By: Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC
Pediatric Registered Dietitian●Lactation Consultant
Feeding Philosophies www.feedingphilosophies.com
Raising kids is an emotional experience, both exhilarating and exhausting. Watching your child learn to walk, talk or swim can be the exhilarating part. Those middle-of-the-night feedings, temper tantrums and childhood illnesses are exhausting. Another emotionally charged part of raising kids can be their nutrition; what they eat and what they won’t eat. Talk about frustrating. You can spend 90 minutes on dinner grilling that salmon, steaming kale, and boiling quinoa for dinner, but the kicker is getting your kid to eat it. What makes it more worrisome for parents is that now, more than ever, we know how important early nutrition is in childhood development and learning. Getting your kid to eat can be challenging, but it can be done.
When parents see me they think I have these magic meals or super savvy snack ideas that are jammed packed with nutrition that kids are going to love. I wish I did, but I don’t and I don’t know anyone that works in this field that does. Getting your child to expand his or her repertoire of food is a process and I divide it into two parts when working with parents; the first is WHAT to feed and the second is HOW to feed.
The “WHAT”: The best “brain food” , and you may have guessed it, is going to be vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, nuts, beans, seeds, lower fat dairy products and whole grains. Planning menus with these foods is ideal.
The “HOW”: This is the larger issue that many parents do not understand and underestimate its power. Ask yourself where, when and how are you feeding your child? Structured meals and snacks are imperative for all children, no matter the issue. And frequent snacking is going to guarantee that expanding your child’s repertoire of healthy “brain food” is going to be a challenge. Furthermore, there is a psychology behind raising a nutritionally healthy child and it is going to mean taking an insightful look at the way you, as the parent, were raised nutritionally and how you eat now.
I have tissue boxes all over my office because parents cry out of frustration when describing to me the picky eating habits their children have. Once parents have the education on what to feed and implement the right way to feed their children, kids are eating and parents are smiling. Changing how you feed your child takes time and patience, but it’s worth it for your peace of mind as the parent and for your child’s physical and emotional health.
Join me at Pride Learning Center Newport Beach on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 7:00pm to learn more specifically about the “Brain Foods” and how we can get our children to eat them. Get your questions answered and get your child eating!
Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC is a pediatric registered dietitian and board certified lactation consultant. She is the owner of Feeding Philosophies (www.feedingphilosophies.), a private pediatric nutrition counseling business where she treats a variety of issues: ADD/ADHD, picky eating, underweight, overweight, food allergic, vegetarian/vegan, g-tube fed and Prader-Willi Syndrome. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for your child, please contact Melanie at 949.271.9125 or Melanie@feedingphilosophies.com. Phone and Skype appointments available. Follow Melanie on Facebook (Feeding Philosophies) or Twitter (FeedPhilosophy) and learn more about what and how to feed your kids.
By Karina Richland, M.A., E.T.
I just finished the book, Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress, by Sheryl Feinstein. It is an easy read and I was able to finish the entire book in a few days. It is a fabulous parenting guide and will really help parents and teachers understand the complexity of the teenage brain and give them some valuable insight into their teenager’s mind.
I was particularly interested in the chapters on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as Learning Disabilities and how we as parents and teachers can understand the abnormalities in many parts of the brain in our teenagers. I did learn, that according to the research, there is clear evidence that there is a biological difference between the brains of ADHD individuals and others.
In Chapter 1, the book covers basic information on the teenage brain, how it differs from the adult brain and why adults find the teenager’s actions so challenging and confusing. I especially enjoyed learning about the overproduction of dendrites and synaptic connections and how valuable education and learning is during these teenage years. Adolescents are acquiring knowledge at an unprecedented rate during the teenage years. The more the student is engaged in an activity, the more dendrites grow and build synaptic connections. The teenager is given a second chance in life to really build up that brain! The more time that is dedicated to reading, writing, math, music, and sports – the better the brain is formed for the future. Not only is the brain producing dendrites like crazy, but it is also going through a pruning process – use it or lose it!
Chapters 2 – 11 go into detail discussing social, emotional, physical, educational and technological issues that both parents and teenagers face daily. Each chapter provides strategies for parents or teachers that work and also don’t work.
The entire book is written in a very parent-friendly manner. The sections on neurology and neuroscience are easily understood and absolutely not intimidating. I highly recommend this book to all parents and teachers. The more parents read, research and learn about the inner workings of their teenager’s brain, the better parents and teachers we all will be.
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Managing Director of Pride Learning Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County. A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland is a Reading and Learning Disability Specialist. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can reach her by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pride Learning Center website at:
By Noah Samuels / Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist
Many people ask me about finding a good sweetener alternative to sugar. White sugar, cane sugar, fructose, or turbinado, are all just sugar. Sugar is high on the glycemic index, which means that it goes right into the blood stream as sugar. Carbohydrates also turn into sugar in the body at varying rates depending on the food.
Sugar in small amounts is necessary. However, most of us get way more sugar than we need. Sugar can have a profound affect on energy, mood, and wellbeing. We should all try to limit the amount of sugar in our diets. People who have any kind of mood disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, hypoglycemia, weight gain and/or diabetes need to limit their intake of sugar.
Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet and Low are all just that: artificial! They are synthetic products made out of chemicals. In essence, I would rather people have actual sugar than these products for raw cane sugar is, at least, natural. However, realistically speaking, we need to limit our sugar.
Honey is lower on the glycemic index than sugar, however it is still pretty high. Fruits can vary on the glycemic index scale depending on the fruit. Watermelon being the highest, cherries being the lowest. You can go to this website: https://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/glycemicfoodchart.htm for a more complete gylcemic index chart. You can print it out and put it on your refrigerator door. Try to keep your glycemic intake in the low to moderate range.
Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. The species Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, commonly known as sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar. Not only is stevia a zero on the glycemic index, research has shown that it is effective at combating obesity and hypertension, as well as enhancing glucose tolerance for diabetics.
Noah Samuels is a Licensed Acupuncturist, herbalist and nutritional counselor specializing in the natural treatment of ADD/ADHD in pediatrics and adults.