November 11, 2020

What Should I Feed My Child???

Hi there! It’s Wednesday! Hard to believe we are in November! The holidays are almost here and this year will be different to say the least…kind of how 2020 has been…very different!

I thought I would jump in here today to talk a little about FOOD! Definitely one of my favorite topics! Being from a Cuban family, healthy food wasn’t always a priority! Cuban food is just soooo good that it’s hard to resist! Take me to Versailles anyday for their pastelitos and cortaditos with REAL WHOLE milk! There are so many delicious dishes from all over the world! I’m sure you have YOUR comfort food! But I digress…

The truth is that I see it in my patients everyday. Most of you don’t really know where to start when it comes to making food choices for your kids. Most of what you make at home or buy is either what you’re used to or what you think is easier, because let’s face it we are all busy! 

I can’t tell you how many times moms have asked me to refer them to a nutritionist! I hear you! You want someone to sit down with you to tell you exactly what to feed your child! You want to feed your kids healthy food but you have no idea how much or how often. I want you to know that there is A LOT you can do on your own. All it takes is a little bit of focus and a whole lot of attention to details!

Getting Started:

What Kids Should be Eating

  • Fruits and Vegetables: (½ of the plate) 
    • Try your best to buy whole fruits and vegetables and organic. 
    • Frozen and canned are acceptable but always choose low sodium or no salt added!
    • Choose a variety of colors and types. 
    • A child’s plate is SUPPOSED to be ½ fruits and vegetables! (Not what you usually find in a kids menu!)
  • Proteins: (¼ of the plate) 
    • Choose lean proteins and choose variety as well. 
    • Don’t forget about plant proteins! 
    • Choose antibiotic free and grass fed whenever possible! 
    • Choose local fish or wild caught 1-2 times a week if possible
kids and obesity elizabeth vainder MD
  • Grains: (¼ of the plate) 
    • Choose Whole grains (always look for Whole Wheat or WHOLE) 
    • Choose brown rice over white rice
    • Choose whole grain pasta over white enriched (Some whole grain pastas look white! – Look at the ingredients!)
  • Dairy: 
    • Between the ages of 1-2 Kids should drink Organic Antibiotic free whole milk. Kids need fat for their nervous system, brain development and immune system!
    • After the age of 2 you can switch to 2% or Fat Free Milk
    • If your child doesn’t like dairy, choose foods rich in calcium
      • Soy Products
      • Almonds
      • Dried Fruits
      • Dark leafy Vegetables
Kids and obesity Elizabeth Vainder MD
  • AVOID:
    • Added sugars! (less than 10% of calories)
    • Sodium 
    • Saturated fats (less than 10% of calories)

** You have to read labels and look at the ingredients! As a general rule if the list of ingredients is super long, that’s your clue that the food choice is processed and probably JUNK. Less is more when it comes to ingredients, so look for the short list!


Most kids do not eat the right portion size. Portions have increased dramatically over the years and what is considered a normal portion size has really just grown and grown. 

Here are some easy tips!

  • 1 Fist = 1 Cup of Leafy Vegetables
  • Palm of hand = 1 serving of Protein
  • Thumb = Serving Size of Peanut Butter
  • Size of a Baseball – Size of one Fruit Serving

These are some easy ways that you can get started with healthy choices for you and your family! Remember that 75% of chronic health conditions in adults are food related. (Obesity, Heart Disease, Diabetes). Currently over 50% of adults are obese. If a child has a parent that is obese they have a 50% chance of becoming obese adults. If both parents are obese, that increases to 75%. 

You have a choice to stay status quo or take actionable steps towards a healthy lifestyle for you and your family. And it’s going to begin in your kitchen! 

Have a wonderful week!

As always, comment, send me an email and share! The more people we share information, the more we can help! Join me and be a part of it!

Elizabeth Vainder, M.D.

P.S. Take a moment to listen in as I sit with Dr. Carly Snyder at MDFORMOMS to talk about Obesity and Kids. 

Listen to “MD for Moms (165) Dr. Elizabeth Vainder” on Spreaker.

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