Sugar vs Fat: Which is Less Healthy? By Gia Diakakis, RD

I grew up in the height of the “low-fat” craze, which was created in hopes of reducing coronary heart disease (CHD). Fat was targeted as the sole macronutrient that caused/contributed to heart disease. Fat was removed from everything possible. Non fat yogurt, Non fat ice cream, Non fat milk, non fat crackers, non fat salad dressing, even low fat cheese (cheese = fat!). After removing fat from these items, manufacturers quickly realized these foods became inedible and needed to be more appetizing. Enter sugar! Because sugar makes everything taste better! read more

How to Raise a Picky Eater And other tips for parents

Rare is the family that doesn’t have a child who goes through a phase of picky eating (or never grows out of one!). Speaking in Northbrook in October to a group of moms of young children with the Mighty Mom Spot, there was not one mom who didn’t have a picky eater on her hands.

There are three main causes to picky eating:

  1. Undiagnosed, underlying medical problem.
  2. Sensory disorder.
  3. Behavioral: either disrupted parent-child relationship or strong personality.

Causes #1 and #2 should be addressed by a doctor or dietitian. As for #3, this is the most common reason for picky eating and the easiest one to fix.

But first, let us address 10 sure-fire, simple steps to create a picky eater. With one in nearly every family, it’s clearly not a hard task. read more

Normal Kids Nutrition How much food does your child need

What does a healthy child need?

Age 1-3 yrs 4-5 yrs 6-11 yrs
Calories 1,000-1,400 1,200-1,600 1,600-2,000
Fruits 1 – 1 ½ cups 1 – 1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups
Vegetables 1 – 1 ½ cups 1 ½ – 2 cups 2 – 2 ½ cups
Grains 3-5 oz or servings 4-5 oz or servings 5-6 oz servings
Meat and Beans 2 -4 oz 3-5 oz 4-6 oz
Milk 2 cups 2-3 cups 3 -4 cups
Oils and Fats 3-4 tsp 4-5 tsp 5-6 tsp

Plus, don’t forget water!

Milk, It Does Do a Body Good Myths about milk and more

Of all the misconceptions we encounter as pediatric dietitians, one of the most common is that kids don’t need to drink milk. As a result, fewer than 50 percent of children ages 2-8, and only 25 percent of kids ages 9-19, drink the recommended amount of milk each day, according the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND).

We hear parents advise that humans shouldn’t be drinking milk from other mammals or that other milk substitutes, like rice or soy milk, are healthier than cow’s milk. This couldn’t be further from the truth. read more

Thanksgiving Roundup

Thanksgiving cooking can be overwhelming, only if you lose sight of what’s truly important.

So here’s my best advice: relax. There will be enough food. And enough of it will taste good. Unless you’re a gourmet chef, no one expects you to be one for this one day of the year. And most of all, remember to be thankful for your blessings. That’s the point of it all, right?

Below are some tried and true (and easy!) recipes that are pretty foolproof–even if you’ve never made them before. Happy Turkey Day! read more

Insanely Good Granola Bars

Granola bars are a go-to snack for lunches and sports, but the good ones are expensive and the cheap ones are full of processed ingredients. All of them are full of sugar. These homemade bars will be sure to get eaten and only take 10 minutes to prepare.

The only problem is your family will eat these so fast that you’ll be lucky if there are any left for lunches.

Granola bars are a great after school snack

Granola bars are a great after school snack

HOMEMADE GRANOLA BARS
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (can use spelt instead)
1t baking powder
1/2t salt
1t cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup coconut/soy/or rice milk
1/2 cup of a combination of the following: raisins, craisins, dried fruit, chocolate chips or chopped nuts read more

5 Ways to Limit Halloween Candy

With Halloween right around the corner, treats and candy are everywhere! Trick-or-treating, Halloween parties and even bowls of candy for customers while shopping leads to an excess of candy in tummies and drawers at home. Try these tips to manage the treats.

  • Fill those tummies before Trick-Or-Treating! Make sure everyone eats a good-sized, healthy dinner prior to trick-or-treating. This will hopefully reduce your child’s appetite and consumption of candy that evening.
  • No pillow cases! Avoid large bags, pillowcases and oversized pumpkin buckets and instead opt for smaller collection containers such as small or medium sized bags and small pumpkin buckets. This will limit the amount of candy you child collects and brings home while still giving them the excitement of coming home with a full bucket!
  • Only one piece of candy per home! This may be a tricky one, but it will minimize the amount of candy collected while stretching the amount of houses and time your child is out trick-or-treating. Tell you child the purpose of this is to be able to tally up how many houses you were able to visit. With collecting multiple pieces of candy from each house, you’ll never be able to keep track of how many houses they visited. You can also turn it into a competition.
  • Divide it! Once trick-or-treating is over, spend some time with you child dividing the candy. First, check expiration dates and toss any expired candy. Save enough candy for 1-2 pieces per day for the next few weeks. This way your child can re-live the excitement of trick-or-treating while maintaining portion control!
  • Donate it! The remainder of the candy can be donated to homeless shelters or even donated to troops overseas. Follow the link for instructions.
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    Registered Dietitian vs Nutritionist

    While the titles of registered dietitian and nutritionist are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not the same.

    A Registered Dietitian nutritionist isa food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including: at minimum a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND 2014)

    A nutritionist is a person who advises on matters of food and nutrition’s impact on health. This term is used in different settings and is not associated with any sort of professional regulation or educational requirements read more

    GI Help for Autism By Betsy Hjelmgren

    So often I come across patients who I only meet briefly because we are able to resolve their issues in only one (or a few) visits. A few months ago, I met a 3-year-old patient on the autism spectrum, who was suffering from GI problems. I recommended adjusting her intake of fructose and sent her and her mother off, saying, “I hope I never see you again in the office because we resolve your daughter’s issue.” Indeed, that’s exactly what happened, and I was so grateful to hear this week from her mother: read more

    Why Healthy Fat is Essential for Our Brains By Gia Diakakis, RD

    Nutrition is tied to everything in life. Even things that may seem as if they have nothing to do with food and nutrition, like rising rates of ADHD, can be in one way or another linked to diet and eating habits. It’s when I discover these kinds of connections between diet and other areas of health that I will have moments that I think, “This is exactly why I chose to make a career out of nutrition.”

    My most recent “aahh” moment was last week. It was a hot summer day in Chicago and my baby Theodore and I were taking a stroll with our friends’ house. My friend Christine is an RN and when the two of us are together, we often discuss health issues. On this particular stroll, we were discussing a book called “Bringing Up Bébé,” which is a book that addressed the differences in French parenting and lower incidences of ADHD. Christine then said, “You know, I just saw an article that was published that shows a link between inadequate fat intake and ADHD in young boys.” That was when the “aahh” moment happened! I immediately asked her to forward me the article so I could dive into the research. read more