It’s that time of year! Pumpkin season is here and we are all heading to the patch to find the best ones. Although pumpkins are most popular for carving and decorating, they should also get attention for being very nutritious. Both the seeds and the flesh are packed with nutrition.
Read on to find out why pumpkins are so nutritious, and enjoy these recipes using pumpkin that your family will love:
Pumpkin Seeds: In a nutshell (no pun intended), they are a great source of omega 3s. These are the super healthy fats that reduce inflammation and are highly concentrated in brain tissues. Omega 3s are essential fatty acids, which means our body does not make this type of fat, so we have to get it from our diet. Eat up those pumpkin seeds, and reduce your risk for chronic disease while boosting your brain!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe: Save the pumpkin seeds from carving for a healthy snack. Rinse them in a colander to remove all of the flesh, then boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet with olive oil for 5-15 minutes or until golden brown. Read more
https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Stephanie Wellshttps://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngStephanie Wells2013-10-20 17:31:012014-04-20 11:10:15Pumpkin: A Nutrition Powerhouse
Gluten free eating has gained attention and popularity in recent years. This is probably partly due to increased awareness of Celiac disease, which requires a gluten free diet for treatment. It is also likely due to increased awareness of wheat allergy and wheat intolerance, both in kids and adults. For more information about the differences between these conditions, as well as accompanying symptoms, see my previous blog, Is Gluten Bad for You?
Unless you fall into one of the above mentioned conditions, going gluten free will not necessarily improve health. In other words, eating wheat (which contains gluten) in moderation is perfectly healthy, especially if it is whole grain wheat. Some people wonder if going gluten free can help with weight loss. The answer is, not necessarily. If wheat represents a large part of your family’s caloric intake, then removing wheat without replacing it with other equally calorie-dense foods could result in weight loss. Or if your family’s diet contains a lot of high calorie processed foods made with wheat, and you remove these and replace them with lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and other whole grains, then you will definitely see health improvements. But removing wheat alone will not likely result in weight loss.
In any case, it is always good to eat a variety of foods in regular rotation of family meals. Since wheat is so prevalent in many of our households, it might take some thinking ‘outside the box’ to make gluten free meals. Read more
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Stephanie Wellshttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngStephanie Wells2013-09-22 18:30:092014-04-20 12:27:07Is Going Gluten Free Right for Your Family? (Recipe Ideas Included)
I wrote a similar post to this last year around this time on school lunchbox meal ideas, but as a mom and dietitian, I know I am always looking for fresh ideas for my family’s meals. When putting together lunch for school, it is helpful to think of the Healthy Plate Model to make sure all bases are covered: whole grains, protein, fruits, and veggies.
Here are some ideas in each food category to try to branch out beyond the sandwich-in-a-baggie lunch:
Protein: Sunflower seed butter, nuts (if allowed at school), hummus, yogurt, tuna or chicken salad, cheese cubes or string cheese, nitrate and nitrite-free lunchmeat, edamame
Fruits: Any fresh and seasonal fruits, dried fruits or fruit leathers, applesauce
Vegetables: Sliced bell peppers in a variety of colors, carrot or celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, snap peas, broccoli or cauliflower pieces
Some parents might be thinking, if I pack XYZ, it’s just going to come home untouched every day, so what’s the point? Just like your kids are constantly growing and maturing, their palate and attitudes toward food are developing over time too. You never know when your child is going to give those cherry tomatoes a try, but he can’t try them unless you offer them consistently. Kids work up quite an appetite during the school day, and they are positively influenced by seeing their peers eat a variety of foods. So give your kids the chance to eat healthy, and you might be surprised!
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Stephanie Wellshttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngStephanie Wells2013-09-16 05:00:502014-04-20 12:35:32Easy Ideas for Packing a Healthy Lunch for Your Child
When it comes to feeding infants solids, it is often not a straight and narrow path to success. Sometimes you and baby will hit some bumps along the way, which may leave you feeling confused, anxious, and not sure how to make things better. Below are several strategies to navigate this stressful time.
Tips to help navigate feeding your infant solids:
Be sure your infant is ready. As you may have heard, it is not as important to watch the calendar as it is to watch your baby. Signs of readiness include the following:
Baby is able to sit independently or with very minimal support.
Baby does not stick his tongue out as a reflex to putting the spoon in his mouth.
Baby seems eager to eat food, opening his mouth when you bring the spoon to him. Read more
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As a parent, there are countless matters in your child’s life that bring joy, happiness, and excitement. There are also a myriad of matters in your child’s life that can raise concern and cause alarm. In our youth and appearance based culture, one of these alarming matters is eating disorders. Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia, along with more general disordered eating, are commonly thought of as a problem that affects teen girls. Teen girls are historically most affected by these disorders, but boys and younger/older children can also develop these issues. Read on for 3 clues that may indicate your child is on a path toward an eating disorder.
3 Clues Your Child May Have an Eating Disorder:
Your child is constantly looking in the mirror. Do you notice that your child seems obsessed with the mirror? Does your child appear to be scrutinizing her face and body? Children with body image concerns will often spend a lot of time looking in the mirror, which may take away from homework, family time and other necessary or enjoyed activities.
Your child is overly focused on glamorous images from the media. If your child appears to be fixated on certain celebrity icons, and more specifically, the appearance of these icons, she may also be struggling with her own body image. Some children pull out magazine photos of a current celebrity obsession and create a shrine of the image. While celebrity crazes are common among children and adults alike, if your child seems to idolize the physical appearance rather than the talents of celebrities, it may be a sign that your child is unhappy with her own image. Read more
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Jaclyn Harrishttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJaclyn Harris2013-08-16 05:45:512014-04-20 13:32:403 Clues Your Child May Have an Eating Disorder
Most of us taking eating and swallowing for granted. These actions come naturally and allow us to eat our meals peacefully. However, for some children, feeding and swallowing disorders make these natural reflexes and muscle actions difficult. Read on to understand more about feeding and swallowing disorders and for red flags that your child may have a problem in this area.
What are feeding & swallowing disorders?
Feeding Disorders include difficulties gathering food to suck, chew, or swallow. According to ASHA:“…a child who cannot pick up food and get it to her mouth or cannot completely close her lips to keep food from falling out of her mouth may have a feeding disorder.”
Swallowing Disorders, also known as Dysphagia, include difficulty in one of the following stages of swallowing: Read more
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Parents often wonder if it’s normal for their child to drool. You might notice your child’s toys are covered with saliva after playing, or you may notice a soaked shirt-collar throughout the day. The short answer to the question “is drooling normal?” is “sometimes.” At certain points in your child’s development, drooling is completely typical. At other points in his development, it is atypical and may require further intervention.
Developmental stages of drooling:
According to Morris & Klein in Pre-Feeding Skills, Second Edition, the following stages of drooling can be expected as your child develops:
One – three months: From one to three months of age, drooling is rare when your child is in a supine or reclining position (lying face-up), although some drooling may be noted when he is in a prone or a supported sitting position.
Six months: By six months of age, drooling is more controlled when your child is in supine, prone or seated. You may notice drooling as your child babbles or uses his hands to play, point or reach for objects. Drooling may also be noted as your child is teething or in response to eating particular foods.
Nine months: By nine months of age, drooling rarely occurs during gross motor activities, such as crawling or rolling. You may still notice drool in response to teething.
Fifteen months: By fifteen months of age, drooling rarely occurs during gross motor activities, such as walking and running, although you may notice some drooling during fine motor tasks, such as stacking blocks or manipulating objects. It may also continue in response to teething.
Eighteen months: By eighteen months of age, your child no longer drools when attempting fine motor tasks. Drooling may occur during feeding, dressing, play, or teething.
Twenty-four months: By twenty-four months of age, noted drooling is minimal.
Why children drool:
Saliva serves many necessary functions. It helps bind food together as we eat, which is important for safe swallowing. Saliva also aids in the digestion of food and helps keeps our oral cavity clean. For the average child, unnecessary loss of saliva stops around age 4. For other children, however, it can be excessive.
According to Morris & Klein in Pre-Feeding Skills, Second Edition, the following possible causes of excess drooling might include:
Teething, which results in more saliva production.
Poor oral sensory awareness, resulting in decreased triggering of swallowing. If a child’s face is constantly wet, he may be less responsive to sensory cues that signal a need to swallow.
A constant open-mouth posture, which prevents saliva from building up and triggering swallowing as needed.
Difficulty swallowing efficiently, which may be due to poor head and trunk control, poor jaw stability, or increased or decreased muscle tone in the lips.
A response to certain foods.
A response to motor activities that require balance.
A possible side effect from specific medications.
How to help your child if he is drooling excessively:
Therapeutic interventions might include the following:
Increasing oral-sensory awareness to help your child better assess when his face or mouth is wet.
Improving head and trunk control to achieve better control of efficient swallowing.
Improving oral-motor control (i.e. lips, cheeks, jaw) to better manage saliva and efficient swallowing.
Helping your child achieve a closed mouth posture.
Improving your child’s ability to swallow.
Teaching your child about concepts such as “wet” and “dry.”
By working with a licensed professional, you can eliminate the uncertainty you might be feeling and find answers to your questions. Most importantly, your child will receive the help he needs to better manage how much he drools.
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“Show me you’re ready!” As a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I can’t even begin to guess how many times this utterance is repeated throughout my day in the therapy gym. While I’m sure that my clients think I sound like a broken record, the bottom line is that if they’re not ready to pay attention, they’re not going to learn what I’m teaching. What does it look like when a client is ready to attend? Here are three important ways for young clients to show you, their therapist, they are ready to work and learn.
Three Tips to Gain Maximum Attention from Pediatric Therapy Clients:
Ready Body: The body is still and facing the person who is speaking. It is not jumping, running, or facing other areas of the room. Read more
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As adults, our primary care physicians often instruct us to have labs drawn to check our blood lipid levels. Most of us probably know someone who is on a “lipid lowering” medication for high cholesterol levels. These same labs are also being drawn more often for kids, especially if there is a family history of hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) or heart disease, or if the child is overweight or obese. Read on to understand what these labs look for in children, what the numbers mean, and what you should do after getting results.
The “lipid panel,” as the lab is called, measures these lipids that circulate in the bloodstream:
LDL cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is associated with a risk for heart disease. The goal result for LDL cholesterol is <100 mg/dL, and <130 is considered acceptable.
HDL cholesterol: HDL cholesterol is the “good” kind of cholesterol that scoops up the “bad” kind and helps get rid of it. The goal result for this type of cholesterol is >40 mg/dL. The higher the HDL is, the better, in most cases. Read more
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Stephanie Wellshttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngStephanie Wells2013-08-05 06:57:492014-04-20 19:37:29Lipid Labwork in Children: Understanding the Numbers and When to Seek Help for Dietary Changes
Coconut oil has become popular, especially for its uses in cooking. Coconut oil has some unique properties that differentiate it from other types of oil. Here are some interesting facts about coconut oil and ways to use this food.
Coconut Oil Facts and Uses:
It is one of the only plant sources of fat that is solid at room temperature.
Coconut oil is very high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are absorbed from the stomach straight into the bloodstream. Other long chain fats require a more involved digestive process and are absorbed and transported via the lymphatic system. This is helpful for people with problems digesting fat. It can also be a good source of calories in some people with inflammatory digestive issues.
Medium chain triglycerides are “oxidized,” or metabolized, rapidly in the liver which means they have a low tendency to be stored as adipose tissue (fat) on the body.
It can be used in place of butter or margarine in many recipes, especially when baking sweets, since it has a slight coconut flavor.
Coconut oil can be used to grease baking pans instead of other hydrogenated products.
It can be used in place of other cooking oils when stir frying or pan frying various foods.
Because it is plant-derived, coconut oil is vegan and can replace animal-based fats in recipes. Read more
https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Stephanie Wellshttps://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngStephanie Wells2013-07-29 06:55:232014-04-20 19:56:34Coconut Oil: Facts and Uses