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How To Help Your Child Accept A Special Diet

It’s hard enough preparing special food for a child with a health condition that requires a special diet. It can often be expensive, and sometimes favorite foods have to be given up by the child. It’s always a worry that the child may inadvertently be given a food that will harm him.

Planning a nutritious diet around the foods that will keep your child healthy takes a lot of time, but once it’s prepared, the single mom shouldn’t have to worry that it’s not being eaten or that it’s being traded for unhealthy foods just because the child wants to fit in.

Once your child becomes more social at school, they don’t want to seem different from all of the other kids. An illness or food intolerance can often make your child stand out in a group of children because of special requirements. When the need is a special diet, take steps early in the child’s life to give him the understanding that may keep him from jeopardizing his health in order to be just like other kids.

There is no such thing as a single diet for all people, and the quicker your child realizes that every family follows certain diets unique to them, the easier it will be for him to accept his own special diet. A diet is, after all, the word that is used for the daily intake of food.

Once the child realizes that diets are often chosen by healthy individuals according to personal preference and lifestyle the more normal his own special diet will seem. Discuss nutrition with the child when the opportunity presents itself. Explain that there are people who choose diets without meat or even wheat simply because they believe it is a healthier diet. Some people go on diets to lose weight, while others use diets to gain weight. There are diets for athletes and diets for acne.

When your child starts school and eats with other kids, ask him about the food preferences of his classmates. Point out that some moms sent sweet snacks in the lunch bag while others send fruits and vegetables. It’s all just a matter of dietary preference of the family.

By no means teach the child that his diet is of little consequence. Make sure he understands the need for his special diet and the problems it could cause if it wasn’t followed. The important thing is to let the child know that even though his diet is based on health issues, a special diet doesn’t set him apart from everyone else.

Make the Snack a Healthy Treat

Most single moms give their kids snacks every day. Sometimes it’s between lunch and the evening meal, and sometimes the kids are in the routine of having a light treat before they go to bed. While a treat is always welcomed by the child, many moms have discovered that the treat is a good way to sneak in those extra nutrients that the kids may have been shorted during the day.

It’s best to keep the bedtime snack light, but the mid afternoon snack is fair game as long as it won’t ruin the appetites for dinner. It’s a good time for a smoothie, especially if it offers the opportunity to sneak in some of the raw vegetables you have prepped for dinner.

Crackers with cheese or peanut butter will also help stop little tummies from growling between meals, especially if the kids are able to put the spreads on the crackers themselves. Any cracker that the kids like will do, but the choice that mom picks out in the store offers an added chance to add nutritious value to the snack.

Once kids are used to getting milk and cookies or other sweet treats as a snack, it may be hard to get them to settle for something a bit healthier. The trick is to make it fun. Slices of fruit, cut into fun shapes with a cookie cutter can make kids forget all about the sugar filled treats. Give them a firm plastic straw and chunks of fruit and let them make kabobs.

Cut a sandwich into geometric shapes and have the kids put it together before they start eating it. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy it enough not to notice that you’re attempting to fill them up with nutrition because dinner is going to be late.

You don’t have to prepare the snacks yourself in order for them to be nutritious. A bowl full of purchased baked vegetable chips, especially those labeled low sodium, are an easy snack that the kids will enjoy munching on while they do their homework. String cheese, raisins and even popcorn flavored with herbs instead of salt and butter will satisfy hunger pains and not interfere with the next meal.

Keep track of the snacks and treats the kids are getting throughout the day. If you’re in the habit of giving the kids both an after school snack and a bedtime snack, with a treat to eat on the drive back home after running errands, the kids might be getting more sugar, salt or fat that you realize. If the kids have visited another home for a play date or have been invited out to the matinee, chances are that they’ve been treated to snacks that they’ve forgotten to tell you about.

Healthy Eating Tips for Picky Eaters in Your Family

If you are blessed with a picky eater in your home, then you are probably at your whit’s end with all of the things you have tried to get your kid to eat. These tips for picky eaters will help you relax a little and rest assured that your child is unlikely to starve, no matter how picky he is.

First, it is vital that you resist the urge to force your child to eat. Children are not going to let themselves starve, so if they say they are not hungry, then listen and respect this. Do not turn it into a battle.

Next, keep your routine the same each day, with set meal and snack times. It is vital that you do not give your kids snacks in the hour or so before dinner, because they will not have enough hunger to entice them to try new foods. Snacks will only deter the picky eater from enjoying a healthy dinner.

When you do serve new foods, serve them with accepted foods. Be patient as your child experiments with the food. It may take multiple times before the child willingly eats a new food. Talk about the food using descriptive terminology that describes factors about it other than its taste, and let them see you enjoying the food.

Finally, set a good example of healthy eating, but don’t be afraid to be sneaky. If you can sneak spinach or grated zucchini into something that is an already accepted food, then do so. You will increase the nutritional value while you are encouraging your child to try veggies outside of those you sneak in. Over time while using these healthy eating tips for picky eaters, you can help your child develop a wide range of accepted, and even loved, healthy foods.

Hiding Veggies in Food

While it may not be the best possible nutritional option, hiding veggies in your kids’ foods may be the best solution for you as a busy single mom. After all, you simply do not have the time or energy to fight with your child to eat his broccoli. If you are interested in becoming a “sneaky chef,” consider these foods that are easy to hide.

Broccoli can be snuck into food if you can chop it fine enough. It will look like seasoning to your children. Many sauces can easily hide the taste. Grated carrots can also be easily snuck into your kids’ favorite foods, and if you grate them fine enough, they will not even know the difference between the carrots and shredded cheese.

Purees can also work well. Spinach and cauliflower can both be pureed and mixed into sauces without changing the taste too much. Cauliflower will not even change the color. If the food you are making is red in color, you can puree beets as well. You will need to experiment with the taste of the veggies to make sure that you are not changing the taste or texture of your child’s favorite foods.

The best way to have your kids eat their veggies is whole and fresh, if possible. But realistically, this is not always going to happen, and you need to make sure your children are getting adequate nutrition. Hiding veggies in food your children like may just be the solution you need to get those nutrients into your kids effectively and without a fight.

Healthy Hamburgers for Dinner

Dinner is very inconveniently timed. Most single moms have already put in a tough day when thoughts turn to meal preparation. A lot of kids know that when mom is exhausted, it’s a good time to suggest take out or other fast foods. Many moms are tempted by the option too often, even knowing that her kids are missing out on the health benefits of nutritious home cooked meals. When the kids are begging for hamburgers, give in to them. Just turn your attention and theirs to preparing hamburgers with nutritious ingredients.

Vegetable filled hamburgers can be put together in as little as 25 minutes and be cooked to perfection in about twelve. Cleanup is easy.

Choose whole wheat hamburger buns instead of the usual type made with white flour. Split and lightly toast the buns before filling them with the burger and toppings.

Use ground chicken or turkey instead of ground beef and add finely grated vegetables to the mixture. If you don’t think the curry powder will be a hit with the kids, just don’t add it. The sliced zucchini is also an optional ingredient. The idea is to make a nutritious meal that the kids will eat, after all.

To make four hamburgers, mix the following in a medium sized mixing bowl:

  • 1/4 cup of soft whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ½ cup carrot, finely shredded
  • ¼ cup green onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ teaspoon of crushed, dried Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk
  • A dash of pepper

Add ¾ pound of ground turkey or chicken to the bowl and mix all of the ingredients well.

Divide the mixture into four parts and shape into patties that are approximately 3/4 inch think.

The healthy and nutritious hamburger patties will cook well in the kitchen broiler or outside on a charcoal or gas grill in about 12 minutes. They only have to be turned once. Because the chicken or turkey has little fat, grease the grill lightly before adding the burgers. When done, the internal temperature will be 165 degrees F.

Top off the burgers with spicy mustard you can make by mixing ¼ cup of the Dijon type of mustard with ½ teaspoon of curry powder.

Have sliced tomato, lettuce leaves or even shredded zucchini available to top the tasty hamburgers. You’ll be surprised how tasty this recipe is!


Success Tips for Special Diets

One of the basic goals of parenting is to make sure mom can provide a healthy diet to her kids. With all of the other responsibilities of a single mom, planning and preparing a healthy diet is a task that is not only time consuming but can be expensive. It becomes more difficult as children go through the different phases and their likes and dislikes for foods change quickly. If a special diet has to be prepared because of health a single mom can easily feel overwhelmed.

Many times special diets mean that the single mom can’t take advantage of the prepackaged meal choices that have saved so much time in the past. It also might eliminate some of the child’s favorite foods.

Before mealtime becomes a fight with the kids who are picky eaters and rebel against the new special diet, take some steps to make the process go smoother.

Speak to the pediatrician and a registered dietitian about special diets. Make sure you understand not only the new diet, but the benefits and risks associated with the changed diet.

Depending on the age and maturity level of your kids, make sure that they understand why the diet has been introduced and the importance of following the diet. Invite them to suggest healthy meal and treat options that the whole family will enjoy. Kids are more likely to accept changes that they feel they are a part of.

When a healthy menu is devised that the whole family will eat, prepare enough of the meal so that you can freeze portions for a future meal. Single moms need to find a break wherever they can, and the knowledge that a meal is already prepared can keep a stressful day from becoming a mealtime crisis.

Be an advocate for your child who needs to follow a special diet. If the child goes on play dates, make sure dietary needs are discussed. Discuss the diet with care givers and teachers. If the policy of the classroom or day care providers allows children to bring in special treats for the entire class for special occasions, ask what steps you can take to eliminate the risk of your child eating something that could be dangerous to his or her health. You don’t want your child left out of the sharing of the treat, but you certainly don’t want to endanger the child.

As children mature, they want to make more of their own decisions. Limit the number of time you have to tell them they can’t have something by offering healthy diet choices to them right from the start. If they learn to make the proper choices in your kitchen, they’ll be better equipped to make the proper choices when mom isn’t there.

Hide Nutrition in a Smoothie

The single mom who tries to feed her family a healthy, well balanced diet sometimes has to resort to nutrition trickery. As children grow, they pass through phases of what foods they will eat, and what foods they simply can’t or won’t tolerate.

Most kids love spaghetti and will slurp it up as long as there is no microscopic chunk of red that might allow them to think that there is tomato in the sauce. Other kids have to be limited with the number of slices of pizza they are allowed to consume at a single sitting, but don’t try to tempt them with a dish that has cheese in it.

One of the tools a single mom can use to get her family to eat healthy is her blender. Whip up a smoothie and simply add whatever nutrients your family is missing.  The right ingredients in a smoothie can even replace a nutritious meal when the occasion warrants.

Even families with allergies to dairy products can drink smoothies. Just use fruit or vegetable juice, tofu or soy milk instead of yogurt and milk.

If you’re trying to restrict the use of refined sugar or sugar substitutes, and the drink needs a bit of sweetening, try adding banana to smoothies that don’t contain sweet fruits.

Protein powder, wheat germ, flax seeds and even high fiber cereals can be pulverized in the blender and incorporated into the smoothie without the family ever knowing what they’re drinking.

The basic recipe for a nutritious smoothie is fruits or vegetables, liquid and sweetener. Yogurt is optional, but either plain or flavored can be used for a smoother smoothie. Ice can be added to make the smoothie thicker.

There is really no wrong way to blend up a smoothie. Start with about 2 cups of fruit or vegetables. Cut them into chunks that your blender can handle. Add ½ cup of liquid to start. Increase to 1 cup until you have the consistency you’re looking for. Add honey or another sweetener to taste.

When the single mom firsts presents her families with the nutritious smoothie, it should simply be made with fruits that she knows her kids like the flavor of. Once they have had a chance to realize that they love the delicious treats, other fruits and vegetables can be snuck in.

Carrots are a good starter vegetable for a smoothie. They are sweet and work well with apple juice. As other vegetables are added to the smoothie, it may be harder to disguise what you are up to. Turn it into a game. Let the kids try to guess the ingredients. That will make it easier when you decide to add spinach and the drink turns green.

Health Benefits of the Acai Berry

Single moms should know all about items to add to yours and your child’s diet to get better health benefits, so learn all about the acai berry! The acai berry has recently been at the forefront of the weight loss nutritional product market. People claim that this tiny fruit can literally melt pounds away from your body. Others claim that the nutrient has healing powers, even claiming it can cure cancer. Just what is the acai berry, and is it something you should be adding to your diet, or is this just a bunch of hype over nothing?

The acai berry is a berry that grows wild in the Amazon rainforest. The native people of this region have used the berry throughout their history, believing it to have healing powers and the ability to produce health benefits. The deep purple berry is, in fact, quite healthy. Like blueberries, it is full of antioxidants. This is part of what contributes to the apparent health benefits of eating the berry.

Acai berry is also full of compounds called anthocyanins. This is believed to support heart health. These are also found in red wine, but are in far higher concentrations in the berry. The anthocyanins combined with the antioxidants in the berry also cause it to slow the aging process.

Like most fruits, acai berries are full of fiber. They also contain quite a bit of protein, as well as omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which also help keep the heart healthy. Some advocates of these berries believe that these essential oils also reduce cholesterol.

These are all excellent health benefits, but what most people want to know is whether or not this “super fruit” can help them lose weight. It does appear that acai berry boosts metabolism, which causes an individual to burn more calories than normal. Also, the added fiber in the fruit will help you to feel full faster while eating less, and the antioxidants can help reduce cravings for non-healthy foods.

Simply taking acai berry will not cause you to lose weight. You will still need to lower your caloric intake and increase your caloric burn. However, the added boost that the berries will give to help curb cravings and keep you feeling full will not hurt your weight loss efforts.

You will find it difficult to buy pure acai berries to eat like you would blueberries. These berries have just a little bit of edible flesh surrounding a huge seed. The best way to consume the berry is in a supplement, either a powder or capsule made from the powder, or in a juice. Many holistic doctors recommend drinking a small glass of pure acai juice every day for optimum health.

How to Help Your Toddler with Proper Nutrition

Toddlers are difficult people. They do not like to eat healthy foods, no matter how hard mommy and daddy try. Most parents of toddlers wonder what they could be doing to help their little ones eat a better diet. Here are some tips to help your toddler eat as healthy as possible.

First, model good eating. Your child is not going to want to eat his whole grain toast and oatmeal while you eat chocolate chip pancakes. When your little one was a baby you could get away with eating junk food in his presence, but he is aware of the differences now. This is the time to get over your notions about foods you do and do not like and start eating healthy. You just might lose a few pounds in the process.

Second, be careful what you offer. Your child is not going to let herself go hungry. If she chooses not to eat what you offer, that is fine. Do not force her to eat it, but do make sure that the next snack or meal is equally healthy. Your child will soon learn to eat what is offered, because nothing better is going to come later.

Keep meals balanced, but do not focus too much on how much your child eats. If all your child wants for dinner is the bun that is on his plate, let him eat the bun, but do not give him a second bun if he is still hungry. Let him know that he can eat the other food on his plate.

Remember that you will have to introduce a new food multiple times before your child will even taste it, if your child is like most toddlers. While wasting food is discouraging, particularly if you are shopping on a tight food budget, you need to understand that this is part of teaching your toddler about good eating. Throwing away a few plates of food is a small sacrifice in return for a raising a child who eats well into adulthood.

Keep meal and snack times consistent. A toddler needs three full meals and two small snacks in order to get adequate nutrition. However, do not let your child fill up during snacks. Keep them small and healthy, but make sure that the majority of his nutrition comes at mealtime.

The biggest tip towards helping your child become a healthy eater is to be consistent. Soon he will no longer be a toddler, and these mealtime struggles will be a distant memory. Avoid creating conflict, model good eating, and give your child healthy foods. He will learn to like them.