Kids Eat Right

I know that I kind of missed the mark with this post. It is a little late, because August was Kids Eat Right Month and I know it is now the beginning of September, but I am think this is such a great topic that we should continue to talk about it into September. 

As many of you know, I am a pediatric dietitian and I feel passionately about good nutrition for our kids. This week I am was asked to put together a display booth as a Elementary/Jr High Wellness Night at a private school. I also have the chance to be on Indy Style again talking about school lunches (tune in tomorrow at 9am on WISH TV). I thought this would be a great topic for the blog this week and really focus in on recommendations for school-aged children.

There was also a great news article that was released at the end of August from the American Heart Association talking about children and sugar consumption. This statement came from research put out in the publication Circulation, looking at how sugar affect children's overall health. The recommendations are that children/teens (ages 2-18 years old) should not be consuming more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Added sugars are classified as table sugar, fructose, honey found in processed/prepared foods or beverages, sugar that is added to foods at the table or eaten separately. It has been determined that children eating more than this per day (> 6 tsp added sugar) are often consuming more unhealthy food items. 

Now you have to be wondering what in the world can you do to cut back on your child's sweet treats? Well thankful there is a great handout from the USDA on this exact topic. 

In addition to just sugar intake, overall diet is important as well for children to grow/develop to their full potential. As a parent/caregiver, the responsibility falls to you to help make sure that your child is getting the proper nutrition that they need. You should be aiming for a well-rounded, balanced plate at every meal. I know that feel intimidating, specially if you have a picky child. But keep offering healthy options and encourage your child to take at least 2 bites of each food item offered at that meal. 

Your child's plate will be smaller compared with yours, but it should still contain all of the above mentioned food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Grains and Dairy) with each meal. Now I know it can be challenging to fit in vegetables with your breakfast, so if that doesn't happen every morning, make sure to offer another vegetable at lunch/dinner and move a fruit to a snack in the afternoon. 

Tips for a Healthy School Lunch

  1.  Incorporate fruits and vegetables in a fun way. Variety your produce options in the lunch bag. Use different dips throughout the week with the veggies (hummus, ranch, sunbutter) or with the fruit (like yogurt). Cut up the fruit/vegetables so that your child is more likely to eat them. 
  2. Make the bread on their sandwich whole grain. This could be sliced bread, crackers, pita or a wrap. You can have a variety of types of sandwiches (lunch meat, PB&J, chicken salad). 
  3. Have a snack for them in their bag for later in day – for the ride home on the bus or in between school and a sports practice. Make this something easy to carry that doesn’t need an ice pack – granola bar, crackers, dried fruit, or nuts.

If you  have more questions or want more information about planning healthy, meals for your family, feel free to get in touch with me! Have a great Monday and hope your Labor Day weekend has been amazing! 

Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management Certificate Program

I had the opportunity to attend the Childhood and Adolescent Weight Management Certificate Program in Indianapolis last week. It had been a goal of mine for the last couple of years to attend that program when it was closer to where I live. They offer the 3 day program twice a year and they rotate the sights all over the country. This spring it was in Indianapolis! I just had to go, because it would have been cheaper and less travel compared to going to another state for this training. 

Now you might be wondering what this training is about. It is focused on combating the obesity epidemic in youth and the goal is for RDs to be able to learn more about this issue and be better equipped to work with patients to help them become healthier. To complete the certificate program you have to complete required readings, complete a pre-test (score minimum of 80%), attend the 2 1/2 day program and then complete a post-test (scoring a minimum of 80%). At the end of all this you get to claim this certified training on your resume and gain useful knowledge in this specialty area. 

So even if you aren't an RD, I did learn some interesting information that you might find interesting. 

  • Children ages 2-19 - 32% of them are obese and 21% of children ages 6-10 years are living in food insecure homes.
  • It is projected that by the year 2072 - 80% of everyone in the United States will be obese (BMI >30kg/m2). 
  • 60% of children 10-14 years old have a TV in their bedroom. Research has shown that kids gain 1 extra pound per year when they have a TV in their bedroom compared with children who didn't have a TV in their bedroom. 
  • Children are often the main target for intense and aggressive food marketing and advertising efforts. Often this is NOT for healthy, food options.

I know some of those statistics are depressing, but I think it helps to realize how big of a problem this is for children and this isn't a problem that goes away in adulthood. This weight gain trend often continues as the child gets older and continues to be a problem throughout the child's entire life. 

There are lots of things that we (as a community) can do to help our youth be healthier now and for the future. 

  • Make an effort with your children to limit screen time, get outside a move more and purchase healthy food for your home. 
  • Try to eat out less and make being healthy an entire family commitment. 
  • Support health/wellness initiatives in the local school systems. 
  • As a parent or caregiver, demonstrate healthy behaviors for your children. 

I wanted to share this video from the FNV Campaign (Food and Veggies) that is a partnership from the Healthier America and Let's Move Campaigns to help encourage healthier food marketing to Americans. I just wanted to leave you on that note and encourage you to make healthy choices for yourself and your children. 

Certified Specialist in Pediatrics

I got the letter. I have been waiting to hear how I did on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Board Exam for the Certification in Pediatrics. I took the exam back in November, just prior to Thanksgiving. I had been waiting while they graded all of the exams and determine who passes. I felt better about this exam and after reviewing some flashcards for the exam I felt like I had a better handle on the material. 

For those of you that may be confused about what this means ... the accreditation body for the dietetics profession is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They have several certification exams that you can take in a variety of speciality areas - for example Nutrition Support, Diabetics, Pediatrics, Sports Nutrition, etc. To be eligible to take these exams you must complete a set number of practice hours. For the Certification in Pediatrics it was 2,000 contact hours with pediatric patients. You also must have at least 2 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian. Once these requirements are met you are eligible to sit for the exam. Once you pass the exam you can place these certification letters after your name. I have been wanting to obtain these credentials for several years, ever since I developed a love for pediatrics and working with families in a nutrition setting. 

I got my letter this past week, congratulating me on passing this exam. Now I can sign my name Anna Busenburg, RD, CSP. It is quite exciting to see all the hard work, hours of studying, finally pay off!