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Q: My daughter is allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, shell fish, and bone fish. What healthful snacks and meals can I give her that would provide the nutritional benefits that she can't get from the foods she is allergic to? For example, she can't have nuts as part of her snack, so what is an equivalent nutritional substitute? Gillian

A: Dear Gillian,
 I also have a child who is allergic to peanut and tree nuts. It does seem harder to come up with snacks since nuts are a great option. I would suggest that you think of snack time as consisting of two essential parts: the first is always a fruit or vegetable and the second can be a low fat protein or whole grain. Here are some examples: hummus and whole grain crackers (nut free of course). If you have not tried sunflower seed butter, it will become your next favorite go-to for snack time. Spread some on whole wheat bread or an apple. I actually also just made a delicious trail mix. Combine equal parts raw sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and combine with a 1-2 Tablespoons of syrup and a dash of salt. Toast in a low oven (300) until lightly brown (about 15 minutes). Toss with dried cherries or other dried fruit you may like and enjoy!

Q: My eight year old gets on the bus at 8:00 and doesn't have lunch until 1:00. Do I need to pack a regular snack or something more? Mariola

A: Dear Mariola,
In order to accommodate everyone's schedule, unfortunately some grades must eat lunch at a later time. As a rule, younger children should eat every 2-3 hours. Those in middle school and high school could last 3-4 hours. I would pack a substantial snack as he has 5 1/2 hours between meals. The snack should include a protein and either a fruit or whole grain. Some examples are whole grain crackers and cheese, 1/2 nut sandwich, an apple with almonds or a yogurt with some granola. You could also consider making him a sandwich on the larger slices of bread and have him eat half for snack and half for lunch.

Q: My son is very content playing Legos on the floor or video games in lieu of actually exercising his body.  I signed him up for swim lessons, but that is the only source of exercise he actually gets.  What can I do to motivate him to get up and go play outside? Cindy

A: Dear Cindy,
 Your best bet is to use his love of Legos to get him moving. Tell him he has to earn his time with Legos by first exercising. If he plays outside for 10 minutes than he is allowed to do Legos for 10 minutes. Use a timer and have him work up to an hour a day. Beyond making it a rule, make it fun for him as well. Have him chose his five favorite activities (be sure to include at least one rainy day activity as well) that you write down on a poster board. Before he plays, ask him to choose which one he wants to do that day.



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Important Disclaimer: The information provided by our nutritionist is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or give medical advice. Always consult your family health practitioner before starting, changing or altering your personal health regimen.