When it Comes to Our Kids’ Diets, Let’s Get Real

It takes more than parents to help kids eat real. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

It takes more than parents to help kids eat real. Photo Credit: Stone Soup

Parents want the best for their kids, especially when it comes to their health. While many things can keep kids healthy — like proper sleep and regular doctor visits — what’s on the dinner table may have the greatest influence on a child’s health now and well into adulthood.

That’s why educating parents and kids about the importance of eating balanced meals with “real foods” is one of the focus areas for national Food Day — held October 24th and aimed at inspiring Americans to change their diets and national food policies.

On the front lines advancing this initiative is registered dietitian nutritionist Jaimie Lopez, who meets with families daily to counsel them on gaining proper nutrition. It’s not always an easy task. One of the greatest challenges that parents face, she finds, is the lack of clear, concise information about which foods are smart choices and which should be avoided.

“With so many food products and so much information regarding what should or shouldn’t be consumed, families can feel overwhelmed about how to feed their children a healthy diet,” Jaimie says.

A major part of this confusion comes from food labels. Food packaging is cluttered with claims such as “low-sugar,” “high fiber,” and “good source of calcium,” but a careful review of the nutrition facts panel reveals that the food may not be as healthy as the packaging implies, Jaimie adds.

If food labels can be confusing to a nutritionist, how’s a parent supposed to make the right choices?

Keep reading this article on the Food & Nutrition blog, Stone Soup.

Comprehensive Care for Anxiety: The Role of Diet

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What you eat can influence anxiety symptoms. Credit: Food and Nutrition Magazine

Reaching into the mailbox to find the latest Food and Nutrition magazine at my fingertips is always a special treat. I can’t wait to cuddle up on the couch and dive into the fascinating articles on hot nutrition topics or salivate over delectable recipes. That’s why I am over-the-moon thrilled to share with you my first contribution to the Food and Nutrition blog, Stone Soup, on a topic that affects many people, myself included: anxiety.

Diet is the first line of treatment for many physical health conditions, and with good reason. There exists an extensive body of scientific literature supporting the connection between what we eat and our physical health. But can diet affect mental health?

Mental health disorders or diseases, including anxiety disorders, come in a variety of forms and are thought of mainly as biochemically based or emotionally rooted conditions that can’t be affected by diet. Although this may be true in most cases, these can manifest debilitating physical symptoms — increased heart rate, stomach discomfort, stiff jaw, and muscle tension — exemplifying the undeniable link between mind and body.

Forty million Americans are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. For many, the care plan is limited to psychotherapy, medication or both. However, advances in nutritional neuroscience suggest that what we eat (and what we don’t eat) can influence the onset, occurrence and severity of anxiety symptoms in meaningfully significant ways.

While a majority of the population suffers from nutritional inadequacies, those with mental health conditions are often exceptionally deficient, bringing into question whether or not specific nutrients may contribute to an effective treatment plan for those with anxiety disorders.

To find out which nutrients you should include in your diet to decrease occurrence of anxiety symptoms, continue reading this article on the Food and Nutrition blog, Stone Soup.