Posts Tagged ‘obese baby’
Friday, November 20th, 2009
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might think it is impossible to stick to a healthy eating plan-right? Wrong! Although high calorie foods and holidays go hand in hand, it is 100% possible to stay on track! Do not let the cornucopia of food options weigh you down; it is time to kick off the holiday season right. Follow these tips to ensure you have a happy AND healthy season!
Top 10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips
1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch before your Thanksgiving extravaganza to prevent hunger and the overeating that often results from it!
2. Bring a low calorie dish or dessert to your Thanksgiving dinner (even if you aren’t asked) to ensure you have healthy options available.
3. On the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle every day. Choose to eat well and exercise often to prevent any unnecessary weight gain.
4. Drink plenty of water on Thanksgiving! It helps fill you up without any extra calories.
5. Aim for just one helping from each food group! Enjoy a balance of protein (white meat turkey), vegetables, and one type of starch, such as corn or potatoes, to fill you up!
6. If you must, save a red light food to have an extra helping of potatoes or a dessert!
7. Enjoy special holiday foods! Don’t waste calories on foods you can eat everyday; instead, choose smaller portions of holiday favorites like Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie.
8. Avoid noshing on small appetizers because they can add extra calories to your meal without making you feel full.
9. Fortunately, white meat turkey, vegetables, and sweet potatoes are healthy options found at most Thanksgiving dinners! Just be aware of how they are prepared; avoid fried foods, heavy sauces and foods made with a lot of butter or oil.
10. Nix leftovers! Give your guests “doggie bags” or donate leftover food to a homeless shelter in your area.
Thanksgiving is a day to focus on family and friends and to give thanks for all the blessings in your life! You may want to even start a new Thanksgiving tradition in order to celebrate. Instead of focusing solely on the food being served, get the whole family moving with a friendly game of touch-football or basketball. Don’t forget to give thanks for your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season!
Healthy and Hearty Thanksgiving Staples
Pumpkin Spiced Squash Pie
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 90 minutes
· 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash
· 3/4 cup fat-free milk
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
· 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1/8 tsp salt
· 1 store-bought graham cracker crust
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. blender, purée squash, milk, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt until completely mixed.
3. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the pie is set in the center.
4. Let pie cool on the counter and then refrigerate.
Makes 8 servings
1 slice (1/8 pie): Yellow
Nutty Bean Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ready Time: 25 minutes
· 8 cup small green beans, ends trimmed
· 2 cup sliced green onions
· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
· 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· 1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon rind
1. Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place beans into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain.
2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add green onions and sauté until tender. Add green beans, walnuts, rosemary, and lemon juice.
3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.
Makes 8 servings
1 cup: Green
Cranberried Sweet Potatoes
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Ready Time: 65 minutes
· 2 medium sweet potatoes
· 2 Tbsp cranberry juice
· 1 Tbsp brown sugar
· 1 Tbsp butter, melted
· 1/8 tsp ground ginger
· 4 tbsp craisins
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. Scrub potatoes and cut in half lengthwise; do not peel.
3. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the potatoes in pan, cut-side down. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes or until almost tender.
4. Stir together the cranberry juice, brown sugar, butter, and ginger. Turn potatoes cut-side up and brush with cranberry mixture. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle each half with 1 tbsp of craisins. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
½ potato per serving: Yellow
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE THANKSGIVING!
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Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
Society’s craze with thinness has found a new target: our babies. It is no longer just women and teens who have to be thin to be considered attractive; our babies must as well. According to a new BBC documentary, My Supermodel Baby, many magazines airbrush their baby models to “put them across in the best light”. The airbrushing ranges from removing spittle to erasing creases of fat. Erasing fat creases from babies? Isn’t that what makes them adorable? Isn’t that how babies are supposed to look? Is nothing sacred anymore?
Daniella Delaney, the editor of the magazine Practical Parenting and Pregnancy said, “Babies are not like adults. You can’t stop them from dribbling, so you might remove that bit of dribble from the chin. Or if the baby has just been crying, and their eyes are red, we might lighten the eyes. Or if they have just woken up because they have had a nap on the way in and we photograph them, we might remove a little bit of sleep.” She said she was not aware of a policy regarding erasing fat creases but the casting director for her magazine’s photo shoot, which was covered in the BBC documentary, admitted that many changes were made to the baby model. ”We lightened his eyes and his general skin tone, smoothed out any blotches and the creases on his arms,” he said. “But we want it to look natural.”
Yes, a naturally perfect-looking baby. I don’t think so!
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, who has campaigned against the use of airbrushing in magazines, said: “People will be appalled that a magazine would not think images of beautiful healthy babies are alright as they are and instead have to conform to some standard. The idea that babies must look more perfect – that they can’t have creases in their skin – shows the obsession with a particular ideal. Where does this end?”
I couldn’t agree more! What kind of message are we sending to our children? We are telling them that anything less than “perfection” is not okay. I am not worried that the baby models are lying in their cribs worrying that they didn’t look good enough in the photo shoot. But what will this baby’s parents say to her when she grows up and looks back on those pictures. “Look at this picture of you. Isn’t it adorable? Of course, you didn’t really look like that back then. We had to airbrush your thighs because they were just huge!”
And even if the conversation doesn’t actually go like that, this baby model will grow up to wonder why her other baby pictures look different from the ones that everybody fawns over. Eventually, she will realize that even as a baby, she wasn’t good enough as she was.
When I received my four year-old daughter’s school picture last year, I must admit that I was slightly disappointed that she was making a goofy face. She was looking at the camera but her eyes were kind of droopy. But not for a moment did I consider airbrushing her “imperfection” away. I want to look at pictures of my daughter, not some idealized version. And truthfully, I find her ideal regardless of how she looks.
In the fourth grade, I had a huge space between my front teeth and braces. I was pretty awkward looking- and I knew it. I can’t imagine how wounded I would have felt if my parents had airbrushed that space, or even my braces. Now, I laugh when I look at that picture. And I am glad to have it to show my daughter that everybody goes through awkward phases- and that is okay! Plus, that picture got a pretty big laugh when it flashed across the screen at my wedding rehearsal dinner.
Airbrushing our children’s imperfections sends the message that our kids are not good enough as they are. We are demonstrating that there is an ideal way to look and that we should all strive to look that way. And who wants to teach that to their children? I, for sure, do not. I will take my daughter’s goofy-faced picture and hang it on my wall with pride. Nothing could make her any more perfect in my eyes.
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Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Many parents view their children’s excess weight as an aesthetic issue. They worry their kids won’t be liked in school, won’t be picked in gym, and won’t be pursued by members of the opposite sex. According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, parents have a lot more than looks to be concerned about. New research shows that about 100,500 new cases of cancer are caused by obesity each year.
Obesity is known to cause many deleterious health effects but this study is one of the first to conclusively link specific cancers to excess body fat. And as the number of obese people increases in the population, so does the number of cancer patients! According to the study, 49% of endometrial cancer (about 20,700 cases per year), 35% of esophageal cancer (5,800 cases per year), 28% of pancreatic cancer (11,900 cases per year), 24% of kidney cancer (13,900 cases per year), 21% of gallbladder cancer (2,000) cases per year, 17% of breast cancer (33,000 cases per year), and 9% of colorectal cancer (13,200 cases per year) are due to obesity.
How does being overweight increase your risk of cancer? That depends on the type cancer. Experts believe that the increased estrogen found in overweight women leads to endometrial and breast cancer. Post-menopausal obese women have 1.5 times the risk of breast cancer than normal weight post-menopausal women. Before menopause, the ovaries are the primary source of estrogen. Fat tissue, however, also makes estrogen. Post-menopausal women, whose ovaries no longer make estrogen, tend to have lower estrogen levels. Obese women have estrogen levels that are 50-100% higher than normal weight women. It is believed that this increased level of estrogen causes rapid growth of estrogen-responsive breast tumors.
Obese women are not only more likely to get breast cancer, but they are more likely to die from it. Breast cancer is harder to detect in an obese woman and is usually diagnosed at a much later stage, leading to lower survival rates. Weight gain during adulthood is the most consistent and strongest predictor of breast cancer risk.
It is not clear why obese people have a higher risk of colon cancer than normal weight people. It may be that the high levels of insulin or insulin-related growth factors in the obese promote tumor development.
Gastro-esophageal acid disease (GERD), common in the obese, is the likely cause of the increased risk of esophageal cancer.
The reason for the link between other cancers and obesity is not known. The obese tend to have higher levels of many different hormones and growth factors that likely increase the risk of cancer.
What should we take from this study? The importance of preventing weight gain in the first place! Parents need to teach their children proper eating habits from the very beginning. Half of overweight school-age children and three quarters of overweight teens will become obese adults. So start promoting a healthy lifestyle now!
Teach your children the value of eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle and you need not worry about the increasingly-evident link between obesity and cancer.
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Friday, October 30th, 2009
The only scary part of Halloween should be the ghosts and goblins, not the candy and sweets! Do not fear Trick-or-Treating; after all, it is a Halloween tradition. Halloween candy and customs can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle, just as long as you make a few minor adjustments!
Top 10 Tips for Halloween!
1. Serve kids a healthy snack like peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread before you go out Trick-or-Treating. Children with full bellies don’t tend to binge on chocolate.
2. Prepare a special Halloween meal with healthy ingredients to show kids that Halloween can be fun and low-calorie! See our suggestions below.
3. Let your kids enjoy their Halloween candy in moderation. For example: divide candy into 3 piles: Hate, Like and Love! The hate and like candy should not be eaten. Let them use their red light foods and enjoy the candy they love.
4. Do not save left-over Halloween candy for more than 3 days! On days 1 and 2, put a 100 calories worth of candy as a treat for lunch. On day 3, throw the candy out! It is better in the garbage than around your belly!
5. Sift through your child’s Halloween candy and make sure to throw out anything super-sized or suspicious. Doing that will ensure a much safer and healthier candy bag.
6. Donate all the extra treats you decided to get rid of to a local shelter or bring it to work for your co-workers to enjoy, in moderation of course!
7. Do not buy Halloween candy weeks in advance; it can lead to unhealthy “picking” weeks before the actual holiday!
8. Brush your teeth before heading out the door for Trick-or-Treating! The minty taste will prevent any unnecessary overindulging!
9. Give your kids crafts to do on Halloween. Help them make scary masks, jack-o-lanterns or haunted houses to distract them from eating candy all day!
10. Consider breaking tradition this year and escape to a haunted house or go for a hay ride instead of collecting candy!
Go ahead—focus on having fun with your kids; dress up and enjoy time together! Remember to follow the tips to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!
Halloween Day Menu
Eye-ball Eggs with Gooey Guts
Cook 2 eggs over easy (eye-balls) and place 2 slices of fat free cheese (gooey guts) over the “eye-balls” and melt! Enjoy this breakfast with a sliced up apple!
4 Hershey kisses or 2 tbsp M&Ms with some carrots or a banana!
Use bone cookie cutters to create fun Halloween shapes in whole wheat bread! Make sandwiches with 4 slices of ham or turkey or peanut butter & jelly! Add different vegetables or fat-free cheese for fun combinations!
¼ cup chocolate covered raisins or 4 gummy worms plus a fruit or vegetable!
A healthy whole wheat pasta and chicken dish made with all kinds of healthy and colorful veggies. Serve in a big “witches cauldron” just for Halloween!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Ready time: 25 minutes
- ½ lb lean, boneless, chicken breast
- 1 lb whole wheat bow-tie pasta
- Medley of veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, fingerling potatoes and squash.
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Boil and drain the pasta according to packing directions.
- Grill and slice up boneless, lean chicken breasts.
- Steam to cook broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and squash.
- Combine all ingredients with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Makes 4 servings
1 1/3 cup whole wheat pasta = Yellow
2 oz chicken breast = Green
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Friday, October 23rd, 2009
Personality traits, genetics, and athletic ability combine to influence kids’ attitudes toward participation in sports and other physical activities. Help your kids figure out their fitness personality based on their overall personality to ensure a lifelong love of exercise!
If your child is very social, encourage team sports, dance classes, biking, or skateboarding with a friend. These activities will keep your child active and entertained for hours.
For the introspective child, try exercises such as yoga, swimming, jump rope, jogging, or working out with an exercise video. Team sports might be too much pressure to perform in front of an audience. The suggested exercises allow your child to exercise at her own pace.
If your child is adventurous and likes to be outdoors, suggest exercises such as rock climbing, hiking, snowboarding, surfing or even mountain biking. These sports will keep your child motivated each time he hits a new trail!
For the creative child, suggest exercises that they will allow your child to express herself, such as dance classes, yoga, gymnastics, ice skating, dancing around the house, running, fast walking or even using exercise equipment at home with music she loves.
If your child is competitive at heart, encourage as many team sports as possible, such as tennis, hockey, or soccer. Try to encourage running sports so she is able to benefit from the great cardiovascular workout!
Creating a Workout Regimen:
When creating a workout routine, choose the sports or exercises that fit your child the best and make it fun. Try adding music to each routine or creating a playlist; music is a powerful motivation tool and makes everything more enjoyable! Below is an example of a detailed workout regimen:
- First start with a warm-up to allow the muscles to wake up and get ready for the work ahead! A warm-up should last between 4 to 10 minutes. Do exercises that focus on the major muscle groups of the body. Try walking around the block or up and down the stairs, lunges, squats, shoulder rolls, and raising and lowering the shoulders.
- Next, start working on increasing the heart rate for the cardiovascular (aka “cardio” portion of the exercise. Try to keep your child’s heart rate up for at least 30 minutes to get the most benefits. Try running/jogging, jumping, skipping, jumping jacks, biking, swimming, dancing, and kick-boxing or even surfing when it’s nice out!
- Now, try working on strength. This does not mean body building or even lifting weights; muscle strength can be improved using your own body weight and is very safe for children. Try doing at least two of the different exercises for at least 5 minutes each. Try push-ups on the floor or at the wall, plank, stomach crunches, wall squats, throwing and catching a weighted ball, lunges, or even jumping squats.
- Of course we must end with the cool down! The cool down is just as important as all the other parts of the exercise routine but is usually skipped. After working out, muscles can start to tighten up, leading to injury. Be sure to stretch the muscles that were worked out during the exercise routine. Try doing at least two different stretches for 3 to 5 minutes each; try neck rolls, shoulder rolls, quad stretches, hamstring stretches, butterfly stretch (sit on the floor with the soles of feet touching and lower upper body, nose to feet), or sit on the floor and forward bend, trying to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight.
Try as many different exercises as possible to keep your child moving. Kids who exercise often are less likely to become overweight or obese and have a decreased risk of developing type II diabetes and heart disease. They also sleep better and have an all around positive attitude about life. Regular exercise, along with a balanced diet will lead to a lean body with strong muscles and bones, allowing for a long and healthy life!
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Monday, October 12th, 2009
Our worst fears have finally come true. Overweight teens are dying from heart disease. Pediatricians have long feared that the rising number of severely obese children and teens would soon start to suffer from adult complications of obesity, like heart attacks, strokes, and death. And now it is happening.
According to the St. Louis County medical examiner, a 13-year old football player who collapsed during football practice died as a direct result of “hypertensive cardiovascular disease”, also known as high blood pressure. This young man, Anthony Troupe Jr. died last August but the results of his autopsy were just released this Wednesday. The cause of death was hypertensive heart disease, which is known to be caused by obesity. Young Anthony was 6-foot-2 and weighed 383 pounds.
Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise to those of us in the child obesity specialty. In fact, a study published in the British Medical Journal and reviewed in the New York Times earlier this year found that obese teens were twice as likely to die by age 60 as non-obese, non-smoking teens. But it is one thing to think of somebody dying at age 60 and quite another to think of a child dying at age 13. It is just so sad.
Other studies have found similar results. A Harvard study followed teens over 50 years and found that obese boys were twice as likely to die from heart disease as normal-weight boys. In fact, they learned that obesity that starts in childhood or adolescence causes a greater risk of early death than obesity that starts in adulthood
It is clear that heart disease starts at a very young age. As parents, we must protect our children from the deadly effects of obesity. Many look at obesity as an aesthetic issue. It is not. It is a disease. A disease that can kill. And we must treat it that way.
I urge any reader with an overweight or obese child at home to get help before it is too late. Children must work with physicians when starting a weight loss program. So call your pediatrician and get a referral for a child weight loss specialist. Do not wait.
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joanna-dolgoff-md/child-obesity-our-worst-f_b_317380.html
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Friday, October 9th, 2009
A healthy, well-stocked kitchen can be a recipe for success if you equip yourself with a master grocery list! Certain items for the freezer, fridge and pantry are all necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here is a list of my favorite kitchen staples that no kitchen should be without.
Frozen bags of fruits and vegetables are frozen at the peak of freshness to provide the optimal amount of nutrients your body needs. Make sure you buy the items with no added salt, sugars or sauces. Buy lean meats and fish in bulk and freeze in healthy portions to minimize cost and time during the week!
- Frozen Vegetables
Quick Tip: Buy in bulk at your local whole-sale market to save some money.
- Frozen Fruits
Quick Tip: Mix frozen fruits with ice cold non-fat milk for a mid-day treat!
Healthy Protein Options: Lean chicken breast, lean steak, frozen large bags of shrimp, salmon or any type of white fish (all to be bought at a wholesale supermarket)
Stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. In season fruits and vegetables generally cost less and taste better! Dairy items are also of utmost importance for your body because they contain Vitamin D and Calcium which help maintain bone health. Eggs are healthy because they provide your body with protein needed to maintain strong muscles.
- Portable fruits
Options: Apples, blueberries, pears, oranges, grapes
- Low-fat or non-fat dairy items- yogurt and cheese
Yogurt Options: Look for plain yogurt with no artificial sweeteners or plain Greek yogurt
Cheese Options: Part-skim mozzarella string cheese sticks or low fat cheese wedges, like Baby-Bell Swiss Cheese.
Simple Ideas: Buy eggs to make omelets or scrambled eggs. Boil an egg for a simple snack option. Scramble an egg with egg whites for extra protein and no additional fat!
Items for your pantry are important because they can stay fresh for a long time. Usually canned good can be found on sale so do not be afraid to buy many canned items at once!
Simple Ideas: Beans can be added to soups and stews easily and are a vegetarian protein option. Just be sure to rinse and drain the beans before adding to a recipe because sometimes there is a lot of added salt packed in the cans that you do not need.
Healthy Tip: pair any bean (cannellini, black, kidney, lentil) with brown rice for a healthy side dish!
Simple Ideas: Buy tuna packed in water and add to pasta dishes or salads. Remember it is important to eat protein at every main meal and tuna is ready to go at any time, in no time at all!
- Whole Wheat Pasta/Bread
Healthy Tip: Always buy whole wheat pasta and bread for your family because they are excellent sources of fiber; fiber helps keep you full for a long period of time.
- Low-Sodium Stocks
Healthy Tip: Stock up on stocks! Just make sure they are low sodium and non-fat.
Simple Idea: Use the stocks to make a quick batch of vegetable or chicken soup!
Smart Supermarket Strategies for a Healthy Family
- Shop mostly on the perimeter of the store:
- Steer clear of the middle isles when shopping at the grocery store because the middle aisles contain all the processed foods. The perimeter of the store contains all the fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
- Make a grocery list for the middle isles: stick with canned vegetables, beans, whole wheat pasta/bread and oatmeal.
- Make a list and only shop for items on the list:
- You will save money and time by avoiding those unnecessary impulse buys.
- Shop on a full stomach:
- If you shop on an empty stomach, you are more likely to grab anything that looks good. Eat before you go so you are less likely to put unhealthy foods in your shopping cart.
- Go grocery shopping without the kids:
- Avoid buying the sugary snacks with the “cool” cartoons on the box; they are expensive and bad for your children’s overall health.
- Shop in a wholesale supermarket:
- Items bought in bulk are generally less costly for more food!
Stretch Recipes and your Budget:
Try to cook big batches of soups, stews, and pasta sauces during the weekends and freeze for quick and easy, weeknight meals. You can also make extra portions of meals during the week and store for later use. Buy high cost items like meats in a wholesale supermarket and freeze healthy portion sizes for during the week.
The key to a healthy lifestyle is to keep healthy foods in your house; whether it is for a snack or a meal. Remember to always enjoy a variety of healthy foods in moderation while keeping a few go-to snacks and/or meals handy for those extra busy days!
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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
My four year old daughter took a ballet dancing class today. It was adorable. All the girls stood in their shiny leotards and soft ballet skirts, twirling around and smiling. All except for one, that is. There was one girl who looked very different from the others. Her face was round, her arms were pudgy, and her belly was, well, protruding. Needless to say, she did not have a smile on her face. Immediately, my heart went out to her.
During the class, this girl’s mother came over to speak to me. “I understand you work with overweight kids,” she told me. “Yes, I do.” “I think I need help,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I enrolled her in this class. I want her to move around a bit. She usually prefers to sit down and watch TV. I am so glad she is getting some exercise.”
While her mother was right in suggesting a more active after-school activity, I couldn’t help but think that the girls were getting very little movement in the class. Because it is such a beginner’s class, they were mostly learning moves and practicing them once or twice. Nobody in the class broke a sweat or got out of breath. In other words, you couldn’t consider this an “exercise” class. But it definitely is better than watching TV.
But I got where the mom was coming from. There are so few activities for kids that give them the kind of vigorous exercise recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We really need more outlets for our children to exercise. But that’s another blog in itself…
So- back to dance class. As the girls were let out, I noticed that they were each holding a piece of chocolate! What?? Why?? That small piece of chocolate contained many more calories than what they burned through the class. What was the point of giving out chocolate after a dance class? The fact the the class is held in a gym just makes it more ridiculous.
I was livid. Why must everything come back to chocolate? Does a child need to be rewarded for a minimum amount of exercise? Will our kids expect to eat chocolate every time they break a sweat? Isn’t this defeating the purpose? What’s wrong with giving out stickers, like they had done the previous weeks?
I know that the teacher was trying to be nice. And I know my parents are trying to be nice when they take my kids for sundaes. And, hey, even I am trying to be nice when I take my kids for frozen yogurt. But ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We can not start rewarding exercise with chocolate. It is absolutely unacceptable. Our good intentions, special treats, and fattening rewards are only making our kids heavier than ever! This has to end. You can bet I will be calling the dance class first thing tomorrow to complain.
I felt sick when I saw the look on the heavy girl’s mother’s face. Here she was making an effort to get her child healthy and it was completely sabotaged. She just looked at me and said, “It just isn’t easy…” And she is right.
What do you all think? Do you agree or disagree?
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Sunday, August 30th, 2009
It’s 1982 and I am seven years old, celebrating my second grade graduation with my friends, my family, and an eight scoop hot fudge sundae from Swensen’s. This was very unusual for my family because we always celebrated at Friendly’s. But in the spirit of camaraderie, we made an exception and indulged in Swensen’s with the rest of my class.
I have celebrated every momentous occasion in my life, good or bad, at Friendly’s. Little League Champs? Let’s go to Friendly’s! Lost the soccer tournament? That’s okay, we’ll make it up at Friendly’s. In fact, I can still remember the look on my father’s face when, after my high school graduation, I asked him for the keys to the car so I could go out with my friends. He was crushed. “What? No Friendly’s?” And I looked at him in the way that teen girls look at their fathers and said, “Dad. I am way too old to celebrate with ice cream.”
Yet somehow, I found myself sitting at Friendly’s today for the third time in one month. How did this happen? I mean, I am a child obesity specialist. I should know better. But it really wasn’t my fault. I would never take my kids to Friendly’s unless it were for some, um, momentous occasion.
And this month has been crazy. It started with my daughter’s fourth birthday. Of course we celebrate birthdays at Friendly’s. Not the real party but a private celebration afterwards. And then I had to have my wisdom teeth pulled out. And everybody knows that you are allowed to indulge in ice cream when you have oral surgery (like when your tonsils are taken out. Isn’t the same thing true for wisdom teeth?) And then my s0n broke his arm. And I mean, he really broke his arm. I suddenly, unconsciously, found myself comforting him with promises of ice cream sundaes.
My mother-in-law called me at work to tell me that Zachary had fallen off the monkey bars. She thought his wrist looked really bad so I told her to jump in the car and bring him to an orthopedist near me. I would meet them at the office. She handed Zachary the phone and I heard him weeping. “Oh honey,” I said. “Mommy is going to be with you soon. Then the doctor will make you feel better and we will all go to Friendly’s.” Huh? Where did that come from? It just popped out of my mouth.
My promises got more descriptive as his injury got worse. When he arrived at the orthopedist and I first saw his arm, I wanted to pass out. It looked really bad. The doctors rushed him in and the first thing the nurse’s aide did was give him a lollipop. (It’s got to be human instinct!)
As we made our way from the doctor’s office to the hospital where he needed a procedure to realign his bone, I kissed his cheeks, stroked his hair, and said, “When this is over I am going to get you the biggest hot fudge sundae. Just wait and see how big this sundae is going to be.”
As he woke up from the sedation, I told him that “it’s almost ice cream sundae time”.
We didn’t leave the hospital until late at night and we all fell right asleep. A day later, tylenol with codeine was helping Zachary’s pain and he was starting to look like himself again. “Mommy,” he said. “Didn’t you promise me Friendly’s?”
So now you understand why I was at Friendly’s for the third time this month. How else could I celebrate a birthday, ease the pain of a sore tooth, and nurse my son back to health?
Why is it that I immediately jump to ice cream? It must be because that was how I was raised. And that was how my parents were raised. But is that how I want to raise my children?
Clearly, it is not. I don’t want them to use food to heal their wounds or mark their triumphs. It is going to take a great effort for me to break this cycle. I’ve been trying to think of other ways I could have marked these momentous life occasions. A trip to Chuck E Cheese or the children’s museum? A special privilege like a later bedtime or a new toy? I really don’t have the answer but I will keep looking for a healthier substitution and I hope you will too.
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Friday, August 21st, 2009
Having many friends and family members who are regulars at Yankee Stadium during baseball season gave me the idea to write about the various new improvements, both healthy and unhealthy, at the new Yankee Stadium. Don’t worry! The traditional ball park favorites are still there. You’ll still hear the shouts from the Peanut man, but now also from the Ice Cream man (selling pints of Turkey Hill Ice Cream; Original Vanilla 560 calories per pint).
Traditional favorites such as Carvel Ice Cream in baseball caps and Hebrew National hot dog stands can still be found around the stadium. A few of the interesting additions are a Boar’s Head made-to-order deli sandwich station, Johnny Rockets, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and a Japanese stand serving sushi and noodles in Chinese take-out containers.
The various food stands are now complying with NYC’s mandate to post caloric information on their menus. Although this does not stop many people from treating themselves at the ball game, it does increase awareness by 100%!
Another great advance is Melissa’s, a traditional “farmers market”, carrying fresh fruits and vegetables, with no wait guaranteed.
Most of the food, although it may seem healthy, is most assuredly NOT healthy. The New York Times Restaurants Review of Yankee Stadium suggests trying “the best single food item in the entire stadium” which is Lobel’s USDA dry-aged sliced-steak sandwich on a house-made bun, a very UNHEALTHY option!
The majority of the options on the menu are over 1,000 calories per serving! Here are a few of the calorie counts on ball park favorites.
New York Pretzel: 630 calories
Nathan’s Hot Dog: 320 calories
Regular cheese nachos: 1,500 calories Carvel Ice Cream Helmet Cups: 550-590 calories
Instead of these calorie dense snacks, try a snack from Melissa’s delicious fruit stand, or a sandwich, soup, or salad from Boar’s Head Deli. Another idea is to encourage kids to try the Kid’s Cart. Here you can find smaller sized hot dogs and PB&J sandwiches.
One of the most deceiving snacks is popcorn. At home, popcorn is an extremely healthy and filling snack. Do not be fooled; stadium popcorn is very unhealthy. At baseball parks (and movie theaters), popcorn often has over 2,000 calories, due to the ridiculous serving size, the oil in which it is fried, and the added butter. At Yankee Stadium, a Jumbo Popcorn is 1,484 calories and a Souvenir bucket of popcorn is 2,473 calories. Yikes!
Although the majority of the food offered at the new Yankee stadium is very high in calories, the posting of the caloric and improvements makes it easier for you and your family to make healthy choices when entering the ball park.
~ The Bottom Line ~
The healthiest options you can choose at the ball park for you and your family are:
· Kozy Shack pudding from the Kids Kart: 140 calories
· Chef salad with turkey and cheddar: 241 calories
· California sushi roll: 255 calories
· Veggie sushi roll: 160 calories
· Edamame: 100 calories
· Nathan’s natural casing hot dog: 297 calories
· Any selection from Melissa’s Farmers Market Stand
~ What might surprise you ~
· Baked ziti: 720 calories
· Chicken tenders and fries: 810 calories
· Chicken parmesan sub: 819 calories
· Tofu pan fried noodle bowl: 600 calories
· Onion rings: 790 calories
· Moe’s nachos: 880 calories
· Nathan’s crinkle-cut fries 1236 calories
· Bazzini peanuts: 1190 calories
Hopefully now you’ll think twice about what you and your family snack on during the game. A great way to keep your body (and your wallet) healthy at the ballpark is to pack your own snacks. This way, you’ll know in advance that you’re guaranteed a healthy and enjoyable snack for between innings.
Before the game, you should plan which snack you’re going to indulge in using this guide.
Always choose the smaller portion size for all treats at the ball park. The foot-long Hebrew National hot dog is 510 calories; you can save about 200 calories by having the regular sized one.
Lastly, don’t rush to a decision. Because of the numerous options and vendors spread across the stadium, you do not have to worry about long lines. This gives you more time to think about what you and you’re family are eating, and make the healthiest and smartest choice possible.
Check out this link to the ball park for more healthy food choices!
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