How Your Child Sleeps Affects Diet By Gia Diakakis, RD

As dietitians, during our patient appointments, you can assume we will ask about the foods your child eats, foods they dislike, stooling patterns, and medications/supplements (amongst many other things!). One question that might catch you off guard is “How is your child sleeping?” After all, what does sleep have to do with nutrition?

Sleep habits have been shown to impact obesity among adolescents (and adults!). Specifically, inadequate sleep has been shown to correlate with high BMI, high body fat percentages and increased waist and hip circumferences. In the HELENA study, inadequate sleep for adolescents was defined as less than eight hours per night (as defined by the National Sleep Foundation).  In contrast, adolescents that slept longer were found to have significantly lower BMI’s. read more

We Moved!

We are so excited to share the news that Feed to Succeed is moving into a beautiful new space this September; just a mile down the street and closer to the Glen. Those of you coming to meet with us, please bear with the dust during this big transition. We can’t wait to have better resources to serve our wonderful community!

One Trick to Make Healthy Lunches

If there’s any mom out there who enjoys making lunches, I’d like to meet her.

And then I won’t believe her.

Here’s how lunch making goes down in most houses:

  1. Bleary eyed after a long day of work or household chores, we parents head to the kitchen to spend 20 minutes preparing lunches before bed.
  2. We have the best intentions of packing healthy food that our kids might eat, only to come up with… nothing.
  3. The next day our kids take one look at the lunches we managed to pack and either trade them or trash them.
  4. We open the boxes again that night to find mashed fruit, barely nibbled sandwiches and empty chips packages scored from trading.

And here’s the one simple trick to make lunches this school year better:

1. Buy bento boxes. If you don’t know what these are, you must find out. You can make one yourself out of tupperware or buy a big fancy one. They are all over stores like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx or World Market for about $5.
2. Buy silicon baking cups to store goodies inside the bento boxes. Six for $2.49.
3. Pack REAL FOOD (read no more packaged, expensive junk), out of a bento box (aka a dish) so that your kids will eat lunch from plates and not mushy baggies.
4. If all goes well, your kids will actually eat the foods that they normally like at home from their lunch boxes. read more

Meet Betsy

Homemade Mac n’ Cheese

With so many gorgeous Chicago summer days, homemade macaroni and cheese is perfect for a quick, kid-friendly dinner. This recipe isn’t as easy as the one from the box, but it’s pretty close. And it tastes a whole lot better.

Now you see it, soon you won't.

Now you see it, soon you won’t.

1 package cooked whole wheat elbow noodles
2T butter
1.25 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2t salt
1/2t mustard powder
freshly ground pepper to taste

Once you prepare the noodles, melt butter over medium heat. Add milk, sour cream, spice, salt, pepper and cheese and stir until cheese melts. If your cheese clumps and doesn’t melt, try a different brand next time. Leave flame on while you mix the noodles into the cheese sauce. Serve immediately. read more

The Best Advice You Never Considered for Picky Eating 10 Tips for Picky Eaters

Before specializing in pediatrics, I could have never imagined how much stress picky eating could cause parents and caregivers.

At first parents may feel their child just likes certain foods more than others. Then maybe they don’t like fruits and vegetables. Then parents may begin to watch what other kids eat, how much they eat, how often they eat, how easy meal time may be for other parents, etc. They then begin “noticing” their kid may only eat processed foods, beige foods, warm foods, or food not prepared at home! The worrisome thoughts begin to creep in. Is my child’s diet negatively impacting their brain development?! What about their growth potential?! Is it making them groggy and unable to absorb what their learning in school? Will they begin to fall behind in school? What if there is something medically wrong with them now because their will not eat meat or vegetables! Are they dehydrating themselves?! I can continue to list the scary thoughts I have heard, but it’s beginning to make me anxious, and I definitely don’t want to make you anxious! read more

Fourth of July Festive Treats

Happy Fourth of July weekend to all our Feed to Succeed families! Make sure to celebrate with family time and of course, lots of good eats!

Try adding fresh mint leaves to your fruit salad. It tastes like summer!

Try adding fresh mint leaves to your fruit salad. It tastes like summer!

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Put your kids to work on these skewers, and they’re guaranteed to eat it!

There are loads of ideas for fun 4th of July activities and crafts for families online. Most of the desserts, though, contain lots of sugar and food coloring. This one is full of fruit, whole grains and uses less refined sugar. Happy 4th! Enjoy!

Healthier American Pie (aka fruit pizza!)

Healthier American Pie (aka fruit pizza!)

For the crust:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk read more

Understanding Food Allergies By Gia Diakakis, RD

Believe it or not, FPIES, Food protein-induced enterocolitis, was beginning of my love story with Feed to Succeed. I first met Betsy, the owner of Feed To Succeed, at a dinner lecture on FPIES. We quickly realized we had lots in common in the pediatric nutrition world, which eventually led to me becoming a pediatric dietitian with Feed to Succeed.

So what exactly is food protein-induced enterocolits (FPIES)? Well food allergies can be divided into IgE-mediated and non-IgE mediated reactions. FPIES is a non-IgE mediated food allergy. This means IgE antibodies do not cause this reaction to food. Since IgE antibodies are not involved, this allergic reaction to food is delayed (anywhere from several hours to several days) and causes symptoms over a long period of time (as opposed to anaphylaxis or throat closing reaction). FPIES presents with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. The most common culprits are cows milk (CM), soy, and grain. However, any food may cause FPIES. read more

Early Intervention for Healthy Kids

Key to Early Intervention services (EI) for many children is nutrition therapy. In a typical month, four registered dietitians from Feed to Succeed see over 50 children through EI. Assisting these children under the age of 3 meet nutrition requirements to grow and thrive is crucial to setting them up to reach age appropriate milestones.

Children we serve can have any number of reasons for requiring nutrition therapy ranging from medically complex developmental delays to food allergies and aversions. We meet with each child individually in their homes to assess their needs and develop a plan that is realistic for their family. read more

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Now’s the time to start hinting to the family that soon is…ahem..Mother’s Day. All a mother needs is a little pampering, right? And besides, kids who spend time cooking in the kitchen grow up to be healthier eaters. In fact, this post is entirely for them, not moms at all. 😉


2 large fresh whole eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cup nonfat cows skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher, non-aluminum, low-electrolyte baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp kosher gluten replacement xanthan gum read more