Eating Right At Any Age

Nutrition Tips

  • “Sport drinks” are not the best liquid to give a child with diarrhea. The drinks are too high in sugar and may actually promote more diarrhea. Always check with your doctor when your child has diarrhea.
  • Most parents worry if their toddler has a small and erratic appetite. This is usually normal for a child in this age group. The best measure of your child’s food intake is his/her growth. So, if it seems that your child is “living on air,” consult a pediatrician. If your child is growing normally for his/her age, then you can relax and be assured that his/her appetite will grow as he/she does.
  • Calcium is important for teenagers! If you think that your teen isn’t drinking enough milk, then offer yogurt, cheese or even ice cream to supply the calcium needed for the stage of rapid bone growth that most teens experience. Make sure you ask your teen every day, “Got Calcium?”

Teenagers and Obesity

It is estimated that one out of four teenagers is considered to be obese. While there are many reasons for this disturbing trend, lack of exercise tops the list. Children should get at least one hour of aerobic exercise each day. Examples of sufficient aerobic activities include swinging, jumping rope, in-line skating, biking, running (in games such as football, red rover, soccer, tag, etc.), swimming and playing in a pool. Even walking can be a beneficial aerobic activity if the child walks quickly enough to make his/her heart beat faster than usual.

Often, sedentary children come from families who get little exercise. Take a look at your own activity level. There are many fun and healthy activities you and your child can do together. Get moving today!

Food Allergies

When talking about childhood food allergies, the most common offenders are eggs, milk, corn, peanuts, chocolate, strawberries, soy, and wheat. Fortunately, few children are severely allergic to any food and those who are normally “grow out” of their food allergies by adolescence. However, one serious exception is peanut allergy — which can produce even more severe reactions in adulthood.

If you suspect your child is allergic to a certain food, try eliminating that food from your child’s diet for one month. An allergist can also test for food allergies but these tests may produce false positive results and cause you to eliminate foods from your child’s diet when it is not necessary. If you are thinking of adding a certain food back into your child’s diet, talk to your allergist first. He/she will tell you to add back only one food at a time for at least three days before trying the next food. Most foods can be eliminated from any diet without compromising nutrition. One exception to this is milk. If you eliminate milk entirely from your child’s diet, your child will need to eat other sources of calcium and possibly take a calcium supplement. Talk to your doctor or a registered pediatric dietitian before eliminating milk from your child’s diet.

Food allergies are often misunderstood. One reliable place to find good information is the Food Allergy Network. With the right information, a food allergy can go from a deadly concern to a minor change in behavior.