Blog posts by Sarah Van Riet, MS, RDN, CDE

Worried about phthalates in macaroni and cheese powder?

Recent news articles including those in the New York Times, and CNN reported that chemicals known as phthalates are found in the cheese powder in boxed macaroni and cheese mixes.  What should parents do?  There’s no need to panic, but do take this chance to think about the invisible chemicals in your food (and home) and how you can be a smart shopper to limit your exposure. Read more

Changes Coming to Food Labels

During the next year you might see a new look for the Nutrition Facts food label on packaged foods.  Dietitians have been eagerly awaiting some of the new changes that might help buyers make healthier food choices.

Some foods have already been spotted with new label format and current FDA rules state companies have until July 2018 to use the new version.  Now it seems this could drag out another few years, as the Grocery Manufacturers Association and various other food industry trade and lobbying groups have requested a delay until 2021 stating cost barriers.

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Emotional Eating Affects Our Children Too

Using food to sooth sad feelings or cope with stress can be unhealthy for both parents and their children.  A recent research study on young children in Norway (Emotional Feeding and Emotional Eating, 2017) brings attention to the common use of food to cope with negative feelings. The authors surveyed parents of over 500 children over 5 years (ages 4-8) and propose that as parents we “set the stage” by modeling a relationship with food that our children will often continue.  It is normal to find comfort and enjoyment in eating, but using food in response to all bad feelings often creates unhealthy habits.

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Appetite Ups and Downs- Nutrition and Growth Spurts

Puberty-related growth spurts can be expected somewhere between ages 10-14 for girls and 10-16 for boys. Growth spurts are a period of rapid gain in height, often accompanied by increased hunger and fatigue, as the body uses more energy to build tissue. It’s common for parents to be surprised at their child’s sudden spike in appetite and wonder “should I let him keep eating?” as the child asks for a bowl of cereal 1 hour after eating 2 large helpings of dinner.

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