San Diego Health: Healthy Meals for Kids


– Hi, I’m Susan Taylor with Scripps Health in San Diego, California. Please subscribe to our
Scripps Health YouTube channel. We’ve got great videos featuring the very latest technology, our stellar doctors, and
inspiring patient stories. Okay, do you have an ongoing
battle with your kids over what to eat? Eat your fruits and vegetables. It’s a common rallying cry for parents. But chances are your kids
would rather go for pizza, potato chips, cookies, cake, and soda. What’s your kid’s go-to food? What do they crave? And what’s their favorite
fruits and vegetable? Please leave it in the
comment section below. According to the American
Academy of Pediatrics nearly one in three children
in the United States is either over weight or obese. So how do you get your kids
on the path to healthy eating? We’re gonna talk about that, and with two pediatricians
from Scripps clinic in Carmel Valley, Dr. Mackenzie Coffin and Dr. Daniel Lichtman. Thanks so much for being with us. – [Dr. Lichtman] Thanks for having us. – Why is healthy eating
such an issue for kids? – Well I think building
habits early on is huge. So it’s not just for their
nutrition at a young age, it’s also to build the right habits for when they’re a teenager and adult and they have to deal with
diet a little bit more. – So according to the CDC,
empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute
to 40% of daily calories for kids ages two to 18. – It’s the huge number. – [Susan] That’s staggering. – I think you know depending
on where you look on these things sometimes you’ll get
various different numbers. But I think in general,
we know it’s too high. And I think even things
like chocolate milk, people think it’s good ’cause it’s milk and my kid likes chocolate milk, and I can get him to drink
milk if we put chocolate in it, you know. But if you look
at the sugar content, it’s actually quite high. So I think you know really
paying attention to what beverages ’cause they’re a huge source of just empty calories. – Well that’s what they say, the CDC, the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention says half of these calories
come from six sources, soda, fruit drinks, dairy
desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and milk. As you say, go back to milk and you think milk is really good for you. So why is it important to establish healthy eating habits at a young age? – Well as I mentioned, I mean,
building the right habits makes it so that you’re
able to do the right thing when you’re in a position where it’s really gonna affect your health that much more. And you’re talking about
when you’re an adult, if you are over weight and you’re obese, you’re at much higher risk for high blood pressure,
high cholesterol, diabetes, early heart disease, all
those sorts of things. – I think we know that the
habits that you get set from the time you’re a child really do follow you
through your whole life. If you get used to eating
when you’re watching TV, that becomes a comforting activity for you and then you do that your whole life. So trying to get kids into mindful eating so that they’re not
setting up these habits, oh I eat when I’m bored,
or I eat when I’m … – [Dr. Lichtman] Stressed. – Yeah, stressed, when I’m sad, you know using food just
for just healthy nutrition to nourish your body. And I think teaching kids what the point and purpose
of food is, is very helpful. – So we want you to hold this thought. We’re gonna come back and talk
about this a little bit more. I know you referenced it,
what happens down the road if you don’t establish these healthy eating
habits at a young age. What are the consequences? What are you setting yourself up for? And you referenced it a little bit, but I want to go into
kind of greater depth. So hold that thought,
we’ll come back to that in just a couple of minutes. Let’s talk about some examples
of healthy food for kids. – Yeah. – Sure, so you know, you’re
talking about eating, the way that our society typically eats throughout the day. We have meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner. And kids, they’re growing
and they’re active, they need snacks
throughout the day as well, typically a couple of
snacks all the time, right? – I need snacks. (Laughter) – [Susan] You’re a kid at heart. – Yeah, it’s true. I’ve not grown up. – One thing Mackenzie always talks about, I hear her talking to patients is having the right snacks available at home. And thinking about foods
that need to be refrigerated are often more healthy. They’re perishable. They’re less processed. – So examples of healthy foods. Obviously fruits and vegetables. – Yeah, so, I always tell people, when you’re hungry is not the time to have to prepare your food, right? ‘Cause you’re hungry, you just want food. So you’re gonna go wherever it’s easy, which is either the pantry for many of us. But hopefully, we can turn
that into the refrigerator. So you can have cheese sticks in there. You can have whole fat, for
younger kids less than two, Greek yogurt, over that
age you can do Greek yogurt that’s not whole fat. But it’s got a great source
of protein, got good calcium, cutting up fruits and
vegetables ahead of time, or if you’re like me, you
don’t want to take the time to cut up fruits and vegetables, so you just buy the ones
that are precut for you, but they still work. They’re great. And you can just grab those. You can munch on celery. You can munch on carrots, put some hummus on it,
make it more flavorful. – So let’s give some sample meals. What would you offer up
as a healthy breakfast? – [Dr. Lichtman] I think
yogurt with a little bit of granola in it, fresh fruits, avocado on the
side of whole grain toast with some eggs, those are
really good breakfast sources. – And what about a healthy lunch, a school lunch for example, what kids could take to school? – So that’s another thing that trying to take, a
lot of the time I think we don’t pack certain things ’cause we don’t have an ice pack, we can’t keep it cold during the day. But if you send your kid with an old fashioned lunch box that’s got an ice pack in it, you can do yogurt, you
can do hard boiled egg, you can do, you mentioned
healthy sources of meat. So want to talk about what you said there? – Yeah so, some sort of deli meat. Now a lot of the deli
meats you buy at the stores are processed, so there’s nitrite. Well you can go to the counter at your local grocery store and you can get freshly
sliced turkey breast, or freshly sliced roast beef. Those would be good on
a whole grain sandwich, maybe just use once slice of bread for the meat that you have so you’re not getting too many carbs. – What about tuna fish? – Yeah, tuna fish is great. You do want to limit the mercury exposure. So I think a lot of sources
will say in moderation, not everyday, but weekly,
or every other week. – And what about the go-to for kids, peanut butter and jelly? – Absolutely, I think a
hard is a lot of the schools have become much more
nut allergy friendly. So when your child is going to school you may not be able to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But that’s a great lunch go-to, on the go, during summer vacation
when they’re off to camp, that sort of thing. – And really, if you’re looking at how to make that even healthier, you know, pick whole grains, pick bread
that has higher fiber content, and really, one piece of bread with the same amount of filling can be a great way to
cut calories as well. – And I did mention
peanut butter and jelly. The jelly portion of that is very sugary. – I was gonna say there’s
a lot of sugar in that. – And so substitute that with
some fresh sliced strawberries or put some raspberries, bananas, makes it a little bit healthier. – ‘Cause the juice will
soak into the bread over the course of the morning while the kids are waiting to have lunch. What about dinner? What would you suggest as a
healthy meal for your kids? – Yeah, I mean anything
you guys are eating, as long as it’s healthy, go for it. But you know, chicken breast, with a little bit of pasta or rice, and then make sure that
the rest of the plate is filled with fruits or veggies. A small piece of red meat,
it’s totally fine, right? As Mackenzie said,
everything in moderation. You’re allowed to have certain foods that may have a stigma of being unhealthy. You can have those, but
it’s all in moderation. – And what about desserts? – Yeah, desserts are a fun topic. (chuckles) Yeah, and I think teaching
kids that food is fun and it’s supposed to be fun, but you also have to eat
the things that are healthy. And you don’t need, we
were talking the other day, you don’t need to have dessert every meal. But some things, you
know we have in our head, oh dessert has to be cake, has
to be pie, has to be cookies, but it can be anything that’s delicious. So you can do fruit with a
little bit of whipped cream on it you know, that’s a lower calorie option. – Savory desserts are
making a comeback too. – Yeah. It doesn’t have to be something sweet. – What’s a savory dessert? – You know, I mean, you
go to some other countries and they have, not to say
it’s that much more healthy, but they may have a plate
of cheese and fruits and that’s a dessert. That’s an after meal type of a snack. And that’s a dessert. So I totally agree with Mackenzie. It’s not all about the whipped cream and the chocolate syrup,
and the ice cream, you have other options. – But isn’t ice cream a
good source of calcium? – It is. And you know it can count as a serving. It just shouldn’t be your staple for one of your daily servings of calcium. But frozen yogurt, you
know if you’re going with the ice cream option, frozen
yogurt’s better for you than actual you know,
full on ice cream too. But even the full on ice cream is okay. You just want to make sure that it’s not part of your habit. That you’re not doing it every day. – Every night. – Not a big pint of ice cream, right? (chuckle) And so that’s the other thing
that we always circle back to and we’re talking to families and talking to teenagers,
and talking to the kids is one serving of ice
cream is not this big. One hamburger patty should not take up- shouldn’t get two or three hamburgers. You know it should be
one scoop of ice cream is one scoop of ice cream. – Yes, which is somewhat
sad when you start looking at serving sizes. I like remember when I first
started paying attention to serving sizes, and I was
relatively sad for a few days. But then you’re stomach
and your mind get used it, and you become full off of less. And it actually is more satisfying because you’re not over
inundating your taste buds with the same taste over and over again. You just have that right now and feel full and satisfied after that. – And what about cookies? – Cookies are good. (chuckle) – I like cookies. – Cookies are great. – Yeah, but for example, what
about an oatmeal raisin cookie as opposed to a chocolate,
chocolate cookie? – Or even oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and really like the size. Are you having one cookie or
are you having three cookies? Yeah, but there’s also granola bars can be equally as delicious to a kid as a cookie. And it’s just got a little
bit more fiber in it, a little bit more nutrition than the flour from the cookie. – Yeah and there’s
other bread people make. Banana bread, and it certainly has bananas in it and fruit. Zucchini bread, you can make breads that have veggies or fruits in them that increase the nutrient. – And you referenced it before, but it is important to
make the cooking fun and involve your kids in it, right? Because then they kind of
have more of a stake in it. – Oh yeah, kids love to like pick out what they’re gonna eat later, and I picked out this one, and they feel proud they picked
out a good you know apple or whatever it is they
want to eat at the store. And making it fun as a … You always talk about
having it be a family time. – Yeah, for sure. I mean, actually I have a toddler,
she’s one and a half. And back to picking out foods and options, I always have to bite my tongue because it’s like, do you want avocado? And it’s like oh, not really. I should have phrased that
as do you want avocado or do you want banana? Or do you want to add the avocado or should I give it to mommy? And that always tricks her, right? And then she’s more interested. If she gets to choose the food, she’s more likely to eat it. – And what are some guidelines
for nutrition for kids? I know that you like a
website called, is it, choosemyplate.gov, right? Choosemyplate.gov. But talk about the nutritional guidelines. What should you be thinking about as you’re preparing meals for your kids? – So there’s still basically
five major food groups, dairy, fruits, veggies,
grains, and proteins. And throughout the day
you should get a variety of those things. They’ve moved a little bit
away from I think maybe people remember 20, 25 years
ago, the food pyramid, right? Choose My Plate, there’s
kind of a newer version and helps guide you a little bit. There’s a little bit more
wiggle room than just here you gotta get this
many servings of this, this many servings of that. – And in general we know that it’s hard to get your kid to eat exactly
the right number of things. There are vitamins out there that can kind of help supplement. But the body uses nutrients the best when it gets it in the form of food. So the food is always
better than the vitamins. So the general idea, you just wanna- I usually tell patients, try to have a fruit or a vegetable about four or fives times a day, spread throughout the day. You know, have three to four servings of something with calcium in it, whether it’s cheese stick, almond milk, you know, whatever it
is that you’re using, ice cream sometimes. But… And then meat, you should
be having something with protein and iron. So that’s why meat’s
important, protein and iron. It does have vitamins and minerals too. But protein and iron are the main reasons I think to encourage people to eat meat. And if you’re not doing that, if you’re a vegetarian or you know, vegan, really getting some advice
from a nutritionist, especially a pediatric nutritionist to make sure that there’s
no holes in the diet there. – [Susan] And you referenced it, let’s talk a little bit more. Would you recommend vitamins for kids? Would you recommend supplements for kids? – I don’t usually recommend vitamins for the majority of my patients. Because of that reason. We absorb nutrients better with our diet. And I also feel that you don’t want to use
the vitamins as a crutch. Well, I don’t have to push
the fruits and the veggies or whatever because my
child is getting a vitamin. So I don’t push it very often. Now there’s definitely times where you use the vitamin to transition
until you can start getting some of those foods into the diet. – [Dr. Coffin] Yeah, I
think for the most part, just encouraging kids over time to get a well-rounded diet
is the best way to go. If there are you know, people- Some patients I have, maybe
have milk you know, allergies or can’t have a lot of dairy. So in that instance
there’s a very clear hole for calcium in the diet. So a calcium and vitamin D supplement. But for the most part, once
you’re over a year old, you no longer need that
vitamin D supplement every day that we recommend for babies. But I think working on the
diet’s the best way to go. – And then what about fast food? Because fast food is popular for kids. And it’s easy to prepare when mom and dad are rushing
you know, to get home and put dinner on the table. Can you have fast food that is healthy? – Yes.
– Yeah. – Yeah, I mean there’s
options at every restaurant that you go to that’s fast food. There’s definitely ways
to make it healthier. Now most restaurants salads they have, veggies, fruits. Now your young child may not
go for a salad obviously, but grilled versus fried. – Yeah, whenever I go,
I always want fries. I can’t go and not get fries. So if I go I with a group and then you know, not everyone
has to get the combo meal. So you can do one fry order, or depending on how many
people are in your group. And then each person gets
a little handful of fries. You don’t have to have one per person. Also biggie sizing, do they still do that? When I was 12 I remember the biggie size. – They have different levels for sure. – You don’t need to biggie size. No one really needs to biggie size. But yes, so portions
and then trying to pick the healthier options. – You don’t need to supersize. – [Dr. Lichtman] Don’t need to supersize. – [Dr. Coffin] Yes, yeah. – I think that it goes back
to the sugary drinks also is that fast food does not
need to come with a soda or a fruit juice. A lot of these restaurants they do a good job of having alternates. But instead of doing a soda, I don’t necessarily want you to go for the 100% fruit juice
that sounds more healthy, but still has a lot of sugars. The average kid in America nowadays gets about 30 gallons a
year of sugary beverages. It’s an astounding number and it’s way too much. And so water or milk with your meals is really what I go for. – All right, let’s come back to this. We talked about this a little bit earlier. If you don’t establish
healthy eating habits at a young age, what are the consequences? What are you setting
yourself up for as an adult? Now you have talked about high
blood pressure, what else? And diabetes, you talked about what else? – High cholesterol, joint
disease, chronic back pain. – Early heart disease, diabetes is you know, I think- it’s not just thinking diabetes, I have diabetes, but diabetes is gonna
affect all of your body. It’s gonna affect your heart. It’s gonna affect your kidneys. It’s gonna affect your
blood flow to your toes and to your hands. – Your vision. – Your nerves. So it’s really all encompassing. – [Susan] Osteoporosis? – Mm hmm.
– Mm hmm. – [Susan] Cavities? – Yeah.
– Absolutely. – That was surprising. – And sugary drinks and gummy candies are kind of like a
dentists worse nightmare. – Including gummy vitamins,
yeah gummy vitamins too. You know, they get stuck on your teeth just like a gummy bear would. – And what about iron deficiency? – Especially in kids
who drink too much milk. So a lot of if you know, your elevated BMI, you’re having more milk
than the recommended amount, which usually after
one is somewhere around about 24 ounces or less a day. That can actually inhibit iron absorption and make you too full so that you don’t eat
iron containing foods ’cause you’re just full off of milk. So yes, definitely can affect that. – That’s interesting. And then what about cancer? – Yeah, it’s an inflammatory condition. – Yeah, anything that
causes chronic inflammation in your body can set you up
for different types of cancer. – And what would cause chronic
inflammation of the body? – Obesity in general is just
an inflammatory condition. Probably in med school we learned the pathophysiology of why. I think there’s some fancy word of leptin, (chuckles) I don’t know. But we know that it does inflame the body. And some of it is probably just physical trauma. You know the amount of pressure that’s put on the joints. – Yeah and one of the main organs that’s affected with increased fat in the diet or obesity is the liver. And we know that there’s
an inflammatory cascade that starts off with your
liver causing liver damage. People who are obese and overweight and that just leads kind of
to more systemic illnesses. – So what foods should you avoid if you’re trying to decide,
okay, eat this, not that. What should you avoid? And then on the flip side,
what should be your go-to food? – That’s where I like to give the example of the pantry versus the fridge. So if it’s kept in the pantry, the chances of it being one of your should be
go to foods is lower. So anything that’s a processed carb, anything that really
doesn’t need a refrigerator to keep it well past like two days. – [Susan] So you’re talking about cookies, crackers, chips. – Chips, pretzels. – Sugary drinks. – Yeah, yeah. And even some people think that “oh well, trail mix is healthy.” It can be, but when you look
at the serving size of nuts, it is like a quarter of a cup, I think this is true, a
quarter of a cup of nuts. So a very small amount. So when you think about
how you eat trail mix out of a bag, that’s probably
about six or seven servings. So go-to foods, fruits and veggies that you’ve already cut up,
don’t have to think about it. They’re already there, healthy dairy like low fat cheese stick, Greek yogurt. – Whole grains. – Hard boiled egg, handful of nuts, anything that’s you
know, got saturated fats, all of those kinds of
things you just kind of want to avoid, fried things,
lots of processed stuff. – What about butter on your
bread versus something else? – Sure you know, I
personally am a believer in rather than just substitute what you’re having in your diet to really follow that
policy of moderation. So I actually am okay with a
little bit of butter on bread. But you’re not smearing a whole bunch. You’re doing a little
smear to get a little bit more flavor if you need it for your bread. I wouldn’t necessarily
substitute it with something else but you can substitute it if you wanted to with avocado or a nut butter, adds a little bit more
nutrients than straight butter. – Any final thoughts? – I mean I think again, I would just give a big
plug for building habits and know that the changes that you make with your kid’s diet really should be a family- a family thing, right. If four out of five people in the family are eating a different way than one person it’s not gonna hold. It’s about making there be a
good culture for the family in terms of how you eat. And that’s gonna serve well
throughout your child’s life. – And I think, you know,
don’t be discouraged. Any change that we’re
trying to make as adults as kids, it takes time. So the more time you spend on task, the more times you try. We know it can take a kids up to 10 times or maybe even more of trying a food before they actually think they like it. – I always like to tell my patients, you know, the rule is
you have to try it, okay? If your mom or dad says,
let’s try this tonight, you gotta try it. If your mom’s okay with,
your dad’s okay with it, you can politely spit it back out and throw it in the trash
can if you don’t like it. – Give it to the dog. – You’re in trouble if you try it, but you got to try it because otherwise you’re
not doing a service to yourself or your family
or your health in the future. – Yeah, so keep trying and offer. You know, just on the plate,
there’s lots of different space so offer a new food in that new space and that one space every night and just like you said, try it. And then the rest of your nutrients come from everything else. But overtime that diet will expand. – And keep eating together as a family. That’s what I always say. Eat as a family and
then you’re less likely to have as much junk and kind of that port of meeting. – Thank you both very much. – [Dr. Coffin] Yeah, thank you. – [Dr. Lichtman] Thanks for having us. – We appreciate it. If you want more
information on healthy food for your kids just click on the link or go to scripps.org/videos. If you want more critical
information about your health we take care of you from head to toe. Please subscribe to our
Scripps Health YouTube channel and follow us on social
media @scrippshealth. I’m Susan Taylor, thanks
so much for joining us. It’s our mission at
Scripps to help you heal, enhance, even save your life.

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