Kids Health

If your child's happy, you're happy

What’s all the fuss about?

Filed under: Food and nutrition — Diane Peters at 12:04 am on Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Are meal times with your child hard work?



From a personal experience I know how hard it can be to feed a fussy eater, being one myself I can honestly say that meal times when I was a child were anightmare for my parents. For me it began when I started school at 4 years old, as my Mum likes to constantly remind me, “It all just went downhill from there!” I went from eating everything, to literally nothing! (Thankfully I am slowly growing out of it).

I have spoken to numerous parents that are either currently dealing with a child that is a fussy eater, or have already being through and dealt with the frustra-on that comes with a fussy eating child: Samantha Anddison and Gemma King are parents that are currently dealing with children who are fussy eaters. And Yvonne Jones (my dearest Mother) and Helen Dean have the wisdom and prior knowledge of tried and tested methods for dealing with a fussy eater.

Many studies have shown a connection between everything from a child’s environment, to the texture of the food, but from talking to Helen and Yvonne they both seem to think that it doesn’t matter what the cause is for most children as, “you still deal with it all the same way…” says Yvonne, “…you will still spend hours at the dinner table, and you still have the same argument over and over again with your child…’ says Helen. So, if this is true why has there been an increase in the amount of parents taking their children to see the Doctor with the same or similar eating habits that generations of parents have been dealing with?

Samantha stated, ‘I took my youngest because suddenly it became so difficult for him to eat anything. I was lucky if he would eat anything other than white bread and walkers cheese and onion crisps.’ I have spoken to Dr Eddison, a GP from Doncasterwho owns his own surgery called ‘The Village Practise he said, ‘Unless the child has a diagnosable eating disorder or is starving themselves, I suggest carrying on eating as normal. Keep making them food like you do with the rest of the family, most children will give in and eat when they are hungry, unless there are any underlying psychological issues.’ This backs up the same ideas of Helen and Yvonne, suggesting that perseverance is the right way forward.

However, it isn’t always thatsimple, it can put strain on families and even cause parents to feel guilty and blame themselves for their children’s eating habits.Listening to Gemma and the other women has made me look at having a child who is a fussy eater in a different way, maybe focusing more on the effects it is having on the families rather than the children themselves.Checking parents are coping, and siblings aren’t feeling left out or isolated from their parents, as all the information on that has been given and researched seems to suggest that children tend to grow out of being a fussyeater.

Dr Eddison also suggested this, “What I say to most parents dealing with children that have problems with food, is to watch the strain it can have on the rest of the family, like siblings. As for most children it is a phase they are going through, their way of rebelling’ I asked Helen and Yvonne, ‘If you could give a parent who is going through the issue of having a child who is a fussy eater, one piece of advice what would it be?’ It took Yvonne a while to narrow down her choice in advice, ‘Don’t do it alone. Talk to your  partner/husband etc., as they will be feeling the exact same way as you frustrated, angry and guilty!’ and Helen said ‘I suppose, don’t worry that you’re a bad parent. I kept thinking it was my fault that it was all down to me being a single parent and my daughter not seeing her dad.’ Two pieces of great advice that Dr Eddison agreed with, ‘Both are good, but we are here to help if things do get too much for families. So don’t hesitate if it has got too much.’ If you have anymore questions please don’t hesitate to email, also check out this website for more information


Grow your own !

Filed under: Food and nutrition — Diane Peters at 12:01 am on Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Growing your own vegetables is so easy, why not try it with your child?


Not everybody is blessed with a sprout loving angel, but almost all children love growing their own vegetables.And if they have grown their own veggies then they are more likely to try them, also they will have learned something about  where their food is coming from. As well as this you will be confident about where the food has come from and what’s being used to make them grow so beautifully!

What do you need for your kids to grow vegetables?

(The basics- space, sun, seeds & water)

• You don’t need much space; in fact most vegetables can be grown in small flower beds, pots or even window boxes full of compost.

• Sun is important, so most vegetables need a sunny spot in your garden.

• Seeds- you can buy packets of basic vegetable seeds from your local supermarket.

• You will need to water the seeds/plants in, then either every day or every other day depending on

the weather. (Kids love to water but will forget so you’ll have to keep an eye on this yourself)

 When and how is the best _me to sow the seeds?

Spring is the best #me to plant most vegetable, a trick is when you start to see weeds growing you know your seeds will be able to grow. There will also be instructions on the packet, but the main thing is to let your children sow the seeds themselves.

How do I get my kids interested in growing


Let them be in charge Mum! Plant veg that they like and get them to plant and water them. They may be less enthusiastic  about the weeding but they should still do the picking!

Why should our family bother growing our own?

You can teach your children about how to grow healthy food, which is much tastier and fresh. Itis also surprising easy to do, and gives you quality time with your children in the fresh air.Not to mention you will also save yourself a fair bit of money!

Keep it simple and give it a go!

Try not to worry too much just have a go with one or two vegetables and see how you get on. A packet of seeds costs less than £1 so you sowhat have you got to lose?!?

Weight: a big issue?

Filed under: Health and wellbeing — Diane Peters at 11:40 pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It is important to limit screen time to less than two hours per day

When your child is misbehaving, you are in a rush or you just want a little peace and quiet, an easy solution is to bribe your child with an unhealthy treat.  A biscuit here and there, a pizza for tea and an occasional fizzy drink may not seem like it could damage your child’s health; but with a growing rate of obesity in children it is essential that you encourage your child to lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

 Currently it is thought that around 25 percent of boys and 33 percent of girls aged between two and nineteen are over-weight or obese, with figures rising every year, this problem needs to be addressed now. 

 Dr. Tom Warshawski, Chair of The Childhood Obesity Foundation attributes the rise in obesity to problems with diet, he says:

 “The primary problem is an increased calorie intake by susceptible individuals.

Since the mid 1970s there has been an explosion in the availability of cheap, tasty, calorific dense foods. Portions have gotten bigger and cheaper and the population has gotten rounder and heavier.”

 If your child is overweight, now is the time to implement a change to their diet and to encourage more physical activity. If your child is not overweight, adopting a healthy lifestyle will reduce their risk of becoming overweight by adulthood.

 As a parent, you want what is best for your child; you want them to be happy but more importantly you want them to be healthy. Being overweight puts your child at risk of a whole range of health problems, including developing diabetes and having high blood pressure and cholesterol, which could increase your child’s risk of heart disease in later life.

 Children’s self esteem can also be effected by being overweight, they can find it hard to exercise and to be active because they are unfit, which in turn can leave them feeling embarrassed. Many children are also bullied or teased about their weight by their peers or by members of their family, this can negatively affect their body image, self esteem and mood.

 It can be difficult to tell if you should be concerned about your child’s weight. Weighing your child regularly will help you to keep an eye on how they are developing, so if they need to lose weight you can help them do so healthily.

 Health professionals often measure body mass index (BMI) to establish whether someone is the correct weight for their height and age. You can calculate your child’s BMI by using the specialist calculator on , alternatively you can ask your school nurse or GP to assist you.

 Talking to your child about weight is often a difficult subject, as Rebecca Lewis, 30, from Manchester found when approaching the matter with her eleven year old son, Ethan. She says “I was scared to bring up the topic with Ethan as I know that he gets picked on at school for his weight, I did’t want to upset him or make food and eating a big deal.”

 Dr Warshawski explains that the easiest way to start a conversation with your child about their weight is to approach the topic when  a suitable opportunity arises. This could include when they are telling you about how they’re being teased about their weight at school, when you are clothes shopping and you have to buy bigger sizes for your child, or when other family members or friends comment about their weight.

 In these situations you could ask your child whether such situations bother them and ask whether they would like you to help them do something about it. Dr Warshawski says: “It is really important to talk to your child about their weight and to offer to help them lose it, because most children do not lose weight without adult support.”

 If a child or youth is overweight all sugary drinks should be discontinued and water, skimmed milk or diet drinks substituted. Fruits and vegetables must be
increased and made readily available at all times and  portion sizes should be decreased to food guide levels. The occasional treat such as sweets, crisps and chips can be maintained as weekend treats or rewards after lengthy exercise. Keeping the calorie balance in mind, don’t eat more junk food calories than were burned off in exercise.

 It is important to lead by example and build your home for success, don’t have junk food and junk drink (sugary drinks are the worst promoter of obesity) in the home and provide plenty of opportunity for physical exercise.

 Your child may be reluctant to change their eating habits to begin with, but it is important to perceiver to ensure that they develop into healthy adults. Children often need between twenty to thirty tries of a particular food to decide whether or not they like it. Therefore it is essential to present your child with foods that they claim they dislike on more than one occasion.  

 Often overweight children can be reluctant to exercise and prefer to do sedentary activities such as playing on the computer or watching T.V, this is a problem that Emma Sheppard, 28, from Doncaster has with her seven year old daughter, Charlene. Emma says: “My daughter doesn’t like exercising because she feels that everyone is looking at her, I don’t want to force her into doing anything that she doesn’t want to do.”

 To combat problems likes this, Dr Warshawski stresses that fun activities are  the key to getting your child to be active. He says :“Walking, strolling, swimming, getting to school early and playing are all ways to encourage physical activity. It is also crucial to limit screen time (tv, computer, texting etc) to a maximum of 2 hours per day as children  are naturally active creatures and will remain so if not tethered to an electronic screen.”

 It takes only a few simple changes to get your children to eat healthily and exercise regularly. Make the changes together  and your whole family can benefit and will soon be happy, fit and healthy.

 If you need extra advice and support on managing your child’s weight, visit your GP who can refer you to a dietician or paediatrician who specialise in this area.

How to eat healthily on the go

Filed under: Food and nutrition — Diane Peters at 4:05 pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012

whether you are at the park or on the beach, you always need a healthy snack to hand

Because there is always time for nutritious food.

Let’s face it; it’s hard to stick to a healthy diet when you’re constantly on the go. Between taking your children to school, to different activities and to all the other places you to go from day to day; fitting in snacks and meals that are healthy for you and your children can be difficult.

When you are in a rush, it is easy to grab what ever is at arms length; most of the time this is processed unhealthy food which is conveniently available at every turn.

Shopping centre food courts rarely have healthy, nutritious options to feed your children; restaurant children’s menu’s typically offer nothing more than chicken nuggets and chips and even the local leisure centre is filled with vending machines that are packed with chocolate and crisps.

Eating on the go is a fact of life for most parents, however, with a few simple preparations it is possible for you and your child to eat healthily wherever you are, here’s how:

1) Start the day with a healthy breakfast. If you foresee that the day ahead is going to involve unhealthy snacks or meals that are grabbed on the go, make sure that you and your family start the day healthily. Skip the greasy breakfast and opt for healthier options such as whole grain cereal , hard boiled eggs or fruit.

2) Prepare healthy snacks in advance and take them out with you. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables such as carrots, cucumber, celery, apples, oranges and grapes. Wash and cut them into bite size pieces and put them into small plastic containers. These can be stored in the fridge ready to take out with you, so when you or your child get hungry you have a healthy snack at hand. Other great, healthy snacks to take out with you are yogurts and string cheese.

3)Keep non perishable foods in your bag. Easy snacks on the go are packets of crisps and chocolate bars , but these are really unhealthy. Try carrying cereal bars, nuts and dried fruit; these snacks are healthy and won’t go off in your bag so they can stay there until they get eaten- perfect!

4) Negotiate with your child. It’s hard to tell your child that they can’t have chips, a chocolate bar or a fizzy drink so sometimes compromising is the best option. Tell your child that if they have a fruit juice now they can have a fizzy drink in the restaurant, or let them have one treat during the day instead of one with every meal.

5) Stay hydrated. Make sure you and your child have a bottle of water or a fruit juice at hand when you are out. Often being thirsty is mistaken for hunger, so be sure to have a drink before tucking into a snack to see if you are hungry or just need to be

6) Try to avoid ordering your child food from the kids menu. It is rare for the children’s menu in a restaurant to offer healthy meals, usually it’s filled with food like beef burger and chips. Whilst it is doubtful that your child will opt for a salad, try to compromise and split a salad an a portion of chips between you and your child. That way at least part of their meal is healthy.

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