Learning About Food Additives

Learning About Food Additives

Have you ever felt concerned about the ingredients on food labels that you can’t pronounce? Or worried about the safety of feeding some of those additives to your children? Many of us worry over these food issues. In this article, we will address food additives and how they are regulated, along with a registered dietician’s perspective, to help you make your best choices at the grocery store and in your kitchen.  – For more tips from our panel of experts, check out our blog – Food Additives What are they? Substances added to food, including: food colors, sweeteners, agricultural chemicals, and even some nutrients that may have beneficial effects. Why are they added? To prolong shelf and storage life, as well as to enhance color, flavor, and texture. Why do we worry? Stories on the news about the ingredients in our foods: food colors cause hyperactivity, artificial sweeteners cause cancer, high fructose corn syrup causes obesity and diabetes, etc. It is important to be aware and know the source and the scientific research that makes or refutes the claims – not everything that is published is true. What is being done? Food additives are governed by laws enforced by the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA. Each food additive must be cleared by the FDA after vigorous testing before it is allowed into the food supply. Compounds that end up in our food supply unintentionally through food processing or packaging (growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or bisphenol A (BPA)) must also gain approval from the FDA. A dietician’s perspective: The FDA is continually working to make sure the foods sold and consumed in the US are safe...
Coloring Helps Development – Free Coloring Sheets

Coloring Helps Development – Free Coloring Sheets

Springtime is finally here and we have a few free coloring sheets for you to enjoy with your little one, which are fun especially on a rainy afternoon. Coloring helps development in a variety of ways: Coloring Helps Development of Skills 1. Improves fine motor skills Gripping a crayon helps with the muscle development in hands, wrist and fingers allowing for greater dexterity and manipulation of objvetx. 2. Prepares them for school At school, children will do many projects that involve coloring, paper and other creative media and getting them used to and enjoying coloring at a young age can help prepare them. Entering preschool children should know how to hold a writing tool, make drawings that start to have basic resemblance to the object and can describe to you what they are drawing. — For other developmental tips, go to the Please and Carrots Blog — 3. Stimulates creativity Coloring helps with imagination. Free form coloring is great to give them the freedom to draw what they dream up. Even if there are images on coloring books or sheets, your child is still using their imagination and it is a great opportunity to ask about what is happening in the scene. 4. Color recognition and self expression Crayons are great for recognizing, naming and eventually mixing to create new colors (red+blue = purple). Coloring is wonderful for self expression as your child decides what color(s) to use on which part of the page. 5. Spatial recognition Your baby, toddler and preschooler won’t color within the lines, but they will start to visually learn about lines and shapes. ———— Free Coloring Sheets...
When to introduce consequences

When to introduce consequences

What do you do when your child won’t listen to you or is misbehaving? Time-outs? Give-in? Do you find yourself impatiently ordering them to just follow your directions? Time to introduce consequences! – Check out other helpful tips and advice from our experts – When most people hear the word “consequence” they think of something negative. In fact, a consequence is simply what happens after we do something. We want to share how to use consequences to help your child learn how what they do affects what happens next.  For example, if your child is having a good time playing with his sister, you might let them both stay up a little longer (positive consequence). However, if they have been bickering since dinner you might put them to bed earlier (negative consequence). One of the best ways to help your child learn is to use logical consequences – a consequence is logical when the consequence is related to the child’s behavior. Sometimes logical consequences happen naturally. For example, if a child becomes frustrated with a toy and breaks it, then she can’t play with it anymore. In this case, you can say something like: “I understand the toy made you mad because you couldn’t get it to do what you wanted. So, what happened? (pause) You broke it and can’t play with anymore. I know you really liked that toy. This is why we don’t throw our toys. What should you do next time you are mad about a toy? (pause) Come to me and we can figure it out.” Note that young children might not be able to answer these questions and that is okay. You should still...
The honest truth: lies have benefits

The honest truth: lies have benefits

At our last appointment, our pediatrician told us we would start to see our 3 year old twins tell “tall tales”. She told us not to be concerned or dissuade them. The honest truth is – lies have benefits. If she had not warned me, my inclination would have been to immediately curtail these “lies”. However, lies at this age can be a sign of the development of creative thinking and problem solving – skills I want my girls to develop. – For other helpful parenting advice, check out our other articles here. – A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explains how a child’s ability to lie is actually a developmental milestone, such as walking and talking. The research of Dr. Kang Lee, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto, discusses how lying begins early: “Among verbal 2-year-olds, 30% try to pull the wool over their parents’ eyes at some point. At age 3, 50% regularly try it. Fibbing is common among 80% of 4-year-olds and is seen in nearly all healthy 5- to 7-year-olds.” Dr. Lee says “Lying requires two ingredients. Children need to understand what’s in someone else’s mind — to know what they know and what they don’t know. We call this ability theory of mind. The children who are better at theory of mind are also better at lying. The second requirement is executive function — the power to plan ahead and curb unwanted actions.”  He published his research findings in the Psychological Science journal. The takeaway is NOT to encourage your children to lie, but to understand why young children start to lie as their brains develop and to treat it as a...
Fun activities for holiday travel

Fun activities for holiday travel

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? You may hear that question many, many times while traveling to over the holidays, so we have some fun activities for holiday travel to help! While travelling with your little one may seem daunting and at times feel endless, with a little preparation you can make the time in a car (or plane) go by more smoothly. These ideas can be used again and again. Also think about keeping a travel kit in your car for unexpected traffic jams, or longer than planned doctor appointments. One of my favorite activities is to make a doctor kit for your child to take care of her sick doll or stuffed animal. Fill a bag or container with Band-Aids, gauze, Q-tips, washcloth, empty plastic bottle, small flashlight, and so on. Show them how to care for their “baby”. Your child will take care of many common illnesses as well as a few you have never heard of! Teach your child a few tried and true games. For children 4+, the Memory game can be made by putting pairs of stickers to two sets of index cards. Start with a few (perhaps 3) pairs until he catches on, then add more cards to make it more interesting, not to mention time consuming. You can also start with younger children – they may not “get” the game, but can enjoy the cards with stickers! Was this a hit? Once they get into Memory, it is time to teach some simple card games like Go Fish or Crazy Eights. A small container with stickers, paper, and crayons...
Being aware of the sounds around you

Being aware of the sounds around you

Do you ever turn on the TV for background noise in the evening, and sometimes not even realize or pay attention to what show is on? As adults, we are not always aware of the sounds around us. When our child is within earshot, it is important to be aware of the sounds that are present in our environment. We are used to noise all around and we know how to tune it out when needed. However children (especially infants) have not learned this skill yet and so the sounds within their environment can sometimes cause overstimulation and possibly a melt-down. Since an infant can’t politely say “turn that down”, most often they demonstrate their dislikes in screams and tears, adding to the noise, and often leading to overstimulation for you as well! What is the solution? Intentional listening – this simply means to be aware of the environment that you and your child are in and use the background sounds to set the tone for the mood or behaviors that you desire. When choosing music to have on in the background, choose music that has a consistent beat and pleasant melodies. Consistent beat A consistent, rhythmic beat provides predictability for children, which in turn provides security and comfort. A consistent beat can be identified by clapping your hands (or clapping with your baby’s hands) in a consistent rhythm with the music. The opposite, arrhythmic beats, would stray away from your consistent clapping. The arrhythmic beats can sometimes be jarring and unpredictable, often creating unease for your child. Pleasant Melody This concept is a little more subjective. Songs that...
How to get your child to listen

How to get your child to listen

Young children need opportunities to be autonomous and to be in control of their own thoughts and bodies. However, there are times when we need our little ones to do what we say​. Have you repeated yourself over and over to a toddler and wondered how to get your child to listen? Most of us have repeated ourselves trying to get a toddler to do what we want, and those repeated requests and​ ​the​ ​non-compliance cause frustration that can quickly turn​ ​into raised voices and negative emotions…no fun for parents or toddlers. Here are a few simple techniques that will increase the likelihood your child will comply ​​when you need them to: First, give your child many opportunities for choice throughout the day.​ ​[You can refer to the previous article on Choice for ideas]. If they have opportunities for choice, they are more likely to listen when choice is not an option. ​Try to limit the number of requests your child must comply with. When choice is not an option, your child will be more likely to comply when your instructions are simple, clear and provide positive directions. ​These are effective commands.​ The word “command” can seem strong but it is simply giving direction that is not optional. For example, saying “Are you ready to go to the store?” implies that your child has a choice​ ​-​ ​your child is free to say “No​,​ I don’t want to go!” If this is not a choice, instead say “It’s time to go to the store. Please walk to the car.” Here are some quick tips on how to give effective commands:...
Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Formula and breastfeeding – the facts!

Choosing formula and breastfeeding – it’s a big decision for parents. While there are many factors to take into consideration, in the end there is really only one thing that matters: Which choice is right for you and your child?  As a registered dietitian and nutritionist in a pediatric practice, I discuss breastfeeding and formula with new parents every day. Below is a breakdown of the benefits and challenges of breastfeeding and formula feeding – here are the facts!   Breastfeeding: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk as the best source of nutrition for infants.  Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, followed by the introduction of complementary foods, with continuation of breastfeeding till 1 year or older is recommended by the AAP.  You can access their Policy Statement about breastfeeding here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full#content-block). The benefits with breastfeeding include:  Provides natural antibodies to help baby resist illnesses Easily digested, and babies often experience less constipation and gassiness May lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome during the first year Some studies have shown higher levels of cognitive function in breastfed babies Evidence shows that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions including: childhood overweight/obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac’s disease, asthma, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and ovarian cancer Women who breastfeed lose pregnancy weight faster than women who do not It is a bonding opportunity for mother and child It is a low cost option (of course there is your time and supportive tools, equipment ad/or advice) Challenges with...
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