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Dr. Sears Answers Family Nutrition Questions

Some common family nutrition questions:

Q

What are the best foods for the whole family - and why?

 

Make every food choice count by choosing nutrient-dense foods that deliver the maximum amount of nutrients per serving. Keep your refrigerator and pantry stocked with wholesome foods such as live and active culture yogurt, avocado, tuna fish (packed in water or fresh), papaya and whole grain breads and crackers that everyone in the family will like.
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Q

Is it better to eat three meals a day, or smaller, more frequent snack-size meals throughout the day?

 

"Grazing," or eating smaller meals every three to four hours, is a good way for many people to eat. Small meals help ensure that steady energy levels are maintained throughout the day. Just don't eat snacks too close to mealtime since they may spoil your appetite.
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Q

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

 

Absolutely. Studies show that at school, breakfast eaters generally make higher grades, pay closer attention, and manage more complex academic problems than breakfast skippers. Children who eat high calcium foods for breakfast, such as live and active culture yogurt, show enhanced behavior and learning. Breakfast skippers are more likely to have poor eating habits throughout the rest of the day, eating more calories or less nutritious foods, and giving in to junk food cravings. Some children are also more emotionally vulnerable than others when they skip breakfast.
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Q

My toddler is a picky eater. How can I get him to eat better?

 

Offer nutritious and tasty choices throughout the day. A good example is live and active culture yogurt, which has strong "kid appeal," comes in many flavors and varieties, and delivers important nutrients, such as calcium and protein. Try the old switcheroo and substitute plain yogurt for mayonnaise in tuna and chicken salads. Create a "nibble tray" filled with nutritious foods that your child can graze from throughout the day, including healthy dips like yogurt. Or try serving frozen yogurt instead of ice cream for dessert. And remember, evaluate your child's overall food intake on a weekly basis, not on a given day. You may be surprised how well he or she eats, after all.
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Q

Is it better to get vitamins and minerals from supplements or from food?

 

I highly recommend the "food first" approach to get the important nutrients your body needs. Today's dairy case provides a wide range of calcium-rich choices that appeal to everybody. Yogurt, for instance, is an excellent source of calcium and a good source of protein, and the live and active cultures offer other health attributes that supplements may not provide. Studies show that consumption of yogurt may improve lactose digestion, prevent certain types of cancer, provide enhanced immune systems in certain people and offer relief from chronic yeast infections. To ensure the yogurt you're choosing contains a significant level of live and active cultures, look for the National Yogurt Association's (NYA) Live and Active Culture Yogurt seal on the yogurt container. Consult with your physician if you feel the need for additional supplements.
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