Mary-Catherine Perry, RD, LDN, Author at Nemours Blog

Mary-Catherine Perry, RD, LDN

Mindful Snacking

Mindful Snacking

When selecting a snack, it is important to think about a few key factors including timing, hunger level, portion size and nutritional value. Timing As a rule of thumb, it is helpful not to go more than about 4 hours without eating, even if it is something small. Long periods of time without eating can increase hunger later in the day, making it challenging to practice portion control when you finally get a chance to eat. It is also very challenging to make healthy choices when you are feeling extremely hungry. Snacks help to bridge the gap between meals and can help lessen hunger to an appropriate level prior to the next meal. Be cautious of grazing! Grazing is a term used to describe constant snacking. It is important to allow time (approximately 2-4 hours) between meals and snacks to give the digestive system a break. Most children should aim […]

Help for Hungry Children - Summer Food Program and School Meals

Help for Hungry Children – Summer Food Program and School Meals

Summer and fun: two words that go hand-in-hand, especially when you’re talking about kids.  However, summer break looks very different for many children. For millions of children from low-income households across the U.S., summer months mean no access to school meals, which may sometimes be the only nutritious food available. And even more children will have less food on their table this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For summer 2021 and 2022, the USDA has launched a new summer food program that will help all low-income children of all ages have nutritious meals and snacks. School Meals Help Keep Kids Healthy During the school year, many schools provide students with access to meals through federal school meal programs like the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. These programs are run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state agencies, who reimburse schools that provide healthy meals […]

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Are They Safe for Kids?, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets: Are They Safe for Kids?

What is the difference between vegetarian and vegan diets? Vegan and vegetarian diets are primarily plant-based, meaning all meals consist mostly of plant foods including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, with little to no animal products. A person following a vegetarian diet may consume limited types of animal products. There are many types of vegetarian diets: Lacto-vegetarian: consumes dairy; does not eat meat, poultry, eggs or fish Ovo-vegetarian: consumes eggs; does not eat meat, poultry, dairy or fish Lacto-ovo vegetarian: consumes dairy and eggs; does not eat meat, poultry or fish Pescatarian: consumes fish; does not eat meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs A person following a vegan diet does not consume any animal products including meats, dairy, eggs, and seafood. This diet sometimes excludes honey and gelatin as well, depending on the individual’s decision. Why do people choose to follow plant-based diets? There are several reasons why someone may […]

Healthy Snacking

Healthy Snacking

Snacks can be a part of a healthy diet. Think of snacks as a little bridge from meal to meal, especially if meals are consumed longer than four hours apart. Snacks may not always be necessary every day, or between every meal. Aim to limit no more than 2-3 snacks per day, and be sure that healthy snacking is only offered/consumed at appropriate times.  Pair Protein and Fiber Pairing protein and fiber-rich foods can help fill your child up. The term “satiated” is used to define the feeling of fullness or no longer feeling hungry. To improve satiety, be sure to offer one protein item or one fiber item. Or consider offering a combination of the two.  Protein sources include: dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt nuts and seeds beans eggs meat fish Fiber sources include: fruits vegetables whole grains such as whole grain crackers, granola or a […]

Smart Grocery Shopping Tips, powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Smart Grocery Shopping Tips

Save time and money with these helpful grocery shopping tips! Plan Ahead Before going to the store, it is helpful to have a plan. This will help reduce the amount of time and money spent at the super market. Create a menu Write out meal ideas for each day of the week to help with planning and organization. This will help you decide what you need from the store. Consider writing this menu on a calendar or chalkboard. You do not have to create the menu alone! Ask family members to assistance in selecting meals and recipes. This will make everyone happy, as it gives each person the opportunity to suggest some of their favorite items. Having a “meal plan” for the week helps to limit frequency of dining out or ordering in. Cooking at home can be healthier and more cost effective. Plan to have a fruit or vegetable […]

Mindful Eating, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Mindful Eating

Why do we eat? While there are many answers to this question, one of the most important reasons for eating is to nourish our bodies. Think of your body as a car. Cars need gas to drive us to our destinations. Gas is the fuel that allows cars to function, and without it they cannot run. Like cars, our body will not run, or run well, without proper fuel in the form of food. What is Mindful Eating? Put simply, mindful eating is the act of paying attention to your food choices, how you are eating, and how your body feels when eating. Paying attention to your body begins with listening to the signals it displays before a meal. Hunger signals may include any of the following: growling stomach, low energy, irritability, maybe feeling lightheaded. Listening for these cues can help prevent us from eating out of emotions such as […]

Fueling Your Growing Athlete, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Fueling Your Growing Athlete

It’s back to school time, and for some families, this may mean the start of a new sports season as well. The challenge with young athletes is meeting their nutritional needs for growth, while fueling them with the right types and amounts of food for lasting energy during practice and games. The goal is to eat in preparation for exercise, rather than from a depletion in nutrients after exercise. Here are a few tips for fueling your growing athlete. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are found in foods like pasta, rice, bread, cereal, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They are the body’s preferred source of energy during a workout. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar and used immediately for energy, while some of this sugar is stored in the muscles or liver for later use. Carbohydrates should provide about half of your child’s caloric intake. Limit simple carbohydrates like chips and sweets, […]

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