Ahhh, Spring a time of freedom

 

pexels-photo-459949.jpeg

Spring, my favorite time of the year!  It’s a time to shed those heavy winter coats, kick off your shoes and enjoy the freedom of fresh air and sunshine!

Growing up on a farm, spring was a magical time.  I remember waking to the chirps of the robins, meadow larks, blue jays, and once in a while the beautiful song of a canary.

Spring was the time to start planting on the farm.  I would watch my dad and uncle disk the soil and plant the corn.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh turned soil.  There was such a sense of accomplishment watching the ground come to life after a long cold winter.

As for re-birth, momma cats would always hide their babies in the hay mow.  I remember running to the barn with my girlfriend as we searched through the hay to find the kittens.  We would laugh at the kittens as they spit and hissed, trying to act like tigers, when we picked them up.  It wasn’t long until we had them purring and running to us when they saw us in the hay mow.

Also in the barn, the sows were having piglets.  Baby pigs have to be one of the cutest animals in the world.  It’s too bad they grow up to be big, ugly, and MEAN!!  Once in a while, dad would bring a runt into the house for us to bottle feed.  That little pig would play and follow you around just like a dog.  Yep, pretty much like Wilber in the story of Charlotte’s Web.  But, when that little piggy started eating regular feed, it went back into the barn with his brothers and sisters!

My favorite memory on the farm was walking out to the pasture in the evening with my dad.  We’d go out and turn on the water for the water tank and just stand and watch the cows and calves.  The cows would be eating the new sprigs of  fresh grass, while the calves would be running and frolicking with each other in the evening air.

calf-brown-reddish-small.jpg

 

There were other times when I would saddle up my horse and take an evening ride around the farm.  I remember one time, I rode in the pasture just as the cows were settling down for the night.  To the east, the moon was sitting on the horizon like a huge, orange ball.  In the distance there was the cry of a coyote and her pups.  I remember feeling like that moment was something out of a movie.  It was beautiful!!

Of course, Spring can get a little rough out here on the prairie!  Mother nature likes to unexpectedly throw a storm or two on you.  But even with the winds, hail, sudden downpours of heavy of rain, and yes, even a tornado, there is beauty in the fury.  The shapes and colors of the clouds during the storms are magnificent.  Watching the lightning as it streaks across the sky and the rumble of what seems like never-ending thunder is amazing.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen the destruction of these storms many times.  The flash flooding, the ruination of homes, trees and everything else in the path of  tornadoes, the killing of animals from lightning, the beating the farmer’s crops take from the hail.  A life time of work gone in a few minutes.

sky-clouds-cloudscape-clouded-158279.jpeg

 

For me growing up on a farm was a spectacular.  I will never forget those days.

I wish you all a very happy spring!

Laura

 

 

Advertisements

A spoonful of sugar

pexels-photo-356365.jpegIf you’re like me, after a stressful day, you can’t wait to take that first sweet, creamy, bite of a candy bar.  Nothing can take its place after a hard day at work!  But now imagine, never being able to taste that sweet, luscious, melt in your mouth piece of candy ever again!!  I can’t imagine that happening either!  But, to a rare few of people out there, their love of sugar has come to an end.

A reader asked me if there was such a thing as a sugar allergy.  It seems if she puts sugar in her coffee, or, eats a candy bar, or any form of sugar, she gets severe cramps that last for several hours.

A sugar allergy would be very rare.  A sugar intolerance on the other hand might be a more suitable term.  An allergy is when, a food causes an immune system reaction that affects many organs of the body.  In some cases it can be life threatening.  A food intolerance  is less serious and often limited to digestive problems.

There is such a thing called Genetic Sucrose-Isomaltase Deficiency or GSID. I can give you a lot of medical talk, but, to make this short, a person with GSID can not digest sugar, whether it’s white sugar or the starches in fruits, vegetables and grains like bread and rice.

GSID is often mistaken as other sugar intolerances, such as fructose or lactose intolerances, and gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome.

Symptoms can be abdominal pain, cramping, nausea/vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea.  There is nothing you can take to ease the symptoms of GSID.  You just have to wait for the sugar to run through your body.  It can be minutes or hours depending on how fast the sugar moves through your digestive tract.

GSID in children can affect growth and development.  People suffering from GSID are at risk of chronic malnutrition, diarrhea, gassiness, abdominal distention and pain.  Failure to thrive is another characteristic of this disorder.

If you think this sounds like something you may have.  See your doctor!  There are tests they can do to test for GSID, which include, a hydrogen breath test, 13C sucrose breath test, a stool pH, a SI Genetic test or a small bowel biopsy with disaccharidase enzyme testing.

There is a simple test you can do at home.  Stir 4 tablespoons of ordinary sugar into a 4 oz. glass of water.  Mix until completely dissolved.  Drink it all on an empty stomach.  Wait and see if symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramping or diarrhea occur during the next 4-8 hours.  Well….I didn’t say it would be FUN!!

The good news is, there is help for this deficiency.  Talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.  The dietitian will want a food log of everything you have eaten over a period of time.  Then the starches will be taken out of your diet and slowly be re-introduced depending on how well you are tolerating the foods.  Soon you will learn which foods you will have to take off your diet.

There is a prescription the doctor can give you to help you live a more “normal” life.

So, don’t sit and wonder if you are out of your mind.  Sugar intolerance is a REAL thing.  Go get checked out, after all, what do you have to lose other than those nasty symptoms!

Good luck and here’s to pain-free eating!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

That’s a lot of bologna…or is it?

burger-cheese-food-hamburger.jpg

It’s Wednesday and once again, I have the mid-week blahs.  If you’re like me, work has been crazy and the last thing you want to do this evening is cook for the family!

Unfortunately, for me being an empty nester, it’s so easy to pull some kind of processed food out of the freezer and throw it in the micro-wave and VOLIA supper is ready.  But yet,  I have to wonder, when did process food become the norm?

Processed food is loaded with all sorts of chemicals and/or artificial flavorings that we can’t even pronounce or have a clue what they are.  I suggest that you start looking at the ingredients on the labels and try to avoid foods that have the following ingredients.

  1. Partially hydrogenated oil. This product is used to increase shelf life and stabilize flavor. Unfortunately, this product can raise your LDL which is the bad cholesterol and it can also lower your HDL or good cholesterol which isn’t good if you have heart disease or diabetes.  The foods that you need to look out for are margarines, vegetable shortening, crackers, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, breads and chips
  2. High fructose corn syrup.  This product has been debated for a long time, what it really boils down to is too much sugar is a bad thing.  It leads to obesity and increases the risk for diabetes.
  3. MSG.  Most processed food is loaded with this product.  MSG has many other names which can fool you.  If you see monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, sodium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, autolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed  vegetable protein, yeast extract and even citric acid, beware.  MSG is a preservative that is known to trigger migraines not to mention obesity and type II diabetes.  MSG is found in canned soups, fast food, salad dressings. diet beverages, packaged sausages and hotdogs, beef stew and in some packaged vegetarian foods.
  4. BHA and BHT are another little favorite in processed foods.  They are used as a preservative in cereals, potato chips, and chewing gum to keep them from going rancid.  These additives can cause sleeplessness, and loss of appetite.  They have been known to cause liver and kidney damage, hair loss, behavioral problems and even cancer.
  5. Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.  These chemicals are used to preserve shelf life of meats like hot dogs, bacon, and sausage.  These little guys are known to cause cancer.
  6. Proply gallate.  This preservative is used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling.  Watch for it in vegetable oil, potato sticks, chicken soup base, meat products chewing gum and even in cosmetic products.  It could cause cancers.
  7. Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid.  These little guys are ok for the most part.  They are used in some fruit juices, carbonated drinks, and pickles.  They are harmless unless you have an allergy to them.  The only time they are dangerous is when mixed with beverages containing asorbic acid.  When mixed with asorbic acid this chemical changes into benzene that causes leukemia and other cancers
  8. Potassium Bromate.  This is an additive used in bread and rolls.  This has been known to cause cancer in lab animals.  Make sure you check your bread and crackers.
  9. Last but not least, Food Colorings, Red #3 used in baked goods and candy can cause chromosomal damage and thyroid tumors.  Red #40 that is found in drinks, candy and pet food has caused lymph tumors in lab tests.  Yellow #5 and 6 can also cause tumors.

With all these chemicals, it makes you think twice before reaching for that processed meat and canned food!!  All I can tell you is to TRY to cook with fresh meats, fish, fruits and vegetables when you can.  Your body will LOVE you for it!!

Laura

 

Busy hands!

We finally made it to March!!  I know the weather is going crazy around the country this weekend, but, for me, it’s 70 degrees and sunshine!  You can always tell when springtime is near when the sandhill cranes start coming in by droves here in Nebraska.  That is a sight to see if you are ever in this part of the country!!

One thing about spring, it makes a person want to get outside and take in the fresh air.  It’s a time of regrowth not to mention my favorite time of year.  I can’t wait to get outside and start planting flowers and yes, I even like mowing grass!

nature-garden-grass-lawn.jpg

If you haven’t started an exercise regime yet, now is the perfect time!  I know I’ve said this before, but, gardening is a great way of exercising,  digging holes, squatting down to plant, and walking to get the hose….believe me, you will feel that in your legs and back!Mowing grass with a small, push mower is another great way to get steps in, plus sunshine and vitamin D!  Soon it will be time for bike rides, swimming, and walks in the park.

All of these things are great things to do to get you up and out of the house and forget about running to the fridge or cabinets for something to eat.  As they say, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so keep your hands and mind busy on other things than junk food!  Get creative!  Start thinking about something you have never tried before.  Which brings me to my point of busy hands.

I have a couple of followers that have taught themselves not only creative ways of de-stressing, but, keeping their minds off food.  One has taught herself to make jewelry.  In the winter time she designs and makes beautiful necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pins.  In the spring, summer and fall, she goes to flea markets and sells her products.

 

 

 

Another one of my followers taught herself how to crochet.  She started out slow learning how to chain and a couple of stitches, but now, she has made beautiful afghans, baby hats for hospitals and even sweaters for her cats!!  She has just started to make little stuffed toys.

As you can see both of these women are very artistic and talented!! Also, if you are interested in any of their work, contact me at this site!

So, when you are feeling BORED…..drop the chips and the chocolates and get your mind and hands BUSY!!

Good luck and I hope to see some pictures of your artistic work!!

Laura

 

 

Put one foot in front of the other

put one foot in front of the other
Take an adventure, get up and start walking!

 

It’s been almost a month since I wrote “Time for a New Start”.

Just wondering how you are doing out there?  Did you find the 500 calories a day to cut out of your daily diet?

I did hear from a reader, she and her family are working hard on continuing to knock out those unwanted calories.  She bought herself one of those wristbands that tells you how many feet and miles you walk, and how many calories you have burned.  It’s a great motivator for her.  She gets very excited when she is nearing her 10,000 steps for the day!!

I think that little gadget is a great tool to use to keep your motivation up.  She told me, she walks between 3 and 5 miles a day at work!!  Who would have guessed?

I know I used a pedometer while mowing my grass on a HOT, summer day.  I couldn’t believe when I looked and had walked 3 miles!  I thought I was just hot and tired!!

pexels-photo-258330.jpeg

As far as exercising goes, things like taking the steps at work, or, instead of trying to carry all the groceries in one trip, take a bag at a time, mowing grass using a push mower, taking the dog for a walk, raking the lawn, gardening and the list goes on and on, are all easy ways to exercise.  You don’t have to twist around or bend backwards to get exercise, especially for people in my age group!!  Just get out of that chair and WALK!!

With Spring on the horizon, there is no excuse to sit in the house!!  Get out and get some fresh air and sunshine.  Not only will being outside get you away from the fridge, it will put you in a great mood.  There is nothing like a healthy dose of natural vitamin D!

Let the adventures begin!!

Laura

 

Nature’s cure-all

garlic-kitchen-food-fresh-630766.jpeg

I thought it would be interesting to discuss a few things about the foods we eat.  Today, I’m going to talk about garlic.

We all love the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove or the warm bread dripping with garlic butter, but, where did garlic get its start?

Garlic is naturally grown in Central Asia and Northeastern Iran.  It has been used as a seasoning and as a medicine for thousands of years.  Garlic was actually found in ancient pyramids!!

So, what was garlic used for?  Back thousands of years ago, garlic was a natural   medicine.  In Egypt, they gave it to the slaves to help with productivity, strength and heat stroke.  They also used garlic oil for skin disease.  In Greece, soldiers ate it to enhance courage and performance.

Garlic was also thought to cure small pox, intestinal worms, circulatory ailments, depression, edema, animal bites, joint disease, seizures, and to prevent you from getting the plague.

Oh, and let us NOT forget….the Europeans used garlic to keep vampires, werewolves, and demons away by wearing a string of garlic around their neck or hanging it in the windows of their homes.  Garlic was also rubbed on chimneys and key holes for added safety!!

In the 19th century, American Indians were discovered using garlic as a tea for flu-like symptoms.  Louis Pasteur reported that 1mm of raw garlic was as effective as 60mg. of penicillin.  During WWI, garlic was known as the Russian penicillin.  Garlic was used in WWI and WWII as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene.

Not only is garlic used for medicinal purposes, it’s also known for its natural repellent.  Garlic is used in the UK as an insecticide and nematicide for controlling the cabbage root fly and red mites on poultry.  It is also used as a meat and fish preservative.  Garlic also repels rabbits, moles, birds, garden worms, mosquitoes, slugs and other insects.

With all its history, modern science is doing research with garlic for preventing cardiovascular disease and on certain cancers such as upper digestive tract and stomach cancers.

Why is garlic such a cure-all?  It’s not when eaten in a typical serving size of 1 to 3 cloves.  When used per 100 grams it contains several nutrients that exceed 20% or more of your daily value.  Garlic has vitamins B6 and C, thiamine and pantothenic acid, as well as calcium, iron and zinc.  It also contains the minerals, manganese and phosphorus.

With all the wondrous things garlic can do, unfortunately, bad breath and smelly body odors go along with the product.  The chemicals in the garlic are absorbed into the blood and travels to the lungs and is released through skin pores.  Brushing your teeth and taking a bath will help only so much.  The smell has to eventually go through your system.  FYI, taking sips of milk while eating garlic will help neutralize bad breath.  Parsley is another good cleanser.

Some people have allergies to garlic.  Symptoms include, irritable bowel, diarrhea, mouth and throat ulcerations, nausea, breathing difficulties and in rare cases anaphylaxis.  Garlic may also interfere with medications you are taking.  Before you think about taking garlic in high doses or a supplement, make sure to talk to your doctor first!!!

I hope you enjoyed this little informative blog.  Maybe the next time you sit down to your favorite meal, you can start some table chatter!!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cup runneth over

pexels-photo-176649.jpegDid you know 60% of your body is made of water?

Not only do you need to eat right, but, you have to drink plenty of fluids to refresh yourself every day.  The old saying of drinking 8, 8 ounce servings of water was the norm, but, according to Clemson State University, you need to drink 1 quart (4, 8 ounce cups) of water for every 50 pounds of body weight.  A 200 pound man would need to drink 16 cups of water a day!!

Why on earth do we need that much water?  Water brings nutrients to our cells and also removes waste from our cells.  Every part of our body needs water to function!

If we don’t get enough water, our bodies will show symptoms such as, bad breath, dry mouth, dry eyes, fatigue, an increase in heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, constipation, decreased urine output, muscle cramps, and loss of skin elasticity.  Severe dehydration can cause death.

When exercising, it’s a good idea to drink, 2 or 3 cups of water 2 hours before your workout.  While exercising, try to drink up to a cup of water every 15 minutes.  If your workout is strenuous and lasts over an hour, you might want to drink a sports drink for the added electrolytes and salt to regulate your body.

If you are exercising in extreme heat, make sure to drink more water.  By the time you actually feel thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated.  Increase your intake by 2 or 3 cups.  Even though water can help with regulating body temperature, it will not help prevent heat stroke.  Make sure you can exercise in some shade.

If you are on a diet, drinking water can also help you to lose weight.  Sometimes our bodies don’t recognize that we are thirsty, but, give the feeling of hunger.  Try to drink a glass of water before meals.  Also, instead of high sugar drinks, try drinking water with your meals.  If you don’t like the plain taste of water, add some fresh lemon, lime or drink carbonated water.

Just a fun fact, when you are on a diet, you can eat vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, zucchini, radishes, celery, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas and white potatoes or fruit like, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, peaches, pineapple, cranberries, oranges, raspberries, apricots, blueberries, plums, cherries, grapes and bananas without gaining weight, why?  Because they are mostly water!

Make sure to check on the children and elderly!  These categories of people can’t feel the need for water as much as the rest of the population.  Dehydration can happen fast if children and elderly are vomiting or have diarrhea.  Hospitalization could be necessary.

Also, if you want to avoid a hangover after a night of partying, try to drink some water in between alcoholic beverages.  The headache from drinking is your body’s way of telling you, it’s thirsty!!!

CHEERS!

Laura

 

 

 

 

Not tonight, I have a “headache”

ache-adult-depression-expression-41253.jpegWe’ve all had headaches at one point in time, but, when a headache becomes disabling, it’s more than a headache, it’s a MIGRAINE!

The mere sound of anything above a whisper can bring you to your knees, not to mention, the light from a lamp can feel like a laser beam blasting into your eyes.  The upset stomach, the fatigue, the “wish I were dead” feeling all signs of a migraine.

There are many things that can trigger a migraine, stress and hormonal changes to weather changes.   I’m going to talk about some food triggers.

Unfortunately, there are MANY foods that we enjoy everyday that can cause a migraine to hit.  With Valentine’s day just a couple of days away, BEWARE!

If you are planning a romantic night with perfumed candles, red wine, bread and cheese.  Migraine sufferers, you might want to think twice.  All of the above are major players in triggering migraines.  Yes, even the perfumed candle.  Smells are a great trigger.

If your sweetie shows up at your door with chocolate…..say thanks but don’t eat it!  Chocolate is the top contender for bringing on migraines. So?  Now that I blew that evening out of the water, what do you want to do??

Pizza and a salad??  Oh no, the yeast in the crust can cause a migraine, salad is ok as long as you don’t use a salad dressing made of balsamic or red vinegar.

Chinese food??  Sorry, Chinese food is loaded with MSG which can lead to a super migraine.

Ok, how about, Mexican food??  No way! Unless you stay away from chili peppers, beans, sour cream, olives and avocados!

So, you decided to stay home and have hot dogs, pickles and beer?  Sorry Charlie, processed food, pickled anything and beer are big NO NO’s!!

Well then,  you decided to skip supper and go out for breakfast.  First off, skipping meals can make your blood sugar go hay wire and could trigger a migraine!  But,  you love bacon, eggs, fruit, coffee and milk.  It sounds safe enough doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, processed foods like bacon, lunchmeats, ham and fish will flare a migraine.  Whole milk is a trigger and so are fresh or dried citrus fruits.  Bananas and red plums are also a bad choice.  That coffee…if you already drink it on a regular basis, ok, just a cup or two.

The caffeine in coffee, tea, and soda will all trigger migraines.  Oh, and for the record, don’t try diet soda, the asparatame and other artificial sweeteners can reek havoc.  There are also snack foods, fatty foods, ice cream, yogurt, and food dyes that can turn your head upside down leaving you to scream for mercy.

So?  How do you figure out what food you can eat?  You can start with a Migraine Journal.  The journal should contain a detailed description of your migraine attack.  Write what you were eating before the attack, how long the migraine lasted, and the symptoms you experienced..

If you do want some good news.  When you feel a migraine coming on, make sure  you drink plenty of water.  If you like, munch on things like watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce or a baked potato (skip the sour cream!).  These all contain high levels of water.  Other things to try are whole grain cereals including oatmeal and brown rice, cherries, pumpkin and sesame seeds, brazil nuts and almonds.

Here’s to a GREAT time on Valentine’s day!!!

Happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s mind blowing!

pexels-photo-769525.jpegI was talking to some moms at my grandson’s basketball game today, they were all complaining that their young teens would forget their heads if they weren’t attached. The moms were all wondering why the kids can’t remember to hand in their homework,  do their chores, or for that matter remember what they were told to do just 5 minutes ago.

Yes, part of it can be the age of the kids, after all life for tweens and teens can be overwhelming with teachers and parents pulling them in all directions.  There is SO MUCH to remember!!

One thing for sure is to make sure your kids are getting enough sleep.  These kids need up to 10 hours of sleep a night to be totally rested.  Yes, I know, what kid that age wants to go to bed at 8 or 9 pm, right??

Let’s look at nutrition!

If you send your child off to school with a sweet roll,  a piece of toast or a bowl of sugary cereal they will get “mind fog”.  I know breakfast is a crazy time of the day with everyone getting ready at once but, if you want your child to succeed, you might want to think about what they put in their mouths.

So?  What are “brain foods”?  Start the day giving your child an egg.  Eggs are packed with choline, which helps memory development plus a great source of protein.  Make a breakfast burrito,  an egg sandwich or hard boiled eggs for an on the go meal.  Or have eggs for supper a couple times a week.

Peanut butter is also a great brain food.  It’s a good source of vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant that protects nervous membranes.  Send them off to school with a piece of peanut butter toast and a banana.

Have some Greek yogurt on hand with fresh berries.  Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and even cherries are full of antioxidants, and vitamin C.  If your child doesn’t like yogurt, try putting berries on oat cereal or oatmeal.  Oatmeal is a great source of fiber and vitamin E, B vitamins, potassium and zinc which makes our bodies and brains function to the highest level.

Then there are vegetables.  I’m sure kids are the first to turn down veggies, but, if you can get them to eat things like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and spinach you have won a battle!!  You can get the little cherry tomatoes, sweet potato fries, pumpkin muffins, baby carrots or make a spinach salad.

Don’t forget the MILK!  Dairy foods are packed with protein and B vitamins which are necessary for the growth of brain tissue.  Milk and yogurt are energy for the brain.

We must not forget that children need lean beef.  Not just for the protein it gives but also beef is a great source of iron.  Iron is an essential mineral that helps kids stay energized and concentrate at school.  Beef also contains zinc, which helps with memory.

If beef isn’t your thing, black beans or soy burgers are good choices.  Both are full of iron. Kidney and pinto beans are also a great brain food because these beans contain more omega 3 fatty acids than other beans.

Which brings me to the last important brain food…..FISH.  Salmon is the best fish because it’s rich in omega 3s and vitamin D.  Tuna and sardines are also high in omega 3s.  Omega 3s help kids to function and focus.

Although this sounds like a lot of information, it’s pretty basic.

Breakfast can be eggs and toast  or oatmeal and berries.  Lunch, salmon patties and a spinach salad with tomatoes, cheese and sliced eggs.  Or a tuna sandwich with spinach leaves and slices of tomatoes.  After school snack, string cheese or yogurt with berries.  Supper,  beef, sweet potato fries, black bean salad.  And DON’T forget to serve an 8 ounce glass of low fat milk with each meal!!

I hope this gives you a little insight and I can’t wait to hear back from you moms!!

Take care and happy eating!!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TWEEN SCENE

pexels-photo-256658.jpegI had a very good question from a reader.  What can I do to help my 12 year old lose weight??

First off, remember that body changes are happening in girls, ages 11 through 15.  For boys the changes start between 12 and 13 and actually don’t stop until boys reach age 19.  So, what does that mean?

During these growth spurt times, approximately 20 percent of adult height and 50 percent of body weight are gained.  So naturally, your children are going to be gaining weight.

This is also the time NOT to start body shaming your kids.  I know, I heard it from my own family.  My parents said things like, you’re not fat, you’re pleasing plump, or you’re just big-boned.  Yeah, that helps!!  Of course siblings on the other hand just come right out and call you FAT and to ADD a little extra zing….fat and UGLY!!  I remember crying and locking myself in my room at family get togethers.  To tell you the truth, up until just a few short years ago, I truly believed I should be walking around with a bag over my head to hide my ugliness from the world!!

Body shaming at this age can lead to all sorts of complications like, depression, anorexia, bulimia, and low self-esteem.  It can also cause the child to feel unwanted which leads them back to eating for comfort, which in turn, makes them gain more weight.

What is a parent to do?  For one thing, be supportive!!  Tell your child that this is natural.  Their body is changing and preparing for adulthood.

The main thing to do as a parent is to load up on foods your child needs like protein, calcium based foods, fiber, and foods high in vitamins C and A and for girls make sure they get some extra iron.  Adolescents need 4 glass of milk or equivalent (cheese, yogurt) a day.   4 ounces of lean meats, fish, or 2 eggs with yolks at meals for protein and iron.  Citrus fruits, tomatoes, yellow vegetables and leafy dark greens for the A and C.  Don’t forget to get whole grain and enriched breads and cereals.

Since Tweens and Teens are always on the run you might want to send them with things like, small packs of nuts or sunflower seeds, fresh fruit, individual packaged, unsweetened cereals, mini muffins or bagels, yogurt, popcorn or oatmeal raisin cookies (as long as they only eat a couple and not a whole dozen!).  Make sure to steer away from chips, cookies, candies, and soft drinks.  Also,  be very cautious when it comes to nutrition bars.  Read the labels!!!  A lot of those bars are loaded with sugar and CALORIES.  One nutrition bar can have more calories than a candy bar!

Also, try to get your children away from the video games, cell phones, tablets and TV.  Remember the days of jumping rope?  Try to make exercise family time.  I’m sure if you work at a desk all day you will enjoy the benefits of a family game of soccer, football or basketball or a walk or jog around the block.  A half hour to an hour a day would help burn those calories.  Not to mention, clear their minds, help them sleep, and put them in a better mood!!

Remember, be supportive!!  Don’t sit in the house and tell your child to go out and get exercise while you sit and watch TV eating potato chips!!  Children learn habits from their parents.  Be your child’s super hero!  I guarantee, it will help bring the whole family closer.

Take care  🙂

Laura