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                       Childhood Nutrition

                       By Taylor Frantz, RD, LD

             September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
            According to the CDC’s most recent data, obesity affects one in        TIPS
            five children with prevalence increasing as children age. It affects   • Food is neither good nor bad. All food has a purpose and
            children from all racial and ethnic groups and every socioeco-  place. Teach children why we eat a variety of  foods-vita-
            nomic status.                                         mins, minerals, energy, building muscles, enjoyment, etc.
             Childhood obesity has come to the forefront in national media,   • Always offer a variety. I know, food prices are sky rocketing
            and we all understand the impact obesity can have a child’s lifetime   and it feels bad to waste, but it’s so important kids see a va-
            health. What are some practical ways we can combat this multi-  riety of foods on their plates. Exposure is key. Research has
            faceted issue?                                        shown that children need to be exposed to a food up to 30
             As a dietitian myself, my friends often assume that my children   times before they truly decide if they like the food or not.
            eat picture perfect diets and our meals look straight out of a mag-  • Serve what the family is eating. Stop being a short order
            azine. If only it were true. Even I find myself subject to the ever-  cook and preparing special meals for your children. Serve
            changing tastes of a toddler. I deal with the same picky eaters, food   them what you are having and then add one safe food that
            jags and mealtime chaos as everyone else. My five-year-old would   you know they will eat. For my family, our safe food is
            gladly eat sweets until he felt ill, and my three-year-old will eat an   fruit. I know if they refuse the meal, at least they have had
            entire head of broccoli one meal and the next time it’s served, he   some fruit.
            refuses to even look at it. Not to mention that my toddler ends up   • Division of Responsibility. Feeding expert Ellyn Satter,
            throwing his plate on the floor most meals. I get it – feeding kids   states that the parents are responsible for what, when and
            is hard work!                                         where the child eats and the child has the autonomy to de-
             Here are some tips for feeding kids that I have learned in my   cide how much and if they will eat.
            practice and also in my personal life.

              Remember that getting in nutrition shouldn’t be the only goal when feeding your kids. Meal time should be a time to be together,
            talk and create memories. Fostering a healthy relationship with all kinds of foods will have a lifelong impact on your child, so serve up
            those veggies but also find joy in indulging in desserts.

              Taylor Frantz, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian and the 2022 President of the BCMS Alliance.

         10     SAN ANTONIO MEDICINE  • September 2022
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