Tag Archives: nutrition

Is your toddler eating enough?

16 Mar

Parental Concerns

If I had a penny for every meal that ended up on the floor instead of my daughters tummy, well lets just say I wouldn’t be living in an apartment building staring at a ten-year-old computer monitor.

When it comes to toddler eating habits, it is safe to say that they are never on par with parental expectations. One day they seem to go all day on no more than milk and juice and then the next you can’t help but wonder where they are putting it all. Three common parental concerns are that their toddler has suddenly become a picky eater, that they throw more food than they eat or do not sit still long enough to eat at all, and that all they want is liquids. It is also common for children this age to eat something one day and then totally reject the same type of food the next day for no apparent reason. All of these issues can become a cause for much frustration for parents. We know that our children need to eat a well-balanced, variety of nutritional foods in order to grow and develop properly, however, who wants each and every meal to become a battle?

Normal Toddler Eating

There are a few things that parents need to keep in mind when it comes to feeding their toddler.

Many parents, including me, will give their child a banana and then after their child takes three bites, try to convince them to eat the rest. However, it is important to keep in mind that a normal serving size for a toddler is only about 1/4 to 1/3 of an adult serving. So in reality, it only takes about 1/4 of a banana to fill their tiny tummies. Do not expect your toddler to eat what you would consider a normal serving for yourself or even for your six-year-old. Keep their meal size proportional to what is the normal toddler serving.

As most parents have already realized, toddlers are at an age where they are fiercely independent. They are determined to do everything by themselves and to challenge mom and dad in any way that they can.  Unfortunately for parent, what and how much they eat is one thing that they can exercise some control over. So while it may be tempting to spoon feed their entire meal to them for your own piece of mind, the better option is to feed them a few bites and then show them the proper way to hold the utensil and allow them to have a go at it. Better yet, forgo the spoon altogether and let them have fun with finger foods. Not only are they more likely to eat without a fight if they get to do it themselves, it is also critical is helping them develop their fine motor skills. Try offering them a variety of different finger foods  such as crackers, cheese cubes,  apples slices and banana wheels,  and boiled egg slices as opposed to serving one large meal. There is nothing wrong with them eating what the family eats for dinner just make sure that it is cut up into smaller pieces so it is easier for them to handle. It is also a good idea to add a few finger foods on the side of the main meal in case they aren’t too interested in eating what is on the menu. Although I have found that all it usually take is for my daughter to see mom, dad and big brother enjoying a certain food and then she is more than happy to join in.

Tips to make mealtime more enjoyable

Thankfully, there are many simple things that parents can do to encourage healthy eating habits and make mealtimes  happier and more relaxed for everyone.

  • Offer a wide variety of nutritional foods. Even though toddlers may refuse a type of food one day, it is important to keep offering it along with a wide variety of other nutritional options. It may take toddlers five tries before they will even consider eating something, so be persistent!
  • Have fun with food! Making meals more appealing can be as simple as making a smile face on their plate with grape eyes, a banana nose and melon slice for a mouth. By keep things bite sized, colorful and fun children are much more likely to try a few different things on their plate. I know that smily faced pancakes always tasted much better than plain ones. Makes sense, right?

 

  • Eat together at the table. While many families are often so busy during the day that everyone may very well be somewhere different (work, daycare, school, etc), it is very important to make an effort to sit down as a family for at least one meal a day, AT THE TABLE. Turn off the TV, ignore the phone and put away the toys. As a child I can remember my father’s rule: If we didn’t want to eat, fine, but we had to sit at the table during mealtime. I claimed to hate it at the time, but looking back it was often the highlight of my day.
  • Schedule regular mealtimes. Having set times for each meal helps prevent children from grazing on everything they can get their hands on to curb hunger. A small snack is fine, and often necessary, for toddlers to keep them satisfied and energized. Just be sure to keep it relatively healthy, keep it small as too not fill them up too much and give it to them at least an hour before their next meal.
  • Be a good role model. We’ve all heard the saying: “Monkey see, Monkey do.” This has never been more true than in reference to toddlers. If they see mom and dad enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods then they will be much more likely to do the same. However, if they see their parents eating junk all day every day, it is safe to say that they will probably not have the healthiest eating habits. You set the biggest example for your child because you are their whole world. It is your responsibility to provide them with healthy, well-balanced regular meals and snacks each and every day. It is their choice how much and if they will eat it.

Which brings us to the last, and probably most important, piece of advice:

  • RELAX! Stop keeping track of every morsel of food that passes their lips and just relax a bit. Getting your child to eat healthy should not be a full-time job. While it is important to ensure that they are getting the vitamins and nutrients that they need and are not malnourished, you don’t have to stress about a few unbalanced meals-or even days. Children will NOT starve themselves, when they are hungry, then they will eat. If they are happy, active and growing well then it is safe to say that you are doing a good job. You do not have to cook up complicated and elaborate meals each and every day. As long as you keep on offering nutritious choices, children WILL eat them. Stop begging, threatening, bribing and encouraging and simply step back and let them be. Before you know it they will have eaten their full meal and be asking for seconds.

Eating Well for Life

When it comes right down to it, there is only so much that you can do when it comes to getting your toddlers to eat. You can provide them with a variety of good, healthy food, you can make mealtimes a calm and enjoyable experience and you can set a good example for them, but that is ALL you can do. At the end of the day the rest is them. Keep on doing what you’re doing, give the above tips and try not to make a huge deal of it. If you are doing these things already then your toddler is already well on their way to a great relationship with food and a lifetime of healthy eating.

**CALL YOUR DOCTOR if your child is losing weight, doesn’t eat anything for more than a day or you are concerned that they aren’t eating a balanced diet. Follow you gut, you know your child best, if something doesn’t seem right or you are concerned do not hesitate to discuss it with your child’s doctor or pediatrician. NEVER give a child vitamins, supplements or meal replacement products without the advice of your doctor. SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION if you child is experiencing persistent vomiting, severe stomach pain and/or cramping, refuses to take any liquids for over 8 hours or shows signs of dehydration.**
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4 1/2 monthes to a BRAND NEW, BIKINI READY ME!!

17 Feb

So lately I have been not feeling the best about myself. You see, when I had my son in November of 06′ everyone was always saying “Oh my gosh, how did you lose the weight so fast?”. Well the truth was, I didn’t do anything, it just fell off. I have never been a lazy person, but I have also never been the type of person to count calories or exercise. I just took it for granted that I didn’t gain weight no matter what I ate. Now part of this was because when I was struggling with drug addiction I never weighed more than 100 lbs to begin with, and honestly I hated it. At first it was great because I went from a size 5/7 to a size 00 in no time at all. Obviously this was because of the amount of drugs I was consuming, and it was not healthy, I even stopped getting my period eventually because my body weight had dropped to such an unhealthy level. I hated the way I look just as much as if I had been obese. My bones jutted out of my body and my cheeks were sunken and sallow looking. So when I got pregnant for my second child, my daughter, I made a vow to get healthy again and back to a normal weight for my body (I am only 5’2, however, before I ever used drugs, I ALWAYS had a tiny waste and bigger hips, thighs and a “ghetto-booty”, a la J-LO…Most of the time I loved it because it caught the attention of the boys. So when I found out I was pregnant for my daughter in january 2009, I was put on the Methadone Program, which a whole other story that you can read by clicking “Confessions of a Junkie” at the top of the page.  So I was drug free throughout my pregnancy, and still am to this day, which has been just amazing. I feel so much better and wake up looking forward to every day. I am a better person and a better mother. There is only ONE thing that I want to change. You see, one of the effects of quitting drugs and being on methadone is weight gain. Combine that with the birth of my second child, and needless to say, I have put on more than a few extra pounds. I am currently at my heaviest ever. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my body and I am happy that I gained back some weight, however, I am NOT happy with the love handles and the extra tummy bulge I now carry around. I am now wearing a size 9 to 11 pants. So I have decided that it is time to do something about it.
I recently mentioned to my hubs that I wanted to start working out and eating better, to try to shed some extra inches and pounds. He surprised me with some workout gear, he gave me a resistance band, walking weights, ankle and wrist weights and a cute workout outfit. Now I know most of you would kill your man if he randomly bought you weight loss products, however, I repeatedly bugged for them, so that is why he got them for me. So now I am geared up for weight loss. My hubby also wants to get into shape, and he recently purchased a wight set, so I will be borrowing those too.  So now that I have a live-in workout buddy, the next step was to do some research and develop a fitness and diet plan that would work for ME. After browsing MANY website, many of which required a credit card, I finally stumbled upon one that I think is going to really help keep me motivated and assist me in reaching my fitness goals. I joined www.SparkPeople.com, a FREE (Seriously, no catch) website that allows you to develop a customized fitness and diet plan that is tailored to you, it is 100% personalized by you. They provide so many awesome tools, including a fitness page that tracks your exercise routine, goals, calories burned, allows you to add/remove exercises/cardio, watch fitness videos and much more. Then there is a Nutrition page..This page allows you to create and track your meal plan, by choosing and logging the foods you eat from their VAST database (Seriously, EVERY food is there, right down to specific brands…I even found my guilty pleasure Post Honeycomb Cereal!! “, It tracks your calories eaten, carbs, fat and you can also set it to track other nutrients…It has a fruit/veggie and glass of water counter, it tracks your daily and weekly progress, and lets you post notes and print your meal plan and grocery list. On top of those amazing tools there are countless other tools to help you stay on track and get motivated, including groups to join, challenges, trophies to earn when you reach different goals (i e: 30 minutes of cardio per day streaks, lbs lost, pant sizes dropped, and tons more trophies). There are tons and tons of articles and videos to browse through including workout/exercise and fitness, motivational, inspirational and many more topics. It also allows you to add friends, create a blog or Vlog of your journey, add friends, update your status and other interactive tools. You can also browse through tons of success stories and before/after photos, along with a page to track personal appointments, keep a journal, track other personal goals, and so much more. Also be sure to check out the huge SparkRecipe database, the Health Condition database and the huge, the Healthy Lifestyle section, and the friendly and oh-so-inspirational Spark Community. And don’t forget to check out the SparkStore for workout gear, books and much more!I am pumped up and determined to stick with this and generate REAL RESULTS.

So here is an overview of my fitness goals and plans. My main fitness goal is to lose 20 lbs by June 1st/2011, in time for bikini season of course. I also have other smaller goals such as:

Drink 8 glasses of water per day.

– Stop the nighttime overeating of unhealthy foods when I am bored, lonely, etc.

– Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night (No more late night WordPress)

– Cut  back and Eventually QUIT smoking cigarettes, however that is a long term goal, as I dont want to put to much pressure on myself.

– Get at least a half hour of fresh air outside per day.

So in order to achieve these goals I have chosen to follow a fitness regime that includes:

-30 minutes of exercise 3 days per week, including light strength training (3lb weights) and use of a resistance band and exercise ball (Mon, Wed, and Fri)

-30 minutes of cardio three days per week (Mon, Wed, and Fri) including walking briskly, hiphop dancing, Spark Kickboxing, and whatever other cardio I can squeeze in.

As for my nutrition/diet plan, I am not following a set in stone diet, instead I am shooting to eat healthy balanced meals that included lots of fresh fruit and veggies and lean protein. I am aiming to stay within 1200-1500 calories per day, 130-250 of that being carbs and under 50 grams of fat per day. I am starting small because my eating habits are truly horrible so my main goal is to find a diet plan that works for me, gives me enough energy to chase my children and keep up my exercise yet keeps my satisfied and not deprived.  I also aim to cut down on all junk food and trans fats and drink lots of water. I also aim to try to get proper 8 hrs of sleep a night too, as I am on a nocturnal sleep schedule.

So in order to keep myself motivated and hopefully motivate some other people I am going to track my progress not only on SparkPeople but also here on my blog. I also challenge anyone who reads this to check out it out and reevaluate your OWN fitness goals. It is the perfect time to get in shape for summer.  Subscribe to my blog now to follow me on my journey to a new me and join me on SparkPeople to change your body too!!

PS- I WILL BE POSTING BEFORE PICS AND MEASUREMENTS IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.

Join me at: SparkPeople.com

Join the Web’s Only Nutrition & Fitness Program Just For Teens! Diet