Overwhelmed by your pre-teen’s weight gain? It is common for pre-teens to undergo major body changes in every part of the body during the pre-teen years. Kids become hefty, their appetite increases and eating portions increase too. Though this is a common phenomenon, it is a matter of utmost concern to parents. The question here is that, should it really be a point to worry upon?
Registered dietitian nutritionists feel that it depends on the parent to take weight issues into concern. The main point here is the way in which a parent handles these changes in their child. School workloads, more screen time, increased junk foods, less parental control and less time spent playing outside can pile up the kilograms. If a parent plays the perfect role of setting the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits, there is nothing to worry about. Otherwise, a child’s relationship with food may suffer and might also end in pre-eating disorder problems.
Maintain a Low Profile on the Child’s Weight
When it reaches a point where the increasing weight patterns should be addressed, don’t keep nagging or constantly commenting on your kid’s eating patterns as they may be counter-productive. Instead, try to accommodate these key points to help your pre-teen achieve a healthy weight:
The Myriad Flour Varieties
Beyond Wheat and Rice
Earlier generations thrived on a single barrel of flour. But supermarkets nowadays provide us with endless options beyond the traditional rice flour or wheat flour. The diversification of the baking industry is one of the many reasons for this.
Flour is the finely-grounded, sifted meal of grains, nuts, seeds, legumes or certain vegetables. Every flour has its own nutritional benchmark along with cooking or baking qualities.
Gluten-free bread mixes are mostly made from flours of non-wheat grains or plant sources. For instance, one gluten-free baking mix contains garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour and fava bean flour. There are many other multiple gluten-free dishes and food ingredients available, details of which are available in the website www.firsteatright.com.
Despite the bulk options being available for some flours, most of them are sold in pre-packaged quantities as appropriate storage increases the flours’ shelf lives. Whole-grain flours (with oil from the germ) and nut flours may turn tainted over time. The best way to preserve these flours is to refrigerate or freeze them in airtight containers to retain their powdery quality. Don’t forget to bring the flour to air temperature before using it.
Whatever your purpose of use maybe, health trends, culinary interest or ethnic cuisines, be aware of the information stated below before you explore the different flours available in the market.
Almond meal/flour: Obtained from blanched almonds, this flour is low in carbs and high in protein content. Every ¼ cup contains: 6g protein, 3.5g fiber, 60mg calcium and 14g fat, nearly all unsaturated. Almond flour can be used to add moisture and elevate the nutty flavor in pastries, baked goods and dessert filling. This flour cannot be used to replace the flour in yeast.
Amaranth flour: Ground from an ancient seed, amaranth flour is full of complete protein, including lysine and has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. This flour is used in baked goods for up to 25 percent of flour content and serves as an excellent thickener for sauces, gravies and soups. GF
Soy flour: Made from milled soybeans, this flour is high in protein and low in carbs than all-purpose flour. Each ¼ cup of low-fat soy flour contains 10g protein, 8g total carbohydrates and 3g fiber. This flour is a good source of calcium and an excellent source of iron and magnesium. Soy flour can be used to thicken sauces and as a wheat flour substitute in quick breads and cookies (use 1 part soy flour to 3 parts all-purpose flour). This flour helps to reduce fat absorption in frying batter or dough. Add nutty flavor to your dish by lightly toasting the soy flour in a dry skillet over moderate heat. GF
Rye flour: Heavy, dark flour made from rye. Every ¼ cup of whole-grain medium rye flour contains 4g fiber. Contains less gluten than all-purpose flour or whole-wheat flour. Rye flour produces heavy, dense bread and can be blended with a higher protein flour for better rising. This is available as medium rye flour, light and dark rye flour. Pumpernickel flour, one variety of dark rye flour, is made from whole grains and is used to make bread. WG option.
Buckwheat flour: This flour is made from buckwheat, a cousin of rhubarb (not a wheat varietal, nor technically a grain). Buckwheat flour can be combined with other flours to add a hearty, grassy flavor and color to bread. Good to make pasta and pancakes. While whole buckwheat flour has a stronger flavor and more nutrients, white buckwheat is milder and has fewer nutrients. GF, WG option
Rice flour, brown: This flour is made from unpolished brown rice. Each ¼ cup contains 2g fiber in brown rice flour compared to 1g fiber in white rice flour. Having a nutty flavor, rice brown flour is used just like white flour, but with a grittier texture in baked goods such as cornbread and pound cake. GF, WG
Potato flour: As the name suggests, potato flour is made from whole, dried potatoes. Each ¼ cup of potato flour contains 2.5g of fiber and 400mg potassium (12 percent Daily Value). This can be used as a thickening agent for smooth, creamy sauces, soups, gravies and frozen desserts. For baking, adds starch to dough, which attracts and holds water; makes bread moist and extends freshness when ¼ cup of potato flour is used per loaf of yeast bread (rye, white or whole-grain). Potato flour can also be used in meat, chicken, fish and vegetable patties to extend, bind and retain moisture. GF
Flaxseed flour or meal: Made by milling whole flaxseeds, making omega-3s available. Two tablespoons of flaxseed flour contains 4g fiber. This flour is used as a fat or egg substitute in baked goods. GF
Oat flour: This flour is made from oat groats. Oat flour is used to replace some flour in various recipes. Oat flour adds a rich, nutty flavor and denser texture and must be combined with other flours in baked foods that need to rise. GF, WG
Barley flour: Made from pearl or whole-grain barley. This flour adds fiber to baked foods and serves as a good thickening agent in soups, stews, sauces and gravies. Every ¼ cup contains 4g fiber. Barley flour contains gluten, but not good enough to make it rise. WG option
Sorghum flour: Ground from ancient grain sorghum. This flour is mild in flavor and high in antioxidants. Each ¼ cup pf sorghum flour contains 2g fiber. Sorghum flour is used in cookies, pancakes, cakes, brownies, breads, pizza dough, pastas, cereals and waffles. GF, WG
Spelt flour: Spelt, an ancient grain and cousin to wheat, is used to make spelt flour. This has increased quantities of protein than wheat flour. Each ¼ cup of spelt flour contains 4g protein, 4g fiber and 1.5g iron (8 percent Daily Value). Spelt flour has a mellow, nutty flavor and can be substituted for wheat flour in baking. Caution is required before consuming this flour as it may cause reactions in wheat-allergic people. Both refined and whole spelt flour are available. WG option
Non-Wheat flours Legend:
GF: gluten free; WG: whole grain
Does your baby try to grab some food particles or stare at your plate constantly when you eat in front of her/him? It’s time to start feeding solid food to your kid if you notice these actions. Introducing your sweet one to solids is a landmark which ought to be captured on a camera roll to cherish these memories forever in life. Keep in mind that you are carving their feeding habits and molding their eating patterns towards a healthy diet.
The below given info can guide you to start feeding solid foods to your infant.
Is it a Thumbs up Sign from My Baby for Solid Foods???
Green Signal: When your baby is over 4 months it is the right time to get in touch with your pediatrician to inquire about introducing solid foods to your little one. Sitting up with minimal support, head and neck control and an attitude to grab and swallow whatever food can be found are sure signs that your baby is ready for solids.
Red Signal: Never start your baby on solids just because your friend’s baby, who is of the same age as yours, is eating solid food. Every baby is unique and has a different readiness level. Crying or turning away from the food offered is a sign that you baby is not yet ready for solids or does not have the appetite right away. Carry on with her milk and liquid intake before trying again after a day or two.
Best Food to Kick-start My Baby’s First Solid Food Experience!!
Green Signal: Always go for the simple and best single-grain infant cereal and combine it with breast or formula, or rather a pureed fruit or vegetable for enhanced flavor. Iron-fortified infant rice or oatmeal cereal, pureed avocado, banana, sweet potato, carrots, pears or peas are generally the first few foods given to the baby for their easy tolerance and nutritional value. Any pureed food should be given in a very thin consistency before gradually increasing the thickness as your baby gets used to swallowing without trouble. For more ideas on baby's first foods, you can have a look at the website www.firsteatright.com. Always give a time gap of three to four days before adding a new food to your baby’s diet. This is to check for the acceptance of the previous food type by the infant’s digestive system. If you are doubtful about any reaction to the introduced food, immediately stop feeding the new food and inquire with your pediatrician.
Red Signal: Starting on solids doesn’t mean that you must put a full stop to breast feeding. Breast milk or formula milk is still the main contributor of nutrition and calories to your baby. Avoid adding sugar, honey or salt to enhance the taste of the food and lure the baby to consume it. Focus should be on nutritious foods and not just solid foods for your infant.
Red Signal: Don’t feed your baby with food directly from the cooked vessel as there are higher chances of creating a food safety issue because of the spoon moving between the vessel and the baby’s mouth constantly. Take small quantities of food in an attractive bowl and feed it using a small spoon. Once your child turns away from the food offered or shuts his/her mouth tightly before the spoon reaches him/her, stop feeding. Force-feeding can make the child develop aversion to the solid food.
Come what may, never succumb to defeat and start giving whatever your child likes just because you want to fill his/her stomach. Patience and a smart approach can make your baby oblige to your wants. Make your baby’s first solid eating experience pleasurable and a joyous one for everyone involved!
Even Weight Gain is not that Easy
Not everyone in this world want to lose weight. There are an exceptional few who want to gain or regain weight because of the following criteria:
Weight loss or weight gain are both difficult in their own ways. A smart and healthful approach is needed for weight loss and weight gain as most of the underlying basic principles are the same.
Read further for some tips on gaining muscle or bone mass without putting on extra fat:
Be Aware of your Natural Body Type
Genes are mainly involved in the physical build and musculature of a person. People who are thin by nature but healthy need to analyze the physical nature of their parents and siblings. Though we can mold a human body through weight training and increased food intake, it is impossible to turn a runner’s body into that of a linebacker. It is easier to gain weight for people who have lost it due to some surgery or illness than for people who are thin by nature.
Stay away from Unrealistic Promises and Supplements
The same concept is followed in the case of weight gain as for weight loss: “miracle” products are constantly promoted and advertised. The advice remains the same either way: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably won’t work. Instead of wasting money on expensive supplements invest the same on eating healthy nutrient-rich food.
Gaining Weight Doesn’t mean Snacking on Unhealthy Foods
The perfect way to a healthy weight gain is to add calories in a nutrient-rich manner. Indulging on empty-calorie foods like soft drinks, candy and chips is not going to help you to build muscles, strengthen bones or repair tissue after surgery. Gain weight shrewdly by including nutrients from all the food groups.
Anything bright and colorful is attractive. The same principle holds good in the case of food products too. Food manufacturers sometimes use color additives to boost naturally-occurring colors or to make the food alluring or simply more fun to eat for the customers. But the question here is whether food colors simply serve the purpose of just adding color to the food. Parents are under the impression that color additives are responsible for behavioral problems in their children or add to the existing problems related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The relationship between food dyes and ADHD has been under scrutiny by scientists for quite many years. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the use of both natural and artificial food coloring. Registered dietitians claim that the FDA thoroughly checks the composition of the substance, the amount of substance consumed and any immediate or long-term health effects and safety factors. In 2011, the advisory committee to the FDA came to the conclusion that there was no clear direct link between artificial food color additives and hypertension or other behavioral problems in kids, but the converse is true. Some children with ADHD are intolerant to compounds in foods that may increase behavioral problems.
Similar conclusions were given by a recent analysis of 34 research studies that confirm that artificial food colors affect about eight percent of children with ADHD. Not including these food additives in the diet has a small, but significant effect on ADHD symptoms. Further research is crucial in determining the section of people who might benefit from dietary changes and the foods and ingredients these people must avoid.
Dietitians also feel that diets that remove a variety of foods may also unnecessarily remove nutritious foods from the diet. RDs also complain that parents sometimes remove foods than necessary as they wrongly identify the culprit. Hence utmost care is essential in providing a nutritionally balanced diet. Parents can work along with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who expertise in children’s feeding challenges and elimination diets to spot the problem-causing foods while maximizing nutrient-dense foods.
To minimize the trauma of curbing favorite foods, we can focus instead on adding nutritious foods rather than the “avoid this” approach. Target on whole foods. Consume a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, cereals and fish. Work along with your RDN and pediatrician to keep your child’s growth in check and ensure that it stays on track.
Make dietary changes together as a whole family. This ensures that the child does not feel left out, different or succumb to the feeling that he/she is being punished with a special diet.
Given below are top notch replacement ingredients for eggs in recipes. Remember that one large egg is about ¼ cup and use this as a benchmark during cooking or baking.
The substitutes available for egg in cooking and baking is boundless. Try experimenting various fruits and veggies like prune puree, apple butter, pumpkin puree and mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes — which play a two-in-one role of providing moistness as well as fulfilling the plant-based nutrients required by your body. Add ½ teaspoon baking powder as a leavening agent for every egg replaced.
While feeding kids their regular foods is a challenge, making them eat new foods is a mammoth task at hand for parents and caretakers. Children often are doubtful and scary of the appearance, smell, taste, texture, temperature and names of the new food at hand.
To invoke a feel-good attitude and end mealtime battles with food, explore the eight fun tips below for a stress-free and adventurous eating time before the first bite.
Expand your Foodie Brain
Get hold of global food varieties and recipes along with the eating habits of children from around the world. Get an in-depth knowledge of the work of bakers, farmers and chefs. Encourage your kids to give you company while watching cookery shows.
Spice Up your Imagination
Use food ingredients in your artistic works. You can make a star shape out of a potato and imprint it on top of a Christmas tree drawing or cut the strawberries into halves to get a heart-shape and use it in your art work. Uncooked pasta, popcorn or cranberries make good elements for beautiful garlands or jewelry (These should be handled with care as popcorns and food chunks can be choking hazards for kids).
Flip the Script
Always avoid negative comments such as “My child is a picky eater”. Use encouraging and positive language: “My child is learning to love new things.” Instead of “He doesn’t like it”, say “He is not familiar with it.” These kinds of statements will boost up the spirits in your mind as well your child’s mind with a guaranteed change of attitude in your little one.
Make your Platter Colorful
Add a dash of color to the foods with red cherry tomatoes, green kiwis or purple grapes as these are nutritious as well as attractive. Do these while saying the color aloud to make the kid accept these new textures by making this a game instead of the focus being the new food involved. Whole cherry tomatoes and grapes can choke young children similar to popcorn and apples, and hence be very careful when handling these items.
What’s in a name???
Anything different or in line with your child’s interest will definitely arouse his/her curiosity. Steamed carrots carrying fancy names in the restaurants as “x-ray vision coins” would definitely influence your child to go for them. It is essential to use creative names at home or at the cafeteria to ignite your child’s enthusiasm for that food.
Children Love the Limelight
Many children love being in the limelight. Use this to your advantage to explore new foods. You can capture your child interacting with a younger sibling, a stuffed animal or a favorite superhero about trying new foods using a camcorder or bring in live audience to encourage his/her extempo performance.
Get in the Garden
Gardens not only impart knowledge of the crops cultivated but also motive children to increase their fruits and vegetables intake. From flipping through seed catalogs in the winter, to planting seeds in the spring, to weeding and harvesting all summer long, gardens can be joyful and patient teachers. Gardening is a great activity to engage in and is a sure way to grasp a child's attention. For more details on the advantages of gardening on a child's eating behavior, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Out-of-the-Box Salad Ingredients
Is it often that you top your healthy salad with croutons, bacon and cheese? The toppings that you choose decide on the health quotient of your salad. Given here are the scoop on five unexpected toppings that will boost the flavor and make the salad healthier.
Florets in your Salads
Have you ever imagined of adding flowers to your salad? Why not try it out when the salad has greens, veggies and even fruits. Edible flowers like marigold, violets, roses and pansies have eye-catchy color and flavor in them, which are essential for your salad. But be sure to use flowers that are labeled as edible as many blooms are grown using dangerous pesticides or some blooms may be toxic. For further details on edible blooms and their use in salads, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Registered dietitian nutritionists reason out that phytonutrients give flowers their beautiful colors. Though eating flowers does not assure better health to a person, the main purpose of adding blooms to the salad is just for the eye-catchy effect of the salad. It is generally proved that food that looks appetizing and tastes great provides an individual with more meal satisfaction.
Go Green with Butter Fruit
The debates over avocado (butter fruit) are never ending. Avocados are high on fats where most of it is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. These fruits contain the hard-to-get vitamin E and are abundant in fiber where consuming a quarter portion of the fruit supplies the body with around 3.5 grams of fiber. (The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 for men).
These healthy fats from avocado are helpful in yet another way: carotenoids, a type of antioxidant present in many salad veggies like carrots or spinach, are better absorbed in people who consume this fruit.
There’s more to Herbs than Flavor
Herbs are generally used for added flavor with nutritional nothings. But research proves that herbs contain more phytonutrients than typical salad veggies with the ability to lower blood pressure and control blood cholesterol levels.
RDNs suggest adding both fresh and dried herbs like parsley, garlic, oregano, basil, chives, rosemary, chives, thymes and others for a great taste. Herbs are simple to use: sprinkle them on your salad or add them to a vinaigrette made using olive oil.
Dress It Up
Full-fat salad dressings are generally avoided. Studies reveal that oil in salad dressings aids in absorbing the carotenoids in the salads, like avocados. Fats in avocados or salad dressings are useful to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Finally, one or two tablespoons of fat can help us feel full and more satisfied.
Most of us have used berries, apples, oranges and pears in our salads. We have even added dried cherries, dried apricots or raisins to our greens. But the latest trend is to splurge on non-traditional fruits like watermelon, pomegranate seeds, nectarines or peaches, which are packed with vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber. You can also try the non-dried versions of dried favorites — fresh cherries, grapes and apricots which are lower in calories than their dried counterparts.
Here is a Simple Recipe of an Avocado Dressing
¾ cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon dried dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper to taste
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 45; Total fat: 3.5g; Saturated fat 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0; Sodium: 80mg; Carbohydrates: 3g; Fiber: 2g; Sugars: 0; Protein: 1g
Growing muscles is not a child’s play. Young athletes often feel that consuming protein is like a magic potion or a fairy dust on their food that would help their muscles grow.
The reality is quite the opposite and eating protein alone will not help you build muscles. Rather, it is a complex process which involves a combination of adequate consumption of protein and calories, hormones like human growth hormone and testosterone and a healthy dose of exercise.
Go through these facts and tips before you decide to load yourself with protein-rich food for a muscular physique.
Protein to Repair Muscles
Though protein cannot build muscles as a standalone nutrient, it plays a pivotal part in an athlete’s diet. Performing exercises such as running or weight lifting breaks down some of your muscle cells. Consuming protein from foods helps to repair such damages due to exercise and build up stronger muscles.
Neither Too Much nor Too Little
Protein, integral for muscle building, should be taken in the right quantities for positive results. Excess protein consumed beyond the quantity required by the body is converted to calories and is usually stored as fat in the body. Too little protein consumption leads to the breaking down of muscles by the body to supply the desired protein levels and hence resulting in muscle loss. The key is to eat a balanced diet that includes the right amounts of calories and protein so that your body will not use the protein as a calorie source but will spare it to build muscles and repair them when needed.
Athletes Do Meet Required Protein Levels
Athletes need more protein than others. Protein requirements differ based on a person’s age, gender and body weight, with kids and teens needing about 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. Non-athletes require a much lesser quantity, about 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Most athletes fulfill their protein requirements. The amazing fact here is that, young athletes consume two to three times the recommended dietary allowance for protein.
Stay Away from Supplements
Athletes nowadays go for protein supplements such as protein powder or a high-protein drink which is not required and might even be dangerous. These supplements can result in exaggerated protein intake, stressing out the kidneys and leading to dehydration. Moreover, the risk for contamination with steroids or hormones is real, as governance of dietary supplements lies in the hands of manufacturers. If you feel that you require supplements, it is better to consult a dietitian/nutritionist before starting on supplements. Reach out to reputed sports nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com to solve your queries. They can even help you plan a healthy diet chart to fulfill your nutritional needs.
We can cheerfully conclude that food alone is sufficient to meet your protein needs. Ensure to eat foods that are rich sources of protein, like the ones mentioned above.
Weight gain is frustrating at any age and the resentment reaches its pinnacle during menopause stage. Women accumulate weight, specifically in their abdomens, due to falling hormone levels, specifically estrogen, stress and inadequate sleep. This weight gain, apart from making you uncomfortable will also cause health problems. Visceral fat that accumulates under the abdominal wall is in particular risky as it’s correlated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and insulin resistance, which can result in diabetes.
Though menopause is a natural phenomenon over which you have no control, you can still be in control of your health. Registered dietitian nutritionists comment that menopausal weight gain is not inevitable and you can be relaxed during this stage of life with an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.
Be on the Move
The more we age, the more muscle mass we lose. So, if you don’t take extra precaution to replace that lost muscle, you will end up having less muscle and more fat, which would eventually slow your metabolic rate. Staying active in your 40s and 50s helps keep your metabolism humming.
RDNs suggest individuals to incorporate physical activity in their daily routine, aerobic activity at least for a minimum of 150 minutes per week and include strength training exercises at least twice a week.
Eat Healthy, Stay Fit
Small changes in your diet can prevent your body from being affected by menopausal weight gain. You need 200 less calories a day to maintain your weight during your 50s. It is best to approach a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com to plan a healthy diet chart appropriate for your body type incorporating this 200-calorie restriction.
The below listed whole foods are healthy and beneficial for women in perimenopause or menopause stage:
Feeling low during menopause is only a temporary state. Approaching menopause with a positive attitude while managing your stress level can help greatly. When you follow a healthy diet along with regular physical exercise during your menopause period, you will reap its benefits after the hot flashes, mood swings and sleepless nights pass.
We often hear the term prebiotics and probiotics, but do we actually know what these are? Nutrition research has claimed certain functional components of foods that improve health and these probiotics and prebiotics are two such components.
Although these are available in supplement form, it is not mandatory to use special pills, potions, cleanses or other concoctions to blend prebiotics and probiotics into your diet. These “nutrition boosters” are natural ingredients in everyday food we eat. Nutritionists and dietitians recommend individuals to focus on food sources primarily, as they are more readily available for absorption and digestion.
This field of nutrition is still under research. Read further to get a complete knowledge on the effectiveness of these substances and the amount of these substances required for optimal health benefits.
Prebiotics and their Advantages
Prebiotics are not foods, but natural, non-digestible food components that help to promote the growth of helpful bacteria in the gut. To put it in layman words, they’re “good” bacteria promoters which brings to light the fact that not all bacteria are bad. Prebiotics stimulate gastrointestinal health and calcium absorption.
Day-to-Day Foods Rich in Prebiotics
Prebiotics include fructooligosaccharides, such as inulin and galactooligosaccharides. Instead of trying hard to remember these words, add prebiotics in your regular meals by eating foods such as bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, artichokes, soybeans and whole-wheat foods.
Probiotics and their Advantages
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria or live cultures similar to the ones present in your gut. These active cultures assist in changing or repopulating intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora. This functional component helps to boost immunity and overall health, specifically GI health. Probiotics help to manage irritable bowel syndrome, prevent specific allergy symptoms, reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance and more. The success degree differs from person to person.
Foods Rich in Probiotics
Fermented dairy foods like yogurt, kefir products, aged cheese (these contain live cultures like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli) and non-dairy foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and cultured non-dairy yogurts are good sources of these probiotics.
Consuming foods containing probiotics and prebiotics in meals helps to mold a healthier individual.
Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com for further guidance on obtaining prebiotics and probiotics for your specific health needs, primarily when you have GI issues or a weakened immune system.
Every kid should comply with good table manners not only during family holidays and parties but also during every single meal they eat. We eat with different people in different stages of our life — right from high chair, school lunches and college hostels to business meetings and social events. Our table manners should leave a lasting positive impression on the people we meet at any point in our life.
Parents can teach their children the art of good table manners right from a very young age to mold them into a well-mannered person.
Registered dietitians and nutritionists state that table manners are one way of creating a magical bond between the parents and the children that goes beyond nutrition and is a smart way to pass on your traditional values and ideologies.
Research proves that eating together as a close-knitted family five times a week contributes to a healthy body with minimal risk of being obese or overweight. This sets the stage for good health. What are the other positive changes in children who eat together with their family members? To find your answers, just log on to www.firsteatright.com.
No age is too early to start teaching table etiquette.
When people come together for a meal, children don’t hesitate much to try new foods at the table and they get much more familiar with table manners. Children should be taught to convey their dislike to a certain food in a polite and subtle manner. Nutritionists/dietitians recommend parents to allow their kids to excuse themselves and leave in the middle of the meal instead of interrupting the meal because of their restlessness and impatience to sit through the whole meal.
Remember to correct any inappropriate table manners in a smooth and ingenious way. Keep it a point to explain the nature behind every rule or manner taught, such as the reason for spreading a napkin on our lap or chewing the food with our mouth closed.
Nutritionists notify that every person seated at the table should be involved in a positive conversation which is lighthearted and enjoyable. But remember not to make it too relaxed as parents are involved in teaching good habits seated at the same table.
Even small kids, as young as 3 years old, can contribute in their small way possible to set the dinner table. Bear in mind to have no elbows at the table and a definite ‘no’ to phones or text messages.
Good table manners by everyone in the family is one way of showing their respect for the household which makes meal time a pleasure for every person seated at the table. It is something that can be done well be everyone.
Many kids have an aversion to eating dark leafy greens such as kale, chard, collard greens and spinach. Most parents find it a challenge to make their kids consume at least a minimal of these nutrient-packed vegetables.
The Prized Leafy Greens
Highly recognized dietary organizations propose adults and kids over the age of 9 to consume at least 1.5-2 cups of leafy greens per week. These are enriched with several vitamins and minerals at just 10 to 25 calories per half-cup serving. The leafy family is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium —the reason for insistence.
Leafy greens are highlighted for their support in promoting good vision, improving immune function, playing the role of an antioxidant that may help to prevent some types of cancer and regulating blood pressure. They are among the top healthy diet foods for weight loss.
How to Keep the Leafy Greens Sparkling Clean???
You should be double careful while preserving or washing these greens as they contain more dirt and water content. Always try storing these in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator where they will remain fresh for 3 to 5 days. Some leafy greens in the store may already be washed and cleaned, but this is not the same with every variety available for sale. Some may be fetched directly from the farmers market retaining the dirt and sand in the leaves. The best way to keep these leaves unsoiled is to submerge them in a bowl of cold water and keep swirling the leaves to sink all the dirt to the bottom of the bowl. Finally, move them out of the container and dry them with a clean utility towel. Though a bit dirtier, produce from a farmers market is anytime better that your local supermarket. This is because of the many advantages attached to it. Read more on these advantages at www.firsteatright.com.
Using a salad spinner can make your cleaning process much easier. You can also clean and blanch large batches of greens and store these in the freezer for later use. A sharp knife comes in handy when you need to cut the tough stems by simply folding the leaves in half lengthwise.
Research studies prove that consuming two 113-gram servings of seafood per week reduces the risk of heart disease and deaths affiliated to it. This treasured quality of seafood is due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in them. The good news is that, omega-3s are not limited to fish alone but are also present in some vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and soy foods.
Fish contains two types of important omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapetaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaeonic acid). Although the research is not widespread, studies prove that in patients with heart disease, higher blood levels of DHA and EPA are associated with a reduction in arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) and fatal heart disease. The advantages of consuming fish by those people with heart disease is still unclear. High blood triglyceride levels can be decreased with the help of omega-3 supplements.
An omega-3 fatty acid called as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) can be found in some plants. Various oils, nuts, seeds and beans are other sources of ALA. Here again, the research is limited, but studies prove that increased intake of ALA has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease in individuals with or without heart disease. Given here are few tips for getting more omega-3 fatty acids from foods:
Omega-3 supplements help to fight against heart disease. Studies prove a 45-percent decrease in sudden death in people with heart disease who consumed EPA or DHA supplements while in some others there was no effect. Interestingly, there is no scientific evidence describing the advantages of omega-3 supplements on heart disease risk for people who don't actually have heart disease. Consult a doctor/nutritionist before deciding upon the benefits of omega-3 supplements on your body.
Never Indulge in Too Much of Omega-3’s
As many foods are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, additional supplements may result in excess amount of this nutrient added to our body. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions against consuming more than 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids as it may result in uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. There is also a risk of increased bleeding possibility in individuals who consume anti-platelet agents or anticoagulants along with 3 to 4 grams of EPA and DHA.
Woke up to the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee???
Many drink coffee in the morning as it has become a daily ritual like brushing or bathing. You would be pleasantly surprised to hear that your daily cup (or three) of coffee provides you with health benefits apart from just adding caffeine to your body. Dietitians and nutritionists propose the many advantages of coffee such as increased cognitive function, possible disease protection and a carrier for milk which contains calcium.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers are working on the other benefits of antioxidants which might also have some disease-preventing effects. Coffee also provides its share of nutrients like potassium, niacin, vitamin E and magnesium — which helps the body use the hormone insulin.
So, don’t feel guilty the next time you indulge in drinking a cup of coffee but be aware that not all coffees are equally good for the body. A regular coffee measuring about 235 ml has some health benefits while coffee shop beverages can contain more than the required levels of sugar and fat. These designer coffee drinks will add more than the required calories to your diet unnecessarily.
To avoid all these added sugars and calories, it is best to choose a fat-free milk latte in which you can get as much as a cup of milk in your coffee. This also fulfills the daily needed calcium and vitamin D levels. A fortified soy beverage rich in calcium is the best alternative for people allergic to dairy products.
Though coffee does not result in hypertension, it may cause adverse effects in people already suffering from hypertension and the elderly. It may also increase blood pressure for a short duration. Nutritionists/dietitians also warn pregnant and breast-feeding women to limit their caffeine intake to a maximum of 200 to 300 milligrams a day (2 to 3 cups of coffee).Nowadays even kids love a cup of steaming coffee but some become over-caffeinated and suffer from its aftermath. Is your kid over-caffeinated? Then, please do visit the website www.firsteatright.com for a detailed summary of caffeine, its effect on our body and solutions for the same.
People who do not prefer caffeine can drink a cup of decaf coffee that has about 4 milligrams (regular coffee has about 130 milligrams) which is still a good carrier of milk.
Feeding an infant or a toddler requires plentiful ground work and knowledge to ensure a positive experience from day one. Read further for the basics on baby feeding. Which of these methods do you follow (or you have followed earlier) while feeding your infant or guiding a new parent? Give a simple yes or no answer for each of these aspects below:
20 On 20?
You are the perfect parent and child duo if you said “yes” to all the above mentioned 20 checklist items. If your answer is a “no” to any of the items, check out the website www.firsteatright.com for more information. Follow what you learn as your baby’s health is entirely dependent on it!
RDNs across the world advise on going meatless at least once a week to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet. Unconditional of your background, vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters should embrace vegetarianism whenever possible to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Every time nutrition experts advocate plant-based foods, people often question on the protein adequacy of these diets. The best thing here is that, plant sources are not only good sources of protein but also provide us with quite amazing benefits like an increased intake of fiber, potassium and disease-fighting phytonutrients and a decreased consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Given here are four simple tips to make plant-based proteins a regular part of your diet.
Plant Proteins Take Up the Center Stage
Beans and lentils which are packed with proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals are cost-effective, easy to cook and available in numerous varieties. These are low in fat with zero cholesterol, making them an excellent source of protein. They come in dried, canned, frozen and fresh types.
RDNs laud soy products, such as tempeh and tofu, for their wholesome protein content and versatility. These can be used to make anything, from breakfast to dessert. Tofu, which is available in numerous textures — from soft to firm — is used in “cream” soups, stir-fries and non-dairy desserts.
Tempeh, a fermented soybean product, tastes delicious when marinated or grilled and is used in place of chicken in mock chicken salad and is the best replacement for pork-based dishes.
Eggs and dairy products, though not consumed by many vegetarians, are great sources of high-quality protein. These contain cholesterol and saturated fat, and hence must be taken in restricted quantities daily. Choose low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, use cheese only to add flavor to dishes and restrict your egg consumption to one egg per day on an average.
Focus on Variety
Each of the foods, with fruits and nuts being the only exceptions, are loaded with some quantity of proteins. Indulge in consuming a wide variety of foods throughout the day to meet your daily protein requirements. For example, a cup of cooked spinach has about 5 grams of protein and a cup of cooked broccoli contains about 4 grams.
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) cheer on such intakes because the Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is 56 grams for adult men and 46 grams for adult women every day.
Nuts and seeds are also great sources of protein which can be added to meals or snacks. Their variety and versatility, for example, ½ cup of cooked quinoa contributes about 4 grams of protein while 2 tablespoons of peanut butter provide 8 grams, makes them a worthy protein source.
Store your Veggie Burger for Special Occasions
A meat analog or substitute is a manufactured food product made to mimic the look and taste of common meat products such as veggie burgers.
Dietitians recommend on consuming meat analogs on special occasions after reading the labels carefully as they tend to be heavily processed with increased fat, sodium and sugar content.
Work along with your RDN to Solve Food Sensitivity or Intolerance
Plant protein options become a little difficult for people with gluten sensitivity and allergies to soy, milk, eggs, nuts and peanuts. In such cases, it is better to work along with an RDN specializing in food allergies and sensitivities to chart out a tailor-made diet plan keeping in mind the nutritional requirements and customer allergies. Get in touch with a renowned RDN at www.firsteatright.com to help you with your diet prescriptions.
RDNs can also help you with reading food labels to avoid allergic foods and teach you basic cooking skills to prepare foods which you can eat peacefully.
Food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity in children needs extra attention. As parents, we would take complete care at home for such issues with our child, but at school we need to inform and join hands with the nutrition and food service staff (most of whom are registered dietitian nutritionists) for safe and healthy food options.
Only when parents, students and the school nutrition team join hands in working together to fulfill the child’s special dietary concerns with the staff inclined towards bringing in needful changes in the food served to these kids, will the child be assured eating nutritious foods.
Have a Chat with the Staff
Famous dietitians/nutritionists suggest that it is the parents’ duty to visit the school cafeteria and meet up with the manager in charge to introduce your kid and make them aware of his/her specific food problems or ingredients. Also appoint a go-to person your child feels comfortable with, to clear all the doubts regarding the food served at the cafeteria.
Once the first meet up with the school cafeteria in charge is successful, you can proceed with obtaining the monthly menu and ticking off the admissible menu items. It is even better if you look into the ingredients list of prepared foods. This is the personal recommendation by many of the top officials in the healthcare sector.
Peanut allergies are on the rise. Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, world’s largest nonprofit organization providing information on patient food allergies, reveal that prevalence of peanut allergy among children doubled between 1997 and 2002. Hence many schools started avoiding or substituting peanut related dishes in their menu, but not all of them. Confirm with a nutritionist to be certain of the food stuffs containing peanuts. Some of the foods, like peanut butter cookies, may be obvious examples but peanut may be a secret ingredient in sauces, gravies, salad dressings, chicken salad, egg rolls and a variety of ethnic foods. Substitutes made from sunflower seeds are an excellent alternative for peanut butter which is available in many schools. If your school is unaware of this, ask them to stock it up readily.
The best part is that many of the delicious and wholesome foods are naturally gluten-free as in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, eggs and unflavored milk. There are also substitutes available for gluten, for example, you can take corn tortillas instead of flour or bread tortillas. Hence you can inform your school regarding your gluten allergy and request them to pile up gluten-free substitutes. Get a detailed insight on gluten-free foods at www.firsteatright.com.
First and foremost, keep yourself equipped by interacting with your child and the school staff. Make your child aware and informed of all the gluten-free foods that can be consumed instead of highlighting only the foods that your child should refrain from eating.
Ethiopian cuisine is full of flavor and fun with plenty of veggies, soft, bite-sized pieces and a hands-on approach which would encourage children to consume more vegetables. Meals are served on injera, a spongy flatbread made from the gluten-free whole grain, teff. Pieces of injera are helpful to scoop up thick vegetables or meat stews (called wats or wots). Ethiopian food is nutritious, healthy and a great platform to introduce children to new flavors and teach them about another part of the world at the same time.
Kids are immensely attracted to Ethiopian food as it requires to only use your hands. Though a tad messy sometimes, it is the perfect finger food. To learn more on child-friendly finger foods, have a look at the website www.firsteatright.com. To add to the already existing positives, onions, garlic, tomatoes and eggplants which are not typical kid-friendly veggies are usually cooked down making them almost untraceable.
You can ask your kids to come together to make a quick injera. Injera, which cooks up like a pancake, requires no real baking. The entire process is entertaining, educational and creates a memorable meal experience with the kids.
Injera has a slightly sour flavor and a different texture and your child may take a little time to get used to it. Dietitians/nutritionists recommend parents to let kids experiment with injera to pick up stews, sampling a few different dishes. For a totally different taste, make injera chips by baking leftover injera brushed with a little olive oil and sweet or savory seasonings.
But remember, some of the Ethiopian foods are really spicy, especially those with red pepper spice, berbere. Introduce these foods slowly to your kids, maybe one food at a time, as kids’ taste buds are quite sensitive. While eating at a restaurant, order dishes that have the menu labelled mild and choose them.
Try your hands on these kid-friendly dishes:
Starting from chicken doro wat to chunky tomato salad, Ethiopian food is the best way to introduce your child to a nutritious and fun-filled way of eating healthy foods at his/her fingertips.
TV has a profound impact on the type of food children prefer to eat. Many children spend ample time in front of the television and are therefore, influenced by the advertisements and food commercials which pop up every now and then. But the sad part is that most of the commercials are not a great boost for growing brains and bodies as they are high in fat, sugar, sodium and/or calories with minimal vitamins, minerals and fiber content.
Studies by prominent journals have proved that consuming foods advertised on TV provides thrice the amount of sugar and two and a half times the amount of fat a person should consume in a day, on an average.
Is your child aware of “good” eating habits?
Registered dietitian nutritionists suggest these tips:
Don’t feel left alone and sad that your child is suffering from constipation. Many children endure the pain, stress and embarrassment caused due to constipation which normally calls for a visit to the pediatrician. Pediatric visit becomes mandatory in around three to five percent of the cases and can affect up to 30 percent.
What is Constipation Really!!!
The way kids poop can define constipation clearly. Infrequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools fewer than three times a week over a span of at least two consecutive weeks should be classified as constipation. This may or may not be accompanied by pain.
Parents feel that a bowel movement daily is the norm for any kid and start to panic and complain if this does not happen. Each person’s normal bowel movement is different and less frequent bowel movements do not immediately mean that a child is constipated. As a parent, your duty is to familiarize yourself with your child’s bowel movements.
If you feel that your child has difficulty in pooping you can get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) before it ends up in constipation. An RDN will come up with strategies and solutions to decrease your child’s problem. The website www.firsteatright.com can help you find renowned nutritionists/ dietitians to guide you on the best foods to be consumed to avoid constipation.
Contact your pediatrician if you find that your child’s constipation continues for more than two weeks or if you find your kid suffering from fever, vomiting, swelling of the abdomen or blood in the stool.
This kind of repeated procrastination makes the stool harder and difficult to pass.
RDNs feel that constipation may be the result of including iron supplements, certain medications, picky eating habits, a steady diet of highly processed, low-fiber foods, minimal fluid intake and decreased physical activity.
How to Deal with Constipation?
RDN’s worldwide offer these general ideas to deal with constipation:
Individuals having poorly functioning kidneys should consume restricted amounts of protein, sodium and potassium as per doctor’s recommendation. Following this nutritional plan can help prevent kidney disease from getting worse.
You need a customized plan to fit your health requirements. A registered dietitian nutritionist helps you fulfill this by mentoring your food preferences, lifestyle and special needs. Get in touch with an RDN at www.firsteatright.com to chalk out a customized plan for your body type.
Protein helps build, repair and maintain every cell in your body and can also supply energy when situation demands. Malfunctioning kidneys can’t handle as much protein. It is imperative to consume enough carbohydrates and fats to supply your body with all the required energy. With all this, the limited protein intake can be used completely to build and repair your cells. The modified diet should include balanced proportions of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Nuts, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and beans are good sources of protein. Breads, cereals, seeds and vegetables are also packed with protein.
Sodium has the characteristic to increase blood pressure and cause fluid retention. Individuals affected by kidney disease should be extra cautious as the extra sodium and fluid can build up in the body, thereby affecting your heart and lungs. The new diet would have an upper limit on the permissible amounts of sodium. Your RDN will teach you how to stay within this limit. Sodium is present in salt and many processed foods. Check the labels for salt content before purchasing. Make sure to check the labels of salt substitutes before using them as many of these substitutes contain potassium, which again needs to be restricted.
Potassium, like sodium, should be present in the right quantities in your body. Malfunctioning kidneys can lead to increased potassium levels in your blood, subsequently affecting your heart rhythm. Hence, your new diet may include a potassium limit. Your RDN will help you to design your meal plan in such a way that you stay within your designated limit while eating nutritious food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and dairy foods are great sources of potassium.
An RDN also helps you concentrate on other aspects of your diet to ensure balanced nutrition in your meals. These include:
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