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Avoiding the Sugar Hangover this Halloween Season

Long gone are the days when young trick or treaters go door to door to get fruit and popcorn from their neighbors. Instead, the new norm is to give out loads of candy and other sugar-filled, unhealthy items.

Nutrition experts (and dentists) cringe every time October 31 rolls around, but this year parents can not only do their part in giving out healthier treats, but they can also be sure to monitor what their children are eating, too.

We all know that too much sugar is bad for anyone, but do we know what effects too much sugar can have on our children? Nutrition experts offer the following points:

Children that consume too much sugar and too many carbs, can suffer from hypoglycemia causing fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings and frequent illness.

Too many “empty calories” can mean that children aren't getting the nutrients they need on a daily basis.

A new diabetic is diagnosed every 8 minutes, a threefold increase in the past 5 to 6 years when a new diabetic was diagnosed every 23 minutes.

Recent research has shown that more than 20% of school-aged children are obese and more than 50% are overweight.

Too much sugar can cause chronically elevated blood insulin levels triggering inflammatory problems and elevated cholesterol.

Now don't get us wrong, this Halloween doesn't have to be all “doom and gloom” when it comes to having a few treats. Parents need to be very careful in monitoring what their child puts into their mouth and how often they are turning to sugary items.

Ration the sugary products over a longer period of time and incorporate them with a protein snack. Having a protein, especially before the sugar snack, will slow and reduce the rate and quantity of insulin secreted by the pancreas, thereby reducing many of the risks stated above.

Here's to a Healthy and Happy Halloween!

When to Keep Your Child Home and When to Send Them to School

Now that school is back in session and children are more susceptible to colds and the flu, many parents wonder when it is safe to send their child to school and when it is not. While many schools have specific guidelines regarding children who are sick, the following points are a general rule of thumb that will help you determine whether it is safe or not for your child and others. Your child will need to stay home if:

They have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit They are vomiting They have diarrhea They are in the first 24 hours of pink eye or strep throat antibiotics

Generally, experts say, that children can return to school when they have no fever, they can eat and drink normally, when they are well rested and alert enough to pay attention in class and once they have completed any doctor-recommended isolation due to pink eye or strep throat.

Back to School and Back to Lunch

Today's parents constantly worry that their children aren't getting the right foods in their lunch. That's why the right lunch begins well before noon. The right lunch begins at the grocery store and carries over in every meal they eat. Here we breakdown the grocery store for you section by section.

Supermarkets are filled with nutritious choices nowadays and by enlisting the help of your child when shopping for their lunch foods, he or she can learn how to make the best choices as they grow up and create meals of their own.

Be sure to check out the following areas of your supermarket and your child's lunch will not only be filled with great tasting foods, but it will also create a healthy lunch.

The Produce Section- The produce section is always a good place to start when it comes to a healthy lunch. Choosing fruits and vegetables that your child enjoys and even some they may have never tried is a great idea and is always a good place to find those important vitamins and minerals that every child needs.

The Drink Aisle- While many children would love to enjoy a sugary soft drink with their lunch, a better option is a 100 percent juice instead. Be a label reader and avoid juices with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and artificial flavors.

The Dairy Section- The dairy section is also an area where you can find some great foods. Try low-fat dairy options, like cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt.

The Snack Food Aisle- Many parents would avoid this aisle completely, but there are still some great lunch items that can be found in the snack food aisle. Be on the lookout for baked and not fried snacks, avoid trans fats, choose whole-wheat over non-whole grain snacks, grab some all natural granola bars that offer whole grains, nuts and pieces of fruit all in one snack.

Just by paying some attention to the labels and what is going into your child's lunch each day, your child will have the nutrition and energy necessary to get through his or her day, the healthy way.

Additional good grocery shopping tips include:

Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish are usually located. Avoid the center aisles where junk foods lurk.

Choose "real" foods, such as 100% fruit juice or 100% whole-grain items with as little processing and as few additives as possible.

Stay clear of foods with cartoons on the label that are targeted to children. If you don't want your kids eating junk foods, don't have them in the house.

Avoiding foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.

 

Back to School and Back to Sleep: Get Your Child Back on a School Sleeping Schedule

As parents and their children enjoy their last month of summer, school is looming right around the corner. Now is the time to get back into a school sleeping schedule, after having such a lax sleeping schedule over the summer months.

According to the Federal Citizen Information Center, children between the ages of 6 and 9 require at least 10 hours of sleep per night and older children require at least 9 hours.

To get your child in the school sleeping schedule:

Create a regular bed time and make sure you and your child stick to it.

Make sure your child avoids eating a heavy meal before their bed time.

Make sure your child avoids caffeine at least 6 hours before their bed time.

Allow for play and relaxation time before their bed time.

Create a bed time routine that is relaxing for your child, instead of stressful.

All of these pieces of advice will help to make the transition to a school sleeping schedule a smooth one for you and your child.

Tips to Keep Your Children Healthy When They Head Back to School

It's already that time of year again when your children will be heading back to school. While it may be a time of relief for parents, it can also be a time of stress when you are dealing with all of the illnesses and germs that children are susceptible to at school.

So, how can you help keep your child healthy throughout the school year? Follow these tips to keep your child in school and out of the doctor's office:

Remind your child of the importance of washing their hands, not only before lunch and after using the rest room, but also when they get home from school.

Remind your child to keep their fingers and hands out of their mouth. So many germs are spread this way and infections could ensue.

Give your child a daily vitamin. This will help them to build their immune systems and fight infections better.

Remind your child not to drink from other children's cups or use their utensils.

Make sure your child gets a physical before the school year starts. This will help to target any health problems prior to the start of the school year.

Make sure that your child gets 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Getting the right amount of sleep is important to keeping your child healthy.

Make sure to feed your child a nutritious and balanced diet each day. Getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals in their diet will also aid in building their immune systems and will lead to an overall healthier child.