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September Health Tips from Riley Hospital for Children

  • Breakfast for lunch: 2 tablespoons of apple butter with 1 medium banana sliced and sandwiched between 2 whole wheat waffles, 1 cup of low fat milk, 1 cup of carrot sticks
  • Combo Lunch: 4-6 whole grain crackers, 1 slice of low fat cheese, 1-2 ounces of low fat turkey or chicken, ½ cup mandarin oranges, 1cup of cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices, water or flavored water.
  • Tacos to Go: 2 hard or soft taco shells, or 1 small bag of baked tortilla chips and toppings – lettuce, tomato, low fat cheese, beans, salsa, etc. Add one lowfat pudding cup and 1 cup of berries for dessert.
  • No-Bake Pizza: 1 whole grain English muffin, ½ cup of tomato sauce, 1 piece of string cheese, 5 slices of turkey pepperoni, ½ cup of sliced sweet peppers and mushrooms. Assemble at school so the muffin does not get soggy. No veggies on the pizza? Have them on the side with Italian dressing for dip and add a medium piece of fruit for dessert.
  • The classic: 2 ounce of low fat turkey, 1 slice of lowfat cheese and 1-2 slices of whole grain bread (have fun with a variety of bread types such as pitas, tortillas, focaccia, or small bagels), add some lettuce and tomato and you have a great sandwich. Include a small apple, a 1 ounce bag of baked chips, 1 cup of low fat milk, and you have a quick and easy lunch!

Healthy eating is a family affair, says pediatric gastroenterologist Sandeep Gupta, M.D., director of Riley Hospital for Children’s POWER program which works with kids, their parents and their docs to help children ages 2 to 18 years adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid obesity. Dr. Gupta, professor of clinical pediatrics and clinical medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, counsels parents to be realistic in their approach to helping their children manage their weight. He encourages families to talk about healthy choices, to make them at the grocery store or when dining out, and to eat meals together as often as possible. Mealtimes should be an opportunity for setting examples on how to lead healthy lifestyles, he says.

Is it possible to get your kids to avoid unhealthy snacks during or after school? Healthy habits, including eating habits, start at home says Riley Hospital for Children pediatrician Michele Saysana, M.D., an Indiana University School of Medicine assistant professor of clinical pediatrics. She advises parents of young children to teach them to make good choices such as baked rather than fried chips or granola bars instead of candy bars.

Does the sugar in candy make children hyperactive? This is a myth according to Riley Hospital pediatricians Aaron Carroll, M.D., and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., both faculty members of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. “In at least 12 double-blinded, randomized, controlled trials, scientists have examined how children react to diets containing different levels of sugar. None of these studies, not even studies looking specifically at children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, could detect any differences in behavior between the children who had sugar and those who did not,” they report. They also note that even in studies of children who were considered “sensitive” to sugar, children did not behave differently after eating sugar-full or sugar-free diets.

Should parents restrict their children’s sugar consumption? Riley Hospital pediatricians Aaron Carroll, M.D., and Rachel Vreeman, M.D., both faculty members of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, say that while sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children this doesn’t mean that sugar is good for children. “There are many good reasons for parents to restrict their children’s sugar consumption, including risks for obesity and cavities,” they note.