Sep 24, 2013

Dr. Cindy Gellner: School lunches, they're getting healthier but is that enough? I'm Dr. Cindy Gellner, pediatrician with University of Utah Health Care, and that's today on The Scope.

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Dr. Cindy Gellner: For a lot of you, you can remember your school lunches when you were growing up. I know I can remember mine. I grew up in Texas, we had chicken fried steak, we had mashed potatoes, occasionally we had green beans with bacon, and we had a big ol' grandma's cookie.
School lunches are getting healthier, thanks to the Healthy Hunger Free Act of 2010, but is that really enough? The answer is probably not, but it's a great start.
Your kids may be given all of these options at school, you've got to make sure that they know about them and take advantage of them. That they eat the healthy food; they don't just throw it away. And to try and mimic that at home too, make sure that they get their five servings of fruits and vegetables in a day, three servings of dairy a day.
The hard part also is that we can change the diet, but P.E is going down in schools. They're not having as many hours of P.E per week that they used to. Some schools I don't see them having it hardly at all.
So the other thing is making sure that they get at least 1 hour of physical activity in. Take them to the park after school, ride bikes after school, remember your helmet, go play soccer. Make sure that you are out there with them, so that you are not just sitting on the sidelines. You're getting in there.
I play soccer with my kids and my husband plays with them too and I was on the playground climbing the monkey bars the other day. It's important for you to get out there and be a good example to your kids. Eat your fruits and vegetables, be sure that you get that physical activity with them. They're going to look to you to get ideas on how to be healthy.
Also you've got to remember portion sizes, kids are not little adults. They have their own portion sizes. The best way to remember a portion size for kids, the size of the palm of their hand is the size of the meat that they need to have. If they are having whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables; it's the size of their fist. If they're having pasta, you can make the okay sign and the amount of pasta that can fit through the okay sign is how much a serving is for them, and that's before it's cooked. That's their hand, not your hand.
Portions are huge. We see so many kids who are eating adult sized value meals, and they're five. One of the easiest ways you can remember all of this, is remember 5-2-1-0. Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Two hours or less of screen time, that's television, video games, computer, unless it's for homework. Doctors can't override homework. And zero sugary drinks. You can have an occasional treat, but occasional means, a couple times a month.
So school lunches are making a huge improvement from what they were even 10 years ago, in terms of the options that they give for healthy foods, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. But you also need to remember to implement these same food healthy guidelines at home, so the kids know this is what we should be doing, and also remember to keep them active.
Remember, 5-2-1-0. And of course, if you have any questions, or you want some suggestions, you want some help. Ask your doctor for help. We're here to make sure that you get the right information and help you along your journey.

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