Archive for May, 2011

Nutritional Value

May 20th, 2011

On March 10th, we discussed a few simple ways to help children develop healthy eating habits.  The first suggestion was to stock up on healthy and nutritious snacks.  While fruits and vegetables are a natural choice, beyond these selections, it can be difficult to know what is most nutritious for your children.  Consider, for example, yogurt.  With such a wide variety of options available, which one is healthiest for your children?  You can examine the label, but even then it can be confusing…calories, fat, protein, sugar, fiber, minerals, carbohydrates… It is overwhelming!

An independent team of researchers developed a system called Nuval to help customers determine the nutritional value of food.  The system scores food on a scale from 1 to 100.  The higher the number, the higher the nutrition.  This system considers more than 30 nutrients when assigning a Nuval score to food.  In other words, it takes all the information on the food label, and converts it into an easy to understand, overall nutrition score.

Now, when you’re in the dairy section wondering which kind of yogurt to buy, you can be armed with nutritional knowledge, like that below.

  • Stonyfield Fat Free French Vanilla Yogurt, Nuval score = 39
  • Chobani Non-Fat Plan Greek Yogurt, Nuval score = 91

It is also useful when shopping for other foods, including peanut butter.

  • Skippy Reduced-Fat Creamy Peanut Butter, Nuval score = 18
  • Teddie Smooth UnSalted Peanut Butter, Nuval score = 90

Grocery stores can independently adopt this system.  Currently, you can find the Nuval information at HyVee and other participating grocery stores around the country.  Simply look for the Nuval score on the shelf tags, next to the item price.

Have any of you had the opportunity to try out this new system?  Did you find it helpful?  What surprising scores did you come across?


The Importance of Play

May 3rd, 2011

As summertime approaches, it might be tempting to enroll your child in a variety of events to keep him/her busy while not in school.  While extra curricular activities certainly can benefit your child and be very fun for him/her, too many activities can be overwhelming.  Having a jam packed schedule can leave your child without any free time to just play.  So, with summer quickly approaching, I wanted to remind everyone of a few of the benefits of play.

Creativity. When children are given time for free play, they create play scenarios, imagine a new world, and turn common objects into magical props.  Their creativity and imagination can take them anywhere!

Social development. During free play, children interact with one another in a variety of ways.  They may need to cooperate to help a friend in need, determine who will “play” the pilot and who will “play” the passenger, solve a disagreement, or tend to a crying “baby” doll.  All of these scenarios help them learn how to communicate and cooperate with one another.

Physical development. Especially outside in the summer, free play gives children a chance to develop their gross (running, jumping, throwing) and fine (finger painting, tying shoes, coloring) motor skills.  It also helps to keep them active and healthy!

An escape. Let’s face it, the world is a busy, stressful place.  Whether it’s a big soccer game, a bully at school, a math exam, or troubles at home, life can be stressful and serious for children of all ages.  Play gives them a chance to escape reality, and just have fun being a kid for a while.

Have you noticed a difference in children when they’re overbooked?  How does it affect their energy level?  Their mood?  Their relationships?

nutrition, positive parenting, social-emotional

Episode 3: Childhood Obesity

May 1st, 2011

Doug and Mike discuss what parents can do about childhood obesity with Gregory Welk, director of clinical research and outreach for the Nutrition and Wellness Research Center at Iowa State, in this month’s Science of Parenting radio program podcast.

From the The Science of Parenting blogFighting Obesity: Healthy Eating

ISU Extension and Outreach Resources

nutrition, podcast , , , , , ,