How to Get Your Nanny to Follow Your Food Style

Guest Blog by Debra Johnson

Photo Credit: Ioannis Karydis via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Ioannis Karydis via Compfight cc

Many children have special dietary needs that are a result of either a specific lifestyle or a health condition. A child may have an allergy to a specific food, or a family may have chosen to live a vegetarian lifestyle. No matter the reasoning for a special diet, leaving a child with a new caregiver or nanny can be a challenging experience for a parent. It can cause the parent to worry about how well the nanny will follow the child’s diet plan. For this reason, the following ideas are offered to help you teach your nanny the importance of following your child’s food style when you leave your child in their care.
1. Create a contract – When hiring a nanny, it is always a good idea to write up a simple contract that details the hours that they will work as well as other necessary guidelines. For a child who has a special diet, this can be outlined in the contract as well so that everyone understands how important it is for the diet to be followed.

2. Post a menu – Until a new nanny becomes accustomed to the child’s diet, it can be helpful to create a menu of meals for the nanny to follow. This can be posted in a visible area of the kitchen or in a manual that you create for the nanny.

3. Make it convenient – If a child’s diet is complicated, it could become overwhelming for a nanny at first. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare meals ahead of time that can be frozen and reheated. Additionally, stocking up on approved foods and snacks will help your nanny to include a variety of healthy options for your child.

4. Avoid eating out – Spending a day out can be an enjoyable way for your nanny to provide your child with new experiences. However, navigating the menu at a restaurant can be challenging for someone who has special dietary needs. For this reason, you may prefer to pack a lunch or provide a list of safe food options for days when your nanny takes your child out on a day trip.

5. Post emergency information – Parents should also be sure to leave emergency information with a nanny. This is especially true for children with allergies who may require special medications in the event that they have a reaction. Make sure that your nanny has access to emergency information so that she can act quickly if necessary.

When it comes to special accommodations, a qualified nanny will have no problem making sure that your child’s needs are met. However, it is important to provide support to your nanny by making sure  they understand your child’s health condition and have access to the proper food. By making an extra effort to ensure that your nanny is knowledgeable, you will be able to enjoy the peace that comes with knowing they will provide your child with the best of care.

 

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com. She welcomes your comments at her email, jdebra84@gmail.com.

A Desert Where Shopping Matters

From comparing grocery store prices to analyzing a product’s nutritional label, a weekend trip to the grocery store can turn into stressful and overwhelming task. Many of us want to eat healthier, but how can we shop for healthy foods while on a limited budget? Although price often plays a major role in influencing what we buy when we go food shopping, buying healthy foods doesn’t have to be expensive.

Many organizations are making an effort to tackle this nationwide issue by teaching nutrition education, but one organization’s unique efforts is City Harvest’s Shopping Matters, which takes place right in local grocery stores. And just like many other Americans, if money is what is keeping you from making healthy food purchases, I challenge you to think again. What if you could learn to stretch your budget, to buy and eat healthy foods? Read on to learn about the awesome efforts made by City Harvest, and the programs’ tips to get the most healthful bang for your buck.

What is Shopping Matters?

Shopping Matters is an initiative created by City Harvest in partnership with Share Our Strength. The two-hour grocery store tour is led by a qualified facilitator, who teaches the participants how to shop on a budget, read food labels, how to identify whole-grains and stretch your budget to create more than just one meal. After one hour, participants are presented with a $10 challenge to put what they’ve just learned into practice. Participants must follow specific guidelines, i.e. grain must be whole-grain bread or cereal, to buy at least one food from each food group totaling no more than $10. This part of the tour is particularly fun and exciting for the participants because it not only tests their knowledge but it offers motivation to try new foods like 2% milk rather than whole milk.

Another Kind of Desert

Can you imagine travelling 15 miles to buy a head of lettuce or some fresh fruit? Many of us are fortunate to be able to call Whole Foods or Trader Joes, our local market. With organic foods and fresh produce so readily available to us, it can be easy to forget that for many Americans, this is not the case. Imagine if the closest grocery store was too far to get to without transportation. An area where grocery stores are scarce or missing, this is called a food desert. Although there may be bodegas or take-out restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood, it would still be considered a food desert since many atimes only highly processed foods are offered. It is in these areas that poverty, obesity and health related diseases are at an all time high. City Harvest considers these factors and implements the Shopping Matters Tours in only specific neighborhoods. The tours currently take place in the following neighborhoods: 1) The South Bronx, 2) Stapleton, Staten Island 3). Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. By conducting the tours in the actual neighborhood markets like Key Foods, not only places the participants in a realistic environment, but makes the food culture relevant.

Build the Skills To Make Healthy Choices While On a Budget

A Shopping Matters Tour may not be taking place in your local market but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the tips City Harvest has to offer! Here’s the inside scoop on the skills you need to build to stretch your budget and make tasty, healthy meals for you and your family:

  • Buy Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables – Not only will your produce taste better, but during peak season fresh produce costs less.
  • Fresh, Frozen and Canned – People tend to think fresh produce is the “best” form. However, keep in mind that fresh produce often needs be used quickly and if not in season, can be expensive.  A more economical alternative is to buy frozen fruits and vegetables, which can cost less and is available year-round. If canned foods are on sale, they have a long shelf life and can be a good purchase. If opting to buy canned products, choose items without added sodium, low in fat, or 100% juice. If there is sodium in it, simply rinse off canned produce to reduce the sodium.  Surely every packaging has its pros and cons but by opening yourself up to fruits and vegetables in all their forms, in terms of prices, you’ll have more options to choose from.
  • Compare Prices – Use unit prices to find the best bang for your buck. The unit price shows ounce for ounce or pound by pound just how much you are paying for a particular item. For example, when comparing two bagged items of different sizes, it can help you identify just exactly which costs less.
  • Read Food Labels – Take a few seconds to check the serving size. If considering your family meals, this can be especially helpful in meal planning. Look at the calories, sodium and nutrients you will be getting from the product.
  • Read the Ingredients – Just because the bread is brown or says “multigrain” or even “100% wheat” doesn’t mean it is actually made with whole grain. Be a smart and saavy shopper and check for the first ingredient on the list. Some examples are: Whole wheat, bulgar, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice
  • Organic vs. Non-Organic – Some items need not be purchased organic. If you wish to purchase organic, check out this Dirty Dozen list for a better understanding of what items are better off organic and which ones you can do without. If cost is a factor however, getting your fruits and vegetables should be at the top of the list, even if its not organic.
  • Cut coupons and checkout weekly specials

What's on our "Q"?

 The Skinny on Shakes for People With Diabetes

With so many meal replacements on the market, but how do you pick
which one is best? Taste shouldn’t be the only determining factor. It can
be important to consider the sugar, carbohydrate or even protein content.11 Nutritious, Kid-Friendly Finger Foods

Who doesn’t love meatballs? Check out this easy to follow recipe made
from lean turkey breast, which helps turn this usual calorie fest into something
a bit healthier. And while your at it, make sure to check out the Mango Tango Tortillas!

Jet-Set With Your Picnic Basket! Fun Theme Ideas for Lunch

Themed picnics are a great way to incorporate entertainment, flavor, and
even education into a family outing. Add a clever theme to your picnic by
incorporating foods from another city or, better yet, from around the world!

Also in “Q”: Remember to tune in for Restaurant Week 2012 recommendations, this Wednesday AM on CBS’s W1NY!!

 

The Epidemic of Diabetes

Hydrate with water, not soda

Regardless of weight and age, America is heading towards a Diabetes epidemic. Americans must change their lifestyles by moving more, and eating less.

Diabetes does not discriminate based on overall weight. America needs to focus on decreasing belly fat, specifically, eating less processed food and moving more.

 

Based on the study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, Diabetes is increasing in our teen population. There was a 14% increase in prediabetes and diabetes in a ten year period. In 1999 – 2000, there was a 9% incidence of prediabetes and diabetes in teenagers between ages 12- 19. In 2007- 2008, there was a 23 % incidence of prediabetes and diabetes. This is more than two fold. However, the study also revealed this was regardless of weight. Across the weight spectrum, all teens had an increase in the incidence of Diabetes. In my mind, this is a Diabetes Epidemic not an obesity epidemic.

Obesity did not increase in our youth during this ten year period from 1999 – to 2008. One study from the NHANES reports an actual decrease in teen obesity, despite an increase in prediabetes and diabetes. Also, half of the participants in the study had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which means everyone needs intervention.

So what is the intervention? It depends on who you ask but the many agree America must move more, eat less processed food, and practice stress relief. America is eating too much and not moving enough. We are a culture of convenience. People need to eat because they are hungry rather than bored. We need to eliminate highly processed food such as chips and soda. We need to feel full with fiber and drink for hydration. Simple solutions are to replace chips with fiber rich berries and soda with bubbly water like Perrier. Ideally, we need to decrease insulin resistance and belly bulge (aka abdominal obesity).

The study admits to flaws. One of the flaws is the tool BMI – Body Mass Index. This measurement tool uses overall weight and height, not accounting for muscle mass and frame. Football players are considered obese when using BMI. A better tool to assess for obesity, belly fat, insulin resistance and or risk for diabetes would be the waist to height ratio. This tool would not qualify the typical football player as obese.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to share some of these thoughts with the HLN audience. Click here to see the clip.

 

May AL, Kuklina EV, Yoon PW. Prevalence of cardiovascular disease risk factors among US adolescents, 1999−2008. Pediatrics. 2012;peds.2011-1082.

Pizza, Pizza!

Pizza is a favorite meal of many children (and many parents, too!), but due to its often high saturated fat content and refined carbohydrates, it tends to be less than a wholesome meal. You can make some simple changes to your pizza to make it a more nutrient dense choice.

  • Switch to a whole-wheat crust. This will provide more nutrients and fiber than the traditional white crust and leave you and your kids fuller and more satisfied. Many pizzerias are now offering the whole-wheat option so be sure to ask when ordering. If whole-wheat is not available, flatbread crusts are also a good option. At home, you can make pizza dough by subbing whole-wheat flour for white. For a frozen pizza, Amy’s, DiGiorno, and other lines are beginning to carry whole-wheat pizzas. Another fun option is using whole wheat English muffins (I love Thomas’ 100% Whole Wheat)—that way everyone can have their own mini personal pizza!
  • Make your sauce smart. Tomato sauce is an integral part of any good pizza and it provides many vitamins and minerals as well the phytochemical lycopene which promotes heart health. However, many sauces are high in sodium. When making pizza at home, select a sauce with no salt added. When ordering out, try a Pizza Margherita to limit the sodium.
  • Pack on the veggie toppings. Spinach, broccoli, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms—the options are endless. These veggies turn your simple slice of pizza into a delicious nutritional powerhouse. This is also a good opportunity to introduce a new vegetable to your family. By serving it with a familiar food such as pizza, kids will be more open-minded to trying the new food.
  • Pick a protein. While the pizza’s cheese proves as a source of protein in the dish, pizza becomes a more balanced meal when one additional ounce of protein is added to it. This protein will help keep your family fuller longer. Select a lean protein such as grilled chicken, low-sodium ham, or grilled tofu. Limit the pepperoni and sausage slices. These meats are high in sodium and saturated fats.
  • Serve a side salad. It is easy to consume too many slices of pizza. To help you get in better touch with your hunger signals, pair your slice with a side salad, a handful of raw carrots, or a fruit salad.
  • Enjoy it with family and friends. Pizza is a food that is often served in celebration. It is a common choice at birthday parties, soccer championships, and family get-togethers. Make these events about enjoying the company of those around you rather than solely focusing on the food.

Mom Dishes It Out

So with heightened nerves, I have entered two new worlds. One being the MAC Book Pro and the other, the world of Twitter. You can follow me at @MomDishesItOut. I will be tweeting about Mom things concerning raising our kids and food. My new mommy blog is useable www.MomDishesItout.com but not too pretty yet. Give me a few days and the new blog will be as yummy as a Magnolia’s cupcake. Cheers!!

The Other Butter:

My oldest son’s school is “NUT SAFE” meaning nut free. For many parents, this leaves us in bewilderment when trying to make our kids a nut free snack or lunch. This is especially challenging when we have picky palates to deal with.

The Solution:

If you can no longer send peanut butter to school, spread some soy nut butter on your kid’s sandwich. Shh, don’t tell them and see if they notice the difference. My picky eater noticed something was different, but liked it. Even better was when I sent the soy nut butter to school for snack week, the teachers reported the class loved eating it as their protein choice during snack time. The teachers commented that they were sharing the idea with the class parents.

Soy foods are listed as one of the top eight food allergens but are neither a peanut or tree nut. Therefore, they are typically safe and appropriate in a nut free environment. To learn more about food allergies specifically peanuts and tree nuts visit:  http://www.foodallergy.org/page/tree-nut-allergy. For more information on feeding your kids, stay tuned for my new mommy blog:  www.MomDishesItOut.com!!!

 

Move over TV dinners and say hi to this microwave meal.

It’s the end of August and we are all scrambling to get everything ready for the new school year. Sometimes meals become second priority. If you are lacking time and want something tasty, try Kashi’s Pesto Pasta Primavera. Add one half cup of beans (rec. no added salt) to this microwave meal and you have a balanced vegetarian lunch option with 18 grams of vegetarian protein and 14 grams of fiber.