April 2020 - Wakunaga of America

Picky Eater on Your Hands? Here’s What You Can Do

It can be frustrating to find foods that are both nutritious and tasty for your little ones. But encouraging good nutrition for your child does not have to be frustrating. Let’s take a look at why kids are sometimes so particular about what they eat and some ideas for ways to overcome picky eating habits.


Some kids are happy to snack on things like hummus, bell peppers, and carrots, while other kids, though, will only follow a carb-based “white diet” consisting of pasta, rice, and bread. Why are some kids so picky about food? There could be many reasons. A 2015 study showed that picky eating habits were linked to everything from personality traits, to parental control at meantime, to social influences, to the mom’s own eating patterns.1 For most kids, it is just a phase, and it is important to know that it is also very normal. At the same time, though, if a picky eater isn’t getting enough good nutrition because they are being so selective, it could potentially lead to both short-term and long-term nutrient deficiencies. Here are some strategies to consider, for the picky eater in your family.

Picky Eater Strategies

Respect your child’s appetite: If your child isn’t hungry, do not try and force them to eat. Also, do not force your child to finish everything on their plate…they do not need to be a member of the “clean plate club,” if they are already full. If you try to get them to finish everything, they will learn to be less sensitive to their own internal hunger cues.2 Additionally, if you force them to eat, this could lead your child to associate mealtime with stress and anxiety, which you do not want.

Have a routine: If possible, serve meals and snacks at about the same time every day. If your child decides not to eat a meal, a regular snack time will give you the opportunity to give them a nutritious little snack, like a piece of fruit. If you let your child fill up on juice and snacks throughout the whole day however, as opposed to at designated times, it may decrease their appetite for their regular meals.

Be patient testing out new foods: For the most part, children are hardwired to like sweeter flavors.3 This may explain why they shun things like brussels sprouts and broccoli. So if you are trying to introduce something like that, try introducing it in a different form, like in a salad, or in a soup or smoothie. A smoothie is actually a great way to get your child some essential nutrients, especially greens, into their diet. One of our quick tips is to look for a quality powdered green drink mix, one that contains some nutritious grasses like barley grass and wheat grass, along with nutrients like chlorella and spirulina. You could add this powdered drink mix to a smoothie with some spinach, apple, cucumber and lemon, for a tasty and nutrient-packed drink, which can also double as its own meal.  Check out these simple recipes and tips for getting your child involved in making smoothies4.

Recruit your child’s help: Next time you go to the grocery store, ask your child for help in selecting fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods for the upcoming week, really making them feel like they are part of the process, and that you value their opinion. Once you get home, encourage your child to help you prepare and rinse these veggies, set the table…etc. Kids learn by doing.

Minimize distractions: Get into the habit of turning off the TV and other electronic gadgets during meal times. This will help your child to focus on eating. Start ‘mindful eating’ habits earlier.

If you are concerned that picky eating is compromising your child’s growth and development, consult your pediatrician. In addition, consider recording the types and amounts of food your child eats for a week, because a food log can help the doctor determine if there are any problems. And it’s okay to relax, because they will likely grow out of this as fast as they grow out of their shoes.

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

 


References

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-makes-kids-picky-eaters-what-helps-them-get-over-ncna846386
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/childrens-health/art-20044948
  3. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/picky-eater-kids#1
  4. https://kyolic.com/healthyguides/Great-Greens/index.html?page=1

 

Stay Healthy! How to Avoid Getting Sick

To be honest, most of these “tips” for good health aren’t tips at all, but common sense. For example, hand washing. We all wash our hands, but do we wash for 20 seconds, and scrub every part of the hand? Apart from hand-washing, there are a whole host of other ideas and solutions to help you avoid that runny nose or sore throat, even in the thick of cold & flu season. Here are our top tips to help you stay healthy and avoid getting sick.

Our Top Stay Healthy Tips

Eat your greens: A healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, and dairy. It may take some adjustment to move to healthy eating, so start small, and focus on one aspect to introduce yourself to some healthier options. For example, start by adding more greens to your diet. Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a balanced diet – and support a healthy immune system. One study showed that eating cruciferous vegetables sends a chemical signal to the body that boosts specific cell-surface proteins necessary for efficient immune-system function1. An easy way to get some greens into your life is with a powdered green drink mix. We recommend looking for one that contains barley grass, wheatgrass, spirulina, kelp, and chlorella, for the most beneficial phytonutrients per ounce. Be sure to avoid drink mixes that have added sugar.

Skip the alcohol: Research shows that drinking alcohol can damage the body’s dendritic cells, a vital component of the immune system. An increase in alcohol consumption over time can increase a person’s exposure to bacterial and viral infections.2 Especially during cold and flu season or stressful times, skip the alcohol and try a fun ‘mocktail’ instead.

Keep moving: Working out regularly enhances immune function, which can help the body fight off any cold or flu germs.3 You should aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity.

Get enough sleep: Clocking in about 8 hours of sleep every night is important, but it is even more important when you are feeling under the weather. When you’re tired, your body isn’t fighting as hard. So if you feel like you may be coming down with something, it’s imperative you get at least 8, or even 10 hours of sleep, if possible.

Eat more colorful meals: Cooking with all colors of the rainbow will help you get a wide range of vitamins in your diet. Red fruits and veggies, like tomatoes, red peppers, and raspberries, contain certain phytochemicals like lycopene and anthocyanins, which help protect against certain diseases, and can lower the risk of diabetes. Orange and yellow foods like carrots, mangos and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This essential vitamin supports healthy immunity, eye health, and strong bones. Green fruits and veggies like broccoli, kiwi and zucchini are chock full of chlorophyll, an antioxidant with a host of health benefits, like clearing toxins from the body, supporting digestion and absorption of nutrients, and boosting immunity. And blue and purple foods like blackberries, eggplant, and grapes contain super-charged antioxidants that can promote brain function and cellular strength.4

Hang out with friends: People who have strong social relationships are less likely to die prematurely than people who are isolated. Researchers think that friendships and health are linked through the body’s processing of stress. Being socially engaged leads to more positive emotions, which in turn may actually boost your body’s immune system and reduce the physical signs of stress.5

Avoid cigarette smoke: Smoking is a known risk factor for several diseases including asthma and respiratory infections, to name a few. But breathing in secondhand smoke can also increase a person’s risk for developing these conditions. People who smoke or regularly inhale cigarette smoke are also more likely to experience more severe symptoms when they get colds or the flu. Cigarette smoke can affect the immune system and reduce a person’s ability to fight off infections.6

It can be tough to stay healthy if people around you are or may be sick. Be sure to keep your distance.  And protect yourself by giving these simple strategies a try.  Stay healthy!

References

  1. https://www.health.com/condition/cold-flu-sinus/13-ways-to-avoid-getting-sick-with-a-cold-or-the-flu
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-flu-secrets#1
  3. https://www.truelemon.com/blogs/tc/benefits-of-eating-colorful-foods
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/cold-flu-secrets#3
  5. https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/social-support.aspx
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324422#no-smoking

This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.