groove of feeding your baby, it will all feel like second nature. And then it will almost be time to give up the bottle!
With school back in session, many families are beginning to focus on smarter eating habits. Packing your little learner’s lunch with these tasty and fun tips is an easy way to help ensure his or her diet contains enough protein and calcium.
Make Lunchtime Fun Time
Tips for creating back-to-school lunches
(Family Features) With school back in session, many families are beginning to focus on smarter eating habits. Packing your little learner’s lunch is an easy way to help ensure his or her diet contains enough protein and calcium.
By letting your kids play a role in planning and packing their lunches, while tossing in a variety of appealing, fun options, you can make sure your students are set up for success.
“For lunches, I like to include mini-foods, like blueberries, strawberries and Mini Babybel cheese, because there is no prep time needed and they are fun to eat with fingers,” said Amy Bellgardt, mother of two and founder of the lifestyle blog Mom Spark. “When lunchtime is easy and enjoyable, my kids are more likely to eat what we’ve prepared together.”
Bellgardt recommends these tips for creating tasty and fun back-to-school lunches.
Pick a theme
“I love to make lunchtime more entertaining for my kids by serving them in themed bento boxes,” Bellgardt said.
Mix it up
Let kids help
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From backyard barbecues and trips to the beach to baseball games and swim meets, summer is all about family fun. It’s also an ideal time to slow down and prioritize a “less-is-more” lifestyle by making smart swaps, like using products with better ingredients, to simplify your life and create an even healthier home for your family. With these tips, you can arm yourself with the tools to spend more time focusing on family and fun.
Simplify Your Lifestyle this Summer
(Family Features) From backyard barbecues and trips to the beach to baseball games and swim meets, summer is all about family fun. It’s also an ideal time to slow down and incorporate a more mindful routine at home.
This season, prioritize a “less-is-more” lifestyle by making smart swaps, like using products with better ingredients, to simplify your life and create an even healthier home for your family. With these easy, helpful tips, you can arm yourself with the tools to spend more time focusing on family and fun.
Pick Produce, Not Processed. What you feed your family often fuels summer fun, but favorite treats like ice cream and hot dogs can be full of unwanted ingredients and added sugars. Skip prepackaged items and look for fresh, seasonal produce that can be incorporated into multiple meals throughout the day, which can also lead to a shorter grocery list and less waste. For example, you can add nutrient- and antioxidant-rich stone fruit to Greek yogurt for breakfast, mix into salsa for a snack and throw on the grill then top with whipped cream for dessert.
Focus on the RightIngredients. Warmer temperatures and fun, outdoor activities can lead to extra stains and more laundry. It’s important to keep summer items dirt-free and smelling fresh with products you can feel good about bringing into your home. For a powerful clean without harshness to keep your summer wardrobe clean and fresh, try all fresh clean Essentials, which is formulated without sulfates and contains effective ingredients for deep cleaning the toughest stains.
Minimize Your Regimen. Take advantage of the seasonal climate to shorten your beauty routine and save time, energy and products. There’s no need to blow dry hair with warm weather – sleep in two twisted braids for beachy waves, air-dry after the shower or throw on a wide-brimmed sun hat to hide bed head. Also focus on products that do double duty: replace sticky lipsticks and gloss with tinted chapsticks that include SPF or mix in a drop of sunscreen to liquid foundation.
Simplify Cleanup. It’s easy to let the myriad rotating summer activities turn your space into an unexpected mess, so proactively prepare for the chaos by creating a cleanup kit. A clean towel, water bottle, sunscreen, change of clothes and snack in a small tote or plastic container can be left in the trunk of the car or in the garage to keep you from running around searching for supplies. This way, you’re prepared for whatever summer brings, be it spilled ketchup, an unexpected shower or even a care-free run through the backyard sprinkler.
Visit allsulfatefree.com to learn more and watch videos featuring wellness expert and mom Hilaria Baldwin that focus on smart tips for living cleanly.
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The real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers. Even if you don’t have kids in school, the end of summer and the beginning of fall is a great time to reassess, realign, hit the restart button and make resolutions, such as loving mornings, empowering kids, appreciating others, making fun a priority, being a team, making snacks work hard, fueling up with real food – like burritos and taquitos – and cheering on mom wins, that will help carry your family smoothly through the school year.
New (School) Year, New You
Make family resolutions that stick
(Family Features) Forget Jan. 1. Parents know the real new year begins when you can smell the fresh pink erasers and hear the clatter of brand new pencils on still-smooth notebook covers.
Here are some tips from parents about resolutions they’ve made for the coming school year:
Learn to love mornings
“It was a disaster,” she said. “There was a lot of yelling, a lot of missing socks, a lot of arguments about eating a good breakfast – it was just not the way to start a productive, happy day.”
Luther decided to turn the first – and worst – hour of her day into one of the best by waking up earlier, exercising and turning on music.
Luther also changed the way she looked at breakfast.
“It doesn’t have to be from scratch,” she said, “but it does have to have protein – and be fast. We love frozen breakfast burritos, for example.”
Empower the kids
But kids are eager to help, she said. Just like adults, they feel empowered when they can do things for themselves.
Luther decided to empower her kids and simplify her life at the same time by creating “Get Ready Buckets,” which hold everything they need to get moving in the morning, from hairbrushes to socks.
That same message of empowerment can simplify and improve other stressful times of day. Do the kids walk in the door hungry and cranky and leave you feeling the same way? Stock the freezer with hearty snacks, such as El Monterey Taquitos, that kids can heat up on their own.
“Our teachers put so much time and effort into their jobs,” Merkley said, “and we’re so grateful for that.”
While she usually gives teachers a gift card at the end of the year, she doesn’t wait until then to send notes and emails with a simple, “Thank you.” She also makes sure to say thanks in person – and in front of her kids.
Make fun a priority
“When we laugh and make things and learn things together,” she said, “we’re making memories. I want my kids to remember their childhoods as more than just getting to school on time and cleaning their rooms.”
Be a team
As their motto, the Denneys chose, “Work hard and be nice.” It’s simple, succinct and sums up what they want for their family.
Fuel up with real food
“Sometimes I’ll buy the ingredients myself to cook from scratch and sometimes I’ll look for foods I recognize on the label,” she said. “When I pick up El Monterey Signature Burritos, I see ingredients like fresh-baked tortillas, real cheddar cheese – foods I would buy anyway for my family, so I feel great about that.”
Make snacks work hard
“Protein and real food – that’s what I’m going to look for in afternoon snacks,” she said. “Something that fills the kids up and gets them ready to get back out the door and play, or buckle down and do their homework.”
Cheer on #momwins
“Checking off every last thing on my spring cleaning checklist is a win, for sure,” she said, “but so is a good, smooth morning with my family. So is a sit-down dinner that didn’t stress me out. So is feeling good about what we’re eating. So is every little hug. Those are all #momwins, and I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for every one.”
For more breakfast, snack and dinner ideas to help you keep your family resolutions, visit ElMonterey.com.
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