Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘children’

The Home Baking Association pronounced February as ‘Bake for Family Fun Month.’ That sounds like a good way to observe the month because when I am snowed in with my family, my children love to bake something yummy. Baking together offers an opportunity to (1) spend quality time together, (2) teach children baking skills, and (3) pass along a favorite family recipe. So how can we enjoy that time with our kids and bake something that is good for us? There are changes you can make to traditional recipes to make them healthier. One of my favorite family recipes, bran muffins, calls for all-purpose flour, but I substitute whole wheat flour for half of the flour requirement to “up” the nutritional value and fiber content.

mother and daughter cooking

The American Heart Association recommends these substitutions to reduce fat and cholesterol content in recipes:

  • In place of whole milk, use fat-free or low-fat milk, plush 1 T. of liquid vegetable oil per cup of milk.
  • In place of heavy cream, use evaporated skim milk or ½ low-fat yogurt and ½ plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese.
  • Instead of sour cream, try low-fat unsalted cottage cheese and low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or use fat-free sour cream.
  • In place of cream cheese, use 4 T. soft margarine blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese (add small amount of fat-free milk if needed).
  • Instead of butter, try soft margarine or liquid vegetable oil.
  • In place of 1 egg, substitute 2 egg whites or ¼ cup commercially prepared cholesterol-free egg substitute.
  • Instead of unsweetened baking chocolate, use unsweetened cocoa powder with vegetable oil or soft margarine.

For a list of other ideas for recipe substitutions, see OSU Extension’s fact sheet, “How to Modify a Recipe to Be Healthier.”

Maybe instead of modifying an old recipe, you’d like to try something new. The following websites have healthy recipes available:

American Heart Association

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Iowa State University Extension

If you would like to know more about baking with children, the Home Baking Association offers these tips for success:

  • Allow time.
  • Always wash hands and countertops before starting and clean up “as you go.”
  • Stay safe! Have an adult show how to do age-appropriate baking/cooking tasks.
  • Before you start: All bakers read the recipe top to bottom.
  • Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  • Use the right tools.

Whatever you decide to bake in your kitchen as a family, you can have some fun and be healthy at the same time.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Read Full Post »

Schools in your area may be assessing students’ health, collecting BMIs, or providing nutrition and physical activity education. What does all this mean and why is this becoming more common?

So what exactly is a BMI?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a method to measure body mass based on a person’s weight and height. Weight and height are plugged into a standard formula which can then be compared to a range or norm. The Center for Disease Control states that a BMI calculated result is a reliable body fatness indicator for most teens and children. Although BMI does not measure body fat directly, it can be used as an indirect measure. An example of a direct measure of body fat would be underwater weighing or the Bod Pod (air displacement plethysmography). BMI is useful as a screening tool to help identify weight concerns and implement prevention education.

After the BMI number is obtained, the number is plotted on the boy’s or girl’s BMI-for-age growth chart. A percentile ranking is determined and this percentile is used to assess growth patterns of the individual child. Comparison is done with children of the same sex and age. Four different categories of weight status are used to categorize the child or teen. These include underweight, healthy weight, overweight, and obese. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control recommend the use of BMI to screen children beginning at the age of 2.

Why BMI in Schools?

BMIs in schools vary per state and district. According to a comprehensive study in Preventing Chronic Disease, 20 states were requiring BMI or body composition screening with 9 additional states recommending the screening as of 2010. BMIs are designed to provide information and initiate conversations regarding ways to make healthy nutrition and physical activity choices.

Many factors must be taken into consideration with BMI and it is crucial to remember that BMI calculations are not perfect. Age and gender are important to consider in this assessment. The healthy level of the child or teen varies for age month by month and as his or her height increases.

Expert organizations still recommend using BMI surveillance as an effective screening tool. Although there needs to be more studies evaluating the effectiveness of these programs, with the proper use of guidelines and resources, BMI screening could become a more common, accepted, and useful tool in assessing and triggering interventions for obesity among children.

The BMI can be most useful when it is considered one additional tool in the toolbox. It is not the only tool, but one that can be a starting point for healthy conversations. BMI’s may be effective in evaluating the effectiveness of health programs.

Knowledge is power toward healthy behaviors.

girl on scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/childrens_bmi/about_childrens_bmi.html

Nihiser AJ, Lee SM, Wechsler H, McKenna M, Odom E, Reinold C, Thompson D, Grummer-Strawn L. BMI Measurement in Schools. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. 2009. 124;589:597.

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/diet-weight-loss/should-body-mass-index-be-measured-in-schools-115934 (photo)

Written by: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic Intern/ Liz Smith, MS, RD, LDN, Ohio State University Extension, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, smith.3993@osu.edu.

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Mahoning County, Stefura.2@osu.edu.

Read Full Post »

To some it may seem old fashioned, or a thing of the past, but family meals are a proven way to help strengthen families. Years of research has found that the more children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they were to smoke, drink or use drugs. Why? Eating dinner together has a positive effect on social development, family communication, nutritional intake and the development of the family structure.  The conversations that go hand-in-hand with dinner help parents learn more about their children’s lives and help them better understand the challenges their kids face each day.

The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in a research survey of teens and parents found that,  compared to teens who have five to seven family dinners a week, those who dine with their families fewer than three nights are:

  1. Three and a half times likelier to have abused prescriptions drugs
  2. Three times likelier to have tried marijuana
  3. More than two and a half times likelier to have tried cigarettes
  4. One and a half times likelier to have tried alcohol

CASA research shows teens are at a greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school. It is especially important for parents to stay involved during this time.  Dinner is one way to make this happen.  It is never too early or too late to start the tradition of regular family dinners with your children.

Besides getting to know your children/teens better, there are other advantages to having frequent family dinners. When children and teens eat at a family table they:

  • Have healthier eating habits
  • Have lower levels of tension and stress at homefamily meal
  • Are more likely to say their parents are proud of them
  • Are likelier to say they confide in their parents
  • Are likelier to make better grades in school
  • Are more emotionally content and have positive relationships
  • Are at lower risk for thought of suicide

As a parent of five children, I know all too well, the battles of balancing work and family to get the meal on the table with the majority of the children each night, but with some planning, you can outwit common family mealtime obstacles and use dinner as a forum to strengthen family ties.   Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Set the mood.  Try eating at a clutter-free table without the television in the background, and no handheld devices.
  • Divide and conquer.  Let everyone help.  Many busy hands make the job easier.
  • Plan ahead.  Be sure all family members know what you expect, when to have their hands washed and their appetites ready.  Dinner does not have to be at the same time every night but let family know in advance.  Posting the menu on the refrigerator is a good idea.  Let the children choose what foods they would like to eat.
  • Cook up the conversation.  Save unpleasant topics for another time.  Be a good listener.  Practice reflective listening and use “I” messages.
  • “May I be excused?”  Clearly define the end of the meal.  Relax, and enjoy the meal together.

Remember that families do not change overnight.  Make small changes each day or week.  Time flies by so quickly in this fast-moving world, but remember that what your kids really want at the dinner table is YOU!

Sources:

Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (2001), May 9, 2001. http://www.casacolumbia.org/index/htm.

Compan, E., Moreno, J., Ruiz, M.T., & Pascual, E. (2002). Doing things together: Adolescent health and family rituals. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health,  56: 89-94.

Ohio State University Extension, Ohioline, Factsheet FLM-FS-4-03. http:/ohioline.osu.edu.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewed by: Kristen Corry, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Noble & Monroe Counties

Read Full Post »

Candy Counts Up Quickly!

Many families as part of their Easter celebration, give a child a basket filled with toys and sweet treats. These treats can really add up the calories and fat… a medium size chocolate bunny (4 ounces) can have 880 calories and 48 grams of fat!

Walk it Off!
Use this calorie counter to determine how far you’d need to walk to burn the calories from the candy in your Easter basket. For example, to walk off the calories consumed from eating 1¾ ounce hollow chocolate bunny (260 calories), you would need to walk 2.6 miles! You may think twice about the treats you put in your child’s basket, and also the ones you might sneak a taste of while you’re filling the eggs!

easter

Fun Alternatives to Candy
There are many ways you can give a child a treat to enjoy without all the calories and fat:
• Fill the basket with favorite fruits. Clementines are a nice colorful fruit that are easy to peel. Dried fruit is a good alternative too… it’s still sweet and filled with nutrients.
• Small toys or activity books. Here are some ideas to get you started:
o Bubbles
o Kites
o Seeds & gardening gloves
o Sidewalk chalk
o Bug catchers
o Art supplies
o Travel games
o Kids’ cookbooks & baking utensils
• Include family fitness toys like a soccer ball or jump rope.
• If you want to include some candy, use small packages to limit consumption.
• Make it a game to find the basket… kids love scavenger hunts. You can even attach a string to the basket that the child must wind up to find the treasure at the other end.
• Themed baskets are great fun for kids too… if they are in to a certain toy, you can add to their collection.

Have a Happy, Healthy Easter!

Sources:
Calorie Counter: http://walking.about.com/library/cal/bleastercalories.htm
Steeves, Ann. “Nutritious and Delicious—Alternatives to Easter Candy.” (2013). The University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824 – http://www.unh.edu/healthyunh/blogs/2013/03/alternatives-easter-candy
Image: http://www.gnclivewell.com.au/files/editor_upload/Image/healthy-easter.jpg

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu.
Reviewers: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

4802625827_63cd6f152e_sChildren will soon be returning to school and to the routines that the school year brings. For many families, this means back to the routine of packing a lunch each day.  We want to make sure that the lunches we pack are healthy, safe and delicious!

For a healthy lunch, keep in mind the MyPlate guidance. Check out Choosemyplate.gov . One of the main messages of MyPlate is to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This is something relatively easy to accomplish in a lunch you pack yourself. For example, pack a whole fruit like an apple, banana, or a bunch of grapes. You can also add an individual container of applesauce or a variety of different fruits that are packed in natural juice. For vegetables, most children like baby carrots especially if you include a small container of low-fat dip! Other veggie favorites are cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower and peppers or even a small salad.

Another message from MyPlate is to make at least half of the grains you eat during the day whole grains. Use whole grain bread for the sandwich you pack, try pretzels for a snack instead of potato chips. Whole grain crackers spread with peanut butter or eaten with slices of cheese are a great addition to a healthy lunch.

MyPlate recommends that we consume low fat or fat free dairy products. Most schools make fresh, low fat milk available for children in the lunchroom. The calcium provided by milk is very important to children’s developing bones. If your child is not a milk drinker, you can pack yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese or sliced cheese to help them get the calcium they need each day.

You don’t want to forget the protein group. There are a variety of foods that we can choose from to meet the need for protein in our lunch. If you choose meat, make sure that it is lean. Turkey or lean beef are good choices. Other non-meat sources include eggs, peanut butter, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products.

To pack a safe lunch, remember that any perishable food you pack needs to be kept below 40° to stay safe. You can accomplish this in a variety of ways.

  • Use an insulated lunch bag with a frozen ice pack.
  • Freeze the sandwich, a juice box or yogurt container and pack it in the lunch bag to keep everything safe. By the time lunch rolls around, the sandwich, juice or yogurt should be thawed!

You also want to be careful about cross-contamination. This can happen if you are reusing paper or plastic bags or if you don’t remember to wash out the reusable bag each day. Remind your child to discard wrappers and leftover food as soon as they finish their lunch. Don’t forget the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of bacteria. If your child won’t have access to warm water and soap before eating, it wouldn’t hurt to put a disposable hand wipe at the top of the lunch bag!

A delicious lunch may not be something that you and your child will necessarily agree on. Be sure and ask them for ideas for a healthy, safe lunch that they would like to eat.  Don’t fall into the peanut butter and jelly every day trap! You might ask your child to help make a list of healthy foods from each section of MyPlate and use that list to vary what is packed each day.

By allowing your child to help plan and pack their own lunch, you are providing an opportunity to talk about making healthy food choices. Encouraging them to make a choice from each of the food groups every day may increase the odds that they will actually eat the lunch that is packed and help them develop good eating habits for life.

Author: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith, R.D., L.D. Northeast Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Source:  MyPlate    http://choosemyplate.gov

School Lunches: Add Variety by soliciting the help of your children http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/school_lunches_add_variety_by_soliciting_the_help_of_your_children

What Can I Pack my Kids for Lunch   http://www.ext.colostate.edu/

Healthy Packed Lunches for Back to School http://byf.unl.edu/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=d17c90e6-539d-4ab8-92e7-cbfe2e482647&groupId=4089458&.pdf

Read Full Post »

StopBullyingNowThe start of a new school year is right around the corner. Many stores are stocking their shelves with book bags, school supplies and boxes of crayons and pencils. For some children the start of a new school year brings fears and anxiety about bullying. According to the website, www.stopbullying.gov bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
According to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9-12 experienced bullying. Consider that in a classroom of 25 students – 5 of these students may have experienced bullying.

Bullyfreezone

Forms of bullying may include teasing, taunting, name calling, or threatening physical harm.
Social bullying may include spreading rumors about someone, leaving someone out on purpose, embarrassing someone on purpose or telling someone not to be friends with someone.
Physical bullying can include hitting, pinching, spitting, tripping or taking someone’s things. All forms of bullying can be damaging and have the ability to hurt others.

What can you do? Encourage your child to talk to an adult about the bullying. Suggest they tell the teacher, school counselor, camp counselor or other adult about what happened. It will be important to share details about the incident. The adult will help so that it doesn’t happen anymore.
Once they’ve talked to an adult about the bullying, encourage your child to become friends with the child who has been bullied. They can take simple steps to help them feel included.

  • Say hello and smile.
  • Invite them to sit together at lunch.
  • Invite them to play a game at recess.

Start this school year off right – as a parent learn about bullying and talk to your child about what to do if they or someone they know is being bullied. You can work together with responsible adults and observant children to help stop this mean behavior.

Bullying

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, goard.1@osu.edu

Sources:
http://www.stopbullying.gov
http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm
http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/friend/being_bullied.html

Read Full Post »

Why are family meals so important? In today’s busy world it is hard to make time to plan and eat with our family. However, eating with your family can improve your family’s health in many ways:

  • Eat together. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Families eat more fruits and vegetables that sit and eat together.
  • Children do better academically in school.
  • Children drink more milk and get more dairy products.
  • Fewer fatty foods are consumed by the family at mealtimes
  • Risky behaviors such as smoking. drinking and using drugs in children is less likely to be found in families who eat together.
  • Eating together you develop better communication with your children that will strengthen your relationship for a lifetime!

Strong Families that eat together have many opportunities to pass on many traditions to their children. Research shows that mealtime can be very powerful learning experiences for families that need to be planned, valued and make it happen 4 to 5 times a week or more. Start today!

  • Aim for 4 or more meals a week.
  • Make family meals a priority.
  • Work toward happy, relaxing conversations at meals.

Take time for family meals to focus on the meal and each other.  Turn off the television. Take phone calls or texts later! It’s worth it and the whole family eats better. Make mealtimes a Family Time this week!

Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/preschoolers/healthy-habits/making-mealtime-family-time.html,   http://fh.ext.wvu.edu/strong_families, http://www.hec.ohio-state.edu/famlife

Read Full Post »