Healthy Children - May 2014

INCCRRA in partnership with the Illinois Department of Human Services is providing information on childhood obesity through its website. The intent is to communicate to child care practitioners, parents and others who visit the website, the seriousness of obesity in young children and to link them to current research on the issue.

Helpful suggestions for meal planning, recipes and healthy physical activities are presented on this site not just for overweight children but the health of the entire family.

New ideas are listed every month. Each month a new column on this issue of national concern is posted. It answers questions you have regarding heavy children and healthy lifestyles -- be sure to check it out.

For more information contact the Illinois Department of Human Services at (217) 785-9336 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can also contact your local Illinois Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.

The consumer health information on childhood obesity provided by the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies on the site or by any links to other sites is for information purposes only and should not be interpreted as a recommendation for a specific treatment plan, product or course of action. This web site generally links to other sites that are informational in nature and does not link to commercial sites that are primarily intended for the sale of products or services. Use of this site or any links to other sites does not replace medical consultations with a qualified health or medical professional to meet the health and medical needs of you or a loved one. You should promptly seek professional care if you have any concern about the health of you or a loved one and you should always consult your physician before you or a loved one starts a fitness regimen.


Eating on a Budget – The 3 P’s


Plan meals and snacks for the week according to an established budget.
Find quick and easy recipes online .
Include meals that will "stretch" expensive food items (stews, casseroles, stir-fried dishes) .
Make a grocery list.
Check for sales and coupons in the local paper or online and consider discount stores.
Ask about a loyalty card at your grocery store.


Buy groceries when you are not hungry and when you are not too rushed.
Stick to the grocery list and stay out of the aisles that don't contain items on your list.
Buy store brands if cheaper.
Find and compare unit prices listed on shelves to get the best price.
Purchase some items in bulk or as family packs which usually cost less.
Choose fresh fruits and vegetables in season; buy canned vegetables with less salt.
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables, individual cups of yogurt, and instant rice and hot cereal are convenient, but usually cost more than those that require a bit more prep time.
Good low-cost items available all year include:
Protein-beans (garbanzo,black,cannellini)
Vegetables - carrots, greens, potatoes
Fruit- apples, bananas


Some meal items can be prepared in advance; pre-cook on days when you have time.
Double or triple up on recipes and freeze meal-sized containers of soups and casseroles or divide into individual portions.
Try a few meatless meals by substituting with beans and peas or try "no-cook" meals like salads.
Incorporate leftovers into a subsequent meal.
Be creative with a fruit or vegetable and use it in different ways during the week.

Should I Give My Baby Extra Water?

Temperatures outside are heating up, and the fact that we are perspiring tells us we are losing body fluids. Many adults find themselves drinking more water to stay hydrated, but what about our children? In particular, what about babies? Should we all be drinking more water?
We lose body fluids continuously from perspiration, breathing, urine and stool and we must rehydrate to stay energized. We are often encouraged to drink water to stay healthy, and water provides many health benefits. In hot weather, our bodies require extra water to energize muscles and to keep adequate fluids moving things along in our digestive tract. While drinking extra water on a hot day is recommended for adults and children over a year old, it is not helpful to babies.

In fact, extra water for infants younger than 6 months of age could lead to water intoxication, which is a cause of infant seizures in otherwise healthy babies.
It is all about balance-fluid balance.  Extra water dilutes the sodium in a baby's blood and flushes it out of the baby's body. That reduces the amount of electrolytes in the body, altering brain activity, which can cause seizures.

Between 1975 and 1990, James Keating, MD, then a Washington University pediatric gastroenterologist at St Louis Children's Hospital, noticed a total of 34 infants treated in the emergency room with water intoxication. Thirty-one of the babies had too much water given to them by caretakers because they had run out of formula. As a result, Dr. Keating worked to modify the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to provide sufficient formula for growing infants. He also published research to educate mothers about the hazards of excessive water ingestion in order to reduce the incidence of this preventable, life-threatening condition.

Parents should also avoid infant Swimming lessons prior to age 1. "Repeated dunking of infants can cause them to gulp water and has caused seizures in infants at the poolside," Dr. Keating says. The symptoms of drinking too much water are subtle for an infant but may include twitching, irritability that leads to inconsolable crying and difficulty breathing leading to seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

The bottom line is this, breastfeeding is best for your infant. Breast milk offers immunity protection and many neurodevelopment advantages.  On extra hot days breastfeed your baby more frequently. If unable to breastfeed, offer formula more frequently.

1 Keating James, Shears Greg, Dodge Philip. Oral Water Intoxication in Infants, An American Epidemic, Am J. Dis Child 1991-sep: 145(9);985-90
2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, Pediatrics Vol  115 No  2 February  1. 2005 pp.496-506

This article was written by Sue Griffard. RN. a nurse on The Answer Line at St  Louis Children's Hospital. For more information call The Answer Line at 314.454.KIDS (5437).

 With Protein Foods, Variety is Key

10 tips for choosing protein

Protein foods include both animal (meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs) and plant (beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds) sources.  We all need protein – but most Americans eat enough, and sometimes eat more than they need. How much is enough?  Most people, age 9 and older, should eat 5 to 7 ounces* of protein foods each day.

1. vary your protein food choices
Eat a variety of foods from the Protein Foods Group each week. Experiment with main dishes made with beans or peas, nuts, soy, and seafood.

2. choose seafood twice a week
Eat seafood in place of meat or poultry twice a week. Select a variety of seafood-include some that are higher in oils and low in mercury, such as salmon, trout, and herring.

3. make meat and poultry lean or low fat
Choose lean or low-fat cuts of meat like round or sirloin and ground beef that is at least 90% lean. Trim or drain fat from meat and remove poultry skin.

4. have an egg
One egg a day, on average, doesn't increase risk for heart disease, so make eggs part of your weekly choices. Only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.

5. eat plant protein foods more often
Try beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds. They are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

6. nuts and seeds
Choose unsalted nuts or seeds as a snack, on salads, or in main dishes to replace meat or poultry. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of calories, so eat small portions to keep calories in check.

7. keep it tasty and healthy
Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking-they don't add extra fat. Some lean meats need slow, moist cooking to be tender-try  a slow cooker for them. Avoid breading meat or poultry, which adds calories.

8. make a healthy sandwich
Choose turkey, roast beef, canned tuna or salmon, or peanut butter for sandwiches. Many deli meats, such as regular bologna or salami, are high in fat and sodium-make them occasional treats only.

9. think small when it comes to meat portions
Get the flavor you crave but in a smaller portion. Make or order a smaller burger or a "petite" size steak.

10. check the sodium
Check the Nutrition Facts label to limit sodium. Salt is added to many canned foods-including beans and meats. Many processed meats-such as ham, sausage, and hot dogs-are high in sodium. Some fresh chicken, turkey, and pork are brined in a salt solution for flavor and tenderness.

*What counts as an ounce of protein foods? 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or seafood; 1 egg; 1/4 cup cooked beans or peas; ½ ounce nuts or seeds; or 1 tablespoon peanut butter.


Try these recipes for salads

Apple-Hazelnut Salad in A Cup

Layer the ingredients in the order listed above in a large insulated cup with a lid. When ready to eat, shake the cup well and grab a fork!

2 tablespoons non-fat, bottled raspberry vinaigrette
1apple, diced
1/4 cup dried fruit tidbits (available in the dried fruit section, in cranberry-orange and other flavors)
2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts (available in small bags in the baking section)
1 cup pre-cut mixed greens, rinsed and drained well (from a bag or by the pound in the produce section)

Sensational Five Star Fruit Salad

Squeeze the juice from the limes. Whisk the lime juice and honey.
Combine all the fruit, or layer in a clear bowl. Pour the dressing on top and serve. Serves 6.
Source: Centersfor Disease Control, 5-a-Day, June 18,2003

Salad Part
1 sweet pineapple (fresh, frozen or canned), peeled, cored, and diced into small cubes
1 mango, peeled and sliced into thin strips (the pit is almond-shaped and sticks to the fruit, so just cut around it)
3 green anjou pears, cored and diced into small cubes (leave the peel on for color and fiber)
1 large ruby red grapefruit, segmented
Seeds of 1 pomegranate

5 limes
3 tablespoons honey

Kids' Favorite Fruit Salad

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the whipped topping and lettuce; mix lightly. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Serve immediately, or if you want to serve it later, cover the bowl and put it into the refrigerator. To serve, spoon the salad onto lettuce-lined plates. To garnish, add a few more maraschino cherries to add some color and fun!

1(17-oz.) can fruit cocktail, drained
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup drained maraschino cherries, halved
2 medium bananas, sliced
1 medium apple, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed, or sweetened whipped cream
Lettuce leaves


Benefits of Increased Activity

Stress Management
Sleeping better
Feeling better overall
Improved self-esteem
Healthy bones, muscle, and joints
Weight control

Besides being healthy for children, there are also many benefits for parents to increasing activity- in case parents need a bit more motivation to join their kids in getting active.

These benefits apply equally to child care providers.  When you live a healthy lifestyle as a provider, you not only model healthy behaviors for children, but you reap the benefits and rewards of good health!