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Which Diet Is Best for Kids (and Adults!) with IBS?

When we were in junior high, one of our best friends always complained about her upset stomach. We felt terrible for her and wanted to help, but didn’t know what we could do. She went to the doctor a lot and seemed to try everything — we remember her having to avoid nuts and seeds, then breads, and later what seemed to be everything else. But nothing much seemed to help and she never really had too many answers about her pain or ways to feel better.

Years later, she was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Now, as registered dietitians who work regularly with kids (and adults!) who have IBS, we know exactly what to do to help them, and we think of our childhood friend frequently and wish we knew then what we know now!

 

If you’re like many of our friends and their children as well as our clients who have IBS, you’re not alone; about 20% of the population (including Tammy’s husband!) has this common GI condition, that is sometimes referred to as spastic colon or colitis. If you know anyone who has it, it’s not exactly a walk in the park– its symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation several times a month or week. Although it’s unclear what contributes to IBS, researchers believe stress, gut-brain communications, changes to gut microbiota and other factors may play a role.

If you have IBS or if your kid does, you’re probably all too familiar with how much it can get in the way of normal, everyday living and how it can disrupt a day of fun. In fact, when parents come to us looking to help their kids, they’ve often already tried eliminating things like gluten or milk from their kids diets as they’re typically desperate to help relieve their kid’s symptoms so that they can simply play with their friends without worrying they’ll have to end up rushing off to the bathroom. We get it, that’s no way to live! Here’s what we tell them that often surprises them and that also helps them to understand what foods may be causing the discomfort.

Don’t jump to use gluten-free foods. Can gluten-free foods make your child’s tummy troubles worse? New Research Says Yes.

A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics revealed that children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may be inadvertently eating and drinking foods and beverages that are gluten-free and supposedly more GI-friendly, but the choices are actually making their tummy troubles worse.

Note: If your child has celiac disease (only 1% of the population has celiac disease), they should avoid gluten.

What diet should kids with IBS follow? A low-FODMAP diet. (This is what we recommend for adults, too, as it’s successful in three out of four people with IBS).

When kids and adults with IBS eat foods rich in short-chain, fermentable carbohydrates, called FODMAPs, it triggers their annoying troublesome stomach issues. This is why gastroenterologists recommend a low-FODMAP diet for anyone with IBS.

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are poorly-digested, short-chain carbohydrates that are present in a wide variety of foods, including wheat, onions, garlic, legumes, milk, yogurt, honey, apples, dried fruit, some sugar substitutes and added fiber like inulin.

So, although parents with children who have stomach issues often mistakenly believe the problem stems from wheat or gluten, this study shows that many gluten-free foods and beverages are actually high in FODMAPs and may trigger IBS symptoms in susceptible children.

The researchers analyzed foods and beverages from gluten-free breads and snacks; fruit drinks and gluten-free cereal and dairy alternatives to see if the foods and beverages had high or low-FODMAP content.

Results? Many gluten-free foods and beverages were high in FODMAPs, including certain gluten-free breads and muffins; lemonade, Snapple and cranberry juice; pretzels, potato chips and oven-baked French fries; and Rice Chex cereal.

Due to the high prevalence of IBS among the U.S. population, the authors recommend that food manufacturers provide specific FODMAP content on their products so that those who are on a low-FODMAP diet can make informed food choices (we’re all for this!). Some companies, like Rachel Pauls Food, and Nestle ProNourish are creating and marketing low-FODMAP foods and supplements.

We hope that more food manufactures follow suit and provide specific FODMAP concentrations of their products, like these companies, to help guide you when making choices about what to eat to help manage IBS symptoms. In the meantime, you can test how your kids feel when they eat foods that list that they are low in FODMAPs on the food label. And if you’d like more help and guidance, please reach out to us to schedule an appointment we’re happy to guide you to help your kids to follow a low-FODMAP diet.

This blog is sponsored by Rachel Pauls Food, makers of low-FODMAP Happy Bars and Happy Jerky to help individuals with IBS more easily follow a Low-FODMAP lifestyle.  Check out their FODMAPs guide.

Homemade Oatmeal Breakfast Bars- Gluten Free!

As registered dietitians, we get many requests.  And one request that we seem to get over and over again is for gluten-free recipes.  Some of our favorite gluten-free recipes include gluten-free oats, but they have been a bit challenging to find, especially for our long-distance clients who don’t live in a major city.  Oats don’t contain gluten but are often contaminated by gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye or barley) in processing plants. When brands can guarantee a lack of contamination with gluten oats can be considered gluten-free.  So when Quaker sent us their new gluten-free oats the other day, we were so excited– everyone should be able to access them!

 

Aside from all of the requests from clients and friends, one of Tammy’s daughter’s closest friends can’t have gluten– and she’s over the house so much that anything that makes Tammy’s life easier is incredible! 🙂  Thank you Quaker! 🙂

 

And if you’re hesitant, don’t worry–the gluten-free Quaker oats have the same great flavor and nutrients as traditional oats and they’re packed with heart healthy 100% whole grain oats, fiber and vitamins and minerals.

 

So in the past couple of days, we’ve been whipping up so many recipes with the new gluten free oats– we’re lovin’ experimenting!  And we also checked out QuakerOats.com for inspiration and found a lot of awesome, healthy, energy-boosting recipes that Tammy can feel especially good about serving to all of the kids.  Here’s one of the first ones she tried, and it was one of many that was a hit– so we had to share it with you!  Yipppeee!!!

Gluten_free_healthy_Oatmeal_Breakfast_recipe

 

Homemade Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

We suggest serving these delicious breakfast bars with a nonfat Greek yogurt, a glass of low-fat milk or eggs for protein to round out the meal. Enjoy!

Makes 9 delicious bars

Ingredient:
2 cups Quaker Gluten Free Quick 1-minute Oats
2 ripe bananas
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp dry quinoa
2 tbsps brown sugar
¼ cup walnuts (or nuts of choice)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8” x 8” pan. Mash ripe bananas with the back of a fork until smooth. Place 1 cup of oats along with the remainder of the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse several times. Mix in remainder of oats with a spoon. Stir in oat mix with the mashed bananas until coated. Pour into greased pan and gently pat down until batter is spread. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to completely cool. Cut into 9 squares and drizzle with melted dark chocolate (optional).

 

Homemade Oatmeal Breakfast Bars- Gluten Free!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Quaker Gluten Free Quick 1-minute Oats
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp dry quinoa
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • ¼ cup walnuts (or nuts of choice)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: ¼ cup dark chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8” x 8” pan. Mash ripe bananas with the back of a fork until smooth. Place 1 cup of oats along with the remainder of the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse several times. Mix in remainder of oats with a spoon. Stir in oat mix with the mashed bananas until coated. Pour into greased pan and gently pat down until batter is spread. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow to completely cool. Cut into 9 squares and drizzle with melted dark chocolate (optional).

The Nutrition Twins work with Quaker to help people who have to avoid gluten find more gluten-free options.

Back To School Made Easy with the Banana Dog and Mommy Always Comes Back Book

By now you know that as kids nothing would have made us happier than to have a peanut butter and jelly sandy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  So as girls whose mom didn’t buy processed foods including meats like hot dogs, but who felt left out and envious (at that time!) of some of our friend’s pantry’s, you can only begin to imagine the foods we’d dream up.  One of our all-time favorites was the Peanut Butter Banana Dog.  Basically we’re talking a whole wheat hot dog bun, lined with peanut butter, stuffed with a banana (dog) and “relish”ed with a honey drizzle or a strawberry smile.  Heaven!

Please fee free to search this site!  And here are several to try…

Smoked Paprika Chips

Chocolate Drizzled Granola Balls

Cajun Chicken

Guilt-free Kale Chips

Skinny Chicken Pot Pie

Peruvian Style Chicken

Skinny Frappuccino

Creamy Vanilla Coconut Coffee

Spicy Carrot Fries

Skinny Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Skinny Zucchini Fries

Sweeeeeeeet! Potato Pie

We’re not gonna lie, we still go crazy for these pups! And as Tammy’s daughters anxiously headed back to school, to ease their nerves, she packed them a lunch she knew they’d love and she read them an awesome book written by our friend Penny Schnee-Bosch called Mommy Always Comes Back —it reminds kids that mommy doesn’t leave them at school forever and will be back—so there’s no more separation anxiety! (click the book cover photo below, the title, or read more about it below for more info!)) The secret trick for Tammy was packing the book in their school bags with the tasty lunch so they could take out delicious and comforting items at lunch time!

 

Mommy_always_comes_back_cover

Peanut_butter_ban_dog2_logo

 

 

 

The truth is—this recipe isn’t only amazing in the taste department, but it’s easy to make, fun to eat, great for energy, satiety and concentration too!

The key to a good lunch (whether for you or for kids!) is to make sure it provides long lasting energy to optimize focus and concentration, to provide adequate fuel to exercise (or run and be active after school without puttering out), and to fend off mood swings.

Look for lunches to contain these 3 characteristics:

The Peanut Butter Banana Dog’s got ‘em 😉 :

1) Quality carbohydrates:  These are packed with nutrients and naturally contain fiber for long lasting energy (the dog’s whole wheat hot dog bun)

2) Protein: This extends the energy boost from the carbohydrates, provides satiety and prevent dips in blood sugar (the dog’s peanut butter, which also provides heart healthy fat)

3) Low in sugar.  1 in 3 kids is overweight and more than 2/3 of American adults are either overweight or obese. (This Dog gets its’ sweetness from fruit, and if want to add a little extra, a simple drizzle of honey is plenty!)

4) The meal is rounded out with a fruit or veggie to pack in health-promoting nutrients, disease fighting components, and fiber all while providing few calories. (the dog’s banana, strawberries for face [can also add buttons or hair], also we suggest serving with baby carrots)

 

Peanut_butter_ban_dog3_logo

Peanut Butter Banana Dog

 

Serves 1 hungry eater 🙂

 

Ingredients

1 whole wheat hot dog bun

1 -1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)

1/2 large banana

1 slice strawberry (or several raisins, for garnish/smiley face)

1 chopped nut (for garnish/ nose)

 

Directions

Simply open up the bun and line it with peanut butter.  Stuff the banana in it and decorate face and body with a strawberry, nuts, raisins or chocolate chips and garnish however you choose.  Eat and have fun! J

 

Nutrition Facts Per Peanut Butter Banana Dog:  319 calories, 40 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 11 g protein, 7 g fiber, 239 mg sodium 

 

And pack Mommy Always Comes Back! book in their school bags with the tasty lunch so they could take out delicious and comforting items at lunch time!

About the book: Mommy_always_comes_back_cover

A charming picture book, Mommy Always Comes Back! was written by Penny Schnee-Bosch who is a veteran preschool teacher.  School separation can be a breeze for you and your child. The book helps bridge the gap between home and school.

Children relate directly to Sarah’s school experience in Mommy Always Comes Back by Penny Schnee-Bosch. They will find comfort in knowing that they too can go to school, have fun and see mommy after dismissal.

After hearing the story the children will repeat the words mommy always comes back. They may even begin to say those words to their classmates who may be missing mommy

 

 

 

Back To School Made Easy with the Banana Dog and Mommy Always Comes Back Book
 
Nutrition Facts Per Peanut Butter Banana Dog: 319 calories, 40 g carbohydrate, 14 g fat, 11 g protein, 7 g fiber, 239 mg sodium
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 whole wheat hot dog bun
  • 1 -1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • ½ large banana
  • 1 slice strawberry (or several raisins, for garnish/smiley face)
  • 1 chopped nut (for garnish/ nose)
Instructions
  1. Simply open up the bun and line it with peanut butter.  Stuff the banana in it and decorate face and body with a strawberry, nuts, raisins or chocolate chips and garnish however you choose.  Eat and have fun!

4 Easy Ways to Pack in More Produce

As registered dietitians and busy Moms and aunts, we’re always looking for time-saving ways to squeeze more nutrition into our kids’ meals (and our own!). One of the best ways to boost fiber, vitamins and minerals is to find delicious and seamless ways to include produce in meals. Here we share four of our favorite kid-tested, mom- approved, husband and boyfriend A-OK’d, nutrient boosting secrets.

 

Natureripe1

 

1. Make an all-natural, no-sugar added fruit smoothie. Kids love smoothies (and we older kids do too)! Even Tammy’s pickiest daughter doesn’t complain about eating breakfast when it includes a smoothie (and trust us, she complains about everything!). And it’s so simple—Tammy just blends frozen berries or other fruit and Greek yogurt and voila! You’ve got a delicious, fiber-packed, protein and calcium-rich breakfast. You can mix it up and try different flavors of yogurt and different kinds of fruit. Even spinach is surprisingly mild and your kids may not even notice it’s in there!

berry_smoothie_berries_around

 

o Time-saving tip: Since mornings get so hectic Tammy actually blends the smoothie the night before, cover it and refrigerate it until morning. Morning routine: Put a straw in the smoothie—easy, peasy!

2. Pack pre-packaged, pre-washed produce. If you’re like us and most moms, packing lunches for yourself (many of our clients pack their lunch daily per our suggestions) or your kids, seems to be an all too lengthy process. Anything that cuts down the preparation time is a much welcomed change! That’s why when we recently discovered Naturipe Washed and Ready-to-Eat Single Serve packages we were thrilled.

 

Natureripe1

 

o Each package contains 1.25 ounces of fresh blueberries, so it’s the perfect size for little ones. It provides 20 calories, vitamin C, fiber and beneficial antioxidants, called anthocyanins, which contribute to the berry’s blue color. They’re available nationally at retailers including Wal Mart, Safeway, SaveMart, Market Basket, Harris teeter, BI-LO, Winn-Dixie.

3. Keep pre-cut produce and dip on hand at snack time. Kids have a blast when it comes to dipping—and this includes dipping vegetables. And our clients have informed us—give ‘em a dip and adults will go to town on the veggies too! Try carrots, peppers, celery, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and cucumbers.

Veggie_Chips

o As for the dip, experiment to find what you and your kids like best. Try salsa, guacamole, bean dip, Greek yogurt and balsamic dressing.

o Another great way to dip? Simply wash kale, take it off the stems and let it dry by air. Once dry, spritz with oil, your fave spice and throw in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Or for the more perfect looking chip, make these Guilt-free Kale Chips

 

4. Squeeze produce in at dessert time. This is one of the best ways to keep dessert light for you while also teaching your kids early on that dessert doesn’t have to be loaded with added sugar. Fruit is the perfect way to get some extra nutrients in.

o Frozen banana chocolate bites

o Frozen yogurt cinnamon covered bananas

o Comfort-Food Reinvented Apple Pie

o Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Frozen banana cakes1
Naturipe sponsored this blog, but the opinions are entirely our own.