Archive for June, 2008

Everyday Products Pose Risk to Breastfed Infants

Last week bottled water came under fire for transferring chemical toxins from plastics into the water. Now, a similar charge is being raised about environmental toxins being passed on to newborns through breast milk. Several studies have already found perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, in the blood of infants and children.

Researchers tested for the presence of several types of PFCs. The highest concentrations came from stain-resistant fabrics followed by non-stick cookware. These PFC-containing products can be avoided to minimize passing environmental contaminants to newborns. Breast milk showed increased concentrations of these chemicals during the first six months of nursing, which experts believe reflect increased intake of certain foods by the new mothers.

While it is not yet known whether the amount consumed by infants poses any long-term effects, the potential risks should not preclude women from continuing to breastfeed because there are significant positive benefits such as enhanced immunity and defense against infections as well as higher IQ.

AAP BookNew findings lend further support to the higher scores on IQ tests and cognitive measures, such as thinking, learning and memory. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 3 months but ideally 1 year is recommended. Infants benefit from breastfeeding in other ways, including fewer hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

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June 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm Leave a comment

Lunches that Make the Grade

When your child rejects the hot school lunch options, you are left with the task of preparing lunch from scratch. A good lunch is one that is eaten with gusto rather than traded for something more appealing, or worse tossed in the garbage. If that’s not hard enough, you also want it to be healthy, too. So how do you pull this off?

Establish some ground rules for what goes into the lunch. It must include a variety of foods that provide sufficient nourishment to get them through the rest of the school day. There must be a “sandwich”, pasta, or soup to start. And, every lunch should contain a fruit, vegetable and a beverage. That said, let your child’s imagination take over and enjoy!

Include Children in the Planning. At the beginning of the week, sit with your children and plan out the menu for the week. Or, ask for requests before your next grocery-shopping trip. If it’s in the house, it can become part of a meal or snack. When kids have say in what goes into their lunch box, they are more likely to eat it.

Here are a few ideas to expand on your current list and get you thinking beyond your family’s routine menu:

  • Sliced turkey can be served in traditional bread slices, wrapped in a tortilla, served by itself, or wrapped around a pretzel rod or a carrot stick. This way, they are eating sliced turkey maybe once a week but it may look different on occasion just for fun.

  • Begin with a cheese slice or cheese stick. Add a slice of specialty bread (muffin), such as banana, carrot, pumpkin or zucchini. If you bake it at home (with your kids help), you can add some whole wheat flour and canola oil to boost the fiber and avoid the trans (hydrogenated) fats. Not only are they delicious but they’re also a great way to help kids achieve their daily recommended servings of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.Cheese slices with crackers and/or apple slices work nicely, too.

  • One or two hard boiled eggs travel well and can be built into a lunch with a hearty (low-fat) muffin or ½ a wheat bagel. Similarly, a yogurt cup, drink or squeeze tube can be the start of a good, quick lunch.

  • Combine peanut butter and banana in a sandwich or stuff celery with peanut butter for a crunchy change that boosts the fruit and vegetable interest.

  • Fill a whole wheat pita pocket bread with tuna salad, chicken salad (made with grated celery and carrot) or egg salad. Top with sliced tomatoes and/or lettuce. To make this a sure success, wrap sandwich in tinfoil or wax paper so it can be unrolled as it is eaten; this eliminates the chances of the sandwich falling apart or spilling the contents.

  • Send cut vegetables like carrots and celery sticks, red pepper slices and cuke rounds with a little salad dressing on the side. They’ll dip and eat with gusto.

  • Always include fresh fruit, apple sauce, or dried fruit. Fruit that has been sliced may have a greater chance of being consumed. One way to get beyond the objection to brown apple slices is to dip the slices in orange juice or lemon juice before packing it in an airtight container.

  • Let them focus on eating a hearty lunch that offers the essentials. There’s plenty of time after school for filler foods, Serve milk (skim or 1%) with 2-3 cookies to improve the nutritional value of the snack.

  • Fill a wide-mouth Thermos® container with hot soup, chili, leftover casserole, or pasta. Pre-heat the container first by filling it with hot water and letting it stand for a few minutes. Drain the water and fill with piping hot food.
  • A parting suggestion: Write a hand-written note– tell your child how wonderful they are, or offer an important reminder or share a special joke–and slip it into the lunch box. Your words of kindness are sure to put a smile on their face long after they’ve eaten.

June 3, 2008 at 6:42 pm Leave a comment

Tips for Preparing Lunch

An overview of what goes into making a good lunch that doesn’t come back.

Continue Reading June 3, 2008 at 4:09 am Leave a comment


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