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Posts for tag: Nutrition

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
December 10, 2019
Category: Pediatrics
Tags: Nutrition  

Having healthy, happy children begins with a healthy diet. We know that in this day and age life gets pretty hectic and it isn’t always easy to eat right; however, for the health of your family it is important to make healthy eating habits part of your daily routine. The earlier in life that healthy eating habits are adopted by your children the easier it will be to keep them on this path to making smarter and healthier choices regarding their diet.

Of course, when you aren’t sure whether your child is getting the nutrients they need or you have questions or concerns about your child’s health a pediatrician can provide you with invaluable advice, insight and recommendations.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet for Your Children

A healthy diet is based on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods from each of the main food groups. This means getting a good balance of lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. It’s important to change up food options to make eating healthy more exciting. A healthy diet also means avoiding processed foods, sugar, trans fat and vegetable oils. Moderation is key. While your child shouldn’t be drinking sodas or eating baked goods every day, having a treat every once in a while certainly won’t hurt them and could keep them from binging on these treats when they are available.

Keeping Your Kids Healthy

Along with eating healthy it’s important that your children are also getting regular physical activity. This may come in the form of school or community sports. Kids and teens should get at least one hour or more of moderate to intense physical activity everyday, toddlers should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity and play every day and preschoolers should get at least 120 minutes of activity a day.

Of course, in order to keep your child’s energy levels up and their body ready for activity, they must be eating right. If you are concerned about your child’s diet or if you need to schedule their annual physical exam before sports season begins don’t hesitate to turn to your children’s doctor for screenings, checkups, and dietary advice and recommendations.

It doesn’t have to be confusing or difficult to ensure that your child is getting all the proper vitamins and nutrients they need through diet. If you are experiencing challenges getting your kids on board with a healthy lifestyle this is where your pediatrician can help. Call them today to schedule a consultation or to book your child’s next routine checkup.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
April 05, 2019
Category: Nutrition
Tags: Nutrition  

Why Proper Nutrition is Important

As a parent, it goes without saying that you want what is best for your child. Making sure that your little ones grow up healthy, happy, and prepared for the future is often one of the most difficult, yet regarding, tasks in all of parenthood. This all-important mission to provide a great life for your child encompasses a number of different factors, including one which is the subject of this article: nutrition.

According to recent reports from the CDC, one in five school children within the United States qualify as obese. This epidemic of unhealthy living inevitably creates a number of ill effects in the children who suffer from the condition. Read on to learn how proper nutrition can keep your child at a healthy weight and avoid the consequences of obesity.

Why Obesity Must Be Avoided

Before we examine the intricacies of proper nutrition, it is important that we look at why being overweight/obese is to be avoided:

  • Onset of chronic diseases: Although they are more often diagnosed in adults, conditions such as hypertension and type 2 diabetes have been increasingly seen in younger children, largely because of poor eating habits.

  • Childhood habits traverse into adulthood: Humans tend to be creatures of habit, and accordingly, we largely carry childhood tendencies into our adult lives. For this reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the National Institute for Health Research has found that “55% of obese children go on to be obese in adolescence, around 80% of obese adolescents will still be obese in adulthood and around 70% will be obese over age 30.”

  • Obesity shortens life: The National Institute of Health has found that obesity has the possibility of shortening life spans by up to fourteen years, and with the established link between childhood and adulthood obesity, it’s essential to promote healthy

Other Benefits of Proper Nutrition

The most obvious benefit of providing proper nutrition for your child is that they are then much more likely to maintain a healthy weight, and thus avoid all of the dangers associated with obesity. In addition to escaping the clutches of type 2 diabetes and a shortened life expectancy, your little one will also feel the immediate advantage of higher physical energy levels and increased brain activity. These boosts to your child’s wellbeing can be attributed to an increased bloodflow throughout the body, allowing them to not only stay healthier, but feel happier as well!

Call today!

If you need help with getting your child on the path of proper nutrition, contact your local pediatrician today—we’re here to help!

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
June 20, 2018
Category: Nutrition
Tags: Nutrition  

Your child is growing by leaps and bounds, so it should go without saying that the foods they consume can provide ample energy and fuel their mind and body, or they can cause deficiencies, mood swings, sluggishness, and health problems. Your child’s nutrition is of the utmost importance and establishing healthy eating habits early on can greatly benefit your child for both the short-term and for the future.

With childhood obesity still being a very serious and real problem in our country, it’s never too early to start your child eating a healthy, balanced diet. It’s amazing how what you eat can either help or harm your health. Here are some tips to support good nutrition in your little one.

Don’t Forget Breakfast

While busy parents might forget to eat first thing in the morning (or turn to coffee to get that burst of energy) growing children should not skip out on breakfast. Making sure they have a hearty protein-rich breakfast will help them stay fuller longer. Greek yogurt or eggs can be a great source of protein. Couple that with whole grains and some veggies and you have the ultimate, energized breakfast.

Let Your Child Be an Active Participant

If you just tell your child what to eat all the time it’s can be far more challenging to have them eat what they should and children don’t really understand for themselves why certain foods are good for them. Getting your child actively involved in their own nutrition is a great and invaluable lesson that they will carry with them throughout life. Let them choose their favorite fruits and vegetables. Plant a garden together and show them how to tend to herbs and vegetables. Make cooking together a priority and enjoy time with the family while teaching your child how to cook.

Revamp Your Diet

We know that it can be difficult to completely transition your child into a healthier lifestyle, particularly if eating habits haven’t been the best so far; however, a pediatrician can help guide you through the process to help you make simple decisions that could greatly improve your child’s diet. Simply swapping out certain unhealthy options for healthier ones might be all you need. For example, replace soda with flavored water, ice cream with yogurt, and potato chips with mixed nuts.

Sugar in Moderation

Okay, we know it’s impossible to prevent your child from ever consuming sugar (after all, what’s a birthday party without the birthday cake?); however, you should limit how much sugar your child consumes each day. Keep sodas, sports drinks, desserts and the like out of the house to prevent temptation. Sure, these treats aren’t that bad for you when consumed sparingly, but we all know the negative effect sugar has on our physical and mental health.

If you have questions about your child’s nutritional habits or their health, it’s important that you have a pediatrician that you trust to provide you with the comprehensive and understanding care you and your little one need. Turn to a pediatrician today to have all your questions and concerns addressed regarding your child’s nutrition and lifestyle.

By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
March 16, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Nutrition   Healthy Eating  
Are you always packing your kid’s lunchbox with the same old boring foods? When it comes to your child’s school life, you may be concerned with your child’s eating habits. In order to help your child eat better and feel better, your pediatrician offers helpful tips for packing healthy lunches for your kids to take to school. Now is the time to branch out with new ingredients for healthy foods so that your children always eat well at lunch—help them be the envy of every child’s lunch.
 
By preparing lunch at home for your child, it helps to ensure that your child eats food with nutrients that are crucial to growing normally and thriving, mentally as well as physically. When it comes to packing your child’s next lunch, your pediatrician urges you to remember that variety is key. 
 
Your child’s lunch should contain a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and heart-healthy fat. Some examples of foods that are rich in these nutrients and ideal for home-packed school lunches include:
  • Two to three ounces of lean protein for muscle and tissue development. This can include chicken, turkey or tuna on a whole grain mini-bagel. Pair this with chickpeas or a hardboiled egg and your child will receive the lean protein they need at lunch. 
  • Heart healthy oils for heart and brain health might include two tablespoons of natural peanut butter on several whole grain crackers.
  • Fruits such as grapes, mandarin oranges, pears and berries provide fiber and micronutrients. You can also include vegetables such as broccoli or grape tomatoes, or even whole grains, including whole grain bread, bagels, pasta, quinoa and brown rice. 
  • Calcium rich food is very important for bone development. These foods include low-fat cheese or six to eight ounces of low fat milk or yogurt. 
And for a drink, don’t forget the water! Your pediatrician places a strong emphasis on including water because proper hydration is important to your child’s health. Water is also a much better alternative to sodas or fruit drinks. 
 
What your child eats at lunch as well as breakfast and dinner can influence his or her ability to earn good grades and helps in reducing obesity. Talk to your pediatrician for more information on how you can pack a better lunch for your child to improve their health and overall well-being. 
By Westfield Pediatrics, PA
December 15, 2017
Category: Child Health
Tags: Nutrition   Healthy Eating  

Child Eating WatermelonToo often, children fall into unhealthy routines when it comes to eating. These habits can jeopardize their long-term overall health, potentially leading to serious complications later in life. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. That’s why the early years are important for building a child’s nutrition habits. By starting young and encouraging a fun, healthy diet, it’s possible to lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy, independent eating.

Here are a few simple tips for instilling healthy eating habits in your kids.

  • Eat in moderation
    Eating healthy doesn’t mean your kids can never have a little “junk” food as a treat. Teach your child the importance of moderation, healthy portion sizes and self-control when it comes to making daily food choices.
     
  • Quality over quantity
    Rather than making your child clean his plate, encourage him to eat slowly. This will help your child detect hunger and fullness better, preventing overeating and teaching portion control.
     
  • Shop smart
    If you don’t buy it, they can’t eat it. When shopping for foods choose fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meats. Stock up on healthy snacks for after school, and avoid buying too many junk foods or sugary drinks and sodas that are stumbling blocks to healthy eating.
     
  • Pack smart for school
    Be aware of your child’s school lunch options by reviewing the menu. Help your child understand how he can make good meal choices at school, and if you need to, pack your child a nutritious lunch to ensure he’s getting a variety of healthy foods that he likes to eat.
     
  • Load up on fruits and vegetables
    When cooking, introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables into your meals as a great way to get your kids to try—and even acquire a taste for—healthier foods. It may take several tries, so be persistent and creative in your meal planning.
     
  • Set a good example
    One of the best ways a parent can support healthy eating habits for their child is to model similar habits. Most kids are more willing to try foods if they see their parents enjoying them.
     
  • Make meals family-time
    Eat together as a family when possible, and make mealtime fun by trying new foods together.

Bottom line: Instilling healthy eating habits in children is an ongoing process that takes time and patience, but the benefits of a healthier lifestyle can last throughout their entire life. Talk to your child’s pediatrician for guidance if you have questions about your child’s eating habits or dietary needs.