Monday, April 23, 2012

Excerpt #1 from Food Fights Book!

The following excerpt is taken from the new edition of Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor and a Bottle of Ketchup (American Academy of Pediatrics, March 2012) by Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP. For more information about Food Fights, please visit, the official American Academy of Pediatrics web site for parents.


What’s Not Lacking in Snacking

One of the biggest problems with snacks is, quite simply, that they typically

consist of high-calorie, unhealthy foods rather than nutrient-dense,

healthy foods. With fresh fruit all too frequently replaced by juice and

other sugary drinks, more candy, less milk, and the prize for the largest

increase in snack foods over the past 30 years going to chips and crackers,

what’s clearly not lacking in snacking is salt, sugar, and fat.

Smart Snacking

So now that you know what not to serve for snacks, we wanted to make

sure to impress on you the fact that snacking can and still should play an

important role in your child’s daily diet. Simply put, the right approach

to snacking can help keep kids from getting hungry and cranky while

also giving them added energy and (if you plan it right) added nutrients.

By following simple, smart snacking advice like the tips below, you

can ultimately help your child grow better, think better, and stay active

throughout the day and throughout childhood.

Snacks should not be the exception to the rule that food, in general,

should have nutritional value. Make sure you commit to applying the

same noble goals in choosing your snacks as you (hopefully) do for

your child’s meals.

Keep finger foods on hand. Finding foods that are quick and easy to

grab and serve is actually quite easy. Simply cut up some fresh fruits

or veggies; keep whole grain crackers, pretzels, or ready-to-eat (and

preferably low-sugar/high-fiber) cereals on hand; and then let your

toddler or older child handle the feeding part independently.

Don’t be fooled by packaging. Labels on snack foods for kids, along

with sugary children’s cereals, seem to be the most commonly misleading

when it comes to nutrition. Don’t let creative labeling such as

“fruit snacks” or “low-fat” lead you to believe that sugary treats are

necessarily healthy.

Figure out some “free foods” that your child can eat at any time. It’s

entirely appropriate to agree on some healthy “free foods” (such as

fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs, for example) that your

child can sit down and eat whenever he’s hungry. Remembering that

your ultimate goal is to help your child learn to eat when he’s hungry

and refrain when he’s not, your role is to simply make very sure that

the criteria you use for creating this list is based squarely on the food’s

nutritional value.

Keep junk food out of sight and out of mind. This means not

only limiting the amount of junk food you buy and allow into your

pantry, but also the amount of television your child is allowed to

watch. With literally thousands of television ads designed specifically

to make your child’s mouth water over unhealthy snacks and cereals,

turning off the television—not just when you’re eating but keeping it

turned off throughout the day—can go a long way toward preventing

unhealthy eating habits.


Maryann D. said...

We all need help and advice when it comes to food and snacking. I definitely needs snacks throughout the day and these tips do help (adults and children) to choose the right snack.
twinkle at optonline dot net

ellen_levickis said...

Good thoughts!

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