Monthly Archives

October 2013

Children's, Nutrition

Healthy School Lunches: Tips and Tricks to Get Your Children Excited About Eating Right

By Sue Teske, MS, RD, CNSC; Clinical Nutrition Director at Children’s of Alabama

Getting your child to eat healthy is not always an easy task. As the Clinical Nutrition Director at Children’s, I am often asked how to get children to eat healthy. In a world full of readily available fast food, pre-packagedand processed junk foods; it can be challenging to get kids to eat the foods that are good for them. Food manufacturers use blatant and subtle marketing techniques directed to children on television, in magazines and in grocery stores.  Friends and other kids at school who do not have healthy eating habits may influence your child. As a Registered Dietitian let me make a few suggestions to get your kids involved and learn about nutrition and healthy eating.

Involve your child in planning lunches and making healthy choices. Kids love hands-on activities. Making school lunches together is the perfect way to get your kids involved in the healthy eating process and helping out. It also opens the door for conversations about different food groups, how food is fuel, regular physical activity and many other healthy habit topics. Give your kids choices between different healthy options. Ask if they would rather have an apple or a banana as their fruit or celery or carrots as their vegetable. Variety will keep your kids interested in healthy eating while teaching them how to make healthy decisions for themselves.

Make healthy lunches fun! Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of sandwiches. Buy your child a lunchbox with his or her favorite character on it. Write notes on your child’s napkin. Make creative side items at home together and let your kids come up with a special name. Have you ever heard of ants on a log (celery sticks, filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins)? What about a pasta salad made with colorful veggie bow tie pasta? Make a mini lunch – two turkey and cheese mini bagels, cherry tomatoes and mini pretzels.  Have a weekly lunch theme – on Hawaiian week, swap their usual drink for sugar-free, coconut-flavored water. Let your child decorate their brown paper bag. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Continue Reading

Children's, Health and Safety

Important Facts About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

By Kari Kampakis

For new parents especially, thinking about SIDS is difficult. But to keep our babies safe, we must think about it and take precautions to reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

Defined as “the sudden death of an infant younger than one that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation,” SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. The age group at the highest risk are those in the 1 month – 4 month range.

SIDS is a sudden, silent medical disorder that can happen to a seemingly healthy baby. Because it occurs while the baby is asleep, it’s sometimes called “crib death.” Currently, Alabama is #2 in the nation in SIDS deaths, behind Mississippi.

According to Dr. Terri Coco, associate professor of pediatrics for Children’s of Alabama, the best thing a parent can do to prevent SIDS is to provide a safe sleep environment that includes:

  • A firm mattress with the correct fitted sheet that’s snug, not loose;
  • A safety-approved crib;
  • No pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, or crib bumpers (the American Academy of Pediatrics added bumpers to this list last year due to the risk of babies getting caught between the crib slat and bedding);
  • Placing your baby on their BACK to sleep;
  • No smoking in your home;
  • No covering up your baby’s head;
  • Dressing your baby in light clothing (one-piece sleeper);
  • No letting the baby sleep on adult beds, couches, or chairs; and
  • No co-sleeping.

“Co-sleeping is the leading cause of sleep-related deaths,” Dr. Coco says. “Babies need to be in a crib or bassinet.” The risks babies face when sleeping with parents include SIDS, suffocation, and strangulation. Parents may roll onto their child as they’re sleeping, or the baby may get tangled in sheets or blankets. Continue Reading