Good news, snacking is good for you….as long as they are healthy snacks! During adolescence, the body needs more nutrients to grow which is why teenagers feel hungry a lot throughout the day. This is why snacks are a great way to satisfy that hunger and give the body the nutrients it needs to grow. Although it may be tempting for every teen to have a soda and candy bar after school, the temporary sugar boost it gives will slow them down in the long run. In order to keep energy levels going and to avoid weight gain, choose snacks that are full of fiber and protein such as peanut butter, fruits, or yogurts. However, you have to beware of claims that snack manufacturers make on their products. Just because something is “all natural” or “pure” does not mean that it is nutritious, such as fruit juices which can be filled with sugar which makes it extremely high in calories. Similarly, watch out for snacks with “low-fat” claims, because usually the fat is replaced with large amounts of sugar which is just as unhealthy. In order to judge how healthy a product is for you, look at the nutrition information on the food label.
Parents Want to Know
Dr. Lynch discusses children’s eating habits… and a great recipe to get your children to eat healthy is included below!
1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ cup raw sugar
6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup plant-based milk
1½ cup shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together. In another bowl combine sugar, applesauce, vanilla, lemon zest, zucchini and non-dairy milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just barely combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 18-25 minutes. If making a bread bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If toothpick pulls out cleanly the bread is done. (You can also add 1/4 cup chopped dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins, chopped raw walnuts or minced crystalized ginger to this recipe.)
As we are busy preparing our Thanksgiving Day Feasts, we parents need to be aware of a timely report on organic foods. A new AAP Clinical Report published in the November issue of Pediatrics states that organic foods are no more nutritious than foods produced in the conventional manner. The most important part of feeding our children is to be sure they are offered a healthy well-balanced diet. If finances permit, organic foods can be added to the meals.
Some organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to contain less pesticide residue than conventionally grown produce. Since we do not know what effect long term pesticide residue has on the developing brain and body, we should be cautious. Also, organic meats and poultry are free of nontherapeutic antibiotics so there is a reduced risk of exposure to multi drug exposed bacteria. One resource that might be helpful is the website by Environmental Working Group’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce”.
Remember as we plan our Thanksgiving Day grocery lists, there appears to be no nutritive advantage to organic foods. There may be other benefits to organic foods. Most importantly, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family in this special time to give thanks.
Elizabeth Chea, MD