Spring Sports Nutrition Nuggets

Whether your child plays soccer or soft ball, good nutrition can make for better performance on and off the field. There are some basic rules for all kids who play sports and then some added bonus guidelines for different ages and sports.

Rule #1: Get at least 8 hours of sleep at night. To ensure peak performance and support healthy weight, making sure kids get enough sleep is vital. Making sure Kids are in bed without electronic devices or screens 8 to 9 hours before they need to get up the next morning is a good place to start.

Rule #2: Keep well hydrated. A good rule of thumb for School age kids is one-half cup (4 ounces) of fluid for each year of life. Need a Sports Drink?  The best sports drink for kids is a high protein milk, such as cow’s milk or soy milk. Choosing chocolate milk adds extra potassium to regular milk. If your child sweats during games and practices, an eighth (1/8) teaspoon of salt in chocolate milk can help replace sodium lost through sweat.

Rule #3 Busy schedules get busier:  During spring soccer session, I can remember driving all over Ohio and tossing dinner to my kids from the driver’s seat. To be sure that they got the nutritious food they needed, I kept a picnic basket in the boot of the Mini-van. Here are some picnic basket ideas for families!

To Go Foods:

Peanut butter to go packages

Almond butter to go packages

Hummus to go packages

Guacamole to go cups

Pita bread chips – mini bagels – whole grain crackers

Aldi teddy graham snack packs (lowest sugar brand)

Individual packages of Low sugar cereal (cherrios – raisin bran)

Raisin boxes

Dried cranberries boxes

Individual servings of nuts (for children older than 3 years of age)

Individual servings of celery, baby carrots, snap peas

Baggies of fruits: grapes / apples slices (soak apple slices in cranberry or orange juice over night to avoid browning)

 Or make your own snacks:

Cereal mix recipe: 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, ½ cup low sugar cereal such as Kix.

Granola bar recipe: ½ cup blended / chopped dates – ½ cup nut butter –1/2 cup honey – 1 cup toast rolled oats – ½ cup toasted chopped nuts and or coconut. Heat nut butter and honey over low heat until melted. Combine with remaining ingredients. Mix well. Cover pan with waxed paper or parchment paper. Press into shallow sheet pan (jelly roll pan)

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Making the most of food.

Ready to save money and make the most of the food you buy? Here are 5 tips to reduce your food waste:

  1. Meal plan

Start a routine: Once a week sit down with your family, partner, …cat (whoever!) and meal plan. What evenings will you be out of the house and not eating at home? How many meals do you need to prepare that week? How can you use the leftovers? How much time will you have to prepare meals? Sticking with simple, quick recipes is key. Do you need to get up early one morning to throw stuff in your slow cooker? Planning ahead can make this easier.

Make a grocery list from your planned recipes and stick to it. Be sure to have a full tummy when shopping to help you stick to your shopping plan.

  1. Eat your leftovers

As I mentioned above, make sure that your meal planning incorporates eating your leftovers. If you tend to skip breakfast, leftovers are a no-excuse way to get some nutrition in in the morning. Do you normally buy lunch out? Why not save your money and eat leftovers?

Having pre-made meals in the freezer are awesome for nights that you get home later or when you just want a night off from cooking.

Store leftovers in a clear container at eye-level if they go into the fridge. They will be less likely to disappear into the back of the fridge this way.

  1. Save fruits and vegetables that last longer for later in the week

Buying fruits and vegetables at varying stages of ripeness can allow you to have perfectly ripe ones all week. If you only shop once a week or less, this can be key. As well as buying fruits and vegetables that have a longer shelf life and saving these for when you run out of other fruits and vegetables, like cabbage, apples, pears, beets, squash, radishes, carrots, onions, and so on.

Buying frozen fruits and vegetables works well too if you are prone to wasting fresh ones. They can even be more nutrient dense, especially in the winter months, compared to fresh. Check out the awesome infographic at the end of this post for some storage tips and download the FoodKeeper app by the USDA.

  1. Donate food

If you have food that you know you are not going to eat — donate it! There are often restrictions on what foods you can donate depending on who you are donating to. Check out your local food bank and look into the requirements and what foods are needed most. Then donate what you can.

  1. Understand best-before dates

Best-before dates are mandated on foods that are fresh for less than 90 days. The use by dates tell us what the food has the best taste, quality and nutrient content but are not related to safety. Expiration dates, found mainly on baby formula and nutrition supplements, are different. You should not eat these after the expiration date. However, just because a food, like eggs or milk for example, is a few days past its best-before date doesn’t meal you can’t eat it. If you have a plan you can use these foods when they are at their best.We wastestoring-fruit-and-vegetables.jpg much good food that is just a day or two past the best-before date. Of course, use your knowledge of food safety and “if in doubt throw it out” — but don’t discard a food solely based on this date.


Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids

Helping children learn healthy habits is a family affair. Children learn to eat well, sleep well, and to be active from the grownups around them. Opportunities to teach children to eat well at meals and to choose fruits and vegetable each day happens every day. Moms, dads, grandparents and older children can help children learn these good habits.

Taking the healthy habits quiz can help your family see how well they are doing and find ways to be their best.

Take the healthy habits quiz to show you where things are going great and things you and your family can do to improve your health . . .

Healthy Habits Quiz

Do you and your family Yes No Sometimes
Eat meals and snacks at the same time in the same location
Eat together as a family
Plan your snacks
Plan and prepare meals at home
Plan physical activities for the family
Play together
Ensure children sleep 8 hours or more most days
Limit screen time
Provide opportunities for active play
Engage family to keep moving (to reduce time spent sitting)
Eat fruit every day
Eat vegetables ever day

Yes = 2 points                       Sometimes = 1 point                         No = 0 points


If your total score is:

20-24 points: you and your family are on the right track

13-19 points: you and your family are doing well, but have some ideas of the places you could make better

0-12 points: you and your family now have lots of suggestions to start new healthy habits

Taming tummy trouble

“I have a Tummy Ache!” every parent has heard this complaint from his or her child at one time or another. Most of the time, it is a passing bug that moves on in a few days, but when it is something more serious that is the time most families look for help.

Millions of Americans, including children struggle with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) with pain, bloating, frequent constipation or diarrhea or with more serious conditions like Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

Getting help from a pediatric dietitian nutritionist who is a specialist in the nutrition needs of children can be a step in the right direction. Diets that are high in foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts have been shown to improve gut function by supporting Good Gut Bugs that improve the Gut Environment and reduce inflammation. Getting to the bottom of the mystery of a stomachache can make children and families who deal with these issues feel worried and alone. It helps to work with a team with experience in caring for kids with GI issues.

Pediatric RDNs can help families and children take the steps needed to make the healthy changes needed to Tame Tummy Troubles.   The Pediatric Dietitians at KidsRD.com can work with your child, your family, your Pediatrician to help TAME THOSE TUMMY TROUBLES.

visit us at KidsRD.com                                         https://www.KidsRD.com

No Need to Hide

No need to hide.

Let’s be open and honest. We want our kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Some people would lead you to believe that “hiding” fruits and vegetables in food is one way to do this. I would suggest that this is wrongly put.

When we prepare food for our children and families we have a list of ingredients that we combine to create nutritious meals. This includes many items, fruits, vegetables, grain foods, protein foods, etc. so adding vegetables to a sauce, soup or casserole is just adding nutritious ingredients to the foods we provide to our families. Therefore “No Need to Hide”.

Your goal is to include at least five (5) one-fourth cup servings for kiddos under 5 years of age or five (5) one-half cup servings of fruits and vegetables for your school aged child. It is good to have goals and to have a plan to help you meet those goals.

Telling someone to eat more fruits and vegetables / to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetable every day is all well and good. The hard part about that is how does someone do it?

It takes thoughtfulness: give some thought to the foods the members of your family prefer. Ask them to write down their favorite foods. Ask them to write down their least favorite foods. Ask them why they like or do not like these foods. Is it the taste? Sweet, salty, sour, bitter, smoky, earthy? Is it the texture? Smooth, crunchy, mushy, slippery, chewy? Once you have this information take it and expand it. Does your child like French fried potatoes? If they like the skinny fast food kind, try the fat (steak fries) kind. Try other French fried vegetables. Try a Baked version.

It takes planning: remember Home Economics? Well if you do, you might remember that meal planning was part of the course. In our Grab and Go world, this may seem Old School, but it is one of the best tools to increase the amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy foods your family eats.

It takes team work: Including the involved parties in the decision making improves buy in. What this means for families, is that if you include your kids in the planning, shopping, and cooking, they will be more engaged and more likely to try the food prepared as a family.

 It takes time: Rome wasn’t built in a day, meaning that building good eating habits takes time. It has been said that parents should expect to offer new and novel foods to a child up to 30 times before acceptance occurs. So do not worry, give up, give in until you have hit that number.

New Year and a New Plan for Healthy Happy Mealtime

New Year and a New Plan for Healthy Happy Mealtime

The Holidays are over and all that is left are a few uneaten cookies. And if you are like me you are thinking it is time to focus on some healthy eating.

The kids are back in school and we are getting back to our routines. THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO RENEW.

Let’s face it, kids (and grown ups) prefer a routine. We all like to know what will happen next (comforting right?) Meal routines help children focus their thoughts and energies in a good direction. So here we go:

Breakfast: whole grain cereal or toast with nut butter, fruit and milk. Sitting down with your kids for this quick meal helps start them off on the right track for their day.

Lunch: whether you pack your lunch or eat at school, planning is the key to good choices. Discuss with your child what to pack or what to pick from the menu.

After School Snacks: remember how hungry you were as a kid when you got home from school? Having fruits, vegetables with hummus, whole grain crackers and cheese or fruit and yogurt readily available will help your kid stop hunger in it’s tracks.

Dinner: eating good food together at the dinner table cannot be beat. Families who eat dinner together tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and less added sugars, salt and high fat foods.

Contact us at www.KidsRD.com for more ideas on eating well in the New Year

Children and added sugar

Children and added sugar:

The typical American child eats about triple the recommended amount of added sugars, half from food and half from drinks.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 9.07.27 AM

There are new recommendations out from the American Heart Association.

Children and teens should consume less than 6 teaspoons of “added sugars” a day and drink no more than 8 ounces of sugary beverages a week, according to the American Heart Association.

A panel of researchers took a hard look at how sugar impacts cardiovascular health between the ages of 2 and 18. The recommendations for children younger than 2 is to avoids any added sugars, providing instead nutrition-packed food for growing healthy brains and bodies.

Food and drink that contain sugar naturally are great, but added sugars – which go by many names and find their way into many products – may not be.

“If parents have number in mind, it will help them and the food industry work together to meet that goal.”

Studies linking added sugars and conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease – the No. 1 cause of death in the world – have been around for years. Diets high in added sugars have been connected to heart risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.

Children are developing eating habits and taste preferences that will last a lifetime. The sooner families begin to limit the amount of added sugars in the food they eat, the better.

The typical American child eats about triple the recommended amount of added sugars, half from food and half from drinks.


children and constipation

Children and constipation:

How often should a kid poop? The answer to this question is “that depends”. As long as the child is comfortable and the poop is soft and easy to pass, the frequency is not an issue.

A diet that includes whole grains breads and cereals, 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables, dairy foods that provide good sources of calcium and other minerals such as milk and other low sugar or sugar free drinks helps keep kid’s guts functioning well and regularly.

Sometimes things do not go as smoothly as we like, so occasional constipation can occur and is normal.  Use of an over the counter stool softener or bulking agents such as miralax or Colace can correct occasional constipation.

For some children, constipation can be more frequent and cause problems. Working with your child’s doctor or pediatric dietitian can help establish a plan that will help straighten out this problem.

Vegetable Victory

Remember the days when your baby ate fruits and vegetables? So what has changed now that your baby has grown up? Are you having dinner time battles over broccoli?

Well, here are some tips to get you on the right track to increasing your child’s fruit and vegetable intake.

  • Try adding those baby food fruits and vegetables to other foods.
    • add pureed carrots, sweet potato or butternut squash to macaroni and cheese. start with just a bit and increase the amount as your child takes to the new flavors.
    • add baby prunes, applesauce, baby pears or peaches to quick bread, muffin  or brownie mix
    • add pureed vegetables to taco or lasagna filling
    • add baby / pureed carrots, beets, squash or sweet potato to pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • All fruits and veggies taste better on a stick. Try fruit kabobs, or melon wedges on popsicle sticks.
  • Offer dip with veggies: 1/4 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup of your child’s favorite salad dressing, such as Ranch or Honey mustard
  • Offer dip with fruit: 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt + 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Try making veggie noodles using a spiralizer to add to pasta
  • and be sure to have lots of fruit and veggies ready in snack bags to offer your kiddos when they say “Mom, I’m hungry”Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 8.04.45 AM

Nourish to Flourish

Food insecurity and being overweight are two of the biggest crises facing America’s kids today. But they don’t need to be. The solution lies in understanding the facts.
Nourish to Flourish Infographic