How We Can Improve Child Nutrition When Healthy Eating Isn’t Accessible

Robert Murray, MD (Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) Board Member) and Grace Perry, RD, LD (AFHK Program Manager) recently shared that children are the products of their environment and experiences; like sponges, they absorb all that’s around them. They’re constantly picking up language, mannerisms, ideas, and habits. The people in a child’s life — especially during their formative years — will have a lasting influence on them for years to come.

That’s why it’s critical for everyone from family members to teachers to coaches to faith leaders to understand the impact they have on a child’s diet and nutrition and the resources they have available to support children’s healthy eating habits from the start. Diet quality can affect a child’s growth. Not only can it change their physical development, but it impacts cognition, behavior, well-being, and ability to deal with life’s challenges as kids grow older.

Despite the fact that there is an abundance of publicly and privately funded programs and resources with the goal of improving children’s healthy eating opportunities, experts agree that these resources don’t always stretch far enough or get to those who need them the most. Furthermore, an urgent need for these programs is often unforeseen for parents who may have sudden financial obstacles to overcome. Read more

What Do We Know About Diet and Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The National Institute on Aging asks, “Can eating a specific food or following a particular diet help prevent or delay dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease?” Many studies suggest that what we eat affects the aging brain’s ability to think and remember. These findings have led to research on general eating patterns and whether they might make a difference.

The Mediterranean diet, the related MIND diet, and other healthy eating patterns have been associated with cognitive benefits in studies—though the evidence is not as strong as it is for other interventions like physical activity, blood pressure, and cognitive training. Now researchers are more rigorously testing these diets to see if they can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease or age-related cognitive decline.

Diet and Dementia Risk

Changes in the brain can occur years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. These early brain changes suggest a possible window of opportunity to prevent or delay dementia symptoms. Scientists are looking at many possible ways to do this, including drugs, lifestyle changes, and combinations of these interventions. Unlike other risk factors for Alzheimer’s that we can’t change, such as age and genetics, people can control lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and cognitive training. Read more

The Benefits of Ginger for Osteoarthritis

An all too common disorder, osteoarthritis produces chronic pain and disability. The first major study, published in 2000, showed no benefit of ginger extract over placebo, but that study only lasted three weeks. The next study, in 2001, lasted six weeks and, by the end, was able to show significantly better results compared to placebo. However, because the placebo did so well, reducing pain from the 60s down to the 40s on a scale of 1 to 100, ginger reducing pain further down into the 30s was not especially clinically significant, so an editorial in the official journal of the American College of Rheumatology concluded that “ginger should not be recommended at present for treatment of arthritis because of the limited efficacy.”

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Gluten Free Dining Options

Nicole Palmieri, Senior at Glenbard South High School, shared with Healthy Lombard that In the past 20 years, our world has seen more awareness for “gluten-free,” “gluten allergy,” “gluten sensitivity” options at restaurants and fast-food chains. It can get all too confusing, so here is a comprehensive list of fast-food places and restaurants in Lombard, or near the area, that have gluten-free options, menus, and which ones to steer clear of. Also in this article, you will learn about the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Fast-Food that Offer Gluten-Free Options:
• Many fast-food chains offer gluten-free french fries upon request. This includes Chick-Fil-A, Five Guys, Sonic and Arby’s.

• Chains that have the worst opportunities for gluten-free options (according to include Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and KFC “as they have extremely limited options and the risks for gluten crossing-contamination are high.”

  • Those with severe celiac disease should be cautious when ordering food that has any possibility of cross-contamination. In this case, the more questions the better!
  • Cross-contamination appears often in fried foods, so ask if your food will be cooked in oil that is specifically meant for gluten-free items. Also, ask if equipment like toasters, pizza ovens, panini presses, different spatulas, etc. are used for the purpose of keeping conscious of those with a severe gluten allergy.
  • Again, the more questions the better! If you have celiac disease and are asking your waiter or cashier, try to gauge how secure they are in their answers. If they do not seem to know, ask to see a manager! Better to double-check then risk it.
  • Arby’s has a separate gluten-free menu, but most foods that are not potato-based or eaten without bread are gluten-free there. Chipotle is almost unanimously gluten-free, except for its soft flour tortillas. (

Another tip is to ask the fast-food place, or any restaurant for that matter, if the food is prepared specifically on a separate surface from gluten-containing items. Read more

What’s the Word on Keto Protein Bars?

Tim Schwartz <> from Left Coast Performance, a community of people living and thriving in a ketogenic lifestyle, shared with Healthy Lombard that protein is a necessary building block for every cell in our body. It creates and repairs tissues, makes required enzymes and hormones, and forms the backbone of our bones, muscles, skin, and blood.

For keto dieters, protein is all the more important as an energy source, but it can be tough to hit your required daily protein intake through the standard three square meals a day. Protein bars are a standby for those looking to build muscle or quickly supplement their protein intake on the go. However, many protein bars come with a dirty little secret: carbs.

In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know to eat protein bars without slipping out of ketosis and share the best protein bars for keto dieters.

Can You Have Protein Bars on Keto?

If you want to eat protein bars on the keto diet, you’ll need to be vigilant about checking the labels. Unfortunately, many commercially available protein bars also contain loads of sugar–some with even more sugar and saturated fat than a doughnut!

However, low-carb protein bars do exist and can help keto dieters stay on track while bringing some positive dietary benefits.  Read more

15 Best Free Apps For Healthy Eating On A Budget

We have all been warned at the dinner table to eat our greens and vegetables, or else. Even though you might not have been the biggest fan of finishing your salad or green peas, your parents wanted to provide you with the most nutritious meal possible so you can grow to be big and strong. 


We all know that you’d prefer to fill your belly with meatloaf, steak, chicken strips or any other processed foods, but our parents knew that those foods weren’t going to promote a healthy life. Our parents knew what was best, even though eating all your greens and veggies seemed like torture, they kept your best interest at heart. If they had access to the resources that we have today, they probably would’ve used various healthy food apps to get inspiration to create healthier and more balanced meals.  


In retrospect, we should give our parents credit for not only feeding us balanced meals but also finding innovative ways to mix up what they were making for dinner. They didn’t have an infinite number of resources to pull recipes from. They only had a few cookbooks, family recipes, and their creativity to keep us wanting more. It’s 2019, we have the ability to access an infinite amount of resources to utilize to not only make flamboyant dishes but also to ensure that we don’t have to eat the same thing twice. 

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Black Garlic

Dmitrii  from asks, “Do you know garlic?”  He guesses your answer will be yes. But then he assumes the garlic you know is the white garlic you are used to. However, Dmitrii is referring to the black garlic, which is more beneficial and a flavorful way to achieve a more satisfying meal. It is beginning to make a wave in the culinary industry, and due to its incredible health benefits, Dmitrii thinks it is essential you know about them, especially if you are a more adventurous eater so he shared the following information with Healthy Lombard.

What is Black Garlic?

Going into a little bit of long history about black garlic, its use as a high valued medicinal and culinary product was more popular in Asian countries like Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Korea is often said to be the place where black garlic originated from, where its process was thought to have been developed over several centuries.

According to historical records, black garlic was said to be used as a diuretic, antibiotic, digestive aid, anti-parasitic, and a wide range of several other ailments. It is widely known for the anti-oxidant properties it possesses. Read more


Megan Barna, MS, RD, is an outpatient dietitian at Children’s National in Washington, D.C.

Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., is a child psychologist and works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute. Dr. Mackey is also a mother of two girls. She wrote for the Rise and Shine newsletter that binge eating disorder (BED) is defined as an eating disorder marked by the frequent consumption of unusually large amounts of food, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. BED differs from bingeing and purging in that the individual takes no actions to prevent weight gain, consequently, many suffering from BED are often overweight or obese.

BED differs from other eating disorders in that it appears to be an “equal opportunity” disorder, affecting men almost as much as women, with no discrimination against race. It is also more common than both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, affecting one in every 35 adults in the United States, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

While many people are guilty of stress eating or taking second helpings of dessert when full, for those with BED, this becomes a regular pattern says Children’s National Health System nutritionist Megan Barna, MS, RD. Eating is no longer simply to satisfy hunger, rather, it is used as a means of escape to distract from scary or stressful problems, feelings or situations.

“Actual eating behaviors are symptoms of more profound underlying factors, such as depression, anxiety, or having experienced trauma,” Barna explains. She said the food is used as a tool for rebelling, rewarding oneself, or easing anxiety or loneliness.

“A binge is indicated by a complete loss of control followed by feelings of shame,” Barna says, “binge eating disorder is marked by multiple recurring episodes.”

Individuals suffering from BED often feel deep embarrassment and humiliation about gorging but are unable to resist the compulsion to binge. This vicious cycle of bingeing can lead to even greater feelings of hopelessness and despair. Read more

Anti-Bribing Strategies for Picky Eaters

Take a deep breath, and don’t worry! What if you could be assured that your child will get the nutrition they need without you going crazy just by starting with small steps? We all want our kids to eat nutritious foods and hope they naturally gravitate towards choosing these foods even when they are not at home. Unfortunately, we need to remember that forcing and bribing children to eat certain foods rarely instills a desired result or behavior.

Most children enter a picky eating phase at some point, and it tends to begin at the age of one or two years old. This is the point where children start to express opinions and may love a food one day and dislike it the next.

Consider these tips to help your picky eater consume a balanced diet!

  1. Respect your child’s desire for food, and allow them to ask for less or more. It’s important to not force them to eat a meal or snack or to clean their plates. This could kindle a power struggle over food with your child and a negative behavior such as anxiety with meals or sensitivities with feelings of hunger. It is important to encourage your child to stay at the table for mealtime, though, even if they are not hungry. Not doing so could promote picky eating behaviors.
  2. Involve kids, and recruit their help! There are many ways to do this: include kids in prepping meals, setting the table, cleaning up after dinner, passing and serving the food, and while grocery shopping (where they should help you select nutritious foods). For older children, skills such as cooking, like those taught in high school classes, have been highlighted in The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior for their role in developing teens into adults who eat better and choose more fruits and vegetables. For beginner cooks, we recommend giving these easy recipes from Dole a try: Banana Apple Crisp and Easy BBQ Kebabs.

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Make a Difference in People’s Lives This Fall!

Did you know, “five percent of children in Lombard live at or below the poverty level?” ( The Lombard Park District is hosting its annual Trick-or-Treat Food Drive on Saturday, October 19 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Help us help others in our community by participating in this great opportunity to give back!

The Lombard Park District staff and volunteers are assigned a new area each year to collect canned and boxed foods to be donated to The Lombard/Villa Park Food Pantry. “This year staff and volunteers are assigned neighborhoods near Manor Hill Elementary and the Log Cabin at Four Seasons,” said Program Manager, Katie Manheim. “We will be dropping bags at each door the week before and picking up the filled bags at their doorsteps on Saturday, October 19.”

For those not in those neighborhoods, bags will be available for pick up at Madison Meadow Athletic Center (500 E. Wilson) and Sunset Knoll Recreation Center (820 S. Finley) and can then be filled and dropped off at either location or at the Log Cabin at Four Seasons on the morning of the Food Drive. Read more