Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyle

Vitamin D Deficiency: What to Know


Vitamin D  colorful word on the wooden background

Are you fully protecting your bones? If you’re not getting enough vitamin D, you’re not – no matter how much calcium you or your kids get from milk, cheese or yogurt.

Sayali Ranadive, M.D., a specialist in pediatric endocrinology at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, explains the important role vitamin D plays in our health, and why many Americans — both adults and children — suffer vitamin D deficiency, but don’t know it.

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Breastfeeding and Diet

Mom holding baby

You’ve been careful about what you eat and drink during your pregnancy to do what’s best for your baby. Now that you’re breastfeeding your precious little one, can you resume enjoying a glass of wine or your favorite soft cheese or sushi?

“Yes,” says Joanna Koch, a lactation consultant at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It’s time to return to and enjoy your normal diet.” Here are her answers to new moms’ common questions about what you can and can’t eat during breastfeeding.  Read More

Healthy School Lunches


BLOGschoollunchFor many parents, packing their children’s lunches and snacks can feel like guesswork. Will they eat it, or not? Packing sugary, unhealthy items may often seem like the only way to make sure they eat something during the school day.

However, don’t give up on healthy foods, even if your children don’t always return from school with an empty lunch box. The preschool and elementary school years are a critical time to help children learn healthy eating habits for life.

Manisha Panchal, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, offers these simple guidelines to help you create healthy school lunches. Read More

Exercise and Kids: Why They Need It

Family running on the beach together

It can seem like kids are constantly on the move. But many hours of children’s days can be spent sitting at school or in front of computers, iPads or TVs, drastically reducing their daily activity level.

“Regular exercise has many health benefits for children – and adults, too,” says Elizabeth Anne Huffman, M.D., a pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. “It helps us all maintain a healthy weight and build strong bones, muscles and joints. Exercise is also an excellent stress buster, encourages better sleep and will help your child concentrate at school.”

Here Dr. Huffman answers common questions from parents about exercise and kids and offers tips on how the family can be active together. Read More

Fruits & Veggies for Kids: More Matters

Young boy does not want to eat broccoli

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but getting our children to eat the right things can feel like pulling teeth. What should you do when your son balks at the sight of broccoli, or your daughter reaches for soda and candy instead of fruit?

Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, what should you do if your child visits a local farm and vows never to eat a cow, pig or chicken again? Is it possible for a child to be healthy on a vegetarian diet?

Pediatrician Swati Pandya, M.D., answers parents’ questions about the importance of fruits and vegetables in children’s diets, how to encourage kids to eat more of these health boosters and meeting the dietary needs of young vegetarians.

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Are Vegan Diets OK for Babies and Toddlers?

In general, vegetarian diets can be healthful for children as long as there are alternative foods to meet their nutritional needs. However, the question becomes more complicated when one considers a vegan diet for a young child or infant.

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