Tag Archives: summer

Dietary musts for children

by Dan McCarthy

One cannot enter a grocery store without being bombarded with the onslaught of temptations for sweets, chips, and sugary drinks. The advantage of being an adult is the ability to be educated on the contents of the often vibrantly packaged and clever marketing tactics of these food companies. By being educated, we can make healthy choices for our children to help the fight against childhood obesity. However, through clever marketing these food companies entice our children with  toys, celebrity endorsements, or a cute cartoon characters,  and often leave us the “bad guys” when saying no.  Instead of being the bearer of bad news, we can educate our children on the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of the nutrients fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and water, has on their growth and development. Below you will find some helpful “Do’s” and “Do not’s” to help you plan your child’s daily food menu.

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The Do’s

All children need the same food and nutrients as adults just in smaller amounts

When selecting food for your children you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary or special as they require the same nutrients as you, just in smaller amounts. These nutrients are all the same vitamins and minerals that you get from eating healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and dairy.

 A 2-3 year old will require about 1,000 – 1,400 calories a day, while boys that are 4-8 will require 1,200 to 2,000 based upon activity, and girls 4-8 will require 1,200 – 1,800 a day

 

Keep portions small

When you are preparing a meal for your children, you may want to consider using a smaller plate. This will help you regulate the serving size, prevent them from wasting as much food, and help you ensure they are getting the right amount to eat without overfilling their plate, and then encouraging them to “clean their plate”. Encouraging them to clean their plate can force them to eat too much. Instead, give them a smaller plate with smaller portions, they can always get more.

 

Healthy Snacks

Keep fruits and vegetables washed and ready to consume so they will be easy snacks for your children to grab. Explain to them the various vitamins and antioxidants each one contains to help encourage them to make healthy snacking decisions.  The occasional bag of chips or cookies is okay and its part of being a kid, but make sure you read the serving size on the back to help ensure you child doesn’t get too many bad calories.

 

The Do not’s

Avoid Breakfast Cereal

I’m sure we all remember the excitement of digging to the bottom of the cereal box in a mad frenzy to capture the toy that lay at the very bottom of the box. The thought of getting a “reward” for eating cereal was almost as thrilling as purchasing one you wanted from the toy aisle. Whether it’s John Cena encouraging your child to apart of “team fruity”, or a funny little leprechaun encouraging you to “follow the rainbow”, the cereal aisle is loaded with colorful boxes filled with sugar and toys. We are often hard pressed to believe that a box with cartoons on it could be unhealthy to our children, but the sugar content of ¾ of a cup of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal is 15 grams! To put that in perspective that’s 4 teaspoons of sugar!

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Drink’s that say “No added sugar” are not as healthy as you think

Sugar, whether added or natural, is sugar! With all the drinks marketed to children, and all of these loaded with sugar, it’s no wonder why were in the middle of an obesity epidemic! An 8 Oz serving of Sunny Delight is 130 calories and has 30 grams of sugar, that’s almost 8 teaspoons of sugar! A 12 ounce can of coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar; it is drinks like these that are contributing to the rapid weight gain among our youth!

 

Bake instead of fry

In an age of fried Twinkies and pretty much fried anything; it’s easy to get something quick and fried. While chicken tenders are my favorite food, it’s hard to deny they are certainly less healthy and provide extra calories and fat versus the much healthier baked option. Many recipes offer baked alternatives to our fried favorites that do not sacrifice the taste, but they exclude the calories.

 

Just remember to keep it simple with fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, fish, chicken, whole grains and dairy.  All of these items are found on the exterior of the grocery store while all the boxed items are located on the interior. Children can easily drink most of the caloric intake with sugary juices and soda pop so remember; “no added sugars” does not mean the drink is healthy; water is always the best form of hydration. If your kids think that water is too bland simply squeeze lemon or lime into the water or you can look how to infuse water with various fruits. Childhood obesity is an epidemic, and this is a simple way we can help the keep our children healthy, not a statistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

Why you should be drinking green tea

Why you should be drinking green tea

by Dan McCarthy

 

 

Green tea is said to be the healthiest drink on the planet. It’s the healthiest thing I can think of to drink,” says Christopher Ochner, PhD. He’s a research scientist in nutrition at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Green tea is beyond a super food.(1) Originating in China, it has spread all over the Asian continent and is now drank throughout the world by many people seeking to take advantage of its powerful anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties.

 

 

Anti-oxidative and Anti Carcinogenic properties

Green tea has very high amounts of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which all operate as anti-oxidants. The role of these anti-oxidants is to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause cell damage and are often the catalyst in the aging process and many other diseases. Green tea was studied and was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 22% in women! For men, the results were even better! Men who drank green tea regularly had a 48% less risk of getting prostate cancer, that’s almost reducing your risk by half! There was also a study done on 69,710 Chinese women and the green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. So to sum it up, drinking green tea may significantly reduce your risk of getting cancer and prevent cell damage related to aging.

 

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Improved Dental Health, Type II Diabetes, Cholesterol and Bacterial Killer

As I mentioned before, the polyphenols found in green tea may be a preventative measure, as well as a treatment for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia The polyphenols work to protect dopaminergic neurons from malfunctioning.(2)

The catechins in Green Tea have been proven to kill bacteria and even inhibit the growth of the influenza virus lowering your risk of infection. Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.  Green tea can also reduce bad breath!

Green tea can also help with Type II diabetes which affects over 300 million people worldwide it reduces insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels. One study found that you have a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes.

Green tea has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol level and prevents the LDL from oxidization; green tea drinks have a 31% lower chance of cardiovascular disease.

 

Weight Loss

People have shown to have lost weight while taking green tea extract. Like with anything else, you have to maintain a decent diet and exercise routine. Also, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In large doses of green tea extract liver damage can occur. It’s important to follow the recommendations on the bottle found at your local drug store.

 

The green tea verdict

Green tea is a must in your daily diet. It is loaded with all the health benefits and anti-oxidants you need to stay healthy and ward off diseases. It is the closest thing to a miracle herb there is! For dosing I recommend having two cups of caffeinated green tea and two cups of decaf green tea. The higher the quality of the tea, the more polyphenols it will contain, and the better the results. The local health food stores may sell green tea leaves which would be ideal for consumption. Also, keep the water of your tea about 160-180 degrees for maximum benefit and to not kill off all the polyphenols. You can also add lemon to your tea for added vitamin C!

See you at tea time!

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea(1)

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/(2)