Parents > FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

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  1. What is the difference between skim, low fat, and whole milk?
    All of these have the same amount of calcium which is very important for growing bones, but there are differences in fat content. Whole milk has the most fat (8grams fat) and is the best choice for children two and younger. Older and adults should opt for skim milk. Low fat milk comes in 2% (4.5 grams fat, 120 calories), 1 % (2.5 grams fat, 110 calories), skim or fat free milk has no fat and 80 calories, and whole milk has 8 grams fat and 150 calories.

  2. What are other foods I can give my child to get calcium?
    Adequate calcium intake in important with 4 – 8 year old children requiring about 800 mg. and 9 -18 year olds requiring about 1300 mg. daily. Calcium is found in dairy products like low fat yogurt and cheese. Calcium can also come from green vegetables like mustard greens, okra, and broccoli, or from dried beans and soy products. Additionally, there are a number of calcium fortified products like juices or whole grain breads and cereals.

  3. Can I use frozen or canned vegetables and fruits, or do they have to be fresh?
    Frozen and canned are great and convenient substitutes for use when you do not have fresh fruit available. For fruits, choose varieties that are packaged without sugar. Both frozen and canned products allow you to always have fruits and vegetables on hand when you need them.

  4. How do I get my child to eat more fruits and vegetables?
    Involve your children in grocery shopping weekly, allowing them to choose a new fruit or vegetable. In this way, a child may be more inclined to at least try the interesting food he/she has chosen. Sometimes allowing a child to assist in making a "fun" fruit or vegetable dish encourages them to try the new food.

  5. How much exercise should my child get every day?
    Children should get about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Finding fun ways to be active like flying a kite, playing on the playground, or dancing helps to make physical activity fun and entertaining. Kids like to be physically active and exercise with their parents too. Make it a family event.

  6. What kind of drinks should I provide for my child?
    Sugary beverages with little nutritional value like sodas, sports drinks, and punch should be kept to a minimum. Better choices are water and skim milk.

  7. How often should I give my child sweets?
    Sweets should be offered in moderation. This includes limiting the serving size and number of portions, making sure not to outright restrict access to sweets and baked good. A good way to insure your child does not have too much of these foods it to keep them limited in your home and out of sight in a cabinet. Having to go out for these foods generally means people eat less of them and it's also a fun family outing.

  8. How do I determine if the meals I have planned are healthy?
    Go for a colorful variety of foods on the plate which will insure that your meal provides a number of vitamins and nutrients. Also, choose a single food from at least four of the five main food groups, keeping fats and oils to a minimum. Remember, your kids should have at least one or more servings of fruits and vegetables and low fat dairy or skim milk at each meal.

  9. Why do people say to "go for a lifestyle change instead of dieting"?
    A lifestyle change is permanent and includes making new healthy habits to replace old behaviors. Examples include making sure to have a fruit and/or vegetable with each meal. And being active at least a few times each week instead of a few times each month.

    A diet is usually a temporary change in eating and/or exercise to lose weight. The problem with these short term plans is that the results typically do not last as people will often go back to their "old" eating habits because they can't stay on the "diet".

  10. There seems like so much to do. How do I begin to make these changes?
    ALWAYS focus on making one or two changes at a time. Go for those things that are easiest for your family to change so that you can be successful. Once you make a change or two, stick with it until you are successful for a few weeks. When you are ready, go for another change, but remember to go slowly so that you can build a new, healthy habit that you are your family will be able to keep up for a the long term.

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