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.
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
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.