Fantastic Way to Help Children Make Healthier Food Choices

If you’re like me, you’re constantly scouring the food blogosphere for new recipes to experiment with or to add to your weekly meal rotation.  Nick Coffer, a stay-at-home dad of two adorable little ones, dishes up plenty of inspiration on his blog mydaddycooks.com.  His recipe box may be a little liberal with the sweet ideas, but I love how Nick describes his cooking experiences with his son, Archie“The time I spend together with Archie in the kitchen is true quality time. We talk, we laugh, we make a mess, we create, we argue, we break things, we sulk. But more than anything we just have fun.”  After all, that’s really what cooking for and your family should be about, right? Having fun and nourishing those you love in the mean time.

Children are also more likely to make healthy food choices later in life when they are introduced to the kitchen early on. Interestingly enough, Nick describes how they used Baby Led Weaning  to transition Archie to solid foods.  It seems to have created a culture around food that has brought a lot of joy to the Coffer house, and a second career for Nick.  If you want to know more about how to get your child involved in the kitchen, and learn some tasty recipes in the mean time, head over to mydaddycooks.com.

How One Woman Has Changed School Lunches


The subject of school lunches has entered our national dialogue in a very real and urgent way over the last few years.  Childhood obesity is continually rising, with one third of our nation’s children overweight according to the American Heart Assocation, and this generation predicted to be the first ever to die before their parents.  It is obvious that we need to make a change in the way our children our fed, but it has proven to be not such an easy task when it comes to what is being served in school cafeterias.  Enter Chef Ann Cooper.  With a background that includes Chef, Nutrition Services Director, Consultant, Author, Public Speaker, and Advocate, Chef Ann has been changing the way our children eat, one school at a time.  She founded The Lunchbox, a FREE online toolkit that any parent or administrator can use to help transform your local school food into something that is healthy and delicious for children. Resources include how to bring a salad bar into your cafeteria (complete with information on equipment selection, regulations, purchasing, recipe development, training, marketing and student interface), Food Day School Curriculum with innovative lesson plans on teaching children about healthy food choices, and creating a farm-to-school model that brings local produce into schools.  You can found this wealth of information at www.thelunchbox.org.

What does texting or heavy backpacks do to your child’s posture?

textingWith the ubiquitousness of tablets, laptops, and smart phones, it only seems logical that the school days of toting heavy backpacks full of textbooks are coming to a close.  Until then, it seems that children will continue to struggle with oversized loads that frequently affect their posture.  What I see most commonly is children adopting a forward-head posture to compensate for the weight in their backpacks.  Ironically, texting and extended computer use also leads to forward-head postureThis head position can also be related to a compromised airway.

According to orofacial myologist, Joy Moeller, RDH, “mouth breathing and a low tongue rest posture are often associated with a forward head posture.  The person brings their head forward in order to open the airway.”   This in turn negatively affects the cervical spine, the hips, the knees, the feet, and all of the supporting muscles.

An orofacial myologist can help with these issues by correcting poor oral posture.  Habits such as mouth breathing, tongue thrusting, and thumb-sucking not only contribute to the forward head posture but also alter facial growth.  Correcting these problems for both adults and children alike is something we do a lot of in our practice, and patients find the therapy both fun and effective.  Visit www.myofunctional-therapy.com for more information on orofacial myology.

Ever wondered what “leaky gut” is?

I was so excited to interview Rachel Abrams, MD about food allergies and gut health for “The Healthy Child Show” web series in January.  She shared the most fascinating information about how allergies create an inflammatory response within the body, and how that specifically affects the gastro-intestinal system.

Influencing the Immune Response by Improving GI BalanceAs a physician who practices Integrative Medicine, she pulls from both Western and alternative modalities in treating her patients and focuses on restoring total body health rather than just writing a prescription to treat a symptom.  Gut health is a crucial component to that.  As you can see in her slide above, inflammation created by food allergens can damage the intestinal lining and lead to a “Leaky Gut.”  This literally means that the gap junctions which are a normal part of the intestinal lining remain open and allow undigested food, toxins, parasites, harmful bacteria, yeast and fungi to cross through the intestine and into the blood stream.  You can imagine how the immune response then becomes heightened to this assault and can create chronic dysfunction and disease.

The good news, however, is that you can heal a damaged GI tract by eliminating the allergens and repopulating the gut with healthy, helpful bacteria. 

You can hear Dr. Abrams speak about more about this topic on the recorded interview from “The Healthy Child Show,” or contact her through her website at SantaCruzIntegrativeMedicine.net.

6 Month Old with a Chicken Leg?

Are you frustrated by trying to feed a picky eater?  Baby Led Weaning (BLW), as demonstrated in this video from BLW expert Gill Rapley, can be the answer to all of your aggravation.  It allows the child to guide the weaning process, encouraging her to discover new foods, exploring taste and texture, on her own at her own pace.  In her book Baby Led Weaning, Gill explains that when we wean children on to solid foods, we frequently do it at the behest of a pediatrician with colorful purees that bare little resemblance to the whole foods from which they came. It doesn’t allow them build trust with what they are eating nor regulate their own appetite. Spoon feeding is something that is done to a child at an appointed time, rather than allowing the child to feed himself at family mealtime. On the other hand, baby-led weaning  really is such an intuitive model of weaning – as much a socialization process as a growth and development one – and those parents who have taken Gill’s advice report family-friendly, nutritious, sometimes messy, but always enjoyable mealtimes.  To find out more information about the natural way to wean your baby, visit www.baby-led.com

Asthma-free naturally for kids!

If you or your child struggles with allergies or asthma, you likely have a medicine cabinet full of antihistamines, decongestants, and inhalers.  But what if you could get rid of all the medicine and learn to control those attacks naturally…permanently?  Patrick McKeown has been teaching children and adults alike to do just that for many years using Buteyko Breathing.  Developed over 50 years ago by Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, his method breaks the vicious cycle that over-breathing starts by teaching you to reduce your breathing, increase the oxygen your body receives, and prevent the bronchoconstriction of asthma.  It can also help you to unblock your nose naturally or stop a coughing attack!  Check out www.buteykochildren.com for more information.