Monday, February 23, 2009

What do I drink NOW???

A recent study in the January Diabetes Care journal ( indicated that those who drink diet soda on a daily basis are at significant risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The studies authors state, "although these observational data cannot establish causality, consumption of diet soda at least daily was associated with significantly greater risks of select incident Metabolic Syndrome components and type 2 diabetes."

"Limitations of this study include observational design, precluding determination of causality; possible confounding by other dietary and lifestyle/behavioral factors; and difficulties in estimating intake of diet soda or artificial sweetener."

So, how do you still get a little flavor with your water or get your fix of carbonation without a lot of added sugars? Try:
  • sparkling water with 1-2 oz of your (or your child's) favorite juice added (homemade soda)
  • Making your own flavored water: use a large pitcher of water and add fruit slices (or veggie slices- cucumber water is very refreshing) and leave overnight in the refrigerator. The result is a delicious flavored water with very little sugar added.
  • Try decaf unsweetened iced tea for something different.
  • Try diluted juice (1/4 juice and 3/4 water)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What our kids with food allergies WANT us to know!

Courtesy of, here are some ways that we can help our kids who have food allergies feel like everyone else, despite their special dietary needs. Enjoy!

*(You can download a nice copy of this article on their website)

10 Things Children with Food Allergies Want You to Know
By Gina Clowes

1. I long to be included. I would like to look, act and eat like everyone else. I’d like to buy my lunch and sit wherever I want. I know I can’t, but I am so happy inside when someone cares enough to provide a safe potato chip, cookie or Popsicle for me. It’s nice when I can have something similar to what others are eating but I love it when I can eat the same thing as everyone else. Whenever it’s possible, please think to include me!

2. I’m scared I could die from my food allergies. I’ve heard my parents and teachers mention “life-threatening” food allergies and I remember having some reactions where I felt very sick and really scared. I could see how frightened my parents were too. Sometimes, I could use a little reassurance that I will be okay.

3. I feel like I’m the only one sometimes. If you have a support group or another way to arrange for me to meet other children who have food allergies, I would really like to know that I am not the only kid who has food allergies. Having another friend with food allergies in my classroom or at lunch time helps too.

4. I get confused when grown-ups offer me food. I know I’m supposed to be polite and listen to grown-ups, but my parents have told me I am only supposed to take food from them. When you offer me food or especially candy, I’d like to take it but I’m not sure about what I am supposed to do.

5. I get itchy spots sometimes when grown-ups kiss me after they’ve eaten something I’m allergic to. I get itchy spots when your dog licks me too. I’m not quite brave enough to tell you this so I’m hoping you will remember that if you have just eaten something that I’m allergic to, I may get hives if you kiss me soon afterward.

6. I’m embarrassed when people fuss over what I’m eating. I know I have to eat my own safe food, but it’s easier for me when I’m not singled out. Sometimes, it’s embarrassing when grown-ups ask lots of questions. I love to fit in more than anything.

7. I hear all adult conversations about my food allergies. My ears perk up when I hear grown-ups mention my name or food allergies, so don’t pity me or act terrified because then I get scared. Food allergies are just one part of me. Let me overhear you talk about all the other wonderful things about me!

8.Sometimes I’m sad about having food allergies. It’s hard to be the only kid in class not having a cupcake and eating something different from my box of “safe treats” especially when there are about 20 other birthdays in my class. I know it’s not the end of the world, but from my perspective, it’s tough at times.

9. I’m watching you—Mom and Dad! You may think that I’m too little to notice, but I see that you went back home to get my Epi-Pen® when you forgot it. I see that you read the ingredients on the Smarties every time. You are my role models and I am learning how to manage my food allergies from you!

10. I will do about as well as you do. My parents “can-do” attitude will help me cope with the challenges of living with allergies and ensure that food allergies don’t stop me from being everything I was meant to be!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Eating a Rainbow

We all know how important fruits and vegetables are in our diet. The problem is that some kids just don't like them. Well, maybe they would like them if they would only try them. Focus on fun, not food. Valentine's day just cries out for Red food night. How about pasta with tomato sauce, sliced red pepper and strawberries for dessert. What about trying for a leprechaun's rainbow on St. Patrick's day. Purple berry yogurt with blue berries and red strawberries followed by a orange juice, a yellow tortilla with green avocado and white cheese.

These muffins can magically change color with whatever special ingredient you add:

Magic Muffins
2 cup flour- use1 cup whole wheat, the other cup can be a combination of white flour, corn meal, flax or soy (keep Flax or Soy to only about ¼ cup then add ¾ cup flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg (or egg substitute)
1 cup milk, soy milk, rice milk or yogurt
¼ cup canola or olive oil
¾ cup brown or white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup applesauce, sweet potato or pumpkin OR 2 bananas
optional: raisins, dates, nuts, cranberries, blueberries, mini-chocolate chips

Gently combine the dry ingredients with the wet, put in muffin cups and bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
Want them orange?: use pumpkin or sweet potato puree instead of milk
How about purple?: use frozen blueberries and mix in.
Polka dots?: dried cranberries and blueberries and raisins,
Yellow?: use some corn meal and bananas

Monday, February 2, 2009

Try it, you'll like it!

How many times have you offered a new food to your child only to hear them say “I don’t like it” even when they have never tried it. Food “neophobia” or fear of new food is a very common development in kids about two years of age. They begin to realize they have control, and that means over food as well. Dr. Lucy Cooke, who published a study on food neophobia in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, believes that being apprehensive about a new food is an evolutionary, protective mechanism. If a child were not cautious about what went into their mouth, all sorts of dangerous plants would have been consumed by little cave-toddlers.

But don’t blame your child when they won’t even allow summer’s first ear of corn on their plate let alone near their lips. Researchers at the University College, London, tell us that 78% of food neophobia is genetic! If your child is selective (nice word for picky), chances are you were too.
Luckily, food neophobia and selectivity tend to be time limited if addressed appropriately. Forcing, begging, rewarding or punishing seems to make matters worse. Patience, food play and maybe a sense of humor seem to have a more positive lasting effect.

So relax, make another PB &J, pretzel and carrot stick lunch. One day your child will come home from a play date and ask why you don’t make squid ink pasta with sun dried tomato like Will’s mom and you will just smile and say “I don’t know!”