The Long Game: Promoting Positive Relationships with Food

“I wish that they would eat more vegetables.”

“He won’t eat anything that’s not macaroni and cheese.”

“She has such a sweet-tooth – I think that she would eat candy forever if she could!”

“My child eats when bored or upset.  How do I help them stop?”

“I want my child to have a healthy relationship with food, so I don’t want to make it a stressful topic.  How do I do that and still help them make healthy choices?”

Healthy eating is obviously important to health and well-being, and it’s something that every family has to grapple with in one way or another. Our relationship with food is important, but it’s also complicated. Many parents feel pulled in multiple directions when trying to help their children develop healthy eating habits.

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Miracle Rescue. Now What?!

It is such a relief that the Thai soccer team was rescued from the cave. I can’t even imagine what they went through during the more than 2 weeks they were trapped on that ledge. Now that they are out, they will have a long recovery, both medically and psychologically. While watching the news, one of the programs made a point to say that the boys were able to eat real food. Why on earth would that be an issue? Let’s talk about refeeding syndrome.

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Caffeine and Kids

Most parents would love to have an ounce of their child’s energy. Science supports the fact that children under the age of 7 years do have more energy than older children and adults. Some researchers attribute it to their deep breathing pattern, which is more effective at oxygenating cells, and others to a child’s ability to live in-the-moment, not distracted by anxiety, worry or regret. What happens when the already-energized child consumes caffeine?

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Quick Kid-approved Meals for Busy Parents

Today, social media and the digital age inundates parents and caregivers with messaging regarding what, when, where, why and how to feed children. Eating healthy is likely a universal goal and I would venture to say that all caregivers desire to serve their children a well-balanced meal three times per day. I, however, would like to challenge what that meal looks like. A healthful meal is not determined by the time it took to prepare. In general “slow food” is healthier, but quick meals can be just as nutritious and buy caregivers more time to enjoy them with their children at a table.

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Heart Health Starts Early

When we think about eating or exercise for heart health, our first thought usually isn’t about kids’ health. On the contrary – many times we see childhood as a time of indulgence. Ice cream after a soccer game, pizza and a root beer float on the side, and let’s not forget about Halloween.

“I’m a working mom with two kids – I get it. I understand the desire to indulge,” says UW Health pediatric cardiologist Amy Peterson, MD.  “But the reality is that as parents one of our most important jobs is to help our kids grow to be healthy adults.”

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